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On this page, questions frequently asked of jugglers generally and James Jay specifically are answered (for the most part).
Other intriguing questions (without answers) can be found in the Juggling Jukebox Top Ten List.
Is he real?
Yes. Although parents will try to persuade their children otherwise, James Jay is in fact human. The Juggling Jukebox is not a juggling robot, but a robotic juggler.
How many balls can you juggle?
Seven, but I don't practice it anymore. Juggling more than five is a waste of time. You have to be crazy. But then again, you have to be crazy to juggle in the first place!
OK, so how many clubs can you juggle?
Although generally considered easier than seven balls, my five club pattern is, uh, shaky. I don't practice it much and the most catches I've gotten is about 18. I focused on ball juggling for many years, but am currently developing some new three-club work. Still, I'm most proud of my ball juggling.
Do you juggle fire?
This question inevitably follows a great ball routine: "That's great, but can you juggle fire?" Sorry to break it to the uninitiated, but juggling a torch is pretty much like juggling a club except your insurance rates go up. I have a routine sketched out that takes fire juggling to the extreme (and the insurance rates through the roof), but I never get around to developing it--other projects always interest me more.
Are you ticklish?
Are you a mime?
I use physical theater skills and have studied mime technique, but I don't claim to be a mime. I am a juggler. There is a difference of perspective, in that jugglers emphasize prop and mimes emphasize body (although both arts utilize both elements). Unfortunately, there are many bad practitioners of mime who give the art a bad name. I do not wish to be one of them, so I don't call myself a mime. And I never thought I would wear whiteface, until I joined Circus Contraption!
Do you do magic?
No, magicians are a completely different breed from jugglers. Although both entertain with things called "tricks," they hide and we show. Juggling is a physical skill that inspires awe not through trickery, but through its directness and purity.
Has anyone ever put $100 in your hat?
My street-performing sign has a joke about 7 balls for $99.95, but I never expected anyone to call my bluff on it. But it actually happened at 3:45 PDT on Monday, August 26, 1996. A young family had been watching me for a long time, and had already tipped to see the five-ball trick and several 3-ball tricks. I thought they were pretty excessive tippers already, when I looked in my hat to see a wad of bills--a five on top, some ones below that, and--this is when I freaked out--the twenties on the bottom.
Everyone always asked me what I would do if this happened, and I always said "I don't know." I hadn't conceived the possibility. But when it actually happened it became pretty clear what I should do. So I gave them their money back and juggled seven balls!
Are you two brothers?
Bret Battey (the composer with whom I collaborated on the high-tech Juggling Jukebox) and I are often mistaken for twins. We are, in fact, not related.