Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Card Ninja at the Udderbelly Festival

WHAT do you get if you cross a pack of cards with a few marshal arts moves? Card ninja of course!
And someone who knows all about being a Card Ninja is Javier Jarquin.
The New Zealand-born comedian and card throwing meister has been delighting and wowing audiences across the world for the past six years with his unique act.
Now happily settled in Stockwell with his wife he is preparing for series of shows around the country including a gig at the Udderbelly Festival on Sunday, May 15.
It is a festival he says he likes and has performed at before and is keen to take part in again.
“I love the purple cow, it’s the perfect venue for my show,” he tells me cheerfully.
“It’s a lovely space and the crowds are great so I’m really excited to be here.”
The show will be a chance for audiences to find out what it takes to be a card ninja and see Javier use ordinary playing cards as weapons, with incredible and unbelievable precision, speed and power in impressive stunts.
They will also be able to follow his journey from mild mannered card player to silent assassin Card Ninja.
“People come to the show but don’t know what they are going to see,” he chuckles. “It’s not about magic, or about doing loads of card tricks.
"It’s about throwing cards as weapons. The story behind it is that I’m trying to be a card ninja so I have to do all these ninja trials to show off my speed and accuracy.
“The audience follows my journey to see what it takes to become a card ninja. So it’s about why I am doing these tricks - I have to give the audience a reason to support the underdog and want me to succeed.
“I might fail and it’s a bit dangerous so it creates a tension. I get the audience involved too - they will shout things out, provide music from their phones, help out on stage and throw things around. It's great fun!”
So can anyone be a card ninja, I ask?
Javier says yes but it takes “a load of practice”.
“It does take a lot of work to get it right and I’m still learning,” he says modestly. “I’ve certainly not mastered it yet, I’m just very persistent and very stubborn!
“My wife is very patient with me because there are thousands of playing cards all over the place.”
He admits it’s not the first choice of career for most people and says he fell into it by accident before being inspired by the likes of magicians Jeff McBride and Ricky Jay.
“I have a computer degree and ended up working as a software engineer,” he says. “I began by throwing my business cards around and then one day one came back to me. I kept going and started experimenting a bit and that was it.
“I did stand up as well and eventually I mixed the two together and Card Ninja was born.”
And if you think it’s all glamour being a card ninja think again - Javier says there are always hundreds of cards to pick up after each show.
“I get through thousands of cards,” he laughs. “I always get really good ones which are good quality, glide nicely and retain their shape well.
“However the only downside is that there are always loads to pick up at the end of the show!"

Card Ninja is suitable for those aged eight and up and is on at the Udderbelly Festival on Sunday, May 15. Visit ww.udderbelly.co.uk for full listings.

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