If you lived in Bend between 1980 and 1999, you surely remember Bend’s first introduction to espresso at Coffee & Co. on Wall St., next to the Tower Theater. At the tender age of 8, our featured thumpista Mark, started serving coffee at Coffee & Co., established and run by his grandfather and three aunts. Mark recognizes some of you as regulars who “lived” at Coffee & Co.!
Recently returned from a three-year stint in a New York beach town (where he tended bar at an Irish pub frequented by the IRA and owned by a retired member of the anti-terrorist task force), Mark is happy to be back in Bend, near family and the mountains. He is planning to pursue a Master’s in Teaching degree through OSU Cascades. “As of right now,” he said, “I want to teach high school, maybe looking towards college. English, creative writing… maybe History!”
Prior to moving east, for eight years Mark lived in Portland, where he went to school at Portland State University and worked at a handful of cafes that serve Stumptown Coffee, including Haven, Tiny’s and Ristretto. He also tapped into the music and theater scenes, performing for theater companies such as The Oregon Children’s Theater and Fever Theater, and with bands such as The 6 Minute Heartstop, The Vinos and Iretsu (all of which produced CDs). When asked what roles he’s acted, Mark responded, “I have been everything from an old man’s ghost to a French mouse… and literally most things in between. Once, I played the ghost of Mayor Bernard Goldsmith, mayor of Portland from 1870. I think one of my favorites was when I played the disembodied arm and hand of an old man living in a haunted forest. I really enjoyed this particular role because I got to learn some about puppeteering, as well as explore new movement techniques.”
Mark was in his first band, Dain Bramage, at age 13, along with some classmates from Cascade Middle School. “I started playing music on the piano, so I’ve always stuck with that, and I love playing bass,” he said. “I also play drums, accordion, cello and sing…. I love all kinds of music… maybe not ICP. I have played classical, jazz, punk rock, surf, chamber pop, lo-fi garage, country, gospel, rock ‘n’ roll… Right now I am really interested in simple. I have been leaning more towards old time and country, but I like employing any sounds that come up to let the music be its own engine.” In regard to performing, Mark reflected, “I really enjoy entertaining people. Also, I think that performance can show us a lot about what’s going on in our culture and the rest of the world. Both [theater and music] give a voice to things that are either hard to put into words or better left unsaid.”
In addition to preparing to start a Master’s in Teaching degree, and working at thump, we wondered what else Mark might fold into his life. “Someone familiar with my acting in Portland recently approached me about auditioning for a local start-up theater,” he said. “I want to get art going in my life and in Bend, and spend time outside.”
H: “Anything else you want me to include that I’ve left out?”
M: “I can eat fifty hard-boiled eggs.”
What a wonderful addition Mark has been to our thump crew! Please don’t take him to task on the 50 hard-boiled eggs feat though. Knowing him, he might just do it!