Jugglers showcase their talent on streets PDF Print E-mail
Written by ALEX ASPACHER Sentinel Staff Writer   
Saturday, 20 July 2013 08:32
Sam Malcolm juggles sharp knives while balancing one on his head during the Busker Competition in downtown Bowling Green Friday afternoon. (Photo: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
Performers took to the downtown streets with balls, batons, knives and any other objects they could think to toss in the air Friday.
Six members of the International Jugglers' Association, in BG for the group's annual festival this week, squared off in the Busker Competition, each working their crowd for 20 minutes to rustle up as much cash as possible.
Spectators were free to toss in their own money, while IJA members were each given 10 "busker bucks" to support their favorite acts. Monetary totals were figured in with judges scores to rank the jugglers, among whom a $3,000 prize pool was divided.
John Satriano, a juggler from Philadelphia, Pa., who served as one of the judges, evaluated performers on execution, audience interest, creativity and stage presence. An experienced juggler who said he's likely seen each trick a thousand times, Satriano said he watched for others to do something inventive that surprised him and captivated the audience.
"Street performing is about holding a crowd with the strength of your presence," he said.
Sam Malcolm, of Boulder, Colo., left the reins of his show in the hands of a 9-year-old assistant to sprint to Main Street and recruit.
"Hey, random guy on the street!" he yelled. "Come watch, something amazing is about to happen!"
The contest contained an element of controversy as Malcolm and at least one other performer had to call an audible after they were told by police and fire personnel that a permit had not been approved and they weren't allowed to use fire in their acts.
Malcolm, whose specialty involves fire, planned to juggle five torches and said he was disappointed with having to switch to knives.
Warren Hammond, also of Boulder, Colo., had his finale derailed, forcing him to solveĀ  a Rubik's cube while audience members dumped water on his pants, rather than work the colored puzzle with his pants on fire.
Officers apparently didn't reach Michael Rosman, of Baltimore, Md., in time, as he said he juggled lit torches, as well as knives, while balancing on a table.
Rosman said he didn't think the presence of fire helped his act much, as it kept him from visiting the crowd more to collect money.
Fire or not, Hammond, Malcolm and the others clearly made an impression on audience members, each collecting plenty of real cash.
An organizer of the event responsible for the results did not immediately return phone messages.
Malcolm said the festival, which concludes Sunday, is a huge event for the juggling community each year, a chance to make friends and share their art.

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