I live in what may be the BEST place in the U.S. for literary events. I’ve traveled all over for readings and book launches, and only New York and Seattle come close to what the Bay Area offers in the way of cool ways to spend my evenings with bookish, freaky people. In any given month, I can go to Writers with Drinks, to Literary Death Match and Literary Speakeasy. I’ve been to readings with Queer Mountain, Happy Endings*, Perfectly Queer, and that’s not even including innumerable book launches and tour events. There are readings and launches and events damned near every day at Booksmith, at Borderlands, at Kepler’s and at a dozen other packed spaces all over the area.
On top of that, we’ve got events like LitQuake, we’re the epicenter of NaNoWriMo, and I live right by a place called the Octopus Literary Salon. I just got back from teaching a college class, and my students asked me how good the lit scene here is. I barely got started on describing it before their eyes went wide. I live in one of the most popular places in the world for lit events and reading series.
So starting a new one seems like a great idea, right? Right! Because in all the events that I know of, there isn’t one dedicated to women’s sexuality. Even the ones that are sexual in nature (RIP Shipwreck) are often heavily focused on other points of view. It’s a strange mirror to the number of queer bars in the Bay Area: plenty for gay men and a precious few for queer women. Even in this embarrassment of riches, we saw a gap. So we started this thing.
And who are we? Because I couldn’t do this thing alone. Cliterary Salon came together for the first time as an idea from co-creator Louis Evans and co-producer Lauren Parker. Pol Morton made us all kinds of original art for the show, and we got the whole thing running in early 2018. We learned a lot along the way: how to run a show in an illegal speakeasy, how to source talent that reflects the diversity of our community, and how to make sure our artists always get paid. Author Maggie Tokuda-Hall joined us soon thereafter as a co-producer and suddenly the whole thing felt a lot more legit.
I’m so proud of this show that I don’t always know how to explain it. I started off making Clit Salon as a fun thing I could do with my friends and maybe make a little money. It ended up becoming this huge project involving talented writers from all over the country, long-term planning, short-term problem solving, and something that I’m overjoyed to help produce, month after month.
We’re doing it again, on the 15th at the Rockridge Improvement Club. We’re gonna talk about how Love is Gross, and no matter what your V-Day was like, I bet you’ll agree with us. We’ve got a YouTube channel where you can watch all our old shows for free, courtesy of our brilliant videographer Paul Sauer. You can follow the salon on Twitter and Facebook, and you can come anytime. We keep tickets cheap but also if you want in and lack funds, all you’ve got to do is ask.
*Literally performing at this one tonight. The Make Out Room at 7PM. Be there.