Side burns of an angel.

Posted in Daily Post, Players, Update, Yo-yos, juggling on November 2nd, 2009 by Jack Ringca

What do you do when you’re on the road for 11 hours in one wack? You stop at Willie’s Place. AKA, the place that has the face of the guy who wrote “On The Road Again” on it. Seriously, Willie Nelson knows how to make a place cool with a truck stop type environment. That felt strange to say but, it’s a fact.

Jonesboro, Arkansas! I don’t know if everyone knows this but, it’s an oasis of Duncan love right in the heartland of America. On the Serious, we did a demo at the Toy Castle there and it was mega good times. They have a great supply of gear and the staff can play like nobody’s business. If you find yourself anywhere near there, check it out. you owe it to yourself. Thanks to Brittany, Chelsea, Rachel and Nathan for having us. Keep at it.

I would like to follow that up with a player profile. Carey Mullins and his family are talent wrapped up in the bodies of cool people. Carey works at the Toy Castle and he holds it down better than we rarely see.They are easily the most committed people to Duncan as a movement. The Jonesboro yoyo scene would be nowhere near where it is without them. Carey has done his room up in Duncan memorabilia and throws like a champ. And Carey’s dad, Matt! The guy has a Duncan Throw Monkey Tattoo! If that isn’t commitment, I don’t know what is! They also juggle, spin tops and perform all sorts of side show tricks. They seriously have it going on.
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Mr. Mullins taught Seth how to lay on a bed of nails and did some juggling for us. Seth is a beast and as brave as they come. I feel like he hasn’t been getting enough of a shout out here on the blog so here it goes. Seth, you are the best part of this tour. Keep it up! We rocked Arkansas!

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The outer border of falling in love

Posted in Daily Post, Events, Players, Update on November 2nd, 2009 by Jack Ringca

Parting is such sweet sorrow. This morning, we had to see Hank off back to Mantua, OH. He’ll be miss like crazy but, Seth and I will carry on and make him proud. He definitely made a lot of things happen out here.
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Shifting gears, the next gig was on Halloween! Fancy fun times! We found ourselves in San Marcos, TX at the super good time factory known as Paper Bear. I knew Carol and Kathy(who run the place) were super fun people as soon as we rolled up. They had their costumes on and were already getting the party started. Thanking them in words doesn’t begin to express the gratitude they deserve for what they do in that community. They make it happen and it’s the coolest.
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We had the demo up and running and before you knew it, things got REAL! Kyle Weems showed up and did some diaboloing, talked yoyo engineering and yoyoing along with us. The crowd grew. A young player named Sam MArtin shows up and blows the doors off the place with some high level play. The crowd grows more. Tom Cunningham shows up with quite possibly the best quality vintage duncan collection I have seen in years.(outside of lucky’s guiness record collection and the national yoyo museum). The crowd grows and gets ten times cooler. And then it all breaks loose when World Fixed Tip Spin Top Champion: Jorge Alcoz shows up. Nothing is bigger.
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These guys really made the demo one of the most educational experiences any of us had seen. We traded ideas. We got to throw tangible history. We saw the work of masters and masters at work. It is the kind of thing that makes even the best/most accomplished players humbled.
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After we wrapped the demo, we took as many as people as would come with us to lunch. We kept up with the sharing of tricks, tips and ideas and then we were joined by Austin/San Marcos, TX player Travis Owens. Another next level player that really should be respected by many if not all. It was just cool to be in that environment. I have to imagine that this is what it was like to be an artist during the golden age of paris or a psychedelic rocker during the high times at haight ashbury. I hope everyone everywhere is making the most of the yoyo scene that is bubbling under the surface. It’s way too fantastic not to.

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Flips and Tricks

Posted in Adventures, Cameras, Media, Uncategorized, Yo-yos, crew on November 2nd, 2009 by Seth Peterson

We found ourself with a little downtime and in close proximity to the golf coast so Marie, Hank, jack and I hopped in the van and headed to see the Golf.

We didn’t have much time, and when we got to the “beach” we soon realized it was be renovated. Bummer. So instead we hung out at a little playground right by where the beach would be. Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but it seems that once you get a yo-yoer on a playground the start doing apparatus on stuff. This time was no different. Sit back, relax and watch Jack throw some freehand while Hank does backflips off the swing set.

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Daggers and Rocking Babies

Posted in Uncategorized on October 29th, 2009 by Jack Ringca

I think it’s time that I admit that I want Austin, TX to be my new surrogate home. I have had great times here. I have great friends here and quite frankly, it has become one of my top 5 favourite places on earth in less than 24 hours.

We had an unexpected morning off. I would like to take a moment to wish all the health, happiness and speediest of recoveries to the patients at the Dell Childrens’ Hospital here in Austin. Due to concerns involving their health and welfare, we were unable to perform for them today. But, my hope is that after the flu season is over and infections are at a bare minimum, we can come back to Austin and bring a little more happiness into their days.

I instead found myself with a few hours to commune with my new home away from home. Of course, the thing I had to absorb with urgency was the music culture of the city. I was suggested by many to visit the Waterloo record shop. My friends here are the best and they didn’t let me down. Not only was the staff at Waterloo super knowledgeable, they were also hyper friendly. They have records, they have live music and the best part is it’s a record store that also, stocks Duncan Yoyos. It’s enough to make me melt. How many places on earth can you have a conversation about Son House and by a good yoyo? One that I know of. Big points won there.

I then stopped by South Austin Music because it’s hard to resist going into a guitar shop with a 4 meter tall Gretsch Chet Atkins model outside. Seriously, one of the coolest guitars the world has ever seen taller than you’ve ever seen it. Again, I was taken by the friendliness of the people of Austin. I can get picky and particular when it comes to things like this and the guys at South Austin Music were just pleasant as pie when I would have been annoyed by me. I also suppose that the friendliness of Austin rubbed off on Hank and Seth. They didn’t mind weathering my quirky requests and watching me play guitars and shop for records. I couldn’t ask to be on the road with two better people. They will be great friends of mine for life.

We then collectively decided that it was time to take the culture of Austin in a different way, we ate it up….literally! Over on South Congress Avenue, there is a three block section with cool Airstream trailers outfitted to be fantastic restaurants. If you get a chance, we ate at Hudson’s Mega Cone and we all highly recommend it. Besides, if you have a sweet tooth, Big Top Candy Store is right across the street and they are fantastic AND stock Duncan yoyos to boot. I am starting to think this town loves us as much as we have come to love it.

Eventually, we tore ourselves from the joys of Austin city culture and cool and got ourselves to a great gig at Terra Toys. Remalda runs the place and that lady has one great family working along side her. I had already made friends with some of them months ago, they made it feel like I was just visiting home. Honestly, I love them and I refuse to ever stop. Then, just when you think it can’t get more fun, KEYE news stops by and we do a live news spot right here to let the city know that we’re still here and still rocking the house.
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Speaking of rocking the house years later, This demo yielded even more surprises and history. The kids and families were a fantastic audience. I am still constantly floored by how easily the kids pick up on intermediate level tricks. And only to sweeten the deal, we got further proof that it sticks with you forever. We met a regional sculptor and artists named Bob Wade. He is from Austin and shared some of his art from his 40 year old body of work. What makes him even more relevant? In the 1960’s Bob was a Duncan junior instructor. He can still bang out the basic ten and beyond. The guy is a regional treasure and it was so nice talking to him and hearing his stories of the “old school” of touring, instruction and yoyo demonstration. I hope I have kind of atmosphere about me 40 years from now.
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As a major aside, we also were blessed to see Elliot Pemberton and his daughter Siri. Elliot is an employee of Duncan’s parent company, Flambeau. This only proves that there really is a family behind this thing. We might not be blood but, we are family. Elliot, you have a beautiful family.
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After a while, the demo wrapped but, we just weren’t ready to leave our new family. So, we did a little shopping in Terra Toys, and tried out some of there more exotic toys. From there we went off to have drinks and dinner with Sam, Asia and Amy whom all work at the shop. How do they reward us? They took us to what was easily my favourite eatery of the entire year. Conan’s Pizza! Seriously, how can any human being not be excited, intrigued or both by a dining establishment that is entirely Conan the Barbarian themed. Holy Cow Times Ten! We swapped war stories of the toy trade and bonded over our inner nerds. D&D, comic books, cartoons, toys, video games and more were on the agenda. Of course, this meant that we needed to go to a legendary video arcade to end one heck of a day.

We rolled over to the UFO arcade and it was like walking deeper into some fantastic dream I have yet to have. Me, the boys and the Terra Toys gals all played some fighting games, some dance games, some tetris battle and had a great time. If you’ve seen videos from previous tours, you know that I fancy myself a good gamer, especially in fighting games. It is my pleasure to say that on this outing, I was humbled by the skills of another yoyo player and fellow gamer. Jonathan Begnaud, your kung fu is strong and I promise to practice hard until next we meet.

All in all, Austin now owns a big part of me and I hope we did it proud and can take a little of its good will with us. We’re moving on to Houston and beyond. I am sure that the rest of the tour with be beautiful but, Austin sets a very high bar for the rest of North America to rise to. All my thanks will never be enough.

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privacy locks are a must and more life lessons

Posted in Daily Post, Events, Players, Yo-yos, crew on October 25th, 2009 by Jack Ringca

There is nothing like cramming a tons of really fun experiences into a single day. Today started out with a good breakfast and heading out to Toy Maven here in Dallas. The crew at Toy Maven is one of the most giving groups of people i have run into anywhere. The demo was well attended, well organized and straight up cool. All of the kids in attendance were super excited about learning more about yoyos and it seemed that the time just flew by. We even spent a little time after the demo to have a little lunch with the staff at Toy Maven. A very special word of thanks goes out to them and our new best friend, Harrison. He has only been playing for a little over a year but, he has come a seriously long way and will be a force to reckon with in the future yoyo scene.
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Later this afternoon, we went on over to the Learning Express(Dallas) and that was a demonstration full of one exciting moment after another. At first, we were slightly overwhelmed with how well attended it was. So many people stopped by and learned from us, it was hard to take it all in. It was definitely great to see so many people from so many walks of life coming to a show and getting involved. Men and women, boys and girls from all ages, there were there and they were hyped up on yoyos. And just when you think things had hit a  fever pitch, the current USA National FH Yoyo champion shows up and lends a hand. Miguel Correa is one of the coolest guys around and it was cool to see him interacting with yoyo fans at our demo. He was definitely an inspiration to a lot of the youngsters who came out.
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With so much momentum built up around us, we couldn’t end our day just because we had finished up our demos. We had a quick snack and Miguel showed us some of the sights of Dallas. As it turns out, I have a fascination with records and CDs so, Miguel took us to his favourite record store, Good Records, and I found some things I had been on the lookout for. Of course, we cause a bit of a ruckus everywhere we go so, the trip to the record store becomes a mini in store appearance. Then, on our way out, we meet up with some artists who just happen to be painting a mural across the street(stainless studios). They fell in love with the art that Whip! did on the van and so, we filled them in on everything there was to know about his art and the tour and yoyos in general. Naturally, this also becomes a impromptu demo and it’s just fun. From there, we decided to do a little clothing shopping at the local Buffalo Exchange before dinner. Yet again, we cause a ruckus just by being us and the staff at the exchange has us doing yet another impromptu demo. They ended up taking our picture for the store and telling us that us being there was heaps cooler than any of the “rockstar visits” they’d had. It feels pretty good to be told that you are ten times cooler than the killers. After all of that, we head off for dinner.

What better way to cap off the day than to add yet another yoyo champion to the mix. We met up with Yuuki Spencer(3 time USA national Champ/2 time World champ 1A) and have a pleasant evening of dinner, trading tricks and conversations about the history of yoyo. Did you know that the yoyo that Yuuki used to win the world yoyo contest in 2002 was a 1st generation bionic Freehand? That made me even more excited to have special edition bionic Freehand Zeros available on this tour. What a cool way to give a nod to the history that we’re all a part of. With 5 taste makers of the world yoyo scene sitting around a dinner table discussing what we’re all a part of, not only do we stand on the shoulders of a strong history, it seems that we are still in the process of writing it.

On days like these, it is very clear that we are nothing but lucky for being ourselves.

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Day 31-32 — So much going on.

Posted in Daily Post, Events, Update, crew on September 26th, 2009 by Emil Lamprecht

Hey everyone,

sorry for the slow down in posts these past few days, we’ve just had so many awesome things going on its been hard to find the time. The past couple days we’ve done demos on various army bases around Colorado Springs, and I have to say, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many yo-yos fly out the doors in such a short period of time! It wasn’t like people just bought themselves a yo-yo as novelty either, almost everyone bought a yo-yo so they had something of their own to learn with us on. We’ve probably taught several hundred individuals everything from dribble up to rock the cradle in the past 3 days. Insanity!

Today took the cake though. We had an awesome demo at Fort Carson, and then proceeded towards Yoyo Loco in Manitou, the town we visited when first arriving in Colorado. Upon arrival we found an already gathered crowd of people sitting in the 15 rows of bench seating in front of a small roofed stage. We quickly laid out our show to include John and Jen, set up the van and kicked off the most amazing 30 minutes of skill toys you’ll ever see. Within the first 7 minutes we had every bench seat crammed and at least 20+(at least 30 at one point) people lining the sides. By the end I’d say we had a crowd of between 75-100 people! As usual I ran as MC throughout the whole show and I’m not sure I’ve ever had a crowd that responsive before, it was fantastic.

Unfortunately while running a show its a little hard to be taking pictures and video, but Jen’s parents were there and her father has a top notch camera which he used all evening. They’ll be passing along a bunch of pictures to us tomorrow and I can’t wait to share them with all of you. We’ve got some pictures of our own coming too, along with a series of short video features and our next clip video. Keep an eye out because some cool content is headed your way the second we can sit down and export some stuff!

Oh, and the three of us just kind of realized Nationals is literally in a few days! So psyched! Who’s gonna be there?!

Best
E

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Days 24-25 — The Greatest Stops On Earth

Posted in Clubs, Daily Post, Events, Players, Update, Yo-yos on September 19th, 2009 by Emil Lamprecht

Speechless. Truly, just speechless.
Moon Marble, Brookside Toy and Science, Channel 9 News, Ren Fair, Ringling Bros… these things have made the past 48 hours truly COMPLETELY MIND BLOWING. I’m reluctant to even try and explain how much fun we had today because its not possible in words!

Ok, so yesterday we had a stop scheduled at a place called Moon Marble Co. Now besides whatever our gig was this store is the craziest most unique toy store I’ve ever seen. Fully equipped with workshop in the back (for wooden swords and shields no less) and a professional marble maker as an owner, this place is a crazy warehouse of awesome toys, insane marbles and incredibly cool people. Bruce even has a little area in the back with bleacher seating at which several times a day he does a fantastic marble making demonstration for audiences. Very cool process to watch.

So yesterday Nate and I had a lot of fun getting to know these guys, we did a 15 minute show that was very well received in Bruce’s demonstration area, and then hung out and taught tons of people how to throw. We had such a good time we could not wait to come back the following day which-we were already booked for-and left on a great note. This morning we had an early wake up call and were at our location (a half hour from the hotel) at 7:45am. Here we met Jesse Williams–a local dude who joined us for our demos today–the owners of Brookside Toy and Science, and the mobile team for Channel 9 news. Should you be so lucky, all of these people are worth meeting at some point.

The owners and staff at Brookside were incredible. Truly genuine, fun people and the kids and customers who showed up during our brief 2 hour visit were interactive and energetic. The group of kids were great and during our two 2:30 broadcasts with Justin of Channel 9 it was awesome to have everyone interacting with us and part of our presentation. You can watch a sample of what we did HERE, this was not the actual broadcast but a pick-up we shot afterwards for the web (Justin didn’t think they would post it!). I bumble a bit on describing 5a, but overall it went pretty well. After Channel 9 left we spent more time teaching and selling and just getting to know the people.

We left Brookside at 10 and shot off for our second visit to Moon Marble. Not wanting to be late (we only had an hour and it was a pretty long drive) the Duncan van did some intense maneuvering but we made it on time, set up while a marble making demo ended, and then kicked off the best 4 hour demo we’ve done yet. We put on 4, half hour long shows for audiences of 30-60 people and spent the in between time teaching and hanging out with players.

Now, here is something really cool about the tour that I didn’t quiet realize until today. Kansas City is the second place we’ve been that had extremely little pre-established yo-yo scene in which suddenly as many as 8-10 players from the area showed up to one of our demos and all got to meet each other. I think the guys here in KC are even gonna start a club as the result! Its SO cool to have a bunch of players show up and hang with us and as a result introduce them to a bunch of players from their own area. Talk about so yo-yo love right there.

Anyway, after our top notch shows we did a quick lunch at perhaps the greatest BBQ place you can possibly imagine, said our farewells to Jesse, and took off to , yup, a Renaissance Fair! I don’t know how many of you have been to these, but I haven’t been since I was a kid and am happy to say they are just as completely ridiculous and awesome as I remember. Now, we partly went in search of jugglers, none of which we actually found despite the rumors, but did meet up with moon marble people and even got some serious yo-yo attention right as we walked in the gate. I felt like a local having only been there two days which really speaks to the friendliness of the people in this area.

Finally I’ll finish today’s post with a little coincidence that really made the day perfect. After Nate and I returned to the hotel and rested up a bit we went to dinner at the same German taps and restaurant we visited yesterday and while yo-yoing in between waiting for our meal and drinks ended up chatting with a someone who was just getting into yo-yo. The best part? He’s in town with the Ringling Bros Circus… and he’s a juggler… and he liked us so much we’re getting in for free tomorrow and a tour of the alley etc…. I love my life.

Peace out!

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Day 11 – Oh Michigan How We Love You

Posted in Clubs, Daily Post, Events, Yo-yos, crew, juggling on September 6th, 2009 by Emil Lamprecht

I may have left the house stressed this morning, but wow what a good day. After quickly getting yesterday’s blog post up we jumped in the van and shot off towards Genuine Toy Company in Plymouth, MI. Genuine Toys is a new mom-and-pop toy store that’s only been open a few weeks, and let me tell you, these are awesome people. The owners, the staff and everyone who stopped by to interact with us were fantastic. For what was predicted as a quiet Sunday morning turned into an action packed fun 2 hours that blew by.

We were having so much fun we almost lost track of time and had to pack up in a hurry to take off for the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, which is essentially another awesome children’s museum. Our contact there was afraid it would be really slow because it was such a beautiful day outside, but between PA announcements and attracting attention from being near the entrance we gathered crowds for two 15-20 minute shows.

We got a lot of milage out of having Jake with us. A local, a great player, and 7+ minute of organized presentation was perfect for the start of the show, followed by exploring the five styles with Nate, and 5-10 minutes of juggling presentation from myself. It was all excellently well received, and we left the museum tired and happy.

We left the museum and started brain storming ways to infiltrate the GIANT crowd headed to the first University of Michigan Football game of the season. We ended up driving around and admiring the mayhem until we found this great drag where everyone was walking down towards the stadium. We drove down it twice blasting music, and the second time I had the guys walk on either side of the van looping and interacting with people. It was rowdy, and silly and fun.

To finish off our day we decided to go back to Genuine Toys. Why? Because we had a ton of fun there! The best part was the sign they had on the door when we got back, check out the pictures! We casually set up again upon arrival and though the evening did not supply much foot traffic, we hung out with the staff again, and I had possibly the best juggling practice since EJC in Spain this summer. Truly awesome.

After a home grilled meal at the Maloney’s we’re now trading tricks, editing vids, and hanging out. Michigan is treating us well. Tomorrow we hit Detroit for a few hours in their Science Center (1-3pm) come join us if you can.

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Day 10 – Good Bye Indiana

Posted in Adventures, Daily Post, Update, Yo-yos, crew on September 5th, 2009 by Emil Lamprecht

Hey guys,

sorry this post goes up a little late. We ended up without internet once we arrived at our new location. But now you’ve been waiting with baited breath for 4 hours while I slept and its twice as exciting! :-p

Anyway, yesterday was our last day in Indianapolis. I can’t thank Takeshi enough for showing us such a great time. Not only do I feel like I learned a lot from him, but it was great to be sleeping in a house instead of a hotel and have someone who knew the area well enough that Nate and I weren’t struggling to find locations, good food, or people. He also taught me a few new tricks, and I’m happy to say I can actually hit them!

I spent the morning working but wrapped up quickly so we could attend our gig from 12-3 at the Indiana State Museum. It was a calm demo, but we were out on the canal boardwalk and would get spurts of 5-10 people every few minutes. In the end we actually spoke to a LOT of people and I was surprised by the end how tired we were from demoing almost constantly for 3 hours. It was also really nice to be outside enjoying the great weather. Overall a pretty great demo! Of course, we were additionally graced by the presence of Lord Buffington himself, and its official folks, his grace will be joining us for Illinois and and Minnesota.

Perhaps the best part of yesterday though was Mary! Mary is the sister of our Czech Republic crew leader, Korda. Both Takeshi and I new her from various time spent in Prague and she’s now studying in Indianapolis for 5 months. It was so great to see her and meet some of her friends. We all caught up over post-demo milkshakes, a definite two-thumbs up.

Demo and milkshakes done, we ran back to Takeshi’s to exchange various files from our time in Indy, wash the bug juice off the van, pack up and then head north to Michigan. We finally got to meet Takeshi’s wife too! Super cool lady who can make a mean late, whoa. In the end, saying goodbye Takeshi was really sad, we had such a good time, and couldn’t leave without taking some farewell pictures. See below.

We’re now at Jake Maloney’s place (awesome house, I slept in a n awesome bed) and prepping for our two gigs today – Genuine Toy Company in Plymouth from 10-12, and then the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum from 1-3. Its a beautiful Saturday so stop on by and show us some Duncan Love!

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