Magic Theater (Sean San José, Artistic Director and Kevin Nelson, General Manager) added a second show from the live event BLACK FIRE: A LIVE RECORDING EVENT with San Francisco poet laureate Tongo Eisen-Martin. This follows the previously announced 7pm show, which is now sold out. The second show will take place at 9:30 p.m. at the Magic Theater (Landmark Building D, Fort Mason Center, 2 Marina Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94123). Registration is free on MagicTheate.org (suggested donation of $ 25). Click here to watch Tongo discuss the event on KTVU.
The New Age of Magic Theater begins with our new poetry program led by San Francisco poet laureate Tongo Eisen-Martin. This inaugural event in our new performances program will include a live concert by the incomparable Tongo Eisen-Martin, who will be joined by star Bay Area percussionist Ahkeel Mestayer. This evening will be a live concert event, which will be recorded and filmed for both a live album and video release.
Tongo’s latest book, Blood on the Fog, was just published by City Lights Press and was highlighted with an online release event, hosted by the African Diaspora Museum 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 world-renowned publication City Lights, which have helped propel his work and words deeper into the world. His books have earned him an American Book Award and a California Book Award, in addition to his nomination as San Francisco Poet Laureate. In a city and region filled with a history of great poets, Tongo not only follows this line, but is a unique voice. A true native son of San Francisco, Tongo is an incredible representative of our city, the Bay Area and the culture of popular political movements. The breadth of his writing is well reflected not only in his books with City Lights, but also in his authored book and program: We Charge Genocide! The inherent blend of culture, politics, people, spirituality and soul lives in the world and the words of Eisen-Martin.
New Artistic Director Sean San José talks about Tongo reverently:
“There is no more singular voice in the power to speak to and about our city and our people now – it is Tongo. But beyond that there is no one else. who talks about lineage and heritage 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 play. His poetry lives on the page and in the play, in mind and soul, and must be shared live! When our team planned our new programming ideas, we wanted to start with an iconic event from our mission to center people of color in every way and to make Magic home for more people. With this new program, with Tongo in the lead, and with his writing, we feel like we’re hitting hard. “
Juan Amador de Campo Santo, the new curator of residency programming at Magic, envisioned this event as more than a poetry reading, but as a concert with the potential to echo the transcendence of Gil’s groundbreaking album. Scott-Heron Small Talk at 125th and Lenox-Live performance that crosses genres, but is rooted in storytelling and speaks to people.
As part of Sean San José’s new vision at Magic, the theater is expanding its programming and offerings. San José shares: “BLACK FIRE and Magic’s partnership with Tongo are the first in this lineup to be revealed and shared. This concert event marks the beginning of our poetry program and the inauguration of our program of new performances, which will support, develop and present narrative at large, in multiple forms – poetry, music, film and a hybrid mix of manners.”
As Magic carefully moves through the continuing effects of the pandemic, we start with smaller, contained events as we monitor health and safety around us. This special event is one that we hope will launch us safely into the opening of our new programming plans, seasonal productions, and more.