File puptcrit/puptcrit.0603, message 224

Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2006 02:45:06 -0600
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Another Remarkable Video- Juggler's Smackdown

I don't have a dog in this fight between these two jugglers. (and I 
wasn't trying to one-up Diane, who posted the Chris Bliss link). I must 
say that as an observer, I find the whole idea of aesthetic 
"smackdowns" highly amusing. I am trying to think of other examples - 
one that stopped me cold a few years ago was the headline of a NYTimes 

"Remembering De Kooning as the 'guy to beat'"

and this meme was repeated, later, on PBS's "The News Hour":

"And De Kooning, himself, said painting is a way of living, and he was 
just doing what came naturally to him. It=92s also interesting that you 
mentioned that he was called the American Picasso because in 
formulating the abstract expressionist style they said De Kooning is 
the guy to beat. And he set out to beat Picasso."

I imagine some kind of donnybrook taking place over at the Guggenheim, 
with De Kooning and Picasso locked in mortal combat,  beating the crap 
out of each other as they roll round on the spiral-ramp gallery. "Team 
America" did a good send-up of the absurdity of the whole idea of 
aesthetic competition in its treatment of a kind of "acting duel" 
between Alex Baldwin and the character of Gary Johnston.

"Shakespeare in Love" had a humorous scene of one-upmanship between 
Christopher Marlowe and the bard.

I'm trying to think of other examples, particularly as they pertain to 
puppetry. The "Bruce Schwartz" character in "Being John Malkovitch" had 
a rival, who created a giant Emily Dickenson puppet. Bruce called is a 
"gimmick". Any others come to mind? C'mon - who among us will deny the 

But seriously, in the world of Hip-Hop there are some legendary, 
brilliant verbal freestyle battles between Supernatural, Craig G and 
Juice, captured in the film "Freestyle: The Art of the Rhyme. The film 
Rize documents some breathtaking "krunk" and "clowning" dance 

And this is a Good Thing. It has certainly does wonders for promoting 
the form and the leading practitioners.

The fact remains I never gave a thought to the aesthetics of juggling, 
and didn't really appreciate the technical challenge, until I read 
about this dust-up. Now I'm intrigued by the world of juggling. Also a 
Good Thing.

By the way - I pity the fool who challenges my puppetry skills.

Dan McGuire

On Mar 23, 2006, at 3:20 PM, Freshwater Pearls Puppetry wrote:

> Regarding the second video:
> Jason Garfield, apparently, is a technically advanced juggler. What a 
> shame he could only prove that to himself by belittling someone else.
> Chris Bliss's performance is transcendant. Jason Garfield's 
> performance is a sneer.
> Just my opinion.
> Regards,
> Diane
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