Sunday, May 31, 2009

T-Shirt Week: Friday

My shirt from David Orr compliments of the Forepaugh/Lubin tent. I need to grow...

The Ol' Fishing Hole

Friday, May 29: Hancock, MD-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
This morning Ryan went to the store to buy fishing line, hooks, and bait, and when we had found some big sticks, we made our own fishing poles.
We headed down to the little creek by the lot to try our hand at catching some dinner. We figured we could stand among the fish like Casey did yesterday and simply drop our lines by them. Unfortunately, due to the rain, the water was much deeper than we anticipated.
Our plans were put on hiatus when the elephants came to play in the water where we were fishing. Undeterred, we moved further upstream (downstream was out of the question since the elephants "unloaded" as soon as they hit the water) to a little dam and waterfall. Besides spotting a leech, we had our only near catch of the day. A small fish went for the corn and cheese concoction that we had baited our lure with, but he dove under some branches and when I pulled up on my line he broke the hook off. D'oh!

Finally we moved back towards the elephants and were having a great time until Ryan spotted a snake swimming by. That ended our fishing trip pretty darn quick (and gave me the willies thinking about how we were stumbling over rocks and splashing around in the waist deep water earlier)! 
I decided to try my luck at a safer and easier location...

It was a nice day today, even though a couple of times we were threatened by rain clouds.
We had a good sized first crowd; during the show members of the Adam Forepaugh/Barry Lubin Circus Fan Tent threw a cake and ice cream social for the show in the cookhouse. The members in attendance were David Orr, Don Curtis, Wally Stehley, Larry McKee, Kevin Burns, and Stacy Craig. David also presented me with a bag full of goodies including some new t shirts (see shirt of the day).

The sink gag of the first show was frustrating. I'm not sure what set things off, but tempers flared mid gag. One thing I have learned about doing slapstick with a partner is you can't let your emotions carry you away. When we're hitting each other with props or getting physical, you really have to pay attention in those instances that you don't put too much feeling or aggression behind your actions, or someone is bound to get hurt. 

We had a packed house for the second show; it was so great to have good reactions again. This past week hasn't been our best for business. At least it has been the exception rather than the rule.

Members of the Forepaugh/Lubin tent showed up at America's Own tonight for the BBQ. It was a great cookout and an excellent way to wind down at the end of the day.

May 30-Emmitsburg, MD May 31-Olney, MD June 1st-Olney, MD

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Spare Some Change, Mister?

Thursday, May 28: Hancock, MD-Travel Day
It was a 112 mile trip to Hancock, but since there is a strict scale en route, we were given the day off from shows in case any show trucks got held up.
Jan and I arrived with no problem; it was an easy drive even though it was hilly. We took the Interstate the whole way.

When we arrived I found out that our house, the generator truck, had broken down before even reaching the scale.
This made me, Ryan, and a couple of Mexicans homeless for awhile, and put everybody else without power until the truck showed up. Bummer.

Ryan and I went for a walk into town to kill some time; we discovered a great walking trail through the woods. We walked five miles along it and then took the bike path back. It was a great walk and we had such a great time talking and sight seeing it didn't seem as long as it was.

When we arrived back at the lot several hours later there was still no generator truck. A lot of people were lounging by a little creek that ran by the park we were playing. 
Casey, Ryan, and I played in the frigid, knee deep water for awhile. Casey found a spot where fish were swimming right by his legs; he attempted (unsuccessfully) to catch some bare handed.

I had planned on getting a hotel room anyway since we had the night off. It was convenient that there was one right up the hill from the lot, and it was wonderful being able to bathe.

The generator finally showed up around 5:00 p.m. There had been a plan to go see the Lewis & Clark Circus about 35 miles away, but because of the late hour getting power, the trip was called off.

After a cookout with the usual suspects I retired to my hotel room to enjoy a bath (which felt great on my legs after a 10 mile walk!).

May 29-Hancock, MD May 30-Emmitsburg, MD May 31-Olney, MD

T-Shirt Week: Thursday

Rainy Mountain Top Fun

Wednesday, May 27: Morgantown, WV-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
This morning I took a cab to the University Town Center that was a couple of miles from the lot. Armando gave me a ride to the bottom of the mountain so I could meet the driver; I wasn't about to try and explain to another person how to find the tent on top of Mount Sumb**ch. 

While in town I got breakfast and spent a lot of time at a Barnes & Noble browsing titles and adding books to my mental wish list.

It rained some more today, which didn't help the mud situation at the lot. And to think I believed we had out run the in-climate weather for awhile!

I was very discouraged to discover that we had another small crowd for the first show. John Moss and I were musing on the fact that the sponsor had told us on the car ride to the radio PR that advance ticket sales were up from last year. If I had known what I know now, I would have asked him why he was turning his car into a parlor of lies.

We finally had a decent sized crowd for the second show; this would have been a great one day stand.

The mud in the back door became pretty bad thanks to the elephants; it didn't bother me at all during tear down though, since I had my boots on. 

I really needed the cookout at America's Own after the show to blow off some steam and unwind. It was wonderful.

May 28-Travel Day May 29-Hancock, MD May 30-Emmitsburg, MD

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bear With Me

Internet is terrible here in Hancock, MD. We are here until Saturday morning, so posting may be sporadic until then.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

T-Shirt Week: Wednesday

A Face For Radio

Tuesday, May 26: Morgantown, WV-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
For our two day stand in Morgantown, we were playing at Mylar Park, all the way on top of a mountain, which we got to by driving up a steep, winding road. It was out of the way to say the least.

As soon as I arrived John Moss and I were picked up and taken to a radio station to do a PR to promote our two day stand.
There was some kind of miscommunication and we ended up waiting around for about an hour before we went on the air. The good thing was that they dedicated a good chunk of time to us, and we definitely got the word out.
You can hear the segment here:

(Our part is all the way at the end. I am amazed how quiet we are; I personally was right on top of the microphone and was blasting away with my big mouth.)

On the way back to the lot I had our driver drop me off at the Morgantown Mall where I bummed around, had lunch, and people watched. It sure beat hanging around the desolate, rainy, muddy lot.

It rained almost all day and we had pathetic crowds for both shows. It really was difficult for me to give it my all.

The second show was a little more fun, due to the fact that the crowd was somewhat with us. Ryan and I kept ourselves amused with our celebrity impressions in the sink gag. The first show Ryan was a W.C. Fields/Mr. Magoo hybrid, and I was Dr. Zoidberg, from Futurama, for the second show.

I called a cab before finale of the second show so Ryan and I could go catch a movie at the mall. I'm glad there was traffic leaving the lot when the cab arrived at the park, otherwise I wouldn't have known how to direct him to this God forsaken place.

We timed it perfectly, the cab showed up just as we arrived on the midway, ready to go. We made it to the mall and got our tickets with four minutes to spare before the previews started.
We saw Angels and Demons; I thought it was entertaining, but it was very talky, something that was probably unavoidable. It made me fondly remember the novel; I will have to read it again sometime.

May 27-Morgantown, WV May 28-Travel Day (Day Off!) May 29-Hancock, MD

T-Shirt Week: Tuesday

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Happy Memorial Day!

Monday, May 25: Dunbar, PA-4:30 and 7:30 p.m.
When I went to park Jan on the lot in Dunbar this morning, I about drove into a hole big enough to hold a family of 4. It was extremely bumpy (pretty much only where Jan was parked); if the microwave hadn't broken a couple of days ago, today would have been the day!

A group of circus fans threw the show a KFC feed at noon. I stopped over to get something to eat and thank them. I didn't stick around because the cookhouse tent was already packed and every table was full.

I walked into town to check out a movie theater I had spotted on the drive in this morning. When I arrived I noticed that a showing of Terminator: Salvation had started just 10 minutes before I arrived. I bought a ticket and didn't have to worry about missing the beginning. There was still 14 minutes of previews to go!
I went in expecting the movie to suck, but I was entertained. Granted I won't lose any sleep if I never see it again, but I enjoyed all the action and special effects.
I was worried that I would have to hot foot it back to the lot to get ready, but I had plenty of time.

It was muggy and cloudy all day. We had small crowds at both shows (especially the second one. Hoo boy!), I would say that maybe everyone was out having barbecues, but it definitely wasn't good grilling weather.

In the first sink gag the sink was all the way at the back of the ring. Any farther and we would have been in the band stand doing some of the bits!
At the conclusion of the gag I styled on the ring curb right in front of an older couple. The gentleman sitting right in front of me said, "You guys are good!"
I replied, "Well, d'uh!"
Aren't I modest?

In the second shovel gag Ryan gave me payback for all the times I ever made him laugh during a gag.
We spotted a morbidly obese person in the audience, and Ryan started doing his Jabba the Hutt impression for the whole gag. I could not stop laughing! By the end of the gag tears were running down my face; what a jerk!

The rain picked up for the second show and tear down, but that didn't prevent Ryan and I from playing on a huge stack of monster truck tires we found on the fairgrounds, and it didn't stop the nightly BBQ at America's Own.

May 26-27-Morgantown, WV May 28-Day Off!!!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

T-Shirt Week: Monday

This week there is a new feature on my blog and Casey McCoy Cainan's blog where we will show off some of our "funny" under wear that we created ourselves.
Here are the shirts for today:

Tastykake Makes My Mouth Taste All Yummy

Sunday, May 24: North Strabane, PA-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
I saw a sign that made me laugh on this morning's drive. It was outside of a church and read, "A dam is something to hold back water, not my last name"-God.
The drive was the longest 72 miles I have ever traveled. I was going slow after yesterday's "microwave incident", plus the roads were very steep and winding.

We were playing at a nice Municipal Park on top of a hill. It was a grassy lot, and there were restrooms and walking trails. Woo hoo!
I personally braved death and dismemberment by walking 3 miles round trip up and down winding roads with no shoulder so I could pick up some Tastykakes for America's Own Bar & Grill.
What are Tastykakes you ask? Stop reading now, drive up to PA, and sample the finest snack foods America has to offer!

It sprinkled rain today during the first show. It didn't come down hard enough to make the ground soft, and it definitely cooled everything down. It did become quite muggy afterwards though.

We had a good crowd for the first show; it was so refreshing to hear audible laughs for the gags again.
I talked with one of the sponsors during Intermission. He was very nice and very excited about having the circus at the park. It is going through an 8 million dollar renovation soon and in two years he wants Kelly Miller to be part of the "grand opening".

We were back to a small crowd for the second show. D'oh! The one exciting thing that happened was when Casey got scratched on the cheek by Shonti, the youngest tiger. It was just a couple of small nicks, but he was leaking a bit during the end of the act.

I was dragging during the sink gag; I think most of it came from the lack of energy coming from the audience.
I did give Ryan a good laugh though. When he was chasing me with a pipe, I ran behind the sink for shelter. As I was running I slipped on the tarp and went down out of sight. Ryan said it looked like Hell had opened up and swallowed me.

There had been speculation earlier in the day that we might move to the next town tonight, but I was happy that we didn't. We had a cookout at America's Own where we introduced Radar to our favorite Youtube videos.

May 25-Dunbar, PA May 26-27-Morgantown, WV

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Worst Driver On The Show

Saturday, May 23: Cadiz, OH-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Jan and I drove through an Amish town on the way to the lot today. It looked neat; I wish I could have checked it out.
The road was rough on the way to Cadiz, and along the way Jan's microwave fell and broke. Even though I was going the speed limit (or less) and trying my best to be careful, the broken microwave was still "my fault."
I caught quite a bit of razzing from folks on the show over the whole incident, and I heard that Jan was even going behind my back to find a replacement driver. I should be so lucky!

We were playing on a gravel lot at the local fairgrounds. It seemed as if we were in the middle of nowhere, but on my morning walk I discovered that we are just a hop, skip, and a jump away from town.
As I was exploring, I spied a young man sauntering down the street while listening to a beat on his headphones. As he walked, he was singing a jaunty rap song that went something like this: "N**ga N**ga B**ch N**ga B**ch B**ch N**ga, God**mn White Man, Playa Playa..." and so on.
I saw him and thought to myself, "Ah ha, he must be the mayor of this fine city!"

There was a tiny bit of rain this morning, but once it was done it became very hot. 
We had a small, dead audience for the first show; to make matters worse, the sink gag was a total disaster. Due to miscommunication between Ryan and myself, the sink wasn't set before the gag (the prop crew stepped up and set it for us) and the tarp wasn't even backstage. In the gag itself we were flubbing bits left and right. It was very frustrating and pushed me close to my breaking point. Ryan was less than thrilled too since he was still recovering from the stomach bug he caught a couple of days ago.
Luckily we had time to cool down between shows and everything looked a lot brighter in time for the next performance.

Too bad we had even less people at the second show. Logan Jacot, a blog reader and contortionist who is on a fair tour now, was in attendance, so I chatted with him during Intermission. 

After tear down there was a big cookout at America's Own Bar and Grill. A good sized crowd turned up for a great meal and a good time. It was a nice way to end the day after such crummy shows.

P.S.- Here is a photo of the back of one of the shirts that David Powell made for Ryan and me.

May 24-North Strabane, PA May 25-Dunbar, PA May 26-Morgantown, WV

Saturday, May 23, 2009

For All The Senor Pato Fans

Duct Tape: Solution To All Of Life's Problems (Except Having Too Much Duct Tape)

Friday, May 22: Millersburg, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
We had a 90 mile jump today, but it really didn't seem that long; the nice weather and scenery helped.
We were playing on the town fairgrounds which was a nice grassy lot. Downtown was just a hop skip and a jump away, so I went exploring and found a couple of book stores. The only interesting thing I found was a history book on minstrel shows, but it was out of my price range ($50!).

Ron Powell and his son David came to visit today. Ron was a clown and 24 hour man on several shows, and David runs an embroidery business. He made great Clown Alley shirts for Ryan and me, and he also made an embroidered blanket for baby Genevieve. (Pictures of the shirts coming soon).

This afternoon I worked on fixing the gun for the shovel gag. I sawed off the end that was jaggedly broken, and I also sawed down the arrows so they could fit inside.
The stock would not stay on with wood glue, so I ended up having to duct tape it together and then paint the tape. It was a crummy fix, but the latex I ordered should get here soon and we can get the new blow off of the shovel gag up on its feet.

I was running late because of the gun repairs, so I had to slam on my make up to be on time.
The first show was so-so. Rich Deptula, who is involved with the White Tops (I forget in what capacity), was in attendance. I met him three years ago when Ringling played Cleveland.

Ryan was feeling better today which made things easier on both of us.

I had low expectations for the crowd in the second show after a horrible warm up, but I had a good Intermission and the crowd loved the sink gag.

I was starving by the end of the night; luckily I had a great cookout at America's Own Bar & Grill to look forward to.

I forgot to mention that on Wednesday we got a new member of the Kelly Miller family. Ryan Easley (a.k.a Radar), is a big fan of animal acts in the circus and had come to see our show several times in MO. He left his "townie" job to come be Casey's new tiger groom. "Gooble Gobble Gooble Gobble, One Of Us, One Of Us!"

May 23-Cadiz, OH May 24-North Strabane, OH May 25-Dunbar, OH

Friday, May 22, 2009

Nothing Funny About A Sick Clown

Thursday, May 21: Buckeye Lake, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
I woke up pretty early this morning so I could enjoy a real shower at the Long's house; the night of sleeping in a real bed was also fantastic.
Greg dropped me off at the lot in time for morning call. I wish I could have hung out with him more these past two days, but I know our paths will cross again at some point down the road.

Today we were playing on a rocky lot behind a grocery store. It was a hot day; I ended up being outside as much as I could since it was much cooler outside than in my room.

Casey helped me fix the water mechanism in the sink by drilling a bigger hole in the handle of the fire extinguisher so the new bolt would fit. I just love getting things accomplished...too bad I also enjoy procrastination!

Ryan was sick today, so he didn't do much but rest until show time. He caught the stomach bug that has been going around the show; pretty much everyone has had it in some variation. Just one of the joys of working in close proximity with a group of people.

We had a decent sized crowd for the first show. The Intermission was great; people were so nice and friendly. I had a ton of kids run up and give me hugs. That is exactly the kind of meet and greet I needed after the past few towns.
We had a good crowd for the second show as well. Props to Ryan for giving it his all while on the brink of collapsing from exhaustion during every act.

The sink gag was great, one of the best ones we have had in awhile. Ryan even passed out for a few seconds after the gag; that's how good it was!
I told him to take it easy for the night, so Casey helped me load up the Alley and John Moss and I tackled tear down by ourselves. It was no big hassle.

May 22-Millersburg, OH May 23-Cadiz, OH May 24-North Strabane, PA

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Gone To The Dogs

Wednesday, May 20: Columbus, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Ah sweet two days stands! It was great sleeping in this morning and not having to drive anywhere.

I walked to Target to get new band aids for my hands; I can tell I will be going through a lot of them in the coming days (weeks?).
Ryan informed me that he had seen a short sleeved shirt at Sears that looked just like my agent suit shirt. I went to check it out, and it did indeed have the same width black and white stripes as my regular shirt. I have been looking for a short sleeve version so I'll be ready for the really hot days this summer. The only problem with it was there was a huge logo on the back that couldn't be covered up. D'oh!

Doug came by again today to visit before the show. He ran to Home Depot and picked up some new nuts and bolts so that I could fix the problem with the fire extinguisher in the sink; that was a big help.

Once again there was a very small crowd for the first show, but at least I had people to visit with during Intermission. Doug had his wife, daughter, and granddaughters with him; Nat's sister and her kids were visiting; also David Gregg's sister and her daughters were at the show.

Greg Long and his wife, Sean, were at the second show. We had a full house, which was nice.
I was upset with myself because in between shows I was lazy and didn't correctly fix the water mechanism for the sink. I figured since the quick fix had worked for the first show, that it would be fine for one more show until tomorrow.
Well, I should have followed the advice given to me on Ringling, "If a prop is broken, don't put it off. FIX IT NOW".
The water messed up, and I was upset because Greg had talked us up so much to his wife. I hate not doing things to the best of my abilities (as I'm sure you all know by now!).

The Longs were nice enough to invite me over to spend the night at their house. Sean made delicious turkey burgers and salad, Greg and I hung out and watched some of his student films from college, and their dog, Lulu, attempted to make out with me every chance she got.
I guess Ryan was right when he said I always attract "dogs".

May 22-Millersburg, OH May 23-Cadiz, OH May 24-North Strabane, PA

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Will I Ever Play Piano Again, Doc!?"

Tuesday, May 19: Columbus, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
It was a 70 mile drive to Columbus today; this is the first city that we have played this year that I have played before on Ringling.
We are parked for the next two days next to a mall! Ryan and I went and got breakfast once we had arrived, and I set out to explore a little.
Sadly the dollar cinema that I spotted has been closed for awhile; so no cheap movies for me. The mall was dead as well. There were only a few little stores and one big department store; everything else was shut up.

I attempted to walk to the downtown area where Ringling plays (coincidentally, they just left town on Sunday), but it was too far to walk in the time I had. Darn those skyscrapers and their deceiving perspective!
I did managed to buy a new pair of shoes, which were much needed. I had worn my ratty old tennis shoes out, and they had developed holes in the soles.

Ryan spent his day painting the Ringside Seating sign for the show. I'd say he did a great job:

I met circus fan and blog reader, Doug Kruest, today, as well as the editors of White Tops, the Wells'. Mrs. Wells is named Marti. I forget Mr. Wells' name...from the smart aleck comments and critiquing he made about Ryan's painting abilities, I want to say it was Rembrandt. 

The first show was about as dead as the mall next door; very few people showed up. Nevertheless, I was in a good mood until the shovel gag.
First Ryan tripped on some rigging and ate it while running into the ring. That didn't phase me; in fact I had a good laugh over it. Karma is evil though, and as we were running out of the ring I tripped over the rubber they laid over some cables and did the "slide of death" (so named by Jimmy Hall).
Backstage I was none too happy when I realized I had scraped some nice chunks out of my palms. I yelled some obscenities while kicking the tie down ropes (a patented Copeland healing remedy), and then I seeked First Aid.
After I washed my hands, Reyna swabbed the wounds with alcohol (boy did that feel good), and gave me some Band-Aids.
A little later Nat gave me a tube of Neosporin and alcohol swabs so I could clean my elbow, which also got a nice scrape.
John Moss graciously lent me an old pair of gloves so I wouldn't have to scare or disgust anybody with my Freddy Kreuger hands during the shows. Looks like I will be wearing them for a few days.

As if I wasn't geared up enough, the sink gag was a disaster, ending with the fire extinguisher rig breaking during the water bits. Also, did I mention that in the shovel gag, when I fell, I broke our rifle prop?
Ryan and I just can not catch a break lately!

Between the shows I did a quick fix on the sink's water rig until we can get to a Home Depot tomorrow. Ryan also glued the gun back together. At least now we have more initiative to get the new shovel gag blow off ready to go.

A friend of mine came to visit during the second show. He's a new friend, although we met 20 years ago.
His name is Greg Long. He was a Clyde Beatty clown from 1989-1992. I met him his first year during Intermission Meet & Greet. He overheard my mom call me by my name, so when he met me he addressed me as Steven and even signed his autograph to me. For the rest of the show I was in awe that a real, honest to goodness circus clown knew my name!
Twenty years later I found Greg via the Internet and told him the story and about how that memory still stays with me today.
It just goes to show the impact that a clown can have on a child; I try and keep that in mind when I'm meeting and greeting on the show. 

We had a full house for the second show, and they were a great audience. It was a largely Hispanic audience due to the part of town we were in. It helped remind me why I loved our time in the valley of Texas. Even subtle bits in the sink gag were getting big laughs; I needed a show like this to remind me why I do what I do.

After the shows we had Casey's "unofficial" birthday party. Doug brought some beer as a present, and there was a cookout with the usual suspects in attendance along with guests Greg Long and Jimmy and Teppa Hall, who do a bear act. Jimmy was cracking me up all night with his funny stories.

May 20-Columbus, OH May 21-Buckeye Lake, OH May 22-Millersburg, OH


Monday, May 18, 2009

How Could Such A Beautiful Day Turn Out So Lousy?

Monday, May 18: Piketon, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Today was our longest jump in quite awhile. We drove a whopping 60 miles! To be honest, it was over before I knew it.

We were playing at the Piketon fairgrounds on a beautiful grassy lot. To make things better, the sun was shining and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. It turned out to be one hell of a beautiful day.

I tagged along with Nat at the last minute to get laundry done. She dropped me back off at the lot when I was done so I could put clothes away and clean up.
When she got done with her laundry, I jumped in the truck with her and the girls again and we went to Wal Mart. 
Today was Casey's birthday, so I bought him some gifts from me and Ryan: steaks and coffee.

Back at the lot I sat down and relaxed for the first time today; it felt so darned good. I didn't want to get up and get ready for the shows.

We had horrible crowds today. They were very small and they just didn't care. Even the acts that usually are crowd favorites didn't get any reaction.
The Blue Unit was planning on visiting today originally; I'm glad they came last Wednesday instead.

I almost broke my ankle doing our windmill kick dance in warm up. The horses had torn up the perimeter of the ring a bit during rehearsal, and I stepped in a divot and had quite a scare.

Casey filmed the sink gag for us in the first show. We have been unhappy with reactions to it lately, so we figured we should see what the problem was. The gag looked fine overall, but we saw areas where both of us could clean up bits and make things clearer, and we saw that the whole gag needed a bit of an energy boost. 
It is so useful to videotape ourselves, I'm upset we didn't do it earlier.

Ryan worked on birthday cards for Casey and Renzo, Armando's son, in between shows:

People were just getting on my nerves during the second Intermission. A gang of fat kids nearly pushed me over the edge; I had to step away from the scenario and leave the tent before I said something I would regret.

All the critiquing we did of the sink gag was for naught tonight. We could have done the funniest gag in the world and it wouldn't have made any difference. At least we know for the future and can be aware of areas that need fixing.

The final straw of the day for me was when one of the kids from the fat kid gang (who was all of 10) flipped me off with both hands in finale.
Lately the lack of respect Ryan and I have been getting as clowns has been discouraging me so much. We get harassed by heathen children, asked to scare teenage girls with "coulraphobia", and viewed as lesser life forms by adults.
Just the other day a mom was hitting Ryan in Intermission and telling her young daughter to do the same. When Ryan commented on this to the lady and said that she was teaching the kid that it was ok to hit people, the mother replied, "Only funny looking ones."
The death penalty is too kind sometimes...

But you know what? It's all worthwhile for me when a child sees me for the first time, and their little eyes light up with joy. When that happens, I just know that they are getting ready to throw something at me... 

After tear down Ryan and I went over to Casey's to join him in celebrating his birthday by helping him eat some of the steaks we bought.

May 19-20-Columbus, OH May 21-Buckeye Lake, OH

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Slump

Sunday, May 17: Georgetown, OH-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
On this morning's drive, Jan and I went on a wild goose chase trying to find a grocery store that was open so Jan could get food for her cat. Finally we stopped at a gas station that had some, only to discover that if we had kept on driving, we would have run into a grocery store.

We were playing the town fairgrounds today; another rocky lot. The sun was out and it was a beautiful day, but there was quite a chill on the wind. Isn't it mid May?

Jeff Schott came to visit again today. He brought some bagels and OJ for us as well as some more photo albums to look at. We sat and shot the breeze for awhile until it was time to get ready for the shows.

I'm glad Jeff came to visit, because otherwise today would have been a total bummer. People were there for our shows, but boy oh boy were they dead. It really was discouraging me, but after a pep talk from Ryan I just went out there and had fun; if the audience wasn't going to, that wasn't going to stop me from having a good time.

In Intermission, one lady shoved a coloring book at Ryan without saying anything. Ryan thanked her and then attempted to sell the coloring book.
A lady walking by chimed in that she would buy it. Ryan then explained to her that he was just kidding and it wasn't his to sell.
He signed the coloring book and then handed it back to the first lady. Meanwhile the second lady had dug out two dollars and was pushing it at Ryan. 
Ryan explained to her that he had been making a joke; I chimed in by adding that we were clowns, and chicanery is bound to happen.
The lady continued to gaze blankly at Ryan while still holding the two dollars out to him.
Finally the wheels clicked and she asked where she could buy one. We pointed out Raul, who was right in front of us, holding a coloring book in the air.
She asked again where he was and we spelled it out for her as best we could without actually taking her over and buying the coloring book for her.
Some people...

Casey and Nat ordered dinner from a restaurant in town, so Jeff, Ryan, and I joined them for some food and frivolity. Jeff had to leave pretty early, but Ryan and I stayed for quite awhile to talk.

It turned very chilly this evening, luckily they left the power on so we wouldn't freeze.

May 18-Piketon, OH May 19 and 20-Columbus, OH

Photos From Loveland, OH

Here are some photos taken from our engagement in Loveland, OH this past Friday.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ay! Me Estómago!

Saturday, May 16: Batavia, OH-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
I was not feeling well today. I caught some kind of stomach bug and was feeling crummy all day long.

We were playing at a Flea Market on a gravel parking lot. The weather was overcast and dreary; the day really matched how I felt.

I slept most of the day until it was time to get ready for the shows. Both shows today were well attended. Unfortunately I was so drained for the first show; I had no energy whatsoever. If there was any reason for the audience not laughing at the sink gag, the blame fell squarely on my shoulders. My best that show was not very good.

I was so angry that all day I was taking it easy on the falls, yet I still managed to fall on "boulders" and hurt myself. 

It poured rain in between shows and the lot developed a ton of huge puddles. Even the inside of the tent flooded a bit; mostly in the seating area.
It was so pathetic seeing the ring mat by the time the sink gag rolled around. There was so much standing water and mud tracked on it; it was disgusting!

Casey gave me some Emergen C during the second show which helped get my energy back up. I was feeling much better by the time we were done this evening.

Casey and Nat had Ryan and I over for dinner; I was starving since I hadn't eaten all day. I also had the treat of taking a hot shower to get my make up off since they didn't unhook the water until awhile after tear down.

May 17-Georgetown, OH May 18-Piketon, OH May 19-Columbus, OH

Friday, May 15, 2009

Where's The Love(land)?

Friday, May 15: Loveland, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
When we arrived in Loveland this morning, we were directed to a park a few blocks from the high school we were going to be playing. Everyone was instructed to pull in and park tight.
When I got a chance to get out and see what was going on, I heard that the grassy field we were scheduled to show on was soggy and they didn't want us tearing it up and getting stuck due to lack of a tractor, yadda yadda yadda. The sponsor was going back and forth on wanting to cancel the date.
Finally the verdict came down that we were going to be playing on the school's parking lot instead. To do that, we had to wait until 12:30 p.m. for all the students to leave (it was an early day for them).

Since we had a good 4 hours until then, a lot of people unhooked from their trailers and went into town to run errands.
The animals were let out, which attracted a big crowd. When Ryan let Senor Pato out, he attracted almost as big a crowd as the elephants. Everyone wanted to sit and watch him, and a lot of kids came over to feed and pet him.

Ryan and I went to go bother Casey for awhile until our friend Gautham showed up. Gautham worked with us in the Blue Unit Clown Alley for two years. He recently sold or gave away all his worldly possessions and is a traveling yogi. I took this to mean that he goes around from state park to state park stealing pic-a-nic baskets.

Since we still had an hour to kill before the move to the lot, we went out to get something to eat. 
I found a Culver's via my GPS that was 5 miles away. If you've never eaten at Culver's before, drop your computer and find one! Butter burgers, cheese curds, frozen quote Merill Howard Kalin, "Mmmmm mmmm mmmmm! It makes my mouth taste all yummy!"

We arrived back at the park a little after 12:30 p.m., but no one had moved yet. The new rumor was that the sponsor hadn't gotten permits for the lot.
I found out that my friend, Rebecca Worple, had been around looking for me while I was gone. She is a great photographer, and she and her family live in the John Robinson mansion outside of Cincinnati. John Robinson is an old, old, old (i.e. dead) circus owner that was notorious for cutting acts from the show so as to make a hasty retreat from town.
In 2007 when I was still on Ringling, we did a PR at the mansion and I made friends with the Worple family.

When Becca came back to the park, she brought ice cream and drinks for the tent crew who were sitting around waiting to start work, which I thought was a fantastic gesture.

Finally after 1:00 p.m. we got the go ahead to move, and everything was on the high school's parking lot by 1:30 p.m.
Ryan and I jumped in the car with Gautham and headed to a very ritzy mall outside of town. I wish we could have checked it out some more, but after about thirty minutes we had to head back to the lot and get our stuff ready for the show.

Everybody really pulled it off today, the lot went from empty to fully operational for the show in a mere three hours. We didn't even have to hold the show like people imagined we would. It was a true testament to the saying, "the show must go on."

It's good for the show that we weren't cancelled. Both shows were jam packed today; I figured we would have a good turn out from the amount of people that a) came by to see the animals this morning and b) were waiting at the lot to see the tent go up.

Gautham and Becca & co. were all at the first show. I was disappointed that the audience wasn't livelier than they were.
Becca's son, Owen, and I hit it off well two years ago at the Ringling PR. He was making faces at me, so I taught him my patented "monkey face".  Becca said that from that point on he was always making it; naturally tonight we took a picture doing it to go with the shot from two years ago (seen below):

There were a lot of people walking past the back door all day, which I didn't care for. I like to have some privacy from the public when I'm backstage and between acts.

There was anticipation of a storm towards the end of the second show, and it was supposed to rain tonight, but by the time Ryan and I had hung out with Casey and Nat up until when I went to bed, not a drop had fallen. I hope that means they were wrong about there being rain all day tomorrow.

May 16-Batavia, OH May 17-Georgetown, OH May 18-Piketon, OH

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Oh, Hi Ohio!

Thursday, May 14: Camden, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
I woke up this morning and heard the rain pouring down on the metal roof and saw the lightning flashing out my window. When I checked the time I saw that I could still sleep for two more hours and stay warm and dry in my bed. What a great feeling!
Sadly it was still raining when I had to get up, but it wasn't coming down nearly as bad as it was during the night.

Our 27 mile drive this morning seemed to drag on forever thanks to the interference of the weather, dump trucks, school buses, and TWO trains.
We were showing next to a elementary school on a grassy lot. There was a little creek running by some of the trailers, and it had some force and speed to it. If it had continued to rain today like it did yesterday, there could have been some trailers floating away. 

Thank God the rain stopped and the sun came out. It turned out to be a beautiful day.
I took a walk into town; there really wasn't too much to see, just a lot of closed down shops.

I had been belly aching for some time about wanting to get out of IN, so I was happy to cross into OH today; when I heard the reactions the show was getting for the first performance, I said to Ryan, "Let's go back to Indiana."

We had two decent sized crowds today; the second show filled up better than the first, and they were a good audience.

Ryan and I both were dragging today during the shows. I felt so weary; I tried taking a nap between shows, but it didn't seem to help at all.
Finally around Intermission of the night show I started shaking off my funk and I felt much better.

The ring had a rocky road (not the ice cream, unfortunately) running through it, which was tough on us with the falls. It was also incredibly slick with the ring mat on top of it. I almost wiped out a couple of times. I did end up falling once right onto my butt, but it was on the grass during our aydience warm up.
I think it is funny that our gags are chock full of slapstick and falls, but when I fall on accident I get so embarrassed and feel like a jack ass.

In one of the Intermissions I was signing coloring books and happened to overhear this woman who was complaining (loudly) about men and why she wasn't dating them currently. I suppressed my urge to chime in with, "Yeah, men suck. That's why I date women."

After the shows Casey and Nat had us over for an excellent dinner. I think part of my fatigue today came from hunger, even though earlier I wasn't hungry at all.

May 15-Loveland, OH May 16-Batavia, OH May 17-Georgetown, OH

Blue Show Rules!

Wednesday, May 13: Connersville, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
It started to rain on our drive this morning. Of course the weather turns bad when I am expecting friends from Ringling's Blue Unit to come visit!

We were playing on a grass lot right next to a Big K Mart. I browsed in the store while I waited for my house to show up.

I noticed on the drive that there was a movie theater in town, but all the movies started when our shows started and ended when our shows ended. Lame!

Today Ryan started painting a sign for the show. They have a little booth that advertises the preferred seating that you can upgrade to for $2. When it was painted long ago someone spelled preferred as "prefered", and since Ryan is artistically inclined, the show contracted him to repaint it to read Ring Side Seating. He is also going to put us on there, because no show can have too much Steve and Ryan!

Since we were expecting a big crew from Ringling tonight, Casey and I walked to the grocery store to pick up supplies for a BBQ. Luckily the weather cooperated during this time; the sun was even out for a short while.

Around 1:00 p.m. it started pouring down rain with occasional thunder and lightning. It rained for 4 hours non stop and finally slacked off in time for Intermission of the first show.
Luckily the ground we were on was pretty solid and most of the huge puddles that had accumulated absorbed right into the grass.

Both shows today were packed and the crowds were very receptive; a good finish to our seemingly never ending run of Indiana.

The group from the Blue Show showed up for the second show. Two car loads of my friends got lost on the way to town by following the GPS. It took them on a road that wasn't finished; it ended in a corn field. They finally showed up in the middle of the shovel gag.

In attendance were about 15 Blue Show personnel, including clowns, dancers, an acrobat or two, and an animal trainer. I was happy that some of my friends that I worked with (and some I made after I left the show) were able to come.

I could see a storm brewing on the horizon shortly before we did the sink gag of the second show. I begged God to hold off on the water works until we had finished the sink gag.
I owe the Big Man one, because he did just that. When we were done and packing up the sink, it started pouring down. Rain was blowing into the Alley and soaking everything. The thunder and lightning were right on top of us too. 
The show ended up getting cut a little short by two acts or so. My friends said that audience was anxious to get out when they heard the storm; apparently the public wasted no time in evacuating the tent.

Luckily Casey had scouted out a back up spot for the BBQ under a horse stable in case of in climate weather. I had such a good time catching up with my friends and hanging out. I'm so happy they were able to come visit. The party wound down around 1:00 a.m. I went right to bed, but the Blue Show crew still had to drive 2 1/2 hours back to Columbus, OH.

May 14-Camden, OH May 15-Loveland, OH May 16-Batavia, OH

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Steve Copeland: Chick Magnet

Tuesday, May 12: Lynn, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

BRRRRRRRRR! It was freezing in my room this morning! I think someone forgot to tell this area of IN that it is almost mid May.

Jan was in desperate need of a Wal Mart on this morning's drive. I was worried, because I didn't think we would be able to find one on the way; luckily we found an IGA grocery store where she could pick up the essentials until we hit the next Wal Mart.

Today we were playing on a nice grassy park; a sunny day and a nice lot: mud show heaven!

Ryan relieved me of laundry duty today since he was going to do some bleaching. He doesn't trust me after my last bleaching job when his Al Jolson shirt came back white.


I walked into town and found a very small carnival that was setting up. It was fitting that the carnival was small, this town isn't exactly a bustling metropolis.

I did find a great little restaurant to support. I was flirting with the girl behind the counter as I ordered my food. When I went up to order ice cream after my meal, she handed me a napkin and said, "You have some food on your chin."

I took the napkin and wiped my chin. "No, you missed it," she said.

I tried again with no luck. Finally she grabbed the napkin and sighed, "Here, let me get it."

I'm so smooth. She was like putty in my hands....

We had decent sized crowds for the shows today. They were pretty dead audiences all around, but the second audience was a little more lively.

In Intermission of the first show Ryan was hit on the head by a little girl. Before the sink gag the father brought her out to see him and made the girl apologize. She had also written an apology note for Ryan. Ryan explained to her how when he and I hit each other we aren't really hurting each other, and he let her feel our foam props. 

I was very happy and impressed that the father stepped up and did some parenting and got the little girl to do the right thing.

Kudos to you sir.

While Ryan was out today he bought a kiddy pool for Senor Pato to swim in. His thinking was that we could share its usage with the duck. I was in agreement until Pato crapped in it...

I got some heart achingly adorable footage of him playing in the water, but I can't figure out how to get it off my phone and onto my computer. You'll just have to use your imaginations until I figure it out.

I tried sunning myself today to get a tan, but it seems that the circus kids just can't leave alone a shirtless clown laying in the sun. I guess I will always be the color of my Ben Nye make up.

After the shows tonight Casey and Nat had us over for burgers, hot dogs, and rice. We also enjoyed some Gin Rickys while watching Eddie Murphy on Youtube.  Good times!

May 13-Connersville, IN May 14-Camden, OH May 15-Loveland, OH

Monday, May 11, 2009

And The "Insensitive Jerk Of The Year Award" Goes To...

Monday, May 11: New Castle, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Hope all you muthas had a good Mother's Day. The first part of mine was spent at the mall with Ryan and the Cainans, and then for the evening I retired to a hotel where I enjoyed all the finer things in life, like a big bed, a bathtub, and a swimming pool!

Senor Pato wished Ryan a Happy Mother's Day by growing...even more...

I lucked out in that Nat was going to the Wal Mart across the street from my motel this morning, so I didn't have to get a cab like I originally anticipated.
I tagged along with her and Ryan while they ran errands in Wal Mart, the feed store, and the post office.

When we got back to the lot (a concrete parking lot right next to a gentleman's club), Ryan and I took advantage of the nice weather and went into cleaning mode.
I worked on cleaning out the Alley and cleaning off the sink before walking into town to get a hair cut. Boy did I need it! The sides hadn't been trimmed since late March, and the top hadn't been touched since we opened in Brownsville back in February.

Back at the lot I got a few more things accomplished before getting ready for the show. I shined my shoes and laid out the blankets that we use to cover the sink. They have been soaking wet since the rain and nasty weather started last week, so they needed a good drying.

I wasn't expecting anyone to show up in the less than reputable neighborhood we were playing, but both shows were jam packed today. Great crowds too; I tried out some new spins on bits that got favorable response.

I tried out a new prop in Intermission today. When Jeff Schott visited us last, he gave us a plastic turtle on a harness and leash. I took Pegasus (as I named him) out with me to see what kind of comedy I could create.

I felt like such a Grade A jack ass before the sink gag of the first show. Ryan and I were walking to the entrance of the tent. I pulled aside one of the side flaps to the entrance and saw what looked like two teenage boys wrestling. The bigger one had has arms around the smaller one in front of him, and the smaller one was thrashing around.
I saw this in a split second and quipped, "Get a room!"
As soon as I said that, I realized that the smaller one was mentally handicapped, and the bigger one was trying to get him into his wheelchair. I was so embarrassed that I kept on walking to the other side of the entrance to hide until it was time for the sink gag.
According to Ryan, the guy helping the kid into the chair was less than pleased with my remark since he responded with, "F**k you, d**k". 
I deserved it.
Naturally when Casey heard about the whole scenario he just couldn't let me hear the end of it. 
Hey, what are friends for?

My friend, Dave, from Indianapolis, came to see the second show. I'm glad he saw the show he did; we rocked them in the sink gag. It seems like forever since we've had a reaction like that.

After tear down Dave and I went out to eat and caught up. Back to the regular schedule tomorrow!

May 12-Lynn, IN May 13-Connersville, IN May 14-Camden, OH

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What A Day!

Saturday, May 9: Dunkirk, IN-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.


An addendum from yesterday:

While I was holed up in the diner waiting for my John Moss salvation, baby Max, son of Josie and Marcileno, was having his 1st birthday party at the lot. In addition to missing the food and festivities, I missed out on some more antics from Buckner: Apple, Oklahoma's native son.
Buckner got Max a very interesting present, a baby goose that he stole away from its parents. Not only did he get attacked by the parents, he got a shirt full of goose crap.
Thankfully he returned the baby to its family when everyone concurred that it was a stupid gift.

Then, last night Ryan was walking to Josie's house to get some food when a man pulled up in a car and asked, "Are you with the circus?"
When Ryan answered yes the man asked, "Are you horny?"
Ryan replied, "I'm sorry, what?"
When the man repeated the question, Ryan told him no thanks.
I don't know what the mayor of Decatur was doing driving around at that hour...

Now, on to the meat of the post:

The route slip this morning told us that we were going to be playing on a "tight, difficult lot". Boy they weren't kidding!

Everybody arrived at the lot only to sit and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait. Apparently the lot was more of a challenge than they anticipated, because it was debated whether we would have to move somewhere else.
Finally most everyone was simply parked where they sat, and they moved the show trucks and some of the performer trailers to different areas.

The tent was set up half on grass and half on a road that was running through the little park we were in. Most of the trailers were parked all the way at the other end of the park, which was quite a distance.

The sun was out this morning to taunt us, but as soon as everyone was on the lot it was covered by dark rain clouds. The ground was already wet and soft, so it was a muddy mess in no time. On top of all that, the wind was blowing like it were going out of style. 

The poor tent crew were out all morning setting up the tent in the gale force winds. At one point I freaked out because I heard what I thought was a tornado siren. Casey made sure to rub it in my face that I was a wimp for being scared of a 12 'o clock noon whistle.

The tent crew got everything set up inside the tent just in time for the first show.
Both shows today were jam packed; it would have felt a little pointless if everyone had gone to so much work for no people.

There was no cat act either show because they couldn't get the tiger truck close enough to the tent. Also there was no motorcycle act because the generator truck that Manuel attaches the rigging to was on the wrong side of the tent.

After Intermission of the first show, the flying act was going on, and I walked to my house to get my sink gag costume. As I was walking back to the Alley I saw John Moss come running from the tent entrance looking for me. I heard swing music playing, and the first thing I thought was, "Crap! We're late for the sink gag!"

John told me that Renato had fallen during the trapeze act, so I quickly ran to tell Ryan and then threw my sink overalls on over the shirt I was wearing. I jumped into the Alley and grabbed my cigar boxes and then ran into the tent. 

I don't know how long Renato had been down, but Miss Vickie was playing the emergency music that we had picked out. A group of paramedics were tending to Renato in one corner of the ring while the rigging was being taken down behind them.

I started distracting the audience until Ryan showed up. He brought a guy from out of the audience and we stretched until the hula hoop act was ready to go on.

Renato was carried out of the ring before the sink gag. John told everyone that he was conscious and talking and was being taken to the hospital; he got a big hand as they carried him out.

Finally after the show I was able to find out what happened. When Eric and Renato were doing the passing leap, Eric fell and hit the net. The net wasn't set up properly, so it broke and fell to the ground. Right after that, Renato fell and went straight down without the benefit of the net to stop him.

The second show went by quickly; I was still in shock over the whole Renato incident. There was a kid at both shows that would not leave me alone. He was nice and everything, but he was about as mouth breathingly awkward as you can get; kind of like a young me. He would just hover around me while I was waiting to go on for gags or while I was in the tent at Intermission. 
Of course I treated him like royalty, because I knew where he was coming from. He was simply in awe of the circus and me (can you blame him!?). I remember when I was like that around circus clowns, although I knew when to take a hint when the clown needed to do something, i.e. eat or tear down!

Ryan and I were a little late getting to tear down because we had to carry the sink from backstage to the Alley on the opposite side of the tent. This took us through the exiting public, so of course our adoring fans wanted to talk to us and get pictures.

We drove to the next city, New Castle, IN tonight so everyone can enjoy Mother's Day off. 
When Jan and I were pulling into town I saw a carnival in the parking lot of one of the shopping centers!
After we had arrived at the lot, a desolate parking lot in the middle of nowhere (but next to a gentleman's club), I walked the 2 miles into town and checked out the carnival. 

Renato was on his way to the lot from the hospital in a cab as I was walking, so he gave me a call and then he and Courtney walked into town to meet me for supper.

Renato is very lucky; there was no serious damage, he just tweaked his neck a bit. He was feeling great and was back to his usual self. We'll see how he feels when the medication wears off!

May 10-Day Off! May 11-New Castle, IN May 12-Lynn, IN

Friday, May 8, 2009

Is There An Off Switch For The Mud?

Friday, May 8: Decatur, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
I was so happy to see the sun this morning. It looked like it was going to be a beautiful day, which was nice considering that the grass lot we were playing on got torn up into a muddy mess as soon as the big trailers and trucks started to arrive.
Sadly the sunshine didn't last very long and it was cloudy and overcast the whole day. I suppose the one upside was that it didn't rain.
I tell you though, this constant mud and dreary weather is starting to wear me down. I need some sunny days and dry lots...STAT!

I walked into town today to try and find three bookstores that showed up on my GPS. Two of them were long gone and the third really wasn't what I was looking for. I really need to start calling ahead...

I stopped for lunch at a 50's style diner/drive in called Arnold's. It is named after the hang out in the show "Happy Days". After my meal, as I went up to the counter to pay, I realized (way too late) that they didn't accept credit cards for payment. This presented a problem since I had no cash on me!
The waitress informed me that they had an ATM, which would have been great...if my credit card was set up to be used that way!
Luckily I called John Moss and he came racing to the rescue on bicycle with some cash for me to borrow. God Bless him; I was almost up to my elbows in sudsy water and dirty dishes!

We had decent sized crowds for the shows today. In the first sink gag we thought we were dying; the laughs were few and far between. But when we finished I thought they were going to blow the roof off the tent with their cheers. Talk about mixed signals! Maybe they were just happy that we were done.

One of my mud shoes started to rip apart at the back seam. Because of that I had to wear my nice shoes today. Luckily they didn't get too nasty.
Speaking of wardrobe, I forget to mention that the showgirls have some awesome new costumes for Opening made by Armando and Josie Loyal's mother. They are snazzy!

After tear down all the vehicles had to move off the lot. Luckily Jan and I got onto the road with no problem, and we were only going down the street to a parking lot. Quick and easy.

May 9-Dunkirk, IN May 10-Day Off! May 11-New Castle, IN

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Thursday, May 7: Warren, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Today was the highlight of my career. I played a Huggy Bear Quick Stop.
The show was set up behind the gas station/truck stop/motel on a pretty crummy lot. There was grass where the tent was, but there were puddles of water everywhere and the ground was incredibly soft.
It poured down rain at some point this morning and then for the rest of the day it was sometimes sunny, sometimes cloudy, and sometimes sprinkling rain.

We had a small crowd for the first show; in fact the whole first show made me question why I do what I do.
The crowd for the second show was much better, which put me in a good mood. Well, that is until Intermission. There was a group of kids, led by a little porker, that would not leave us alone. When I went to leave to get ready for the sink gag, the fat kid grabbed me by the suspenders and pulled hard, almost ripping them off my overalls.
I spun around and grabbed his arm, digging my fingers into his flab. I dropped character and stared him in the eyes while saying in a cold voice, "Let go of my costume, now."
He started freaking out and said, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry!"
I hated to have to do that in front of so many people, but enough is enough. I can't stand parents who just let their kids run wild and harass us. Next time there is a group of kids like that, I am just going to remove myself from the situation and go backstage.

While I was in the Alley changing for the sink gag, I noticed some ominous storm clouds rolling towards us. 
For a few minutes I thought they were going to blow over us with no problem, but the heavens opened up and it poured like there was no tomorrow! There was lightning and rain blowing everywhere (including into the Alley); it was quite exciting.

I was getting ready to run to the backstage and get rid of the tarp for the sink gag when I saw one of the goofs running out into the rain wrapped in it.
Right before we made our entrance for the sink gag, the downpour stopped. Everything was calm after that.

After we were done with the gag, we were packing up our props when we noticed our tarp lying in the mud. The freaking goof that ran off wearing it didn't bother putting it back neatly, he just tossed it on the ground.
Needless to say, Ryan and I were in a bad mood for the rest of the show and all through tear down.

The past couple of days have been a real pain; I'm hoping we get some nice days, and SOON!

May 8-Decatur, IN May 9-Dunkirk, IN May 10-Day Off!

Those Lying Muppets

Wednesday, May 6: Kokomo, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

This morning when we arrived in Kokomo I was elated to see copious signs of civilization; shops and restaurants as far as the eye could see!

Then as the arrows took us further and further away my heart began to sink. 

The park we were in, Future Park, was nice and grassy and there were a ton of people in attendance for the tent raising. Unfortunately they were rowdy and noisy, and a few weren't too bright when it came to being around the wild animals. One man almost offered up his dog as a sacrifice to the tigers and one woman almost offered up her child!

Luckily we were only a mile or so from town, so I got cleaned up and donned my Sunday best only to be rained on for my entire journey. Thankfully I thought ahead and brought an umbrella.

I finally was able to take my camera to a Best Buy so the Geek Squad can fix it. It has been non operational since late March when it mysteriously stopped working. Fortunately I had it under warranty, so once it is repaired, there will be an increase in pictures (and hi res ones to boot) on the blog.

I walked further into town to check out a mall that we passed this morning. I was very excited to spend some time indoors, wandering around like a consumerist zombie; all my hopes were dashed when I arrived only to find that the mall contained about 5 stores.

Dejected, I turned around and walked back to the lot. Looking on the bright side, at least I saved money by not being able to shop.

Ryan had a productive day while I was gone. He sewed the underwear for our pants chase and wrote one of the gags for next year. My contribution to all this was staying out of his way.

My sewing skills aren't exactly up to par. I'll never forget my first year on Ringling when I was sitting in the Alley sewing snaps onto my skull cap. I spent almost all of my in between show break on this project. When it was time for Pre Show I went to put my skull cap on...only to find I had sewn it to my clown boxers!

People have never let me live that one down!

LIES! ALL LIES! There was no tropical weather to be found today. The rain didn't stop until we were almost finished with the first show. Despite the lousy weather, both shows were jam packed today. The only thing to spoil that was the mud.

Both audiences were energetic and responsive, but I favored the first crowd. 

Renato was back to work today, so the flying act was in again. The only other news to report was that Casey is continuing to successfully work his tiger act to the new music that Ryan helped him pick out.

I got frustrated in the second sink gag when the water didn't work. It is a cold, lonely feeling when a tent full of people goes from rowdy to silent.

We moved off the lot tonight to the Kokomo Events Center parking lot. Ryan and I walked over a mile to a 24 hour restaurant in anticipation that our house would take forever to show up, but we passed it on our walk. 

I thought it was funny that when the show moved to a parking lot next to the lot last Thursday, it took much longer than when the show moved over a mile away tonight.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What The Heck Is An Avent?

Tuesday, May 5: Frankfort, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
We had a very short jump this morning, only 17 miles. We were playing on the town fairgrounds (a current theme it seems).
Right across the street was a gas station, which I'm sure did killer business from everyone on the show, and a laundromat. It never fails, when it is Ryan's week to do the laundry, there is always a place right across the street from the lot!

Frankfort had a very nice downtown. I spent a couple of hours walking around it this afternoon. I made sure to continue my habit of supporting local businesses. 

We had two good sized crowds today. I can't say much more than that, because I suppose if you can't say anything nice, it's better not to say anything at all.
Let's just put it this way: I think Frankfort's town flag must have a picture of a bunch of people hanging two clowns that look suspiciously like me and Ryan.

We kept the gags moving along which was the best course of action. It kept the audience with us and definitely strengthened the reactions we got.
I think what really frustrated me today were the people at Intermission. Not very many nice or friendly people came to meet me; there were a lot of annoying "tweens" at the second show that made me want to pull my hair out (and not the yak kind).

There was one occurrence that made me laugh. I met a local clown and got a business card from him, which is what I do. On Ringling I was the official "hometown clown card collector" for Clown Alley when my buddy Kelly left. I continue that tradition here on Kelly Miller.
Here is what his card said:

Need A Clown
For Birthday's, Festival's,
Club Or Lodge Parties,
Church Avent's
School Avent's, And
Other Parties

Obviously he doesn't work too many Spelling Bees or Grammar Rodeos...

We joined Casey this evening for some relaxation and to blow off steam about tonight. Youtube and a cold beer are a wonderful combination. 

May 6-Kokomo, IN May 7-Warren, IN May 8-Decatur, IN

Monday, May 4, 2009

It's A Pleasure To Be Here In....Where Are We Again?

Monday, May 4: Lebanon, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
This morning's drive was unusual in that we were on the Interstate most of the way. I've gotten so used to taking two lane country roads that I almost didn't know how to function in heavy traffic.

We were playing the Lebanon Fairgrounds today; a nice grassy lot. My body rejoiced upon seeing that.

On my trek into town I walked over two miles to try and find an arcade that my phone alerted me to. Unfortunately it must have closed down long ago because there was no trace of it. I would have been surprised to find it anyway; it's not often you find an arcade in the middle of a little neighborhood. 

When I got back to the lot Ryan was working on our new bucket head prop. I helped him fine tune the shape of the foam with a razor blade.

We had two great crowds today; big and responsive. It was nice that we got a lot of laughs in our gags.
The people in the audience audience weren't the only ones laughing in the sink gags today. In the first show, I came out of the sink wearing the pipe through the head rig. When I took it off to expose the gimmick, it got caught on my wig and tore a clump of yak hair out. This cracked Ryan up and led to us creating more ridiculous scenarios backstage: from it pulling my wig off to it pulling my whole head off.
In the second show, we did the bit where I try and saw Ryan's arm off when his finger is stuck in a pipe.
When we're doing the gags, we talk to each other the whole time just to stay in the moment. The audience can't hear us (thank God), the lines are mainly for our own benefit and/or enjoyment.
After I attempt to saw his arm off Ryan always yells, "What are you trying to do with that saw!?"
My usual response is, "I figured I could cut your arm off which would then...." (Ryan snaps the saw up into my face)
This show, my mind was somewhere else for the moment and I answered with the first thing I thought of: "I was going to shove it up your..."
When I realized what I had just said, I broke up laughing just as the saw hit me in the face. Ryan couldn't figure out why I was laughing so hard.

During the second Intermission Ryan had to come hang out with me to provide him with an anchor of sanity because all the whack a doos in Lebanon had been approaching him.
We had one "winner" provoke both of us. It was a mother holding a little girl that was afraid of us. We were being nice and saying hello from a distance when the woman said, "It's ok, watch, Mommy will hit them."
She then punched Ryan in the arm. Ryan started to roll his sleeves up and advance on her, and I made a bit out of it by holding him back and calming him down. As I was doing that, she punched me in my arm. I slowly turned around and said, "Now you're playing with fire!"
The nerve of some people!

There were bathrooms on the fairgrounds, so I took advantage of those and used a sink to take off my make up after the shows. Yay running water!

Casey had Ryan and I over for pizza and beer tonight. It was a nice way to unwind after a difficult day full of hard work:

May 5-Frankfort, IN May 6-Kokomo, IN May 7-Warren, IN

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Viva Mexico!

Sunday, May 3: Mooresville, IN-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
The show was playing on a cement parking lot next to the Mooresville High School today. Yay cement! Thank God I have knee braces handy.
I started off the morning by walking to a gas station to help Jan support her smoking habit. While visiting with Casey this morning I found out that a visit from my friends on the Blue Unit of Ringling might be possible in the coming weeks. That got me very excited, so I put a bug in the ear of my "big brother", Sandor (the Blue Unit Boss Clown) so we can start planning.
Jeff Schott came back to visit again today. He brought some photo albums from his time on Ringling, and he also brought some of his gag books for us to look at. Jeff is an amazing artist and drew sketches and storyboards for the Ringling clowns for years whenever they were putting together new material to present to the Felds.
Tavana warned me when I got paid this morning that crowds weren't going to be very good today. I guess the sponsors dropped the ball on advance sales in this town.
The first show really wasn't that bad, but the second show was slim pickings. To be fair though, both crowds had a lot of spunk to make up for their lack of numbers.
Samantha Ellen Pitard and her parents came to see the second show. Samantha and her father came to see us in Marshall, IL a couple of weeks ago. This time her mom came along to see the show as well.
I gave them quite a performance in the sink gag. Ryan was chasing me with a pipe, so I ran straight for where they were sitting and screamed my usual line, "HE'S GOING TO KILL ME!"
As I was yelling this, I slipped on the slick ring mat and fell hard on my butt and hands, sliding into the ring curb and kicking it out of the way as I went. Boy did it sting, but it sure was funny!
Besides that, the only other funny thing that happened was when I took a family's camera and took some candid photos for them at Intermission. I photographed concessionaires, audience members, sno cones, and an elephant butt.
I had a nice little bonding moment with Senor Pato during one of the shows. I took my laptop outside and let him wander around me. He jumped up into my lap and nestled himself into the crook of my arm. It was so cute; to think I thought he didn't like his Uncle Steve.
After the shows Mr. North took the whole company out to a Ponderosa Steakhouse for an early Cinco De Mayo celebration.
The Pitards took me there early so we could visit, and then when the show arrived I joined them for part of my meal.
It was a good time, but I was dissapointed that this charming fellow wasn't "entertaining" tonight. He only works his "magic" on Tuesday nights:

Renato and I walked back to the lot after the dinner. Well, I walked...Renato hobbled along on his crutches. Hopefully his ankle will be better soon, the doctor thinks maybe 5 more days before he can return to work.

May 4-Lebanon, IN May 5-Frankfort, IN May 6-Kokomo, IN


Hey everyone,

I will update my blog tomorrow (which is actually today now). I had a late night and need to get up in 5 hours or so.
To tide you over, here are some more shots from Frisco, TX taken by Ryan's cousin, Steve Wilson.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy First of May

Happy First of May to everyone from a mud show First of May!

Return Of The Mud

Thursday, April 30: Liberty, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We were slowed down this morning on our drive by a plethora of school buses. Their constant stopping combined with the winding mountain roads made for slow going.

The show was playing on a nice, soft, grassy lot. A little too soft it would seem. The show trucks made short work of it and soon it was a muddy quagmire.

I stepped into my room right around 8:30 a.m., and as soon as I did it started raining.

It rained on and off all day; it finally stopped right before the shows started.

We had great crowds today, but for some reason I was in a bad mood.

The oddball kids I met at Intermission made me laugh and lightened my mood a bit. First a little boy came up to me and said, "I want to touch you." 

He then placed his hand smack dab on my crotch. I recoiled and yelled, "Bad touch! I need an adult!"

His mom came over and corrected placing his hands on my breasts...

When they left I looked at the audience around me and said, "Well, that was awkward."

Next I met a portly little fellow that was crying non stop the whole time I was interacting with him. He wasn't scared of me; he just didn't like all the loud noises at the circus. I sympathized by crying with him in the picture we took together. I also quipped, "That's the reaction most people have to my clowning."

It started to rain, thunder and lightning during the second show. The back door was already a muddy mess, and the ring was wet as well. The whole sink gag we were having water fly off our wigs and props from getting poured on outside.

The Alley got soaked too from the wind blowing the rain in. I was a moron and left my boots in the doorway. When I went to put them on for tear down I was greeted with a squishy surprise.

The show moved off the lot after tear down. Jan and I couldn't make our usual hasty exit because we were blocked in by other vehicles.

I'm pretty sure every vehicle on the lot had to be pulled off by tractor except for us. Due to my mad driving skills (and the light weight of the RV) we avoided getting bogged down.

Luckily we didn't have to move far, just to the parking lot next to the field.

I should have walked over to my house until they pulled it off the lot, but I was a moron and sat in the cab of Jan's RV until it showed up. It was the last vehicle pulled out of the mud (they had to use one of the show trucks with a winch. The tractor wouldn't cut it); I got home around 12:30 a.m.