Changes at the Queer Open Mic

sarah dopp

Hello hello, my dearest Queer Open Mic community!

I adore you. You know that, right?

Month after month… from that fantastic year when I showed up religiously to perform at your microphone because I knew I had finally found my people… to those incredible and humbling three years as your organizer and co-host…. and after seeing you through not one but two location moves… and sitting in the front row with Baruch’s arm wrapped around me while you deliver poems so powerful that I know I won’t even be able to speak when it’s time for me to announce the next performer….

You fucking rock my world. You’ve been doing it for years.

And you’re all grown up now. You’ve matured into this strong and thriving community that spits out high quality work each month while consistently supporting anyone who walks through those bookstore doors; whether that means helping them with their writing, building their performance confidence, telling them they look fabulous in those boots, or holding them while they cry. You’ve embraced a queer identity that is inclusive and powerful. And it’s not queer as in “fuck you.” It’s queer as in “Fuck Yes.”

I am so proud of you. And so grateful to have been a part of this process.

And it is with all of that pride, and all of that gratitude, that I am choosing to now step aside. Baruch has already taken his place as an incredible organizer and host, and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the event will continue to thrive under his leadership. I know this because he loves you in all the same ways that I do, but better.

Why am I stepping down? Put simply: because it’s time. I spent ten years as a performance poet, and while I love the scene, it’s not the direction I’m growing in anymore. I stopped performing several years ago and shifted my creative energy to community organizing. Hosting Queer Open Mic was the perfect project for me for awhile — it kept me connected to the performance scene while letting me focus on organizing — but after a few years, I became so far detached from the scene that it was no longer fair to the event for me to keep holding the position. It also stopped being the right fit for me. I need keep following my nose.

Let’s go chase our dreams and write postcards to each other when we find them. Queer Open Mic’s past hosts — Cindy Emch, Sherilyn Connelly, and Mollena Williams — all moved on to other wonderful creative pursuits when it was their time. Now it’s mine.

I’ll be at the December show to thank you all and to say goodbye in person, but Baruch will be the one at the front of the room. I am so very grateful to him for the ways he’s taken care of the event, and I’m excited to see how it will grow with him in the future.

You’re stars, all of you. Thank you for being my San Francisco.

Sarah Dopp
December 7, 2011

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