Superhero Boy Band: To the entertainment rescue

When most people think of clowns they think of big, floppy red shoes, nightmarish face paint, balloon animals and a general air of creepiness, but those aren’t real clowns. The performance art of clowning goes well beyond those stereotypes. Real clowns are able to transform the world around them, make people smile and inspire a genuine sense of childhood wonderment.

The members of the Superhero Boy Band are real clowns.

As their name implies, the Superhero Boy Band is a group of men with unique powers used to fight evil and the ability to dance in unison to woo teenaged girls at the same time. In essence, this is exactly what the world needs right now.

In reality, the Superhero Boy Band is a group of three clowns: Aaron Malkin, Alastair Knowles and Islando Bocock, along with a host of producers, directors, musicians and other performers.

The idea for the show started in February of 2011, as Malkin and a few other performers came up with the name while performing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

“There was something about the name that really titillated us,” Malkin said. “At the time, we had no idea what we were and whether it would focus more on music or more on the clown aspect of what we do.”

Malkin and the other members of the group are students in a form of clowning known as Pochinko. The technique was created by Canadian clown legend and teacher Richard Pochinko and focuses more on a personal style of performance in which the clown uses their natural physicality and emotions and transforms them into a story. The Pochinko technique focuses heavily on improvisation and audience involvement.

“It is really about just playing around,” Malkin said. “The play generates ideas and turns into a story.”

The story of the Superhero Boy Band began as an idea and soon grew into lore. Each member of the band has a special super power: Malkin’s character is X-Acto, a time shifting warrior against evil, Bocock is Magnum and has the power of projectile orgasm and Knowles is the telekinetic superhero Slip N’ Slide. With their powers combined they fight against Momsanto, an evil corporation.

The story is set around the corporation, which has developed GMO sperm which creates offspring that is infertile and have “immaculate complexion, disease resistance, perfect vision and proportional perfection,” according to their press release. The heroes of the story are offspring from the Momsanto sperm and are performers in a popular boy band and shills for the corporation.

That is, until they find out about the evil motivations of the corporation and the dystopian future that lies ahead if they are not stopped.

Malkin said the idea for the back story and the performance involved all began with a mattress in a room and three pairs of spandex onesies.

“We just started doing acrobatics on the mattress and doing crash landings and striking poses,” he said. “Then we started talking about different super powers, doing research on superheroes and then we had different people come in and out and offer ideas.”

Eventually, the idea evolved into a full-fledged show with music, choreographed dancing, acrobatics, puppetry, stop-motion animation and a host of simple props and silly costumes. The first performance of the show happened at a fundraiser in Vancouver and was 5-minutes long. Now, the show lasts from 90 minutes to 2 hours, and it will be on display at the Bellingham Circus Guild.

The Superhero Boy Band show will have a run of shows at the Guild, located at 1401 6th Street. The shows are at 8 p.m. on March 16, 22, 23, 28, 29 and 30. Tickets are $15 if bought online through superheroboyband.com, or $20 at the door, and the show will be followed by a free dance party at 10 p.m.

“We are encouraging people to come dressed as superheroes- both real and imagined,” Malkin said. “The world of clowning is all about following impulses and we want the audience to do the same.”

Malkin said crowd participation plays a large role in the performance.

“When clowns perform, the audience is allowed to shout at us and heckle us,” Malkin said. “So, all we ask of the audience is to not hold anything back. We want them to be there with us in the moment and to come away from the show with a sense of delight and inspiration. That is what clowns do. We play our characters like a child plays with a toy.”

For more information about Superhero Boy Band, visit superheroboyband.com/.