Chris Bliss Diss

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Postby Guest » 03/14/06 01:31 AM

When I saw you all going nuts over Chris Bliss I didn't think it was all that. Not very in sync with the music, not very technical juggling. I said Jason Garfield was alot better.

And lo! Here is Garfield doing a 5 ball version of the same routine. Yup, he copies the routine but uses 5 not 3 balls.

http://www.boingboing.net/2006/03/13/ju ... all_r.html
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Postby Guest » 03/14/06 02:52 AM

So..Garfield is technically better than Bliss.

But isn't that a bit like someone like Darwin Ortiz posting a clip of him doing word for word Eugene Burger's Haunted Deck, and explaining that technically Eugene is rubbish compared to him.

OK - there is a difference - an appreciation of the technical skill plays a greater role in appreciation of juggling than magic, but to me the whole tone of this is a tad unprofessional....and looks like sour grapes. After all, it was Bliss who got the standing ovation, Bliss's routine that got forwarded by "everyone and their mother". Maybe there is a lesson there that Garfield could learn from.

I'm sure there is merit to educating people who are interested about what constitutes technically strong juggling - but to me this isn't the way to do it.
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Postby Guest » 03/14/06 03:29 AM

Originally posted by DomT:
So..Garfield is technically better than Bliss.

But isn't that a bit like someone like Darwin Ortiz posting a clip of him doing word for word Eugene Burger's Haunted Deck, and explaining that technically Eugene is rubbish compared to him.

OK - there is a difference - an appreciation of the technical skill plays a greater role in appreciation of juggling than magic, but to me the whole tone of this is a tad unprofessional....and looks like sour grapes. After all, it was Bliss who got the standing ovation, Bliss's routine that got forwarded by "everyone and their mother". Maybe there is a lesson there that Garfield could learn from.

I'm sure there is merit to educating people who are interested about what constitutes technically strong juggling - but to me this isn't the way to do it.
You miss the point Dom.

It's not like your analogy. More like someone doing a Sven Deck routine for people who are unused to seeing magic. Then everyone sending that clip to all their magicians saying 'isn't this great, look at this, wow, why can't you do this'.

Then, posting a clip of you doing Ambitious Card with a borrowed deck.

Don't know if you read the story on the site, but that's essentially what happened.

Garfield has had more than his fair share of standing ovations, and more often than not from people that appreciate what they are seeing and understand how difficult it is. This is why he is regarded as the best juggler in teh world.

If you look at his site (www.jasongarfield.com) you will see he is not just technical, but also used to work cruise ships working for a lay audience.

His stage persona/character is a very agressive 'screw you' kind of thing. So it is in keeping with that to do this 'diss' video.

However, juggling really is the opposite of magic. All there is to see is an appreciation of a techinical skill. It is the embodiment of 'look, I am doing something you can't do' that lots of magicians hate.

I think the back story about all these jugglers being fwd'd the clip makes it make more sense.

You can get a feel for how the juggling community felt about it here.

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.jugg ... scoring=d&

Damian
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Postby Guest » 03/14/06 04:26 AM

I'll admit that the 5 ball routine is much more technically impressive than Chris' 3 ball version. That doesn't necessarily make him a better artist though. He took something that Chris has become known for and added a more demanding routine. I would much rather have seen him do it to another song, which seems to me would have been much easier. Is he good? Hell yes. But Chris will always stand out as the one who started it. At least to me. Maybe because I saw him first. There are dozens (if not hundreds) of magicians and escape artists who are better than Houdini. But who is remembered and thought of when someone says the word magic?
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Postby Guest » 03/14/06 06:01 AM

Originally posted by pepka:
I'll admit that the 5 ball routine is much more technically impressive than Chris' 3 ball version. That doesn't necessarily make him a better artist though. He took something that Chris has become known for and added a more demanding routine. I would much rather have seen him do it to another song, which seems to me would have been much easier. Is he good? Hell yes. But Chris will always stand out as the one who started it. At least to me. Maybe because I saw him first. There are dozens (if not hundreds) of magicians and escape artists who are better than Houdini. But who is remembered and thought of when someone says the word magic?
Jugglers laugh at this Chris Bliss. That's all I know. The video isn't intended to showcase Garfield as a better juggler. That's been proven by the amount of gold medals, world records etc he has won. Also by him running the EPSN juggling competition.

As I explained, Garfield's aggresive stage persona is really suited to this 'you got served' kind of thing.

My analogy stands, that if every lay person you know sent you a clip of someone doing a sven deck and freaking out over it, it would probably get on your tits a bit.

:)

Anyhoo, it was just a link from Boing Boing that I thought was funny.

If you don't and love Bliss, huzzah and horrah. Enjoy. There are people that like Celine Dion, and even pop music too. And I defend their right to do so. This is a free world.

Enjoy what you enjoy. :)

Damian
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Postby Ian Kendall » 03/14/06 06:34 AM

There's one thing Damian said that I would take issue with; the statement that juggling is solely an appreciation of skill. While that is certainly true on one level, there is a lot more to it than is being presented here.

There is an inherant aesthetic aspect of juggling that, when properly presented, transcends the skill. The average punter won't neccessarily know the difference between Rubenstein's Revenge and columns, but they can both look pretty. I've seen performers get a great response from a simple three ball routine with decidedly average skill levels, and I've seen people bomb with stuff I could never do.

Damian is right about agressive performers, but there is a similar group within magical circles as well. My early juggling performances had a definite show off flavour, but time working on the street softened that somewhat. Strangely, some of the more agressive magicians I've seen were primarily jugglers...

It's a shame that there is this devide between magic and juggling; both are easy to do badly, but to do well takes dedication and skill. Both have artistic sides, both provide an opportunity to perform (although juggling has an edge in that an auduence is not _required_). There is the age old arguement about overt and covert skill, but it is possible for a juggler to conceal the overt skill to an extent.

There is a definition of maturity; the ability to mention Macs and PCs in the same sentence and not infer that one is better than the other. I wish a similar definition existed for this.

Take care, Ian
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Postby Guest » 03/14/06 07:03 AM

For me, it's all about emotion. We've all seen magicians that are incredibly talented not connecting with an audience. The same thing is true with juggling, shadowgraphy, puppetting, etc.

When I saw Chris Bliss, he really connected with me and I asked my wife to come and see him. The beauty of his act is not in his juggling skills, it's in the emotions that he carries. I would not have called her if I would have seen an incredibly talented juggler which does connect.

So Damian, if it could please you, your brother, Jason Garfield and a lot other juggler are much better technically than Chris Bliss.

However, everyone knows that the most difficult thing is to create the concept of the act, the way to do the things so that it will be "entertainment", not skill demonstration. In my own opinion, Criss Bliss succeeded at this.

I am not a fan of juggling but this act made me stop and look at it. For me, it's all that matter.

Richard
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Postby Guest » 03/14/06 09:32 AM

Originally posted by Richard Tremblay:
However, everyone knows that the most difficult thing is to create the concept of the act, the way to do the things so that it will be "entertainment", not skill demonstration. In my own opinion, Criss Bliss succeeded at this.


Richard
So what was the concept?

Dacing stiffly around a stage?

Of course juggling is more than techincal skill. See The Gandini Project, Michael Moschen etc etc

I am really pleased you liked him though. That's great. It's always nice when a performance artist can make someone smile.

In this case, however, it was making lots of people smile that had never seen a decent juggler, be it technical or artistic. And then telling jugglers hwo great he was.

And for the record, my brother won the gold medals at IJA 3 ball open doing an artisitic, dance based routine - not a technical one! :) I wish it was online somewhere so you could see what using music is really like.

But it isn't.

Really not getting into any arguements. You like it, I don't. Cool.

I just posted a Boing Boing link that I thought was amusing.
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Postby Guest » 03/14/06 09:33 AM

Originally posted by Ian Kendall:
There is a definition of maturity; the ability to mention Macs and PCs in the same sentence and not infer that one is better than the other. I wish a similar definition existed for this.

Take care, Ian
PCs suxx0r dude
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Postby Guest » 03/14/06 11:06 AM

This is like the controversy around David Blaine. The fact is, we're entertainers more than jugglers, magicians, escape artists, whatever. I agree that Chris Bliss isn't a virtuoso; you can shut the music and see that. But he's performing for a lay audience who are knocked out. They don't care who can juggle better. And if someone can rock the audience with a sven deck, more power to him.
Bob Taxin
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Postby Guest » 03/14/06 11:28 AM

Is the better juggler the one who can keep the most objects in the air for the greatest amount of time? Judged at the level of craft, I suppose so, and I know that jugglers engage in such competitions, which tends to validate such a point of view in their community. But by what criteria does one judge a live performance for an audience not composed of other jugglers? I'm guessing that most magicians who have recently seen the Chris Bliss video have also seen technically much better jugglers (Anthony Gatto, for example) and artistically more innovative ones (Michael Moschen comes to mind). I know I have and I admire them. I have watched the Jason Garfield video and encourage those who have seen the Bliss video to do so as well. It is obviously technically more demanding and flawlessly executed, performed to the same sound track (including the applause cues!). Is it better? I'm glad I watched it, but the one I'll likely watch again (and again) and encourage my friends and family to watch, is Chris Bliss' performance. That doesn't make him a better juggler, but given an opportunity to purchase a ticket to see either him or Garfield in competing venues, based only on what I know from those two video clips, I'd pay more and stand in line longer to see Bliss. For what it's worth, Biss does not bill himself as a juggler, but as a comedian, and my guess is that his finale is currently the only juggling segment in his performances. Part of the reaction is likely due to the contrast with the non-juggling performance that led up to it.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 03/14/06 11:33 AM

Damian says: PCs suxx0r dude

I'll bite. Edinburgh schools now all have Macs in their classrooms. The arguement is that Macs are easier for young children to use (and we'll ignore the fact that no training was provided for the teachers, leading to an unintentional blind leading the blind scenario in many places).

The problem is that unless the kids enter media or publishing at some point, they will never see a Mac again (at least not in their workplace).

Woo, that'll probably stir up some flames. On second thoughts, don't bother, I'll just shout at myself for a bit.

Take care, Ian
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/14/06 12:00 PM

My four-year old daughter has been using a PC for about six months. No problems.
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Postby Guest » 03/14/06 12:29 PM

Damian, thanks for sharing the clip of jason. Was he good, no, he was amazing, did he entertain me though? no...it was like watching a card guy doing onehanded muliple cuts, cool yes, but boring as hell after awhile (why are you doing something just to do it?), and that is the point I think many jugglers miss. It is the same as magicians. We go [censored] over guys who have amazing skill, but guess what, while I would be a bit upset at some lay person loving a bad magician but a great entertainer, it would be because I was jealous. When you are part of a community there is always a push to out do the next guy, and I understand that this is really a joke that Jason is doing, a diss, I would hope to think Jason would not do this in a real performance for the lay audience, for other jugglers fine, probably would be pretty funny, like a magician ragging on Blaine, but when I talk to my friends who are not magicians who like him, I don't say bad things, even though I know he is an ass. It is out of respect, respect to another persons thoughts, and respect to the fact that he can entertain with amazingly simple tricks. I really do not get the jealous outrage from Jason, and Penn and others. I understand that it is not a demanding routine with three balls, but that is why people love it, only three balls, it is simple, something the audience can follow and think, [censored], I can throw three balls into the air and catch them, but that was beautiful, I could never do that. I know that your brother is a gold winner, and that you are very proud of him, but I know lots of gold winning magicians that are not known to anyone outside the magic world, and never will, becuase simply put they only think about magic, and not about their real audience who is not made up of magicians. Bliss some how did something that made people connect with him, not the skill. Jason did a neat joke, but would I want to watch that version over again. No, there was no feeling behind it, I trully belive that 5 balls make it look ugly, I hope to see Jason perform live one day so I can see his true style, and I am sure I would like it, I love jugglers, I have seen some amazing feats, but none have touched the emotion of bliss, and I know you said your brother can but dude, there is only so much a brother can say, with out seeming to be just upset that his brother is not the one on the email lists, get it on tape, put it on line and prove us all wrong, in fact I would love to have you get your brother to the next WMS, talk to Rich, if he is that amzing I would love to see him, as I am sure everyone here is ( I am serious on this, I would really love to see your brother, he sounds like he is a mix of Jason and Bliss, the best of both worlds). Take care, and thanks for the debates, and for respecting everyones choice to like Bliss, but know that your tone, has been one that makes it seem that we are all stupid and wrong, hence my posting, I understand that you think Jason is better, he is, but also remeber that we are a lay audience to this as much as Jason and Bliss are lay audiences to us, they may even like Blaine, but hey thats their right, but I don't think you'd see my brother posting on a jugglers site that I am better than Blaine, it would be stupid, so hopefully we can all agree that Bliss was great, he entertained us, and that Jugglers know better.
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Postby Guest » 03/14/06 02:29 PM

Amen Brian.

When I got back from WMS and found the video for Bliss, I emailed to everyone I knew. Entertainers and laymen. They all loved it. This morning I did the same. The only reply I got agrees with us. Big deal, no emotion. Just like Brian said, it's like watching the world's greatest card flourisher. I'd really take some simple but good tricks anyday. Look at Blaine's first special and see what he did. Invisible deck, folding coin, top changes out of frame, and an ambitious card routine RK's little one could do. Couple all that simple stuff with some fancy editing on a Balducci levitation and you're a household name.
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Postby Guest » 03/14/06 03:18 PM

Originally posted by Ian Kendall:
The problem is that unless the kids enter media or publishing at some point, they will never see a Mac again (at least not in their workplace).
Ian,

Based on the history of Macs and PCs, I'm sure that by the time the kids reach the workplace, Windows will have advanced to the point that it is just like the Mac is today.

Pete
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Postby Ian Kendall » 03/14/06 03:27 PM

There is a certain convergance looming, I grant you. From a geek point of view (I have a ZX81 sitting on my desk here) I think any computer that takes ten OS revisions to give you a command prompt is hiding something...

In the past six years or so I've worked for some of the largest banks in the country (RBS, HBOS and Barclays) and I've seen _one_ Mac (and that was in the Dumfries police media department...)

Interestingly, from your wording it seems you are a Mac person - would you have said the same thing before Mac became Unix? :)

Take care, Ian
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Postby Timothy Hyde » 03/14/06 03:55 PM

I think the Blaine analogy (mentioned above) is quite accurate. The reactions of the juggling community pretty much echo those we heard from many many magicians when DB captured the publics imagination and pushed the appropriate psychological buttons.

Mrgoat thanks for posting the Garfield link however. As a closet 5 ball juggler (only rarely on stage these days),I was stunned by his skill and amused by his audacity in putting the clip together. But, I don't think I'll be sending the link on to many friends.

Timothy Hyde
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Postby Guest » 03/14/06 04:43 PM

Brian:

I honestly meant no disprespect to those that enjoyed Bliss.

I was merely linking to a Boing Boing post.

And for the record brother Jennings is more like a cross between Fred Astaire and Garfield. Not Bliss.

He does technically difficult tricks, but makes them looks effortless and beautiful. And one day maybe I can post a clip of it. That would be great. Thing is, he is a bit odd and as soon as he wins something globally, he moves on.

I agree with you totally that laypeople - ie people that do not know what they are looking at and are unqualified to comment - will and indeed did enjoy it. But, Garfield, Penn and others took issue with the lameness of it.

Anyone - with or without dance training - can see he looked stiff and didn't move to the music well. But heck, if you and others enjoyed it, excellent.

I am pleased for you. Really I am.

I was simply linking to a Boing Boing post that I thought was funny.

Garfield's only point - as far as I can tell - is that what he did was easy, and without real value. Hence his duplication of the routine.

He could artisically or technically stomp on it. He chose to techically mock it.

I found it funny.

That's all.

:)
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Postby Guest » 03/14/06 04:45 PM

Originally posted by Pete McCabe:
Originally posted by Ian Kendall:
[b] The problem is that unless the kids enter media or publishing at some point, they will never see a Mac again (at least not in their workplace).
Ian,

Based on the history of Macs and PCs, I'm sure that by the time the kids reach the workplace, Windows will have advanced to the point that it is just like the Mac is today.

Pete [/b]
Heh, agree totally. Vista looks like is has stolen all the good bits of OSX and soon windows users will be able to have a usable piece of software!

:)
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Postby Guest » 03/14/06 04:47 PM

Originally posted by Timothy Hyde:
I think the Blaine analogy (mentioned above) is quite accurate. The reactions of the juggling community pretty much echo those we heard from many many magicians when DB captured the publics imagination and pushed the appropriate psychological buttons.

Mrgoat thanks for posting the Garfield link however. As a closet 5 ball juggler (only rarely on stage these days),I was stunned by his skill and amused by his audacity in putting the clip together. But, I don't think I'll be sending the link on to many friends.

Timothy Hyde
I don't think he intended you to Timothy. I think he was just making a point. Some people got it, some didn't. That is par for the course for most of Jason's work. :)
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Postby Guest » 03/14/06 04:51 PM

Originally posted by Ian Kendall:

Interestingly, from your wording it seems you are a Mac person - would you have said the same thing before Mac became Unix? :)

Take care, Ian
I am actually xorss platform. I have to use a windows box at work and have both windows and mac at home. I always use the mac out of preference.

And yes, I do think I would have prefered any flavour of mac os over windows with or without the CLI.

Although that adds considerable advantage for the poweruser, I still only use it for limited things such as ssh, ftp, and some file moving things. That's cos I don't have the mad unix skillz...

One day...
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Postby Guest » 03/14/06 04:56 PM

Originally posted by pepka:
Amen Brian.

When I got back from WMS and found the video for Bliss, I emailed to everyone I knew. Entertainers and laymen. They all loved it. This morning I did the same. The only reply I got agrees with us. Big deal, no emotion. Just like Brian said, it's like watching the world's greatest card flourisher. I'd really take some simple but good tricks anyday. Look at Blaine's first special and see what he did. Invisible deck, folding coin, top changes out of frame, and an ambitious card routine RK's little one could do. Couple all that simple stuff with some fancy editing on a Balducci levitation and you're a household name.
Pepka

You seem to be missing the point and that's cool. Jason didn't do the video as a 'This Is Juggling' clip. He did it as a dig. It wasn't intended to be a clip to demonstrate what juggling was all about.

His site already has enough of those.

I am really pleased you enjoyed Bliss. That's great. Loads of people enjoyed Blaine. You are right, it's a good analogy. Slightly flawed in the fact that Bliss - afaik - doesn't have a network special. Aside from that, it's a good analogy.

Anyone can go and buy the props Blaine did and duplicate his act. Just as anyone can duplicate Bliss's performance. Maybe with more technical skill.

I have seen several better 3 ball jugglers.

I have seen several better magicians.

I repeat. I was just posting a clip I thought was funny.

No need to take it all so seriously.

It's only juggling :p
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 03/14/06 05:50 PM

Originally posted by mrgoat:
I repeat. I was just posting a clip I thought was funny.

No need to take it all so seriously.
In all fairness, though, your initial post didn't indicate at all that you were presenting it as humor. Rather, it came across as throwing down the gauntlet. I really don't see how it could be interpreted otherwise when your first two sentences are putting Chris down, your third states that you like Jason better and then you go on to present evidence why you think Jason is better. Had you instead said something like "Check out Jason's parody of Chris's routine," I imagine that this thread would have followed a very different path.

-Jim
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Postby Larry Barnowsky » 03/14/06 06:49 PM

Both performers were incredible. Juggling 5 balls is clearly harder than 3. Garfield is superb at that.

Bliss however juggled without stopping. There were no pauses to regrip the balls. The continuous action was mesmerizing. Also, performing in front of a live audience with stage lighting is more challenging than a work out in your gym.

I would also add that trying to one-up someone's act is unprofessional and juvenile despite his immense talents.
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Postby Guest » 03/14/06 08:18 PM

I agree 100% Larry. However mrgoat and I agree on one thing, it's only juggling. I for one am done with this topic and will immediately return to much more important issues: Erdnase's real name, who Marlo stole what from, and most importantly, how I can get a TV special and sleep with models based on crappy close-up magic. :D
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Postby Guest » 03/14/06 08:59 PM

I keep thinking about something I used to hear when I was studying art history. People would often look at paintings by Van Gogh, Picasso, et al, and say "I could paint THAT". And it true.

Lot's of people could paint "Sunflowers".

Only one did.
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Postby Guest » 03/14/06 09:31 PM

First. let me state that I'm someone who has occasionally )unsuccessfully) tried to learn to juggle three balls, so any juggling generally impresses me. The thing that I'm surprised at, in this thread on a magician's forum, is that no one has pointed out that, while Chris Bliss's routine may not be technically demanding from a juggler's perspective, the originality of the routine is where the true mark of an entertainer shows through.

I've seen thread after thread on this forum of people complaining about magicians copying others routines and not putting the work to come up with original presentations. Chris may not be as proficient as Garfield technically but who was original enough to come up with the presentation? Anyone can copy someone else's gig. I don't think adding another level of difficulty takes as much skill as coming up with an original presentation.

Food for thought.

JMD
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Postby Ian Kendall » 03/15/06 01:07 AM

John - if you _really_ want to learn, have a look at www.virtualmagicshow.com/juggle

If you follow the lessons properly (and that means doing the speaking out loud bit) I guarantee you will be able to juggle after a couple of days (and most likely after one hour).

Take care, Ian
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Postby Guest » 03/15/06 02:04 AM

Yes, only juggling, but still a fascinating thread, because there is the clear underlying parallel with what we do.
One thing neither garfield nor Mr Goat seem to have considered, though, was WHY did everyone and their mother circulate this film of Bliss, and not one by Garfield or MrGoat's multi-award winning brother?
Mr Goat said it might get on our tits if people were raving over a Sven deck routine....given the thousands of Sven decks that have been sold over the years, I hope i might have the maturity to stop and think and try to analyse and understand what it was about THIS Sven deck that had to touched the public....rather than just shout "this is crap, anyone could do it"
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Postby Guest » 03/15/06 03:26 AM

Originally posted by DomT:
Yes, only juggling, but still a fascinating thread, because there is the clear underlying parallel with what we do.
Parallel, but distinctly different.

If we see two juggling acts, and they're fairly identical, we're probably more impressed with the one that looks (to us) more skillful.

If we see two conjurors perform the same effect, and they both execute it adeptly, then we enjoy more the one which we find more entertaining.

Juggling is, in most cases, a demonstration of a skill.

Conjuring is an entertainment. Though if the conjuring was a manipulation act, and the spectators all knew the methods by which it was being effected, then we'd view that as we view juggling.

With juggling, we all know how it's done - we just can't do it. I know how to run a marathon - put one foot in front of the other, and keep doing that for 26 miles. Doesn't mean that I can do it.

But with conjuring, not knowing how is the intriguing part for most spectators.

Dave (cannot juggle at all, even after spending ages on Ian Kendall's tutorial years ago)
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Postby Guest » 03/15/06 05:36 AM

Originally posted by Jim Maloney:
Originally posted by mrgoat:
[b]I repeat. I was just posting a clip I thought was funny.

No need to take it all so seriously.
In all fairness, though, your initial post didn't indicate at all that you were presenting it as humor. Rather, it came across as throwing down the gauntlet. [/b]
Gauntlet?
To whom?

This isn't alt.tragic or the cafe.

And tbh, I don't care at all about 'the direction this thread has taken'. If you want to think I was somehow attacking something you hold dear to your heart, that is - of course - your perogotive.

It's not only 'only juggling'.

It's only a internet forum.

Don't take it all so seriously man.

All the best

Damian
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Postby Guest » 03/15/06 05:41 AM

Originally posted by DomT:
Yes, only juggling, but still a fascinating thread, because there is the clear underlying parallel with what we do.
One thing neither garfield nor Mr Goat seem to have considered, though, was WHY did everyone and their mother circulate this film of Bliss, and not one by Garfield or MrGoat's multi-award winning brother?
Mr Goat said it might get on our tits if people were raving over a Sven deck routine....given the thousands of Sven decks that have been sold over the years, I hope i might have the maturity to stop and think and try to analyse and understand what it was about THIS Sven deck that had to touched the public....rather than just shout "this is crap, anyone could do it"
Very good question. I imagine it was a lot to do with the music. Too many jugglers use dreadful music.

I also imagine it was because hardly anyone gets to see 3 ball routines.

Maybethe audience reaction being on the soundtrack helped?

Viral marketing is all about getting someone to fwd something. This is part of my job, so thanks for making me think about why it was forwarded.

[Edited for content:DS]
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 03/15/06 07:31 AM

Originally posted by mrgoat:
Gauntlet?
To whom?
To those who enjoyed Chris's performance.

And tbh, I don't care at all about 'the direction this thread has taken'.
And yet you feel the need to repeatedly state "no need to take it all so seriously," and how you believe that everyone is missing the point -- an indication that you do actually care about the direction of the thread.

If you want to think I was somehow attacking something you hold dear to your heart, that is - of course - your perogotive.
Can you show me where I indicated my feelings either way? I don't believe I stated anywhere that I felt my personal beliefs were being attacked. I merely pointed out how the wording of your original post could cause some to think you were presenting it as a challenge.

-Jim
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Postby Guest » 03/15/06 09:07 AM

Great Thread!

I didnt know that magicians were so passionate about our brothers in the variety arts (jugglers).

I cant resist putting my two cents worth, so here we go:

Ive worked with both Jason Garfield and Chris Bliss professionally (on separate occasions). They are both very nice guys and they are very talented in their own way.

Jason does a very funny comedy-juggling act where the levity hinges upon his stage persona (which is that of a sullen, bitter and somewhat angry juggler). He portrays this character in order to garner laughs, however the main commercial component of his act is the fact that he is a tremendously skilled juggler.

In fact he is so skilled that when I watched his practice sessions I often saw him do some tricks that I frankly thought were impossible. In my (non-expert) opinion I would venture to say that Jason is one of the top five technical jugglers in the world today.

Chris Bliss was a professional juggler in the 1970s. His main forte at the time was the choreograph combination of juggling and clever lighting effect to recorded pop music. His originality and visual appeal is what got him booked as the opening act of the Jacksons Victory Tour. A small magic history note: Charlie Miller mentions Chriss act in a positive way in the Magicana column of Genii magazine.

As the years went by Chris dropped almost all of the juggling from his act and he eventually became a stand-up comedian. The one routine he kept was the three-tennis balls to The Beatles. Incidentally Chris came up with this routine when his roommate in college played the Abbey Road album while he happened to be juggling.

Chriss act usually goes as follows: He does straight stand-up comedy and only at the finale he juggles the balls. This no doubt echoes the modus operandi of the vaudeville comedians who almost always closed their stand-up acts with a song or some sort of skill such as eccentric dancing. Now the fact that Chris has been booked on many TV shows around the world to do just his ball routine proves that the routine stands on its own. But, I think it is best appreciated when he does it as the finale to a stand up comedy act. Because when viewed in context you see that Chriss comedy character reveals no hint that he has physical skills and when the music starts and he starts juggling the audience is shocked and mesmerized by the strong emotional impact of the Beatles music. Furthermore I think that real charm of the routine is that fact that Chriss juggling technique is so idiosyncratic. By that I mean he quite frankly juggles like a guy who does know how you are supposed to juggle (When I told this to Chris, he laughed).

So the effect to the spectator is a very good stand-up comedian picks up three tennis balls. The Beatles music starts and the comedian who appears to be an ordinary middle-aged man suddenly begins to interpret the music in a sort of juggling trance. This magical journey blows the people away.

Now as I said before Jason Garfield is a brilliant juggler and a very funny comedy performer and Im a big fan. But within the juggling world, Jason is a very controversial figure. Much in the way that the late Andy Kaufman reveled in the controversy and anger that the audience projected on him during his forays into professional wrestling and his Tony Clifton character. Jason loves to stir things up and if I were to guess his Chris Bliss Diss video was designed for that purpose. And I suspect that the fact so many words about him (Jason) were consumed on a website for magicians (as opposed to juggling websites) will probably put a big smile on his face.

Best regards,
Levent
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Postby Guest » 03/15/06 10:26 AM

Jim

Sorry, it feels like you are trolling me here.

I don't care what anyone thinks, but I do care if people get heated about something of utterly no importance.

Hope that clarifies it.

Toodle pip

Damian
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Postby Guest » 03/15/06 11:29 AM

Damian says: "I agree with you totally that laypeople - ie people that do not know what they are looking at and are unqualified to comment - will and indeed did enjoy it. But, Garfield, Penn and others took issue with the lameness of it."

I think that as entertainers we should always take seriously the reactions and comments of the lay public. They may be unqualified to comment on the technical aspects of a performance, but are imminently qualified to comment on how entertaining the piece was. And isn't entertainment our goal, after all?
Bob Taxin
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Postby Brad Henderson » 03/15/06 12:49 PM

Originally posted by mrgoat:

You seem to be missing the point and that's cool. Jason didn't do the video as a 'This Is Juggling' clip. He did it as a dig.
This, I think, is the most telling line in the thread. While most of us have egos, it has been my experience, that those striving for art, or at least improvement, are generally supportive of others on similar paths. However, those who know that what they are offering is merely a commodity, one that can be replicated by someone with enough money or time, tend be be afraid of those with vision or genuine uniqueness- something they lack. We all know that in a few years the next 4 year old 18 ball juggler is bound to show up. Those that only have skill, and no vision, will have to take a back seat.


This is not to say that those who strive for art do not get frustrated with the hacks, but BLiss is NOT a hack. He clearly has a vision and one that he realized.

To echo Mr. Duncan's post, I was always told of jealous amateur magicians who, walking a trade show floor, would see Eddie Tulluck perform. Invariably they would approach him to give him pointers on his top change - something they saw with ease.

They would often walk away muttering, "I could do that."

In this case, the magicians eyes fooled himself. He could NOT see what the lay person - or in this case especially, the sales team - saw. He only saw what his short sighted vision allowed him to see - technique; and even then, technique outside the larger context in which it completely fooled the layperson.

The juggler who watches Bliss and sees only technique misses the point. The piece is NOT about technique. It is about music, and movement, and lyrics that many have a relationship to, and the visual representation of all in a cohesive package. All of these elements, all of these symbols, come together and produce a feelingful response in the participant, the viewer. It is an aesthetic moment. It speaks to them.

It is, I think, art.

If this feeling can be conveyed with tossing one ball in the air it is no less artful.

To fixate on the number of balls is to miss the point. And sadly, those who do, will never SEE Bliss's vision - because, like the trade show floor walker, their eyes are not open.

Brad
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Postby Guest » 03/15/06 01:28 PM

I'd have to say that the most telling point is that Bliss' video is for a packed auditorium of cheering audience members while Garfield's is in an empty gym with 1,2 or 3 camera men (depending on how many takes were done to get all those camera angles.) It's two different situations altogether.

As for me, I'd take 3 balls, a nice corporate gig paycheck, and satisfaction in knowing that others were moved to such jealousy that they did a technically beautiful garage band-like cover of my material, including bowing to my applause.

Bliss: 1, Garfield: 0
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Postby Brad Henderson » 03/15/06 01:41 PM

True as well.

It's rather like someone saying, I like that Van Gogh guy's stuff, but I can do it better. So here is my stary night, but with more stars.

One is art, one is not.
Brad Henderson
 
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