Sunday, August 29, 2010

August 16-20: Frankenmuth, MI, Pt. Austin, MI, Reese, MI, Houghton Lake, MI, & Indian River, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

On Monday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 26 mile jump to Frankenmuth. We were on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.

I went across the street from the lot to the ghetto laundromat; a few other people from the show beat me to it, so between that and all of their out of order machinery, I ended up having to use one of the large industrial washers that took over an hour to complete a full cycle. I even had to go back to my trailer to get more quarters because the machines were ridiculously expensive AND their change machine was broken.

Since I had a lot of time to kill while my clothes washed, I went to get coffee. I still had to wait for awhile when I got back before they were done, and then the dryers took forever as well.
After three hours had elapsed I finally gave up and left, even though my clothes weren't completely dry.

I had a great German lunch at the Bavarian Inn, and then I went to get a crepe and met up with Nikki, who had the same idea.
I topped off my day in Frankenmuth with a visit to Bronner's, the world's largest Christmas store, where I bought some more Bumble ornaments.

It was a nice day today; it wasn't humid at all. We had an average sized crowd for the first show, and a decent turn out for the second.

For the second jukebox gag, Ryan wore a big butt that he has been making. He had everybody cracking up with all of his funny movements and extra butt shaking.

On Tuesday we had a 5:30 a.m. call for our 87 mile jump to Pt. Austin. We were on a grass lot and it was a cool, sunny day.

Ryan started working on some of our new gag costumes today. We had average attendance for both shows; nothing exciting to report.

On Wednesday we had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 69 mile jump to Reese. We were on a grass lot and it was a cool morning.

Daniel, who is making a documentary on American circus clowns, and his cameraman, Paul, came out today to shoot footage of me and Ryan.
He interviewed us both in the tent, and then he filmed us getting into makeup and doing the two shows.

We had an average sized crowd for the first show and a decent sized crowd for the second show. It would have been nice if they had been more responsive for the documentary filming, but that seems to be how it goes!

On Thursday we had a 5:30 a.m. call for our 100 mile jump to Houghton Lake. Even though it was the longest jump we have had in awhile, it was actually a piece of cake.
We were on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.

The amusement park down the street from us was open today, but I didn't end up going (a decision I regretted later).
There was actually a lot I could have accomplished today, but I was just too lazy and apathetic. I resolved to stop being like that after being so disgusted with myself.

We did decent business for the two shows; Radar made his debut as a tiger trainer. He did very well and we were all proud of him.

Ryan and I made a small change to the table act that made a world of difference to the flow of the gag.

On Friday we had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 85 mile jump to Indian River. We were on a grass lot and it was an overcast day.

We did good business for the first show and there was a decent crowd for the second show.

A storm was blowing in during the second show, so we tried to get the second half over with as quickly as possible. Unfortunately everything hit right before the bee gag. I hate having to rush our acts, but when the elephants are in the back curtain ready to go on, and they are getting freaked out by the storm, I guess we don't have much of a choice.

August 30-Winamac, IN
August 31-Burnettsville, IN
September 1-Watseka, IL

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

August 14-15: Holly, MI & Flushing, MI-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 36 mile jump to Holly. We were on a grass lot and it was an overcast day.
I knew we were in for fun when a snake was found in the grass shortly after I was parked.

We had good business for both shows, even though it was humid. There was a lady in the front row during the first exterminator gag that was loudly exclaiming, "OH!" after every single bit in our gag.
Soon Ryan and I couldn't stop laughing, especially when we started saying it to each other every free chance we had.

There was a lady in the second show that I had been flirting with since the exterminator gag, and in finale I followed up on it by telling her to call me again.
She held up her hand and pointed to her wedding ring; undeterred, I motioned for her to throw the ring away and then call me.

After the shows a circus fan drove me, Casey, Radar, and Nikki to the Holly Hotel, site of Brawl Alley. Back in the late 1800s, when a circus was in town, a big fight broke out outside of the Hotel. Two towners were killed, and everyone involved in the fight, including most of the circus people, ended up going to jail.
(Side note: There was even more circus history revolving around Holly. James A. Bailey's brother, had a mansion in town)

We had appetizers and drinks at the swank Holly Hotel, and then we went next door to another bar where we discovered that they had karaoke.

I sang, "New York, New York" and "Bohemian Rhapsody", the latter on a $1 bet from Radar, and Radar popped his karaoke cherry by singing the Eagles' "Lyin' Eyes".
We were going to sing more, but the guy running the sound system was a tool and kept conveniently "losing" our song slips and letting the locals sing multiple songs in a row ahead of us.
That's ok; we will get to sing karaoke some other day; he'll always be a tool (especially with his stupid pony tail).

On Sunday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 27 mile jump to Flushing. We were on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.
I found an awesome bakery up the street from the lot where I enjoyed a cup of coffee and a pastry before work.

We had an average sized crowd for the first show, and decent business for the second show.

There was a big BBQ after the shows because Tavana's mother and one of her sons were visiting.

August 26-Benton Harbor, MI
August 27-Edwardsburg, MI
August 28-Middlebury, IN

Friday, August 20, 2010

August 9-13: Wixom, MI, Plymouth, MI, Redford, MI, Ypsilanti, MI, & Fowlerville, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

On Monday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 45 mile jump to Wixom. We were on a grass lot and it was an overcast day.
It rained a bit later in the morning, but it was very humid for the rest of the day.

Natalie's friend, Rick, was visiting us today; he brought us all kinds of goodies to enjoy.

We had a 3/4 full first show, and Ryan and I got good laughs for the exterminator gag. The second show was almost full, but response wise, the first crowd was better.

On Tuesday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 19 mile jump to Plymouth. We were on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.
Ryan and I borrowed the show's van to go to Hobby Lobby; we bought fabric for gag costumes.

Plymouth had a great downtown, and I spent some time walking around and exploring during the afternoon.

Both shows were full; we made minor changes to the exterminator gag to enhance the flow of action.

Natalie's friend, Carol Thompson, visited today and brought us her delicious stuffed cabbage rolls to enjoy at the BBQ. She also brought us a game called "Sh*t Head", where the players wear skull caps equipped with velcro. They then throw pieces of "sh*t" at each other's velcro covered heads. Each area of the skull cap is marked with different points.
We had a lot of fun playing, although the game naturally degenerated into us pegging each other with faux feces.
I was sorry that I didn't get to thank Carol in person for the gifts.

On Wednesday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 11 mile jump to Redford. We were playing on a grass lot and it was an overcast day.

I helped Ryan latex some of our new props until two of my fans showed up. Emily and Elizabeth, self proclaimed "clown groupies", came to visit with me before the shows. They left during the first show and then came back to watch the second one.

The first show was 3/4 full. A little boy in the front row was wetting himself with a spray bottle when I was in front of him during the web number.
I got him to spray me in the mouth, and then under each arm pit. When I went to give him a high five, he sprayed me in my palm! It was a nice bit and got a good laugh from the folks sitting around him.

In the exterminator gag, when Ryan fell from the beehive, he was only able to get one hand through the loop at the end of the bungee. I noticed something was different as he was plummeting to the ground.
Luckily on his first bounce back up he was able to grab onto the loop with his other hand before he lost his grip.

The second show was almost full, and Ryan and I had a great performance. I'm glad it is a show that my "groupies" got to see.

On Thursday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 27 mile jump to Ypsilanti. We were on a grass lot and it was an overcast day. Did I mention we were in the ghetto?
Ypsilanti has a great downtown by the lot we usually play (it was apparently under water this year), and we actually weren't too far away, but I did not want to leave the lot.

We had an average sized house for the first show. It was difficult to work because of the humidity and the extremely uneven ground.

The table had been out in the rain this morning, so Ryan had put some baby powder on it before the show to ensure its slickness. He did a good job...maybe TOO good a job.
We were all about to kill ourselves on the treacherous table top; anything that happened on top of the table was slowed down considerably. Despite that, Ryan ended up busting his butt twice.

We had an almost full second show. Some cops around the lot told folks that we were stupid for staying after the shows. Their advice was to get out. Since that wasn't in the cards, their next best advice was to lock everything up and not leave the lot.

Armed with this knowledge, I went into finale, and during our final style, I implored the cheering crowd, "Please don't rob us tonight!"

The America's Own crew had our regular BBQ; Casey wasn't about to let a little danger ruin our fun.
As we were packing it in for the night, I went into my trailer and locked the door behind me. No sooner had I done that than I heard a gunshot. Heroically I threw myself on the floor and considered staying there until the morning.
Finally I decided that it was safe to get up, and after making peace with all of my loved ones, I went to sleep.

On Friday we had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 47 mile jump to Fowlerville. Many of us were extremely happy that there was a dump station at the lot.
We were also very happy that no one was killed and nothing was stolen during the night. Well, nothing was stolen except for a few duck eggs out of my kennel. The "yolk" was on the thieves though, those eggs must have been way past rotten anyway!

We were playing on a grass lot and it was a sunny day. My self proclaimed "clown groupies", Emily and Elizabeth, came back to visit again, and they brought their friend, Kitleigh.
We all went out to lunch, and then they were nice enough to take me to Wal Mart and a book store at the outlet mall.

It was another excruciatingly humid day. Despite that, we did good business for the first show and we had an almost full second show.

August 21-Mancelona, MI
August 22-Mesick, MI
August 23-Howard City, MI

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

August 7-8: Brooklyn, MI & Stockbridge, MI-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 53 mile jump to Brooklyn, MI. We were playing on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.

Dan and I went to have breakfast once we got to the lot, and then Ryan and I pained one of our new props.

We had decent business for our two shows. During the second tiger chase, I noticed that extra time was needed to get the tiger arena out of the tent. While Ryan and I were dejectedly walking away from John Moss I kicked a section of ring curb like usual. It turned out to be the broken one, and I kicked it with a little more power than usual, so it turned over and landed out of line with the rest of the curbs.

I saw this as an opportunity to stretch out the chase, so as we were leaving the tent I awkwardly picked up the ring curb (there wasn't much acting involved...ever tried to pick something big up in a mascot costume?) and spent some time fumbling it back into place.

I took a break from the BBQ after the shows and just relaxed at home.

On Sunday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 30 mile jump to Stockbridge. I had trouble getting my engine to turn over before the jump, a problem that had been intensifying for the past few days.

Castro gave the engine a shot of ether to get it going, and he diagnosed the problem; I needed new glow plugs.

We were playing on a grass lot in Stockbridge, and it was a sunny day. I had breakfast once again with Dan, and when I got back to the lot, I found that Danny had picked up eight new glow plugs for my truck. Castro switched them out during the shows.

Ryan and I finished up the new prop we have been working on; time to move onto the next project.

The first show had decent attendance, but they did leave one seat wagon out of the tent, so it was a smaller crowd than it appeared to be.

The second show's crowd was average sized, and they were miserable. Not a good way to end the day.

August 18-Reese, MI

August 19-Houghton Lake, MI

Saturday, August 14, 2010

August 2-6: Kelley's Island, OH, Gibsonburg, OH, Point Place, OH & Sylvania, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Monday & Tuesday)

On Monday I woke up early and went to have coffee with Ryan. I then went to the beach with the Fuscos for awhile; afterwards Mr. Fusco, Ryan, Tatiana, and I had lunch.

Both shows today were packed; I was burnt out from all of the time I had spent in the sun.

Ralph laid her first egg; I do not believe it is fertilized though, since she wasn't doing anything to protect it.

At the end of the second show I was leaving the tent when Adrian told me that the cops were at Casey's looking for me.
Sure enough, there was a police vehicle parked in the back yard, and the two officers that pulled us over last night were talking to Casey by the tigers.
Luckily they just wanted to get pictures of the cats; Adrian had me going for a moment though.

While he was taking to the cops, Casey apologized for them having to come out for the noise complaint last night. The head officer said that it wasn't that big of a deal.
The only thing that irked them was when I "tried to get away". Whoops; I guess I am more of a "bad boy" than I thought I was.

After the shows Casey, Natalie, Nikki, Sarah and I went to a few bars. Casey kept buying me shots of coffee flavored vodka that were kicking my butt.
At one of the bars I hung out with a cool family: a woman, her husband, and the woman's parents. The parents had seen the afternoon show, and all of us found plenty to talk about.

To top off the evening Ryan and I drove around the island to enjoy the scenery one last time.

On Tuesday I slept in a bit and then met up with some fans that I made last year on the Island. We met at the beach, but the weather was overcast, so we didn't stay there very long.

We went to the quarry, where we followed a little nature trail (and blazed a trail of our own) and ended up on the other side of the quarry. It was a neat experience that I hadn't done last year.

After leaving my fans, I dropped off my golf cart and returned to the lot to get ready for the shows.

We did good business today, but not as good as yesterday; it was very humid. My fans and their family came to the second show.

After the shows I got everything loaded up and headed to the ferry; I was lucky enough to get on the second boat to the mainland.
It was a 39 mile jump to Gibsonburg; I arrived at midnight. I was starving and went into town to find something to eat, but I couldn't even find a gas station that was open.

On Wednesday it was incredibly hot and humid. I went and had coffee and breakfast with Dan, and then I went back to my trailer to sweat the day out.
It did rain a bit, but it didn't help cool the temperature down very much.

We had a small first crowd and a slightly bigger second crowd. I wish I could say something nice about them, but both audiences were absolutely miserable for the entire show.

I heard that during the second show a lot of people went out at Intermission and wanted refunds because it was "too hot in the tent". Try working in it!
It must not have been too bad if they were able to sit through the hour long first half before wanting their money back.

On Thursday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 30 mile jump to Point Place. We were on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.
There were a ton of people on the lot to watch set up; I got quite a chuckle when a little boy with a mullet was making fun of my ducks' "hair".

Ryan and I walked into town and did some shopping for prop building materials before the shows.

Both performances were packed; we knew coming into town that we were going to do good business. What a nice feeling.

On Friday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 19 mile jump to Sylvania. We were on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.

I pulled off the lot so Ryan and I could go shopping. We went to Lowe's and bought more materials for prop building.

After dropping Ryan and the supplies off at the lot I went back out to do laundry. I also got a hair cut and went grocery shopping. It was a very productive day.

Ryan spent all day constructing one of our new props, so I helped put primer on it when I got back to the lot.

We had an almost full first show, and a full second show. I treated the A.O. crew to sushi for tonight's cookout.

August 15-Flushing, MI
August 16-Frankenmuth, MI
August 17-Pt. Austin, MI

Thursday, August 12, 2010

July 31-August 1: Richfield, OH & Clyde, OH-2:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. & 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

On Saturday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 15 mile jump to Richfield. We were on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.
To pass the time in the morning, Ryan and I made squibs.

We had three shows today since a third had to be added last year, due to turn away business. Luckily there was a good turn out and the shows flew by.

We had a full first show, an almost full second show, and there was good business for the third show.
Rich Deptula and David Powell visited during the day.

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

We had average sized crowds. I had no energy for the shows; the three yesterday finally caught up with me.

There was no finale for the second show to get people on the ferry to Kelley's Island as quickly as possible. I was leaving the lot before the show was even over; it was wonderful!

We had a 30 mile jump to get to the ferry, and when I arrived they waved me right on the first boat, even though there were others who had arrived before me.

After we were parked at the lot, Casey took me, Ryan, Adrian, and Armando to rent our golf carts. After that a lot of folks had dinner at the Village Pump.
Ryan, Tatiana, Casey, Radar, Nikki, and I moved to the martini bar down the street for more drinks, and then we went tooling around on our golf carts.
I guess we made a little too much noise while driving around by the state park and beach, because the cops were called and they pulled us over.
Well, they pulled my friends over....I was at the head of the pack, in my own little world, and didn't even notice that they had been stopped until I finally looked back and didn't see anyone.

I called Casey, and he told me what had happened. As I was talking to him, I looked up in my rearview mirror and saw flashing police lights.
I quickly hung up and pulled over to the side of the road.

As smoothly (and soberly) as I could, I greeted the officers and asked them how they were doing.
They opened with, "Did you not see us pull your friends over back there."
"No sir," I innocently replied.
"Then how do you know they were your friends that we pulled over?", he cleverly countered.
I explained how they must have been my friends because I was out with folks on golf carts and had lost them.
"Do you see my lights now?", he sternly asked.
He then inquired if I wanted to go to jail, which sobered me up P.D.Q. I told him that I would rather not, and then he asked for my license.

By this point I was so frazzled and nervous that I accidentally handed the officer my credit card instead of my ID.
He jokingly asked if he could keep the Mastercard; I replied that I might need it later on.
The officer then informed me that they had been woken up to respond to a noise complaint and that I needed to head back to the circus or I'd be spending the night in jail.

With my tail between my legs, I drove back to the lot and crawled into bed. Everyone else went to have some more drinks, but my fun had been shot for the evening.

August 14-Holly, MI
August 15-Flushing, MI
August 16-Frankenmuth, MI

Thursday, August 5, 2010

July 26-30: Willowick, OH, Kinsman, OH, Windham, OH, Massillon, OH, & Sagamore Hills, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

On Monday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 30 mile jump to Willowick. We were playing on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.
After unloading our props, I was jonesing for a cup of coffee and a danish, so I walked to the coffee shop near the lot...only to find that it was closed on Mondays. Lame!

We got a surprise visit from some clown friends today: Joey, Jamie, and Tyler Thurmond as well as Adam Rakestraw, of Nojoe's Clown Circus, and Jeffery and Zach Potts. Jeff helped us make our beehive prop for this year.

(photo courtesy of the Thurmonds)
(photo courtesy of Jeff Potts)

They took us to the magic shop in town, and then we went down to Lake Eerie where I attempted to learn to skip stones.
Not having much luck at that, I decided to blame the Canadians across the lake.

We had an almost full first show and a full second show. Those crowds plus our friends visiting made for a good day.

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

I needed to do laundry, and of course the laundromat just down the street had been closed since December, so I had to drive 12 miles away to wash my clothes.

Back at the lot everyone in the web act had a rehearsal. We web setters were done after one run through, so Ryan and I went to check out the huge book/general store in downtown.
I couldn't believe the amount of books the owner had accumulated; after awhile I had to stop looking to avoid a headache.

We had a decent sized crowd for the first show. As we were setting the rigging for the exterminator gag I noticed that the bungee that runs through the beehive had come unattached; I prevented Ryan's untimely death by hooking it back to the crane bar.

We had a full second show. Jimmy and Teppa Hall came for a visit; I was waiting to hear what we were doing wrong from Jimmy and was very surprised that he had nothing negative to say.

On Wednesday we had a 6:30 a.m. call for our 33 mile jump to Windham. We were on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.
The front wheels of the exterminator cart have been broken for a few days, and when we asked Casey to fix the welding this morning he informed us that it was past repair.

I drove 17 miles away to a TSC so I could buy a replacement cart. When I got there I had bad cell service and my phone's battery was about to die.
Since I needed to conserve battery life to use my GPS to get back to Windham, and since I couldn't get ahold of Ryan for measurements, I ended up buying a cart that was too small!
I was not a happy camper when I returned to the lot.
At least while I was out I got a slow leak in one of my truck tires plugged.

We had good attendance for the first show. It was incredibly humid outside, so it really wasn't a surprise that it stormed at the start of the second show, which was almost full.

On Thursday we had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 66 mile jump to Massillon. We were playing on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.

I had breakfast with Dale Smith, aka Herky the Clown, and his family. Herky was a clown on Kelly Miller in 1988 and helps promote the show when it is in town.

Circus model builder, Tom Persell, gave me, Herky, and another circus model builder, Wylie Irwin, a ride to a circus exhibit on display at the Massillon Museum. There were dioramas of an Australian circus, circus pictures and artwork, and even a model circus.
After that Wylie gave me and Herky a ride to TSC so I could return the cart that I bought yesterday and get the correct size.
Radar was nice enough to help me and Ryan assemble it once we got back to the lot.

Jeff Potts and his sons, Josh and Zach, came to visit and hang out before the shows. Jeff even helped Ryan in the latexing of one of our new props.

Both shows today were almost full. David Powell came by to visit and brought me and Ryan an apple pie.
Herky was around doing meet and greet inside and outside the tent during both shows, so I visited with him whenever I could.
Jeff Potts also hung out all day, and he had dinner with me, Ryan, and Tatiana after the shows.

On Friday we had a 6:00 a.m. call for our 46 mile jump to Sagamore Hills. We were on a grass lot and it was a sunny day.

I was bushed from my busy day yesterday, so I ended up sleeping into the afternoon.

We had an almost full first show. There was a couple sitting in the front row talking to each other the entire performance. I couldn't help focusing on them whenever I was in the ring, and it frustrated me so much that it ruined the show for me.
Luckily we had a full second show and circus fan, Doug Kreust, was nice enough to visit and bring the everyone ice cream!

August 11-Redford, MI
August 12-Ypsilanti, MI
August 13-Fowlerville, MI