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David Darwin's career is up in the air

David Darwin eats fire

Juggler David Darwin brings the heat.  Credit: David Darwin Juggler David Darwin brings the heat.
Credit: David Darwin

Where does a 6-foot-6 juggler juggle?

Any place with high ceilings.

“High ceilings make my life good,” says Philly juggler and sideshow performer David Darwin, who performs for the hometown crowd Sunday at Grasso’s Magic Theatre on Callowhill Street.

Darwin is a rising — beyond his height — star of the city’s sideshow arts scene. He has a few appearances on national TV, including performing “Bend Me, Shape Me” on guitar with his legs behind his head on “Last Call with Carson Daly,” under his belt and a steady stream of gigs in the region.

“I make a pretty good income performing but I’m not a good businesses man,” says Darwin, a Jersey native. “I don’t market myself as good as I should ... but the phone rings and I answer it.”

He’s tall, dark and irreverent, kind of like Lurch meets David Copperfield with a deadpan sense of humor. He considers himself a juggler at his core and often attends the Monday meetings of the Philadelphia Juggling Club near the Art Museum.

“It’s about 30 people and they hang out in a room and juggle,” Darwin says. “We meet for about five minutes and then they ask of you like to make a donation to support the club, there’s very minimal dues that used to rent the place. But it’s a lot of juggling – ‘Hey, that’s good, can you show that?’’’

“The vast majority there are hobbyists — they’re really hardcore amateur jugglers who are way better than I am,” he adds.

Darwin supplements his act with sideshow spectacles such as walking on glass, sword swallowing, fire eating and whip cracking. It’s a family show at Grasso’s, but edgy nevertheless.

“They let me do all the sideshow stuff and I push my luck a lot further than with most family audiences,” Darwin says. “I’m not trying to shock you. I say calm down, this sword is not sharp, this is fun and this is how it works.”

David Darwin
Aug. 11, 3 p.m
Grasso’s Magic Theatre
103 Callowhill St.
$15, 215-413-2917
www.grassosmagictheatre.com

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