Hello from new member in RI, USA

Hello all, and happy New Year. Having seen the info. needed to join this mailing
list on the rec.juggling internet newsgroup - I jumped at the chance. I’m Keith
Johnson from Providence RI. I’m a 30yr. old. full time performer (since '86) of
Family Oriented entertainment (circus arts, magic, comedy at fairs, fests, corp.
picnic Christmas & Picnics etc.) and Humor Based Educational Assemblies for K-6
grade students in New England. I do about 450 shows per year, the majority of
which are “4 a days” at schools. I’ve been unicycling off and on (mostly off)
since I was 16. Never have I used the uni in my shows because 1. it’s hard to
find a place to practice year round in order to get good enough to include it in
the shows and 2. only recently have I graduated to performing at spaces that
consistently have the correct surface to ride. It’s tough to include unicycling
when you’re on the living room & ball field circuit. The only interestingish
story that I have about my life on one wheel to-date: I graduated from Ringling
Clown College in '83 and in our year they had a big thing about cycles. One guy
there seemed to be born on a unicycle, it was as if there wasn’t anything he
couldn’t do - it was as natural to him as walking is to me. In a couple of days
he learned to ride a unicycle wheel without the seat or body, (I forget what
that is called.) At the time I was able to ride a uni in a straight line and
mostly stay up. A couple of weeks before the end of the course, I was informed
that I was to ride a 6 footer in our graduation performance (in which we are
judged eligible for circus contracts). I did learn to ride it - barely. I never
did learn to free-mount the 6 footer, but by holding it still against a vertical
“I” beam which was a good distance away from the performance area, I could climb
up and then sit and wait for my entrance. I was to ride in the center of a line
of 4 other unicyclists lined up like a train. Anyway since I could not rock in
place, and could only move in a forward direction at a set pace, I had to judge
by the actions of the first 2 cyclists when to let go of the beam and race
forward to catch up to them and have it look like a smooth entrance at the same
time. As if that weren’t enough, the day before our performance the director
decided I should be carrying in my hands a 3 foot tall book entitled “How To
Ride A Tall Unicycle”. The worst part is, this gigantic book was made out of 1/4
inch plywood. After mounting the unicycle and letting go of my beam in time to
look like I was a synchronized part of a 5 person unicycling team, right before
I made my entrance, I was handed a HEAVY hinged plywood book to hold in front of
my face as I rolled out to be scrutinized by the owner of the circus and the
world media that was invited. I never did crash, I never ran into someone that
was behind or in front of me - both of which would have at least been funny and
therefor acceptable, instead I did the worst thing possible. I rode that
unicycle in front of all of those people looking like I was scared to death and
out of control - which I was. People fearing for your safety and the safety of
the others around you does not a good impression make in Ringling Bros. Circus.
I was not one of the lucky few who were offered contracts the following day. I
was offered a contract a few months after graduation, but I declined (a sin).
Who knows what they would have had me do if I was actually in their employ? I
hope to rekindle my fondness of unicycling by taking part in this mailing list.
I’ll be watching for encouraging words written by others who have worked through
the basics of unicycle skills and are now onto more complex things. Hopefully,
next summer I’ll put the uni back into my shows. I welcome e-mail at all times
concerning- juggling, circus arts, the trials and pleasures of performing solo
shows etc. Sorry if this post is unacceptably long - I won’t do it again. My
best to you all, Keith- KMJ1@aol.com