Juggling and Calla Lilies

Francis BrunnOn this day in 1887, the great painter Georgia O’Keeffe was born. I don’t actually know how big a deal she is in the world of art. But here in the west of the United States she’s huge. And her work is quite compelling with big (sorry) sensuous lines with wonderful use of those pastels that one rarely sees in painting. On the other hand, just like Monet yesterday, her work is over exposed and I swear I see it in motel lobbies.

Other birthdays: playwright Gerhart Hauptmann (1862); poet Marianne Moore (1887); actor Ed Asner (84); actor Sam Waterston (73); musician Kevin Eubanks (56); and actor Jonny Lee Miller (41).

The day, however, belongs to the great juggler Francis Brunn who was born on this day in 1922. You’ve probably never hear of him because, hey, he’s a juggler. It’s a rarefied kind of art form. But he is quite simply amazing. What people immediately notice is that he juggles a very large number of objects. He was, for example, the first guy to ever juggle 10 rings. In the following clip he is juggling six and it looks more natural to him than drinking a glass of water is to me. But what is most remarkable about him is his ball work. He often works with just a single ball and it is fascinating. He’s like a jazz musician. Watch how he plays with the rhythm. He also does some things with spinning balls that defy belief. This video segment is a bit long. (Over 7 minutes.) But it is filled with lots of very funny stuff that he does with Jack Benny, including a final payoff that kills.

Happy birthday Francis Brunn!

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