Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Jeff DeMark

The majority of the 240 writers presented by the Nye Beach Writers' Series have stood behind a lectern and read a little and talked a little, with the emphasis on the writing itself. We've been blessed with good readers and excellent readers and so-so readers; but only with a smattering of actual PERFORMERS, most notably the Dolly Ranchers, Three Guys From Albany, Jeff Meyers, Vaudevillinous Poets, Bill Joe Shaver and Zoa Smith. We are pleased then, to have with us tonight a writer and performer who has been a surprise and delight to audiences all over the country.

A man of many experiences and occupations, from factory-worker to cab-driver, substitute English teacher to ad-salesman for the San Francisco Giants and now working in the development department of public radio affiliate KHSU at Humboldt State University, Jeff DeMark transforms personal history into solo performance. He draws from various stages of his life in his four acclaimed pieces: "Writing My Way Out of Adolescence," "Went To Lunch, Never Returned," "Making Every Mistake Twice," and most recently, "Hard As A Diamond, Soft As The Dirt.

Viewers who watched the opening episodes of Carnivale on HBO would likely remember the gritty close-up of one of the main characters who happens to be a dwarf with a large, extraordinarily shaped head, who looked directly into the camera and delivered a pro forma, mock-profound monologue in Biblical tones assuring and reminding us that yes, Virginia, there is a great struggle between good and evil that rocks our world on a regular basis. And here I thought everything could be taken care of if we all just did our patriotic bit and went shopping. It's really somewhat of a disappointment. My own personal experience on the planet has taught me that most folks have very little time to struggle with the forces of good and evil. 99.99 percent of the time we're concerned with working, paying the bills and figuring out how to satisfy our emotional needs.

We don't have a big-headed dwarf to set us straight with the good and evil thing, but we do have Jeff DeMark to present the highlights of his struggle with work and love.

To learn more about Jeff visit his website at http://jeffdemark.com

Introduction by Marianne Klekacz
Photo by Carla Perry

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