History of the Juggling Jukebox
"In 1992, I was hired for the Kid's Alley at the Pike Place Market Festival. I performed a fairly traditional show with diabolo, balls and torches. I started thinking about Pike Place as a busking venue. Pike Place is the place to street perform in Seattle, but its crowded layout and restricted performance spaces rule out traditional juggling shows.
"Traditional shows generally require a large personality as well as a large space. Since I am relatively introverted by nature, I had no desire to become a stand-up comic. I simply wanted to juggle for people.
"As an alternative, I took up the street mime concept of standing still for money. I had seen the live Statue of Liberty in New York and the swarms of guys on the San Francisco waterfront doing robotics to rap music. I had also read about the 'Human Jukebox' trumpet player. (Later, in Munich, I also saw people painted gold and posing as statues.)
"Sparing no alliteration, I named my new act James Jay's Juggling Jukebox. I developed routines that built juggling patterns together like musical phrases--five 3-ball tricks, two 4-ball tricks, a 5-ball trick and--for the stingy tippers--some 1-ball tricks.
"From attending Laura Green's street performing workshop at the International Juggling Festival in Montreal (1992), I knew that I had to have a way to sell people up from coins to bills. People don't know what's appropriate to give unless you ask for it, so I made a donation sign that read:
1 ball . . . . . . . $0.25
3 balls . . . . . . . . $1
4 balls . . . . . . . . $2
5 balls . . . . . . . . $5
7 balls . . . . . . $99.95
"I originally asked $300 for 7-ball tricks, but lowered it to $99.95, which was more in the realm of possibility and thus more intriguing to spectators. 'But he's only got 5 balls' was the common punch line. (I stopped setting out seven balls because people didn't laugh.)"
The Juggling Jukebox has been adapted to be hired for festivals and events -- free to the public!
"Juggling Jukebox" is a trademark of James Jay.