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Monday, October 5, 2009

Portland Juggling Festival 2009

The weekend is over - well last weekend, it took me longer than anticipated to finish this post. Since I was traveling a lot right before the festival, I didn't do the Volunteer Coordinator this year. So, I volunteered to be put to work as "Gym Coordinator" and "Late Night Czar".

As Gym Coordinator, I was responsible for keeping the back door closed, general upkeep, and initial setup and cleanup at the end of the festival.

As Late Night Czar, I was there to open the doors for late night juggling and close the gym down at 2am, when we kicked all the jugglers out for the night. Kicking jugglers out at 2am is a lot tougher than you'd think. Like herding cats. it helped when security showed up, but not a lot.

Friday night Renegade Show - Late Friday night is 'Club Renegade'. This is a tradition for most juggling festivals for folks to do some acts that wouldn't be too acceptable for a public show. Beer (this year, tequila was added), partial nudity, and other questionable bits are to enjoyed.

Some of the top acts from the night:
  1. Rhys - Steven Hawking does stand-up. This bit was hilarious. Rhys was merely sitting in a wheel chair, head lilting off to the side, and a laptop in his lap. Meanwhile, over the PA, the sound of a Steven Hawking voice over. Jokes consisted of classic jokes with a science boost. (I just flew in from the outer nebula and boy are my arms imperceptibly younger). The jokes were pretty rough, but I hadn't laughed that hard in a while.
  2. Diabolo - Two guys, one was a narrator doing the Diaboloist's talking for him. The other was pretty damn good at the Diabolo. The voice-over / narration was funny, and contained a lot of Emu references for whatever reason.
  3. Devilstick - A lone soul looking for a place to stay was trying to work the crowd with good Devilstick skills. The crowd managed to convinced him to take off his shirt.. He found a place to stay.
  4. Bekka - From Vancouver, Canada. She's awesome! She does a lot of club tricks that involve rolling them and manipulating them around her body. Always fun to watch.
  5. Poki & Parasol - The bit consisted of a contact juggling routine with a parasol, lots of isolation tricks to make it seem like the parasol was under its own power. Poki's fantastic at object manipulation.
Saturday night Extravaganza - the big show!
First off, since I am volunteering and we volunteers can't always get to the theater in a timely fashion for some really good seats, we get seats saved for us, so we are guaranteed good seats. This year, I got the front row! Unfortunately, my friends had a family emergency come up and I was left with some open seats. I browsed around and found a small child and his father (Rob Brown - unicyclist and his son Quinn) to take up some killer seats with no heads in the way.

The show was awesome, as usual, here's are some of the highlights:
  1. Poki (and another guy, I forgot his name! Sorry!) This was awesome, they had on black suits and came out with their hands behind their backs. did some minor dance steps, and then, the big reveal, their arms were twice as long as they should be, and amazingly flexible. They had put gloves on the ends of some sticks and starting doing poi / swinging moves. It was fabulous! I thought it was clever and very well executed, too.
  2. Poetic Motion Machine. Club passing mania! 4 guys doing some very entertaining club passing, with some really long and high throws mixed in. Really fantastic.
  3. Sweet Can - A slack rope routine that was very good, and then, she lays on her back (on the slack rope) and does foot juggling with a rolled up carpet. Very entertaining.
  4. Curtis Carlyle did a bit where he got an audience member to help him as he worked his body through a tennis racket. Great bit, good jokes, and fun.
  5. Last year, we had a Japanese champion unicyclist. This year, Kawri returned, and was joined by another champion unicyclist. They each did a routine, then they did a duet routine. Really amazing uni-cycling!
  6. Sean Blue - the headliner. He did ball spinning with small balls, contact juggling, and some high number juggling. Some of his ring manipulation / juggling was very visually incredible.
After the show, back to Reed for late night juggling!

On the last day, Sunday, Bernard hosted some juggling games. This consisted of a few games:
  1. Club collecting contest - I managed 14. The winner of the game did 68.
  2. Quarters - each contestant juggles 3 quarters. when you drop, throw your quarters in the middle. Last person juggling takes 'em all.
  3. Club passing for distance - done like an egg toss. Standard 4 count passing, and every 2 rotations (8 throws) one of them takes a step back. The winners were from the Poetic Motion Machine group, and were probably 40-50 feet apart.
  4. Combat - Juggle 3 clubs, everyone runs around trying to get others to drop by either using your clubs to hit other clubs, or just however it happens. Last person juggling wins. This game went on for at least an hour with a lot of rounds happening. I know this was Bernard's favorite.
Well, that's the report. No pictures this year, I think juggling pictures are kinda weak, I can take a picture of me 'juggling' 7 or 9 balls.. it really needs to be video. Last year I got some good pictures of people passing clubs from unicycles, but really, how many pictures of that do I need to post? It was a great time, and I am already looking forward to next year's festival!