Friday, July 30, 2010

July 24 & 25: Conneaut, OH & Rock Creek, OH-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. & 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

On Saturday we had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 65 mile jump to Conneaut; we had actually driven through there on Friday's jump and now we were backtracking.
We were playing on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.

Ryan and I finished up the costumes that we promised to make for the show. Better late than never....I guess....

It was so humid today, but we did good business for both shows. When we were done a lot of folks from the show went down to the beach. Ryan and I went out on the jetty like last year, and then we joined everybody swimming in Lake Erie.
Back at the lot we watched the vampire movie, "From Dusk Til Dawn".


On Sunday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 30 mile jump to Rock Creek, OH. We were playing on a grass lot, and shortly after we all arrived, it started to downpour, which made the back door and parts of the tent muddy.
After the rain stopped it turned out to be a beautiful day.

We had average sized crowds for both shows. The mud wasn't as bad as I anticipated; it wasn't watery.

At the BBQ tonight we spiced up the proceedings a bit. Casey whipped a paper plate out of Radar's hand, leaving only a tiny sliver, and then I joined them in a rat tailing contest, where we popped each other on the back of the hand with a rag.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

July 19-23: Travel Day, Youngsville, PA, Girard, PA, & Middlefield, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

On Monday we had the day to travel to Youngsville, PA. It was a 5:30 a.m. call for a 240 mile jump.
Once I got to the lot I spent all day relaxing and resting.


On Tuesday it rained a bit and it was humid. The tent was set up on concrete, but all the trailers were on grass.

Sarah, who was on the show two years ago, and her daughter, GiGi, joined the show today; Sarah replaced Carla as a showgirl.

Both shows were full; I was solo clowning once again while Ryan and Tatiana drove back to Boston to see a doctor. There was something from Tatiana's last appointment that they wanted to check up on.

We were playing next to a senior center, and almost the entire preferred seating section for both shows was filled up with elderly folks in wheelchairs.


On Wednesday we had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 65 mile jump to Girard. We were playing on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.
A lot of people showed up for the tent raising; we had a decent sized house for the first show, and a good sized crowd for the second show.


On Thursday we had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 65 mile jump to Middlefield, OH. We were playing on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.

I went to the post office to pick up a package of make up that Jessi had sent to me, and later in the morning I practiced web with Sarah since I will be setting for her.

On my second foray into town I finally found some black powder for our squibs, I got groceries at Wal Mart, and I bought some more make up at a costume shop.

We had a good sized crowd for the first show and an almost full second show. The second crowd was a great audience; I wish Ryan and I could have done our gags for them.

Ryan and Tatiana arrived at the lot a couple of hours after the shows finished. Thankfully everything is ok with the baby.


On Friday I had another web practice with Sarah at 10:00 a.m., and then Ryan and I went to the magic shop where we spent a long time talking with the owner, who is a magician (I guess that is to be expected...not like a proctologist would own a magic shop).

When we got back to the lot we made squibs; I didn't feel like doing any more exploring today, because it was so hot and humid.

We had a decent sized crowd for the first show. During Raul's act a storm blew in and there was a huge downpour to accompany the strong winds.
It was coming down so hard that it looked like it was raining in the tent while we were doing the jukebox gag; it was very surreal.

We had a full second show with another terrific audience. Unfortunately another bad storm was blowing in during the second half, so we were told to waste no time in ending the show.
I hated having to rush through the exterminator gag when we were getting such great laughs; why do storms never threaten us when there are 30 unresponsive people in the tent?!

The storm hit just a few minutes after the show ended. There was more rain and wind, along with thunder and lightning, but it didn't last too long.

August 1-Clyde, OH
August 2 and 3-Kelley's Island, OH!!!
August 4-Gibsonburg, OH

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

July 17-18: Southwood, NY & Cortland, NY-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. & 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

On Saturday we had a 5:30 a.m. call for our 100 mile jump to Southwood. Just three miles from the lot there was a steep hill with arrows warning us to downgrade.
I decided to put my truck in 1st gear since the hill was so steep, but as I started down, I must have been going too fast for 1st gear to take hold.
I rocketed down the hill towards the stop light at the bottom. Just as I was approaching it, the light turned red.

I had been avoiding riding my breaks because I was going so fast, but the red light caused me to slam the pedal to the floor.
I slowed down right before the light, but just as I was going to stop, the brake pedal gave out and I rolled out into the intersection.
Thank God there was no one going through the light at that time!

As I continued on I realized that my brakes were totally gone. I pulled off the road and waited for the shop truck to get to me.
It took a long time because a) I was at the end of the jump b) since it was a long jump, everyone was spaced out and c) the generator truck wouldn't start this morning, causing a late start.

Finally Castro and Fridman arrived and checked everything out. A brake had line broken, and all of my other ones were rusted and in danger of breaking.
Castro and Fridman rode to the lot to get a couple of tools and then Castro did a quick fix on the brakes to get me the two miles to the lot. I arrived just before 11:00 a.m.

Everybody was parked and the tent was already up; I didn't think I would be able to get my trailer to the back yard, but Tavo backed me in around the tent.
After unloading our props and getting my power connected, I went to get something to eat. Near death experiences stir up quite an appetite!

It rained on and off all day. There was an average sized crowd for the first show and there were less people for the second show.
Castro rewired my brakes for me to prolong my life expectancy.

After the shows we had pizza with our visitors: Ben Trumble, his girlfriend, and a circus fan couple from the area who had been traveling with us for a few days.


On Sunday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 35 mile jump to Cortland. We were on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.
We had good crowds for both shows. The start of the first show was held 30 minutes because Vicky's computer ate the show music!
Vicky had to work non stop from the beginning of the first show all the way through the second show to find all of the tracks from memory and then get them back in the proper playlist.
A couple of our cues were missing, but we just went along with it and the audience was none the wiser.

Photographer brothers Jason and Justin Senft were visiting today and they asked me to be in a photo shoot they did in between shows. They were recreating a shot taken in the 50's with a girl and two elephants.
I was playing the part of one of the elephants....



After the shows a big group of us went out to a pub and Mr. North was nice enough to treat us all to dinner.

July 29-Massillon, OH
July 30-Sagamore Hills, OH
July 31-Richfield, OH

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July 12-16: Delhi, NY, Richfield Springs, NY, Norwich, NY, Oriskany Falls, NY, & Cobleskill, NY-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

On Monday we had a 5:30 a.m. call for our 90 mile jump to Delhi. Route 28, one of the roads on the trip, had horribly steep hills.

We were on a grass lot and it was a sunny day. Carolyn and Mike weren't here because of a truck problem that had to be fixed.

We did good business for the first show and the second show was full with a great crowd.


On Tuesday we had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 55 mile jump to Richfield Springs. We were playing on a grass lot and it was an overcast day.
Ryan and I watched the Monty Python concert film, "Not the Messiah", which was very funny.

I went to the grocery store down the street from the lot, and when I returned to my trailer I discovered that I had left the one item I really needed at the counter. I had to go all the way back to retrieve it.

We had a full first show with a great audience. After the show I met a boy named Ben that became inspired to be a clown after seeing me and Ryan perform last year. That kind of good news was exactly what I needed to pick up my spirits and remind me why I do this job.

The second show was full, and after it was over I attended a big BBQ with guests, Les Kimes, aka "Cousin Grumpy", and his son.


On Wednesday we had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 54 mile jump to Norwich. We were on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.

Ryan and I went to Wal Mart to buy fabric for the costumes we are making for the show, and then we had lunch at a deli downtown.
After dropping Ryan off at the lot I picked up my laundry and went back into town to wash it.

Both shows were almost full, and it started raining, which cooled everything off.


On Thursday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 35 mile jump to Oriskany Falls. We were playing on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.
Ryan did most of the work on the show's popcorn box costume this morning. Now we only have to do some touch up work on it and then finish the soda cup costume.

We had split shows today, with the first one at 2:00 p.m.; there was an average sized crowd. I decided to stay in make up between shows.
There was a decent sized crowd for the second show.


On Friday we had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 57 mile jump to Cobleskill, NY. We were playing on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.

Ryan and I went shopping at a hardware store and Wal Mart, and then we practiced water spitting back at the lot. Ryan's nephew, Argio, saw us and wanted to come help.
Unfortunately the big carafe we were using was a little more than he could handle:

video

Ryan and I explored downtown a bit where we found a great book store and a comic book shop. We talked with the owner of the comic shop for awhile; it has been quite some time since I was interested in comics, so I had a lot of catching up to do as far as information goes.

We had a small crowd for the first show, and they were one dead audience. Luckily there was a good sized crowd for the second show.
It poured down rain at the start of the second performance, but it was done by the time the tiger act finished.

After the shows Ryan and I went to Mr. North's RV to talk about next year. We spent about five minutes talking business and then about an hour and a half swapping stories and talking about circuses. It was a lot of fun.
The offer to return for 2011 is on the table, but we don't have to tell Mr. North our decision for another month or so.

July 25-Rock Creek, OH
July 26-Willowick, OH


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July 9-11: North Creek, NY, Speculator, NY, and Fonda, NY-2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., 2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., and 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

On Friday we had a 5:30 a.m. call for our 68 mile jump to North Creek. We were playing on a grass lot at the base of a ski slope. It was an overcast day, and it was a bit cooler than the past several days, but it was still humid.

Brad Zupp and Beth Lawrence, married clown friends of mine, took me tubing before the first show.
Their friend has a house right alongside the Hudson River, so we borrowed a tube and life jacket for me to use, and we traversed the rocky rapids twice before going to lunch in town.

We had split shows today, the first at 2:00 p.m., and there was a decent sized crowd. After I had cleaned up, Brad and Beth took me to an alpaca farm outside of town.



We visited with the female and baby alpacas and then saw the gift shop where there were all manner of clothing items woven out of alpaca fur.

Brad and Beth dropped me off in town where I enjoyed coffee and pie at a cafe before heading back to get ready for the night show.
The 7:30 p.m. show was full and had a great audience.


On Saturday we had a 6:30 p.m. call for our 34 mile jump to Speculator. We were playing on a grass lot and it was an overcast, cool day.

Dan Reynolds and I had breakfast at the diner across the street. Upon further exploration of town I found an auto parts store where I got an adaptor for my trailer lights. After Castro worked his electrical magic, I had brake lights and turn signals on my trailer again (after going without them for almost two weeks!).

We did good business for both shows today. My friends, Dave and Cherie Gregg, came to visit, and they joined our crew for dinner at a Chinese restaurant down the street after we were done working.


On Sunday we had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 55 mile jump to Fonda. I was overjoyed that there were dump stations on the lot since my tank was almost full.
When I went to empty the tank, I noticed that my handle had broken off and I had no way to dump!
I had to run to the lot, borrow a pair of needle nose pliers from Casey, and then run back to dump the tank.
We were playing on a grass and rock lot and it was a sunny day.

Carla left this morning to go back to Australia. I was glad I got to say goodbye before she was taken to the airport.

Ryan and Tatiana got back this morning from their trip to Oklahoma City. The good news is that Tatiana was approved for her green card.
They showed up right before the first show, but Ryan had to leave again to drop off the rental car. He arrived again after the second show had already started, so once again I was flying solo.

There was a good sized crowd for the first show, and an average sized crowd for the second. I did not enjoy falling on rocks in the chair gag.

After the shows there was a big birthday party for Tommy "Flaco" Poema, who turned four.

July 21-Girard, PA
July 22 and 23-Middlefield, OH
July 24-Conneaut, OH

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July 5-8: Copake, NY, Chatham, NY, Berlin, NY, Granville, NY-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

On Monday we had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 42 mile jump to Copake. We were playing on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.
I had breakfast at the Copake Diner, which I had enjoyed last year.
NY was experiencing a heat wave, so it was incredibly hot and humid today. I sweated like a fat kid on Easter just sitting in my trailer!

We had good business for the first show, despite the heat. A bee attacked me during the show; ironically it was during the exterminator gag when I was firing the shotgun at the beehive.

We had a decent sized crowd for the second show. Ryan went loopy from the heat and was an endless source of amusement both in the ring and backstage.


On Tuesday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 26 mile jump to Chatham, NY. We were on a grass lot and it was another sunny, incredibly hot and humid day.

Ryan and I drove a long way to find a Wal Mart that was open. Our trip was in vain though, since there was no fabric department at the store we found. We did pick up supplies we needed at the Lowe's next door.
Before going back to the lot, we explored downtown Chatham and went to the grocery store.

There was a small crowd for the first show. Stephanie Monseu from Bindelstiff Family Circus, and Dave Cox and Pat Ferri from the comedy duo, Those Two Guys, were in the audience and we all chatted for a bit afterwards.
There was a decent sized crowd for the second show, but it was an off show for me. I just couldn't do things to my satisfaction.


On Wednesday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 33 mile jump to Berlin. We were playing on a grass lot and it was another sunny, incredibly hot day.

Ryan and Tatiana left this morning to drive to Oklahoma City to deal with green card business.
Since I was solo clowning for five days, changes to the show obviously had to be made. I planned on doing opening and tiger chase by myself, doing a chair gag in place of the table act, and one walkaround instead of two (I opted to do Ryan's rabbit walkaround since it is the funnier of the two, and I wanted to do something different).
I offered a gag to replace the exterminator gag in the second half, but John Moss said that it wasn't necessary.

I had to make changes to some music for opening and walkarounds, and Vicky and I had a devil of a time getting the tracks from my computer to be readable on her computer. It was way too much hassle for a minute and a half of music changes!

There was a small crowd for the first show; it was roasting in the tent and the audience was not having fun.
I felt like a total failure after the chair gag and considered hanging up my red nose and getting a job at Wal Mart.
Not only did I die a comedic death, I nearly died from heat stroke (note to self, doing a chair gag as a 1950s greaser, complete with leather jacket, is NOT a good idea when in the middle of a heat wave).

Luckily we had a good crowd for the second show and I redeemed myself in all of the gags. I had a fan family sitting in the box seats that I played with the whole show.


On Thursday we had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 55 mile jump to Granville, NY. We were on a grass lot and it was ANOTHER sunny, incredibly hot day.

We did good business at the first show and the second show was almost full; the audience was great as well.
I have ironed out a lot of the kinks in the chair gag, and it was going very well today.

July 17-Southwood, NY
July 18-Cortland, NY
July 19-Travel Day

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

July 3-4: Dalton, MA-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. & 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

On Saturday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 38 mile jump to Dalton. We were playing on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.

The Waynce McCary CFA tent had coffee and donuts for us at the entrance to the lot, and at 11:00 a.m. they had a luncheon for the show at the VFW building next to the lot.

The first show today was full, and the second show had good attendance. After we were done working we had the show's 4th of July BBQ, which was a lot of fun.
My favorite part (besides stuffing my face), was playing the games; the most fun had to be the pie eating contest.



(Photos courtesy of Radar)

The winner of the pie eating contest was one of the skinniest guys on the show, Martin, Delena's boyfriend.


On Sunday Ryan's cousins, Gabby and Patricia, Patricia's husband and their children, Genevieve and Odin, as well as Ryan's paternal grandparents, came to visit.

Both shows today had average attendance. In the first show, when we took the mats off the table for the diner act, we discovered that the table top was completely soaked, which in turn made the mats and menu drenched.
We spent the whole beginning of the gag drying everything as best we could while still doing our regular bits.
We're not sure how it happened, but it sure was a pain!

The DVDs of our show arrived today. Ryan and I watched his copy, and I was appalled at how bad my performance was for the gags. In the exterminator gag especially, both of us looked so bored and unenthusiastic. Yes, the crowds in Rhode Island weren't the greatest, but I always try and give my best performance. I was shocked to see what my "best" looked like.
We both made sure to really put our all into the acts for the rest of the day.

Chris Hamblen was visiting with some friends, after bringing one of his trucks to the show to replace the broken generator truck.
We had a big BBQ tonight with them, and we were treated to a great fireworks show put on by a nearby town.

July 14-Norwich, NY
July 15-Oriskany Falls, NY
July 16-Cobleskill, NY


Monday, July 5, 2010

June 29-July 2: Merrimac, MA, Lancaster, MA, Townsend, MA, & Northampton, MA-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

On Tuesday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 17 mile jump to Merrimac. We were on a grass and dirt lot, and it was very bumpy; still, things were better than last year, when the lot was a mud pit.

Ryan and I spent the day watching movies until show time. We did good business for both shows, but the ring got very dusty.

Ryan was late for the first jukebox gag, but luckily I didn't have to cover for too long before he showed up. On the plus side, it gave us a new idea for the opening to the gag.


On Wednesday we had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 53 mile jump to Lancaster. We were on a dirt and rock lot; oh joy!
I had a jungle in front of my trailer door, but by the end of the day I had beaten down a walking path.

The main generator was dead and being repaired, so everything was being run off of the secondary generator. Because of that, we were asked not to run AC (not a problem for me, mine doesn't work).
Usually when a request such as that is made, the temperature would be in the triple digits, but we lucked out and it was a cool day with no humidity.

Ryan's uncle Kevin came to visit today, and he watched the first show along with Ryan's maternal grandmother and great grandmother.
More of Ryan's family showed up for the second show: his uncle, Andrew and his cousin, Kevin, both from his father's side of the family.

Both shows had average attendance, and once again dust covered everything in the ring. To top it all off, Ryan and I were falling on rocks.
Pointy ones!


On Thursday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 18 mile jump to Townsend. We were playing on a grass lot and it was a nice day.

I ran errands today: I went to laundry, and I stopped by Wal Mart to get a new adaptor so my trailer can have tail lights again (I forgot to plug mine in the other morning and the adaptor got lost on the jump).
Unfortunately I bought the wrong parts and will have to make a return at the next Wal Mart we run across.

Both shows were full tonight. John Moss was approached by two teenage girls after the first show who professed to be our biggest fans. They went on to tell him how much they loved us and how much they wanted to meet us.
John told them, "I hate to be the one to tell you this, but one of them is married."
The bolder of the two girls replied, "That's ok. We'll share the other one."

Oh dear!


On Friday we had a 5:30 a.m. call for our 85 mile jump to Northampton. We were playing on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.

Ryan and I spent some time today working on some costumes that we promised to make for the show; we have procrastinated for a long time and we need to get them done.

Both shows today had small crowds. Rob Balchunas, aka Rob the Balloon Guy, and his friend, Cate, came to see the second show.
They got to see us almost meet an untimely end in the table act. The legs of the table have been leaving marks on the new ring mat, so it was suggested to us that we put blocks under the legs.
We did, and the table was so off balance that I was sure one of the three of us doing the act was going to take a nasty spill.

July 8-Granville, NY
July 9-North Creek, NY
July 10-Speculator, NY

Saturday, July 3, 2010

June 27-28: N. Andover, MA-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. & 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

On Sunday we had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 53 mile jump to N. Andover. We were playing on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.
Ryan and I spent the morning making squibs while watching Child's Play 3.

There was a decent sized crowd for the first show; our table act was quite interesting. Ryan tripped over the ring mat while carrying the table in and wiped out. Then at the end of the act, I couldn't rip Delena's dress off to save my life. It was very awkward and reminiscent of past bad dates....

Anywho....

There was an average sized crowd for the second show. A jerk sitting front row center had his feet up on the bally cloth almost the entire performance.
When I was strutting around in the exterminator gag, I smacked his shoes off the cloth. He smirked and gave me attitude by putting them right back up.
Being the subtle performer that I am, I picked up a section of ring curb and "warned" him to take them down again.

Backstage we found out that almost everyone in the second half had been aggravated by the guy's lack of class. The Poemas made sport of it during their act, but it finally took Armando getting an elephant up close and personal to drive the point home.
The man moved back a row, but for finale he was right back in front, smiling and waving at everyone with his feet up.
At least he thought it was funny.

A big group of us went into Boston to go on a ghost tour. Part of the tour took place on a trolley, and the rest was a walking tour.
There was some interesting historical information that we learned, but some of the guides' high school theatrics were a little too much to bear.


On Monday, St. Michael's Church, where circus chaplain, Father Jerry Hogan, presides, had the show over for a luncheon.
I walked since it was just a mile up the street from the lot.

We had average sized crowds for the two shows. Ryan's friend, Lucky Bob came to the second show. That was the highlight of a pretty dismal performance.

An update on Tatiana's pregnancy, she is around 3 months along and the baby is doing fine. The baby's sex is not yet known.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

June 26: Mendon, MA-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

On Saturday we had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 49 mile jump to Mendon. We were on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.
The lot was split in half by a tree line; luckily I was one of the trailers on the same side as the tent.

We had a 3/4 full first show. When Ryan and I were carrying out the table for the diner gag two of the legs fell off. Ryan told me to leave the table, but I misunderstood him.
My thinking was that we would get the table in the ring, the prop guys could help us put the legs on, and then we could carry on.
My logic was sound, except for the fact that the ring was very uneven. Ryan wanted to ditch the table and then improvise a gag in the ring until the next act was ready.

We carried the table in, the prop guys helped us get the legs on, and then we started the act. As we were doing the opening part of the act where we wipe down the table top, Ryan was testing the legs' sturdiness by pressing down on different parts of the table.
When he was pressing down, the uneven ground was causing the table top to lift up, which would eventually make the loose legs fall off.
He didn't want us to start doing all our schtick on top of the table and then have it collapse from underneath us.
As Delena was coming out Ryan told me to end the gag after she hit us with the purse. It was very difficult trying to plan a course of action while doing the act and trying to communicate the plan among three people.
Needless to say, it was a mess and we pretty much bailed ship in front of the crowd. There was a very awkward transition where we tried to alert everyone backstage of our problem so the next act could go on; I'm sure from the audience standpoint it looked awful.

We could make a million excuses, but the fact is, it was our fault. We should have checked the table legs in the morning to prevent such a mishap. Furthermore we could have handled the situation a lot better to make the show run more smoothly.
But we didn't. We panicked. We screwed up. That is live entertainment for you.
At least now we have several back up plans in case a similar situation occurs.

Our friends, Dave and Cherie Gregg, and their friend, Steve, came to see the second show, which was almost full. Ryan's dad and brother also came to visit.
After we were done with work Ryan, Tatiana, and I went to Ryan's dad's girlfriend's house to have a cook out.
Bonnie and Chris have an awesome home complete with chickens, vegetable gardens, and beehives! I even got some homemade honey to take back to my trailer.

July 5-Coapke, NY
July 6-Chatham, NY
July 7-Berlin, NY