The Skinny on... Justin Rivers!

Mopco cast member since 2012

What was your favorite toy as a child?

I played with a variety of refuse materials: broken lumber and building waste, glass bottles and pieces of rusted iron found in the landfill, pine cones shaped like early 1900s dirigibles, a bag of quick-set cement poured into lawn divots, a deformed fishing lure. 

What’s your favorite local restaurant?

There was once a medieval-themed restaurant called the Camelot Inn. It featured a brick facade painted like a castle and a fiberglass and concrete interior fountain with a “sword” stuck in it. It was formerly a pet store. Now it is vacant. 

Are you involved in any creative projects you’d like to tell people about? 

Sometimes I take the lid of my teapot and move it up and down as if it were a mouth, and it speaks to my coworkers; I’m also a songwriter.

How do you prepare before Mopco performances?

Prescription antacids. 

How do you prepare to teach Mopco classes?

I don’t usually teach classes but if I did, I would outline a lesson plan with bullet points on a whiteboard.

Would you rather travel to the moon or the bottom of the sea?

The bottom of the sea – it contains more specifically useful data on the condition of the ecosystem and offers a higher ROI for travel expenditures.

What’s the best advice you ever got?

“Always accept a free lunch.” 

Are you involved in any charitable work you’d like to tell people about?

Listening to people talk about themselves is, I believe, a noble and charitable act in itself. The need for human contact, for expression of self and the life-affirming web of social interaction that defines collective reality requires this of us.

What’s your motto?

The acquisition of skills destroys all prisons. 

What do you believe is the fundamental building block of reality as we know it?

Socio-subjectivity. We often talk about inner thoughts (psychology, subjective realms) and exterior stimuli (information gathered by sensory perception, the “objective”) but rarely refer to the third and largest component of our reality - the socio-subjective. This is the network of collective definitions that comprises the majority of what we consider our “reality,” constructed of language-enabled collaborative abstract thought. There is no mind, it does not live in the brain, and without language we are literally not human, cannot “love” and do not “remember,” “feel,” “see” or “feel pain.” These are all social constructions. I would refer others to the work of my ideological inspiration, Professor Jeffrey Coulter of Boston University.