Margaret Cho

On Stage

Superhero Boy Band

Can spandex save the world?


Time travel, the monopolization of human reproduction, puppetry, boy band dancing, video and much, much more can be expected when the trio known as the Superhero Boy Band presents “Seeds of Change” this weekend and next at the Bellingham Circus Guild’s Cirque Lab. Islando Bocock—he of Bellingham’s Dream Science Circus and the Lookout Arts Center—teamed up with members of Vancouver B.C.’s Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret to bring the multimedia production to life. We caught up with Bocock recently to find out more.

Cascadia Weekly: How did your collaboration with the Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret come about? 
Islando Bocock: I had been studying Pochinko-style clowning in Vancouver with David MacMurray Smith. One night I was approached at an underground dance party about participating in a show involving clown, theater, swing dance, immersive sets and puppetry. I had seen some performances a few years previous by members of the Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret. The honesty and unique artistic nature of the performance had blown me away, so I said yes. The show became known as the Hard Times Hit Parade and turned out to be quite a success.

CW: What’s so great about the Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret?
IB: It’s much more than just a performance company. We are a community of networked artists passionately doing and sharing the work that brings us delight.

CW: I want to hear more about the “mature content.”
IB: There are some sexual references not limited to giant sperm puppets making their epic journey to fertilization. There is some cartoonish violence as well. Lots of parents have brought kids and together loved this show, but essentially, we don’t censor our ideas in order to cater to any sort of moral code. Mature content is a disclaimer.

CW: Was there any specific boy band you were thinking of when you started this project?
IB: The show got started when Alastair Knowles coined the name “Superhero Boy Band.” The name was so much fun we started getting together, dressing up, and practicing superhero moves flying onto cushions piled in the living room. At that point we had no idea how far this would go.

CW: What are your superpowers?
IB: Aaron Malkin/X-Acto: Time-shifter. Alastair Knowles/Captain Slip’n Slide: Telekinesis. Me/Magnum Booty Satva: Projectile Orgasm.

CW: Your shows are meant to promote personal transformation and community empowerment “through parodying superheroes and boy bands, and by raising questions on perfection, propaganda, and the shortcomings of dualistic perspectives.” What are some of those questions?
IB: Does genetic engineering ultimately create a better world? Whence comes a desire for perfection? Is it inherent to me, or is it sold to me? Do I pursue it at my own expense and for someone else’s profit? Is it constructive or productive to think of good guys and bad guys when such a fatalistic perspective can leave us feeling powerless to change anything?

CW: What’s been great about putting this together? What have been the challenges? 
IB: The ideas are endless and the process of making them can be hysterical. Although we all work really well together, it’s often a challenge refining these ideas into usable show material, but that challenge creates amazing learning opportunity and the whole process just ends up being pretty awesome as the dust settles.

CW: What do you enjoy about wearing spandex?
IB: Offstage, wearing spandex is a sure way to inspire a smile. Onstage, we are fast, aerodynamic, time-traveling super-humans that play in a band. We look slick for our fans, and can save babies from a flaming orphanage in minutes.

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