Friday, May 31, 2013

""- Boy In A Superman Shirt

Thursday, May 30: Grantsville, MD-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 80
Lot: Town Park

There were some hellacious steep hills for my truck to climb on the Interstate this morning. 
Once I got to town I packed up all my dirty clothes and walked to the laundromat a few blocks away from the lot.

Don Curtis came by to visit today. He brought some kebabs for some of us performers, and he gave me a photo that he took of me on the Christmas tour this past December. Thanks, Don!
Don spent the first show backstage taking photos and showing off his albums, which were a big hit with the cast and crew.
Check out Don's photo blog here:

Ryan bought a unicycle from our friend, Mike Perry, a few days ago, and during the first show I was giving it a whirl backstage. I didn't do too bad considering I haven't ridden one in almost five years.
Ryan and I were feeling brave, so we decided to try a two man high on the unicycle.


I'm still using ice....

I would like to apologize to everyone in Grantsville who saw the first carpenter gag. Ryan and I could not catch a break in it to save our lives.
First, when I was doing the kick the hat bit, the hat rolled into the curb at the front of the ring since the ground was at a slant. I'm supposed to keep kicking the hat out of my reach as I go to pick it up, but the way it landed against the ring curb prevented me from continuing with the bit. I simply picked up the hat and threw it into the middle of the ring.
Then, at the end of the gag when I was running around with the out of control saw, the extension cord (bungee) attached to it snapped.
Ryan and I quickly covered by moving straight to the end of the gag. Even though I think we handled it well, and the audience doesn't know what's supposed to happen anyway, I always feel like a failure when something goes wrong in an act. But, I always try and redeem myself in the next show.

Speaking of which...

While we were waiting in the back door to do the second carpenter gag, the little car started making some nasty noises.
Sure enough, right when it was our cue to enter, the little car shut off, out of gas.
I quickly jumped out and pushed Ryan and the car into the ring.
Le sigh.
At least the rest of the act went much better than the first show!

Tomorrow is another day!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

"Jamison Wants To Hug His New Friends"- Jamison's Grandmother

Wednesday, May 29: Mannington, WV-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 57
Lot: Fairgrounds

The majority of this morning's drive was Interstate, but once we left the highway and traveled the remainder of the way to Mannington, the road became very nerve wracking.

After we set our props in the tent this morning, Ryan and I took a little time to block out the new choreography for the hat kicking bit in the carpenter gag.
We tried to just throw it in yesterday, but it was something we needed to actually take the time to practice.

After our quick rehearsal I walked into town to find the post office. While I was there I gave my patronage to a little second hand store and a coffee shop.

I really don't have anything else exciting to share today (not that anything I wrote was that exciting).
Thank goodness some of our fans sent in photos!

Some fans in Waynesburg, PA
Claire in Mannington
Jamison in Mannington

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"We've Come To The Show For Three Years. You Guys Are The Best Part Of The Show"- Man At Intermission

Tuesday, May 28: Waynesburg, PA-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 75
Lot: Greene County Fairgrounds

The majority of this morning's jump was on a winding, hilly, two lane road, so it was slow going.

Ryan and I watched video of the carpenter gag this morning to see where we could tighten up or trim material.
We also put the new tire on the carpenter box; we have been having the problem that whenever the box moves, the old tires would loosen the nuts holding them onto the axle. Hopefully having two new wheels will solve that problem.

We had two former Ringling clowns visit us today: Mike Perry, who was on the Blue Unit in the mid 70s, and Kyle Barker, who was on the Red Show for the past three years.
They watched both shows, and we got the chance to visit with them in between.

At the first show we met a little boy who wrote a paper in Kindergarten saying that when he grows up he wants to go to clown school.
Ryan and I did our best to talk him out of it.
Just kidding!
I was about his age when I decided I wanted to be a circus clown. God speed, little dude!

The changes to the carpenter gag went well. There was only one part we weren't happy with, so we changed it back for the second show until we can get some ring time to properly block it.

At the second show we got to see "Poppy" and "Violet", two clowns who were married in the Kelly Miller Circus ring back in 2010.

While we were packing up our props during the second show, a gentleman named Sam and his son, Braxton, came over to say hello.
They had seen the first performance, and they spent the second show parked in their car watching the behind the scenes activity. I had spotted them outside my trailer window, and I remembered seeing them watching the tent go up this morning as well.
They both asked me and Ryan questions about life on the road, and we had a nice conversation with them.

Here we are with Dominic, Danielle, and Connor from Waynesburg. Thank you, Chris, for sending in this photo!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

"You Guys Are As Good As Laurel and Hardy"- Woman At Intermission

Tuesday, May 21: Bellbrook, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 70
Lot: Brook Middle School Grounds

Since we jumped to Bellbrook last night, we got to sleep in. Well, I slept until the pounding of the stake driver right outside our window woke us up, that is.

I drove to a Walmart a few miles away, and we got to the lot at the same time as our friend, Derek.
Derek was the first student of the Steve & Ryan Circus Clowning Intensive. He came to visit with us this afternoon, and also to guest clown on the midway during the first show.
Derek couldn't have picked a better day to work at the circus; the weather was beautiful!

Jimmy and Teppa Hall, who have a fantastic bear act, were at the shows visiting today. Dick Mitchell and his wife came to visit with John Moss, but Dick stopped by to say hello and to drop off some delicious cake (that he made) and circus books with me and Ryan. Thanks, Dick!

During the first Intermission a little boy came up to our coloring book table with his arms full of garbage (a popcorn box, a sno cone cup, etc), and asked where the trash can was.
We pointed right next to our table where there is a trash bag hanging on the end of one of the seat wagons.
The little boy; however, misinterpreted our directions. There was a man in an electric wheelchair backed up to our table, and the kid thought we were pointing at the mesh basket on the back of the man's chair.
Before we could say anything the boy dumped his trash in the basket, dusted off his hands, and ran back to find his seat.
Thus concludes todays lesson in comedy: timing, and being in the right place at the wrong time.

Derek's mom joined him in watching the second show. I am glad we got to visit with him today, and I am happy that he got to strut his stuff on the Kelly Miller midway.

Derek's face makes me wonder where Ryan's other hand is...

I knew that we were expecting rain during the night, but I had no idea that everyone was moving off the lot until I went outside to throw away the trash (there were no electric wheelchairs nearby), and I saw everyone packing up their houses and starting up their trucks.

I was a little peeved that I didn't get the memo, and after watching folks try and figure out where to park, I decided to just move to the Walmart in town.

Wednesday, May 22: St. Paris, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 48
Lot: Well Fields

Moving to the Walmart last night was a smart move. When we woke up and hit the road, the Interstate we needed to take was right there.

I walked into town this afternoon, mostly so I could find a post office. When we got back to the lot, the sun was out, so I put out an umbrella to provide Emmie with some shade.
Just a few seconds later, I looked outside and discovered that the umbrella was gone!

I didn't take into account that the wind had picked up quite a bit, and I had to walk a good half a mile or so before we finally found the umbrella. It had blown clear across the lot, which was a big open field, and landed practically in someone's back yard!

Dick Mitchell came by later in the day to visit with me for a little while. Doug Kreust came by shortly afterwards with some Cheerwine for me. 
Thanks, Doug!

The first show turned out to be chock full of visitors. Dick Kohlrieser was in the audience, as well as Careful the Clown, who lives not far from St. Paris.

I don't know how, but something just told us that he was a clown!

As Pete was wheeling the carpenter box to my truck after the second gag, he noticed that one of the wheels was about to fall off.
I know what we'll be fixing tomorrow!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

"You Guys Are The Best Part Of The Show. I Laughed My @$$ Off."- Man At Intermission

Friday, May 17: Madison, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 31
Lot: High school

On this morning's route slip there was a note that said everyone had to be on the lot in Madison by 6:45 a.m.
I left 15 minutes before the call time (I needed to get fuel), and I still just made it to the lot in time.

I have been on the look out for baby duck since Easter, and today I noticed there was an Orscheln's Farm Store not far from the lot.
Expecting the answer to be "no", I called just to see if they had any ducks. The lady answered, "I just sent a girl to go pick them up. She should be back in 15 or 20 minutes."
Whoo hoo!

I walked over to the store to see my choices. There were two groups of ducks; one group contained two day old ducklings, and the other group were three to four weeks old.
I decided that I wanted a younger one so I could bond with it; I don't want another vindictive, bloodthirsty duck like Emmie on my hands.

There were two types of ducklings: Pekins and Mallards. I told the clerk that I wanted a Pekin, so she reached in and grabbed one.
I didn't really get a good look at her (I think it's a her) until we got home, but she is adorable!

I spent the day bonding with and falling in love with her. I decided to name her Polly since she likes to perch on our shoulders like a pirate's parrot.

Our friend, Jeff Schott, came to visit today. He brought some fresh fruit and coconut water with him!
I joined Jeff and Ryan and his family for lunch over at a Mexican restaurant.
Ryan was nice enough to pick up the tab.

After lunch we walked next door to explore a big flea market. I didn't find anything for myself, (although I did see sets of Batman movie trading cards that I had when I was a kid), but I did pick up a copy of the book "Angels and Demons" for Radar.

Jeff watched the first show, and then we visited with him for awhile afterwards. I'm so glad he got to come out and see us.

Friday, May 17, 2013

"Your Make Up Looks Like You Got Burned By The Sun"- Little Girl To Ryan

Thursday, May 16: Charlestown, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 91
Lot: Jonathan Jennings School Grounds

Since we drove about 20 miles of the jump last night, I got to sleep in a whole 15 minutes this morning!
After clearing the sleep from our eyes, we drove the remaining 71 miles to Charlestown.

Mr. North returned to the show today, and he treated the company to a belated Cinco De Mayo lunch at the Charlestown Pizza Company, a wonderful restaurant run by Tavana's sister.
I were two of the first people to arrive, so we got the choice selections as the food was brought out. I was happy that I got to sample my two favorite offerings, the mashed potato pizza and the bacon brownies. Yum!
Thank you, Mr. North, for a great meal!

This morning I noticed that there was a laundromat right next to the lot. I don't ever remember seeing it before; how fortuitous that it is there now.
I was not surprised that we saw many of my co-workers taking advantage of the laundry's convenience.
It was also the cheapest laundromat I've run across on the road. The biggest washers were only $3; in some places the little top loading machines are $2.50!

The humidity really took it out of me today. Besides zapping my energy, I had a nasty headache, most likely from dehydration.
The majority of the people we met at the Intermissions of the two shows did not help my headache. There was a group of loud kids sitting behind us in the second show that shouted questions to us almost the entire time we were signing books.
Besides that, a lot of people were very rude. It was tough to just smile and bear it, but luckily there were a few nice families that we encountered.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

"Es Carne De Burro (It's Donkey Meat)"- Line From "The Simpsons"

Tuesday, May 13: New Castle, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 52
Lot: elementary school

There was an inviting restaurant named "Stacks" directly in front of where I was parked this morning, so after unhooking and getting Emmie set up, I walked over and had breakfast.
I had eggs florentine; we both agreed that our meals were amazing.

Several of us were parked in some very thick, tall grass today, so Mike the drummer was nice enough to come by with his weed whacker to clear walking paths by our trailer doors. Thanks, Mike!

I was parked pretty far from the backdoor, and there was really no easy way to get the props into the tent, so I drove my truck around the block to a parking lot right next to the back door. I was able to back into a parking space that gave us a straight shot to the performer's entrance.

Kyle Winchester came to visit for awhile today, and he guest clowned on the midway before and after the shows, as well as joining me and Ryan at Intermission.

A gentleman and his son at the first show told me and Ryan how much they enjoy coming to the show and harassing us from the front row. Last year they had to drive a long way to see the show since we didn't play New Castle. Some people go to great lengths to harass clowns.  :o)

Here's a picture of me, Ryan, and Kyle with one of our fans in New Castle:

Thank you, Doug, for sending the photo in. Kudos to me for knowing where to look!

Monday, May 13, 2013

This Space For Rent

Saturday, May 11: Roanoke, IN-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Miles: 67
Lot: Honor Flight Post 160

My friend, Kyle Winchester, came to visit today. He hung out with me during the first show, and then he watched the second performance.

The grandparents and aunt of Clara (our Advance Clown's wife) were in the first audience. Ryan and I met them during Intermission, and Clara later informed me that they had a great time.

It started to rain at the start of the second show, but it was short lived. By the time the carpenter gag was over, it was a beautiful day.

After the shows Kyle joined us for a fun BBQ over at Radar's place.

Sunday, May 12: Roanoke, IN-Day Off

We had today off for Mother's Day. It was nice to sleep in and then wake up knowing that we had nothing important to do.

I walked around downtown Roanoke, but everything was closed on account of the day of the week (more so than the Holiday, it seemed).

After calling my Mom, Nana, and texting some of my friends who are mothers, I settled in to watch the movie "The Hobbit".

We capped off the evening by taking Radar and Elisa with us to Huntington, IN for a buffalo wing dinner.
Now that's what I call a day off!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

Blogging will resume tomorrow.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

"The Park Of The Future!"- John Sayre & Beth Grimes

Friday, May 10: Kokomo, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 68
Lot: Future Park

Since we were in Kokomo already this morning, and the rest of the show was an hour and a half away, I slept in a bit and then went to have breakfast at Panera Bread.

Kokomo has a lot going on, so this afternoon Pete, and I went shopping. We stopped by a Game XChange to peruse their selection of old video games, we went to Best Buy so I could get a new external disc drive for my Mac, and then I dropped Pete off at a Hearing Aid Center.
Never fear, he is not going deaf; he wanted a mold of his ears so he can get custom fitted headphones made.

While he was getting his ears molded, I ran over to Gamestop so I could get a birthday present for Johnny and Nathan Moss.
I also picked up a Ghostbusters game while we were at it. Let the good times roll!

Our friend, Beth Grimes, came to visit today. Her visit wasn't purely social though; she clowned on the midway before and after the shows, and she joined me and Ryan at our coloring book table during Intermission.

Marshall had to go get his and Becky's truck from the shop this afternoon, and of course it was ready at showtime. Repairs on the circus are never convenient.
Pete ran the music for the first half of the show; Mike switched from his drums to the laptop for the carpenter gag so Pete could run our sound effects. Thank you, guys.

Kokomo is just down the road from Peru, IN, and John Fugate, from the International Circus Hall of Fame, came to visit today.

A young boy came up to us during the second Intermission with a program and asked if we could get everyone in the cast to sign it.
We told him we would do our best, but that it would be difficult since during the second half everyone is packing up.

Right before finale I got as many people to sign it as possible, and I relayed the program to Beth, who gave it to the boy after the show.
Beth said his face was priceless when he saw how many signatures he had. Yay, good karma!

Beth treated me to Steak & Shake after the shows, and she took us to Walmart so we could pick up food for a BBQ tomorrow night. Thanks, Beth!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sorry, There Was Bad Signal Yesterday...

Tuesday, May 7: Paris, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. 
"I Want To Call You 'It'!"- Little Boy During Trombone Gag
Miles: 44
Lot: fairgrounds

When we arrived at the lot this morning, Christian and I both had an "ah ha" moment of recognition at exactly the same time.
I was under the belief that we had not played Paris before, but as soon as I saw the lot and the Rural King across the street, I remembered it from last year.

I was going to check out the Rural King after my morning nap in the hope that they would have baby ducks, but Ryan had already visited it by the time I got up, and he informed me that they did not.

It was a nice, sunny day, what seemed like the first one we have had in awhile.
I took advantage of the nice weather and walked to downtown.
There were a few antique stores that we ducked into, but we didn't find anything that interesting. 

We encountered a fair share of rude people during the two Intermissions tonight. I was happy that tomorrow would bring a new town and new audiences.

Wednesday, May 8: Clinton, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. 
"Ryan, When You Stick Your Tongue Out, Can You Taste Your Paint?"- Noah
Miles: 18
Lot: Sportland Park

We had an earlier call than we normally would have had this morning since we lost an hour driving into a different time zone in Indiana.

It was a sunny, very humid day. I walked into town, but we didn't find anything interesting to explore.

I had a hard time putting down the Stephen King book, "11/22/63", today. It is about a man who goes back in time to avert the JFK assassination.
I just started the book yesterday, and I am already 350 pages in (about 150 of which I read today).

During the first Intermission Ryan and I had fun talking to a little boy named Noah, and his family, who were sitting in the bleachers behind our coloring book table.

For awhile now the connection from my trailer to my truck that controls my trailer lights and brakes has been acting up.
Lately I have had lights, but the trailer brakes haven't been working. Castro looked at it today and used his mechanic magic to get them operational again. Thanks, Castro!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

"Can You Say, 'Beep Beep, Ritchie'?"- Little Boy On The Midway Wanting Me To Quote The Movie, "It"

Monday, May 06: Villa Grove, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 50
Lot: Richmond Park

Since Illinois has received so much rain lately, today's lot had to be reconfigured. The grass was soaking wet and extremely soft, so only the tent and semis went there.
Everyone else was parked on the two sides of the circular, gravel parking area. As I was getting parked, I had to back off the solid ground onto the grass. When I went to pull forward again, one of my back wheels started spinning.
I put my truck into 4 Wheel Drive, but it was no use; I just dug a deeper mud rut, as well as a rut in the gravel with my front tire.

After everyone arrived at the lot, the pump truck was brought over to pull my truck completely onto solid ground.

It was a bit of a pain to get the carpenter props to the back door today, but we made it work. We took the big box down the midway and under the sidewall of the connection leading to the tent's entrance.
I moved my truck closer to the midway since my trailer was one of the farthest from the tent.

I had a nice walk to downtown. There wasn't too much to see, but I found a post office, which is exactly what I needed.

Bill Prickett came to see the first show today. His wife, Nancy, couldn't make it, but she sent a delicious pie for me, Radar, and Elisa to share. Thank you, Bill and Nancy!

Gloria Wilkenson was also at the first show. She was the head of wardrobe on Ringling at one time; it's always a nice surprise when she comes to visit.
She told us that she is going to be teaching pie throwing at an upcoming clown convention. She got two years of practice pieing ringmaster, Jim Ragona, every show as part of a clown gag.

The sponsor for Villa Grove was at both shows and came over each time to compliment us and say how glad she was to bring the circus to town.

Angie and Wayne, the parents of Samantha Pitard, one of the current Blue Unit clowns, came to see the second show.
I haven't seen them since our first year on Kelly Miller. After the show they and their friends took me out to dinner so we could catch up.
Thanks for the meal and company, Pitards!

Monday, May 6, 2013

"Yum!"- Me Enjoying My Dinner

Sunday, May 05: Mt. Zion, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 36
Lot: school parking lot

Last year we were set up on grass in Mt. Zion, but because of all the rain the area has been getting, we were set up on the parking lot next to the grass this time.

I could tell that my truck was going to be blocked in by the tent, so I unhooked from my trailer and parked away from everything.
I drove to Decatur, the next big town over from Mt. Zion, where we finally got to do laundry. We also enjoyed some breakfast from Panera Bread (thank you Donna and George!), and picked up a few things from Walmart before heading back to the circus.

I couldn't get my truck all the way back to my trailer, but I was able to at least park it by the cookhouse.

It continued to rain today. Like yesterday, there were only a few brief periods of heavy downpour; mostly the rainfall was just enough to be annoying.

We did so well with the cookie gag yesterday that Ryan wanted us to do it again today, mostly to keep from losing the flow we had found.

Dave Williams, Charlie Bellatti, Rick Purdue, and his wife were all at the shows today.

In the second show John Moss tipped me off about a woman sitting in the front row that had her head buried in her boyfriend's shoulder the whole time Ryan and I were doing the trombone gag.
Naturally I had to give the woman a hard time during the cookie gag!
During Intermission I went over to try and find out why the woman was so "terrified" of us, but she wouldn't talk to me, much less look at me.
The old woman sitting behind her informed me that the woman was "deathly afraid of clowns" (funny, I don't remember her dying during the show), and that "she was in tears" the whole time we were performing.
I stated that made the woman no different than the rest of the audiences we perform for.

The only information I could glean was that the woman had a "traumatizing event" happen to her involving a clown.
Fine, she was traumatized by a clown. But why would she then go to the circus? And sit in the front row!!!!????

Sunday, May 5, 2013

"I Normally Don't Like Clowns, But You Guys Are Really Good"- Man At Intermission

Saturday, May 04: Arthur, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Miles: 88
Lot: gravel lot

We entered Amish country on this morning's jump. In honor of the occasion, Radar and Elisa rolled onto the lot in Arthur with the stereo blasting "Weird Al" Yankovic's song, "Amish Paradise".

Unfortunately it was another dreary, rainy day. Luckily I was in a much better mood and mindset than I was yesterday.
Part of that came from the fact that I walked to a little Amish coffee shop down the road. Their lattes and giant cinnamon rolls were a sure cure for the mud show blues.

My phone's map program told us that there was a laundromat a mile away from the lot, but it only gave an approximate location.
We desperately needed to wash our clothes, but I didn't want to walk all that way in the rain with heavy bags of laundry only to find there was no laundromat.
We scouted it out, and sure enough the laundromat was there; however, that did not change the fact that we would have to walk all the way back, collect our heavy bags, and then walk through the rain to get back to the laundromat.

The way the lot was set up today prevented us from getting the carpenter box to the back door. I would have just moved my truck to the street on the other side of the lot for easier unloading, but I was blocked in.
Cookie gag again!

We made some trims to the gag since the last time we did it; it went really well, especially for the second show.

And now some random show musings:

I'd like to thank our little fans, Hunter and Coye, who drew some circus artwork for us. I was hoping they'd come over at Intermission so we could thank them in person, but they never introduced themselves.

Circus fan, John Broker, was here today. I saw him in the tent and around the lot throughout the day.

During Intermission a man was taking our picture with his little boy. Since he was taking a picture of clowns, the man decided to be silly and count up to the picture thusly, "1, 2, 5!"
Ryan burst out laughing, and later explained that it was because he instantly thought of this scene from "Monty Python & The Holy Grail":

After the shows Radar, Elisa, and I went across the street to a delicious BBQ restaurant that I remembered from last year.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

"I Think We're All Going To Evolve Into An Amphibious Species"- Johnny Moss Commenting On The Weather

Friday, May 03: Vandalia, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 32
Lot: Chuck Wagon Cafe parking lot

Today's lot was nasty. Words can't really describe how nasty it was. I was going to use some photos that Sue took of the lot, but I don't think they can do justice to how nasty it was.
It was gravel, but there was also grass. There was mud, puddles of water, and slippery black algae. I think the sum of all its parts is what made this lot into such a cocktail of horrors.
What I'm trying to get across is that the lot was nasty....

During the first show I kept looking at the audience, and almost everyone I saw seemed to be feeling miserable about being at the circus. I really didn't blame them today.

Since it was raining right before Intermission, the elephants were inside the back door with me as we waited to enter the tent.
All of a sudden one of the pachyderms let one rip; I had to walk into the tent to avoid throwing up, passing out, or suffocating (or some combination of the three).
Ah, sweet showbiz.

During Intermission a little girl walked up to our table, pointed her finger directly at me, and yelled, "You were funny!"
I thanked her, and then pointed at Ryan, asking, "What about him?"
The girl looked at him in deep thought for a moment, and then shook her head and said, "Nope."
Pete and I needed a minute to recuperate from our laughter. Poor least he wasn't the clown that smelled like an elephant fart.

The rain continued on and off throughout the evening. It usually started up again whenever we were loading props into my truck or I was getting into the big mouth costume.
It was a rough night; I felt bad for everyone that worked in the nasty weather to take down the tent.

As you can tell from the "Debbie Downer" tone of this post, it was just one of those days.

To quote John Moss from this evening, "Ethel Merman can kiss my butt."

Amen, John!

Tomorrow is another day!

Friday, May 3, 2013

"I Hope Clowns Don't Come Out In The Rain!"- Woman Walking To The Tent

Thursday, May 02: Centralia, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 50
Lot: Fairview Park

When we arrived at the lot this morning, there were men on riding mowers cutting the grass; I'm glad they waited until the last minute! Since they were in a hurry to get out of our way, they were doing a lousy job to boot.
Good job guys, way to be.

The tent and semis were on one side of the park, and all the trailers were on the other side, separated by a little road.
I was afraid we wouldn't have power because we were parked so far away from the generator, but the section of the street separating the two sides of the lot was blocked off from traffic so cables could be run to our houses. Hooray!

Since the tent was across the street, and the back door was on the complete opposite side of the tent from us (not to mention that I was blocked in by trailers and couldn't move my truck closer), Ryan and I elected to do the cookie gag instead of the carpenter gag today.

There was a shopping center across the street from the lot, so I walked over to check it out. There was a farm store that had baby ducks, including a cute little Mallard. I have been looking for a baby duck since Easter, but I was always a day late and a dollar short.
Finally I found a fowl that I was fond of (pardon my alliteration), and the store wouldn't sell it to me! The attendant helping us said it was IL state law that I would have to buy two ducks.
As much as I wanted that Mallard, I am just not set up to handle two more ducks, especially when they are full grown.
Nuts to you, Illinois, and your antiquated laws!

After lunch I explored Centralia's downtown. My favorite sight was a storefront reading "House of Karaoke". We peeped in and saw two dour looking people sitting among a bunch of speakers, computers, and microphones. It looked like a heck of a happenin' scene!

About an hour before show time the heavens opened up. In just a matter of minutes there was standing water everywhere on the lot and by our trailers.

Bill Reynolds, a former circus musician, sat in with Mike and Marshall during the first show.

When we went out to do the trombone gag in the first show, we realized too late that Ryan had left his microphone backstage.
After the first bit I ran backstage as fast as I could through the puddles of rain and mud in the seating area, burst through the curtain, tore through John's bag, and found the mic.
I then had to run back to Ryan, dodging more puddles, as well as the crew guys running with the panels of the tiger arena.
I made it back to Ryan just in time for the second bit of the gag to occur.

In between shows I went to throw out some of my garbage; Ryan was outside, so he grabbed his trash and joined me.
Just as we reached the dumpster, a family on their way to the show walked by. I figured two clowns, looking miserable, and throwing away trash in the rain was a sight worthy of comment, so I shouted out to them, "You're just in time! We're throwing away our hopes and dreams!"

In the second trombone gag, the area between the ring side seats and bleachers was ten times worse than the first show from the constant traffic of a tent full of people. There was ankle deep mud and water; thank God we were wearing our boots!
Ryan and I both got good laughs out of the situation. As we were walking through the little pond, I used my trombone as a row. On the way back Ryan pretended to be stuck and unable to follow me into the ring.

I felt bad for people at Intermission that were wading through all the muck in the tent. There were even a few people wearing sandals. Yuck!
Surprisingly, everyone we talked to at our table seemed excited and happy to be at the circus. They come from a hardy stock here in Centralia!

After the shows everybody had to move off the lot and park on the sides of the road running through the park.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Self Deprecating Quote Of The Day In The Post

Wednesday, May 01: Mascoutah, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 45
Lot: Across from Sheve Park

Happy First of May everyone!
For those of you not familiar with circus traditions, back in the day most circuses began on the 1st of May. The term came to mean a performer in their first season with the circus.
I think the main place the term is used nowadays is on Ringling with new clowns. So, in honor of the occasion, here are Ryan and I as baby clowns on the Big Show back in 2003.

I was 20 and he was 19. Both of us were just a little less stupid than we are now.

It was another beautiful day; a guy could get used to that! Alex helped us design some postcards that we can give to cool families we meet at Intermission.

It'll be nice to feature some of our fans on the blog if they send in their pictures with us.
(Also, if any of you aren't following us on FB and Twitter, why not start now?)

Alex usually comes to visit us in September, but he will be in Israel at that time this year. Before he took off, Ryan and I gave hive some money to help fund his trip.
Be safe, Alex, and thank you for always being such a good friend and a big help to us.

Dave Williams and Charlie Bellatti were at the first show today. They came over to visit with us during Intermission. I figured we'd be seeing them during our stint in Illinois.

The second audience was fantastic; they were a lot of fun to perform for. 
During the trombone act Ryan and I had to squeeze past a group of teenage girls on our way into the ring. I apologized to them for the close quarters, and when I got into the ring, I patted my pockets and said to the girls over the microphone, "Hey, where's my wallet!?"
After a pause I looked at the audience and added, "I'm just kidding. I'm a clown! I don't have any money."
I couldn't believe how big a laugh that line got; I didn't know whether to be proud of myself or insulted.