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.
Sigh.

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:


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