Saturday, October 29, 2011

Blast From The Past: This Story Blows-2006

Hello from Hugo, OK!

I have been thoroughly enjoying our winter break. As soon as the show got back into Winter Quarters, Ryan and I began cleaning out our trailers and organizing Ryan's storage unit.
We are going to have to start charging admission to see it; Ryan has amassed an amazing collection of clown costumes and props, as well as books on comedy.

Speaking of books, I filled up three 30 gallon tubs with books from my trailer. No wonder I was paying so much for gas!
The sad thing is, I still have a big box full under my bed, and I left about a cabinet and a half full with books I intend to read in the coming year.

I plan to keep everyone updated with our misadventures during the winter, but I also plan on sharing some recollections from my time with Ringling.

Here is a little story from my 4th year on the show, 2006: The Circus of (Broken) Dreams tour.

Dean Kelley, Ryan and I had a music gag in Pre Show where they attempted to play "The Tiger Rag" on trumpet while I constantly tried to help on trombone.
My interruptions led to Big Time Comedy!

Or not....Ryan's expression in that picture sums up the gag pretty well.

Anyway, about a month into the tour we were already bored with the gag, so I started doing stupid things at the beginning to keep things interesting.
One of my new bits involved me bowing and hitting my head on the microphone that the sound guys set up in front of our stage.

Well, one night in Birmingham, AL, I was being extra "funny" since there was a cute PR intern watching with a couple of kids from a meet and greet that I had just completed.
I hit the microphone a little too hard with my head butt, and I instantly knew that I had cut myself.

I decided to just keep on with the gag, and hopefully no one would notice anything. When it came time for me to play the trombone, I was blowing into the mouthpiece, and with the pressure from every breath, I could feel the cut on my forehead bubbling blood.

Ryan noticed and stoically commented, "Wow, that's a lot of blood."

I quickly told Dean and Ryan to cover for me and I beat a hasty retreat off the floor.
Backstage Scott Myers, the guitar player for the band (and an excellent photographer), snapped this shot.

Back in the Alley I could not stop the bleeding. I kept trying to apply white make up over the wound, but it would instantly turn red.
Finally I had a stroke.....of genius!
I applied a red make up dot over the wound (which was conveniently in the corner of the white above my eye), and then I added another one in the same area of the other eye.
It was quite an aesthetically pleasing bit of horror!

Once I got back on the Pre Show floor I found as many clowns as possible to show them my clever idea.
Of course, the fact that I got the injury by being an idiot negated any ingenuity on my part!

Needless to say I NEVER head butted the microphone again, and Ryan left just a couple of weeks later, so that put an end to the gag once and for all.

I can't imagine why he left....

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thank You!

Hey everyone,

Before you read the final blog entry of the 2011 season that is located below this post, I have a small favor to ask.

As you all know, I did incredibly well at keeping up with the blog this year! I don't think I missed a single day, and if I did take a day off, I believe I gave notice and caught up the next day. Yay me!

But enough back patting. I was wondering if you could all do one teeny, tiny favor for me? Everyone, please post a comment to this entry so I can see exactly how many people read my blog on a daily basis.
You don't have to sign your name, it is fine by me if it is an anonymous comment. You don't even have to write a message; just a letter, number, symbol, anything!
I'm just interested in the number of comments. So I can feel popular....I guess....

It would sure mean a lot to me if you could all do this simple task. Thank you all for following my blog, and thanks to everyone that was able to come out and support the show and me and Ryan with your enthusiasm, kindness, and free roll!

And to everyone I haven't met yet, I hope to see you down the road!


Steve Copeland

Happy Trails

Thursday, October 20: Ardmore, OK-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

I got a wake up call at 8 a.m. from the Gordon family. I met Dave and "Shorty" Gordon, and their son D.R. when I worked on Ringling.

Dave went to Clown College back in 86 and spent 20 years in the circus business, where he married his wife, Shorty, and they had their son my first year on Ringling.

Now they live in Oklahoma City, so they made the drive out to spent the day with the show in Ardmore.

The Gordons brought a huge free roll. Shorty made bread and bagels, as well as three beautiful cakes: a duck cake for me, a tent cake for Mr. North, and a circus lot cake for the show.

Today was chock full of visitors. Dudley, the Kelly Miller lot caretaker, his daughter, Carol, and her husband, Rich, came to visit; Pat and Mike, who spent awhile with us this season, were also in attendance.

Tyson Manning, a photographer who spent some time with us in Oklahoma earlier in the season, showed up in Grove, made the jump with us into Ardmore, and spent time photographing the shows and lot life.

He gave me two big pictures: one of the water gag, and one of me getting pied on my birthday.

Lois Proctor, who works at Mr. North's book store in Ardmore, was also at the lot for the tent raising. She ordered a couple of Dexter books for me, and when I went to pay her for them, she said that they were a birthday gift. Sweet!

I got another great birthday present in the mail today from Becky Raborn. She got me the complete Pink Panther film library on DVD (excluding of course the reprehensible Steve Martin remake. Blarf!).

And to top it all off, Johnny Moss renewed his title as "Coolest Teen Ever" for buying me a new zombie video game.

Hooray for birthday presents!

The saddest thing that happened today was that I received my final paycheck for the season.

When the cookhouse opened for lunch I helped Shorty carry the cakes and bread over for everyone to enjoy. Then I took Ryan, Dave, and D.R. to Mr. North's book store, The Bookseller, where we browsed for awhile.

I dropped Dave off back at the lot, and then Ryan and I ran some errands.

The last two shows were performed under the new tent, which was back from having modifications done.

Our final shows were performed to full houses, which was a great way to end the 2011 season.

During the second finale John Moss made a speech about how the audience had just witnessed the final performance of the wild west edition, and he thanked Joel, Nikki, the Poemas, and Lucky and Vickie, who won't be returning next season.

I never know what to feel at the conclusion of the tour, because it doesn't set in right away that we are finished. I always feel like the next day will bring a new town and more shows.

Well, that concludes the 2011 season of the Kelly Miller Circus!

I guess I should write something deep and profound in summation.



Ah, screw it!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Oh Happy Day!

Tuesday, October 18: Grove, OK-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 62

Lot: Sports complex

Ryan and I practiced some music today. We tried a couple of songs on trumpet and trombone, and we also started writing out the notes for a song from the musical, "Sugar", called "Penniless Bums". Coincidentally, that title will describe us pretty well this winter.

The first crowd wasn't very big, but we did good business for the second show, even though it was freezing.

The one good part of the cold weather was that they left the generator on all night.

Wednesday, October 19: Ardmore, OK-Travel Day

Miles: 280

Lot: Corner of Commerce & Veterans

I made good time on the jump today. I only stopped twice for gas, and I was doing a steady 65 mph for the majority of the drive. I made it to Ardmore around 11:30 a.m.

Today was my 28th birthday. Ryan and Tatiana gave me my gift when I got to the lot, and after receiving it I got this great picture of Nico achieving his zen moment.

Later in the day the circus children came around trick or treating. I was waiting for them on the steps of my trailer with all my goody bags full of candy.

As I was handing the children their treats, Ryan called out, "Hey kids, sing 'Happy Birthday' to Steve!"

As they were serenading me, Tatiana removed my glasses. My Spidey Sense started tingling, and I knew what was coming next.

I quickly removed my hat, and as soon as the kids finished their song, Delena nailed me in the face with a pie. Not a shaving cream pie either; a real lemon meringue pie!

Afterwards I told Ryan that it was my first birthday pie since my last year on Ringling in 2007.

The Fuscos had me over to their trailer after I had cleaned up where I was presented a birthday cake addressed to "Princess Steve". Ain't it the truth?!

Tonight Ryan, Casey, Radar, Nikki, and I went to the Gusher Lounge for drinks, dinner, and karaoke. Later in the evening Lucky, Vickie, and the Norths joined our party.

I sang three songs, none of which really fit the theme of the bar (country/western), but no one threw beer bottles or shot at me, so I considered it a success.

Hooray for good birthdays!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Hey everyone,

Since it is a travel day, and in celebration of my birthday, I am taking the day off from blogging.
See you tomorrow!

In the meantime....My friend, Alex Zaprudsky, is an undergraduate researcher at The University of Iowa Department of Communication Studies and is conducting a research study about Circus Fans. The project is still in the process of being approved. Alex will be recruiting participants for his study on my blog, though, so be on the lookout for more detailed information about his study and a link to the survey in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Monday, October 17: Wheaton, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 42

Lot: Gizmo's Event Center

Today's jump was the shortest one we have had in awhile, and the last short drive for the season.

We did good business for both shows; it became very windy during the second performance as a storm started to move in.

Gizmo, a well known local rodeo clown (after which the lot is named), was the guest ringmaster for the second show.

When Ryan found out, he warned John Moss, "Don't get him wet, keep him out of sunlight, and what ever you do, DON'T feed him after midnight!"

And that's all I've got to say about that....

Monday, October 17, 2011

Curse of Carthage

Sunday, October 16: Carthage, MO-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Miles: 67

Lot: Myers Park

On this morning's jump several of us were scared by a man walking on the Interstate.

I was driving along, in my usual stupor, when out of nowhere there was a man walking on the Interstate with his back to traffic. He had his thumb stuck out for a ride, and he was wearing dark clothing.

I came within inches of hitting him since he was walking on the border of my lane and the lane vehicles use to enter the highway.

When I stopped for gas I mentioned the man to Sara, and she said she almost hit him as well. A couple of local ladies also mentioned seeing him.

There was a Wal Mart close to today's lot, so I walked over and did my trick or treat shopping. Even though the kids aren't making their rounds until Wednesday, I wanted to be ready and avoid a scenario like last year.

"The circus kids did their trick or treating this afternoon. I had Sara buy a couple of bags of candy yesterday, but when I saw the mob of children and how much candy they were getting from everyone else, I knew that my one piece of candy a child rationing was not going to cut it.

I ended up hiding in my trailer and then just tossing all the candy on the ground where the kids could fend for themselves.

This did not please the children, so they attempted to flip over my trailer. I hid inside until the bloodthirsty mob had moved on to another trailer.

Ryan got a huge kick out of this spectacle and took to calling me The Grinch Who Stole Halloween."

Back at my trailer I made up gift bags for the kids; now everything is ready for them.

We did decent business for the first show and the second show had an average sized crowd. The audiences were dead.

Let me put it this way: My black duck, Emmie, bit me on the eye today while I was holding him. It was less painful than performing for the people of Carthage.


I actually think there is a curse behind the town's name. The audiences in Carthage, IL were noteworthy in their lack of response, and in the movie "Funny Bones", Oliver Platt says, "I was playing Carthage, Tennessee. Ever play there? They brought back the death penalty for comedians only."

I rest my case!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fab Fawns

Saturday, October 15: El Dorado Springs, MO-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Miles: 79

Lot: between Fugate Motors and Summer Fresh Market

There were a lot of deer on this morning's jump. There was a dead one in the middle of the road, then later on two ran out in front of me.

The most entertaining sighting happened right outside of town. Six deer crossed the road in a perfect line. Four of them stopped in the street, and their spacing and pose was eerily reminiscent of the Beatles' album cover for "Abbey Road".

(Like this, only with the capacity to do much more damage to your vehicle)

It was nice to be by civilization today after playing in the boonies for the past several days. While Ryan and I were at lunch we got a call from Tavana. The sponsor wanted to know if we would appear at the town's chili cook off like we did two years ago.

We tried to beg off, citing the lack of notice and short amount of time they were giving us to be ready. The sponsor was persistent though, and he said he could take us later than he had planned.

Being the fantastic team players that we are, we agreed to do the publicity.

At 12:30 p.m. the sponsor picked us up and took us downtown for the cook off. We mingled with the locals and plugged the circus. Whenever we saw a family we asked if they were going to the show, and we handed out a few free kid's tickets.

Whenever someone would offer me chili, I would say that I couldn't eat it because I was a Level 9 Vegan, meaning that I can't eat anything that casts a shadow.

Aside from a few teenage girls who were "afraid of clowns", the meet and greet went well.

The first show was 3/4 full, and there was a good turnout for the second show, although the ring side seats were mostly empty.

The lot was pretty rough, so it took a lot of work to do the gags.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

10 Mo' To Go

Friday, October 14: Camdenton, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 75

Lot: Amphitheater grounds

When Tatiana made lunch today, she shared some with me. That was the delicious highlight of my day!

Fridman fixed my water pump, but he said that something inside of it is over heating and causing it to turn off.

When I am not using water, he told me to keep the pump turned off. It is a pain of a habit to get into, but once we get back to Hugo and I can easily get to an RV shop, I will buy a new pump,

There were huge rocks in the backdoor. Apparently the ring suffered the same problem, but thankfully a few guys went in and raked the majority of them out.

The first show was full, and the second show was packed. They had to set up the extra bleachers to accommodate everybody; the audiences were great too.

I remarked to John Moss how wonderful it would be if our remaining 10 shows were like that.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Optimist Prime

Thursday, October 13: Ashland, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 67

Lot: Optimist complex

Ryan and I drove to Target this morning to pick up a skeleton for one of our new gags. We were directly in between two big towns, each with a Target. Unfortunately we were 20 miles from both of those towns.

It sure would have made things a lot easier if we had played a bigger town today!

Besides going to Target, I was able to pick up duck food and shavings from Orschelin's. At least the 40 mile round trip was a productive one.

Ryan and I got our new clown shoes from Marty Scott in the mail today. There was a mix up with Ryan's order, so if anyone wants to buy these shoes:

send me an e-mail at They are a men's size 9 1/2, and they are brand spanking new.

There was horse crap all over the lot. Everywhere. Nothing welcomes you to a town like horse manure everywhere you step; it really showed how much the town cared about us.

I thought about dumping my donniker right in the middle of the lot to return the feelings.

After showering I turned on my sink so I could shave; no water came out. I tried again, I turned the pump on and off, all to no avail.

I called Fridman so he could check out my pump, but he was busy and said he would have to check it later.

This left me without running water, which put me in a bad mood. Grrrrrr.

We had average sized crowds for both shows. Mrs. North filmed our gags for us in the second performance; it was nice to see the progress we have made since the gags were last filmed in Rhode Island.

I wore my new shows for the shoes tonight. Wait a minute.....

It has been awhile since I have worn heavy duty Scott clown shoes, and they gave me quite a work out!

Fridman got my water pump working between shows, but it didn't last long. He said he wouldn't be able to properly fix it until tomorrow when he could have light to see what he was doing.

No running water for me until tomorrow. D'OH!

Luckily Ryan let me fill up a bucket so I could take my make up off, and John Moss gave me a couple of bottles of drinking water.

As I was standing over the bucket of water taking my make up off, I flashed back to 2009 when we were living in the generator truck and took our make up off via bucket every night.

At least now my indoor plumbing is more advanced than a funnel stuck in a hole in the floor.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Avoid the Noid

Wednesday, October 12: Montgomery City, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 60

Lot: fairgrounds

This morning when I woke up and stumbled out of my trailer, I realized that I was the only one left on the lot!

Apparently everyone moved to solid ground last night in anticipation of a downpour; I didn't get the memo and slept through the whole thing.

It must have rained like crazy during the night, because the ground was absolutely soaked. I was going to be very angry if I got stuck, but luckily I pulled right off the soft, wet grass with no problem.

Once we got to Montgomery City I walked into town to mail a Netflix DVD. The whole downtown was comprised of antique shops.

Ryan, Tatiana, and I checked out one across the street from the lot. I picked up a drinking glass with a Norman Rockwell painting depicted on the side.

It is called "Off Duty Clown", and it depicts a circus clown sitting in a chair, smoking a pipe, and reading the paper; a great find!

Danny came over because Ryan found a treasure chest and powder keg that would be perfect for next year's pirate production.

We did decent business for both shows and the crowds were very responsive.

In the first performance, one of Carolyn's dogs kept running over to Mrs. North and jumping in her lap. Mrs. North spends a lot of time with that dog, and I guess he just wanted to visit with a friend during the show.

Next, at the conclusion of his rope spinning act, Joel ran over and sat in Mrs. North's lap as well.

I really wish I could have seen the whole thing; I bet it was hilarious!

Our friends from the Red Unit Clown Alley, Dustin and Brandon, came to watch the second show along with some of Dustin's family. The Red Show is in St. Louis, so I am glad they were able to come see us.

We visited with them briefly before the performance, and then I ordered pizza from the Domino's right next to the lot so we could eat and visit when we were done with work.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

TDS: Torta Delivery Service

Tuesday, October 11: Winfield, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 33

Lot: Sports Field

On the jump this morning I spotted a coffee shop not very far from the lot that I wanted to check out. After getting everything set up, I walked over just to find out that the shop was closed on Tuesdays. BAH!

For the past several days Ryan has been painting a pirate ship prop that Fridman built for Carolyn's next year dog act. He finished it this morning, and it looks fantastic.

We had a decent sized crowd for the first show. I just was not feeling it, and I couldn't get in a groove. Luckily we did good business for the second show and the audience was great!

They really recharged my batteries and helped me give a great performance.

John Moss sent me a text last night telling me that Reyna was making tortas for dinner. I mistook him and thought he meant that she was making them tonight.

I realized my error after the show, but Reyna was nice enough to make a torta just for me, and Johnny even delivered it to my door.

Now that's service!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

You're A Phony!

Monday, October 10: Warrenton, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 70

Lot: Athletic complex

After arriving at the lot, making breakfast, and getting cleaned up, I unhooked my truck to run some errands in town.

I washed about two weeks worth of laundry, went grocery shopping, and got a much needed haircut.

When I got my hair cut, I didn't feel like answering a million questions about working for a circus, so when the lady asked me why I was in town and what I do for a living, I started improvising and making things up.

I think I worked harder making stuff up than I would have answering her circus questions. I also wasn't very good at such spur of the moment fabricating; guess I need to work on my improvisational skills.

When I got back to the lot I discovered that my trailer was without power. I checked my breakers in the trailer, I checked all my plugs, and I checked the breakers in the gypsy box: all to no avail.

Finally I took out my generator and plugged into that until I could find one of the electricians to diagnose my problem.

Our friend, Sean Carlock, came to visit today. Sean was a First of May clown on the Red Unit while I was starting out on the Blue Show.

He brought us some delicious honey crisp apples as free roll, and he treated us to lunch at a Chinese buffet in town.

Both shows were around 3/4 full. Sean watched the first performance and then had a 5 hour drive home ahead of him.

I found Alex, one of the electricians, at the start of the first show, and he diagnosed my power problem. Something was wrong with my plug in the gypsy box, so he plugged me directly into the generator so I could have power.

I was just relieved that the problem was not on my end!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mortal Komquack

Sunday, October 9: Union, MO-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Miles: 76

Lot: Jaycee Fairgrounds

There was a Flying J pretty early in the jump. I stopped to fuel up, dump my tank, and buy oil; I thought that plenty more people would be stopping there too, but I was one of only three vehicles from the show.

While I was fueling up, the pump truck pulled in which let me know that I was at the end of the convoy.

I hurried up and finished so I could get back on the road.

I made good time during the jump and passed a few other show vehicles, so I felt good that I wasn't holding everything up.

The first show today was almost full, and the second show was 3/4 full. Even though there were a few less people, the second audience was much more responsive.

As I was waiting to go on for opening of the second performance, Mariana ran up and told me that my black duck, Emmie, had gotten out of his pen.

I ran over to discover that he had stuck his head into the pen of my white ducks and was engaged in a life or death struggle with my normally docile female duck, Ralph.

They had each other by the throat, so I had to pry them apart, push Ralph away, and then gently extract Emmie's head and neck from the pen.

And now people will know why I have to keep the ducks seperate!

After the shows I joined Radar and his family for dinner. Whenever we go out to eat, we manage to pick restaurants with the worst wait staff.

They all had a good dining experience on Friday night while I was at the Halloween party, so I proposed the hypothosis that I was the bad luck charm.

Tonight's waitress proved without a doubt that I am the weakest link.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

World Zombie Day!!!!!

Saturday, October 8: Troy, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

October 8 is World Zombie Day (which is a million times cooler than stupid World Circus Day *hawk ptooey*), so I celebrated by watching the George Romero "Dead" trilogy.

Claire Wedermyer and her boyfriend came to watch the first show. She brought some flesh tone make up for me, which was fantastic since I was running out.

Dan Reynolds' brother, Bill, also was at the first show with his wife. He brought some black powder for us (since we always seem to be running out at this point in the tour), and he sold us a trombone.

We did good business for the first show and the second show was almost full.

After work I went out with Radar and his family to eat dinner. Unfortunately our choice destination told us a table wouldn't be available until after 11 p.m...and it was only a little past 8 p.m.!

We went to our plan B restaurant and still had to wait awhile; we were all pretty tired by the time we got our food.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Halloween Party '11

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

Miles: 22

Lot: Next to RP Lumber

Radar's family was visiting today; they will be here all weekend since we are close to St. Louis.

Fridman sold a used water pump to me and then he installed it for free; I was very happy to have that problem solved.

We did good business for the first show, and the second show was almost full.

As soon as the performances were done I started getting ready for the annual Halloween party. We were having it early this year because Troy is our last two day stand, and Tavana and Danny really wanted the party to take place under the big top.

It took Ryan almost an hour to apply my zombie make up. I had cut up patches of toilet paper and a rubber glove during the day so we would have tools to distort my face. With a ton of latex and make up added to those, I was ready to go!

I was very happy with how my costume came out; the only downside was that it was a real pain to eat and drink in my make up.

Here are the winners of the contests:

Adult pumpkin carving-Jamie

Child pumpkin carving-Adrian Poema Jr.

Adult costume:

1st-The Fusco Family as an Amish Family

2nd-Johnny Moss as a pimp and Silvano as his ho

3rd-Zombie Steve

Child Costume:

1st-Nico the Smurf

2nd-Mariana as Smurfette

3rd-Adrian Poema Jr. as Chucky (the killer doll, not a Smurf)

Best Unknown-Shirley North as a creepy clown

(Sorry I don't have more pictures; I was too busy trying to navigate the party with only one eye.)

After receiving my prize I went back to my trailer and took off my zombie face. The good thing is that it all peeled off in one piece.

I got into bed around 1:30 a.m. after cleaning everything up. Thank you to everyone whose hard work made the Halloween party so much fun.

The Town Of Livingston, I Presume?

Thursday, October 06: Livingston, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 50

Lot: Memorial Park

On Tuesday, Dave, who booked all of the recent towns, told me that Livingston was a replacement for a town that had backed out at the last minute.

Due to that, and the sign welcoming us to town that said the population was only 850 people, I predicted that we would die a horrible death for the shows.

More on that later....

This afternoon Ryan helped me do a make up test for my costume for the Halloween party. It took over an hour, but it looked awesome!

John Moss told us that when he and Reyna went into town to go grocery shopping, he overheard the lady behind the counter telling a couple of locals to be careful since the circus was in town today, and there were bound to be lots of creepy people around.

She then asked them if they were going to the show. When they asked a question about tickets, John chimed in with an answer and then told the woman at the register that he knew because he was one of those creepy people.

He said the woman was very embarrassed and extremely apologetic afterwards.

Remember what I wrote at the beginning of the post about Livingston having a small population as well as being a last minute lot and license date?

Well, once again my prediction of bad business was wrong; thank God.

We did good business for the first show and the second show was almost full.

All day my trailer's water pump was freaking out. The pressure was very weak, and there were periods where the water would just stop running.

Needless to say, that perturbed me and put me in a bad mood for the evening.

In the second show's walkaround, Ryan and I spotted a huge spider on the ring mat. After I turned into a horse and was galloping around the ring, I did my best to keep away from my arachnid adversary.

Backstage we mentioned the spider to John Moss, and I mused over what funny movements the horse would have made if the spider had crawled up my pant leg.

The Flying Arches, a youth circus group based out of St. Louis' City Museum, joined us to open the second half of the second show with an acrobatic number.

I didn't get to see it, but I was told they did a great job.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

This Blog Is Just Three Lines Long

Wednesday, October 5: Greenfield, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 72

Lot: Rives Lake

On the drive to the lot I noted how small the town of Greenfield was. Due to that and the remote location of the lot, I didn't think we would do any business.

Sometimes I love it when I am wrong!

We did good business for both shows and the audiences were great!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Special Brownies

Tuesday, October 4: Sherman, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 50

Lot: Athletic grounds

This morning the Byrd Family CFA tent provided coffee, juice, and donuts for all of us. Bill Prickett tipped me off last night, so as soon as I was parked I made a direct line for the good stuff.

I desperately need a hair cut, and apparently there were two places in town that could have provided that service, but despite my best efforts I could not find either of them.

This afternoon I made chicken milanese, another recipe gleaned from Ryan and Tatiana. It came out well, but I went a little overboard with the garlic.

Let me tell you, there were no vampires to be found around my trailer today!

It was another beautiful day. The good news is that the warm weather is supposed to continue all week.

We did good business for both shows, and the members of the Byrd Family tent attended both of them.

The second water gag was a lot of fun; we were improvising a good deal and the audience stayed with us the whole time.

Dan Reynolds came backstage before finale of the second show with a tray of homemade brownies that a local lady had made for the performers. As I sampled the generous gift, I quipped, "Let's hope these aren't laced with Ex-Lax or pot."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hudsucker By Proxy

Monday, October 3: Havana, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.


Lot-Business Park

Ryan and I went to the post office this morning to send some money orders. Unfortunately we arrived 30 minutes before the post office opened, so we spent some time exploring downtown.

There was a very obvious duck theme in town; a statue of flying ducks, a football mascot called the Angry Duck, even a "Little Ducklings Day Care". I asked someone and they said that duck hunting is HUGE in the town of Havana.

I quickly made a mental note to hide Ralph, Dexter, and Emmie as soon as I got back to the lot.

There was a grocery store right next to the lot, so I took advantage of the convenience and stocked my trailer with food.

During the afternoon I watched the movie "The Hudsucker Proxy". It was great, and I highly recommend it to anyone that has not seen the film.

It was a beautiful day; it is a shame that the audiences for both shows were so pathetically small.

John Moss made an announcement for everyone to move down to the ring side seats, but even then there were vacant chairs.

Bill Prickett was at the first performance, so I visited with him briefly. Mrs. North then came up and said to me and Ryan, "I don't know what you thought of the audience, but I just want you to know that there was one little girl behind me that was laughing like crazy at you two."

That made me feel better, because as the old saying goes, "If you make just one person laugh...then you're a pretty lousy clown."


The only other occurrence of note from the first show was when I spotted a woman in the audience filming the water gag.

She just so happened to be right in front of me when I swing into the audience on a web, so I swung right up to her camera and charmingly asked, "You're not filming, are you?"

At the end of the gag I noticed she had put her camera away.

We had a fun water gag in the second show. There was one man who was laughing hard, so we played off of his energy. We also fooled around and tried some new stuff.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Dead Audience Sitting

Sunday, October 2: Carthage, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Miles: 113

Lot: Saddle Club

This morning's drive seemed to go on forever; after I thought that I had gone most of the way I checked my phone's GPS and saw that I still had 70 miles to go! Ugh.

Once I got to the lot I unhooked to fuel up my truck. I got back just in time, because Armando was placing a roll off dumpster for the manure right in front of my trailer.

He moved it a bit for me so I could get hooked back up; if I had been a minute later, I would have been screwed!

The first show was almost full, and there was an average sized crowd for the second show. The audiences were dead, so I was happy to be done at the end of the day.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Costume Sweat Shop

Saturday, October 1: Kewanee, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Miles: 58

Lot: Corner of 3rd & Elm St.

Our friend, Alex Zaprudsky, arrived this morning for a visit. He came bearing gifts too: sugar cookies his sister had made, a portfolio for Ryan, and a DVD of the 2011 Smirkus show for me.

He also brought another spectacular gift for me...a Mac!

When he told me he had a laptop that he would sell to me, I assumed that it was an old PC that I could use until I felt I could blow a grand on a new Mac.

Boy was I surprised that the laptop was a Mac that is only a few years old and in beautiful condition!

The only problem was that the battery was bad, but I switched it with the battery from my old Mac and I was good to go.

And that ladies and gentlemen, is one of the reasons why Alex Zaprudsky rules.

Ryan is making a costume for Alex, so he started working on that, and he continued on it all day.

The first show was about 3/4 full, and the second show was almost full. Bill and Nancy Prickett were in the audience at the 2:00 p.m. show, so I went over to say hello after the performance.

Alex and I went out after work so I could buy a firewire cable for my Macs; next we went to Wal Mart so we could get some accesories for Alex's new costume.

We finished up by going to a delicious Mexican restaurant that served tortas. Score!

Back at the lot all three of us worked to get Alex's costume done, but the hour grew late and there was still plenty to do.

It will be no problem to ship the completed costume to Alex, but Ryan was hoping he could bang it out before Alex left.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Circus Vacation

Friday, September 30: Granville, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 37

Lot: High School

Those of us returning for the 2012 edition of Kelly Miller met in Mr. North's RV today at noon for a production meeting about the new show.

The meeting went on for about 2 1/2 hours, but a lot was accomplished. The biggest challenge was finding ways to get in and out of each act without pauses, while allowing for the fact that some people need to make quick costume changes.

We had decent business for the first show, and there was a good turnout for the second show. The lot was a lot nicer than the one yesterday; the only bad thing was that it was so cold!

Vincent, a circus and elephant fan from Switzerland, watched the second performance. He is on vacation from his job, and he is here in the states for a few weeks to watch as many circuses as he can.

Radar treated Vincent and myself to dinner after work.

We were lucky that the generator was left on all night for us; I didn't really feel like becoming a Steve-sicle.

Happy Windsday

Thursday, September 29: Marseilles, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 36

Lot: 10 Acre Park

We did good business for both shows today. Tim Tegge watched the first one, and I was able to quickly say "Hi/Bye" to him during the second show.

It was a difficult day to get through because the lot was so uneven in the ring. On top of that, the wind was blowing like crazy, and of course it was blowing right into the back door.

Every time we were waiting on a cue, we were getting slapped in the face by flailing curtains.

The one upside of the day was that I learned to make pasta sauce. Yesterday at Wal Mart Ryan instructed me on which ingredients to buy, and he gave me his sauce recipe.

It didn't turn out as well as he and Tatiana make it, but I will get there.

The wind was blowing at scary speeds all night long. My trailer was rockin' so hard that folks should have assumed they best not come a knockin'.

(Thank you for indulging me for that stretch of a joke)