Saturday, May 23, 2015

Wednesday, May 20 & Thursday, May 21: El Paso, TX

5/20/15- "Day Off"

All of the trailers were parked around 11:00 a.m. Once we were stationary, Ryan finished painting our new board for the carpenter gag.

At 5:00 p.m. Ryan, Jose Alberto, and I had a television publicity in front of the box office. While we were waiting to go live, we were entertained by the locals coming to buy tickets.
Many people were walking up to the ticket wagon and taking pictures with the photograph of Jose Alberto featured on the front, even though the real deal was standing mere feet away from them.
The whole tableau would have made an excellent photograph, but we were too busy laughing to capture the moment.

Once we were finished with our publicity we were able to plug our houses into electricity. Originally the power boxes were all the way over by the arena's back door, which made them way too far for any of the trailers to reach.
Luckily the arena had more power cables, so the boxes were moved closer to us all. I still didn't have enough cable for my plug to reach, but luckily Tatiana had an extra cable that she let me borrow. That was a great relief!

After getting cleaned up, Ryan and I loaded our props into backstage of the arena, and then I was picked up by my new friend, Matt Salgado.
Matt is a clown with the local Shrine Unit, and he is also heavily involved with bringing the Shrine Circus to El Paso every year.
He has been very excited about Vazquez coming to town, and he was nice enough to take me out to dinner to welcome me to El Paso.

We went to State Line, which is a BBQ restaurant directly on the New Mexico/Texas state line. The bar area is in New Mexico, and then you cross over into Texas when you walk into the dining area.
The food we had was so delicious, and I ended up eating way too much.

5/21/15- 7:30 p.m.

This morning I set out to do laundry and go grocery shopping, and in the process I discovered that for me, El Paso is a very confusing city in which to drive.

Around 3:00 p.m. Nestor drove me, Ryan, and Alexa to a radio station in the western part of El Paso where we popped in to do a quick interview with Victor, the DJ.

I guess Victor is afraid of rock and roll.

Shortly after getting back to the lot Ryan and I jumped right into a television PR. The UNIVISION station that came out yesterday returned to broadcast their whole program from the circus ring.

The different reporters were excited to work with me and Ryan after we were given a good review from the weatherman we worked with yesterday. They were willing to let us do whatever we wanted, making our job a piece of cake.

Anything like....ATTEMPTED MURDER!!!

We are performing in an arena in this town, and it was mighty strange; I haven't worked a circus in a building since the Hamid Shrine date I worked back in 2008.

There were chairs put on the floor closer to the ring, but the majority of the audience was sitting on the sides up in the stands.
Ryan and I tried to adjust our blocking accordingly as we went along.

During Intermission a building employee asked Ryan to ask the ladies if they needed to empty the trashcan in their dressing room.
Ryan called in and asked, and they replied, "No thank you, Ryan."
The building employee asked, "Wait, you're Ryan? From Steve & Ryan?"
When Ryan replied that he was, the employee told him that his wife loves watching our videos on Youtube.
What a small world!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Monday, May 18 & Tuesday, May 19: Tucson, AZ & El Paso, TX

5/18/15- 7:30 p.m.

This morning Ryan and I made a trip to Home Depot to buy a new piece of lumber for the carpenter gag.
The board that we have been using for a couple of years developed a thick crack on one end, so we needed to get the supplies to replace it before it breaks during the show.
We've been very rough on props in this town!

My brother, Trent, came to see our final performance in Tucson with his friend, Willie.
We had a big, enthusiastic crowd for the last show, which seems to be the norm for every city.

Laura went into the motorcycle act tonight. She has been practicing with her boyfriend, Viśan, for awhile now, and she did a great job for her grand debut.
Many of us from the cast were watching from the stairways and showing our support.

Natalya also returned to the dog act this evening. She was pregnant for the beginning of the tour, but two weeks ago she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, and she wasted no time in returning to the ring.

After loading out our props, we had to wait for awhile to leave because we were parked behind several trailers.
Once Ryan was able to move, Nestor brought over a fork lift to move my trailer's hitch over enough so that I could hook up my truck.
Otherwise I would have been waiting around for much longer, because the España family, who were parked in front of me, have a lot of work they have to do on load out.

Finally around 12:30 a.m. we were able to hit the road. We drove about forty miles before stopping at a Walmart for the night to get some sleep.

I didn't get to bed until after 3:00 a.m., because Viśan lent me the television series, "Sons of Anarchy", and I got caught up watching the first few episodes.

5/19/15- Travel Day To El Paso, TX

Ryan and I were on the road by 9:00 a.m. to El Paso. We had only done a small portion of the 320 mile jump last night, so it took us until mid afternoon to get there.

We are playing the County Coliseum in El Paso, and after a quick walk around the arena, I decided that the area was a little too sketchy for my tastes, and I spent the evening at home.
The nice thing was that we were able to plug into city power, which saved me from running my generator all night.

Ryan and I took advantage of the nice evening and sanded down our new board for the carpenter gag until all the edges were rounded.

We were also able to prime the wood and get one side completely painted before we called it a night.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Saturday, May 16 & Sunday, May 17: Tucson, AZ

5/16/15- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

Today I went out to pick up a new feather duster for the vacuum gag. The one we've been using for over a year finally fell apart last night, and Ryan and I were laughing about the fact that we waited so long to replace a prop we could buy at virtually any store.

After spending $10 on a new feather duster (Ryan: "$10 for a feather duster! It better get a lot of laughs!"), I headed to downtown Tucson.
I had lunch at a burger restaurant called Lindy's on Fourth, which was featured on the television program Man Vs. Food because of this menu item:

I passed on that challenge, and instead I had a burger labeled on the menu as the Kush. It had raspberry preserves, green chilies, bleu cheese crumbles and bacon, and it was Ah-Maz-Ing.

After my hearty meal I took a long walk through downtown, and I also ventured over to the arena where I performed with Ringling.
Considering it was just a few blocks from the heart of Tucson, I'm very surprised that I never explored downtown the last two times I was here. That is definitely a loss on my part.

We had another full house for the 6:00 p.m. performance, and the audience was simply wonderful. Tucson is shaping up to be my favorite stop on the tour thus far!

5/17/15- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

This morning I joined Sammie, Emma, and her friend, Phoebe, for breakfast at Ghini's French Cafe.
Phoebe met Emma when they were working together in India, and she is currently on break from Circo Tihany, where she performs as a dancer.

We did good business for the shows today, especially for the 5:00 p.m. performance. We've been spoiled for the past three weeks doing only two shows on Sunday, so it was a little strange adding another performance back into our routine.

After finale three stage crew members run into the ring to pull half of the carpet away before we start taking pictures with the audience.
The first show I chased after them as they ran with the carpet, and for the second show I did the same thing; however, I ran a little too fast, and one of my feet landed on the carpet as they were still pulling it.
I wiped out and landed flat on my back, much to the amusement of Ryan, Jose Alberto, Alexa, and the dancers.
I am very happy that my body reacted as quickly as it did, because I did not hurt myself at all. I was incredibly embarrassed though, and my pride took quite a bruising

Marcos, our ringmaster, gave tonight's third show motivational speech, and it was very bittersweet, because he will be leaving the show after this next week in El Paso.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Thursday, May 14 & Friday, May 15: Tucson, AZ

5/14/15- 7:30 p.m.

This morning I was able to kill two birds with one stone while running errands. I was able to do my laundry and get a haircut at the same shopping plaza. Hooray for productivity!

This afternoon I shared the movie "Gremlins 2" with Nico. I can't express how happy it made me to introduce him to the film and the characters that I loved so much as a child.
My ulterior motive was to get Nico excited about the idea of doing a team costume with me at Halloween where he would dress up as Gizmo, the cute and lovable Mogwai.

Our opening night show in Tucson was packed, and the audience was fantastic!
Hopefully it is a sign of things to come for the rest of our run here.

Chris Green, former Circus Vargas clown, came to the show with his girlfriend, and Ryan and I were also pleasantly surprised to see Ross and Elisa Hartzell after the performance.
Ryan and I worked with Ross and Elisa in the Philippines in 2010, where they performed their crossbow act.
We had no idea they lived in Tucson, so it was a nice surprise to see them; especially since it has been five years.

5/15/15- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

Today was a lazy day at home; sorry I don't have anything more exciting to report.

We had good crowds for the two shows.

In the second juggling act, Jose Alberto was having trouble doing his last trick, where he throws all three cigar boxes in the air, does a pirouette, and catches them all.
He finally took the microphone from Marcos and announced to the crowd that he was sorry, but he couldn't perform his final trick.
He then went to exit the ring, with his head hung down. Jose Alberto then began to softly chant into the microphone, "Si, se puede" (Yes, he can), which caused the whole crowd to start shouting it.
He then successfully completed the trick to thunderous cheers and applause.

Ryan and I were next with the vacuum gag, and as luck would have it, when I have a guy in the audience throw my wig on my head, I missed catching it.
I apologized to the audience, and then I got into the ring and started to exit.
Ryan and Marcos picked up on the joke, and they began to chant, "Si, se puede!", which got the crowd going.
I ran back to the guy, gave him my wig, he threw it, and I caught it to thunderous cheers and applause.

I was so proud that we had the opportunity to pull off such a fun, relevant, impromptu moment. That's what keeps the shows fresh for us.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Tuesday, May 12 & Wednesday, May 13: Tucson, AZ

5/12/15- Travel Day to Tucson, AZ

I woke up this morning at 6:00 a.m., and when Spectrac opened a half hour later, they took my trailer right in and began working on it.

The main reason I took my trailer in for repairs was because Martin guessed the reason I had been popping so many tires this year was because maybe my axles were out of alignment.
Sure enough, they were, and one of my tires was already getting rubbed bald because of it.

While the mechanics were checking the axles, they noticed that a couple of springs were completely worn down, and they suggested I get those taken care of in the near future.
I explained to them that this was the best opportunity to fix them since I didn't have far to go to get to Tucson, and my trailer was already there in the shop.
In fact, I asked them to repair my trailer brakes as well, since all of the wiring was either cut or disconnected, and one of the brakes was completely broken apart.

I was told it would be an all day job, but since they closed at 4:00 p.m., I told them that would still give me plenty of time to get to Tucson before it was too late.
I unhooked my truck, and I was able to go out and enjoy my day in the Mesa and Tempe areas instead of sitting in the waiting room for hours on end.

I ran errands and then I went to Riverview Park to walk around, watch the ducks, and make a few phone calls to friends.

I also checked out the Tempe Marketplace where I had a delicious lunch at Kabuki Sushi.
I was just about to do some reading in a Barnes and Noble when I got a call from Spectrac. They had finished all of the work by 1:00 p.m., which was pretty amazing.

I went and picked up my trailer, and I was on the road to Tucson by 1:30 p.m.
The 114 mile drive was a piece of cake, and before I knew it I was at the Rodeo Grounds where we will be performing for the weekend.

In the evening I was able to get parked, and I went to bed much earlier than usual. I was worn out from getting up at 6:00 a.m. and having a full day.

5/13/15- Day Off!

This morning my brother, Trent, who lives here in Tucson, came to pick me up.
He took me downtown to the Hotel Congress, where the infamous gangster John Dillinger was captured in 1934.
We had a delicious breakfast in the Cup Cafe, the restaurant in the lobby of the hotel.

Once I got back to the lot I joined Ryan, his family, and Julius Espana on a trip to the Tucson Children's Museum.
Walking up to the front entrance I told Ryan that the place seemed very familiar to me, and after asking a few questions at the front desk, I realized that I had done a publicity at the Museum eleven years ago when I was with Ringling.

We all had a lot of fun at the Children's Museum. I was afraid that there wouldn't be enough activities for adults, or that the staff would frown upon anyone other than kids playing with the equipment, but everything was really laid back, and I enjoyed myself.

After having lunch with the group I broke off on my own to explore downtown Tucson further. I found a shop that sells foam and fabric (it's a shame that they are so far from where we spend our winters), and I also checked out a couple of used book stores.

At 6:00 p.m. I met Chris Green for dinner at Magpie's Pizza, which had amazing food. Chris was in Clown College the year I was born, and he spent a couple of years clowning for Circus Vargas and Big John Strong's show.
We had a great time swapping circus stories and getting to know each other.

I was upset that we only get one day off in Tucson, but I definitely made the most of it!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sunday, May 10 & Monday, May 11: Mesa, AZ

5/10/15- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

This morning the show's generator kept dying. It even shut off about twenty minutes before the first performance.
Showtime came and went, and the power was still completely out. About fifteen minutes past 2:00, Eddie came and asked me and Ryan to go entertain the crowd while they tried to get the generator back online.

Ryan and I grabbed a folding chair and some juggling clubs and headed into the dark tent to entertain the impatient audience.

We took our time and milked everything we were doing, because we had no idea how long the show would need us to stall.

We weren't in the ring for too terribly long before Eddie came and told us that we could stop; the generator could not be quickly fixed.
Marcos, our ringmaster, announced to the crowd that the 2:00 p.m. show was canceled, and I assume that refunds or exchanges for another show were offered to the people that did show up.

Finally around 3:00 p.m. the generator came on and stayed on. Everyone held their breath when twenty minutes before the second performance the generator shut off once again.
Luckily a few minutes later it kicked on, and there were no further problems with power interruption.

Local clown and theatre instructor, Brian Foley, came to watch the 5:00 p.m. show with his daughter. Also in the crowd were our clown friends, Stephen and Sarah Smith, who brought along a couple of their acquaintances as well.

I was absolutely worn out for that performance. I still felt like it was our second show of the day, even though the 2:00 p.m. one was canceled.
I suppose I should have taken a nap during our impromptu afternoon break.

Claudie motivated us all with her pre-third show speech, and I added to everyone's energy by sharing a big tray of fresh, out of the oven cookies brought to the cast by my friends, The Taylor family.

After the show I introduced the performers in the ring to the Taylors, since they were immensely popular thanks to their generous and delicious gift.
Elia Taylor even had another gift for me, a tray of macaroni and cheese that she made by following my Nana's recipe. Delicious!

After visiting with the Taylors outside the tent I met up with Stephen and Sarah Smith. They took me to the Mill Avenue area of Tempe where we had dinner and chatted at a Greek restaurant.

5/11/15- 7:30 p.m.

Today I spent the majority of my day preparing everything for load out and travel. I did take a break to join Ryan and his family for lunch at a torta restaurant though.

We had a fantastic audience for our final show in Mesa; they were big and enthusiastic.
The one down point for me was in the vacuum gag. When I was having a guy throw my wig on my head, I was standing near a toddler that was not happy about my proximity to her.
To make matters much worse, the guy throwing my wig wasn't even trying, so his first toss sent the wig directly onto the wary infant, who then went into a full blown terror tantrum.

Last night I had a similar scenario because the only two men in the audience who were even remotely bald (we need a bald man in the crowd for one of our bits) had screaming children in their laps. It was not a pretty or fun situation....

It only took about an hour and a half after our show ended before I was able to leave the lot. I drove about three miles away to Spectrac Parts & Services. They were going to do some work on my trailer first thing in the morning, so I parked right outside their gate for the evening.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Friday, May 8 & Saturday, May 9: Mesa, AZ

5/8/15- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

This afternoon Ryan and I briefly met with Luis to go over our music for the water gag. The circus band is no longer with us, so from now on all of the show's music will be on track.

In the afternoon we had a rehearsal for finale. The music for the number was changed to what the East Coast unit is using, so the dancers had to come up with new choreography, and the rest of us had to change what we do a little bit as well. Mainly there is now a segment at the end of finale where we all have to step from side to side and clap for a long time. A very, very, very, very long time.

We had such a fantastic audience for the 6:00 p.m. performance. They really got my hopes up for our run in Mesa, but by the 9:00 p.m. show we were back to the size and level of enthusiasm of the audiences we dealt with for the last two weeks in Phoenix.
Oh well, it was fun while it lasted!

The show sounded so weird without the band playing the music. I noticed it most in the opening number; it really lacks oomph now.

5/9/15- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

Today I had lunch at a nearby restaurant called Stufrageous, which sells stuffed burgers. I got mine stuffed with bleu cheese and bacon, and topped with outrageous sauce (the sauce that is ten times more outrageous than normal sauce). It was stuf-tastic!

Lance stopped by briefly today to drop off a package of make up and noses that we had shipped to his apartment from our friend, Lee Andrews, at Bubba's Clown Supplies.
Lee even threw in a couple of presents for Nico and Abrianna.

Thanks, Lee!

Even though we didn't have the biggest crowd for the second show tonight, they were having fun, and that makes all the difference.