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That loud crack heard from across the Common is not always from thunder. Sometimes, it's the deadly technique of "Jack the Whipper." Junior broadcast journalism major Jack Lepiarz has been chomping at the whip since he was seven years old, when he received one as a gift.
"Looking back, it's mind boggling, because I would never entrust a whip to a seven year old," Lepiarz said.
Lepiarz said he was initially inspired to practice circus tricks due to the influence of his father, a professional clown known as "Mr. Fish." Growing up, Lepiarz practiced other circus trades such as knife throwing, and magic but his true love was always the whip.
Lepiarz said he started getting good at his trade when he was about 17.
"I practiced so much that I went to school with welts on my arms," he said.
Lepiarz prides himself on his low casualty rate. "I have never, ever, hit a volunteer," said Lepiarz, "except my brother, once."
After moving to Boston, Lepiarz began doing street shows in the city for a little extra cash and, of course, to stay in practice. His original idea was to perform on the Common, but his show was shut down by police after about five minutes. Lepiarz is now a permit-holding street performer in Cambridge and considers Harvard Square his favorite venue in the area. He said he usually makes about 20 dollars in an afternoon.
Professionally, Lepiarz has worked as a freelance circus artist for venues such as Big Apple Circus and the Nevada State Fair, which Lepiarz said is not as cool as Reno 911! This past summer, Lepiarz worked at King Richard's Faire in Carver, Mass. as his latest comedic persona: "Jacques ze Whipper." As Jacques, Lepiarz wears cowboy boots and a black painted mustache.
As for plans after graduation, Lepiarz is drawn both to the circus and a more traditional lifestyle.
"Maybe I'll go back into the Renaissance fair circuit, he said. "Maybe I'll work for a radio station."
bHow to be a whippersnapper/b
What a whippersnapper
1. Get a whip. Cheap ones are available at a href="http://www.westernstageprops.com"westernstageprops.com/a/
2. Take the whip in the hand you write with. Hold the whip out to so it is in a straight line to your side.
3. Swing the whip straight over your head in a circle several times.
4. Once you are comfortable, completley reverse the direction of the whip. The whip should make a nice loud crack. The trick is to not speed up when you change directions. Take it nice and easy.