Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Little Promo Clip from Buskers

The very talented organizer of the Victoria Busker Festival, John Vickers, kindly sent this along to us.  We are in it for about 5 seconds.  It is a fabulous little promo, check it out:

Monday, September 19, 2011

"The Audition"

I think that this was the most effortless show I have ever done.  I am not sure if that is coming from experience or the stars just aligned for us, but it was an absolute pleasure to perform at the 7th annual Cowichan Wine Festival.  The Canadian Pacific Ballet, Merridale Cidery and I partnered to premier, "The Audition" for a full house under the tents.

Check it out:

And here are a couple of clown snippets from the show:

Friday, September 9, 2011

The House of Faerie Bad Things

Well well, fall is here again and that means it's haunted house time! This year we feature over 20 high level artists from circus, theatre, music, dace, puppetry, film making, storytelling, singing and more!

Think you know fairietales? Think again! The true beginnings of faerie mythology are old and dark - fearsome creatures met in the wild places of the world... Join your magical host on a tour through the unfriendly inhabitants of Faerieland.

Tickets and info at inthehousefestival.com

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Rehearsals Underway for Merridale Sept.18

The Canadian Pacific Ballet and I had a great rehearsal today for our new show, "The Audition".  We are finding some really cool stuff in our collaborative dance and contact juggling piece.  It is going to look so good.  Can't wait to show you.  Much of the show is very improv based and we certainly had a very interesting improv session today.  We are going to make you laugh!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Catering Our First Client Appreciation Party

Bill Brooks, a highly energetic and engaging real estate agent that I would recommend to anyone, hired us for his first ever client appreciation party.  It was an absolute blast!  Yoko taught them to make sushi and after they ate, I provided the entertainment.

This is what he had to say:

Hi Yoko and Jake;
The thanks are all mine. The two of you definitely over delivered. I’ve had calls from most of the people and they all raved about the event. Please use me as a reference any time you have any one considering having you cater their event. I have attached all of my photos. Please feel free to use any of them. They aren’t as good as yours but maybe you can dress them up.
Thanks again;

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chris and Luciterra on tour in BC!

  Just came back from the third of four weeks of shows that have taken us from Vancouver Island to the BC interior. We had major time slots at Basscoast Project, Shambhala Music Festival and Big Time Out.

We've been performing a bangin half hour set, and were given the honour of a full hour time slot at Shambhala! This weekend we will condense that down to fifteen minutes of heavy hitting fusion bellydance and circus arts.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Clown piece snippet

Just a quick snippet of a new clown piece/show/character that I am developing.  It definitely needs cleaning, but so far it has been getting the laughs.  Enjoy...

Diabolo Action Photo

It is so hard to get good stills of my diabolo routine, there is just too much movement for the camera.  That said, I always love a good action shot.  I really like how the bottom half of me is in crystal clear focus with the top half in this great motion.

Photo by Vadym Graifer

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"The Audition" Premiers Sept. 18

The Canadian Pacific Ballet and Jake West present to you their newest collaboration -
“The Audition”.  Weaving together graceful, romantic ballet with circus arts, The Audition is a hilarious show where we cast a new member in an upcoming role.  Melded to the story are gorgeous dance pieces, new school juggling and tons of physical comedy from a diverse array of talented artists.  Join us to laugh and be mezmerised  as we spin and twirl into your lives.  

Nice shot from Market Square in Victoria

This shot was taken by Vadym Graifer.  I love how it pops.  Check out his work here:

It has been great performing with the Canadian Pacific Ballet.  The last two nights have been really fun - the audiences have really enjoyed our ballet/circus collaboration.  I have been thoroughly enjoying doing my Tony Saltana "comedy choreographer" with the dancers - it just fits so perfectly.  We have a fabulous show in the works which we will premier at the Cowichan Wine Festival at Merridale Farm Sept. 18.  The show is premised on an audition with the audience woven together with graceful ballet, circus arts and hilarity.

And don't forget  - Ballet Under the Stars continues Aug. 9 through to the 24th.  Next up - I will be doing some comedia del arte with the ballet.  Should be a fun and interesting challenge.

Big Crowds at Victoria Busker Festival

both sides of the coin was honored to be part of the big gala show on the Empress Lawn at the Victoria Busker Festival.  We do have video, but we are both so busy at the moment that it is on the backburner.  Thanks again Victoria for supporting your local artists.  Your rock!

Monday, July 18, 2011

both sides on the menu

Thank you very much to Anthony Sanna at Ambrosia Centre for putting us on the menu and giving us a whole bunch of free exposure.  YOU ROCK!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Working the Victoria Busker Festival

We thoroughly enjoyed working the Empress Hotel lawn this afternoon in the Inner Harbor of Victoria.  We have already been in two newspapers and will be in The Globe and Mail tomorrow.

Come check us out this week.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cirque audition - not this round

Well, I didn't make it this time around.  It was a great experience and I learned a lot.  The talent scout said that I was holding too much tension, and ya, he was right, I could feel myself doing it but just could not correct it.  

The competition was crazy.  Everyone was super funny and and had absolutely amazing characters!  There were 30 people there and about 10 of us got cut in the first round.  There were a few people that did not even get to do their 2 min solo.  This poor girl, it was her second time and she didn't even get to do her act.  That is rough. 

You know, now that I think of it, that was my first audition ever!  Most of the people there were definitely seasoned audition pros - I did not stand a chance this round.  But I am a fast learner and will do much better in round 2.  

The scout was a super nice guy and told me to keep working and sending him stuff.  

And as I said before, I am not that fussed.  Back to Vancouver Island  - no problem.  Keep working.  


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Circus+Ballet = Fabulous Art

I can't remember the last time I saw contact juggling and ballet combined.  I have been working hard with the Canadian Pacific Ballet and last night we performed this piece for the first time in Market Square in Victoria.  It turned out gorgeous.

This is just a little trailer.  We will perform it until the end of August, so there will be many more opportunities to make it tighter and tighter.  At the end of the summer, I will provide you with the full version.

And I have also been working on a new clown act that I performed for the first time last night.  I definitely got the laughs, but now watching the video, there are so many comedy gaps to fill.  Luckily, I get to perform it again so I can make it more solid.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Clown audition for Cirque - you have 2 min

That's right.  You have 2 minutes of solo time to wow them or you may possibly be cut before lunch.

So, for you clowns and physical actors out there who want to perform for Cirque du Soleil, condense your best material into 2 minutes and let loose.

I will let you know how it goes...


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Jake West with the CP Ballet

I am absolutely delighted to be working with the Canadian Pacific Ballet every Tues and Wed night in Market Square in Victoria for the rest of the summer.  We are just in the midst of developing a fabulous collaboration between contact juggling and ballet.  We are making art!  I will also perform a multi-ball act in their show.  I am also really excited about playing with a new clown piece that I am working on.  I am not sure how this one is going to end, so it is a perfect opportunity to explore the possibilities through a summer of animating the crowd.

Please come down and enjoy the show.  Check them out here:


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Chris Murdoch at Guilt and Co.

Here's a little improv. from Decadent Eccentric - my monthly Emcee gig with the fabulous Luciterra.

Housed in Vancouver's historic Gastown, this is the perfect place for us to work with new material - always expanding, always creating.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Blues Circus Promo

Take a minute to watch our incredible show.  I decided to keep it raw to show you glimpses of just how good the live music is; how that music interacts with the circus artists; and bits of our story.  This is a fabulous hour and and fifteen minute jam packed tale of how it is really only ourselves who are our greatest stumbling blocks.  The story is set in the hard times of the olden railroad days where the Blues was born.  Trains, chain gangs, bars, big tops, crossroads and the devil mix with high caliber circus arts that will entrance you.
All Aboard!

This cast of 7 is one of the most rock solid teams you will ever have a chance to meet.  All of our skills are highly complementary.  We can cover almost everything; from the technicals - lighting, sound and stage management, to the diverse range of performance arts.  This show is super compact and requires no rigging.  It can be adapted to pretty much every event, festival or theater.

Join us for The Blues Circus.  We will no doubt leave a lasting impression upon you.  But don't just take it from us, read a review here:

If you want to see more, check out our hilarious bar scene:

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Clown Research

I have been doing my homework big time on the Cirque du Soleil audition process.  My buddy is one of the acrobatic trainers and he told me that the Red Bastard had just been through.  He is the clown in the new Cirque show, "Iris" opening up in LA.  He is very funny and totally out there.  Check it out:


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Chris Murdoch and Luciterra

For the last seven months, I've had the honour of Collaborating more and more with the amazing fusion bellydance group,  Luciterra. We have a monthy one-hour show at Guilt and Co. in Gastown, Vancouver where I act as Emcee and perform my solo acts.
It is a fantastic opportunity to create new material every month, and periodically combine two seemingly different art forms: contact juggling and bellydance!

 I'm always impressed by their ability to create stunning choreography that's tight and prostar every month...
Recently, Luciterra asked me to host Whiskey Rain Revue: a spring show that included their students and many prominent bellydance groups from Vancouver, the lower mainland and Vancouver Island. As the lead-up to the finale of the evening we performed the number created for Hallowe'en, to a standing ovation!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bucky's New Album Gets an Amazing Review

This is our amazingly talented musician friend who wrote the music for The Blues Circus.  Buckman Coe is so good, it is an honor for us to perform with him.  But don't just take it from me, check out what the Georgia Straight had to say about him:

By Mike Usinger

Buckman Coe has vowed to remain barefoot until he can get a pair of JJ Casuals, the shoes that look like feet.
Buckman Coe
By the Mountain’s Feet (Independent)
Clearly not a man content to have just a single iron in the fire, Buckman Coe keeps plenty busy when he’s not on-stage or in the studio. In addition to being one of those artists who make genre-jumping seem effortless, he’s also, according to his Facebook page, a certified yogi, eco-psychologist, and poet.
If this were 1973, back when singer-songwriters ruled the earth, Coe wouldn’t have much time for side pursuits—with a couple of breaks and a bit of AM radio airplay, he’d be busy cashing gold-record royalty cheques and house-hunting in Laurel Canyon. If that sounds hyperbolic, it shouldn’t, because By the Mountain’s Feet, his second full-length, is really that good. Working with a supporting cast that includes Vancouver music-scene vets Brian Minato on bass, Steve Dawson on pedal steel, and Paul Rigby on guitars, Coe dabbles in everything from down-home Americana to sun-sweetened folk to soul-drenched blues.
Aside from the fact that the dude sounds completely thrilled and blessed to be alive, what stands out are the gorgeous little touches—like the calypso-tinted guitars in the lite-and-breezy “Not So Farfetched” and the molasses-dipped harmonies in the wonderful country comedown “Plot Thick It Grows”.
Because this isn’t 1973, Coe isn’t going to find a ready-made, built-in audience for By the Mountain’s Feet, which sounds like it was professionally recorded at the Record Plant three decades ago instead of in rainy old Vancouver in the 2010s. That’s a shame, because if you enjoy the laid-back likes of Ben Harper and Jack Johnson, odds are good that you’re going to love this unrelentingly positive, completely accomplished triumph.

Buy this man's album!  It has been on rotating on my lap top for a solid 3 days now!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Performing at Vic Busker Festival

Come check us out, both sides of the coin, here at the Victoria International Buskers Festival July 15-24.  We are going to make you laugh and mesmerize you!  We truly look forward to it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Madskillz Festival Was off the Hook!

If you did not make it to Madskillz, you missed out.  The gala show was jam packed from beginning to end with incredible talent.  Phenomenal.  For some reason, there was a communication breakdown with filming it and we are unsure of who took footage (if any).

So, if you have some footage of the show, please send it to us asap so we can edit it and get it up for you to look at.

Jake and Chris

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cirque du Soleil audition July 16th

Well, it is official.  I am off to TO for a clown audition with Cirque du Soleil.  I am excited, scared, delighted and flabbergasted.  I consider it an honor just to be invited.  Perhaps in the near future, you will see me on a Cirque stage.

Wish me luck,

Monday, June 20, 2011

Jake West at the Metro Theatre

Thank you very much to Holly for giving me opportunities in the Metro Theatre in Victoria, BC.  The Metro is pretty much done for the summer, so we will see you in September!

Madskillz Starts Friday, June 24

Both Chris and I will be performing and teaching workshops.  See you there!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Review of The Blues Circus

This review comes from Guttersnipe and was written by Carrie Swiggum:

Four shows in one day can be tiring, but it was worth it to make it to the weekend grand finale. Blues Circus, a blend of theatre, talent show and blues music made for an impressive performance. The story started with a history lesson about the transcontinental railroad and Chinese involvement. Then our beloved but dumb-witted protagonist hopped a train, not knowing that it was a circus train. Without a marketable skill, he sold his soul to the devil in exchange for 10 years as a star performer in the circus.
The narrative was well-written, compelling, funny and witty; the acting of professional quality; and the circus acts, which included juggling, hula hooping, Chinese yo-yo and gymnastics, wowed the audience.
Without giving away the story, it even came with a moral at the end: “If our myth shines any truth tonight, it is that our greatest struggles are only with ourselves.”

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Jake West's Physical Comedy

Well, after many years of working on these acts, I have finally had a moment to edit a little clip together.  I would be absolutely delighted to perform at your next event and make you bust out in laughter.  Continue to expect exceptional comedic work from me.  It is my passion in life.  I feel a great sense of accomplishment from making an entire audience erupt in uncontrollable laughter.  It is what I have been doing since I was in grade school.

Traditional Japanese Cuisine and Circus!

Finally, after a long stretch of being incredibly busy, we have a moment to put up a few new posts to keep you updated.  Yoko's Plate Catering has been doing very good.  Recently, we have been doing Japanese cuisine workshops that have been very well received.

Imagine having an old style traditional Japanese cuisine workshop at your next event!  From experience, our guests have had an absolute blast working with Yoko making super healthy, delicious Japanese food from exotic Kyushu.  Not only that, but Yoko is also a calligraphy teacher and we have met with the same success doing these workshops at events.  People love to try their hand at writing Chinese and Japanese characters.  It is an amazing art form that everyone can get involved with.  And once guests realize how difficult it is, they are even more awed by Yoko's skills when she expertly hands them their name in Chinese characters.  This is a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

Further imagine having all of this at your event, and after dinner circus entertainment.  Wow.  Honestly, I have never heard of such a combination.  If you really want to impress your next clients or guests, give us a call immediately.

Check out Yoko's blog for mouth watering dishes:

The Blues Circus Bar Scene

Enjoy the hilarious bar scene from The Blues Circus.  All of the jokes worked so well, the audience ate it up.  It was a pleasure to perform.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Blues Circus Premier: June 5th

There is absolutely no question that the premier of the Blues Circus for the finale of the In the House Festival is going to absolutely blow the audience away.  We cannot wait to impress you.  Get tickets now because the finale is always a sell out:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tony Saltana in Comedy Choreographer

This is a comedy piece I performed for Light On Our Feet.  I was second last in the line-up and the audience had just sat through 2 hours of burlesque.  They had no idea what to make of me at the start of the act, but they got right into it almost immediately.

This is really shaping up into an excellent piece.  I forgot to do a few jokes and have already thought of a bunch more for next time.  The crowd worked with me so well, it was a pleasure performing for the full house.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hard Times Hit Parade a "Hoot and a Half!"

I recently had the pleasure to work as assistant production manager of one of the most unique theatre experiences Vancouver has to offer. Hard Times Hit Parade played from March 4-19, and sold out last 7 shows, having to turn nearly one hundred people away on the last Sunday matinee! We were featured in Vancouver's major newspapers, and more importantly, created an event unlike anything you've ever seen...

Inspired by the dance marathons of the 1930s, the show incorporated big swing dance numbers, circus arts, juggling, short films, soundscape, shadow puppetry and a spectacular live band Maria in the Shower.

I operated as a set carpenter, technician, and performed pre-show comedy as a crass New York janitor.

Click here to check out some reviews!

The Vancouver Sun - "Hoot and a Half!" Peter Birnie
Vancouver Straight - "The Vibe is Intoxicating" Colin Thomas
Vancouver Courier - "Yowza Yowza" Jo Ledingham

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Jake West's comedy Piece: Garbonzo

Enjoy one of the first pieces that I created on the streets.  Initially, I had a joke that the guy would be called Garbonzo, but it never really materialized.  It just ended up being the name for the piece.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

both sides of the coin Has Your Back!

We provide you with a full range of services.  Not only our are performing arts of the highest professional calibre, but we have an absolutely trustworthy network of talented circus artists and musicians (see below).  We can cover everything you need from lighting and costume design, to event creation and polished performances.

The Crossroads

As part of the Victoria Juggling Festival Gala Show, both sides of the coin were able to test out a lot of our new material, especially for the Blues Circus: Meet Me at the Crossroads.  Here is another sample of the unique show that we will be launching this summer.  The interest that we have had already has been amazing.  Book it while we are still in your backyard.


This is our very good friend Allison Collins, aka, Alley'Oop.  She is one of the incredibly talented artists we work with to bring you amazing shows.  This is just a small sample of her work.  The musicians are Buckman Coe (who you already know) and Graham Ellsworth, an insanely talented jazz/funk drummer.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gala Show a Smashing Success!

"both sides of the coin" creation, production and execution of the Victoria Juggling Festival's Gala Show was a smashing success.  Including us, there were 15 professional performers that absolutely blew away the full house at the Metro theatre.  The feedback we got was incredible.  It far exceeded our expectations.  Even after an hour and fifty minutes, as we approached the final act, the audience still wanted more.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Blues Circus - Meet Me at the Crossroads

Please watch this little video of Buckman Coe, the singer songwriter that we are collaborating with to present to you a wonderful original tale told through music, circus, storytelling and comedy.  Nothing like it exists anywhere, so we have to still keep it somewhat under our hats.  It will be ready for the summer season.  We just wanted to give you a little taste.  Book it now while you still can.

We offer you big value for your upcoming spring and summer events.  We, "both sides of the coin" have our own amazing show that is full of circus artistry.  And Bucky has his own incredible show, full of gorgeous, soulful original music.  Check it out:

That is 3 highly polished professional shows right there.  What an incredible deal for you.

And if you have the means, we can add numerous other professional musicians and circus artists to the shows above.  We will rock your world!

Buckman Coe is:

Buckman Coe creates soul-folk music that ignites the flame of love and hope, captivating listeners with a voice smooth and rare as a vintage wine.  Woven by a rich tapestry of influences ranging from Nina Simone to Michael Franti, John Lennon to Jeff Buckley, Buckman takes his audience on a sonic journey through the grace, fragility and celebration of being human. 
Yogi, musician, eco-psychologist and poet, Buckman Coe keeps your head in the clouds and feet on the ground with sweet grooves and irresistible melodies that will have you hooked.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Emceeing the Victoria Juggling Festival

We will be emceeing the Victoria Juggling Festival Gala Show on Sat. Feb.19.  There will be a phenomenal line-up of professional jugglers assembled at the Metro theatre.  Instead of the normal cabaret style show, Chris and I will be weaving a story to tie together all of the fabulous performers. 

Contact us immediately to get tickets.  The Metro is almost sold out already!  Whew, it is going to be a full house.

The entire festival runs from Feb.18-20.  We would love to see you there. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thanks Diane!

You may have noticed that there were many beautiful pictures from the Haunted House and my show with Shpongle, taken by Diane Smithers.

Here's yet another one she recently posted.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Jammin' With Giovanni Hidalgo!

I had an incredible stroke of luck this afternoon to have the great conga player Giovanni Hidalgo, one of the best drummers in the history of the universe, put on a workshop 5 blocks from my house.  I got to play with him on stage, man, having Giovanni watching me play was very thrilling.  I have been studying his techiniques for years and to be sitting there in front of this legend listening to me play was so exciting!  He told me that I am a doing really good and can see all of the practice I have been doing.  I can't tell you how good that made me feel.  From the legend's own mouth!  Extraordinary!

If you do not know who Giovanni Hidalgo is, please take 4 minutes and watch this master at work.  Every hand drummer must pay homage to this man as he revolutionized its playing.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Very Peculiar Machine

Along with Ari Lazer and Martin Reisle, I've been working on a kids show called "a Very Peculiar Machine." The show is being prepared for Artstarts, an organization that books educational entertainment into schools around British Colombia.

Our show features Dr. Terwilliger, a scientist who has created a machine that can gather stories right out of the air! The doctor and his engineer plan to create a magnificent museum of stories for people to come and see, but only for a healthy sum. Unfortunately, the machine is having trouble pumping out stories, so they go to the kids for advice (or, maybe just to steal their creativity...)

The show touches on the importance of stories, the power of imagination and the value of collaboration and sharing.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Winter Training with Peter and Ninon

It is always a pleasure to train with Peter and Ninon.  They have decades of circus wisdom to impart.  I have great respect for them.  You will be hard pressed to find more professional training on the West Coast of Canada.  If you are thinking about joining the circus big leagues, these are the people you need to talk to.

Check them out: