File puptcrit/puptcrit.0603, message 231

To: <>
Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2006 12:34:22 -0500
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Another Remarkable Video- Juggler's Smackdown

I am enjoying this thread a lot.
Competition between artists IS exciting. It can be petty but it can also 
move the art form forward.
Picasso and Matisse were rivals and friends. They kept an eye on each other. 
It was said that they were so far ahead of everyone else that they were the 
only ones who truly "got" each others work.

In the world of jazz (and Celtic music too) there are epic battles.
In the 40s there were battles of the bands,on the same stage, It sold 
tickets like crazy, and got them all playing their very best and beyond.

Someone said at the Academy awards the only way to really judge two actors 
is to have them play the same role. In opera and ballet and Shakespearean 
theatre this happens- who was the best Hamlet, Sir Laurence Olivier or Sir 
John Gielgud? Very often the conclusion is that  various interpretations can 
each offer  new insights into the role. We all benefit from being able to 
compare, and it sharpens our sensibility.

In puppetry in the 1930s  Eugene O'Neill's "Emperor Jones"  was performed by 
Jero Magon on the east coast, and by Ralph Chesse on the west coast. I 
wonder if anyone got to see both productions?

Can you imagine Phillip Huber, Ronnie Burkett, David Simpich, Basil Twist, 
Joe Cashore all on the same program?


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Gregory Ballora" <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, March 24, 2006 11:46 AM
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Another Remarkable Video- Juggler's Smackdown

Having watched both videos, and also having spent time
with jugglers in the past, (their conventions make
ours look mighty tame) I think there is an excellent
lesson here in knowing your audience. The best thing
Chris Bliss did was to pick that song and perform to
it. To me, his performance was like a meditation on
the song using 3 balls. I loved it. The other guy,
Jason, is a phenomenal juggler, but most of what he
does is beyond the average Joe's ability to
comprehend. Hence, Chris' ability to time his catches
to the music is more moving to me. I can get it. His
"awkwardness" read more as struggle, and worked with
the music.  Jason, on the other hand, is also amazing,
and if he had been taped on the same stage, with the
same audience, he would also have gotten a great
response, BUT he never would have come up with the
idea in the first place. That is the key.

As puppeteers, I am sure we all have been to puppet
shows and been amazed that the audience liked the show
as much as they did. We don't have the Beginner's Mind
anymore. So there is that struggle between pushing the
art forward, while still including the audience that
isn't as sophisticated as us "professionals".

Thanks to you both Diane and Dan for bringing the
videos to our attention. I love to read the debate
about other art forms. I am not so attached, so I
learn more.


--- Daniel McGuire <> wrote:

> 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
> obit:
> "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's 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
> hilarity?
> 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
> competitions.
> 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.
> Cheers,
> 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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