Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

Sunday, November 18, 2012

November 4th-November 18th

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Hey everybody,

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

Saturday, November 3, 2012

October 27-November 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Angel, July, Me, & Romario
Frick and Frack

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

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

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