70th Annual IJA Festival Day Five (Saturday)

The Cedar Rap Sheet

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Cedar Sights

History Corner

Back in the 90’s (yes, the NINETEEN 90’s), when the Two Ply crew started attending IJA festivals, there weren’t  a lot of jugglers with children. As the years went by, more and more kids starting appearing at fests. One year, a day care was set up and that was a big deal. Last night, here in idyllic Cedar Rapids (or as the locals call it — “See The Rabbits”), as the TPP staff were putting the finishing touches on your commemorative newsletters and the sounds of live Grateful Dead music floated in the lobby air, it was decided that the IJA Festival is ready for ADULT day care or maybe even a nursing home…in the middle of the gym. Preferably near a ramp. Your 2017 Festival Director, Dan Holzman, has done a terrific job of creating a convention this year that has drawn the old-timers back to a juggle tribe gathering with a very satisfying nostalgic vibe.

Five Trick – One Quick (Question)

Today’s episode features an interview with Josh Casey.

What is your favorite onomatopoeia?: Kablooie

Would you consider yourself an altruistic artist of phenomenology, a jaded new vaudevillian, or a corporate sellout: 20% artist, 35% vaudevillian, 40% corporate sell-out

Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or one hundred duck-sized horses?: One horse-sized duck so I could lose swiftly

If you could have one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?: John Cage 4:33

Would you like to make any predictions about the future of juggling?: Yes

If you could steal credit for any great performance routine, trick, or prop, which would you claim?: “The Ball”

Historical Tee Shirt Contest Winners!

We have scoured the gym all week looking for the oldest IJA Festival tee shirt. You festival folks have not disappointed us! Our runner-up is long-time IJA member Alan Howard. Here he is proudly displaying his vintage 1982 shirt from Santa Barbara, California:

Runner Up Vintage Tee Shirt from 1982, Alan Howard

Our first prize winner is Taylor Glenn, who bested everyone with her 1981 shirt from the Cleveland, Ohio, convention (back when they were “conventions” and not “festivals”):

1981 Vintage Tee Shirt Winner Taylor Glenn

Congratulations to our winners! Taylor wins 500 “big ones” while Alan takes home 100 “big ones.”

Bonus Retro Non Sequitur

“There’s more to this cloning thing than than repetition.”

Cultural Commentary

by Ben Decker – Common Commentator

It was 7:30 am – or, as they call it in Cedar Rapids, lunch time. Seriously, it’s like this community goes to bed even earlier than it gets up. Clearly a hard working people that want to make the most from their days and have absolutely no use for caffeine after 3:00 pm, which is when every coffee shop around the festival hall closes (much to a certain reporter’s chagrin). So, when in Rome….

Rumor had it there were jugglers performing in the nearby farmer’s market. A rumor we had heard the way you hear all the best rumors — published in the official IJA schedule. We were skeptical. We’re talking 7:30 am when professional jugglers are groggier than Sleepy The Dwarf after ripping off Snow White’s fruit basket.

We see three acts:

Tuey Wilson and his amazing front-roll while spinning three balls on his fingers and a mouth-stick, his free-standing ladder routines, and a bit with Nerf rockets that was as creative as it was ridiculous. (LOVED it!) Tuey is a super solid performer and his resume has more entries than Steve Langley’s Facebook feed and Ring-Dama has endorsements. Combined.

Then there was Peter Irish and his signature world-class hacky sack moves, flaming chair balance and a throw-back from busking before liability — actually having a small child throw knives to him while he was 1) balancing on a raised rola-bola; and 2) closely surrounded by people who apparently don’t know the difference between real life and YouTube. I can’t see me doing that in this day and age, but then again, I have assets. I loved watching his damn-the-torpedoes approach, in spite of the world’s longest hat pitches. Apparently it’s fairly common these days to keep a small child on stage for 20 minutes while you start and stop your finale more times than people fail to fact check on the Internet. However, building your pitch numbers to a great $100 dollar tip joke is a thing of beauty. And his humor was top-notch.

Finally, we headed over to Jeremiah Johnston’s show who, unfortunately was competing with brunch and my sore legs from standing during the aforementioned never-ending hat pitch. I genuinely feel guilty about not sticking around. But, hey, there were sweet rolls. And Advil. That being said, I got a great shot of him doing a wonderful combo trick of spinning rings and juggling knives while standing on a folding bench. Everything he has done at this fest has been absolute perfection.

Jeremiah Johnson wows the crowd with his street show at the Farmer’s Market

As we close out one of the best fests I’ve ever been to (thanks, again, to Dan Holzman and all the volunteers), I have to reflect on the community that has welcomed us so warmly. I’ve heard a lot about the devastating floods that Cedar Rapids has endured. This has left me in total awe of a city that came together to rebuild and persevere. Twice. Unfortunately, it has also left me with a permanent, unhealthy fear of rivers. And, who puts a huge sculpture next to their river that they literally call “The Toilet Brush”? The good people of Cedar Rapids, that’s who. Yet another reason to live in fear. Then, again, I also fear the overly “enthusiastic” teenage contingency that sat behind me last night at Club Renegade (they only SOUNDED like they had bullhorns…). But that I can deal with at only $200 per hour with my therapist who is financing her second beach house. Oh, and if you haven’t seen it yet, there is a beautiful huge spiral sculpture in the nearby park that looks like an IUD for Godzilla. It’s fantastic and I would love to see a couple of aerial performers hang their silks in the middle of it. Seriously. It would be gorgeous.

So, thank you to Cedar Rapids and to everyone that was instrumental in putting together a festival so compelling that it actually brought the Two Ply Press editorial staff out of hiding after almost 20 years. It has been an absolute pleasure doing this blog for the two of you who read it, and that mic-drop you just heard wasn’t us. That thing has been done to death. Good night.

Susie Williams, Ben Decker, and Brad French have reunited to cover the IJA's 70th fest.

Leave a Reply