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.
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!