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San Francisco's Magic Theatre Announces BLACK FIRE: A LIVE RECORDING EVENT


For those who are unable to attend on October 6th, a recording will be available at a later date.

San Francisco's Magic Theatre Announces BLACK FIRE: A LIVE RECORDING EVENT

Magic Theatre (Sean San José, Artistic Director and Kevin Nelson, Managing Director) announced today that the company will be inaugurating the New Performances Program with the live event BLACK FIRE: A LIVE RECORDING EVENT with San Francisco Poet Laureate, Tongo Eisen-Martin. This will be the first in-person event at Magic Theatre since March of 2020.

The New Age of Magic Theatre begins with our new poetry program led by San Francisco Poet Laureate Tongo Eisen-Martin. This inaugural event of our New Performances Program will feature a live concert from the incomparable Tongo Eisen-Martin, who will be joined by Bay Area all-star percussionist Ahkeel Mestayer. This evening will be a live concert event, to be recorded and filmed for both a live album and a video release.

Tongo's latest book, Blood on the Fog, was just published by City Lights Press and was highlighted with a release event online, hosted by the Museum of the African Diaspora and City Lights Books, and featured an intimate conversation and poetry reading between Tongo and the legendary Sonia Sanchez.

Tongo already has three books published by the world renowned City Lights publication, which have helped thrust his work and his words deeper into the world. His books have earned him an American Book Award and California Book Award, in addition to his San Francisco Poet Laureate appointment. In a city and area filled with a history of great poets, Tongo not only follows in that line, but is a one-of-a-kind voice. A true San Francisco native son, Tongo is an incredible representative of our City, the Bay Area, and the culture of grass-root movements in politics. The breadth of his writing is well-reflected not just in his books with City Lights, but also with the book and curriculum that he authored: We Charge Genocide! The inherent mix of culture, politics, people, spirituality, and soul all live in the world and words of Eisen-Martin.

New Artistic Director Sean San José speaks of Tongo with reverence:

"There is no voice more singular in the power to speak to and about our City and peoples now-it is Tongo. But beyond that, there is no one else who speaks to lineage and legacy like Tongo does. I have heard Tongo's poetry and performance for years since his time at Youth Speaks, and like the ocean, his voice and depth grows with each poem, performance, and piece. His poetry lives on the page and in the room, in spirit and soul, and needs to be shared live! When our team planned our new programming ideas, we wanted to start with an event that was emblematic of our mission to center People of Color in all ways and to make Magic home to more peoples. With this new program, with Tongo in the lead, and with his writing we feel we are hitting it hard."

Campo Santo's Juan Amador, the new Residency Programming Curator at Magic, envisioned this event as more than a poetry reading, but as a concert event with the potential to echo the transcendence of Gil Scott-Heron's groundbreaking album Small Talk at 125th and Lenox-Live performance that crosses genres, but is rooted in storytelling and is speaking to the people.

As part of Sean San José's new vision at Magic, the theatre is expanding its programming and offerings. San José shares: "BLACK FIRE and Magic's partnership with Tongo are the first of this programming to be revealed and shared. This concert event is the start of our Poetry Program and the inauguration of our New Performances Program, which will support, develop, and present storytelling writ large, in multiple forms - poetry, music, film, and a hybrid mix of ways."

While Magic moves cautiously through the ongoing effects of the pandemic, we are starting with smaller, contained events, as we monitor the health and safety around us. This special event is one that we hope will launch us safely into opening up our new programming plans, season productions, and more.

And in this spirit, on October 6th, Magic will be holding an online fundraiser, Future in Sight, to reveal its upcoming programming. This event will feature some of the artists who will be leaders in the work moving us forward. This includes: Luis Alfaro (previous Magic productions: Oedipus el Rey, This Golden State), Star Finch (Mellon Playwright In Residence with Campo Santo and Crowded Fire Theater), and Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe (Co-Artistic Director of BACCE). This online event, led by Sean San José and Magic Board Member Katrina Wong, will illuminate the new and innovative ways in which Magic will amplify arts and artists in the Bay Area, and will reveal details and dates of new plays, programs, and performances. Beginning at 6:00 PM PST, the event will be entirely virtual, and registration is free.

For those who are unable to attend on October 6th, a recording will be available at a later date.

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