If the word juggler brings to mind rent-a-clowns in goofy shoes or muscle-bound circus performers, prepare to have your stereotypes tumble Saturday when the Irvine Arts Festival presents the Mums, a Los-Angeles based trio that combines juggling, magic and derring-do in a surprisingly hip show.
Performed against a musical backdrop that combines New Age sounds with tribal drumbeats, the Mums' repertoire draws on some of the more exciting stunts of circus and stage. Clubs, flaming batons, rings and mammoth beach balls spin wildly overhead. Fluttering doves and streams of silk appear out of thin air. Fire and razor blades are swallowed as easily as ice cream. But the really amazing thing is just how cool these guys look while they're doing it.
Nathan Stein, Roy Johns and Albie Selznick are the juggling Mums (which, by the way, stands for "minds under matter"). Stein and Johns were San Francisco street performers when, in 1976, they nabbed the last Ted Mack Talent Search Award ("I like to think we killed him," quips Stein), winning $1,000 and a chance to tour the Far East. The pair spent six months in Hong Kong and Japan with a "Las Vegas-style girls-and-feathers show," then returned to the United States.