Performing at THE MOTH GrandSLAM Championship – April 8th!

16 03 2014


San Francisco’s Inaugural GrandSLAM Championship: Fish Out of Water

The Moth presents the GrandSLAM, a battle of wits and words – fierce, hilarious, heartbreaking and all points between. Listen as ten StorySLAM champs tell tales of being out of their element: the freak, the foreigner, dressed for the opera at the clambake, out of the loop, the only person in the loop, the voice of dissent, the lonely fool. Outsider, interloper, odd man out. The black sheep, the chatty monk, the juror with a doubt.

The Moth is dedicated to finding intriguing people to tell inspired stories. At The Moth StorySLAM, those people find us. On this night, using words as weapons, they battle to determine San Francisco’s first-everMoth GrandSLAM Story Champion.

Tuesday, April 8th

Hosted by:
Corey Rosen

Stories By:
Josh Cereghino
Case Conover
Neshama Franklin
Ben Pote
Scott Sanders
Anna Seregina
Maida Taylor
Alia Volz
Brianna Wolfson
and more…

Producer: Jenifer Hixson
Associate Producer: Robin Wachsberger
San Francisco StorySLAM Producers: Anna MacKinnon & Andrew Slusser 

at The Castro Theatre
429 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114 

7:00pm Doors Open
8:00pm Stories Begin

$20 tickets available here
Our Host:
Corey Rosen is an actor, director, writer and visual effects artist who lives in San Francisco. Corey began his career writing for Jim Henson Productions and Comedy Central in New York City. He spent 11 years at Industrial Light & Magic as both a computer graphics artist and staff writer for animated feature films. His film credits include The Phantom MenaceTerminator 3The Day After Tomorrow, and War of the Worlds. As an actor, Corey works on screen and stage, including a 10 year run as a main stage company player at BATS Improv, where he improvises feature length plays. Corey is the creator of The A**hole Monologues: A Comedy For Anyone Who Has One, Knows One, or Is @coreyrosen

Our Storytellers:

At age five, Josh Cereghino was sent home from kindergarten, for allegedly biting Mikey Duda. When Mom asked for an explanation, he told his first story, with spaceships, dragons, jetpacks and Kung Fu, explaining that he bit in self-defense when Mike Duda attacked him with nunchuks. Josh learned the value of a good story that day, and he’s been telling stories from his life ever since. Josh is a writer who lives in Berkeley and holds a BA degree in Rhetoric from the University of California. This explains his penchant for storytelling and talking a lot.

Case Conover grew up on the coast of Maine, where his passion for stories, art and circus was born. As a youngster he juggled, unicycled, and clowned his way into the international youth troupe Circus Smirkus. He went on to study visual art at Oberlin College in Ohio before moving to the Bay Area. Case is now the Producer of West Coast Live, a weekly national radio variety program featuring authors, musicians and other cultural figures.

Neshama Franklin lives in Bolinas, works at the Fairfax Library, and has been telling stories since she came to language. She is an omnivorous, eclectic reader and plays this out through a weekly blog, a local TV show hosting Marin poets (both on the Marin County Free Library website), and a local radio show in which she reads what she loves. She’s performed frequently for libraries, camps, and at Tell It On Tuesday in Berkeley. She’s thrilled to be part of The Moth.

Ben Pote hails from Nashville, TN. He made his way to San Francisco three years ago by way of working in restaurants in Baltimore, New York, and Denver, and is now a research and development chef at a culinary consulting firm here in the city. He lives with his fiancee Pilar and two Boston terriers Sadie and Max, and enjoys eating his way through the city, playing the drums, a well-placed pun, and all three extended editions of Lord of the Rings.

Scott Sanders Ex actor, ex new yorker moved to the left coast about 15 years ago and still wrestling with cross cultural challenges. I’ve mustered pocket change as a gonzo international entrepreneur in Asia. I introduced graffiti / urban tagging to the Inner Mongolian territories. I’ve been kidnapped in China and hit by lightning in Brooklyn. I have told tales with The Moth, Snap Judgement, Fireside Storytelling, Porchlight Storytelling and LitQuake.

Anna Seregina is a stand-up comic and performer, described as having the “worst aura.” She was named a “Comic to Watch in 2013″ by the SF Weekly, and is a regular member of the San Francisco-based show the Business. She starred in Joey Izzo’s Stepsister, which screened at the San Francisco International and the Cannes Film festivals in 2013. Most facts about her are true. Most truths about her are facts..

Maida Taylor practiced medicine in the Bay Area for 23 years, before going to work for the dark side of the force, the pharmaceutical industry. She is now a consultant. Born in Brooklyn, she moved to the Bay Area for graduate school and never looked back. Her husband and her kids are native Californians. Though she loves San Francisco, and her east coast accent is long gone, she still cannot shake off her New York edge (aka bitch). When not traveling for work, she can be found scuba diving, gardening, watching obscure foreign films, or walking with a Dandie Dinmont dog named King Arthur.

Alia Volz recently completed her first novel, HOOF, a mean little cowboy noir story in which all of your favorite characters die. The spawn of dope-crazed California hippies, Alia has crossed Spain on foot, seen Fidel Castro speak in a downpour, and made love at the feet of Easter Island’s Moai—but she keeps rolling home to good old San Francisco. Stalk her at

Brianna Wolfson is a New York native living in San Francisco, California. She spends her days with charts, graphs, colored pencils and ice cream. She buys a lottery ticket every Friday.

Get lit – Get Lucky! Date a Hot Writer!

9 09 2013

Friday September 20, 2013

Tickets available here:

Come to Get Lit – Get Lucky! and Date a Hot Writer

Crushing on Lisbeth Salander? Aching for Mr. Darcy? Obsessing over Katniss Everdeen? Fantasizing about Jay Gatsby?

Join Litquake for our first-ever literary singles night! Yes, this is a rare night to meet your fellow word nerds. Bring your buddy (for a $5 discount) and make a new friend— we guarantee you’ll go home with a fun prize, a date, or at least a good story!

Featuring a line up of bookish guests including Alia Volz, former host/producer of Literary Death Match, Litquake brings together the sexiest dorks in the Bay Area for your opportunities to meet a brainy girl in a wool cardigan or a cute boy in horn-rimmed glasses. We’ll provide excellent icebreakers, specialty cocktails, and most importantly, other unmarried folks who share your love of the written word.

The highlight of the evening will be our own spin on the Dating Game (let’s call it the Literary Dating Game), in which lucky contestants vie for a date with one of six hot authors of various ages and preferences. See our list of hotties below, and if you’d like to be a contestant (whether you’re straight, gay, or lesbian), email us at

Meet the Hot Writers

Cole, ChrisChris Cole is a novelist (Such Great Heights) and board member of Quiet Lightning, and has been published in several anthologies, magazines, journals, websites and bathroom walls. He runs the West Coast office for a killer User Experience Agency called EffectiveUI and he coaches West Marin Little League games like nobody’s business. And, he is nice to animals. Chris is also co-founder of Pints and Prose, the Fairfax-based reading series founded by the Tuesday Night Writers. He writes daily verse and prose under the name Disembodied Poetics.

Karp, EvanEvan Karp’s first hero and alter-ego was He-Man. During recess he and his friends played make-believe on the playground and he never let anyone else be He-Man. Eventually he realized this was wrong and tried to give everyone a proper turn. Playing sidekick made him feel better than being a tyrant and he started to collaborate with others. Since then he’s been kind of a people person. He enjoys bike rides through Marin County, the monthly miracle that is Quiet Lightning, and the conversations he has as a result of He knows it’s sappy, but he never imagined living the dream would be half this righteous.

Merrill, WendyWendy Merrill was the tall scrawny late bloomer on the sidelines of the seventh grade dance who turned into the sweet-sixteen-never- been-kissed good girl yearning to be bad. Ph.D.s were the norm in her family, yet she aspired to be comfortable on any barstool in the world. In college, she took a class called “Dating and Marriage” — and got an F. Wendy has spent a lifetime conducting undercover operations in the arena of dating and mating, earning her a rich body of data. As a recovering perfectionist, alcoholic and dater, Wendy explores the contradictions of being a woman, and writes about her imperfections with honesty, humor and style, in her memoir, Falling Into Manholes.

Orloff. AlvinAlvin Orloff is the author of three novels: I Married an Earthling, Gutter Boys, and Why Aren’t You Smiling? and is currently working on a memoir that will utterly disgrace his reputation forever.

Thornton, MeghanMeghan Thornton is a poet, short-story author, and aspiring novelist. She serves on the board of Quiet Lightning and volunteers for many other Bay Area literary organizations (including Litquake!). She ticks multiple geek boxes, smiles at dogs, and once convinced a woman on a bus in Cannes to swap shoes with her using only pantomime.

“Wutown” in Defenestration Magazine

17 08 2013

Here’s an excerpt. Read the full piece in Defenestration.


I operate 01194, a white Plymouth bearing the sundial insignia of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. The steering wheel is constructed on the right, to facilitate chalking. I hang the chalking stick out the window and cruise up Fountain at 4 miles per hour, marking the left front tire of every car.

I’ll maintain this speed until La Brea, double back via Santa Monica Boulevard, then snake through my run east of Highland, returning to this spot at precisely 11:00AM. In accordance with signage, many of the vehicles will have been removed. Anything remaining is mine. I’ll issue 10-15 citations on this morning loop. Punctuality is key.

I turn onto La Brea and, right away, the vista gets bueno. I issue a 540.2 for expired registration and a 490.1 for a WHITE ZONE violation. On the next block, I spot a vehicle parked approximately 1’6” from the curb. It’s a close call. I pull over, unclip the tape measurer from my belt and kneel on the concrete. The rear right tire is 1’7” away from the curb. I slap him with a 412.1.

They’d park upside down if they could.

Visit for a great variety of contemporary humor writing.

“Get Your Head On” selected for The Writing Disorder’s “Best Fiction and Nonfiction of 2012″

16 11 2012

Read the story on

The Litquake Author Interview

29 09 2012

Alia Volz: Chaos in a Fur Coat

See Alia Sunday, October 7, at Vesuvio for “Do You Come Here Often?”: Writers at the Bar, with Alan Black, Jack Boulware, Beth Lisick, Chuck Thompson, and Missy Robac.

1. What is your favorite book?
It must be As I Lay Dying, because I’ve reread it more than any other book. It’s got rage, comedy and transcendent beauty all happening at once. That economy slays me.
2. Who is your favorite writer?
Cormac McCarthy.
3. If the answers to 1 & 2 are different, why?
They’re similar. I obviously have a yen for dark, funny, poetic novels with horses.
4. How old were you when you were first published?
Around 28.
5. What writing style do you most abhor?
I adore being a woman. But “chick lit” embarrasses me. It makes me wish I had a penis.
6. What is your favorite writing cliché?
I like the cliché about writers being drunks. It gives me an excuse. Cheers!
7. What is your favorite word?
Succotash. Or motherfucker. I can’t decide.
8. When and how do you write?
I don’t have a set routine, but my self-esteem nosedives when I don’t make creative progress. Fear of self-loathing keeps me diligent.
9. What is your greatest fear when you first turn in a manuscript?
I fret endlessly that it isn’t as good as it might be—that if I wait a bit longer, I’ll get that last zap of inspiration that knits loose ends, or floats the piece to the next level. Consequently, I’ll tinker with manuscripts for years without sending them anywhere. Honestly, I wish I was more relaxed.
10. In what era do you wish you’d been born?
I’d love to arrive in the “gay nineties” so I could ripen in the “roaring twenties.” They sound magnificent in comparison with this most recent decade: the “gloomy oughts.”
11. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I’m editing a novel right now, and I’ve discovered that I overuse “low-slung sky.” Go figure. I also cuss too much.
12. Which talent would you most like to have?
I want a talent for being in two places at once. One me can roam this astonishing planet, while the other me stays home to nest and write. Of course I’d end up getting jealous of myself, which could be problematic.
13. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I’m still working on it.
14. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
The Cheshire Cat: chaos in a fur coat.
15. How would you like to die?
I’d like to croak in my husband’s arms. My least favorite way to die would be away from him. Corny but true.

Sexy Litquake ‘Password’ to Prohibition

28 07 2012

San Francisco Chronicle  -  by Louis Pitzman

Published 05:53 p.m., Wednesday, July 18, 2012

  • Alia Volz participates in a Litquake event called "PASSWORD: Litquake’s Literary Speakeasy," in which Bay Area authors dress up as, and read from, Prohibition-era writers. Volz charakter is Louise Brooks. San Francisco, Cal. on Monday, July 16, 2012. Photo: Sonja Och, The Chronicle / SF
    Alia Volz participates in a Litquake event called “PASSWORD: Litquake’s Literary Speakeasy,” in which Bay Area authors dress up as, and read from, Prohibition-era writers. Volz charakter is Louise Brooks. San Francisco, Cal. on Monday, July 16, 2012. Photo: Sonja Och, The Chronicle / SF

Not all literary events are low-key, dignified affairs – especially not in San Francisco.

As Litquake brings out its slew of notable writers and the readers who love them, one event is looking to transport attendees back to a wild party in the 1920s.

At Thursday night’s “Password: A Literary Speakeasy,” a group of writers and other eccentrics will dress up and read as luminaries from the Prohibition era. The performers include Robin Ekiss as Tallulah Bankhead,Joshua Mohr as Sinclair Lewis and Alia Volz as silent film star Louise Brooks, taking on emcee duties for the night.

“The San Francisco literary culture today is vibrant and interactive and inspiring – and it’s sexy,” Volz says. “What could be sexier than Prohibition? I feel like nothing is more exciting than what’s underground.”

While San Francisco has a long history as a literary city, Volz says Litquake has revitalized the community. Since its inception in 1999, the annual event has become the largest literary festival on the West Coast.

“(Literature) is getting to a point where it’s become glamorous,” Volz says. “I think they’ve made life glamorous again for San Francisco writers and bookworms, so that we don’t have to hide in basements and home offices anymore.”

“Password” will be an especially glamorous event, with a jazz pianist and singer, and an artist sketching New Yorker-style caricatures. For her part, Volz is trying to channel some of Brooks’ unique persona.

“It’s ironic that Litquake has approached me to perform as a silent film actress,” she jokes, “because I have such a big mouth.”

But in reality, Brooks was equally outspoken, as Volz explains.

Brooks “didn’t kowtow to anybody, much to the detriment of her career,” she continues. “I think she was a true feminist in the sense that she was a completely self-identified woman. She played entirely by her own rules, so I have a tremendous amount of respect for that.”

And while this is a Prohibition-era event, the alcohol will be free-flowing as it once was in so many underground speakeasies. On tap: San Francisco’s own Prohibition Ale, of course.

“Password” is a party for the indoor kids who aren’t afraid to let loose once in a while. It may not actually take you back to the Roaring Twenties, but it does promise a rich, stimulating atmosphere of like-minded literature enthusiasts.

“Writing is naturally such a solitary act,” Volz notes. “For us to have an environment where writers and other intellectuals can go into public, out of the basement, and meet other people of similar interests, and seek inspiration and relate as part of a community, is a vital and precious thing.”

8 p.m. Thursday (July 19). $15-$18. Public Works, 161 Erie St., S.F.

Louis Peitzman is a freelance writer. E-mail: Twitter:@LouisPeitzman

PASSWORD: Litquake’s Literary Speakeasy

16 07 2012

July 19, 2012, 8:00 PM

Public Works
161 Erie Street


Public Works, 161 Erie St.
(off Mission St. between Duboce & 14th St.)
San Francisco, CA

Join us as we take you back to America’s Prohibition era with PASSWORD: Litquake’s Literary Speakeasy, featuring Prohibition-era cocktails, jazz, readings, and lots of feathers. Step up to our own Algonquin Round Table and hear excerpts of prominent historic authors from your favorite Bay Area writers, including Robin Ekiss (Tallulah Bankhead), Isaac Fitzgerald (Robert Benchley), Josh Mohr (Sinclair Lewis), Eddie Muller (Dashiell Hammett)K.M. Sohnlein (Bruce Nugent), and Sarah Fran Wisby (Dorothy Parker).

Dust off your best ostrich feathers and revel in decadence with crispy ales and flapper-friendly cocktails, jazzy stylings from pianist J. Raoul Brody and chanteuse Laurie Amat, a Thin Man movie marathon, caricaturist Laura Gilmore on demand, the finest headwear from Goorin Bros., and much more! Hosted by the inimitable Alia Volz, channeling silent-screen siren Louise Brooks. No-host bar blatantly serving the finest hooch in town!

All proceeds to benefit Litquake 2012 programming.


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