Before, during, and after his MCAD time, Mark Mallman was and is a musician. Trained in classical piano, he came to art school expecting to be a painter. Nevertheless, a great sense of humor and an ebullient personality meant he was more destined for the stage than the gallery.
Mallman makes a living in part from writing music for short films or movie trailers, but he's a tireless trouper also. First with a band called The Odd, and now as either a solo performer or with his own band, he tours a fairly large upper-Midwest area, delighting crowds and regularly releasing CDs. "Our fan base is weird," he told an interviewer in 2002; "You can see a punk rock dude standing next to somebody's mom. And it's good!" Mallman is a keyboard player, pounding out ballads and anthem-like tunes that are somewhere in the vicinity of Billy Joel or Queen.
This description sounds like he deals in parody, but Mallman's sincerity is what his fans crave, especially when he's done one of his legendary marathon performances. There have been three of them over the past few years, and it's unlikely there would be a fourth because each time Mallman adds 26.2 hours to the length—meaning that the last, in 2010, was over 78 hours. These performances draw broad attention, especially on the Internet. And the most recent marathon won him an award: a medal forged from the melted-down medals his own father had won running more conventional marathons. Call it "The Mallman Prize."