Allan Samson & Joyce Juan-Manalo
Joyce and Allan met during Allan’s first ever trip to Manila in January of 1995, and were married that year, spending their first months together on the road as hosts of a college game show called "Blizzard of Bucks." When they came back to San Francisco in early 1996, they moved to a tiny apartment on Boardman Place in the South of Market.
They immediately involved themselves in the theater scene. Joyce worked wtih with Teatro ng Tanan (TnT), a Pilipino theater company with roots connected to the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) in Manila, while Allan was the founder and director of Tongue In a Mood, a sketch comedy group of Filipino comedians and theater artists.
One night, Joyce and Allan were invited by Ogie Gonzales to watch Lorna Aquino-Chui perform in a one-woman show called "Babae". The show took place in a tiny black box theater on Sixth Street called Bindlestiff Studio. Allan instantly fell in love with the space, eventually producing tongue in A mood's first-ever theatrical show in September 1997, to huge success. Allan then asked Joyce if she wanted to produce a TnT show at Bindlestiff; her show sold out as well. Soon, only the Filipino-procduced shows at Bindlestiff were selling out, and Allan was asked to take over the management of Bindlestiff Studio, formally accepting the position in April 1998.
For Joyce and Allan, Bindlesiff Studio was the child they never had, taking over management and converting the space into the true "epicenter" of Filipino American performing arts that it is today. They invited other Pin@y artists to perform including the Overseas Artist (OA), 8th Wonder, Kularts, Joey Ayala, Edru Abraham, and Danny Kalanduyan. They also hosted and produced shows like PiNoise Pop Music Festival, Pull My Finger standup comedy, the Kito Mo iolm Festival, and of course, Tongue In a Mood.
In 2003, Joyce and Allan moved to Manila. Bindlestiff Studio continued to flourish, and became a nonprofit arts organization. In 2008, Allan returned to San Francisco to serve as Bindlestiff's Artistic Director. He helped open the current Bindlestiff Studio in 2011, and worked as their Managing/Artistic Director through 2012.
Allan then joined the SOMPAC and the SoMa Stabilization Fund Community Advisory Committee in 2010. He currently serves as the co-chair of this CAC. Meanwhile, Joyce still produces shows at Bindlestiff -- including the annual Tagalog show featuring plays from Manila. And Allan still directs and occasionally acts in productions at least once a year.
Although Joyce and Allan now live in the Sunset, the SOMA will always be in their heart. The resiience and deep compassion of the people they have grown to love are a big part of what Joyce and Allan consider pamilya in SOMA Pilipinas!
(Words by Allan and Joyce)