8/29/14- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.
This afternoon I got to spend time with Jon Bogle, a 1992 graduate of Ringling's Clown College who spent a year on the road with the Blue Unit.
We went to The Flying Biscuit Cafe to have lunch; while there I looked through his great photo album from his Ringling clown days, and we swapped many road stories.
Back at the lot Nikolai came by my trailer asking for help. He was having an issue with the Internet connection through his phone, and the people he was talking to via the tech support line were speaking too fast for him to understand their English.
I called on his behalf, and without too much trouble we were able to get everything working properly again.
Jon Bogle came to see the first show tonight. Unfortunately he saw us in front of a small, extremely comatose audience.
To make matters worse, every technical thing in our gags that could go wrong, did go wrong.
In the carpenter gag the brakes on the workbench came undone, so the box started to roll forward into the ring while Ryan was inside, which messed up the blow off to the gag a bit.
The most embarrassing mistake was in the the vacuum gag when the stretched out face inside the vacuum's nozzle flew out and landed in the middle of the ring before the gag's blow off.
That kind of stuff only happens when you have friends in the audience!
The second show was better than the first, but considering how bad it had been, that isn't saying too much.
I've learned that in situations like that, all you can do is learn from the failures, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, hold your head high, and try again.
It also helped that I had ice cream waiting in my freezer at the end of the night!
8/30/14- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.
This morning I went to the Center For Puppetry Arts and took a tour of their museum. I spent a good two hours thoroughly looking over all the different exhibits, which covered every type of puppet you could think of from every different country and culture.
Here are some of the highlights:
Madame, perhaps the world's sauciest puppet
The Angel Of Death from Bread & Puppet Theatre
Scar from Broadway's "The Lion King"
A Skeksis from "The Dark Crystal"
One of the goblins from "Labyrinth"
Link Hogthrob and Dr. Strangepork from "Pigs In Space"
Kermit the Frog...
...and Miss Piggy!
By the Kermit and Miss Piggy cases were plans for the museum expansion that was underway outside the center. By next summer the building I was in will be storage, and there will be a brand new, much bigger Center For Puppetry Arts with a huge exhibit on Jim Henson. I can't wait to see it!
While I was admiring some puppets from "Emmett Otter's Jugband Christmas", a man walked up to me and asked, "Is your name Steve?"
I answered affirmatively.
Again I said yes.
"Were you a circus clown with Ringling Bros.?"
By now I was wondering if I owed this guy money, but I again answered yes.
He broke out in a big grin and asked, "Can I give you a hug?"
I'm never one to turn down a free hug, so I graciously accepted.
My inquisitive new friend turned out to be Clark Sides, who saw me on Ringling 9 years ago in North Carolina. He and his mother had bought the "Circus Celebrity" seats that let you ride on a tram during the opening part of the show.
Clark and his mother were on the tram I interacted with, and apparently I was Clark's mother's favorite clown.
Clark told me that he recognized me from a Youtube video I put up many years ago:
I'm surprised he recognized me when I wasn't moving so fast.
Being recognized like that really made my day. Thanks for caring, Clark!
After exploring all that the Center For Puppetry Arts had to offer, I had lunch at Mellow Mushroom, which is a great pizzeria found in many college cities around the country.
Jamarr Woodruff, who I spent two years working alongside of on Ringling's Clown Alley, came to see the 9:00 p.m. show.
I was afraid he wasn't going to be able to see us while we were in town, but it all worked out in the end.
Jamarr spent the night, so we stayed up late watching old Ringling videos and reminiscing about our time on the road.
Post Script: On Thursday when Rob Hadaway and I were exploring different places around town, we visited a book store only a block from the lot.
There I found an autographed George Burns book on sale for $50.
Pretty cool, huh? Just wanted to share!