Monday, April 30, 2012

Preachy!


Sunday, April 29: Mt. Zion, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 35
Lot: high school grounds

We were only a few miles from Decatur today, so I went into town to get coffee and breakfast.

It was cold and rainy this morning, not fun weather to stand in while waiting to get paid. Exactly when it was my turn to get paid, the sponsor cut in front of me to settle up with the office. I had to wait even longer, probably catching pneumonia in the meantime.
True, I could have stood under the pony ride tent to keep dry like all the smart people did, but I am stubborn and wanted to get my money's worth out of my umbrella. 

Bill Prickett and his wife Nancy came to visit and see the show today. Nancy made a delicious cheesecake for me, Ryan, and Radar. 



We had good audiences today, especially for the first show. Of course, it may have just seemed better because we had friends in the crowd.

Tonight Ryan and I finally got to see the new Three Stooges movie. Armando, also a Stooge fan, brought his grooms and kids as well.
I thought it was very funny, and I enjoyed it a great deal. The only thing that turned me off was at the end when the Farrelly brothers, who made the film, gave a speech about how the props were made of rubber and "Please don't try this at home, kids". 
If Ryan and I ever give an announcement like that after one of our gags, please hit us with a real sledgehammer. 



Sunday, April 29, 2012

Trailer Tetris

Saturday, April 28: Arthur, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Miles: 85
Lot: old football field

This morning's drive seemed to go on, and on, and on, and on, and on....

and on, and on, and on, and on!

Once we got to town I walked to a little Amish coffee shop that I remembered from two years ago. They have excellent coffee and pastries.

John Moss tipped me off to the direction of the downtown. I dropped some mail off at the post office and looked through an antique store.

There is an Amish restaurant up the road from the lot where I was looking forward to having lunch, but I went right at their "rush hour", and the wait was ridiculous. I decided to just wait for one of the other Amish restaurants we play near later in the season.

It was a rainy dreary day, but luckily that didn't affect our business. The first audience was having fun, but the second audience was very quiet. There were a lot of Amish folks in the seats.
When John Moss was starting the Angry Birds gag, he started with his usual line, "I have a new App for my iPhone..."
Ryan said, "I don't believe the Amish know what he's talking about."
I quipped, "iPhone....is that a kind of barn?"

So I'm a bit insensitive to other cultures....Ryan and I got a good laugh out of it!

Dave, who does booking for Kelly Miller, and Rick, who has taken fantastic photos of us, were at the first performance. I went out to visit with them during Intermission.

Radar and I went across the street after the shows for some delicious BBQ.

Tavo had told everyone earlier in the day that at 10 p.m. the power would be shut off so we could move to the parking lot.
Radar and I got back to the lot around 8:30 p.m., and a large number of folks had already moved. I figured I would enjoy having power for awhile longer before I moved.
Well, that was my decision until my power started turning on and off. Finally I got frustrated and decided to go ahead and move.

Finding a space in the parking lot was like playing a game of Tetris. Besides the folks from our show that had already parked, there were random cars spread out in inopportune places, as well as telephone poles.

I had Radar help me back into a space so I wouldn't smash up anything important, like my house! After getting settled down I realized how tired I was. I'm glad I didn't wait until 10 p.m. to move; I probably wouldn't have made it!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hillsboro? More Like Rocksboro!!!

Friday, April 27: Hillsboro, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 43
Lot: sports complex

All of the trailers were on grass today, and the tent was set up on some nasty looking rocks.


Needless to say, Ryan and I were REALLY not looking forward to falling tonight. Luckily Radar swept the majority of the rocks out of the area where the tiger arena was set, so we didn't cripple ourselves too badly. 
Thanks Radar!

The audiences tonight didn't seem to care for us too much, and that's ok, because I didn't care too much for them either! :o)

All of us that were parked on the grass had to move onto the gravel after the shows due to the chance for rain. I had to wait until the tent was down before I could get settled for the evening. 


Friday, April 27, 2012

What A Twist!

Thursday, April 26: Carlyle, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 34
Lot: Clinton County Fairgrounds

Tonight I was looking forward to a visit from my friend, Dean Kelley, who is a clown on Ringling's Gold Unit. They are in Cape Girardeau, MO, which is only a couple of hours away.
Unfortunately he was feeling sick today, so he couldn't make it. Bummer.

We had good audiences tonight. In a twist worth of M. Night Shyamalan himself, I thought the FIRST audience was better than the second crowd.
WHAT A TWIST!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

On The Soapbox

Wednesday, April 25: Mascoutah, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 44
Lot: East of Scheve Park

This morning while I was driving I noticed a strawberry/kiwi-ish scent wafting from my truck. I looked around and found an air freshener that Alex had placed by my radio when he cleaned my truck yesterday.
Now that's service!

Ryan and I walked into town to drop some mail off at the post office. On the way back we stopped in a cafe and felt compelled to buy something when we found out they were closing on Friday.

There were sooooo many people in the back yard today. I watched from my window and became more and more aggravated as kids would go up to my duck, Emmie, and just yell "QUACK QUACK QUACK" into his face. There were many other methods of duck teasing that the kids employed; one kid even puffed his chest out like he was challenging my duck to a fist fight.
Needless to say, there were several times when I was close to going outside and boxing some heads. It's ok for the town people to come in our back yard and harass the animals, but I'd get a butt full of buckshot if I went outside their house and up to their dogs to yell, "BARK BARK BARK" at them.

Just venting. Moving on....

Radar's friend, Ken, brought some delicious spaghetti and meatballs, bread, and brownies this afternoon. Radar, Christian, and I chowed down like it was going out of style!

We had good audiences tonight, but as usual, the second crowd was livelier. I'm sure you've all figured that out by now.

QUACK QUACK QUACK!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chub Scouts

Tuesday, April 24: Percy, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 70
Lot: Percy Park

Our first year on Kelly Miller, we played a terrible lot in Percy. All the decent lots were under water, so we set up by an old, abandoned mine.
You can see pictures of that....memorable day here:
http://steveandryan.blogspot.com/2009/04/be-mine.html

Luckily today we were set up on a nice, grassy lot about half a mile from the mine. I remembered a nice cafe by the other lot, so I walked there for breakfast after I parked my rig.

Jimmy and Teppa Hall came by to visit today. I wish I had gotten more of a chance to talk with them; we just chatted briefly when they arrived at the lot.

Alex, one of the mechanics, and his crew washed my truck and trailer for me today. They did an amazing job; my rig looks brand new! (Except for the front of the trailer, which I have smashed up in the past two years, of course)

There was a fat kid in a Scout uniform that was being a pain in the butt during the first show. When we ran out for opening, he made a big show of being scared of us for his friends.
Then when we went by in the package delivery bit, he yelled out at me, "I hate clowns!"
By this point he was asking for it!

In the skeleton chase he was conveniently sitting in the perfect place for me to almost hit him with my shovel. After making him jump from my near miss, I lifted my eye patch and said to him, "By the way, I LOVED you in the movie 'Up'".
Score one for Steve!

The second audience was very good; they definitely made up for the first crowd.

PS-I just uploaded our promotional video to Youtube. Check it out!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Vault

Monday, April 23: Farmington, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 23
Lot: fairgrounds

This morning most of us had ice on our windshields; I used a "My Panera" card to scrape it off, freezing my fingers in the process.

I accomplished many things once I got to Farmington: I went into town and did laundry, I sent some money home at the post office, I got my hair cut, and I went grocery shopping.
I picked Ryan up afterwards so we could have lunch at Steak & Shake.

Later in the day and also during the shows I cleaned my trailer, which it definitely needed!

Tim Smith, who owns a place in town called the Vault (http://www.thevault204.com/The_Vault/The_Vault.html), his wife, Kerry, and their friend, Steve (who is a photographer), all came to the first show.
Tim brought fantastic gifts for us: stickers for me and Ryan, and awesome posters for Becky.

The three of us went out to visit with Tim, Kerry and Steve during Intermission. I can't get over the fact that I fell for the old hand buzzer gag from Tim. 
Courtney Heidenreich, who worked here in 2009, had the day off from work in St. Louis, so she was also around watching the show and visiting with folks.

The ground today was very difficult to work on; we could barely keep stable footing. Luckily the crowds helped make up for it, especially the second audience, which was fantastic!
Their response was a great way to end our (first) run in Missouri.




Monday, April 23, 2012

Black Hole Crowds

Sunday, April 22: Potosi, MO-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 25
Lot: fairgrounds 

From reading my past blog entries, I remembered that there are usually no gas stations on the way to Potosi. Twice I have almost run out of fuel on the jump there, so this time I was prepared with a full tank of gas.
It turns out I didn't have to worry after all; the jump was short and the route we took had plenty of service stations along the way.

When I got to the lot I began my morning ritual of unhooking my truck from my trailer. After jacking the trailer up, I went to pull my truck away.
I don't know if I didn't have my trailer high enough or if the uneven ground caused my blocks to shift, but when I drove away I pulled my trailer and sent it into a nosedive to the ground.
I was not amused....

Luckily one of my blocks kept my trailer's jack from going completely into the ground, so I was able to get my rig level again. It was simply a slow process of stacking blocks and working the jack. Angrily of course.

The audiences today were dead. There's just no nice way to say it.
The black hole where their energy should have been was doing its best to wear all of us performers down too.

Luckily we survived and I went out with Radar and his family for dinner at a Mexican restaurant. 
I was back in my trailer before 9 p.m., which I greatly enjoyed. Sometimes it's nice to just have an evening at home. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pogo Pizza

Saturday, April 21: De Soto, MO-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Miles: 45
Lot: Am Vets Post


The audiences today were standard weekend crowds. People just don't seem to be that enthusiastic at afternoon shows, which makes almost every weekend a hurdle for me and Ryan.
There's a great speech in the movie "Mr. Saturday Night" about how comedy is a night time activity. I tried to find the text online, but to no avail.
Do yourself a favor and check out the movie if you haven't seen it; it's a great film!

(Perhaps you disagree with my thoughts. If so, let's discuss in the comments; I'm just speaking from my own experiences)

After the shows Radar's family took us to dinner at a pizza restaurant called Pogolino's, whose mascot is a mustachioed clown on a pogo stick.



(If you wish to discuss that as well, please let's do so in the comments!)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Cupcake Is Mightier Than The Sword

Friday, April 20: St. Genevieve, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 55
Lot: City Park

Shortly after we arrived in town, it started raining. It was dreary and wet all morning, and it stayed overcast and chilly for the remainder of the day.

The audiences tonight were good, but I think they would have been a lot better had it been warmer out.
In the second show I got a couple of nice laughs in our package delivery bit. I was in a particularly crowded section of bleachers, and I had to squeeze past a row of people. Very touchy, feely people....

When I was clear of the section, I patted my pockets and yelled, "Somebody stole my wallet!" 
After that laugh subsided, I ad libbed, "I'm just kidding. I'm a clown! I don't have any money!"
Ah, self depreciating humor....

After the shows Radar's family hosted a BBQ. I went over to eat, drink and be merry! 
Christian, the new tiger groom, mentioned that the get together was almost like a belated birthday party for Radar, so everyone burst into a impromptu rendition of Happy Birthday (which sounds pretty similar to the regular version, I guess.....).
As everyone was singing, I slowly got out of my seat, grabbed a cupcake, and stood waiting. When the song ended, I whipped the cupcake at Radar's face as fast as I could.
Unfortunately my aim sucked and his Spidey Sense must have tingled, because he moved his head quickly and the icing only grazed his hair.
There's always next year though.....

We had power all night. High five! 

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Lot Of Eating

Thursday, April 19: Jackson, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 63
Lot: City Park

On this morning's drive we passed right through Cape Girardeau, MO. I pulled off the Interstate and got breakfast at Panera Bread; it was heavenly! 

While doing a phone interview earlier this week, Ryan was tipped off to a 3 Stooges themed restaurant in town.
Armandno took me, Ryan, Tatiana and Nico for lunch at Stooges. There was 3 Stooges pictures and memorabilia all over the walls, and the menu even had Stooge related food items. 
I ate a burger called The Moe. It was good, but the hair from the bowl cut kept getting stuck in my throat....

                                    

                                     






 Nyuk nyuk nyuk!

The audiences tonight were alright, but nothing to write home about.

And that's the rest of the story......



Thursday, April 19, 2012

And In This Corner: The Mighty Eagle

Wednesday, April 18: New Madrid, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 70
Lot: behind Dollar General

There was a pizza place across the street from the lot that I decided to try for lunch. After I paid for the buffet, I realized that there was nothing on it!
One woman was in the kitchen (and working the register), and as soon as she would put something out, the 5 customers in the restaurant would annihilate the food and then we would sit and wait until the next food item was ready.
Pizza Pro left much to be desired.....

The first crowd was alright today, but the second audience was fantastic; it was a lot of fun to perform for them.

At the end of the Angry Birds gag I got scalped by the giant bird that falls on us. I quickly rolled over onto my stomach so the audience wouldn't see my natural hair showing under my wig.
Fortunately the gag ends in a black out, so I was able to run off with great stealth, just like the ninja that I am.
This is how much damage the bird did:


Let that be a lesson to you. NEVER underestimate the Mighty Eagle!

I have not had power from my trailer batteries for a long time. For some reason they do not charge, so when I am unplugged from power I have neither lights nor water.

I asked Castro to use his charger on my batteries today, so tonight I had lights and water! It was so great being able to read in bed without an annoying book light!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Missouri Hates "Fecies"

Tuesday, April 17: Poplar Bluff, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 60
Lot: fairgrounds

On this morning's jump I was almost to the lot, and I had mentally checked out. Sara was ahead of me, so I was just following her. I saw her making a turn up ahead of me, so I made a note: I'll turn up there.
Just as I was thinking that, I drove by the actual turn arrows. Sara blew the turn, and in my semi comatose state, so did I!

I saw that the place where Sara had turned was a spot to swing her rig around and get back on the right path. I pulled into the same tiny parking lot; it was an extremely tight fit, and we both JUST made the turn around without smashing up our trailers or anyone's property.

Our circus convoy took a very roundabout way of getting to today's lot to avoid going over a steep hill with train tracks at the top. There was concern that some of the trailers would get hung up on the tracks.

My generator was acting screwy this morning (likely due to Sunday night's heavy rain fall), so I walked into town to find some eats.
I stumbled upon a fantastic restaurant called Myrtle's Place. I'm not sure if any of you will ever have a reason to go to Poplar Bluff, but if you do, check out Myrtle's. The breakfast was delicious (and served all day)!

The waitress at Myrtle's told me of a laundromat that was within walking distance of the lot, so I went back to my trailer to get all my dirty clothes together.
I actually would have had a very short walk to the laundromat had the lot not been surrounded by a body of water. It turns out that I didn't have to worry anyway, because Becky, who was about to do laundry as well, spotted me and offered me a lift.

After driving the route that I would have been walking, I was glad that I got a ride. The journey would have been a real pain in the butt with my sack of clothes weighing me down.

Becky and I knew we had stumbled upon a classy place when we spotted this sign:


I wonder if the rule applied to human feces? Oh well!
(Notice how I spelled feces correctly and without a superfluous apostrophe.
Steve-1 Missouri-0)

The audiences tonight weren't the best we've performed for, but whatever! Tomorrow is another day/pair of audiences!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Don't Stop Believin'

Monday, April 16: Ellington, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

This morning I walked into town to scout things out, and later Ryan and I went in again to run some errands.
I was happy we were set up in Ellington; last year we were 10 miles away in a little burg called Redford.
It was lacking in phone service and things to do. There was a lot of misery though!

We had to stop by a hardware store to replace some nuts and bolts that had gone missing from the hillbilly laundry box. Sister Dorothy had one piece of hardware that we needed, which saved us a little money.
We also stopped by the post office so I could send some money home. While we were there, we spotted a new Kelly Miller poster:


Before going back to the lot I stopped by a grocery store that was conveniently across the street from the tent.

We had great audiences tonight.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a good way to end my blog posts? Sometimes they seem to wrap up nicely on their own, and other times, like the last two nights, they end like the series finale of "The Sopranos".

Who has some ideas? I'm all ears!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Just End It Already!

Saturday, April 14: Mountain Home, AR-11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 5:30 p.m.

Radar's mom, step dad, and grandmother came to visit today, and they brought with them new seats for the tiger act. The seats look very sharp (Not in a dangerous, pointy way, but rather a cool, snazzy way!)

I was not looking forward to the first show due to the old adage, "Nothing is funny before...."(I'm not sure what the exact time is, but I'm sure it is WELL past eleven in the morning), but I was pleasantly surprised. We got laughs!

The second show was the one we had to struggle to get through; woof, what a dead audience! Luckily we ended on a good note; the third crowd was full of life.

I was draggin' butt by the end of the day, but I did get some good news: I'm getting an awesome tax return compliments of Uncle Sam!

After the shows Radar's family took us out for a delicious dinner; we also got to do a little shopping at Wal Mart.

Shablagoo!


Sunday, April 15: Ellington, MO-Travel Day
Miles: 155
Lot: The Lagoon

"The Lagoon" that we parked by turned out to be some kind of sewage treatment place. Between the big septic pond by our houses and the decomposing animal between me and Sara's trailers, the next two days promised to be an adventure of smells.

I took it easy today. Unless you want to read about me napping, reading, playing video games, and watching movies (which I suppose you already do on a regular basis), I will end the blog here.


On second thought, here.




No, I'll definitely end the blog here.












Or
here!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Travel Day

Hey everyone,

No shows for us today due to a travel day. I'm gonna take a break from blogging, so check for two entries tomorrow.
PEACE!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

What's A Matzo You?

Friday, April 13: Mountain Home, AR-5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Miles: 54
Lot: Rodeo grounds

This morning when I woke up, I felt horrible. My head was killing me, and so was my finger that got hit by a wooden bola yesterday.
Once I got to the lot though, I took some Ibuprofen and felt much better.

Becky had me over to her trailer for fried matzo and coffee a little later in the morning; that made me feel better too!

I borrowed our gag books from Ryan and spent some time this afternoon going through them to see if any old ideas jumped out at me. I wrote down a short list of the ones that seemed to hold the most comedic potential.

The audiences tonight were alright; they weren't nearly as enthusiastic as I remember them from years past.

After the shows there was a birthday party for Armando's son, Luciano. I went by for awhile to eat and socialize, but I called it an early night due to our Saturday show schedule.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Bola Bash

Thursday, April 12: Ash Flat, AR-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 47
Lot: Next to Tri County Farm Store

I went to an auto parts store this morning to get supplies so Castro could change my oil, transmission fluid, and filters.

We had good crowds for the shows tonight. In the second finale I got a little too close to the bolas that Arwen was spinning, and one of the wooden balls smashed into my knuckle.
I yelped and jumped around in pain until I noticed a pretty woman sitting in front of me. I ran over to her and asked her to kiss my wound to make it better.

When I saw how quickly and happily she obliged, I took one of Mr. Fusco's drum sticks and bashed myself in the mouth before running over to her again.
Not an original bit, but it got a good laugh!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Nuns Join The Fun!

Wednesday, April 11: Pocahontas, AR-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 53
Lot: fairgrounds

From perusing my past blogs, I was able to remember that on this morning's jump there was a sharp turn onto a narrow two lane road.
The good part is, I was ready for it, so I swung wide (despite the constant oncoming traffic), avoiding smashing up my trailer on the stone wall sitting at the corner.
I thought that the sharp turn went immediately into a killer hill, but I was relieved to see that I remembered that part incorrectly.

The lot today was nice and grassy; everywhere except for the ring, that is. There were rocks everywhere!
These Arkansas lots seem to have a predisposition to be uncomfortable for a couple of slapstick clowns.

Delena was sick again today, so there was no cradle act in the show. That meant Ryan and I had to haul butt after the cage take down to make a quick change for the hillbilly gag.
We were parked a ways from the back door, and I JUST made it in time for the gag in the first show.

Sisters Dorothy and Bernard are here to travel with the show for awhile. The dynamic nun duo was on the Ringling Blue Unit with me for four of my five year tenure; I was happy to see them again.

We had great audiences tonight. The weather turned chilly in between shows; I was hoping it would still be awhile before we had to deal with the cold.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sho Nuff!

Tuesday, April 10: Newport, AR-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 110
Lot: Behind Village Mall

As soon as I got to the lot this morning, a nice gentleman gave me some Easter cookies as free roll. He knew from reading the blog that the quickest way to win me over is something sweet!
He also brought a big wheel tricycle for Nico; Nico absolutely loves it!
(Sir, I forgot to ask for your permission so I could put your name on the blog. I definitely want to give you credit for the thoughtful gifts. Please leave me a comment if you are ok with me putting your name on here)

I crashed for a few hours in the morning. I didn't get much sleep last night.

We were set up behind a little "mall". There wasn't much to be seen there, but I did find some great, colorful laces for my clown shoes.

Sean and Erica came back to visit today. Part of the reason was to bring back my pillow that I left at their house, but they also wanted to hang out some more and catch another show.

The first audience was so dead; it was like pulling teeth for any of the acts to get a rise out of the crowd.
Luckily the second audience was much better, which in turn made our job much easier!

Ryan and I spent more time hanging out with Sean and Erica after the shows; it was a good time.
Fo sho!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Morrilton Oralton

Monday, April 9: Morrilton, AR-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

I slept so great last night, and when I woke up I got to soak in an honest to goodness BATH TUB!
Sometimes I really do miss living in a house...

Sean, Erica, and I went to Starbucks and then they showed me some of the sights of their town, like a GI-NORMOUS Kroger that had just about any kind of food you would look for.
I even found some Matzo for Becky's birthday; she's been searching for some for the past few days.
So all you Hebrews and Shebrews take note: Arkansas is not an easy place to find Matzo!

We capped off our tour of Little Rock by having a delicious sushi lunch at Sean and Erica's weekly hangout, Kobe Japanese Grill.

We stopped by their house so I could pick up all the delicious goodies that Erica made for me, and then it was back to work. Booo!

Sean and Erica hung out in my trailer during the first show, and they watched the second performance.

The first crowd started out very quiet, but they had warmed up by the time the show ended. The second audience, on the other hand, was fantastic. I am so happy our friends got to see us getting laughs!

After the shows we had to move off the lot because of a chance of rain. A few of us parked at Wal Mart, while the rest of the show vehicles parked by a movie theater.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hoppy Days

Saturday, April 7: Hot Springs Village, AR-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Miles: 42
Lot: Boys & Girls Club

Before the shows today I took Ryan to a nearby Bank of America, and then we went by a dollar store so I could get the components for my Easter bonnet.

When I got paid this morning I noticed a number of huge Easter baskets in the office. I asked who they came from, and Tavana told me all about Tim Hughes.
Tim saw our show in Glenwood on Thursday and absolutely loved it. It was his son's first circus, and as he bought his ticket, he could barely contain his excitement.
He asked if he could take Tavana and Sue, who were selling tickets, to lunch, but they explained that they couldn't leave the office.
He then asked if he could bring them anything, and Sue answered, "Chocolate."
He brought them two baskets of the good stuff: expensive, foreign chocolate. He then asked how many kids were on the show, since he wanted to do something for them.
He brought 14 HUGE Easter baskets filled to the brim with goodies.

Tavana told me that he bought 11 ringside tickets for the 5:30 p.m. show today, so Ryan and I went out and visited with him during Intermission of that show to thank him for his kind gifts. He was such a genuine, nice guy.

We had a great audience for the 2:00 p.m. show. I wish the second crowd had possessed as much energy as the first.

After the shows I joined Radar and his grandmother for a delicious Italian dinner.


Sunday, April 8: Morrilton, AR-Day Off
Miles: 115
Lot: Southern Christian Home Grounds

Today's jump normally would have only been around 75 miles, but we were told that the roads were terrible for trailer and big rig driving, so we took a longer, yet easier route that was almost all Interstate.

I was able to pull off the highway in Benton, AR to grab a cup of coffee at Starbucks. One of the girls working there was flirting with me until she found out I was a clown with the circus.
"I'm terrified of clowns," she told me. I replied with, "Well, I'm terrified of baristas, so I guess that evens it out."
I was hoping for a big laugh, but I don't think she knew what a barista was. Go figure!

Upon our arrival in town, The Combs family gave me my Easter gift: Cadbury eggs!
I gave Nico his Easter basket, and just as Ryan predicted, Nico was most excited about the plastic Easter eggs inside, which he proceeded to "juggle".

There was an Easter egg hunt for the circus kids held in a playground across the street at noon. After that we all put on our Sunday finest and were treated to lunch at a local steakhouse and buffet.

Besides the lunch, the main event was the 3rd Annual Kelly Miller Easter Bonnet Contest.
I didn't get many good pictures (since my bonnet was a pain to see out of), so I stole a bunch from Carolyn's Facebook page. (Hope you don't mind, Carolyn!)
Here are the winners:

Most Beautiful:

3rd place-Becky

2nd place-Doricela

1st place-Tavana (This picture came from her Facebook page. Thanks!)

Funniest:

3rd place-Gene

2nd place-Me!

1st place-Johnny
Most Creative:

3rd place-Sammy (also pictured is Gigi)

2nd place-Luciano

1st place-Luis (Unfortunately I couldn't find a good picture of his)

Here are a few more of the contestants:

Carolyn

DeeDee

Nico

Jacob

Lamont

Fridman!?

After claiming my prize beach towel, I headed back to the lot to await the arrival of my friend, Sean Carlock.
Sean was a First of May clown on the Red Unit while I was a First of May on the Blue Unit. We kept in touch before and during our time on "The Big Show", and we have continued to do so since then.

He and his girlfriend, Erica, just moved to Little Rock a couple of months ago, and they were nice enough to let me stay at their house for the night.

We had a cookout (During which I had my first cheesy brat in a looooong time), and we stayed up late talking and sharing stories.

All in all, I had a great Easter!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Day Off!

Hey everybody,

I hope you had a Happy Easter and/or Passover!
Since we had a day off today, I'm going to take the day off from blogging.
I will post two entries tomorrow. Peace!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Karaoke Party

Friday, April 6: Malvern, AR-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 53
Lot: Moose Lodge

On this morning's jump, I must have been in a daze, because I ran over a couple of curbs with my trailer while taking turns too tight.
Needless to say, everything in my house was down on the floor, which didn't start my morning off on the right foot.
When I opened up the back of my truck, I realized that I had forgotten to secure the bag of duck food, so it had spilled all over the floor.
The final straw occurred when I was making breakfast. I had just opened a new package of bacon, and as I was placing it back in the fridge, the contents slipped out of the bag and fell onto my floor.
That almost caused me to curl up in the fetal position and cry.

Luckily my day got much better!

In the late morning I caught a ride with Ryan, Tatiana, and Mrs. Fusco to Walmart, where I was able to get an Easter basket together for Nico.

Our friends Dave and Cherie Gregg, who are the advance clowns for the Gold Unit of Ringling (and were on the latest season of the Amazing Race), came to visit this afternoon, and they watched the first performance.
We had good audiences tonight, but I wish the first crowd had been better.

After the shows a group of folks from the show moseyed on over to the Moose Lodge to have a few drinks in honor of John Moss' birthday.
The members of the Lodge were gracious enough to invite us over and sign us in as their guests.
I totally dug the place; it was nice and quiet, and everyone seemed to be having fun.
Best of all, they had karaoke!

I sang a bunch of songs, but I pushed my luck singing "Polka Face" by "Weird Al" Yankovic. It was not my proudest karaoke moment, but I made up for it with my other selections.
Jeremiah and Lamont wowed the crowd with a duet on Billy Joel's "Piano Man", with Jeremiah "singing" and Lamont on the harmonica.
Even Fridman got up and rocked out to the Temptations and Freddy Fender!

The folks at the Lodge were gracious and generous hosts, and I'm very glad I decided to visit.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Phenomenal. Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo.

Thursday, April 5: Glenwood, AR-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 51
Lot: next to rest area

I got up thirty minutes before the call time so I could use the RV dump station on the lot in Mena.

The route slip for this morning's jump described the drive as hilly and curvy, but it really wasn't that bad.
I actually had a very calm, relaxing trip; I didn't see a single circus vehicle the entire time.

I got my generator to work again this morning. Apparently all it needed was a good drying out.

I went to a nice little laundromat in town to wash my unmentionables, and then I set off to find a Walmart that Google Maps told me was 9 miles away.
After driving for miles and miles on a hilly back road, I looked down at my phone to see that I had supposedly passed my destination.
I was very angry that a erroneous locale sent me on a 20 mile round trip wild goose chase.

The audiences tonight were great! Of special note was the second crowd, which was PHENOMENAL!
They laughed loud and often; it was a great reminder of why I am a clown.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Two Drips Make A Big Splash

Wednesday, April 4: Mena, AR-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

This morning I tried to start up my generator. I was not successful.
It got soaked yesterday (imagine that), so when I would finally get it running, it would overload.

Since it was a beautiful sunny day, I opened it up and let it dry. I also put my wet shoes and rugs outside.
We were lucky that the lot wasn't bad; there was a little mud and water on the outskirts, but other than that it was fine.

We had two more great audiences this evening; I am loving the Arkansas crowds!

When we were running into the ring to do opening for the second show, I slipped and fell. I quickly jumped up and yelled, "I'm alright!", but I felt like such a jack ass. It's funny how I fall down so much in the show, but whenever I do it on accident I get so embarrassed!
On the way out of the ring I stopped in front of the spot where I slipped and really took my time going over it; that got a big laugh from the folks sitting near me.

And now, as promised, here is the video of us performing in the flooded bigtop Tuesday night. Ryan says he wishes that he had paid more attention in school.




Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Great Flood Of Aught Twelve

Tuesday, April 3: DeQueen, AR-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (kinda)
Miles: 37
Lot: fairgrounds

After I got to the lot this morning I set up Emmie's wild duck sanctuary and made breakfast. Just as I sat down to eat, it started storming. Boy am I glad I didn't wait to let Emmie out after breakfast!

Later in the morning, after it had stopped storming, John Moss came by to let me know that in the evening we were going to be doing storm shows. Really bad weather was slated to hit us, so he asked that we take one gag out of the show.
Ryan and I decided that we would do the surfboard in the first half and not do the hillbilly gag.
Part of that decision came from our location in relation to the tent.

In 2008 the lot in DeQueen started flooding as tear down was going on. A nearby swamp overflowed and the water just continued to rise and rise.
Because of that, this year all the trailers were parked at the front of the fairgrounds while the tent and semis were all back in the "danger" area. This meant a long walk for the cast and crew all evening long.

The first show's audience was great. Having the surfboard gag in the first act worked like a charm.
After the performance I was in my trailer when it started raining. The storms were coming.
Most people had been watching the weather map on their phones and computers, and I was no exception.
All the nasty weather that hit Dallas was heading right for us; The Weather Channel declared thunderstorm warnings and a tornado watch for our area until the late evening.
The worst part was that everything was on course to hit us right at showtime.

Ryan called me and said that everyone was going to shelter. I threw on my robe and grabbed my umbrella before heading outside to see what the plan was.
The local police rounded up a van and bus to take folks to a nearby shelter; those of us with our own vehicles were asked to follow. We were told the second show was not canceled yet, rather it would start as soon as the worst of the storms passed.

Ryan and I jumped in my truck, with the skeleton from our chase riding between us (and my duck in the back of the truck), and followed our personal police escort to safety.
We must have been quite a sight to see! Well, that is, if you could have seen us. Right around the time we left the lot the rain was really coming down, and thunder and lightning was booming and flashing every few seconds. Visibility was not at an optimum.

I had to laugh when I saw our "shelter". It was a little community center lined with windows. I think I would have been just as safe in my trailer!
Everyone that came to seek shelter piled out of their vehicles and into the center. There was the police and one couple from town already there, and everyone else was from Kelly Miller.

After awhile, the weather calmed down and we were given the all clear to head back to the show.
I gave a couple of crew guys a lift and followed someone back to the fairgrounds (since I had absolutely no idea of where we were in relation to the circus).

When we got back to the lot, it was a madhouse. There were people everywhere! I couldn't believe the amount of folks that came out to see the circus in potentially deadly weather!

I quickly became enraged when I noticed that while we were gone, audience members had parked in front of our trailers, making it impossible to park in front of our homes.
In a blind fury, I drove all the way to the fairgrounds entrance and parked. Ryan tried to get a license number from the car in front of my house, but of course it had no plate.
An announcement was made, and vehicles were moved so we could park at our homes.

As I was getting dressed for opening, Ryan came over and said, "Take your costume off. Put together anything you can, but you don't want to wear your agent suit."
When I asked why, he took a picture to show me:


The whole tent was full of running, ankle deep water, and the back yard was even worse.
The plan was to put on an abbreviated show with whatever acts could work in standing water.
John Moss asked us to do opening and the surfboard gag. Since the surfboard gag is nothing but hits and falls (imagine that in a Steve & Ryan act), we put together serviceable wardrobe.
I wore an old red and white striped shirt that I have had since I was 15, and Ryan and I both donned colorful bathing suits that I had. We both went sans wigs.
I was going to wear my mud boots, but Ryan talked me into wearing old Converse sneakers since the boots might limit my movement.

After trudging through cold, occasionally knee high, running water in the back yard, I saw Ryan in the back door wearing his mud boots. That sunnova......

I'm not sure exactly when the second show started, but it was well after 8 p.m. Everyone from the shelter had to make it back and a game plan for the show running order had to quickly be made.

As Ryan and I were waiting to do the surfboard gag, we decided that we were just going to go out in the ring and have fun.
There was no getting around the fact that we were going to be drenched from head to toe, so we might as well take advantage of the situation.

Let me tell you, we put on a hell of a gag! The audience was in stitches, as were our fellow cast and crew members that were watching.
Ryan and I (mostly Ryan) threw all kinds of extra falls and craziness into the act. The water was cold, and the fact that it was running through the ring caused the surfboard to glide under me during one of my falls, but we gave it our all!

I'd like to thank Luis for bringing a tub from Carolyn's dog act into the ring for us. Otherwise I would not have had anywhere to put the foam megaphone, and it would have gotten soaked.

(Note: There is video of this gag. Ryan is working on a montage right now, so stay tuned!)

After the gag Ryan and I took our props back to my truck and then we both went to get cleaned up. We had just rolled around in swamp water after all.
I joked beforehand that it was going to be like the scene in "Stand By Me" with the leeches.

From reports I heard, the audience was happy with the show they saw under such adverse conditions, and in the end, isn't that what matters?

It had started raining around 6:30 p.m., and it was still coming down after I went to sleep past 11 p.m. Thank God all the trailers were on solid ground.
Everything from the tent area was pulled up by us before the crew's work was done.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Bozo Wanna Box?

Monday, April 2: Ashdown, AR-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 73
Lot: Jr. High School

This afternoon I was taking a little cat nap when all of a sudden I awoke with a start. My trailer was rocking from strong wind, and I could hear people yelling outside.
That kind of stuff works on me better than coffee!

I jumped out of bed and ran outside to see what was going on. Radar and his groom, Christian, had already put the tigers back in the truck, and they were working quickly to dismantle the tent they use to provide shade for the cats.
I looked over at the big top and saw the flags on top whipping in the wind. The sky had also gone dark; quite a difference from the nice weather earlier in the day.
I quickly ran and put Emmie inside his kennel, and then I closed up the back of my truck so the props wouldn't get wet in any rain.

Ryan was sitting on his front step, so I started talking to him when he looked past me and yelled, "WOAH!"
I turned and saw Radar's tent about to blow away while Radar, Christian, and Sara fought to keep it from going airborne.
I ran as fast as I could with Ryan on my heels. I vaulted over Radar's fences without even stopping to think of how sturdy they were. My landing wasn't the most graceful, but luckily the fences remained standing and I fell on my feet and not my face. (Later Ryan told me he had secretly wished that I had wiped out. What a pal!)
Ryan and I helped the trio keep the tent on the ground while simultaneously disassembling it.

After that crisis was averted, I went back inside to ride out the storm. Luckily it wasn't too bad, and it was all over in a few minutes; a light rain continued on until halfway through the first show though.

We were set up within sight of a paper mill, and the rain really helped distribute the stench. The smell was awful!
I kept joking that folks should start dumping their sewer tanks to improve the scent around the lot.

I was told by Tavo that we would be moving off the lot after the shows, so during the second tiger act I walked over to the nearby school to scout out my escape route and parking situation.
A few teens milling around on the midway spotted me, and one of them yelled, "Hey Bozo!", which I promptly ignored.
When he yelled out, "B**ch, you wanna box?!"; however, I stopped dead in my tracks and spun around to face him.
Slapping my puffed out chest with both hands, I yelled, "STEP UP! YOU WANNA GO!? STEP UP, FOOL!"

This unexpected outburst took the asinine adolescent by surprise, and startled his friends into laughter.
I quickly went about my business before the kid could follow me home and beat me senseless.
I may be brave at a distance, but I'm not stupid!

The second audience tonight was really good; what a lively crowd!
As soon as the show was over, I quickly cleaned up and packed up my house to move off the lot. I set up camp in the school's parking lot and called it a night.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Bizarro Blog

Sunday, April 1: Idabel, OK-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 42
Lot: fairgrounds

(In honor of April Fool's Day, I am writing the "Bizarro World" version of my blog. Meaning, everything I write is the opposite of what actually happened.)

We were cursed with a terrible, rainy, cold day today. My truck broke down on the drive to Idabel, and I didn't get paid.

We had miserable audiences for both shows. The stands were completely empty and extra bleachers were not set up.

After the shows I didn't get to partake in the annual tradition of going to the local Mexican restaurant with my friends. I also missed out on going to Wal Mart to do shopping.
Then I died in my sleep!

The Beginning!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Great Success! (Said Like Borat)

Saturday, March 31: Hugo, OK-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Miles: 72
Lot: Agriplex

It rained almost the entire drive to Hugo, which did not bode well for our day. Fortunately by the time we got to town it was simply overcast and the sun was starting to peek through.

I saw Dudley, our WQ caretaker, his daughter Carol, and his son in law Rich in the parking lot, so I went over to say hello before getting a delicious breakfast at Angie's Circus City Diner.

The Diner is covered with circus memorabilia: posters, pictures, programs, concessions items, dolls, etc, and all of the tables have glass tops with circus pictures under them.
When we left to go on tour, a few tables were without glass tops. Ryan and I offered to buy one if they would let us turn it into a Steve & Ryan table.
Dudley kept after the Diner for us, and this morning he informed me that all the tables had glass tops now, and there were a few that still didn't have photos.

Ryan and I searched my computer for some optimal photographs, and then we ran to Wal Mart to get them printed out.
We made a quick stop at Ryan's storage unit to say hello to Jan (who was the cook our first year on the show), and to unload some of the stuff we have accumulated in the two months we've been on tour.
After that we headed back to the lot; Dudley took us to the Circus City Diner, and with Angie (the owner's) kind blessing, we created the Steve & Ryan table!


Huzzah!

After helping us create that shrine to stupidity, Dudley took us to Busy Bee to partake of their delicious burgers.

Dudley shuttled my sorry butt around town one more time so I could go pick up my old UHaul truck and move it to WQ.
It has been sitting on the outskirts of town at a propane place for a few months now; I have gotten a few calls about it, but no one wants to pay my asking price.
I really don't think a million dollars is THAT much to ask!

The sun came out during the morning, so it was a beautiful circus day. The audiences today were great, even though it was crazy hot under the big top.
I suppose enthusiasm was to be expected since Hugo is our hometown date.

Besides the heat, the only other obstacle to overcome were the huge, sharp stones in the ring. The whole rest of the lot was soft and grassy, but the ring seemed to be located in Hugo's own personal rock garden.

This was our first day of the tour with early show times, so it was great to be done by 7:30...ish.
A party was held at the building next to the lot for the third birthday of Armando's son, Argio.

Last year the festivities were Steve & Ryan themed. This year it was Angry Birds...still pretty similar.

I hadn't eaten anything since before noon, so I was starving. Luckily there was a bounty of good food on which to gorge myself.
I also got to talk with my friend, Nick Giannino, who helps take care of the elephants at Carson & Barnes' center.

All in all, our Hugo stand was a great success.