- Hello Damentos:
The last couple weeks, at McKinley Park, Chris, Andy, and I have been
working on a 3 man 3 club sharing routine. We got the idea for the
routine from some old 8mm film footage that my dad took at the 1968
IJA convention at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in L.A.
One of the three jugglers in the 8mm footage is a 78 year old ex-
vaudevillian named Homer Stack. Another juggler on the film may be
Lottie Brunn (sp?) a famous juggler of the 30s, 40s & 50s. I'll have
to research that.
Homer Stack was the guy who really got me launched into juggling. I
was living in Marin county at the time and he was the closest juggler
that I knew of - over 50 miles away in Burlingame, California. I
bought some juggling sticks and lacrosse balls from him and later when
I had saved up some money bought some clubs and wooden rings from
him. He and a neighbor made wooden ribbed clubs over which some kind
of cardboard/plastic material was stretched or molded. These clubs
were amazing works of art and functionality and he sold them for the
princely sum of $12 each. God only knows how many hours of labor were
invested in making each one.
Homer kind of talked like a gangster. He would always use the word
"see." As in, "This is how you do it see, see." Imagine Edward G.
Robinson saying it and that was Homer. Homer had unbelievable STYLE
when he juggled. I vaguely remember him juggling four and maybe five
but what he did best was three ball juggling. There was something
smooth, magical, and incredibly entertaining about the way he juggled
three balls. Homer was all about THE ACT and the persona and his
juggling of three balls was far more entertaining than anyone else
juggling huge numbers of objects. His three ball tricks were
obviously chosen for effect - not to impress other jugglers. Although
he did do some difficult tricks the hard tricks looked as smooth as
his cascade or shower. He was a true performer of the legendary
vaudeville. Homer did a lot of floor bouncing as well. Everything
that I knew about juggling came from Homer, at least until I started
juggling in the Rennaisance Faire and stared meeting other jugglers.
People dropped in constantly at his house to juggle with him and to
buy props. I would wonder at the juxtaposition between the mostly
hippie looking street people who would hear of him and stop by and
Homer, the old timer. One time when I was at Homer's house the girl
who is on Youtube winning the Gong Show dropped by. She was just
another hippie in a VW bus.
Andy suggested that I Google Homer Stack - so - I did. Below are a
very short article on him as well as a "Memoriam" that indicates that
he died in 1987 at the age of 96.
Homer Stack was a true institution. He coached countless jugglers,
some of whom had very successful acts, and he was the only supplier of
props in this area. There were no catalog companies for juggling
equipment back then. In my opinion his supplying of props did more
than anything to motivate jugglers to continue to improve and to
juggle with their new colorful props in public. It did for me!
Here is the article on Homer Stack which looks like it is from the
archives of juggle.org: http://juggle.org/archives/jugmags/37-1/37-1,p8.htm
Here is the "In Memoriam" juggling obituary of Homer Stack: http://www.juggling.org/jw/87/4/news.html
Here is a 7 min. documentary of Lottie & Francis Brunn. I really like
the professional voice over and was interested to hear them talk about
the uncertainty of performance juggling. They sum it up very well. I
think we have all struggled with the riskiness of juggling but haven't
heard it expressed before. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQbpk2rfK9o
5042 Stroman Lane
Sacramento, CA 95835-2057
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