29 Sep 2003 04:58:05
Stephen Bent
Portland Juggling Festival

The PJF was a ton of fun! Well-organized, tons of workshops, great show,
fun games, everything about it was great! I got to hang out and pass
clubs with Vova and Olga (Vova and I had 9 pretty much solid, but 10 seems
so much harder for some reason) I went to the "Comedy Discussion"
workshop, which was officially led by Jonathon Root, but was more of a
group discussion that also included Bill Berry, Scottie Meltzer, and Dan
Holzman. That's just about the perfect group of people to be talking
about comedy with. It was great, and really helped get me thinking.

The public show was amazing. Rootberry led it off with their usual
passing routine, then Mat Hall with his IJA 80's ball and diabolo routine.
Ben Jennings did some great stuff with balls, (I'm not doing these in
order any more), Rhys Thomas did his ball spinning on children routine
(including his daughter, on her birthday!) Pat McGuire (sp?) did an
interesting ball bouncing routine, Cindy Marvel performed twice, one with
a drum and bouncing balls, and one with clubs. Jack Kalvin (sp?) had a
funny routine, which he messed up the ending for several times, but kept
it interesting. Jeffery Daymount did a great club routine. Then, of
course, there was Vova and Olga. They did the same routine that they did
in Reno, but they did it 100 times cleaner. I think they only dropped
twice in the whole routine. They nailed the 11-club passing on the first
try, totally clean. They got a standing ovation, then another one when
they came back out. It was incredible. They're like Anthony Gatto if he
was cloned and could pass with himself. They won the Ben Linder award
for most inspirational juggler(s). The only bad part of the public show
was the MC, Scot Nery. He really got on my nerves whenever he was on
stage. He hardly made any jokes, the ones he made weren't funny, and he
spent most of the time laughing at them, with an extremely annoying deep
laugh. Granted, there were a bunch of little kids heckling him, but he
should have just ignored them. Instead, he spent a lot of time arguing
with them. He also did a bucket routine, where he tried to throw a bucket
onto his head, but missed it about 15 times before finally getting it (and
even then he cheated). I just wished he would have spent a lot less time
getting to the point of introducing the next act.

Now I get to brag about myself :-) I personally did very well in the
games. My big victory was winning the 7-ball endurance. In the first
round, I finished at about the same time as another guy, but I had a great
run in the "finals" (just me and him), and finished it with a high throw
to a neck catch. It was beatiful. Then I won the second game, 3 ball
Simon Says. I was off to a great start. But that turned out to be all I
won, although I came close in several other categories. I got 2nd in 3
ball blind, 3d in 5-club endurance (behind Vova and Olga), 4th in 5 ball
endurance, and while they weren't keeping track of scores, my team did
very well at Team Combat. AND I beat Olga at Combat! Mwahahahah!!! For
the sake of my ego, I'm going to ignore the fact that she beat me in every
other round.

This year's PJF was a ton of fun! Thanks to everyone who helped organize
or run it!
-Steve

----== posted via www.jugglingdb.com ==----



30 Sep 2003 15:57:50
Jonathan Root
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

Snipped
The only bad part of the public show
> was the MC, Scot Nery. He really got on my nerves whenever he was on
> stage. He hardly made any jokes, the ones he made weren't funny, and he
> spent most of the time laughing at them, with an extremely annoying deep
> laugh. Granted, there were a bunch of little kids heckling him, but he
> should have just ignored them. Instead, he spent a lot of time arguing
> with them. He also did a bucket routine, where he tried to throw a bucket
> onto his head, but missed it about 15 times before finally getting it (and
> even then he cheated). I just wished he would have spent a lot less time
> getting to the point of introducing the next act.

Scot did have a tough show (when kids start to heckle they don't stop
because they don't even understand that you are ripping on them. The
kids were horrible and someone should have done something about it,
they were in the side balcony and who knows where there parents were
but they greatly detracted from the show. Scot even started a bit and
did not do it because they were so rude. Scot is one of the best and
most original performers currently performing. It is unfortunate that
he did not get to do more of his original material (his pancake,
backpack and yo-yo acts are all top rate.)

Here is another thought on the whole mess. Bill and I MC'd the
portland juggle festival and I think that we did a great job and that
everyone enjoyed it. Then two weeks later we MC'd two shows at the
Lodi festival (the first show we did well) the second show we were a
little off. Because Lodi is a camping festival, I overheard from my
tent someone say I really did not like Rootberry MC'ing (I love to see
them juggle) but they could have got better MC's. My point is, I
almost decided that it was not worth it performing for jugglers
because someone spouted off about us. Why? Because they watched us
have one weak performance, one soft showing and they decided that we
suck. It is unfortunate that this happens and that as humans we are
not merciful to these performers. Being an MC is really, really hard
work and I think that anyone who trys should get major props. If you
don't believe me ask Matt Hall about his first 40 minutes MC'ing
Renegade at EJC. Or vounteer at a juggle festival....
> Now I get to brag about myself :-) I personally did very well in the
> games. My big victory was winning the 7-ball endurance. In the first
> round, I finished at about the same time as another guy, but I had a great
> run in the "finals" (just me and him), and finished it with a high throw
> to a neck catch. It was beatiful. Then I won the second game, 3 ball
> Simon Says. I was off to a great start. But that turned out to be all I
> won, although I came close in several other categories. I got 2nd in 3
> ball blind, 3d in 5-club endurance (behind Vova and Olga), 4th in 5 ball
> endurance, and while they weren't keeping track of scores, my team did
> very well at Team Combat. AND I beat Olga at Combat! Mwahahahah!!! For
> the sake of my ego, I'm going to ignore the fact that she beat me in every
> other round.

Rock on, take care and thanks for coming to the comedy discussion, I
enjoyed doing it and was really glad that Scotty M. and Dan Holzman
were there.

Juggle on,
Jonathan Root
P.S Don't have time to proof read, sorry!
> This year's PJF was a ton of fun! Thanks to everyone who helped organize
> or run it!
> -Steve
>
> ----== posted via www.jugglingdb.com ==----


01 Oct 2003 01:57:10
franklinmint
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

Stephen Bent wrote:

>
The only bad part of the public show
> was the MC, Scot Nery. He really got on my nerves whenever he was on
> stage. He hardly made any jokes, the ones he made weren't funny, and he
> spent most of the time laughing at them, with an extremely annoying deep
> laugh. Granted, there were a bunch of little kids heckling him, but he
> should have just ignored them. Instead, he spent a lot of time arguing
> with them. He also did a bucket routine, where he tried to throw a bucket
> onto his head, but missed it about 15 times before finally getting it (and
> even then he cheated). I just wished he would have spent a lot less time
> getting to the point of introducing the next act.

I guess you and I have differing opinions. I thought Scot was quite good.
The kids were tough and you have to be understanding that things dragged
occasionally. But he did have lots of lines for the kids and I appreciatd
that. He was fantastic at the renegade last year, by far the highight for
me, my own performance notwithstanding. The true irony for me was that
later in your comment (shown below) you mentioned how great the comedy
discussion was. I agree, but perhaps you weren't around long enough to
hear Scot Meltzer mention that Mr. Nery is one of the best performers
around right now, and if possible you should definitely go and see him.

LAter in this thread Jonathan Root mentions how difficult it is to MC,
anyone who attended Reno this summer was a witness to that. Of course
Rhys' work at the kids showcase was stellar.

> >
> > The PJF was a ton of fun! Well-organized, tons of workshops, great show,
> fun games, everything about it was great! I got to hang out and pass
> clubs with Vova and Olga (Vova and I had 9 pretty much solid, but 10 seems
> so much harder for some reason) I went to the "Comedy Discussion"
> workshop, which was officially led by Jonathon Root, but was more of a
> group discussion that also included Bill Berry, Scottie Meltzer, and Dan
> Holzman. That's just about the perfect group of people to be talking
> about comedy with. It was great, and really helped get me thinking.

Anyway everyone's entitled to their opinion, even people who are wrong.
Sincerely,

Franklin Mint

----== posted via www.jugglingdb.com ==----



30 Sep 2003 23:43:40
Jonathan Root
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

The Portland festival did rock, it was packed full of amazing juggling
and performance. Renegade was long (that is because it rocked, and
there were tons of great acts.) Matt Hall and Chris Groth had the
performance of a life time. Bill Berry was picked up by his skin by
audience members. Charlie Brown rocked as MC, I found the beer bong
unicycle guys very funny. I love stuff like that. It was a
blast....

The public show was also filled with great acts (and I got to enjoy
all of them because we were the first act.) Lana Bolin is a super
hero (I want her action figure when it comes out). Her act humbles
me.... Pat rocked, Matt Hall rocked again, we rocked (had to throw
that in). Vova and Olga brought down the house, I believe I was the
first one on my feet to give them their well deserved standing ovation
(boy am I glad they did not do that at IJA.) I am really, really glad
that I don't have to compete with them next year, OH MY!

The after party was truly great, there were over 80 people there, it
was a blast. Good food, good beer, good times.

See you next year, and if you see me and you post on rec. introduce
yourself and let me know who you are.

take care,
Root


01 Oct 2003 06:57:10
Nathan Peterson
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

> I got to hang out and pass
> clubs with Vova and Olga (Vova and I had 9 pretty much solid, but 10 seems
> so much harder for some reason)

Yeah, Vova is pretty fun to pass with. We passed 12 clubs for a bit at
one point. I think we had about 12 passes caught.


> The only bad part of the public show
> was the MC, Scot Nery. He really got on my nerves whenever he was on
> stage. He hardly made any jokes, the ones he made weren't funny, and he
> spent most of the time laughing at them, with an extremely annoying deep
> laugh. Granted, there were a bunch of little kids heckling him, but he
> should have just ignored them. Instead, he spent a lot of time arguing
> with them. He also did a bucket routine, where he tried to throw a bucket
> onto his head, but missed it about 15 times before finally getting it (and
> even then he cheated). I just wished he would have spent a lot less time
> getting to the point of introducing the next act.

Someone had told me ahead of time that this was Scot's first time as an
MC so I wasn't expecting much. I was back stage most of the time
helping people with props and whatnot, so I didn't see all of Scot's
MCing, but what I did see was not too bad. I was laughing. He was
having some trouble with his jokes a lot of the time, but I thought he
was generally funny anyway. I was kind of annoyed at the bucket thing
though. I think he had planned on doing it at that time b/c V and O
wanted to make sure that I had enough time to prep the stage for them,
but it really turned out to be a bad idea b/c V and O's clubs were in
the way of his bucket routine and he ended up knocking them out of
place, and they probably generally screwed him up, causing him to take
forever to do his trick and meanwhile poor V and O were backstage
waiting to go on and were about to vomit from being so nervous. Perhaps
the bucket could have been better used by V and O backstage rather than
on Scot's head. It felt like that bucket routine was never going to end.


> Now I get to brag about myself :-) I personally did very well in the
> games. My big victory was winning the 7-ball endurance. In the first
> round, I finished at about the same time as another guy, but I had a great
> run in the "finals" (just me and him), and finished it with a high throw
> to a neck catch. It was beatiful. Then I won the second game, 3 ball
> Simon Says. I was off to a great start. But that turned out to be all I
> won, although I came close in several other categories. I got 2nd in 3
> ball blind, 3d in 5-club endurance (behind Vova and Olga), 4th in 5 ball
> endurance, and while they weren't keeping track of scores, my team did
> very well at Team Combat. AND I beat Olga at Combat! Mwahahahah!!! For
> the sake of my ego, I'm going to ignore the fact that she beat me in every
> other round.

I didn't do too well in the games this year except for team combat (in
which I kicked Stephen Bent and everyone else's butt with the help of
Olga and Matt), and 6 club long distance passing (where I eventually
dropped only b/c Stephen Bent got in my way, but Vova and I still beat
everyone by probably 2x distance regardless).


-Nathan



01 Oct 2003 06:56:10
Alan Morgan
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

In article <[email protected] >,
Jonathan Root <[email protected] > wrote:
>[email protected] (...JAG) wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
>>
>> That would have been a little rash, don't you think? I know it sucks to
>> have someone criticize your performance, but I think it comes with the
>> territory. As a performer, you need to have thick skin, and also try to
>> learn from the negative comments that you get.
>
>Acually, (although I did not want to go into the whole thing. It was
>not very rash at all, it was something that I had been considering
>because of a number of comments from NON-PERFORMERS. One of them went
>something like this and did not have to do with me at all. I was
>waiting outside a show that I was not performing in and I overheard
>the name of a performer I know pretty well. So I listened in (we were
>outside waiting in line). They went on to say how much this performer
>had dropped and how bad the act was because of this. I could not take
>it any longer. So I asked them what THEY had performed in that
>particular show? They looked confused, Then I asked if they had ever
>performed for jugglers before. No! Was the response. I told them it
>is a more difficult then in the gym (they also said they liked to
>watch him in the gym but not on stage). I could go on and on, but
>stupid comments like these do not help, they are not constructive
>criticism.

I certainly agree with you about constructive criticism, but you
seem to feel that someone needs to be a performer in order to
criticize an act. I, respectfully, disagree. I *know* it's much
harder to juggle up on stage than in the gym. That's why I don't.
I stick to the gym and enjoy myself there and I'm fine with that.
If I do make the choice to perform it will probably be at Renegade
where stupid tricks you can't do are the standard. Those who do
make the choice to get up on a real stage are doing it of their
own free will. I don't think it is unreasonable to demand a higher
standard from them because of that. That's why they're on stage and
I'm not.

Further, the person who made the negative comments wasn't offering
criticism (constructive or otherwise) to the performer and wasn't
talking to you. They were making a comment to a friend and that
seems to be their business. I've certainly made more of my fair
share of comments to friends about shows that sucked and acts
that sucked but I didn't go up to Anthony Gatto's face and say
"Dude, go back to gardening" so I'm not going to apologize for
them. If I ever made suck a comment to your face (and I wouldn't)
then you'd have cause to complain.

>I know when I have a bad show, no one has to tell me. By
>the way this performer that they "claimed" they did not like to see on
>stage won a silver medal this year at IJA and did one of the most
>amazing diabolo stuff I have ever seen on Portland's Renegade stage.
>It would have been a shame it he would have listened to the pigeons.

Matt Hall, I presume? Awesome. Totally awesome. I love Matt.
Doesn't seem to have any idea of how much of a space alien he
really is with the diabolo. He also (how can I say this...) used
to put stuff into his act that he couldn't actually *do* all the
time. Either he's dropped some of that stuff or has gotten better
or some combination of the two.

That's a good thing.

Alan
--
Defendit numerus


01 Oct 2003 09:15:40
Little Paul
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

Jonathan Root wrote:
> Scot did have a tough show (when kids start to heckle they don't stop
> because they don't even understand that you are ripping on them.

Unless you make one of them cry. The rest won't heckle you from that
point on. At least, it worked for Ste3void and Dan the Other Hat
at Bristol the other week.

-Paul
I had a dream last night, it was a nice dream. I was in the moving
finger drinking hot chocolate. Shame it was only a dream...



01 Oct 2003 11:19:43
Jay Linn
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

"Alan Morgan" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> In article <[email protected]>,
> Jonathan Root <[email protected]> wrote:
> >[email protected] (...JAG) wrote in message
news:<[email protected] >...

<snippety >

If I may be allowed to contribute a pair of pennies ...

It is not at all uncommon for performers to object to the often
arbitrary criticisms of the public, or indeed as Jonathan Root did, ask a
critic whether they have ever performed themselves, and if not, should they
not take a more sympathetic view?

But to my mind that misses the point entirely. The job of a
performer is to entertain, and to do so in such a way that the audience is
satisfied, regardless of their prejudices or ignorance of the challenges of
performing.

Years ago, I cut my teeth doing street theatre - turn up, do a show,
pass the hat, that's it. You can't tell a street audience that they are
mistaken in not liking you, you can't tell them they have failed to properly
understand what they have seen, you can't accuse them of wrong thinking -
they are the audience, and they can and will think what they please of you.
If they are still there at the end, putting money in the hat, then you've
got it right; if not, you've died. They don't require explanations or
analysis, they just like you or they don't, regardless.

Consequently, the street perfromer has one strategy - get it right.
I don't mean perform perfectly, droplessly; I mean you have to satisfy your
audience, whatever that takes. Street audiences are the toughest critics
there are, period. If you can please a street audience, then you have begun
to understand just how much responsibility you are taking on when you step
into the limelight. The performer has to take responsibility for the
stupidity and ignorance of his audience - it's not his *fault* if a show
crashes and burns, but it sure is his *responsibilty*. You can blame whoever
you like, but if you die, you die.

I gave up street theatre a long time ago, because it scares the crap
out of me, but my fondest single memory of my entire juggling career is
standing in front of around 200 people - people *I* had persuaded to stop,
and who had then freely chosen to stay and watch - and having them hang on
my every word and gesture, and then at the end passing the hat and nearly
getting knocked down in the rush.

Ramble over - I hope I have made some sense to someone, 'cos I'm not
sure I have expressed myself very clearly. What ho.

--
Jay Linn

This .sig is funnier than the last one.




01 Oct 2003 06:59:22
Jason Kollum
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

I had a fantastic time at this year's PJF. Apart from the Reno IJA
convention last summer, the PJF was my first Western Regional
Convention. It was great to see so many people I have met at previous
conventions, and many new faces as well!

So many people there! Wow! Perfect juggling space for all three
nights of the festival, and perfect weather outside (as opposed to the
current 50 degree Chicago weather at the moment).

I have never seen a Renegade show like the one in Portland--more of a
variety show, really. Charlie Brown was great, who is also "a very
dear friend of mine....." ;-)

I would estimate at least 600 people or so for the show. All the acts
were great. I had planned on doing a Renegade act, and then when I
realized how many people, I almost didn't do it. I was at the end
too, so was very apprehensive about performing the entire evening.

But I did my frisbee-spinning-balancing-ball-spinning-bit. I looked
into the crowd, and realized I was performing for more jugglers than I
ever have. I dropped the spinning balls on the first try, and managed
to do it on the second try. The frisbees never even fell off the
pole. I'm really glad the trick worked.

The Saturday night show was great, and the workshops were very
helpful. I didn't know my workshop was scheduled the same time games
were, so unfortuantly, not a huge turnout this time around.

I took Scotty Meltzers comedy workshop, and had an act critiqued.
Very beneficial. I also learned quite a few pointers at his "Tax
issues for Jugglers" workshop.

All the people, all the shows, Rhy's party, the arcade, a great place
to stay, nice weather, and late night IHOP made this a great festival!
Hope to go again.

When I was sitting at the airport waiting to catch my plane, they said
the plane was overbooked, and anybody who would be willing to
volunteer to take a later flight would get a FREE roundtrip voucher
good for one year.

I thought about it, volunteered, took a flight 1.5 hrs later, and now
I have a free roundtrip ticket. Looks like my flight to Buffalo is
free!

~Jason


01 Oct 2003 10:39:02
Adria M Moskowitz
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

I apologize for not posting about the fest till now. I've been
working pretty intensively with the Tacoma School district to start an
after school juggling program at some of the, how shall we put it,
"Underserved Area" schools. They have tentatively agreed, at this
time, on 6 schools which I will rotate visiting 3 days a week (Monday,
Tuesday, Thursday; 1 school each day) from January-April.


Many many thanks to not only the Directors and members of the Portland
club, but also to the performers, workshop directors, and other
attendees. So many ladies and gentlemen! So many people to work with
and learn from. So many people to share with. I thought the entire
festival rocked and that everyone there was great! Special thanks to
Jonathan, Bill, Jason, and the whole darn Levity group (including the
adults).

The shows were fabulous. Cindy and Lana were so graceful and
beautiful. Their work is beyond words. Cindy had been practicing 5
clubs in the gym Friday and Saturday so I was expecting to see some of
that in her show; she told me that she felt too many people were
already doing 5 clubs so she decided not to do hers. I think of the
word "exquisite" when I think of her. Patrick, always one of my
favorites, was gorgeous; even though his performance didn't go the way
he planned, he maintained a high caliber that his audience has come to
expect of him. His prop scared me [reminder to self: stick with props
which I hold, avoid those which hold me]. There were some people
sitting around me who didn't go to Reno and it was great to see
Rootberry, Matt and Bill share their winning acts. Superb and spendid!
And I have to throw in that Matt's new stuff is overwhelming.

Hmmmm ... I seem to be running short of adjectives.

I attended about 7-8 workshops and learned an awful lot. I wish there
had been more time to practice some of the stuff I learned so I could
get some feedback. I got the most out of the following workshops:
Presentation, Working with Young Audiences, Rhys' Club Thing, What's
Funny, 3-Ball (though I'm having a problem with the wrapping arm
around head 6 times while sticking leg behind back thing). <-- that
last one was a joke

The games were a lot of fun; poor Olga got psyched out for the long
self-pass. And I was awed at the winning team pass. Just another for
the "impossible things which I will never do" category (just below
Matt's diabolo work right next to Bill's 3-ball work). Team Combat
was great.

I loved the band too. We swapped contact information. They said they
are currently working on a CD and they'll be sure to send me one. :*)

-Adria


01 Oct 2003 13:52:36
Jonathan Root
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

Huge snip
>
> I certainly agree with you about constructive criticism, but you
> seem to feel that someone needs to be a performer in order to
> criticize an act. I, respectfully, disagree. I *know* it's much
> harder to juggle up on stage than in the gym. That's why I don't.
> I stick to the gym and enjoy myself there and I'm fine with that.
> If I do make the choice to perform it will probably be at Renegade
> where stupid tricks you can't do are the standard. Those who do
> make the choice to get up on a real stage are doing it of their
> own free will. I don't think it is unreasonable to demand a higher
> standard from them because of that. That's why they're on stage and
> I'm not.
Here is the deal, you do not perform but you have been juggling for
lots of years if not a couple of decades. You have seen so many show
and performers that you have a pretty good idea what is good quality
and what is not. But you and your like are not what I am talking
about. It's like this a buddy of mine 4 ball jugger (no tricks) he
went to see Cirque du Soliel. He was fortunate enough to see Victor
Kee. Victor had an off night. His comments went something like this.
You guys are way better than the guy I watched this weekend he droped
a lot. He has no idea what he is talking about, he has no idea what
level Victor Kee juggles and performs at. It was comical to me. I
could go on (but someone is going to look for a response from the
stuff I already wrote....)
>
> Further, the person who made the negative comments wasn't offering
> criticism (constructive or otherwise) to the performer and wasn't
> talking to you. They were making a comment to a friend and that
> seems to be their business. I've certainly made more of my fair
> share of comments to friends about shows that sucked and acts
> that sucked but I didn't go up to Anthony Gatto's face and say
> "Dude, go back to gardening" so I'm not going to apologize for
> them. If I ever made suck a comment to your face (and I wouldn't)
> then you'd have cause to complain.

So what was Steven doing here? Was he making comments amoung friends?
How are these comments going to help Scot? Many people told me that
an act in Portland who also did some passing did not have any stage
presence. How does that help them, I already know that they need
work/help on their stage presence but telling me does not help them.
Also, I don't think that they would accept feedback from most,
especially non performers. But, do we really want to help them or do
we want to bitch about it among our friends?
>
> >I know when I have a bad show, no one has to tell me. By
> >the way this performer that they "claimed" they did not like to see on
> >stage won a silver medal this year at IJA and did one of the most
> >amazing diabolo stuff I have ever seen on Portland's Renegade stage.
> >It would have been a shame it he would have listened to the pigeons.
>
> Matt Hall, I presume? Awesome. Totally awesome. I love Matt.
> Doesn't seem to have any idea of how much of a space alien he
> really is with the diabolo. He also (how can I say this...) used
> to put stuff into his act that he couldn't actually *do* all the
> time. Either he's dropped some of that stuff or has gotten better
> or some combination of the two.

Yes, Matt. I agree that Matt did some stuff in his routines that may
have been above his level, but would we rather Matt never tried till
he was at a level where he could demonstrate his current level. Matt
has now had some help but he is mature as a juggler and the advice and
coaching that he got came from a friend who had been down the road he
wanted to travel (I am talking about IJA competition.) He is a better
performer because of some small peices of advice and because he never
stops trying. He keeps fighting the good fight.

Juggle on,
Root

> Alan


01 Oct 2003 16:27:11
Steven Ragatz
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

Part of good theater etiquette dictates that it is considered impolite to
discuss negative aspects of a performance in the theater space on the
evening of the show. When asked how the show went, any member of the cast
and crew is supposed to simply reply "It was very good, thank-you." There
is something to be said for that behavior.

But once outside the lobby, anything goes. FOL.

When someone complains about one my performances, they are quite often
right - at least from their perspective. I have lots of bad ones, more than
good it sometimes seems. But nobody can tell me whether or not one of my
performances was good or bad and be able to tell me something that I didn't
already know. As the perpetrator of the deed, I am the one who can tell
more that anyone. Now, I may not be able to tell whether or not the
audience understood something, or whether or not they were with me the
entire time, but as far as the performance goes, I will know. Understand
that I believe that there is a clear discrepancy between performance and
writing. The unfocused action on stage is a performance problem. The jokes
that aren't funny is a writing problem. Someone may not like my writing -
so be it. If the writing fails, then I have to consider going back and
reworking the material. Any comments otherwise are dismissed as either
ignorant or simply stating something that I already knew.

Jonathan, there are rude performers and there are rude audience members.
You can't do much about them, so I say let them be. Just be sure to be
honest with yourself as to why you feel defensive and why the words hurt
you. For me, the only words that can hurt are the ones that have some truth
to them.

To get invited to juggle up on a stage, in a theater that seats 2500 people,
requires years of training. The only thing required to be a critique is a
ticket. As a performer, I have to expect 2500 critiques.

Steven Ragatz




01 Oct 2003 22:58:09
Alan Morgan
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

In article <[email protected] >,
Jonathan Root <[email protected] > wrote:
>Huge snip
>>
>> I certainly agree with you about constructive criticism, but you
>> seem to feel that someone needs to be a performer in order to
>> criticize an act. I, respectfully, disagree. I *know* it's much
>> harder to juggle up on stage than in the gym. That's why I don't.
>> I stick to the gym and enjoy myself there and I'm fine with that.
>> If I do make the choice to perform it will probably be at Renegade
>> where stupid tricks you can't do are the standard. Those who do
>> make the choice to get up on a real stage are doing it of their
>> own free will. I don't think it is unreasonable to demand a higher
>> standard from them because of that. That's why they're on stage and
>> I'm not.
>Here is the deal, you do not perform but you have been juggling for
>lots of years if not a couple of decades. You have seen so many show
>and performers that you have a pretty good idea what is good quality
>and what is not. But you and your like are not what I am talking
>about. It's like this a buddy of mine 4 ball jugger (no tricks) he
>went to see Cirque du Soliel. He was fortunate enough to see Victor
>Kee. Victor had an off night. His comments went something like this.
>You guys are way better than the guy I watched this weekend he droped
>a lot. He has no idea what he is talking about, he has no idea what
>level Victor Kee juggles and performs at.

Yeah, but if I didn't know who Victor Kee was and I saw him and he
had an off night and dropped all over the place then I'd probably be
wondering who that spandex covered bozo was as well. If I'm not
familiar with the performer then I can't judge what they are capable
of, I can only judge what I saw.

And the right comment to make to your friend is something like "Wow,
Victor must have had a bad night. Don't judge him by that performance.
He is one of the most amazing jugglers I've ever seen. And he has 2%
body fat".

[snip]

>Many people told me that
>an act in Portland who also did some passing did not have any stage
>presence. How does that help them, I already know that they need
>work/help on their stage presence but telling me does not help them.

People do this sort of off the cuff analysis all the time. Ever walked
out of a movie and commented that it stunk and that the lead actor can't
act and the director must have been drunk during the shooting? Did it
make a difference that the actor was great in some other movie? Did
you expect the director to rush up to you and thank you for that
insightful analysis?

>Also, I don't think that they would accept feedback from most,
>especially non performers. But, do we really want to help them or do
>we want to bitch about it among our friends?

A bit of both, frankly.

Obviously, as you pointed out earlier, there are nasty ways of doing it
and nice ways of doing it and if you are saying something to the performer's
face then you better think of a nice way of saying it or else be prepared
to make an enemy. But if I'm just yakking amongst friends then I will use
different language than I would if I were talking to the performer and I'm
not necessarily going to offer any helpful advice.

Alan
--
Defendit numerus


01 Oct 2003 19:28:35
Jonathan Root
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

Snip, snip.
> Jonathan, there are rude performers and there are rude audience members.
> You can't do much about them, so I say let them be. Just be sure to be
> honest with yourself as to why you feel defensive and why the words hurt
> you. For me, the only words that can hurt are the ones that have some truth
> to them.

I am being true to myself, more than ever these days. Perhaps, I wish
that I did not care so much about juggling, performing, and making my
own performance better. But this post has helped me to make some
desisions. I will not go into details but it has helped, one idea has
to do with me not reading rec. anymore because I realize that I am
different than most of the posters here and I feel that my words are
in vain and that the few who agree with me already agree and don't
need my input. And the majority (those who disagree) believe what
they believe and are not going to change even if I feel I have
provided what I feel is logical explination for my point of view.
Thus, please don't post any responses to this message. Acually feel
free to pos,t but as for me I am taking some time off to refocus my
life and goals. Duel well grasshoppers.
>
> To get invited to juggle up on a stage, in a theater that seats 2500 people,
> requires years of training. The only thing required to be a critique is a
> ticket. As a performer, I have to expect 2500 critiques.

Could not have said it better myself.
The reason for this post originally was to make Steven think not to
argue/discuss with friends. Juggle well
Jonathan Root
>
> Steven Ragatz
P.S. I do appreciate your comments and value your opinions. Take
care,


02 Oct 2003 04:20:11
Vasili
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

Stephen Bent wrote:
> Then, of
> course, there was Vova and Olga. They did the same routine that they did
> in Reno, but they did it 100 times cleaner. I think they only dropped
> twice in the whole routine. They nailed the 11-club passing on the first
> try, totally clean. They got a standing ovation, then another one when
> they came back out. It was incredible. They're like Anthony Gatto if he
> was cloned and could pass with himself. They won the Ben Linder award
> for most inspirational juggler(s).

The video of this performance is available now on
www.galchenko.com/frames.htm
Thanks to Kristi Perry for videotaping it and providing us with the video.
Vasili

----== posted via www.jugglingdb.com ==----



02 Oct 2003 16:32:03
Michael Ferguson
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

In article <[email protected] >,
[email protected] (Jonathan Root) wrote:
[...]
> I am being true to myself, more than ever these days. Perhaps, I wish
> that I did not care so much about juggling, performing, and making my
> own performance better. But this post has helped me to make some
> desisions. I will not go into details but it has helped, one idea has
> to do with me not reading rec. anymore because I realize that I am
> different than most of the posters here and I feel that my words are
> in vain and that the few who agree with me already agree and don't
> need my input. And the majority (those who disagree) believe what
> they believe and are not going to change even if I feel I have
> provided what I feel is logical explination for my point of view.
> Thus, please don't post any responses to this message. Acually feel
> free to pos,t but as for me I am taking some time off to refocus my
> life and goals. Duel well grasshoppers.
[...]

Note to rec.jugglers:
No need to email me privately as I have already begun etching Jonathan's
name onto the Chris Sutton Memorial Sour Grapes Trophy.

Well done, Jonathan. Goodbye.


Respectfully submitted,


--
Michael Ferguson (a.k.a. Fergie)


02 Oct 2003 12:48:28
Steven Ragatz
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

"Michael Ferguson" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
>
> Note to rec.jugglers:
> No need to email me privately as I have already begun etching Jonathan's
> name onto the Chris Sutton Memorial Sour Grapes Trophy.
>
> Well done, Jonathan. Goodbye.
>

Now Michael, that uncalled for and simply wasn't very nice.

I suggest taking deep, soothing breaths, then sewing some more Fergie Bags.
Maybe that will help quiet the angry voices.

Steven Ragatz




02 Oct 2003 20:25:18
Michael Ferguson
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

In article <[email protected] >, "Steven Ragatz"
<[email protected] > paternalistically wrote:
> "Michael Ferguson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]
> >
> > Note to rec.jugglers:
> > No need to email me privately as I have already begun etching Jonathan's
> > name onto the Chris Sutton Memorial Sour Grapes Trophy.
> >
> > Well done, Jonathan. Goodbye.
> >
>
> Now Michael, that uncalled for and simply wasn't very nice.
>
> I suggest taking deep, soothing breaths, then sewing some more Fergie Bags.
> Maybe that will help quiet the angry voices.
>
> Steven Ragatz

Angry?
ROTFL!


Respectfully submitted,


--
Michael Ferguson (a.k.a. Fergie)


03 Oct 2003 09:21:33
Little Paul
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

Steven Ragatz wrote:
> "Michael Ferguson" <[email protected]> wrote
>
>> I have already begun etching Jonathan's
>>name onto the Chris Sutton Memorial Sour Grapes Trophy.
>
> Now Michael, that uncalled for and simply wasn't very nice.

How very true... Comparing anyone to Mr Sutton is just plain rude.

-Paul



03 Oct 2003 14:05:06
Matthew Hall
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

Hi everyone,

>
> Matt Hall, I presume? Awesome. Totally awesome. I love Matt.
> Doesn't seem to have any idea of how much of a space alien he
> really is with the diabolo. He also (how can I say this...) used
> to put stuff into his act that he couldn't actually *do* all the
> time. Either he's dropped some of that stuff or has gotten better
> or some combination of the two.

That would be me. I don't have too much to add to this discussion,
given what's already been said by Msrs. Morgan, Root, and Regatz.
The funny thing is, I've always considered myself a ball juggler, a
cigar box guy, okay with clubs and devil stick, and of course, a
diaboloist. I've wanted to get more recognition for my ball work
(like Bill with 3 balls), but the diabolo keeps coming through. I've
realized that that's fine. It doesn't detract from my skills with
other props. Having said that, I will also say this: Portland
Renegade was awesome for me. I set a goal for myself before the
festival to debut the European stuff at Portland. I wanted to get
that stuff out there so other Americans could see it and begin taking
diabolo to the next level with me. Getting a standing ovation was the
icing on the cake.

It also made it easier for me to be philosophical about Saturday
night's public show, where I had about 7-8 drops, which is more than I
want out of that Old Skool routine. I set a goal for 5 drops or less
in Reno (had 6), and I've stuck with that. Had 5 at the 8pm EJC show.
Had 2 at Coeur D'Alene. And so on and so forth. So having 7/8 in
Portland should have been a total bummer, right?

Wrong.

That's the most fun I've had with that routine, doing that poorly,
ever. I felt like I was actually performing the "whole package" (see
archives for my definition of "whole package"). Having some of the
drop lines work made it feel like a 4/5 drop routine instead of a 7/8
drop one. That feels good to me. The audience helped as well by
being really positive and energetic. I could feel the support.

Sometimes I'll be happy just because I hit a certain trick, even when
everything else is lame. Sometimes I'll go clean, and miss one trick
that I really want, and then be sad. For me, in Portland, it went
both ways. I was stoked to finally hit my new genocide combo in 1
diabolo, and my new hyperloop combo in 2 diabolos, but then I missed
my final behind the back-pirouette-whip. Ouch. I'd love to take that
one back. Otherwise, I'm content.

I expect and understand criticism. I take it better when it comes
from people who've been there and done that as well. Either way, I
remember ALL comments and try to decide if they are constructive
criticism or just someone taking the piss. One type I use for the
act, the other I just try to ignore or laugh off. Sometimes it's hard
to do....but not impossible.

Alan, remember the dollar bet you had with Eric? I remember it too.
It kind of bugged me at the time, but I grew up and I learned from it.
I haven't been double digits in a LONG time. So thank you for that,
and for your comments above. I appreciate that.

Respectfully,

Matt Hall


03 Oct 2003 22:23:41
Mini Mansell
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

matt has been the cause of many lost hours for me this summer,

until i met him i was able to high throw a diabolo. thats it. no more,
no less.

now I am carry a diabolo with me.

funny thing is, for some reason i always thought (wrongly) that diabolo
was easy, probably the reason i never worked on it, Boy was i wrong




"Matthew Hall" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> Hi everyone,
>
> >
> > Matt Hall, I presume? Awesome. Totally awesome. I love Matt.
> > Doesn't seem to have any idea of how much of a space alien he
> > really is with the diabolo. He also (how can I say this...) used
> > to put stuff into his act that he couldn't actually *do* all the
> > time. Either he's dropped some of that stuff or has gotten better
> > or some combination of the two.
>
> That would be me. I don't have too much to add to this discussion,
> given what's already been said by Msrs. Morgan, Root, and Regatz.
> The funny thing is, I've always considered myself a ball juggler, a
> cigar box guy, okay with clubs and devil stick, and of course, a
> diaboloist. I've wanted to get more recognition for my ball work
> (like Bill with 3 balls), but the diabolo keeps coming through. I've
> realized that that's fine. It doesn't detract from my skills with
> other props. Having said that, I will also say this: Portland
> Renegade was awesome for me. I set a goal for myself before the
> festival to debut the European stuff at Portland. I wanted to get
> that stuff out there so other Americans could see it and begin taking
> diabolo to the next level with me. Getting a standing ovation was the
> icing on the cake.
>
> It also made it easier for me to be philosophical about Saturday
> night's public show, where I had about 7-8 drops, which is more than I
> want out of that Old Skool routine. I set a goal for 5 drops or less
> in Reno (had 6), and I've stuck with that. Had 5 at the 8pm EJC show.
> Had 2 at Coeur D'Alene. And so on and so forth. So having 7/8 in
> Portland should have been a total bummer, right?
>
> Wrong.
>
> That's the most fun I've had with that routine, doing that poorly,
> ever. I felt like I was actually performing the "whole package" (see
> archives for my definition of "whole package"). Having some of the
> drop lines work made it feel like a 4/5 drop routine instead of a 7/8
> drop one. That feels good to me. The audience helped as well by
> being really positive and energetic. I could feel the support.
>
> Sometimes I'll be happy just because I hit a certain trick, even when
> everything else is lame. Sometimes I'll go clean, and miss one trick
> that I really want, and then be sad. For me, in Portland, it went
> both ways. I was stoked to finally hit my new genocide combo in 1
> diabolo, and my new hyperloop combo in 2 diabolos, but then I missed
> my final behind the back-pirouette-whip. Ouch. I'd love to take that
> one back. Otherwise, I'm content.
>
> I expect and understand criticism. I take it better when it comes
> from people who've been there and done that as well. Either way, I
> remember ALL comments and try to decide if they are constructive
> criticism or just someone taking the piss. One type I use for the
> act, the other I just try to ignore or laugh off. Sometimes it's hard
> to do....but not impossible.
>
> Alan, remember the dollar bet you had with Eric? I remember it too.
> It kind of bugged me at the time, but I grew up and I learned from it.
> I haven't been double digits in a LONG time. So thank you for that,
> and for your comments above. I appreciate that.
>
> Respectfully,
>
> Matt Hall




03 Oct 2003 16:34:29
Bill Berry
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

> I suggest taking deep, soothing breaths, then sewing some more Fergie Bags.


I'm pretty sure he meant to say LEAKY, flake in your eyes, and put up
with a lot of attitude... fergie bags...

Bill Berry

I'd rather *#$%*% # $#* than juggle a fergie bag...


03 Oct 2003 18:55:38
Itsik Orr
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

Steven Ragatz <[email protected] > wrote...
> Now Michael, that uncalled for and simply wasn't very nice.

I heartily disagree. Granted it was not very nice, but then it had to be so
in order to be so very funny. And besides Fergie has a very good point. I
read the discussion and more than anything I noticed Jonathan being the most
emotional and least "logical" party. It came as little surprise to read in
the end that his take of the matter was that "people either agree with me
[i.e., the good guys I'm wasting my time with as they do not need to be
convinced] or disagree with me [i.e., stubborn fools that do not heed to my
perfectly logical explanations]". That kind of approach to discussion,
either on Usenet or in the real world, is the definition of sour grapes in
my dictionary.

My personal opinion of the subject itself has nothing to do with the above.
Of course I have one, making my living from being a performer and having
faced criticism (both direct as well as eavesdropped) many many times, and
one time I it was even negative ;-) but I feel it is irrelevant. A much more
relevant point is one you made Steven, to Jonathan - "be honest with
yourself as to why you feel defensive". If someone enters a discussion being
defensive there is ver little chance that he will gain anything from this
discussion. I would be the first to contend that rec.juggling can be easily
approximated to the first degree by rec.idiot., and perhaps I would be beter
off not reading it if I manage to shake my nasty addiction to it. However
Jonathan's approach to the discussion in this case was a must-lose
situation. He did not pause to listen and take in some excellent points made
(mainly) by Alan, and was too busy being hurt by people (hey, he was even
hurt by someone seeing a bad show by Viktor Kee because he said it was a bad
show!).

Just my two agorot's worth (local currency equivalent may apply).

--
Itsik Orr - http://www.juggler.net/orr
(club passing, simulators and Israeli convention)




06 Oct 2003 09:07:22
Adria M Moskowitz
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

<flame sheild up >

I've been publicly insulted because of stuff I performed. There was no
criticism provided. Among stuff that was posted was that "it was too
long" which was obviously not true since it was only 3 minutes and 43
seconds long which was shorter than any other act. The only things I
could determine from this was that 1) the poster didn't understand
what I was doing and 2) my act was too slow for jugglers to enjoy
(though all the feedback I got from all non-jugglers reflected that
they loved it). Although it was suggested to me by some that the real
reason I was insulted was because of assumed politics, which the
insulters didn't really know because they didn't ask me. Whichever it
is, I will never know.

Result: For non-jugglers I keep it as I originally wrote it and they
love it, which is reflected in me getting $$ to do it. For jugglers I
speed it up, keep it at 2 minutes, move as fast as possible, and try
to get audience participation. And I hope that the insulters don't
show up.

Opinion: Telling someone, especially another juggler, that someone
sucks injurs the person's feelings, reputation, and performance when
word gets back to him/her. I hear a lot of jugglers (especially here)
complain that juggling doesn't help them get laid. It's really not a
matter of juggling but it's more because of exhibited attitudes.
Juggling WILL get you laid, all you have to do is be nice to those who
are attracted to you!

I would never base my opinion on a juggler on 1 performance which
didn't run clean. I also know that when one messes up in a performance
it hurts very deeply and hearing others say that you "suck" really
doesn't help give you incentive to want to do it again. There are so
many different aspects to a performance than just "clean runs".
Showmanship and presentation are key elements to being in front of an
audience. I also happen to like recoveries, or attempted recoveries,
that don't break the flow. When it comes to juggling, some people
prefer specific props. Some only like "real juggling" while some are
able to enjoy "object manipulation". I put these in quotes because
this is how I've heard them referred to.

I always assume the best of everyone. I don't understand when someone
is being nasty and it usually takes me a very long time to figure it
out. I don't understand *why* people are nasty. And I usually believe
what I'm told, which is why I try to find out as many facts as
possible before forming my own opinion so I don't make a horrible
mistake.

Yes, I'm a gullible idiot. But since I have my flame sheild up, you
can't hurt me.


07 Oct 2003 00:03:24
Itsik Orr
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

Adria M Moskowitz <[email protected] > wrote...
<loads of stuff about what people told her regarding her performance >

That was a long message and although I read it twice I still failed to find
anything in it pertaining to the thread so far. No one came up to any of the
discussed performers and told him he/she sucked or anything to that effect.
All that was discussed were people talking to their friends out of earshot
(at least to the best of their knowledge) of the performer.

Regarding your post - First of all it is very different performing to joe
public vs. performing to jugglers. This is precisely the reason I have not
performed for jugglers the last couple of years. I think one of the marks of
a good performer is to realize who is audience is and what they might enjoy
or dislike. My wife fell asleep in the Rotterdam EJC at Toby Walker's number
and said it was the worst performance she ever saw, while at the same time
the jugglers in the crowd went wild. The reverse may definitely hold for
artistically creative but technically unimpressive routines performed in
front of jugglers. As a performer, responding to criticism from ugglers by
saying "but regular audiences loved it" is not a valid argumet IMO. Jugglers
are greatly biased when they see a performer at a convention, and the
performer should be aware of that.

And to sum it up - yes, it's not very nice to be told your show was not the
amazing thing you meant it to be. However I think this thread reflected more
than anything the over-sensitivity which is sometimes all too apparent in
performers. I think if you are putting yourself on the spot then you have to
take what comes along with it, meaning being seen by a varied audience which
more often than not contains people who are opinionated, or idiots, or
artistically uneducated, or inattentive, or the devil knows what else. If
someone would tell me for example that my show is too long than I have many
options of taking it instead of ego-wise and getting insulted. I can either
disagree with him (maybe he did not like it because it's not for him, or he
wasn't in the right mood), or agree with him locally (I had a bad night, the
number didn't fit the setting, maybe there were some technical problems), or
on more rare but very precious occasions - see the truth in what is said
(yes, the number needs revisions, or perhaps it in inappropriate for this
kind of audience). Either way getting emotional about it only reflects my
insecurities, which is something I have to deal with in earnest myself, and
not by shutting off criticism.

--
Itsik Orr - http://www.juggler.net/orr
(club passing, simulators and Israeli convention)




28 Oct 2003 10:27:57
Scot Nery
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

Thank you for your support in these difficult times. My career is
being pummeled by one critic and my friends have stood by me in all of
this. I love you from the bottom of my heart.

I just found this post and it's the first time I heard something bad
from this performance. I feel that I truly did very well as emcee of
the show. I have had this position before and knew what it takes.

MY GOALS:
People told me that the show was a benefit for the festival. Randoms
--mostly family people-- from the community come to the public show
and pay for tickets in order to see great performances and help us
jugglers have a budget for a killer fest. Therefore, I wanted to do
the following:
-keep the show going
-ensure that the performers get good reactions from the audience (ie:
"Kids, you need to give the other performers respect. You can do
whatever you want to me.")
-keep it clean
-make sure that everyone got something out of the show
++though you may think children like an hour and a half of sitting
still and watching technical juggling, you're wrong
++my critics got a soap box
-make people want to come back

The majority of the audience laughed and cheered at my jokes. The
kids and families liked it. Professional comedy performers (including
Root, Thomas, Holzman, and Meltzer) gave me unsolicited compliments.
No offense, but the show wasn't for fest attendees.

I might not have done the funniest stuff, or the best juggling, or had
the most powerful presence, and that's my job description. That's
what an emcee does. I'm proud of that show.

Also, your insults to my performance do matter. I found these posts
doing a search for my name. Any potential employer could do the same.
I know that Stuart (who hired me) started this post and probably
reads the followups. My career is performing and I love it. Perhaps
when you see me doing renegade or performing for the benefit of
competition jugglers, you'll love it too.

EXTRA FEATURES:
I told Vova and Olga that I was going before them. I also asked them
not to preset their clubs. There was a third party involved.

I had a lot of trouble with the lighting. I should have worked that
out better ahead of time.

Lana was the best part of the convention for me. I loved her
performance and was so afraid of falling in love with her, that I
wouldn't approach her.

I love the group at Portland. I feel that if you're going to go to any
festival, that's the one. They have a great space, a great community,
and great attendees.


29 Oct 2003 09:06:11
Adria M Moskowitz
Re: Portland Juggling Festival

If anyone doesn't want their wooden hand-carved club necklaces, I'd
love to have more. Please contact me at my e-mail address.

Thanks.

Adria