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Satori Circus returns with tale of paternal loss

By |2018-01-15T22:13:39-05:00September 7th, 2006|News|

By Jillian Bogater


Moses:39
by Satori Circus
1515 Broadway Theatre
7:30 p.m. Sept. 7-10, 14-17, 21-23
Thursday and Sunday shows: $10 advance/$15 door
Friday and Saturday shows: $15 advance/$20 door
(313) 965-1515


While living in Detroit, artist Russ Taylor saw performance pieces in everything he saw.
“I started calling the everyday life I saw a circus. There were tons of performers: prostitutes, the drug houses, the vigilantes, the guys out of their minds preaching to God on the street corners,” he said. “It was an amazing affair.”
It didn’t take long for Taylor to transfer these images into his own performance art in the constantly evolving Satori Circus, its name taken from the Zen Buddhist term for “pure illumination.” For the last 18 years or so, the Dearborn native has used the minimalist Satori Circus as a vehicle to traverse his elation, personal demons and loss.
After a four-year “walkabout,” Taylor is back in Metro Detroit with a new one-man show: Moses:39. The multi-media performance piece, which incorporates theater, movement, music, poetry, film and fine arts, is based on the relationship with his tortured-but-talented father, Moses, who died unexpectedly at age 39.
“He had a lot of demons, just like a lot of us,” Taylor said. “He was afraid … and alcohol was a dead weight for him. As a result he didn’t fulfill a lot of his goals, dreams, aspirations because he was too afraid of venturing out into the abyss.”
Most of this insight came to Taylor years after his father’s death.
“My dad was the kind of alcoholic who was fun-loving and always around for us kids” he said. “We never really knew until much later on. We eventually figured out dad had a drinking problem and he couldn’t get past it no matter how much he tried.”
It took Taylor five years to craft Moses:39 and repeated revisions. The result is a stripped-down show with props, costumes, slide projections and “a rockin’ music soundtrack.”
While writing about his father’s sudden death in a car crash stirred up difficult emotions, Taylor found the process therapeutic.
“I was his golden child. I loved playing sports with him. Hockey, football … he was artistic and musical, too,” he said. “When he died, we didn’t have a time to weep. My mom was one tough inner-city Polish gal; she wanted us to be strong kids. And so that’s how we grew up: realizing that life is valuable and that every second counts.”

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.