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Are We Not Blue Men?


by MICHAEL BOWEN & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & B & lt;/span & lue Man is like the Borg on Star Trek, only fewer and funnier. Blue Man -- both misfit and wise guy -- has three latex-and-grease-paint manifestations. He is usually bewildered and alone: Two of his avatars often ostracize the third.

Technology fascinates Blue Man but puzzles him. And like so many of us, when Blue Man is confused, he takes out his frustrations by pounding and beating on stuff: drumulums and tubulums and airpoles.

Blue Man is a clown. In the best tradition of third-grade boys, he will engage in food fights and spit up paint balls. But Blue Man also gapes at the attraction/repulsion of fame. He spoofs chihuahua-toting celebrities, then mocks those who are convinced there must be an easy-to-follow handbook on how to become a chihuahua-toting celebrity.

Blue Man likes satire. Not satisfied with simply splattering audience members in "the poncho zone," he takes matters further by appearing to insert a video tube down into some guy's stomach. When technology gets invasive like that, Blue Man chuckles. He likes getting up close and personal with your internal organs.

Blue Man's audiences are warmed up for him by video turntablist Mike Relm, who likes endlessly repeating the "make my O-face" sequence from Office Space. Like Blue Man, Relm knows that technology disrupts our lives -- but then so do our preoccupations, which make us ridiculous, obsessive, robotic. Just like Blue Man.