On the Ides of March forty years ago, Marilyn Megenity opened the forerunner to the Mercury Cafe in Indian Hills. In the fifteen years after that, her cafe/cultural gathering place changed names a couple of times and addresses many more. Since 1990, it's been at home at 2199 California Street, where Megenity still runs the show. "I love my job," she says. "I think it’s so important for us to gather together and have joyful experiences, and it’s important to have thoughtful conversations. We need to demand organic food and demand that we steward this planet — and we also don’t want to get burned out as activists, and we want to sing and dance and play music and celebrate our birthdays."
Megenity does all that every day at the Merc. In advance of her reprise of Planet Earth Power Shift, a Mercury Motley Players production, on Wednesday, April 15, we're sharing the top ten reasons the Mercury Cafe should stick around for another forty years.
10) Because we need a local, organic restaurant that's powered by renewable energy.
9) You can swing dance at the Merc up to three times a week — and take a lesson, too — even though it's not "trendy" anymore.
8) You can get a taste of Brazilian culture, from samba lessons to capoiera classes.
Jovan Mays at the Mercury Cafe.
7) Want to tell a story or read a poem on stage? This is the place to do it.
Joseph Deats Photography
6) The annual Allied Witches Halloween show is the funniest, most political and thought-provoking Halloween event around.
5) You can free your mind with regular meditation sessions or at the Merc's philosophy club.
Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer screened at ArgusFest at the Merc.
4) Learn something new at the ArgusFest documentary-film nights, hosted at the Merc.
3) Have a penchant for astrology or want your Tarot cards read? Divination is welcome here!
2) Clubs passionate about everything from the game Go to bees meet regularly at the Merc.
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1) All told, the Merc hosts more than a hundred events every month (see the calendar here), many of them free. Even an expensive night at the Merc won't set you back more than fifteen bucks, and most evenings are in the five-dollar range.