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Sara Felder and Denman Maroney juggle at FlynnSpace

BURLINGTON Two expert jugglers took the FlynnSpace stage on Nov. 10comedian Sara Felder in the afternoon, and pianist Denman Maroney at night. Many people consider Anthony Gatto to be the Worlds Greatest Juggler. Indeed, he has juggled 8 clubs for 16 catches, 9 balls for 250 catches, and 12 rings for 12 catches. But Gatto will never catch Sara Felder. In her new show, Out of Sight, Felder humorously and deftly balances gay identity issues, questions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, her relationship with her legally-blind mother, lemons, knives, floating scarves, blocks, and a hot pink ball. Let Gatto try to top that. Felder learned to juggle when she was a UCLA student in the late 70s. She had always wanted to be one of those people who could juggle and do crossword puzzles. Dont be surprised if she figures out a way to do both at the same time. In the meantime, Felder is content with juggling spoken words with tangible objects. She says that juggling comes in very handy metaphorically.I really love manipulating words and manipulating objectssometimes doing it at the same time and sometimes separating them out to their original forms. Thats the encapsulated version of my career. Felders manipulation at FlynnSpace was masterful. Aided by shadow puppets, Joni Mitchell songs, and a rola bola board, Felder movingly presented mother-daughter conflicts and the movement toward their resolution. With the help of juggling, insight, and love, both Felder and her mother are finally able to see each other. Pianist/composer Denman Maroney is a different kind of juggler. At FlynnSpace, he and his Quintet performed Udentity, a unique work that uses Maroneys temporal harmony system to create structural improvisations that encourage musicians to keep several tempos at once, like jugglers keeping several balls in the air. Udentity also highlights the players extended creative performance techniques, especially Maroneys hyperpiano, which involves playing the keys with one hand and the strings with the other, using bows and slides of metal, plastic, and rubber. The intrepid Maroney has even taken a potato masher and a cowbell to his piano strings. Because of the unconventional music, the FlynnSpace audience may have felt at times like they were attending the opening of Stravinskys once-shocking ballet Rite of Spring. But they did seem to appreciate the Maroney Quintets dexterous juggling of several tempos and rhythms to create often eerily beautiful, other-worldly sounds. It was another juggling feat that the earth-bound Anthony Gatto will never match.

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