Generated Image Erik Nordby: Litquake "Humor Me"

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Litquake "Humor Me"

It was the first night dedicated to all humor writers at the 3rd annual Litquake in San Francisco. The literary festival features “a mix of readings, panel discussions, themed events, and general literary mayhem - from a wide range of Bay Area authors.”

Tonight the humorists took the stage at the Purple Onion hosted by Hick writer from Arkansas. He was a big wearing jeans and a t-shirt. He had big old chops coming down his face and his voice was high pitched and mumbly. I thought he was one of the funniest of the night. He his poem “Zen and Nascar” took us through the three paradoxes of NASCAR, something I did not know about. Among them, people who don’t watch NASCAR think they know why all people who watch NASCAR watch NASCAR... the crashes.

Other writers included:

Jack Boulware-Story about buying his mom a coffin. Pretty funny in a Six Feet Under Sort of way. Ass-crack Jimmy from his high school was now selling the coffins.

Jack Boulware is author of the non-fiction social histories Sex, American Style and San Francisco Bizarro. He contributes to many publications, and this year appears in new anthologies by Disinformation Books and Chronicle Books. Along with Jane Ganahl, he is co-founder of Litquake.

Firoozeh Dumas- Story about changing her siblings names to more American ones. Her Dad Suggested Fi-Fi.

Firoozeh Dumas’ Funny in Farsi is a lighthearted memoir that chronicles the author’s move from Iran to America in 1971 at age seven, the antics of her extended family and her eventual marriage to a Frenchman. Dumas graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. Laughing Without an Accent, her one-woman show, will be at TheatreWorks in Mountain View in 2006. She lives with her husband and children the East Bay.

Merle Kessler- Told a great story about he day that everyone in San Francisco was being nice and courteous, then all of sudden everything changed, people began being rude, started jaywalking, and the Blue angels Thundered over head.

Merle Kessler is a San Francisco writer and performer. Through his alter ego of satirist Ian Shoales he has been ranting about stupidities, high and low, since 1978. He is also a founding member of Duck’s Breath Mystery Theatre, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

Ian Lendler-Great insightful story about the history of Champagne. Champagne Charlie was the first pop star to love his bubbly and got everyone hooked.

Ian Lendler is the author of An Undone Fairy Tale and co-author of Chelsea Clinton’s Freshman Notebook. The former humor editor for, in 2000 he co-founded the humor website, which was featured in Time Out New York, Gear Magazine, and on His latest book is Alcoholica Esoterica: A Collection of Useful and Useless Information as it relates to the History and Consumption of All Manner of Booze, will be out this fall.

Beth Lisick- proved her family vacations are action packed with a reading from her book, Everybody Into the Pool, about her mother in laws trip to the sex fest.

Beth Lisick has published poems, essays, short fiction, and also wrote a weekly column for SF Gate for eight years. Her stage and screen collaborations with writer/performer Tara Jepsen have yielded some uncomfortable moments, the most recent being a short film called Diving for Pearls which played the gay festival circuit last summer. Her most recent book is called Everybody Into the Pool.

Mal Sharpe- Was punking people before the word was even invented. Only they punked people with no slang and in gray suits...

Since the early 1960s, hipster humorist Mal Sharpe has been pulling pranks and conducting man-on-the-street interviews. A regular contributor to PBS and NPR, Sharpe also hosts a Sunday night show on KCSM, and his Dixieland band, Big Money in Jazz, plays frequently at Enrico’s in North Beach. He and his wife Sandra are the authors of the coffee-table book, Weird Rooms.

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