Porchlight Storytelling Series

We were so excited to join forces with both the Contemporary Jewish Museum and the California Institute for Integral Studies for a night of stories exploring our understanding of self and the fluidity of identity. An amazing group shared personal stories inspired by the CJM exhibition Show Me as I Want to be Seen.

The lineup:

Kelly Beardsley has been telling wacky stories around SF for the last 15 years.  His stories have been heard on This American Life, The California Report, KQED and a bunch of Porchlight events. He works as a BART train operator and lives in Oakland.

India Marie Chakraverty was raised in a small town in the Central Valley before enrolling at San Francisco State University. They are getting a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing and loving every minute of their starving artist life. They live with their boyfriend and cat (one for now) in this wonderful and expensive city and work as the General Books supervisor at the SFSU Bookstore. They are working on three novels and two short stories and aspire to be a rich author, but will settle to be an editor, because reading is wonderful and who wouldn’t love to get paid to read all day. They love cats, books, Star Wars, and so many other things, but love to smile even more.

Eddie Jen is a writer and drag queen in San Francisco. He writes about life, beauty, and food, and recently won his first case as an attorney when he obtained asylum for a Guatemalan minor.

Juliana Delgado Lopera is an award-winning Colombian writer, historian, speaker and performance artist based in San Francisco. The recipient of the 2014 Jackson Literary award  she’s the author of Quiéreme (Nomadic Press 2017) and ¡Cuéntamelo! an illustrated bilingual collection of oral histories by LGBT Latinx immigrants which won a 2018 Lambda Literary Award and a 2018 Independent Publisher Book Award. She's received fellowships from Brush Creek Foundation of the Arts, Lambda Literary Foundation, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and The SF Grotto, and an individual artist grant from the SF Arts Commission. She's the recipient of the 2016 Jeanne Córdova Words Scholarship. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Eleven Eleven, Foglifter, Four Way Review, Broadly, TimeOut Mag to name a few. She’s the creative director of RADAR Productions  a queer literary non-profit in San Francisco. 


Donna Persona is a 71 year old San Francisco transgender/ gay community activist and drag queen performer. She began her career and activism at the age of 59. At age 20, she was associated with SF drag legends. Around 2005 i reunited with then and began a public life. She has been of the boards of Trans March, Trans Visibility, and Trans Day of Remembrance. She has worked to name SF streets after a trans woman and an historical event in The SF Tenderloin,  Compton's Cafeteria Riot.  She went on to co- write a play about the riot which had a successful run in San Francisco last year and will be remounted this year. She is currently working with a filmmaker on a documentary on her experiences. She also continues to perform on stages, stay involved with activism, and entertain gay seniors and patients in hospitals and several retirement homes. Donna helped fly the transgender flag with Mayor London Breed and has been nominated as Grand marshall for 2019 Pride.

Nic Sommerfeld is an Oakland based actor and playwright, originally from Montana.  They wrote for Best of Playgound 2018 and have written for UCSF, Killing My Lobster, and The Olympians Festival. As an actor they have performed with Berkeley Playhouse, SF Playhouse, Fuse Theatre, Landmark Musicals, and others.  They are also a drag king known as Chester Vanderbox. 

Hosted by Arline Klatte and Beth Lisick.  Music by Marc Capelle.  Podcast produced by Brandi Howell.

Direct download: Porchlight_CIIS.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 6:38pm PDT