The Alterverse brings poetry and light to Golden Gate Park this December
(Courtesy of Illuminate)

The Alterverse brings poetry and light to Golden Gate Park this December


The Alterverse, a festival celebrating light art and spoken word, featuring San Francisco Poet Laureate Tongo Eisen-Martin, is brightening up the Golden Gate Park's Bandshell throughout the month of December.

Initiated by the San Francisco–based arts nonprofit Illuminate, in collaboration with Eisen-Martin and the SF Public Library, the philanthropically funded month-long outdoor celebration will feature live readings and musical performances in the newly revived Golden Gate Park's Bandshell. Scores of local poets, artists, and musicians will take the stage, with lineups of music and spoken word planned most Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings from 4pm to 7pm.

San Francisco Poet Laureate Tongo Eisen-Martin.(Christopher Michel)

The Alterverse kicked off early this month with a free public event unveiling two major light-based works of public art that will be on view for the entire month of December. James Weldon Johnson's words "Lift Every Voice" is inaugurated atop the Golden Gate Bandshell as part of Dana King's "Monumental Reckoning" sculpture in the Music Concourse, while a giant lighted line of poetry scrolls along the 450-foot facade of the de Young Museum nightly.

The Alterverse is part of Winter Lights in Golden Gate Park, a new holiday tradition presented by SF's Recreation & Park Department and SF Park Alliance. Visitors can explore Golden Gate Park from sundown to 10pm each night with a unique illuminated outdoor journey.

Highlights of a Winter Lights tour include the illuminated century-old "Uncle John's Tree" at McLaren Lodge, "Entwined" in Peacock Meadow, the "Summer of Love" lights at the Conservatory of Flowers and special illumination at the 8th Avenue gateway. Then there's the SkyStar Wheel ride, for unparalleled views from downtown SF to the Pacific Ocean.

Poetry continues at the Bandshell on December 22nd with a celebration of poet June Jordan, hosted by Alie Jones and featuring Aya De Leon, Thea Matthews and Yv. Etaghene. Check out The Docks on the afternoon of December 24th, featuring six writers from the monthly Black Freighter Press reading event. Black Freighter Press publishes revolutionary books and is committed to the exploration of liberation and using art to transform consciousness.

For a finishing festive touch, celebrate Kwanzaa with MoAd on December 26th. It's the 16th annual San Francisco Kwanzaa celebration, and will feature the Village Project and poet Tyanna Braswell.

// For full schedule visit

This article was written SF/Arts Monthly editors.

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