The Beach Scene at the Hawaiian Convention Public Show - a sellout!
Those who attended described the Second Annual Hawaiian Vaudeville Festival as "juggling in paradise." More than 60 people came from as far away as New Zealand to enjoy the earthly delights served up at the Kalani Honua Cultural Center and Retreat on the island of Hawaii from Jan. 26 to Feb. 4.
Highlight events included an Anti-Nuclear Juggling Extravaganza Public Show in Hilo, a big final night luau, excursions to bubbling ponds, steam vents, a burping volcano and the nearby nude beach. Festival organizer Graham Ellis took care of everyone's comfort and needs. Vegetarian meals were served for 75 in one of the world's biggest woks.
Located far from civilization, the jugglers played in splendid isolation. Gathering in the central area of the compound, impromptu workshops started as two or three people began working together on a manipulation. When Jeff Napier and Waldo began passing clubs in unimaginable ways, everyone had to stop and watch. The lights went out at the cultural center at midnight when the generator shut off, but candles were supplied for the multitudes who couldn't get enough of a good time and wanted to watch dawn rise from the comfort of a hot tub.
Many of the top street performers in America made the Hawaiian festival their winter vacation. The Renegade Jugglers, long known for their anti-nuclear activism, won first prize in the Hilo Show. Waldo and Woodhead came in second with a parody of Uncle Sam juggling versus Vladimir in which they passed dynamite sticks. Roberto came in third, and Sarah Felder finished fourth with the evening's best received performances, a seriously political devil stick routine. The sellout crowd of 6-700 also enjoyed a massive choreographed juggling scene called "Hawaii" that opened the second half of the show.
Emcee Robert Nelson, the Butterfly Man, was supported by Bosco the One Man Band. Nelso also had the pleasure of introducing to the crowd Charlie Brown with his cigar boxes, Bob Whitcomb doing four and five soccer balls and Jim Kerr from Alaska spinning rope. Dan Menendez showed the crowd something no one could ever remember seeing -- four ball juggling with a bounce on either side of his body mixed with ear-to-ear head rolls.
Other performers included the American Dream Juggling Team and Cliff and Mary Spenger. Stanley the Clown performed excellent gymnastics and served as the "emcee's emcee."
Proceeds from the show went to the Hawaiian no-nuclear power fund. Many performers moved on to Honolulu after the convention to put on another show to benefit the Hawaii Children's Storybook Theatre there. It was held in conjunction with an all-day auction. A big article in the Honolulu Sentinel about juggling, the opening up of street spots and Benji Marantz made it seem like juggling week in the Pacific.
More than 175 magicians, clowns and jugglers rubbed elbows the last weekend in January during Circus Magic '86 in Virginia Beach, Va.. The jugglers and juggling students were treated to a dazzling display of showmanship from Jenack Circus Corporation's Jean Paul Jenack. He brought the house down during the evening banquet as he juggled three clubs, held a spinning plate on a stick in his mouth and rode a six foot unicycle while singing a song. On top of it all he even rode down the aisles, sending the non-believers scurrying under their tables!
There was an impromptu competition for jugglers in seniors and juniors division. Seniors winner was Mike Kushla of the Flingling Brothers and the junior winner was Stacey Long.
Circus Magic '87 will be held Feb. 27 - March 1 in Virginia Beach. There will also be a Wacky Weekend Aug. 2 this year. For more information, contact Steve Kissell, 1227 Manchester Ave., Norfolk, Va. 23508.
Pat Cox at Groundhog's Day
The real top performer at the 8th Annual Groundhog Day Jugglers Festival in Atlanta didn't win a trophy. As a matter of fact, he never even made it inside the gym. Everyone's most valuable player was David Barash, director of community relations for Ben and Jerry's ice cream, who parked his truck outside and dished up 25 gallons worth of free scoops during the weekend.
"Just tell your friends about it," Barash said. That will undoubtedly happen, because the five flavors he served were superb.
And so was the juggling inside the gym. The friendly confines of the somewhat run-down structure held more than 85 jugglers from 13 states. Some notable scenes were:
Susan Kirby and Robbie Weinstein passing clubs around Benji Hill as he did a five ring pirouette. Larry V riding an ultimate wheel -- a first in GDJF history. Jim Creveling and Art Werger doing takeaways of a four club triple-single pattern. Rebel Bailey passing nine clubs with Mike Stillwell just one year after passing his first club ever. Renee Brachfield, Toni Shifalo and Rebecca Dotson passing clubs in a women-only formation. Mark Lippard stuffing a basketball from atop his giraffe unicycle. Rodger French doing five balls on a rolling globe. Dave McGehee flipping playing cards with deadly accuracy and lamenting the fact that his former best of 150 feet could have gotten him in the Guinness book if he had only known they recognized the category.
The Saturday afternoon competition for the Punxsutawney Phil trophies attracted a dozen acts. After the props had settled, a three-person panel of non-jugglers selected Barry Abrahams for the "Top Dog" trophy, Robbie Weinstein for "First Prize" and Robert York for "Best In Show."
Other entrants were Benji Hill, Prof. Henry Huggler, Manic Expressions, Al Eisenhower, Tommy Gabriel, Captain Slow, Joel Heidtman and the Young and Nameless Jugglers.
York performed his stylish "Puttin' On the Ritz" ring act, demonstrating that three rings can be anything but boring. Weinstein's three ball routine was dressed up with a five ball shower and five rings. It was the second year in a row he has won a trophy.
Abrahams did one of the more technical acts. He juggled four clubs while balancing a unicycle on his head and later juggled five briefly while riding it. The Nashville, Tenn., high school senior plays comedy clubs and works summers at the Music Village USA theme park.