If Vendela Vida and Dave Eggers are the famous faces of 826 Valencia, executive director Bita Nazarian is not only the wheel that keeps the Mission-based nonprofit working, she's the driving force behind the organization's upcoming expansion.
Each week, we offer a roundup of the best literary events in the city. All events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted. Want to submit an upcoming event for consideration? Go here.
826 Valencia Write-a-Thon
Friday, August 26th, 12-8:26 pm, at 826 Valencia (826 Valencia St.)
The 7x7 editors are headed to the Spelling Bee for Cheaters at Herbst Theatre on Thursday night to show off their spelling skills against celebs like singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman, author Michael Chabon, and MythBusters' Adam Savage, all while raising money for 826 Valencia to help local kids learn how to read and write. Come root for us. Buy your tickets for the bee here, or go to our team page and sponsor our team—every dollar goes to 826's educational efforts, and the more money we raise, the more "cheats" we can buy.
In perhaps one of the coolest schemes to raise money and awareness for local non-profit 826 Valencia, Dave Eggers, Anthony Myint (of Commonwealth & Mission Chinese Food fame) and ex-Talking Heads guitarist Jerry Harrison will battle to the death against champions in ping pong games inspired by the new book Everything You Know Is Pong, which is about--you guessed it--ping pong's status in pop culture and world history.
Tomorrow after work, head to downtown's Hotel Rex to shop local handcrafted goods, sip specialty cocktails, screen works from the Disposable Film Festival, and jam to music by our own music reporter Kevin Meenan (of the bands epicsauce and Electric Sunset), and grab raffle prizes from Rickshaw Bags and Globe bikes, all to benefit the great 826 Valencia.
The Coffee Shop
Around the corner from Twitter headquarters in SoMa and just a minute’s walk to Wired is Epicenter Café, where there are as many outlets as there are freelancers plugging away on laptops. The beer and wine selection don’t hurt either. 764 Harrison St., epicentercafe.com
Authors and poets test out new material at the Makeout Room’s Writers with Drinks, a spoken-word variety show that takes place the second Saturday of every month. 3225 22nd St., makeoutroom.com
Judd Apatow (you may know him from Knocked Up, Super Bad, The 40 Year Old Virigin) rolled through town last week for a City Arts and Lectures discussion with Dave Eggers and to promote his new humor compilation, I Found This Funny. The book (“an unprecedented mega collection of supremely entertaining writing”) includes works from greats like Conan O’Brien, David Sedaris, Jonathan Frazen, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Raymond Carver and benefits 826 National, the nonprofit writing and tutoring organization helmed by Eggers. I sat down with Apatow at the Ritz in Nob Hill to talk the book, Freaks and Geeks 10 years later and the best TV shows on today.
Sad news: Mission Local reports that after eight years on Valencia Street, vegan publishing house Little Otsu is closing its doors this December. Run by Jeremy Crown and Yvonne Chen, the lovingly-curated neighborhood shop is a place to grab comics, books, day planners and other adorable knick-knacks.