Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Side Wallin'

Tuesday, August 16: Westland, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 10

Lot: City Hall Grounds

On this morning's route slip it said, "Follow arrows to a difficult lot". Boy, they weren't kidding!

Everybody was jammed onto a tiny parking lot right next to city hall. There were no other areas to spread out into; most of the parking lots were reserved for city workers, and the only other open space was taken up by a farmer's market. As luck would have it, we were playing Westland on the ONE day of the week that they were set up!

There was not enough room to set up the tent, so the decision was made that we would be side walling it. That means that the side tent flaps would all be set up to create a performance space, there just wouldn't be a top.

As luck would have it, I was one of the few vehicles with access to leave the lot, and since there was a lot of cool stuff to do in town, I decided to unhook and explore.

When I came back to the lot, a motor home had been moved in front of my trailer, so I was blocked from hooking up.

Even though I had been gone for an hour, vehicles were still being moved around in the tight space, and Valerie was still waiting to park her motorhome.

While we were waiting for directions, the local Barney Fife sauntered over and started giving us grief for blocking an important driveway.

I quickly became frustrated by the situation, and rather than have Barney use his one bullet on me, I did a 30 point turn and went to park at Kroger across the street until everything settled down.

A little later I found out that show vehicles could park in the rec center parking lot, so I moved there to avoid being towed from Kroger's.

As I got back to my trailer, Hugo apologized for blocking my access to the trailer with his RV. He said that once he was done setting up the side walls he would move so I could hook back up.

What a nice guy!

Since my truck was out anyway and I had time to kill, I decided to go back into town to do some more exploring.

When I came back I got my truck hooked up to my trailer, and then I walked to Culver's for some delicious butter burger-y goodness.

When I got back to my trailer I was feeling pretty lousy; I got too much sun this morning and didn't keep properly hydrated.

I popped some Ibuprofen for my headache, downed a lot of water, and laid down for awhile. When I got up I felt much better.

This morning when I saw all the trouble that the show was going to for one date, I asked, "Is this all worth it?"

I was told that the advance sale was great, and come show time we found out that it definitely was worth it.

The first show was almost full, and the second show was full. That would have been a lot of refunded tickets!

And as they say, "The show must go on!"

(I wanted to punch myself when I wrote that)

Working with no top was definitely an interesting experience. It leant a completely different atmosphere to the whole show; not one I cared for as much, but I am glad to say I did it.

It was amazing to me how much the big top helps with the music; in the open air it was almost like there was a sound vacuum in the ring.

Since there was no top, there were no aerial acts and no fire breathing. Fridman brought out his rola bola to replace his loop walk act.

We were very lucky that the weather was beautiful today (which has been the norm for the season); today could have been a lot worse!

(photo by Nikki Ogle)

After the shows I went to Kroger to pick up a few things since it was right across the street and open until midnight.


Arts in the Family said...

What an experience! It sure is different out in the open when you perform but just think about it this way: if you can make them laugh under those conditions you can do it anywhere.

Best to all,
Alberto Ramirez Jr.

Circus Photos said...

I know how it feel. When I was on C&M we did a open air show. You are lucky you had good weather, when we did it we had a bad sand storm in NM. I pick sand out of my teeth and bed for week.

Anonymous said...

Tommy Bentley (of Bentley Bros Circus) told me "the show must go on" one time in the mountains outside Santa Fe, New Mexico when it was snowing (!) just before show time in an outdoor rodeo arena. When I asked him why, he replied,"for God's sake, Mary (he called everyone 'Mary')! If it doesn't, you have to give the money back!!!

Bruce the Clown

The Old Timer said...

Thanks, Steve, for such excellent coverage of a trying situation.