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Old 01-05-02, 10:43 AM   #1
Stephon
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Question Rolo Bolo advice

I need to build a rolo bolo, but I'm not sure if I should be working to specific specs (that's redundant, isn't it?)

I assume the board should be shoulder width in length, and I was planning on using a section of PVC tube for the base.

Does this sound right, or am I missing something?

Thanks!
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Old 01-05-02, 04:52 PM   #2
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I used 8 ply birch plywood. 11 inches wide, 30 inches long, .5 inches thick. All the edges have been 'routered'. I put skate board grip tape along the top and a sheet of rubber on the bottom. There are stoppers made from the same plywood screwed onto either side of the bottom, also. The pipe is PVC from a plunbling shop and 12" in diameter (or is it 10")...


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Old 01-05-02, 05:37 PM   #3
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Use your imagination. There is no "right" platform, anything you can stand on will work. I currently use a skateboard deck as I kind of have a skateboard theme to my show.

My fav was a broken surfboard that I found on a beach in Mexico, I used that for about a year, it was too big to travel with so I went back to using a sk8board.

Don't dish out any $ for a marketed rola-bola, just get a PVC tube (any size, I use a 20 inch tube for effect) and a board of sorts and away you go. As for a stand, the higher the better, I use my flight-case up on it's side (About 2.5 feet)
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Old 01-06-02, 04:48 PM   #4
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I give up! What IS a Rolo Bolo?
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Old 01-07-02, 09:34 AM   #5
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Peter....

A Rola - Bola is a piece of
wood/perspex/concrete/nylon/
burnt & starched toast/clay/
tightly woven grass/steel/lead/
fused bones/stapled cockroaches...etc
about as long as your mothers temper
about as wide as your fathers chin

Balanced on a wobble upon a cylindrical
form at least as long as the above is wide, with a diameter to your own choosing
( but please understand that as soon as your chosen diameter exceeds your width everything can go seriously pear shaped !)

On this seemingly precariously ground you may juggle knives/axes/flames, escape from shackles/straight jackets / padlocks or maybe just vanish a hanky

(If your gonna do the juggle do something exciting like eat an apple)

(If your gonna do the escape listen to MTV, do it it 4 seconds OR LESS)

(If your gonna vanish a hanky don't use a pull, go behind the curtain it's far better as Ehrich Weiss discovered)

Anyway ...
If you can balance this balance and throw in all the pizzazz and charisma that captures wonderment like a new born child captures life... and free food...

Then pat yourself on the back
You've got a career...
Your out the ratrace
good luck

NN
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Old 01-12-02, 03:04 PM   #6
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Thanks Steve and Scot, I took both of your advise, sort of:

I went to Home Depot and got a 1' x 3' piece of glued shelving, some 1" x 2"s for the stops, a 1'long section of PVC for the base, and some no-slip tape to put on the top. Then on my way home I realized a skateboard was inherently stronger, already had screw holes in it, and was already topped with a no-skid surface. So, I bought a piece-of-crap skateboard from Toys 'R' Us, removed the wheels and the trucks, and replaced them with custom fit stops I made from the 1" x 2"s.

Bottom line, it works great.

One question more though--the PVC I got is only 4" diam. Where did you find the larger diam. stuff?
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Old 01-12-02, 06:06 PM   #7
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plumbing supply yard.
what are the "stops" for?

[This message has been edited by Scot Free (edited 01-12-2002).]
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Old 01-12-02, 08:47 PM   #8
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I have never done rola bola in an act, so I'm must relay this advice second hand.

During a summer workshop at The Celebration Barn, Dan Looker breezed through for an afternoon and gave the class an impromptu mini-workshop on the rola bola. At the time, he was a regular in the Boston area and did a five tube stack along with juggling and hand balancing in his act.

Anyway, for the multiple tube tricks, he insisted that the way to go was to use aluminum tubes and have a machinist mill out the edges of the vertical tubes so that they were ever so slightly convex. He said that unless you had that little curve, you couldn't feel the edge of the balance with five.

He also said that pvc was not stable enough for the more sophisticated tricks.

I've seen folks use both aluminum and pvc for one to five tube rola bolas, but the few really good performers who base an entire act around the prop seem to all use aluminum tubes.

Food for thought.

Steven Ragatz


[This message has been edited by Steven Ragatz (edited 01-12-2002).]
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Old 01-23-02, 08:52 AM   #9
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On the topic of a five tube stack:

I have casually been playing with that trick for a couple of years now, and have gotten so I can maintain the balance for about a minute or so. Trouble is, I have no idea how to get into it without having a support to lean against. I have seen the five stack done several times in the past, but not since I became interested in it, so I never paid attention to how the performer got into the trick. Of course, now that I am trying to learning it, I haven't seen anyone do it.

That's not completely true, as I have seen several street acts do it with volunteers. Mostly involving messing up hair etc.

I know that several of you guys do rola bola in your acts. Any tips on getting into (and out of!) the multi-tube stacks?

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Old 01-23-02, 09:27 AM   #10
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Cool

Probably the biggest bang would be to parachute into it, Steve. As Elvis.
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Old 01-23-02, 09:44 AM   #11
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Hey Steven.

I had the pleasure of watching Dan Looker do a five stack rolo bolo - actually I have the routine on video! He performs it on a table, to add to the five stack height. And to top it off he just stands on the stack and tells jokes, it's that impressive.

To get up he builds the stack of tubes, pops the board on it, and has a pole that sticks into his table that is a little higher than board height. He climbs onto the board - I think climbing up the tubes - then leans his weight on the pole.

Hope that helps,

Cheers,
Bri

PS how do you get up in practice?


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Old 01-23-02, 09:53 AM   #12
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Taxi says:
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2"> Probably the biggest bang would be to parachute into it, Steve. As Elvis.
Naw, thatís the old way. Iím trying to come up with something newÖ

Bri says:
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2"> PS how do you get up in practice?
Iíve been using small blocks next to the two rolling tubes that I kick out with a cane. I donít like it because the blocks fall on the floor and bounce about. It looks messy and artificial. I was hoping for something a little cleaner.

I have seen the use of a hand-balancing pole that sticks into the table for added support. Aint got a table, but maybe a secondary support is the only way to mount it. Thanks for the description and the advice though!

Steve


[This message has been edited by Steven Ragatz (edited 01-23-2002).]
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Old 01-23-02, 10:04 AM   #13
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I've never seen anyone free-mount a 5 tube stack. It's just too tall and unstable. Dan Looker has that long pole with the fake hand on it. He DOES sort of hop up using the bottom (fixed,vertical) tube as a step.

I believe he uses his right hand to hold onto the fake hand (which is on the right side and slightly forward of the stack), and puts his left hand on the left side of the board, steps on the bottom cylinder with his left foot and places his right foot on the right side of the board and then quickly pops his left foot to the top of the board on the left side, replacing his left hand. Then he stands up and does fine tuning of the board while holding onto that fake extra hand. The fake hand is about waist level to Dan once he's standing on the board. The hand is attached to a pole which is fixed into the table top. The actual balance once he lets go of the hand is only about 5-10 seconds, but it looks pretty rad way up on his table.

I was blown away by the trick when I saw him do it. His table is about 4 feet tell and then there's about 3 feet of cylinders. He's way up there and those cylinders move quite a bit.

Then he jumps back off the stack and lands on the table holding the whole stack with one hand... a totally clean dismount.

I can free-mount and safely dismount a two cylinder cross-stack, but the 5 cylinder stack always winds up in a bail and a very loud crash for me. I don't even practice it. Dan's dismount from 5 was clean every time I've seen it.

Anyone seen him lately?
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Old 01-23-02, 12:32 PM   #14
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Scot-Since I'm just beginning on the RB, the stops are there in case I totally lose it, to keep the board from shooting across the room like a pork through a goose. Once I've reached a sufficient level of confidence, I'll remove them.

Jim-I haven't seen Dan since he worked the MD Renaissance Festival, but last I heard, Dan has been working the Ren. Faire circuit at Sterling, Scarborough, Ohio, and others, I'm sure. His act is amazing, and he's a sincerely nice person.

However, for pure entertainment value, get a few dozen pints into Gazzo and ask him why, "Danny's a great guy."
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Old 01-23-02, 05:15 PM   #15
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I saw live at Bush Gardens, and then taped off tv a few days later two Russian guys doing a 5 high stack together. Yup, two men on the top of a 5 high stack. One guy mounted one side using his partner as a hand hold and held the balaance , while his partner mounted the other side. Thier feet were together in the middle and their other foot was on the outside. So one guy was holding the balance for one half, while the other was holding the balance for the other side. It was amazing, especially because they both baiscly did a free mount to the board. My wife and I talked to them after and they said they worked for years on it.
I do the Ohio show every fall with Dan,so I showed him the tape. He was blown away.
Pound for pound though Dan is still a monster performer, and a damn nice guy.
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Old 01-23-02, 05:22 PM   #16
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Oh, BTW I taught myself Rolla Bolla and a two high cross stack and a three high non cross stack from Hovey Burgess's book Circus Techniques. It is a great book to learn the inroad to almost any trick. It is a bit technical, but very informative.
Also there is an old circus guy named Ed Moreno living in Clearwater Florida. He used to do a 3 man rolla bolla act with him as the bottom and his partners doing hand balancing on him on a rolla bolla. My wife and I met him and took classes in Hanging Trapeze and I did Rolla Bolla with him. He taught me some solo stuff he used to do to warm up the audience before his partners came out. Single leg balances, manipulating a single hoop around his body, half and full jumps on the board.
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Old 02-19-02, 11:27 PM   #17
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I use a skate board deck in my show b/c I like the image it gives me. I'm a wanna be skater. The curve of the board makes it hard though, so I'm gonna attach another level. A board with blocks on top to act as spacers between the two boards; thus making a flat surface, keep the skater image, and make it look bigger.
Cris Karne told me that using the sk8board looked cheap, and that if i'm gonna use it I should go all out and use somthing else cheap, and random looking as a cylinder, not a pvc tube; so i figured I would use a fire extinguisher. This would also make the fire in the show look for serious.
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Old 02-20-02, 09:11 AM   #18
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I wouldn't think that a fire extinguisher would be a good choice as the nozzle could get jarred loose, or the canester could be comprimized, resulting in explosion!

The idea of using something other than a cylender is good though. I don't know if it would be possible or not, but why not mount skateboard trucks on a board, with the wheels pointing up. Could you balance on the wheels with your second board that way? You could keep with the skateboard theme and do a trick that I haven't seen anyone else do.



Another idea would be to use a glass bottle. Maybe people would think that it would break. Lots of guys use balls (bowling, basketball, etc.), though it isn't as stable as a cylender.

Just some off-the-cuff thoughts...

Steve

[ 02-25-2002: Message edited by: Jim ]</p>
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Old 02-20-02, 01:48 PM   #19
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I like the glass bottle idea best, but a DISCHARGED extinguisher would not pose any problems either. I would even take the extra precaution of drilling a quarter-inch hole in the bottom to satisfy the airlines.
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Old 02-20-02, 04:15 PM   #20
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If you want to try something hard try a Bowling ball. Steve is right, a round object is not a stable as a cylinder, but it sure looks good, and helps to find the balanace needed to do a two cylinder cross stack.
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