Saturday, December 26, 2009

practice space

it is the bane of the existence of every juggler. the constant question in the appraising look in our eyes as we turn them upward, at the ceiling of every room. the impassioned longing that fills us at the sight of a warehouse, church or gymnasium. it is the marks on the walls, the dents in the furniture, the broken chandelier. it is the desire, it is the NEED, for practice space.

my apartment has a 7-foot 9-inch ceiling. my soul dies a little every day. i have a gym membership down the street, but let's face it--there are just some things i cannot practice in front of the conservative suburbanite crowd at the Painesville YMCA. in fact there are some stunts, like the one in the video below, for which i might just get arrested.

regardless, we sally forth, determined to hone our skills by whatever means necessary. after all, one never knows when one might be called upon to entertain a group in the most inconvenient space possible. one must be prepared for the structure of an inconsiderate architect who never bothered to plan for a juggling show. thus, the video. i offer it as a treat to you, the dear fans of the Bonko Blog; a glimpse at the new trick on which i've been working.

a few answers:
-yes, it is my living room.
-yes, it is astoundingly more difficult to do while kneeling.
-yes, they are sharp. very, very sharp.
-yes, this is how i spent my christmas.


music is "Nothing is Something Worth Doing" by Shpongle.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

here we go steelers...

"didn't you grow up in Cleveland?"


"then why are you a Steelers fan?"

good question. actually, I was born in Allentown, PA, and the Steelers were my team before my family moved to Cleveland when I was 5 years old.

"but that's eastern PA, shouldn't you be an Eagles fan?"

funny story...

I've been dealing with these questions for as long as I can remember. I myself have often wondered how I became a Steelers fan (Dad likes the Packers and Mom roots for the Browns) Then, one day, my older Brother recounted the story to me (I was too young when it happened to remember), just as I'm now recounting it for you. Enjoy:

It was January 20th, 1980, and I was just under 3 years old. The Pittsburgh Steelers (defending champs) were playing the Los Angeles Rams for the Superbowl title. Gathered at my parents' house were a collection of their friends who had come over to watch the game. Living in eastern PA, many of them were Philadelphia fans and they had given my brother and I matching Eagles jackets in an effort to bend us toward the dark side. Apparently, when Pittsburgh won 31 to 19, I took off the jacket, threw it to the ground and declared to all assembled that I was a Steelers fan. And so it has been ever since. Even at such a young age, I knew a winner when I saw one.

At the age of 5, my family moved to Cleveland so my Dad could attend podiatry school here and my allegiance came with me. My Mom took up an affinity for the Browns and we've bet on nearly every game the two teams have played since. In 1987 we went to a game at the old stadium and I was on the news for being a little kid who was stupid/crazy/ballzy enough to wear black and yellow in a sea of brown and orange--folks kept threatening to throw me into the dawg-pound. In grade school I caught no end of crap for wearing Steelers garb on special "Browns dress down days" in the late 80's when Cleveland was reeling in the Kosar years. I've been yelled at, threatened, hit, shunned and hated all for staying loyal. Of course, this city's football record doesn't really offer much to induce traitorous thoughts, but that's another story.

See, the Steelers are my team, but Cleveland is my city.

I've now lived in the Cleveland area for almost 85% of my life, and regardless of my football team, it is my city. I grew up here. I'm hard pressed to find a building downtown in which I haven't worked or a parking lot where I haven't changed outfits for a gig. I've lived through the surrounding passions and let-downs of every major sports team being almost good enough. I know where to find free parking. I know which exit to take. I live on the east side, but I'll still drink on the west side. I understand how unusual that last sentence is. I know the people throwing the parties and I know the sound techs, too. I'll easily navigate University Circle. I'll get to Coventry faster than you. I'll tell you at any time how close you are to a Subway or Chipotle. I live in the 440, but I am always 216. I partied in the Flats. I've danced in the Warehouse. I've drank in the dives. I've skied in the lake. I've watched some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world from illegal rooftops. I've lived in East Cleveland and been a guest in Bratenahl. I know this town probably better than you. And so I, still a Steelers fan, even want the Browns to be good again, because it means so much to the people around me, with whom I have grown, lived, laughed and loved.

And I congratulate you on your win last week.

Enjoy it, cause we're gonna kick your ass next year. Twice.

Monday, December 7, 2009

movie madness

There is a Blockbuster about a mile from my house. I love to watch movies and don't have the patience to wait for them in the mail, so I love this fact. Especially since I know of many other Blockbuster locations that have closed down because of heavy competition from internet-based sites. Recently, while on a familiar stroll down the "new release" aisle, looking for any movie that might promise a few good laughs or even some rockin fight sequences, I came across a section of...books. Yes, books--slipped in between the C's and the D's. I actually had to stop and look around to see if anyone was laughing at what could only be some kind of crazy joke. When I noticed that no one was even looking in my direction (not even the cute girl behind the counter--damn), I decided that they were serious about this. Thing is, they were not even movie-related books. I could certainly understand trying to cross market the Twilight series, but that was not the case.

Now, I consider myself a pretty avid reader, but I am not so naive to think that anything in which I am interested is good for business.

So there I stood, dumbfounded, asking myself, "Is this Blockbuster's big plan for boosting sales in the wake of Netflix and Red Box? Books? Don't they know that all the book stores now sell movies so they can stay open?"

Well, I wish Blockbuster the best of luck. I'm going to miss them when they're gone.