“Throw Joy” Review

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Wes Peden describes his latest juggling film “Throw Joy” as “53 minutes of sledgehammer hitting ice-cream cake.” Although his new offering has a much more straightforward title than many of his previous releases, that description is oddly accurate. Wes Peden fans will be delighted to know that “Throw Joy” features Peden’s signature creative, technical, innovative, inspirational, and periodically bizarre styling on display in full force.

The video opens with Peden, only visible from the waist up, walking around outside precariously and juggling rings. The camera then zooms out, revealing Peden to be walking around on stilts made entirely out of juggling clubs, before panning over to the title of the video. This opening does a great job in setting the tone for the rest of the feature.

magic! (2)The majority of the video is made up of various juggling segments each with a loose theme. First there is a balls section, where Peden unleashes a variety of challenging multiplex patterns with a high number of balls. Then there are various club, ring, and mixed prop segments throughout the feature. The club portions especially stand out in a variety of ways. Some of the more challenging technical patterns that Peden executes include: five club columns, and five club full reverse done in reverse spins. There is even a piece based entirely chest and headroll patterns with clubs. In a psychedelic rings segment, Peden throws handfuls of rings up in the air at the same time, and executes pull downs with the individual rings in seemingly endless variations.

Though the video consists primarily of newly shot non-performance footage, we are treated to a mostly uncut video of Peden’s highly spoken about act at the Renegade stage from the 66th annual IJA Festival that was held in Bowling Green, Ohio in 2013. In this performance, Peden gradually strips down to his underwear (juggling his clothing while his disrobes) and rampages around the venue juggling everything from beer bottles to a metal chair, which he manages to catch around his neck.

F1000048In addition to being creative with traditional juggling props, Peden shows off his innovative side with several new creations and prop modifications throughout the film. One lengthy segment of the video is dedicated to tape. Peden tapes various props together and manipulates them in new ways: rings taped to clubs new easily stand upright on the ground, rings taped together in a sphere bounce juggle, and bouquets of clubs make for an interesting visual when thrown. These altered props open up a whole new realm of patterns and tricks, which Peden not only innovates, but expertly displays. Perhaps the most noteworthy creation is a hula hoop made entirely out of juggling clubs, which Peden utilizes in a variety of ways, such as spinning it around his waist while juggling, balancing it on his face, and diving through it while it sits upright

One of the more unusual yet entertaining pieces of the film takes place in a hotel room. In a regard, Wes Peden could be seen as a rockstar of juggling, and in this segment he acts like a rockstar, by trashing his hotel room and engaging in strange antics. Peden throws food into the bathtub, paints with mayonnaise, shoots himself in the face with the shower head, pees through a juggling ring, manipulates clubs in the toilet, and at one point headbutts a stack of graham crackers. It should be noted, however, that Peden makes a point to mention in the credits document included with the film that he cleaned up his mess once he was done filming.

The film concludes with Wes Peden going through the end video credits by holding up various objects that have the text credits written on them. Everything from CDs to fast food burgers are used to give credit where it is due. There is also an additional segment directly following the credits which features Peden going through a juggling sequence while his props change into different props mid-throw and catch (done through carefully crafted editing). It is a fun and amusing visual display to bring the main feature to a close.

Extras include half a dozen separate video bonus clips (which are accessible by a password that is revealed at the end of the main video) and a commentary track featuring Wes Peden talking about the making of the project.

Between the stunning and inspirational new tricks Peden has on display in this video coupled with the overall quality of the production, “Throw Joy” is a great addition to any juggler’s video library.

“Throw Joy” is available for pay-per-download at wespeden.com.

Nathan Wakefield

Nathan is a juggler from Southeast Michigan. He first learned to juggle in college, and has written for the website Streetjuggling.com. He previously served as Chairman of the IJA and also held various officer positions. When he is not frantically trying to learn new manipulation skills, he enjoys producing music, acting, and watching horror films.

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