Friday, December 11, 2015

Wednesday, November 18-Sunday, November 29: Passaic, NJ

11/18/15- Day Off!

We left the lot in Newburgh this morning, and then it was a 60 mile jump to Passaic, NJ, the next town.
The jump wasn't bad at all, and I was actually glad that we made it in the morning, because some of the directions would have been tricky to figure out in the dark.

The show is playing on a nasty, dirt covered lot right next to a river. According to Vincent Von Duke, the lot was completely covered in trees until recently, which explained all of the logs and stumps lining the border of the lot.
There was an abandoned little shelter built into the brush between my trailer and the river, so apparently our arrival made a homeless person even more homeless.

Pamela and I got away from the nasty lot as fast as we could. Luckily we were parked shortly after our arrival in Passaic, so that gave us almost the whole day to enjoy elsewhere.

We went to the Westfield Garden Plaza, which was a beautiful mall we passed on the jump. Pamela was in heaven with all of the fancy clothing shops.
I was just happy that there was a Max Brenner, a gourmet chocolate shop that I know from New York City.
Pamela and I got some of their super rich hot chocolate before we left the mall.

It was a pain in the butt connecting my trailer to power tonight. I didn't have enough cable to reach the power box since my house was parked all the way at the back of the long, skinny lot, but luckily Ryan had an extra cable I could borrow.
The next problem was that all of the outlets that are the right size for my plug were already taken, so I had to borrow an adaptor from the show electricians.

11/19/15- Day Off!

Pamela and I left the lot at 9 a.m. to head into New York City. We drove to Weehawken, NJ to catch a ferry into Manhattan.
Unfortunately we hit especially awful traffic close to the Lincoln Tunnel due to an accident, so we got to the dock just as the 10 a.m. ferry, the one we were planning to take, was leaving.

We waited for the next boat, which was scheduled for 10:20 a.m. We were able to board that one with no problem, but that put us in Manhattan with exactly thirty minutes to spare before the start of the Big Apple Circus.

Pamela and I planned to take the subway to Lincoln Center, but the closest station that we needed was shut down due to construction.
We flagged down a taxi, but due to more horrible traffic, we got to Lincoln Center at 11:00 a.m., exactly the time that the Big Apple show was scheduled to start.

Luckily the start of the show was held five minutes to accommodate the school groups still arriving, so Pamela and I sat down just as the show was beginning.

I really enjoyed this year's production of Big Apple, titled "The Grand Tour". I only wish we could have seen the full show; we saw the 75 minute performance with no Intermission, so we missed Jenny Vidbel's horse act and one of the clown acts.
After the performance Pamela and I went backstage to chat with ringmaster, John Kennedy Kane, and clowns, Joel Jeske (who also wrote the wonderful show) and Brent McBeth.

JKK joined us for lunch at the Greek Kitchen, which wasn't too far from Lincoln Center. 

Afterwards I took Pamela to 5th Avenue so she could visit all of the clothing stores that she wanted.

Unfortunately the weather was mighty dreary, and in the afternoon it began raining lightly but constantly, which didn't exactly encourage us to do much further exploring.

In fact, we tried to stay indoors as much as possible, and we spent a lot of time at a cafe just staying dry and warm.

At 7:00 p.m. we watched the Broadway musical, "Something Rotten", which I loved. I had heard the soundtrack from Ryan while we were in Chicago, and I just knew that I needed to see the show.

After the musical we found a diner so we could have dinner, and then we caught a cab back to the ferry. Hailing a taxi was no easy feat since the rain was coming down heavier by then, and the wind had picked up as well; everyone and their brother was trying to get a cab when we were.

By the end of our day out, both Pamela and I were worn out and soaked to the bone, but I was happy that we got to go see two wonderful shows.

Back in Passaic we were dismayed to find that the lot was a disgusting, muddy mess. Our shoes were destroyed by the time we got all the way back to my trailer; I was kicking myself that I didn't think to bring our boots before we left in the morning.

11/20/15- 7:30 p.m.

Pamela and I had lunch at a delicious Mexican restaurant called La Fortaleza. The food was great, and the interior was colorfully and creatively decorated. 

When we were heading back to the circus we had a heck of a time getting to the lot. There is only one entrance for us employees to use, and Pamela and I just happened to come back as a nearby school was letting out.
Traffic was bumper to bumper, and there was a steady stream of cars exiting from the one narrow entrance we could use.
I made a mental note to either a) never leave the lot again, or b) (more realistically) never return to the lot at that same time again.

I was afraid loading our props into backstage would be terrible because of the nasty mud and the distance from our houses to the tent, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I feared.

Ryan and I had a television publicity at 6:00 p.m. The weather reporter was distant and seemed to be a real pain, and the cameraman kept telling us how to do our job. One example: When it was time for us to be on camera, he started frantically pointing to us, and then acted like he imagined a clown would act, waving his arms from side to side as he raised his legs in the air one after the other. Except for the expression on his face, he looked like he was joyfully capering.
Ryan and I had to suppress the urge to mimic his actions back to him while flipping him the bird.

Our opening night show started really late, but we had a good audience for our first performance in Passaic.

11/21/15- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

We had a small crowd for the first performance, but business was good for the last two performances, especially the 8:00 p.m. one.

At the end of the second Russian swing act there was a lull in the action after Martin flipped through the hoop. There was no announcement from the ringmaster, and the music just kept playing long after it should have changed.
Since Ryan and I were waiting to make an entrance, we weren't able to find out what had happened until Intermission.
Martin made it safely through the hoop, but in doing so he pulled a muscle in his back and couldn't move once he landed in the net.

Martin spent all the rest of the second show resting and stretching, and he was back in action for the third performance.
This proved the words that Mecho shared in the dressing room, "In circus, if you can walk, you can work."

The one frustrating thing from our department today was that the audiences had no idea what to do with a beach ball.
It really was quite maddening, and by the third show I was just sitting down and letting the audience figure things out for themselves. 

11/22/15- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

This morning Pamela and I had brunch at the Maywood Pancake House, which had a long wait to get in, but delicious food. 

Business was great for the shows today. The second performance was sold out, and there was solid business for the first and third shows.

11/23/15- 7:30 p.m.

Luis had a hair appointment with Pamela this afternoon; we enjoyed visiting with him while he got his hair did.

After that Pamela and I ran out to do some shopping for Thanksgiving lunch.

There was a small crowd for the show tonight; I'm betting one big reason for the low turnout was the extremely frigid weather.

11/24/15- 7:30 p.m.

Today Pamela and I had to go to Hobby Lobby to get supplies for the upcoming Christmas tour. Since we had to go far away from Passaic to visit a Hobby Lobby, we decided to have a nice day out as well.

Ryan and I had lots of visitors tonight. The Klein family were in the audience, along with twin photographers, Jason and Justin Senft, and their parents.

We didn't have the biggest crowd for the show, but I had a lot of fun performing for them.

11/25/15- 7:30 p.m.

This morning Pamela and I made what I hoped would be our last grocery run for tomorrow's Thanksgiving feast.

Luis came over in the afternoon to show me how to use the microphones and recording equipment that he bought for us. 
It all seemed pretty straightforward once he explained it to me; I'm sure I'll have forgotten it all by the time we actually need to use the equipment!

Besides my technology lesson, Pamela and I spent all afternoon cooking.

There was a big crowd for our show tonight. People just kept on coming in every time the show began, so they kept restarting the intro. The Circo Hermanos Vazquez theme song must have played at least five times; it was ridiculous! 

11/26/15- 7:30 p.m.

After the show last night Pamela and I continued cooking, and we were still cooking this morning before our big Thanksgiving lunch at Ryan's house.
Visan, Laura, the Espana family, and Luis all joined us and enjoyed the bounty of delicious food that we had prepared. 

It was great getting to spend time with our friends on Thanksgiving, and of course I enjoyed eating as much as I possibly could.

I was able to fit in a little nap before our show tonight, but when I woke up to get ready, I was still groggy and in a food coma from lunch.

The people of Passaic were a lot more calm and relaxed than usual tonight, so I guessed that they were all still in food comas as well.

After work we had the company Thanksgiving party. Everyone that attended brought a dish, and we all sat and ate at a long table in the concessions tent.

Photo by Eddie Horwath

I was happy that we had a Vazquez Thanksgiving party, because last year we were all pretty much on our own to celebrate.

11/27/15- 7:30 p.m.

Pamela and Tatiana went out this morning to do some Black Friday shopping. While I babysat Nico and played video games all day, Ryan painted the sign for Pompeyo's dog props.

The show tonight was almost full, and the audience was fantastic.

New York circus fans, Don and Barb Kowell, were at the show, so Ryan and I got to chat with them briefly after the performance. 
I remember Don and Barb from my Kelly Miller days, when they would travel with the show when we played upstate NY.

Unfortunately we couldn't visit for too long because we had to hurry and clean up for the Vazquez End of the Season party, which was being held at the other unit of the circus in Queens.
I wasn't too crazy about having to drive into New York City to celebrate, but the drive was a lot quicker than I thought, and traffic wasn't bad at all.

Pamela, Ryan and I went over in Pamela's car, and we didn't stay for the whole party. We ate, visited with our East Unit friends, and partook in the awards ceremony, where every act and department was called into the ring and presented with a certificate. 

I also got a kiss. Whoo hoo!

We left the party when the dance music came on, and we were back at the lot in Passaic and in bed around 3:00 a.m.

11/28/15- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

Pamela and I went back to La Fortaleza for lunch today. When I went into the bathroom I found this charming picture of a bunch of manly women mocking me.

It drizzled rain for the greater part of the day. I was worried that the lot would be destroyed again (not a good thing when we all need to get out of here in two days), but the rain never came down enough to make it super muddy again.

Business got better today as the shows progressed, but it was never great. 

11/29/15- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

This morning Pamela and I walked to a Polish market across the river from the lot. We browsed through all of the Polish products, and we had a big, delicious lunch from their deli.

Greg, Carole, and Cam Michales and their friend, Val, came to watch the first show. They brought a bottle of wine and chocolate covered pretzels for me and Ryan to share. Thanks, Michales family!

The people in the audience that we met after the shows today were very rude and really raised my blood pressure.
There was one redeeming family that was very nice. The father told us that his kids watch us on Youtube all the time, and the children were very excited to meet us.

The 8:00 p.m. performance was the final one for all of the European performers: the dancers, Claudie, Mecho, and Mira.
Their visas were only good until what was supposed to be the end of our tour, so they will not be joining us for the extra two weeks of the tour in Paterson, NJ.

After the last show Ryan and I said goodbye to our friends that were leaving, and then we loaded up our props.

We knew that we wouldn't be able to leave Passaic until tomorrow because we were at the very back of all of the trailers, and none of the trailers could start leaving until the tent was down. Since I knew I was going nowhere fast, when I went to bed I didn't even bother to set an alarm. What a wonderful feeling!

Monday, December 7, 2015

End Of The Vazquez Road

Hi everybody,

Yesterday Ryan and I performed our final shows with Circo Hermanos Vazquez. The circus extended its tour for two extra weeks, but because of conflicting dates with the upcoming 'Twas The Gift Show Before Christmas tour, we could only work the first week.
Right now we are taking a short, well deserved break before jumping into the Christmas tour from December 13-21st.

While I am lounging, I will do my best to finish up the blog from this season so that I can write about our escapades on the Christmas tour in real time.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Wednesday, November 11-Tuesday, November 17: Newburgh, NY

11/11/15- Day Off!

It was nice to sleep in this morning. Ryan and I parked our trailers at a Walmart in Newburgh since we were told that the lot was small and there wasn't much space to put the trailers before they could be parked.

Pamela and I drove over in her car to scout out the lot, and when I saw the amount of temporary parking space, I was glad that we decided to stay out of the way.

Pamela and I had a nice day out while we waited on a call from the circus. We had lunch at a nice Greek diner just down the road from Walmart, and we spent some time browsing at a Barnes & Noble located in the other direction.

In the late afternoon Pamela went to get her hair cut and styled, while I continued to wait in the trailer and take advantage of Walmart's surprisingly good Wifi.

Finally, close to 6:00 p.m. we got a call from Nestor at the circus saying that he was ready to park us.
It was only about three miles to the Armory, which the show was set up next to.
We were parked shortly after arriving, and then Pamela and I spent a relaxing evening at home.

11/12/15- Day Off!

Pamela and I had a fantastic lunch at Luca's Pizza Cafe in Newburgh. It was a small spot with pizza by the slice; the quality of the food was great, and the price was right.

In the afternoon Pamela and I went over to Ryan's house for a wonton making party. Visan, Laura, and the Espana family all joined us in making the little dumplings, and then we enjoyed the fruits of our labors by having wonton soup.

I tried to go to bed early in anticipation of the extremely early morning and long day in my near future.

11/13/15- 7:30 p.m.

I woke up at 3:00 a.m. to get into make up and get ready for our TV publicity. Ryan, the dancers, and I were driven to the East Unit of Vazquez in Queens to appear on the nationally broadcast UNIVISION morning show, "Despierta America".

Being in Queens on the other show was like a homecoming in more ways than one. It was nice to be in the big, beautiful East Unit tent again. I had forgotten how swank we had it last year.

It made me happy to see our friends that are still working on the East Unit, especially Teo, who was our sound guy last year.
I was also pleasantly surprised by the reception we received from the cast and crew of "Despierta America". The hosts were very friendly and seemed happy to work with us again.

The crew brought a lot of old equipment (tripods, road cases, lights, and a boom mic) for us to break because they remembered that "you guys like to hit each other".
I was so proud that a national television program anticipated our needs for the broadcast.

Ryan and I brought a ton of props with us because we were told that we were going to be on camera every time the program was broadcasting from the circus.
But, as we've learned with television, things constantly change, and we were only on the air about three times.
We never touched the props we brought with us. Every time we were used, we played up the joke that we were the new UNIVISION crew guys, and we used whatever the station had brought for us.

The broadcast ran from 7:00-10:00 a.m. I wasn't feeling too bad going to Queens and doing the PR, but once we finished and embarked on the hour and a half trip back to Newburgh, I felt like I had been hit by a ton of bricks.

Back at the lot Ryan and I watched the publicity, which Tatiana had recorded. I was so disappointed to see that we were barely on camera, and when we were, we were usually mostly cropped out of the shot because the cameraman had the shot so tight on the hosts.
I had a lot of fun doing the event, but the scant amount of screen time we got really made it seem like the early wake up and three hour round trip to and from Queens wasn't really worth it.

Ryan and I loaded in our props, and we put a new wheel on the carpenter box. The weld holding one of the wheels on broke during the last load out, so we did a quick fix and screwed this one on.

I took a quick nap before I had to get ready for our opening night show. There was a good audience for our first performance in Newburgh, and I had a lot of fun. The crowd really enjoyed our hi jinx.

It was comforting that our show's running order was back to normal. The dog and tiger acts were back after a two week hiatus while the circus was in Freehold, NJ.

11/14/15- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

Last night during the show our little car lost a bolt that holds the front wheels to the steering column. The prop guys were able to find the bolt we had lost, but not the nut. Thus I had an extremely frustrating morning trying to find a lock nut that would fit the strangely sized bolt.

The staff at Home Depot and Lowes were either completely useless or totally baffled by the measurement I was searching for, but after doing the leg work myself, I finally found a nut that fit.

Ryan and I were able to attach the broken piece and get the bolt and nut in place, but it was no easy feat. The little car has so many completely unnecessary pieces of metal and decorations that are in the way of what we were trying to fix.
Like I said, we got the job done well enough for the car to go back into the show, but we need a ratchet set to prevent the problem from occurring again.

It was a cold, windy day, which didn't make going to and from backstage very fun.

We had a small crowd for the first show, but they weren't a terrible audience.

The water heater for the tank in Duo Exxtrem's act was not working, so today they did just a straight strap act without their big finish.
The water heater for the tank was a custom made piece, so it doesn't look like they will get a new one back in time to use the tank again before the end of the season.

We had fantastic audiences for the second and third shows, and they really liked me and Ryan.

During the second show's beach ball reprise, Ryan witnessed a very funny accident in the seats. He was standing back and watching as the ball bounced from one section of audience to the next, and then he happened to look over at a man who was directly in the path of the oncoming beach ball.
The man had his eyes locked on the ball, and he tensed his body in anticipation of its arrival.
Without looking away from the ball, the man kicked his leg out to the side as the ball came down to him, but he completely missed the ball and instead kicked his daughter in the face.
Big time comedy, folks!

As I wrote earlier, we had fantastic audiences for two of the three shows today. I would have totally lost that bet, because when I saw the size of Newburgh, and the type of area we were set up in, I thought to myself, "We are going to die here. Nobody is going to come to the show!"
I'm so glad I was wrong!

11/15/15- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

Again we did good business for all three shows today, but the second show had the biggest crowd.

About the only noteworthy thing that happened at work was that Ryan got a Coca Cola dumped on him. We make two of our gag entrances from the front of the tent, so we have to walk under the seats to get into position.
On the way to the water gag, I heard a splash behind me, and I turned around to see that someone in the seats above us had kicked over their drink, spilling it directly onto Ryan.
I guess we should count ourselves lucky that we have been doing this show for close to two years, and this is the first time that has happened.
I don't think Ryan considered himself that lucky, though.

11/16/15- 7:30 p.m.

"Pamela's Hair Salon" was open all day in my trailer. Tonight was the Quinceañera for one of the Vazquez children over at the other unit, so several people wanted their hair done before the big party.

Ryan's dad and stepmother were visiting from Massachusetts, so it was nice to see them. They were thrilled to meet Abrianna for the first time and loved spending all day with her.

During the weekend Vincent Von Duke told us that the Orange County Choppers store, which was featured in the popular television show of the same name, was only a few miles from our lot, so this afternoon I joined Ryan and his family on a trip to visit the spot.

Inside the front doors of the building was a gift shop with many of the company's motorcycles on display.

We spotted the España family also checking out the store, and we joined them on a tour of the factory where the bikes are manufactured and customized.
Almost everyone in our group had seen the show, and so they were thrilled when Paul Sr., one of the founders of the company, and a popular personality on the television program, walked by and said hello to us.
I was more interested in the machinery used to make the custom motorcycles, especially the 3D printers. Ryan and I could make a lot of cool props with those!

We had a great audience for the show tonight. Afterwards Pamela and I passed on driving out to Queens for the Quinceañera since it was such a long drive; instead we went out for a date night.

I was reassured that we made the right decision not to go to Queens when I heard that the folks from our unit didn't get home until close to 4 a.m.
I'm too old for that!

11/17/15- 7:30 p.m.

Today Pamela and I got the trailer ready for travel to the next town, but after everyone told us how dangerous the next area would be to park in at night all alone, we decided to spend the night in Newburgh and jump with the rest of the circus in the morning.
(Although I don't know how much safer we were staying in Newburgh, which in 2011 was named "The Murder Capital of NY". Who the hell is booking us into these towns?!)

We had a good sized crowd for the show tonight, but it was a smaller turnout than I expected after the stellar business we had done up to that point.

In the vacuum gag I was standing on the stairs doing a bit with a man in the audience. I turned to the rest of the crowd to give a reaction, and when I turned back to the man I took a small step closer to him.
That small step caused my right leg to slip down into the giant gap between stairs, and I dropped down a few feet faster than I could react and stop myself.
The right side of my face is what stopped my rapid descent. My cheek and mouth slammed into the edge of one of the hard, plastic chairs.
I could hear the audience give a reaction to that fall, and it wasn't a reaction I wanted to get.

I jumped up as fast as I could so the audience wouldn't worry about me, but all I could think of was getting out of the tent quickly so I could assess the damage to my face.
I always think of the worst case scenario, and I was just certain that my face was swollen and pouring blood.

I scraped up my right leg badly when it went between the stairs, so I had a noticeable limp as I tried to rush through the remainder of the act.

Backstage I looked at my leg, which was scraped up and bleeding, but luckily my face was not.
After the show when I took my make up off I saw that the corner of my mouth was bruised, and there was some slight swelling on my right cheekbone, but luckily that was the extent of the damage.

I'm so lucky that I hit my face on plastic instead of metal. I could have knocked some teeth out with the force that I hit the seat.
I'm also grateful that I didn't hit my nose, because then I surely would have been bleeding like a stuck pig.

When I went back into the tent during tear down to get the sound effects machine from Luis, I found the seat that I hit my face on.
Obviously it was easy to find....

Friday, November 27, 2015

Tuesday, November 3-Tuesday, November 10: Freehold, NJ

11/3/15-7:30 p.m.

Pamela and I had lunch at an empanada restaurant this afternoon. The empanadas were good, but they weren't better than the ones Tatiana makes.

After lunch Pamela and I visited Turkey Swamp Park to walk around in nature and enjoy the beautiful weather.

We did such fantastic photo concession business the first weekend in Freehold that I had a sizable chunk of extra money burning a hole in my pocket. I took that and combined it with a couple of birthday gift cards to buy a Nintendo Wii U game system. Now you all know what I have been doing rather than updating my blog.....

We had a good crowd for the show tonight, but they were very unfocused. Any of the more subtle bits we did seemed to be missed completely; the people mostly responded to the big slapstick and sight gags. Mostly.

Our clown friend, Dan McCallum, came to visit again this evening, so we enjoyed chatting with him before and after work.

11/4/15- 7:30 p.m.

Today I met my friend, Doug Young, for lunch at the mall right next to the lot. Doug is the owner of the New Jersey Circus Center, which is just down the road from where we are set up.

After eating we checked out a new Japanese store called UNIQLO that just opened in the mall. I found some great black and white striped socks that made perfect clown costume accessories; I picked up a few pairs at a great price.

Back at the lot I invited Nico over to take my new Wii U system for a spin.

Last night was supposed to be our last in Freehold, but the show made a knee jerk decision based off the great business we did this past weekend, and we will be staying here through next Tuesday.

I feared a terrible drop off in business, and although we did get a small crowd tonight, they weren't a bad audience, which was some consolation.

11/5/15- 7:30 p.m.

Today Pamela and I had lunch at Bobby's Burger Palace, a restaurant chain owned by TV chef, Bobby Flay.
It was ok.
Return again? I don't think I may.

Look out Dr. Seuss!

Ryan and I died a horrible comedy death in the show tonight. On the bright side, our clown friend, Brenn Swanson, visited with her family, and she brought delicious cookies for us. She also brought a program from the very first clown festival in China that she helped organize back in 2007.

11/6/15- 7:30 p.m.

Our clown friend, Pat Cashin, came to visit this afternoon so his son, Jamie, could play with his new friend, Nico.
While the kids played, Ryan, Pat, and I visited and shared many laughs.

We had slightly better attendance for the show tonight, which was promising. Our friends, John Bundy and Morgan, came to watch the performance.
John plays Santa on the Christmas tour that Ryan and I perform on every December, and Morgan is his assistant when he performs his magic shows throughout the year.

The alternator belt came off the little car this evening. Unfortunately I didn't discover that until I threw down the clutch so the car could make its entrance into the tent.
I quickly jumped out of the car and pushed it around the ring. I thought I was in pretty good shape until I noticed how exhausted I was for the gag after having to do that impromptu change.

After the show we visited with Bundy and Morgan for awhile, and before we headed back to our trailers, we saw Luis, who gave us an amazing gift: a microphone and all of the equipment that goes with it so that we can record our own high quality announcements and sound effects.
It was such a thoughtful gift that for once Ryan and I were speechless.

11/7/15- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

It completely slipped my mind for us to fix the alternator belt on the little car before the first show, so once again we had to push the auto into the ring for the 2:00 p.m. carpenter gag.

At Intermission we went to fix the problem, but it turned out to be a more involved job than we had  anticipated.
We had to borrow an Allen wrench from Martin to properly fix the belt, but I was happy that we finished the repair before the second show.

I was worn out and achy today from being sick, but the second audience was really into the show, and they gave me a burst of energy.

By the third show I was feeling incredibly discouraged. I had so little energy from being sick that I felt like I couldn't do a good job for the crowds no matter how hard I tried.

11/8/15- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

I chose to sleep in as much as I could today, and it seemed to help. My body felt much better, and I had energy for all of the shows.
I owe a lot of that to my wonderful girlfriend, who drove to the grocery store after doing three shows last night so she could get the ingredients to make me chicken and dumpling soup.

I did feel that the audiences were tough today, but I had a very good second show.

11/9/15- 7:30 p.m.

My clown friends, Lee Andrews and Joey Klein, came to visit this afternoon. Before we went to lunch I warned them that I was feeling really run down from the six pack and from being sick, but by the end of our visit, I was feeling in much better spirits.

Joey brought a very thoughtful gift along with him. Last weekend when we were walking around the mall, I lamented that I have never been able to find a duck calendar.
Joey took it upon himself to find twelve different pictures from my Facebook page of me with my different pet ducks, and he made me my very own 2016 duck calendar.

After the show there was a birthday party for Alexa Vazquez. Pamela and I only made a brief appearance as I felt the need to rest since I was still recovering from my sickness.

11/10/15- 7:30 p.m.

It rained all day today. Pamela and I spent most of our free time running errands and getting ready for our jump.

Today was Ryan's 31st birthday, so when he and his family got back from running errands, Pamela and I went over to his house to take him his present.

Everything was wet in the tent for the show tonight, especially the ring curb and track where the audience walks to their seats. To avoid slipping and busting our butts any time we had to run in our gags, Ryan and I had to be very careful and really pick up our knees as we ran; it looked like we were involved in a Benny Hill chase sequence.

There was a small crowd for our final show in Freehold, but they had a good time.

Ernest Albrecht, the editor of Spectacle Magazine, came to watch the show with a friend. Here is the review that he wrote in the most recent issue:

"I caught up with the so-called Western Unit of Circo Hermanos Vazquez in an upscale mall in New Jersey that the Cole Bros. show played several years ago, just once.  The Vazquez troupe was  there with the stipulation that the show would include no animals, which apparently even included dogs and horses.  To compensate the circus brought in new thrill act, made of up motorcycle daredevils who jumped from one ramp to another across the space of the entire ring .
The show also included one new act which I had never seen before.  Duo Exxtrem’s double strap act upped the spectacle by being dunked into a tall and rather narrow fish bowl between flights.  For a spectacular finish they included bursts of bubbles, fire and smoke to their impressive work aloft.
I also enjoyed seeing Klaudie Legronova Bremlov, the show’s amazing foot juggler, again, and, of course, the cast included Steve Copeland and Ryan Combs, whose work that rainy, chilly night before a very small audience was about as close to comic perfection  as you will find.  I was impressed anew by the duo’s  carpenter gag whose beautifully realized props, turned the act into a small Laurel and Hardy movie set.  The vacuum gag’s blow off utilized more of the team’s clever props.  Obviously Ryan is the Paul Jung of the present generation.  I know of no other producing clowns, who are as effective, that is to say funny, clever and surprising as this talented pair.
I also enjoyed watching Steve get even with an audience member who decided not to play by the rules in the beach ball bouncing time filler interlude.   He knows how to handle a recalcitrant or uncooperative audience member and make him regret his trying to top the clowns.
Another new element added to the show is a bit of sermonizing a la UniverSoul.  “Kiss your parents and thank them for bringing you,” kids in the audience are admonished.
The audience on the night I attended was small because it was the closing night of a week’s extension of the original run.  As is often the case, the added week was not as well promoted as the first week, but the company played it all full out."

The "getting even" with an audience member that he referred to happened like this:
After the carpenter gag I caught my beach ball on the ring curb and descended the steps into the audience. The spotlight was right in my face, temporarily blinding me, so I walked right into a row of empty metal folding chairs. I bashed my shin really hard and fell on my face; not the best way to start an act.

As I limped around the stands hitting the ball to people, one smart aleck man grabbed the ball, held onto it, and smiled at me as if to say, "What are you going to do now, clown?"

I simply smiled and waved goodbye to him, and then I left the tent. I made sure to wave goodbye to him one more time before going down the stairs that lead to under the seats.
I quickly ran as fast as I could under the seats, and I went up the staircase that brought me directly behind where the troublemaker was sitting.
Before he could react, I grabbed his hat, taunted him with it, ran down the stairs, and tossed his cap into the ring.
I turned around and blew him a big kiss before returning to my beach ball.
Big laugh from the crowd.

The lesson to be learned? Don't screw with the clowns, especially when one of them is limping and bleeding under his costume.

Taking the props from backstage to my truck wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be.
We loaded as much stuff into my truck as we could, and then we pushed the big props over. That part was easier since there was hardly any traffic at the intersection we had to cross. I was even able to drive the little car over, which was very easy.....and fun!
The one frustrating thing that happened was that the weld broke on one of the wheels on the carpenter box.
Guess what we'll be fixing in the next town?!

Most people weren't going to leave for Newburgh, NY, the next town, until the morning, but Ryan and I wanted to avoid traffic, so we decided to leave tonight.
Nestor helped us leave since the trailer parking area was so tight, and by the time we hit the road it was already midnight.

It was supposed to be about 104 miles to Newburgh, but Ryan's RV GPS took us on a route that was about 20 miles longer. I didn't mind too much because it took us away from New York City and all of that traffic.
It rained the whole drive, so that was bad enough. There were a few times that the road was so shiny from the collected water that I couldn't see the lines for lane separation.

We stopped at a Walmart in Newburgh around 4 a.m. Our plan was to wait there until we were called to be parked at the new lot.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Wednesday, October 28-Monday, November 2: Freehold, NJ

10/28/15- Day Off!

Our lot is right next to a really nice mall, so while we waited to be parked, Pamela and I walked around and checked out the different shops and restaurants.

There were intermittent periods of heavy rainfall today, and unfortunately one of them occurred while I was getting my trailer parked.
I got soaked to the bone by the time I was done unhooking my truck, which left me none too pleased.
Adding to my bad mood was the fact that our trailers are parked far away from the circus, and it is going to be a real pain in the butt to get the props to the tent on our opening day and then back again on load out night.

Once I had a hot shower I was feeling much better, and I was even happier when Pamela and I stepped out for a date night.
Unfortunately back at the lot I was met with more frustration. Because Ryan and I have trailers with cargo doors that need to open for prop loading and unloading, and because all the trailers are parked in a tight area, Ryan and I are all the way at the end of the long line of trailers.
This also put us very far from the power boxes, and I discovered that I didn't have enough cable to plug my house into electricity.

Since it was late and no one was around, I resolved myself to dealing with the problem in the morning.
This was one day that made me glad that we are getting off the road next year. I've had about enough for now.

10/29/15- Day Off!

Today was a new day, and I felt completely refreshed after getting a good night's sleep.

Nestor, who parks our trailers, was nice enough to let me borrow his power cable for this town. It was just long enough to let me plug into electricity; if my trailer had been another few feet away, I would have been in the same predicament.

Pamela and I went out to do laundry today, and then we went to a couple of different thrift stores to shop for my Halloween costume.

We ended the evening having dinner with the Combs family at the Cheesecake Factory just a stone's throw from our houses.

10/30/15- 7:30 p.m.

Ryan and I put all of our costumes and the majority of our props into the back of my truck and drove them over to the tent this morning; it took two trips.
The carpenter box and the little car we pushed to the edge of the road, and then across a busy intersection with no crosswalk to get them to the backstage.

Our twin photographer friends, Jason and Justin Senft, came to visit and watch the show this evening. They brought me a belated birthday gift, an awesome Bumble decoration for my Christmas display back home.

We had a good crowd for our first show in Freehold. We don't have the dog or tiger act in this town because the mall didn't want animal acts, so the Vazquez brothers brought in a motorcycle jumping act to close the show.
Jason and Ray are jumping their bikes from a small ramp in the entrance to the seating area to a humongous landing ramp located at the back of the ring.
As soon as one of them would complete a jump, they would then drive under the seats and back into the lobby area to get ready to jump again.

Ryan and I found out right before the show that we would be covering the set up of the two ramps, and we were worried that the portion of the vacuum gag that happens in the seats wouldn't be long enough for the crew to set up everything properly, but that turned out to not be an issue.
What was a problem was that the ramp in the seating entranceway blocked many of our bits from different sections of the audience; it was frustrating to try and adjust all of our blocking on the fly.
In addition to that, Luis couldn't see us for half of the gag, so he had to keep guessing when to hit our sound effects.

10/31/15- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

We had a small, dead crowd for the first show; it was really tough performing for them. I guess they all came to the show as zombies in honor of Halloween.

The crowds improved for the last two shows, but I think we would have done much better business today if it wasn't Halloween.

Speaking of the holiday, the circus kids trick or teated door to door at the trailers this evening.

That's Nico on the right as a mummy.

There aren't many children on the show this year, and even though I loaded up each child with a mountain of sugar, I still had lots of leftover candy at the end of the evening.

11/1/15- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

I loved getting an extra hour of sleep tonight for the end of Daylight Savings Time.

Joey Klein picked me up this morning and took me to brunch down the road at a diner. We then went back to my trailer and visited until it was time for me to get ready for work.

We did good business for the first show, which was a welcome change from yesterday's 2:00 p.m. performance.

The second show was jam packed with people, and Ryan and I rocked them with our gags; it was awesome!
After the show we were mobbed by people wanting pictures with us. I was happy to be doing such good business for our photo concession, but at the same time it was a bit overwhelming. A few times I had to ask the crowd to back up, because we really were getting surrounded, and it was making me incredibly anxious.

We did good business for the final show of the day, but it didn't top the second show.

After work we had the 2015 Vazquez Halloween Party. Nico, Abrianna and I went as Yakko, Wakko, and Dot, the Warner Brothers (and Sister) from one of my favorite cartoons, "Animaniacs".

I wish I could share my photos from the party, but the colored lighting in the tent led to terrible pictures taken on my phone.

Here are a few of the different costumes as photographed by Dominik, who has an excellent camera.

11/2/15- 7:30 p.m.

This afternoon Dominik was nice enough to take new promotional photos for me and Ryan to use for the show we are building for next summer in Baraboo.
I'm so excited about how well they came out.

When I went over to the office to get paid this evening, I was informed that we would be staying one more week in Freehold because of the excellent business we did over the weekend.
I was happy because it meant one more week before we have to deal with the hassle of getting our props all the way from the tent back to our trailers.

Our clown friend, Pat Cashin, visited tonight with his sons Shane and Jamie. Another of our clown friends, Dan McCallum, who works at the nearby Six Flags park, also dropped by. Their presence was a great addition to the good news I received about staying in Freehold for another week.

We had a big crowd for the show tonight, and they were an excellent audience. After the show we were taking pictures with the public, and one father asked, "Can I give you guys a tip?"
I answered, "Sure", expecting him to give us a bit of advice or criticism, but then he slipped five dollar bills into each of our hands. 

Nico watched the show tonight with our friends, and he and Jamie became fast friends, bonding over putting buckets of popcorn on their heads.

After work we ordered pizzas and had a little get together at Ryan's house with our friends, which of course was great fun.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Tuesday, October 20-Tuesday, October 27: Windsor Mill, MD

10/20/15- Day Off!

Pamela and I walked around the mall next to the lot while we waited for my trailer to get parked. It wasn't as nice as I was expecting it to be, but it did have a fantastic suit store where Ryan and I bought wardrobe for our show in Baraboo next summer.

While we were purchasing the outfits, one of the salesmen asked us why we were buying so many suits. We responded that we were performers. He asked what we did, and we decided to keep the word "clown" as far out of the conversation as possible.
Ryan told the man that we were singers, and the guy perked right up. Apparently a singing group had recently bought their suits from the store, and they had even given an impromptu a cappella concert to the staff.
The salesman begged and pleaded with us to do the same since he had given us such a good deal on the suits, and Pamela did her best not to burst out laughing as we squirmed and tried to get out of exposing ourselves as frauds. True we could have sung for him, but it wouldn't have been anything like he was expecting, and we wanted to take a little break from disappointing people.

We finally weaseled our way out of singing; instead we did a little eccentric dancing so the staff wouldn't be left empty handed.
As we walked away from the store, I turned to Ryan and exclaimed, "Singers?! You couldn't think of anything better than singers!?"

Pamela and I did some laundry after my house was parked, and then later in the evening we met up with a few of the dancers to watch the new horror movie, "Crimson Peak".
I really enjoyed the film, and I had forgotten that Guillermo Del Toro had directed it until I saw the end credits. Suddenly some of the more grisly scenes in the picture made a lot more sense.

10/21/15- Day Off!

This morning I went all over creation looking for a certain brand of orange paint that Ryan and I use. I wasted way too much time before finally giving up and picking up a different brand.

In the early afternoon I had my belated birthday party at a bowling alley just down the road from the lot. I was happy that in addition to a group of friends from the circus, our Baltimore area friends that we have met through the circus were also able to attend.

I had a lot of fun bowling (I even won one of the games on my lane), and even more fun visiting with everyone that came to celebrate.
I don't know what I would have done without Pat Stevenson and Carol Lang, who helped organize things once we got to the alley; they made sure that everything ran smoothly, and it was greatly appreciated.


One of the presents I received for my birthday was a gift card that was good for use at several different restaurants, so tonight Pamela and I used it to go on a dinner date.

10/22/15- 7:30 p.m.

Ryan and I were up early this morning to paint Pompeyo's dog props. I was happy, because even with a break to load our props into the tent, I felt we got a lot accomplished.

A couple of funny things happened while we were outside painting. One of the set pieces we created for the act is a big set of Western saloon doors with angled gates coming off the side.
I had the whole thing standing up so I could paint the back side, and while I was working, Pompeyo called his poodle, Sugar, to come to him.
The set was between Sugar and Pompeyo, but he didn't let that stop him. The poodle ran right at the set, and jumped through the open space in one of the side gates without even touching any of the edges.
Circus dog!

Another amusing incident: At one point I was running back and forth between our painting area and my trailer.
I kept passing by Nico, who was outside his house playing with some of the other kids. On one of my trips by, Nico raised his head from what he was doing and greeted me with, "Hello, white man!"

We had an extremely small crowd for our opening night show in Windsor Mill. They weren't a bad audience....there just wasn't anyone there.

Pamela began her new job with the show tonight. She stood at the tent's entrance and collected tickets.

The circus figured out that the crew doesn't need three days between towns when our jump is relatively short, hence our Thursday opening.
I was bummed not having another day off, but it is much worse for the crew, who are now busting their butts from Monday evening until the first show in the new town is finished.
Yay, circus!

10/23/15- 7:30 p.m.

Ryan and I were up early again this morning to paint. I finished painting the backs of all the foam props, and then Ryan gave me a better brush and had me paint fine lines on some of the wooden crates. What a pain in the keister that was!

Since we were mainly doing detail work on the props, I felt like we didn't get as much accomplished today, even though we worked the same amount of time.

We had a slightly bigger crowd for the show tonight, which was encouraging.

10/24/15- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

This morning I finished painting lines on the wooden crates, which made me very happy.

We had small crowds for the first two shows today, but we finally did good business for the 8:00 p.m. performance.

10/24/15- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

Ryan and I did a little more painting this morning before the first show. Normally we don't do prop work on a three show day, but none of the animal acts will be with us in the next town, so we figured we needed to get as much done as possible before that happens.

We had a small crowd for the first show, but the audience was surprisingly responsive.
Our friend, Keith, was watching that performance, and he was nice enough to bring us a bag of gifts to enjoy.
Among those presents was a Ringling Bros. program from the 40's that I found amusing. There was an article that listed the different types of clowns, and I was cracking up at some of the ridiculous names they apparently pulled out of their butts for the numerous clown types.

The 5:00 p.m. show was the performance with the biggest crowd today.

By the third show I was going out of my mind. I may have tied an audience member's blanket around my neck like a cape and tried to fly from the second row of seats during the beach ball reprise.....

Visan has been brewing his own beer over the past few weeks, and after the shows he invited the male performers over to his house to try the first batch.
He even asked me and Ryan to create a label for the brew:

10/26/15- 7:30 p.m.

Pamela and I had a nice day out today, running errands and spending some time together away from the circus.

While we were out I printed out the first draft of our script for our new show, and I also did a little birthday shopping with some of the gifts cards I received last Wednesday.

Our circus historian friend, Dick Flint, came to see the show tonight with his son. I was happy they were in the crowd; otherwise the show would have been a real drag.
I'm getting mighty tired of working to small crowds in this town.

10/27/15- 7:30 p.m.

Today I ran out to do some more errands, and then I got everything in my house ready for travel.

Pamela is from Alabama originally, and for today's lunch she made some authentic Alabama cuisine for me: kraut and wienies, fried taters, okra, pinto beans, and corn bread. I added my Nana's macaroni and cheese recipe to the mix, and we had a good ol' down home meal!

Thankfully we had a responsive final audience in Windsor Mill. Our Baltimore friends, Pat, Thom, Jim, and Carol came to watch, along with Dan Kleintop, a circus fan from Virginia who was in town on business.

We visited with our friends for awhile after the show, and then we hit the road for Freehold, NJ around 11:00 p.m.

It was a 166 mile jump to the next town, and it was close to 4 a.m. by the time we arrived at the beautiful Freehold Raceway Mall.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Tuesday, October 13-Monday, October 19: Landover Hills, MD

10/13/15-7:30 p.m.

Today I spray painted the hurdles for Pompeyo’s act. It sounded like a much easier task in my head, but when I went to do the job, the wind was changing direction every few seconds, and I had to constantly move the props to get them in the path of the paint spray.

We had one uneventful show this evening, and then we celebrated Eddie’s birthday with a peace and love party. Everyone was encouraged to wear all white clothing to the party; since my white clothing items were almost non existent, I had to improvise.

White thermal underwear and white trash bag shoes. Circus chic!

10/14/15- 7:30 p.m.

Ryan and I were up early this morning to coat the foam dog props with hardener. Ryan also started painting the wooden crates that will serve as dog seats.

Once again the wind caused us to have a frustrating work day, because leaves and other detritus kept blowing onto and sticking to the tacky chemical on the foam.

Once again I was worn out for our show this evening; thank goodness it was just one performance.

I had another guy in the audience that was a pain to deal with at the beginning of the vacuum gag, plus there were a couple of grown women behind him who were screaming their fool heads off because they were “afraid of me”. I made sure to sit in their laps at one point while Ryan was doing a bit.

Luckily after the show we had the redeeming factor that one man came up to us and said that he didn’t expect to have as much fun at the circus as he did.

10/15/15- 7:30 p.m.

Today Ryan did more painting while I ran out to get supplies for the project.

The good news is that we finished coating the foam props in hardener. Yay progress!

Bill Karlton and Todd Schall-Vess came up to see the show all the way from Richmond, VA. 
They are friends of John Moss, and I knew from seeing them in the audience that I had met them before.
Ryan and I chatted with them for a bit after the performance.
(Todd, could you please send me the link to your Flickr account so I can share the photos you took of the show?)

10/16/15- 7:30 p.m.

Ryan and I were up early once again today to sand the coated foam props, and then we primed them all.
I was happy that we finished all of the priming after a full day of work. Yay, more progress!

We had a good audience tonight; the best of the week so far.

After the show we saw our manager up in the seats talking with a man. He claimed that one of the beach balls hit him and caused him to fall and badly injure himself.
Some people from the show asked Ryan about the supposed incident since it had happened on his side, but Ryan raised a valid point. He didn’t see anyone get hit and fall down, and if it did happen, there would have been a big reaction from the audience. We know, because it has happened before, and those guys didn’t cry about it and try to take advantage of the show afterwards.

After the show there was a birthday party for Emma. With a varied spread of appetizers and a chocolate fondue fountain, it was a welcome change from the usual birthday barbecues.

10/17/15- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

This morning I joined the dancers for Emma’s birthday brunch at the Silver Diner. 

There was almost nobody at the first performance today; it was a real chore to get through it.

The second show was a bit better, and then we had a great audience for the third show, so at least we ended the day on a high note.

Ryan invited me over for dinner with his family after work. We had the delicious won ton soup that he and Tatiana had been making over the course of the whole day.

10/18/15- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

Before the first show I got to visit with my friend, Rebecca, who I first met during my Ringling days. She was a promoter in the D.C. area, and now she lives close by and works for the government.
She just happened to see a poster at the mall that she went to yesterday, so she got in touch with me and came to watch today’s first show.
She also brought delicious brownies that I shared with the cast.

My girlfriend, Pamela, arrived today, and the best part is that she is here to stay for the rest of the tour. Hooray!

Besides that bit of good news, today was a long day. The audiences didn’t really seem to care for me and Ryan in any of the shows.

After one of the vacuum gags Ryan remarked to me that he needed a vacation. Just after that we did finale and I absentmindedly started doing bits from the opening. I guess I need a vacation too!

Likewise, my mind was completely in outer space for the final show. It was just one of those days, and I was happy to get it over with.

10/19/15- 7:30 p.m.

Today was my 32nd birthday. After waking up I went over to Ryan’s house to see the beautiful Steve cake that Tatiana made for me.

The Combs family, Luis, and his wife, Nora, all joined me and Pamela for my birthday lunch at the Masa Hibachi restaurant in Silver Springs, MD.

The food was delicious, and I ate so much that I was feeling sick afterwards. Yay birthday gluttony!

After lunch we all walked around downtown Silver Springs for a bit, but pretty soon I was feeling worn out and I decided to head back to the lot to rest before our show and night jump.

Unfortunately I didn’t have much time to relax because I had a lot of work to do to prepare for load out and traveling.
Also, before the show I took Tatiana’s delicious red velvet cake around the circus to share it with everyone.

In the beach ball reprise, the first guy who hit my ball popped it, so I was up the creek without a paddle.....err.....beach ball. I quickly ran over to Ryan’s side, stole his ball, and pushed him into a row of empty seats.
I ran his ball over to my side and hit it around until Ryan came over. He picked up a metal folding chair and chased me through the ring and seats as people hit the remaining ball around.
Needless to say, I’m sure it was a wacky sight to behold.

I was so happy to finish our last performance in Landover Hills. It has not been one of my favorite towns audience wise.

We left the lot around 11:00 p.m., and then it was only an easy 38 miles to Windsor Mill, MD, the next town.

Our lot is set up close to a mall; the tent is located right next to a WEIS supermarket.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Tuesday, October 6-Monday, October 12: Landover Hills, MD

10/6/15- Day Off!

Our trailers were parked this afternoon, and in the evening Ryan, Alexa and I were driven to downtown D.C. to do a television publicity.

Driving to and from our nation's capitol took a lot longer than the actual PR event. We were placed in front of a green screen that a set was superimposed over, and we filmed two very short interviews that will be broadcast on our opening day.

My girlfriend, Pamela, came to visit this evening. She brought along her world famous (the title is self proclaimed) eggplant parmesan, which was delicious!

10/7/15- Day Off!

We had beautiful weather today, so Ryan and I took full advantage of it and worked on Pompeyo's dog props.

In the evening Pamela and I drove to the National Harbor, which I had spotted on our jump Monday night.

We had dinner at Granite City Food & Brewery, which had great food and beer, but lousy service.
After our dinner we walked along the pier and enjoyed the sights and atmosphere.

We were going to ride the Skywheel, the giant, light up ferris wheel that serves as a landmark for the harbor, but when we found out how expensive it was, we decided to just take selfies in front of it instead.

I was pleasantly surprised to find "The Awakening" at the National Harbor. "The Awakening" is a statue of a giant crawling out of the earth, and it is something I have wanted to see since I first played Washington D.C. with Ringling 12 years ago.

Pamela and I had a lot of fun crawling on and taking pictures with the giant's appendages.

10/8/15- Day Off!

Pamela left this morning, but I was excited that the next time she was coming to visit it would be my birthday AND she would be staying with me for the rest of the tour!

Ryan and I did more prop work today; I spent all day sanding both wood and styrofoam.

I did take a break long enough to drive to Alexandria, VA to visit a costume shop that had the make up I was running out of.

10/9/15- 7:30 p.m.

This morning Ryan and I finished sanding and shaping all of the foam dog props, and we were going to start coating them with hardener, but the sky suddenly turned overcast and it began drizzling.

Right before the show it began pouring rain; I felt like I was back in Manassas, VA!

Tonight, just as the dog act was ending, Ryan and I were in the seats prepared to start the water gag. Jesus Vazquez, who was acting as ringmaster, suddenly made an announcement in Spanish about stopping the show for five minutes.

I asked around backstage what was going on, and I was told that fire was coming out of the top of the show's generator, so they were switching to the other generator to avoid problems.

Since there was a sizable gap in the programming due to this unscheduled disruption, and since the show's energy had successfully been killed, I felt the need to get the crowd focused and pumped up again.
I did so by falling down a set of stairs and taking out a row of empty chairs in the VIP section. King of Subtlety, right here!

Due to a late start, the pause in the first half, and a long Intermission, the show ended 30 minutes late. Despite that, the crowd stayed very responsive for the whole performance.

10/10/15- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

Emma and I were going to have brunch at a pancake house close to the lot this morning, but it was too ghetto, so after a quick GPS search I was led to the Silver Diner, which was a great find.
The restaurant had the typical diner decor, but the menu was very inventive and catered to flexitarians.....whatever the heck those are.

We had a very small crowd for the first show, but they weren't a bad audience.

During one of the vacuum gags I had a rough time with the bit where I put my wig on a bald guy. The guy I picked wanted nothing to do with us, so I gave the wig to another guy to throw onto my head. That guy turned out to be a major smart aleck, so I just couldn't win.
I finally raised my head to the top of the tent, threw up my hands, and yelled, "Why, God?! Why these two?", which got a big laugh from the audience.

During the second show's Intermission I was talking with Vincent and Pom Pom, who have the big cat act.
Our conversation turned to South Carolina, and I told them that I was from there. After a little more talking, I discovered that their son lives in Walterboro, my home town!
You could have knocked me over with a feather; what a small world!

In between the last two shows, Ryan's washer and dryer malfunctioned, so we had to do the final water gag of the day with wet clothes. That was a cold, not fun at all gag.

10/11/15- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

This morning I made a trip to the laundromat to wash and dry the water costumes from last night's performance.

Luckily during the day Mecho let us use the dryer that the show bought for him to use on his costumes from the tank act. Our schedules work out perfectly where our laundry is never in the way of his.

We had good audiences for all three shows today, and we did great business for the final two shows of the day.

After 3 weekends of playing Super Mario Bros. 3 in the dressing room, Julius Espana finally beat the game today, which was cause for much celebration.

Before the third show I gave the motivational speech as "El Payaso Loco", utilizing the clown luchador mask I bought in Mexico last year.

With my sudden, jerky movements, feats of uncontrolled rage, and constant screaming, I'm pretty sure I scared some inspiration into everyone.

10/12/15- 7:30 p.m.

Today Ryan and I began coating the foam dog props with hardener. There was a steep learning curve involved with using the new chemical we bought, but by the end of the day we had a pretty good handle on it, and we managed to coat almost everything at least once.

By show time I was feeling absolutely worn out. I felt it was harder to get through the one show this evening than it was to get through the six shows this past weekend.