Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"She's A Shyster"- Man Speaking Of His Daughter

Tuesday, July 30: Minerva, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 41
Lot: Municipal Park

Today Ryan and I were visited by "Captain Mickey D", who was a circus clown with a trained duck act.
I remember Casey telling me about the act, because he was a part of it as a teenager on Franzen Bros. Circus.
"Mickey" has offered to train a duck act for me, but since I am not going to be taking my ducks on Vazquez next year, I declined.
Still, I had a good time hearing stories and duck training tips, and I enjoyed looking through the photo albums that "Mickey" brought. He even brought a few snapshots of the act for me to keep.

Our clown friend, Jeff Potts, was also visiting today. We are in his neck of the woods, so we'll be seeing him a few times over the next several days.

This is the lot where I first took Emmie swimming last year, but neither of the ducks seemed interested in playing in the creek this time around.
The water was deeper than I remember it being last year, and the current was also very strong. Emmie spent his whole time in the water trying to find a way back onto dry land, and Polly just floated along, without even trying to swim, bathe, or play.


Polly has actually been acting very strange for the past two days. She's very lethargic, and today she was aggressive towards me and Emmie; not her usual behavior at all.
I'm pretty sure she is sick. Jeff Potts knows a vet in tomorrow's town that deals with farm animals, so I got their number to make an appointment for Polly.

Yesterday I bashed my left heel on the edge of a cabinet door, and it was really aggravating me today while I was wearing clown shoes.
Ryan gave me a bandage to put over the wound, and I also wore an extra sock under my striped clown socks to give me a little more protection.

I was very happy that I was back in my performing groove after having a few rough days of shows. It definitely put me in better spirits by the end of the work day.

Monday, July 29, 2013

"Where Are The Midgets?"- Little Girl At Intermission

Sunday, July 28: Kinsman, OH-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 83
Lot: Old School Grounds

There is a huge, three story, used book store in Kinsman that is just down the street from the lot. After browsing for awhile I started to get a headache; I'm not sure if it was from trying to pick out titles from the haphazard way the books were (un)organized, or from the musty moldy smell of the place.

I did find three books that piqued my interest though: "Rosemary's Baby" by Ira Levin, an autobiography by Stan Freberg (cartoon voice actor extraordinaire), and a complete illustrated guide to Warner Bros. cartoons.
I picked up a little bit of trivia from the man who owned the book/antique store as well. Leigh Brackett, who wrote the screenplay for "Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back", is from Kinsman.
That explained why the authentic 1950s soda fountain contained an items on the menu such as a Yoda Soda and a Hoth Sundae.

In closing, here are a couple of photos sent in from our fans:

Us with Zach in Kinsman

And T.J. Powell's sons in Northfield

Sunday, July 28, 2013

"I Was Having A Crappy Days Until I Saw You Guys"- Man At Intermission

Saturday, July 28: Richfield, OH-2:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m., and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 12
Lot: behind Town Hall

It was a dreary, drizzly day, but by the late afternoon it had cleared up, and the sun came out.

The Ohio circus fans provided lunch for the show today under a little pavilion on the lot. There was plenty of good food, and while I was visiting with everyone, I renewed my subscription to "White Tops", the magazine of the Circus Fans of America.
I always get my renewal notice earlier in the year, but I know I can hold onto it until we play Richfield and pay it in person.
The things I go through to save a stamp....

We had three shows today. I was feeling good for the first one, but by the end of the day I was ready to be done.

In closing, here are Emily and Jessica from Merrimac, MA, showing off their Steve & Ryan coloring skills.
We asked them to bring us ice cream; this was their solution.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

"Ah, I See You're Familiar With Our Work!"- Me To A Crying Child

Friday, July 26: Northfield, OH- 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 36
Lot: Northfield Village Rehab Center

Getting to Northfield this morning, we drove over some very rough roads. Once we got to town we didn't get a break, as we had to drive over a very rough lot. There were many dips, ruts, and holes.

Our friend, Jeannie Schwieger, stopped by for a brief visit this afternoon. She is moving from Chicago to New Hampshire, and her trip brought her right by us.
Unfortunately she will not have the opportunity to see our show this year (she saw it seven times last season!), but I was glad that we got to at least visit with her.

Also visiting today was my friend, Sarah, who I met while I was on Ringling. I haven't seen her since we last played Columbus, OH in 2010, so we had plenty to catch up on in between shows.

Here we are with our new friend, Max, who was nice enough to pose with us for a picture. As you can see, his pet shark was in a very playful mood.


After the shows a few of us went to the Wing Warehouse that was just down the street from the lot. I can't remember the last time I had so much fun going out for dinner.

Friday, July 26, 2013

"We Love Kelly Miller. This Is Our Fifth One"- Woman At Intermission

Thursday, July 25: Middlefield, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Today I tried making a new pasta sauce. Ryan gave me a recipe for vodka sauce, and yesterday when I was at Walmart he talked me through all the ingredients I needed to buy.
It turned out alright, but next time I'm going to use a little less olive oil and a lot less vodka. *hiccup*

Jerry Jacobson came back to visit today. He watched the first show, and then in between performances he showed me and Ryan some photos from his scrapbooks.
Ryan and I had a good time picking Jerry's brain about clowns he worked with and gags he saw in his career.

We had another great audience for the 7:30 show; the people were so nice when we went out for Intermission as well.
Middlefield is definitely one of the towns I'm going to miss next year.

In conclusion, here's a great article on Jeremiah Cook, who runs the Kelly Miller cookhouse this year:

http://www.americanfoodroots.com/features/step-right-up-circus-food-is-no-sideshow-stunt/

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Stuck In The Middlefield With You Part Deux

Wednesday, July 24: Middlefield, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 13
Lot: middle school

We were told that a tractor was coming at 6 a.m. to pull us off the lot in Chardon. By 6:20 there was still no sign of a tractor, and encouraged by Raul leaving the lot without a problem, I decided to take matters into my own hands.
I turned on my 4 Wheel Drive and went for it. My truck was fighting the soft ground the whole way, but I made it off the lot and on the road to Middlefield.

Once at the new lot, we had to wait for awhile while Alex and Tavo deliberated over where to park everyone.
Eventually it was decided that the tent and semis would go on the grass, which was soft, and all the trailers would be spotted on the parking lot next to the tent.

At first I was afraid that we would all be parked on the opposite side of the tent from the back door, but when I came back from my walk into town, I found that the back door was located on our side. Whoo hoo!

After unloading the props, Peter and I went to Walmart. Since I will not have the benefit of a cookhouse on Vazquez, I decided that I need to start working on my cooking again.
I spent way more money on groceries this trip than I have in quite awhile. It made me realize how much I'll miss the cookhouse next year.

Jerry Jacobson, a former circus clown, and his lady friend came to visit with me in between shows. I met Jerry our first year on Kelly Miller, but I haven't seen him since then.
He regaled me with stories from his time on Mills Bros., Rudy Bros., and the Hoxie show until it was time for the evening performance to begin.

The 7:30 crowd was phenomenal. We absolutely killed them with the carpenter gag. It seems that the Amish are our key demographic; unfortunately there isn't a Yoder Bros. Circus....

The weather has cooled down a lot over the past couple of days. It was a perfect temperature for performing today, but it did feel a little chilly by night fall.
Radar, Elisa, Peter, and I took advantage of the two day stand and had a barbecue after the shows.
We ate, laughed, and watched the tigers play right next to us.


In closing, here we are with our rockstar buddy, Matthew, in Chardon, OH.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"My Granddaughter Said You're Just Like The Three Stooges"- Woman At Intermission

Tuesday, July 23: Cardon, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 31
Lot: Munson Twp. Park

There was an Italian market that I found not too far from the lot. They had all kinds of good food, so I picked up something for lunch and dinner.
I also called Ryan to let him know about the market, since he loves Italian food and goodies.

On the way back to the lot I stopped to take a picture of this car that Christian and I spotted on the drive into town.


For $3,000, it could be yours!!!!

We were on another soft lot today, and it rained a bit more in the afternoon. The ring didn't stay nice for very long; there were lots of ruts and holes, which made performing difficult.
Kicking my hat in the carpenter gag was especially aggravating because of the uneven ground.

In the first gag, I kicked the hat in front of the car, which then made the blocking for the following bits very awkward.
When Ryan threw the sledgehammer at me, instead of going over my ducking body and hitting the car, the hammer hit me in the butt, because we were so close.
Peter hit the car alarm sound effect in anticipation of the normal series of events, so it seemed like my butt had its own alarm system.
Maybe that kind of surreal humor plays on Cirque Du Soliel, but the people of Cardon, OH were simply perplexed.

I met a gentleman at the second show who reads my blog. I'm sorry I didn't get your name, sir. Please leave a comment so I can give you proper billing. Also, I'd love to know how you found out about the blog.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"No! Not Grandma!"- Person In Audience As The Big Mouth Prepared To "Spit On" An Old Lady In The Front Row

Monday, July 22: Willowick, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 34
Lot: Dudley Park

Apparently there was a big flood in town a few days ago, and many people's basements were flooded. Today, on the drive to the lot, we passed by house after house with lots of furniture sitting by the street, awaiting garbage pick up.
All Ryan could think of when he saw all those mattresses and sofa cushions being thrown out was how many props we could make if we only had the storage space to take them with us.

Ryan, Peter, and I walked into town to visit a magic shop run by an eccentric old man. I went to the post office when the man's peculiarity became too much for me.

It was a dreary day, and close to showtime it began to rain. The downpour continued throughout the first performance, making the already saturated ground even worse.

The tent was leaking during the carpenter gag, and there was a fair amount of water on the ring mat. When it came time for me to run around with the circular saw, I was slipping and sliding all over the place. I kept falling down, and I'm sure that whole part of the gag looked like garbage.
I hate that sometimes you just can't do nice work on this show.

Vincent Polowy, a performer from the Cleveland area, came to see us at the second performance.


Luckily he saw a much better carpenter gag since Ryan and I switched to our boots, which provided much better traction on the ring mat.

We also got a little self esteem boost when a boy in the audience remembered the sink gag that we did our first year on the show.

After the shows the plan was for everyone to move off the lot.
I put my truck into 4 wheel drive, but the ground was so soft and wet that I moved a foot before spinning my back tires in the mud.
Everyone else in the backyard had similar trouble, and even the show's Bobcat couldn't get us free. We had all sunk during the course of the day.

Luckily a woman at the second show heeded John Moss's plea for assistance in getting the show off the lot, and she called her husband who owns a tractor.
Once it showed up, we were all pulled out of the muck without a problem. It's a good thing he was in town, because otherwise the show would have had to make Willowick, OH its new Winter Quarters.

I got off the lot around 11:30, about two hours after the show ended, and the lot wasn't completely evacuated until after midnight.

In closing, here is a link to some great pictures that photographer Amanda Stevens took when we played Washington Township, NJ back in June.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151493540396954.1073741861.110322456953&type=1

If you're a Facebook member, please "like" her page while you're there. Thanks!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Spectacle Magazine

Hey everybody,

Check out the new issue of Spectacle Magazine for an in depth article about our partnership:
http://spectaclemagazine.com/?page_id=3618


A review of the Kelly Miller Circus:
http://spectaclemagazine.com/?page_id=3620


And a photo gallery of us:
http://spectaclemagazine.com/?page_id=3849


Sunday, July 21, 2013

"What Are You Guys Smoking?"- Man At Intermission

Saturday, July 20: Windham, OH-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Miles: 30
Lot: Old KT Field

A thunderstorm woke me up around 4 a.m. It was raining cats and dogs, and I seem to remember waking up on and off for the next two hours and hearing the rain continue.

When I woke up to start my truck, I noticed there was standing water all over the lot. I put my truck in 4 Wheel Drive, but I hit a dip filled with water a few yards from the edge of the lot and got myself stuck. I had to be pulled out by the show's Bobcat.

When I got to Windham I noticed that the ground was already soft from all the rain the area received during the night.
It took a long time for all the vehicles to arrive. I believe most of the trucks had to be pulled off the last lot and then pulled onto the new lot.
Setting up the tent was way behind. To make matters worse, maybe 20 minutes after I arrived, it began to rain again. That downpour lasted quite awhile too.

A man came up to me and Ryan during one of the Intermissions today to commiserate with us over the beating we take in the carpenter gag.
"I don't think people realize that what you do is hard," he began. "I mean, I saw the handle of that hammer hit you!", he said to Ryan.
I had to bite my cheek to keep from laughing. The guy actually thought that Ryan and I were using real tools in the gag!
I guess that's a testament to the quality of our props, and our clowning abilities. Or the guy doesn't get out much....
He went on to give us helpful hints on how to protect ourselves from serious injury. Apparently a man that he works with is "throwing s***" at him all the time.

After the shows a humongous tractor came to pull us all off the lot. I turned my 4 Wheel Drive on to try and leave the lot myself, but the elephant semi had dug ruts in front of me, and they filled up with water during the day's rainy periods. (Did I mention it started to come down again as soon as the second show ended?) I got stuck as soon as my front tires went in the little moat, and I had to wait for the tractor to free me.

We all moved just down the street to a school parking lot. It was a bummer not having power for a few hours after the show like we usually do on weekends, but I did have a pleasant evening enjoying the nice, post rain weather outside while visiting with Radar and Elisa.


Sunday, July 21: Aurora, OH-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 20
Lot: Pioneer Trail Ball Field

Circus fan Ed Limbach was on hand this morning with several dozen donuts for the cast and crew. Thanks, Ed!
I had a nice chat with him while the show trucks were still arriving. Ed did his part to promote the show coming to Aurora by writing press releases for the local paper. He even wrote one about me and Ryan.

Al, our billposter, was around today, and our advance clown, John, came to visit with his wife, Clara, and Clara's parents.
It was nice to see them again, but hopefully next time we'll have more time to visit.


Brian Searle, a former Ringling clown, came to see the first show with his family. Brian was recently in the movie "Oz The Great And Powerful" as a clown; Christian was very excited when I shared that news with him, since he is a big fan of the film.
It was fun hanging out with the Searles between shows and sharing funny stories.

After the shows a few of us went to go see "World War Z". I went into the movie knowing that it was going to be nothing like the book of the same name, which I loved. Still, I enjoy zombie movies, and even though the way the zombies behaved was a little silly at times, the movie was certainly action packed and didn't bore me.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The One About Orwell

Friday, July 19: Orwell, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 40
Lot: Old High School Grounds

Even though Orwell is a small town, everything I needed was a short walk from the lot. I did laundry, I got a hair cut, and I went grocery shopping. Well, I didn't actually go shopping....I walked into the Save A Lot long enough to remember why I hate Save A Lots, and then I left.

John Moss picked up a book for me a few days ago, and I got it today. It is called "The Great Clowns Of American Television"; thank you, John!

I also got a new book in the mail, "Queen Of The Air: A True Story Of Love & Tragedy At The Circus" by Dean Jensen.
It is about Lillian Leitzel and Alfredo Codona, and it just came out this year. I'm very excited about reading it; it looks to be a great book that would complement any circus fan's collection.

My shoulders and back are pretty pink from my afternoon at the beach in Conneaut, and I found out that wearing the big mouth is not a lot of fun with sunburn.
Besides the unforgiving metal harness rubbing on my sensitive shoulders, the water bottle attached to the harness was coming loose, so as I ran, the hard, plastic edge of the bottle's top was stabbing me in the back.
Needless to say I did not enjoy doing the mouth chase today, and my puppeteering of the prop certainly suffered.

Between shows I was feeling pretty down in the dumps and lethargic. I'm hoping it's just the heat draining me, since we are supposed to be getting a reprieve from that starting tonight.

Luckily we had a good audience for the second show. The reactions we got in the carpenter gag, and the nice people we met at Intermission helped improve my mood.

Awhile back Radar was shocked and disgusted to learn that I had never tried a root beer float before. Peter found out as well, so he brought me one from the A&W down the street once the shows were over.
I enjoyed it a lot, but I understand that I still haven't tried the real thing. The one I had contained soft serve, so the jury is truly out until I have a root beer float with hand dipped ice cream.

Friday, July 19, 2013

"It's Hotter Than S***! I Feel So Sorry For You Guys, Because Your Lives Suck Today."- Lady At Intermission

Thursday, July 18: Conneaut, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 18
Lot: Lakeview Park

The lot in Conneaut is right next to a beach. It has been a couple of years since we played there, so I was very excited about the prospect of an afternoon of fun in the sun.

Ryan and I played with Nico in Lake Erie, and when a big group of circus kids came over, we all had fun building pyramids in the water.
Christian, Gerard, Ryan and I kept trying to pull off a four man high pyramid, but the waves (and our clumsiness) kept interfering.


Thank you, Becky, for the photos.

Even though our acrobatic prowess wasn't up to snuff, I had so much fun at the beach today. It was exactly the kind of thing I needed to get my mind off the day to day monotony of mud show life.

As you can tell from the quote of the day, it was very hot (as it has been for the past several weeks). The worst part though, is the humidity. I don't remember sweating so much the past few summers (of course I could be repressing those memories); it reminds me of being back in South Carolina.

The second audience tonight was fantastic; they were the most responsive crowd we've had in what feels like a long time. Not only did they laugh loudly, the people would continue laughing, which allowed Ryan and I to play around and milk the laughter. If only every show was like that; this job would be a piece of cake!

There was a wooden stage located in the backyard today, so before Finale Ryan and I jumped up there and started dancing for the "enjoyment" of the cast waiting to go on.
I concluded the presentation with a striptease, taking off my chef outfit to reveal my sexy, sweat soaked V-neck t-shirt and my swim trunks.
Raul's son, Luis, told me later, "Steve, you have pretty legs." If I had a nickel for every time someone told me that....

Thursday, July 18, 2013

"My Wife Hates Clowns, But You Guys Are Awesome"- Man At Intermission


Wednesday, July 17: Albion, PA-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 73
Lot: Albion Park

Today Ryan brought his tuba over to my trailer so I could add another instrument to my repertoire. We're thinking about incorporating tubas into one of our acts for Vazquez next year.
I picked up on the basics fairly quickly; I just need to learn to regulate my breathing so I don't die in the middle of a song.

It was mighty hot today. The first audience looked absolutely miserable, and I don't blame them. Luckily it had cooled down a little bit for the second show.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"Did You See Me On The Elephant? I Almost Pooped! I Was So Scared!"- Guest Elephant Rider


Tuesday, July 16: Warren, PA-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Today's quote of the day is about the only thing worth writing about. Days like this make me realize that next year it will probably be a good idea to do a weekly blog post as opposed to daily updates.

If I'm having a hard time finding things to write about when we're moving every day, then sitting in one town for multiple weeks will surely offer up some likewise (blessedly) uneventful days.

Still, I'm putting the horse WAY ahead of the cart. We'll see how things go. Any thoughts, loyal readers?

In other news:

I just received these photos from Jason and Justin Senft's photo shoot in Dalton, MA. Early in the season, Kelly Miller Circus selected the dynamic duo to create souvenir t-shirts to commemorate the show's 75th Anniversary.
These colorful t-shirts are available on the circus midway at every performance. Jason and Justin also designed limited edition embroidered patches exclusively for the cast and crew of the 75th Anniversary season.
Ryan and I modeled these stylish circus fashions for their camera. Ladies, start your drooling!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"They're Just People."- Mother To Child. "So Is Soylent Green."- Me


Sunday, July 14: Dalton, MA-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Michael Newton-Brown came to visit Kelly Miller today. Michael was in an early class of Clown College, and he spent time on the Ringling Red Unit in 1971; he currently is a lighting designer.
I had a great time visiting with Michael before and after the first show; I love picking people's brains about their time in the Ringling Clown Alley.

There was a gentleman from the Lions Club that we started shooting the breeze with yesterday while we were waiting for the trombone gag to begin.
Today we talked with him some more, and he was nice enough to share some BBQ chicken skewers with us.

There were a lot of strange people coming up to us during the intermissions today. I was actually glad when it was time to retreat to the safety of the ring!

There was a little girl sitting in the front row during the second show that was taunting me loudly during the mouth chase.
She kept sticking her tongue out at me and yelling, "You can't get me! You can't get me!"
Finally I grew tired of the distraction and aimed a stream of water at the bally cloth where she was sitting.
The startled girl jumped back in her chair and learned that when a big, spitting mouth is involved, I CAN get her!


Monday, July 15: Warren, PA-Travel Day
Miles: 452
Lot: Betts Park

Christian visited a donut shop at the entrance of the lot this morning to get us some snacks and coffee for our long drive.

The big jump really wasn't that bad since I had Christian to keep me company; we talked and laughed almost the whole time.
Most importantly, my trailer didn't fall apart. Hooray!

It was a very hot day, so as soon as I got to the lot I set my ducks up in the shade with two tubs full of cold water.
Once they were comfortable, I jumped in my truck to head into town. There was no point sticking around in my roasting trailer; I figured the more time I could spend in air conditioned places until the generator truck arrived and was started, the better!

I went out to get a late lunch, and I also picked up a video game for Peter, who was celebrating his birthday.

The rest of the day was laid back. Radar, Elisa, Lindsay, Christian, and I had a barbecue for dinner, and I spent the evening relaxing and catching up on my "stories" (used in the way old ladies talk about soap operas).

Sunday, July 14, 2013

"You Made Parker Want To Be A Clown!"- Parker's Mother

Saturday, July 13: Dalton, MA-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Miles: 70
Lot: American Legion Field

The Wayne McCary CFA tent was on hand this morning to provide us with coffee, pastries, and donuts.
While stuffing my face I visited with Dan McGinnis and Allan Kirk, who gave me some back issues of "Circus Report".

The Wayne McCary tent also provided lunch for the show, with Carolyn acting as the guest speaker. Thank you to Tent #172 for your hospitality!

Twin photographers Jason and Justin Senft visited one more time today. They came to inspect the new Kelly Miller 75th Anniversary patches that they designed especially for the cast and crew. The patches are a nice addition to the souvenir Kelly Miller shirt that they also created.
They snapped a few pictures of yours truly modeling the patch and shirt. GQ all the way!

My clown friend, Mike Reading, drove over from Agawam, MA with his son to watch the first show. We had a nice visit after the performance; I haven't seen Mike since our first year on KM.

During the second Intermission we met Parker, a little boy who, according to his mother, wants to be a clown because of us. She explained that he has been looking forward to seeing us all year.
I don't take those statements lightly, because when I was Parker's age, I made the decision that has shaped my life so far.
We gave Parker one of our postcards, and I tried to catch him and his mother after the show to give him an autographed 8x10 photo, but they split as soon as finale was over.
Parker's mom, if you're reading this, send me an e-mail at stclown@lowcountry.com so we can get that picture to you!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Two Short Entries

Thursday, July 11: Hudson, MA-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
"Do You Want To Come To My House?"- Little Girl At Intermission

Tuesday night the harness inside the big mouth prop broke, and today Fridman was nice enough to weld it for us.
Thank you, Fridman!

Ryan had a lot of family visiting this evening-his parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins!

 Ryan's niece and nephew
 Ryan's undead nephew
 Ryan's clone cousins
Ryan and some of his family

Thank you, Patricia, for the photos.

Ryan, Carolyn, and Becky's friends and family members made up the majority of the audience at the second show.
We got to see Bob Lessard at the first performance; it was probably the last time we'll see him before we leave New England. 
Take care, Bob. Hopefully one day Ryan, Peter, and I will get real jobs!


Friday, July 12: Palmer, MA-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
"Hey, Clown! Boop Boop!"- Man With A Great Big Bushy Beard 
Miles: 54
Lot: Laviolette Park

During the first carpenter gag the bungee extension cord attached to the saw broke once again. Since that has been an almost regular occurrence over the past couple of months, Ryan and I went ahead and put in an entirely new length of bungee.
We bought 100 ft. of bungee cord at the beginning of the season, so no need to be stingy with it!

We had a lot of people complimenting us during the second Intermission, which always makes us feel good. One teenage girl loved the Ricola bit that Ryan does during the trombone act, and a group of three ladies came over to tell us they came back to the show this year to see us. Whoo hoo!

Ricola fans

Even though the audience was enjoying the second carpenter gag tonight, there was one woman in the front row that just looked miserable. I tried my hardest to get her to crack a smile, but she wouldn't budge.
I finally gave up on her and concentrated on the people having a good time.

Finally in the mouth chase she lost her stony demeanor and actually guffawed. Sometimes the smallest victories are the sweetest!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

"You Know, You're The Reason We Come To The Circus Every Year"- Woman At Intermission

Tuesday, July 09: Merrimac, MA-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 63
Lot: Waterhouse Field

Ryan and I met a boy named Brandon at the first show who is one of our biggest fans. His mom informed us that he
watches our Youtube channel "OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER......."
http://www.youtube.com/user/COPELANDandCOMBS   (Now you can too!)
Brandon informed us that his favorite video was our new promo, which Ryan was happy to hear. After all, he's the one that put hours of work into selecting and editing the clips that were used.

We had good shows tonight, but the ground was difficult to work on. It was very bumpy and sacred....I mean hole-y.
Also, another piece of the harness in the big mouth prop broke, so I made a mental note to ask Fridman to weld it on our next work day.

Speaking of the big mouth, here is a video taken from inside the mouth during the 5:00 p.m. performance of Kelly Miller in Washington Township, NJ back in June. Without further ado, MOUTH CAM!

http://vimeo.com/69106414

Many thanks to Lisa Soverino for providing and attaching the GoPro camera and for editing the video.
(And no, I don't always carry on an inner monologue to express the mouth's feelings. That was strictly for your enjoyment!)


Wednesday, July 10: Hudson, MA-Day Off!
Miles: 51
Lot: Elks Pavilion

I was very excited about our day off today! Ryan and his family went to Boston to take Nico to the aquarium.
I had originally planned to go into Boston as well, but the idea of taking a train in, walking all over the place in the possible rain, and then taking a train back didn't really appeal to me today.

Instead I drove just three miles down the road to the Solomon Pond Mall where I was able to walk around inside (where it can't rain!), people watch, buy some used video games, and watch a movie.
Several people had recommended "The Heat", a female buddy cop picture starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy.
All three of my friends had told me how funny it was, and I was not disappointed. It always feels good to sit, relax, and laugh.

Radar's sister, Lindsay, is visiting for a little while, so tonight we had a barbecue with her and one of Elisa's friends in attendance.
Unfortunately, halfway through the get together it started sprinkling (even though there was sunshine), so after we ate the cookout disbanded fairly quickly.

I was worn out by the end of the day (I can't imagine how I would have felt if I had gone to Boston), so I went to bed early and got a good night's sleep.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Big Announcement

For awhile now I've been not so subtly hinting around some big news. Well, here it is:

Ryan and I are thrilled to announce that we have signed a contract to perform with Circo Hermanos Vazquez for the 2014 season!
We will be touring major US cities from the midwest to the east coast.
We believe that we will be the first American clowns to appear on their show.

To leave a familiar setting can sometimes be scary. Over the past five years we have developed strong ties and good friendships on the Kelly Miller Circus. It is here where we were given our true start as a clown duo in the circus business. We've been given an amazing amount of freedom to create and develop our comedic style. We are extremely grateful to John Ringling North II and Jim Royal for awarding us that opportunity.

Although we will dearly miss our Kelly Miller family, we look forward to facing new challenges and braving new adventures with Circo Hermanos Vazquez.
http://www.circovazquez.com/US/

Monday, July 8, 2013

"Our Special Today Is A Rodeo Burger In Honor Of The Circus"- Waiter At The Irish Pub


July 7: Bristol, NH-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. 
Miles: 25
Lot: Kelley Park

There was little to no phone or Internet service today, so I went to an Irish pub to use their Wifi so I could update the blog (ok, their Guinness Onion soup was a big draw as well).

Twin photographers Jason and Justin Senft were visiting today with their high school art teacher. They watched the backstage proceedings for the first show, and then they watched the second performance.

We met plenty of nice people during the Intermissions today; it was nice to have good crowds again.

After the shows I went over to BBQ with Radar, Elisa, Christian, and a special guest- Fiona, a girl from Ireland who has been with the show since we played Carteret, NJ.
After we ate we walked over to the convenience store across the street to get ice cream.


July 8: Penacook, NH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 34
Lot: Merrimack Valley High School

On the way through town this morning I spotted a laundromat about a mile from the lot. After getting my trailer set up I drove over to wash my unmentionables.

While I was there I met a gentleman named Bob who went to high school with Larry Allen Dean, a tiger trainer from Penacook.
Bob was very nice and we talked for awhile until he had to head off for work.

After finishing up at the laundromat, I drove back to the lot to check on the ducks. Becky told me that she heard from a school maintenance man that a family of foxes lived around the lot. I wanted to keep an eye on Emmie and Polly throughout the day to make sure they didn't become a meal.

After making sure the ducks were fine, I drove to a grocery store over in Concord. 
Besides accomplishing those errands, I had a very restless day. I was bored out of my mind in my trailer, but I didn't feel like doing anything.

A couple of hours before the show it rained and rained and rained and rained…..
…..and rained and rained and rained. Get the picture?

Ryan and I went to investigate the tent once the downpour had stopped, and there was standing water in the ring, which was cement, as well as a moat in the grassy area between the ring and back door.

I moved a couple of ring curbs so the water in the ring could drain out the front of the tent. 
Christian used a much more unorthodox method to get rid of some of the water in the moat: he had John Moss run a hose from the moat to the front of the ring, and then Christian siphoned the water out through the other end until it started flowing.
Hooray for circus ingenuity! 

Barry Lubin, better known as the beloved clown "Grandma", came to visit today. He watched the first show, which was a chore to get through for me and Ryan. Besides the difficulties that the standing water in the tent presented us with, the audience was mighty rough.
Right after Intermission it started pouring down rain again, and the big mouth got absolutely soaked. I swear it took on an extra 15 lbs. in water weight.
On top of that, our $3500 sound effects machine got soaked just sitting in the bandstand, so Pete took it back to the house to dry out; we did the mouth chase sans sound effects.
(Luckily it still worked after being dried off)

After the shows we had a fantastic talk with Barry. It was exactly the kind of encouragement, motivation, and advice that we needed, and I can't express in words how much better I felt after having it with him.
Thank you, Barry.

Armed with renewed energy and vigor, we dived into the second show and used some of the tactics Barry shared with us to really grab the audience and get them on our side the first time they saw us. 
Wow! What a difference from the first show to the second reaction wise! Barry's visit was a well needed shot in the arm and a kick in the butt.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

"I ♥ To Fart"- Shirt Worn By Large, Classy Woman At First Show

July 06: Laconia, NH-2:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m., and 7:30 p.m.

Yesterday I was bummed that my favorite breakfast restaurant in Laconia was closed due to a fire, but "Simplicity" told me of another good place to try.
I went there this morning, and they had excellent Benedicts, which is the reason I loved the other restaurant.
Score one for Steve!

We had three shows today. Three hot, long, difficult shows. I know for sure that Ryan and I were dragging by the end of the day, but everyone's spirits seemed to be down by the time the 7:30 performance rolled around.

In closing, here we are with Teagan, one of our fans in Laconia:


That's all I've got, folks. Sorry!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

"The Girls Even Remember Your Names! Steve And Robin!"- Woman At Intermission

Friday, July 5: Laconia, NH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 83
Lot: Memorial Park Field

It was a very hot, humid day. Even when we arrived to the lot around 7:30 a.m., it was already becoming a scorcher.

After getting my trailer and ducks set up, I walked into town to go to my favorite restaurant in Laconia; they have the best Eggs Benedict I've ever had.
Unfortunately, the place had recently suffered from a fire and was temporarily closed. D'oh!

"Simplicity the Clown", the owner of Clown Supplies, brought pizza for the show today at lunchtime. She also dropped off a book that our billposter, Al, had picked up for me called "Clown For Circus And Stage" by Mark Stolzenberg.
I used to check that book out of the library all the time as a kid, so it is great to have a copy in my possession. Thanks, Al!

After lunch Ryan and I went to the new Clown Supplies location and stocked up on make up, noses, and socks.
I also bought a set of beginner juggling clubs for Christian, who has been learning to juggle. The gift was for his 22nd birthday, which was today.

Alex, one of the mechanics, washed my truck and trailer today. I barely recognized it after the cleaning; it looks great!

Some performers from the Hanneford circus, which is performing nearby at Story Land, came to see the second show.
Among them were the Rinney Family, who Ryan and I worked with two years ago on the Bill Hall Christmas tour.

After the shows Radar, Elisa, and I took Christian out to a steakhouse for his birthday dinner. We had to wait awhile for service, because apparently our original waiter threw a fit in the kitchen, tossed a tray of food on the floor, and stormed out.
I love dinner and a show!

Friday, July 5, 2013

"You're A Kangaroo!"- Boy At Intermission

July 04: Swanzey, NH-2:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m., and 7:30 p.m.

Michael Newton Brown, who was a clown on Ringling in the early 70s, was going to come visit Kelly Miller today in Swanzey.
He called just a few minutes before his expected arrival time because he was having trouble finding the lot.

Finally he called and told me that he was in Swansea, MA, and not Swanzey, NH. When I first invited him out to the show a month ago, I sent him a route sheet that still had some holes in it.
The Swanzey date was also incorrectly labeled as Swanzey, MA, hence the mistake.

I felt like a real horse's rear end about the whole situation; I'm sorry, Michael. I hope we get to see you when we get back to Massachusetts.

We had three shows today. We really didn't need three shows today, but we had 'em. And it was hot!
Hoo, Lordy! It was hot!

The third audience was responsive for the carpenter gag, and there were people that clapped every time we did something they liked.
After one vigorous round of applause, I held out my hat and encouraged the audience to throw money; someone actually threw me a quarter!
And people said there's no money to be made in the circus business!

While we were waiting for finale, we were treated to a few fireworks coming from opposite parts of town.

Radar and Elisa invited me over for a 4th of July BBQ with delicious hamburgers that Elisa bought. While we ate we watched some of the circus kids screwing around with small fireworks.
No one lost any digits, so I'd say it was a successful Independence Day!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

"Did You Really Throw Up?"- Jonary Rosales

Wednesday, July 03: Swanzey, NH-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 81
Lot: fairgrounds

This morning when I pulled onto the lot in Swanzey, Ryan came over and said that it looked like one side of my trailer was riding lower than the other.
I had Castro check, and sure enough there was a broken piece of equipment between the two tires. Luckily it was an easy fix, and not a major catastrophe like my broken trailer frame last week.
Still, Castro's first diagnosis was that I need to drive the trailer over to a river and push it in...

This morning I spent some time cleaning my trailer, and then Ryan and I cleaned the mud off all our props.

At the beginning of the first Intermission, a little boy walked up to Ryan, and without saying a word, the kid tried to yank Ryan's clown nose off. Not the the best introduction to the people of Swanzey....

An aspiring circus clown, Ben, was at the second show with his girlfriend, Caitlin. Also in attendance were Ted Lawrence and Rick Davis, former Ringling clowns, and Fletcher Runyan, a low wire walker. The three of them are teaching at a circus camp over in Brattleboro, VT.

After the show Ryan and I spent some time visiting with our guests, but then we headed over to the Kelly Miller Circus 4th of July pizza party.
Besides food, there was an "Anything On Wheels" contest where the kids decorated their bicycles with patriotic flair.

video


My favorite part of the 4th of July party has always been the games. This year we played a game where you balance a cookie on your forehead and try to eat it without using your hands, a marshmallow toss,

video

and a game where you put your head on a bat, spin around 10 times, and then try to carry a tray of cups out of the ring without spilling them.
I took a mouthful of beer before my turn and brought a little showmanship to the proceedings....

video

The final event of the night was the pie eating contest. My plan was just to watch, but there were extra pies and people persuaded me to play.
Daniel Cook, who you can see above mastering the marshmallow toss, won first place, but I came in a close second!

As soon as the contest was over, Lamount, who was running the games, yelled out, "Food fight!"
Before I could react, I was pummeled with pies. I escaped from the line of fire by ducking under the cookhouse tent, but it was too late. I was sufficiently goopy.


To solve the problem, I just got into the shower with my clothes still on. I should have thought twice before wearing decent clothes over to a competitive eating event!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

"What's This Big News? Did You Finally Pay For A Meal?"- Eggroll

Tuesday, July 02: North Andover, MA-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Ryan and I walked to the laundromat this morning so we could clean the mud off our carpenter gag costumes.
Even after two washings our shirts were still dingy. We had to give them to Tatiana when we got back to the lot so she could work her Argentinian magic on them to get them completely clean.

Bob Goldsack from the Father Jerry Hogan CFA tent set up a meeting/luncheon while we were in North Andover, and he arranged for me and Ryan to be the guest speakers.
Kurt, one of the tent members, came to pick us up, and we were taken to a nice seafood restaurant in town.
Father Jerry brought Sisters Dorothy and Bernard from the show to enjoy the get together as well.

Ryan and I were treated to a good meal, and then we got up in front of the group and talked about how we got started in clowning and the circus, as well as how we teamed up and became a part of Kelly Miller.
It seemed that the talk went over well; we sure appreciate the tent members treating us to a meal and taking an interest in what we had to say.

Father Jerry gave a very interesting talk about the new Feld Entertainment headquarters down in Florida. I would love to see the place myself; it sounds huge and very impressive!

Our friend, Rob the Balloon Guy, came to visit for the first show. He lives in Los Angeles now, but he always manages to see us in the New England area. He brought some Clown Shoes brand beer for us to enjoy; thanks, Rob!


The ring mat was back to normal today, and there was fresh sawdust put in the ring and the back door.
Even though it was still a muddy mess on the lot, the shows today were so much easier.

After work everybody moved off the lot. I waited for awhile since a big tractor was enlisted to help us leave, but I ended up not needing its assistance. 4 Wheel Drive, baby!


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

"I Had To Take A Picture Of My Son. He Was Laughing So Hard I Thought He Was Going To Wet His Pants!"- Woman At Intermission

Sunday, June 30: Douglas, MA-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 60
Lot: Next to Fire Dept.

The route slip this morning warned us that we were headed to another difficult lot, but when we got there I didn't see what the issue was. It was so much better than the last lot; the only downside was the large amount of ants.
Still, I wasn't planning on having a picnic, so they didn't bother me too much!

When Ryan and I unloaded the props, we discovered that the carpenter box had one tire with a huge gouge in it.
Since I didn't have the forethought to buy a spare the last time I was at a Tractor Supply, I had to drive to Connecticut to the closest TSC so I could buy a new wheel and a spare for next time.

Some of Ryan's cousins were at the first show, so we visited with them a bit between shows.

Here we are with our new undead friend, Dylan:


Since zombies crave brains, he went away hungry after meeting me and Ryan.

After the shows we had a night jump to North Andover, our next town. Although I was bummed about losing a couple of hours of power from the generator this evening, I liked the idea of being able to sleep in Monday morning.
When I arrived at the new lot, I asked our 24 Hour Man, Alex, why the decision was made for us to travel. He told me that besides traffic, a big storm was expected to hit during the night, and the lot would be a mess for us to get onto when wet.


Monday, July 01: North Andover, MA-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 75
Lot: Middle School grounds

This morning I walked downtown so I could send some very important mail from the post office.

It started pouring down rain this afternoon. Ryan took Nico out to play in the puddles, so I did the same thing with my ducks.


There were even two tornado warnings before the show, but luckily no sign of any bad storms. Just lots and lots of rain.
Thank you, Bob Lessard, for calling and giving me a heads up about the second warning.

After I saw how flooded the lot became, I understood why we moved here last night. If it had stormed before we arrived, we would have been sunk....in more ways than one.

Parts of the front half of the ring were underwater for the shows. The ring mat was folded in half so only the back part of the ring was covered.
Unfortunately the front half of the ring is where the majority of the carpenter gag happens, so Ryan got dirty falling in the mud.

Our friend, Rick Cobbin, came to visit between shows. Rick was a Ringling clown back in the early 1970s, and he just recently turned 63. He sent me a video taken on his birthday where he was doing a bounding rope routine. He was doing it better than some people I've seen who are half his age. Bravo, Rick!


During the second carpenter gag, the ring mat was still folded in half, and when I was running around with the saw, I slipped in a big mud puddle and went right down onto my back.
My costume was filthy!



At that point in the gag I figured, "Hey, my costume is ruined. I might as well embrace the situation."
As I was getting chased out of the ring, I "tripped" and did a belly flop into a big puddle of water.
I'm not sure who laughed more, the audience or the Kelly Miller staff watching.

Once I got backstage and the realization sunk in of how difficult it was going to be to get the mud out of my clothes, I was definitely not laughing. Kicking and screaming, yes. Laughing, not so much!

While taking my shower after the shows, I washed the majority of the mud off the shirt and overalls, but I've still got a long way to go!