Saturday, February 6, 2010

From WQ To Brownsville, TX: An Exercise in Reaganomics

January 11-February 9

Ever since I arrived in Paris, TX a month ago, I have been uber busy preparing the gags for this year's show with Ryan.
Ryan did the majority of the work as far as carving and sculpting goes, but I did a fair amount of latexing and painting.
I would love to show you some sneak peaks of our props, but unfortunately one person has already taken one of our prop designs verbatim and is selling it online. Therefore, he has spoiled it for everybody else (Don't you hate it when that happens!?).
We didn't do all the work on our props though. Big thanks go out to Jeffery Potts for sculpting out a big, freakin' beehive out of some heavy duty foam, Alex Zaprudsky for logo designs, and Casey, Danny, and Radar for help building our slide table. Danny and Tavana have also helped us out by lending rigging and aerial equipment as well as freely sharing their knowledge.

I am very excited about the show this year; I think it has the potential to be great. The props and costumes alone look awesome, and we are going to look stylish rolling on to the lots thanks to the trucks having new paint jobs courtesy of the WQ crew and master truck painter, Bob Rawls.

That's not even the best one! More pictures to come.

Ryan and I each have our own rigs now. I bought Casey and Natalie's old truck and trailer

and Ryan bought a big, honkin' motor home.

Let me tell you, having a trailer sure beats living in the leaky, hot/cold, black mold and mushroom infested generator room! (Ask me how I feel in a few months after the repair bills start piling up)
The important thing is that I have plenty of storage for my most treasured commodity!

I also have my own personal caricature on the truck thanks to the artwork of Bob Rawls. It was my Christmas present from Casey.

What else happened? Oh yeah! Ryan got married! Ryan and his girlfriend, Tatiana Fusco, tied the knot in late January in Hugo, OK (romance capital of the state).

I was on hand to rock the reception with my "honorary best man" speech. It was truly a highlight of the evening...for me.

Sorry if this news disappoints anyone that still thought that Ryan and I were a couple. Congratulations Combsezzes!

And then there is Pato....
Something happened to my "special little guy" since I last saw him. I think Casey must have toughened him up by letting him spar with the tigers, because when I finally saw him again, he bit my finger so hard that he drew blood.
My duck hates me! He's turned into a little bastard!

I just hope that with time and love he will come around. Otherwise he is getting sold to a Chinese restaurant in Brownsville.

Speaking of wild animals, Casey got a new male tiger cub that he named, Rajah.
I would have named him Efram!
I was cermeoniously introduced to him when Casey dumped Rajah in the cab of my truck.

It was a lot of fun to play with a baby tiger, something I have always wanted to do!

Departure from WQ was delayed two days due to a) waiting on drivers to arrive and b) bad weather in Brownsville. What!? Bad weather at Kelly Miller?!

Finally we left on Saturday, February 6th. I was nervous at first about hauling a trailer, but thanks to expert coaching from Casey, I had no problem driving to Cleveland, TX (the halfway point of our jump) without any bodily or property damage

I was actually the first one to arrive at the park where the show was sitting. When I pulled up, I noticed that both the gates were locked!
I pulled into the parking lot across the street and called Jim Royal. I was instructed to go to the police station next door to get the key to unlock the gates.
Once I had that accomplished, I parked myself; just minutes later, the cookhouse arrived.
Everyone seemed to arrive without incident (so far so good!). I did manage to park myself so an ant bed was right outside my door though. D'OH!

After having all afternoon and evening to relax, I was ready and raring to go at 7:30 a.m. the next morning.
I was told not to rush because Chris was in the process of finding us a place to park outside of Brownsville. The lot we are going to be on for 11 days is flooded!

The second part of the drive was no problem for me; I even managed to swing into a station to put some air in my low trailer tires.

Chris parked us at an airport about 20 miles from Brownsville. After getting everything in my trailer set, I hung out with Ryan and the Fuscos until my friend, Jessi showed up.
Jessi was the clown on Culpepper Merriweather Circus last year and this year she is going to be our teacher until summer; she will also be doing showgirl duties.

We spent the evening getting her moved in and catching up until we decided to go find some dinner.

Monday morning I found out that we were not moving to the Brownsville lot yet again. So much for three days of show rehearsal!

The generator was turned on and everyone was hooked up to power (Praise the Lord! All my food in the fridge was on the brink of going bad) and all of our water tanks were filled.

Jessi wanted to meet some of her soon to be students, so I introduced her to some of the families on the show.

In the evening we went with Armando, Natalia, Ryan, Tatiana, and the Fuscos to go see Circus Vazquez. What a beautiful show!

The set up, lighting, and tent were all top notch. I had a great time watching the show as well; I was dead set on not liking the clown based on video footage I had seen before, but I ended up enjoying him.
He had a lot of energy, he was entertaining to watch, the people loved him, and he made me laugh. He did do some vulgar stuff that I don't think he necessarily needed, but to each their own. I'm sure some people think we don't need excessive violence in our gags (the truth is that it helps us work through our problems).
Many thanks to Armando's brother, the production manager, who got us seats.

Tuesday it was announced that we were finally going to the Brownsville lot. It was a lot of hurry up and wait though. The first wave of vehicles was sent to the lot only to sit on the side of the road since the tractor hadn't show up yet.
Once it did and those rigs were on the lot, everybody else started heading out.
I was the second to last to arrive (around 2:30 p.m.) and I pulled into my spot with no problem.

The lot wasn't too muddy, but I was told that a lot of water had been drained from the ground over the past couple of days.

Ryan and I made use of our time the best that we could. We made squibs while watching "The Funhouse".

In the evening we had a meeting to discuss rehearsals. We were only going to have one day of practice before the show opened on Thursday. Hooray!

With the help of Danny, Fridman, and John, Ryan and I attempted to rig the exterminator gag. A lot of things went unresolved due to equipment we needed to buy, but at least some things were figured out.

February 11-21: Brownsville, TX


Tejano said...

Welcome back to the Valley! Hope to catch your show in La Feria as I will be in the area or in Palmview. Look forward to your act as I have heard how good it is (from your blog).

Alex Zaprudsky said...

Glad I could help. . . I am pretty excited to see the show!!!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! I'm psyched to be able to attend vicariously another season on KM-- Blue skies and clear sailing!

Bruce the Clown

Bill Prickett said...

Congratulations on your new house and trailer...hope weather turns around soon...wish I could be there...mud and all....Bill Prickett

Susabelle said...

Yay, Circus Season 2010 has begun!!