By day, he's Seth Seligman, a web developer for Information Services and Technology.
But when Saturday night rolls around, Seligman hops onto one of his customized "choppers," pedals to Somerville and becomes..."MegaSeth."
A member of a Boston-based bicycle chopper gang called Subversive Choppers Urban Legion (SCUL), Seligman is passionate about the bicycle chopper, a radically modified bicycle that typically features high handlebars, a recumbent-style frame and an extended fork. The risk-takers who ride choppers crash their bikes, or "ships," both frequently and intentionally.
A member of the group since 1998, Seligman has spent the last two years working on a film about SCUL, which has been a feature of Saturday's nightlife in Boston for the past 10 years.
"SCUL: Operation Super Posi" will premiere at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline in a midnight screening on Friday, Aug. 26.
"SCUL" tells the story of a "gang" that considers itself "counterculture to America's love for the automobile." The gang's stated philosophy is that form should prevail over function, so members routinely create machines that are admittedly difficult to control, damaging to the knees and painful to sit on.
"We are test pilots of poorly designed vessels," says SCUL's website (www.scul.org), which notes that "crashing is not uncommon."
Ironic, considering that Seligman wrote a program for reporting injuries and illness in his job in IST's Environment, Health and Safety Management System (EHS-MS).
Seligman's involvement with SCUL began in 1998, when he built a recumbent bicycle while a student at the Massachusetts College of Art. Seligman noticed fliers for SCUL and corresponded by e-mail with the film's co-producer, who goes by the name Skunk.
"When my bike was finished, I went on my first mission," Seligman recalls, using the gang's word for a ride. "After that I was hooked."
SCUL members film their adventures and have captured more than 130 hours of video of the gang's activities. Skunk and MegaSeth boiled that footage down for "SCUL: Operation Super Posi," which is designed to give audience members a feel for what it would be like to be a new recruit to the gang.
"Making the movie was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle," says Seligman. "We had to sort through all the footage we had and put the pieces together in a way that told a story."
That story includes pedaling around Boston, overindulging in junk food and engaging in a dogfight derby, which is part tilting tournament and part demolition derby. Pilots, as chopper riders are called, earn points towards military-type rankings and medals in such categories as building and designing ships, recruiting new members, injuries incurred during SCUL activities, and strength (presented to those with "knees of steel").
For the film's premiere, SCUL will hold a special mission to Brookline. "It should be a memorable experience," says Seligman. "Now I just need something to wear."