Juggler's World: Vol. 39, No. 2

Rise and Fall of `Juggling' Magazine

Five thousand copies of the first issue were distributed with `tremendous response and publicity.'

By the late 1970's, the Newsletter had regained much of the ground that was lost with the disappearance of the Bulletin in 1949. It continued to be primarily a newsletter-format publication, however. It was an independent magazine outside the auspices of the IJA that attempted to duplicate the quality of the Bulletin.

Juggling magazine, the first true magazine-format juggling publication, came into existence in the winter of 1980 in a small New Hampshire town with all the fervor of newly-acquired juggling enthusiasm. It ceased publication just 18 months later.

The story of Juggling magazine is primarily the story of Andrew Schwartz, who launched the magazine six months after learning to juggle, an example of the immediate and total dedication with which juggling can infuse its converts. While juggling at the home of future co-publisher John Bajowski, the two decided there should be a magazine for an art and sport with such tremendous potential. At the time, Schwartz knew nothing about publishing. He researched it for six months - on the job training - and sought financial backing.

Ironically, Schwartz did not learn of the existence of the IJA until six months before publishing the first issue. His research brought him to the Fargo convention. He soon made connections within the IJA and the reactions of members were indicative of the division within the organization at that time. Both Bill Giduz, editor of the IJA Newsletter, and Gene Jones, president, were receptive to Schwartz's plan to publicize juggling. In fact, they contributed to the second issue. There was tremendous support from the juggling community, the IJA and prop makers, but there were others who were resistant, fearing the commercialism a magazine might bring to juggling.

The prospects for survival of the magazine looked promising. Five thousand copies of the first issue were distributed with "tremendous response and publicity" coming from mentions in Business Week, The Village Voice and on radio. IJA members appeared to be starved for more juggling literature. Schwartz's dream, as had been Montandon's necessity with the Bulletin, was for a wider audience, a larger subscription base, than just the IJA.

He notes that "The people were out there." There was reason to believe that a magazine could tap the mass market interest in juggling.

Shortly after the appearance of the second issue of Juggling magazine, the IJA Newsletter changed its format to Juggler's World magazine. Although the existence of Juggling magazine could not have helped but stimulate the change, it was largely coincidental, with Jones and Giduz already leaning in that direction. Schwartz acknowledges this but admits that the appearance of Juggler's World was a "sore subject" with him. Where the IJA had once been a primary resource, it was now the competition.

To make matters worse, his publishing enterprise was foundering "due to major partnership hassles." It had been difficult enough trying to build circulation in competition with the Newsletter. Juggler's World simply knocked the pins out from under Juggling magazine.

"Ugly times" for Schwartz followed the collapse of the magazine. There were phone bills to pay and subscribers demanding their money back. He found himself underneath a debt of $10,000, avoiding bankruptcy only because Juggling magazine had no assets. His attitude today hovers between remembered pain and the delight of having taken a chance on a class act with the support of "wondrous people who rallied and worked" for the magazine. He chalks it up to buying a college degree in publishing the hard way.

And there is the pride of a job well done, however short lived. In the same spirit of the Bulletin, Juggling magazine covered a few things in depth, devoting lengthy articles to a single subject. Its biography of Harry Lind is still definitive, the interview with Dave Finnigan revealing.

After the demise of Juggling magazine, Schwartz was appointed IJA advertising manager at the Purchase convention. He put his considerable energies into the job for two years and is now a director, "working as hard but not getting paid for it, but enjoying it more." The joy of juggling can lead a person down some precarious, but rewarding paths.

Rise and Fall of `Juggling' Magazine / Index, Vol. 39, No. 2 / jis@juggling.org
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