The month of May offers restless SIP locals some much-needed escape in the form of podcasts, book- and script-readings and online literary meet-ups. Five suggestions for stimulating “encounters” of the digital kind sustain enthusiasm for storytelling—about science, money, craft, evangelism, indigenous history, feminism, Hollywood, wildfires and so much more.
Craft Conversation/Writing Reading Presentation with Marie Mutsuki Mockett | May 6
Mockett’s appearance at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga was originally postponed by a planned PG&E power outage during last year’s wildfire season. Rescheduled for May 6, she will address in two online programs fairy tales from western and eastern cultures and unveil patterns drawn from the differences and similarities. Her memoir, Where the Dead Pause and the Japanese Say Goodbye, was a finalist in several award categories, among them, the Northern California Book Award for Creative Nonfiction. A new book from Graywolf, American Harvest: God, Country and Farming in the Heartland, has her traveling to seven states to examine agriculture, race, faith and GMO’s in America’s heartland. Journey with Mockett during afternoon or evening events for deeper understanding of human beings and the stories they tell.
May 6 at 2:30 pm and 7:30 pm: stmarys-ca.zoom.us/meeting/register/vp0qde6upz8sb00VbumXa71hDPDicEk64A
Art in the Time of Coronavirus: Shotgun Players | May (and ongoing)
If you’ve never visited this innovative and courageous upstart theater company for a live show, SIP now offers the time to get hooked. Shotgun features mostly free programs including archival full-length show videos, live script readings by local actors, and weekly Little Theater, Big Podcast interviews. Treat yourself to recordings of Shakespeare sonnets in the daily, episodic A Sonnet a Day, and something called 2 Minutes in 2 Days, a “teeny, tiny, super site-specific theatre festival” for which artists, both local and international, feature 2-minute works that include materials ranging from toilet paper to masks. Note that while most programs are free, Shotgun encourages and welcomes donations of any amount to support word-sharing, playwriting and live theater in the future.
During May and ongoing: shotgunplayers.org/online/article/art-in-coronavirus
Rebecca Solnit & Brit Marling | City Arts & Lectures | May 11
Solnit is a master when it comes to writing about hope, disaster, gender, power, identity and social change—forces that wrangle and warp our world, whether we’re in a pandemic or not. Marling’s writing and appearances (Sundance Film Festival premieres and now in Netflix’s “The OA”) are shifting public perception of women’s worth, Hollywood power dynamics, and other hot topics. Together, Solnit and Marling are certain to be provocative, insightful and deeply empathic, if their latest work is any indication. Catch them online in the ongoing webcast series and afterwards, peruse the program archives for past presentations offering equal pleasure.
May 11 at 7:30 pm: www.youtube.com/c/CityArtsLectures
Alastair Gee and Dani Anguiano | Fire in Paradise: An American Tragedy | May 13
Booksmith hosts a discussion streamed on the bookstore’s Facebook page with California-based journalists Gee and Anguiano. Their book covers the story they reported which begins the day the Camp Fire ignited in Paradise, CA. Interviews with residents, firefighters, first responders, scientific experts and combine with analysis of wildfires and the part played by PG&E in the destruction. Especially poignant are the words of those who fled on foot or stayed behind to battle the flames. A story of immense tragedy and determination, the writers deploy research, science and data to bolster the narrative. That another wildfire of equal force could occur again is unquestionable. As with the pandemic, preparation and prevention are paramount – a case that can now be easily made with hindsight.
Virtual Fundraiser: Mary Roach and Emily Anthes | Moe’s Books | May 13
Science writer and Rockridge resident Roach and science journalist Anthes team up for Moe’s super-size, 60-minute virtual event/reading (pay-what-you-want tix) sure to feature the writers’ typical mashup of humor and science. Roach is author of six New York Times bestsellers covering humans at war, as cadavers, traveling in space, eating, digesting and yes, eliminating. Anthes’ new book coming in June, The Great Indoors; The Surprising Science of How Buildings Shape Our Behavior, Health, and Happiness, is clearly relevant during the current stay-at-home orders. Log on to Zoom (make sure host Eventbrite has your email) and with flexible pay-what-you-want ticketing, you can support Moe’s independent bookselling legacy (since 1959).