Entries tagged with “variety”.

Having just finished another great MadFest juggling convention I have come to a better understanding of why there was such a controversy over the popularity of the Chris Bliss video that swept the internet a while back. (If you haven’t already seen it, check it out here before you read the rest of this article.)

MadFest is the annual regional juggler’s convention that is held each January in Madison Wisconsin. I have helped organize it to one degree or another since it started. For the last six years I have been in charge of the Public Show.

This year, as usual, we had a fantastic show. We had great jugglers like Luke Wilson (Brittish, living in Germany) and the Dew Drop Jugglers (Minneapolis/St. Paul MN) and we had great variety acts like The Rope Warrior (Chicago) and the Flybar Pogo Stick Demo Team (Chicago/Ohio), and sold out our 1300 seat theater once again. It’s always a challenge convincing people to go to the show, but once they go they are usually astonished at how great it was. For the most part, once people have seen the show they make it a family tradition to go every year. Initially it was frustrating to me that people didn’t seem to believe me that the show was going to be good enough to be worth seeing. I eventually got over the fact that not everyone thinks juggling is as cool as I do, although that never seemed like the whole story. This year I think I have seen the light, and my frustration has changed to a slightly different form: I think that American society no longer believes that live entertainment is worth the trouble.


I just finished watching the final episode of NBC’s America’s Got Talent. If you don’t want to know who won you should stop reading right now.

First of all, I should say that I am really glad that this show is on the air. Even with all of my complaining, America’s Got Talent showcases variety arts and is good for all of us in the live entertainment industry. But there are a lot of serious problems. Click here to see my original rant on this subject.

Of course this show has been the subject of a lot of conversations in the juggling, yo-yoing, and performance communities, and one thing we were all in agreement on before tonight’s episode aired was that there was no way that a non-musical group could EVER win. Obviously the producers knew that too because they waited to give the judges picks on some of the semi-finalist shows until they had seen who the audience picked. With lay-people as judges you can never have a level playing field between music and variety acts. No one understands what is involved in putting together a good variety routine, and that’s fine, but the problem is that almost everyone knows how hard it is to be a good singer, and music has an emotional connection that nothing else can match. I realize that American Idol is not open to some of the acts that were on America’s Got Talent, but the fact that a variety act could NEVER win makes it look as thought the show producers think all variety artists are just really good filler. As long as music is a part of the competition no variety artist should ever enter if they actually want to win. They may get some great promo, but they will never win. (more…)

There is a new show on NBC called America’s Got Talent. I am very happy to have variety arts on TV, but there are some real problems with America’s Got Talent.

I’ll warn you now… this is a pretty massive rant.