Saturday, November 14, 2009

Juggling for the middle school

I juggled at the Murchison Middle School fall festival last night. It was fun. This is the second time I've done this event. Since the majority of my shows have been for elementary-aged kids, it's interesting to see how older kids react.

One big challenge at this event, and events like it, is the noise. I like to do patter, and patter gets destroyed by the background noise at a thing like this, unless you have a microphone, and I don't, yet. I plan to go that route eventually, but right now my act uses no electronics, and it's hard to resist that simplicity: I can show up at a place and open my trunk and get started, with no setup.

The older kids like my material just fine, but they show a much greater interest in trying things out. I spent a lot of time teaching half-juggling and plate spinning.

Friday, September 18, 2009

They can replace us...with blind heartless robots

Continuing the theme of mechanical replacement of skill, here's an interesting physics project, a mechanical apparatus that 'juggles''s really a mechanism for bouncing a ball that is self-correcting. It's a fun device though.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Using a bike like a unicycle

...and other amazing bike tricks, via an indoorcycling contest in Germany. Youtube video.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

29 hovers on the unicycle

Hey, when you get to 29 it starts to seem like something you could really do for a while. Then you fall down.

Monday, July 6, 2009

22 hovers

Unicycling daily has its rewards I guess. 22 moves, new tiny personal record, and now juggling while hovering doesn't seem impossible.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

16 hovers, new record

I need to get out there and unicycle more. Still, made a little progress today.

Yesterday I rode the uni and juggled in the Milwood Neighborhood 4th of July Parade. Introduced some kids to the wonders of plate spinning.

They had an orchestra this year -- a bunch of winds and a drummer. Nice stuff.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

11 unicycle hovers, new personal best

11 ain't much, but it's more than I've done before. I hit this height last night. I'm counting each forward or back move. I thought about counting each pair of moves, but more increments/higher numbers is more motivating.   More importantly, I'm starting to feel like I can control the motion.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Unicycle hovering magically improved by biking

I was practicing hovering on my unicycle last week, and it seemed like I was suddenly a lot better than I used to be, without having actually practiced any. I'm crediting lots of biking for this. Hovering takes a lot of muscle.

Of course I intend to learn to juggle while hovering. I hadn't thought about it, but someone at a TJS meeting told me it was much harder than juggling while moving forward. Stands to reason; you're changing direction constantly. And he was right: I can't manage it at all yet, though I can't hover for very long yet, either. Nonetheless, this is encouraging progress.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Been going to juggle club more often, so...

I thought I'd go ahead and mention the Texas Juggling Society here, for anyone who bumps into my page before they find the TJS page.

TJS, I often say, is the least formal organization I'm involved in. After you do some volunteer work with PTA or a professional organization or scouting, hooking up with a group where you can just show up to events now and then, and there are no dues, is fantastic.

Show Calendar

Augsust 22, 2010...opening for the Penfold Theatre's Complete Works of William Shakespeare.

Wheels of Wonderland

The Austin Bike Zoo and some UT folks are combining with the Texas Juggling Society to put on an "Alice in Wonderland With Bikes And Unicycles and Juggling" show this month, with four showings at various parks around town. I'm going to be unicycling and juggling knives. And carrots. They really seem to want the carrots.

The first show is tomorrow, May 2, at 6pm, at 91 Red River.
Then 5/3/09 at 6pm at Republic Square Park.
The following weekend, 5/9/09 at 11:30 am at the Toney Berger Center.
and 5/10/09 at 6pm at Republic Square Park.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

JuggleFest: Just a Big Room Full of Jugglers

I never feel like I can explain why JuggleFest is so much fun. Mostly it's just a bunch of people hanging around in a big room juggling. But I got someone to show me how to do a rope spinning trick, and learned some new contact juggling tricks to can hardly avoid learning new things in that environment.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Jugglefest is this weekend

Jugglefest 2009, the big annual Austin juggling event, is here Friday through Sunday, on the UT campus. More info here.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Grandpa's Trunk show

My "Grandpa's Juggling Trunk" show is an exploration of the props and memories found in "Grandpa's" old trunk, the relic of his world-spanning career as a juggler.

From my beat-up trunk come an assortment of juggling props, each with a story that relates to Grandpa's travels around the world as a juggler.

I start the show by teaching the audience how to be an Amazing Aaron audience...when to count me off, when to applaud, and especially how to shout "That's Amazing" if I should drop something. I mean, you wouldn't want me to get embarrased.

This is silly and works like a charm. I now find that people I hardly know holler "That's Amazing" to me when I run into them on the street.

The prop routines neatly divide the show into chunks, so I can adjust the length of the show by adding or omitting routines. I start with a three-ball routine, and then perform the devil stick, followed by spinning plates and then clubs. Then I may do my Dice Box routine, a four-object juggling set using large rubber dice. Then I do cigar boxes (hey, I've got video of that), some audience participation tricks, and finish with a balance board act...juggling clubs while spinning a plate on a stick in my mouth, all while balancing on a board on a roller.

Each routine is two to three minutes long (the audience particpation takes longer), and the whole is about 30 minutes long.

I'm not currently using any sound amplification or lighting, so I can show up to a site, open the box, and get started right away. Before I get started, I lay out a rope line to let the audience know where they can sit and where they can't.

If you're interested in booking a show, go here.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Spin a plate on a knife?

I was trying to come up with knife tricks, and I thought of this one. A casual search doesn't reveal any references to it. If you've ever seen this done, spot me a comment, willya? 

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Jugglefest is coming, February 20-22, 2009

The big annual Austin juggling event, Jugglefest 2009, is coming up fast. There will be a free public show on February 21. The festival itself runs the whole weekend long, on the UT campus. More info here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Boar's Head pageant 1/10, 1/11/09

I found another way to use my renaissance costume this season. I got hired to juggle in the St. Albert the Great church epiphany pageant, called the Boar's Head pageant.

I don't think I've seen an event quite like this before. It' s not a play, precisely -- there's no narrative -- it's mostly about getting groups of people into costumes and having them parade around. This is in the grand tradition of church pageants, historically. But here it's accompanied by singing and music. They had a 25 piece orchestra, which was nice to see.

The pageant enacts the epiphany story, combined with a board's head feast. The costumes were amazing. There were so many people involved that it was a major feat of logistics: there were swiss guards, jesters, nobles, king and queen, the three visiting kings, angels, on and on and on.

The church has been doing this show for six years. Admission is free-but-please-donate.