Juggling at the Mount Baker Theater

Della and I recently had the privilege of performing on stage at the Mount Baker Theater in Bellinghm as part of the Be In The Show community Talent Show. It was a neat event put on by the Dance Studio and served as a fund raiser for Blue Skies for Children, a great charity. Super big props to the folks that put it together. It was well attended, super tight (27 acts in less than 2 hours), and better organized than any event I've ever seen.

For those who don't know the Mount Baker Theater, it is the venue in Bellingham, hosting the biggest names that come through town. To have my 5 minutes in the spotlight on stage there might easily be the highlight of my performing career. Seeing backstage, the green room setups, and looking out at the beautiful hall was quite a treat. And the way it was so well organized made me feel like this is how it must be for a real rockstar. They even put us as the closing act, which only added to the rockstar feel. We had a few drops, but overall, not a bad showing.

Della convinced her intern to get some video for us. Enjoy!


Saturday January 30 2016File under: juggling, circus

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Homemade EL Wire Glow Juggling Clubs

I was recently hired to do ambient juggling at an event at a Porsche dealership*. The theme of the event was "electric" so they were looking for glow props. In talking it through, we decided that the majority of the reasonably priced glow clubs on the market wouldn't be glow-y enough so I thought I'd take a crack at making my own using EL wire. For those interested in the making of the clubs, I've chronicled that at the end of the post.

In the end, while the clubs turned out pretty good, it was all for naught. The gig wasn't dark enough for the glow to show. I would have been better off just juggling my long-suffering renegades or really pushing for fire*. But whatevs. The party goers didn't notice the lack of glow and were duely impressed by the juggling in general, so it was all good. They were also treated to some super-dope poi-ing by Nick with way better glow props than myself. So glow was incorporated after all.

And although the glow clubs weren't a hit for their intended purpose, glow juggling props are perfect for long exposure photography. With Rod as the organizer and Thaddeus as photographer, we did an after-juggling club photo sesh that turned out some super fun shots.

Now, after all the eye candy, I bet you want to see my clubs in action! Well, never let it be said that I disappoint. Behold!*

For a base, I used Dubé airflite glow in the dark clubs*. I cut about 2cm off the top to allow access to the inner cavity to store the battery pack (2 AAs). Then I wrapped a 3m piece of white EL wire (starting at the center so as to have it lay out evenly), hot gluing the wire in place every 1/2 wrap or so. After the wire was glued in place, I took a 1-inch wide roll of saran wrap and wrapped it tightly to help secure the wire. I used a narrower piece so it could go on more wrinkly free.

Once the wire was secured to the club, I put the battery pack in the cavity sandwiched between 2 pieces of foam. Another piece of foam was put in to essentially cap the cavity, to keep the battery pack from flying out.

All this weight made the clubs quite end heavy. To combat that, I wrapped some lead wire at the knob end of the club and secured it with black athletic tape. I continued the black tape wrap all the way up the handle for looks. In retrospect, having black handles on juggling clubs you plan to juggle in the dark was a bit of an oversight, but it does make the clubs look cool.

In the end, the weight and counterweighting made for some dang heavy clubs. And the 1 of the 2 brands of battery packs I used flickers off if dropped (or caught abruptly). But all that said, they look pretty freaking awesome. It was a great experiment.

Oh, and here's the requisite self-portrait. Good times.
Thursday October 15 2015File under: juggling, work

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Amuze Cabaret at the Muse

In the vein of being super fancy professional juggler/performers*, Della and I find ourselves as a part of a dinner and variety show at the super awesome Conway Muse theater. The show runs 2 weekends (Sept 11-12, 18-20) and I think will be a lot of fun. I'm super excited for this and you should think about coming. Ticket info can be found by clicking on the poster below.

Tuesday September 8 2015File under: juggling, work

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Summer Juggling Pics

For Della and me, this summer has been jam packed with juggling gigs. It's been a whirlwind of festivals, fun, and getting our routine down pat. We're usually so busy, however, that I don't get a chance to take any photos. Luckily, there are helpful folks around that shoot and share.

Here are a few photos that have made their way to us via various forms of social media. They are from (in order) Tin-type photo from Stringband Jamboree, Kids Fest in Bellingham, neighborhood Night Out in Seattle, Food Truck Fridays in Bellingham, Stringband, Seattle Night Out, Polecat Anniversary show* and Anacortes Arts Fest.

A big thanks to all the photographers for sharing and all the audiences for enduring—er, I mean, watching.




Tuesday September 8 2015File under: juggling, work

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Juggling at Bacon Fest

This summer, Della and I have kind of a lot of juggling gigs booked. At last count, between performing, teaching, and, more often, a hybrid of the two, I think I am up to 14 or 15 events*. Some are private parties or weddings, some are big public festivals (Anacortes Arts Festival, Subdued Stringband Jamboree), some are school gigs, and some are fundraisers. It's kind of a busy schedule for not so much being a performer. :-)

Recently, one of the events I juggled at was Bellingham's Bacon Fest, which is just as it sounds: a festival about bacon. The event benefited the Max Higbee Center, so not only was it good food, but it was for a good cause. Chipps and I did our best to radically proliferate delight (stated mission of Bellingham Circus Guild) by roaming around and juggling, stilting, rope tricks, and more. I think at least a little delight was proliferated.

The Bellingham Herald was there taking pictures and snapped a couple of fun ones of yours truly.


I'm kind of digging on this being a juggler thing. Hanging out at festivals, making folks smile, putting a little money in my pocket (or bacon in my belly as was the case here)—not a bad way to spend a glorious summer in the Northwest.
Saturday July 11 2015File under: juggling

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Circus Club

Della and I just finished our first week teaching afterschool Circus Club up at Mt. Erie Elementary here in Anacortes, and so far, it's been a blast! Each group meets for an hour, 2 days a week and has 18 or so 4th-6th graders. We teach juggling, unicycling, diablo, devil sticks, spinning plates, cigar boxes, poi, and so much more. The kids are awesome: self-motivated, focused(-ish), so interested, and quick learners. And between the staff facilitator, Della, me, the number of kids is very easy to manage.

Circus club runs for 4 weeks. Hopefully by the end of the time, all the kids will have many new skills and lots of appreciation for the circus arts. Della and I, I know, will have a little more teaching experience under our belts, the joy of having shared our skills with the next generation of circus folk, and little money in our pocket. Talk about win-win!

(Forgive the lack of pictures, but the politics of picture of kids in schools is more than I was wanting to deal with. Going through the school's application, hiring, and fingerprinting process was annoying enough.)
Friday April 10 2015File under: circus, juggling

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The Greatest Show on Earth Again

Circus, in this day and age, can be any one of many things: artsy skin-tight costumed acrobats of cirque du soleil to traditional elephants and lion tamers to prop based gadgetry to a bunch of hippies putting on a show at their converted rock quarry. But the thing they all have in common, in my mind, is fun. So when a circus comes through town, no matter what the type, I try not to miss it.

Well, Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey was passing through town on it's biannual tour of the country, so I just couldn't pass it up. While the animal laden 3-ring variety of circus isn't my favorite, it's still something I'm not wont to skip. And for good reason. While the animal bits were a bit hard to watch (except the tiny dogs atop tiny ponies) and the verve of the hosts and clowns were a bit lack-luster, the skills displayed by the highlighted acts were top notch and the overall feel of the show was fun fun fun!

What made the show even more fun was remembering back to the last time* I went, when we* got to go behind the scenes because I knew a guy. And while the comparison of the last experience to this one shows either that the greatest show on earth is getting a little less great or I'm getting a little more circus snobby (probably due to my constant exposure), having that previous frame of reference was just plain neat.

Yes, I love a circus. If I had my way, I'd be like a deadhead, but for following circuses. Imagine: touring the world seeing the best troupes and acts there were, getting to know the names, the sets, and the details. Yes, if I ever win the lottery, that's what I'll do: I'll become a circus-head.

(It should be noted that part of my disappointment with this itteration of RB + B&B was the lack of juggling. No circus should be without a juggler. So RB, if you're reading this, give me a call.)
Friday September 19 2014File under: circus, juggling

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Street Performing and More

I've often proclaimed that I'm not really a performer when it comes to juggling/circus. And while I still somewhat maintain that, it is getting harder and harder to say as I find myself performing more and more. Take last week for example: I performed 2 different times, once at the Bellingham Co-op for their Eat Local Festival* and once street performing at the Anacortes Farmer's market.

Street performing is something I really didn't see myself getting into. Any successful street performer can tell you that it isn't about your juggling skills as it is about your show: how you keep a crowd, build to a climax, have a good hat line, etc. That stuff doesn't interest me. Instead, I'll show you a trick or two, and if you like it, you can drop a buck in my hat.

With the help of Della, I gathered all* my props and headed down to put my style of street performance into effect. After the fact I can say this: my way is a whole lot of fun. And while it doesn't bring in the huge hats that some of the big guys can, it was definitely worth while*. It was so much fun, in fact, that I could see getting into the habit of it. Yeehaw.

Yep, I guess when you have spent as much time juggling and playing as I have, performance is kind of unavoidable. I think I'm okay with that.
Wednesday September 25 2013File under: juggling

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Performance Videos

Remember those recent posts where I mentioned some of the performing I've been doing? Well, I found some video evidence. First we have me and Della's rope performed at the Lookout Arts Circus Campout* this past August. Awesome costumes by Della.


Next week have a clip from this month's Vaudevillingham. It was a piece we wrote for Frank's birthday party. We performed it in the early V-ham show and people liked it so much, they had us close the late show. Good times.


Monday January 21 2013File under: circus, juggling

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Hot Pizza! Get Your Hot Pizza!

Scene opens on water cooler with 2 people standing around
You:Wicked cold this weekend, eh? What did you end up doing?
Me:Oh, you know, the usual: hung out at the quarry, caught up on computer work, dressed as a giant slice of pizza and juggled fire on the late night streets of Bellingham, much to the delight of the drunkards. Nothing too exciting..
You:Ga?
Me: I've told you about the quarry, right? It's this circus hippie commune where we all—
You:Yes, yes, I know about the quarry. What was that part about dressing like a slice of pizza and juggling fire?!?
Me:Oh, that. La Fiamma wood fire pizza is doing this promotion thing with the Bellingham Circus Guild to try and promote it's new late-night pizza by the slice. Della talked me into it. We thought: pizza juggling fire...wood fire pizza...get it? Get it?? We had a great time and even made a little bit of money in tips (plus a nice gift certificate), so that lets me maintain my "professional juggler" status for another year.
You:Professional?
Me:Sure. Any time you get paid for something, you're a professional at it, right?
YouSo you are saying that that time I won $5 on video poker makes me a professional poker player?
Me:Technically, yes, but we're getting off topic. Besides juggling fire, I did some fun rope tricks (people loved those), and general circus/juggling merriment. Good times.
You:Riiiiight. Anyway, I think I hear my boss calling me. Those TPS reports aren't going to file themselves, you know.
You slowly backs away from the water cooler while scene fades to black













Monday January 14 2013File under: juggling, circus

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