Wednesday, June 11, 2008

John Haffner

DS: Name, how old are you, and for how long have you been juggling?

JH: jöhn edgar haffner, 23, 6 years
JH: 6 years since cascade

DS: Is there a reason your o has umlauts?

JH: yeah, a couple months ago I thought it would be cool. The j is lower case as well. There are three dots above my name representing 3 balls
JH: I really dig the idea of having my name mean something about me as a person

DS: very clever, did you start juggling at cascade or was there another reason for starting?

JH: The reason I started juggling was basically because I received a book "Juggling for the Complete Klutz" from my cousin for Christmas. I had nothing to do for the next couple of days so it was a great gift. Later I found out my Aunt bought it. She takes credit for introducing me to juggling
JH: I learned a few things very quickly then sort of stagnated for a while

DS: At what point did you know that juggling was what you wanted to do, and would make up a critical part of your life?

JH: I knew I liked it immediately. Juggling even influenced my college selection process even though I basically only knew cascade and a few minor tricks. I ended up going to college at SUNY ESF at Syracuse University where they didn't list a Juggling Club. As luck should have it there was a club there.
JH: I started to pass and I knew it was going to be great fun if I stuck with it

DS: To date, what is the most unusual thing or set of things that you have juggled?

JH: I don't really keep track of that kind of stuff, but I guess it would have to be caulk.
JH: hahaha
JH: there happened to be some caulk at work

DS: in a gun, or flakes of it, or what?

JH: oh it was in its container with no gun attached

DS: What has your juggling career entailed so far?

JH: I sell Russian style juggling balls, few talent shows, college open mic nights, and one kid’s birthday party. I can't remember it might have been a communion.

DS: why did you start making/selling balls?

JH: basically I had this hairball brained idea that I could sell juggling balls and use that to fund my trips to juggling festivals.
JH: this was after I made balls for myself and friends for a while
JH: I decided it was worth a shot

DS: has it worked?

JH: hahaha, that’s a good question. I definitely has given me an excuse to go to more festivals. I can't say I've made too much doing it, but I definitely have had a lot of fun. I'm looking to expand into other props. So far I haven't had too much time to look into that though.
JH: I would make those props as well.

DS: What accomplishments are you most proud of?

JH: Definitely resurrecting a dying juggling club.
JH: The Juggling Club at SU was one person at the beginning of my senior year
JH: I worked my tail off and found some great people who loved juggling who took it over. We just held our first festival this past September!
JH: Our hard work definitely paid off.

DS: to completely shift gears: How many of each type of props do you juggle?

JH: I juggle 6 balls, 4 clubs, 3 Frisbees, and I don't like rings. I'm an outdoor juggler these days so that doesn't help out. I play around with 1 soccer ball and Diablo on occasions

DS: wow, you juggle 6 balls, 4 clubs and 3 Frisbees all at the same time?

JH: I was going to be a jerk and ask you if that’s what you meant, but decided against that. hahaha

DS: It is honestly the question that I hate most when people ask after I tell them what I can do
DS: moving on
DS: Do you specialize in any auxiliary props or non juggling circus arts?

JH: Yes, sort of. I love playing Ultimate Frisbee.
JH: I play Frisbee way more then I juggle these days.
JH: You run into the same kind of fun people. Which I like.

DS: make sure you say excuse me

JH: Sure, Excuse me.

DS: Generally speaking, do you wear socks while you juggle?

JH: if it’s cold yes. If it’s warm I’m shoeless like my hippie brethren

DS: At what types of venues do you usually perform?

JH: um, I usually don't perform. But if I have the opportunity I usually do a passing act with my friends at open mic kind of shows.
JH: Recently I haven't been performing too much. My normal job takes up too much time.

DS: which is?

JH: I'm an Environmental Scientist for the US Environmental Protection Agency Superfund (Hazardous Waste) Sites
JH: I'm actually looking to move sometime soon I'd like to hear good suggestions for places to move. Juggling is a big deciding factor

DS: Anything amusing or unique ever happen at one of these shows?

JH: I acted like a monkey

DS: no, you must have missed the part where I said UNIQUE

JH: but I do that all the time

DS: exactly
DS: Are you a clown?

JH: depends on who you ask
JH: I don't put on make up. But I do joke around a lot and make a fool out of myself
JH: One thing I don't do is perform as a clown.
JH: I wouldn't mind it if I did though
JH: it looks like fun
JH: just not the typical circus clown stuff

DS: What makes up a standard juggling practice for you?

JH: Recently, I have been concentrating on 4 clubs a lot. Everything has been taking the backseat to 4 clubs. Its wintertime so I don't have a standard juggling practice.
JH: Right now, I'm just trying to keep my hand eye coordination going in anyway possible. Mainly Frisbee has been the only way to keep that going.
JH: I'm not good so no one needs to know my practice regiment

DS: What is it that will make you want to pick up your props tomorrow and keep juggling?

JH: Its fun

DS: What goals are you currently working towards?

JH: 4 club slapbacks and corrections, 5 club qualify, some kicking soccer ball juggling, 4 Frisbee horizontal shower, 7 balls, and more consistent practice

DS: do you practice these things one at a time, or do you ADD your practice and move back and forth like me?

JH: typically I work on one trick a practice. If things get frustrating I move on to the next trick on my list.

DS: Which prop is your favorite to juggle? Any specific reasoning?

JH: clubs, because there is a certain level of precision you need for them. If you want to do a slapback you need a 3/4s spin if you want to catch the wrong end you need to through a half spin. Kick ups are some of my favorite things too. I forgot to add kicking butt at kick ups to my goals.

DS: Are there any specific jugglers that inspire you?

JH: Mainly people I know and talk to whether it be a workshop or regularly Joe Showers, Airplay Jugglers, Keith Leaf, Dominque, and the French Canadian Circus Schools' Jugglers
JH: Workshop leaders always inspire me. I'm really glad juggling is so widely shared. I don't know what I would do without workshops at festivals.
JH: If you know something that isn't taught at a festival and you think it should. Run a workshop. People will appreciate the effort

DS: Do you have any “claims to fame” in the juggling community?

JH: A lot of beginners in the Northeast know me as the kickup workshop guy, but I am also the inventor of the game of Ultimate Bouncy Ball and founder of the World Ultimate Bouncy Ball Federation.

DS: for those of us less learned, we you mind giving us the key rules?

JH: Basically the rules are to kick a ball
JH: everything else is up to you
JH: The most important thing is to have fun at juggling festivals when you are sort out of your wit and are a little sick of juggling
JH: The whole point is to have fun and look silly

DS: you are obviously and expert, must not have taken long to create

JH: yeah all I need to create this sport was a large bouncy ball some open space and 2 minutes
JH: the rest was history
JH: the goal is for everyone to have fun and for a few people UBB is their favorite sport
JH: myself included

DS: Where do you see yourself in terms of juggling in a month, a year, 10 years?

JH: in exactly a month I will be at Juggle This in NYC. It’s the closest juggling festival for me and I'm really excited. In one year I hope to accomplish the goals stated earlier in the interview and to have a new location/club to live at. In 10 years I hope to continue to spread the juggly love to the masses through teaching regular workshops to people.

DS: Art or Sport?

JH: both have their place. I like artistic technical juggling the best.

DS: Balls, Beanbags, or Russians?

JH: Russians. They work so well are affordable, correct bad technique and don't get damaged outside

DS: and you sell them?

JH: yeah that helps too
JH: hahaha

DS: Well this pretty much wraps up our interview, if there is one thing you would like the juggling community to know about you, what would it be?

JH: I am just a guy who likes to have fun juggling is fun so it’s what I do. I would like to encourage people to try to spread the love and teach someone if they are ever interested. Its really rewarding for both parties involved

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