Notes and queries and a case full of clubs: Efficiency

In the last 12 months, 12 weeks (a total of 52 days) of my juggling-working life has been spent teaching. Teaching juggling to advanced students at circus schools in Holland, Sweden, France, Germany and Ireland has accounted for 25% of my income in that time. That is a sizeable amount, and teaching is clearly by now one of the major …

Be Funnier with Scotty Meltzer: Creationism

In my first column, Comedy Darwinism, I wrote about ways to leverage your creativity onstage. Or as a skeptic might put it: “How to flop around onstage, randomly trying this and that, until you get lucky enough to get a laugh.” Fair enough. So if evolution through natural selection isn’t enough for you… If you think: “What are the odds …

Brad Weston’s Stagecraft: Mime

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This column explores different art-forms and the creatives who work in them. We look at how choreographers approach their work, what an improviser needs in his tool kit to do well, and how a painter sees the world. In each case, I will apply the techniques of each specific art-form to juggling and demonstrate ways in which we can apply the creativity of other disciplines to our own.

Mime: the most hated variety art-form in America. It’s also the least understood and, at this point, one of the rarest. Billy the Mime [http://billythemime.net/] is pushing the boundaries and delivering a solidly entertaining and thought-provoking show. The creator’s name is Steven Banks. I got him on the phone and we spent close to an hour talking about creativity and what it takes to be successful.

When I first contacted Banks to do this interview, all I knew about him was that he was a mime. What I didn't know was that he’s also a musician, an actor, and a writer for television and books. He had his own sitcom on PBS, wrote a New York Times bestselling book, and as head writer for SpongeBob Squarepants, he was nominated for an Emmy.

YOU MUST BE AN IJA MEMBER TO READ THE INTERVIEW WITH ARTHUR TRACE…

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This exclusive article is for IJA members only. Go to http://ezine.juggle.org/membership-options-page/ to join the IJA for this and other benefits.

Juggling and Your Beliefs

I’m amazed at how many people I run across that after seeing me juggle say, “Wow, I could never juggle.” I then think back to all the practice I did, all of those awkward throws that I threw too far away, the chasing the balls after they hit my foot, the figuring out to practice over my bed so I …

Planting Kudzu

Kudzu is a climbing, semi-woody, perennial vine in the pea family. Once kudzu is established, it grows rapidly at a rate of up to a foot a day, and can be almost impossible to remove. When I got back into the juggling community in 2011, it didn’t take long for me to figure out that my juggling was nothing particularly …

Be Funnier with Scotty Meltzer: The Secret of Great Comedy

What is the secret of great comedy…? I’ll give you a hint. It’s not timing. It’s practice. I don’t know how to sit down and write a funny joke. But I do know how to write two dozen jokes and then find out which ones are funny. And this is how every comedy writer that I’ve ever talked to creates …

Celebrating “The Barn”

Anyone who’s known me for more than a minute or two knows I’m a big advocate of the Celebration Barn Theater. “The Barn” is a renowned theater school offering intensive summer workshops for variety and circus performers. I recently had a moment that reminded me why I’m so passionate about my favorite summer destination. Sun-season means different things to different …

Stagecraft: Magic

NOTE: While most articles on eJuggle are free to the public, this exclusive article is for IJA members only. If you're a member, log in on the side to read the full article. If you're not a member, read about the benefits of IJA membership in the About menu at the top of the page and join today!
————————————————

This column explores different art-forms and the creatives who work in them. We look at how choreographers approach their work, what an improviser needs in his tool kit to do well, and how a painter sees the world. In each case I will apply the techniques of each specific art-form to juggling and demonstrate ways in which we can apply the creativity of other disciplines to our own.

This month brings us an interview with a modern legendary magician, Arthur Trace. He received international recognition in 2005 by winning 1st place in the stage competition at the International Brotherhood of Magicians stage competition. At the same convention he was also awarded the people’s choice award and the Gold Medal for Excellence in Stage Magic award. To get a sense of what his highly crafted and entertaining show is about, I recommend watching his demo video at http://arthurtracemagic.com/

My conversation with Arthur lasted over an hour and he had so much to say. It was a pleasure to talk with someone who has done so much deep thinking about what it means to be an artist. As difficult as it was to synthesize our talk down to 2,000 words, I think that you will find his approach informative and inspiring.

YOU MUST BE AN IJA MEMBER TO READ THE INTERVIEW WITH ARTHUR TRACE…

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This exclusive article is for IJA members only. Go to http://ezine.juggle.org/membership-options-page/ to join the IJA for this and other benefits.

Notes and queries and a case full of clubs: Object Physical Research

In my last column I wrote at length about the inherent conceptual content of juggling, and so I thought the best way to follow up on that would be by bringing the topic back down to something more tangible: the most tangible and basic thing possible – how we move the objects we use. Something I hold very dear is …