Thursday, October 30, 2014

Tuesday, October 28: Queens, NY- Day Off!

This morning I walked over to Flushing to do some shopping. I had to pick up a couple of supplies at Home Depot for our props, and while I was in the area I also had lunch at the New World Shopping Center. The Asian shopping center has a supermarket, clothing stores, and a food court taking up the entire bottom floor of the plaza.
There were so many different food stands to try that I can tell I will be back several times during our stay in Queens.

I missed a fair amount of excitement at the circus while I was out and about in Flushing. While the crew was pounding the big top's stakes into the cement, they hit an underground power cable that started an electrical fire and melted the stake and the metal plate surrounding it.
Because of that there was no power for most of the afternoon. Luckily by the early evening we were able to reconnect and have electricity again.

It was a nice, sunny, warm afternoon, so I took the opportunity to clean off and repaint our vacuum prop, which was looking pretty shabby.
I also watched a horror film called, "Deadly Friend", for the "Scare-athon". "Deadly Friend" was directed by Wes Craven, best known for the "Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Scream" horror franchises.
After watching this movie, I understand why he's not also known for "Deadly Friend". It was neat to see that a robot in the movie was voiced by Charles Fleischer, who voiced the main character from my favorite film, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit". That's about it....

In the evening I caught the subway up to Harlem to have dinner at the house of my friends, Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone, better known as the "Acrobuffos".
Eggroll was the other guest on hand (the three of them worked together on Big Apple), and we were treated to Seth's delicious cooking.
I had such a nice evening talking and laughing with my friends; I'm really happy that they invited me over for such a fun night.

Back at the lot I got to visit with our friend, Josh Shack, who just arrived this evening and is visiting NYC for a few days.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Monday, October 27: Travel Day To Queens, NY

Last night after taking my left contact out, my eye immediately turned red and became very sensitive. Any bright light would make it automatically squint shut and begin to water, and worst of all, just closing my eyes made my left eye hurt.
As you can imagine, it was not easy getting to sleep since I have not yet mastered sleeping with my eyes open like a snake.

I finally nodded off past 4 a.m., and I reluctantly rolled out of bed at 9. I went outside to roll up my cables and hoses, but since I could see that no one was really up yet, and Ryan and I were both still blocked in by another trailer, I went inside and went back to sleep.

Ryan woke me up about two hours later to let me know that he had moved his house up so I could get my truck hooked up to my trailer.
After some tricky maneuvering between tent cables, boxes of equipment, and other trucks, to get my vehicle back to my trailer, I was able to get my rig ready to go.

Around noon Ryan and I hit the road to Queens. We were a bit worried about midday traffic, but it wasn't bad at all.

About five miles into the drive we stopped to pay the toll to cross the Triborough Bridge. A few seconds after beginning to cross the bridge I got a call from Ryan saying that he thought I had a flat tire.
I pulled over to the side of the bridge to investigate, and although I didn't have a flat, one of my trailer tires had a terrifying, huge bulge in the rubber.
I'm very lucky it didn't explode and send my trailer swaying out of control....well, more out of control than my natural driving sends it, anyway.

Ryan and I got to work changing the tire, but we ran into an unseen obstacle. One of the nuts holding the tire on was stripped and rusted, and we were not able to get it off.
After fighting with it for awhile I was about to resign myself to reattaching the tire and driving really carefully to the next lot; luckily just at that moment two city mechanics showed up to help out.
They had the proper tools to get my bulgy, freak tire off in a matter of seconds, marveling at it all the while. Apparently they had never seen a tire react like that, and they kept commenting on how lucky I was that I caught the problem before it was much worse.
A big thanks to Ryan and Tatiana for being perceptive enough to spot it before it was too late, and to the two mechanics for saving me a hazardous trip.
After the two mechanics got my new tire on my trailer, Ryan and I hit the road once more.

Before leaving the lot, Ryan was told that he couldn't take the directions given to us on the route sheets.
Ryan's trailer was too tall, so he was given directions to follow the same route as the semis.

As we were following the signs for the truck route we were taken on a detour off the highway, and right ahead there was a low bridge.
Since I didn't think Ryan's trailer would make it under, I quickly put on my brakes and gave him a call so he could turn onto another street; I didn't want him to have to back up down a one way street in Queens.

Unfortunately this separated us, and I didn't have anywhere to pull over and wait until Ryan caught up to me.
(It turns out that Ryan was able to go under the low bridge, because that is how he was able to get back on the route. It would have been helpful for us to know exactly how tall his trailer is.)

I made it to the lot safely, but about two miles from the circus, Ryan's trailer was hit by a car. Ryan had to sort out insurance information with the other driver, and then they had to wait for a couple of hours for the police to arrive.
He finally got to the lot around 5 p.m.

Even though this jump was the shortest of the season (around 10 miles), it was the most stressful for both me and Ryan.
I'm just happy we finally made it.

In the evening I decided to go for a walk to explore our surroundings for the next five weeks.
We are right across from CitiField, and only one subway stop from Flushing, which came highly recommended to me as a place to get amazing food.

I walked over to Flushing and had dinner at a little sushi restaurant. One of the rolls I ordered was called the sushi sandwich. The rice was arranged as the bread, and the eel, spicy tuna, and avocado served as the meat of the sandwich. It was both delicious and aesthetically pleasing!

After dinner I took the subway to Long Island City to meet up with my friend, Lisa, for a drink. It's been a few weeks since I have seen her, because she has been flying all over the country for work.
Luckily I should be able to spend more time with her, and her boyfriend, Dan, while we're in Queens.

Tonight for the "Scare-athon" I finally watched a good horror movie! "V/H/S/2" is a great anthology of four short horror films, and I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sunday, October 26: Bronx, NY- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

This morning I met Eggroll at Lincoln Center, and we walked over to the nearby Olympic Flame Diner to have breakfast.
On the way back to Lincoln Center he introduced me to Jimmy Tinsman, who works in the Big Apple Circus office.
I was very excited to meet Jimmy because he was a clown on Ringling back in the 1970s, as well as a performer with Big Apple during the show's early years; I didn't know that he was on the show again,  so it was a nice surprise to get to meet him.

Today for the "Scare-athon" I watched another abysmal horror film called "Death Bed: The Bed That Eats".
I figure the title is pretty self explanatory, so I'll save myself the energy of talking about the plot.
I will say that it was a real chore to get through the movie. I sort of knew what I was getting myself into, but how could I not be curious about a movie with a title like that!?

We had big crowds for our three shows today. Unfortunately it was hard to summon the energy to do a good job; my body was feeling very tired.

For our third show inspirational speech I did a comedy striptease to that old standard, "The Stripper".
For the blow off to my routine I removed my shirt to reveal that I had written "5 More Sundays!" across my belly. (So, my math was off and we actually have six more Sundays. Big deal! I was hoping people would be impressed that I wrote so legibly on my own stomach.)
Afterwards the dancers told me how much they enjoyed my striptease, which marks the first time that women have said they liked it when I took off my clothes.

Load out was ridiculously easy tonight for me and Ryan. By the end of the show we had already gotten over half of the props out of the tent, and I had also loaded a few things into my trailer.
Everything seemed especially easy after the pain in the butt load out that we had in Miami.

One more jump, and one more city before the end of the season!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Saturday, October 25: Bronx, NY- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

This afternoon I went down to the Village to have lunch. I took my food to Stuyvesant Square so I could eat in the park.
It was a very relaxing and enjoyable way to dine. The weather was perfect and I loved watching the pigeons and squirrels fighting over food. It was like being in my own little Thunderdome.

The shows tonight were full, and the audiences were great, particularly for the second performance.

Tatiana and Nico came back from their trip to Massachusetts tonight along with Ryan's mother and grandmother.
Ryan was naturally thrilled to have his family with him again.

In the second show the power cut out during the end of the dog act. Eddie, our production manager, came over and told me to wait until the power came back on before starting the water gag.
Even though Ryan was on the other side of the tent and didn't get the message, I knew that he wouldn't start until everything was operational again.

The show stopped for a good thirty to forty-five seconds before our music kicked in. We started our entrance in the seats, and a few seconds later the lights found us.
Luckily the power to get down the motorcycle rigging was working properly; my worst fear was that the bike would be stuck up in the air while Ryan and I had to distract the audience in the seats for an indefinite amount of time.
The whole situation could have been so much worse.

Tonight I watched another horror dud for the "Scare-athon", the 1982 film, "Pieces", about a lunatic that kills people with a chainsaw. The movie actually showed great potential in its opening scene, but it quickly went downhill from there.

The highlight of the movie was this hilariously insensitive and racist scene that was in the movie for absolutely no reason whatsoever:

1982 was a different time....I guess.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Friday, October 24: Bronx, NY- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

This morning I walked to the laundromat in Harlem to wash my dirty clothes. Usually I wait until a Monday to do that chore, but I wanted to save myself from doing laundry on a day off.

Today for the "Scare-athon", which I have been severely slacking on this season, I watched the stupid horror film "Dr. Giggles".
There actually were some decent moments in the movie, but I gave up on caring about halfway through when the titular doctor did in one of his victims with a giant, comical band aid.

I've been watching my fair share of dumb fright flicks this year, but that is mainly because I want to see some new movies to get me in the mood around Halloween, and I've already seen most of the good ones.

Ryan and I had a radio PR in the tent's concession area an hour before the show. We actually only did one brief interview during that whole hour.
The rest of the time we amused ourselves by playing dominoes and Jenga with boxes of Uncle Ben's rice that the DJs had cases of.....for some reason.

We did get to try our hands at being DJs, but that dream quickly collapsed once the real DJ caught us messing with his equipment.


I wasn't really feeling it for the shows tonight, and the audiences didn't seem to be in a circus mood either.
On the plus side, I may have found a solution to some of the problems we've been pulling our hair out over in the vacuum gag.
I always like it when an improvisation fueled by frustration turns out to be useful!

After the shows there was a surprise birthday barbecue for Yolanda, the wife of Enrique, our lightning tech.
Ryan and I spent the majority of the evening talking to Jose, the father of the Azzario Sisters and a member of the renowned Jose Michel clown troupe.
We enjoyed talking about clowning and circuses in Europe with Jose, and he was very gracious with advice and information.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Thursday, October 23: Bronx, NY- 7:30 p.m.

The rain continued today, but thankfully not as strong as on Wednesday.
Helen joined me on a trip to the Upper West Side to visit the Candle Cafe West, a vegan restaurant.
Our food was good, but not as tasty as the meal I had at the Chicago Diner, a vegetarian restaurant that I visited five years ago.

Next we hopped on the subway and headed down to Union Square so Helen could sell some of her old books at The Strand. I admire her strength; I don't think I could ever part with any of my books.

Before heading back to the lot we stopped in at Max Brenner's, a fancy schmancy chocolate shop/restaurant in the area.
I got a cup of hot chocolate so potent in its sweetness that I thought I may have to amputate a few toes after drinking it.
Man, was it a great antidote to the dreary, cold, wet weather, though!

Speaking of sweets, I was amused to find a new addition to the backstage lounge in the tent today:

A vending machine! Now if we could just get some massage therapists and a blackjack table, we'll be in business!

We had a very lively audience for the show tonight, which was a treat.
There was a group of about six or seven payasos in the crowd wearing full clown make up and costumes.
They came into the ring after the show and immediately went to talk to the Vazquez kids.
Backstage I asked Jan if they were our replacements. Jan, never a slouch, replied with, "I hate for you to find out like this....."

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tuesday, October 21 & Wednesday, October 22: Bronx, NY

10/21/14- Day Off!

Today Ryan, Chase and I went down to the East Village to look around and window shop in all the different cool stores.

At 2:00 p.m. we met Ryan's high school friend, Nate Fernald, who writes comedy for television and also performs his own stand up comedy.
We ate lunch at Ben's, the great Jewish deli we visited on the last day off, and talked shop with Nate.
He was also nice enough to give us CDs of him and his partner performing stand up as "Team Submarine".

Ryan, Chase, and I submitted our names for the lottery to win tickets to "Book of Mormon", but once again we did not win.
Chase bought a ticket to "A Gentleman's Guide To Love And Murder", which we saw last week, and I  checked the box office for the star studded show, "It's Only A Play", to see if they had any tickets for less than $100. Alas, those seats are sold out for the next few weeks.

Since the other Broadway shows I want to see aren't open yet, or I am waiting to see them with friends, I decided not to attend the theatre tonight.
Ryan, Chase, and I waited outside the theatre for "It's Only A Play" while I wrote down directions for Chase to find his way back to the lot after his show.

While I was writing I heard Chase say something along the lines of, "Oh my God", and then Ryan quickly said, "Steve, turn around."
I looked behind me and was thrilled to see brilliant comedic actor, Nathan Lane, one of the stars of "It's Only A Play", walking down the sidewalk towards us.
He walked by the three of us as we stared at him with our mouths hanging open and our hearts pounding in our chests.
That up close and personal celebrity sighting was definitely the highlight of my day off!

After parting ways with Chase, Ryan and I went back to the Village to pick up some of the items we had been eyeing earlier in the day.
We headed back to the lot afterwards, and I was overcome with exhaustion while we rode on the subway up to the Bronx.
Just the thought of the walk back to the tent was enough to wear me out even further.

Ryan and I didn't clean the water mat Monday night so we could rush out the door to my birthday party, so before we began relaxing for the rest of the evening, we went into the tent to get that task out of the way.

In Ryan's trailer we began watching a new television series that he picked up last week. Halfway through the first episode both of us were out like lights; we woke up as the credits were rolling.
I'm not sure if that was a reflection on the show, or our late night and full day of walking around Manhattan.

Once we had woken up again we listened to the "Team Submarine" CDs which Nate had given us; those provided us with many laughs until Chase returned from seeing his show.
We spent the rest of the evening talking clowning with Chase and eating the ice cream that he brought as a free roll.

10/22/14- 7:30 p.m.

Today was a rainy day, so I didn't stray too far from the lot. I went over to Target in the morning to have a coffee at Starbucks and to use Wifi to download my "stories" (said like an old woman talking about soap operas).

Later in the day Ryan, Chase, and I walked to a pizza joint to grab a few slices to go. We enjoyed them in Ryan's trailer where it was warm and dry; we spent the whole afternoon talking shop and watching clown and comedy videos.

All evening it would just not stop raining. I had to do some creative exits after the water and carpenter gags because the area under the seats where I usually leave was flooded from all the precipitation.
Chase watched the show with two of his friends from the Ringling Red Unit, Brian Wright, a clown, and his wife, Tatiana.

Chase, Brian, and Tatiana visited with us briefly after the show, but then they had to head out since they open in Bridgeport, CT with Ringling tomorrow night.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sunday, October 19 & Monday, October 20: Bronx, NY

10/19/14- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

This morning I woke up up early to meet my friend, Dan Berkley, for breakfast. I met him in Harlem at Amy Ruth's, which is a famous soul food restaurant that was featured on the television show, "Man Vs. Food".
Dan and I both had chicken and waffles, which the restaurant is known for. I had never had that southern dish before, but I really enjoyed it. The fried chicken in particular was amazing!

After we ate Dan gave me a birthday present that my friend, Jessi Hoffschildt, sent to me from Japan.

Zombie slippers! Thanks, Jessi!

After breakfast I went back to my trailer and took a little nap in preparation for our three shows (After all, I AM 31 now....)

We did great business for all three shows today, and I kept myself busy in between gags, which made work really seem to fly by.

I happened to be in the office during the first show when a delivery showed up for me. It was an Edible Arrangements gift bag containing chocolate covered pineapple from Tony Chino.
Tony was a clown on Ringling's Red Unit back in the 1970s, and I was extremely surprised to get a present from him since we have never met. We've only recently connected on Facebook, so it was very nice of him to think of me today.

Thanks, Chino!

During the shows I spent some of my breaks over in Georgie and Claire's trailer, where the dancers were having tea and watching "Toy Story 3".

Claire was adament about giving the third show motivational speech on my birthday, so I feared the worst.
I was surprised when Claire told me that for my birthday she was going to go the rest of the evening without being mean to me. She then began singing "Happy Birthday", and the dancers came out with a plate of cupcakes. It was a very nice surprise.

 Note my champagne glasses from Emma's birthday party
Thank you, ladies!

After the little mini celebration, Claire gave her actual speech, which was on the subject of time and work, and how people take both for granted.
Claire talked about how people often wish that time would speed up, or how people sometimes complain about having to work, but how we should be grateful for having a job, especially one we enjoy, and that we get to spend time with our friends.
It was a nice reminder that on my birthday I was extremely blessed to be living my dream and sharing the day with my friends and circus family.
Who could ask for a better birthday present?


Today I went to Andre's Cafe, the Hungarian restaurant that I visited when we first arrived in NYC.
I had chicken paprikas and a side of Hungarian goulash; both were delicious!
On the way out I grabbed a piece of dobos torta (drummer cake) to go. The last time I dined at Andre's they were out of that delicacy, so I was happy that I was able to get a piece today. 
It was just as delicious as I remember it being when I had my last piece seven years ago!

Our friends, twin photographers Jason and Justin Senft, came to visit today with their mother. Ryan and I joined them across the street from the lot at Mariscos, the seafood restaurant that we are no stranger to.
Jason and Justin gave me a great birthday gift: a framed print of a photograph they took of me and my pet duck, Dexter, on Kelly Miller back in 2011.
It is such a beautiful picture, and I had never seen it before.

Thank you, guys!

Mrs. Senft, was also nice enough to buy our dinner. We had a great time visiting and seeing the twins' beautiful circus photographs.

We had several friends in the audience tonight. In addition to Jason, Justin, and their mother, Eggroll and Tatevik, performers from Big Apple (Eggroll is the ringmaster, and Tatevik performs on the rola bola), and Dean and Taylor (clowns from Ringling's Red Unit), were also in the crowd.

Memo, our ringmaster, surprised me before Intermission by telling the audience about my birthday, and saying that I was going to Dave & Buster's after the show to celebrate. Being the generous spirit that I am, I yelled out to the crowd, "Everyone's invited!"
If only I had known how to say that in Spanish, some of the people might have shown up!


After the show a small group of us headed into Times Square to visit Dave & Buster's to celebrate my birthday.
I had such a great time visiting with the folks that came. It was neat that my party attracted a very eclectic group. There were people from our show, a few clowns from Ringling's Red Unit (which was on its way from Boston to Bridgeport, CT), a few folks from Big Apple, as well as a few friends who live in New York City.

I was excited to see Buist Bickley, who I grew up with in Walterboro, SC. He has gone on to have a successful career on Broadway as a scenic designer and prop supervisor on currently running shows such as "Rock Of Ages", "The Last Ship", "It's Only A Play", and many others. 
He came over to Dave & Buster's from rehearsals for "The Elephant Man", which begins previews next month.
Buist and I went to church together, and we even performed together in a production of "Annie" through the Colleton County Arts Council when we were in high school. 
I am so proud of all his accomplishments and how far he has come. 

After dining and visiting with everyone, I hit the gaming floor. Dave & Buster's is like a Chuck E. Cheese for adults, and I was excited to play some skee ball and arcade games.
I was able to collect a bounty of tickets from the different games thanks to my assistants, Tatevik from Big Apple, and Jane, our Ukrainian belly dancer friend married to our clown friend, Rob Lok.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to cash in my tickets for any prizes before Dave & Buster's closed down at 1:00 a.m., but I will be back!
After shutting the joint down, we all visited some more out on the street for about an hour before we all went our separate ways.

Thank you so much to everyone that came out and made my birthday party such a blast!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Saturday, October 18: Bronx, NY- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

Today I went to have lunch at 5 Napkin Burger, a gourmet burger restaurant. I was only given one napkin with my meal, though. What a rip off!

After lunch I found a nearby barbershop and got a much need haircut. I then visited a couple of book stores in the area, and I was also able to peruse several tables full of books set up along the sidewalks on Broadway.

"Scare-athon" updates! Yesterday I watched "House Of 1,000 Corpses", which is one of my favorite horror films. The first forty minutes are perfect!
Today I watched a few episodes of "The Hilarious House Of Doctor Frightenstein", a 1970s Canadian children's television program featuring comedic versions of famous horror icons like Dracula, Igor, and the Wolfman.
It wasn't scary (or really that funny), but it was Halloween themed!

We had great audiences for the shows tonight. I've been saying a new line at the end of the carpenter gag that got a great laugh from the first crowd. When the applause for the end of the act dies down, I hold my hands up and say, "Yes, we are amazing! Thank you for noticing."

At the start of the second water gag I was running through the audience when I saw a family huddled together by one of the ramps that leads down to the concessions area.
The patriarch of the family was pointing into the ring, so he had his arm extended into the walkway that I was using.
I ran full tilt at his arm and pretended to clothesline myself on his hand. That earned me a huge laugh from the crowd, and it gave me plenty of schtick as I got back on my feet.

Ryan invited me over for homemade meatballs after the show, and at midnight I celebrated the beginning of my 31st birthday by having ice cream.
Ryan got the newest season of the show "South Park" on DVD as my gift, and he also wrote the lyrics to a birthday song just for me.
He had planned to have our composer friend, Larry Lees, put the song to music, but unfortunately Larry's computer crashed recently, and he wasn't able to complete the job.
Still, I enjoyed the hilarious lyrics that Ryan came up with, even if they were presented a cappella.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Friday, October 17: Bronx, NY- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

I didn't set an alarm this morning so I could sleep in a little bit; boy was I surprised when I woke up right before noon! I guess my body really needed rest!

This afternoon I met Laura Rizer in Manhattan for lunch. Laura and I went to the same school in Walterboro, SC, but she was three grades behind me, so we never really had much interaction.
I just happened to find out that she was living in Brooklyn, so I looked her up and we planned to meet up on one of her days off.
Laura is keeping very busy with her job as a set production assistant. She is currently working on the filming of a new crime drama for HBO that will debut next year.

We picked up sandwiches from a deli that her crew is always ordering from, and then we went to a little park to eat.
After finishing our food we walked around the northern part of Central Park, which has some beautiful scenes of nature that almost make you forget you're in a city.
Laura is a student and practitioner of improvisational comedy, so it was nice to be able to talk comedy and performing with somebody out of my circle of circus friends.

Laura came to watch the first performance, which unfortunately had a rather subdued audience. I was happy that the second crowd made up for the first with their energy.

Today was Emma's birthday, so the dancers organized a party outside of their trailers after work. For me, the highlight of the event was playing party games, some of them American standards, some of them coming from jolly old England, and one of them that I'm pretty sure Georgie made up on the spot.
That one in particular required the two competing teams to have all of their players spin in a circle ten times with their foreheads on a stick, run a short distance, put on one of the dancers' penguin jumpsuits, drink a shot of alcohol without using their hands, get out of the penguin suit, and then spin around ten more times with their foreheads on the stick before tagging the next player, who would then do the same.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Thursday, October 16: Bronx, NY- 7:30 p.m.

This morning I was on my way into Manhattan when I got a call from John Kennedy Kane, aka Eggroll, who is the ringmaster for Big Apple Circus.
I asked if he would like to meet up for lunch, and since he had a few hours before their afternoon show run through, he agreed.

I met Eggroll at Lincoln Center, and he introduced me to a few of the performers on this year's show before we took off to find a diner.
We had a good time catching up, and Eggy was nice enough to buy my lunch. (He insisted I put that part in)

After leaving Lincoln Center I went to Penn Station to walk the route I would always take on the way to work when I was playing Madison Square Garden with Ringling. Ah, memories. I even picked up a black and white cookie on the way. Ah, sugary treats.

Today for the "Scare-athon" I watched "The Shining", the Stanley Kubrick adaptation of Stephen King's novel.
I wasn't a fan of the film the first time I saw it, but I watched it again several years ago, and I liked it much more upon a second viewing.
(I highly recommend the novel if you haven't read it)

We had a very enthusiastic audience for the show tonight, which made the show much more enjoyable for all of us in the cast.
The parents and grandmother of my friend, Dan Berkley, were in the audience, as well as Sam and Braxton McCollum.

Dan's grandmother, his dad, Roger, and his mom, Elaine

Ryan and I met Sam and Braxton on Kelly Miller last year, and Sam was actually able to see Vazquez in Miami last month while he was there on a business trip.
I was so glad that he was able to come back with Braxton to catch the show. They even treated us to dinner after the show.
I felt very lucky to be able to visit with so many friends today.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wednesday, October 15: Bronx, NY- 7:30 p.m.

Today Ryan and I went to a German restaurant in Manhattan for lunch. We really weren't impressed with their menu; they didn't even have potato pancakes or spaetzle, for Pete's sake!
Maybe their dinner menu has more to offer, but I think the next time I want German food I'll be visiting another restaurant.

Ryan and I then walked further downtown to visit an art supply store. Ryan was looking for sign painting supplies, but he couldn't find the proper brushes.
He has called all over the city, but no one seems to carry sign painting brushes. We were both remarking how odd it was that he couldn't find something in New York City of all places.

Tonight's crowd was not as enthusiastic as Monday's, unfortunately. It was very humid in the tent, and they may have also been high off of the paint fumes in the seats. All of the floorboards in the stands were repainted during the day off, and you could definitely tell once you were up there.

Ryan and I watched the newest episode of "American Horror Story: Freak Show" this evening. He had recorded the program, but some bad weather interrupted the satellite signal over halfway through the broadcast.
Luckily the same episode was playing again, and we happened to tune in right around the point where we had left off. Is that serendipity or what?!

By the way, for those of you keeping track (two or so, I think), I forgot to mention a film I watched for my "Scare-athon". That would be "Planet Terror", an incredibly gory, intentionally ridiculous zombie film from Robert Rodriguez that was paired with another movie and shown in theaters as a double feature under the title "Grindhouse".
The movie is so much fun, as it is a tribute to cheesy 1970s era B-movies, but it is definitely not for the squeamish.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Monday, October 13 & Tuesday, October 14: Bronx, NY

9/13/14- 7:30 p.m.

This morning I walked to the laundromat across the river in Harlem. I liked it much better than the laundromat I visited in the Bronx two weeks ago; this one was bigger, had more machines, and actually had places to sit!

After putting away my clean clothes I went to Target and Home Depot to pick up a few things.
One of the items I purchased was PVC glue, which Ryan and I used on the bucket that shoots spring snakes at the audience at the end of the water gag.
The release mechanism broke on Sunday, and it was only through sheer luck that we were able to get the effect to work for the final show.

There was a huge crowd at the show tonight, which was unusual for a Monday night. Hopefully the rest of our weekdays in the Bronx will be like that.

After the show there was a birthday party for Eddie, our production manager. He was celebrating with a classic cartoon themed costume party in the tent, and the dancers had asked me to be a part of their group costuming choice.

I went over to Georgie and Claire's trailer to get ready. There we transformed ourselves into the Simpsons!

I was the only lucky one to wear a yellow under armour shirt and yellow tights. All the other girls had to paint their limbs yellow.

And Claire had to add hilarious pillow fat

It was fun seeing all of the different costumes that people came in, some of them fitting the theme, and some of them, not so much.....

 The birthday boy

 I think Claire just wanted me to be Bart for this reason

 A special shout out to the dancers for doing such an amazing job with Emma's hair

 I have two daddies!

I was afraid that I would have a difficult time getting the yellow make up off my face, ears, and neck, but after a hot shower I checked in the mirror and saw that I was back to my normal, shockingly pale skin tone.

9/14/14- Day Off!

This morning Ryan took Tatiana and Nico to New Jersey, right on the other side of the George Washington Bridge, to meet his Grandma and Grandpa Chan.
They are taking Tatiana and Nico to Massachusetts for ten days to visit with Ryan's side of the family.
Ryan asked me to tag along to help navigate on our way back into the city.

Really, getting back into the city was way easier than leaving. On the way out we had to go through a lot of morning traffic on one way city streets before we could get to the highway and the bridge.
Getting back to the lot was a piece of cake comparatively.

Last night I was so confidant that I had washed up well after my appearance as Bart Simpson, but this morning Ryan and Tatiana were laughing because certain parts of my face were stained yellow.
I simply couldn't tell from my trailer's lights, which are also yellowish.
I checked in with the dancers this morning, and they were having a similar problem, except they also had to worry about their arms and legs looking like bananas. 
I solved my problem by putting some of my flesh clown make up on the worst parts of my face; the base is so close to my skin tone that you couldn't even tell I was wearing make up.

Ryan and I went to Manhattan in the late morning to enjoy our day off from work. We started off by having lunch at a great Jewish delicatessen called "Ben's Deli".
We each had a hot pastrami sandwich on rye, and we shared a bowl of matzoh ball soup, potato pancakes, and a kugel for dessert.

Next we walked down to the East Village and visited a few shops that piqued our interest, including Forbidden Zone, which is a geek's paradise full of comics, action figures, and other nerdy paraphernalia, and The Strand, a huge book store close to Union Square.
I'll have to go back to The Strand another time, because the amount of books on the huge shelves was a bit too overwhelming for me at the time. I'm out of practice since we haven't seen a Half Price Books since Chicago.

Around 4:30 p.m. Ryan and I headed up to Times Square to put our names in the lottery drawing for Book of Mormon. Book of Mormon is one of the hottest tickets on Broadway now, and it is difficult to get a seat for less than a couple hundred dollars.
If your name is drawn from the lottery, you can purchase up to two tickets for $32 a piece.
Ryan, Georgie, and I each entered our names for the drawing, but we were not victorious....this time!

Luckily, just a block away was the theatre for another show we wanted to see, "A Genetleman's Guide To Love And Murder".
We were able to get inexpensive tickets for the balcony, and Claire, Emma, and Nico Espana joined the three of us in seeing the musical.

I was a little worried at first, because in the first ten minutes or so I feared that I was going to hate the show. 
Once the story picked up steam I quickly changed my mind, and I ended up really enjoying myself.
The highlight for me was one of the leads, Jefferson Mays, who played nine different characters throughout the course of the performance. He was amazing!

After an evening of musical theatre we walked over to Lindy's, the famous NYC spot for overpriced cheesecake.
We sat eating and discussing the show, as well as other more serious matters.....

Like spooning

Half of our group headed home after we left Lindy's, but Ryan, Georgie, Claire, and I met up with Helen and her friends, Katie and Ellie, over by Radio City Music Hall.
We walked to a bar down by Penn Station, where we met a friend of Katie's who lives in the Empire State Building!

Ryan and I didn't stay for too long at the bar because we were both tired; my lower back was killing me from all the walking we did. 
When we finally got back to the circus I was asleep within minutes of lying down. I'd say we had a successful and enjoyable day off!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sunday, October 12: Bronx, NY- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

This morning I caught the subway to Long Island City to visit my friend, Dan, at his apartment. Dan and I worked together on Ringling for two years, and he is currently a high school physics teacher.
Dan made a delicious breakfast for us, and we had a good time visiting and catching up with one another.

Today my cold entered a new stage of awfulness. I was coughing much more frequently, and my nose was stopped up, but at least my throat was feeling better.

Right at the beginning of the first show there was an issue with the speakers. The band was playing, but you could only faintly hear the music because it wasn't being amplified at all.
Teo had to run around and quickly solve the problem while also hitting all of his show cues. Luckily by the time the water gag was underway he had everything working properly.

All three shows today were packed, which always makes for an awesome day of performing.
Ernie Albrecht, from "Spectacle Magazine", was at the second performance to write a review for an upcoming issue.
Unfortunately we didn't have very long to visit with Ernie after the performance, because for some reason the 5:00 p.m. show was running way behind schedule.
Our picture concession was cut short after finale, and Ryan and I didn't have much of a break at all between the two shows after we had finished cleaning the mat.

Since I didn't have enough time to have a proper meal before the third show began, I made a cup of coffee and a bowl of cereal to munch on, and I took both of those with me backstage to enjoy while I waited for the third show inspirational speech to begin.
Because of my cold, I was all bundled up in my robe, with a knit cap pulled over my head; when Georgie saw me like that, walking over for the speech with a chair under my arm, a cup of coffee in one hand, and a bowl of cereal in the other, she commented, "You look like a little homeless man."

That's the nicest thing a woman has said to me in a long time!

Helen gave the motivational speech for this week. Since she has been losing her voice, Helen did the whole speech via cue cards, which was a novel way to deliver her dose of inspiration.

Guillaume Dufresnoy, the artistic director of the Big Apple Circus, and Jenny Vidbel, BAC's star animal trainer, were both at the final show of the evening.
Jenny came over to say hello while we were taking pictures; I'm so glad they got to see us in front of a terrific audience.

One more thing!

I'm holding another contest!

If you're interested in participating, please write a motivational speech and e-mail it to
It can be funny, it can be just has to be inspirational!

Selected works will be posted on the blog for everyone's enjoyment, and the winner will be read (and filmed) in front of the cast on an upcoming Sunday!

Enter today!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Saturday, October 11: Bronx, NY- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

Since I slacked off on my "Scare-athon" while Josh was visiting, I started to catch up today by taking in a horror double feature.
First up was "Q: The Winged Serpent", which was a cheesy monster movie about a winged serpent (go figure) attacking New York City. Meh.

My second choice for the double feature, "The Descent", was much better. It is a more recent horror film about a group of friends who go spelunking in an uncharted cave, where they meet hideous, cannibalistic monsters. I thought it was an excellent film to get me in the Halloween mood. I just regret that I didn't see it sooner!

I didn't do much more than stay in and watch movies today. Not only was the weather rainy and dreary for the first part of the day, but also the cold I have been fighting this whole week finally began to get worse.

Both shows tonight were packed. The first audience was amazing, and the second crowd was responsive as well.
By the end of the night my voice was shot, so I believe I'll be a silent clown for the three shows tomorrow.

Greg, Carole, and Cameron Michales, our friends from New Jersey, were at the second performance, and they brought us some shirts from the animal shelter where Carole works.

Greg and Cameron

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Friday, October 10: Bronx, NY- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

This morning Josh and I went to Grand Central Terminal to wait for our friend, Joy, who was coming from her college up in Yonkers.
Once she arrived we all headed further downtown and visited Abracadabra, a costume and make up shop that had great merchandise and awesome displays set up for Halloween.
I picked up some make up for Eddie's birthday/costume party on Monday, and I also picked up a new clown nose for the shows.

We had lunch at a Czech bakery called Cafe Prague that had delicious food. I picked up a menu for Claudie, our foot juggler, since she is from the cafe's namesake.

We had great audiences for the shows tonight.
At the start of the second water gag there was an usher standing at the top of the stairs where I make my entrance.
Obviously this was her first time working the show since she didn't move out of my way like the usher who normally mans that post. I hid behind her and waited for the gag to start.
When the spotlights hit her, she visibly started and scrambled to get out of the light. I added to her shock by jumping from behind her and shouting a greeting to the audience. I bet it looked pretty hilarious.

Unfortunately the generator kept dying during the 9:00 p.m. performance. The lights never shut off, but a couple of times the music stopped, only to resume a few seconds later.
I was frustrated that a couple of those power hiccups happened during the carpenter gag, which threw off some of our music cues and sound effects.
Thankfully the audience was fantastic, so they stayed with us through the technical difficulties, but it was a shame that we couldn't have rocked them with a flawless gag.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Thursday, October 10: Bronx, NY- 7:30 p.m.

Today Josh and I went to Chinatown where we found some delicious dumplings that were not only inexpensive, but also plentiful.
The restaurant where we bought them was just a little hole in the wall, so we took our food to a nearby park to eat.

After lunch we visited a Chinese bakery where I picked up one of my favorite baked goods: a red bean bun. Grandpa George, Ryan told me that I should mention that in the blog since you'd be proud of me.

At 4:30 p.m. Ryan, the Azzario Sisters, and I had a television publicity with the local UNIVISION station.
The reporter filmed an interview with us, and she also filmed a few clips goofing around with us. All of that footage, plus the interview with the Azzario sisters, was slated to air on the 11 o'clock news later in the evening.

Ryan and I went back to our trailers for a short time, and then we returned at 6:00 p.m. to film one live tease at the beginning of the news broadcast.
It was quick and easy, just the way I like it!

After the show Helen invited me over to her and Emma's trailer for curry night. Helen's brother, David, her best friend from school, Katie, and Katie's sister, Ellie, are all in town visiting, and Helen wanted to have a small get together to celebrate the occasion.
Helen made a delicious, proper, English curry that all of us greatly enjoyed. I also brought over the red velvet cake that our friend, Kevin, brought on Tuesday, and we all had a lovely evening eating and talking.

Claire and I even put our hatred for each other on hold for an hour to color together. 
The healing power of curry at work!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Monday, October 6-Wednesday, October 8: Bronx, NY

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

Today I met my friend, Josh Shack, in Manhattan. We got lunch and then found a big, flat rock in Central Park where we sat, ate, and caught up with each other.
Josh and I have been best friends since we worked together on Ringling ten years ago. It was fun to walk around Central Park and talk, especially since I haven't spent much time in Central Park on any of my previous NYC visits.

Today for the "Scare-athon" I watched "Texas Chainsaw 3D", which wasn't bad for being a remake of a remake of the original 1974 horror classic.

Josh and Joy Powers came to the lot before the show, and I was able to visit with them for a bit before I had to get into make up.
They watched tonight's performance with a few of their Circus Smirkus friends.

After work Josh, Joy, and I walked to an Italian restaurant called Giovanni's that was not too far from the lot.
I was elated to discover that Monday night was karaoke night at the restaurant, but by the time we had ordered our food, the karaoke session had ended.
I walked back to our table with my head hanging down and my tail between my legs, but a good meal and good company perked me right back up again.

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

This morning Josh and I spent some more time catching up before we joined Ryan and his family for lunch across the street from the lot at Marisco's.

After eating I caught a train to Columbus Circle and met up with Ingrid, who is a psychology student working in NYC on an internship through her university in Mexico City.
Ingrid and I found a coffee shop where we sat and talked about our lives for a long time. After awhile we went on a short walk in Central Park, and then it was time for me to head back to the circus.

Back at the lot I was happy to see that a couple of our friends were visiting. Elliot Zimet, a magician who was in Clown Alley with me, Ryan, and Josh ten years ago, and Kevin Brown, a former Ringling clown from the 1980s, were both hanging out in Ryan's house.
Elliot, Josh, and Ryan were all brainstorming ideas for an illusion that Elliot was trying to improve, and Kevin brought a delicious red velvet cake for us all to enjoy so we wouldn't have to work on an empty, sugarless stomach.

Kevin was in the area teaching circus skills with the company Cirque Du Jour, and he brought three of his fellow teachers with him to the show.
During the show I was surprised to get a text from David and Cherie Gregg, former Ringling Gold advance clowns, saying that they were also in the seats.
It was nice to have so many friends in the crowd cheering us on for the performance.

9/8/14- 7:30 p.m.

This morning Josh and I headed down to the The Village where we had a delicious lunch at a Vietnamese sandwich shop.

After lunch we visited one of my favorite bakeries, Veniero's, and we each grabbed a pastry to go. We then proceeded to walk the fifty two blocks up Manhattan to Lincoln Center, where Big Apple Circus was well into the set up for its three month run.

Speaking of Big Apple, on our subway ride back to the Bronx, Josh spotted a man who looked like Glen Heroy, who was a clown in the BAC production, "Play On" (he was also a featured personality on the PBS television special, "Circus").
Josh had met Glen once before, but he wasn't entirely sure that it was him on the train, so we didn't say anything.
Once we were above ground and I had cell phone service once again, I sent a text to Kelly Miller's clown, John Sayre, who is good friends with Glen. John asked Glen if he had just been on the subway wearing a Frankenstein hoodie, and we found out that it had been him!
I sent a message to Glen and apologized for not saying hello, and we made plans to meet for coffee at some point in the near future.

Before heading back to the lot Josh and I visited a supermarket in Harlem and picked up some food for dinner.

We had a very energetic audience for the show tonight, which made performing for them so much easier.

After work my dutiful, temporary, house wife, Josh, made a delicious dinner: chicken with mushrooms, spinach, and lemon mascarpone cream sauce with a side of rice. Delish!

Ryan came over to hang out while we ate, and then the three of us went to Ryan's house to watch the premiere episode of "American Horror Story: Freak Show". I'm counting that as my "Scare-athon" view for the day since I missed out on Tuesday.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Sunday, October 5: Bronx, NY- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

This morning I met a group of my clown friends in Manhattan for breakfast. Josh Shack, Joy Powers, and John Stork, better known as the Piccolini Trio, and Dan Berkley, former circus clown turned high school physics teacher, met me around 59th Street, and from there we found a great place to eat.
I had a good time catching up with everyone since I hadn't seen the four of them since my last trip to NYC in January 2013.

After breakfast we walked around a bit while Josh, Joy, and John looked for a few last minute props for their show that afternoon.
They found two of their most important props, a potato and a banana, at a Whole Foods Market in the area.
I think Ryan and I need to take a page from the Piccolini play book when it comes to planning material in the future.....

I got a nice adrenaline rush to start off my three show day when our first performance began ten minutes early!
Eddie went into the dressing room around 1:45 p.m. to let everyone know the show would be starting five minutes early.
Ryan texted to let me know, but I took five minutes early to mean 1:55 p.m. Boy did my pulse quicken when I heard the overture start at 1:50 on the dot while I was still in my trailer, in make up but without even my clown nose on!

I ran over to the tent, glueing my nose on as I went, and after getting dressed I discovered that I had left my wig in my trailer. Another mad dash to my house and back followed, and I was one panting, out of breath clown for the first opening.

We did great business for the three shows today. Peter Bufano, my musician friend who I visited with on Thursday, came to watch the first performance.

While the cast was waiting in the curtain to do the second opening, a few of us were commenting on how tired and drained we were feeling for the 5:00 p.m. show.
Darina, from the flying act, summed it up best, "I feel like someone killed me and then said, 'Hey, go to work.'"

Laura gave an excellent speech before the third show began. She gave each of the speech attending regulars a little slip of paper earlier in the day, and we were each assigned a person from that group to write something nice about.
I was given Helen, and before I started with the sincerity, I of course had to get a joke in: "One nice thing about Helen is.....she's not Claire." (This after Claire had just shared a piece of Nutela cheesecake with me and Ryan. Oh well, it was probably poisoned anyway....)
The little love fest our group shared really put me in a great frame of mind for the last show, but it also made me realize how much I'm going to miss my friends who are leaving when the season concludes in eight weeks.

Tonight I watched the classic werewolf film, "The Howling", for the "Scare-athon". Everyone always raves about "American Werewolf In London", which I do feel is a superior movie, but "The Howling" came out only a few months earlier, and its special effects were just as mind blowing as its successor.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Saturday, October 4: Bronx, NY- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

Pepe and I had planned to walk around Times Square today, but it was raining so hard this morning that we decided to stay in.
We spent a long time talking about clowning and comedy, and we also watched some video clips of the comedic masters that Ryan and I used in our Circus Clowning Intensive.

In the early afternoon the rain abated, and Pepe and I joined Ryan and his family for a late lunch across the street from the lot at a seafood restaurant/steak house called Mariscos.
Our food was excellent, but unfortunately the service was lousy.

Pepe took off right before our first show. He headed downtown to try and find a clarinet from a music store.
I was so happy we were able to connect on his visit to New York; it was really great catching up with him.

We had full houses for the shows tonight, and the people were great! If it was that way every night, this job would be so easy!

Tonight I watched the more recent horror movie, "Cabin In The Woods", for the "Scare-athon". I won't give away any details of the plot, because that would spoil all the fun of the movie. Just check it out for yourself!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Thursday, October 2 & Friday, October 3: Bronx, NY

10/2/14- 7:30 p.m.

I woke up this morning at 6:00 a.m., and Ryan and I were in make up and costume, ready to go by 7:00.
"Despierta America", UNIVISION's nationally broadcast morning program, was shooting segments at our circus, and Ryan and I were on hand to interact with the host, Birmania, Rios, and the local folks who showed up to be on television.

It was 80s day, which explains Birmania's outfit and my impression of a hair band lead singer.

Our first segment was us opening up the gate to the lot and welcoming everyone inside to the circus.
I found an orange safety cone lying around, and I used it as a megaphone to bark orders at the people: orders such as, "Come in! You're just in time! We have a show in 12 1/2 hours!", and "Step lively! Come inside before the C.H.U.D.s get you!"

C.H.U.D.s (Chemical Humanoid Underground Dwellers)

I believe the original plan was for us to do that one tease and then we'd be done, but Ryan and I explained to Vivian, our PR lady, that the difficult part (waking up and getting into make up) was over, so we might as well stick around and do the rest of the show.

We ended up doing three more live hits outside of the circus before the broadcast ended. Between shots we either stayed backstage or in our trailers so we wouldn't have to constantly be on and entertaining the locals who were hanging around.

After we finished the shoot I got cleaned up and caught the subway to Washington Square Park, where I met my friend, Peter Bufano.
Peter was a clown on Ringling back in the late 1980s, and he also returned as one of the keyboard players in the band during my final tour on the Big Show.
The weather was perfect, so aside from a quick trip to get coffee and something to eat, we sat in the park and caught up.
I enjoyed hearing about the huge, innovative, eight hour long show that Peter spent a year performing with in Las Vegas, and we also reminisced about our days on Ringling.

On the way back to the lot I stopped at Alcone, a make up store in Times Square, to get some tubes of flesh colored base for Ryan.

I took a long nap this afternoon before our evening show, which was unfortunately another rough one. 
The dead audience inspired me to watch a British zombie film called, "Let Sleeping Corpses Lie" tonight for the "Scare-athon".
I really enjoyed the final thirty minutes of the movie. I just wish it hadn't taken an hour to get to the good stuff!

10/3/14- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

This morning I got up at 5:30 a.m., and Ryan and I were out in front of the circus at 6:30 a.m. to do our second early morning broadcast with "Despierra America".
Before we got coffee into our systems, Ryan and I were both grumpy clowns, which one man found out the hard way.
He ran up to me and shoved his phone in my face the instant I arrived in the concessions tent. "My friend is terrified of clowns! Can I take a picture of you and send it to her?", he asked.
Without missing a beat, Ryan replied, "Well, our friend is terrified of Latinos. Can we take a picture of you and send it to her?"

Our stage crew and the television crew created a mini circus set up in the parking lot of our tent. At that early hour there were a fair amount of locals that showed up to be on television, but I couldn't believe how many people were around by the end of the shoot.

Everyone with the television program seemed to be flying by the seat of their pants the whole time, and we could never get a straight answer from the producer as to which teases and hits we were needed for.
He simply told us that he wanted us in every segment, which is great, but we were never really allowed to do anything.
We were always pushed to the side or into the background to be used as color and movement, and we never knew whether we were on camera or not because the television set showing a live feed of the program had a 10 second delay.

After about two hours of standing around and occasionally doing hits, Ryan and I finally took a break to get something to eat and have a drink of water.
The producer seemed to forget about us after that, but we sat off to the side in the shade in case we were needed again.

(Photo by Enrique Caballero)

Finally right before 11:00 a.m. all of us from the circus involved in the publicity gathered together to say goodbye and sign off the broadcast.

(Photo by Eddie Horwath)

After cleaning up from the long publicity I ran over to Target to go grocery shopping. I then took a nap so I would have energy for tonight's shows.

Even with my grocery run and nap I had enough time this afternoon to watch "Haxan", a 1922 Danish silent documentary about witchcraft for the "Scare-athon".
Even though a good deal of the film was extremely boring, there were some great disturbing images that would have been even more effective if the movie wasn't scored with a classical soundtrack.

Not nearly as scary when accompanied by the strains of Beethoven

We had good crowds for the two shows tonight. Thank goodness we always have the weekends to look forward to when the weekday shows get rough.

I had a nice moment with an audience member in the first vacuum gag. He was being a smart aleck when he was supposed to throw my wig on my head, but I didn't get frustrated, and I was able to get a couple of bits out of the situation. The best part is that the audience ate it up.

Our friend, Pepe, came to watch the second show. Pepe is a funny clown from Spain who I worked with my final year on Ringling. He is currently on a break from performing in European circuses with his partner, Tom Dougherty.
I was very excited when I found out that he was coming into the city for the weekend and that we would be able to see him.

After the shows Ryan, Tatiana, Nico, and I went out to dinner with Pepe. We had a good time catching up with him and hearing about his experiences in the international circus festivals and on Cirque Arlette Gruss.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Tuesday, September 30 & Wednesday, October 1: Bronx, NY

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

This afternoon I went down to the Village and had lunch at Pommes Frites, which is a french fry restaurant!
You get a paper cone of fries, and there are a plethora of dipping sauces you can choose from to go with your meal.

After I'd had my fill of fried potatoes I visited the cobbler shop that had my clown shoe. The cobbler replaced the leather on the entire front part of the shoe, and he did an excellent job; it looks brand new!
I am going to take my other shoe in at some point to have him do the same for it.

At 2:00 p.m. Ryan and I met Claire and Laura in the tent for a dance rehearsal. We showed them the tap choreography that we had put together yesterday; they suggested better moves in some places, and they cleaned up the rest of the steps for us.

Before heading over to the tent I blew the dust off of the tap shoes that I haven't touched in over four years, and I used them to practice our dance.
One thing that I didn't take into account was that the taps are incredibly slick, so at the end of the number, when I was running into position, I slipped and slid a distance of about three feet on one heel before landing flat on my back.
Everyone was laughing (including me once I got my breath back), but no one got more enjoyment out of my misfortune than my arch nemesis, Claire.

While I was setting the water props for the show I ran into Ramon Vazquez. He asked if I would ride with him and his family to the nearest subway station and then drive his car back to the lot for him.
Since I had time to kill, I agreed to help out. In theory it was a very easy task, but the realities of rush hour traffic and one way streets turned the half mile trip into a twenty minute tour of the Bronx.
At one point, sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on a bridge, I happened to look at the car's dash and see that the gas gauge was on empty.
Luckily I didn't have to leave my boss' expensive car in the middle of a bridge with an empty tank; I finally made it back to the lot.

We had a small crowd for the show tonight, and it was tough to get any reactions out of the folks that did show up.
Luckily we had a barbecue celebrating Georgie's birthday to look forward to after work. The party was going to be last Friday, on her actual birthday, but it was delayed due to our opening day being so hectic.
I visited for awhile, but once it started raining I said good night and headed in for the evening.

10/1/14- 7:30 p.m.

It's October! And you know what that means......."SCARE-ATHON" time!
Ryan and I haven't really planned for a horror movie marathon this year, but I figure even if we don't sit down and watch them together, I still intend to watch one scary movie a day.

I kicked off the 2014 "Scare-athon" with "The Deadly Spawn", a 1983 film about giant leech like monsters from outer space.

There were some nice gore effects, but they were few and far between. The movie was incredibly slow and boring for the majority of its running time. I don't recommend it.

This afternoon Helen and I went downtown to Studio 54 to catch a 2:00 p.m. performance of "Cabaret", starring Alan Cumming.
The last show I saw at Studio 54 was "Threepenny Opera", and it also had Alan Cumming in the lead role. Despite having an amazing cast (including Jim Dale, the star of "Barnum" on Broadway [who I got to meet afterwards]), I was not a fan of that show.
On the contrary, I absolutely loved "Cabaret". The way the show was presented was so creative; the theatre was set up to look like a nightclub, with the seats in the orchestra section replaced with tables and chairs.
Even the front mezzanine had little armrest/tables between the seats. There were also waitresses going around taking drink and food orders before the show and at Intermission.

The attention to details and creative staging didn't stop there, but my descriptions on the blog would not do them justice!
If you have the chance, I urge you to catch the current production before it closes next March!

I was feeling very drained for the show this evening; I had a hard time giving my all for each gag.
Ryan and I were also disheartened to find out this evening that we have early television publicities for the next two mornings.

I went for a walk in Manhattan after the show to clear my head. When I was ready to call it a night I entered Grand Central Terminal to catch a train to the Bronx.
As I was walking through the building I heard some yelling up ahead. There was a very irate, possibly crazy man with no shoes on getting in the face of a police officer and yelling, "I'm not going to take any orders from you!"

As I rounded the corner and had my back turned to the two men, I heard exclamations from the people gathered around them. I quickly turned around to see what was happening, and apparently the man had taken a swing at the cop.
All of a sudden three more police officers ran out of nowhere and tackled the man to the ground.

I didn't stick around to see how things turned out. I figured with my luck the plucky man on the ground would manage to get a gun away from one of the cops and start firing at random into the crowd. (So I have an active imagination....I've seen a lot of movies!)