Did the Lit Crawl Cause the Decline of the Roman Empire?

Tonight (Friday October 16th) at 8 p.m., “Underground Exposed: A Zine Retrospective,” at Chrome Bags, 580 4th St. Panels will feature some of the city’s best zinesters.

And tomorrow (Saturday October 17th) the Crawl! Full schedule here. This year there will be food vendors. Seek street parking at your peril -- it's always impossible to park in the Mission during the Lit Crawl, and this year, Valencia Street is under construction. Taking BART instead will be better for your peace of mind.

Access your printable Crawl map here!

Follow us on twitter@litcrawl to find out which events have standing room!

The many Crawl events this year will include an InsideStorytime, Mced by me, at the Marsh café, featuring readings by sex worker authors featured in the Soft Skull anthology
Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys: Professionals writing on Life, Love, Money, and Sex. Readers will include the book's editors, David Henry Sterry and R.J. Martin, Jr., as well as three other contributors, Diana Morgaine, Juliet November, and Juliana Piccillo.

Is being in the Mission during the Lit Crawl like spending a night in Augustan Rome? Check out this Tony Perrottet essay in "The Believer" about Roman recitationes. Perrottet writes, “The craze for literary readings in Rome was sudden and overwhelming: It occurred during that unique historical moment when Rome made the transition from a Republic to an Empire...”

Jerome Carcopino claimed in Daily Life in Ancient Rome that literary readings were a cancer that ate away at the moral and intellectual fabric of the Roman Empire. Perrottet -- “'Examining the contemporary literature,' Jerome Carcopino sums up, 'we soon get the impression that everyone was reading something, no matter what, aloud in public, all the time, morning and evening, winter and summer.' Even Pliny the Younger—obviously no slouch with his own marathon readings—complained that the number of recitationes was becoming a wearisome burden. Every day there would be yet another invitation.”

Perrottet mentions that, at one of the Emperor Nero's recitals, an audience member was obliged to feign death in order to go use the bathroom. I promise this will not happen at the Lit Crawl! As Tom Lehrer sang in another context, “It's only for a week so have no fear. Be grateful that it doesn't last all year.” Perhaps the Romans made the mistake of living as if it was Litquake all year long...

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