The new IJA website at last has the results from the Davenport championships and games… Here are the games results..scroll down to the 8 Club Passing endurance to see Michael’s and my names at second place.
Meanwhile.. I had jury duty on Tuesday, starting 9:30 in the morning. Lots of waiting. My panel was finally called at around 2:00 in the afternoon. We went to a courtroom, met a judge, and all kinds of entertaining stuff. I was not selected. By luck, I wasn’t even called to be a real candidate.. Whew. I would like to do that one day, but not with the kind of case they’re gonna have, and not when my work is so very busy…
We are remodelling our offices.. Or at least moving around a bunch and redoing the carpet, paint, and wall stuff in one. Some newly hired bigwig is gonna move in there. It’s been a little stressful, but it’s almost done.
Some neat juggling happenings in the possible near future for me…I’ll post more as they get confirmed.
Alan Plotkin has a trailer up for his 2005 IJA Highlights dvd..Check it out. (On a side note..Alan lives in Austin?? Should I recognize him..is he a Texas Juggling Society regular?? Odd…) Anyhow, the video has lots of neat things..gives a decent flavor of the variety of juggling going on at the fest.. And has clips from some of the assorted shows. Check it out if you have lots of bandwidth to play with.
George had some questions about festivals vs my regular practice and stuff like that… The festivals are my main chance to learn and do difficult group passing patterns. Club passing with guys who are better than I am and can teach me insane patterns…that’s usually the highlight for me. In my home I usually practice ball juggling, seeing as there’s not so much room for clubs. At juggling club here, for the past year or two, I’ve worked almost exclusively on club juggling…solo and passing. Michael and I have been working on our numbers passing and are slowly conquering nine clubs. I’ve been working on three club tricks like reverse backcrosses, (where I throw the club in front of me and then reach around my back to catch it), juggling over my head, and other things like that. So I work on club juggling throughout the year, but yeah, the festivals are my main chance to do complicated patterns with larger groups of jugglers involved.
Saturday morning saw Luke and myself a bit groggy, but excited to hit the day. We ate in the hotel cafe..a bit of a letdown, for having to pay extra..and left for the fest. On the way, I introduced him to Dimmu Borgir and one of my brand new favorite bands: 3 Inches of Blood. They are awesome. Songs about pirates, storming castles, and warring cyborgs. Awesome
We arrived at the festival rocking out and ready to rock out some juggling! We warmed up passing with each other, mucking about with seven clubs.. They were also holding the games today, so I kept half an eye on that part of the gym, watching for games I wanted to enter. I managed to get involved in some fancy group patterns with the Madison jugglers..Luke, Mike, and Melonhead, and IJA dude Martin Frost. With the exception of Melonhead, all amazing pattern developers..they can think about a passing pattern and figure out the timing for all the different throws going to all the different people.. There was a lot of juggling jargon as we hashed out this relatively new five person moving juggling pattern, using something like 17 clubs. We also did a successful run of ten catches with a pentagram in ultimates. (For Georges: Five people stand in a regular pentagram formation, one person at each point, facing inwards, and pass to the two people most directly across from them. In ultimates every single throw, from both the right and left hands, is a pass to another juggler, so the air space in the pentagram is filled with clubs: there are no “off” beats to relax and recover from mistakes.)
I think it was around this time that I got distracted by the games. I entered the quarters juggling competition and was probably the very first person to drop. How I have fallen from my former glory….sigh… Three club backcrosses and eight club passing helped me feel a lot better, though!
I then ended up going back to juggle with Mike and Luke. We decided to do a three person pattern, I think called a Turbo, where one person is always moving inbetween the other two even as they all pass to each other. Of course, these are the Madison guys, so the regular Turbo was just a warm-up and we quickly added a club, to make it a ten club turbo, and much harder. I had a nearly impossible time keeping track of where I was supposed to make what kind of throw when, but eventually we got a couple of semi-decent runs on it. whew!
I had a good time watching the numbers competitions… Nine and ten ball solo juggling looks so amazing when done well.
The main public show was Saturday night.. I enjoyed it quite a bit, with a couple of exceptions. Steven Ragatz was probably the high point for me, although both bits by the Passing Zone had me rolling with laughter. Very very funny guys.
So George has been posting some comments with nice questions, guiding me perhaps toward better blogging for those outside the know of my quirky cliques. I had originally planned to respond in the comments, but instead I think I’d like to take a post to talk about some of the cool things he’s been asking about.
Here is a page describing the diabolo. It’s a prop that is probably unfamiliar to most people oustide the juggling community, (where, incidentally, it seems to most often be called a ‘chinese yo-yo’). It does somewhat resemble a blown-up yo-yo, played on a string that has a stick tied on each end, often with grips for the hands. The diabolo is not, however, connected to the string, which allows for various throw based tricks. The latter link also has nice illustrations of diabolo use: hands holding the sticks, diabolo spinning on the string between them.
As far as the midnight, or Renegade, shows are concerned…
I have a hard time describing them. Some of the pictures might help here. Sometimes they are a forum for routines that do not make it into the public shows of the festival, or sometimes acts from those shows go on the midnight stage to try tricks they missed earlier. Sometimes it’s more like two guys with a string tied between their nipple piercings trying to do diabolo. Nearly always vulgar. (Joke, as told by Mark Faje in the Friday night show: What’s the difference between a clown and a bucket of shit? Answer: A bucket.) On Thursday (I believe) at the championship shows, the emcee did a trick where he got one paddleball going in each hand, and then a third attached to his belt. Fun, as he jumped and pelvic thrusted to get the groin paddleball going.. That night at the midnight show, one man claimed to be inspired by that routine; he had taken a paddleball, and attached it to the handle of a sword, and proceeded to swallow the sword and then attempt to do the paddleball. (So yes, there are yuks from people putting things in their bodies…) Another guy, whose name I should know but currently escapes me, put on a kilt, took off his underwear, and then walked, tightrope-esque, along the backs of the chairs of one row of the audience, pausing to juggle knives for a moment at the end. You never know what you’re going to get with a midnight festival show, but, particularly at the big ones, there will usually be one or two amazing and outrageous stunts.
And for one picture perhaps illustrating some of the spirit of the thing, here is Mark Faje apparently getting dragged off to some horrible fate. (Extra bonus: in the background, on the left, is Rory, an Austin juggler who apparently went to the same elementary school, and, for a few years, the same high school that I did, albeit a number of years later… We met at this festival, more or less.)
Friday morning I woke up, took a quick shower, and went down to Michael and Jenny’s room. They were not quite ready to go yet, so I read in the central square of the Holiday Inn, beside the mini-golf and opposite the pools and video games. For some reason, that first morning, they gave me a USA Today that may or may not have been complimentary…
We ate at a diner on the way, and headed to the festival. I hung out for a bit, wandered the shops, and then ended up watching Andy Head work on some stuff. He’s a Chicago juggler, and has come once or twice to our little juggling club here in town, so I went over and ended up hanging out for a while. We talked about aesthetics of the routine he was working on, and then messed around with three clubs. He said he hadn’t done much club juggling in a long time, and of course his stuff was amazing… He gave me pointers on a couple of the tricks he did that I thought I might be able to learn relatively quickly and was all around a really nice guy. One of the folks much more concerned with the artistry of what he’s doing and putting together an entertaining routine than he is with technical juggling.
Luke from Madison showed up and didn’t have a place to stay, and since he’s a cool dude I offered my extra bed. Luke helps make all the crazy group passing patters that come out of Madison, and I always look forward to juggling with him at these festivals. He shows me mad crazy patterns and we try to do them until we (reasonably) succeed, or have injured each other too much to coninue. We didn’t actually get to juggle on Friday, but swore to ourselves we’d get to it on Saturday.
The main show Friday night was Lazer Vaudeville. I enjoyed the show, although there were some slow points for me. The show was designed for general audiences and I think I was hoping for a little bit more for a juggling audience. Regardless, the cowboy, cigar box, and ring rolling portions were excellent.
The midnight show was fantastic. Mark Faje emceed this time, and of course the Renegade stage is perfect for him. He was obscene, hilarious, and his usal dangerous self. Every time I see any of his big tricks the jokes still kill me and my mind is still blown. A Japanese team went on to do yo-yo and club tricks. Any time they missed, they took a drink from Mark Faje’s bottle of Maker’s Mark. Mark got into this idea, and soon was dancing across the stage to bring them their punishment whisky every few seconds. (Later, after the show, I saw one of them literally being carried away from the festival building.) At the end of the show, after his big Bowling Ball of Death bit, and leaving the scorpion in his pants, (he claimed he forgot about it), Mark explained the gimmick behind chainsaw juggling and proceeded to juggle a running circular saw and two clubs. He then brought Mark Hayward up and, making him stand in front of a large board and hold balloons, he threw knives at Hayward. While riding a unicycle. Without harming Mark Hayward OR the scorpion. Great stuff. Luke and I headed to the hotel satisfied and ready for the big day: Saturday.