Juggler's World: Vol. 43, No. 2

Video Review

How to Juggle & Other Matters of Life and Death.

VHS videocassette by The Flying Karamazov Brothers. Produced by TeleVideo Sales and Marketing, Bellevue, Wash. (31 min. 30 sec.) $19.95 + $5 shipping. To order, call 800-359-9000 ext. 814.

This is not an instructional tape after all; it is Juggling's First Rock Video!

The FKB's "first ever made for video, video" is a reviewer's nightmare. If you have ever longed to understand how clever, innovative, talented, street-seasoned and stage-wise professional entertainers can manage to get so much wrong, watch this videotape. An extended comic skit is vintage Karamazov - entertaining, tempered and honed. Its silliness is well-maintained. Otherwise, the videotape actually manages to obstruct both its advertised purpose and its title, "How to Juggle..." Let's see how.

In just over 31 minutes we get maybe 14 minutes of watchable juggling. A four-man club passing routine introduces both the Brothers and the skit. A four-minute juggling lesson takes novices from one ball through three and shows two jugglers sharing three balls. A good selection of basic three ball tricks, along with four and five ball examples, lasts 6-1/2 minutes. The four Brothers juggle a cascade each (12 balls in motion) while introducing two person passing. The passing "discipline" of 3-3-6 lasts 1-1/2 minutes.

So, what's wrong with that? The club passing sequence is all facial close-ups, except for one five-second cover shot and one overhead shot of the full pattern lasting just 1-1/2 seconds. Eating the apple is shown - for 1-1/2 seconds. A four-ball stagger is demonstrated for about 10 seconds, but five balls are seen for only 1-1/2 seconds. The passing demonstration itself (not the explanation) is shown for just over a second. So, other than the cascade, the passing discipline, the three-ball tricks and the four ball stagger, no juggling shot lasts long enough even to apprehend it, let alone to comprehend it. Unless, of course, you already know how to juggle and didn't need the videotape in the first place.

But wait! This is not an instructional tape after all; it is Juggling's First Rock Video! The final 3-1/2 minute segment confirms it. It's their recycling environmental song with music created with juggling - clubs on back drums, balls on floor pianos, etc. With moving cameras, electronic special effects and video cut to the beat, no shot lasts longer than two seconds.

This segment means the video can be hawked as a show souvenir along with the FKB T-shirts, FKB hats and FKB juggling balls. It can, - must - be all things to all consumers, even if no visual idea is ever linked to any other visual idea and FKB's stage choreography is totally sacrificed. Visual continuity in a rock video doesn't matter much, but a tape entitled "How to Juggle" should better display the skills it purports to teach.

The final missed opportunity is in the final credits, 1-1/2 minutes of titles over a black screen rather than over interesting three ball moves novices could study.

"How to Juggle... " is not a bad souvenir and might even teach a few people the cascade. It would be a nice change of pace on a rock video channel, but there is far too little of interest to jugglers, novice or experienced.

by Duane Starcher
St. John's, Newfoundland

Video Review / Index, Vol. 43, No. 2 / jis@juggling.org
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