Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ouch

Tuesday, April 28: Madison, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
I heard the generator truck's engine start up this morning, but I decided to stay in bed until my alarm went off. After several minutes I started to get worried and decided to check my phone and see what time it was. It turns out that it was actually about 5 minutes after our call time! I'm lucky that I was awake, because right about then Danny came by to close up the truck and take off.
It was a 50 mile jump to a church parking lot today. We were set up on rocks, which would have been good if it had rained like it was supposed to. Luckily it just sprinkled on and off until the early afternoon and then it was a nice day after that. Unfortunately we still had to deal with the rocky lot.
I walked into town to find a book store that was showing up on my GPS. It was a 2 mile trek; Nat drove by and offered me a ride a mile into it.
I was very disappointed in the book store; it didn't have anything that I was looking for. I think I got spoiled by Half Price Books.
When I got back to the lot I hung out with Ryan and Jeff Schott, who was visiting again today. He brought some photo albums for us to enjoy from his time with the Krooze Komics and The American Circus in Italy.
Jeff didn't watch any shows today, so we got a lot of time to visit and talk with him.


I do wish he had watched one of the shows though, because they were a vast improvement over the one he saw yesterday.
After several days of lousy crowds, we had two good audiences. I was so happy to see butts in the seats and hear big laughs again.
Some higher power was out to kill me in the shovel gags today. In the first show I went to jump over the net that keeps the audience from wandering into the curtain area. One foot made it over, but the other foot got caught in the net. I wiped out hard, and in the process I tweaked my right shoulder blade and scraped up my right shin.
Then in the second show I took extra caution and stepped over the net. When I got into the ring I dropped the gun and arrows, and when I turned around to catch the shovel that Ryan threw to me, it clocked me right in the face. I'm lucky the wooden handle didn't bust open the bridge of my nose. I think I got my arms up fast enough to deflect some of the force. Luckily I survived both incidents battered but laughing.
I was upset today to find out that we are taking the cast photo for the program tomorrow at noon. The reason I was upset was because I had been making plans for awhile to get errands done and hang out with a friend tomorrow.
If we had known about this sooner, it wouldn't have been such a big deal, but it got sprung on us at the last minute. Oh well, to quote Dr. Seuss, "When I run the circus...." (for one thing there will be monkey butlers for every employee)
There were some weird kids in the second show. I got assaulted by a big group of them during Intermission. Four little kids were screaming obnoxious laughter at me for no reason, two little girls were trying to show me a cheer they did at school, and one little boy was trying to yank my nose off.
I turned to a lady sitting behind me and said, "So this is what Hell is like."
Ok, I said the Twilight Zone instead of Hell, but I was thinking it!
After the show I went for another evening jog. It was a good one; the entire run/walk lasted a good 4 miles.
I stopped by Casey's trailer when I got back where Ryan and Casey were picking out some new music for Casey's tiger act.

April 29 - Rising Sun, IN April 30 - Liberty, IN May 1 - Osgood, IN 

Monday, April 27, 2009

Does Indiana Hate The Circus?

Monday, April 27: Brownstown, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
It was a 48 mile jump this morning; a pretty boring drive to be honest. We were performing on the Brownstown Fairgrounds today. While I waited on my house to show up I walked around the grounds; they were pretty cool.
I decided to go ahead and walk into town as well just to get the lay of the land. We were only a mile away from Main Street.
Jeff Schott came to visit today. Jeff was a clown on the Blue Unit of Ringling for 10 years and he also worked for Flavio Togni's circus in Italy.
We spent all day talking and swapping stories, and he even took us out to lunch.
Jeff watched the first show today, and what a show it was! First, Casey is back, so the tiger arena is up while we do warm up. His tiger cub, Shonti, is in the act now, and since he doesn't have a rolling cage for her, she was in the arena while we were doing our act. The whole time we were out there, she was pouncing on the bars trying to get us. This probably would have been distracting to the audience if they weren't comatose.
Next, halfway through our routine, the power went off. The generator overheated and shut down.
Ryan and I took our time and stretched a bit, but we eventually finished. I looked back and Casey was letting the tigers into the arena like normal. I looked to John Moss and he gave me a nod, so I assumed the tigers were going to perform and the show would go on.
I left to get changed for the shovel gag, but after a couple of minutes I noticed that I couldn't hear anything from the tent. No whip cracks, no commands from Casey, and no applause.
I saw John outside and asked him if the tigers were working and he said no.
I then panicked and asked if he wanted us to go back out and cover, but he said no. After a few minutes that seemed like an eternity, the power came back on.
I was so embarrassed and upset about the whole situation. I felt like we failed at doing our jobs of being the go to guys in case of an emergency. It was even worse that a friend was in the audience watching.
The flying act wasn't working today because of broken rigging. Mr. North gave them a day to fix the problem, so in the meantime the trampoline act was in its spot. Renato rolled his ankle in the act when he landed partway on the mat and partway on the ground; he had to be taken to the hospital. 
I know it is nowhere near the tragedy of a hurt performer, but the fire extinguisher ran out of pressure before we could finish all our water bits in the sink gag. It was just frustrating because Jeff was in the audience. Something was wrong with the gauge this afternoon when I filled the extinguisher with pressure. Naturally it worked fine for the next show when we didn't have a friend in the audience.
Despite all the problems, Jeff had a good time. We talked and visited some more between shows until he had to go back to Louisville. Hopefully he will come visit again tomorrow.
I don't know what the deal is with the Indiana audiences, but they do not seem to enjoy the circus. The first couple of days here were great, but recently we have been having very small crowds that don't seem to enjoy themselves at all. 
On the other hand, I had a lady at the first show come up to me after finale and tell me that she had laughed at us until she cried. She said her son also had laughed his butt off at us; she knew he would love us because he is a fan of Tom & Jerry cartoons.
After tear down I went for a jog into town, and then I joined Ryan at the Cainans house. Ryan and I unveiled our new characters for Natalie. We created them while she was gone and we had been dying to share them with her. Her laughter was well worth the wait!
In addition to the usual chicanery, we watched Casey's tiger act and gave some advice and pointers on his presentation.

April 28 - Madison, IN April 29 - Rising Sun, IN April 30 - Liberty, IN
  

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Night Double Feature!

Saturday, April 25: Tell City, IN-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
This morning's drive was 51 miles, and it took us through the town of Santa Claus, IN, home of the theme park, Holiday World. I really wanted to go play on the roller coasters today, but work comes before pleasure (not a good philosophy for a clown).
When we pulled into Tell City, Jan pointed out a barn right next to the welcome sign. I quipped, "Yeah, that's where the Mayor lives."
God, I'm hilarious!
The show was playing on a grass lot right by Main Street. As soon as I parked Jan's RV I went for a walk to scope everything out.
I found this sign which let me in on some of the unscrupulous activities they practice in this town:


When I walked back into town for lunch there was a huge motorcycle brigade that drove by. They just kept coming and coming; I suppose there was a rally in town or something.
I stopped in at a little restaurant called the Freezer where I met the elephant crew and joined them for lunch.
When we left, we were walking back to the lot when David Buckner, comic relief of the animal crew, saw a pretty girl walking down the street. He turned and started walking backwards while wolf whistling and cat calling, when all of a sudden he tripped over the curb and fell, looking like a jack ass.
We all got a huge laugh out of that. Buckner is always getting into some kind of shenanigans that makes everyone laugh.
We had average sized crowds today. There was a gentleman named Gene at the first show who was from Carson & Barnes. He was a nice guy; Ryan and I talked with him for a bit during Intermission.
The second show was horrible. It was like pulling teeth to get a reaction from the audience. I knew we were in trouble when the comedy part of the bareback riding act didn't get a laugh; that is usually a sure fire bit.
After the shows I went out to dinner at a place called Caper's which advertised their po'boys.
As soon as I got there, Mr. North showed up with Lucky Eddie and their friends Joe and Eddie. They invited me to join them, which was very nice. Mr. North treated us to dinner which was also very nice. I heard a lot of funny stories about their college days and the perils and joys of living in Ireland in the 60's and 70's.
When I got back to the lot Ryan and I undertook an adventure! All I can say is that in involved a dilapidated three story chair factory next to the lot.


Sunday, April 26: Shoals, IN-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
It was a 70 mile drive this morning to Shoals, home of the Jug Rock...whatever the heck that is!
We were parked on a grass lot next to the high school. It seemed we were in the middle of nowhere, but closer inspection (and a walk) revealed that there was some civilization around; just not nearby. 
Once again we had average sized crowds today, but man were they dead. They were farming crickets the whole time. 
On the upside, it was a beautiful day. When I wasn't performing I was lying in the sun working on my tan. I'm tired of having my stomach be the same shade as my Ben Nye Clown White.
Ryan had Senor Pato out a lot today to enjoy the nice weather also.


The Cainans all showed up today. I was so happy to see them again and to meet baby Genevieve for the first time. She is so cute!
Between shows I hung out with Casey and we got caught up; I had to have my McCoy fix after his absence. 
The crowd for the second show was just awful. The people just didn't seem to care. Every time I looked in the audience I saw people on their phones either talking or texting, or just people not paying attention; it was very frustrating. 
We hit them hard and fast for the shovel gag. We got in, gave it our all, got the laughs, and got out; it worked fine for that gag, but it just didn't cut it for the sink gag. Oy.
The audiences today made me want to pick up the Jug Rock (whatever the heck it is) and hit someone with it.
Casey and I went into town to grab supper. We found a great little burger place called Bo-Mac that reminded me of a restaurant from my home town, Walterboro, SC.
We got food and then brought it back to the lot where I ate with the Cainans. It was nice to spend some time with them again.

April 27 - Brownstown, IN April 28 - Madison, IN April 29 - Rising Sun, IN


Saturday, April 25, 2009

ZOMBIES! (by special request)

Friday, April 24: Oakland City, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
It was a nice 41 mile drive to town this morning. We even found a Wal Mart on the way so we could pick up some necessities. 
The route slip warned us that it was going to be a difficult lot. We prepared ourselves for the worst, but in all truth, it wasn't that bad. It was a strange layout though. The cookhouse and the front yard (trailers of management, etc) were on one end of Wirth Park, the performer housing and trailers were in the middle, and the show trucks and tent were on the other end.
I got a good amount accomplished this morning. I went out for breakfast, I washed my wig, and I ordered a Kelly Miller letterman jacket (it is going to be bad ass! It will have the big Kelly Miller logo on the back, and on the front it will say Steve Copeland Clown Alley [it was a toss up between that or Chick Magnet]).
Even though I was happy that the tent was over grass, it got torn up by the animals. First the horses gave it a good working over during rehearsal, and then in the first show the elephants finished the job. We had to move our blocking for finale to the back of the ring so no one would trip or break an ankle.
Also, the ground sloped down towards the audience, a fact that became apparent to us during the sink gag with all of our falls.
Crowds today were average. There were more people at the second show than at the first, but neither was exceptional as far as reactions go. I expected better for a Friday night; maybe there was a cow race going on or something...
Ryan and I kept ourselves busy all day cutting out pictures from old clown magazines to make a collage for our room. It is truly developing into a thing of beauty.
Renato picked up a townie chick from the first show that was going to take us out to a club in Evansville tonight.
First Renato and I went out to eat; the plan was for the girl to pick us up there. When she and her friends finally showed up I opted out of going to the club for three reasons: 
1) Our food showed up at the same time as the girls, and by that point I was more inclined to eat like an animal than to be a party animal
2) It was already after 11 p.m. and I was bushed
and 3) The friends that the girl brought could be best described by words such as "Humble" and "Radiant" written in cobwebs.
Dan, our ticket taker, was sitting at the table next to ours, so I invited him over after Renato left with the girls. 
When I finally got home it was much later than I wanted to be going to bed.

April 25 - Tell City, IN, April 26 - Shoals, IN, April 27 - Brownstown, IN
 

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Congratulations! You're Our 100th Post!

Thursday, April 23: Odon, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
The jump this morning was about 40 miles long. We arrived at the lot, which was a grassy field by a high school. The ground was soft and my house got stuck in the mud. It took a huge tractor to pull it out.
It was a beautiful day for the most part. It got cloudy later in the afternoon and it rained for a few minutes. The wind was strong too.
I would have walked into town if it wasn't 3 1/2 miles away from us. There was literally nothing close to us, except for the high school.
The audience for the first show was dead. I noticed in Intermission that there was a large amount of Amish families. I decided to dedicate the sink gag to them to win their favor.
At the beginning of the gag when John Moss tells us, "Guys, we're looking for plumbers", I responded with, "Yay varily. Plumbers be'est thou."
Ryan later told me that I wasn't talking like the Amish, but rather like Robin Hood and His Band Of Merry Men. Oh well, it wouldn't have made much of a difference any way. They probably only would have laughed if we had done the barn raising gag.
I was skeptical about how the next show would be, but it was almost a full house and the crowd was great. Ryan and I had so much fun interacting with the people at Intermission. I met an Amish man with 14 children (and I solved his Amish riddle [I didn't win anything, but he allowed me to live]), and Ryan and I played around with a couple of kids using the old "up high, to the side, down low, too slow" high five bit. We got onto that tangent because a kid did it to us, so we turned it into a huge ordeal. Finally Ryan took a fall when the kid slapped him a low five. As he was sitting up, the kid's toddler aged brother came over and pushed Ryan back down; I was dying laughing. After I helped Ryan up I looked over at the toddler and he just fell backwards and laid on the ground imitating Ryan. The funny thing was he laid there and didn't move, stone faced, like he was dead.
Ryan turned around and saw this and I screamed at him, "What did you do to him!?"
Ryan then began "panicking" and commenting on how many witnesses there were.
"You've really done it this time!", I scolded. We then beat a hasty retreat out of the tent. I feel it was a good segue into the second half...
We killed 'em in the sink gag (a theme tonight, no doubt); it was so much fun!

April 24 - Oakland City, IN April 25 - Tell City, IN April 26 - Shoals, IN

Hoosier Daddy!? (I Know I Already Used It, But I Think It Is Pretty Clever)

Wednesday, April 22: Spencer, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Jan and I were lucky that she was parked partway on a small cement walkway this morning. We were able to pull off the lot with no problem. A lot of the show trucks got stuck and had to be hauled off, because it took them a long time to arrive in Spencer after we had completed the 31 mile jump.
I went for a little walk to scope out the town while I waited on my house to show up. It was nice that the power was already on by the time I got back.
The sun came out and stayed out (for the most part today). There were a fair amount of clouds in the sky, but overall it was a beautiful day and we were playing on a nice grass lot. Thank God!
I started back with working out today; I plan to stick with it this time.
The first show today had a decent sized crowd, but boy were they dead. I was pretty sure they hated us, but one kid told John Moss after the show that we were the "best clowns EVER!"
Well, I assume it was a kid. It might have been the goof adult that wouldn't leave us alone at Intermission. He kept telling us how funny we were and kept begging us to be in our next act so we coud hit him with a shovel. After about five minutes straight of that, we were about to oblige.
The second show had a bigger crowd, but they were still a little tame. Luckily we kept the gags moving along. In the words of David Larible, "If you can't be funny, be fast."
Despite that, I really enjoyed interacting with that audience at Intermission. They were a lot of fun.
After tear down Renato, Johnny Moss, and I set out on a pilgrimage to find food. Having accomplished that, Ryan, Johnny, and I joined John Moss and Mr. Ringling North II in JOMAR, Mr. North's winnebago. 
John had brought over some circus videos, The Restless Giant, a 1973 Red Unit documentray, and the Ringling 119th Edition Video Program. Even though both of those tapes were of the Red Unit, we still managed to have a good time. It was nice getting to hang out with Mr. North and swap some stories; he is a great host.

April 23 - Odon, IN April 24 - Oakland City, IN April 25 - Tell City, IN

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Steve & Paul???

Tuesday, April 21: Jasonville, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
I parked Jan in the perfect spot last night. All we had to do this morning was pull off the lot and go.
We found a Wal Mart (after a couple of tries) and Jan was able to get food for her cat. After roughly 41 miles we arrived in Jasonville. The show was playing on a grassy lot that was hilly, uneven, and overgrown. Hooray!
It rained on and off all day and it was mighty chilly outside, so I didn't do much besides stay warm and dry in my room.
I totally spaced while getting ready for the shows today. I was making up, listening to music and singing along, and when I finished powdering I realized that I had forgotten to put my flesh tone on. D'oh!
We had a small crowd for the first show. There was a huge dip in the ring that Ryan was constantly positioned in during warm up. I kept pointing out how I was taller than him by comparison.
At Intermission John Moss had us do a segment with a reporter from a local news station. It has been so long since I have done a PR; I was a little rusty. The highlight of the segment was when Ryan got the reporter to interview the most decrepit looking old lady at the show.
Second show had a much better crowd. There was a girl at Intermission that cracked me up.
She came up and asked, "Where can you buy the peanuts?"
I pointed her in the direction of the concession truck.
I saw her later with a bag of peanuts in hand. I asked her how they were, and she replied, "Oh, I just bought them to try and win a balloon."
I asked her if she had won, and she said no.
I said, "Well, at least you get to enjoy the peanuts."
To which she replied, "No, I'm allergic to peanuts."
"So you just bought a bag of peanuts...and you're allergic to them", I tried to comprehend.
"Two bags actually," she corrected.
I had to laugh. She ended up giving me one of the bags of peanuts to enjoy and share with the audience.
I guess one of our fans went to Jason, one of the elephant handlers, after the show and asked where Steve and Paul were. I don't know which show she was watching!
After tear down I went for a walk into town. It was so nice and quiet; of course nothing was open, but at least I got out for some fresh air.

April 22-Spencer, IN April 23-Odon, IN April 24-Oakland City

Hoosier Daddy!?

Monday, April 20: Clinton, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
The drive this morning seemed a lot shorter than the 60 miles the route sheet promised. We crossed over into Indiana today; a new state to conquer!
We were parked on a nice grassy lot, unfortunately the ground was soft and a lot of the trucks had to be pulled on.
My plan was to do the mountain of laundry we have accumulated tomorrow, but I found out that Josie was going by the laundromat today. I hitched a ride and got it all done, which was a great relief.
Back at the lot I was wide awake and in the mood to get stuff done, so I walked into town and sent some money home at the post office. I hit it just right too; they closed for an hour just a few minutes after I finished my purchasing.
Back at the lot Ryan and I were invited to the 13th birthday party of Yolanda. She is the daughter of Manuel, who does the motorcycle on the incline wire act. It was very nice of them to have us at the party. Food was delicious and plentiful, and a good time was had by all.
The weather could not decide on itself today. First it would be cloudy, then it would rain for a while, next the sun would come out for a period of time, and then the cycle would repeat. Luckily it didn't really rain during the shows, and we had fantastic audiences. Both shows the crowds were having a great time and were very enthusiastic.
There was a big trench in the middle of the ring from where one of the trucks had to be dragged through the mud, so performing was somewhat hazardous. However, after the crummy lots we have been on the past couple of days, falling on grass was like falling on a pillow!
In the sink gag Ryan did his toothpick fall and went up onto his head, stayed there for a second, and then came back down the way he went up. He paused on the ground for a moment for comic effect, but I seriously thought I was going to have to finish the gag with an unconscious partner. And trust me, my puppetry skills aren't THAT good!
Dave and Cherie Gregg, our Ringling Gold Unit advance clown friends, came by to visit again today. It is always great to see them; I am glad their touring allows frequent visits.
Some skater punk teens were talking to Ryan and I while we waited to go on for the sink gag in the second show. One of them, with a glazed look in his eye, asked if we were going to celebrate "4/20". I told him that isn't how I roll, but I could tell he was already in the midst of the festivities.
His friend then asked if we ever got embarrassed dressing up like clowns. I replied, "No. Do you ever get embarrassed dressing like that?"
Luckily I can run faster than a skateboard....
The show moved off the lot tonight to a tiny parking lot in the ghetto of Clinton. A lot of people were driving in circles trying to find it because we saw the arrows pointing out the lot and took them to mean that we needed to turn down the street next to it. Jan and I had driven a good ways before we realized our error.
I'm glad we got to the lot when we did. I could tell that parking all the big trucks in that tiny space was going to be a huge mess.
I joined Courtney, Ryan, Dave, and Cherie for dinner. We didn't get back until 12:30 a.m. I had a nice, full day.

April 21-Jasonville, IN April 22-Spencer, IN April 23-Odon, IN

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Illinois: Land 'O Lakes

Sunday, April 19: Marshall, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
This morning's drive was listed as being in the range of 60 miles or so, but it had to have been longer than that. It couldn't have been because of the boring scenery either, because we actually drove through some "civilization".
I was worried when I read on the route slip that the lot was 7 miles out of town. We were parked on a gravel lot by another lake (third day in a row for a lake side view), and even though we were in the middle of nowhere, there was the promise of big crowds due to great advance sales.
It was overcast and raining most of the day, but it cleared up in time for the show.
Some new friends were at the first show, Samantha Ellen Pitard and her father came to see us. Samantha is a Smirkus camper that does aerial work and is also interested in clowning. 
I waited by the entrance to meet them so I could present them with comps to the show, but due to bad phone service I didn't realize when they had shown up at the lot. They actually walked right by me and went to the ticket window. Luckily they explained who they were and that they were my guests, so they were hooked up with comps anyway.
I ended up almost being late because I waited out front for so long. It was a photo finish for me to be ready on time.
The first show was jam packed with people. Unfortunately they weren't really that into the show. I remarked to Ryan, "I've never heard so many people make so little noise."
In the mining gag I delivered a powerful blow to Ryan's face with a shovel and knocked his wig and skull cap clean off.
Since he was on the floor, I stood my shovel up on his chest so the "metal" part was somewhat blocking his head. This gave him some sort of privacy to put his wig back on (even though 3/4 of the audience could still see him).
When Bob Kelmer came to visit last week, he brought a huge box of old clown magazines for us. Ryan and I have been cutting out pictures to make a collage; as I was flipping through one I read a great article written by my friend, Steve Conley. It was about creating special moments for the kids you come in contact with. He referenced a time when I was complaining about how Pre Show on Ringling was more about autographs and pictures than about actual clowning. He made a good point that to a kid, that autograph, or picture, or handshake (i.e. that moment you create with them) is going to stick in that child's memory way longer than what gag you did in the show.
That really got me to stop and think about my approach to the audience at Intermission. Some of my most treasured memories from seeing Ringling as a kid was when clowns would take a moment to talk to me or do a bit for me. I made sure in the Intermissions today to really make every kid I came in contact with feel special. Thank you Steve!
After the first show I spent a good amount of time talking with Samantha and her father. They decided to stick around for the second show too.
I'm glad they did; even though the crowd was slightly smaller, they were so much more enthusiastic. I always like for my friends to see me perform under the best possible circumstances!
I'm lucky I checked on Ryan right before the show. He was laying in bed reading because he thought it was a 5:30 p.m. show instead of a 5:00 p.m. show.
Right off the bat, when I ran into the ring to start warm up, I slipped on the ring mat and ate it, landing right on the side of my leg. I scraped it up pretty good, and I was clenching my teeth the rest of the act to bear the pain.
We knocked 'em dead in the sink gag, which made me happy. I was starting to think we had lost our groove.
After tear down Samantha and her father treated me to dinner. We talked about circuses and I got to run my big mouth and tell my old stories to new people. Hooray!

April 20-Clinton, IN April 21-Jasonville, IN April 22-Spencer, IN

Baby Alert!

Congratulations to Casey and Natalie Cainan who today welcomed their second daughter into the world. Genevieve Evelyn Cainan was born at 12:59 p.m. weighing in at 8 lbs and 6 oz.

Friday, April 17, 2009

R.I.P Tim Holst

I was shocked and upset this morning when I read the news that Tim Holst, V.P. of Talent and Production for Feld Entertainment, passed away last night.
Tim was always good to me while I worked for Ringling, and even after I left, he would call to offer me different jobs.
My favorite memory of Tim was when in 2005 he took the Alley out to dinner in Bridgeport, CT. I made sure to sit next to him and pick his brain all evening. He gave me plenty of great stories to geek out over.
The owner of the restaurant brought out some extremely spicy mustard, and we convinced Gautham, one of the clowns, to eat a big spoonful of it.
As we were raising money for him to do it, Tim made us all laugh by throwing $20 down on the table.
Here is a picture from that night. The memories from that dinner are how I will always remember him.



Photos From Steve Wilson

Photos from Ryan's cousin, Steve Wilson, taken in Frisco, TX:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/11879543@N06/sets/72157616903202942/

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happy Tax Day!

Hope everybody remembered to file their tax retur....

OH CRAP!

Photos From Susabelle Kelmer

Hey everybody,

Go to the blog of Susabelle Kelmer:

http://without-a-net.blogspot.com/

There you will find some great photos from the show in Festus, MO.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

We Found Our Waterloo...

Tuesday, April 14: Waterloo, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
So long Missouri, hello Illinois! Only 38 miles or so for this morning's drive. Our destination was a cement parking lot next to a Y.M.C.A. Once we got the cowboy, policeman, Indian, and the construction worker out of the way, we were able to park with no problem.
Eggroll, a circus clown and ringmaster of many different shows, came to visit today. He is putting together the show that will be in Milwaukee at the Great Circus Parade this summer. He took Ryan and I to lunch and told us a ton of great stories; he is always a hoot to hang out with.
It was overcast all day and boy was it chilly. The crowds stayed at home today, both shows were underwhelming.
I was glad Eggroll got to see us, but I wish it had been with better audiences. It seems to be a trend that whenever we start in a new state, the audiences are lousy for the first few days. I hope that is the exception rather than the rule, because it is going to get mighty old!

Hmmm...kinda short entry...better pad it a little bit....

Senor Pato Growth Report!



April 15-Percy, IL April 16-Nashville, IL April 17-Litchfield, IL

Festus For The Rest Of Us

Monday, April 13: Festus, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
It was heavenly sleeping in a big hotel bed last night. I made sure to roll around and enjoy the space as much as possible.
After getting some breakfast, I went to the grocery store and enjoyed my favorite part of Easter...clearance priced candy!
Check out from the hotel was at noon, so I schlepped my stuff the mile and a half back to the lot.
It was a dreary day out; it started to rain in the early afternoon and continued all the way up until show time.
The perimeter of the lot was soft grass, so a lot of the trailers were in danger of sinking, but the tent and all the show trucks were in the rocky center. There was no mud, but some standing water did accumulate.
We had great crowds today. They were the most responsive that we have had in awhile; even the subtle bits in our gags got audible laughs.
The rain stopped at Intermission of the first show, and it wasn't too cold out, so we went ahead and did water in the sink gag. 
Bob, Susabelle, and Katie Kelmer came to see the second show tonight. Bob was a clown on the Gold Unit of Ringling in 1989 and has performed on several shows since then. His wife is an author, and today was his daughter's 7th birthday.
At Intermission of the second show Ryan and I were meeting and greeting like usual. I took a picture with some kids, and when I saw it on the camera's screen, I commented on how my wig was lopsided.
Ryan retorted, "Your face is lop sided."
I replied, "Your mom's face is lop sided."
The parents were laughing at all this until Ryan threw out, "At least I know who my mother is."
It was hilarious seeing the parents go from laughing to an awkward silence.
Never fear though, I won them back by dropping my pants and leaving them down for an uncanny amount of time (and that's not more awkward?).
After the shows Ryan and I went out to eat with the Kelmers to talk and swap stories. Thanks for the dinner guys!

April 14-Waterloo, IL April 15-Percy, IL April 16-Nashville, IL

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dear Carson & Barnes

The wedding is actually in July and is between me and my porn star fiance, Greta Von Strangle, who is also the beloved Turkish dog rapist.


Wedding gifts can be sent to me at:

Steve Copeland c/o
Mind Your Own Business
2222 Gossip Lane
Get A Life, OK 74743

That is all! Now back to your regularly scheduled programming!

:o)





Days Off Rule!

Sunday, April 12: Festus, MO-Day Off
Today was our first day off since we started the tour two months ago. I was talking with someone later in the day and they couldn't imagine going that long without a day off. To be honest, it really didn't seem that long; I didn't know what to do with myself with my daily routine disrupted.
The circus kids had an Easter egg hunt at the park across the street this morning. When I realized that some of the eggs contained money inside them, I stealthily sneaked out and grabbed an egg for myself. I didn't get any dough, but I did get free candy! 
Don't worry, when I was done, I threw the empty egg back onto the playing field so a child could find it.
I wasn't the only one depriving a child of a few extra pieces of candy though. Don't worry guys, I won't name any names (cough...John Moss and Danny....cough).
When the kids were counting their eggs and finding the contents, Danny got to see the most beautiful thing of all, the priceless look of astonishment when one of the children opened an egg and found an empty candy wrapper.
A couple of hours later, the show treated everyone to a delicious lunch buffet in town. I thought it was wonderful of the show to not only give us the day off, but to treat us to a great meal too.
It really makes you feel appreciated.
I treated myself to a nice hotel room tonight so I could enjoy all the finer things in life: a big bed, a sink, a toilet, and a bathtub!
To quote my friend, Dudley Hamilton, I was "high lining it"!

April 13-Festus, MO April 14-Waterloo, IL April 15-Percy, IL

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Warning: Boring Day

Saturday, April 11: Farmington, MO-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
There was a seat wagon parked right in our way this morning. Rather than wait for them to haul it away, we tried going around it, through the mud. Miraculously, we didn't get stuck!
It was only a 20 mile jump this morning; the show was playing in a beautiful park today. It would have been a good spot for our day off tomorrow.
After getting my room settled, I went for a little walk/jog on some of the trails through the park.
I grabbed some lunch, and then I walked into town; a 5 mile round trip! 
Farmington seemed to have a nice little downtown, but unfortunately I had to turn around and head back as soon as I got there so I wouldn't be late for the shows!
The first show today was packed, and we had a big crowd for the second show as well.
Absolutely NOTHING out of the ordinary happened during the shows. I guess it was a pretty low key day, except for me getting some awesome exercise...go me!
We moved to the next town tonight to best maximize our time off (I guess). It was only 33 miles, and there is a lot of stuff to do in Festus. Let the good times roll!

April 12-Day Off!!! April 13-Festus, MO April 14-Waterloo, IL


Friday, April 10, 2009

Hardcore Mud

Friday, April 10: Ironton, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
I am loving these short jumps we have been having. Today was only 33 miles; as Jan said, it was over before it had even begun.
We were on a grass lot again today. The trailers were parked all over the place because of a strange layout due to a rodeo arena on the lot. Trucks were lined up down the road while everyone waited to get parked; it took quite awhile.
Not too long after my house showed up it started raining. The ground was already wet and soft, and by the time the tent was up, the lot was a muddy mess.
The rain had stopped by the early afternoon, so I took the opportunity to get out of my room for a little while and explore downtown Ironton. To be honest, Main Street wasn't really worth the mile walk, but at least I got out and got some exercise.
By showtime I couldn't believe how muddy it was at the back door. It was deceiving because we really didn't get that much rain. Everyone made their entrances from one side of the curtain to avoid the marsh that the animals stirred up on the other side. Pallets were put down as well to keep props dry and clean. 
The crowds continued to be good for the shows today. I was laughing during opening of the first show because by the time Ryan and I were done with our warm up, the ring mat was already wet and muddy. It was hilarious watching the girls try and tip toe through the mud to reach the relative safety of the mat.
Ryan talked with a lady during the second Intermission that told him that she was with two kids that had been at the first show. Their dad dropped them off at her house between shows and they had been acting out our gags before they came to see the show again.
I wonder if they found two shovels to whack each other with...
We did the "no falling" sink gag for the second show. There was not a dry or clean spot to be found on the ring mat. I thought about taking a face plant so I could do my Al Jolson impression, but good sense prevailed and I refrained.
I was commenting to John Moss during tear down about how I believe this is the worst mud we have experienced so far. I almost lost my footwear in an elephant foot print that sunk me down to the top of one of my boots.
It is going to be fun getting off the lot in the morning!

April 11-Farmington, MO April 12-Day Off! April 13-Festus, MO

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Attack Of The (Parentheses)

Thursday, April 9: Potosi, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
This morning's jump was only 30 miles, and since we had a quarter tank of fuel left, I didn't think twice about not stopping at one of the numerous gas stations as we were leaving town. "Surely there will be another station on the way", I thought smugly to myself. 
My self first replied, "Stop calling me Shirley", followed by, "You're an idiot."
I suddenly realized how quickly an RV eats up gas when constant braking and accelerating is required because of winding curves and steep hills.
I felt how a person lost in the desert must feel as they climb each sand dune, hoping to see an oasis over the next rise. At the top of every hill I looked in vain for a gas station. The only one I found was closed and had a big sign on the tank that said, "Out Of Gas". There was a lot of that going around this morning!
Readers take heed, there is not a single gas station between Sullivan, MO and Potosi, MO. All that lies between the two thriving metropolises is a whole lot of nothing!
Due to my amazing hyper-miling skills (thank you Andrew Scharff) and pure dumb luck, Jan and I arrived in town without running out of gas. We did bypass the lot to find a station (and I almost got us killed by running a stop sign, but that's another story), and our crisis was averted. I was sweating it for awhile though.
We were on a nice grassy lot today, and it looked like it was going to be a nice, sunny day, but by the afternoon it was cold and raining; the rain lasted all the way into the night.
Despite the in-climate weather, we had two good crowds tonight. What a relief, after our first few days in Missouri, I was beginning to believe that the state hated the circus!
I made Ryan laugh in the first sink gag. When he slapped me in the back of the head and I did a face plant, I landed with my nose touching the props saw we use. I picked it up in my mouth and stood up to face him with a big saw tooth grin.
My other accomplishment was pulling off an awesome spinning toothpick fall (going up on my head and spinning 180 degrees) when Ryan hit me with the sink basin.
Our second show was off to an auspicious start when first I wiped out while running into the ring for warm up (wet shoes and a ring mat don't mix) and then Raul dropped his clubs as soon as he started the show with his juggling act.
Luckily things picked up (no pun intended) and the show went well, even though the audience was peculiar during Intermission; very impersonal and a little rude as well.
The lot got wet today due to the rain, but there wasn't much mud. The one bad area was where the elephants entered and exited the tent; it was a mess!
I was happy the rain held off for tear down except for a few minutes in the middle; I know it made things a lot better for the crew taking down the big top.

April 10-Ironton, MO April 11-Farmington, MO April 12-Day Off!!!


I Live In A Sullivan Down By The River!

Wednesday, April 8: Sullivan, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
A short jump this morning, only thirty miles. Woo hoo! For the most part, our next week and a half of jumps are all pretty short.
Today's lot wasn't too promising; big slopes, and rocks everywhere. I hate performing on rocks!
There were signs of civilization in this town, but they were a little difficult to access due to non pedestrian friendly overpasses and free ways. 
I did manage to go to a Flying J truck stop just to get out and about for awhile. I also put a big dent in my Mack Sennett book that I am reading.
The weather was so much better today than it has been the past couple of days. It was nice and sunny and it was actually warm out too.
Ryan's girlfriend surprised him by showing up today. She and her family, the Fuscos, who were with us at the beginning of the tour, stopped to visit on their way to Hugo from Detroit.
Audiences were much better today than they were the past few towns. The shovel gag is still getting dead silence at the end. I believe it is because the squib on our gun didn't work today; it seems to really affect the audience's reaction if there is no explosion to put a tag on the blow off.
It was nice to have water in the sink gag again today; in the last couple of towns it was way too cold to be drenching ourselves. As in the shovel gag, without the punctuation at the end, the gag just falls flat. Hearing the big cheers again tonight when we took our bows was quite a refresher.
Courtney has been out for the past several days due to a sinus infection. Tonight, Patty took her place as lead in the web number. Patty never ceases to amaze me, she has done so many acts in the show: dogs, hula hoop, motorcycle on the wire, and now web!
I started working out again today by jumping rope; I was doing so good at the end of last year by maintaining a steady exercise regimen, but come the new year I have really been slacking off.
Casey's friend, Ryan, came by to visit again tonight. He offered to take Ryan and I to St. Louis on our day off this Sunday; that's an offer that is tough to refuse.
I passed on supper at the cookhouse tonight since Jan was sick, so by the time we were done with tear down I was starving.
Luckily I was invited out with the Fusco family to eat. Ryan and Rae also tagged along. I had a really good time; Rae was just being ridiculous, and I threw out some zany zingers and created a new character for the Steve & Ryan improv repertoire. 

April 9-Potosi, MO April 10-Ironton, MO April 11-Farmington, MO

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Photos From Ryan Easley

Thanks to Ryan Easley for these great shots from the show in Ava, MO.

Casey McCoy Cainan & His Tigers


Raul Olivares Juggling

Friedman Torales Rola Bola

Patricia Lunas Hula Hoops

Kelly Miller Elephants Presented By Armando Loyal

"I Wash Myself With A Rag On A Stick!"

Tuesday, April 7: St. James, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Today's lot was nice and grassy, everywhere but in the tent. In there it was rocky; oh joy of joys!
The sun was out today; it seemed like it had a couple of days since we last saw it. Even though it warmed everything up considerably, there was still a chill on the air.
On the drive into town this morning, I spotted a big sign for a book store. Never passing up an opportunity to spend money and further clutter up my room, I walked to it and bought quite a few books. I bought three by George Burns, a Bob Hope biography, a Sid Caesar autobiography, a book on the Marx Bros., a Stephen King short story book, and a book on the making of the movie Popeye.
Since Casey and Natalie went home this morning to await the arrival of their second daughter, the show was short two acts: tigers and dogs.
Crowds were a lot better and more responsive today. I'm sure the fact that it wasn't freezing helped things out.
A DJ named "Big Al" was the guest ringmaster for the shows today. I had fun talking with him and his girlfriend at Intermission. I was a little disappointed though. When I heard the name "Big Al" I pictured a 500 lbs. Cajun man wearing a white plantation owner suit that would have to wash himself with a rag on a stick.
"Big Al" was named so for his big mouth, and not his morbid obesity as I had hoped.
There was a little bit of excitement during the first show before Intermission. There was a basketball court right by the back door, so a few show people were fooling around shooting some hoops.
The elephants were standing nearby waiting for the elephant rides at Intermission. All of a sudden a train zoomed by across the street and the elephants got spooked and started to trumpet and walk away. Thankfully the handlers were able to get them calmed down and back under control with no problem. We're all lucky they decided to walk away instead of stampede away!

April 8-Sullivan, MO April 9-Potosi, MO April 10-Ironton, MO

Houston, MO: Hub Of Western Civilization

Monday, April 6: Houston, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
The power was left on last night because it was so cold. Luckily it wasn't as cold outside this morning, so getting ready wasn't as much of a chore.
We were parked on a nice grassy lot today, unfortunately it was freezing outside and there were small snow flurries all day.
I wish I could say I did something exciting before the shows, but I stayed inside and hid from the elements.
When we pulled into town this morning I noticed a big sign that said Emmett Kelly Park. With a little research I discovered that Emmett Kelly lived here or was born here (I got conflicting reports. One website said he was born in Indiana) and every year they have a clown festival at the park in his honor. I would have really liked to go get a picture with the sign, but it was pretty far from the lot, and did I mention it was freezing!?
I guess the next time I am (shudder) in Houston, MO, I will have to stop by.
Today was John Moss' birthday. We would have given him a good birthday pieing, but considering the temperature, it would have been cruel and unusual punishment.
We had spotlights for the shows today, which was neat. It allowed for some blackouts and other effects that we normally aren't able to have. Too bad one of the black outs occurred when Ryan and I were running around the ring for our entrance to warm up the audience!
Attendance was better for our shows today, but still nothing to write home about. I am getting so frustrated with crowd reactions the past couple of days. People are just not inclined to laugh when they are freezing. Still, even though I know I am doing my best out there, I feel like a failure when the audience doesn't laugh (or worse, when the end of the shovel gag was greeted with dead silence in the tent for both shows).
There doesn't seem to be any escape from the cold for awhile, so I definitely need to buck up and just roll with the punches.
The cold also had an interesting effect on the show. Everyone seemed to be in a giddy mood today, the kind of mood I generally attribute to lack of sleep.
Ryan could not stop laughing during either of the gags for the second show. In the shovel gag it was because he almost nailed a girl in the head with an arrow when he was throwing it into the ring. I don't know what his deal was in the sink gag; every time he looked at me he claimed I was doing something to crack him up. At least I was making someone laugh!
After tear down I went over to Casey and Nat's trailer to visit. Casey's friend, Ryan, was here again today, so we hung out with him; I also wanted to get some quality time in with the Cainans since they leave in the morning for a couple of weeks while Natalie has a baby.
The good time I had tonight made me realize how much I am going to miss them while they are gone. Who is going to laugh at my Blazing Saddles references now!?

April 7-St. James, MO April 8-Sullivan, MO April 9-Potosi, MO

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Missouri Loves Company....But Not Comedy

Sunday, April 5: Ava, MO-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Jan was in dire need of a Wal Mart this morning. I had discovered via GPS that there was one only half a mile away from the lot, so when we pulled into Ava we went and Jan was able to pick up all of her necessities; I also grabbed a few supplies while I had the opportunity.
I believe we were the last ones to arrive on the lot today; luckily Chris was still out to spot us.
We were playing the fairgrounds in Ava. It was a nice lot; no mud! The day was crisp, but the sun being out helped. Unfortunately it retreated behind some clouds and didn't come out for the rest of the day. That lowered the temperature substantially; I didn't want to come out of my room it was so cold. The wind was probably the worst part; there was even some extremely light snow falling around show time.
I decided to move the Alley into my room. I put my make up on and dressed in there all day.
We had two bad crowds today; small and unresponsive. Actually, unresponsive doesn't even begin to describe the second crowd. They were just miserable. I'm sure the cold weather didn't help, or the fact that there were so few of them and they were spread out all over the tent.
We died a horrible comedic death in the sink gag. I have never experienced a reaction (or lack thereof) that bad. And for certain I can say that it wasn't us; we were spot on and did one heck of a gag.
When I got up on the ring curb at the end to take my style, I noticed that maybe five people in the audience were clapping. I took a small comfort in the fact that not a single act got a good reaction.
At least we made ourselves laugh in the shovel gag. I had a hole in the back of my prospector pants, so I pulled my yellow shirt through and created a little duck tail.
All throughout the gag I kept making tail jokes to Ryan to crack him up.
The only bright point of the second show was that Casey had two friends in the audience, Ryan and Crystal, and they were having a great time. I pulled all my energy for the second show from them.
After tear down I went out to supper with Casey, Nat, Georgia, Ryan, and Crystal. Then back at the Cainan's trailer we shared stories while Georgia and I drew Spongebob characters.

April 6-Houston, MO April 7-St. James, MO April 8-Sullivan, MO

"HEY YOU GUYS!"

Saturday, April 4: Mt. Home, AR-11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 5:30 p.m.
I started off this morning with a nice cup of coffee at the gas station across the street. It was nice to just sit in one of their booths and wake up while the circus patrons started to arrive at the lot.
This was the first time this year we have had a morning show. Even though it was early, we still had a big crowd. As far as response goes...I'll just lead with a saying I got from my friend, Greg DeSanto, "Nothing is funny before 1 o'clock". 
This was proven to us when we did the sink gag. Yeesh!
Ryan took Senor Pato out for some exercise between shows. He is already following Ryan around like he is his mother duck. Ha ha, Ryan is the woman!
The highlight of my day was when a little girl said to me, "You look like that guy from the Goonies."
I said, "Sloth?"
She replied yes. It was awesome she said that, because Sloth was the inspiration for me having an S on my costume.
Back on Ringling I was designing a new agent suit and I enlisted Ryan's help. I gave him some guidelines, and when he came back with sketches, a few had an S emblem on them. I asked why, and he replied, "Well, Sloth from the Goonies had a Superman shirt, and you're retarded like Sloth, so there you go."
I just hope the girl was referring to the S emblem and not my face!

Ryan and I had some nice conversations with the Shrine clowns while waiting to go on for gags. One guy was asking for make up advice which we willingly gave.
Speaking of Shriners, I mentioned in my last post about the fun we have had drawing on the faces of unsuspecting potentates on the back of the Shriner coloring book. Here are some pictures; before:

BORING! And after:

Much Better!
The Shriners sure did a good job getting people to the circus. The second two shows were jam packed. In fact, as were doing warm up for the third show, people just kept pouring into the tent with no end in sight. They had to bring in extra bleachers to accommodate everybody.
Ryan and I had a little fun at the start of the sink gag for that show. After I was done with my laughing bit where there is an awkward pause, Ryan chucked the plunger at me. When he came to retrieve it, I kicked it away from him at the last minute.
The final sink gag was a great one. Some people gave us a standing ovation at the end. Big time comedy, baby!
During tear down a rope got caught between a pole and the top of the tent, so Ryan decided to go all simian and shimmy up the pole to get it loose. In doing so, he banged both his knees and got smashed where it really hurts.
Although I sympathized, schadenfreude won out and I had a good laugh about it. Funny IS funny.
Casey and Nat ordered pizzas tonight, so we pigged out and watched some In Living Color. Ryan got some new character motivation from watching Homie the Clown; all he needs is a sock to whack people with...and to turn black...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Quack

Friday, April 3: Mt. Home, AR-5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Jan was feeling sick this morning, so conversation was limited during the 54 mile drive. Despite that, it seemed like we were at the lot in no time.
When we pulled on, the lot had big puddles of standing water, and when the show trucks were done with it, it was pretty darned muddy.
The up side is that it was sunny all day, not a cloud in the sky. With some hay strewn on the mud in the backstage, it was barely a problem.
While Ryan went with Nat to do laundry and other errands, I went and had a junk food breakfast with Casey.
I finished my Christopher Moore book today, so I started on the Mack Sennet Keystone studio book I have. I am starting to make more of a dent in the huge stack of books I have acquired since the tour started.
Ryan came back from his errands with a new pet, a baby duck!

Ryan has always wanted a pet duck that will follow him around, so he bought one today at a feed store. Casey is going to help him train Senor Pato (the name Ryan decided on. Lame. I would have named him Efram).
Ryan spent a lot of time with Senor Pato today just getting him used to his new surroundings. He made good headway, Senor already follows him around and he stops crying when he hears Ryan's voice.
After a walk to the near by gas station (where I got a free corn dog and bag of chips in honor of the station's 10th anniversary), I spotted a group of Shrine clowns.
Ryan and I just had to get a picture with this fun group.

We had two packed houses for the shows today. The crowds were fantastic as well.
Ryan and I found a new favorite past time during Intermission in this town. The Shriners, who are presenting the show here, are selling programs for the show. On the back are face shots of the potentates. For every program Ryan and I would sign at Intermission, we would draw some accessory on a Shriner's face. From moustaches, monacles, glasses, googly eyes, devil horns, nose rings, buck teeth, unibrows to fangs, we had all our bases covered. We were giggling like little school girls for the entire Intermission.
The sink gag of the second show was so great. I felt at the top of my game; what a fantastic feeling. The crowd's reaction was totally worth us getting wet in the cold weather.
After the shows Ryan and I went to a Casey and Nat BBQ. It was so much fun; we haven't had one in what seems like forever.

Friday, April 3, 2009

All "Hail" Wal Mart

Thursday, April 2: Ash Flat, AR-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
It was a very slow drive this morning. The route took us down some steep hills and around some winding mountain roads. I wasn't too worried since I wasn't hauling anything big, so I was able to enjoy some of the scenery.
When we got to the lot we discovered that although it appeared nice and grassy, the ground was also extremely bumpy and slanted. I thought this town had the name Flat in it!
I went for a walk while I waited for my house to show up. There was a Wal Mart not far at all from the lot, which automatically makes this the most civilized town we have played in Arkansas so far.
It was overcast all morning and it opened up and rained hard around noon; there was some thunder as well.
Luckily it didn't last too long, and I was able to fit in another walk to Wal Mart. I figured while it was here, I would make sure that I got everything I needed.
The sun came out for a glorious hour or so, sadly it was not to last. Around show time the clouds covered it up and it got a mite chilly.
To be honest, I really wasn't looking forward to today. Torrential downpours were predicted from show time until midnight with a good chance of hail. The temperature was supposed to get into the low thirties, and we were moving off the lot tonight, which meant no power if it was freezing.
All of these things that were predicted early in the day got me all worked up, and for nothing! It rained lightly during the first show, and it was a little chilly during the second show, but it was nowhere near as bad as I believed it would be.
The whole situation taught me more about just taking things one at a time and not stressing over things I can't control.
We had two great crowds today. I couldn't be happier with how well the show (and our gags) were received. 
I gave Ryan a good laugh in the first warm up. When my side of the audience cheered louder than his, I was doing my regular bit of mocking him by tossing my hair back and forth. I hit a slant in the ground while I was walking and shaking my head, and I went crashing into the tiger cage.
Then when we did the two man high, I almost fell off Ryan's shoulders when he stepped on the slant.
Casey brought Shanti, his 7 month old tiger cub, into finale for the two shows. As a parody, Ryan walked me in on a "leash" and got me to do tricks.
The audience for the second show was so much fun at Intermission. There were a lot of wily characters out tonight, and they didn't cease to amuse and amaze me and Ryan. We were cracking up almost the whole time due to the crowd's wackiness and the zingers we were throwing out.
We loaded up the Alley after the sink gag to help speed up tear down. It really threw me off my game having to break my routine like that.
Tear down was a little hectic because everyone wanted to get the tent down before the wind picked up too much.
John Moss pointed out to me where one of the quarter poles had made a small tear on the inside of the tent due to the wind.
All the show vehicles were moving to the parking lot of an abandoned grocery store down the road. I got lost and was turned around a few times before I finally found it, which was a headache.
My house was one of the last ones to leave the lot and arrive at the store. I can't really complain though, it wasn't nearly as cold out as I predicted, and there was no hail!

April 3 and 4-Mt. Home, AR April 5-Ava, MO


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Photos From Dave & Cherie Gregg

Here are some photos from my good friends and Ringling Gold Unit advance clowns, Dave and Cherie Gregg:

"Should we be funny this show?"


Great! Now I've Forgotten Math!


"Hey Ryan"


Water on the brain takes on a new meaning...


Ol' Faithful


"Our Talented Performers....And Steve & Ryan!"


Good News!

Congratulations to Armando and Natalia Loyal who welcomed a son into the world yesterday, Norberto Loyal.
Also, congratulations to Tavo for guessing the baby's correct weight in the "Guess The Baby's Weight" pool.
I was only 7 ounces off. D'oh!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Lollypop!

Wednesday, April 1: Heber Springs, AR-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
I have been drinking coffee for the past couple of mornings when I get up to drive. Today I skipped that ritual and I could barely keep my eyes open. The drive seemed to drag on forever anyways.
We were playing on fairgrounds about two miles outside of town; one impression I will take away from our stay in Arkansas, they put us in the most remote places possible!
I started to walk into town in the early afternoon; before I got too far the Fernandez family, who does the flying act, drove by and gave me a lift into town. I'm glad they did, the walk was a lot longer than I thought it was.
I looked in some of the different shops on the main street and got a fruit smoothie from a coffee shop.
One thing I noticed around town was a lot of posters for The Cavalcade of Stars Circus which played in town only seven days ago. That did not bode well for this evening's attendance.
When Rae and his parents were done at NAPA Auto Parts he and I went to Subway for lunch before getting a ride back to the lot.
This lot had an interesting set up; there was a barbed wire fence separating the trailers from the tent. The Alley was facing the road where the audience drives in, so I tried to be sneaky whenever I had to change costumes.
The tigers were not performing today, and we were almost short Raul because he had auto trouble outside of Little Rock. Luckily he made it right before show time.
We had a small crowd for the first show; they were dead as well. There was a slightly bigger crowd for the second show, and thankfully they were more receptive.
It was interesting having the whole ring to work in for warm up and opening since the tiger cage wasn't up.
In the second half of the show, Raul is doing a clown act where he catches a potato on a fork. At the end of the act, he gives a male volunteer a lollypop. John Moss narrates this part of the act since the ending is small and a lot of people miss it. Ryan and I both about died laughing backstage when we heard John's delivery of the line, "A lollypop!"
This prompted me to say, "A lollypop" whenever I could during the sink gag while handing various props to Ryan. 
It was nice that the audience, as well, as Ryan was laughing for the gag. I wasn't laughing when I slipped on the slick ring mat and got a palm full of pointy rocks. Boy does that smart!
We were far behind in tear down tonight because we had to get the sink from out of the tent after the show and roll it all the way over to the Alley. 

April 2-Ash Flat, AR April 3 and 4-Mt. Home, AR