Monday, August 31, 2009

This Is A Long One...

Friday, August 21: Scottville, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We only had a 21 mile jump this morning to Scottville, home of the Scottville Clown Band. I learned of this from the inscription and clown pictures on the "welcome to town" sign and the water tower.


As soon as everything got to the lot, it started to pour down rain. I did what any sane person would do in such a situation...I slept!


I walked into town later in the day and got some recommendations from Ryan who was returning from his trip.


The highlight of my walk was the little park commemorating the Scottville Clown Band.


Upon closer inspection, the clown band seemed to be nothing more than a flimsy excuse for old men to wear women's clothing in public.




I'm just saying...


I found a used bookstore where I picked up some more novels and a couple of textbooks to replace my Economics book, which is falling apart.


I went next door to the Duck Blind Cafe, which Ryan really liked. Unfortunately they were closing (early I might add), and they were very rude to me.

I fumed all the way back to the lot thinking of ways to undermine their business by writing slanderous phrases in every coloring book I signed, but then realized how stupid of an idea it was and let it go.


I was in a rush to get ready since I got back from town so late (scheming makes you lose track of time!).


We had average sized crowds today. Both shows I was doing goofy stuff as the tiger (rubbing my stomach and patting my head, doing the robot, etc) to make Ryan laugh during the pants chase.


We started blacking out some of our teeth during the shovel gags to add a little comic punch to the first few hits. 


During Intermission I was doing bits with my new Sociology book when a teenage girl walked by and flipped it from underneath. I just stared her down all the way back to her seat, which made her laugh.

After that I had a running gag. Every time I went by her during the show I would stop what was doing and give her the stink eye.


It was misting rain tonight and got downright chilly; isn't it still August???



Saturday, August 22: Grand Haven, MI-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

We had a 74 mile jump this morning; they sure are spreading out these Michigan towns!


The good news is that we were around civilization. Ryan joined me on an expedition into town where we got lunch and visited a bookstore, a music store, and a pet shop.

While in the pet shop we entertained the thought of buying a chinchilla so we could skin it and make a fur coat for Pato. 

We also considered buying a rat just so we could name it "Rat Bastard".


Grand Haven has a very cool downtown; unfortunately when we were miles from the lot it stared raining on us.

I had the foresight to bring along my umbrella, so we both tried to huddle under it for the long walk back.

The only incidence worth noting was when a strange man stopped us to ask if we knew anything about hydrogen power.


We got back to the lot just in time to get into make up. The first show was almost packed.

At Intermission a kid came up and told me to pull his finger. I told him no thanks, but he was insistent.

I finally pulled his extended digit which prompted him to blow a raspberry with his mouth and proudly exclaim, "I farted!"

I wittily replied, "Ah, you must be the governor of Michigan!"

(I will NEVER get tired of that joke or any of its variations!)


We had an average sized crowd for the second show. Ryan had shown me a clip from "The State" about the Inbred Brothers:



We channeled them for the second sink gag; it was tons of inbred fun (and not much of a stretch for me, coming from the wilds of South Carolina).


After the shows we had a brief BBQ and then Ryan, Radar, Casey, and I loaded up and went to see the movie "Inglorious Basterds". 

I felt the movie was a little too long and could have benefitted from some trimming in the middle, but otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed it.



Sunday, August 23: Grand Haven, MI-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

When I wen to lunch today I ended up running into Dan and Ryan and visited with them for awhile.

They had been out to a music store and Ryan bought a tuba...oh joy...


The day started out overcast but the sun eventually came out. We had a good sized crowd at the first show and an average sized one at the second show.

I had the "privilege" to talk to a pretentious photographer during the second Intermission who told me that he really didn't have to be at the circus, but he figured he'd come to cover the event. He runs a local rag...or something stupid like that.


Overall I felt very burned out today; luckily the BBQ cheered me up immensely. We pulled out the Cainans TV and watched old videos of Casey. We got to see him as a teenager doing his juggling act on the Bozo Show, and we watched the National Geographic documentary on Culpepper Merriweather that had Tavana and little Casey on it.


To top the evening off, the America's Own crew loaded up in the truck to get ice cream and go watch the Fountain Show that takes place on the river every night in Grand Haven.

It was ok (just water lit by colored lights that shot in the air timed to music), but they lost me when the fountain started talking and introduced itself.



Monday, August 24: Holland, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

It was only a 20 mile jump to Holland, MI, otherwise known as CIVILIZATION! 

We were right in the middle of a strip mall and there were shops and restaurants as far as the eye could see.


I spent all morning walking around town; I got breakfast, read almost a whole David Sedaris book at Barnes & Noble, and bought a new iPod at Best Buy to replace my old one that fell out the hole in my window and got run over by a truck.


I was going to relax when I got back to the lot, but Ryan had some kind of stomach bug; I went to Wal Mart to get him some medicine, crackers, and water.


While practicing in the tent today, Courtney fell from the Roman Rings and broke her ankle in three places.

She was rushed to the hospital and went into surgery; her leg is now in a cast and she will be out for the rest of the season.

It's so easy for me to get lulled into a false sense of security on the circus, but then an accident happens and reminds me how dangerous it can be.


We had small crowds at the shows today. A family of four came to the first show just to see me and Ryan again. They had caught the show in Grand Haven yesterday and needed another fix of two idiots hitting each other.


After Intermission I was going to listen to my new iPod in the Alley when I thought to myself, "There's already been one accident today. I should get dressed in case something happens during the trapeze act."

I was taught the superstition of "on the circus, bad things happen in threes."

...I hate it when I am right...

At the end of the flying act, when Eric fell into the net, he wound up bashing his knee into his nose and bloodied it up.

Luckily the act was over and he was ok, but it made me wonder about my budding psychic powers: first I was able to predict the motorcycle malfunctioning on two separate occasions, and now this!


There were a bunch of brats in the second Intermission. One grabbed my nose and tried to yank it off; I retuned the favor.

Then a bunch of little heathens started chucking peanuts at me. I calmly took the abuse for a few minutes, collected a handful of shells from the ground, slowly walked past where they were sitting, and then turned and threw the peanuts at the kids with a catlike grace and agility before beating a hasty retreat. 

Don't mess with this clown!


To cheer sick Ryan up, I talked to him during the sink gag like the lead singer of the B-52s.

That, coupled with the medicine I got him, left him feeling much better.



Tuesday, August 25: Holland, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Ryan and I went for breakfast this morning, and then I went to get a much needed haircut.


Right next to the lot was a little Dutch village, so we went to investigate the clog shops and what not.

The highlight for me was the little pond by all the shops that was full of ducks and geese. I even found a doppleganger (evil of course) of Pato.




There were vending machines around that sold duck food, so I had a grand old time having all the fowl come up and eat out of my hands. It also planted the seed for an idea....(more on that later)


We had average sized crowds for the shows today. To break up the monotony of the show, I did "Crazy Tiger" pants chases.

As soon as the chase started, I would spin counterclockwise backstage until it was my turn to enter the tent.

This added a new level of excitement (and danger) to the chase.


Once again our fan family came back just to see us. Too bad they saw a wonky sink gag...not one of our best.


A storm rolled in out of nowhere towards the end of the last show. It rained the entire tear down; we had our meal inside the Cainan's trailer since the tents were already packed away.


Ryan, Radar, Casey, and I went to grab shakes after dinner and got thoroughly drenched on the way there and back. To top it all off, some hay from the elephant department got washed over to the drain outside of the generator truck, which stopped it up and caused the rain water to flood ankle deep right outside of our house.


Ryan and I went on a mission tonight. Seeing how the ducks came right to me for food gave me an idea. I would "ducknap" a friend for Pato!

We snuck over under the cover of night armed with duck food and a duffel bag.

We found the area where all the birds were congregated, and I started throwing food into the water. Slowly I lured them up onto land and right up to us until we were surrounded by ducks and geese.

After one failed attempt by Ryan, I finally grabbed the duck of my choice, a green billed one that I planned on naming Efram.


We placed him in the duffel bag and nonchalantly walked back to the lot with our quacking sack.

Once we were at the house, I pulled our new pet out and put him in the kennel with Pato. Pato immediately started freaking out and I did my best to console him.

This whole time my conscience was eating away at me: "Why did I pull this poor duck away from all its friends and family?" "Now it will be moving everyday and won't be able to enjoy the freedom it had" "What if it is a female and has children?"

Finally it was more than I could bear and I told Ryan that I was going to return the duck to its home.

I carried the duck back, sans duffel bag, and released it with all the other fowl. I felt much better afterwards and slept the sleep of the just that night.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Here Comes A D--K Fish!

Wednesday, August 19: Empire, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
We were in the middle of nowhere today: 6 miles out of town. There was absolutely nothing to do or see around the lot.

My back was still bothering me this morning, but once I got up and started moving around it felt much better.

I caught a ride with Natalie into town where I stocked up on food for the day. The little coffee house I visited was well worth the time and money; I took Natalie there afterwards so she could see it too.

Despite being in the middle of nowhere, we did bang up business today. The first show was packed and the second show also had a sizable crowd. 
I think it is safe to say that they were starved for entertainment. 


Thursday, August 20: Manistee, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Today was dreary and overcast, but it didn't stop me from going out to get my friends coffee!
There was a laundromat half a mile away, so I schlepped my clothes over to get them cleaned.
It started to rain while I was inside, so I had a slightly moist walk back to the lot.

I got cleaned up and put my clothes away before meeting Ryan downtown.
He had already spent $80 on circus posters and programs from one antique store; he figured he better buy them up before I had a chance to.

I bought some books in town (big surprise), and also a poster for the Venice opening of the 110th Edition of Ringling that had a big picture of Lou Jacobs and Kunckle Head (excuse me, Knuckle Head) on it.

After lunch and a power nap, I was ready to face the audiences today. The fact that the sun finally came out helped matters. The other fact that both shows were packed didn't hurt either.

I cut the hell out of my chin while shaving, and it was still bleeding profusely while I was putting my make up on.
I had a big orange spot to the side of my white mouth, so per Ryan's suggestion I tried outlining it in black to make a "Felix Adler mole". This proved to be a huge disaster.
I took the offending spot off and expertly patched the make up, which solved my problem.

The bigger problem was that my make up was not up to my usual high standards today (uneven eyebrows, strange mouth shape, etc). Of course this was the day Valerie took pictures of us for her blog (http://themudshowdiaries.blogspot.com). D'oh!

A drunk man molested me during the second Intermission. He stumbled up, smelling of gin and broken dreams, and started mumbling incoherencies while jabbing me in the stomach.
I screamed my usual fare for such situations, i.e. "Bad touch! I need an adult! Stranger danger!" and so on...
This only prompted him to come back and give me another nostril full and another gut jabbing.

As we were setting the sink, he continued to yell drunken gibberish at me, including calling me "Bozohead".

Well played sir...

I guess I haven't made one of these jokes in awhile...

It was an honor to meet the mayor of this fine city!

After a brief BBQ Ryan, Casey, and I walked over a mile to a karaoke bar. The place was jam packed and I had to wait awhile to sing.
When I did, I brought the house down by belting out "Rock Lobster". Ryan and Casey definitely enjoyed my asinine spectacle.

August 29-DeMotte, IN August 30-Lowell, IN August 31-Watseka, IL



Sunday, August 23, 2009

9 More Weeks Until WQ!

I'm Trippin'!

Sunday, August 16: Houghton Lake, MI

This morning's 80+ mile jump seemed to go on forever! I even fell asleep for a split second while driving, not good!


The 5:30 a.m. call wiped me out, so I took a little nap before walking into town.

Our lot today was very uneven, with lots of thick grass. It was a chore just to walk across the lot.


We had small, unresponsive crowds for the two shows. The sink gag was very difficult in the first show due to the tricky ground, the heat in the tent, the lack of laugher from the audience, and the fact that I bashed the heck out of my elbow when I was underneath the sink. To top it all off, no water came out for the blow off. D'oh!


In between shows Ryan was standing outside the Alley while I was sitting inside when all of a sudden it started pouring down rain.

He jumped inside for cover and I threw all the props that were on the ground into the wagon.

After just a few minutes, it had passed; it came out of nowhere!


The only thing that got me through the shows today was the thought of going to a little amusement park down the street after tear down.

It caught my eye this morning because of the big cartoony Haunted House up in front. When I told the America's Own gang about it, everybody was game for a good time.


Naturally, as soon as we got to the park, it started pouring down rain. We passed the time by playing games in the arcade until it had died down.


First order of business, the haunted house! Casey, Georgia, Radar, Ryan, and I went to check it out. 

I was so proud of Georgia for being so brave and going through the house. Understandably, she did get a bit scared, but she made it out without losing her cool.

Ryan, Casey, and I went back later by ourselves so we could take time and check out all the rooms in detail.

It turns out we actually exited the house halfway through; it is a good thing we didn't take Georgia through the second half, because it was more intense.

Ryan was cracking Casey and I up because he went through the whole house covering his ears and whimpering in fear.

The best part was at the end when the door to freedom was right in front of us. Casey and I walked outside and as Ryan was strolling through the doorway, confidant in his safety, an air cannon went off and scared the living daylights out of him.

He almost broke his leg jumping out of the house!


The other highlight of the evening was playing on the bumper boats. I had a great time ramming into Radar and Casey, but I was a little let down that the water gun on my boat didn't work.

Our only bad decision was for them to turn the fountains on as we played. We got absolutely drenched from them and there was no sun to dry us off.


We topped off the evening eating dinner at a restaurant where we had horrible service, and those of us that had been on the bumper boats sat freezing in our soaking wet clothes.


For pictures from our fun night, go here:


http://circusdiaries.blogspot.com/2009/08/20-odd-years-later.html



Monday, August 17: Indian River, MI

We had another 80+ mile jump ahead of us this morning. It wasn't as bad since it was mostly Interstate. 


The two early mornings and big jumps in a row definitely took a toll on me though. I crashed for about 4 hours when I was able to get into bed.


Later on I started to walk into town, but halfway there Natalie picked me up and gave me a ride.


Just up the road a ways was a place where you could go kayaking and tubing. If I would have known, I would have gotten my lazy butt up much earlier. I haven't been tubing in ages.


Natalie took me to the post office so I could mail something off. At least I did SOMETHING productive today.


We had an average sized crowd at the first show and a good sized crowd at the second show.

It sprinkled rain almost all day, and I kept myself occupied during the shows by lifting weights over at Casey's.



Tuesday, August 18: Mancelona, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

This morning we were given a break from the long jumps and "only" had 50 miles to go.


My back was killing me as soon as I got up, and it bothered me all day. I think I pinched a nerve by incorrectly lifting weights yesterday.

The pain started right between my shoulders and shot up into my neck; I had very little mobility in that part of my body. 

I took a long hot shower and spent a lot of time stretching to help alleviate some of the pain.


While I was backstage setting some of the sink props, a couple of "humble" girls stopped me to ask where the elephants were.

I told them, but one informed me that she needed help because she was "tripping".

I headed in the direction of the midway and told them to follow me. The "tripping" girl asked me if I had told them to fall. She then reminded me that she was "tripping".

I finally got them to the midway and showed them the elephants before beating a hasty retreat.

They followed me into the tent and asked Casey, who had the tiger arena up to practice, if they could pet a tiger. When he was throwing them out of the tent, they asked if they could just hang out with him...you know, because they were "tripping".

SHAZOO!


We had good sized crowds for both shows. I thought I was going to die from the back pain I felt after the shovel gag.

I did a lot more stretching and took it easy for the rest of our gags. The only thing that really hurt was when I would have to go under the sink and duck my head while inside to put on the pipe through the head rig.


The "tripping" girls were back for the second show, and in greater numbers (just like the Sand People).

They came and plopped themselves down in the grass backstage during the tiger act; Ryan kicked them out of the back door and ruined their "trip".


By the end of the night my back was feeling better, but it was still sore. 

Luckily I had the BBQ to make me feel better. We watched some of the TV show "The State" while we were eating; hilarious!



August 24 and August 25-Holland, MI August 26-Hastings, MI August 27-Paw Paw, MI August 28-Benton Harbor, MI

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mo' Michigan!

Wednesday, August 12: Frankenmuth, MI 

Casey and I found a great coffee house this morning in downtown Frankenmuth. Later we went jogging through town; the downtown, with faux Bavarian designs and touristy stuff out the wazzoo, is very neat.


There was a laundromat across the street from the lot, so Ryan, Radar, Natalie, and I all walked over to take advantage of it.


Armed with clean clothes, Ryan and I explored the shops next to the lot and got some delicious crepes.

We wandered further downtown and checked out a cheese shop, and then we had lunch at the Bavarian Inn. Yay food!


Frankenmuth is famous for Bronner's, the world's largest Christmas store, so naturally I had to check it out.

It was indeed huge, and had many displays that made me and Ryan laugh when seeing them through our twisted sense of humor.

While there, I bought several ornaments of the "Bumble" character from the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer stop motion animation TV special. 

Starting last December, my theme for Christmas has become "A Very Bumble Christmas With Steve Copeland", so I try to pick up new ornaments and statues whenever I can.


We had good sized crowds for the shows. Today, Casey picked up a set of weights, so we occupied ourselves with those during breaks in the performance.


My friend, Tanya, and her friend, Bill, came to see the second show. They came to the BBQ tonight, and got to witness our hilarious torture of Radar.

As Radar was sitting down to eat, Ryan pushed his chair out from under him, causing Radar to fall and spill his food on himself.

Ah, sweet, hilarious cruelty


Casey also tried to kill me with some 100 proof Southern Comfort, but it didn't have any....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz



Thursday, August 13: Breckenridge, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

The big show trucks had to be moved around a bit to avoid getting bogged down in the sandy parts of the lot today.


Casey and I went for our morning jog into the town and the local cemetery. We figured the cemetery would be convenient if Casey suddenly keeled over from the effort of exercising. 


I spotted a massage therapy place not too far from the lot, so this afternoon I got a very relaxing, hour long massage.

I would have liked there to be more deep tissue work, but beggars can't be choosers! 

It was so relaxing that I fell asleep on the table several times; I would have paid her to let me take a nap in the massage room. It was so comfortable!


We had small, dead crowds at the shows. Rod Pringle, a blog reader and former circus calliope player, came to the first show and brought all kinds of goodies for me, Ryan, Pato, Casey, and Armando.

His visit was definitely the highlight of the shows.


In fact, I was dragging so much during the second show that I had to use my silly Swedish voice during the gags to keep me and Ryan going. 



Friday, August 14: Skid Way Lake, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. 

We had an 86 mile jump to the middle of nowhere today. We were miles from "town" and had nothing around the lot to keep us occupied.


I got a ride into town with Dan so I could get some breakfast and pick up some cat food and cigarettes for Jan (because I'm such an awesome guy!). 

I walked the several miles back to the lot and got plenty of sun along the way.


We had small crowds for both shows, which wasn't too surprising considering the size of the "town". At least the second audience thought that Ryan and I were funny.


I had no cell phone signal or Internet service today; d'oh! Just how did those guys do it back in the early 1900's!? :o)



Saturday, August 15: Oscoda, MI-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

As we were driving into Oscoda this morning, I noticed all kinds of cool places that I wanted to check out before our shows.

My hopes vanished as we drove further and further away from downtown. Once again we were out in the middle of nowhere, this time next to an airport.


Casey and I went 3 miles on our morning jog. When he went to turn around, I kept going so I could explore Oscoda. It was only an extra two miles or so to reach the end of the town proper.

I got to get some breakfast, walk on the beach, and check out two cool book stores.

I even dropped around $20 at the second one; I could have spent the whole day there. There were books everywhere!


I definitely got my exercise walking the 5 miles back to the lot while toting two bags of heavy books.

Luckily Leslie, the mechanic, and his family picked me up close to the lot and drove me the rest of the way.


We had two packed shows, which was great. I tried out a new bit at Intermission with a prop that I picked up at the book store. 

It was an Economics book that I got for free. I walked around reading it, getting in people's way and running into various objects. 

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think the visual of a clown reading an Economics textbook is funny.

I am going to "pimp it out" with a fold out pin up girl and a hidden comic book inside, along with any other funny ideas I think of.


A teenage girl wanted my number during the second show, so she sent her two younger friends over to get it from me.

I wrote the number 7 on it and sent it back. They came back over and said, "She wants a 9 digit number."

Naturally I wrote the number 9 on the paper and sent it back. Finally she wanted to see me in person, and when she asked what I looked like out of make up, I gave her the God's honest truth, "I'm hot!"

I forgot to mention that I'm also humble....


August 19-Empire, MI August 20-Manister, MI August 21-Scottville, MI


Photo and Article From Warren, PA From Bob Lessard

Us (apparently going Puerto Rican with our black noses????) with Bob's neighbors Ashley and Zeph in Spencer, MA

&

An article from Warren, PA about the show:
http://www.timesobserver.com/page/content.detail/id/519479.html

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Golden Tenor

Monday, August 10: Romeo, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Our jump this morning was 80 miles, but due to me blowing the arrows, it turned into a 120 mile jump. I was going out of my mind by the time we got to the lot.


We were playing on a nasty, muddy lot. There was standing water everywhere.

The soggy ground didn't deter Casey and me from jogging and walking; we covered 2.6 miles this morning.


When I got back to the lot I helped Ryan with blocking one of the gags for next year.

After we were done we went into town to check out the cool shops and grab some lunch.


Performing today was a miserable task with all the mud and humidity to boot. The good news is a) we had good crowds, b) the Cainan's friend, Rick, was back to visit with more goodies, and c) the Cainan's dog, Suey, was found in Ypsilanti. It turns out she was picked up shortly after she ran away. Whoo hoo!


In the sink gag I made Mr. North laugh out loud with an improvised bit, so it looks like I'll be keeping it in!


At the end of the shows I felt so disgusting from being drenched in sweat and covered in mud and dirt. I took a great bucket bath outside my room and felt so much better afterwards. 



Tuesday, August 11: Flushing, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

As soon as he was set up at the lot this morning, Casey jumped in his truck to drive to Ypsilanti and pick up Suey. Oh, happy day!


I walked into town with Ryan to explore; some of these little Michigan towns have cool shops in them.


We had two packed shows today; it was also refreshing that the weather was a lot cooler than it has been the past couple of days.


We did have one guy irk us during Intermission though. He walked up to me and said, "You know, anyone can do what you guys do!"

I replied, "Thank you for demeaning my profession, sir."

He back pedaled and said, "No, I mean like, I could do what you guys do. I'd make a great clown!"

I just (sarcastically) replied, "You are absolutely right sir. Clowning takes no talent, drive, ambition, or ability at all. You would be a great clown!"


Ever feel like you were fighting a losing battle????


During my exploring this morning I had found a bowling alley that was having karaoke tonight.

Casey, Ryan, and I went over to have a few beers and grace the towners with our golden voices...well, Casey and I did.

I sang two songs, "Dentist" from Little Shop of Horrors, and "Dream A Little Dream of Me" by the Mamas and the Papas. 

I rocked "Dentist", if I do say so myself, but I crashed and burned with "Dream A Little Dream". I am used to the Michael Buble version, which is a completely different pitch from the version the DJ had.

Oh well, at least I made Casey laugh (and confounded the locals with my strange choice of songs that they had never heard before)!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Shazoo!

Friday, August 7: Ypsilanti, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

We were playing on a beautiful riverside park today. Casey and I started our jogging routine by running the path around the park. It was slow going because Casey's body wasn't used to that kind of exercise; it was a good start though.


Later I walked around town, which was very trendy, with lots of cool shops and restaurants. The only disappointment was that the book store I walked a mile and a half to see only carried college text books. D'oh!


Casey and Natalie's friend, Rick, came to visit today and brought us lots of goodies: doughnuts, a big box of old Circus Reports, and a life size Homer cut out. 

Homer is now the newest member of America's Own Bar & Grill.


John Moss also had goodies for me and Ryan. He got me a postcard that features the "Ypsi Dick", a giant, phallic water tower next to Eastern Michigan University. Legend states that the tower will fall when a virgin graduates from the school.

(Note to self: lots of loose co-eds in Ypsilanti)


We had good sized crowds for the show. Ryan and I, who have the sense of humor of 5 year olds (if that), kept ourselves entertained by saying the word, "Shazzoo!", to each other at every possible moment during the second sink gag. 

I got a little carried away with my war cry of "Shazzoo!" as I charged at the sink with a plunger; I nearly fell all the way into it, which started Ryan on a new laughing fit.


We had to move off the lot after the shows because of the threat of rain. The next town (a two day stand), was only 10 miles away, but they wouldn't let us on that lot until after midnight. Curses, foiled again!

We ended up going to a parking lot downtown for the night.



Saturday, August 8: Saline, MI-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

The 10 mile jump this morning was a piece of cake. One piece of bad news, Suey, the Cainan's dog, ran away this morning.


I actually saw her this morning while I was with Jan at the cookhouse. She usually runs around the lot in the morning; if I had known this was a different scenario, I would have corralled her. 


It rained all morning long; to combat the elements, I slept in my room!


Despite all the water in the air and on the ground, we didn't have water hooked up to the shower until right before the show. I jumped in as fast as I could before I had to get into make up.


We had small crowds today. The rain stopped during the first show, and then it was incredibly humid during the second show.

The mugginess and lack of audience totally drained me and I had no energy for the last show.


The one exciting thing that happened today was that I got to ride an elephant during Intermission; I haven't done that since I saw Roberts Bros. Circus as a little kid!



Sunday, August 9: Saline, MI-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

This morning Ryan and I had a meeting with Mr. North and finalized the deal for us to come back next year. Huzzah!


Casey and Natalie's friends, Carol and Johnny came to visit today and brought a plethora of goodies: home made cabbage rolls and mashed potatoes to eat (yum), and shirts for all of us. The America's Own crew received membership shirts, and I got a shirt with my new catcphrase: "Are you hankerin' for a prankerin'?"



We had average sized crowds for the shows; it was very hot and humid, especially in the tent, so the audiences didn't really enjoy themselves. 

I wasn't enjoying one particular part of the show...the tiger costume. Yeesh! Reminded me of my mascoting days in the South Carolina humidity.


Ryan and I were accosted by a group of annoying kids during the second Intermission. We were nice to them until they wouldn't go away; then we tried ignoring them.

The alpha male (probably because of his size) of the group pulled off Ryan's nose in protest. Ryan kept his cool and just asked for his nose back.

I started fanning myself and said to the kid, "Boy it's hot today. I'm sweating like you on Easter."

That'll learn him!


I felt like I was going to pass out during the sink gag today. When the water came out of the sink, I took a few seconds to completely drench my face with the cold water.


We had a big BBQ tonight with Danny, Tavana, and Arwen joining the America's Own Crew.

A scary looking storm came our way near the tail end of the cookout, but luckily it blew right over us.


August 16-Houghton Lake, MI August 17-Indian River, MI August 18-Marcelona, MI

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pool Party!

Wednesday, August 5: Woodville, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

It was nice getting to sleep in this morning since we had jumped last night. 

Natalie was going to the laundromat this morning, but I decided to sleep instead; hopefully my clean underwear will hold out!


I walked into town to get some lunch, and when I got back I had a nice talk with Casey; really deep stuff.


Later on when Natalie got back from laundry, Ryan, Casey, Georgia, and I went to the community pool across the street from the lot.

I kept inadvertently breaking rules and having the lifeguard blow her whistle on me, so I stopped swimming and went off to read and pout while getting some sun.


Joey Thurmond, a clown friend I made on Facebook, his wife, Jamie, and his son, Tyler, came to the first show today.

They were only miles away performing at a fair in Bowling Green, OH with their traveling clown circus.


It was nice to meet them, although I wish they could have seen the show with a good crowd. At least the second show was better all around.


Ryan made a deal with the pool across the street and convinced them to stay open from 10:00 p.m. until midnight so the show could have a pool party.

He footed the bill, which was awfully sporting of him, so I felt kind of bad that more people didn't show up. 

It was late and the water was a little cold, but those of us that went had a good time.



Thursday, August 6: Sylvania, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

The Cainan's friends, Phil and Amy, were visiting all day today with their baby girl.

Ryan and I had another meeting with Mr. North about next year, but there was still no resolution.


Radar went to the Toledo Zoo today. Casey told him that if he was late to work (like he was the last time he visited a zoo), he would be fired. 

I tried to think of any way I could to sabotage his trip (because I'm such a nice guy), but Radar made it back with plenty of time to spare.


Casey and I went to buy running shoes; we are going to start jogging every day and get an exercise regimen going.


There was a weird water situation on the lot today. All the hoses were hooked up, but the water could only be turned on every once in awhile for about thirty minutes at a time.

Because of that my shower was a single trickle of water that would stop every few minutes.

The people waiting to get into the tent on the midway got quite a show everytime I would come out wrapped in a towel with shampoo in my hair or soap drying on my body to see if I could resolve the problem myself.


Both shows were packed, which was great. In the second show I was getting dressed for finale during the motorcycle act and thought to myself, "If the motorcycle stalls, I am going to be late".

I finished getting dressed and walked over to talk to Casey and Ryan. All of a sudden I heard the finale music start; the motorcycle stalled!

Ryan and I rushed to make it just in time, but a few performers missed the number.

Now, why can't I use my powers of premonition to win the lottery!?


After the shows we had a big BBQ with Phil and Amy, their friend Navy, and Radar's Toledo Zoo friends.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Kelley's Island

Monday, August 3: Kelley's Island, OH-4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
This morning Casey took Ryan and I down by the casino so we could rent a golf cart of our own. They are usually $13 an hour, but the owner of the casino and rental place is cutting the circus a great deal.

Ryan and I drove around the circumference of the island, just soaking up the sun and fresh air. We stopped in at the little shopping plaza in the middle of town to buy Kelley's Island bumper stickers for our trunks, and then we went to the TAT shop which is run by a local clown. 
After some lunch we went back to the lot and grabbed Pato to take him for a ride. He liked it when we were going fast, but whenever we would start to slow down or turn, he would get nervous.

This week we have started tipping the prop crew to unload the sink for us every day and to take it back to the Alley for the tear down show. Having them do it is a big help.

The first show today was sold out; they had to add in some extra bleachers to accomodate everybody. 
The people were very nice and complimentary to us during Intermission. I had been told that the people here truly love Kelly Miller and are always very receptive.

In between shows Ryan and I jumped on the golf cart and drove around town in full make up and costume to promote the show...and for fun of course!
It was fun, but we were drained going into the second show without a break.

The next show was packed as well. I'd like to think it was from our PR abilities, but all the shows for this engagement were basically sold out right off the bat.

The America's Own crew loaded up into our carts for another great dinner at The Village Pump after the show.
Once we had dropped the Cainan ladies off at the trailer, we hit the bar and then tried our hands at stunt driving around the island. 
No one was maimed or killed, but we did get Radar to jump off the back of the cart and roll in the grass about four times!

Speaking of dear Radar, our plan was to get him trashed tonight so he would pass out. We were then going to shave chunks out of his beard and dress him in one of Natalie's eskimo dresses so we could take pictures. (No one throws a bean bag in my face and gets away with it!)

Sadly, we did get him very drunk, but not enough that he would pass out. Also, when Casey woke him up during our first attempt at chicanery, he was wise to our antics and was on full alert for the rest of the night.
As he warned us in his drunk talk, "I've got eyes like an elephant and ears like a hawk. Schpoople alligator. You can't touch this!"

Truer words have never been spoken...nor should they ever be.


Tuesday, August 4: Kelley's Island, OH-4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
I slept in late this morning. Our night of golf cart acrobatics and Radar torture must have really worn me out!

Ryan and I went to get some coffee and then we met the Cainans at the beach. 
Ryan and Casey went kayaking, but I decided to swim a bit and then sit back and watch the bathing beauties. Sadly the only thing remotely close was what Natalie and I are pretty sure was a man in a bikini.

I took Natalie, Georgia, and Genevieve shopping for island souvenirs, and then Ryan, Casey, Georgia, and I had lunch. I even got to practice my rusty Russian on a waitress. (now that I re read that, it just sounds dirty) 

Ryan and I did some souvenir shopping and then I had to return the golf cart, get back to the lot on foot, and shower and shave all in 30 minutes!

As I was pulling off the lot to drop off the cart, a group of teenage girls rode by on their bikes. One of them gasped and then yelled out, "Steve!"
I thought it was very perceptive of her to recognize me out of make up. Ryan and I weren't afforded the "rock star status" that most of the performers have received the past two days, so I was happy to get some adulation. 

We had more good crowds today. It was strange, Ryan and I didn't get loud laughs or reactions for our gags, but people were fawning over us during Intermission. As long as they enjoyed themselves I guess...

Ryan and I got our last hurrah tonight during tear down. As we were folding up the curtain, a car full of teenage girls drove by and yelled, "Steve and Ryan are hot!!!!!!!!!"
How true ladies, how true.

The show had to move off the island tonight, so right after tear down Jan and I were able to get on the first ferry to show up once we arrived at the dock.

Once on the mainland again, we had a 38 mile jump ahead of us to the next town. I hung out with Casey and Natalie while I waited on the generator truck to arrive.

It finally pulled in after 1:00 a.m., so I crawled into bed, just a little despondent that Kelley's Island is over...until next year!
Whoooo!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

One Mo Time!

Hey everybody,

Am happy to report that this morning Ryan and I made an agreement with Mr. North to return as the clowns for the 2010 season of the Kelly Miller Circus.

We are very excited about the two big gags we are going to be doing next year. We even plan to try and blow the sink gag out of the water (no pun intended).

In addition, we are going to be doing something that hasn't been seen on a tent show (to the best of my knowledge) for at least 14 years.

Big things are cooking up! I can't wait!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Let The Fun Begin!

Saturday, August 1: Richfield, OH-2:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
We only had a 15 mile jump to this morning's lot. Tons and tons of people showed up to see the tent raising; we could tell it was going to be a good business day.

On my walk into town this morning I was treated to some good ol' fashioned Ohio hospitality when a jack ass drove by and yelled, "You suck!", to me.
He is truly a man among men...

Both shows today were jam packed; in fact, the shows were oversold. A third show had to be added at 7:30 p.m. to accommodate the 300 or so people that couldn't be fit into the second show.

There were a lot of visitors today: Jimmy and Teppa Hall were around all day, Rich Deptula caught the first and third shows, and Ariel Webb and her boyfriend, Pete, came to the the third show. 
Jimmy and Tepa perform a trained bear act (Tepa is also Tavana's sister), Rich is a circus fan from the Cleveland area that I have known for a few years, and Ariel was on the show last year running the music.

Points of interest from today: Ryan did a 108 (front flip landed on the back) onto a whoopee cushion for our amusement. Sadly there was no fart noise, just a pop as it exploded from the pressure.
The other big development was that we got a new pair of pants for the tiger chase; they look much better than the last pair and fit the costume scheme much better.
We had a huge BBQ tonight after the shows to celebrate our visitors and the completion of a good, long day.


Sunday, August 2: LaGrange, OH-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
We were playing a small town today. I knew we were in trouble when no one showed up for the tent raising this morning.
For the past week we have had tons of people on hand in the mornings; this was the first bust we have had in a very successful week. I suppose the main reason is because this town was just booked not too long ago.

Both shows had very small crowds, as we expected. There was no energy and no reactions; it was quite a let down after being spoiled on great audiences for so many days.

Rich Deptula was back visiting again today, as was Doug Kruest, who we haven't seen since Columbus, OH (he took the above tiger chase picture).

Ryan and I wasted no time belaboring the point of the first sink gag, and we had a super crazy (adding the word super in front of an adjective instantly makes it more powerful, and thus better) sink gag for the second show just to get us through it.

Immediately after tear down the show moved to the next town, Kelley's Island. To reach our destination, all the show trucks had to be ferried across Lake Eerie. 
Jan and I got on the second ferry that showed up after our arrival at the dock.

I got to be on the same boat as Ryan, so we got to enjoy the fresh air and extreme rocking of the waves together.

As soon as we got to the lot, Ryan and I hopped on a golf cart with the Cainan clan and headed to the local hang out, The Village Pump.
There we were treated to excellent food and some awesome Guinness! The waiter even bought Radar and I a shot each.

After dinner we dropped the Cainan ladies off at their trailer and we went off to raise some hell on Casey's golf cart.
First we stopped at the Caddy Shack for some more beer; a lot of people from the show were there unwinding and having a good time.

We then tooled around the roads that lead around the island. Our favorite activity was getting Radar (who was rather inebriated) to get off the golf cart for various reasons and then speed away. 
The hilarious part was how many times he kept falling for our clever ruse!

We eventually returned to our previous haunts and even played a game of Cornhole at the Caddy Shack.
Radar made a grave mistake and threw a bean bag in my face from a close distance. My immortal words, "Radar, you are hankerin' for a prankerin'" hopefully struck him deeply with fear.

We finally got back from our evening of chicanery at 1:30 a.m. I could already tell why this is the highlight of the tour for everyone!
 

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My Name Is Steve & Ryan, & I Like To Do Drawrings!

Thursday, July 30: Massillon, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
We had an 80 mile jump ahead of us this morning; I could barely keep my eyes open during it because I was so sleepy.

Natalie took us to do laundry today, and then when we got back to the lot I helped Ryan ink in drawings for the new gag we are going to present to Mr. North.

I walked into town and found a used book store where I picked up a few more novels to add to my collection.
On the way back to the lot I found a restaurant called Kosmo's that had a caricature of Seinfeld's Kramer on the logo.
I decided to check it out for lunch; the place got its start when the owners bought the Kramer oil painting at a thrift store and decided to theme the restaurant around it.

When I left the restaurant it was raining, so I stopped to buy an umbrella (I left mine in the Indiana town where the Blue Show visited). 
I'm glad I got a new one, because it poured for my whole mile walk back to the lot. By the time I got to my room, I was about as soaked as I was when Ryan and I played on the jetty last week.

The first show today was packed. Herky the Clown (aka Dale Smith), a 1987 Clown College Graduate and former Kelly Miller clown, and his son, Curly the Clown, were guest clowning with the show today.
Herky is like a local celebrity in this town; it was pretty cool. I wish I had gotten more time to hang out with him, but I didn't. He was very gracious though, and gave me an awesome souvenir, an envelope bearing a Lou Jacobs postage stamp that was signed and dated 1989 by Lou! I couldn't express how appreciative I was of such an awesome gift!

Jeffery Potts, another local clown, and Ron Powell, a former clown and 24 Hour Man, were also visiting at the first show.
Jeff stuck around for the second show (which was also packed), to hang out.

After the shows Jeff took me out to eat in his sweet VW Bug, and he gave Ryan and I the present of two foam pie shells that he made. Sweet!


Friday, July 31: Sagamore Hills, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
After raining all night, it poured on us for this morning's drive. Once we got to the lot though, the sun came out.

Ryan and I finished the drawings for our new gag that we are presenting to Mr. North, and then we went to the office and Tavana let us use the scanner to get them on the computer. From there, Ryan made a cartoon that shows the gag, complete with music and sound effects. It is pretty freaking sweet!

I needed a nap, so I took one, and in the process I sweated off about 10 lbs. from the heat trapped up in my top bunk.

Both shows today were packed; Jerry Jacobson came again today to visit before the first show, and he took off when it was over.

I had no phone signal today, which was a real bummer; I never noticed how annoying that is until I had someone that I want to regularly talk to.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Here We Go Again

Tuesday, July 28: Chesterland, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
There were a ton of people around this morning to see the tent go up.
It was a nice sunny day and we were on a paved lot by a school. I spent the day making phone calls on my walk into town.

We had another weird tent layout today, similar to the one in Mechanicsville, where the entrance and back door were across from each other, and the flying act was working longways.

Both shows today were packed, and Lucky Eddie fixed our problem with the sound effect machine (or as he affectionately calls it, the fart machine) by buying new cables for it.

Huzzah!


Wednesday, July 29: Willowick, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
We had a short 20 mile jump today to a nice park with a pool that had a giant water slide by it. Sadly it was overcast all day; not really pool weather.

I walked to get us breakfast, and a little later on Natalie took Georgia, Radar, Ryan, and I on an outing to a magic shop (where I dropped over $50 on make up) and Best Buy (where Ryan picked up a DVD set of The State). We also got to experience a friendly Ohio driver!

Jerry Jacobson, who worked as a clown on several mud shows and was mentored by Rex Young, was around the lot trying to find me today, but I kept missing him.
I finally caught up with him during Intermission of the first show; we hung out afterwards and he gave me a great Coco the Clown shirt.

Both shows were packed, and the second show had turn away business.
When we ran out to do warm up of the first show, one of the tiger cage doors wasn't closed all the way and Shonti, the tiger cub, ran out and into the arena. The whole time we were doing the number, she was pouncing on the cage trying to get us.
I commented to Ryan, "This isn't distracting at all..."

Tonight everyone had to move off the lot because....
well, I'm not exactly sure why. It didn't rain like they were anticipating.
Jan was already on concrete, so I didn't have to do anything except sit and enjoy the nightly BBQ, which was the last thing on the lot tonight.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Excuses

I know, I know...
I am Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay behind on my blog.
I have just been preoccupied lately (all with good things!) and the last thing I want to do is write. But I have to think of my "adoring" fans, so I promise I will catch up soon!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

New Wig

Monday, July 27: Rock Creek, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
We were on a muddy lot today; we haven't had one of those in awhile, and let me tell you, I haven't missed them!

This morning while hanging out at the Cainans trailer I fleshed out my new skull cap, cut ear holes in it, and attached snaps.
Then I spent some time organizing all of my receipts for this year. I have just been shoving them wherever I can in the room, but Ryan gave me an envelope to keep them all in.

After getting that all in order, I had Ryan cut my new wig for me. It looks great; it is a lot fuller than my last one, which was starting to thin out.

www.proclownwigs.com (Plug Plug)

Next I went to the post office to send some money orders home; all in all today was very productive!

We had a good sized crowd for the first show and a packed house for the second show; we got good responses for the gags as well.
The only downer was the amount of mud, both in the back door and in the tent. It was so muddy that I wore my clown shoes for the tiger chase; I didn't want to get the tiger feet all nasty.

We didn't have sound effects for the gags today because the cables that connect to our sampler are on the fritz. Lucky gave us acoustic sound effects (drum rolls, cymbal crashes, wood block, slide whistle, etc) to give our hits the needed punch.
It was strange doing the gags without our usual sound effects, but it was nice to see that we still got laughs even without them. I would hate to think that we are dependent on them, but with some of the bits a good noise can make the difference between a laugh or silence. 

I thought we would move off the lot tonight, but we didn't, which was fine with me!