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Our guide to readings, spoken word, and other literary events

1st Sundays Queer Fiction Book of the Month Group: Each month the readers tackle a different queer book and discuss it at the next meeting. First Sunday of every month, 4 p.m., free. A Different Light Bookstore, 489 Castro (at 18th St.), 431-0891.

Actors Reading Writers: Popular local actors read modern and classic short stories every first Monday of the month. First Monday of every month, 7:30 p.m., free. Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant (at Ellsworth), Berkeley, 510-843-4822.

Celebration of the Word: This regular event features an open mike for writers hosted by Jeanne Powell. Mondays, 7 p.m., free. Perry's Joint, 1661 Fillmore (at Post), 931-5260.

Children's Story Time: Each week children aged 3 to 7 are invited to hear stories with a natural bent. Saturdays, 11 a.m., free with museum admission, free-$7. California Academy of Sciences, 875 Howard (at Fifth St.), 750-7145,

Drop-In Writer's Group: Join other writers for a read-and-critique session led by Marnie Webb. Every other Tuesday, 6 p.m., free. Laurel Book Store, 4100 MacArthur (at 39th), Oakland, 510-531-2073.

Stephen Elliott: The author of Happy Baby reads along with Chris Abani, author of GraceLand. Tue., April 5, 6:30 p.m., $10-15. Commonwealth Club, 595 Market (at Second St.), 597-6701,

Family Storytimes: Parents and kids ages 2-6 are read to at various library branches. Daily, free, Multiple locations, multiple addresses within San Francisco.

First Friday Travel Series: A regularly scheduled evening of travel readings, followed by a reception. First Friday of every month, 7 p.m., free-$5. The Writers Center of Marin, 1323 Fourth St. (at C St.), San Rafael, 456-1825.

Friday Night Poetry at the Yak: Spoken word, open mike, and acoustic music are the fare at this regular event. Fridays, 7:30 p.m., free. Yakkety Yak Coffeehouse, 679 Sutter (at Taylor), 351-2090.

GenderEnders: Monthly series of spoken word/music events where the performers are cheerfully queer and the audience is even more so. First Tuesday of every month, 8:30 p.m., $4-$7. Cherry Bar & Lounge, 917 Folsom (at Fifth St.), 974-1585,

K'vetsch: A regular queer open mike hosted by Tara Jepsen and Lynn Breedlove. Sign up begins at 7:30. First Sunday of every month, 8 p.m., free. Sadie's Flying Elephant, 491 Potrero (at Mariposa), 551-7988.

Open Mike Fridays: Authors are invited to read from their work at this regular open mike event. Fridays, 8 p.m., free. Cafe International, 508 Haight (at Fillmore), 552-7390.

Retool and Grind: Monthly open mike for musicians, poets, dancers, and others with a yen to command the stage for five minutes at a time. FTMs and those who love em are the staple performers. Last Wednesday of every month, 7 p.m., Free. Eros, 2051 Market (at Church), 864-3767,

San Francisco Literary Walking Tour: A two-hour meander through North Beach and Chinatown to look at the apartment buildings, cafes, bookstores, and bars frequented by famous writers of the past. Meet at City Lights, 261 Columbus (at Broadway). Saturdays, noon, $25, 441-0140.

S.P.I.T.S.: Slam Poetry Intensive Training Series: Learn how to perform with confidence at slam poetry sessions at this workshop series for young writers. Fridays, 4 p.m. Continues through April 1, free. Youth Speaks, 2169 Folsom (at 18th St.), 255-9035.

Story Time in the Library: Kids aged 4-8 are encouraged to sit back and hear stories about nature and science. First Sunday of every month, 11 a.m.; Third Sunday of every month, 10:30 a.m., free. San Francisco Botanical Garden, Ninth Ave. & Lincoln Way (Golden Gate Park), 661-1316.

Sundays at Cafe Prague: Each week a featured reader presents his or her work, after which the mike is open to others who wish to read; all potential readers must arrive by 4 p.m. Sundays, 5:30 p.m., Free. Cafe Prague, 584 Pacific (at Columbus), 433-3811.

Three Months of Sundays: This weekly event has featured readers (Rebecca Solnit, Jack Pulaski, Joanne Kyger & Don Guravich, Kim Addonizio, Diane di Prima, Al Young, Bobbie Louise Hawkins, Jack Hirschman, and David Meltzer) followed by an open reading. Sun., April 3, 7:30 p.m., free. Sweetie's, 475 Francisco (at Mason), 433-2343.

Throckmorton Stories: Every Monday night professional Bay Area actors perform monologues while authors read short fiction pieces. Mondays, 7:30 p.m. Continues through June 13, $10. 142 Throckmorton Theatre, 142 Throckmorton (at Madrona), Mill Valley, 383-9600.

Tuesday at Pat's Cafe Reading Series: Each weekly formal reading is followed by an open mike session for fledgling writers. Tuesdays, 7 p.m., free. Pat's Cafe, 2330 Taylor (at Columbus), 905-8837.

Weekly Open Mike/Talent Showcase: Poets, musicians, and comics are invited to step right up and present their act to a waiting audience. All present are also eligible to win four free hours of studio recording time. Wednesdays, 7:30 p.m., free. The Canvas Cafe and Gallery, 1200 Ninth Ave. (at Lincoln), 504-0060,


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