4/7/14- 7:30 p.m.
This morning I went to do laundry with Ryan, Tatiana, and Nico. They have their own washer/dryer combo in their trailer, but they needed to wash blankets, so a larger machine was needed.
Afterwards I took a little trip to south Austin where I found a great shopping center. I had lunch at Torchy's Tacos, where I tried a breakfast taco and a dinner taco. I thought the breakfast taco was much more delicious.
I then walked over to Half Price Books (three Austin locations down, one to go!), and then finished up with ice cream at Amy's.
Ryan and I had a television PR this afternoon, but it was done in just a matter of minutes. The reporter came all by herself, so she had Vivien, our PR lady, film the segments.
We just taped a few quick hits with the reporter talking while Ryan and I stood beside her mugging.
We then filmed a couple of action segments utilizing a piece of aerial apparatus hanging in the ring and one of our big foam sledgehammers. Instant comedy!
A few minutes before the show started this evening the rain began pouring down in buckets. The sound was deafening in the big top.
A few seconds later, we started seeing the big black curtain separating backstage from the portal area whipping around from the wind.
Everyone started to get freaked out, but we really didn't know what to do. We got out of the dressing room and saw that everyone was huddled in the middle of backstage, as far as they could get from any poles.
The wind was coming in through the sidewalls, which were jumping and flapping quite a bit. Some of the crew ran over and held the flaps shut to keep the wind out.
After about 5 minutes the whole situation was over. I heard that things were a little more frightening in the concessions area. Some of the doors slammed open and let in the wind, which promptly made the sidewall and some of the poles jump and dance. I guess it freaked some of the audience out.
During the whole ordeal, Eddie, our production manager, was over the microphone talking to the audience, and once the wind died down, he announced that we would then begin the performance.
Even though the wind had stopped, the rain continued to come down for several minutes more. It was raining so hard that water was running over the little cement border that had been put around the tent's perimeter and into backstage.
The only other remnant of the storm was a substantial leak in the tent that was pouring down right into one corner of the ring.
I noted that Ryan and I would have to drive right under that spot with the little car in the carpenter gag, so Ryan brought out his umbrella and opened it as we approached the little waterfall.
After the show I met with Kelly Van Cleave. Kelly was a clown on Ringling in the late 1980's, and since then she has performed all over; most recently with Circus Kinoshita in Japan.
Kelly took me to the Alamo Drafthouse, which is a movie/dinner theater. All the seats are in sets of two, and there are little tables attached to the front of the chairs.
Waiters come by before the film starts and take your order, and then bring your food out during the movie.
To avoid talking while the feature presentation is playing, there are notecards and pens at your seats that allow you to write down any more orders or requests.
Kelly and I watched "The Grand Budapest Hotel". The films of Wes Anderson are hit or miss with me, but I really enjoyed this one. There were a lot of fun cameos, and as usual, his films are very interestingly shot.
4/8/14- 7:30 p.m.
This morning I caught a train to downtown. I had lunch at the Iron Works, which I saw was rated as one of the top 10 BBQ restaurants in Austin. The food was good, but I didn't think it was any better than a restaurant Ryan and I used to frequent in Paris, TX.
After lunch I walked to South Congress St. to look through all the neat shops. I visited a costume shop, an antique store, and the Big Top Candy Shop, which is a normal candy store with circus and sideshow posters all over the walls.
It was neat, but I was hoping they'd have bumper stickers with the shop's name on them; alas, they only had t-shirts.
Kelly Van Cleave came to see the show tonight with her family. They brought us a BBQ free roll from Smokey Mo's. The meat was delicious! I thought it was way better than what I had at the Iron Works for lunch.
Thank you, Van Cleave family!
After the show a couple of the circus kids, including Aldo Vazquez's son, Franco, were doing their version of the vacuum gag using a popcorn bucket as the vacuum's nozzle, and a paper cotton candy cone as Ryan's elongated face.
It was very funny; I think the kids did it better than we do.
4/9/14- 7:30 p.m.
This morning I hit up yet another Half Price Books. Now I only have one more loaction to visit in the Austin area. Hooray for being a completist!
This afternoon Ryan and I had a radio publicity. On my way over to the tent a lady in a car stopped me to ask about ticket prices.
I pointed out the ticket truck and told her that the nice people working there would be able to answer her questions better than I could.
She went on to ask me what all we had in the show, so I gave her a quick run down of some of the highlights. I finished up by saying, "Well, I hope you ladies make it to the show."
The woman pointed to her friend and said, "I don't know; she doesn't like clowns."
I replied with, "Neither do I."
I then pointed to our picture on the ticket truck and continued, "Especially those two. They're jerks."
As I was saying, Ryan and I had a radio publicity from 3-5 p.m. with the dancers. Luckily we didn't have to get into make up for the event.
We did several radio hits, and we also filmed some videos for the station's FB page.
During our downtime Ryan and I played Hangman with the dancers, and we also taught them slapstick.
Excellent! More additions to our unholy army of low comedy.
Rik Gern came to visit and watch the show this evening. Rik had us over to his house last week for dinner, so tonight after the show we returned the favor.
Tatiana made a delicious meal for us to enjoy while we talked shop.
4/10/14- 7:30 p.m.
This morning I drove to a downtown coffee shop called Cenote to visit with Caitlin Reilly. Caitlin, and her husband, Ben Schave, are former Ringling clowns that perform locally.
Ben was crazy busy with an upcoming festival that he is doing tech work for, so he wasn't able to make it for our visit.
Caitlin and I had a nice time catching up; I hadn't seen her since she and Ben took me and another clown out for dinner seven years ago when I was in town with Ringling.
For lunch I went to Tyson's Tacos, which is only a mile or so from the lot. I sampled two of their breakfast tacos; so far Torchy's is the superior taco shop that I've visited.
Kelly Van Cleave came by this evening to visit with us, which was nice.
Right before I was heading backstage to get ready, the power to our trailers shut off. When I got backstage I found that power was also off there. At least there was electricity inside the tent.
Since there were no lights in our dressing rooms, I joined the dancers outside to put my make up on. By the time I was putting on my lip, the power was returned to backstage. I just stayed where I was since I was nearly done.
Today was Martin Espana's birthday (Martin and his family perform on the Russian Swing). He always asks to borrow my mirror before the show so he can apply his makeup, so I got him his own mirror as a gift.
It was a pain in the butt cleaning the water mat outside during the show tonight. The wind was blowing so strongly that we couldn't get it to stay flat.
After the show Kelly took me to eat at the Magnolia Cafe, an Austin institution that is open around the clock.
I've really enjoyed all the wonderful food in Austin. I was telling Kelly that so far it is my favorite stop on the tour due to that fact, as well as all my friends in the area.
In closing, here are a few photos!
The concessions area
Franco Vazquez, our biggest fan
Memo Vazquez and the reporter from our television PR last week
And finally, some excellent photos from Dominik, the husband of Claudie, our foot juggler: