5/9/14- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.
Today as I was walking to the tent to scout out our route for taking the props over, Julio was nice enough to let me know about an opening in the chain link fence surrounding the tent. The opening was conveniently located right by the back door, which saved me and Ryan the hassle of squeezing our props past the still unloading semis parked on the side of the tent.
We put most of the props in the back of my truck and dove them to the hole in the fence; the only prop we had to push over was the carpenter box.
After getting all our props set up backstage, Ryan and I had our weekly business meeting. This week we focused on redesigning our website.
Later in the day I was walking around the tent when I realized that they had fixed the hole in the fence by the back door. I'm really glad we took our props over when we did!
Today was incredibly hot and humid, and the air conditioning wasn't working until the second show. Needless to say, it was sweat city backstage during the 6:00 p.m. performance.
I was feeling a strange vibe from the audiences tonight, mainly whenever Ryan and I spent time in the audience. I'm hoping it was just a one night thing and the crowds loosen up a bit for the rest of our run.
5/10/14- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.
I woke up early this morning to join Ryan and his family on a trip to Waxahachie, TX (about 45 minutes south of our location) to attend the Scarborough Faire Renaissance Festival.
This was my first Ren Faire, so I was very excited about going.
We arrived about 10 minutes before the gates opened, and there was a huge crowd waiting to get in.
Once we got inside the gates we began exploring the Faire. My first stop was the haunted castle; I was impressed by how big it was on the inside. A lot of times it was so dark that I had to feel along the walls to find my way out.
The premise of the castle was to teach about different ways people were tortured back in the olden days. There were dioramas with mannequins and props showcasing the different techniques in each different room, but my favorite display centered around the electric chair (they had electricity back then?!) and featured two live actors.
When I entered that room, the guy pulling the switch was chatting up the girl strapped to the chair. When they saw me the guy quickly pulled his mask down over his face and then proceeded to start the electric chair.
Well, after an awkward minute of waiting I realized that they couldn't get the electric chair gimmick to work, so I walked out.
A couple of rooms later I heard the electric chair finally go off, and when I turned back in that direction, one of the dummies lurched forward on its mechanism and scared the bejeezus out of me!
Nico had a lot of fun at the Ren Faire. He enjoyed going on all of the rides he was big enough to try; I accompanied him on several. One ride we went on was full of kids, and I was the only "adult". The kids' interactions with each other were cracking me up.
One of my favorite parts of the Faire was the insult guy. He had his head and arms stuck through holes in a big flat, and he would insult people going by until they were angry enough to buy chunks of raw tomato and throw them at his face.
Ryan went first, and the guy had some excellent jokes about how maybe if Ryan kept putting enough product in his hair, people wouldn't realize he was 40. He also said that Ryan had enough oil in his hair to kill four baby seals.
By the time it was my turn, the guy had used up most of his A material (I guess he thought Ryan and I were too similar to use too many new jokes.....that racist!). I couldn't believe how close I came to hitting the guy on two of my throws; the tomato chunks sailed right between the guy's head and the edge of the hole he was sticking it through (a space of a few inches). Still, close never wins you any satisfaction, so Ryan and I limped away from the table nursing our wounded egos and looking to drown our new found insecurities in a couple of steins of mead.
One of my other favorite parts of the Faire was the petting zoo. There were so many cute baby animals, especially the piglets, ducklings, and goslings!
After leaning on the fence to get a closer look, I glanced down at my hand and saw that I had squashed a nasty looking spider with my palm. I guess I petted that one baby animal a little too hard....
Before leaving the Faire we took in a show. We saw several performances in progress as we walked around, but the only one we caught the entirety of was Cirque Du Sewer, featuring a young woman and her trained rats.
I'm so happy we got to visit the Ren Faire today. Even thought we left in the afternoon, we were able to see everything and participate in a lot.
I even got a new title
At work tonight I got another weird vibe from the first crowd, but the second audience was awesome!
After the shows a big group went out to celebrate Zheni's birthday. Zheni is the wife of Martin Espana, and she performs in the motorcycle and Russian swing acts.
We all went to a restaurant called Bombshell's; our group took up almost the entire patio. The staff was scrambling to get enough tables and chairs together to seat all of us.
5/11/14- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.
Today was Mother's Day, so I made sure to call my Mom and get in contact with many of my friends who are mothers to wish them a happy day.
I went out in the morning to get a present for Tatiana. I went shopping at the Argentinean bakery that we visited a few days ago, and I picked up a bag of mate, which is a tea that is greatly enjoyed in Argentina.
I am so happy that the circus' AC was working today, because without it we all would have died backstage. I say that because even with one of the AC tubes pointed directly into the men's dressing rooms, the heat and humidity were so stifling that it was almost difficult to breathe.
We had our typical sleepy audience for the 2 p.m. show (the heat couldn't have helped), but the crowds got progressively better as the day went on, and we had a fantastic third show (with performers from Dick Garden and Jody Jordan's shows in attendance) .
Ryan and I are feeling so much more confidant in our material now, and Carmelo was nice enough to compliment us on how strong the gags are now compared to when we started the tour.
5/12/14- 7:30 p.m.
Ryan and I woke up early this morning and did some spring cleaning in our trailers' storage compartments. We loaded into the back of my truck the props and costumes from the bull gag, plus our production wardrobe that we aren't using, and then we began the 2 1/2 hour drive to Hugo, OK.
Once we arrived in Hugo, we put everything into Ryan's storage unit, and we also grabbed a few things to bring back to Vazquez.
Before heading back to Dallas, Ryan and I stopped by the Kelly Miller Winter Quarters to visit with our friend, Dudley, who is the WQ caretaker.
Dudley was surprised to see us, and we had a nice visit with him before we had to hit the road again.
We made great time getting back to the lot until we hit downtown. Rush hour was just beginning, and it was raining like crazy. It took forever for us to get from one side of downtown to the other, but luckily we came back with plenty of time to spare before our evening performance.
Our clown friend, Kelly, came to visit for a bit before the show. He was joined by Mel, Logan, Shawn, and Shawn's daughter to watch our evening performance.
Mel and Shawn are both clowns who work with Kelly in a local hospital clowning program, and Logan is the son of "Cousin Grumpy", who performs on Vazquez's West Coast unit.
Unfortunately we had a really rough show tonight. I think the rain and thunderstorms scared off a lot of people, and the folks that showed up didn't really seem impressed with our hijinx.
On top of that, everything backstage was wet from the rain running under the sidewalls and across the pavement, and I felt so disgusting from the humidity.
I was happy for the show to be over. Tomorrow is another day!
5/13/14- 7:30 p.m.
Last Friday a lady was over by our trailers handing out business cards for an RV Guy. Since I needed sway bars for my trailer, I called later that day and ordered a set from him.
Today the RV Guy came by the lot after lunch to deliver them to me. I was surprised to see that it was the same guy who used to do repairs on Kelly Miller's trailers whenever we were in the Valley. He even put a new AC unit in my Holiday Rambler several years ago. Small world, huh?
I would like to go ahead and get my sway bars attached (especially since the instructions make the task seem incredibly intimidating and difficult), but I will have to wait until Monday when we make the jump to Houston since there is another trailer parked in front of mine.
Gary Ray, who is a Ringling Clown College graduate and a veteran of Shrine circuses, his wife, Diane, his sister in law and brother in law, as well as his son, daughter in law, and grandson all came to the show this evening.
Cody, Gary's son, is an amazing artist, and when his wife, Abra, told him that I was a huge fan of the movie, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", Cody gave me this awesome drawing he had done.
Ryan's aunt, uncle, and cousin were also at the show tonight, so I was very happy that our friends and family got to see us in front of a great audience.
We totally redeemed ourselves from our failure last night!
After the show Teo and I went to a 24 hour diner called Buzzbrews. They were having a classical open mic night, so different people were getting onstage to sing, tickle the ivories, or play violin.
The food was delicious; I was very happy with the pepper crusted salmon I ordered.
Russ, a performer with the Circus Freaks group in Dallas, was sitting a few tables away from us. I didn't see him because I have the observational skills of someone who is....unobservant, and Russ thought I was just some lucky devil that looked remarkably like Steve Copeland.
I didn't find out that he had been there until he messaged me on Facebook after Teo and I had left.