Geek Life: some good story-telling
- Written by John Palmer
Venue #6: The London Convention Centre
Sour Dough Productions, San Francisco CA
Written and performed by: Aji Slater
General Entertainment: Story-telling, Comedy, Clown, Variety
Their Description: Geek: (n): someone with a specific niche interest or passion. GEEK LIFE, a celebration of the oddball in us all, a collection of comic stories from a socially awkward misfit desperately aiming to avoid a “real” job. The truth behind surviving circus school, growing up geek and coming out clown.
Run Time: 50 minutes
Remaining Performances: Sun., June 9 - 6:30 p.m., Mon., June 10 - 9:00 p.m., Wed., June 12 - 9:00 p.m., Fri., June 14 - 6:30 p.m., Sat., June 15 - 8:30 p.m.
Disclaimer: Geek Life embodied almost everything I am predisposed to dislike, but I was hoping that since this show came all the way from San Francisco, it would be super-duper.
It wasn’t. It was okay, if you like a smattering of patter, humour, juggling, magic, and pratfalls, with some nearly required audience participation thrown in. And Aji Slater is a pretty good story-teller (aside from the time he seemed to forget where he was in his show).
Geek Life is a one-man show that chronicles the life Aji [pronounced Ah… Gee, with a finger snap on “Gee”] Slater. He tells how he studied art, won an art scholarship, but discovered real art, performing in the streets. His experiences made for great stories, and he told them well. He is a true Philistine after my own heart.
So he gave up art school and went to clown school instead. He even worked for two years with Ringling Bros. I can imagine that he was funny and good as both a clown and a juggler, but his juggling was off a bit during the show I saw.
His story about being marooned in the Duluth, Minnesota, airport was both touching and enjoyable. It seemed to provide a turning point in his life, but if it did, he wasn’t clear about it.
The odd thing about the show is that it emphasized Geeky-ness as being devoted to something and studying it in detail. And yet the show was really a performance by a dilettante: low-level magic tricks, some clown moves and falls, some rap, some juggling, some mentions of unicycles (but none in the act), all woven together with some good story-telling.
Geek Life isn’t a bad show, and it might be the sort of thing you like; clearly many in the audience enjoyed it. At the same time, it isn’t terrific. And it’s the story-telling that is best, not the magic, clowning, or juggling.
If you are going to see this show, consider seeing it on Wednesday night, when a portion of the proceeds will be donated to a charity devoted to suicide prevention.
John Palmer is a dilettante himself: a former sportscaster, orchestra conductor, photographer, actor, and economist. He now is mostly retired but remains active in music, economics, and acting. He blogs at www.eclectecon.net.