I read VICE pretty much every day. So when the opportunity arose to see a contributor in the flesh, I had to go see what they were all about.
I will not lie, this did not start of promisingly. It was the normal comedian thing, you know, where they try to endear you with their awesome local knowledge. Basically they quickly identify an upmarket part of town and make jokes about it being oh so lah-de-dah, then they work out a scummy part of town and make jokes about it being somewhere you wouldn't want to be stuck without pepper spray after midnight.
So I was thinking greeeaaaaat. This will be a fun hour jammed into the Coffee Pot branch of Tuxedo Cat on a sticky night.
But then Leon started talking about his work, world and general life philosophy, and things started to turn around. This was kind of like watching the behind the scenes of one of those documentaries like Spellbound or Wordplay, but the Louis Theroux version. Leon bought together charming audience participation (nobody was put on the spot) coupled with a good combination of slideshow and video clips to make this an overall audio-visual part stand up, part presentation spectacle.
This again is proper Fringe. The projection is on a bedsheet, the room is tiny with mis-matched seats, there are no production values, it is just an interesting guy and his work. And his work is infiltrating the weird and wacky groups of America. If you want to know how it would go if a Jewish guy got in with some white supremacists, well, look no further. Also that body slamming for Jesus thing is... real. So is the porn and corn.
So if you read VICE, like weird docos, appreciate real diamond in the rough fringe, or just want an insight into the bible belt of America, go see Leon. For what its worth, anyone that quotes Thelonious Monk is pretty cool in my book.