In August of 2012, I wrote my first article for eJuggle, the IJA’s online magazine. I had written an article that appeared in the last issue of Juggle Magazine, the IJA’s paper magazine that preceded eJuggle, so I thought I’d try writing a few more articles. I never imagined that six and a half years later, I would see my 300th eJuggle article published. Likewise, I wouldn’t have guessed that I would have written 13 juggling history books during that time as well. But with that first eJuggle article, I started down a path that would lead me to become the most recognizable juggling historian of the 2010s.
That first eJuggle article was Juggling Related Injuries and Deaths. While not exactly the most positive of subjects, the response to the article was positive enough for me to decide to keep writing. While my main emphasis has been on juggling history, I have tried to cover a variety of topics. Let’s take a look at what these types of article are and what some of the more memorable examples are.
The most common type of articles I’ve written have been biographical in nature. I would choose a juggler that I wanted to learn more about and begin researching. I have at my disposal one of the largest collections of juggling books, magazines, newsletters, and other literature in the world. I also have an archive of over 15,000 photos. Finally, I’m a relentless online detective, searching deep into the internet for pieces of history. I typically chose to write about jugglers whom have not been researched much, if at all. I’m happy to have introduced the modern juggling community to performers such as Rosani, Youna, Zarmo, Ollie Young, Ferry Mader, Kathi Gultini, Old Malabar, and many dozens of other jugglers who had been mostly forgotten or even completely unknown. I’m most proud of my research into the life and career of Frank Le Dent, the early twentieth century juggler who performed 11 balls and 9 plates, and yet was all but left out of juggling history books.
One of the important parts of my work for eJuggle is writing most of the obituaries for jugglers who pass away. While the job is a sad one, I’m glad to be able to do my part to help honor and remember those who have contributed to the art form and community. On several occasions, my obituary has been adopted by the family as the official account of the person’s life and has been used in other publications. One was even expanded and turned into a small book given to friends and family members of the deceased. Included among the jugglers whom I’ve written obituaries for are Ernest Montego, Eva Vida, Italo Medini, Rudy Horn, Edoardo Raspini, Scott Burton, Gil Dova, Picaso, Jr., Paul Bachman, and Betty Gorham.
Ernest Montego and David Cain
Prop / Trick Histories
One of the areas of which I’m most proud is my work on uncovering the history of certain props, tricks, and genres of juggling. I’ve written about the history of balls, rings, clubs, diabolo, ball bouncing, ball spinning, poi spinning, plate spinning, and other props. I’ve introduced modern jugglers to the Whirligig, the Kara Box, the Growing Candlestick Trick, the Cups and Spoons Trick, the Birds in the Tree Trick, the Hoop and Glass Trick, the Table Cloth Pull, Table Lamp Juggling, the Saturn Trick, the Tube and Balls Routine, the Pocket Pole Prop, the Horn and Ring Trick, Carpet Spinning, and many other tricks. I’m happy to see so many jugglers who have read about these obscure tricks and props in my articles and have taken the time to learn them and add them to their acts.
Erik Åberg and David Cain
Topical Collections and Lists
I have contributed articles that show collections of juggling-themed comic books, songs about juggling, juggling documentaries, and early juggling films, as well as lists of unique tricks, the greatest tricks ever, jugglers pictured in cabinet cards, and other similar things.
Included in this category are the Juggling Trivia Contest, the Juggler Stage Name Game, and most famously, the various Dream Trick Challenges that I’ve created. I’m very proud of some of the tricks that I came up with or that I found from history that have been achieved because of those articles. Highlights for me include seeing Svetlana Zueva qualifying five club back crosses while balancing a 6th club, seeing Scott Sorensen flashing 8 plates from his hands, and seeing Florian Canaval qualify five club back crosses in singles.
Product and Book Reviews
I have digitized and uploaded many, many historical juggling videos that had been completely unseen by modern jugglers. You can find these videos throughout various articles and sometimes in stand-alone articles as well.
Historical Books, Catalogs, and Documents
Many articles features scans of historical books, catalogs, and other old documents that are of great historical significance to the juggling community.
If you want to look through all of the articles I’ve written for eJuggle, click here to see the first of over 30 pages of links to the articles. I love writing eJuggle articles, as well as my juggling history books. Expect more of both to keep on coming. To learn more about my books, click here. As long as you all keep reading my stuff, I’ll do my best to keep writing. I appreciate all the continued support for my research and writing.