12/6/14- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.
This afternoon Jessi and I hosted a clown luncheon in the Grand Central Terminal concourse. We were happy to be joined by our friends Dan Berkley, Lisa Soverino, Watson Kawecki, Marni Zalban, her husband, Alex, and their two adorable children, Penny and Milo.
Dan and Lisa were both on the Blue Unit with me, while Watson was a Ringling clown in the 90s, and he is currently working with the Big Apple Clown Care Unit. Marni was leaving the Blue Unit Clown Alley when I joined, and she has been working for Sony Pictures for the past ten years.
We were lucky enough to score a couple of tables in the dining area, so we all ordered our lunch from the various food stands before reconvening to talk about clowns and enjoy watching Marni's four month old baby son be cute.
The amazing thing about that photo is that Dan and Lisa, who are on the ends of the table, actually both took the picture, yet were able to both be in the shot as well. Dan set his phone's camera on Panoramic mode, and halfway through taking the picture, he handed it off to Lisa, who finished taking the photo while he got into the group.
Isn't technology amazing?!
Peter Daniel Strauss, another former Ringling/current Big Apple Clown Care employee, came to see our first performance of the evening with his wife, Stephanie.
After the show I amazed Peter with my freakish knowledge of what gags he had been a part of in both Clown College and on the road.
We had more friends at the second performance. Greg Michales came back to see the show with his family, and he was nice enough to bring us a bottle of wine called "Freakshow" that had amazing art on the bottle.
Also at the show was the Lish family: Bruce and his children, Jessica and Matthew. Matthew wants to be a clown on Ringling, and last year when he saw us on Kelly Miller he had us sign a juggling club that he has been having circus clowns sign for a few years now.
I was happy that all of our friends saw us at the 9:00 p.m. show, because the crowd was the best we've had in quite awhile.
After work there was an end of the season party in the tent. I stopped by long enough to have dinner and receive a beautiful certificate congratulating me on my hard work throughout the year.
The fact that all of the performers received similar certificates did not diminish the honor in the slightest. It was just like my childhood sports days all over again.
Hooray for participation awards!
12/7/14- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.
Today did not feel like the last day of our 2014 season. It just felt like tomorrow we'd be heading on to the next town.
I started off the morning right by having breakfast in Jackson Heights with Jessi, Helen, Dan, and Lisa, and then I went back to the lot to start preparing my trailer for travel.
The little car for the carpenter gag decided that we had gone far too long without it giving us any headaches, so in the first show I almost pulled the steering wheel right off of the drive shaft!
If Ryan hadn't joined all of his effort with mine into turning the wheel, we would have crashed right into the ring curb. We were laughing because when we finally parked, two men in the front row jumped up to stop us from crashing. I guess the sheer terror on our painted faces read loud and clear!
Apparently the nut that holds the steering wheel in place was lost along the way recently, so for the final two shows I did not wave to the crowd as we drove around the ring. Instead I focused on pushing down on the wheel as I turned it.
We had lots of visitors at the 5:00 p.m. performance. I knew Gina Allison and Michael Dobson were going to be at the show, but I was very surprised to spot Tony Chino sitting front and center when I was styling on the ring curb for the carpenter gag.
Gina is a former Ringling clown who owns an entertainment company in NY along with her husband, Chris. Dobson is a drummer who often works with clowns; most recently he appeared with Bill Irwin and David Shiner in the show, "Old Hats".
Tony is a former Ringling clown who has been sending me and Ryan wonderful gift baskets during our stay in NYC. I was so happy to finally meet him and thank him in person for all of his presents.
He even brought us more goodies when he came to see the show; we were given little clown Smurf figurines and collector clown pins.
I wish I could have gotten a picture of Chino's circus going attire. He wore a t-shirt bearing a huge copy of our photo in the Vazquez program, and he wore pins with our clown faces as painted by Patty Vicknair.
Before the third show show I gathered the usual gang of suspects for the final motivational speech. First I passed out copies of the book, "Three Show Sundays: A Year Of Inspiration", that I made by compiling around twenty of the speeches from throughout the season.
Here is the final speech of 2014:
We had a fantastic audience for our final show of the season. All of our gags went great; the only snafu was that the trapeze net got tangled as the flyers and crew were setting it up. Luckily, like I said, the crowd was great, so they stayed right with me and Ryan as we stretched the vacuum gag to give the flyers more time to prepare for their act.
The other memorable event from the last show happened in the horse act. Klaus, who trained the horses, was in the audience dressed as a rube (thick glasses, false mustache, etc), and he kept interrupting Jose Alberto Vazquez, who was presenting the act. A few minutes into the act Klaus stepped into the ring, removed his hat and glasses, and took over the act.
The whole thing was a surprise to Jose Alberto; I wish I could have seen it, but Ryan and I were busy backstage packing up our props.
For the final finale, our ringmaster, Memo, made an announcement to let the audience know they had just witnessed a special show:
The last show of the season really snuck up on me. It never felt like it was the final performance; my mindset was that we'd all be meeting again in the next town to do it all again.
It didn't even sink in when Ryan and I were going around saying goodbye to all of our friends, some of whom we'd be seeing in a couple of months, and some who we don't know when we'll get to see again.
Claire and I finally made peace!!!!
Ok, maybe not.....
Anastassia from Trio Bellissimo
We took a lot more pictures with people, only not on our cameras! I'll post them as people upload them to Facebook.
So that was the Circo Hermanos Vazquez East Coast tour for 2014!
We haven't had a chance to fully rest yet, because once we left Queens we jumped right into Pennsylvania for the "Twas The Gift Show Before Christmas" tour produced by Bill Hall.
Even though we only did one show with the Christmas tour before having four days off, we filled those dark days with more work thanks to Joey Klein and Billy Martin.
Joey helped us set up a physical comedy/gag writing workshop for the Salaam Shrine Clowns in Fairfield, NJ, and Billy Martin invited us to perform eleven shows in three days with the Royal Hanneford Circus' Holiday Gala in Malvern, PA.
So hopefully you can understand why I haven't had the time or energy to post this last update lately!
I'll write about our post Vazquez work at some point in the future, so stay tuned.