A fond remembrance by Ed Felien
My earliest memory of double dating with Marty and Martha was taking our kids (in strollers) to the Minnesota State Fair. Jennifer lost her pacifier and Marty wondered what archeologists a thousand years from now would make of it. That was almost 60 years ago.
We reconnected in 1970 when I was publishing Hundred Flowers, an underground, anti-war, pro-feminist, pro-gay weekly newspaper. Martha wrote a couple of pieces for us.
Then, in 1991 when we started Southside Pride, Marty and Martha wrote a monthly column about plays they’d seen, movies they liked and television programs that were noteworthy. We would go to dinner and the theater with them and sometimes for a couple of weeks to Key West.
One time they wrote a review critical of a production at Theatre de la Jeune Lune. Dominique Serrand, the director (probably the most talented and important actor and director in Minneapolis at the time) called to object. I arranged a meeting in a coffee house, and the four of us sat. They talked. I took notes. Afterward, Marty said, “What a waste.” They objected to Serrand’s insensitivity in having a Black man in chains without providing context. Serrand, being French, didn’t quite get why they were upset.
We published Pulse of the Twin Cities, a weekly alternative newspaper, from 1997 to 2007. For about six months we also did a weekly Pulse television program. We were fortunate to have Marty and Martha’s son, David, produce a few shows. I was in the control room when he jokingly threatened to cut Marty’s mic.
The last thing Marty wrote for us was a short note on the conflict in Israel/Palestine. He objected to the description of “the Israeli government as a group of gentle souls praying for 47 years for peace in the face of desperate terrorism, loving the Palestinian children more than the Palestinians do. In the light of the facts of the Israeli occupation this would be laughable if it weren’t so wicked.”
We are grateful for all the wonderful ideas, hopes and glimpses into a better world that Marty and Martha gave us. We were so proud to share their writing with our readers.
From Jennifer Roth:
Last night a clear-eyed and determined Martha Roth ended her life in Vancouver in an assisted suicide. My mother was in enough pain to be accepted into the Canadian MAID program. Perhaps she’d finally had enough of this life, but I’d like to think she went out looking for more. You’ve blazed your last trail, Martha, we are going to miss you.