Combination Trick #3

The Moisture Festival! 

It’s the best thing you can do with your time in March/April. It’s four weeks of fantastic shows, comraderie, and beer. It used to be that you had to know one of the producers to get in the show but this year they opened up the process completely. No more grandfathered in performers. Everyone had to apply this year and next year will be the same. Do yourself a favor and visit their website and figure out how to take part next year. They cover your travel, a per diem, and you get a cut of the profits (never a lot). Don’t do it for the money. You’ll have a chance to network, get great photos and video, and the audiences are great. There is nothing else like it.

Pack Lighter! 

After my 5 Ways To Pack Less post Alex Zerbe and I brainstormed some ways to cut down on rolla bolla weight/space. Here are my favorite three: 

  1. Use an aluminum plate instead of a board: potentially stronger, lighter, and thinner. 
  2. Use the smallest board you can. Experiment. If all you do is balance on it, you don’t need much. Just enough to show movement. 
  3. Stop doing the rolla bolla. 

The Results Are In! 

I added a poll to my 12 week retrospective post with these amazing results: 2 people voted for 3 posts per week and 2 people voted for “Other” without specifying an “other”. I voted once for 3 posts per week as a tie breaker.  

A New Facebook Page. 

If you enjoy reading the blog you can “like” us on Facebook. We’ve switched to a new page. It’s specifically for blogging and is connected to the blog. Every blog post posted here shows up there too! You can also leave reviews and start conversations about comedy juggling there. Here: Balls & Jokes on Facebook.  

Rhys Thomas! 

Is a monster. I recently got to watch the master perform at the Moisture Festival and DAMN! I’d only ever seen videos of his stuff but the videos don’t really compare to the live experience. I’d give him three stars: worth a special trip. He entered stage wearing one of those inflatable sumo suits, proceeded to make bacon appear from inside the suit and then fight his way out of a giant paper bag. It was pure delight and that was only his opener…

Here is yet another perspective on the club vs. pin debate by reader Rosie Kelly. 

A club by any other name would spin the same.

 After reading others views on this ‘pin/club’ topic I will try to talk about it from a different angle, so that we don’t all just cover the same point. I will share an experience last summer, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (those unfamiliar it is the largest arts festival in the world, and currently circus is enjoying a big revival there). Companies are making names and rising the ranks at the Ed Fringe, to go on to greater successes, helping the UK see a wider spread of circus shows, performers and cabaret.

 What the hell does this have to do with pins/club debate?!? Well, when writing for the Circus Diaries last summer, reviewing specifically circus shows, a noted pet peeve of circus troupes, circus performers, jugglers and enthusiast alike, was the amount of bad wording used to describe the juggling or acrobatics in their shows.  

It doesn’t take a lot of looking to come across reviews of circus, juggling or cabaret that are clearly written by someone who has no idea what they are talking about.

Now, we can all have opinions, I’m not saying you should be a master of the theatre to give your thoughts on the latest play you just saw. But if you are employed as an official writer or speaking critically of a show, I expect you to be knowledgeable, informed and fair about your topic, with a deep understanding of the basics and what’s gone before. In circus this is super crazy hard to come by…we just don’t have as many professional specific reviewers like drama or dance do!

*I could talk for ages about how important it is that juggling and circus NEED good critics to further as an art form, but that’s not what this is about right now.*

 So… here are three things that wound up performers and our Circus Diaries participants alike;

 – Not naming performers in a circus. You name the lead actors in drama or dance…so say a name not just “ooo the juggler was good” the juggler has a name you know!

 -A thing writers of circus and juggling do is fall back on clichéd phrases. “makes you want to run away and join the circus” or “don’t worry there’s no scary clowns in this show!” are my personal favourites to spot. It’s boring to read and shows they have no original thoughts or deeper meaning to portray for the writing, just wasted word count is what that is. And if this interests you check out Circus Diaries website for Kate Kavanagh’s “Circus Review Bingo” to find more hilarious examples!

 – Describing equipment rather than researching or asking what the official name for it is for example “they swung around on a bar with ropes attached and then a round thing allowed them to balance on their head on it”…just…just say Washington trapeze. It’s a quick google.

 ^^^ That last one right there is where “pins” falls in. To read the reviews in huge respected newspapers where they referred to what Water on Mars juggled as ‘pins and hoops’ is embarrassing.

I’d be infuriated if they called jugglers clowns, so calling clubs pins is just as bad in my book.

No excuses anymore. Writers, reviewers, bloggers, you all put your words out there, and people who read them look to you as guides. Maybe it’s someone wanting to learn more about a topic or juggling, maybe it’s someone who’s stumbled upon an interesting thread, either way no matter who’s reading our rambling, we should be checking facts and using language wisely if we want to be considered professional. For our own benefit and for the benefit of juggling and circus in general. Your show doesn’t have to be serious, but the way you treat your activity should be.


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