For this month’s article, I thought I would do some follow-ups on my previous twenty articles. I’ve been writing for eJuggle for just over a year and a half now. I (usually) enjoy hearing from readers on my articles, some of which ask specifically for feedback, ideas, or assistance. In some cases, I actually go back into articles and make edits, while other times I just leave them “as is.” I’ll report on some of both in this “follow-up” article.
Just after the 2015 IJA Festival in Quebec City, I wrote a piece titled How Time Flies – When 5 Clubs and 7 Balls Went From Rare to Commonplace. Two of the young jugglers that I featured, Jonah Botvinik-Greenhouse and Christopher Hasser, have continued to improve and won Gold (Jonah) and Silver (Christopher) in the Juniors Stage Championships at the 2016 IJA Festival in El Paso. While many of my articles have focused on some of the elder statesmen (and women) of our art, it’s great to celebrate our youth as well.
Speaking of our elders, I’m saddened to say that one of the oldest surviving IJA members I featured in The IJA – Our Living Pioneers passed away recently. Betty Gorham Willer died in September 2016. Her husband Ken called to give me the news, as I was close friends with both Betty and Ken. You can ready more about Betty in the obituary written by my brother David Cain on eJuggle. I’ve remained in contact with most of the others, and though time has brought additional health issues for some, they remain wonderful ambassadors for juggling and represent a living history that is so vital to many jugglers. At the time of the article, I hadn’t yet met Juggling Joe Taylor, the organization’s first black member, but I did eventually get to meet him and published an article based on by talk with him as Interview With Joe Taylor.
My series of Where Are They Now articles (three so far) have generated a lot of interest. Though I found Ed Jackman, one of the most frequently asked about persons, he wasn’t really willing to share much about his current life. I unfortunately do have a sad update on one of the jugglers featured. Longtime pro Gil Dova passed away in July 2016, shortly after being profiled in one of the Where Are They Now articles. Check out David Cain’s obituary of this legend here on eJuggle. The two jugglers I continue to get the most requests to find and write about are Brian Patz and Jeff Mason. If anyone knows of their whereabouts or an update on either one, please contact me at email@example.com.
No article generated as much feedback as my Juggling Master – Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. I was warned by my brother David Cain that trying to make and publish either a list of the best jugglers of all-time or a list of current “best” jugglers was a risky proposition and one that would be controversial. He was right. I had relatives questioning why their parents or grandparents didn’t make my historical list. In even more cases, I had jugglers sending me video links to prove that they, or their friend or significant other, deserved to be on one of my lists (divided by category) of significant and influential jugglers currently performing. Citing that this is a highly subjective issue, I added the suggestions in most cases. In fact, I edited the initial list a total of 24 times. I am done changing the list. In getting additional names, however, I did discoverer jugglers that I hadn’t previously known. I now encourage all of you jugglers to take one juggler from each of the listed categories, do a search on youtube or other sites, and get to know some jugglers for which you aren’t currently familiar. It will prove worthwhile! Also, I came to recognize that there was a category that I did not have represented. While I had plenty of lists for current jugglers, and had a top 50 of past jugglers (deceased or retired), I didn’t really have a way of recognizing retired performers who didn’t quite make the top fifty (which is a tall order). If you have a living juggler who didn’t make my top 50 list, but you think deserves some recognition, send me your suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was just in April 2016 that I published Willy Colombaioni – For the Record, but this young Italian juggler continues to set more world records and stretch the boundaries of juggling. He recently added to his total with 12 rings, now with 16 catches, which can be seen below.
Willy has also tied Anthony Gatto’s record of 17 catches of 11 rings, which you can see below.
He also has a number of other new records, including a six-ring endurance juggle of six minutes, 10 seconds. He’s practicing 7 rings in one hand and 6 in the other in hopes of getting a 13 ring flash. I’ve personally seen the video of Albert Lucas’s 13-ring flash, but maybe it’s time for Albert to make it public before Willy ties the record.
The very first article I wrote for eJuggle was on one of my favorite jugglers of all time – Trixie. In Trixie: A Juggling Legend Spinning Through History, I shared many rare photos, published two previously unseen videos of Trixie, and shared a lot of detailed information on this wonderful performer. Subsequently, I have found or been given additional information on Trixie. Though much had been written previously about her father, Oscar Firschke, also a juggler, I recently discovered that he was actually Trixie’s step-father, and not her biological dad. My first clue was when I found her wedding announcement in an old newspaper and it listed her mother’s maiden name, Klaus, as her last name. I then asked some relatives about it and they confirmed this. It’s not really a big deal, but it was something new that I hadn’t seen before. I also found several new photographs of Trixie. These new ones are published in my brother David Cain’s new book Great Female Jugglers of The Past, but I’ll share a few of them here. The following photos are the earliest known of Trixie juggling, and come from the October 14, 1933 edition of the French magazine L’Illustration. Even more exciting, is the discovery of several new videos of Trixie in performance. These, along with videos of several other very prominent historical jugglers, are going to be made available to IJA members as part of a Members Only Content release in the coming year. Be on the lookout for this in the coming months on eJuggle.