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Juggling Conventions

Discussion in 'Juggling' started by tim, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    Who has been to a juggling convention? Which ones? What have you liked about them? Are you planning on attending any upcoming fests?
  2. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

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  3. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    I've been to Toss Up in the Chicago area a couple of times.
    Toss Up 2003

    Unfortunately, that gathering seems to have lapsed. There was another fall convention here which lost its site. Hopefully, it will eventually revive. So, I suppose it's time to travel if I want to dork out juggling for an entire weekend.

    Some of the events of interest to me are:

    St. Louis Jugglefest:

    St Louis Jugglefest at WashU!

    the National Prestigious Society of Collegiate Jugglers

    Madison, WI Madfest:

    47th Annual MadFest Juggling Festival

    St. Paul, MN Mondofest

    MONDO | Juggling and Unicycle Arts

    Midland, MI:

    Midland Juggling Festival

    Midland Juggling Club

    One day I'd like to go to the IJA Convention.
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  4. Sir Toony Van Dukes

    Sir Toony Van Dukes Well-Known Member

    I haven't made it to any juggling conventions. Just last week, I finally made it to one of the local juggling groups. (I say local, but it was at least 25 miles away) Are they exhibitions, conventions or competitions?
  5. SCOOP

    SCOOP Ace Reporter

    i would say if it is a competition it would seem like a convention also due to the amount of jugglers there and of course any competition is an exhibition.

    now if it is a convention there may not be a competition but certainly there will be exhibitions

    if it is just an exhibition it might still seem like a convention due to all the jugglers watching someone they might think is better then themselves.

    i guess i can't answer your question either
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  6. Sneakers Mcsilly

    Sneakers Mcsilly New Member

    Thank You, I added these events on to our website.
  7. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    Every convention is unique. But, typically, they offer lots of time for open juggling practice; classes, sometimes a big show one night with featured jugglers in attendance; perhaps a "renegade" show where people step up to the stage to showcase something (more of a raw, immediate experience just for those in attendance than the refined presentation of the big public show); dealers with juggling equipment for sale; sometimes a raffle for juggling items; competitions (of either a more serious nature and/or just for fun); and juggling games. It's basically a neat opportunity for practice and sharing and trying new things with lots of other jugglers who have come from near and far.
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  8. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

  9. Shruggs

    Shruggs New Member

    Midland MI

    The one in Midland Michigan is a blast.
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  10. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    And the yo-yo winners are Alex Berenguel, Aron Bendet, and Aron Hassen... so says Twitter.
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  11. azzy

    azzy Yes, We Have No Bananas

    Topless hula-hoopers are number one in my book.

    Bottomless glasses of water are a close second.
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  12. V

    V Well-Known Member

    IJA conventions are usually fun enough and have some good deals on props. A great opportunity to work on juggling mechanics as well as develop ideas for a routine or two.
    (Vegas this year)

    Hurricane Hugo held every year in Charlotte is also a nice 3 day juggling affair that everyone in the area should try to attend.
  13. Toby KID

    Toby KID Well-Known Member

    Try a convention of another performing ar.

    Every performance art that is utilized by a clown is in its own right, a performance art. Clowns merely borrow from the other arts with the unlimited creative freedom to mix them all together. You wouldn’t expect to see a juggling ventriloquist, but it is assumed a clown can juggle. A storyteller wouldn’t paint faces but a face painting clown will be telling stories.

    Each individual art has their own conventions because each art has individuals who specialize and are experts in those arts. Learning from any master and then applying that knowledge to what you do is how you advance your work.

    Go to a convention of another discipline and you will be open to whole new world. Each art has it’s own uniqueness of populations and traditions. I’ve attended the national conventions of a lot of different performing arts. I have also attended conventions on local and region levels. It has been my privilege to speak and perform at a wide variety of non-clown conventions. (Even to the point of odd that I have performed and lectured at more non-clown conventions than at clown conventions.) Here is my take on some of the other arts gatherings.

    By far the greatest and most fun of the collective performing art groups is a juggling convention. I do not know if it is the eclectic gathering or the basic nature of jugglers, but you can’t help but have fun at a juggling convention. Juggling conventions are a convergence of numbers jugglers, pleasure jugglers and a few performance jugglers.
    The diversity of the definitions of juggling also draws fringe skills. Yo-yo, lasso, balance, devil sticks, shaker cups, contact juggling, tops and more. You are bound to expand your repertoire after attending any juggling convention.
    There seems to be more outwardly sharing of skill because the results are more immediately viewed. There is openness to fresh ideas at juggling conventions and very little stigma on non-conformity.
    My kids all get to go to their first convention with me when they hit eight years old. All have experienced the juggling convention first.
    And don't miss Club Renegade if they have one. (But don’t take the kids or the week of heart of stomach.)

    A majority of attendees of the local magic events fit into one of two categories; exceptionally serious hobbyist or exceptionally serious magic performer. You find limited teaching going on randomly at magic conventions, as the nature of magic is secretive.
    Many magic lectures are technical. I’ve heard one speaker talk an hour about double lifts and card fans. Magicians value the history of their art more than other live performance arts. This respect for predecessors tend to make some magic lectures sound like history lessons filled with obscure names and weird titles for magic moves.
    However, once you establish that you can keep a secret you can meet some great mentors. Learning the “right” way to use a thumb tip may dramatically change your entire performance. Regardless of how you perform sponge balls, sitting through a lecture on them will improve your presentation.
    Even if you do simple or gimmick magic, these conventions can give you lots of stage knowledge as stage presences is a big part of magic performance. And you will gain a newfound appreciation for dedication. Most likely you will meet up with someone who has spend more than a year of their live learning some benign card manipulation that only thirty seven other magicians can appreciate.
    My wife and kids dislike magic conventions because the attendees are perpetually using them as the "audience volunteer".

    Story Telling:
    You stand and tell a story so you are a story teller? Not quite. Story telling is a wonderfully paced, entertaining venue. Will Rogers always considered himself more a storyteller than a comedian or political satirist.
    Storytellers are often sharing tales about themselves so you become intimately acquainted with them. At a story tellers convention you can enrich the bond beyond the stage. Often you can't tell the story teller from the story listener.
    These conversations are great for learning timing, filling a stage, or simple staging. Storytelling is truly the most ancient of performance styles and therefore is a must study for any serious performer. While you attend to learn, don’t forget to attend to be entertained as well. If you listen, you will learn. And listen when you go, your first time in, just listen.

    Clown Conventions:
    The best exchange of information at clown conventions for me is most often after hours or over food. The comrade of like minds offers me the best stimulation to new ideas. Hearing a performance story from a working clown juices my mind to create.
    Local and region clown conventions, like magic conventions attendees are predominantly hobbyist or non-full time clowns. The love for the art is strong and contagious. You also generally find a great many people in great moods that are willing to hug and laugh. Like jugglers the veteran clown convention goer is hole heartedly willing to share and involve a newbie/novice.

    A unique performance skill is ventriloquism. It is a good skill to have. Ventriloquist conventions are a bit spooky with all the dummies, puppet, and dolls hanging around. And I’m talking about the human attendees. You will see a very different performance art that you can integrate into your style in multiple ways. Watch the partner comedy, stage presence, stage look and presentation. Ventriloquist use story telling, puppetry and staging to create performances.

    Balloon Sculpting Conventions:
    WOW! What is being done with balloons now as compared to 25 years ago is all due to conventions. This is one of the few times I agree with convention competitions. If you are average with balloons, you will be great after a weekend with balloonatics.
    Balloon conventions are flat out brain filling creativity. These conventions go beyond simple 260 sculpting. You can see scenery, life size sculpting, wearable fashions and world record attempts. Once simple idea you pick up at a balloon convention could possibly make you the best ballooner in your market.

    Face Painting: A great skill to be added to clowning, especially for money. Learn the craft and make the cash. Face painting gives you the opportunity to work on verbal entertainment in a one-on-one situation. The face paint will wash off but the memory of the experience will color their lives forever.
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  14. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    Just returned from Madfest Sunday evening after three fantastic days there with the Fruity Banana Monster. Wild times. Tons of fun. Juggling, juggling, juggling. A chance to try some new stuff. ( A girl who couldn't have been more then twelve taught me how to diabolo.) And practice old stuff which I've been working on forever. Made some progress. Made some friends. Got to spend time hanging with other acquaintances who I've know for awhile but don't often get to see. Two excellent shows Saturday. And a third as a sidetrip (I'm a big fan of Whaddayaknow and couldn't pass up a chance to be in the live radio audience to actually "see" it played out, too.) Neat town. Lots of lakes. Lots of lost. A cool restaurant with great moving memorabilia. Such a beautiful Sunday morning scene of frost glazed trees. And the winter wonderland of Wisconsin countryside. Not to mention briefly dropping in on a couple of great workshops. And, most of all, the sharing and camaraderie which is so emblematic of such fests. All for, essentially, FREE. (Or the low cost of a ticket to the Saturday night show.) Fun for the entire family. Plenty of people who just came out to watch the jugglers, even though they don't toss themselves.

    If you ever have the chance to get to a juggling convention - GO! Really, it surprises me that more people from the clowning community don't seem to attend these events. I must say, even aside from the juggling, there were some awesome comedic acts (and even instructors) which we would all do well to find some value from.
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  15. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    NOW we know why you're "feelin' groovy!"
  16. azzy

    azzy Yes, We Have No Bananas

    Hey, don't blame me for getting lost, that's all Harpoetta's fault.

    Yes, it was a good time, a lot of work, and I feel much improved after only a couple days. I was pretty much the worst juggler there that was over 3ft tall, and it was still worthwhile. The Whad'Ya Know show was a surprise, actually the whole town was a great place. I don't live too far from Madison and have only briefly visited twice.

    I urge you all, when tim sends you a message asking you to go away with him for a weekend....

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  17. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    You didn't work hard enough if you aren't as messed up as the character in that stage bit getting up "the morning after."

    I'd disagree with that. The under 3 ft crowd was generally much better than the both of us! But I saw a fair amount of relatively beginners work happening Sunday in the gym.

    I'm glad that you took the risk and came out with an appreciation of its advantage to everyone - even those of us who aren't as advance as most in attendance.

    Kind of a cool comedic respite from juggling. I think the jugglers should have an outing there next year.

    Agreed. Especially the parts we toured seven times driving in circles. (Banana's Capitol-Go-Round ride is a lot of fun. You know this when he squeals "wheeeeeeee!")

    This is why you were unacquainted with the Pizza Hut Italian Bistro.

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  18. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

  19. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    So the Chicago outlet is today broadcasting (I don't know if it's a rebroadcast or whether they finally got around to airing it just now) the radio show we attended. (It's supposed to be a live broadcast, though Chicago delays it an hour at least.)

    It's kind of cool to listen to it more closely just with audio sans seeing it evolve. Kinda focuses your attention more clearly. But I'm also understanding the behind the scenes humor based upon an actual experience of attendance. That's interesting. Some of the topical jokes (like poking fun at Leno or Pants on the Ground) which was timely has lost some luster three weeks hence, however. I'm looking forward to hearing the hung over woman who called in to play the quiz.
  20. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    Well, while it isn't anything to particularly brag about, I've now stood and done something in performance for the first time at a renegade. The fest I'm at in St. Paul didn't really have an official after event of that sort, so some guys decided to toss an informal one together. I must say I had an absolute blast. In fact, in some sense, I prefer renegades this way. Small crowd of jugglers (and anyone else who drops in) at a bar late night just messing around. By the end, I think just about everyone (including those who originally had no intent to - like me) decided to get up and try out something. No, my shtick wasn't great or even especially good, but the experience will surely be well remembered in my festival going travels.
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