Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thursday, June 19-Sunday, June 22: Houston, TX

6/19/14- 7:30 p.m.

There was a radio station doing a live broadcast at the circus all morning and into the mid afternoon. Many performers were interviewed during that time; Ryan and I were on the air with the dancers from 1-3 p.m.

There was a contest taking place during our time slot where the first five men to come to the circus dressed as clowns would win tickets to see our show.
All five men who showed up were simply wearing lipstick smeared on their faces, but at least they put forth some effort.

And yes, the irony is not lost on me that they look more like clowns than we do. Thankfully our PR team is sane and lets us do radio interviews sans make up and costume.

Although we had some yuks at the radio PR, the most fun we had was this evening after the show.
Ryan and I took place in an impromptu interview with a children's news program. The cameraman filmed the whole show, and afterwards the three kid reporters interviewed the dancers and then us.

I can't wait to see the finished product, and I will be sure and post a link here when it is done.

6/20/14- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

This morning Ryan and I took part in another radio interview, this one at a station, and we were joined by Memo and Alexa Vazquez.
The interview wasn't as fun as the one we did yesterday, but I was grateful that one DJ asked me a question in English so I didn't feel completely useless.

After we were finished on the air we were treated to breakfast at Diner 59. As soon as we got back to the lot from breakfast, Ryan and I grabbed Tatiana and Nico, and we drove to have lunch with our friend, Rob, and his fiancé, Jane.

I was surprised that I was hungry at all after eating breakfast only an hour before lunch, but I managed to polish off a few pieces of sushi.

Today one of the flyers slipped backstage and busted his head open, and his wound required stitches. Because of that the flying act was out of the show, and we closed the performance with the motorcycle act.

I was a little worried about me and Ryan spending enough time in the seats before the vacuum gag to give the motorcycle rigging a chance to go up, but everything went off without a hitch for both performances.

6/21/14- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

Today a small group from our show went to catch Ringling's Gold Unit in Beaumont, TX. I was hoping more people from Vazquez could make it to their 1:00 p.m. performance, but most people needed to be back by 4:00. Since it was a two hour performance and Beaumont is an hour and a half from Houston, that wasn't going to work for those folks.

Before the show we got to visit with our clown friends, Ivan and Andrew. Andrew went to the show's General Manager, Rob, to set up the tickets for us. Many thanks, Andrew and Rob!

During the Pre Show we ran into Chase, who is currently a clown on Ringling's Red Unit. They are on break right now as the show goes from Mexico to New Orleans, so Chase, who lives in Houston, was home seeing his family.

A big surprise for me and Ryan was seeing, Darien, one of the members of the teeterboard troupe that we worked with in Manila.
He has been with Ringling for the past couple of years, and he actually came and saw Vazquez on Wednesday night with the rest of the Gold Show folks that visited.
He didn't know we were on the show at all, so when our water gag came on (essentially the same act we did in Manila four years ago), he started saying to himself, "I know this act."
It wasn't until he saw us in our agent suits later that he put 2 and 2 together.

We all enjoyed the show, especially the folks who have never seen a Ringling production before, and everyone who drove to Beaumont made it back to our lot with plenty of time to spare before our first performance.

We had two great crowds tonight, but I felt the first one was slightly better. At the end of the 6:00 p.m. performance a man came up to us and said, "Thank you for making me laugh until I cried."
Boo ya!

Cathy Carden, who presents three animal acts on Ringling's Gold Unit, was at the second show tonight. She introduced herself and was very complimentary, so I told her how we saw her afternoon performance, and how much I enjoyed her energy. Every time she was on the floor she was giving 110%.
I also told her how I enjoyed her work on "The Living Carousel" tour when she presented a liberty horse act while singing.

After the shows there was a birthday party for Carmelo. During the shows Ryan and I gave him his presents: a Jerry Lewis film that he really enjoys, and a new pair of ratty, hole filled socks to go with his tattered drunk costume.

Having fun with the birthday boy

6/22/14- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

After bragging about how last week's three show day was so easy, I was very tired for this one.

In the second show's opening there was a man in the front section of seats that pointed at his eyes and then at me to let me know he was keeping an eye on me.
I managed to do the same motion to him in each of our gags, which the audience enjoyed.

With a little thinking I came up with a way to incorporate a similar running gag into every show, and I tried it out in the third performance.
It went well, but with a little fine tuning it should be great.

The third audience tonight was fantastic, which really gave me some much needed energy to finish the day.
Laura's motivational speech was also a big help in that regard. She gave a tribute to Texas, complete with country music playing to set the mood, and a list of funny laws still observed in this state.
Two of my favorites were that it is against the law to milk someone else's cow, and it is also illegal to sell one's eye.

I was going to go to bed almost immediately after the last show, but Martin invited me to a cookout taking place in front of his trailer.
While I was visiting with people I was surprised to see Nathan Valencia walk up. Ryan and I worked with the Valencia family in Guam and Manila back in 2010, and we were happy that we also got to see them earlier this year in Donna.

Nathan was drove over from Dallas to deliver some circus equipment; I was so happy I got to see him.

In closing, here are a few photos:

A photo collage from Matt, a Gold Unit concessionaire.
 A fantastic photo of finale from Dominik, the husband of our foot juggler
 My ugly mug on the cover of a weekly paper
 Our photo in the main article
Our neat, tidy table in the men's dressing room

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Friday, June 13-Wednesday, June 18: Houston, TX

6/13/14- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

Today I got a much needed hair cut, my first in over 8 weeks. I'm not sure why I was growing my hair out in one of the hottest towns on tour, but there ya go.

Due to several circumstances, I was generally down on myself tonight. However, while we were waiting to go on for the vacuum gag, a man walked by on his way to the seats and told us, "You guys are the best clowns I've ever seen."
Thank you, Lord. Your timing is impeccable.

We had a really good audience for the second show, which helped pick up my spirits more.
During the opening to the water gag Ryan found a man in the audience who was having a lot of fun. Ryan got the guy on his feet to dance with him, and I came over to play with them as well. We did some nice bits with the guy, and the audience was eating it up.

Since he was in the section where we start the vacuum gag, we naturally used him again. Fortuitously, the man was also bald, which works out perfectly with one of the bits we do in the audience.
We usually have a heck of a time finding a bald man for the start of the vacuum gag, because we are limited to one small section of audience due to lighting and the trapeze net rigging going up around us.
Tonight our cup ranneth over as there were many bald men all sitting in our section. I told Ryan they must have been having a convention.

6/14/14- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

Today Nikolai, one of the flyers, and I went to see the movie, "Godzilla". We have both been planning to go see it for quite awhile now, but our schedules never synced up until this morning.
Unfortunately, we were both fairly disappointed in the film; it needed more Godzilla. Really though, which movie wouldn't be helped by that solution?
Nikolai's running commentary and jokes were far more entertaining than the movie itself.

Someone set up a TV backstage this evening so people could watch the World Cup soccer tournament.
Cries of happiness or outrage could frequently be heard all through the evening.
It reminded me of when I was on Ringling in 2006; I had planned on sleeping in and enjoying a quiet day on the train. All those plans were that year's tournament.

The first audience tonight was good, but the second audience was fantastic. Where were these crowds during our first three and a half weeks?

Our friend, Rob, and his fiancé, Jane, came to watch the 9:00 p.m. show tonight, and they were nice enough to bring us a free roll of sweets and clown necessities: baby powder, baby wipes, etc.

When we saw Rob's library show, we had noted the sad state of his comedy boxers, which he had been using since he got them in 1998.
Ryan and Tatiana made Rob a brand new pair of bloomers, and they even made Nico a matching pair.

Tatiana made a delicious dinner after work, and Rob and Jane stayed to eat with us and share stories.

6/15/14- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

This morning I went to breakfast at La Madeline, which is a great "French" cafe chain that I discovered in Texas thanks to Mark Renfro.
I've found that a nice, big breakfast on Sunday morning helps get me in a good mood for our three shows.
Back at the lot I gave Ryan his Father's Day present, a Half Price Books gift card. I'm sure he'll have no problem finding something in one of the stores to spend it on.

I felt that today was a very easy three show day; even the afternoon crowds were responsive, which helped enormously.

This week it was my turn to give the pre third show motivational speech. I sang "The Candyman Can" in the style of Aubrey Woods from "Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory" while handing out miniature candy bars to everyone.

I'm not sure what was in the chocolate, but it must have been good stuff, because the dancers were jumping around, full of energy right before the opening of the last show.

6/16/14- 7:30 p.m.

This morning I went to do laundry, and then I spent the rest of the day cleaning my trailer.

We had a very responsive audience for a Monday night, which made me happy.

In finale we are always styling for a long time, so as the audience's applause dies down, I take one hand and scratch the armpit of the arm I am still styling with.
This usually breaks up anyone in the audience who is watching me at the time; tonight I was very happy to see a little boy pointing to me and then acting out to his parents what I was doing.
Sometimes it's the little things in life that make you happy.

6/17/14- Day Off!

I had a heck of a time getting to sleep last night. For one thing, I laid down way before I have been normally going to sleep. The other thing that prevented me from snoozing was the heat. My AC would not stay on, and it was so stuffy in my bedroom that I could just not get comfortable.
It must have been close to 3 a.m. by the time I finally dozed off.

6/18/14- 7:30 p.m.

Today I went to Hermann Park, which is just south of downtown Houston, and right next to the zoo.

I saw lots of interesting sights. There was a mirror pool, which seemed to definitely be influenced by the one in our nation's capitol. 

An outdoor theater, where we heard an orchestra rehearsing for an upcoming show.

And Boogie Woogie, a structure designed by Patrick Dougherty and constructed from saplings by over 150 volunteers.

Maybe one day, if I work hard enough, I'll have my own Boogie Woogie to live in.
That'll always be the dream, anyway.....

Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of my favorite part of the park. That would have to be the elderly Asian man that was arguing with a squirrel.
Many of the animals in the park were very brazen and would come right up to people for food.
Apparently the squirrel in question wanted some of whatever was in the bottle wrapped in a paper sack that the man was holding.
I happened to look over just as the man was glaring down at the squirrel, who was standing on its hind legs and looking beseechingly into the man' face.
They were standing only a foot or so apart, and the man was pointing away dismissively. It was such a beautiful, surreal, and hilarious moment. I wish I had my camera out so I could have snapped a photograph.

Unfortunately I had been distracted by these cute little guys:

I got back to the lot just as the heavens began to open up and we had rain dumped on me.
I got to my trailer just in time to see that I had forgotten to close the little plastic sun roof over my bed (I had opened it Monday night when it was so hot and the AC wouldn't cooperate), so my sheets were soaked!

I made an impromptu trip to the laundromat where I washed the sheets I had just cleaned two days before.

A large group from Ringling's Gold Unit was at the show this evening. They open in Beaumont, TX on Friday, and some of us are planning to see their show on Saturday afternoon.

The audience tonight was great (I'm sure their enthusiasm was helped by our friends from Ringling), and I had a lot of fun performing.

In closing, here is a news piece on the show that was done earlier this week:

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Monday, June 9-Thursday, June 12: Houston, TX

6/9/14- 7:30 p.m.

After about a week long respite, the rain came back today to cool things down a bit. I had contemplated going to a park to walk around and do some duck watching, but once the thunderstorms hit, I was glad I didn't.

After last week, which was a tough one for me, I decided that I needed to clear my head and face this week as a new beginning.

Tonight's show was off to a rocky start, but as it went on Ryan and I picked up steam and finished well.

After the show I went next door (the nice thing about being parked next to the Espanas is that I'm only a short walk or stumble away from party central) for the birthday party of David, who works in concessions.

I had a nice time talking with folks, and it was also a conducive venting session. I was relieved to hear that I wasn't the only person that had a rough week.

6/10/14- 7:30 p.m.

Today I went out to run a few errands. I filled one of my propane tanks, I went to the post office to send money home, and I picked up a few groceries. WHOOO! Adrenaline rush!

One of the families on the show had their truck stolen out of the show's parking lot this morning. I couldn't believe that someone was ballsy enough to come out in broad daylight and make off with a vehicle.

Jimmy Hall and Tavana's mother, Isabelle, came to visit for awhile this afternoon, so I went over to Ryan's house to catch up with them.
After telling them about the truck being stolen, Jimmy suggested that we both get Clubs for our vehicles.
Before the show we drove over to Autozone and did just that. The Club may not be much, but if it acts as a deterrent, then that's good enough for me. (As if my truck's unmistakable shape and design isn't deterrent enough).

Jimmy, Isabelle, Tavana's son, and his girlfriend were all at the show tonight. Unfortunately there were a couple of technical snafus in the performance.
First off, Ryan and I noticed that the lights were going crazy in the water gag. We weren't sure why until we got backstage and saw that the lights were off back there. Apparently one of the generators died during our act.

Next, there was some kind of malfunction at the end of finale where Jan's microphone wasn't working. We all stood awkwardly with our hands raised, waiting for him to give his farewell announcement.
In retrospect, it was very funny because the crowd cheered for us, then went quiet, then cheered again, and then as that started dying down, we were still styling, so they cheered even louder!
Finally the band launched into the exit music and we were mercifully allowed to leave the ring.

6/11/14- 7:30 p.m.

Here in Houston our show is sponsored by a Mexican restaurant called Taquerias Arandas. My friend, Cristina, sent me this picture of their children's menu:

After seeing that, Ryan, Tatiana, Nico, and I went there for lunch today so we could pick up a few for our scrapbooks.

After eating we went to a costume shop where I picked up a few make up necessities, and then Tatiana asked Nico if he'd like to go to Chuck E. Cheese. Let it be stated for the record that I was almost more excited about that prospect than Nico was.
We all had a lot of fun playing games and winning lots of tickets. When Nico turned in the tickets to collect his prizes, I was amused at the $2 worth of crap that my $20 worth of tokens earned him.

Our friend, Rob, is in the area for the month of June doing PR for Ringling's up and coming Houston run. Today he was in the vicinity of the lot in between shows, so he stopped by to visit for a bit. We were happy that we got to meet his fiancé and performing partner, Jane, who is visiting America for the first time from her home country of the Ukraine.

Temperatures reached 95 degrees today, and even though I had my AC blasting full force, it had a hard time keeping my trailer cool.

During tonight's carpenter gag, the bungee "extension cord" attached to our circular saw prop finally snapped while I was running around during the gag's climax.
For weeks now we've been constantly saying, "We need to change it the bungee before it's too late", and tonight we finally had the impetus to do so.....because something went wrong.
Bad clowns!

6/12/14- 7:30 p.m.

This morning I joined Ryan and his family on a trip to a nearby library to catch our friend, Rob's, "Reading With Ringling" show.

Rob's show was very funny and entertaining; he had the kids and adults laughing the whole time.

 The amazing hoop diving horse. One of my favorite parts of the show.

 The teeterboard rubber chicken. One of my other favorite parts.
Note Rob's pants on the ceiling behind us.

Thank you, Rob, for the opportunity to laugh and enjoy ourselves!

During the show tonight, Mario came over after the water act to tell us that one of the little car's tires was flat.
We ran over to check it, but the inner tube had popped, and since we were close to going on for the carpenter gag, there was nothing we could do except pray that we made it around the ring without damaging the wheel.

The wheel survived the act unscathed; however, the tire ripped from being driven while flat, so we had to replace the tube and tire at Intermission.
I'm not sure why we've been popping so many inner tubes in this city; I'm guessing it is from the heat.

After the show I went out for dinner and an enjoyable evening with my friend, Alex. Since he had just celebrated his birthday, I picked up the check.
Eggroll, you can pick your jaw up off the floor now.

In closing, here are me and Ryan supporting keeping animals in circuses in Mexico City.

I'm not sure why they're using our picture. Maybe they confused us for apes.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Friday, June 6-Sunday, June 8: Houston, TX

6/6/14- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

I could not sleep last night (probably due to the major nap I accidentally took yesterday afternoon), but on the plus side it gave me some time to finish the excellent book I have been reading. I highly recommend "Still Foolin' 'Em" by Billy Crystal; what a great read!

Ryan, Tatiana, Nico, and I met up with our friend, Rob Lok, for lunch at a dim sum restaurant. I didn't know what to order, so I let everyone else (the comparative dim sum experts) order for the table to share.

Clearly the restaurant got the Nico seal of approval

Yesterday the show started firing up its generator in the afternoon so everyone would have enough power to run our air conditioners. It was so nice not having to go out and buy gasoline just so I could run my generator and stay cool.

Even though we celebrated it the other night, today was our foot juggler, Claudie's, actual birthday. Here's the card we bought/made for her.

During the carpenter gag of the first show, our music cut out about halfway through the gag. Luckily it came back on when we started the portion of the act with the circular saw, since the sound of the saw is on the music track.
Afterwards I asked Teo what had happened, and he told me that the remote control that he uses to change tracks stuck on the "Next Track" button, so the CD just kept cycling through all its tracks on an infinite loop.
He had Enrique, who runs the lights, fix the problem since Teo had his hands full trying to follow the act to play our sound effects.

We had a very enthusiastic audience for the second show, but their vim and vigor seemed to have dissipated by finale. 
When we all gave our final style, the applause died out after a couple of seconds, and we were all left standing in complete silence.
I made Helen, who was standing close to me, laugh by muttering, "Well, this is awkward."

6/7/14- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

We had big crowds for the shows tonight, which is always a treat. If Halloween has taught me nothing else though, it is that conversely, with every treat there is a trick.
This evening's trick was brought to us in the form of staggering humidity that was so thick it threatened my ability to breathe properly in the dressing room.
After the carpenter gag I came out of the seats, basking in the applause and air conditioning, only to run into an almost palpable wall of humidity.

Martin and Pompeyo were taking bets backstage for the big fight that was being broadcast on TV this evening.
I suggested that we put money on who from the show was going to pass out first tomorrow during our afternoon shows. 

The vacuum gag never ceases to baffle me sometimes. A bit that was getting fine reactions since we implemented it several weeks ago has been falling flat lately.
Ryan had a good idea for a different way to play the bit, which I tried tonight. My schtick needs tightening up, but we got laughs, which was encouraging.

One thing can be said for sure, these audiences do not allow us to rest on our laurels (or our hardys); we are constantly having to tweak and work material.
It's frustrating sometimes, but what a great education we're getting!

6/8/14- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

Today was a tough one to get through. The shows actually flew by, but the heat and the crowds did not make it an easy journey.

These Houston audiences are a tough nut to crack. Ryan and I both agreed that it reminds us of our early shows in Donna, where we had to do so much retooling to get the reactions we wanted.
On the one hand, it is daunting to think that we have three more weeks of working for these tough audiences, but on the other hand we can view it as an opportunity to keep on fighting and find out what makes them tick.....or laugh.

I'm happy to see that my silly little pre-third show motivational speech has caught on into becoming a tradition here.
Every week more and more people come over to see what it's about, and the dancers and I are always encouraging new people to give the pep talk.
This week Emma gave a very nice inspirational yet funny speech that really got me in gear for the last show.
The last audience was good, thank God, and their energy also helped me get to the day's finish line.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Monday, June 2-Thursday, June 5: Houston, TX

6/2/14- 7:30 p.m.

Like I said in the last blog, all of us with the show have to move our trucks out of the parking lot on the weekends to allow more space for the audience members to park.
Due to all the rain we received last week, the entrance to our makeshift parking area was a mud pit, so I left my truck there all weekend for fear that it might get stuck.

This morning I turned on my truck's four wheel drive and had no problem getting through the muck and onto the asphalt. Whew!

I went to Trader Joe's to pick up some groceries (I've been eating out too much lately), and then I went to the Fiesta market right next to the lot to pick up supplies for our post show barbecue.

After getting all my groceries shoved into my fridge and freezer, I loaded up all my dirty clothes and drove to the laundromat.

Today was very hot, and my air conditioner was not cooperating. I tried just lounging around in my underwear (everyone enjoy that visual for a minute), but I was about to roast to death, and I had to get outside in the shade where at least there was a breeze. Don't worry, I put on some clothes first.

Our clown friends, Luigi, Silvia, and their son, Jordan, came to visit today. Luigi made a dish of ceviche (, and he was nice enough to invite me over to enjoy some.

Another of our clown friends, Alex Barney, came to the show tonight with Craig, one of his co-workers.

At the end of the carpenter gag a 15 second version of our theme song is played as a tag to the act. A few weeks ago Aldo Vazquez requested that the band play it instead of the recorded version being used.
Larry Lees, who composed our theme, put together the sheet music and sent it to us.

Tonight the band played our tag live for the first time, which was exciting. It's a shame losing the recorded version since it has our ringmaster friend, Kevin Venardos, extolling our virtues in the lyrics, but the band sounds great blasting out the tune.

Rob Lok, yet another clown friend of ours, is in Houston this month doing advance publicity for Ringling's Houston run. He came by after the show to join me, Ryan, Luigi, Silvia,  and Alex for a good old fashioned former Ringling clown barbecue!

Ryan was especially excited to see Rob, because he worked with him for several months in Japan back in 2007.
The barbecue was a great success, and as always I loved getting to talk shop with other clowns.

6/3/14- 7:30 p.m.

Today I was very frustrated that my air conditioner was not cooperating once again. Remembering something Klaus had told me our first weekend here, I decided to test whether the problem was my AC unit, or the city power we are connected to.
I dragged out my generator, fired it up, plugged in my trailer, and wouldn't you know, my AC ran like a charm!

Although I was relieved that the problem was not on my end, I don't look forward to the extra money I'll be spending for the next month just so I can run my AC.
(Of course, after the way my home resembled an oven yesterday, I better just shut my mouth and be thankful that I have an option to be comfortable!)

6/4/14- 7:30 p.m.

I wasn't feeling too great today. Last night I noticed that I was getting a sore throat, and today it was much more aggravated. I also developed a nasty sinus headache in the afternoon that really laid me low.
Besides a brief trip out to run some errands, I stayed at home and tried to rest.

Luckily by show time I was feeling much better, and on top of that, we had a great audience for the show tonight.
It's amazing what a good crowd will do for my spirits after a few nights of mediocre responses.

Ryan and I tried a little cultural experiment in our first two gags. Usually we start off by doing a call and response with the crowd: we'll yell, "Hello!", to one side and have them answer us.
Tonight we tried saying, "Hola!", instead, and it worked very well. Again, I'm not sure if it helped us with the reactions we received, because we knew from opening that we had a lively audience on our hands.

After tonight's carpenter gag I got a little choked up on my way out of the seats. Sometimes when we really rock the crowd, and we finish the act to our theme song, and the audience is cheering for us, I get such a great feeling; it makes me feel so lucky to be living my dream, and it makes me appreciate all the good things in my life.
It's a feeling I don't get all the time, but it's a nice reminder to be thankful, even when I'm having a bad day.

During our post show photo session with the audience, a very attractive and shapely woman came up to get a picture with us.
While posing in between us, she put her hands around our waists and pulled us tight against her.
Before walking away, she asked us in Spanish to tell Carmelo that he was the love of her life.
From the way she was manhandling us, I'd say we at least rate as one night stands!

After the show there was a big barbecue in front of the Espanas' trailers to celebrate three birthdays: Nico Espana, Elena (one of the members of Trio Bellissimo), and Claudie (our foot juggler).

The party was a lot of fun, and Ryan brought over a big tub of Sangria (, which was a big hit!
No one even went blind from his homemade, bathtub concoction!

Although it did knock me and Tyson for a loop. He didn't even call the next day....there was just cab fare and a bone on top of the nightstand. 

6/5/14- 7:30 p.m.

Today I went to the post office to make my quarterly tax payment. Hooray....
To add a little joy to the trip, I finally picked up a book of vintage circus poster stamps for my collection.

This afternoon I was watching a movie and dozed off. I had the forethought to set an alarm, but unfortunately I slept right through it.
A text message from Radar woke me up about an hour before showtime. Many thanks to him for his impeccable timing! Whew!

Shortly after I woke up, Jorge Pompeyo, who performs the dog act on the show, came over to tell me that I didn't need to run my generator anymore.
Apparently enough people were having issues getting their air conditioners working that now we will be plugged into the show generators during the day, which will provide us with enough power to run our ACs and not die from heat stroke. Hooray!

Despite that good news, I had a very off show. It all started in opening; I did a bit and felt like it missed its mark. From there it was a rapid downward spiral; thank God I've got plenty of chances to redeem myself this weekend!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Friday, May 30-Sunday, June 1: Houston, TX

5/30/14- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

Today Teo and Helen came by the lot to pick me up for a fun day out. First we went to lunch at a sushi restaurant, and then I introduced Helen to the wonders of kolaches. I was disappointed in the confection selection at the Kolache Factory location we visited, but it was almost their closing time.
We finished up our day trip with a visit to, where else, Half Price Books!

A severe thunderstorm hit a few minutes after our first show began. During our water gag, you could barely hear our music, because the thunder and the sound of the rain on the big top was so overpowering.

Needless to say, the audience was a tad distracted during our first appearance, and it took us all show to get them back. Luckily we had redeemed ourselves by the vacuum gag.

The rain outside was so bad that Tyson, one of the Vazquez brothers' dogs, came into the men's dressing room to seek shelter.

Either that, or David Confal got a lot hairier! 

The audience seemed to be more into the second show, even though there were more intermittent monsoons.

Jesus Vazquez, who is in charge of the show's concessions department, had me and Ryan move into the front part of the tent after the second show to try our photo concession there.
It worked out much better since people were already on their way past us to leave the tent, and our business greatly improved.
Looks like our crippling gambling addictions are about to get a huge shot in the arm!

After work Ryan and Tatiana had me over for dim sum:
I ate one helping, and then another, and "dim sum" more.
Wocka wocka!

5/31/14- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

Here in Houston, on the weekends, all of us with the show have to move our trucks out of the parking lot to make room for all the customers that come to see the show.
The area we park on the weekends is not concrete, and after the immense amount of rain we received yesterday, it was a mud pit!

Rather than risk getting my truck bogged down every time I left and came back, I just left it where it was and hoofed it anywhere I needed to go.

I walked a lot this morning and into the early afternoon, and I lost about half my body weight in perspiration. It was so humid!

We did great business tonight, and our photo concession continued to thrive in its new location.

6/1/14- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

This morning I walked to breakfast at Aunt Bea's Restaurant. Memo Vazquez recommended it to me when we did our television publicity last week, and since it wasn't far from the lot I decided to give it a try.
I was grateful for Memo's recommendation; the food at Aunt Bea's was great! I think I have found my Sunday breakfast destination for the rest of our Houston run.

After all the rain that we've had here, I was relieved that today was a nice, sunny day. A nice, sunny, hot, humid day.....

The generator that powers the tent's air conditioners died during the first show, and even though it didn't take long for them to switch over to the other generator, those few minutes really counted. I couldn't believe how fast the tent heated up and how long it took to get the temperature back down again.

We had another day of great business, which made all our sweating feel worthwhile.
Speaking of the temperature, after how hot it was backstage for the first two shows, I couldn't believe that by the third show I had to get out of the dressing room because I was freezing from the AC.

After the shows a few families got together for a cookout, and I was lucky enough to get invited over.