Detroit Events

These Are My Friends, Satori Circus W/ the Theatre Bizarre Orchestra,

Saturday

Feb 10, 2018 – 8:00 PM

1 South Saginaw
Pontiac, MI 48342 Map

  • Satori Circus

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Satori Circus: What's black and white and funny as Charlie Chaplin, Bozo, Insane Clown Posse and Harlequin rolled into one big, artistic farce stuffed into the compact body of one insanely creative man?

Answer: Satori Circus. If the name conjures three rings and a cast of characters, think again. There are many characters, but they all emanate from the brain and body of Russell Taylor.

"I like the fact that you can communicate just about anything through your body and just nuances," says 48-year-old Taylor.

And, although he wears white-face, Taylor doesn't consider himself a clown. "I'm a bad clown," he insists. "I can juggle, but I can't make balloon animals. ... I don't know what it is that I am. I'm a movement unto my own."

Perhaps the best description of Satori Circus is performance artist. He wears white-face with anything from a tuxedo to coveralls to a dress. He writes his own music and lyrics, which he delivers in a pure, angelic tenor. His subject matter draws heavily on his memories of what it is to be 5 years old. And there is a child-like innocence to his guileless, absurd humor. He thrives on laughter, often mimicking -- silently -- his audience's reactions.

Taylor based his character's name on a song by the band Bauhaus, "Kicked in the Eye," a reference to Jack Kerouac's book "Satori in Paris." In it, Kerouac likens the "sudden illumination" or spiritual awakening of the Zen Buddhist experience of satori to a "kick in the eye," something that appealed to Taylor twenty-some years ago. Add to that, "in Dearborn where I grew up, it was a circus all the time," and you have the moniker -- Satori Circus.

For those used to seeing his macabre stage performances -- at Torch With a Twist, Theatre Bizarre or the Dirty Show -- last week's Art Detroit Now gallery crawl tour de force was a glimpse of the mad absurdist's sweeter side. While his typical stage performances involve skits and costume changes, this evening was improv to the max with Taylor pulling a train of four little red wagons full of props from Scarab Club to CCS Center Galleries, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Artists Market, Cass Cafe and Work: Detroit.

At each venue, Taylor -- er, Satori -- came up with creative ways to interact with gallery patrons, from turning them into works of art cordoned off with masking tape at CCS Center Galleries to gracing them with prints of his face created on the spot at the DIA.

For as much energy as he puts into performing, it's surprising to learn Taylor has a full-time job as project manager for Gyro, a boutique branding/marketing firm in Detroit. He's also been an art teacher and has sung in a band, but it's that master of fine arts degree in performance art from the University of Michigan that has kept Satori Circus bobbing to the surface of this deeply creative psyche for more than 20 years.

Bio courtesy of columnist Donna Terek (DetroitNews.com)

Original article: http://detnews.com/article/20091011/OPINION03/910110301/Satori-Circus-gives-Detroit-a--kick-in-the-eye--with-absurdist-shtick

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