Novelist Tatyana Sundeyeva and Luis Orozco, channeling some 1920s realness at Litquake's opening night party, The Bee Knees. (Photography by Brendan Mansfield)

The Scene: Litquake's swinging opening night soiree in North Beach

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On Thursday, October 10th, Litquake's 20th anniversary opening night party was the bee's knees—literally.

The '20s themed bash at North Beach lounge Monroe was a sellout, with literati hobnobbing with costumed flappers, newsboys, and swells…and one (vaping) gun moll.


(Photography by Brendan Mansfield)

The Art Deco–styled spaced felt like stepping into a time machine; the address, once called the Jazz Workshop, has seen its share of performing greats, including Thelonious Monk who recorded an album there. Lenny Bruce was even arrested for obscenity on the premises!

Overheard at the bar was a toast to Dorothy Parker as the giggle water flowed. By the time author and Berkeleyside publisher Frances Dinklespiel introduced Litquake cofounder Jack Boulware, the room was sauced and spirited, and gave Boulware not one but two standing ovations.

Among the guests were Eddie Muller, aka the czar of noir; Frances Stroh, author of Beer Money: A Memoir of Privilege and Loss; and Oscar Villalon, editor of the literary journal Zyzzyva, along with his wife, Wig Diaries author Mary Ladd; and Afghan-American author Tamin Ansary, whose latest book, The Invention of Yesterday: A 50,000-Year History of Human Culture, Conflict and Connection was just published.

The live music by by Marc Capelle and The Bearcats was absolutely crisp and on point with the era. By the end of night, the quite chic smoking porch was filled with folks enjoying a last round of whiskey as well as a few cigars.

Get our picks for Litquake's can't0miss events this festival season.

(Photography by Brendan Mansfield)

Lauren C. Johnson and Kathleen J. Woods

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