Saturday, August 31, 2013

"I Drive The Short Bus! Do You Want To Take A Ride? Just Remember, You Have To Lick The Windows First Before You Put On Your Helmets!"- Woman At Intermission

Friday, August 30: Beecher, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 46
Lot: Fireman's Park

I wish I was making up the quote of the day, but some callous, insensitive woman actually said that to us during Intermission.

It was a very hot day. This afternoon Nico and Armando's son, Argio, were playing in their little pool while Ryan supervised. They took a break from their swimming and splashing to discuss Spongebob Squarepants.
Ryan chimed in by saying, "You two look like Spongebob and Patrick."
This led into the following exchange:
Nico: "I'm Spongebob! Argio is Patrick!"
Argio: "Patrick is lazy! Like Steve."

Kids say the darndest, truest things...

Between shows we had rain for the first time in what seems like forever. There were warnings from The Weather Channel about hail and 60 mph gusts of wind, but the storm we received wasn't too bad. The ominous clouds rolling in sure had me worried, though.

Tavo told me and Ryan that we were going to move off the lot after the shows because of the storms. Since the next town was only 18 miles away, it was decided that we would drive there tonight.

It didn't take me long to get to Schererville, IN; after I set up my trailer, I decided that I was hungry.
My phone told me that the town's "restaurant row" was only a mile and a half away, and since it was a nice night, I decided to take a walk to get there.
Unfortunately my Apple Maps program took me through a neighborhood and then to a dead end. There was a fenced in factory smack dab in the way of my route.
I attempted to get to the restaurants by walking along some nearby train tracks, but the farther I got away from the main road, the scarier my surroundings became. I turned back before a hobo could jump out of the weeds to deflower and kill me...not necessarily in that order.

Finally accepting defeat, I began my walk back to the lot, via a different route. On the way I passed a little shopping plaza, where I found a Mexican restaurant that was open until 2 a.m. Score! They also served my favorite Mexican dish, tortas. Double score!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

"I'm Not Afraid Of Clowns Anymore"- Girl Walking By Coloring Book Table

Monday, August 26: Bourbon, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 44
Lot: Triton School Grounds

This morning I gave Jaime, the electrician, the new plugs I bought for my trailer. He quickly installed them in the morning before the generator came on.
Later in the day my power shut off while I was cooking sauce for my pasta; I was afraid I had already burnt out my new plugs, but it wasn't just me. All the trailers plugged into the backyard gypsy box lost power; I assume from everyone running their air conditioners full blast.

The harness inside the big mouth prop loves to give us trouble. A week or so ago, one of the shoulder straps snapped off. I was making due with just one strap, but during the first show today a piece of the harness that goes around my waist broke as well. (Too many Tasty Kakes, perhaps?)
Fridman was nice enough to weld the two broken areas between shows. I just hope we can get 8 more weeks out of the prop without too many headaches.

While we were on the midway in the school wagon (which is where the welding equipment is), Doyne Snider, who I met in Peru, IN last year, came over to say hello. He had brought a calliope to play on the midway, so at least Fridman had some jaunty tunes to keep him entertained while he welded.

In closing, here's a message I received on the Steve & Ryan FB fan page:

"My son can't stop talking about you guys. He loved the circus, and you guys especially. You made his day, thanks."

Our pleasure, sir! At least now there's someone besides ourselves that can't stop talking about us!


Tuesday, August 27: Demotte, IN-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 75
Lot: School Grounds

On this morning's jump I was flipping through radio stations when I heard the song, "New Math", by Tom Lehrer.
If any of you are not familiar with Tom Lehrer, he is a very funny musical satirist; I highly encourage you to look up his songs. Some of my personal favorites are "So Long Mom, I'm Off To Drop The Bomb (The WWIII Song)", "National Brotherhood Week", and "The Hunting Song".

I also heard an interesting news story about the world's quietest room, which has a sound level of -9 decibels. Apparently it is so quiet that when you are inside you can hear your blood flowing!
Prolonged exposure to the extreme quiet can drive you mad. In fact, the radio host said the longest anyone has lasted in the room is 45 minutes.
Fascinating!

We had many visitors today. Jimmy and Teppa Hall, who have a great bear act, stopped by on their way from a fair date, Luigi and Silvia, our juggler friends from Circo Garcia, drove over 90 miles to see Kelly Miller, and Beth Grimes came up from Lafayette to visit and work the crowds as a guest clown.

Ryan and I switched roles in the trombone gag because Ryan felt the routine was becoming too rote. I look forward to exercising my improvisational muscle in the act since I am now doing most of the talking over the microphone.

It was extremely hot and humid today. My shower after the shows felt so wonderful.

Monday, August 26, 2013

"Since No One That Bought A Ticket Speaks English, I Am Going To Announce The Show In Spanish"- Pre Show Announcement By The Circo Garcia Ringmaster

Sunday, August 25: Bristol, IN-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 59
Lot: American Legion Grounds

David Powell commissioned an artist named Razzi to do an oil painting of me and Ryan. David drove 5 hours just to have us sign the beautiful artwork, and then he drove 5 hours back to his home.
Thank you to Razzi for doing such a wonderful job, and thank you to David for thinking highly enough of us to have a painting done. We are honored!



My friend, Kyle, came to visit today. He also drove a great distance to see us. I'm glad people think we are worth a long trek!

Charles and Mary Klute came to watch the first performance, and they brought free roll for many folks on the show. They came armed with pans of delicious brownies, and Charles also gave me and Ryan beer and gatorade (clown fuel!), as well as awesome clown piggy banks that Mary made.

Now if only I had money to put in him....

Thank you, Charles and Mary!

Kyle watched the second performance. During the Intermission David Reddy came over to visit with me and Ryan for a bit.
The shows today were rough. It was very hot in the tent; Ryan was feeling sick to his stomach, and my back was aching. We weren't very happy clowns.

Circo Garcia was playing 15 miles from us, but since Kyle was visiting, I decided to pass on seeing them. A large group from Kelly Miller went, though. 
Kyle barbecued with me, and usual gang of suspects.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

"Save The Murray Estate"

Saturday, August 24: Bangor, MI-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Miles: 62
Lot: More Ballfield

A couple of days ago in Howard City, Jamie, the show electrician, showed me that two of my electrical plugs were burned. Luckily they are still working, but he warned me that I should get new ones before mine burn out completely.
I went to Home Depot in Grand Haven, but I couldn't find the kind of plugs I needed. Radar tipped me off that Danny always has some in stock in the office, so today when I went to get paid, I purchased the correct plugs from him.

Ryan and Tatiana took Nico to walk around town a bit this morning, and on their stroll they found a Mexican market.
There was a food counter at the market, and they served my favorite Mexican dish: tortas (delicious sandwiches). Ryan and Tatiana brought one back for me, for which I was very appreciative.
There are so few Mexican restaurants that serve tortas, so I am always happy when I find a place serving them.

Ryan, Peter, and I saw some very interesting characters during the first Intermission, but everyone we met at the second show was very nice and complimentary.
The second audience was very responsive to boot!


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Twofer

Thursday, August 22: Howard City, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
"Michigan Roads Suck"- Seen On A Man's T-Shirt
Miles: 101
Lot: Ball Field

We had a really good audience for the second show tonight. While I was laughing during the carpenter gag, a big glob of spit flew out of my mouth and splashed onto the ring mat by my feet.
Ryan started laughing and looking down, so I suddenly became very self conscious, thinking that my fly was down.
After the act Ryan explained what happened and I was able to share in the laughter.

Speaking of laughter, here's this!

Nico Lewis


Friday, August 23: Grand Haven, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
"Remember When I Was Shorter Than You?"- Kid Who Hit His Growth Spurt
Miles: 61
Lot: Harbor Island

Carolyn had some shirts made for the members of the Kelly Miller Circus, and I received mine today.


Yeah, yeah, so I'll be a hypocrite when I wear it. I'm more concerned with when Kelly Miller is getting a roller coaster!

This morning I took Christian to Walmart so he could get a MoneyGram; it worked out perfectly since I needed to buy groceries.

Later in the day Ryan, Peter, and I went to downtown Grand Haven. In a music shop, Peter bought a beautiful guitar similar to the kind Chuck Berry used.
Pete was trying it out before he purchased it, and the owner of the shop correctly identified the song he was playing as "Stray Cat Strut".
Pete replied affirmatively, but added that he wasn't playing it very well.
I added that it was more of a "Stray Cat Limp".

Ryan and I had quite a few visitors at the second show. We got to see Tedrick, who was a clown on Ringling's Blue Unit back in 1986, but unfortunately his wife couldn't make it to the show.
Also in the crowd was the Agular family, who have come to support us every year we've played Michigan.
Our first year on Kelly Miller I believe the Agulars came to about five different shows in a couple of different towns. Every year since then I've gotten to visit with them, usually in Grand Haven.

After the shows, Landon, the head of the Agular family, picked up some pizzas so we could all have a picnic.
We set up our coloring book table as a pizza buffet, and Radar and Elisa joined us for our meal under the stars.
I was glad we got to see the Agulars this year, and they're planning on making a trip to see us next year on Vazquez as well.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Quote Of The Day In Post

Wednesday, August 21: Manistee, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 53
Lot: Industrial Park

Woman: "You guys kill me! You killed me last year, and I came back this year, and you killed me again!"
Me: "ZOMBIE!"

The route slip this morning warned us that the lot in Manistee had patches of sand, so we were told to wait on the road until we were directed to our parking spot.
I don't think anyone got stuck until later in the day; it was pretty soft and sandy over by the midway and animal area.

I was bummed we were on a different lot in Manistee. Usually we are right, smack dab in downtown, but this year we were about a mile and a half away.

I badly needed to do laundry, so I walked about a mile to the nearest laundromat. I would have taken my truck, but the route slip had me so paranoid that I was sure I would sink into quicksand and never be seen again.
While my clothes were washing I walked to downtown Manistee, but it was still too early for most of the cool shops to be open.

I saw on the route slip for tomorrow that we are driving over one hundred miles south in the morning. The one consolation is that I am definitely ready to get away from the area of Michigan we've been in recently.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"You Look Like A Pig Roast!"- Woman To Her Son, Who Put His Caramel Apple In His Mouth For A Photo With Us

Tuesday, August 20: Empire, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 54
Lot: Eagles Meadow

This morning Ryan and I spent some time reworking the schedule and curriculum for our Circus Clowning Intensive.

At noon there was an ice cream social in the cookhouse hosted by Father Frank Cancro, who is a circus priest.
I was especially interested in Father Frank's life story, because he started out as a circus clown with Circus Kirk and Carson & Barnes back in the 70s. The story of how he became a priest was especially inspiring, and  it helped me realize the impact you can have on people without even realizing it.

In addition to Father Frank, I also met Maurissa, who is filming a documentary on the Fathers and Sisters that bring the word of God to circuses.
Maurissa's crew is going to be on Kelly Miller for a few days filming footage and conducting interviews.

During the first Intermission a man walked by wearing a straw boater hat. Since he looked like he belonged in a barbershop quartet, Ryan and I began singing, "Hello, My Baby" to him, which made him laugh.
An older man that was walking by in the opposite direction marveled, "You know all the clown songs!"
Perplexed, I turned to Ryan and said, "I didn't know that was a clown song....."

During the second Intermission there were two boys, twins, who were wearing authentic Bavarian garb. Ryan started speaking German to them, which went over their heads; their father was impressed though.

Photo by Carolyn Rice

In closing, I have a request from my friend, Bill Prickett:

Joe Frisco Sr. is celebrating his 80th birthday on August 31st. If anyone would like to mail him a card, here is the address:

Carol Frisco
4821 W. Alta Lane
Peoria, IL 61615

Thank you!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"What's Your Favorite Part Of The Show?"- Ryan "I Haven't Been To A Carnival Since I Lived In Hastings!"- Little Girl

Sunday, August 18: Lewiston, MI-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 72
Lot: elementary school

Two years ago I remember that there weren't any open gas stations on the jump to Lewiston, so I made sure to fill up my tank before we left the previous town.
Luckily we were going a different way this time around, so there were plenty of open stations. Still, I'm glad that I played it safe. Lord knows I don't always have the best luck on jumps.

It was nice to see people in the seats again today. I only wish they had looked like they were enjoying themselves. Still, I guess beggars can't be choosers.

Peter and Ryan were kept amused today by the number of people they saw in the crowd that looked like characters from the TV program, "Duck Dynasty".

During one of the trombone gags Ryan and I began playing in the audience area for the first time. One little boy sitting in front of us was so startled by the sudden noise that he dropped his cotton candy on the ground.
As I watched him, he picked it up, picked the grass out of it, and continued eating. Thirty second rule!

After the shows a few of us walked down the road to a little restaurant to have dinner. I knew we had picked the right place when I saw this on the menu:

"Did somebody just step on a duck?"

Monday, August 19: Mancelona, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 40
Lot: Palmer Park

This afternoon I went to the post office to send a few packages, and I also went to the grocery store. Naturally I forgot to make a list before I left the trailer, so I forgot many things that I needed.

There were a lot of dusty areas on the lot today, and there just so happened to be one right in front of our coloring book table. The wind and people walking by kept the dust perpetually hanging in the air, so we were two filthy, coughing clowns by the end of Intermission.

We met a photographer with crazy, striped, neon green shorts that told us he used to be a cage fighter. Ryan decided that from now on he's going to introduce himself to people with that tidbit of information.

I've gotta say, it was really nice to hear big laughs again during the shows tonight.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Steve & Ryan Circus Clowning Intensive 2013


The Steve & Ryan Circus Clowning Intensive is now opening registration for its 2013 sessions!

The Steve & Ryan Circus Clowning Intensive is a one of a kind experience: a true comedy boot camp; five days of serious study in the art of circus clowning.

Students will be taught to move and think like a clown, how to get hit and fall down, different types of clown gags (as well as how to write and build them), and much more!

Our students will be provided with a solid base of circus clowning skills on which their career can be built.
In fact, two of our 2012 alumni are currently working as professional circus clowns.

Take the next step to be the best circus clown you can be! Due to our busy work schedule, the number of students we can take is limited, so enroll in the Steve & Ryan Circus Clowning Intensive today!

For more information, please e-mail: stclown@lowcountry.com

See what our students are saying!

"There is no denying that being trained by [Steve & Ryan] was the best decision I made to jump start my career in circus clowning!"
-Derek Henry
Clown, NoJoe's Clown Circus

"It wasn't just sitting around and talking; it was very involved and rewarding. I was pushed outside my comfort zone and really learned."
-David Eichorn Levine
Former Performing Ring Crew, Big Apple Circus

"I have wanted to be a clown since I was 10 years old, and Steve & Ryan gave me the knowledge, skills, and confidence necessary to achieve my dream. I'm currently working as advance clown for the Kelly Miller Circus, and I plan to work as a circus clown for many years to come. None of this would have been possible without the mentoring that Steve & Ryan have offered. [The Circus Clowning Intensive} was unbelievably hard work, but I would do it again in a heartbeat."
-John Sayre
Advance Clown, Kelly Miller Circus



Sunday, August 18, 2013

Blah

Saturday, August 17: Skidway Lake, MI-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Miles: 27
Lot: Smar Park

This morning when we arrived in Skidway Lake, I filled up my truck's gas tank in anticipation of tomorrow's jump.
Two years ago on the jump to Lewiston there were no gas stations open in the morning. Sara ended up running out of fuel, and a few other people were sweating it by the end of the jump; I made sure to plan ahead just in case it is a similar situation tomorrow.

Radar and I wanted to have a barbecue tonight, but the little grocery store in town had a lousy selection of food.
I had to drive 13 miles in one direction just to go to a decent store.

The past few days have been pretty rough on the show, which makes my job really seem like work. I was definitely ready to relax at the barbecue after the shows.

In closing, here are a few more shots from the photo shoot I did with singer/songwriter Beth Stalker in Holly, MI.




Saturday, August 17, 2013

"Does It Come With Crayons?"- Little Girl In Reference To Her Coloring Book

Friday, August 16: Au Gres, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 73
Lot: school grounds

Even though this morning's jump was longer than the ones we've become accustomed to lately, it went by quickly enough. That was due to it being mostly Interstate, and I had a nice conversation going with Christian that helped the miles fly by.

I walked into town this afternoon to get out of the trailer for awhile. On the way I found an awesome Model T car for sale.


I let Danny know since he is interested in those kind of vehicles, but I think it was a little too big to bring on the road.

Today Kelly Miller had two special guest artists appear in the shows - that world renowned European whiteface duo of Zotique and Tay-Tay!

(i.e. we got bored and put on whiteface make ups)

Zotique and Tay-Tay provided plenty of magical, whimsical fun for the people of Au Gratin....er, Au Gres!

In closing, here is an awesome sketch our clown friend, Nicholas Gatrell, drew of us!


Friday, August 16, 2013

"Bumbles Bounce!"- Yukon Cornelious

Thursday, August 15: Birch Run, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 35
Lot: Birch Run Rd. & Dixie Hwy.

Our lot today was right next to a movie theater. I could have taken 100 steps from my trailer door and I would have been in line to buy a ticket.
Unfortunately there wasn't anything playing that piqued my interest. Go figure!

In addition to the movie theater, there was a big outlet mall just down the street. Despite the shopping convenience, Ryan, Peter, and I decided to spend our afternoon in Frankenmuth, the Bavarian themed tourist town that was only eight miles away.

We played Frankenmuth our first two years on Kelly Miller, but I haven't been able to visit since.
We had lunch at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant, where we ate delicious German food. We then walked around downtown Frankenmuth so we could take in the general cheesiness. Speaking of which, Ryan made sure to pick up a bag of cheese curds, and I tried chocolate dipped cheese. Delicious?

Our next stop was the crepe shop in the shopping plaza right across from the field where the circus used to play.
Peter was laughing about how the German town had annexed a French shop. We spent the rest of our time in town looking for a piece of Poland.

On the way out of Frankenmuth we stopped at Bronner's, which is the world's largest Christmas store.
Peter had never been before, so Ryan gave him the nickel tour of the massive shop. Meanwhile I spent over $70 on Bumble ornaments.
For those of you that don't remember, my Christmas is always themed after the lovable yet terrifying abominable snowman from the stop motion animated classic "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer".


The shows were hard to get through tonight. If we hadn't made our pilgrimage to Frankenmuth, the day would have been a complete bust, in my opinion.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

"How'd You Like To Go For A Ride With Me And Forty Of My Friends?"- Clown Pick Up Line

Wednesday, August 14: Holly, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 40
Lot: Holly Rd. & Quick Rd.

This morning I walked to a nearby McDonald's so I could leach off their WiFi and watch the newest episode of the TV show, "Breaking Bad". It was excellent!

While I was waiting for the episode to finish loading, I was listening to the old men sitting at the table next to me as they drank their coffee and solved the world's problems.
One man had gone to the lot to see if the tent raising had begun, and this sparked a discussion about the circus and its history that was very entertaining to hear.
Here are some choice excerpts:

"I don't know if Ringling Bros. is still in business!"
"There's a clown university; it's still in operation."
"The circus is a well put together operation. They make a lot of money. It's quiet money, but it is there."
"Is this the Miller Circus?"
"It's a spin off of Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey!"

When I got back to the lot I met up with my friend, Katy, who was instrumental in bringing the circus back to Holly.
She brought donuts from the Holly Donut Shop, so I took them to the cookhouse where they could be enjoyed by everyone.

Paul, who is a fan of the blog, was at the lot to watch the tent raising with his family, including two of my biggest fans, his children, Gavin and Amelia.
I went by to see them before they left. They were underwhelmed since I wasn't in make up, but they had warmed up to me by the time they were leaving.

I took Ryan and Peter to downtown Holly this afternoon where we went antique shopping. In one store I found a great hardcover Laurel and Hardy book that gives reviews and synopses of their shorts, and in another shop I found an issue of "Variety" that features the 107th Edition of Ringling from 1977.

Paul and his family came to see the 4:30 show. Gavin colored a clown picture for me (which is now hanging on my fridge in a place of honor); he even gave the clown in the photo red hair and a blue mouth. A+ for accuracy, Gavin!

Between shows I did a quick photo shoot with Beth Stalker, Katy's singer/songwriter next door neighbor. We got some great shots, and I can't wait to see them all.

This is the only one I've seen so far. She must be reacting to my pick up line.

Ashley, my karaoke buddy from a few years ago, was at the second show with her family. Unfortunately I was busy at Intermission, so we didn't have time to rock a duet.

After the shows Radar, Elisa, and I went out to dinner with Katy, her husband, Jason, and Jesse, who is the former mayor of Holly (did I mention he's a year younger than me!!!).
We had a nice visit, and Katy was nice enough to pick up the bill.
Thank you for dinner, and for all your hard work to bring us back to Holly, Katy!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"Shoe Shine For Ya, Govna?"- Ryan With Cockney Accent

Tuesday, August 13: Pinckney, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 48
Lot: St. Mary Church Grounds

Ryan cleaned my shoes for me this morning. They were all dried out from constantly being exposed to the elements (and my negligence over the past few years), so he coated them with mink oil and put his new shoe paint to the test.
My shoes came out looking like a million bucks. Thanks, Ryan! I guess I need to take better care of my footwear in the future.

The weather had cooled down a lot today. Ryan remarked that it reminded him of the weather we usually have in September.
It was perfect weather for working; I wouldn't complain if it was like that for the rest of the season.

During Intermission of one of the shows, Ryan and I saw an old man leaving the tent with a Kelly Miller program shoved down the front of his pants.
Our picture on the back cover was showing over his waistband. Our happy smiles seemed to have turned to screams of horror.

Ryan tried out a new bit in the mouth chase that got a nice laugh. He gave a little umbrella to the person sitting next to the audience member I was about to soak. If we keep the bit in, we should get a different umbrella; Ryan used Nico's Angry Birds green pig umbrella. Funny, but not really fitting to the act.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"Clown, You're So Handsome!"- Woman To Ryan At Intermission

Monday, August 12: Redford, MI-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 21
Lot: Bell Creek Park

Our friend, Rick, was visiting today. He brought donuts in the morning, so Ryan, Peter, Radar, Elisa, and I visited with him while we partook of them.
In addition to the donuts, Rick brought kielbasa sausage and beer for all of us. Whoo hoo!

In addition to bringing gifts of his own, Rick also played Santa Claus on behalf of a couple of other folks. Theresa, one of his co-workers, sent us three bumpy cakes:(http://www.freep.com/article/20130426/FEATURES02/304270011/Sanders%20Bumpy%20Cake%20Detroit%20100)
Thanks, Theresa! Now we will be more bumpy!

Also, Rick delivered four packages chock full of goodies from our friend, Carol, in Maryland. Rick took a video of me opening the packages so Carol could experience the wonder and greed on my face as I opened each box.
It was then up to me to evenly distribute the contents of the packages per Carol's instructions. With some items it was not easy to share (the Berger cookies in particular: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berger_Cookies).
Thank you so much, Carol, for spoiling us even when we're out of your state!

Ryan needed to go into Dearborn Heights to visit a shoe repair shop, so Rick was nice enough to drive us.
While there Ryan dropped off a pair of his clown shoes to have some eyelets repaired, and he also picked up shoe dye and got instructions from the helpful owner of the shop about how to apply the dye.

Today it rained, and rained, and rained, and rained! At least by showtime it had quit and we had two good shows. The second audience in particular was fantastic.

I got to meet Theresa, our bumpy cake benefactor, and her two boys this evening. She and Rick watched the second performance. Also in attendance was my friend, Elizabeth, and a couple of her friends.
With Elizabeth and James

I felt bad for our friends that the second half of the evening show was cut a little short due to an impending storm, but I was happy they got to see us work in front of such a responsive audience.

After the shows I said goodbye to Rick and visited with Elizabeth and company for awhile.

A big thank you to Rick for showering us with gifts, visiting with us, and making us feel welcome to Redford!

In closing, I have a favor to ask of anyone that receives Circus Report:
Could you please e-mail me the review of Kelly Miller from the August 9th issue? Thank you!
stclown@lowcountry.com

Monday, August 12, 2013

Better Than The Old Hudson

Sunday, August 11: New Hudson, MI-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 31
Lot: Atchinson Park

The lot in Wayne was surrounded by a fence, so it wasn't easy to leave in the morning. I had to wait for awhile until some people moved out of the way, and then I was able to hit the road.

Our friends, Carol and Johnny, came to visit today. They brought sandwiches for lunch, and they also brought awesome gift bags for me, Ryan and his family, and Radar and Elisa.
Thank you so much, guys!

At the first Intermission a man walked up and asked us if we had been with Ringling. We found out that his name is Kelly Blades, and he went to Clown College in 1989.
He is from New Hudson originally, but I didn't know he was in the area. That has been one nice thing about selling coloring books this year - we get to meet a lot of people we wouldn't have the chance to otherwise.

After the shows we had a great barbecue with the delicious food that Johnny and Carol brought. The spread put our usual burgers and brats menu to shame!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

"You Guys Are The Greatest Clowns I've Ever Seen"- Man At Intermission

Saturday, August 10: Wayne, MI-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Miles: 70
Lot: Atwood Park

The little car was back in the shows today. It was in and out last week with a broken wheel, but Danny spent a lot of time building a new one, and judging by its performance today, we should be good to go now.

The audiences today were fantastic; I remembered them being very responsive last year, and they did not disappoint us today.

Here is a trailer for a documentary called "Greasepaint" that follows our friend, Joey Thurmond, and his family as they travel and perform "NoJoe's Clown Circus" across America.
In addition to following the Thurmonds' day to day lives, there are also interviews with other performers about the art of clowning.
Ryan and I are very happy to be a part of this exciting film, and you can see us in the trailer below.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Surprise!

Friday, August 9: Sylvania, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 19
Lot: Centennial & Brint St.

Today at noon Father Notter baptized Armando and Natalia's baby boy, Antone, in the big top.
The service was done completely in Spanish, so I tried to follow along the best that I could.
Afterwards everyone who attended the service was treated to a KFC buffet, where I baptized my mashed potatoes with plenty of gravy.

After getting out of my Sunday Go To Meetin' clothes, I changed into my normal rags and went grocery shopping.

In the second show Ryan brought Peter's banjo ukulele out to Intermission in his ongoing effort to offend every human sense.

Ryan wore the funny blonde wig we got from Eggroll in the mouth chase tonight. We got some funny new bits out of it. I was even able to pick the wig up using the tongue, and then spit it out like a giant hairball.

In closing, here are a couple of photos of me and Ryan with fans in Sylvania:

Morgan and Taylor (Their father, Todd, is a blog reader. Hi, Todd!)
Samuel being subjected to Ryan's pickin' and grinnin'

Friday, August 9, 2013

"Are You Guys The Head Clowns In The Circus?"- Boy At Intermission

Thursday, August 08: Point Place, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 12
Lot: Friendship Park

Mary, one of my classmates from Mooseburger Clown Arts Camp back in 2000 and 2001, brought donuts this morning for me and Ryan. Thanks, Mary, and also Michael Harber, who acted as donut delivery man.

Our friend, Eggroll, who is the ringmaster for Big Apple Circus, came to visit today. I owed him lunch from this past winter, so we went to a great diner before the first show.
"Thanks, Steve"- Eggroll         :o)

Eggroll watched the first show with Dick Kohlreiser, who was also visiting. Ryan and I got to see Bob Wink, who is from Bowling Green, and Mary, my Moosecamp friend at the first Intermission as well.

Besides giving us the gift of many funny stories, Eggroll loaded me and Ryan up with all kinds of goodies.
We now own his clown make up kit, his sewing kit, various sound effects paraphernalia (like a bike horn and a wooden ratchet), funny wigs (even a flip up wig), and much more!

Perhaps the funniest wig that Eggroll gave us was a natural looking blonde wig. Ryan wore it in the carpenter gag, so when I ran the planer over his head I pulled the wig off.
We got some big laughs with all the silly stuff I did with the hairpiece after scalping Ryan. Big time comedy, baby!

John Bolster and his friend Greg took me out to eat after the shows. John has invited me out almost every year we've played near Toledo, so I'm glad I got to take him up on his offer this time.
Thank you, John!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

"Steve & Rick" And "Chris & Ryan"- Names We Were Given By Audience Members

Wednesday, August 7: Oregon, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 44
Lot: High school grounds

After getting our props set this morning, I went into town to run errands. I did laundry, I picked up duck food at Tractor Supply, and I got a few items from Walmart as well.
While I was at the laundromat it rained heavily, but by the time I was back at the lot it was all over.

Today Fridman did some work on the battery compartment of my trailer. He banged the bent metal back into the shape of a box, and then he installed my new battery and the wires going to it.
Now I will have water and lights in the morning and at night. Hooray! Thanks, Fridman!

There were a few visitors at the first performance. We saw Rich Deptula and John Bolster, and we also saw Barb, who lives in Toldeo, but is a member of the John Ringling North II-Steve & Ryan CFA tent out of Baltimore.

We also met a little girl at the second show who wants to be a clown; John and Clara Sayre told me about her a couple of weeks ago. I feel bad we didn't get to talk with her for very long, but at least we got to take a picture with her.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Kelleys Island 2013

Monday, August 5: Kelleys Island, OH-4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
"My Son Thinks You Guys Are The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread!"- Woman At Intermission
Miles: 31
Lot: Ballfield

There were a lot of islanders at the lot this morning for the tent set up, so Radar did a live demonstration of the tiger paw print paintings that he is selling.


Just a reminder, if you'd like to purchase one of these unique gifts, please e-mail me at stclown@lowcountry.com
Proceeds go towards building new enclosures for the tigers.

Peter, Elisa, and I took a golf cart out to have lunch, and we also drove around the island, hitting all the major sight seeing points.
I spotted this cool Kelleys Island circus shirt that I just had to pick up, even if the picture quality wasn't the greatest.


Even though it was a sunny day, it was much cooler weather than we've become accustomed to. As the afternoon wore on, I could tell that I was getting sick; a sore throat was definitely setting in.

There was a family at the first performance who told us that they saw the show in Richfield and decided to come back to catch it again on KI. Gluttons for punishment...

After the shows a large group of people from Kelly Miller went over to the Village Pump for dinner.
One of the waitresses tried to kill Elisa. As she was handing out bundles of silverware, a fork flew out of her hands directly at Elisa's chest.
It was obvious the waitress was a ninja assassin. She was Asian after all....

To show their support for the circus (or to avoid a lawsuit over the fork incident), the Pump gave out pitchers of their famous Brandy Alexander to all of us from the circus.

The circus children got to drink their Brandy Alexander with crazy, swirly straws

It would have been nice to take a nighttime lap around the island on the go cart, but it was so chilly out that I didn't want to aggravate the cold I was cultivating. 


Tuesday, August 6: Kelleys Island, OH-4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
"So, I Heard You're Retiring"- "In The Know" Woman At Intermission

This morning I did some souvenir shopping for myself and friends, and then Pete, Elisa, and I went to have lunch. We tried a restaurant we'd never been to before; after trying their food, I wished we would have stuck with one of our regular haunts.

I was still feeling sick today, and since I had two shows and a night jump to get through, I called it an early afternoon and took a nap before getting into make up.

The sun came out in time for the shows and it became very muggy and hot. I wish it had been like that earlier in the day; then I would have been tempted to go to the beach.
Instead it was overcast and cool up until show time - weather I'd much rather work in.

There was a big group of college kids at the first show who were dressed up for the circus. Some were clowns, some were dressed as ringmasters or animals. Some were dressed as freak show attractions....I think.
Ryan and I were making jokes about their ridiculous appearance until I remembered that I'm an almost 30 year old man who wears make up for a living...

During the second half of the evening show I was packing my trailer and getting ready for my island departure.
As soon as finale was over I changed into a jumpsuit and hopped in my truck. Arwen asked if she could ride to the next town with me since her mom was leaving at Intermission, so as soon as she had changed out of her finale costume we headed for the dock.

We only had to wait for a few minutes before a ferry arrived, and we drove right onto it.
Once we arrived at the mainland it was only a 44 mile jump to Oregon, the next town. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

"We Follow You!"- Man Waving By The Side Of The Road On Kelleys Island

Sunday, August 4: Monroeville, OH-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 45
Lot: 101 West Street

On a toll road we took this morning there was a service plaza with an RV dump station. I took advantage of that free service, and I also filled up my gas tank for the jump to Kelleys Island after today's shows.

My photographer friend, Kerri, was driving from Cambridge, OH to the Detroit area, and her trip brought her right by our lot in Monroeville.
She stopped for a quick visit and then continued on her way.

Mark Finn and his wife, who are circus fans and former clowns from the area, were at the first show. They saw us in Millersburg earlier in the year, when the show went through the fiasco of finding a suitable lot (http://steveandryan.blogspot.com/2013/05/my-grandkids-loved-you-woman-giving-us.html). I'm glad they got to see the show under more normal circumstances this time.

 Us with Mark
With Bryan and Brianne

During the beginning of the second carpenter gag, Ryan was acting very strange. During a part where he normally yells at me, he simply pointed and pantomimed.
I finally realized what was going on when he got hit in the face with the board the first time. He had been storing a lot of little lima beans in his mouth, and he was just waiting until the first hit to spit them out like they were his teeth.
He managed to fit three separate teeth spitting bits into the gag, and each time I was able to play off of it differently. It was a fun break from the monotony of doing the same gag every day.

We didn't have finale for the shows today so everyone could get to the ferry and over to Kelleys Island sooner. After the mouth chase I quickly packed up my house, got my truck hooked up to my trailer, and left the lot.
I was headed out of Monroeville before the elephant act had even begun!

When I got to Marblehead, OH, where ferries take the trailers and show trucks across Lake Erie to the island, I only had to wait a few minutes before boarding a boat.
I got on with Tavana, Father Notter, and Ryan, who pulled up just around the time the ferry was being loaded.

I left my make up on for the trip to a) make it to the island faster, and b) to give a treat to all the people waiting for the circus's arrival.


I was actually a little disappointed; since I came over so early, there weren't as many people as normal waiting to welcome the circus. 

Once I was parked at the lot and had a chance to clean up, Peter and I walked into town to rent golf carts for the two day stand.
A group of us then went to the Village Pump, the official K.I. hangout spot, to have dinner. Mr. North was dining there as well, and he was nice enough to pick up our checks. Thanks, Mr. North!

After a quick loop around the island on our cart, it was time for bed. It was way too chilly out to drive around for too long.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

"I Can't Believe I Actually Got To Talk To Steve & Ryan!"- Megan

Friday, August 2: Hartville, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Jeff Potts came by again today with Noah, his youngest son. Jeff and Ryan have been sharing embarrassing early videos of themselves as clowns, so this morning I added my early footage to the mix.
We watched the graduation performances from the two times I attended the Mooseburger Clown Arts Camp in Minnesota.
Hoo boy....

Jeff took me, Ryan, and Peter to a Joann Fabrics so we could pick up some material for next year's costumes. Unfortunately they didn't have anything we wanted; the only thing we bought was some cheap fabric so Ryan can use it to try out a costume pattern.

Mickey D, clown and duck trainer extraordinaire, was back around the lot today, so I visited with him for a bit before the first performance.

We had great audiences tonight; they were a lot of fun to perform for.
There was a family that won a backstage tour through some kind of Internet contest, so John Moss brought them back before finale, when most of the cast is around.
I chatted with them a bit, and I took a picture of them standing next to Lamount on stilts.

After the shows we had to move off the lot, so I said goodbye to Jeff and his family before getting my rig ready to move to the Hartville Hardware parking lot.


Saturday, August 3: Avon, OH-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Miles: 75
Lot: Village school

There was a little scale model village next to my trailer today in Avon. All I could think of was "Tiny Town" from an episode of the hilarious television show, "Arrested Development".
(If you don't know what I'm talking about, stop what you're doing and go rent or buy the three original seasons of that show. NOW!)



I was very tempted to hop the fence and take that Snoopy for the top of my truck's box.

There was a broken rim on the little clown car today, so we didn't use it for the first show. Danny fixed it in between shows, but when we drove it out for the second performance, I went down into a rut caused by the elephants, and the wheel came completely off before we had gone all the way around the ring.
The back end of the car crashed to the ground and we were left sitting at an angle; luckily we have an anchor to throw out, so it made the crash look like a bit in the gag.
I was happy that we were able to still incorporate the car alarm bit into the gag even though the car was in a different place in the ring; we just had to switch around some of our choreography on the fly to make it work.

Dave, the brother of John, our advance clown, was at the first show with his wife and daughter.

Here we are with Megan

Yesterday and today for the first show, the gimmick I use to make sparks appear to shoot out of the circular saw was not on the carpenter box. Although I had set the prop where I always do, somehow, two days in a row, it wound up far away from the box, on the ground by the tent's sidewall.
At first we were angry about the situation, but we finally figured that the best course of action was to take matters into our own hands. 
I simply gave the gimmick to Ryan backstage, and he set it in its proper place at the beginning of the gag. Problem solved!

Luckily the audiences today were very responsive, which helped put me in a better mood after the day's earlier frustrations.
Going to Buffalo Wild Wings and Cold Stone after the shows didn't hurt either!

Friday, August 2, 2013

"Osh Kosh Bagosh! Subway!"- Faux Portuguese

Thursday, August 1: Hartville, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 34
Lot: Hartville Hardware

I'm happy to say there were no problems on this morning's jump.
Fridam attached safety chains to my trailer that I can hook onto my truck's hitch when I travel. Now, if the unthinkable ever happens again (and I hope to God it doesn't), at least my trailer won't take off on a bloodthirsty quest for wanton destruction.

There is a huge hardware store and also an indoor market next to the lot in Hartville, so after my morning nap I wandered over to the market and met up with Jeff Potts, Ryan, Peter, and Nico.
We had lunch and then Jeff and I walked around checking out the different little shops and booths.

Jeff then gave me a lift to the post office so I could send in my paid ticket, and then we went to the grocery store to pick up a few things for our barbecue.

Polly was doing much better today, so I just have to make sure and keep giving her the antibiotic until everything has cleared up.

During tonight's second Intermission I got to flex my linguistic muscles by busting out a couple of different languages.
First I "impressed" a Brazilian lady by using two of the words I know in Portuguese: pineapple and prunes. I can rest easy that if I ever go to Brazil or Portugal, I will not go wanting for fruit!
I then used some American Sign Language to communicate with a hearing impaired woman. I even signed the refrain from the song, "Don't Laugh At Me", which I learned back during my Christian clowning days.

After the shows a group of us had a barbecue with food that Radar and Jeff had bought. Right next door at the Rosales's trailer there was an even bigger get together. It was a nice night for a party.

In closing, Radar is selling one of a kind, tiger foot print paintings to raise money for the construction of new tiger enclosures.



The prints are available in a variety of colors, and they are only available for a limited time. If you are interested in purchasing one of these unique gifts, please contact me at stclown@lowcountry.com

Thursday, August 1, 2013

"I Don't Think We'd Come To The Show If You Guys Weren't Here"- Man At Intermission

Wednesday, July 31: Massillon, OH-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 32
Lot: Knights Of Columbus Grounds

On this morning's drive, about nine miles away from Minerva, my trailer came off my truck hitch.
I had just crested the top of a hill, and as my truck started to go down, I heard a loud, metallic banging noise. I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a terrifying sight- my trailer starting to pass me on the passenger side.

I started exclaiming, "Oh God, oh God, oh God!", which woke Christian up from his nap in the passenger seat. He didn't know what the cause for alarm was; he thought we were about to crash into oncoming traffic.
I tried to get in front of the trailer so I could stop it with the truck, but I didn't act fast enough. The trailer continued, nose down, into the grass on the side of the road. It finally came to rest in front of a church, with the trailer hitch stopped by a little grass hill.

I pulled over to the side of the road so Christian could jump out and assess the damage. I pulled my truck into the parking lot of the little post office across the street, and then I walked over to the scene of the accident.
I am so lucky. The whole scenario could have been so much worse (a mantra that I repeated to myself throughout the day to avoid an emotional break down). No one was injured, and there was only minimal (in the grand scheme of things) damage done to my trailer. The only damage I caused to the surrounding area was some ruts in the grass and an uprooted speed limit sign.
I missed a cross in front of the church by a foot or so. Just a reminder that I owe God big time for helping me out. I think me building a few churches might just about put us even.

I called Fridman to alert him to my situation, and then I waited. A cop came by after awhile and took charge, photographing the accident scene and getting pertinent information from me (my driver's license, truck and trailer registration, insurance info, etc).
The officer had me fill out a witness statement, explaining what happened, and then he gave me a ticket for not having any chains or other towing safety requirements on my rig.
Luckily the cop was very nice, and the ticket wasn't exorbitant. (it was less than that unnecessary D.O.T. violation I got two years ago!).
Once again, things could have been so much worse.

Fridman and Castro arrived while I was filling out the paperwork, and they got my trailer level again. The crash broke my trailer jack and wiped out the front bottom corner of the trailer. The little compartment where my batteries are stored was also annihilated, and the two batteries were damaged.
Once again, things could have been so much worse.

Fridman and Castro were able to diagnose the problem for me. Last night when I was hooking up, my trailer hitch was a few inches off to the side from my truck's ball hitch.
I had Peter help me pull the trailer hitch over on top of the truck, but in doing so, the little latch that locks the trailer in place slid up and locked before the hitch was lowered onto the ball.
This caused the hitch to not go all the way down, and when I slid the pin into the latch to fully lock it, I was just preventing the connection from happening. The trailer was just barely sitting on top of the ball hitch.
When I crested the top of the hill this morning, the trailer came right off as the truck started going down the hill.
A stupid mistake on my part. A stupid, terrifying mistake.

Fridman and Castro helped me get hooked up to the trailer again (not an easy feat since the accident happened on a narrow two lane road with very little shoulder space for parking), and then I was on my way to Massillon.
I caught Alex, the 24 Hour Man, just as he was leaving the lot, and he parked me in the back yard.

I called Danny to see if I could borrow the show's flat bed truck, and then Fridman, Castro, and I went to Tractor Supply to pick up what we needed to fix my trailer. I got a new jack, chains (and the hardware to connect them to my truck and trailer), and a new battery.
We then went to Lowe's so I could get a new propane line for my water heater. In the crash, the copper tubing attached to the water heater broke off.

As soon as we got back to the lot Fridman went to work on my trailer. I turned right around and went with my friend Jeff Potts to take Polly to the vet.
Like I said in my last blog post, Polly has been acting very strange lately: lethargic and aggressive....there was definitely something wrong with her.
The folks at the vet were very helpful. The doctor took a quick look at Polly and prescribed an antibiotic for intestinal and respiratory problems.
We were in and out in no time, and at a nominal cost to me. I wish my hospital visit earlier this year had been more like that!

Back at the lot Jeff helped me crush up the pills and mix them with water, and then while I held Polly, he administered the first dosage by shooting the medicine down her throat with a little syringe.
The doctor gave me enough medicine for eight days, so hopefully by the end of that period my little duck will be back to her normal self.

Jeff brought pizzas for me and Ryan's family for lunch, so once we got back to the lot (around 2:00 p.m.), I chowed down. It was the first thing I had eaten all day, and I was famished!

Fridman once again amazed me today with his speed and talent. Before the shows had begun, he had installed my new trailer jack (a good thing, since Ryan and I needed to unhook my truck to unload our props), and had also fixed the propane line to my water heater.
I'm going to miss him and Castro next year.

Herky, a Clown College grad and former Kelly Miller clown, is always a big promoter of Kelly Miller in Massillon; he is a local celebrity.
I was supposed to have breakfast with him and his family this morning, but fate had other plans.
I felt bad that I really didn't get to see him today, but I did manage to speak with him a few times during the shows. He was on hand to guest clown at both performances.

At the first show I got to see Lori and her son, Steven, two of our fans from Massillon. They always come to see Kelly Miller, and two years ago I gave Steven a backstage tour for his birthday.

After the first show Fridman informed me that the next step in fixing my trailer is building a wooden box where I can store my batteries. There is now also a hole in the floor of my trailer from the crash, but luckily it is under a seat in my dinette. He told me that if I have anything stored under there, I need to move it before it falls out on a jump.
I remembered that I had some very valuable things (sentimentally speaking) under there, including a pair of Wayne and Marty Scott clown shoes, so I went inside to move the objects.
I opened the box to look inside and saw that it was completely empty! Apparently my face was pretty priceless, because it gave Jeff Potts a good laugh.
Finally, after a few minutes of fretting and pacing, I remembered that some of the things under the dinette I had moved under my bed, and the rest (like the Wayne and Marty shoes), I had put in Ryan's storage unit in Hugo.
Whew! Nothing like a little good news on a rough day.

Armando let me borrow one of his wheelbarrows between shows, and I loaded it up with all the broken pieces of plastic and wood that Fridman had pulled off my trailer.
Becky decided to capitalize on the occasion and snapped this great photo of me on the way to the dumpster:


It's going to be the cover image of her new tell all book, "Misery, Thy Name Is Copeland- One Clown's Downward Spiral Off The Deep End: A Love Story".

Dave Powell and his family came to see the second show. Before hand he came over to show me some snapshots of the L.E. Barnes Circus in 2001 (forgive me if that year is wrong). It was funny to see Becky, Marshall, Reyna, and little Johnny Moss twelve years ago.
Dave also showed us a photo of a painting he commissioned an artist in Alabama to do of me and Ryan. It is amazing! He is going to bring the original for us to autograph, and then he is going to make two big copies for us. I'll be sure to post photos when Dave comes back.

At the end of the day, Jeff Potts took some of us out to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings. Since I had been through such a whirlwind day, Radar bought my dinner (and a stiff drink, which I definitely needed).

I am so lucky that I have so many people looking out for me, and willing to help me out on this show. The support I got today really helped keep my spirits up. Thank you so much to everyone that has helped me out; it means the world to me.

I did something stupid, I learned a lesson, and I'm paying the price for my mistake. But like a little orphan girl once told me, "The sun will come out tomorrow".
Onward and upward!