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Squall - probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse skval: useless chatter (Merriam-Webster)
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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Portland Juggling Festival 2011

Geez, is this my fourth year, or fifth? Fifth.. I just went back and checked some older blog postings.. (I know I am a cheater..) This year I was, once again, Gym Coordinator. I let the Late Night Czar job go as late nights and early mornings are a bad combo for me. Gym Coordinator means to set up the gym(s) before the fest starts, and clean it up after the fest ends. And I get 2 grunts to help - usually I have my friends help. This year, I got two friends from Sacramento who have been to the Fest before - even stayed at our house. (I would have offered them a place to stay, but our house is in a major state of upheaval remodeling wise right now..) And Late Night Czar requires me to stay up until 2am, then kick jugglers out of the gym - which is like herding cats with a laser pointer that won't shut off. So, I shunted the late night gig, and was just the Gym Coordinator.

FridayGym setup goes great, 2 of the 3 vendors are setup and in place, and the potluck dinner goes on later (outside). Friday generally flies along well, I get some passing in with folks, work on my 5 ball (still...) and learn a few new tricks, too. Then off to the Friday night Renegade show, the show and tell for jugglers. With drinking.

Renegade Show
New high or a new low, I am thinking a new low. There's always some risque acts (unicycle stripping comes to mind..) and drinking and sometimes one or two things get a little out of hand, but this year, the show went on a stripping tangent like no other show I'd seen before - drunk jugglers just stripping to strip with no act behind it. But there were some good acts, like Luke's screen show of the names of tricks, every throw was in sequence and called out. The balloon 'muscle man' was hilarious - a balloon 'animal' of a man; it could be manipulated. 'Nuff said. Those are the things that immediately pop out in my head, but I am sure there were other things I laughed a lot at, but hey, if you want a full experience, you gotta come.

Got in a bit late - I should be there by 10:00 am or slightly before.. I get there at like 10:15. No biggie, the gym is in full swing with a lot of folks already starting their day. I go to a beginning 3-ball juggling so that I can learn new teaching techniques. I usually run the 'beginner corner', so any helpful teaching bits I can use are great. I also attend a 5 ball workshop, which I learned one or two more things to get me back on track to improving instead of the crap I've been trying. I want to go to a club passing workshop, but I never made it to one.. I spent a lot of time working with a few beginners (all a little older than I - so it's never too late to start folks!).

Saturday Show
The show this year is on the Reed Campus instead of a few miles away - I thought this was great, as I don't need to trek a few miles away and find parking. I just need to shoo jugglers from the gym, call security to lock up, and walk up the hill to the building next door. I see a few friends in the lower chairs, but I decide I want to go up and get a view that is above the stage more. There's a lot of chairs on the main floor with what I consider a pretty poor view, so I want to get a better view, looking down. Other than the complaining / whining kids next to me, the seat was good. One of the better acts was a guy in a checkered outfit who managed to get a kid to stand still and hold a stick with spinning plate and spinning ball. Rhys and Charlie were fun, as usual. Leapin' Louie did the best act I've ever seen him do, and Sarah Liane Foster did a clown bit with a trombone that hit my funny bone. The hosts opened with a great co-op club juggling act (they're from Colorado!) and kept the show moving well.

Day #3, and I worked on 5 balls, club backcrosses (getting pretty good at them!), club overhead tosses, and starting the club backcross with my left hand. Passed with a gal (Cindy) from San Fransisco, we had a lot of fun. I attended Kricket's stilt-walking workshop and managed a 3 ball cascade while on stilts. After cleaning up, getting the vendor's out and generally picking up and collecting for 'lost and lost' I loaded up my truck and went to Rhys & Maria's for the volunteer thank you party. Drink, eat and be merry.

Next year, I think I want to work on the public show in some way - stage hand, green room, something like that. and maybe I'll be better at 5 ball.