EJC 2009 Day 2

Last night, after posting on my blog, I spent an hour juggling in the gym with Emil (no “e” on the end of his name, apparently) and then Malte. The showers in the gym are hot and empty at night, which is usually the case at these festivals. I got to bed at about 4am.

This morning, up and breakfasted by 1030ish. I then hung out in the traders tent. I got some new rings from Beard, then spent some time playing with new props at the Play Juggling stall:

At the Play stall.

At the Play stall.

Checking out the wares.

Checking the stage balls.

Marco trying the clear-shelled Sil-X balls.

Davide, the owner of Play, constantly makes new props and variations on older designs. His latest idea is an under-filled, silicone shelled MMX ball.

They are really, really nice to juggle. Everyone who has tried them really likes the idea. I know I do. Marco and Nata dropped by, and they also gave them a juggle.

Davide and Marco discussing the silicone MMX balls.

Nata trying out some new toys.

For balance; a photo of the Henrys stall:

For balance; the Henrys stall.

Then Daniel, Pola, Emil and I walked into town for some pizza. I’d just had breakfast, but ate pizza anyway.

After pizza.

Following that we sat outside on the grass under a tree. I mainly watched other jugglers, and sometimes watched other jugglers watching other jugglers. I see myself spending quite a bit of time there this week.

Pola and Annette on the grass:

Pola and Annette on the grass.

Becka and Jochen passing:

Becka and Jochen passing.

I had a good juggling session in the 24 gym too, but it was really too hot to stay too long. See photos.albapasser.de for the photo being taken here:

See photos.albapasser.de for the photo being taken here.

I ended up sitting at the side of the gym, taking photos and watching the crazy french dudes throw their mad random multiplexes. The guy on the right is one such crazy random multiplexer:

Jugglers talking in the 24 hour gym.

It seems, after they performed in the opening show yesterday, that quite a few other jugglers seem to be trying the same style of juggling. I think it will take quite a while for anyone else to get to the same level, but once their skills are surpassed (which is bound to happen, just look at every other juggling technique now dominated by 14 year olds) things should start to get really interesting.

I went back to sitting in the sun. Hundreds of other jugglers do the same:

Jugglers sitting in the sun.

After more sitting in the sun, Daniel and I watched the first special stage show. It featured three hosts who, while pretty entertaining, only spoke Spanish, so I have no idea what the theme of the show might have been, and no idea of the names of the acts.

Every act followed the same pattern:
– Start in silence.
– Walk on, do something tedious.
– Luke gets bored.
– Finally start doing something.
– Luke pays a bit more attention.
– Develop the idea into something really cool.
– Luke really enjoys the act right to the end.

However, the producer of the show really needs to work on the logistics of getting people on and off stage, the introductions need to be tighter, and the whole ending the show thing actually needs to happen. The show just faded out, and half the people had left the hall by the time the hosted had finished doing their bit.

My favourite act, by far, was Silva. He performed club juggling in a kung fu style, with home made sound effects (using his mouth). He had a great character, some very slick tricks, and knew exactly when to move on as opposed to trying a trick again. Near the end of his act he did 5 clubs, and I was almost disappointed, as so many club acts finish on a numbers skill, completely disregarding the style and energy of the act so far. But he pulled a very surprising idea out thin air and finished with some of the strongest material. Why don’t more acts do this? Choreograph your routine from end to start, people, I know I do!

Kung Fu Silva:

Kung Fu Silva.

The ball bouncers also rocked out (after a slow start), as did the hat juggler and ring juggler (after a slow start each). Here’s the bouncers:

Ball bounce duo.

What next?

Some food, I think. Pate on toast is really good. I don’t know why I don’t make this a meal more often.

Unlike last year’s EJC, the special shows and open stage shows run hours apart, not at the same time. This means you can see two full shows per night, if you want. Tonight I wanted to, so did.

Now, I know I’m biased, because I organised the open stage shows last yeah, but I really think they need to step up the game this year. Not only is the staging all over the place, but so is the hosting, and the way artists are brought up on to stage is almost insulting. However, my main problem is the variety of acts. Tonight’s show went something like: club juggling, something else, club juggling, something else, club juggling… in other words, there were five club juggling acts in the show, and only eight or nine acts over all. By the time Matle Peter closed the show, we’d already seen whole sections of his act done by other people. Not just the tricks (similar style to both Francios and Becka), but his presentation ideas too (eg. club swinging to syncopated music by Remi). There are ways around this problem, and when we tried them last year they worked. Why take massive steps backwards?

Thankfully the audience found the acts themselves engaging and entertaining. The club juggler who only use one club was great, though I forget his name. The two contact jugglers were similarly interesting. The Belgian guys should never have been allowed on stage, or maybe a renegade stage. Maybe.

But the highlight for most people (myself included) was the act by Francois. He did “experimental” juggling with three planks of wood and three white clubs. Just as the act began to lull, one of his plank sculptures wouldn’t stand up on its own. To remedy this situation, he invited a small boy up on stage with him to hold the planks in place. Pablo, as was the boy’s name, completely stole the show, continually experimenting with the balance and placement of the planks himself, distracting the audience from Francois’ juggling. At one point Francois did a really cool trick, just as Pablo got the planks to balance, and the two halves of the audience both cheered at the same time. Another time (or maybe the same time, I can’t remember) Pablo did something so funny Pola spat her beer down my back. Quite disgusting, yes, but also quite memorable.

As you can see, I didn’t take any photos of the open stage show. I’d put the camera’s battery on charge. So here are some random photos from the afternoon:

I call this art String-Dangling.

More dangling.

After the show I uploaded image files… in fact, I still am uploading the files. It’s taking ages!

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6 Responses to EJC 2009 Day 2

  1. Rafa says:

    Hi, its me again. The kung-fu juggler is called Silver and is a teacher of the circus school in Madrid. The bounce jugglers are called “Belga & Raúlez”, Belga was the fatty one.

    Oh, I forgot to tell you that the host of the experimental show was called Mathieu Moustache, look for him at his website o youtube channell, he has some good stuff. Thanks for your EJC report again, cheers


  2. Sprocket says:

    Unfortunately my memory of details of the show are just about gone, so I don’t really know what made me think so, but at the time I had the impression that “Pablo” was a plant and the “upstaging” was intentional. Do you know otherwise? You seem to know the guy who did the act.

  3. jelen says:

    Well this day was the spanish gala… the hosters where from Galicia and for people who undestood spanish It was really funny. The name of the show is “kung-fu silvestre” . The bouncing guys are practicly history here in spain… they ussually don’t act together, this is a show they made 2 years ago.

    About the openstages, I was part of the organization team, Icoundn’t see the shows but heard all this commentaries about how boring they were, as part of the organization team we are very sorry we thought the person in charge knew what he was doing, but he didn’t. It was a pity…

  4. Jorge Silvestre says:

    Hi Luke.
    I´m Silver, I have made the act ¨Kung Fu Silvestre¨ and I want to thank you about your comment of my act…
    I really like what you did with the jacket and the balls in the open stage.
    Hope everything will be ok, lets keep on contact.

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