February 22, 2010 by Rob Hurlbut
Mobsters Abound At Technomania Circus & The Mob Show
“The Mob Show: Happiness Is A Warm Tommy Gun” was the full title for Technomania Circus’s latest production, and what funny, exciting and all around entertaining show it turned out to be. This was my fifth (I think) Technomania Circus show, and I have taken photos at every single show I’ve attended. I posted photos and wrote about my experiences at The Fire & Blacklight Show, The Wild Wild West Show, The Gypsy Music Show and The Parody Show. As a finicky photographer, I don’t just photograph what I see, I photograph what I like, and I really, REALLY like Technomania Circus. I emailed Dr. Techno, the leader/founder/spokesman with links to my posts and pics, and he always emailed me back to say thank you, and has even featured my photos on the Technomania Circus website. All the while, I never identified myself to the Technomaniacs. I snapped my pics from the anonymity of the audience, and then left after the show, without saying what I had done, who I was, or what I intended to do. When I showed up for The Mob Show, a full half hour before the doors were scheduled to open, Dr. Techno himself was at the door, and I said, “Hi, I’m Rob, from The World Is Raw.” He knew immediately who I was and ushered me inside to meet the cast of Technomania Circus. The entire cast chatted with me, talked with me and showed me around, just because of what I had produced with my camera! They are such an amazingly friendly and talented group of people that I hardly felt worthy to be there, yet they allowed me to be there. So, Technomaniacs, thank you for showing me who you are BEFORE the show, and I now present to you what you are to all of us DURING your show.
The roaring 20’s may have roared a little less had Congress not ratified an amendment to the constitution that made alcohol illegal in the United States. This well thought out, brilliant idea essentially created organized crime in a country that was barely 150 years old, and that is where this story begins… If you know what I mean. The Thompson sub-machine gun, which we all know as the Tommy Gun, fires .45 caliber slugs at a rate of 600 rounds per second into any living or non-living thing that that stood in the way a the delivery, distribution or consumption of what today is the last legal drug… Alcohol. The story has a beginning, middle and end, so the puritans can’t complain. What happens when a group of mobsters hang out in a speak-easy that is has a mole, working for the FBI as a bartender? I’d tell you but then I’d have to kill you!
The Mob Olympics
As the show was getting ready to begin, this musician played song after song of Deadwood era music on his keyboard. He played with an effortless calm that helped to set a false tone for the performance that was about to begin. Even though I am not a prophet, I knew that if Technomania Circus was going to put on a show dealing with mobsters, gangsters, the Tommy gun and prohibition that it would not be a lecture or a learning experience. I knew it was going to be a riot of laughter, fun and drinking.
This gifted piano player simply played and played with what appeared to be very little effort… Of course as the audience, we don’t see the years of practice, only temperate discipline that musicians somehow manage to summon.
One of the best things about Technomania Circus is how much fun the cast have performing. This was reaffirmed to me while I was backstage before this particular performance. These are not a group of elitist, snooty performers that prohibit photography and charge $80 per person like Cirque du Soleil. These are folks like you and I that hold down regular jobs while bringing joy, love and art to the world. For ten bucks you can walk on in, chat with the performers, laugh with your friends and walk away with a priceless memory that can only be formed in Barrio Logan, San Diego.
Happiness Is A Warm Tommy Gun
Technomania Circus, for me, will always mean one certain thing, and that thing is fire. These guys are fearless, fireproof performers that will always deliver at least a fireball or two during each show. Did you know that a trombone and a piano can spit fire like a cowboy spits tobacco? Have you ever seen a man climb 30 feet into the air and shoot fireballs into Barrio Logan’s dark night sky? If you haven’t then you need to put Technomania Circus on you to do list right now. Do it RIGHT NOW! One of a kind art is produced by Technomania Circus at least once a month before your very eyes.
Blacklight illusion is one of the trademarks of Technomania Circus, and they didn’t disappoint for this show. During the course of the show, the mobsters learned that the bartender in their favorite speakeasy was an undercover FBI agent, so they sent him to swim with the fishes. This agent of early American justice did not become fish food, he became and ultra-violet, bright fluorescent survivor that battled sharks, the sea and eventually the Mob.
Blacklight theater was something I had never seen before I made the acquaintance of Technomania Circus. It is a real art form that has a wonderful, counter-intuitive quality about it. You can’t see the color black, while all the other colors beam at you like planets and galaxies under an extra-terrestrial sky. I forget exactly what was said, but the shark to the left spoke certain words of wisdom to our intrepid hero, that had just been sent to “sleep with the fishes.” These words gave him the hope, courage and desire to make it back to shore, and crush the vile scum that had cast him overboard in the first place. How often do you see a a UFO a boat, the ocean, a shark and a blacklight man in the same photo?
You just had to know that sooner or later, fire would make an appearance at this show. Of course, it would not just be a simple wood-burning fire, this was fire emanating from instruments, torches, pianos, a man’s mouth, sparklers and butane torches. These Technomaniacs stepped up to the plate for the audience, and they hit a fiery, propane fueled home run. San Diego weather, practically NEVER includes rain, but rain fell for about 3 of the last 5 minutes of the show. Not one member of the audience of cast minded, and by the time the 2 minutes rain-shower stopped, the cast had already killed themselves, and the audience.
Photographically speaking, fire is one Hell of Prima Donna bitch to capture correctly. The next show to be produced by Technomania Circus is The Fire & Blacklight Show, so with any luck at all, I will be able to hone my fire catching skills there. For The Mob Show, the fire portion came on very suddenly at the very end of the show, and of course it started to rain right at that very moment. As I tried to shield my Nikon D5000, focus, adjust my camera settings and look for some killer composition, the Technomaniacs ignited their flammable materials, and rocked the house with music, fire, dancing, gunshots and song. They sang a song, to the tune of “We Are The World” that swapped out lyrics to make it “We Are The Mob,” and it was hilarious. It ended with the entire cast in a Reservoir Dogs style Mexican standoff that resulted in the entire cast gunning each other down. After they were resurrected for the curtain call, they gunned down the audience, and we all died willingly, and with huge smiles on our faces.
March 20th, 2010 is the date of their next show. It will be special for me because The Fire & Blacklight Show LAST year was what really turned me on to the Technomaniacs and what they do. Don’t miss it, or you will be sorry. You can bring your own snacks and the more you cheer, the better the show.
The Mob Show – Happiness Is A Warm Tommy Gun