Philippe Petit balances Oscar on his chin

Philippe Petit with Oscar on chin
Philippe Petit with Oscar on chin
Man on Wire won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature this year. The subject of the film, Philippe Petit, leapt up on stage while the filmmakers were giving their speeches. When it was his turn, he said he wanted to “thank the Academy for believing in magic” as he vanished a coin that he was holding in his hand. Then he reached for one of the Oscar statuettes and proceeded to balance it on his chin. How many other jugglers, unicyclists, wire walkers and magicians have held an Oscar at the Academy awards? I’m sure he would have walked a tightrope over the heads of the audience if they had let him. Watch the Oscar antics on YouTube.

Bowling ball to the head

Do a Google search for “juggling bowling ball” and a video of me juggling a bowling ball and two eggs comes up on the first page along with various videos of people getting hit in the head with bowling a ball. A much funnier video is Dan Bennett kicking a bowling ball into the air and catching it on his head. Mr. Bennett is a corporate entertainer who uses juggling and object manipulation in his performances. I’d link directly to his video, but I’m posting this with my mobile device and YouTube URL’s are a pain to do. The above link takes you to Dan’s website where you can see all his videos. Look for the one called “Soft Landing.”

Man vs. Machine

From Wikipedia: Leo Houlding, a British rock climber, appeared in the BBC television program Top Gear in which he raced presenter Jeremy Clarkson up a cliff face in Verdon Gorge. Leo, joined by Tim Emmett, climbed the canyon while Jeremy drove an Audi RS4 to the top using the surrounding roads.

To find out who got to the top first you’ll have to watch the video. I will tell you this, they raced back to the bottom and Leo won. He jumped off the cliff and parachuted to the bottom.

I can’t forget Jackie Chan

Do a Google search for “top 10 stunts” and you’ll find page after page listing Jackie Chan stunts. Notice the Google search didn’t mention Jackie Chan. You’ll also find lists mentioning Stagecoach, Ben Hur and other action movies. Every list I found mentioned at least one Jackie Chan stunt. Then I came across a video by James D. Rolfe, aka The Angry Video Game Nerd. (watched 4 million times on Youtube) with his personal list of top 10 Jackie Chan stunts and was reminded why Jackie is the world’s most-loved movie star. Be warned, the video is not for the faint of heart. Jackie punishes his body and risks his life. Jackie Chan deserves a lifetime achievement award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the American Film Institute, National Society of Film Critics, Taurus World Stunt Awards and the Nobel Foundation.

Here are the stunts you will see in the video:

10. Jackie snowboards down a mountain, off a ramp, onto the landing gear of a hovering helicopter, then jumps into a partially frozen lake after the helicopter explodes. (First Strike, 1996)

9. Jackie sky dives onto the top of a floating hot air balloon, then slides down a rope into the basket of the balloon. (Armour of God, 1987)

8. Jackie bungie jumps from a balcony, but begins with the rope wrapped around him, so as he falls the rope unwraps and he spins furiously until he comes to a stop inches above the pavement. (Who Am I? 1998)

7. Jackie jumps from a tall building onto a rope ladder suspended from a helicopter. (SuperCop, 1993)

6. Jackie slides down 21 stories on a sloped glass building, starting feet first, then flipping over to head first, and twisting around to feet first. When he reaches the end of the slope he is still several stories above the ground and he catches himself on a window ledge adjacent to the slope. (Who Am I? 1998)

5. Jackie roller skates in traffic, jumps over a VW Beetle, in between cars and under a moving tractor trailer. (Winners and Sinners, 1983)

4. Jackie jumps from a building to moving truck to a moving bus then through a real glass window. (Police Story 2, 1988)

3. Jackie hangs from a moving bus by an umbrella, having to lift his feet to avoid hitting other vehicles in traffic. (Police Story, 1985)

2. Jackie does an homage to Harold Lloyd by dropping from a clock face and falling 60 feet through two awnings onto hard-packed dirt. (Project A, 1983)

1. Jackie slides down a metal pole in a shopping mall, crashing through strings of lights, through a class roof onto the floor. (Police Story, 1985)

Sword Swallowing

Sword swallowers amaze me. I’ve seen three performers in person. The first was in 1987 when Western Guilford High School took the senior class to the state fair. I went to a show in a tent and saw a guy swallow a really long screw driver. I believe there were other performers that did other acts but I only remember the guy with watery eyes and a screw driver down his throat.

The next sword swallower I saw was Keith Nelson (aka Mr. Pennygaff) of Bindlestiff Cirkus. He swallowed scissors, swords and lit neon tubes. A great act. Nelson has many other talents including juggling. Most recently I went to a Rennaisance Festival near Charlotte and watched a guy do a whole forty-five minute act centered around his sword swallowing. I should have written down his name.

[Posted from Harrisonburg, Virginia]

Dazzling lights

Red, blue, yellow and green lights

Jim the Jester switches the green switch and the green light turns on. Then he moves the green bulb to a different socket, switches the green switch and the green bulb still lights up. He does this in various combinations to cool effect. Watch the YouTube video.

Dancing to the Stars

Emmitt Smith
I am a fan juggling, but I also enjoy watching people who have taken their physical skill to the highest level. I am not a fan of football, but I am amazed when I see someone like Emmitt Smith zigging and zagging through a pack of defenders. Gymnasts, divers, tennis players, skiers, skateboarders can all be exciting to watch. Tight-rope walkers, wrestlers, pole climbers, balancers, sword-swallowers, fire eaters, trapeze artists, and stuntmen are terrific. Slam dunks, pratfalls, free falls, backflips, and pirouettes are beautiful. I just recently discovered Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance and I find it fascinating. Another great source of video of human movement are Nike and Gatorade commercials.