Report on last night’s MoveOn readings in San Francisco

Stephen Elliott emails this quick report on last night’s readings benefitting

So everything went fantastically last night. Dave Eggers was almost late but the story he read just knocked the roof off. It was about a man explaining to his son how he and his wife had made the world a better place by ending things like genocide. You’d have to hear the piece to know how great it was. Julie Orringer read letters from eighth graders to president Bush. Ryan Harty, Andrew Sean Greer, Anthony Swofford, and Vendela Vida all read non-political stuff except Vendela also read a political poem in addition that was by someone else but I can’t remember who. There were about 150 people and we raised $1,400 for It was great because by raising money for MoveOn even though we’re all in California we were able to do something for swing states. Also, we started collecting a list for future events since we’re going to do this monthly.

After the readers Campo Santo, which is like the best theater company in San Francisco, performed The Waitress And The Lawyer by Al Franken. We didn’t have Al’s permission for this but I’m figuring since it was a fundraiser for he wouldn’t mind. But if he does I take full responsibility. Maybe he’ll sue me and I’ll sell a bunch of books.

I wish I could convey how great all of these readers were. How funny and in touch, and how generous it was for them to give their time for this really good cause. In June Aimee Bender, Michilene Marcom, Adam Johnson, and Lemony Snicket will be reading. For July so far we have Michael Chabon, Hannah Tinti, Anne Cummins, and Matt Iribarne. Each month we’ll also do a feature like a short play or maybe a comedian.

Also of note, last night I wore a shirt and tie and I’ve decided to do that for every event, just to show how serious I am about getting George Bush out of office. My co-host, Peter Orner, didn’t wear a tie.

Look, I know it’s fashionable to be disdainful of McSweeney’s do-good efforts — because God forbid somebody actually take a position on something — but if you want to see Bush out of office please take off the irony goggles and be happy about this for a minute. If you can’t attend the New York and San Francisco benefits, why not hold a reading in your own city?


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