Monday, August 25, 2014

Sunday, August 25: Atlanta, GA- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.


I had a heck of a time trying to get to sleep last night. I was dozing off around 2 a.m. when a text message made my phone vibrate and I was wide awake again.
After that my power was off, and I didn't feel like reading, so I tossed and turned until I fell asleep close to 4 a.m.
To add to my discomfort I was also dealing with a sore throat that began immediately after the 9:00 p.m. show last night.

Despite my lack of sleep I didn't have too much trouble getting up and out the door this morning. I met a high school acquaintance at The Flying Biscuit Cafe for breakfast. Leland was in the grade under me at Colleton Prep Academy, and she's been living in Atlanta for about seven years.
I haven't seen her since I graduated 12 years ago, so we had plenty to talk about!

Back at the lot I rested up as best I could in preparation for my work day. I really wasn't looking forward to three shows while being sick and under rested.

I tried to not to strain my throat too much during the shows today. I never realized how much I scream like a little girl in our gags until I was making a conscious effort not to!

In our entrance for the first carpenter gag the little car did a Tokyo drift as I began to circle the ring. Right after that I could tell that something was up, and backstage our suspicions were confirmed: we had a flat tire.
After the show we changed the popped inner tube and we were good to go.

Ryan and I both had a rough second show, and during finale, while I was standing at the edge of the ring stewing over everything that had gone wrong, a little kid sitting by me stabbed me in the back with his light up sword.
I quickly looked over to see him and his parents laughing. Something inside me snapped, and before I fully realized what I was doing, I had leapt over the railing that I was leaning on, and I was chasing the kid up the stairs, trying to take his sword away.
The look on the child's face was priceless when I came over the railing! I think he was just as surprised as I was that I made it over so quickly.

Mike, our bass player in the band, gave today's motivational speech, which helped get us all pumped up.
Mike's words of encouragement and the great audience for the final show helped put the frustration of the kid with the sword behind me.
UNTIL......

Ryan and I had just finished the carpenter gag. We were front and center on the ring curb taking our final style when all of a sudden an empty popcorn bucket came hurtling out of the seats and hit me in the stomach.
I looked down in disbelief before picking up the bucket and incredulously asking the crowd, "Who threw this?!"
Some adults in the second row ratted out their son, who had launched the projectile. I turned the empty bucket upside down and deftly plunked it over the kid's head.

Why do the children of Atlanta, GA hate me so?!

Starting today we performers have a backstage lounge complete with couches, a carpet, and wifi.
Yes, you read all of that correctly.


I see a lot of much more comfortable multiple show days in our future!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Friday, August 22 & Saturday, August 23: Atlanta, GA


8/22/14- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

This morning Rob Hadaway came to pick me up at the circus. We drove downtown to the Georgia Aquarium, but we arrived about thirty minutes before its doors opened.
We went for a little walk in the nearby Centennial Olympic Park until we could enter the aquarium.

Everyone has been recommending the aquarium to me, and after visiting I can see why. It was extremely well done; every different area was well presented, and there were some beautiful fish on display.
My favorite animals to watch were the otters, penguins, and beluga whales.









The two highlights of the aquarium were the cheesy dolphin show done in the style of a Broadway musical, and the giant tank containing several whale sharks. 


The Georgia Aquarium is the only aquarium in the USA that has whale sharks. Rob and I sat in the room with their tank for awhile just taking everything in.
It was so peaceful and beautiful; I'm glad we saved that exhibit for last, because there was no way to top it.

After leaving downtown Rob took me to Decatur, which has a neat, trendy downtown. We had lunch at Twain's, which was a great brewery and billiards hall.

Today was Nico's first day of preschool! The teacher on tour with the circus got all of the very young children together to start preparing them for kindergarten. Where has the time gone!?

Claire, one of the dancers, and I have an ongoing rivalry, the origin of which neither of us can remember.
Tonight she was upset to discover that I went to the aquarium without her or the other girls.
To show her displeasure, she sprayed me with glass cleaner. I think that was her way of telling me that she thinks I am transparent.

Right before the first water gag Tisok, the prop boss, came and asked us if we knew where the water buckets were.
I told him that I had set them early this morning, and that was the last time I'd seen them.
When Ryan and I went onstage we didn't know if we would have a blow off to our gag, but luckily the buckets were found in time for the stage crew to throw water on us.

Backstage I found out what had happened. The dancers had borrowed the buckets for the ALS challenge, but they didn't return them. They gave them to one of the new prop guys, but he didn't put them back where they were supposed to go either.

The dancers apologized profusely, but I know deep down it was all a cover up for one of Claire's evil schemes to thwart me!

After the shows there was a small barbecue outside the Espanas' trailers for some of their visiting family.
I stopped by for a bit to have some delicious food socialize a bit.


8/23/14- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

I took it easy today to rest up for our weekend of shows. I watched the film, "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World", which I haven't seen since I was a teenager.
I didn't appreciate it then, but now I found it absolutely hilarious.

Since it was pretty darn hot today the water in our bottles for the spitting gag was practically boiling. I fill up our water bottles from my trailer's sink, which has running water supplied by a black hose that sits and bakes in the sun all day.
I was cracking up every time I spit on Ryan. His reactions tonight were especially hilarious.

In the vacuum gag there is a part where I am strutting my stuff for the crowd, and I always pick a woman out of the front row and tell her to call me.
Tonight after the second show a little girl came up and said, "One of you told my mom to call you."
I raised my hand and admitted that it was me.
When the little girl gave me an "are you serious?" look, I responded matter of factly with, "Your mom is hot!"

Friday, August 22, 2014

Thursday, August 21: Atlanta, GA- 7:30 p.m.


This afternoon I drove up to Lawrenceville, GA to have lunch with Luke and Laura Davis at a Mexican restaurant.
After we were finished dining we drove to a park in Lawrenceville where we set up under the shade of a gazebo and juggled.

Luke brought all of his juggling equipment: balls, rings, clubs, plates, and even a diabolo. I brought some of my cigar boxes to teach him some moves, and I also taught him some stealing routines with his three juggling balls.

Luke picked up all of the new tricks very quickly. I'd like to credit my ability as a teacher, but I know it was mostly due to Luke's talent.
After awhile we just sat down and the three of us talked and shared stories while enjoying the beautiful weather and the scenery of the park.

Luke had requested to watch me put on my make up, so I had him and his mom over to my trailer before they headed into the tent to watch the performance.

Unfortunately I won't get to see Luke and Laura again while we're in town, but I'm so glad we got to spend some quality time together. They were excellent hosts!


In closing, here's a photo from Monday night when a group of us from the show went bowling!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tuesday, August 19 & Wednesday, August 20: Atlanta, GA


Before I start off, here are photos from last Thursday when my friend, Luke, came to see the show. They show me, Ryan, and Carmelo with the works of art that Luke drew for us. Thanks, buddy! 



Rob Hadaway got one too!

8/19/14- 7:30 p.m.

Luke and Laura Davis picked me up this morning and took me to the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Laura has a membership, so she was able to get me in for free. Hooray for free admission!
I told Laura that I was so thankful she invited me to go, because it is not an attraction that I would normally visit, and I truly enjoyed seeing all of the beautiful flowers and amazing topiaries.
Also, Luke and I had a blast taking funny pictures wherever we could!

















All photos taken by Laura

After exploring all of the different areas at the Botanical Garden, Luke and Laura treated me to lunch at The Varsity, which is an Atlanta institution serving up greasy burgers, hotdogs, and fries, as well as delicious orange freezes. 
The Varsity is famous for its impatient staff, who will call out, "What'll ya have?", and quickly move onto the next customer if you aren't ready to order.
The last time I went to The Varsity I was a meek preteen on a church field trip who got all bent out of shape when I was passed over for not knowing what I wanted to eat.
This time I was ready for the question, and I enjoyed dining at the landmark restaurant.



8/20/14- 7:30 p.m.

This afternoon Emma and Claire picked up me, and Nico and Andrei Espana at the lot before we all headed downtown to The World of Coca-Cola.
Coca-Cola's headquarters is in Atlanta, which is why there is a museum here for the famous soft drink.

The World of Coke is another Atlanta institution that I have visited before (I believe also on the same trip where I was left pouting at The Varsity), but it has been over 7 years since the last time I went.
Since then the museum has moved, and the whole place received a face lift.

I was impressed with all of the changes. There was a whole area about the history of Coke and the infamous secret ingredient. In fact, inside that exhibit was the vault that supposedly has the documents containing the secret ingredient.

Apparently if anyone got close to the door an alarm would sound and security would be alerted. I didn't feel like testing that theory.

The dancers were most excited about taking a picture with the 7 foot tall polar bear mascot on the museum's main floor. I must admit it was an impressive costume since the eyes and mouth could open and close. 

Other exhibits included an in depth look at Coca-Cola merchandising throughout the years, pop art created with Coke cans and bottles, and even a cheesy 4-D movie complete with moving seats, gusts of air, spraying water, and bad British accents.

Everyone's favorite area, though, was where we could taste Coca-Cola products from around the world.
The one beverage I was most anxious to see everyone try was Beverly from Italy. I remember trying it the very first time I visited the museum. I can't understand how it would ever be popular as anything other than a paint remover. The aftertaste is absolutely horrible, like cough medicine that has gone past its expiration date while fermenting in an old shoe.
Perhaps my favorite reaction to Beverly's....bouquet, was Emma's. She grimaced in a proper, English way, and simply stated, "That's vile."

After we'd tasted all the carbonated sugar water we could handle, we managed to stop rolling on the floor, moaning and clutching our stomachs long enough to leave and find someplace in Little Five Points to eat.

We tried Savage Pizza, which came highly recommended to me by Laura Davis.


There was a definite comic book motif to the place. The entire restaurant was decorated with comic book toys and posters, and even the bathroom walls were plastered with pages from actual comics.
Oh yeah, the pizza was great too! You could hardly taste the comic book crust!

After tonight's show David, Maria, Klaus, and I drove to a nearby movie theater for an evening of fine cinema.
Well, Maria opted for fine cinema. I became an honorary German for the night and joined my freunds David and Klaus to see "Let's Be Cops".
I expected it to be a stupid movie that made me laugh, but it was actually much better than I expected it to be. The important thing is that it made me laugh, a lot!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sunday, August 17 & Monday, August 18: Atlanta, GA


8/17/14- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

This morning I returned to the Flying Biscuit Cafe for my traditional Sunday morning breakfast. This time around I tried the Southern Style Biscuit Benedict, which was two poached eggs over turkey bacon, pimento cheese, and a biscuit. This piece of Heaven on a plate was of course topped with Hollandaise sauce; yum!

Before the first show Alexa, Ryan, and I were interviewed by CNN Atlanta. It was nice that they interviewed us in English, and they actually asked some interesting questions, which allowed us to flex our publicity muscles.


Hopefully they'll let us know when the piece is available online so I can share it on the blog.

It was incredibly hot for the first show. The sun was beating down on the tent unmercifully, and the air conditioners just couldn't keep up.
The heat made all of us in the cast and the audience feel sluggish; of course that is the show that CNN filmed for the segment they are doing.

The second show was a lot better, and we also received some good news via an e-mail that really perked our spirits up.

Jan Vazquez gave the speech before the third show to give everyone that extra energy push to get through to the end of the day.
I also visited the ice cream shop in the plaza for a little sugar rush to get me through the last performance. I walked over during Intermission to get a scoop or two, and I ran into a few of the dancers, who had the same brilliant idea.


8/18/14- 7:30 p.m.

I was very lazy today. I'm not sure if I was just worn out from the three shows on Sunday, but every time I laid down to finish watching a movie I kept dozing off. Maybe I just have bad taste in cinema.

It was another very hot day, but right before the show there was a storm that cooled everything down.

Tonight when Ryan and I entered for the carpenter gag in the little car, I parked and then switched off the headlights and engine, but the engine wouldn't turn off!
I tried again and again, but the car's motor just kept idling. Finally I just had to leave it be and do the gag, ignoring the loud, never ending drone of the engine as best as I could.

Backstage Ryan and I joked that we got more laughs in the gag that performance because the audience members were all high off of gas fumes!
We checked all the wiring and the switch, but we couldn't find an issue. We even started the car up a few times, and when I flipped the switch it turned off just like it was supposed to.
I guess it was just one of those freak occurrences.....

After the show we helped Alexa Vazquez film an ice bucket challenge video to raise awareness for ALS. Once Ryan is done jazzing the video up, I'll post it here.

Teo invited me to go bowling tonight, so I caught a ride with him, Elena, and Anastasiia, two of the members of Trio Bellissimo.

A big group from our show was at the bowling alley; we all had fun eating and drinking.....heck, we even managed to bowl a few frames!
I couldn't believe it, but I actually came in second place for our lane's first game (I even broke 100), but my abilities quickly deteriorated as the second game wore on.
Around mid game I just started doing ridiculous bowling maneuvers to make the other people in my lane laugh. Surprisingly even with my clowning I didn't come in last place! I'm just that good!

I'm so glad that Teo invited me to go out. He and I haven't been able to hang out much lately, and it was also so much fun getting to know the Bellissimo girls a bit more.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Saturday, August 16: Atlanta, GA- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.


This morning I picked up Helen from her hotel, and we headed down to Little Five Points, where we had a fantastic day out.
We checked out all the trendy shops in the area, and I was happy that I was able to explore the Junkman's Daughter in a little more detail.

We were both hungry for lunch, so we decided to pick from the wide range of culinary styles that Little Five Points had to offer.
We both decided on Kimi's Bistro, which serves Ethiopian food. It was my first time having Ethiopian eats, and I loved it! My food was so delicious.
I ordered kitfo, which was ground beef tartar served with injera, which is soft, spongy bread. Delish!
Before the shows I told Ryan that I had eaten at an Ethiopian restaurant, so of course he made the obvious joke, "Are you still hungry?"

The audiences tonight were fantastic, especially for the second show, which was sold out.
Jesus Vazquez asked us to move to the tent's concession area once again for our post show photo concession.
For a few days now Jan, Alexa, and Carolina Vazquez have been taking pictures in the ring along with us and the dancers, and it had become a bit crowded.
Ryan and I were more than happy to move to the concessions area where we would be the only game in town.

Friday, August 15: Atlanta, GA- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.


This morning Ryan and I had a radio PR in front of the tent. The event started at 6 am, but Ryan and I were very lucky; we came in for the last hour of the broadcast starting at 10 a.m.
The hosts were very nice, and they let me answer my questions in English, which made me feel a lot more useful in publicizing the show.


After completing the publicity I received a call that my clown shoes were ready to be picked up at the repair shop.
I was so impressed when I saw my shoes; they looked like new! The man who fixed them sewed up the two rips in the leather, he resoled both shoes, and he oiled and repainted the leather.
I was so happy to have my Marty Scott shoes back in commission, and now I will make sure to really take care of them.

I wore my old shoes again for the shows tonight. I had forgotten how heavy they are, especially now with new heels and soles.
It was a real workout running around in them once again; I'm going to have to get my legs back in shape!

Between the heavy shoes, the heat, and a dismal first audience, I was dragging by the time the second show rolled around.
Luckily at 9:00 p.m. we had a fantastic audience that gave me all the energy I needed. Hearing their screams of laughter helped me forgot some of the more docile crowds from this past week.


CNN update! I found out that we are simply filming an interview on Sunday the 17th at 1:00 p.m. Also, it is not going to be a national publicity like I was led to believe. Wah wah wah.
I'll try and get footage of it after it airs so I can post it here!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Thursday, August 14: Atlanta, GA- 7:30 p.m.


This morning I took David and his girlfriend, Maria, to Trader Joe's (sorry Jeff Schott). David has been on a big organic food kick for the past few months, and he requested that the next time I go to Trader Joe's that I take him and Maria along.

At 1:00 p.m. I headed to the tent's concession area for a "Frozen" themed birthday party for the Pompeyos' daughter, Katarina.
Katarina came to the party wearing her Elsa princess dress.


Boy am I glad I didn't wear mine too; THAT would have been embarrassing!

After visiting with folks at the party, I took my old clown shoes to a repair shop conveniently located in the same plaza as us.
My old shoes are from Marty Scott, and I didn't do a good job of keeping the leather oiled, so a couple of spots in the toe area of one shoe dried out and ripped open, exposing the horse hair inside.
The guy at the repair shop assured me that he could fix the rips and resole the shoes for a reasonable price. I was surprised when he told me that they would be ready tomorrow.

Luke and Laura Davis came to the show tonight, along with current Big Apple Clown Care unit member, Rob Hadaway, and his husband, David Short.

Luke continued his tradition of drawing pictures for the clowns of any circus he visits; Ryan, Carmelo, and I each received pieces of Luke's artwork.
(As soon as the pictures are posted on Facebook I will put them up here.)

After the show there was a birthday party for Visan's brother, Andrei. Ryan and I had a good time talking and laughing with the dancers about improper use of the English language and our various high school experiences.


Just a quick note: Be sure to watch CNN at 1:00 p.m. EST this Sunday, the 17th. Ryan and I are going to be on!

Tuesday, August 12 & Wednesday, August 13: Atlanta, GA


8/12/14- 7:30 p.m.

I had an eye appointment at a Walmart near the lot this afternoon, but I wasn't able to find a parking space.
There is a small, upper level parking lot at the store's entrance, but then there is also a lower level parking area that I couldn't enter because of my truck's shell.
I circled the jam packed upper parking lot several times before finally giving up and finding another Walmart.

As luck would have it, the other Walmart had a normal parking lot and their vision department was able to squeeze me into their schedule.
I mainly needed to get more contacts, but I figured an eye exam wouldn't hurt since it had been awhile since my last one.

While I was out I had an amazing lunch at Another Broken Egg Cafe. I was talking with my waiter, and he told me that the restaurant originated in New Orleans and has started spreading east. There are a few locations in Atlanta, and even one in Orlando.
I had a delicious benedict that consisted of two poached eggs over black bean cakes and an English muffin, and then topped off with chipotle hollandaise sauce.
Heaven on a plate!

That's really all I have to talk about from Tuesday. Now you know why I waited to lump two blogs together.....


8/13/14- 7:30 p.m.

This afternoon I drove down to the Little Five Points area of Atlanta to meet up with Luke Davis and his mom, Laura.
I first met Luke in 2005 when he came to Ringling. He drew pictures of all of the clowns, and I discovered that he knows almost more about Ringling clowns than I do!
We've kept in touch throughout the years, and this is the first time I've gotten to see the Davises since Ringling played here in 2007.

We went to a restaurant called The Vortex, which serves up a crazy variety of gourmet burgers. Definitely my kind of restaurant!
While we ate lunch we all caught up with each other. I told Luke and Laura about working for Kelly Miller and Vazquez, and they filled me in on the theater productions that Luke has been a part of recently.


 Let's take a funny picture
The entrance to The Vortex

We then walked next door to the Junk Man's Daughter, which was a store full of all kinds of cool vintage clothing and campy gifts. I spotted this little item and simply had to get it for my collection:


Jim Maltman came to the show tonight with his son. I was upset that they saw the show with a small crowd that was not really into the performance.
When opening finished, all of us in the cast were met with absolute silence. When the curtain closed in front of us, I yelled out, "I think they really liked it!"