Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dips

Tuesday, February 28: Roma, TX-6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Miles: 52
Lot: Riverview Family Center

Today was a low key day. Ryan painted the knife throwing board to jazz it up a bit.


I stayed indoors all day. First I washed my wig. It was the first time I had washed it since I got it in 2009, and it was amazing how much fuller it became afterwards.


Next I began the tedious and arduous task of organizing my receipts and itemizing my deductions for my 2011 taxes.


Oh joy of laughter! I didn't even put a dent in the receipts, but Rome wasn't built in a day!

I remember the lot in Roma being a real dust bowl, but since last year the ground has become a lot greener.
Unfortunately the ring was riddled with dips and pot holes (there were two more dips in the ring when we were working); Ryan and I made sure to take it easy in the gags lest we broke an ankle.

We did good business for the first show, and there was an average turnout for the second show.

Ryan and I are not very happy with what we are doing for the tiger arena strike. We don't have a good ending for it, and it is subpar to the rest of our material in the show.
We can't have that!
We are going to rewrite it and implement the changes very soon.

After the shows there was a big BBQ at the Fusco's trailer for Delena's 22nd birthday. I believe almost everyone from the show was in attendance, and the food was delicious.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Hit List

Monday, February 27: McAllen, TX-6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

I'll start this blog off with a little backstory:

My oldest brother is getting married on March 10th. I am going to be away from the show on the 9th and 10th to attend and be a groomsman. (Like Danny said, "Why can't they schedule this stuff for the winter?")
While I was at home I got measured for my tux. The fine folks at Men's Wearhouse promptly lost my measurements.

So I got a local business to re-measure me. While we were in Brownsville I found out that the fine folks at Men's Wearhouse lost my measurements again!
Luckily Mom had a copy of my measurements to send to them, but for some reason they weren't happy and requested that I find a Men's Wearhouse to get re-re-measured.

Yeah, sure. That's totally convenient on the road!

Mom called me today with that news; she also informed me that McAllen indeed has a Men's Wearhouse.
Luckily it was only two miles from the lot, so I hopped in my truck and went to get my measurements done.

The bottom line is, everything is done, and the measurements were sent to the Men's Wearhouse in SC.
I'm sure they will find a way to screw it up one more time before the wedding.

Oh, and I had to pay a fine because the deadline for ordering the tux was on Saturday....
Don't go to Men's Wearhouse!!!!!
Or Steve the welder in Hugo!!!!!!

(I don't like how my list is growing so early in the season!)

We did good business for the first show and there were even more people at the second show.
I think everyone was pleased that so many people showed up for a day that was added on (we were originally going to show San Juan today).

There was no cradle act in either performance, so Ryan and I had to haul butt from the tiger arena take down into the hillbilly gag.
I just made it both shows. Long shirts are a pain for a quick change!

Pat Davison, his wife Marites, and their daughter, Mabelle, came to the first show with some of the kids from their neighborhood.
The Davisons filled in on the show during the Valley dates our first year. We always enjoy seeing them and getting to visit; I wish we had more time this year.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Bye Bye Dough

Sunday, February 26: McAllen, TX-3:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., and 8:30 p.m.

This morning when I got paid, I began repaying the large loan that Mr. North was nice enough to give me this winter.

I walked over to Best Buy with Ryan and Nico to act as technology consultant. On the way we witnessed two jerks drag racing on the busy street right next to the lot.
I lectured Nico, "See those guys? They have small pe**ses."

We discovered on our trip that Nico is quite a chick magnet. Looks like Nico and Uncle Steve need to make more field trips together!

All three shows today were packed. We have had a great weekend in McAllen.

George, a local RV guy, came by about an hour before the first show to install trailer brakes for me.
The good news is that, 7 hours of work later, he got the brakes installed and reconfigured the wiring under my trailer, but the bad news is that he still has to rewire my truck.
I had to explain to him that on the circus, necessity is the mother of invention, therefore wiring jobs can sometimes be....creative.

Between the trailer brake payment and my first payment to Mr. North, I took quite a financial hit today.
Looks like someone will be living off Ramen for the next week!


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Gag Pictures

Saturday, February 25: McAllen, TX-3:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., and 8:30 p.m.

It rained a lot during the night and in the early morning. When I woke up, there were a lot of puddles on the ground.

Our advance clowns, Dave and Sherri, brought us a disk of gag pictures that Dave took in Brownsville and Palmview. I have put a few at the bottom of the blog.

We did good business for the first show, and the second and third shows were packed; even the extra bleachers were full.
It was great to look out on the midway and still see a line of patrons at the ticket office after the show had begun.

And now, a few photos of us from David Shepard:

Hillbilly gag


Angry Clowns


Surfboard

Saturday, February 25, 2012

You Apple!

Friday, February 24: McAllen, TX-6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

I woke up around 6 a.m. when I thought I heard hail coming down. I later deduced that it was just rain being blown into my trailer with great force by the strong winds.
When I woke up it was still windy, and the temperature had dropped considerably.

I went to a Target a couple of miles away to use a gift card my Mom got for my birthday. I spent every last penny on the card for house supplies: a new trash can, a door mat, a griddle, etc.
I also got a hair cut while I was in the area.

Back at the lot I walked over to the shopping center next door and had sushi for lunch, and then I browsed Barnes & Noble for awhile.

I love this town!

We did good business for the first show this evening, and the second performance was full.
Work seemed so much easier tonight due to the cool temperature; I wasn't a panting, sweaty mess like usual after each gag.

We had some friends in the audience for the second show: Alex and Meridee, our DJ friends from 107.9 Mix FM (they were our guest ringmasters and watched the show with their families), as well as David Dunn and his family.
David saw us our first year in McAllen, and every year I get a picture with his son Jonathan when they come to visit.
Here I am with Jonathan and his friend, Carolyn.


I was glad that our friends saw the 8:30 p.m. performance; the crowd was great and we put on a hell of a show.

The Dunn family brought an amazing gift basket for me. David's wife, Margarita, made a variety of candy apples.


Jealous? You should be! They're unbelievable!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Satellite Down!

Thursday, February 23: McAllen, TX-6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Miles: 26
Lot: Expwy 83 & 29th

The reason we jumped to the McAllen lot last night was so the top radio station in the area, 107.9 Mix FM, could do a live broadcast with us from 6 to 10 a.m.

John Moss, Fridman, Carolyn, Becky, and Radar all did hits with the DJs, Alex and Meridee. Ryan and I did several spots since we were station favorites (Meridee said we were the funniest clowns she's ever seen [remember....boo ya?]).

Ryan, Radar, and I walked over to Barnes & Noble at the conclusion of the P.R. Radar and I headed straight for the Starbucks, only to be stuck behind a line of school kids.
As we waited, and waited, and waited, Radar kept repeating, "Kids don't need coffee!"
I contributed the joke, "Give me a double shot of chocolate milk and a bubble gum latte!"

Alex, one of the 107.9 Mix FM DJs, and A.J., who we did a radio spot with last week, picked Ryan and I up a little later and took us to lunch.

We went to a Poncho's in Pharr and were treated to what Alex described as, "the best meal you are going to have down here."
He was right!
Alex ordered for the table and I could not get over how delicious the food was. Alex and A.J. were also fun company; we all had a good time cracking jokes and sharing business experiences.

Our advance clowns, Dave and Sherri, came by for a quick visit to give me some footage of our gags they filmed last weekend.
It was nice to see them, and we were happy to see how clean the gags look so early in the season.
Naturally, we did see some movements that could be done better, and we implemented them into the shows tonight.

We had a small crowd for the first show, and an average sized crowd for the second one.

During the second performance, the camels knocked over Ryan and Tatiana's satellite dish, putting it out of commission.
Only at the circus!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Clowns At Work

Wednesday, February 22: Elsa, TX-6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

This morning I went to the laundromat and grocery store; I love when things are conveniently within walking distance of the lot!

It was incredibly humid today.

We did average business for the first show, and the second show had the best turnout of the two day stand.

Inspired by Barry Lubin, I decided to go out at Intermission during the first show to connect with the public and create some memories and circus magic.
Instead some jerk kids started a peanut fight with me! I need a water gun....

After the shows we made a night jump to McAllen. I had to wait for awhile because the Elsa lot was tight and I was blocked in by vehicles.
When I finally had room to move, I still had a rough time because I was parked so close to a telephone pole.
I had to do some fancy maneuvering to avoid smashing up my rig.

Once I got on the road it was smooth sailing to the McAllen lot.

In closing, here is a photo of us from Brownsville performing the tiger arena strike:


This photo was posted on the Kelly Miller Facebook page.
Do you "like" Kelly Miller on Facebook? If not, what are you waiting for!?
While you are there, be sure to like "Steve & Ryan" as well!



NOW!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Warning: Blatant Family Guy Rip Off

Tuesday, February 21: Elsa, TX-6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Miles: 45
Lot: Hwy 88 & 4th St.

There is a grocery store close to the lot in Elsa, so I took advantage of the convenience and stocked up on food.

We had an average crowd for the first show, and there were more people for the second show.

Some sort of town siren (curfew I believe) "conveniently" began wailing during the second opening. Ryan, John Moss, and I began riffing on the situation, because it was extremely obvious and distracting.
We began planning material for tomorrow night since it is almost certain to happen again.

And now ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Conway Twitty:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

ARRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

Monday, February 20: Los Fresnos, TX-6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Miles: 61
Lot: Rodeo grounds

Some event that took place before us tore up the ground at the Los Fresnos lot, because there were ruts everywhere. If it had rained today, it would have been miserable.
Instead the ground was incredibly dry and hard, which made the ruts an ankle breaking obstacle.

While I was taking a little morning catnap, my duck, Emmie, got loose and wandered into the animal yard.
John Moss came and knocked on my door, but since I was so comfortable in bed I thought to myself, "If it is REALLY important, whoever is knocking will call."
Luckily Carolyn saved the day and captured Emmie before an elephant stepped on him and made a duck pancake.

A group of us got together and drove to Pt. Isabel to take a cruise on the Black Dragon pirate ship.
My friend, Christy, who is the entertainment director for the ship, set us up with tickets, and my friends, Amber and Michael, were working as pirates.
Christy unfortunately had to work another ship, so she couldn't be with us.

Amber painted my mustache and I painted hers. I think my artwork is better...

The crew did a great job, and everyone had a good time; I was glad we got to get away from the lot and have some fun.


The first show tonight was about 3/4 full. They were a great audience and I had a lot of fun performing for them.
The second show had an average turnout. Christy, her father, her boyfriend, and Michael, one of the pirates, were in the audience.
Christy brought us a 5 lbs. box of frozen shrimp. A free pirate cruise AND free shrimp; what a gal!


"I Said 'Hup'!"

Sunday, February 19: Palmview, TX-3:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., and 8:30 p.m.

This morning, as I was on my way back to the lot after getting coffee, a woman in an SUV pulled out of a gas station and totally cut me off.
I started to get angry until I noticed that the back window of her SUV was incredibly dirty, except for where someone had used their fingers to draw penises all over it.
Seeing that made me feel a lot better.

Anyway.

Today was another nice day. We did decent business for the first show, the second show was full, and the third show was 3/4 full.

Dave and Sherri Shepard, our advance clowns, came back to watch the show again today. Dave is taking the pictures for our new program, so they were front and center for the second performance.

They got to see a "Steve & Ryan Screw Up" in the hillbilly gag. At one point in the act I give Ryan an audial and tactile cue to set up the timing for a big hit; in the second show the cues were either not heard or they did not register, because the bit was totally flubbed, which left me completely dazed and confused for a moment. I had no idea what to do or even what bit came next; all I could do was say in a hurt and defensive tone, "I said 'Hup'!".
Luckily Ryan moved on to the next bit and we regained momentum.

I told Dave and Sherri that maybe they were jinxing us, because they were also witness to a particularly awful Angry Birds gag in Brownsville.

After a rocky second show, I got my second wind for the last performance, and it was smooth sailing from there.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Slim Pickens

Saturday, February 18: Palmview, TX-3:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., and 8:30 p.m.

Today was a beautiful day. The sun was out, it was warm, but there was a good breeze to keep it from being too hot.

We had a small crowd for the first show, but there was good business for the second show. The third show had the biggest audience of the day.
The nice weather made the three show day not very difficult at all. A guy could get used to that!
(Nice weather, not three shows!)

Here's a photo Tatiana took of me and Ryan pre skeleton chase:


And here's a news story that was filmed in 2010 when we played Hugo. It just went online a couple of months ago. I don't believe I have shared it here yet:


And another reminder, if you live in the Rio Grande Valley, check us out on KNVO UNIVISION tomorrow (Monday the 20th) at 5 a.m.
If you don't feel like getting up that early to watch us, I don't blame you. Even I wouldn't wake up at 5 a.m. to watch us!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Boo Ya?

Friday, February 17: Palmview, TX-6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Miles: 21
Lot: Next to Subway

Several vehicles got stuck on the Weslaco lot this morning. I was one of them; of course I get delayed when I am in a hurry to meet a deadline for a PR!

This morning John Moss gave Ryan, Delena, and I a ride to the UNIVISION station in McAllen.
While we were there, we recorded two television segments to air at a later date, and we also did a live radio spot.

I felt useless in the television spots because they were in Spanish. Ryan and Delena did all the talking with the on air personalities. I just mugged and read out of the book that I made bearing the title "Learning Spanish" (written in Espanol of course).

I was able to redeem myself a bit in the radio spot since it was in English. Two of the morning radio hosts came by to meet us; they are promoting the heck out of our stay in the Valley, and they have been giving tickets away as well.
The female host gave us a great compliment on the air early this morning, and she repeated it when she met us.
She told us that we were the funniest clowns she had ever seen. Boo ya!

Besides the radio segment, the second television piece that we recorded was my favorite. Why?
Because I got to sit next to her:


Boo ya!

The weather today was pretty miserable. It was overcast and threatening rain all day; on top of that it was humid...oh so humid.
Needless to say Ryan and I were two very sweaty clowns.

We did decent business for the first show; the turnout was better for the second one.


Just a reminder, watch me, Ryan, and Delena on KNVO UNIVISION out of McAllen today (Saturday the 18th) at 5 p.m. If you miss the segment, it is airing again in the 10 p.m. hour.

...BOO YA!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Blah Blah Blah

Thursday February 16: Weslaco, TX-6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

It rained during the night, but by the time I was up and about, it had quit.

After going to get my morning coffee, I had Radar help me hook my truck up to my trailer. I had to do a little weaving among some trees to get my vehicle back on the lot, but it wasn't too difficult.

My friend, Ramon, came by and took me out for a fajita lunch. We caught up as well since I haven't seen him since we played the Valley last year.

We did good business today; I guess word of mouth helped us.

It started to rain steadily during tear down; it made me happy that I decided to hook up my truck in the morning instead of waiting 'til the tent was down like I had originally planned.

UNIVISION update:

Friends in the Valley, watch KNVO UNIVISION (out of McAllen) tomorrow (Saturday the 18th) at 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. to catch a segment featuring me, Ryan, and Delena Fusco. It is the same segment airing both times.
On Monday the 20th, watch at 5 a.m. to see a different segment air. And if anyone could record those for us, it would be greatly appreciated!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Practice Makes Perfect

Wednesday, February 15: Weslaco, TX-6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Miles: 24
Lot: City Park

This morning I unhooked my truck and took it into town to do laundry and go grocery shopping.
It was really nice to have some freedom away from the show after being stuck at the lot for the past few towns.

Apparently the company that sponsored us here last year has since disbanded, so Weslaco is now a lot and license date.

We had an average turnout for the first show, but more people showed up for the second show.

After the second performance ended we had a finale rehearsal to implement a few new people into the number.
I was ready to finish, because the practice was standing in the way of me going out for dinner!

And now a PSA:

To all our fans in the Rio Grande Valley: In the morning we are going to the KNVO UNIVISION Studio in McAllen to record some segments promoting the Kelly Miller Circus. Stay tuned for the air date!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Where's My Candy?!

Tuesday, February 14: San Benito, TX-6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Miles: 25
Lot: fairgrounds

Once I got to the fairgrounds in San Benito, I tried to get my truck off the lot so I could go do laundry.
Unfortunately the ground was still soft from all the rain last week, and I backed up right into an extremely mushy patch.
I tried to move forward again, but my back tire was buried in a rut.


HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

Luckily Jacob was nice enough to pull me out of the mud with the Bobcat. With my tail between my legs, I parked my truck back in front of my trailer and pouted.

It turns out that if I had waited a few hours, I could have backed up alongside my trailer on the other side where it was a lot drier, especially after the sun had been out all morning.

Fridman replaced my trailer's water pump, which was a great relief. I now have better pressure in my sinks and shower, and it doesn't sound like my trailer is going to blow up every time I run my water.

I watched the movie, "District 9", today; I enjoyed it a lot. If you are a fan of sci-fi, action, gore, and South Africans, definitely check it out.

We did decent business for the shows. Due to the humidity and low energy from the audience, the performances were a bit tough to get through.



Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pirates In The Audience

Monday, February 13: Port Isabel, TX-6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Miles: 21
Lot: Laguna Madre Park

The crew was working all night to get the tent down and the big trucks off the lot. I heard that it took about an hour for each semi to be pulled out of the mud.
The last show vehicle was off the lot about an hour before our call time.

Once 6 a.m. rolled around all of the trailers were pulled off the lot. Once I had a clear path, I attempted to drive off without assistance.
I made it all the way to the road, but when I got to the curb, I chickened out and slowed down. Stuck! Centimeters from the pavement!
The tractor pulled me off and I went on my merry way.

When we got to the lot in Port Isabel, I thought we were in for more of the same. The ground was soft, there were already muddy tracks, and the generator truck got stuck pulling into its position.

Luckily the sun came out and was there to stay. The ground dried up nicely, Ryan and I cleaned our props, and I was able to hand wash all of my costumes and shoes and then put them outside to dry.

Ryan, Tatiana, Nico, and I walked into town to get some lunch and look around. We ate at Pirate's Landing, which is right next to the Black Dragon Pirate Cruise, of which our friend, Christy McDonald, is entertainment director.
Unfortunately, Christy was out of town until the late afternoon, so we didn't get to see her. My friends, Amber and Michael; however, are pirates on the cruise, and they came into the restaurant to say hello before taking off.
Obviously two pirates in full regalia coming to our table attracted some attention. Ryan suggested that I should have stood up after they left and said, "Maybe you've noticed, but I'm kinda a big deal."

We wanted to attend the pirate cruise today since it is just down the road from the lot, but we had a company meeting at 3:00 p.m. to go over rules, regulations, and the like.

We had good crowds for the shows today. Everything was SO MUCH easier without a field of mud to tromp through.
Also, Ryan and I had a few more minutes to rest in the first half because Carolyn's dog act went into the show tonight.

Our friend Christy came to the second show with her boyfriend, her parents, and her boyfriend's parents. Michael, Amber, and Amber's son were also there.
It was good to see everybody; we are planning on getting together again when we play Los Fresnos later in the month.

Ryan, Nico, and I with Christy and Darren.

By the way, if you ever want to see tour dates, go to our website: www.steveandryan.com
I just updated them.

Monday, February 13, 2012

So Long Muckers!

Sunday, February 12: Brownsville, TX-3:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., and 8:30 p.m.

I was feeling the effects of our first three show day when I woke up this morning. Despite that and the drizzling rain, I accomplished some grocery shopping since a market is conveniently across the street from the lot.

We knew for a few days that it was going to be raining for our final day in Brownsville. Luckily for us it was rare and never a torrential downpour. Just enough drops to be annoying.

Crowds were good today, but the weather definitely cramped our style. The second show had the biggest turnout, but the final show, which usually has a line out the door and one equally as long at the ticket office, had the most empty seats.

For the remainder of the season, whenever we have a muddy day, and I feel like complaining, I'm going to look at these two pictures and tell myself, "It could be SO MUCH WORSE!"



I went to eat at the official Brownsville hangout, Buffalo Wild Wings, one last time after our final show.
When I came back, close to midnight, the poor tent crew still had a long way to go to get the tent packed away.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Duck, Duck, GOOSE!

Saturday, February 11: Brownsville, TX-3:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., and 8:30 p.m.

Today started out as a beautiful day: sunny, warm, a slight breeze...I wish our whole stay was like that!
By showtime it was overcast and cool; at least we didn't get too sweaty during all of our running around in the shows.

I spent some time in the morning visiting with our advance clowns, Dave and Sherri, swapping stories from the past year.

I met Vanessa for lunch, and then I had to rush to get into make up for a photo shoot.
A local man is a big fan of the circus, and he wanted a picture of me and Ryan with him and his fiance for their wedding invitations.
If I had known they wanted to take the pictures in the tent, I would have set an earlier time. While we were taking the photos in the preferred seating section, people were coming in to sit down for the first show.
I hope they got a usable shot; Ryan said they were a very nice couple. I wish I had gotten to speak to them more, but I showed up in the tent just in time to snap the photos and leave.

We had great crowds all day; they even had to hold the third show because people were still lined up buying tickets.

The crowds have been losing their minds over the hillbilly gag. All of our gags are getting great laughs, but people go nuts over us as hillbillies.
I sure am going to miss the great crowds down here.

When Ryan and I enter the ring for the tiger arena strike, we come in through the audience. For a couple of shows we had to squeeze right by a row of people, so I pretended that I was goosed by whatever lady was sitting behind me. Nice laugh from the audience.
In the third show, Mr. and Mrs. North were sitting in that spot, so OF COURSE I had to do the bit again!

All in all it wasn't a bad three show day. I was definitely ready for bed by the end of it though.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

"Steve! STEVE! STEEEEEEEEEEVE!"

Friday, February 10: Brownsville, TX-6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

I slept great last night; getting the opening shows out of the way did wonders for my nerves!

I spent some time today cleaning mud off my clowns shoes. I am not worrying about costumes until we get to the next lot; it's a losing battle.

Our advance clowns, Dave and Sherri Shepard came to visit for a few days. They have been promoting a show they haven't seen for the past 10 days, so they wanted to get a better idea of key things to plug in their appearances.

Once again we had great crowds tonight. The gags continued to get good laughs, Ryan and I found points during the show to just sit down and rest for a second, and backstage was made much more bearable by the addition of more sawdust on the side where we make most of our entrances and exits.

Vanessa, the young lady who cut my hair last week, was at the evening show with her kids. I went over to say hello, and while I was there I got swamped with fans wanting pictures.
I was amazed at how many people called me by name, instead of the usual, "You!" or "Hey, stupid!"


Friday, February 10, 2012

Opening Day 2012

Thursday, February 09: Brownsville, TX-6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

I could not sleep last night. I laid awake until 3:00 a.m. worrying about everything related to our opening night shows and our gags; it was miserable.

When I woke up, it was raining. Great.

The backstage and backyard were terrible; there was standing water and mud everywhere.



The crew was working hard bringing gravel in to make the tent entrance and seating area more bearable.
Gravel was also put on one side of the backdoor, and sawdust was spread all over the ring.

Ryan and I moved most of our props from backstage to the back of my truck, and then we went into the tent to map out our tiger cage strike.
Due to new rules, Radar has to have a net on top of the tiger arena, and since there hadn't been any practice for taking it all down quickly, Ryan and I anticipated a disaster for the first show.
Since we are distracting the audience while the arena comes down, we wanted to have some kind of game plan so we could stay out of the way.

All afternoon I felt terrible. I was tired, but I couldn't nap because I felt sick. I don't remember ever being so nervous for an opening night.
Finally I ate a big meal, which made me feel so much better.

I know some of you read the blog to get an idea of how we did business wise. I'm sorry, but I was so preoccupied with everything going on that I wasn't able to judge the size of the crowds.
They weren't huge, but we weren't playing to 100 people either. We did decent business for the shows.

As soon as we started the show and I heard the audience laughing, all my stress melted away.
Here's the show's running order: (skip this if you actually want to be surprised when you see the show)

1: Opening-Steve, Ryan, and John Moss
2: Tigers-Ryan Holder (aka Ryan Easley) [aka Radar]
(Tiger arena strike-Steve & Ryan)
3: Aerial Cradle-Sara Greene and Delena Fusco
4: Camels-Mike Rice
5: Hillbilly Gag-Steve & Ryan
Peanut Pitch
6: Pirates of the Kellybean Production-
-Fridman Torales on rola bola
-Raul Olivares and Julio Rosales knife juggling
-Julio and Deya Rosales knife throwing
-Steve & Ryan skeleton chase
-Carolyn Rice with dogs (not in Brownsville. Carolyn is at home for family reasons)
-North Starlets with web

INTERMISSION!

8: Angry Birds-Steve & Ryan
9: Single Trapeze-Rebecca Ostroff
10: Juggling-Raul Olivares
11: Surfing Gag-Steve & Ryan
12: Elephants-Armando Loyal
13: Pinky-Raul Olivares
14: Argentinean Gauchos-The Fusco Family
15: Finale

Ryan and I are in the show 7 times; we didn't have a chance to sit down the entire evening. Once we get out of the mud in Brownsville, we will find our down time. Right now we have to change from boots to clown shoes before and after every appearance.
Not a lot of fun when you're standing in muddy sawdust and trying to carry huge props.

We were blessed with a fantastic audience for the first show. They were so enthusiastic; a great way to start off the season.
Even though the second crowd wasn't as loud, Ryan and I still got great laughs for all of our gags.

I'd just like to point out that (to the best of my knowledge) Ryan and I are the first clowns to do an Angry Birds gag on a circus. Count it!
We got some great recognition laughs from the audience just by running out with the props. We've been wanting to do a current gag for awhile, and I thought of Angry Birds mid last year. We came up with an act for it, and the audiences approved!

The only number that gave me difficulty was the tiger arena strike. I panicked in the first show and rushed a lot, but I had calmed down by the second show and everything went a lot smoother.

At the end of the day, we were frustrated that all of our props and costumes are dirty and muddy after just two performances. There's just nothing we can do about it.
On the other hand, we were happy that our gags all went so well. I think we have a great show this year, and once we get through this difficult weekend, there is nowhere to go but up!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Flashback To 2010

I heard it raining last night, and it started again this morning. When I headed over to the tent for our first rehearsal, I saw that there was now a moat between the trailers and the back door, as well as plenty of mud in the back door. sigh.

Ryan and I actually lost a lot of time during our two hour rehearsal block, mainly because the computer containing the show's music died and wouldn't come back on.
A few people futzed with it until Tavana finally came through with a better power cord. That thankfully solved the problem.

By the time we were ready to go, we only had thirty minutes left before our rehearsal time was up.
I was so impressed that we knocked out every number we are doing in the show; we did each one twice and we had very few problems to fix.
Go team!

At 1:00 p.m. the pirate production was run several times all out; I think it will be a show highlight.

In the evening we had a finale rehearsal which was a lot smoother than last night's. There was still a point when Ryan and I were alone in the ring with no light though.
When the lights came up we pretended to be making out, which got a huge laugh from the folks watching.

Ryan and I had our final rehearsal period afterwards. We ran through all of our gags and then called it a night.

Tomorrow is the big day, the opening of the 2012 Kelly Miller Circus season! I am taking the day off from blogging because I know things are going to be crazy.
I will then resume the blog posting schedule that I adopted last year: one post a day of the previous day's events.

Here goes nothing!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

So That's Why You Wouldn't Shake Hands

Today Ryan and I got a solid two hour practice block starting at 11 a.m. We ran the majority of our gags, starting with walking Mike through the sound effects we needed and then adding in music cues with Marshall.
I was very pleased with the progress we made. (Coincidentally, I didn't realize how much we run in our new gags until we did them repeatedly back to back)

Afterwards there was a rehearsal for the pirate production; it is shaping up nicely and should look great.

In the evening we had a finale rehearsal. Most of the time, the lights were off in the tent, because there are glowing props used. However, there were times when Ryan and I were standing in the ring alone in total darkness.
We had no idea why until later someone mentioned that we will eventually have spot lights on us. Before we were informed of that though, I grabbed my iPhone and used the flashlight app to illuminate us for a laugh.
At one point we also struck a pose strangling each other so everyone would have a nice chuckle when the lights came back on.

After finale was done Ryan and I had another hour to run gags. It didn't feel as productive as the first practice, because we were all wiped out.
I crashed about halfway through, Ryan had been keeping busy nonstop between rehearsals cutting music tracks and translating for Mr. Fusco (who is directing the production numbers), and Marshall and Mike had been learning music cues all day.

In closing, here are a few pictures.

1) A shot I took on my walk back from getting my morning coffee:


2) Ryan and I performing at the 2nd Annual Red Nose Dinner a couple of weeks ago in Hugo (from Jimmy Hall):


Another photo from the dinner with Ryan reenacting the famous Great Sebastian scene from the Greatest Show on Earth (also compliments of Jimmy Hall)



Monday, February 6, 2012

Practice, Practice, Practice

Today we began rehearsals for the 2012 season of the Kelly Miller Circus. The rain took a day off; it was still overcast, but the ground has dried a lot.

Ryan and I were upset that our first rehearsal slot was not productive at all. For one thing, we couldn't really rehearse our gags because the band wagon was not in the tent and set up.
A couple of seat wagons got in late, so they waited until they were set up before setting up the back door. That meant no way to rehearse music or sound effects.

The only other thing we could do was figure out the rigging for one of our gags, but we couldn't even do that right away.
Someone was supposed to set up a pulley at the top of the tent for the net over the tiger arena, and also for our gag, but the ball was dropped during the tent set up, and the pulley wasn't rigged.

Danny assembled all the pieces, and then Fridman was nice (and brave) enough to climb a cable ladder all the way to the top of the tent and hook up the pulley. A big hassle that could have been avoided.

Once we were about to try our drop gimmick, all the lights in the big top were shut off. Perfect.

One light finally came on, and out of the two hour time period that we were given, we were able to squeeze in ten minutes of rehearsal with John Moss.

Coincidentally, all of the lights came on again in time for the next practice session. Sigh.

We worked on some more blocking with John Moss outside of the ring while the rehearsal for the pirate production took place. We also got to run our chase as part of that practice.

Ryan and I had a little break to watch a movie; I also got our music to Marshall and Mike, who are in charge of that department.

Early in the evening there was a rehearsal for finale and then Ryan and I had another hour to get stuff done.
Unfortunately, the show music is still not all loaded into the computer, so we were once again without music or sound effects.

We did run the gags so Mike could watch for sound effect cues, and we talked Marshall through the music changes.
On the upside the gags seem to be running smoothly and we got laughs from people watching the rehearsal.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Rain, Rain, Go Away

This morning I bundled up and went to have a coffee at Starbucks. It was only 50 degrees outside, but the wind was blowing hard and it had quite a chill on it.

While I was warming up at Starbucks I checked my iPhone for weather only to get this depressing forecast:


D'oh!

When I came back to the lot, the tent set up was underway. I was happy that the big top was going up; that gives us three good days of rehearsals before opening day.

Ryan and I walked to the movie theater in the mall this afternoon to watch Beauty and the Beast in 3-D.
The whole time Ryan and I were making jokes like, "I'm sorry guys, the line for little kid movies is over there" and "You guys don't want to go into that theatre; that movie is for little girls".
The truth is, Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite Disney movies, and it was great to see on the big screen again. The 3-D made the film look beautiful.

In the evening Ryan and I went into the tent to address a rigging issue for one of our gags; luckily it seems like everything is going to be worked out.

Radar, Elisa, and I went to a sushi restaurant for dinner. While we were waiting to cross the street by the lot, we noticed that there were a ton of birds on the power lines above us.
We forgot about it until we were walking back to the lot after eating.
As we were waiting for the walk signal, I heard a loud plop right in front of me. I looked up and realized that a bird had just pooped.
Suddenly, it started raining bird crap all around us; the three of us started yelling and dancing around to avoid the onslaught. People driving by must have thought we were all escaped mental patients. We're lucky none of us jumped into oncoming traffic!

Radar got splattered once, but my coat attained the most damage. Radar had the perfect line for the situation: "Dinner was pretty good, but the walk home sure was s***ty!"

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Hello Brownsville, How Are Ya?

I woke up at 4 a.m. this morning, had a cup of coffee, rolled up my power cables, and embarked on the 398 mile trip to Brownsville.

Right outside of Houston I was met with a heavy deluge of rain, and in downtown there was a bad accident under an overpass that bottlenecked traffic into one lane.

The rain continued on and off (in varying degrees of heaviness) until I was about 3 hours outside of Brownsville.

I was extremely happy that I was not pulled over and issued an unjust D.O.T violation in Refugio like I was last year.
I passed by the same cop, but he had pulled over some other unlucky jerk.

I was the first performer to the lot in Brownsville. I got parked and set everything up before going to get some lunch.

I tried taking a nap, but it was too hot in my trailer to rest well. Finally when the generator was turned on and I was hooked up to power I decided to get up and do something.

I walked to the mall, but it was so packed that I quickly left and headed back towards the lot.

There were dark, ominous storm clouds blowing in as I was walking back to my trailer. I spotted a hair salon that was open, so I decided to stop in and get a much needed trim.

The young lady that cut my hair asked why I was in town; when I told her that I was a clown with the circus, she said, "I knew you looked familiar!"
Am I that obvious?

She went on to tell me that she takes her kids to the show every year (3 performances each time), and they even have a picture with me.
She continued, "You work with that other guy, right? The one that keeps getting hit and having all the bad things happen to him?"

I thought that summed up our clowning very well.

While I was getting my hair cut the heavens opened up and it rained like there was no tomorrow.
I was waiting for it to die down so I could walk back when Vanessa, my stylist, offered to give me a ride to the lot.
I was very grateful (and dry).

Ryan and I met Radar and his girlfriend, Elisa, over at Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner.
I was celebrating the fact that I successfully completed the first jump without a breakdown or ticket.

I wasn't in a celebratory mood; however, when I got back to my rig. Radar looked at my truck and we discovered that the back leaks...a lot.
Our props are wet from all the rain today. Looks like Ryan and I have a lot of caulking to do.
I'd like to once again personally NOT thank Steve the ****ing welder for doing a rush job when he had two months to do it correctly.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Winter Quarters, Over and Out!

While I was at home being a bum, Ryan was at Kelly Miller's Winter Quarters working on costumes and music for our new gags.
The rest of the WQ crew was also hard at work on all the vehicles and show equipment, ensuring that everything makes it down the road for another season.

Bobby Rawls, the artist who does all the painting and lettering for the show trucks, has been teaching Ryan some tricks and techniques over the past few winters.
This winter we were honored that he painted our likenesses on the side of one of the box trucks.



On January 28th, Ryan and I performed at the 2nd Annual Red Nose Dinner event, benefitting the Circus City Museum.
Folks who bought a ticket were treated to a delicious buffet and live entertainment. There were a few performers from Carson and Barnes; Fridman, Jeremiah, the Fusco family, Ryan and I were representing Kelly Miller.
Ryan and I did a comedy juggling act complete with slapstick and "Greatest Show on Earth" movie references.
We also made the front page!


Some bad news....during the winter, my two white ducks, Ralph and Dexter, were eaten by coyotes. I am going to miss their antics and the delicious eggs that Ralph would lay.


Now for some good news! To avoid any more mechanical mishaps this season, I bought Nikki's truck. It is newer (2001), has low mileage, and everyone with automotive knowhow agreed that it is a good truck.

Before embarking on our winter dates, I dropped the truck off with a local welder so he could build a shell on the truck's bed for prop storage.
I told him that I would be back in January to pick it up, which left him the better part of a month to get the job done.

I called a few times while I was on vacation, and every time he said that he hadn't started yet, but he would start very soon.

I was distressed when I returned to Hugo to discover that my truck had not been touched in the 6 weeks that I had been gone.

The welder also had a truck from the show that needed work done. It had been in his possession since Thanksgiving.
Obviously speed is not this guy's strong point!

Kelly Miller finally got their truck back last week. When Danny picked it up, the welder said he was going to start right away on my truck.
I went by a few days later to check on his progress, AND THE TRUCK WAS UNTOUCHED!

The welder was at lunch, so I called him and said that if he couldn't do the work on the truck, he needed to tell me right then.
He kept apologizing and told me that he thought he could get it done before we left. I told him that he needed to be absolutely sure that he could.

Finally, after I had called and raised hell, the welder leaped into action!
Ok...not really. He got the truck to me yesterday....at 4 p.m.....the afternoon before we left Winter Quarters.

Well, I know someone who won't be getting any of my business in the future. And on the bright side, I got my truck! And all our props fit in the back!


We left Hugo this morning and drove the 290 miles to Cleveland, TX, our designated halfway point.
The new truck worked well. It is a lot lighter than the U-huals, so my trailer sways a lot when big trucks zoom past, and it pushes my truck when I have to brake suddenly.
Nothing trailer brakes and sway bars won't take care of.

Ok folks, I just found out that we have to vacate this fairgrounds by 5 a.m. due to an incoming livestock show, so I am going to bed!