We’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon within the juggling subculture. We call it the Trained Monkey Effect (TME).
Here’s how it commonly occurs:
First, a non-juggler discovers that you know how to juggle and that you’re better than the average “I learned in my junior high gym class” juggler.
Second, they demand a demonstration, tossing you the three roundest objects in your nearest vicinity. You indulge them with a couple of different patterns, an around the back or under the leg, a 360 finish and they’re genuinely amazed. They might even clap a few times.
What begins after this incident is the essence of TME.
From this point forward, every time this person introduces you to someone new they say, “oh, and he (or she) can juggle!” and then throw you random objects to entertain your new acquaintance. Wallets, cell phones, rocks, water bottles–nothing is off limits.
TME is often initiated by bosses, older siblings, coaches, or anyone with a hint of authority, making it even harder for the juggler to do anything but acquiesce to the request for cheap entertainment. In addition to personal introductions, TME often occurs at parties, before business meetings, or to break the ice at other large gatherings.
While some jugglers enjoy this kind of “dance, monkey, dance!” attention, many feel trapped by TME. These jugglers would rather not be put on display like a circus animal but feel obligated to comply with the request and thus begrudgingly perform for the impromptu audience.
What you see below is a clear example of TME. You can tell by the look on this juggler’s face that his off-screen, over-served friends egged him on to perform when this party became too boring. So he does. But his lackluster performance is a clear indication the TME is occurring.
I used to love the column in Juggler’s World magazine where they listed where jugglers would be performing . I was able to catch a lot of great juggling acts because of that column. This is an attempt to re-create that online. I want this to be a place where you can come to see who is performing where.
Not only will this be an entertaining read, but also a great hub of information on where to see great jugglers do their thing.
Colombia has been especially hard hit by the world’s current financial challenges. An article on CCTV.com explains that many Colombians in the city of Bogota are turning to street performing for two reasons: to make a living, and to make people smile in a desperate time.
Juggler Angel Rubiano said, “We keep working. As you see we are all in the mood to work, make some money and improve this art, despite the fact that the country is in crisis. We don’t want to be part of the crisis and we are working here to make you laugh and fill you with emotions and sensations.”
One of the ways they perform is by jumping in front of traffic at red lights and putting on a 30 second show. It’s a pretty intense form of street performing; and even though we’re pretty sure you’d get you thrown in jail in America for doing something like that, it makes us wonder about other outside-the-box ideas performers can make a few extra bucks in this difficult time.
Here’s a video of some red-light street performers in Bogota:
Even if you didn’t shell out the $10 to buy Wes Peden’s Expectations, you’ll enjoy watching him answer questions about the creative process he went through to create the video. The inisight is priceless; especially for all of us hoping to make creative juggling videos ourselves.
(You can see Wes’ influence popping up all over the juggling subculture. Tony Pezzo’s latest video–although showing off Tony’s individual style–seems to have some Wes Peden qualities to it. Chick out Tony’s video here.)