Sunday, December 23, 2012

December 21

Ryan's uncle Kevin came by to visit Friday morning, and then he joined me, Ryan, Tatiana, Nico, and Ryan's grandparents for lunch at the Brazilian BBQ restaurant. I bet you can't tell that we like that place...

The hour and a half drive to our last town of the tour, New Bedford, MA, was a royal pain in the butt because of the weather. For about 30 miles torrential rain was being blown directly at our minivan as we drove on the interstate. It was miserable. I could barely see five feet in front of me, and many drivers didn't have their lights on.
Luckily we survived the drive; we're very lucky the temperature wasn't lower. I can't imagine making that trip with ice and hail instead of rain.

In addition to Ryan's grandparents and uncle, Ryan's mom, dad, and step mom all came to the shows.
The crowds in New Bedford were fantastic, especially for the second show. It was definitely a great way to close the tour.

The gags we did on this year's Christmas tour were quite a departure for us. Namely we didn't beat the snot out of each other the whole time we were on stage. In fact, there was no hitting whatsoever. No big, cartoony props either.
It was great to prove to ourselves that we could still bring the house down by just being ourselves.

While packing up our props after the shows, we were saying our goodbyes to everyone in the cast.
I also said goodbye to Ryan, Tatiana, and Nico.

I spent Friday night with Ryan's dad and step mom, Chris and Bonnie, and on Saturday morning Chris took me to the Providence airport. I am now home in Walterboro, SC, while Ryan, Tatiana, Nico, and Ryan's brother, Pete, are en route to Hugo, OK.

Bring on the vacation!

In closing here are a couple more photos from the Christmas tour. See you next weekend!

Ryan and I with John Sayre, one of our Circus Clowning Intensive students
Ryan and I with Santa John Bundy and balloonatic John Cassidy

Friday, December 21, 2012

December 19 and 20

Our friend, Carol from Maryland, was going to visit on Wednesday to have lunch with us and hopefully see the show, but she called in the morning and told me that she was sick. We were bummed that we have to wait until next summer to see her again. (Get well soon, Carol!)

We had to go to two different restaurants for lunch because the service at the first (Olive Garden) was terrible. We sat for ten minutes without any wait staff asking for our drink or food orders; people sitting around us were getting served the whole time, even a table of people that came in after us. We promptly left in a huff. Actually it may have been a minute and a huff.....
After finding a replacement restaurant, we went Christmas shopping for the members of our cast.

The crowds and the shows were much better for us today. In particular I was feeling especially on target with the second performance. I was glad that my fan family got to see it.
My first year on the Christmas tour I met a Hungarian family while meeting and greeting with people in the seats. I practiced my limited Hungarian on them and created a rapport with their three girls.
The cool thing is that every year they come to the show and I get to see the girls grow up.

Ryan and I with Boglarka and Maura

I always get a pick me up from my visits with the Kearney family.

As soon as the show finished Ryan, Tatiana, Nico, and I jumped in the van and drove the 5 1/2 hours to Ryan's grandparents' house in Massachusetts. We got in about 4:30 a.m. and promptly fell into our beds.

On Thursday morning we visited with Ryan's grandfather and mother for a bit before going to have lunch at a delicious Brazilian BBQ restaurant.
We then headed to Blackstone, MA to see Ryan's dad and step mom. After visiting with them for several hours we headed back to Ryan's grandparents' house for more visiting.

After such a hectic 9 days of driving and performing, a nice leisurely day of visiting was exactly what we all needed.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December 17 and 18

I was sad to leave my cousins' house on Monday morning. On the road you don't always realize how much you miss the comforts of home until you have access to them again.

December 17th marked Nico's 2nd birthday, so to celebrate his entrance into the "Terrible Twos", Ryan, Tatiana, and I took him to a Chuck E. Cheese establishment in Altoona.
The Alvarez family joined us for games, pizza, and birthday cake. We all had a blast!




While I was playing a game where you throw little footballs at different targets, one of my more powerful throws bounced off of a wall and rebounded directly into my eye.
You know the old saying, "It's not fun until somebody loses an eye"!

Our car laden with Nico's new Angry Birds toys, we began the three hour drive to our next show.

The Eagles' Lodge in Lebanon can be a very difficult venue (a small stage and even smaller backstage space), but this year I felt the show ran very smoothly.

The only difficulty we encountered was the nasty, rainy weather on the 90 mile drive to Folsom.

On Tuesday we spent the morning doing laundry. The excitement never ends on tour with Steve & Ryan!

In the first show in Folsom my metal folding chair broke during the cookie act. That put a cramp in my style since the act is very dependent on the chair. I muddled through as best I could, and I borrowed a chair from the school to get through the second performance.
In Lebanon the chair I had been using was misplaced, but we didn't sweat it too much since we had a spare in the van. Unfortunately, as I found out in the middle of the act, that chair was on its last leg (pun definitely intended).

The crowds in Folsom were not as enthusiastic as the rest of the audiences we've encountered on this run. Ryan and I had to work really hard to get anything out of them, which was difficult since every muscle in my body was aching. I hope I'm not getting sick.....

After the show most of the cast went out to dinner at the Applebee's down the street, continuing an annual tradition. Lots of fun, food, and frivolity was had by all.

When we got back to our hotel Ryan discovered that he, Tatiana, and Nico could not get into their room because the door handle was broken.
The management gave them a different room until the morning when the door could be opened. It was just a pain for Ryan and his family since all their luggage and toiletries were in the other room.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December 15 and 16

On Saturday Ryan, Tatiana, Nico, and I met up with John and Clara Sayre at the Monroeville Mall, which is where one of my favorite zombie movies, Dawn of the Dead, was filmed back in the late '70s.
We had lunch and browsed some of the different stores. My favorite two spots were the toy store where I picked up decorations for my Bumble themed Christmas:


and the little zombie museum at the back of the arcade.

After a few hours of visiting, we had to say goodbye to John and Clara. We had a three hour drive up to Erie ahead of us, followed by a show at 7 p.m.

Our one performance was a piece of cake (especially after a couple of long two show days), and the audience liked us right from the beginning, which made working for them a real treat.

After we were done with the show we jumped back into the minivan and drove four hours to Hollidaysburg.
Even though the show had energized me, by hour three of the drive I was about to fall asleep. Luckily we made it to town safely, and my cousin, Michael, was nice enough to stay up until after 1 a.m. to welcome us into his house.

On Sunday we had coffee, scones, and biscotti with Michael and Heather, and then we headed over to the Altoona High School to set up for our 1:00 p.m. show.

We had a lot of friendly faces in the audience for the performance, including Pat and Thom Stevenson from The Freestate Clown Alley #30, David Orr from the Adam Forepaugh-Barry Lubin tent, Don Curtis, photographer extraordinaire, and "Clown Chips" from the Cole Bros. Clown Alley.

After the show Ryan, Tatiana, Nico, and I joined Gail Mirabella, her assistant, Luree, and the Alvarez family for the 3rd annual luncheon at Hoss's put on by the Forepaugh-Lubin tent. Our tent, #178 John Ringling North II-Steve & Ryan, was also a big part of the event with Pat, Thom, and Katie Harmke acting as representatives.

The back room of the Hoss's was converted into a celebration of the circus thanks to colorful decorations, many of them made by Katie.



We were all treated to a delicious meal, and our tent showered me, Ryan, Tatiana, and Nico with gifts.
Perhaps the coolest presents were the jumpsuits that Katie spruced up with her embroidery magic. Simply beautiful work.

The jumpsuits came complete with "Jughead"/"Goober" hats.
Note the jug headed goobers underneath the hats.

We are so lucky to have friends like the clowns from the Freestate Clown Alley #30, and the members of the Forepaugh-Lubin tent that take such good care of us on the road.

Here are some more pictures from the event:

 Like kids on Christmas. 

 With Julius Carallo, aka "Clown Chips". And I thought I had wacky hair!

 Ryan and Tatiana showing off their Christmas photo wreath with Katie and Pat.

After partyting with the clowns and circus fans, it was on to second dinner (we must be Hobbits) with Michael, Heather, and Tyler. I can safely say that I was well fed in Altoona.
We topped off the evening by relaxing with my cousins in their beautiful home.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

December 13 and 14

It was great that we were able to stay in one place for  the first few nights of the tour. Besides that comfort, there was a great mall just four miles down the road where Ryan, Tatiana, Nico, and I spent most of our free time.

Before we left the area on Thursday morning, we stopped at a Sam Ash music store where Ryan bought a tuba and a miniature trumpet for Nico. So much for having free space in the car!
Luckily Clive and Tracy Allen were nice enough to give the tuba a home until the Combs family heads back to Hugo.

It was a three hour drive to Williamsport, the third town of the Christmas tour. We always play in a cool theatre downtown. Business for the two shows was great.

Our gags went very well. Now that we have gotten over the initial nervousness of the material being new, we were finally able to play around a bit and find moments to make with the comedy. (That's a technical term)

We were all pretty beat after our first two show day of the tour. (Listen to me. On Kelly Miller we do almost nothing BUT two show days!)
Ryan, Tatiana, Nico, and I had a two hour drive to Hollidaysburg after work to stay with some of my family: The Hiotts.
They were at a midnight showing of the movie, "The Hobbit", so they weren't around when we arrived. We let ourselves in and went straight to bed.

On Friday morning we got to visit for a little while with my cousins, Michael and Heather Hiott. We had coffee and bagels while we caught up.

Unfortunately we couldn't visit for too long, because we had to drive to McKeesport, our next stop on tour.
There we met up with our third Circus Clowning Intensive student, John Sayre, and his wife, Clara.
We had lunch and then they accompanied us to the high school to visit and watch our two shows.

The crowds in McKeesport were not the largest, but Ryan and I worked hard to win them over. I was glad that John and Clara got to see us perform.

Mike Perry, a Ringling clown from the 70s, lives very close to McKeesport, and he was able to come see our second performance.

After dinner John, Clara, and Mike joined me, Ryan, Tatiana, and Nico for dinner. We had a great time swapping stories, and we were all laughing well into the next morning.
Thank goodness we were spending the night in town!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 10-12

On Sunday night Ryan, Tatiana, Nico, and I stopped to visit our friend Jeff Schott in Louisville, KY. We spent a few hours catching up before bedtime, and Monday morning he made breakfast and coffee for us while we continued to chat.
It's always a treat to visit with Jeff; I just wish we had more time to do so.


The second part of our drive to Pennsylvania was a real pain in the butt. It rained on and off (and with varying degrees of intensity) almost the whole way, which slowed our progress considerably.

We finally arrived at our destination: Norristown, PA around 11:30 at night. Norristown was located roughly halfway between our first two towns, so I figured it would be a good base of operations for a couple of nights.

Our opening show for the Christmas tour was in Philadelphia on Tuesday night. It was great to see our friends who are regulars on the tour.

Bill Hall, who produces the tour, had a brief meeting with us all before the first performance to go over details and the show running order. 
The 2012 edition of "'Twas The Gift Show Before Christmas" features the Alvarez family with their teeterboard, rola bola, and hula hoop acts, Gail Mirabella's dog act, the magic of Clive and Tracy Allen, me and Ryan, and the bizarre balloon-ology of John and Jen Cassidy.  
John Bundy hosts the show as Santa, and Larry Stout provides musical accompaniment. 

The first show is always hectic on the Christmas tour, but we made out alright. Our material was far from perfect, but the audience enjoyed our efforts. I was placated with the fact that we have plenty of opportunities for improvement before the tour is over.

On Wednesday night we had one show in the evening in Pottstown, PA. We were in a different venue than normal, so the show was held for about 15 minutes so people could make it on time (the location was changed at the last minute).

Ryan made me laugh tonight as we were putting on our make up. He commented, "It's funny that I spend so much time on something that makes people hate me."

I couldn't catch a break in the show tonight, all starting from the moment I went out into the audience to start our face painting. Then during the performance I was constantly getting tongue tied, and my interplay with Ryan and Santa was not exactly the sharpest.
Luckily our gags were a vast improvement over opening night, and they're only going to get better!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sorry

Hey everybody,

I'm sorry I have been so lax on updating the blog during the beginning of the Christmas tour.
I simply haven't had a free moment to devote my full attention to writing.

With that said, an update is coming tomorrow, come Hell or high water...or both.
See you tomorrow! I promise!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December 3-December 9

Ryan and I have been so busy this past week...nay, this whole winter break. The work on props and costumes just never seems to end. Even when I actually have some time to relax my mind is still trying to convince me that there's some work I need to be doing.

Ryan began sewing costumes for next season's gags, and when he finished he would pass them on to me for the grunt work, aka sewing buttons.

Besides sewing, Ryan and I continued to rehearse our material for next year, as well as our gags for the Christmas tour.
I am now (becoming) proficient on the trombone. Unfortunately, when we picked up our cornets to practice, I found I had regressed on that instrument. D'oh!

One big prop in particular (which will be used in a chase next year) has been a royal pain in our butts. It required lots of time and attention on many parts that then all had to be brought together.
Oscar Perez did some welding for us (for which we are very grateful), and once we got all the parts of the prop together, a ton of hand stitching was required.
We stayed in the shop very late on Friday night just to get it done. The good news is that after all of our hard work, almost everything is ready for next season! There are just a few minor things that Ryan will take care of when we return from Pennsylvania. I know we are both looking forward to some much deserved time off.

Even though we have been kept busy, we've found a little time to be social. One night my friends Nick and Tangie had me over to their trailer at the Carson & Barnes Winter Quarters for dinner.
I walked over to Dudley's house one night so we could watch some Ringling TV specials on DVD (I found it funny that even though Dudley lives maybe 100 feet from my trailer, I was so busy that I wasn't able to go over and properly visit with him until over a month into our "vacation").
Another morning I had coffee with Jan over at the storage unit facility across the street. That same night our friend Natalie had me and the Combs family over to her house in Paris for dinner. It was nice to catch up with her and her daughters; we sure do miss them on Kelly Miller.

Saturday morning there was a memorial service to celebrate the life of Lucy Loyal. I was happy to see so many friends from the circus business, including people that I don't get to see that often like Jimmy Hall and Becky Raborn.
Jim Royal made an opening speech about Lucy's life, there was a video slide show, and then friends and family members got up and shared their memories of Lucy, both funny and touching.
The service was concluded with a big meal and lots of laughs and jackpotting among the guests.

After the get together I went home to get Emmie ready for travel. Buckner is being nice enough to take care of my duck while I'm away. I sure am going to miss him, and I hope he survives the winter so we can have some more adventures next year.



That same day Ryan and I drove to Dallas to pick up the rental minivan that will take us (along with Tatiana and Nico) all the way to Pennsylvania and back.
As I type this we are on the road to Louisville, KY to stay with our friend Jeff Schott for the evening.
Tomorrow we will press on until we reach Philadelphia, the first town of the Bill Hall produced "'Twas The Gift Show Before Christmas".
Check our website at www.steveandryan.com to see where we will be performing until December 21st.
If we're playing near you, please come out and say "Hi!"
I'll be updating the blog daily once the shows begin, so be sure to keep checking in here.

Before I forget, Christmas is coming! If you're looking for the perfect gift to amaze your friends or anger your enemies, then look no further! Order an autographed Steve & Ryan 8x10!



E-mail me here for more information: stclown@lowcountry.com

OR check out https://www.oaba.org/2013-circus-calendar/ to order a 2013 Circus Calendar, featuring a picture of yours truly along with GiGi Greene for the month of February.
Buy! Buy! Buy!
Now! Now! Now!

See you guys in a few days.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

November 19-December 2

I posted this last Sunday....at least I thought I did. Today I checked my blog and saw that I hadn't. Stupid technology!
Sorry that I (apparently) went a week without updating. Here's last week's update:

I thought that things would calm down after we finished our second Circus Clowning Intensive....boy, I hate it when I am wrong!

The day after we dropped our second student, David Levine, off at the airport in Dallas, we were back to work in the Kelly Miller Circus Winter Quarters shops.
We've been in the shops every day (except Thanksgiving) working 9, 10, and even 12 hour days!
The good news is that we have made great progress! All of our wooden props are built and painted, and all but one of our foam props have been carved, latexed, and painted.
Aside from a few finishing touches in the paint department, the next major project will be sewing our costumes.

Thanksgiving was a much needed day of rest. Even though I shut off my phone so I could sleep as late as I wanted, my body still woke me up at 8 a.m. Ack!
I had lunch with Ryan and the Fusco family. They prepared a delicious meal from which I sampled everything....twice!
My belly full, I drove to the nearest movie theater to watch "Wreck It Ralph". If you haven't seen it, check it out! I enjoyed it a great deal more than I thought I would.

As soon as I finish writing this post, Ryan and I are heading to Dallas to pick up John Sayre, our third (and final) Circus Clowning Intensive student for the winter.
I'll be sure to check in next weekend and let you all know what we've been up to. Have a great week!


And now this week's:

The third Steve & Ryan Circus Clowning Intensive went off without a hitch. Our student, John Sayre, ran an Internet campaign to raise the funds to study with us.
He was telling us that in addition to his family and friends that helped out, he was contacted by complete strangers that wanted to donate money so that he could follow his dream. How cool is that?!
John worked hard throughout the grueling four day intensive, and (just like our first two students) it was exciting to see him leave as a more confidant performer, full of new information: a base of techniques upon which he can build his career.

We are done with our Circus Clowning Intensives for the year, but next year's roster is already filling up! If you are interested in learning more about the program, please e-mail me at: stclown@lowcountry.com

This weekend Ryan and I went back to work in the prop shop. Luckily we had worked so hard during the previous week and a half that we were able to take it easy.
Yesterday we worked from 9 to 5 (just like the Dolly Parton song!), and then we took the evening off to relax (something we've rarely done since the season ended).

As I was watching a movie in my trailer, I heard something land on my step, which caused my house to shift.
I didn't think too much about it until a few seconds later when it struck me that Emmie's cage is right outside my door.
I bolted off the couch and opened the door. A raccoon was inside the pen with Emmie, and when I opened the door it quickly climbed out and ran away.
Thank goodness Emmie was ok; I'm scared to think what would have happened if I had been away from home (or even if I had hesitated a few more seconds before going outside)!
It looks like from now on Emmie will go in the back of my truck when the sun goes down. I'd rather he be inconvenienced for a few hours than inside some varmint's stomach.

Just this morning Ryan and I did only a little bit of prop work. I am happy that each time we go in the shop there is less and less to do.
I was painting a prop for our upcoming Christmas tour when my pants dropped around my ankles. Certain pairs of jeans are baggy on me, even though the waist size is correct. Since I had a brush in one hand and a paint can in the other, I could not keep adjusting them as they slipped down. I guess I should just wear a belt, just like any person with common sense.
At least Ryan got a good laugh out of the situation.
There is a photo....you can all thank me that I have the good judgement not to put it up here on the blog.

Since our prop work is drawing to a close, we began working on our main gag for next year's show.
We had already written the act, but in physical comedy you never know what will work and what won't until you get up on your feet and work through it.

Sure enough, we discovered some bits that weren't possible, or simply didn't make sense. Luckily we were both in very creative moods and we came up with lots of good solutions to those problems.
I think we are going to have very funny material next year, but of course you never truly know what's good in clowning until you do it in front of an audience!

In closing, I just wanted to share a photo of this awesome coffee mug I bought on eBay:



On the front it has Tom Parish, Tammy Parish, and Frosty Little. The back features Peggy Williams, Tuba Heatherton, Lou Jacobs, Wayne Sidley, and Uncle Soapy.
A great, hard to find mug, and it was a steal at only $20!

I will see you all next weekend before we take off for our Christmas tour in Pennsylvania! Peace!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! Look for an update this weekend!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

November 4th-November 18th


Whew! What a crazy, busy two weeks we've had. Please excuse my lack of blogging; after you read this you'll see why I haven't posted any updates.

Since November 4th, the majority of our time has been taken up with the first two sessions of the Steve & Ryan Circus Clowning Intensive. 
This year after seeing one of our performances, a fan of ours contacted us and asked for our help in learning to be a clown. 
We decided to give the matter some thought, and we concluded that we would be most comfortable teaching what we know and have done for the past 10 years: circus clowning.
Ryan and I thought it would be great to have a training program specifically dedicated to the art of circus clowning. We sat down and wrote out a syllabus in the mornings and in between acts during this previous year's tour. We kept in mind some of the most important lessons that we have learned, as well as what abilities and tricks of the trade would most benefit a circus clown.
We planned classes on everything from slapstick to working for a company, pie throwing to publicity, how to move and think like a clown, and everything else in between.

Several months later there we were, picking up our first student, Derek Henry, at the Dallas Airport. When he had completed the intensive, we dropped him back off at the airport and picked up our second student, David Levine.
Both of our students received four days of one on one training for at least twelve hours a day.
We gave Derek and David a solid base of circus clowning knowledge which they can build upon in their journey to the center ring.
As you can imagine, the days were long and grueling, but Ryan and I had a blast sharing our knowledge and experiences; it was very rewarding to see our students grow day by day.
We were very impressed with their work ethic. Derek and David met each new day with excitement and a desire to learn, no matter how hard the challenges (and items) we threw at them.
We have one more intensive scheduled for this winter, and the student roster for next winter is already quickly filling up. We feel so honored that out of all the great clowns in the United States, people are asking for the help of two intrepid jerks.
All kidding aside, we take that responsibility very seriously and we strive to provide as much knowledge and inspiration to our students as we have received from our role models.


After finishing two back to back Circus Clowning Intensives, sane men would have taken some time off.
Unfortunately we have always been a bit off kilter…
The day after taking David back to the Dallas airport, Ryan and I were hard at work in the welding and painting shops of the Kelly Miller Circus Winter Quarters.
We've been working long hours every day (even on the weekends), and luckily we have some progress to show for it. All of our wooden props for next season's gags are built and painted.
Next up we will tackle the construction, latexing, and painting of our foam props.

On Saturday we took our noses from the grindstone for a few hours to attend a circus in Antlers, OK.
Our friend Gene, who takes tickets on Kelly Miller during the season, is producing the Santa Claus Christmas Circus along with the Silverlake family. (I may have my facts muddled on that, please correct me if I'm wrong)
He graciously extended an invitation to us about a week ago. The two shows in Antlers were the opening for the circus's three week tour. We unfortunately missed the first thirty minutes of the show due to my stupidity and the poorly laid out Indian Nation Turnpike, but the performance proved to be a fun respite from prop construction.



That's all from me. I'll check in again next weekend before we go to pick up our third student, John Sayre.
Have a great week everyone! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tardy

Hey everybody,

I'm sorry I missed the weekend update a couple of days ago, but Ryan and I have been crazy busy with back to back Circus Clowning Intensives.
After teaching for 12 to 13 hours a day, we are pretty much done by the evening. Watch for a very long update this coming weekend!


Saturday, November 3, 2012

October 27-November 3

Even though we have been on vacation for over a week now, I think Ryan and I have been more busy in that time period than we were the entire tour.

I helped Ryan organize his storage unit, which consumed the first three days of our break. I only popped in occasionally to help him move and organize stuff, haul trash to the winter quarters dumpster, or collect unwanted things for a trip to Goodwill.
All Ryan's hard work paid off though, because now his storage unit is beautiful. With all our props and costumes on display, the unit is almost like a mini clown museum. Looks like we need to start charging admission....

After a weekend of cleaning and organizing, Ryan and I began the construction of some of our props for next year's show.
We made several trips to and from Paris, TX to buy wood, steel, fabric, and other various necessities.
Danny was nice enough to let us use the workshop at his house to build our wooden props. Ryan and Danny did the majority of the construction, but I proved handy with a jigsaw when I was called upon.
I also constructed a slap board almost entirely by myself. See, I'm not completely useless!

Thanks to Danny's help, and his array of tools, we completed our wooden props in just a couple of days. When everything else is built, they will be primed and painted. One step at a time....

On Halloween Ryan and I drove out to Broken Bow, OK to entertain the townspeople at their Main Street Halloween party.
We were there for three hours juggling, stilt walking, and providing all around meet and greet entertainment.
It wasn't a difficult gig, but after going three hours non stop without a break, plus the two hour round trip there and back to Hugo (in addition to working on props all day), we were both worn out.

Earlier today (Saturday the 3rd) Ryan and I volunteered at the 4th Annual Hugo Circus Festival. The event is held to raise money for the Circus City Museum and Park which will be built in Hugo.
There was a silent auction, pony and elephants rides, face painting, circus concessions....pretty much anything you could think of. In addition to all those attractions, there were also three circus shows.
None of the ringmasters from the Hugo shows were available, so Jim Royal asked if I could host.
Apparently someone tipped him off that I had announced on Ringling; they must have seen this video:



Frankly that would have convinced me NOT to ask for my help.

What I didn't realize when I agreed to ringmaster the event was that I would have a lot of extra duties as well. I had to hook up all the sound equipment in the bandstand, do a sound check, get together with the performers to collect their music, and organize the program. Whew. I think I'll stick with clowning.

Luckily I had plenty of people to help me out. Before he left the other day, John Moss talked me through setting up the sound equipment and running a sound check. Jim Royal gave me lots of factoids to use if I needed to stall during the performance, and Tavana ran the music for the three shows.

We did have one nerve racking experience about thirty minutes before the first show. We couldn't find the correct computer with all of the show's music. Jim went to look in the winter quarters office, and I raced to my trailer to grab my laptop.
We ended up using my computer to play music for the shows, even though the show's computer was eventually found.
After solving that problem, another one reared its ugly head: we couldn't get music to play through the big speakers. After a few frustrating minutes where I was pulling out my hair, Ryan diagnosed the complication: a larry cable running from the amp to my laptop.

Once we got up and running everything was fine, and each show was better than the last. I billed myself as the world's shortest ringmaster and presented the following program:

1: Gauchos-The Fusco Family
2: Comedy-Ryan (with my assistance)
3: Hula Hoops-July (and Karina Perez the second show)
4: Juggling-Raul (and Angel Perez the second show)
5: Low Wire-Romario

I was lucky that I didn't have to kill much time during the performance; all of the transitions were quick and easy. I only gave out relevant information to help raise money for the Circus City Museum and Park.

 Angel, July, Me, & Romario
Frick and Frack

Even though Ryan and I have been running around like chickens with our heads cut off since we started our "break", we have found some time to relax. We've continued our "Scare-athon" (even though Halloween is over), and I occasionally go over to visit Dudley, the winter quarters caretaker, and Jan, who was the cook my first year on the road and currently works across the street where Ryan's storage unit is.

Tomorrow Ryan and I drive to Dallas, TX to pick up Derek, the first student of our Circus Clowning Intensive. When we drop him back off on Thursday, we will pick up our second student, Dave.
With two back to back intensives (both with four 12 hour days), Ryan and I are going to be exhausted.
However, I think it is going to be a very fun and rewarding experience for everyone involved.

I will at least post a quick note next weekend, but more likely I'll post a full update once the two intensives are over.
See you then!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Stick A Fork In It!

Thursday, October 25: Ardmore, OK-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Finally it arrived, the final day of the season! Hooray!
It was also the final pay day! Booooo!

Around noon a cold front blew in and ruined the perfect weather we've had for the past several days.

There was a rehearsal this afternoon for next year's production number and the finale. Ryan and I didn't know about it since the notices giving that information were put up inside the bandwagon and on the left performer's entrance, the two places Ryan and I never go during the shows.
John Moss sent us a text to inform us that we were late, so we hustled over to take part.

After skipping around the ring for thirty minutes Ryan and I watched "The Fog" for our "Scare-athon". We both agreed that it was a better movie than the majority of the schlock we've been watching, but we were disappointed in the lack of make up effects.

The Gordon family: Dave, "Shorty", and their son, D.R., came to see the final two shows tonight. I've known the Gordons since I began my circus career back in 2002, so it was great to see them again.
They just sold their house in Yukon, OK, and now they are going to be moving to Arizona where "Shorty" will attend culinary school. They were understandably excited.

The final two shows went off without a hitch. The highlight for me and Ryan was the final package delivery bit. Ryan rained down punishment on the giant box the entire number. He even fell off the bleachers on top of it, which got a big laugh.
After we left the tent we put the box exactly where it belonged:


In the second finale John Moss gave a speech about how the audience had just witnessed the final performance of the 2012 tour. He gave the crowd different statistics, such as how many miles we'd traveled, how many performances we'd given in how many different states, etc.
One new statistic he added was that Ryan and I took over 3,000 pratfalls this season (a very conservative estimate). Does anyone know a good chiropractor!?

After saying my goodbyes to folks on the show (Sara and Gigi will not be returning next season) and the Gordons, I got cleaned up and joined Radar, Elisa, and Christian for a celebratory late night snack at Sonic.

As a final gift to the cast and crew, the show generator ran all night long. Whoopee!

Today, Friday, the 26th of October, we had a 105 mile jump back to Kelly Miller Winter Quarters in Hugo, OK.
Ryan and I have been busy all day long, and it doesn't look like it is going to stop anytime soon.
We have a lot to do this winter (doing gigs, teaching, and constructing props and costumes for next season); hopefully we'll find some time to relax too!
As I'm sure you've guessed, we are returning to Kelly Miller in 2013 for our 5th season.

Thanks everyone for reading the blog this year. I don't plan to put it completely to rest for the winter. Check back every weekend for a new update on what's happening with us.
We hope to see you down the road in 2013!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 24: Ardmore, OK-Travel Day
Miles: 230
Lot: Corner of Commerce & Veterans

This morning's jump was a piece of cake for me, but some of the highways we drove on were ridiculous! I swear that my trailer was bouncing up and down the road half of the time I was driving.
Between that and driving onto the incredibly bumpy lot we show in Ardmore, I'm very surprised that the inside of my trailer wasn't a complete disaster area.

After I got settled at the new lot, Elisa and I drove to Walmart for some last minute shopping. I needed candy and gift bags for the circus kids' trick or treating, and I also needed to pick up a few things to complete my costume for the Halloween party.

After giving out candy to the trick or treaters, I dove into my preparations for the Halloween party. In total it took me about an hour to get ready; Ryan had come over earlier in the afternoon to help me design the make up and explain how to make my latex and toilet paper appliques.
Here is the finished result:



I told Ryan that people were going to have a hard time eating around me. Well, more so than usual anyway!

The Kelly Miller Halloween party was, as usual, a lot of fun. I was impressed with the amount of participation in both the costume and pumpkin carving contests. Here are some photos of the party:

 Kimberly Moss
 Ryan's pumpkin (second place winner adult carving)
 The Boss as The King (tied 1st place adult winner with Sara)
 The Fusco-stone Family (winners best group)
 Nicolas (tied second place kid costume with his brother Dylan) 
 Jaime's pumpkin (undisputed king of carving at 1st place adult yet again)
 Another shot of Jaime's pumpkin
 Luis (winner best unknown)
The Flintstones making their grand entrance
 Jaime's brother's pumpkin (it must run in the family)
 Another shot of Marcelino's pumpkin
 Radar and Elisa
 Tetto, Liam, and DeeDee (Ninja Tetto won second place adult costume)
 Becky, Marshall, and Fresia
 Carolyn and Mrs. North
 Danny, Arwen, and Tavana
 Jacob, Cody, Bevelis, Daniel, Christian, Radar, and Jeremiah (Christian won 3rd place adult costume)
 Danny's pumpkin
Sammy and Liam's pumpkins...and Mike!

I didn't get a picture of Sara or Gigi's costumes, but Sara won 1st place adult costume, and Gigi won 3rd place kid costume.

When my spiders found out that they didn't win anything, they crawled back under my skin and continued eating away at my brain.
There's always next year!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Stop Texting!

Tuesday, October 23: Pryor, OK-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 90
Lot: fairgrounds

Today's lot was the nicest one we've been on since we left the Chicago area. It was flat, level, and the grass was short.

All evening I was busy making preparations for our big jump to Ardmore tomorrow. Mainly I was concerned with making sure my trailer tires were all full of air. Two of them seem to have a slow leak; that's just one of the many projects revolving around my house that I plan to tackle this winter.

The audiences tonight were great. Their energy was a nice change from the past several towns; they gave me and Ryan a much needed boost.

There was a girl texting front and center during the skeleton chase. I scared the heck out of her when I came close to hitting her with the shovel. I figured that would have taught her a lesson, but when I saw her later in the show she was still texting.
Sigh.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"Heigh Ho!"

Monday, October 22: Granby, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 90
Lot: Ballpark Hwy. 60 East

Dave and Sherri, our advance clowns, were waving goodbye to everyone as we left the lot this morning. They have been traveling with us for the past few days, but now they are on their way back home.
Thank you guys for all your hard work over the past two years! We'll see you down the road!

Armando and his family returned to the show today, so we are back to having three elephants.

Today for our "Scare-athon" Ryan and I watched "Seven". Though it's technically not a horror movie, there are some horrific elements. Not to mention it is a great film; it was definitely the best movie we've watched in awhile.
It's about a serial killer who utilizes the seven deadly sins for his murders. You all know the seven deadly sins right? There's Doc, Grumpy, Sneezy, Sleepy, Bashful, Happy....

...and everyone's favorite, Slothy.

Tatiana was nice enough to make us lunch while we were watching the movie. It was a good thing too, since the gluttony scene really made me hungry!

This afternoon we had a rehearsal for next season's finale. I see a lot of skipping and dose e doe-ing in my future. grumble grumble

In the first show Ryan and I ran out to play our fanfare for the opening. There was a family in the front row standing with their backs turned to us as they tried to get situated in their seats. I quipped, "I'm glad you guys made it on time", which they didn't hear in their pursuit of the perfect seating arrangement.
John Moss began his opening speech as the family continued to stand a few feet away with their backs to us.
Backstage I was commenting to John Moss about the situation, and he laughed and informed me that it was the sponsor and his family. Classy! 

After the shows everybody had to move off the lot in anticipation of thunderstorms throughout the night. 
It was a difficult space for us to park in; thank God Tavo was there to direct traffic and get us all situated.

Monday, October 22, 2012

No Chili For You!

Sunday, October 21: El Dorado Springs, MO-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 90
Lot: beside Fugate Motors

I was feeling worn out today, both mentally and physically. I took a nap in the morning which made me feel a little better. Unfortunately I woke up with a splitting headache. At the start of the first show I took some medicine, because I was not looking forward to getting hit and falling down with my head throbbing non stop.

It was humid today. I'm surprised all our bodies aren't going into shock from the drastically changing temperatures. I am;however, happy that we haven't been freezing too much lately.

Local circus fan Mike Sealy was at both shows today. In between performances we visited with him for a bit, and he purchased two autographed Steve & Ryan 8x10s.
Don't forget that you too can purchase a photo! E-mail me at stclown@lowcountry.com if you're interested.


Thanks for your support, Mike!

I was bored doing the shows today, and the audiences didn't really help my disposition. In the ring I tried to do as many stupid things as possible to get me out of my rut.

After the show I migrated next door to the grocery store; I was not surprised to see many other folks from the circus also doing some convenient shopping.
I spent the evening at home and played the video game that Johnny got me for my birthday.

Only three more show days!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Those Crazy Eye-Trallions

Saturday, October 20: Pleasant Hill, MO-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 40
Lot: fairgrounds

This morning's jump was over before I knew it. I had a lot on my mind, and with that to occupy me the miles just flew by.

Johnny Moss brought over my birthday present this morning; he got "Resident Evil 6" for me. Every year Johnny gets me a video game for my birthday (usually zombie related [he knows what I like!]) that entertains me through the winter months.

We were on a gravel lot today, and it was extremely dusty. I felt filthy every time I went back to my trailer after a gag.

Today for our "Scare-athon" Ryan and I watched the Italian movie, "Zombie". It's a werewolf film.
Just kidding.
It is (in)famous for two scenes: 1) an underwater fight between a zombie and a shark and 2) a woman getting a huge piece of jagged, sharp wood slowly shoved into her eye.

You're lucky I didn't put up the splinter picture...

I've seen the film before, but this time I was especially impressed by the shark scene because the actor playing the zombie a) does insane things with a shark (riding on its back, biting it, etc) and b)  has no visible eye protection or breathing apparatus for the lengthly underwater shots (did I mention he's opening his mouth to bite the shark?). Very impressive!

The second audience today was great. They really surprised me since I was expecting a reserved audience like at the first performance.

I joined Radar, Elisa, and Radar's grandmother for dinner after the shows; we went to a BBQ joint where the food was delicious!

When I got back to the lot I was anxious to play the video game that Johnny got for me. I turned it on, and about five minutes into my game the power shut off. Grrrr.
What especially frustrated me was that the generator was turned off at 9:50 p.m., over an hour earlier than the usual weekend shut off time.
I was not a happy camper about my forced curfew.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

29 And Feeling Fine!

Thursday, October 18: Boonville, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 59
Lot: fairgrounds

It was a cold day, and the wind was blowing strongly almost non stop. Ryan and I tried to stay warm indoors by working on more business stuff (that's the technical term).
John Moss was nice enough to let me print out some paperwork, and then David Shepard gave me a ride into town so I could mail off a contract.

I was still dealing with the sore throat that started last night, so I tried not to strain my voice in the shows. I just didn't feel as funny without my usual arsenal of high pitched girly screams.


Friday, October 19: Warrensburg, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 71
Lot: fairgrounds

Today was my 29th birthday. While I was packing up my trailer in preparation for our morning jump, a sharp pain shot up through my neck as I was putting my generator in the house. Ah, the joys of being another year older!

Our advance clowns, Dave and Sherri, treated me to a delicious breakfast for my birthday. The restaurant even kindly gave me an $8 discount on my meal since it was my special day; I should have had two breakfasts!

Today for our "Scare-athon" Ryan and I watched "The Hitcher" (the original), which turned out to be more of a thriller than a horror movie. I wasn't too impressed, but I guess all our choices can't be gems.


Tatiana made me a delicious birthday lunch while we watched the movie; I was definitely lucking out in the good food department today.

I spent the majority of my day responding to the over 300 birthday messages left for me on my Facebook page. It sure meant a lot to me that so many people took the time, even just a second, to wish me a Happy Birthday. It got me all verklempt!

To add to my birthday bounty, I received a box of videos in the mail from my friend Andrew Scharff, and a care package from Jason and Justin Senft. They sent me and Sara copies of their photo of me and GiGi that will be in the new Federation Mondiale Du Cirque calendar, and they also sent along photos for John Moss and Becky.

Ryan and I spent most of our free time during the shows geeking out on the videos that Andrew sent. It was definitely a birthday highlight....cause I'm a nerd.

Ryan had a new idea for the package delivery bit that we tried out in the second show. While the long sound effect of the package breaking was playing, Ryan and I just stood completely still instead of mugging and reacting like usual.
It earned us the biggest laugh out of everything we did in that performance. Just for standing still and letting a sound effect do all the heavy lifting!
After busting our butts in the hillbilly gag, I remarked to Ryan, "We're working WAY too hard!"

After our musical opening to the second half, John Moss made an announcement that I was celebrating my birthday. The whole time I was looking around nervously to make sure there wasn't anyone sneaking up behind me to pie me in the face.
On the contrary, the only pie I got today was a slice of homemade pumpkin pie from Sherri that was simply scrumptious!

Mike, the drummer, was also celebrating his birthday today, and he was nice enough to share a piece of his birthday cake with me. Folks who share birthdays have got to look out for one another!

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Present To Myself

Hey everyone,

Today I celebrate my 29th birthday, so I'm going to take the day off from blogging.
You'll get two posts tomorrow. See ya!

Steve

Thursday, October 18, 2012

AuxVase Or AuxVasse? Depends On The Price! (Dedicated To Sherri Shepard)

Wednesday, October 17: Auxvasse, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 90
Lot: Lions Club Grounds

This morning Ryan and I kept occupied with business stuff: mostly figuring out scheduling for some of our winter activities.

Our advance clowns, Dave and Sherri Shepard, are finished with their work, so they came to tour with the show for a few days before they head home.
While I was visiting with them this afternoon they gave me my early birthday present, "Madagascar 3". I enjoyed watching it, and there were a few circus jokes that made me laugh out loud.

On the opposite end of the movie spectrum, Ryan and I watched the Italian horror film, "Suspiria", for our "Scare-athon".
It wasn't a bad movie, but the music was incredibly annoying, and they kept playing the same three songs over and over throughout the movie. To make matters worse, the music and sound effects were much louder than the dialogue, so I was constantly adjusting my TV's volume.



Turn your speakers all the way up and try and listen to all 6 minutes of that song without wanting to jam a fork in your eye.

Today was a nasty, cold, rainy day. I didn't want to leave my trailer to do the shows, mostly because in addition to the dreary weather, I could feel a sore throat coming on.

On the plus side, I was very happy with the audiences tonight. Judging from the size of the town I wasn't expecting anyone to show up. Let's just say I was pleasantly surprised.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Elsberry Iced Tea

Hey everybody,

My apologies. Yesterday I had absolutely NO phone or internet service at the lot. You all know the drill; you get two blog posts today!

Monday, October 15: Warrenton, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 29
Lot: Athletic Complex

I had a great morning. I got away from the lot for a few hours and got a lot accomplished: I did laundry, I got groceries, and I went by the post office to mail some of our autographed 8x10 photos, and a DVD to Pat Stevenson. The DVD contains a welcoming speech from Mr. North, Ryan, and myself that will be played at an upcoming convention for the Kapitol Klowns and the Emmett Kelly-Bello Nock CFA tent.

Today for our "Scare-athon" Ryan and I watched "13 Ghosts". It isn't the greatest horror movie I've ever seen, but I enjoyed watching it. My favorite part were the creative make ups for the titular spirits.



Gloria Wilkinson, the former head of wardrobe for the Ringling Blue Unit, came to visit today. I was glad she stopped by to see me and Ryan.

We always perform on rocks in Warrenton, so I had already mentally prepared myself; I made sure to be extra careful when I fell down in the gags.
We took the face plant out of the surfing gag to save my hands and wrists; the replacement bit still got a laugh, so I'll call that a win!
Roger Estill, one of my Facebook friends, let me know that he was coming to the second performance, so I went out at Intermission to visit with him. He showed me some pictures and video of his minature carnival. Very impressive stuff!


Tuesday, October 16: Elsberry, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 39
Lot: Page Branch Park

As I wrote earlier, there was no cell or internet service for me today. Since I couldn't sit in front of Facebook all day and slowly rot my brain, I sat on my couch all day and watched a lot of the TV series "Nip/Tuck"....and slowly rotted my brain away.

I was feeling sick to my stomach and exhausted for the first show, so I tried not to over exert myself in the ring.
I felt much better for the second show, so the evening definitely ended on a positive note.

Monday, October 15, 2012

C'mon Ride The Train!

Sunday, October 14: Washington, MO-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 84
Lot: Fairgrounds

A storm woke me up around 2:30 a.m. The wind was blowing so loudly that I checked The Weather Channel app on my iPhone to see how severe the storm was. Luckily it all died down eventually and I got back to sleep.
When I left my trailer in the morning to drive, I could feel that the grass was very soft from the rain. It was definitely a good idea to have everyone move to the edge of the lot last night.

The lot in Washington had a few soft spots. The ground was slanted, so all the rain water drained to one end of the lot. The one trailer that was parked in that area dug some impressive mud ruts.
Luckily the rest of the lot wasn't too bad, and the sun came out later in the day to help dry the ground.

We were right next to a lake, so I took Emmie over to swim right after I parked. He wasn't interested in playing in the water though; each time I threw him in he swam right back out and attacked me.
That's my boy!

This morning's pay day was cause for more celebration than usual, because I finally paid off the loan that Mr. North gave me over the winter. Whoo hoo!

Today for our "Scare-athon" Ryan and I watched the 1980 slasher movie, "Terror Train" starring Jamie Lee Curtis. She must have been busy that year; I believe both "The Fog" and "Prom Night" also came out in 1980, both starring Miss Curtis.
Our favorite parts of the movie were: 1. The Groucho mask that the killer wore for awhile 2. Young David Copperfield performing some of his illusions (and I'm assuming leaving the movie off his resume for the rest of his career) 3. The fact that the most annoying character was killed first (Thank God; I don't think I could have stood his horrible jokes for the whole movie. Now I know how people feel when they hang out with me and Ryan!)

"The secret woid is murder"
OR
"Isn't that the guy that works with Elmo on Sesame Street?"

As I mentioned earlier, the lot today was slanted. The hill sloped towards the back door, so every time we ran into the ring to do a gag, it was like running up Mt. Everest (because I'm so out of shape). 
In the surfboard gag I exaggerated the degree of the hill by tumbling head over heels towards the back of the ring about three times after receiving a board to the face in the surfing gag.
Mr. North got a huge kick out of that bit and requested that I put it in the second show as well. Hey, as long as he foots the medical bill!

Claire Wedermyer and her friend Sally came to watch the second show. I met Claire when we were both clowns on Ringling (on separate units though), and she was also a clown on Kelly Miller.
It was nice to catch up with her after the show. Her friend Sally even helped me out by giving me a quick back adjustment. I pulled something in the first show and she got me back in fighting shape in no time flat.