- Mary Majella Baugnet
Eighteen years ago, I wrote a feature for this very publication that began with these words: “Eric Geyer is an asshole.” I stand by this. Eric Geyer was self-absorbed, stubborn and infuriating. He was also one of the most kind-hearted, easygoing, deeply generous people I’ve ever met. When a person dies, we talk about all the lives they touched, but, with Eric, it’s no platitude. If you could see us all at once, we’d look like the web of stars projected on the ceiling of the Scobee Planetarium (a place he loved, and whose projector was pictured in the liner of his 1999 album, You Never Get What You Want.)
Eric’s unique brand of assholery was merely the product of fiercely-held convictions, which were apparent in his creative work. Through multiple records and numerous stage plays, Eric exposed the ridiculous things we do in our quest for connection. He was a huge fan of Mr. Show, Larry David, and Ricky Gervais, but they served less as inspiration than affinity. Eric’s assessments were funny, dark, painfully honest, and surprisingly tender; his work made sad clowns of us all. But he held his convictions off-stage, too. He was a bona fide eccentric in a world that often wished he wasn’t, which could make life with him challenging (and no doubt made it challenging for him.)
The class clown at MacArthur High School, Eric formed a band with friends and honed his theatre chops, acting and directing. After Mac, he attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he found his unique voice (think Paul Westerberg meets Geddy Lee) as a solo singer-songwriter, hosted the open mic at Chicago House, and continued to write plays. He also wrote for an award-winning Spanish children’s series, La Isla de Jordán, which aired on Telemundo and Discovery Kids Latinoamerica (and starred Eric in the form of a smart-mouthed, picky-eating pelican.) Eventually, Eric returned to San Antonio, where he hosted open mic nights at various venues, including the former North St. Mary’s Brewing Company and Sam’s Burger Joint (which won the Current’s Best of SA ’04 open mic.) Eric’s performances — from heartfelt originals to quirky covers — were the highlight of these nights. Meanwhile, his plays continued to garner attention, winning Best of Fest at Austin’s FronteraFest multiple years. In all, his plays have been performed well over 50 times across the country.
Eric was also a mentor to countless young creatives, via programs with Gemini Ink, as well as the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center (despite his guayaberas being the only thing Latino about him.) From 2000-2014, he served on the faculty of Saint Mary’s Hall. There, he founded the Speech, Debate, and Competitive Drama Program, which won six state championships under his guidance, and is now one of the top programs in the nation. He was adored by students, and recognized by the school as a Master Teacher. For a guy who once claimed to dislike children, Eric had more of them than his parent-friends combined.
Eric was a big kid with grown-up wit. He wore Chuck Taylors, collected Hot Wheels, and had an arcade-sized video game in his home. He hosted an annual holiday party for friends far and wide. He was a beloved, gregarious pal to many, and a vulnerable, close friend to a lucky few. Eric died January 8. He was preceded in death by his mother, and leaves behind his father, a brother, and … oh, fuck it. He left us all behind, and the world will be forever kind of boring, but hopefully a bit more honest. My blessing to you: May you find yourself surrounded by assholes like Eric. If you can even find another like him.
Jacquie Moody Fuller, a San Antonio native, is Assistant Program Director at KUTX 98.9 in Austin.