Those of you who knew me as affiliate director know that I always preached about being accountable to the affiliate clubs in what I and the IJA did.
Now, as chairman of the board, I feel strongly that the board of directors and each board member should be accountable to our members. So how do we do this?
1) Minutes are taken of all conference calls of the board. Once approved, they are mailed to all affiliate contact people. 2) All motions/decisions on the board's conference calls are by recorded votes. 3) Members will be able to see who voted for what (beginning with the December meeting). 4) Beginning with this issue, decisions of the board of directors are being summarized in Juggler's World (see News section). 5) In each conference call, each board member is asked to make a two-minute comment on what they have done in the past month.
6) Each board member has submitted one-three-five year goals which will be listed in the next issue of Juggler's World. 7) Any IJA member can call and discuss their concerns with any board member, including myself. 8) The annual general meeting at the festival in Montreal will be held earlier in the week, at a time when more members can attend. Each board member will be asked to have an annual report ready to distribute to the membership to see what they have accomplished in the past year. 9) I as chairman will be reporting to the members at regular intervals in Juggler's World and the Clubs & Affiliates Newsletter.
Half of our directors are new to the board this year. I believe that with our mix of old and new directors, the IJA is entering a new era. With the enthusiasm and dedication that board members have shown in these first few months, I'm convinced that the IJA will improve and grow in the upcoming year.
I challenge you to be part of our team. There are numerous members who have a multitude of talents who can help the IJA. Whether you are on the board, serve on a committee, work at a festival or simply make a donation to the IJA, your part is important.
As I ended my Fall issue letter, I wrote that the "continued success and growth of the IJA is the number one priority of this board." This should be our membership's number one priority as well!
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and the new year brings you health, happiness and the ability to juggle one more object than last year.
474 Enniskillen Ave.; Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R2V 0J4
For a while now jugglers have been complaining about the ban on clubs at Grateful Dead and related concerts promoted by Bill Graham.
I recently talked with Bill Graham at the last concert and asked him what was going on. He said that two years ago a girl at a show walked into a juggling club when two people were passing, and according to her lawyer the girl has permanently damaged her eye as a result. She is suing Bill Graham. Due to the lawsuit, Bill Graham Productions' insurance company will not cover concerts if they allow clubs on the premises.
So, there is an "official" ban on bringing juggling clubs into the shows. My impression is that Bill genuinely likes jugglers, but his hands are tied because of the lawsuit. If anyone has any ideas on how to remedy the problem I think Bill would be more than willing to listen. Maybe we could talk to him about setting up a juggling area at shows.
In the meantime, if you don't like what the Big Chief says, and do manage to get your clubs in, please be careful. And remember, juggling is not a crime... insurance is!
In a juggling championship the job of judges is exceedingly difficult. They are often asked to compare jugglers whose styles are completely different. Since it is so difficult to decide how a group of jugglers compare with one another in a given championship, perhaps we should expand the difficulty by requiring judges to travel through space and time to compare each juggler to all the great jugglers in history. And let's be sure to impose some absolute standard based on no-man-knows-what, but which is somehow acceptable to everyone.
The Chicago Bulls won the NBA championship this year because they beat the competition. The competition did not include great teams of other eras. It only included the great teams of 1991. But that did not diminish their victory.
Perhaps this analogy is inapplicable because juggling is not a sport. The winner cannot be quantified objectively. I suppose juggling rather is an art, something totally subjective. If this is the case then "the winner" is a matter of debate. There is no "absolute standard" which everyone can agree on except perhaps "it is not good to unintentionally drop things." Even if there were an agreed-upon absolute standard, how is it that a panel of human judges whose membership changes every year could be relied upon to consistently apply it?
No matter what system is used, judges cannot please everyone, and to make them try will guarantee failures like this year's competitions in St. Louis.
As a part of my juggling demonstration for Scout and school groups, the last thing I show is how I learned to juggle with scarves. I like to get the teacher or one of the Scout leaders up in front and teach them to work the scarves. The kids love seeing an adult look a little silly!
I always warn the kids not to get into Mom's good scarves.They can cost a small fortune and may not work for juggling. Then I show them a great substitute for scarves - plastic grocery bats. Just grab the bags by the bottom and shake them out. I usually bring a dozen bags for a few minutes of free play. There's nothing brighter than the face of a child when he or she gets it!
The grocery bags work just fine straight from the broom closet, or you can trim off the top with the handles for smaller hands and shorter arms. This may be the ultimate form of recycling!
The "Jugglers, Plus!" interviews in the Summer issue with Daniel Rosen, Penn & Teller and Pat Hazell were superb. Besides enriching us with a peek at their creative processes and motivations, these three entertainers had a candid "say what I feel like" style that was a joy to read. Carry on with this fun and inspiring writing!
In a Fall issue letter concerning competitions, Bob Whitcomb stated, "High technical skills have other venues such as... The Three Ball Open."
We would like to clarify the criteria of our competition so as to not scare off participants. The Baltimore Three Ball Open focuses on creativity and new tricks, not technical expertise. Competitors may drop as much as they want to, and sloppy execution is often the rule by that time of our long festival week!
We thank our buddy Bob for the compliment of bestowing "high technical skill" on the Three Ball Open, but make no mistake, we're only in it for the art!
The Baltimore Jugglers Association
I would dearly love the Big Toss-Up picture to cover an entire center spread of Juggler's World. This would bring it out of the cupboard and onto walls, doors, poles, park benches, gates and windows. It will also tell the world there are more than one or two jugglers around!
Richard de Villiers
Durban, South Africa