Thursday, July 20th

Three hours sleep should be enough for anybody.

Hang out in the gym. Help Todd Strong to stack dice into boxes. Todd is largely responsible for the current diabolo craze, so perhaps dice stacking will be the way of the future. Consider purchase of Steve Salberg's twelve foot Aussie whip. Agree to buy it, unless he gets a better offer. Myron Wilcox comes over to ask for advice on a whip he has bought. I suggest to him that it will pop better with a popper, and make him one.

Am forced to choose between going to see the Qian brothers at the Tropicana or watching the numbers competition. Come to the conclusion that I have seen a numbers competition before and probably will again, so decide to give it a miss. We arrive for the noon show which does not take place today, so have two hours to kill before the next show. Consider going back to the Hacienda for the first half hour of the numbers, but check out the new MGM Grand, instead. The main entrance to the hotel is shaped like a lion's mouth, and inside is the Emerald City of Oz, with life size talking models of the main characters. We wander round the amusement park, ride the monorail to Bally's and back, and it is time for the show.

The show opens with the traditional Chinese lion dance. Someone comments, 'That's Fred Garbo in there'.

Three people doing an eighteen rings feed is the most beautiful trick I have ever seen, today anyway. One of the brothers also does the best kicking-up-bowls-onto-the-head routine that I know of. While riding an eight foot unicycle (which he street mounts) he arranges up to four bowls on his foot alternating the right way up and upside down, then kicks all four up to land on the stack balanced on his head. Finally, with the stack of bowls still on his head he spins ten rings on different parts of his body - three on each arm, two on a leg and two on a mouth stick. There are also several contortionist acts in the show. Speculate to myself on their sex lives. Two of the Qian brothers do a cheesy plate spinning routine - but then, all plate spinning routines are cheesy.

Do not regret missing the numbers competition, especially when I hear that the results, at least in the individuals, are somewhat anticlimactic. One of the ring passing categories has no entries. Mark Bakalor complains that if his father had told him he could have entered with a couple of friends and won a gold medal.

Purchase Steve Salberg's twelve foot bullwhip. He assures me that cracking it is a matter or technique, not brute force. Decide to believe him, though initial evidence is that in my own case, technique is sadly lacking. We show each other tricks that are described in the bullwhip help file.

TV cameras are now cruising gym, so I try to be try to be photogenic. It seems to work. They spend a fair amount of time recording my cheesy plate spinning routine. Vladik is interviewed, and is instructed not to look at the camera while juggling five balls. Advice is redundant, as he is not yet at the point where he can juggle five without looking at the pattern. Reflect on how little the general public, and TV interviewers in particular, understand about juggling.

Gregory Popovich gives a demonstration. Not only is the gym floor too small, the ceiling is too low to pull off seven ring pirouettes seven high. What can the IJA have been thinking of? After bounce juggling his rings on the ceiling for a while, Popovich eventually pulls of the seven ring pirouette, but has to gather the rings afterwards. He also throws five club back crosses with quad spins, and a shows how to turn a nine ball flash into a routine. He starts with four balls in each hand and one ball between his legs, flashes nine and finishes with a neck catch. The ball on his neck is then dropped to the foot and kicked back up to his hand.

Vladik and his father Anatoli are working out and a crowd starts to gather around them. Anatoli goes from five club back crosses into a five club multiplex. He juggles six clubs, then goes into a six club multiplex. The clubs are juggled in pairs. He can do it at two different heights, with a pair of clubs doing either two and four spins or three and five. He kicks a club up to go from a five club multiplex into a six club multiplex. He flashes seven clubs. Vladik does five club pirouettes three high. He goes for a five high a couple of times but does not pull it off.

Attend the life member party. A quick poll reveals the winners of a total of thirteen IJA medals seated at the table I am at. Then off to the shuttle bus to see the public show. Sit next to Masaki Nishikawa who shows me a reproduction of a picture of Japanese street performers from about a hundred years ago. There is someone on a rolling globe, a rope dancer, a juggler with one of those 'ball-basket' things, and two storytellers, one comic and one serious.

The public show was a marvelous mixture of great juggling and other variety acts. Will try to write a full review later. Highlights are the Passing Zone doing a ballet routine with chain saws, Fred Garbo as an inflatable cube, and Francoise Rochais doing a routine with the same tricks as her competition performance, but a completely different character - this time what seemed to be a little girl participating in a dance class unwillingly, until she finds these neat sticks to play with. She wears an outfit with a shiny red latex top makes black leather seem like more of a possibility.

Club Renegade is the best of the week. The best part is a Dan Holtzman impersonation contest, judged by his partner, Barry Friedman, who is blindfolded, and behind a sheet. Entrants include Donald Grant, Francoise Rochais and Dan Holtzman. The winner is David Deeble, who captures the quintessential Holtzman telephone style.

John Gilkey is given the Founders award and the Peoples' Choice award. When the prize for the outstanding woman juggler at the festival is announced he goes to collect that as well, but the MC insists on giving it to Francoise.

I have received e-mail from the UK, telling me to ask Donald Grant about the two lesbian nuns. I do not get the opportunity until he is on the Renegade stage. He proceeds to tell a very obscene joke, and I am thankful once again for the magic of the Internet.

Notice that thomasl's hair seems to have a diabolo tangled in it. Can it can be removed without the need for surgery?

This has been a great convention. Never before has there been such a congregation of technical talent and performance skills from all over the world. We saw performers of the first rank from China, Japan, France, Russia, America, Mexico, Scotland and Germany. Only the high price and the poor gym facilities prevent this from being the best IJA Festival ever.

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