Friday, May 1, 2020, 12:00 p.m. through Sunday May 31, 2020, 12:00 a.m., to be held virtually @


On May first of 2004, City Lights Booksellers produced an event at the legendary Cell Space in San Francisco's Mission District called MANIFESTO:Coming Out Against Empire. Dozens of writers, performers, artists, and musicians came together with the goal of building a kind of literary crucible. Of concern at that time was what many saw as a global environment poised on the precipice of widescale social and ecological devastation. A call was sent out to bring together voices which would speak honestly and with urgency about the crisis of our time. It is remarkable that many of the concerns of that moment still echo loudly today! Not only do we find ourselves at a crossraods, yet again, We find ourselves speaking directly "through the flames." A rennaisance of creativity is needed to reimagine a world in ever-accelerating upheaval. How do we break from a disintegrating past and create pathways toward a more equitable, sustainable, and humane future? With the encouragement and partnership of Gray Area, City Lights revisits the concept of a forum that nurtures a collaborative poetic reflection upon the crisis of our time. We hope you'll join us throughout the month of May in listening to voices speaking to us "through the flames" about how we may better transform catastrophy into possibility.

Starting May 1st, City Lights and Gray Area will bring together artists, actors, performers, writers, and cultural activists to perform both original works and readings of famous artists' manifestos which will be showcased daily on the Gray Area Patch online platform and form a collective community vocabulary for creative intervention during this great 21st-century pandemic. Appearing will be Finn Brunton, James der Derian, Tongo Eisen Martin, Jairus Grove, LA Kaufman, Annalee Newitz, Douglas Rushkoff, Annie Sprinkle, and many others.

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