Good evening, and welcome to the Revolvies, an awards show that is totally biased and based solely on the opinion of one ridiculous, unitard-loving woman. It’s not often that I’m able to unite my two greatest powers (composing heartfelt prose and wearing-wigs-while-doing-stupid-sh*t ) in one project. So the Revolvies are back again, even though hooping.org’s “The Hoopies” have gotten so fair, I hardly need to parody the usual campaigning surrounding them, as I did in The 2008 Revolvies and The 2009 Revolvies.
This year’s Revolvies are dedicated to exploring the crossing point between hooping and other arts and also to highlighting our community in categories not covered by “The Hoopies.” Speaking of our community, I had to go out and get last year’s awards BACK before I could pass them on to this year’s winners. Philo, I got the Hoopies back for you, too. Isopop (who goes by the stage name “Rich Porter”) and Brecken Rivara knocked out my tooth, lost their pants and did not want to give up their power. Khan Wong and Tiana Zoumer also happened by. Please enjoy the pre-show.
Now, on to the awards!
GRAND PRIZE CONCEPT OF THE YEAR: CROSS-POLLINATION
What is cross-pollination? Your mother and I meant to tell you sooner. Cross pollination happens when a group of obsessed dorks (who love each other very much) come together as one – hooping, spinning and juggling various props. After a gestation period in a common practice space, this group of obsessed dorks conceives a 4-point flower, and a contact staff enters the flower, followed by some juggling balls. What? Exactly. I’m basically saying that 2010 was a year to realize innovation happens at the crossing point between props. In 2010 new multi-prop events, such as Pacific Fire Gathering, supported the idea that we can all learn from each other to access multiple doorways into flow. In 2010, I got so excited about learning new hoop moves, through club spinning and other props, that I moved to the Vulcan, a spinning community in Oakland, CA. So here’s my neighbor, Brian Thompson, and his multi-prop-infused hooping. I hope I don’t get really into rattlesnake hunting next year.
COMMUNITY OF THE YEAR: VANCOUVER, BC
I have three and a half words for you: VANCOUVER, BC KICKS ASS! First of all, it’s home to hoopers such as Alley ‘Oop, Christa Giles (a.k.a. Xta from tribe), Ariel Anderson (who clowned it up at Hoop Camp), Rebekah Goldin (shown in the MadSkillz video below, with Alley) and Pixie Hoops. It’s also a base for Ministry of Manipulation (specifically Ryan Mellors and Dawn Monette), site of several circus schools, location of Fantastic Space Enterprises and home of great jugglers (like Bekka Rose and Yuki Ueda).
In 2010, many of the people mentioned above banded together to debut “flow, juggle, spin” festival MadSkillz Vancouver (a.k.a. one of my new favorite festivals). In late 2010, Vancouver also climbed a step higher on the coolness meter when Alley ‘Oop, Graham Ellsworth, Yuki Ueda, Chris Murdoch, and Crystal Draper banded together to open Sideshow Studios, a warehouse space dedicated to the flow arts. This city’s spinning scene took giant leaps forward in 2010, and I definitely recommend packing up your hoops, shoving a few extra props into your backpack and making a pilgrimage to Vancouver in 2011. (p.s. The mountains surrounding the city are to die for.)
HOOP VIDEO OF THE ENTIRE YEAR: BRISTOL HOOP MASSIVE
It’s like one day, in a twist of fate, a giant comes to get you, and you go to a train station, and there’s this school for wizards, and you’re like “Oh snap! I found my peeps!” Harry Potter knows how I felt when I saw this video. I am now convinced that there’s a reason I was a lonely dork in a world of tribal beauties, hooping to Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit” with a giant, gold dollar sign around my neck. It’s because I’m from Bristol, bitches! (On the inside.) This video rocks so hard, and Bristol Hoop Massive made my year with their mad mix of skills and humor. I even tried the foot-to-foot hoop cartwheel over and over until I got it, although not quite as well as the Hobbit. Gah! What inspiration. Okay, now could you come get me, Bristol? I’m ready to go home.
MULTI-PROP VIDEO OF THE YEAR: DETROIT FIRE GUILD
I hate when folks fetishize Detroit just because it’s suddenly in the New York Times and national hipsters want to move there to buy a cheap house. Where has everyone been for the past FORTY YEARS? I hope people start fetishizing Detroit for an honorable reason: because they see this video. There’s hooping. There’s spinning. There’s friggin’ incredible cinematography, capped off by a final scene that involves a shot taken from a helicopter. When I moved away from Detroit in 2006, there were like 15 people that would meet at a dojo every Friday night. When I went back this summer, there were like SIXTY people meeting in Detroit on Monday nights (and I was told that night wasn’t even well attended), and people meet in Ann Arbor on Tuesdays. I’m super proud of y’all for holding it down in the city, doing circus. Oh, and for appearing in this video, absolutely killing it.
OVERALL BADASS OF THE YEAR: PHILO HAGEN
Dude, Los Angeles, whatever you have done to Philo Hagen, I like it. I was dumbfounded this year at Hoop Camp, to see hooping.org’s editor – normally not one to make a big show of himself – climb on stage, in his hot-ass, shiny red pants and go off as the opener to the teacher’s showcase. And that was enough for me. But holy crap! A few months later, I picked up the New York Times sitting on my friend’s kitchen table, to see Philo. His free-spirited “Gotta Hoop” video is currently around 64,000 views. Being a badass is a multi-faceted thing, but it’s mostly about an attitude of “This is ME, world. Like it, or get the f*&k out of my face! Whoooo!” And I love that Philo’s badass self wears tighty whities and sock garters and dances on the streets of LA-LA-land all night long.
DANCE-HOOP FUSION OF THE YEAR: LUNA BREEZE
Freestyling lends to a particular type of performance that’s popular in the modern hoop world. I sometimes enjoy watching unrehearsed flow as a performance (if it’s done well; keep in mind that a performance is still a performance). However, I respect choreography a bit more because it’s so difficult when there are also objects in the mix. Hoops are unpredictable. Here, Luna Breeze does a beautiful job of not only dancing – in the best unitard ever – but also coupling her intriguing body movements with a butt load of hoops. The video begins with some great multiple patterns, but my favorite part is the second dance, beginning around 5:00. Nice mechanical, doll-like moves, Breeze. And I think I’m going to build a trophy just for your unitard.
INNOVATIVE HOOP CONCEPT (WITH THE BEST NAME): POOPING
“Hey there. My name is Bags and this video is predominately about poop. Poop is the art of spinning hoops like they were poi” – Steve Twobags, Bristol. (Did I mention yet how fascinated I am by Bristol?) Poi made a natural crossover into the hoop world years ago. What I like about Steve Twobags’ version of hoop poi is that he doesn’t effing stop. He goes way beyond the two-beat weave into partner poi with hoops. Which, I guess would be known as “partner pooping.” Steve, in the scenario where Bristol is my long lost home, you might be my brother. I look forward to one day meeting you in person so we can poop together.
COMEDY PERFORMER OF THE YEAR: MISS SATURN
Okay, let’s give it up. Jenny McGowen, a.k.a. Miss Saturn, has been doing this for a long time. I’ve seen her perform on stage, watched videos of her busking, and this summer, I also got to hang out with her a bit in New York. Homegirl is hilarious. I like her multiple hoop-tasticness, but she’s also studied clowning and theater, and I just think she’s the whole package. There are people who have an intangible magic in front of a crowd. She’s one of them.
STREET PERFORMER OF THE YEAR: VANESSA VORTEX
I went on the New Old Time Chautauqua vaudeville tour this summer, and Vanessa Vortex was also on the tour. It was fabulously helpful to meet her. It’s not often that I meet hoopers who are into street performing (a.k.a. “busking”), so having the opportunity to hang out with one for several weeks was inspiring. Vanessa and I made up some duo material and busked it at Oregon Country Fair – and she then went on to do a month-long gig of street shows in Virginia Beach. I want to give her props because she’s so committed to defying the notion that men talk during performance and women appear and silently look pretty. She spent the entire vaudeville tour challenging herself by emceeing and making up spoken material. Also, she’s been in circus school in Australia, San Francisco and now Brattleboro, VT, so hooping is just a fraction of what she brings to the street (or the stage). I’m also uber-committed to the idea that more female performers should talk and be funny. I like everything about what’s happening in this photo:
MULTIPLE HOOPER OF THE YEAR: ALLEY ‘OOP
Alley ‘Oop has a particular style. If I had to make up a name for it, I’d call it “Native American-inspired sustained circus spinning.” She splits up to 5 hoops on body. She studied with a Native American hoop dancer, so she takes up to 5 hoops off-body and makes Native American-inspired shapes with them. She spins so fast that I almost feel like puking just watching her. And she’s doing all of this at once. I love this video.
BEST HOOP ISOLATIONS: MOON
I can’t get over this man. I mean, he is a man. Look at him. I wouldn’t be surprised to come across him building a wall. But he’s not building a wall, and he’s not sleeping. He’s sitting there in his 8-ball shirt, weaving a dream. Moon does incredible things with multiple mini hoops, and I’d hazard a guess that his mastery of contact juggling crossed over into his skill with hoops. After I get better at juggling, apparently, I should work on contact juggling. And after Bristol, I’m going to Italy.
ADVANCING HOOPING AS A HEALING/SPIRITUAL PRACTICE:
HOOPING HARMONY and JAGUAR MARY
At the crux of existence, everything is spinning. The Sufis got it. And it’s no different for people who have powerful, transcendant experiences through modern hoopdance. I’d like to honor a few women who take hooping in that direction. First of all, the mother/daughter team Ariana and Laura Maria of Massachusetts-based Hooping Harmony are the real deal. Ariana has been a holistic health practitioner, spiritual and life coach for over 20 years. Laura Maria is a talented dancer, artist and designer. Together, the bring a wealth of empathy and holistic knowledge to a hoop company that is truly dedicated to healing people. I can’t recommend working with them highly enough.
And Jaguar Mary. Geeze! Last year, she was “newbie hooper.” By now, this filmmaker/artist/woman-of-the-stars from Washington, DC has run healing-focused “Sacred Circularities” retreats in Bali and beyond. She’s also used her filmmaking skills to make some of the best tutorials of 2010. I’m totally thinking about “Sacred Circularities Peru” in 2012. Jaguar Mary made this film of “Hoopalicious” talking about mentorship
RISING STAR AWARD:
TIANA ZOUMER AND NICK GUZZARDO
I’m sorry, but could 2010 could have featured two more simultaneously talented and sexy hoopers? I wanted to call this category “Hoop World Prom King and Queen.” Nick Guzzardo has been hooping a bit longer than one year. I believe Tiana’s been hooping for under two years. In the scope of things, they’re both still on the new end of the spectrum. Although you would never know that from watching them move. With a long eye backward into how things have progressed to this point in modern hoopdance, I can see how both Nick and Tiana are influenced by some other hoopers’ previous work in plane breaking. But these two put their own spin on the multi-dimensional style. Tiana somehow hoops so fast and precisely that her movement may as well be a clip from some expertly edited pop video. It doesn’t look even look real. Nick blew my mind in Malcolm Stuart’s class at Hoop Camp, entering the state of “flail” and exiting with some mind-blowing moves I had never before seen. Watch out for these two in 2011.
CROSS POLLINATOR OF THE YEAR: KHAN WONG
That sounds dirty, and I’m sorry. No one wants a trophy with “cross-pollinator of the year” on it. Fortunately, there are no trophies in the Revolvies, and what I meant is that 2010 was a year for fusing props and seeing what happens. And Khan Wong – a man who began with poi, moved on to hoop and simultaneously spins clubs and other props – is a great example of how exploring more than one tool can amplify beauty. From rocking the multi-prop troupe performance “Portal” (at CounterPULSE in San Francisco, with Tamara Bliss Sharp, Theodor Jerdes and Aileen Lawlor), to hosting the Bay Area’s annual “Flow Show,” Khan is pretty much pollinating all over the place. The result? Some pretty mind-blowing shapes, moves and performances. Plus, he looks like a really awesome shaman in his flowing, white skirt. Thanks for helping us transcend into ever higher realms of flow in 2010, Khan. Now get the f*&k out of my face.
HOOPING WHERE IT’S NEEDED MOST:
JAY EVERETT (AND THE GULF COAST HOOPERS)
Last March, my parents escaped the Michigan winter by renting a condo in Gulf Shores, Alabama. I came down to visit them. A Facebook post led local hooper Jay Everett and a friendly group of fellow hoopers to contact me. We hooped it up in the park, had margaritas at a bar on the beach, and I very much enjoyed their Southern hospitality. A month later, the Gulf Coast was hit with the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history. How has the oil spill affected hooping in the Gulf region? Try having fun on the beach when people are walking around in hazmat suits all summer. Jay explains, “We haven’t been able to hoop outside. My practice was definitely limited this summer. All my hooping was done in my living room and backyard. Which is sad.”
Jay started hooping in Oct. of 2009 and co-founded a local Gulf Shores hoop group with hooper Shea Jordan. He’s currently trying to set up a permanent hoop venue on the coast and traveling to local cities like Mobile to teach hoop fitness. Being a man in the South, who is unabashedly committed to hooping, Jay stood out to me in 2010. Post-oil spill, his continued efforts to help people stay happy and healthy feel even more important. In addition to Jay, I also want to give a big shout out to every hooper on the Gulf Coast. You all deserve an award, some honor and a clean, outdoor place to hoop. Our thoughts are still with you.
HOOP DREAMER OF THE YEAR: GAIL O’BRIEN
In 2007, professional physiotherapist Gail O’Brien began hooping for exercise. Fitness gave way to obsession. She explains, “Instead of thinking about patients, I was wondering what would happen if you jumped into the bottom of an anti-spin flower.” After a request to go part-time was refused, Gail quit her day job. Suddenly free, she booked a trip to the States to hit Burning Man, Pacific Fire Gathering, Portland Juggling Festival, Hoop Camp and more. While in the States, she applied to circus school in Sheffield, England. And at age 31, she got in.
So let me recap: At the beginning of 2010, Gail O’Brien was a successful physiotherapist with a three-bedroom house, who manipulated objects on the side. At the end of 2010, she was a full-time spinner, headed to circus school, with one carload of stuff, a rucksack slung over her shoulder – and the will to believe this was all possible. Gail, if I could reach around the world to give you a high five, I would. Instead, I’m giving you a Revolvie. Rock it, sista.
This video is the kind of “wtf” move that Gail does on a regular basis.
FIRE HOOPER OF THE YEAR: SCREW IT
I initially had this great idea. I have two unitards with flames on them. I wanted Julia and Shredder to wear them and become the unstoppable fire super duo of all time. And I wrote that paragraph (before the Hoopies nominations came out). Under all these wigs, I still have a sensitive soul, though. It did suddenly feel weird to be a Hoopies “Fire Hooper of the Year” nominee writing about other nominees and leaving other nominees out. (Could I say “nominee” again?) So screw it. Here are videos of all of us. Julia, Shredder, SaFire, Kandice and Olive Oyl, you now officially share a 2010 Revolvie. I don’t get one because I go to the taco cart all the time anyway. I don’t really need anymore refried beans. (See Revolvies intro video).
JULIA “JEWELS” HARTSELL
Julia Hartsell has the power to make me cry just by hooping. For real. She is the only hooper who has ever brought me to tears by flowing so hard. I could not for the life of me find a multiple fire hoop solo video of Julia from recent times, so please let this load and look at this an imagine her two years ahead in time. And she’s rocking it hard enough here.
ERIN “SHREDDER” SCHRADER
My lord! I just barely caught the San Francisco precompression this year. I wasn’t living here at the time, but I was in town doing another show, and I raced over afterward. Holy crap! Shredder can acro-hoop. On fire. I am going to start doing handstands every day and in like 10 years, I might be Shredder. Maybe. But probably not.
At Oregon Country Fair’s Friday night fire show, Kandice Korves-Kaus and her partner Andrew did a great character routine. She was dressed as a lion, he was dressed as an animal tamer. As she whipped out incredible moves, he whipped fire hoops right out of her hands (with an actual whip). I have to give mad props to people who do fire as a character act, since it’s a bit overdone in the sexy style. I can’t find a video of that exact act. Here’s Kandice rocking it in Bali, though. Cool enough!
OLIVIA “OLIVE OYL” PIZZO
When I went back to Detroit at the end of the summer, I had a chance to meet a fellow hometown gal, Oliva “Olive Oyl” Pizzo. While petite in stature, Olivia has no fear in rocking out with fire. I couldn’t find a solo performance video on youtube, but I found Olivia and Courtney Morningstar rocking it as a fire duo at Detroit’s Dubstep Circus. Check it out (Olivia is the one on the right during most of this). F8&k yeah! (Sorry, it’s the Motor City thing.) Go Detroit!
SANDRA “SAFIRE” SOMMERVILLE
I guess I was out of range when SaFire was burning up in 2010. But I have seen her do it in past years, and homegirl has crazy skills. She’s great at splitting multiple hoops unlit, and now she’s rocking the triple hoops — on fire. Da-yum!
UH, REVOLA: MY YEAR IN FIRE
I came back from a broken foot and won Fire Idol at Burning Man this year. Unfortunately, I now live at the Vulcan, and it’s all old news. I have to do something like juggle flaming clubs while rotating six fire hoops and standing on a flaming flag pole to even register with these fire ninjas. Great. Here’s to 2011.
And last, but certainly NOT least (I just wanted to end with something exciting.)
BEST THING TO HAPPEN TO HOOPING:
HOOP TECHNIQUE DEBUT
Actually, I’m still not sure. Was this even done in 2010? I think it was started in 1997 or something. I made hella fun of Rich Porter (excuse me, Isopop) and Spiral for all the hype surrounding their instructional/inspiration video “Hoop Technique” as it plodded along, trying to live up to its accompanying iconic photo by actually being finished. But in reality, I understand that this project was approached as art, and it was also a learning process, for people putting together a dvd for the first time. Despite my Revolva-like jokes, I’m going to admit something: I cried when I finally watched this. The inspirational dvd is so good. I mean, the movement footage of Spiral, Rich, Shakti, Poki, Malcolm and Brecken is exquisite. But the interviews are what made me cry. There hasn’t ever been a good, tangible product to hand to people and say, “Here. Look. THIS is what I love — and what I do with my life.” Props to Spiral, Rich and everyone who worked on the dvd for creating something so much more than an instructional dvd. It’s art. It’s beauty. It’s necessary. Thank you.