Steam Powered Giraffe
|Steam Powered Giraffe|
Steam Powered Giraffe
From left: The Jon, Rabbit, The Spine
|Origin||San Diego, California, United States|
|Genres||Folk, rock, steampunk, cabaret|
|David Michael Bennett |
Michael Phillip Reed
Steam Powered Giraffe (SPG) is a musical project formed in San Diego in 2008 that is popular in the steampunk subculture. The act combines the visual of robot pantomime with sketches, pop culture references, improvised comedic dialogue, and original music.
The members of Steam Powered Giraffe met while taking Theatre Arts at Grossmont College. Afterwards they became members of local San Diego mime group Troupe SD. Trained in pantomime by Seaport Village mime Jerry Hager (known as "Kazoo"), and with collective backgrounds in clown, theater, music, and visual design, Jon Sprague and the Bennett twins, Christopher and David Michael, started street busking as quirky robotic characters (then known as "Peoplebots") in January 2008 at Balboa Park, California, along with fellow mime artist Erin Burke ("Upgrade"), who left the group in 2011.
Since their inception, the band has performed at popular Southern California venues including The San Diego County Fair, The San Diego Zoo, The Wild Animal Park, Legoland California, Ontario Mills, The Queen Bee's Art & Cultural Center, and at numerous Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Steampunk Conventions. Festival and convention appearances have included:
The band 's fictional backstory explains why they pantomime as robots. According to that narrative, the "musical automatons" were invented by a rich San Diego inventor named Colonel P. A. Walter in 1896 and kept in the Walter family over the years. Called the 8th 1/2 Wonder of the World, the robots were a technological marvel that ran off steam powered engines and artificial intelligence. The band's name is said to come from Walter's first robot, a giant mechanical giraffe. A fictional timeline on the band's website chronicles the band's supposed "appearances" throughout the years at such notable places as the 1933 Chicago World's Fair and The Ed Sullivan Show.
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