The Past and Future Burn Bright – September 21, 2016

Dear Marshian,

I’ve been thinking a lot about the 1990s.Elaine_phonebooth_picketsign_blackbackground_400x600

Not just because many of The Marsh’s most talented employees and performers were born in that fairly recent decade (it was fairly recent, right?), but also because my very first performance at The Marsh was 1995. I was an earnest twenty-something performance artist who had just landed a coveted Monday Night Marsh slot. There were only 8 people in the audience, but one of them happened to be Artist Director, Stephanie Weisman. I recited self-penned poetry about the ocean while balancing four burning candles on my swaying forearm. Very sincerely and conceptual stuff! Afterwards, Stephanie introduced herself and said, “that was good…BUT DON’T YOU EVER BRING AN OPEN FLAME ON MY STAGE AGAIN!”

Despite this inauspicious debut I have had a long and blessed career at The Marsh. And I’ve seen many things come full circle. For example, I have known Elaine Magree since 1994, when we both artists-in-residence at The Z Space Studio. In fact, Elaine directed one of my early solo pieces. Now she is launching her first run at The Marsh Berkeley with HOLDING THE EDGE, a beautiful, funny, and moving show about her work as a hospice nurse in the midst of the AIDS epidemic. This Thursday is her opening night, and to celebrate we are offering comp tickets to the first 10 people who use the code “liftoff.” I will be there with cake and flowers, so please join us in celebrating Elaine’s powerful work.

Another Marsh performer who puts me in mind of the 1990s is Tom Ammiano. I remember a unnamed-1foggy night in 1999 when I rode my bike to the outer Richmond to attend a mayoral debate between candidates Tom Ammiano and Willie Brown. Now you can catch both of these SF political luminaries onstage at The Marsh. Tom performs MINCING WORDS, a hilarious account of his years as a member of the California State Assembly, every Thursday and Saturday at The Marsh SF. His opening night is next Thursday, for which we are offering comps to the first 10 people who use the code word “politics.”

Meanwhile, former mayor Willie Brown appears once a month at THE WILL AND WILLIE SHOW without very own Will Durst. Their next show is October 11 at 6pm, right before Will’s regularly scheduled performance of ELECT TO LAUGH, which plays every Tuesday at 8pm.

In closing, I want to give a shout-out to one of our wonderful staff members who was born in the 1990s. Alexa Almira is a sophomore at San Francisco State. While pulling terrific grades in college she also finds time to work as our Web Administrator and Monday Night Marsh Director. To think, when I first stepped on stage at The Monday Night Marsh with four burning candles on my arm, Alexa hadn’t even been born! What a testament to the enduring power of The Marsh, and its unique ability to both reflect on the past and to nurture the talent that will shape our future.

All my best,
Mark Kenward
Managing Director