Archive for the 'Juggling' Category

This is why I love the Neverthriving Juggling Club

No one remembers exactly when Matthews Park started opening their multipurpose room to a small, ragtag group of geeks and students every Monday night, so they could have a free, massive, indoor, high-ceiling place to practice throwing and catching more objects than they had hands with which to do so. What I know for sure is that I started attending these casual sessions circa late summer 1982, which everyone agrees was probably only a few months after its inception.

Nearly 30 years later, it’s still happening – and it’s still free.

The Neverthriving Juggling Club is a place where new jugglers practice, old jugglers socialize and ill-prepared non-jugglers get props thrust into their hands and a lesson, no matter how strongly they protest.

It doesn’t get much more wholesome than this. Free juggling lessons, free practice space, without having in bring your own equipment (at least not initially), open to all ages. Moreover, when you decide you need to take a break from dropping things and picking them up off the ground, the free entertainment of watching some of the best jugglers in the country practice and goof off is the juggling equivalent of watching the sound check at Lollapalooza.

As we careen into yet another rumored-to-be long and brutal winter, this weekly indoor escape and excuse to wear a tank top is pretty hard to beat. And did you know that juggling actually makes you smarter? I kid you not.

The Neverthriving folks are also largely responsible for putting together the annual MONDO Jugglefest, one of the largest, annual gatherings of jugglers, unicyclists and yo-yo enthusiasts in the country, coming up on February 17-19, 2012.

Further to the previous promise of free entertainment at Neverthriving, here’s a video of me and MPLSSteve doing, well, the uniquely ungraceful yet lively thing that we do best, passing six clubs.

The Minnesota Neverthriving Juggling Club
Monday nights from approximately 7:00 pm till 9:00 pm
Matthews Recreation Center
2318 29th Ave So
612-370-495

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Juggling, Making the world a better place | 21.11.2011 16:45 | Comments Off on This is why I love the Neverthriving Juggling Club

The 21st annual MONDO Jugglefest April 16-18 2010

It’s MONDO Jugglefest time again! And this year’s festival, by any measure, is going to be pretty exceptional. For starters, holding it in April instead of February means we (hopefully) won’t have to face the minus 20 degree temperatures that usually punctuate MONDO weekends. Also, this year’s MONDO Spectacular, our wildly popular Saturday night public show, has four, count ’em, four juggling and unicycling stars being flown in from international locales!

As always, the festival is being held at Concordia College’s monstrous Gangelhoff Center, just off Hamlin Avenue in St Paul. This massive field house, with the always exciting bouncy rubber floor that weaponizes virtually every dropped club, is where all the workshops, demonstrations, prop vending and games will occur.

Some 650 jugglers, unicyclists and others attended last year. Few things in life slacken the jaw like a field house teeming with people deftly throwing and catching (and dropping and bending overing and picking upping) thousands of objects simultaneously, while a mind-bending army of unicyclists wizz around, yoyoists yo and poi spinners, uh, do whatever. I’m telling ya, this caliber of full blown over-stimulation entertainment can usually only be achieved with highly illicit drugs. (Kids: don’t do drugs.)

If you don’t juggle (or unicycle or yo-yo), this is the place to learn. Formal and informal coaching persists throughout the festival. I can teach anyone between the ages of six and 75 to juggle in less than 30 minutes. That’s right, in thirty minutes you can be just a little bit more like me and who doesn’t want that?

The deets:
21st Annual MONDO Jugglefest
Gym passes, good for all three days, are $10 at the door. All attendees will be required to sign a waiver before admittance to the festival.
Tickets for the Spectacular (7pm, Saturday April 17th) are $12 for adults, $10 for children under 12.

Festival Hours:

  • Friday April 16th: 5:00pm – Midnight
  • Saturday April 17th: 9:00am to 2:00am (Note: the Gym will be closed during the Spectacular show, roughly from 5pm until the end of the show around 10pm)
  • Sunday April 18th: 10:00am to 5:00pm

Also, in case you were on the fence about the cool-factor of being seen at a juggling/unicycling festival, check this amazing awesomeness out:

Juggling | 7.04.2010 8:53 | 1 Comment

The 20th Annual MONDO Jugglefest – February 20-22, 2009

It’s MONDO Jugglefest time again! Can you believe it’s been 20 years already? Remember the first MONDO? The catchphrase “The biggest juggling festival in the upper Midwest between Groundhog’s Day and Valentine’s Day” lured a whopping 80 people on short notice for the one-day event. Buddha, 1990 was a great year. I could finally juggle five clubs, I thought I’d be listening to The Art of Noise until my death and I had that bitchin’ ponytail. Good times.

Well, apart from my hair style, MONDO has aged gracefully. About 600 people showed up to the three day event last year and the Saturday night public show, the MONDO Spectacular, routinely sells out. As always, the festival is being held at Concordia College’s monstrous Gangelhoff Center, just off Hamlin Avenue in St Paul. This massive field house, with the bouncy rubber floor that weaponizes virtually every dropped club, is where all the workshops, demonstrations, prop vending and games will occur. There are few things in life that can stun the brainstem like walking into a room where several hundred people are deftly throwing and catching (and dropping and bending overing and picking upping) thousands of objects simultaneously. When you factor in the army of unicyclists wizzing around and the yoyoing and poi spinning you’d be crazy to miss out on this singular event. That’s right, crazy! You don’t want to be crazy, do you? Crazy is so 2000-2008.

If you don’t juggle (or unicycle or yo-yo), this is the place to learn. Formal and informal coaching persists throughout the festival. I can teach anyone between the ages of six and 75 to juggle in less than 30 minutes. That’s right, in thirty minutes you can be just a little bit more like me and who doesn’t want that?

And ladies, juggling is perennially a lonely guy affair. Typically, the guy to girl ratio at a juggling festival is like 25 to one. If you’ve ever wanted to be in a safe, fun environment, where you can develop your dexterity and have your pick of literally hundreds of guys vying for your attention, this is the place.

For the most part juggling is wholesome, safe and non-hurty. That said, here’s a little sample of the edgier stuff, where smashed fingers and body blows are verily guaranteed, both for the jugglers and the people standing within 20 feet of the jugglers. [Those using blog readers will have to watch the video here.]

The deets:
20th Annual MONDO Jugglefest
Gym passes, good for all three days, are $7 at the door. All attendees will be required to sign a waiver before admittance to the festival.
Tickets for the Spectacular (7pm, Saturday February 21st) are $12 for adults, $10 for children under 12.

Festival Hours:
Friday Feb. 20th: 5:00pm – Midnight
Saturday Feb 21st: 9:00am to 2:00am
(Note: the Gym will be closed during the Spectacular show, roughly from 5pm until the end of the show around 10pm)
Sunday Feb 22nd: 10:00am to 5:00pm

Events, Juggling | 10.02.2009 15:58 | 3 Comments

This is why I love the MONDO Jugglefest

jugglingoranges.jpgYou don’t even wanna know how badly I wanna just sit here and write 2,000 words about the unspeakable awesomeness of my new condo. It’s just so awesome (I still haven’t figured out where I packed my thesaurus). I’ve been here for a mere five days and I can’t get enough of it. I’m so happy that I’m seriously considering sending a body double in my place to Romania and Moldova for seven weeks of guidebook research this summer, so I can just sit here and soak in the awesomeosity. Sadly, there isn’t another travel writer on Earth with a body like mine, so I guess I have to go.

So, since I’m not writing about my effing awesome condo (Did I mention it’s connected to the Skyway? And I have a clear view all the way to the downtown St Paul skyline?), I’ve decided to write about something else that’s obscure, yet dear to my heart, the annual MONDO Jugglefest, happening this Friday, Saturday and Sunday (April 11th, 12th and 13th).

For those of you too busy to read my lengthy bio, you may not know that I’ve been a juggler since age 12. There was a brief moment in time during my teens when my skill and breathtakingly rapid development had people dropping my name as the next Juggling All Star. But then I kissed a girl and all my practice time was suddenly filled with other activities. I regret nothing.

So, while I’m not even remotely as good as the average, non-girl-kissing teenaged juggler these days, I’m still very connected to this rarified art (one step above mime, one step below dinner-table magician), which is why I am so excited to get to the MONDO Jugglefest this weekend, held at Concordia College’s Gangelhoff Center, just off Hamlin Avenue in St Paul.

What do people do at a juggefest, you ask? Well, juggle like maniacs, for starters. There’s workshops, demonstrations, vendors and games happening on all three days. Not to mention the indescribable, jaw-dropping scene of watching a sea of people spread out all over a field house deftly throwing and catching (and dropping and bending overing and picking upping) hundreds of objects all at once.

And it’s not just juggling. Unicycling and yo-yoing are equally well represented. On Saturday night we hold our public show, the MONDO Spectacular, at the Central High Theater, where dizzying displays of top-shelf juggling, unicycling, yo-yoing and more are packaged and presented for hardcore enthusiasts and curious bystanders alike.

If you don’t juggle (or unicycle or yo-yo), this is without a doubt the best place to learn. Formal and informal coaching persists throughout the festival. I can teach anyone between the ages of six and 75 to juggle in less than 30 minutes. That’s right, in thirty minutes you can be just a little bit more like me and who doesn’t want that?

Festival Hours are:
Friday: 5:00pm – Midnight
Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.
(Note: the Gym will be closed during the Spectacular, from 5 p.m. until the end of the show around 10 p.m.)
Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Gym passes, good for all three days, are $7 at the door. All attendees will be required to sign a waiver before admittance to the festival.

And for the ladies, juggling is perennially a lonely guy affair. Typically, the guy to girl ratio at a juggling festival is like 25 to one. If you’ve ever wanted to be in a safe, fun environment, where you can develop your dexterity and have your pick of literally hundreds of guys vying for your attention, this is the place. See you in the gym!

Events, Juggling | 10.04.2008 10:28 | 1 Comment