One day in 1973 Mark Nizer's (Neisser) Mother signed him up for a juggling class. With the help of that juggling teacher (Hemlock), he learned how to juggle and has been juggling ever since. Juggling has been his only "real job" and he continues to learn and invent new juggling tricks and juggling technologies. He has toured the world. Performing at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, on Arsenio Hall, Carolines Comedy Hour and Just for Laughs Comedy Festival. Mark won first place in the 1990 International juggling championships Seniors and won comedian of the year at the 1994 APCA convention.
Juggling has been a a way of life for Nizer. "Juggling has helped me learn patience and control." said Nizer, " I juggle almost every prop with the exception of shaker cups."
Mark began street performing in 1978 in Boston, MA. He spent the summer of 1981 in Boulder, CO practicing at Colorado University with Peter Davison, Barrett Felker, Kezia Tenenbaum, Jon Held and Jon Leffingwell. He performed regularly on the Boulder Mall as half of a team act "Anti-Gravity". His partner was Alan Streater. They competed in the team championships in Cleveland and place 4th.
"We wrote our act in one night and it showed." said Mark.
They traveled the US street performing in Boulder, Aspen, Chicago, and Boston. In Aspen, while Mark practiced in a park, all their belongs were stolen from their vehicle. All that was left was the props Mark was practicing with. They did street shows to earn enough to drive to Boston and replace what they could.
"I learned more juggling in that summer than any other time in my life. It was amazing to practice with such great talent." said Mark. "My advice to anyone starting out is to find the best jugglers in the world then move there and practice with them".
Ben Decker is credited with taking Mark to San Francisco to teach him to write original material. "We watched all the shows going on Pier 39 and Ghirardelli Square. Then Ben beat the concepts and importance of writing your own material into my head. It was the greatest awakening I ever had."
Mark returned to UNH and San Diego State to finish his degree (psychology) and during that time he competed in and won the school talent show. A tape of that show was mailed as an entrance into a National Talent contest "ACTS", The American Collegiate Talent Showcase". It was hosted by Bob Hope. After winning that Mark toured Micronesia and the Orient doing USO and DOD shows. After college he returned to Balboa Park and street performing. Practicing as much as 10 hours a day on weekdays and then doing five 45 minute shows on Saturday and five on Sunday.
Mark shared the space with, Ray Wold, Edward Jackman, The Raspini Brothers and anyone else passing thru. Marks partnered with Edward Jackman and they developed a show together from pieces of their acts. "Edward was the most creative and enthusiastic performer." said Mark. "Edward was one of the most influential performers I ever met. He combined great juggling with great humor. A combination that has proven invaluable. I hope there is a chapter on Edward in this book, because anyone that knew him, saw that he was someone special.
After winning 2nd in the Las Vegas IJA Seniors in 1984, Mark left San Diego and did reviews shows and cruise ships for 5 years. King of Prussia, PA, Miami Beach, FL, Montreal, Canada, Baltimore, MD, Atlantic City, NJ where all runs of 3 months to a year. "I learned stage tech and how to slow down in these shows", said Mark, "I also learned to be subtle and was able to perfect many routines doing them in a stage situation up to 12 times a week."
Mark quit reviews, moved to NYC and hit the streets again. During this time Mark met Francis Brunn who lived in NYC. "Meeting him in person and seeing what this amazing talent could do" redirected Marks practice toward ball spinning and that type of juggling. He did standup in local clubs and signed with a college agency. College gigs were his bread and butter for the next 10 years. A move to Los Angeles soon followed and Mark developed many of his original signature pieces at this time. Both the laser diabolo and his "fan piece" are both products of that period. The day he moved to LA he won the 1990 IJA seniors.
Mark currently lives in Free Union, Virginia with his wife and 3 daughters. He can be seen performing his one man show in performing arts centers around the world. For more information visit him on the web at http://nizer.com
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