Absurdist bits ignite imaginative inferno

By Aurelio Sanchez
Journal Staff Writer
Russell Taylor is the man behind Satori Circus, but what in the universe is behind Satori Circus?
Theater of the Absurd is a good start. Buster Keaton vaudeville comedy, maybe. Drag queen burlesque, certainly an element. Shades of spoken-word poetry, evident. Clownish mime, perhaps. A wonderful tenor voice for sure.
“It’s an amalgamation of theatrics I just love,” Taylor said.

Performance artist Satori Circus will bring his inventive brand of Motor City Madness to Third Street Arts Space, making his first appearance in Albuquerque.
“It’s so nice to see mountains that aren’t just skyscrapers,” he said.
A Michigan native, Taylor went to Northern Michigan and Wayne State universities, where he studied art and played hockey. On weekends, he played in rock bands. For the past 20 years, he’s been Satori Circus, and it begs the question again, what is behind this act?
Back in the day, while playing for an “arty farty” punk band called Fugitive Poetry, he and another band member began experimenting with creating little character skits and acting them out on stage to their own music. When his friend died, Taylor soldiered on, and Satori Circus was born.
Satori Circus combines music, vaudeville, poetry, dance, film and slapstick into a stage performance that is unpredictable, difficult to categorize and entertaining.
In his 23 years of performing, Satori Circus has copped several awards, including Detroit’s Best Performance Artist from the Real Detroit Weekly in 2006 and Best Live Performance from the Detroit Music Awards.
Taylor’s stage show typically includes short skits and costume changes. He wears white face appointed with a black painted-on mustache, the ends turned up. He may wear a tuxedo, overalls or a dress.
Improv is a central and frequent ingredient in his stage show, but it’s his voice that pleasantly surprises, as he sings in a strong and melodic tenor. He also writes his own music and lyrics.
Satori Circus refers to Jack Kerouac’s book “Satori in Paris,” in which Kerouac has a spiritual awakening, and to Taylor’s own remembrance of growing up in Detroit as being like “a circus all the time.”
In his Albuquerque appearance, Satori Circus will perform an art piece titled “Hodgepodge,” a collection of his vignettes from the past four years.

Comments are closed.