Page 6                                             Fall 1986

IJA in San Jose


The Entertainment Never Stopped


Cool Pacific breezes and hot jug­gling attracted more than 700 registrants to the 39th International Jugglers Association Annual Convention July 22-27 in San Jose, California. Warm and dry during the day; cool at night - the conditions were as perfect as con­vention chairmen Barry and Sue Bakalor of the host San Jose Juggling Society had portrayed them in their bid to host the convention two years ago.


By all accounts the convention succeeded for the IJA. The public events were almost all sold out, including the 2,700 available seats for the grand finale "Juggling, and Other Delights" show. Anthony Gatto disappointed no one in setting new records for the Numbers Challenge and winning the U.S. Nationals Championship.


Likewise, Kirk Swenson and fellow joggler Owen Morse set new marks in the 100 meter, mile and 5-kilometer joggling events. Longtime IJA favorites Arsene and Waldo resurrected their team act long enough to win the first IJA Street Performers Championship.


Bob Nickerson received a special "Wild Style Award" from the Atlanta Jugglers Association for his U.S. Nationals antics. It was the first of what's .hoped to be a growing tradition of affiliate-bestowed honors for competitors.


Robbie Weinstein culminated several years of trying by finally winning the Juniors Championship. Two new faces, Richard Chesbrough and Eastman Webber, performing as The Jet Set Jugglers, came from nowhere to win the Teams Championship.


In a new IJA wrinkle on an old theme, Michael Marlin emceed the championships events, providing levity between acts while the judges tallied their scores.


The entertainment never stopped. Workshops and a gymnasium full of jugglers working on all sorts of tricks were constant inspirations. Almost two dozen jugglers came to the convention three days early to take an intensive club swinging workshop from Allan Jacobs. A tired and sore Joe Esseichick said, "I walked away feeling like I had learned a great deal. I've been interested in it ever since Allan floored me with his torch swinging at the Amherst mini- convention two years ago."


During the week, a welcome party and costume ball helped everyone unwind from a hard day's workout. After the evening's scheduled activities concluded, attention shifted to Club Renegade, where the show began at midnight.


Club Renegade was a "people's" idea, conceived and executed by The Renegade Jugglers of Santa Cruz, California. The Renegades rented stage and lighting equipment and set it up alfresco behind the juggling gym.


The hams came out every evening beginning at midnight to entertain ever-growing crowds. By the time Frank Olivier, Michael Marlin, Pat Hazel and Scott Melzer closed down the cabaret Sunday morning at 2 a.m., a crowd of almost 400 enthusiastic people was gathered to drink beer and cheer them on.


Tom Kidwell of Renegade explained, "We thought. there should be more of an open, unpressured and festive forum for people to try their stuff. We started at midnight because we didn't want to interfere with scheduled convention activities, and because we didn't want people to feel like they had to put on a family show!"


The idea worked beautifully. Performers who took to the Renegade stage with music, magic, mime, comedy, and juggling included Cliff and Mary Spanger, Buffalo Bill, Bob Nickerson, Moshe, John Keeler, Mardine Rubio, and Danny Avrutik on piccolo. Cat Wildfire did a fire devil stick routine, Rock did club swinging, Manic Expressions showed some of their innovative team steals and takeaways and John Q. Public, the working class juggler (Larry Forsberg), performed politically satirical juggling. It went on nightly until the outdoor sprinklers came on about 2:30 a.m. to break up the party.


The cabaret paid for itself with donations from the audience, and Kidwell said Renegade plans to continue their phenomenon at all conventions for the foreseeable future.


The two scheduled IJA shows, "Sensations of '86" on Thursday night and the Saturday night public show, "Juggling, and Other Delights," were ably organized by Craig Barnes and Soozie Shireman. The Saturday night show filled the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts with more than 2,400 people.


Scott Meltzer and John Park, the American Dream Team, emceed the Sensations show and interjected several clever bits. The most outrageous was both fitting into a pair of humongous blue jeans and doing Scott Meltzer and John Park, the American Dream Team, emceed the Sensations show and interjected several clever bits. The most outrageous was both fitting into a pair of humongous blue jeans and doing   a two-person under the leg pass with clubs.

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