Know Your Audience

Every audience is different. As a performer you need to figure out the uniqueness of your audience, meet them where they are, and from there take them with you on a journey of discovery and entertainment.

Here’s what that looks like when your audience is a 15-month-old:

Our hats off to the unnamed juggler who isn’t above juggling for a “smaller” audience!

San Jose Street Juggler

Even though we’re called “street” performers, usually we prefer the safety of sidewalks and public squares. Not this guy. He’s right there in the middle of the street!

Watch out for those cars buddy!


Juggling Ban Lifted

A long time ban on juggling in the forest preserves of Cook County Illinois  has been lifted!

According to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times:

Forest preserve commissioners were in clean-up mode during their Wednesday meeting. They cleared off the books some old — and possibly illegal — ordinances and better defined “misconduct rules,” including what constitutes indecent exposure on the forest preserve links.

This included removing ordinances against juggling, acrobatic feats, and fortune telling.

We’re glad that Cook County officials finally realized that JUGGLING IS NOT A CRIME!

Click here to read the whole article.


Max the Juggler

We’re Max fans!

He’s only 8 years old but he’s already bringing some solid juggling to the street.

We like that his ambitions are to be the best juggler in the world . . . or just a really great juggler.

Max is an inspiration. He demonstrates that the key ingredient to successful street performing is the guts to go out there and give it a try.

“The Juggler” Sketch by Michel Vandegaer

Michel Vandegaer is an artist who suggests viewing his sketches, “with vague sleepy eyes, instead of looking for nice details ’cause there aren’t any.”

Sleepily check out this sketch he simply calls “The Juggler”.

We like quite a few things about the juggler in this sketch:

  1. He’s clearly street performing
  2. He’s got a great smile on his face
  3. He’s owning that 5-club cascade (not often represented in fine art!)

Overall, we appreciate the way Vandegaer truly expresses the joy of juggling in this simple sketch.


Venice Beach Artists

Another great tribute to often overlooked street performers!

Venice Beach Artists is a blog forged by Nowhere Man, one of the performers frequently found on the sandy sidewalk himself. Nowhere Man has begun the task of cataloging the menagerie of unique characters along this classic Los Angeles boardwalk.

Rick the Juggler, one of the performers featured on Venice Beach Artists, has been juggling at Venice Beach for over four years.

Nowhere Man treats him, and each of his subjects (from the members of the Hare Krishna Cultural Center to Tony B. Concious the self-proclaimed “Ghetto Van-Go”), with a refreshing level of honor and respect.

A Respectful Look at Street Performing

Street performing is often misunderstood by the general public.

We were happy to find this article in the World Journalism Institute’s Times Observer that paints a positive picture of busking–giving respect to artists who chose to show their skills on the street.

As the article puts it:

Despite the common perception, many street performers are neither homeless nor uneducated but trained professionals who take their job seriously and survive off of their skill.

Here’s the video that went with the article:


Street Performing to Beat the Recession

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:



Performance Practice

Remember how we suggested that everybody needs a good rola bola?

Here’s a video of JynxedJuggler practicing a nice knife-juggling rola bola routine to put into his street show.

We like the jump start, it sort of scared us the first time we watched it. Keep up the practice Jynxed, we think you’ve got something here!


First Juggling Show of the Season

I performed my first street show of the season today at Seaport Village in San Diego.

I got off to a late start this year for a few reasons:

  1. May was supposed to be my retooling month but I ended up putting in a million extra hours at my “real job“.
  2. I have been dealing with some colds over the past couple of weeks so I haven’t been at my physical peak.
  3. Acclimating to my new clubs threw me off more than I thought it would.

Despite these factors I decided to go out today no matter what. Sure it’s a Thursday afternoon and no one will probably be there. Sure I haven’t practiced much lately and my show might turn into a drop-fest. Sure I could be spending my time getting my car to pass smog. But no. Today was the day.

sandiego_may05142

And it  turned out surprisingly well! I did one show (did the old “quit while I was ahead” routine) and had a healthy crowd of about 75 people stick around for 45 minutes. They crowd was fairly responsive to the show, I had less flubs than I thought I would my first time out for the season, and a little kid named Esteban ended up stealing the show.

I’m very pleased with the first show of the season and look forward to tweaking it for the summer days ahead.

(By the way, the picture above isn’t my crowd. It’s just a shot of Seaport Village to show you where I was.)