How I See SF:Devin Henderson of "Dear San Francisco"
One of the stars of "Dear San Francisco" was born and raised here. We asked Devin Henderson what he loves about the City by the Bay.
If you want to have a truly genuine San Francisco experience, then you have to consult the experts: our friendly locals. Knowledgable, passionate, and always ready with a recommendation for what to do, see, or eat, San Franciscans of all types have been part of our ongoing "How I See San Francisco" series.
"Dear San Francisco," the high-flying, awe-inspiring new show currently in residence at Club Fugazi, is a love letter to San Francisco. Among the talented singers, dancers, acrobats, and circus performers in its cast are a number of San Francisco natives. We spoke with Devin Henderson, a cast member born and raised here, about the show, what it means to him, and what fun things he likes to do around the city. This is how Devin sees San Francisco.
Note: Devin Henderson's last performance in "Dear San Francisco" will be on Sunday, July 30, 2023.
How did you come to be part of "Dear San Francisco" at Club Fugazi?
I grew up in Noe Valley. My older siblings were attending circus classes in Potrero Hill with a great acrobatics master trainer. Before I could walk, I was already introduced to the circus. Along with that, I was introduced to members of the famous Pickle Family Circus, Gypsy Snider and Shana Carol.
I moved away and followed my dream to travel the world while performing. I have worked professionally in the circus for 12 years on many projects, most of which were with The 7 Fingers, Shana and Gypsy's company in Montreal.
When I heard they were doing a show in San Francisco about San Francisco, I was thrilled. When I found out they wanted to have SF natives in the show, and one of the SF natives was going to be me, my heart lit up.
This show is all about the allure and impact that San Francisco has had on people from all walks of life. What is it about the city that keeps you coming back to it?
For starters, it is where my family, friends, and community is. I think the thing I like the most about San Francisco is that it is ever-changing. It rolls with the punches and keeps its finger on the pulse. Although San Francisco will always have its ideals, it is able to adapt and morph. It is like seeing a best friend from your childhood that you haven't seen in 10 years—they may dress differently and listen to different music, but they still make you laugh 'til it hurts.
You have San Francisco roots, and Club Fugazi has been an institution in this city for decades. What does it mean to you to be performing at such a historic local venue?
Every time I step into the theater, there is a notion of pride. Knowing what came before "Dear San Francisco" is enough to make any person want to step into that building. Being able to perform a show that speaks about the history of this amazing city and all its chapters adds a layer of excitement and emotion on top. Not to mention that the renovation of the theater itself makes it easy on the eyes. I think of the theater like an older individual whose bones and markings tell an amazing story, and that person received a new colorful heart that is glowing and pulsing. I feel those reverberations while I’m performing with the audience’s laughter and applause and excitement.
When you're not on stage, what are your favorite places to go in San Francisco for live performances?
Ocean Ale House has a great lineup of local musicians that play most Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Also, I have some friends who started BATCO (Bay Area Theater Company). I always love going and seeing what they come up with.