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Allan Jacobs and Barrett Felker as the comedic duo the Gizmo Guys.

Gizmo Guys give UHCL a Lesson in Funny

Saturday, Nov. 11, was no ordinary evening at the Bayou Theater. Allan Jacobs and Barrett Felker drew laughter and applause from the crowd as the comedic duo the Gizmo Guys.

"I like to say it is for the young and the young at heart," said Andrew Reitberger, assistant director of student life.

The Gizmo Guys mix a special blend of juggling and comedy to entertain audiences. Juggling has been a part of the lives of both men from an early age. At the age of 15, Felker learned how to juggle from a cousin; Jacobs learned in college from his roommate.

The duo juggled the usual balls and batons the audience expected, but they did it with a twist. At one point the house lights went out for special glow in the dark effect. A crowd favorite was the ping-pong juggling that Felker did using only his mouth. The most amazing part was that he did not swallow a single ping-pong ball.

The Gizmo Guys kept the show energized by using several different props, as well as keeping the comic relief going throughout the entire show. Felker and Jacobs would pull a new prop out of a black case each time, leaving the crowd wondering what they would pull out of that case next.

Audience involvement made the show even more delightful. The Gizmo Guys had no shortage of young volunteers, and pulled several up on stage to share their own jokes and help out with juggling tricks.

Many of the children were so awed by the performance that they clamored, pens in hand, after the show to get autographs from the duo. Young admirers also waited patiently to inquire just how the duo did their favorite trick.

The interaction was fun for the children in the audience, but one lucky man and his wife got to be part of the on-stage experience as well. Unfortunately, the adults were not as eager to volunteer and got picked at random.

The Gizmo Guys formed as a team more than 20 years ago. Street performances are where both of the guys started out while trying to make a reputation and a show for themselves.

"I think we both wanted to be baseball players," Felker said when asked if he ever thought he would grow up to be a juggler. "We are still doing something physical and has a longer life span ... for us it was a natural transition doing something like this."

"We both started doing this just as a hobby," Felker said. The Gizmo Guys have turned their hobby into a world-renowned juggling team that has performed all across the United States, and in Canada, Europe, Saudi Arabia and Japan. Aside from their 2500 plus live performances, the Gizmo Guys have also been featured in several television programs.

The show was family oriented fun, and was a great way for students to relax, or get their children exposed to a different form of entertainment. This performance proved that cultural arts does not have to be the standard ballet or orchestra, it can be light-hearted too.

"Cultural events can help reduce stress," Reitberger said.

"Cultural events can be educational. Cultural events can be inspirational. Cultural events can be entertaining. It is something people can share with their friends and family who are supporting their education."

The Student Life Cultural Arts Program organizes several performances each semester and also provides a forum for students to interact and become involved. The next cultural event on the university calendar is a holiday performance by the Mercury Baroque Ensemble. Last year, this was the university's most popular show. The performance will be Saturday, Dec. 16, at 8 p.m. Discount tickets are available for both prior sale and with a student I.D.

Students can join the mailing list for cultural arts to get information regarding upcoming events and ticket sales at www.uhcl.edu/culturalarts.

 

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