Thursday, September 18, 2014
This morning I had breakfast at a French bakery that I spotted yesterday on our way back from Miami Beach.
It wasn't a terribly long walk from my trailer, but it seemed a lot worse before I had my morning coffee.
I was really worn out for the three shows today. The first show seemed to drag on forever, and I was getting so sleepy sitting backstage and reading.
Luckily there were big crowds for the first two shows.
After the second performance Ryan and I were waiting to take pictures when a mother, father, and their two small children walked up to us.
The mother asked Ryan, "Are you American?"
When Ryan replied that he was, she went on to say that they enjoyed the show, but they didn't think it was a good idea for children to see the bits we do with the circular saw in the carpenter gag.
This is a complaint we had on Kelly Miller, so Ryan was ready with a response.....until the husband then chimed in and likened our slapstick violence to the beheadings that are going on in the middle east.
When I heard that I bit about an inch off of my tongue before I could tell him how ridiculous he was being.
Ryan told the couple that he was sorry that they didn't like our act, and he directed them to the ticket office if they would like to make a complaint.
The woman said that they didn't want to do that, and then proceeded to repeat her earlier sentiments like a broken record.
Before they left, they also managed to accuse us of being insensitive to people's feelings.
Boy, do I feel sorry for those kids. They are screwed!
Ryan and I were pretty upset about the whole thing, and it pretty much ruined the rest of the evening for us.
I couldn't even enjoy the third show. I was just ready to be done so I could put the day behind me.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
This morning Ryan, Tatiana, Nico, and I drove over to Miami Beach to visit an Argentinean bakery. I had a couple of empanadas, and I picked up two different sweets to go; both containing dulce de leche as a prime ingredient.
We also walked to a supermarket that had different Argentinean products that Tatiana wanted to buy.
Back at the lot I ran out to do some of my own errands. I got gas for the little clown car, I stopped by a pharmacy to get baby powder, and I swung by a hardware store to get new locks for the backs of my truck and trailer.
The first show tonight was almost full, and the audience was fantastic! Thank goodness we have these weekend shows to give us our laugher fix after a week of dismal response.
About fifteen minutes before the second show began there was a fierce wind and rain storm. People that walked over from the trailers said that the wind was absolutely terrible.
David Confal, our diabolo-gist, came into the dressing room soaking wet, and Ryan naively asked him, "Is it raining?"
The ground backstage quickly flooded from the deluge of rain. Carmelo saw this as an opportunity and caught himself some dinner.
There were less people at the second show (I blame the storm), but the audience was even better than the first crowd!
We really rocked them in the carpenter gag. What a feeling.....
While we were taking photos after the show we were chatting with a family that had posed with us. They were asking the standard questions (i.e. Where are you from? How long have you been with Vazquez? Why are you two so devilishly good looking? [ok, I made that last one up]), and then out of the blue the patriarch of the family asked if he could say a prayer for us.
Ryan replied with a robust, "Please!", and then we gathered in a little circle while the man asked God to look after our safety as we travel with the circus.
It was very nice of him, and of course I gloated to the dancers about how our souls were saved and how they were a bunch of shameful sinners.
Honestly, what good is redemption if you can't flaunt it?
I should have asked the devout man to ask God to smite the nightclub across the street from where our trailers are parked.
Their music was incredibly loud, and my trailer was vibrating from the bass all night.
Monday, September 15, 2014
This afternoon I repainted the base of the vacuum prop, and I also replaced one of the wheels, which has been broken. I should have done both of those jobs a long time ago, but I have been lazy. Bad clown!
While the vacuum was drying I caught the commuter train downtown. One nice thing about Miami is that if you take a train in the downtown area, it is free!
I found a sushi restaurant where I had lunch. The sushi was good, and the staff was friendly; they gave me a menu to take back to the circus since they deliver.
I also visited Quarterman's, which had delicious ice cream. I'll definitely return there before we leave town.
"El Gordo Y La Flaca" was filming at the circus today, but luckily Ryan and I were relieved of national PR duty for the day so the program could have a little variety.
One juggling act was brought in for the publicity from the west coast unit, which is currently in L.A.
After the first show tonight a man approached me and Ryan to tell us that he was a circus clown in France. He didn't speak much English at all, so we communicated through hand signals and simple words. Ryan attempted to communicate in French, but as soon as he opened his mouth all of the words and phrases he knew from High School left him.
He did manage to say, "I am Ryan, (motioning to me) and she is Steve".
Darned tricky pronouns!
We had a couple of celebrities at the shows tonight. Jorge Salinas, a big telenovela star, was the special guest at both shows, and the former Miss Universe was in the audience for the second performance.
Speaking of the second show, the audience was fantastic! Ryan and I definitely needed their enthusiasm and laughter, as we had a rough week of shows.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
This morning I woke up at 4 a.m. to get ready for our national television appearance on UNIVISION's "Despierta America" (Wake Up, America).
Ryan and I gave Laura a ride over to the tent around 5:15 a.m. as we and the dancers had been told to be ready to go at 5:30 a.m.
We were all in make up and costume at the time we were told, but we didn't actually do anything until the show began broadcasting at 7:00 a.m. grumble grumble
All of the segments we filmed concerned William Valdes, a young host from the program, joining the circus.
William was very nice, and Ryan knew from meeting with him a couple of days ago that he was game for whatever crazy ideas we had.
It turns out that William had actually worked as a clown in the Cuban National Circus at the age of 6, so he was no stranger to wearing make up and acting a fool.
He knew what was coming...
We filmed our three segments pretty early in the broadcast, but the director wanted us to hang around for the final shot, which was still two hours away.
Ryan and I made ourselves comfortable, had a donut and a couple cups of coffee, and visited with people while the broadcast continued.
Finally 10 a.m. rolled around and we filmed a segment where everyone waved goodbye to the viewers at home.
As soon as it concluded, we were told that we needed to film a two minute segment in about twenty minutes.
We were a little thrown, because we had planned for everything else; this new segment was news to us.
Filling two minutes of air time would normally not be a problem, but they wanted us to include William in our hi jinx.
Ryan and I quickly brainstormed some ideas while we gathered props and changed into our vacuum gag jumpsuits (since Ryan's has rip away pants, giving us one more visual bit to use).
While we were changing, Mario ran into the dressing room to tell us that we were going live in one minute!
Ryan and I freaked out; I'm not sure what happened to the twenty minutes of prep time we were promised.
Ryan and I ran out to the ring with thirty seconds to spare and quickly briefed William on how to swing a board and knock us down. That was the only thing we were able to plan before we began filming.
Ryan and I pulled two minutes of "comedy" out of our butts, including William in the improvisation as best we could.
Most of it didn't make sense, and it wasn't really funny, but we filled the time and no one was killed or seriously maimed.
I was a little upset that this segment was thrown on us like that. It's one thing to look bad on a local channel, but to present a mediocre product on a national broadcast is not something I'm proud of.
Ryan and I were finally finished around 10:30 a.m., so we headed home to get cleaned up and rest.
I noticed that my truck was not blocked in anymore, so I took advantage of the opportunity and drove to the post office before taking a nice, long nap.
Patrick Acton, a former Ringling clown, and his wife, Candice, came to see the show tonight.
Here's me and Pat when he was on Ringling. I was 16, and only slightly more of a dork than I am now:
Pat's brother, Leo, and I worked together on Ringling, and Leo is currently on tour with Culpepper Merriweather.
Alright, enough with the Circus Edition Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon....
After the show Pat and Candice treated me to dinner over at Bayside, where we swapped war stories over fruity tropical drinks.
Ah, Miami, the lap of luxury!
Saturday, September 13, 2014
9/9/14- 7:30 p.m.
We had another small crowd for the show tonight. Afterwards, while Ryan and I were in the concessions area taking pictures, a woman was walking by the tent doors when the big Mastiff belonging to one of the Vazquez brothers wandered into the tent.
The woman stopped in awe of the humongous dog and exclaimed, "Oh my God, you're beautiful!"
From nearby I responded, "Thanks! You're not so bad yourself!"
After work I went to a very classy dining establishment. Maybe you've heard of it? It is called Hooters.
When it was time to leave I needed change for my waitress' tip, so I went up to the bartender and asked her to break a five dollar bill.
She took it, looked in the register and said, "I'm sorry, but all I have is singles."
I waited for a minute to see if she was joking, but when I saw that she was serious, I bit my tongue before I could burt out, "How else would you give me change for a five?!"
I just smiled and bade her a good night.
God speed, Hooters bartender. God speed.
9/10/14- 7:30 p.m.
The past couple of days have been very low key for me. I feel bad that I'm not taking advantage of any of the sightseeing opportunities in the city, but I just haven't been motivated to go anywhere.
Business was up tonight from our Monday and Tuesday shows, which was a relief.
Sam McCollum, who Ryan and I met on Kelly Miller last year, came to the performance tonight.
Sam and his son, Braxton, saw us on KM in Waynesburg, PA for several years before coming over and introducing themselves to us last year.
They caught us again in Hancock, MD, and I keep in touch with Braxton through Facebook.
To make a long story even longer, Sam is in Miami on a business trip, and on his way to dinner last night he drove by the tent and saw our faces on the advertising.
He got in touch with Braxton, who contacted me to let me know his dad was in town.
As luck would have it, Sam had tonight off, so he came to catch the show!
While Ryan and I were waiting to do the vacuum gag tonight, Raul Gonzalez, a television host formerly with UNIVISION, came over and told us that he thought we were amazing.
It was very nice of him to come over and give us the kind words of praise.
After the show Sam and I went out to have dinner. We were going to take my truck, but it was blocked in, so Ryan was nice enough to let me use his truck.
We had dinner and caught up, and then I dropped Sam off at his hotel, the Ritz Carlton over on the island of Key Biscayne.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
9/7/14- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.
This morning my first order of business was visiting an auto parts store to pick up a new squeegee for the vacuum gag. Last night ours broke right before we went on, so we had to flex our improvisational muscles a bit.
Next I had breakfast over at Bayside, and while I was enjoying my danish and Cuban coffee a homeless man came up and asked for a dollar for a cup of coffee.
I went up to the counter with him and bought him a coffee, which made me feel good. I had been sitting feeling sorry for myself, and doing something nice for someone less fortunate really gave me a good feeling.
(Honestly I just wrote about this incident because I see no glory in random acts of kindness when you don't tell anyone about them. Shameless self promotion and back patting for me all the way!)
Today one of the crew members adjusted an air conditioning tube so that it was blowing directly into the men's dressing room.
That steady blast of cool air made all the difference during our two afternoon shows, and made the day so much more bearable.
Some television personalities and the director of programming from UNIVISION came to watch the first show, and they came over with Memo to take a photo with us after the performance.
Ryan and I really were excited to meet them. Honestly.....
After the second show Ryan and I saw a woman leaving the tent who had had butt implants installed.
It was the most bizarre thing I have ever seen, yet it inspired me to get butt implants some day.....
on my chest!
There was a small crowd for the third show, which really surprised me. Usually that is one of the biggest shows of the week.
After work I met Teo, Teo's local friends, Anya, Dustin, Elena, and Anastasiia over at Bayside for drinks and dinner.
Teo's friends all know him from Puerto Rico, and a couple of them now work at the Miami Zoo.
I had a good time out. Towards the end of the third show I had considered backing out of the invite, but I'm glad that I didn't.
I caught a cab back to the lot with Dustin, Anya, and their baby, which sure beat walking through the hood at 2 a.m.
9/8/14- 7:30 p.m.
I slept very late today. Note to self: be aware of how humid it is before a night of fun with friends.
When I was finally feeling like I wasn't going to die, I went grocery shopping. What with our busy schedule since we got to Miami, as well as my frequent inability to leave the lot with my truck, I was long overdue for a food run.
While I was out Ryan met with Bronson, our go to guy for national PR, and they planned for our upcoming appearance on "Despierta America".
We had a small crowd for the show tonight. The only thing noteworthy that happened was when a little girl from the audience ran into the ring at the end of finale to collect some of the glitter on the carpet.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
This morning I walked over to the tent to check on the crew's progress. Backstage was not ready, but I called Ryan and suggested that it would be best to start taking our props over to the tent.
I'm glad that we stared early, because it took a long time for us to load in. We loaded the props in my truck, drove the half mile over to the tent, unloaded them, and then took them around the tent and into backstage.
It took us three trips to take everything, and then we had to make one extra trip over in the little car.
I always drive the little car to the tent from the trailers, but this time I brought Ryan along since it was such a journey.
Unfortunately we discovered that one of the tires had a flat when we were waiting to cross the street to go to the tent.
We popped the same tire that we had to change twice in Atlanta, so this time we put electrical tape inside the wheel's rim since it seemed that is what keeps popping the tubes. Hopefully we covered any sharp edges with the tape....if that is even the problem!
Once we got all of our props backstage we couldn't set them up because the floor and dressing rooms were still being constructed. We left everything out of the way, against the tent's sidewall.
After breaking for lunch Ryan and I went back over to set up our props. The ground backstage is dirt; that coupled with the awful humidity left us feeling disgusting by the time we were done.
I felt so bad for the crew that have been working nonstop in those conditions for a couple of days.
Finally, a few hours before showtime we drove our costumes over to the tent and hung them up in the dressing room, which had just been completed.
I got into make up over at the tent, and I spent the entire evening there. I didn't go back to my house between shows like I usually do since it would take too much time. I also didn't want to walk alone and in clown make up through the sketchy neighborhood where we are parked.
One definite downside of not going home during the shows was that Ryan and I had to wear wet costumes for the second water gag.
Usually we run the costumes over to Ryan's house so Tatiana can dry them for the next show, but the Vazquez brothers wouldn't let us bring my truck over to the tent to be used for the laundry runs.
I couldn't believe how humid it was backstage. It made me want to travel back in time to Houston and Atlanta so I could slap myself for complaining about the humidity then. Those towns seemed like a cakewalk in comparison!
Luckily the audiences tonight were great. Ryan and I were grateful for that silver lining.
Mona Loyal, Armando's sister, was at the second show with some of her family. It was a nice surprise to see them.
After the shows I went out to have dinner, but I couldn't find the restaurant I had set out to visit.
Since I was out I decided to swing by Walmart to get a new squeegee (the one we use in the vacuum gag broke right before we went on), and some more tire accessories for the little car, but the store didn't carry half of the things I needed.
Since I was striking out left and right I just decided to go back to the lot. I almost failed at that too!
There is a night club across the street from our trailers, and people were parking along the sidewalk bordering the lot.
Some genius parked his car right in front of the open gate allowing us access to our truck parking area.
I had just enough room to squeeze in between his hood and a street sign; I had maybe an inch of clearance on either side of me.
Off to an auspicious start in Miami, FL.......