Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Ol' Switch A Roo!

Wednesday, October 21: Republic, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

This morning Casey, Ryan, and I had breakfast with Lucky, Vicky, and Mr. North. There was nothing at all near the lot (or so we thought), so we ended up driving a long way before finding a place to eat. Mr. North was nice enough to pick up the bill at the conclusion of our meal.


Casey, Ryan, and I got incredibly lost on the way back to the lot, but once we got back on track, we realized that there was actually a ton of stuff right by the lot in the opposite direction of where we went. Figures.

At least we found a laundromat not too far away that Natalie took us to.


It was overcast today, but there was no rain...a miracle! Another plus was that we were playing on a nice grassy lot.


Sadly, we had very small crowds at the two shows, maybe 30 or so folks at each performance.

Because of that downer, we decided to switch things up a bit and have fun in the second show.

In the sink gag Ryan and I swapped wigs and played each others parts; I was the straight man, and Ryan was the idiot (just like in real life!).


I was nervous doing a different part after becoming so used to my actions and reactions after hundreds of shows, so I was very uptight during the gag.

When I kicked the pipe wrench out from under Ryan, I almost sent it flying into the audience. If the motorcycle's rigging hadn't been there, I would have taken out a couple of senior citizens in the front row.

At the end of the gag, when I knocked the foam faucet off the sink, I sent it flying all the way back to the band (and broke the foam in half), and then I about split Ryan's skull open with a PVC "pipe".


I would like to say that I enjoyed our little exercise in role reversal, but I was so concerned about my performance and our timing that I was very disappointed in myself after the gag.


At least Mr. North, Lucky, Vicky, Radar, and anyone else who saw the gag thought it was funny. The audience didn't laugh, but judging from their reactions to the rest of the show, I think that was a given.


At the BBQ we were going to watch the gag (which Casey videotaped), but I broke his camera's USB connection and the video is now trapped in limbo.


Whoopsee! 

Monday, October 26, 2009

WE ARE DONE!



I think this sums up how happy I am to be done.

I wish I could say we finished with a bang, but it was definitely a whimper. We played to a small crowd that was probably one of the worst as far as reactions are concerned. What a shame.

The important thing is, we are done! I will get the last half week of entries up on here as soon as I can. Right now I am completely overwhelmed with the thought of packing up all my belongings tomorrow and renting a car for a estimated departure date of Tuesday. Then it will be a 26 hour road trip to get Radar, Ryan, and myself where we need to go on the east coast.

So please forgive me if I'm not punctual with updates...

Something to look forward to: I made a video in finale of the last show just for you faithful blog readers so you can experience the end of the season from inside the ring.

Good night!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Kitty Chow

Tuesday, October 20: Willard, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Today Casey, Natalie, Ryan, Geneivive and I loaded up to go to the mall while Georgia was on a field trip with the other circus kids.


I almost bought this pimpin' hat, but good sense prevailed and I put it back on the rack.


Once again it was a beautiful day; there is no way this is going to last the rest of the season!


We had average crowds today. Some friends of Crystal's: Jenny, Claire, and Andy, came to see the second show, where they witnessed me almost getting mauled.

During our opening when the tigers are released, I saw one of the cats charging at me out of the corner of my eye. 

I did my usual bit where I get scared and jump towards the audience. When I turn around I see someone in the audience and get more scared and jump back to the cage.

Tonight when I did that I turned around just in time to see one of the tigers with her arm almost all the way out of the arena trying to grab me. I think I need to pay more attention for the last few days of the tour.


At least that incident was exciting; the rest of the show...not so much. I'm sorry that Crystal's friends had to see the performance with such a lousy audience.


October 24 and 25: Fort Smith, AR

Thursday, October 22, 2009

They Say It's Your Birthday

Monday, October 19: Marshfield, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Today was my 26th birthday. Whoo hoo! I couldn't have asked for a better day; it was beautiful weather, sunny and warm, and we were playing on a nice, grassy lot.

Casey took me and Ryan shopping in Springfield. We went to Barnes & Noble where I bought the book, Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, with the money that Radar gave me. Ryan got me the movie, Drag Me To Hell, which I enjoyed immensely in theaters, and Casey bought me a book of short stories called "The Greatest Circus Stories Ever".

Next we went to the mall across the street where Casey bought Natalie some clothing as a gift since she didn't get to come to the mall with us.
He also treated me to a sushi lunch before we went back to the lot.

The Fusco family is with us until the end of the tour, so Ryan is happy to see his girlfriend, Tatiana, again.

We had average sized audiences tonight. The first crowd was pretty responsive, but the second crowd left much to be desired.

Between shows Valerie (themudshowdiaries.blogspot.com) interviewed me for her circus audio project. It was fun recounting my path to where I am now.

At the BBQ tonight I got a little buzzed thanks to a shot of Jack Daniels and a beer (hey, it was my birthday!), and after we were done eating I stumbled into town to find a circus poster with my birth date on it. Sadly all the posters were on the insides of the closed shops' windows; guess I will have to wait until next year.

October 22-Wheaton, MO October 23-25-Fort Smith, AR

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nuts To You!

Sunday, October 18: Bolivar, MO-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
The route slip this morning warned us of another muddy lot, but it wasn't bad at all. The only mud was on the edge of the lot; the rest of the ground was covered with thick clumps of grass that were all frosted over.
Luckily the day turned out to be beautiful and sunny, so the frost was long gone by mid morning.

Ryan was walking around outside while on the phone when he almost stepped on a snake. It was a little over a foot long and no wider than a marker, but it was alive! A truck must have run it over though, because it was injured. Ryan had Radar come over and shoo the snake away. 
And here I was thinking that we were safe from snakes due to the cold weather!

I had a miserable shower before the shows; there was no water pressure, so I was bathing under a drip of scalding hot water. Oh well, at least it wasn't cold!

We had small crowds at the shows today (seems to be a recurring theme). It was tough working in the ring because of the unevenness caused by the thick grass.

The only noteworthy thing that happened was when a kid was throwing peanuts at me during Intermission (what is it with these yokels and throwing stuff at clowns?!).
I asked him for a peanut and he threw it at me hard, but low to the ground. "Oops, I missed," he said sarcastically.
"Wow, you throw like a girl!", I replied. 
He then tried to hit me with a nut, which I easily deflected with my handy Sociology book.
"Man, what a sissy throw! You should go back to the store and get that sweater in pink", I jauntily observed about his clothing.
He finally wised up and admitted defeat when he realized he couldn't out smart ass me.

October 21-Republic, MO October 22-Wheaton, MO October 23-Fort Smith, AR

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me

I'm 26!


Card by Alex Zaprudsky 

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chili Con Carnival

Saturday, October 17: El Dorado Springs, MO-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
The route slip this morning warned us that we were going to a muddy lot. They weren't kidding!
No trailers were parked on the grass after the tiger trailer got buried. Only the essential show trucks were pulled onto the lot; everybody else was on the gravel next to it.

Ryan and I had an hour long PR before the shows today. I made sure to bring all my make up and costume pieces into the room last night, but I forgot my mirror! Rather than try my hand at blind make up application, I used the back of my iPod as a reflective surface.

We were taken downtown to a chili cook off. No one really knew why there were two clowns walking around, so we just tried to spread the word about the show being in town. I had my Kelly Miller jacket on (we were outside for the whole hour in the cold), and we also asked every family we met if they were going to the show.
Otherwise we tried to pass ourselves off as chili judges so we could solicit bribes from the different tents involved in the competition. 

The one stand out event of the PR was when Ryan dared me to eat a whole habanero pepper. I ended up just eating a slice, and it was so hot that I swear I saw the face of God. My eyes watered, my lips burned, I started hiccuping, and for dramatic effect I fell on the ground sucking my thumb while curled up in the fetal position. You didn't hear me complain about the cold after that snack.

We had good sized crowds today (must have been our masterful PR abilities), and the sun came out a little bit for us.

Oct 19-Marshfield, MO October 20-Willard, MO October 21-Willard, MO

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Vroom Vroom

Friday, October 16: Wheatland, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
We were playing on a cement lot next to the Wheatland Speedway today, so at least there was no fear of getting stuck in mud.

On our morning excursion to find breakfast, we stopped at a little market where I was chatting up the lady behind the counter. She found out I was with the circus and started asking me questions. It turns out that she grew up in the same town as Tom and Tammy Parish, two of my favorite clowns that I watched on Ringling while growing up. She even used to babysit Tammy; talk about a small world!

I had quite a mail day when I got back to the lot. I got a few birthday cards from friends and family, and two awesome gifts: a beautiful Steve & Ryan photo calendar from my friend, Alex Zaprudsky, and two tickets to see the tour of Avenue Q (my favorite Broadway show) from my Mom.
Sweet!

Today Ryan sat in on a production meeting for next year's show. It sounds like some good ideas were put together and agreed upon; hopefully the transition from paper to show is a smooth one.

The sun came out for a few minutes today, but for the most part it was overcast and cold. It also rained a bit. 
We had very small crowds; the shows ended up being short due to a couple of acts not working.

Between shows Ryan and I worked on a rewrite (about the third or fourth one) of one of our big gags for next year; I think we are finally on the right track.

October 18-Bolivar, MO October 19-Marshfield, MO October 20-Willard, MO

Hot Pants

Thursday, October 15: Camdenton, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
This morning's drive was very hilly, almost like a roller coaster ride; it was a welcome change from all the flat terrain we covered in Illinois.

We were on a grassy lot today, but there were a lot of big rocks lying around just waiting to break the back of some unsuspecting slaps and falls clown. 
The weather was once again cold and overcast. Surprise, surprise! Nothing is drying because we haven't had any sunshine since last weekend. The floor of the Clown Alley is soaked and muddy, so I was standing on wet packing blankets to try and keep my costumes clean while I changed. The shoelaces of my bad weather shoes are completely saturated and ooze mud every time I lace them. 
I am so ready to be away from "mud show fun" for a few months.

We had a good sized crowd for the first show, and we had a full second show; they were a great audience. It is about time we had a good show again!

At this evening's BBQ Casey was fooling around and threw a coal at Ryan. He thought it wasn't hot, but it ended up burning a hole in Ryan's jogging pants and melting Ryan's thermals and underwear together. We all had a good laugh about it, but Casey did feel really bad afterwards and offered to replace the pants; not the underwear though. He doesn't do underwear...

October 17-El Dorado Springs, MO October 18-Bolivar, MO October 19-Marshfield, MO

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mooooooooo!

Wednesday, October 14: Vienna, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
When we arrived at the lot this morning, everybody was lined up waiting to be parked. As soon as I pulled into line I saw Mr. North, Chris, and Tavo jump in a truck with the sponsor and take off to find a new lot.
One truck and trailer had been pulled onto the muddy ground by a tractor, but everybody else was on the winding road leading to the very uneven lot.
We just sat for an hour and a half before a new lot was found. The next step was having everyone turn around and head to the new location (not an easy feat with the narrow road we were dealing with).
Our new lot was a dairy farm at the end of a long, dirt road. It was a very remote location to say the least.

We had average sized crowds for the show; I was surprised how many people showed up considering a)our "middle of nowhere" lot and b)the fact that the town only had a population of 650.

During the first Intermission, Ryan was subjected to the incoherent ramblings of a mountain man with a long white beard and equally long gray hair. The man lectured Ryan on his stint in the military and his promiscuous sexual exploits, with every story followed by a bone chilling and raucous bray of laughter.
They all come here....they all find us....

The Red Unit of Ringling is in St. Louis this week, and four of the clowns: Joy, Book, Randy, and Trish, drove 2 1/2 hours to come see our second show.
Unfortunately they got lost and didn't show up until Intermission. I was glad they at least were able to see the sink gag; it is always nice to have people to perform for.

It started raining after the show, but that didn't stop us from having a great time at the BBQ with the Red Show clowns and Mr. North in attendance. That's how we get down!

October 16-Wheatland, MO October 17-El Dorado Springs, MO October 18-Bolivar, MO

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Is There A Good Tractor In The House?

Tuesday, October 13: Fulton, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
This morning I found out that Culpepper Merriweather closed 5 days early on account of the lousy weather and consecutive bad attendance. 

Casey, Ryan, Radar, and I found a good diner where we had breakfast. Later on we were right next door at the laundromat with Natalie.
While my clothes were washing I went for a walk and found a used book store. I picked up a few biographies that tickled my fancy.

Ryan and I were distraught when we discovered that our hot water was once again not working. Luckily the hot water for the shower on the other side of the truck is working again, so it looks like we will be using it for the remaining 11 days.

We had small crowds for the shows. It was misting rain for the first performance, and then it started coming down harder during the second show.

Ryan and I were standing in the marquee during the first show waiting for the sink gag to start. John Moss was thanking the sponsors, and we still had the hula hoop act to go before us.
All of a sudden John began what suspiciously sounded like the intro to the sink gag.
"I have one more unusual announcement. We are in need of....a tractor."
He was asking the audience if anyone knew a farmer with a tractor who the show could hire to pull us off the lot in the morning.
Until he said tractor he really had us going; we weren't sure if the hula hoops weren't working or not. Even though we were in costume, in position, and had all our props, we about had heart attacks!

Rachel Bellman, a new friend of mine, came to the second show. We actually visited with Rachel's mother when we were in the valley of Texas early in the season.
After tear down I went out to eat with Rachel at the same diner where I had breakfast. While we were inside it started raining harder, and by the time I got back to the lot it was a wet, muddy mess.

October 15-Camdenton, MO October 16-Wheatland, MO October 17-El Dorado Springs, MO

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Got A Rock

Monday, October 12: Warrenton, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
This morning Jan's RV was blocked in all the way at the back of the parking lot we were on, but we didn't have to wait too long to get out.

It was only 31 miles to Warrenton, but the big show trucks had to go 80 miles to avoid a bridge that couldn't handle too much weight. Luckily Jan's RV was light enough that we didn't have to go an extra 50 miles.

We were on a gravel lot today; my body was thrilled to see that...
It was cold this morning, so I was happy when the A.O. crew loaded up to go to breakfast. After we were done eating we checked out an outlet mall where everyone spent money except for me. They don't call me "Moneybags Penny Pincher Copeland" for nothing! 

On the ride back to the lot Genevieve's stroller was in danger of falling out of the back of the truck. Radar heroically shimmied through the open back window to save it. While he was lying down across the truck bed, holding on to the stroller, Casey closed the window behind Radar. He ended up riding all the way back to the lot like that, on his stomach and holding on for dear life. It was hilarious!

We had good sized crowds today, although there were more people at the first show. Ryan and I were doing our wimpy, old man falls in the gags today because of the rocky lot. It was so difficult to perform on; I was scared to even run for fear of twisting an ankle! 

October 14-Vienna, MO October 15-Camdenton, MO October 16-Wheatland, MO

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Familia De Radar

Sunday, October 11: Union, MO-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
We had a 70 mile jump this morning, but it was all Interstate driving, so it just flew by.
The lot was a tight, cement parking lot; I was just happy to be out of the mud. It was a beautiful sunny day, but it sure was cold in the morning.

Both shows were almost full; the first audience was dead, but we got some good laughs from the second crowd. That helped me get over falling on the hard, unforgiving cement. Thank God for my knee braces!

Radar's family was visiting all day. They brought donuts and milk this morning and a HUGE spread of food for this evening's BBQ. It was delicious!

October 13-Fulton, MO October 14-Vienna, MO October 15-Camdenton, MO

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Can I Fix It? No I Can't!

Saturday, October 10: Troy, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
For a change, today was sunny, but it was still muddy as hell on the lot!
Ryan and I walked the 4 mile round trip to get some lunch, and then I fixed our hot water heater with Ryan's coaching. I was so proud of my "handy man-ness"; I felt like Bob The Builder, Tim Allen, and Jesus all rolled into one!

We had good sized crowds today, and the audience loved our gags in the night show. The family that I befriended from the diner the other day in Benld showed up for the first show. I wish they would have waited like I told them, because I got them tickets for the second show.

It got very chilly when the sun started going down. Once the shows were over, everything had to move off the disgusting, torn up, muddy lot. Luckily Jan was already on the road, so I was off the hook.

Ryan, Radar, and I (once again) walked the four mile round trip this evening so we could have a nice meal at Cracker Barrel. On the way there and back we talked about one of my favorite subjects, horror movies!

Since everything moved off the lot tonight, we didn't have power. It was mighty cold in my tuna can of a house.

October 12-Warrenton, MO October 13-Fulton, MO October 14-Vienna, MO

Saturday, October 10, 2009

2 MORE WEEKS!

M.U.D

Friday, October 9: Troy, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

This morning's lot was very soft, so a lot of people had to be pulled on by a rented tractor, which didn't show up on time. I was lucky since Jan was parked on the road alongside the lot.


Ryan and I walked two miles to get breakfast at Cracker Barrel; it rained the whole way there and the whole way back. We were pretty wet and miserable by the time we were done.


As soon as we got back to the lot, we went with the Cainan family to go shopping. We hit a Borders, some shops by the mall, and a K Mart.


The whole morning, all I could think about was how nice a hot shower was going to feel. We didn't have any water yesterday because of our unscheduled day off, so I was in need of proper bathing. 

Imagine my dismay and disgust when I discovered that (once again) our heating element had burned out. I then discovered that the shower on the other side of the generator truck didn't have hot water either. 

I had to settle for a luke warm bucket bath; I put the electric heater in front of my bucket and then added in some boiled water.

It worked alright, but I still felt nasty.


We had decent sized crowds for the shows, and they liked the gags, which was a plus. The downside was that the back yard was torn up and mud was everywhere. 


In the first tiger chase I was being very careful while entering the tent so I wouldn't slip. Once I was sure that I would have better footing I started to run. I slipped on my first step and fell; luckily I caught myself with my hands. Unfortunately the tiger paws got mud all over them. I was none too pleased about that.


Radar's family came to see the second show; we talked with them for a bit during Intermission.

By the end of the show the backstage was a miserable mess thanks to all the human and animal traffic.


I needed an escape tonight, and luckily Casey, Ryan, and I got one. We drove to a movie theater and saw Zombieland. I LOVED IT!

I had so much fun at the movie and it made me feel so much better after such a yucky day.


Before heading back to the lot we stopped at Steak and Shake, where Supergirl had stopped in for an evening meal. A girl was sitting at the bar in full costume, complete with a sparkly, red cape.

I tipped one of the waiters to give her a Kryptonite shake...


October 11-Union, MO October 12-Warrenton, MO October 13-Fulton, MO

Friday, October 9, 2009

God Bless Time Off!

Thursday, October 8: Benld, IL-Day Off
Between the time I walked through town last night (around 11:00 p.m.) and when we left the lot around 5:30 a.m., the toilet paper that had been strung up everywhere was cleaned up.
It started raining during the night, and it was still going this morning. In fact, it continued for the entire 70 mile jump.

When we got to town there was a long line of vehicles waiting to get parked that stretched all the way out to the main street.
When Chris directed us to a spot on the side of the road, he said that we wouldn't be showing today. A few minutes later I parked Jan on a gravel road running through the lot.
Casey and Natalie were the only ones actually on the grass; the reason the sponsor wanted to cancel was because the ground was soaked and a)they couldn't get a tractor and b) they didn't want us tearing up their little park.

Casey, Ryan, Radar, and I walked up the street to a little diner where we had breakfast. When we left to go back to the lot, the word was that we might be moving to another lot in town.

I chilled out in my room (literally) until I heard the generator truck start up. I asked Oscar what the deal was and he said we were staying here until the morning. We indeed weren't showing; they just wanted to move the generator closer to the trailers so everyone could have power.

I joined Ryan for a walk into town where we had lunch at a little Italian market. Ryan bought gifts for a few people while he was there earlier, and he wanted me to go so I could have one of their great sandwiches.

When we got back to the lot, we watched the movie Funny Bones, which I haven't watched in awhile.

I spent some time at the diner up the street, drinking coffee and chatting up the family that ran the place. They were nice and are coming to a show on Saturday.

Back at the lot we ate at the Cainans trailer while watching some Three Stooges.

I know it is bad that we couldn't work today, what with the loss of money and everything, but I am so glad we got a chance to rest.
It would have been miserable anyway, what with all the mud and the rain that continued on and off into the night.
Culpepper also had the day off due to weather, but I heard it didn't even rain for them!

October 10-Troy, IL October 11-Union, MO October 12-Warrenton, MO

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Winchestertonfieldville (Anyone Get That Reference?)

Wednesday, October 7: Winchester, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
This morning, members of the Byrd Family CFA tent brought us all donuts and coffee to start the morning off right.

Later on, three of the members (guys, please help me out with your names. I know it is horrible that I forgot, considering your hospitality, but I have the worst short term memory ever, especially when it comes to remembering names) took Mr. North, Ryan, and I out to eat.
My initial belief was that we were going to be speaking in front of a group at the meal, but it turned out to be a very laid back, low key lunch, which was great.

A moat of water developed outside our door, so Ryan devised a "drawbridge" by taking the ramp from the Clown Alley.

We had an average sized crowd at the first show, and boy were they dead! I found it interesting that almost everyone that came in sat on the side of the tent closest to the entrance instead of sitting in the middle, at the front of the ring.

During the show, I was getting out of my sink gag costume when an old man and his granddaughter walked by the Alley. Just at that time the elephants were exiting the tent and were heading straight for him. 
I tried to warn him, but he thought I was waving at him. Finally he got the idea when he heard Armando yelling for him to move; just another reason I hate when people wander around in the back door.

We had a better sized crowd at the second show, but they were still dead. During the guest ringmaster speech, before the show began, the generator died, plunging the tent into darkness. Luckily once it was up and running again there were no further problems.

I had a good time playing around with a group of hearing impaired teens during the second Intermission. I learned how to sign, "you're welcome", and I showed off a bit by signing the entire chorus of the country song, "Don't Laugh At Me" (just a little something I picked up during my Christian clowning days).

It was a beautiful day today, and tonight was beautiful as well. I took a walk through town after the BBQ to enjoy the evening. From the lot until I reached town, someone had toilet papered almost every house and tree along the street. It was a huge mess!

October 9 and 10-Troy, IL October 11-Union, MO

Isn't This Where Moses Got The 10 Commandments?

Tuesday, October 6: Mt. Sterling, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
This morning, once again, Casey took Ryan and me to breakfast; Radar also tagged along.
The big difference between this morning's meal and yesterday's meal was that we had a much nicer waitress today. True she was also cracked out, but her cheery disposition overshadowed her nervous tics.

As soon as we got back to the lot, Ryan and I grabbed our dirty clothes and went with Natalie to the laundromat.
It ended up being just up the street from the lot, so as soon as I was done I just walked back.

Ryan fixed the water heater for our shower today; hopefully it will last for the last few weeks of the season.

The day started out dreary and overcast, but all the clouds blew away and the sun came out, turning it into a beautiful day.
The only downside was the strong gusts of wind; the flaps of the tent's back door were kept closed during the shows to keep the curtains from billowing in.

We had a good sized crowd for the first show, and an average sized crowd for the second; once again the ground was overgrown with thick grass as well as being uneven, so the water didn't work for the sink the first show. I really had to fight with it to get water to shoot out for the second show. Also, Ryan and I almost broke our ankles several times just running around in the ring.
It seems so ridiculous to work in conditions that are counteractive to putting on a good show. That's show biz I guess!

When Ryan and I lifted the sink to load it into the Alley tonight, it almost toppled over onto Ryan and we ended up dropping it hard.
One edge of the countertop broke off; great, another thing to fix!

October 8-Benld, IL October 9-10: Troy, IL

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Floppy Mormon

Monday, October 5: Carthage, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Casey took Ryan and I out to breakfast this morning where we were "treated" to a very rude waitress and horrible service. We then went to the grocery store and knocked out the shopping list like pros.

I walked around town later in the afternoon, partly so I could check out the Old Carthage Jail, which was apparently a big deal in town. I found out that Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon religion, was assassinated at the jail; this caused the Mormons to relocate from Illinois to Salt Lake City.

We had good sized crowds today. The ground we were working on was very uneven and full of overgrown grass. This caused there to be no water in the first sink gag because we couldn't enough leverage for the foot pedal to work.
We were able to overcome that obstacle for the second show though, which was good because the audience really enjoyed the gag.

During both of the shows, a group of firemen were standing in the tent entrance, completely blocking it, thereby creating a fire hazard. As Ryan and I ran by them for the shovel gag, I snarkily commented on how ironic the situation was.
When I looked up during the gag, they were still standing there. Ladies and gentlemen, presenting Carthage's finest!

It was supposed to rain during the night, so we had to move off the lot. This is always stressful for me considering my "driving responsibilities", and tonight was no exception. I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Not good. 
19 more days, 19 more days...

October 7-Winchester, IL October 8-Benld, IL October 9-Troy, IL

Monday, October 5, 2009

Here Lies Norma Jean

Sunday, October 4: Oquaka, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Yesterday and this morning I consulted the GPS on my phone, and both times it told me that there was absolutely nothing in town. Thankfully it was wrong and there was civilization not far from the lot.

Ryan and I went to breakfast, and then we sought out the elephant memorial in this town. In 1972, a circus (whose name I forget) was playing here and an elephant, Norma Jean, was struck by lightning while chained to a tree. The city put up a memorial for the elephant complete with flowers, news clippings, and an elephant statue.



I found out later that Armando and his family were on the show when it happened; he would have been 1 year old or so.

We had a decent sized crowd for the first show. Mr North showed up afterwards; he will be with us until the end of the tour.

There was a small second show crowd, and I didn't think it would be possible, but they were even less lively than the first crowd. It was depressing; Ryan and I resolved to have a good time regardless.

It was a beautiful day, but it got downright chilly as nightfall approached. At the BBQ tonight the America's Own crew made some dating videos for fun; some of them turned out hilarious. As soon as Casey finishes editing them, I will upload some of the more P.C. ones here.

October 6-Mt. Sterling, IL October 7-Winchester, IL October 8-Benld, IL



Sunday, October 4, 2009

3 More Weeks!

A Tankard Of Aledo

Saturday, October 3: Aledo, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
We were a few miles out of town today. Casey, Ryan, Radar, Georgia, and I all loaded up in the truck and went to have breakfast. 

Later in the day I cleaned the mud off of my clown shoes; they were completely brown from the mess we ran around in yesterday.
The day was cold and there was intermittent sprinkling rain; on the upside there was only a little mud.

We had a good sized crowd for the first show. During Intermission I talked with circus fan, Bill Prickett, and his wife, whose name escapes me (too many shovel hits to the head).

In between shows I got completely caught up on my blog; I felt so relieved to finally get it all done. Now I know how women feel after child birth!

We had an average sized crowd at the second show. During Intermission a father in the bleachers was throwing peanuts. What is it with jack asses in this area and throwing stuff? Oh well, I only have 22 more days of having to do Intermission. I'll let a tiger eat me before I do it again next year.

The only memorable occurrence during the show was when Radar got sprayed in the face with tiger urine backstage. This is the third or fourth time it has happened this year. What made it especially funny is that the tiger waited for Radar to have his face at point blank range. Casey warned him twice about the impending spray, and each time Radar turned away the tiger held fire. When Radar's defenses were finally down, BAM!
The spraying led us to create nicknames for Radar such as "Potty Mouth", "Piss Face McGee", and "Stupid Big Ears". (Ok, that last one had nothing to do with the tiger urine!)

Tonight we ate supper in the Cainan trailer and watched that family favorite, Blazing Saddles.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Caught Up

Alright folks, as of now, I am caught up on my blog.
For the last 3 weeks, I will do my darnedest to keep up to date. However, I will be one day behind, because most nights the last thing I want to do is write a blog. Settle in, this is a looooooooooooooooong read.


Friday, September 18: Rolling Meadows, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
This morning's route slip said that everyone had to be on the lot before 7 a.m. We were only driving 23 miles, but it still seemed odd that we had a 6:00 a.m. call, considering the deadline.
It turns out that more than half the show trucks and trailers (including me and Jan), showed up on the lot after 7; luckily it wasn't that big of a deal, we just had to contend with heavy high school traffic right by the lot.

Ryan and I found an excellent place to have breakfast, and then we went (with a good portion of the show) to attend mass held in the cookhouse. Danny and Tavana renewed their vows at the end of the service, and Father Jerry flew in all the way from Massachusetts to perform the ceremony for them. 
It was nice to see Father Jerry again. I tried to catch one of his services whenever I could on Ringling.

I do know that we had full shows...that is about all I remember!


Saturday, September 19: Rolling Meadows, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
I went to have breakfast this morning at the place that Ryan and I discovered yesterday.

Unfortunately today day just dragged on!

The good news is that we had full shows; the second show was jam packed. That helped me get my second wind.

Casey spent a lot of time fixing things today. First, the cable that attaches the fire extinguisher to the foot pedal of the sink broke in the first show. In between shows he helped me attach a new cable.
Then, after the tiger act in the second show, the tigers were getting loaded into their trailer when the jack holding the trailer up broke. The front of the trailer dropped to the ground, causing the back end to jut up in the air.
After the assistance of the shows Bobcat, the trailer was level again. Unfortunately, when the trailer was opened back up, one of the tiger rolling cages fell out and landed at a diagonal angle, with one end on the ground and one end still in the trailer. The axle and wheels of one end also broke off. 
This happened when Ryan and I exited the tent after Intermission. We helped some of the guys get the cage back into the trailer, where Casey, Radar, Fridman, and Castro did a quick fix on the axle until they could fully address the problem tomorrow.

The only other incidence worth mentioning was my triumph over a smart ass kid.
There were so many people in the tent for the second show that Ryan and I stood on chairs during Intermission to be somewhat above all the pandemonium.
Some kid kept tapping us on the shoulders and then hiding. We ignored it the first few times, and then I waited for my opportunity to strike.
The third time he did it, he didn't even try and hide, secure in his knowledge that we wouldn't do anything.
I saw him out of the corner of my eye just as he turned around, so I reached out and flipped the baseball cap right off of his head.
That learned him! There were no further interruptions.


Sunday, September 20: Vernon Hills, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
We had a 16 mile jump this morning. We were by a beautiful mall; sweet!

I had lunch at a Mexican restaurant before the first show, which was jam packed with people.

We had a good amount of visitors for the first show: Claire Wedermyer, a former Ringling and Kelly Miller clown, Paul Holley, a circus fan and blog reader, and Jim Koretz, a clown fan/photographer.

In the shovel gag, when we ran into the tent, Ryan bypassed the easiest way to get into the ring and ran into the preferred seating area. We then had to climb over people and the bally cloth to get into the ring.
I don't know what he was thinking, and I don't know who was more stupid, him for running the wrong way, or me for following him!

The Fernandez weren't doing the trapeze today, so Becky Ostroff did her single trap act.

The second show was almost full, and it started raining during the performance. Since we were on concrete, there was standing water everywhere and my shoes and socks got completely drenched.



Monday, September 21: Vernon Hills, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
I had lunch at an Indian buffet today; I haven't had Indian food in about 4 years, and I was not disappointed.

I looked around a nearby Halloween store and then checked out the mall.

We had a decent sized crowd at the first show. Claire came back with Brad Weston, a Clown College graduate and local juggler, and his family.

At the second show, which had more people than the first, Gary Podolsky and his wife and nephew came to visit; they were bearing goodies. Gary is the one who recommended the Chicago Diner to me. 

The brownies and cookies that the Podolskys brought were thoroughly enjoyed at the BBQ tonight.


Tuesday, September 22: Addison, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
On this morning's drive I missed the exit we were supposed to take on the Interstate. Luckily I was able to get where we were going via the next exit, and I just missed going through a toll.

My first agenda this morning was to get my rest after such a full, busy weekend. Next I walked across the street to get laundry done.

There was a Halloween store by the laundromat, so I checked that out while my clothes were drying.
I saw a poster in the store advertising a haunted house that was just up the road from us.
I was planning on going tonight until I found out that their grand opening isn't until this weekend. D'oh! 

Today's lot was a bummer. There was a big mud trench between Clown Alley and the back door, which made getting my shoes dirty inevitable. 
Also, there was broken glass all over the place. Yay Addison!

We had a good sized crowd at the first show. During Intermission a bunch of little ghetto kids were trying to hit me, so I took an early leave.
As I was going an old woman in preferred seating stopped me.
"I paid more money to sit here, but these people behind me didn't pay extra and they are sitting here", she complained.
"Look lady," I replied, "I'm a clown...you need to tell this to someone in charge. I just hit people with shovels. Do you want me to hit them with a shovel?"
She obviously didn't have a sense of humor since she just repeated her complaint. I gave her my most condescending look (a smile and a nod), and left to set the sink.

The second show was almost full, and the crowd had a lot of energy. Sadly they lost their momentum for the second half.

Some more ghetto kids were pestering me in the second Intermission. One girl tried to pull off my wig and knocked over the bally cloth, falling on top of it in the process.
I proceeded to embarrass her by getting the crowd to point and laugh at her stupidity. 


Wednesday, September 23: Downers Grove, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Today was another dreary day, but we were playing a cool little town.
I had lunch at Giordanno's, the famous Chicago deep dish pizza restaurant.

Casey and Natalie took Dixie, one of their dogs, to the vet today because she has been very sick.
They found out that she was riddled with cancer, and the doctor advised that they put her down.
Natalie was understandably upset today and didn't perform in the shows.

We had full shows tonight, and long Intermissions. Elephant rides did bang up business.

I was totally over it all tonight after having a bunch of stupid teenage girls "being afraid of me" and then a sink gag met with no laughs.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, it is time for a break!


Thursday, September 24: Darien, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
We had a whopping 6 mile jump this morning.
When we got to the lot I went over to Kate's trailer to hang out. We really haven't caught up with each other since she joined the show.

We had a packed first show. Tim Tegge, a long time clown, ringmaster, and circus/clown historian, surprised me at Intermission; I didn't know that he would be visiting.

We had an almost full second show, and for a change we had a mellow Intermission. It was so nice!


Friday, September 25: Elk Grove Village, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
We had a 5:30 a.m. call for a 23 mile jump because we were going to be driving through Chicago this morning.

We were by a little shopping area; I got everyone Starbucks after we arrived at the lot, and then I walked around some of the shops later in the day.

It rained all during the first show; we had a small crowd.
Kyle Barker surprised me by stopping by. He was on his way to a gym in the area and decided to drop in and say "Hi".

We had a good crowd for the second show. Kyle came to watch the show since he didn't have any luck finding the gym.

The grass in the tent was very slick, and I did quite a maneuver in our warm up. When Ryan and I run by each other to high five, my foot slipped and I slid on one knee in the grass under Ryan's extended arm, only to pop up on my feet on the other side of the ring.
I'm sure it didn't look as cool as I envisioned it.

When we ran in for the sink gag a little kid right in the front row started crying loudly during a quiet point in the gag. Ryan got a big laugh when he said over the microphone, "Why are you crying? We haven't even started yet!"

Kyle came to the BBQ tonight with the gift of a bottle of Jameson Irish Whisky for Casey.
Casey determines how funny a clown is by whatever free roll they bring us. So far Kevin Brown is Casey's "funniest clown in the world" thanks to the delicious triple chocolate cake he brought.
Kyle is coming close to overthrow him though...I'll die before I see a (soon to be) Red Show clown called "funniest in the world"! 


Saturday, September 26: Elk Grove Village, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
The sun finally came out today. We had a decent sized crowd for the first show.

Between shows I watched the movie, Adventureland. It was ok; I think I was expecting it to be the next Superbad.

We had an almost full second show. We got the first good sink gag reaction in what seems like forever.

Casey ordered a ton of pizza for dinner tonight. We all chowed down on that while enjoying a WC Fields film.


Sunday, September 27: Lisle, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
We had a 20 mile drive to a concrete lot today. The day started out foggy and overcast, but the sun finally decided to come out.

We had an almost full first show. There was an extremely long raffle put on by the sponsors that took place right before the sink gag for both shows. It brought the show's momentum to a dead halt and then we suffered afterwards when we tried to get the crowd up and laughing again. I really wish they would have done it during Intermission.

John Stokvis and his family visited for the second show. John was part of a trio of clowns that Ryan worked with during his Circus Smirkus days.

We had a good sized crowd for the second show. The only drawback was the kid in the front row that cried loudly every time we came out. You would think his mother would have taken a hint and taken the kid outside.

We had a BBQ tonight with John and his family. We saw a big storm rolling in, so we packed everything up early.
As soon as I got in my room and got comfortable, it started pouring like nobody's business.
The storm, although strong, only lasted a short while. The wind howled the entire night though.


Monday, September 28: Marseilles, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Our Chicago dates our over. We drove 53 miles away from the city this morning.

The strong winds from last night continued all through today; on top of that it was overcast too.

Town was a mile away, but that didn't stop me from exploring. I was going to find a costume shop listed on my phone's GPS until I found out that it was an adult costume shop. Rowrr!

We had good sized crowds today. It has started to get cold lately, not fun for the water in the sink gag.
The strong winds did dry my costume out in no time though!

I haven't had Internet since last night, so I spent most of the day trying to resolve that problem.


Tuesday, September 29: Burlington, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
We had a 68 mile drive this morning. We were playing in a small town with not much to it. I did find a good Italian place for lunch and a post office though.

We had small crowds for both shows; they definitely weren't worth the 68 mile drive.

Since it was so cold, they left the generator on all night. I unwound and watched the movie The Hills Have Eyes. Brutal...


Wednesday, September 30: Oregon, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
We were several miles away from town today, so I caught a ride with Natalie to do laundry.
While that was going on, I went to a Verizon store to try and get my Internet card fixed.
They did diagnose the problem (it was the card), but they didn't have any cards in stock. The best they could do was offer to send me one. I told them it would be quicker for me to try and find one in an upcoming down.
D'oh!

Today was a beautiful day, which was a wonderful change from the beginning of this week.

We had a small crowd for the first show, but more people showed up by Intermission, and it ended up being an average sized audience.

The second show had a very small crowd. During Intermission there was a kid throwing peanuts at us. His friends were loudly egging him on the whole time, "Go on, hit him in the balls! Look, there is the other one, hit him in the balls."
After I went backstage looking for something to throw at them (and coming up short), Ryan and I had a brief conference on how to handle the situation.
A few minutes later, both of us were on the receiving end of another peanut. We threw down what we were doing, ran up into the stands, and attacked.
Ryan took the kid's hat off and chucked it into the ring, and I tickled him while prying the peanut bag out of his hand. Ryan then poured the remainder of the peanuts down the kid's shirt.
People have got to learn that we are two clowns that you do NOT mess with!

The sink gag was very cold. At the end of the gag, when we were soaked (and freezing), we went into the middle of the ring to shake hands.
As the audience golf clapped for our antics, I said to Ryan, "The audience's laughter is all the warmth I need."
Ryan looked right back at me and said, "F**k you."


Thursday, October 1: Amboy, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
We had a 23 mile jump this morning to a beautiful fairgrounds out in the middle of nowhere.
If I was to direct someone to the show I would have said, "It is the 80th cornfield on the right."
We literally drove 20 miles this morning without a single sign of civilization.

It was so cold this morning. To warm ourselves, and get out of the Twilight Zone set of a lot we were on, we drove to Dixon, IL to go to the Verizon store.
When we walked out Casey, Natalie, and I all had new phones. I also had a new Internet card. Score!

We went to have lunch at a Chinese restaurant, and the whole time we were waiting for our food, we were all playing with our new toys and making Ryan jealous.

It was so nice to have Internet again today. After 3 days without it, I was starting to have "withdrowels". 

It rained all day, and we had very small crowds at both shows: maybe 40 people or less.

In the second show Ryan and I switched roles for the tiger chase. Ryan definitely got the better half of the deal; he was warm and snug in the tiger suit while I was freezing in a ripped up shirt and boxers.

Even though the second show had a miserably small crowd (not to mention the weather), I still managed to have fun.

The instant that the second show finished, it started pouring down rain. Cold rain. Yay!

We had our evening meal in the Casa De Cainan while watching SNL: The Best of Will Ferrel on DVD.


Friday, October 2: Kewanee, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
We were on a very soft lot today. By the time all the trucks had been spotted and the tent was up, the ground was completely torn up.

A friend of my friend, Toto Johnson, came to visit today. His name is Wayne Weems; he is a wrestler, he was on the show The Ultimate Fighter, and he has been a clown for a year now.
He took us to lunch and to Wal Mart, and the whole time we talked shop and he asked for advice and opinions on different things.

It was a miserable day today. On top of the mud everywhere, it was raining and freezing.
Despite all this, both shows were packed. We also got great reactions for our gags, which was refreshing after the past three days.

By the end of the evening, the midway was a sea of mud, as was the area between the bleachers and the preferred seating area. The worst part was that it was slick mud.
Ryan and I were slipping and sliding all over the place every time we had to enter the tent.

We had to move off the lot tonight, but we just moved to the edges of the field. After I moved Jan, I went back to my room to relax.
When the generator truck started moving, I realized that the big door outside the room was still open.
We were only going a few yards, but I wanted to make sure that Pato's kennel didn't fall out. I went into the "foyer" and stood in an empty spot next to the gypsy boxes so I could keep a hand on Pato.
When the truck stopped, I was jerked into a sitting position on the stairs behind me and one of the gypsy boxes fell on my legs.
It hurt like hell and scraped me up a bit, but I am lucky that nothing was broken.
Usually, during travel, there are coils of rope and hose piled up where I was standing. They do a lot better job of keeping the boxes in place than my scrawny body did!

Wow, I need a drink after writing and proof reading all that...I'm sure you guys feel the same...