The Lab

The Lab is a nonprofit experimental art and performance space located in the Mission District of San Francisco.

Back to All Events

False Starts: Alan Bernheimer, Stephanie Young and Matvei Yankelevich

7-9pm, readings start promptly at 7:30pm
$8 entry (no one turned away for lack of funds), free for members
Member login:
Guest registration:

Alan Bernheimer


Every man is an intellectual
Whose words can be exchanged for cash
Mothballs dissolved in vodka

Anesthetize the agent
Only the mercury is true
How can I believe in that

Social world of tone
Metal & celluloid novelties
Philosophy should come out to play

A guy with imagination gets pictures in his head
Like there's no tomorrow
A word that means itself

The red patches on black are visible
as the whales tango through the waters of the lagoon

Stephanie Young


I’m writing this in my office at work
because you’re home sick. I knew
if I worked there I’d take care of you instead
maybe you also meet your own needs
by meeting the needs of others. I think so
that I do may or may not mean anything
about how far we haven’t come. I am not
every woman. every woman is not in me.

Matvei Yankelevich

from "From a Winter Notebook"

* * *
                      (after Hilary Ayer's translations from the Chinese)

A thousand winters' words have sounded clearer
than my own. I hold up the wind, admire its color.
The cup tries to empty but I keep it full, alright.
I regret that while I lived, I never drank enough.
A thousand years and no one speaking, no light.
It's my own fault if my life is bitter; tough
things flourish here. I'm sad the need is lost
for torches. As day dawns misty, I'm a ghost.

Alan Bernheimer’s latest collection is The Spoonlight Institute, published by Adventures in Poetry in 2009. Recent work has appeared at and and in Hambone. He has lived in the Bay Area since the mid-1970s and produces a portrait gallery of poets reading on flickr. His translation of Philippe Soupault’s Lost Profiles: Memoirs of Cubism, Dada, and Surrealismwas published last fall by City Lights.

Stephanie Young lives and works in Oakland. Her books of poetry and cross genre writing include Telling the Future OffPicture Palace, and Ursula or University. With Juliana Spahr she co-edited A Megaphone: Some Enactments, Some Numbers, and Some Essays about the Continued Usefulness of Crotchless-pants-and-a-machine -gun Feminism. She teaches literature and creative writing at Mills College where she was also part of the bargaining team for the first adjunct union contract at the College. 

Matvei Yankelevich's books include the long poem Some Worlds for Dr. Vogt (Black Square), a poetry collection, Alpha Donut (United Artists), and a novella in fragments, Boris by the Sea (Octopus), recently published in a second edition. His translations include Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings of Daniil Kharms (Overlook), and (with Eugene Ostashevsky) Alexander Vvedensky's An Invitation for Me to Think (NYRB Poets), which received a National Translation Award. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. He is a founding editor of Ugly Duckling Presse, and teaches at Columbia University's School of the Arts and the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College.

False starts is curated by Steven Seidenberg (

Earlier Event: March 12
Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon
Later Event: March 17
Martin Creed: Words and Music