Saturday, March 15, 2014

Monday, March 10-Thursday, March 13: Donna, TX

Sorry for the delay, everyone. I've been really busy! I tacked on an extra day to thank you for being patient.

3/10/14- 7:30 p.m.

This morning Hector, the assistant manager, picked up me and Ryan at 8:15 a.m. for a radio publicity.
Before heading to the studio we swung by Mission, TX to pick up Alexa Vazquez, who performs a hula hoop act in the show, but behind the scenes plays a big part in promoting the circus.
The station where the publicity occurred took place in a studio that houses several radio and television stations. Ryan and I have done several PRs there over the years with Kelly Miller.

Our appointment was with the two DJs that we were on the air with on Valentine's Day. The two interviews that we did went well; Alexa and Ryan did the heavy lifting in Spanish, and I was able to prove my competency as well when they asked me to inform the English speaking listeners as well.

One very nice thing about the PR was that Ryan and I didn't have to be in full make up and costume, just street clothes.
It was going to be a joint television and radio event, but since the TV station canceled their involvement, Vivien, our PR lady, said we didn't have to make up.

After the PR we were treated to breakfast, and then once I was back at my trailer I took a heavenly nap. I woke up feeling totally refreshed.

I drove over to Edinburg, TX to visit with my friends on Kelly Miller one last time. I met the show at the Municipal Park, which is where they were sitting until their travel day tomorrow.
When I got there, a few semis were still waiting to be pulled out of the mud on their other lot.
Everyone was busy cleaning the disgusting muck off their equipment, houses, and boots.

I'm happy that I got to spend a good amount of time visiting Kelly Miller here in the Valley. Unfortunately it doesn't look like our schedules are going to sync up any more this season.

Our friends, the Davison family, came to see the show again this evening. Pat brought a bag of grapefruit for both me and Ryan; they were picked fresh from his neighbor's tree....hopefully with his neighbor's consent!

In the carpenter gag I tweaked a muscle in my neck that led all the way down to the middle of my shoulder blades.
I asked Nikolai, one of the flyers (and resident physical therapy expert), for any suggestions. He showed me a stretch to try that I did during Intermission; it worked like a charm!

After the show we visited in the seats with the Davisons and snapped this great picture.

Pat, Mabelle, and Marites

While we were visiting I looked over and spotted a man and his daughter waiting to talk to me. I excused myself and went over to introduce myself; the man was Alex, who is a follower of the blog, and has been since he saw us on Kelly Miller a few years ago.

Me with Alex's daughter.

Alex took some fantastic photos of us in the show. Check them out at the bottom of the post!

3/11/14- Day Off!

Today the sun decided to come out after an absence of a couple of days, so I took the vacuum prop outside to be painted.

Ryan, Tatiana, Nico, and I went to our favorite Mexican restaurant, Poncho's, for lunch, and then we drove over to Mercedes, TX for the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show And Rodeo.
Our friends, the Valencia family, were nice enough to get passes for us (and another large group from our show), so we owe our day of fun to them.

There was a comedy gunfight show set up near the fair's entrance that had a very familiar looking set.
When we stopped to watch their performance, we realized it was the same company that our friend, Kelly, works for, and although he wasn't with them for this engagement, we recognized some of his co-workers who we saw last year in Laredo. Ryan and I went over to say hello after their performance.

Right next to the wild west show was the set up for the Valencia family's show, "The Pirates Of The Sky". 
Unfortunately all the rain from the weekend had drained to their performance space, so they were only able to do a little bit of their show: chair balancing and the wheel of death.
Mario, one of our prop guys, made a surprise guest appearance in the wheel number, much to the delight of all of us from Vazquez.

 Nathan showing off his acrobatic prowess
Mario making a special guest appearance

After an hour of standing in the sun watching our friends perform, I was feeling pretty rough. I drank a bottle of water before the shows, but the sun was merciless, and there was no shade to protect us.

Undaunted by a little sunstroke, I grabbed another bottle of water, and we continued to explore the fair.
We really did get the full fair experience: Ryan was grifted at one of the games and ended up paying $20 for a plush toy for Nico, and I took a year off my life by eating some deep fried Oreos.
God bless the USA!

Nico was too small for most of the rides we came across, but he was the right size to get into one of the balls they fill with air so they float on the water.
I paid for his admission, and he bravely got into the ball, which they then filled with air. He was pushed out onto the water, and then he just sat there, soaking it all in.
We were all miming for him (since you can't hear well inside the balls) to run and jump, but he was happy to just sit and try and splash the water underneath him.

Ryan, Tatiana, Nico, and I met up with Ricky and Lesly after their last show; they took us back to the rides area so Nico and their twin boys could go on some of the kiddy rides. 
I didn't join them on any of the attractions because I was feeling nauseous from my overexposure to the sun (I'm sure the deep fried Oreos didn't help either). 
It was just as fun watching Nico thoroughly enjoy the rides.

After the kids had gotten their fill of the rides, Nathan, his girlfriend, and Mrs. Valencia joined our group for dinner.
I wasn't exactly feeling up to going out due to my nausea (and a headache that could kill a moose), but I'm really glad I went.
Some food in my system did wonders for my constitution, and we had a really nice visit with the Valencia family.

Before I went to bed Ryan and Tatiana gave me an extra strength ibuprofen they had picked up in Mexico; I was already feeling much better by the time I laid down.

3/12/14- 7:30 p.m.

I didn't set an alarm this morning, because I knew I would need a good night's sleep. Boy, was I right. I woke up at noon!
The best part was that I felt like a million bucks. I should do this more often...

I did some more painting on the vacuum prop, which was not easy considering the strong wind blowing outside; I also helped Ryan put fabric and latex on the vacuum's nozzle that he had carved out of foam.

At 4:00 p.m. the cast met in the tent for an opening rehearsal, which makes this our third version of opening since we started the season.
While we were all together, Memo Vazquez introduced us to our new performance director, Eddie, who is a cousin to the Vazquez brothers.

The opening we learned is the same as the opening number used on the west coast unit. We all come out in three groups, go to three different spots, and pose like we are in a fashion parade. There is a flash of lights on each group like paparazzi taking photos, and then we move to the next spot. This is repeated two more times, and the lights go out with the end of the music.

Speaking of the west coast unit, they are about to open in Laredo, TX, about three hours from us, so a big group of performers from their show came to see us tonight.
I'm always nervous when other performers are in the audience, which is a shame, because that made it difficult for me to enjoy tonight's fantastic audience. They were the best crowd we've had in awhile.

Just to compound our nervousness of performing for the other unit, we had a slight snafu at the start of the carpenter gag.
When the curtain opened for me to drive the little car into the ring, I threw down the clutch and......nothing happened!
I quickly jumped out and pushed Ryan around the ring and into position.  
Luckily the rest of the gag went very well.

I remembered a similar occurrence on Kelly Miller, so I asked Ryan to check the belt on the car. Sure enough, it had come off. After Ryan reattached the belt, the clutch worked just as it should.

3/13/14- 7:30 p.m.

This morning I went to do laundry. I wanted to have clean costumes because today Ryan and I were filming close ups of our gags for the 2014 East Coast Edition Souvenir DVD.

While I was at the laundromat, Eddie, the new performance director, called and asked if they could move our shooting time up a half hour since they were running ahead of schedule.
I checked with Ryan, and since we still had plenty of time to prepare, we both agreed we'd be happy to wrap things up earlier than expected.

At 1:00 p.m. Ryan and I ran the carpenter and water gags, while Bronson, from the Vazquez PR team, was in the ring with a camera filming close ups of us.
Everything went well, but we requested to re shoot a couple of segments so we could present the best product possible.

One segment we ended up filming twice was the end of the water gag, where the prop guys throw four buckets of water on us.
The guys really loaded the buckets with water, so Ryan and I nearly drowned with each take. 
Before changing at Ryan's house, both of us had to wring out our socks and pour water out of our shoes.
Luckily it was a hot day!

While I was heading back to my trailer, Visan Espana called out his window and told me to come look at his new toy.
He ordered a karaoke machine on Amazon, and it just arrived today. He and I were very excited about the prospect of future karaoke nights.
Visan was nice enough to offer me a cup of coffee, so I spent some time talking with him and his brother while I drank it.

Today before the show Ryan was telling me about a conversation he had with Nico. Nico was telling Ryan that he wanted to work with "Circus Manos Vazquez" with the two of us, and he said that he wanted to be a whiteface. Then, showing how smart of a kid he is, he changed his mind about the last part.

Ryan and I went out and picked up new feather dusters this afternoon. Those tricky dancers changed wardrobe for the Intermission speech last night, so Ryan and I didn't have the proper colors to match them.
I think Ryan and I both look resplendent in our new blue "headdresses". 

We had another great audience tonight. To celebrate, I invited Ryan, Tatiana, and Nico to join me for dinner.

In closing, here are some great shots of our gags that Alex took on Monday night:


Anonymous said...

What does 108 mean on Ryan's pants?

Greg Michales said...

We are starting to see a pattern here. After following you guys and the blog its seems to show another element of clowning. Eating- the pattern is to do a performance and then go eat. It always seems you guys are near some great restaurants also. After I read the blog I then feel I should eat something. By the way the show looks great can't wait to see it and then go eat.
Greg Michales

Steve Copeland said...

108 is the name of a fall where you do a front flip and then appear to land flat on your back.


Yes, I'm taking full advantage of being around restaurants that I like. I didn't always have that luxury on KM.


Greg Michales said...

We just got back from seeing the Big Apple Circus, it was really good. Rob Torres was excellent as was the whole show. My wife love the horses. Next we will wait for KM to come to NJ and the see you guys in NY. By the way after the show we were hungry and got Chinese food, so their is a definite circus and food connection.

Steve Copeland said...


I'm glad you guys enjoyed "Luminocity". I'm looking forward to seeing Big Apple's new show when we get to MD or NYC.


Harry Kingston said...

Don't ever worry being nervous about other show folks watching you and Ryan.
You are real clowns and the pegs of the circus and what it is based on.
You let them so called clowns look at real clowns and how it should be done.
You work and work on your routines
until they are perfect.
Just enjoy being a clown and carrying on a long time tradition and enjoy life down the saw dust trail.
Have a great season and thanks for taking your time and keeping us informed what is going on.
Harry in Texas

Steve Copeland said...

Thank you, Harry. Will do on all counts.