While it might be easy to chalk up My Barbarian’s theater- meets- performance- art- meets- rock- band shtick as something thoroughly indescribable, it’s a hell of a lot more fun to try and put words to the onstage mlee they create. Upon first inspection, the nonsensical surrealism the band employs calls to mind Monty Python-esque sketch comedy. But from there, the influences only get weirder-think kitschy, Fosse-style dance moves, Shakespearean verbosity, and raw (but never blatantly vulgar) sexual energy.
The Los Angeles-based group-made up of founding visionaries Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon, Alex Segade, and current contributors Giles Miller and Scott Martin-has made quite a name for itself, performing an eccentric brand of dinner theater at venues as wide-ranging as Hollywood’s Spaceland and Redcat at the Walt Disney Concert Hall to L.A.’s favorite Nouveau American eatery, Tangier. Next, My Barbarian will head north to share those bizarre, fringe-y stylings with the fine folks of Santa Barbara. On Thursday, April 3, S.B.’s Contemporary Arts Forum (653 Paseo Nuevo) welcomes My Barbarian as part of its monthly, free Forum Lounge series.
The joy of My Barbarian’s live act is that it’s kind of like watching dinner theater on acid. The tunes, which range from rock operas to campy musical numbers, are pure nonsensical genius. Subject matter spawns from fantasy lit (unicorns, trolls, maidens in distress) and the delivery strategy is, well, “out there.” The Renaissance Fair-goes-electro costuming alone is enough to throw off the majority of casual onlookers. And puppetry, over-the-top theatrics, decidedly “modern” dance moves, and hysterical, stream-of-consciousness speak-singing all add to My Barbarian’s multifaceted onstage shenanigans. For the uninitiated-or just plain confused-we suggest a short Web-surfing session. Visit mybarbarian.com for a slew of pictures, tunes, and epic videos (the treatment for “Unicorns L.A.” is a triumph in low-budget filmmaking). And visit sbcaf.org or call 966-5373 for more info about this Thursday’s show. We promise you, this is one trip to the theater you don’t want to skip out on.