Saturday, May 30, 2015

Tuesday, May 26-Thursday, May 28: Salt Lake City, UT

5/26- Travel Day To Salt Lake City

We left the Walmart parking lot where we spent the night around 10:00 a.m., and then we drove the final 700 miles to Salt Lake City.

New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah had such beautiful scenery. Utah in particular had amazing red rock formations.

I recognized many sights from when I took a road trip with Scott Myers, who played guitar on the Ringling band, from Colorado Springs to Las Vegas. We visited Arches National Park, which we passed by on this trip, and we also spent some time in the cool town of Moab, which we drove right through today.

We did hit a lot of mountain driving once we crossed into Utah, but the only part that scared us was the last mountain we encountered.
The main reason was because we hit it during the nighttime, so our visibility was more limited. Also, it was drizzling rain just enough to be annoying, and all the semi trucks were speeding past us and honking their horns because we were taking our time going down the steep roads.

We finally got to the lot after 2:00 a.m., and I was absolutely exhausted. I got into bed and fell asleep almost instantly.

5/27- Day Off!

Ryan and I were two of maybe six trailers that were early arrivers to the lot. I was happy that it worked out in our favor, as we were parked fairly quickly in the morning.

Once I got my house set up I headed to downtown Salt Lake City. I visited the area by the arena, which I remembered from my Ringling days.

First I had a fantastic sushi lunch at Happy Sumo, which was located in an outdoor mall next to the arena.

I then walked over to Temple Square, where the Mormon temple and Tabernacle are located.

All of the Mormons around the square were so welcoming and helpful.
I got information about catching a performance of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and I told several Sisters about my job in the circus.

I had such a nice day walking around downtown. After I finished at Temple Square I just wandered around and checked out anything that struck my fancy.

Like this falling astronaut!

5/28- Day Off!

I don't have much to say about today. I went grocery shopping, watched "Sons of Anarchy", and played a new video game that I bought.

At times I felt like I should have gone out and explored downtown more, but we are here for two weeks, which means I actually have a chance to breathe and see the sights a little, and I also reasoned that there was nothing wrong with actually resting on a day off.

A beautiful shot of the circus after a storm taken by Mira.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sunday, May 24 & Monday, May 25: El Paso, TX

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

This morning I had breakfast at Hillside Coffee & Donut, a very trendy little restaurant that Alexa recommended I try.

A chorizo and egg sandwich and a turtle cheesecake donut. All part of a balanced breakfast.

Today was a very easy day for me, energy wise. I was worried because I have been feeling so worn out the past couple of nights, but these three shows were a piece of cake.
Ryan, on the other hand, was really feeling it today, and his exhaustion led to some wacky gags.

Mira, from Duo Exxtrem, gave a very touching motivational speech before the third show. Mira is from Hungary, and she is always so quiet and shy, so hearing her express herself so eloquently in English made the message even more poignant.

After work there was a farewell party for our ringmaster, Marcos Valdes, who will be leaving the show once we finish our run in El Paso.

5/25/15- 7:30 p.m.

This morning I walked across the street from the lot to visit the El Paso Zoo. It wasn't necessarily a great zoo, but I spent a pleasant two hours walking around and seeing the animals.

 Prairie dogs are so cute! Maybe that should be my next oddball pet.
Are you a hornbill, or are you just happy to see me?

But what really made the zoo visit for me was seeing these majestic creatures:

The ducks!

Back at the lot Tatiana fixed my trailer light cable for me. It's been giving me trouble for a year and a half (sometimes my turn signals work, and sometimes they don't), and I FINALLY got around to buying a new plug and asking Tatiana to spare me any accidental electrocutions and fix it herself.

This evening I paid for my cockiness about my energy for the three shows yesterday; I was so tired for our final performance in El Paso.
The lack of people that showed up for the last minute added performance didn't help matters either.

As I was running back and forth from backstage to my trailer in the second half, I noticed a large family, dressed to the nines, walking over to the box office to buy tickets.....roughly twenty minutes before the show ended!
I know we performers like to joke about how the audiences for this show arrive late, but that's just ridiculous!

I was able to move my trailer not too long after the performance. In this city I didn't have anyone blocking me in, and I had the added impetus of having no electricity. All the trailers were unplugged while Ryan and I were still loading up our props.
Normally I wouldn't have minded, but I was right in the middle of cooking dinner in my convection oven.
I pulled out my generator so I could finish cooking, but it kept shutting off.

Mmmmmmm! Undercooked food!

Ryan's trailer was parked in a tighter spot than mine, so it took awhile longer for him to get out. We finally began our 868 mile jump to Salt Lake City, UT around 11:00 p.m.

We drove about 125 miles to a Walmart in Truth or Consequences, NM, where we planned to spend the night.
Once we arrived we discovered that the store's parking lot was under construction, and there was no room for us to park our trailers.

I was beyond tired by that point, but we pressed on and drove another 75 miles to the next Walmart. 
Although I wasn't a fan of getting to sleep around 4:00 a.m., it was nice to get a good chunk of the drive out of the way when there was next to nobody on the road.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Friday, May 22 & Saturday, May 23: El Paso, TX

5/22/15- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

Today I took my truck to a shop to get an oil change, and then I spent the afternoon enjoying the nice weather and walking around an outdoor shopping plaza.
Before heading back to the lot I picked up a birthday present for Marcos Espana.

Last week Martin announced that he'd like to have an International Night where everyone could bring meals from their native countries.
Since I didn't want to bring hot dogs from America, I teamed up with Ryan and Tatiana to make meatballs (since Ryan is part Italian).
We spent all afternoon making the meatballs, and sauce with Italian sausage and short ribs. It was so difficult not to eat everything as soon as it was finished; the food looked and smelled so delicious!

Ryan and I tried playing everything bigger in our gags for the shows tonight. I haven't played a gag that big since I left Ringling; it is tiring work!

Matt Salgado came to the 9:00 p.m. show with his friends, so it was nice to have some support from the crowd since not as many people came to the later show.

After work we had the International Night barbecue/birthday party for Marcos. I really enjoyed trying all of the different dishes: Italy, England, Mexico, Chile, Hungary, and the Czech republic were all represented (I'm probably forgetting a few countries), and everything tasted so good!

5/23/15- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

I spent a lazy day in bed watching the first season of the television series, "Sons of Anarchy", so I was more in the mood to fight than to make people laugh for our shows!

After shaving in the afternoon I noticed that my face was very dry, so I put on some moisturizer before making up.
Bad idea!
After the water gag Ryan noticed that a good portion of my white make up had come off, leaving me looking like the Joker in the first Batman film.

Ok, maybe not EXACTLY...

After it happened I remembered that the same thing happened to me last year in New York City. In fact, I'm pretty sure I made the same lame Joker joke.
Those who don't learn history (and lessons about moisturizing before putting on clown make up) are doomed to repeat it!

We did big business for the first show, and we had a crazy amount of people that wanted to take pictures with us after the show. Luckily I had fixed my make up by then.

In the second water gag I had a huge string of drool hanging from my mouth at a point in the gag where I am standing still and staring at Ryan in disbelief.
Marcos Valdes, our ringmaster, saw that and started cracking up, which caused me and Ryan to crack up as well.
It was all over after that, as the three of us couldn't stop laughing for the rest of the gag. Luckily it was right at the end of the act.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Wednesday, May 20 & Thursday, May 21: El Paso, TX

5/20/15- "Day Off"

All of the trailers were parked around 11:00 a.m. Once we were stationary, Ryan finished painting our new board for the carpenter gag.

At 5:00 p.m. Ryan, Jose Alberto, and I had a television publicity in front of the box office. While we were waiting to go live, we were entertained by the locals coming to buy tickets.
Many people were walking up to the ticket wagon and taking pictures with the photograph of Jose Alberto featured on the front, even though the real deal was standing mere feet away from them.
The whole tableau would have made an excellent photograph, but we were too busy laughing to capture the moment.

Once we were finished with our publicity we were able to plug our houses into electricity. Originally the power boxes were all the way over by the arena's back door, which made them way too far for any of the trailers to reach.
Luckily the arena had more power cables, so the boxes were moved closer to us all. I still didn't have enough cable for my plug to reach, but luckily Tatiana had an extra cable that she let me borrow. That was a great relief!

After getting cleaned up, Ryan and I loaded our props into backstage of the arena, and then I was picked up by my new friend, Matt Salgado.
Matt is a clown with the local Shrine Unit, and he is also heavily involved with bringing the Shrine Circus to El Paso every year.
He has been very excited about Vazquez coming to town, and he was nice enough to take me out to dinner to welcome me to El Paso.

We went to State Line, which is a BBQ restaurant directly on the New Mexico/Texas state line. The bar area is in New Mexico, and then you cross over into Texas when you walk into the dining area.
The food we had was so delicious, and I ended up eating way too much.

5/21/15- 7:30 p.m.

This morning I set out to do laundry and go grocery shopping, and in the process I discovered that for me, El Paso is a very confusing city in which to drive.

Around 3:00 p.m. Nestor drove me, Ryan, and Alexa to a radio station in the western part of El Paso where we popped in to do a quick interview with Victor, the DJ.

I guess Victor is afraid of rock and roll.

Shortly after getting back to the lot Ryan and I jumped right into a television PR. The UNIVISION station that came out yesterday returned to broadcast their whole program from the circus ring.

The different reporters were excited to work with me and Ryan after we were given a good review from the weatherman we worked with yesterday. They were willing to let us do whatever we wanted, making our job a piece of cake.

Anything like....ATTEMPTED MURDER!!!

We are performing in an arena in this town, and it was mighty strange; I haven't worked a circus in a building since the Hamid Shrine date I worked back in 2008.

There were chairs put on the floor closer to the ring, but the majority of the audience was sitting on the sides up in the stands.
Ryan and I tried to adjust our blocking accordingly as we went along.

During Intermission a building employee asked Ryan to ask the ladies if they needed to empty the trashcan in their dressing room.
Ryan called in and asked, and they replied, "No thank you, Ryan."
The building employee asked, "Wait, you're Ryan? From Steve & Ryan?"
When Ryan replied that he was, the employee told him that his wife loves watching our videos on Youtube.
What a small world!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Monday, May 18 & Tuesday, May 19: Tucson, AZ & El Paso, TX

5/18/15- 7:30 p.m.

This morning Ryan and I made a trip to Home Depot to buy a new piece of lumber for the carpenter gag.
The board that we have been using for a couple of years developed a thick crack on one end, so we needed to get the supplies to replace it before it breaks during the show.
We've been very rough on props in this town!

My brother, Trent, came to see our final performance in Tucson with his friend, Willie.
We had a big, enthusiastic crowd for the last show, which seems to be the norm for every city.

Laura went into the motorcycle act tonight. She has been practicing with her boyfriend, Viśan, for awhile now, and she did a great job for her grand debut.
Many of us from the cast were watching from the stairways and showing our support.

Natalya also returned to the dog act this evening. She was pregnant for the beginning of the tour, but two weeks ago she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, and she wasted no time in returning to the ring.

After loading out our props, we had to wait for awhile to leave because we were parked behind several trailers.
Once Ryan was able to move, Nestor brought over a fork lift to move my trailer's hitch over enough so that I could hook up my truck.
Otherwise I would have been waiting around for much longer, because the España family, who were parked in front of me, have a lot of work they have to do on load out.

Finally around 12:30 a.m. we were able to hit the road. We drove about forty miles before stopping at a Walmart for the night to get some sleep.

I didn't get to bed until after 3:00 a.m., because Viśan lent me the television series, "Sons of Anarchy", and I got caught up watching the first few episodes.

5/19/15- Travel Day To El Paso, TX

Ryan and I were on the road by 9:00 a.m. to El Paso. We had only done a small portion of the 320 mile jump last night, so it took us until mid afternoon to get there.

We are playing the County Coliseum in El Paso, and after a quick walk around the arena, I decided that the area was a little too sketchy for my tastes, and I spent the evening at home.
The nice thing was that we were able to plug into city power, which saved me from running my generator all night.

Ryan and I took advantage of the nice evening and sanded down our new board for the carpenter gag until all the edges were rounded.

We were also able to prime the wood and get one side completely painted before we called it a night.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Saturday, May 16 & Sunday, May 17: Tucson, AZ

5/16/15- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

Today I went out to pick up a new feather duster for the vacuum gag. The one we've been using for over a year finally fell apart last night, and Ryan and I were laughing about the fact that we waited so long to replace a prop we could buy at virtually any store.

After spending $10 on a new feather duster (Ryan: "$10 for a feather duster! It better get a lot of laughs!"), I headed to downtown Tucson.
I had lunch at a burger restaurant called Lindy's on Fourth, which was featured on the television program Man Vs. Food because of this menu item:

I passed on that challenge, and instead I had a burger labeled on the menu as the Kush. It had raspberry preserves, green chilies, bleu cheese crumbles and bacon, and it was Ah-Maz-Ing.

After my hearty meal I took a long walk through downtown, and I also ventured over to the arena where I performed with Ringling.
Considering it was just a few blocks from the heart of Tucson, I'm very surprised that I never explored downtown the last two times I was here. That is definitely a loss on my part.

We had another full house for the 6:00 p.m. performance, and the audience was simply wonderful. Tucson is shaping up to be my favorite stop on the tour thus far!

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

This morning I joined Sammie, Emma, and her friend, Phoebe, for breakfast at Ghini's French Cafe.
Phoebe met Emma when they were working together in India, and she is currently on break from Circo Tihany, where she performs as a dancer.

We did good business for the shows today, especially for the 5:00 p.m. performance. We've been spoiled for the past three weeks doing only two shows on Sunday, so it was a little strange adding another performance back into our routine.

After finale three stage crew members run into the ring to pull half of the carpet away before we start taking pictures with the audience.
The first show I chased after them as they ran with the carpet, and for the second show I did the same thing; however, I ran a little too fast, and one of my feet landed on the carpet as they were still pulling it.
I wiped out and landed flat on my back, much to the amusement of Ryan, Jose Alberto, Alexa, and the dancers.
I am very happy that my body reacted as quickly as it did, because I did not hurt myself at all. I was incredibly embarrassed though, and my pride took quite a bruising

Marcos, our ringmaster, gave tonight's third show motivational speech, and it was very bittersweet, because he will be leaving the show after this next week in El Paso.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Thursday, May 14 & Friday, May 15: Tucson, AZ

5/14/15- 7:30 p.m.

This morning I was able to kill two birds with one stone while running errands. I was able to do my laundry and get a haircut at the same shopping plaza. Hooray for productivity!

This afternoon I shared the movie "Gremlins 2" with Nico. I can't express how happy it made me to introduce him to the film and the characters that I loved so much as a child.
My ulterior motive was to get Nico excited about the idea of doing a team costume with me at Halloween where he would dress up as Gizmo, the cute and lovable Mogwai.

Our opening night show in Tucson was packed, and the audience was fantastic!
Hopefully it is a sign of things to come for the rest of our run here.

Chris Green, former Circus Vargas clown, came to the show with his girlfriend, and Ryan and I were also pleasantly surprised to see Ross and Elisa Hartzell after the performance.
Ryan and I worked with Ross and Elisa in the Philippines in 2010, where they performed their crossbow act.
We had no idea they lived in Tucson, so it was a nice surprise to see them; especially since it has been five years.

5/15/15- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

Today was a lazy day at home; sorry I don't have anything more exciting to report.

We had good crowds for the two shows.

In the second juggling act, Jose Alberto was having trouble doing his last trick, where he throws all three cigar boxes in the air, does a pirouette, and catches them all.
He finally took the microphone from Marcos and announced to the crowd that he was sorry, but he couldn't perform his final trick.
He then went to exit the ring, with his head hung down. Jose Alberto then began to softly chant into the microphone, "Si, se puede" (Yes, he can), which caused the whole crowd to start shouting it.
He then successfully completed the trick to thunderous cheers and applause.

Ryan and I were next with the vacuum gag, and as luck would have it, when I have a guy in the audience throw my wig on my head, I missed catching it.
I apologized to the audience, and then I got into the ring and started to exit.
Ryan and Marcos picked up on the joke, and they began to chant, "Si, se puede!", which got the crowd going.
I ran back to the guy, gave him my wig, he threw it, and I caught it to thunderous cheers and applause.

I was so proud that we had the opportunity to pull off such a fun, relevant, impromptu moment. That's what keeps the shows fresh for us.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Tuesday, May 12 & Wednesday, May 13: Tucson, AZ

5/12/15- Travel Day to Tucson, AZ

I woke up this morning at 6:00 a.m., and when Spectrac opened a half hour later, they took my trailer right in and began working on it.

The main reason I took my trailer in for repairs was because Martin guessed the reason I had been popping so many tires this year was because maybe my axles were out of alignment.
Sure enough, they were, and one of my tires was already getting rubbed bald because of it.

While the mechanics were checking the axles, they noticed that a couple of springs were completely worn down, and they suggested I get those taken care of in the near future.
I explained to them that this was the best opportunity to fix them since I didn't have far to go to get to Tucson, and my trailer was already there in the shop.
In fact, I asked them to repair my trailer brakes as well, since all of the wiring was either cut or disconnected, and one of the brakes was completely broken apart.

I was told it would be an all day job, but since they closed at 4:00 p.m., I told them that would still give me plenty of time to get to Tucson before it was too late.
I unhooked my truck, and I was able to go out and enjoy my day in the Mesa and Tempe areas instead of sitting in the waiting room for hours on end.

I ran errands and then I went to Riverview Park to walk around, watch the ducks, and make a few phone calls to friends.

I also checked out the Tempe Marketplace where I had a delicious lunch at Kabuki Sushi.
I was just about to do some reading in a Barnes and Noble when I got a call from Spectrac. They had finished all of the work by 1:00 p.m., which was pretty amazing.

I went and picked up my trailer, and I was on the road to Tucson by 1:30 p.m.
The 114 mile drive was a piece of cake, and before I knew it I was at the Rodeo Grounds where we will be performing for the weekend.

In the evening I was able to get parked, and I went to bed much earlier than usual. I was worn out from getting up at 6:00 a.m. and having a full day.

5/13/15- Day Off!

This morning my brother, Trent, who lives here in Tucson, came to pick me up.
He took me downtown to the Hotel Congress, where the infamous gangster John Dillinger was captured in 1934.
We had a delicious breakfast in the Cup Cafe, the restaurant in the lobby of the hotel.

Once I got back to the lot I joined Ryan, his family, and Julius Espana on a trip to the Tucson Children's Museum.
Walking up to the front entrance I told Ryan that the place seemed very familiar to me, and after asking a few questions at the front desk, I realized that I had done a publicity at the Museum eleven years ago when I was with Ringling.

We all had a lot of fun at the Children's Museum. I was afraid that there wouldn't be enough activities for adults, or that the staff would frown upon anyone other than kids playing with the equipment, but everything was really laid back, and I enjoyed myself.

After having lunch with the group I broke off on my own to explore downtown Tucson further. I found a shop that sells foam and fabric (it's a shame that they are so far from where we spend our winters), and I also checked out a couple of used book stores.

At 6:00 p.m. I met Chris Green for dinner at Magpie's Pizza, which had amazing food. Chris was in Clown College the year I was born, and he spent a couple of years clowning for Circus Vargas and Big John Strong's show.
We had a great time swapping circus stories and getting to know each other.

I was upset that we only get one day off in Tucson, but I definitely made the most of it!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sunday, May 10 & Monday, May 11: Mesa, AZ

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

This morning the show's generator kept dying. It even shut off about twenty minutes before the first performance.
Showtime came and went, and the power was still completely out. About fifteen minutes past 2:00, Eddie came and asked me and Ryan to go entertain the crowd while they tried to get the generator back online.

Ryan and I grabbed a folding chair and some juggling clubs and headed into the dark tent to entertain the impatient audience.

We took our time and milked everything we were doing, because we had no idea how long the show would need us to stall.

We weren't in the ring for too terribly long before Eddie came and told us that we could stop; the generator could not be quickly fixed.
Marcos, our ringmaster, announced to the crowd that the 2:00 p.m. show was canceled, and I assume that refunds or exchanges for another show were offered to the people that did show up.

Finally around 3:00 p.m. the generator came on and stayed on. Everyone held their breath when twenty minutes before the second performance the generator shut off once again.
Luckily a few minutes later it kicked on, and there were no further problems with power interruption.

Local clown and theatre instructor, Brian Foley, came to watch the 5:00 p.m. show with his daughter. Also in the crowd were our clown friends, Stephen and Sarah Smith, who brought along a couple of their acquaintances as well.

I was absolutely worn out for that performance. I still felt like it was our second show of the day, even though the 2:00 p.m. one was canceled.
I suppose I should have taken a nap during our impromptu afternoon break.

Claudie motivated us all with her pre-third show speech, and I added to everyone's energy by sharing a big tray of fresh, out of the oven cookies brought to the cast by my friends, The Taylor family.

After the show I introduced the performers in the ring to the Taylors, since they were immensely popular thanks to their generous and delicious gift.
Elia Taylor even had another gift for me, a tray of macaroni and cheese that she made by following my Nana's recipe. Delicious!

After visiting with the Taylors outside the tent I met up with Stephen and Sarah Smith. They took me to the Mill Avenue area of Tempe where we had dinner and chatted at a Greek restaurant.

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

Today I spent the majority of my day preparing everything for load out and travel. I did take a break to join Ryan and his family for lunch at a torta restaurant though.

We had a fantastic audience for our final show in Mesa; they were big and enthusiastic.
The one down point for me was in the vacuum gag. When I was having a guy throw my wig on my head, I was standing near a toddler that was not happy about my proximity to her.
To make matters much worse, the guy throwing my wig wasn't even trying, so his first toss sent the wig directly onto the wary infant, who then went into a full blown terror tantrum.

Last night I had a similar scenario because the only two men in the audience who were even remotely bald (we need a bald man in the crowd for one of our bits) had screaming children in their laps. It was not a pretty or fun situation....

It only took about an hour and a half after our show ended before I was able to leave the lot. I drove about three miles away to Spectrac Parts & Services. They were going to do some work on my trailer first thing in the morning, so I parked right outside their gate for the evening.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Friday, May 8 & Saturday, May 9: Mesa, AZ

5/8/15- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

This afternoon Ryan and I briefly met with Luis to go over our music for the water gag. The circus band is no longer with us, so from now on all of the show's music will be on track.

In the afternoon we had a rehearsal for finale. The music for the number was changed to what the East Coast unit is using, so the dancers had to come up with new choreography, and the rest of us had to change what we do a little bit as well. Mainly there is now a segment at the end of finale where we all have to step from side to side and clap for a long time. A very, very, very, very long time.

We had such a fantastic audience for the 6:00 p.m. performance. They really got my hopes up for our run in Mesa, but by the 9:00 p.m. show we were back to the size and level of enthusiasm of the audiences we dealt with for the last two weeks in Phoenix.
Oh well, it was fun while it lasted!

The show sounded so weird without the band playing the music. I noticed it most in the opening number; it really lacks oomph now.

5/9/15- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

Today I had lunch at a nearby restaurant called Stufrageous, which sells stuffed burgers. I got mine stuffed with bleu cheese and bacon, and topped with outrageous sauce (the sauce that is ten times more outrageous than normal sauce). It was stuf-tastic!

Lance stopped by briefly today to drop off a package of make up and noses that we had shipped to his apartment from our friend, Lee Andrews, at Bubba's Clown Supplies.
Lee even threw in a couple of presents for Nico and Abrianna.

Thanks, Lee!

Even though we didn't have the biggest crowd for the second show tonight, they were having fun, and that makes all the difference.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Wednesday, May 6 & Thursday, May 7: Mesa, AZ

5/6/15- Day Off!

This morning I visited Bosa Donuts, which claims to have the best donuts in Arizona. I don't know if I'd go that far, but they were very good!

In the afternoon I met the majority of the Taylor Family at Sugarlips Cakery, where we took advantage of the bakery's Happy Hour: all cupcakes for $1!
I picked up a few to take back to Ryan and his family, and I got one red velvet and one salted caramel cupcake for myself. Inexpensive and tasty!

In the evening I met Brian Foley for a night on the town. Brian is a clown who currently teaches at ASU in Tempe; the only time I'd met him was seven years ago, and it was very briefly.
I was glad we had more of a chance to get to know each other tonight.

We headed to an artsy district north of downtown Phoenix where we attempted to see a burlesque show. Unfortunately the bar that served as the show's venue was very small, and the performance space contained neither seats nor a stage.
It was a ton of people crammed into a small room while scantily clad women danced. Since Brian and I didn't feel like playing peeping tom sardines, we walked next door to Melt, a unique little ice cream parlor.
The nutella flavored ice cream that I ordered was served in a Chinese food take out container, and a fortune cookie was placed on top of the scoop.
Inventive and delicious!
(And for the record, I did consume more than just sugar today)

5/7/15- Day Off!

I was happy to fit in another visit with the Taylor family today. I went to their house and spent a couple of hours just talking and visiting with them.

After leaving the Taylor's house I headed over to the Four Peaks Brewing Co. in downtown Tempe to have dinner with my friend, Lisa.
Lisa lives in NYC, but she was in Phoenix for a few days working a lighting job. I was happy that I got to spend a couple of hours with her, watching an annoying drunk guy pester everyone at the bar.

Back at the circus a barbecue was going on, so Ryan asked me if on my way back I could pick up some meat to throw on the grill.

Ryan and I got all of our props moved into backstage before we headed over to the party, but soon after we had settled down to eat we got a call from Luis asking us for a CD of some of our music tracks.

Our circus band played their last show with us on Monday, so now all of the music will be played by Luis from the sound board.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Monday, May 4 & Tuesday, May 5: Phoenix and Mesa, AZ

5/4/15- 7:30 p.m.

I had lunch at a little sushi restaurant today. The food was ok; it was really nothing to write home about though.

Today's weather was beautiful. After the temperature being in the high nineties and low one hundreds for the past several days, today's temperature in the eighties felt amazing.
Instead of going out and enjoying the weather, I spent all day at home resting for our show and night jump to the next town.

The audience for our final show in Phoenix was probably the best of the run, size and response wise. It's always good to end with a bang!

While Ryan and I were packing up our props during Intermission, Viśan asked why we have a prop that looks like Ryan's head.
Ryan said, "In the carpenter gag when I fall in the box with the saw, my head flies out", to which Viśan replied, "That's f***ed up!".
He must be related to that angry couple who complained to us in Miami last year....

My trailer was packed up, and I was ready to leave around 10:00 p.m., but I had to wait for quite awhile before I could.
All of the trailers were parked tightly by the side of the tent, but once the ticket office and Viśan moved there was a path cleared that gave most of us enough room to exit.
I just had to wait on Carmelo to leave before I could move, because the turn I needed to make was too tight with his house right next to mine.

I was finally able to leave the lot right before 1:00 a.m., and my first stop was at a Flying J truck stop just one exit away on the Interstate.
After taking advantage of the RV dump station, I was back on the road; I completed the 27 mile jump to the Fiesta Mall in Mesa in no time.

5/5/15- Day Off!

I was able to get my trailer parked around 11:00 a.m. this morning, and after getting my house set up and showering, I visited a nearby brunch spot called Crackers & Co.
The restaurant was highly rated by Zagat, and I was able to see why after eating a delicious Southwestern Benedict, which had chorizo and chipotle hollandaise sauce accompanying the usual poached eggs and English muffin.

In the evening I was able to go out with my friends, Stephen and Sarah Smith. Stephen and Sarah are both clowns, and Stephen holds a Guinness World Record for the longest amount of time standing on a rolling globe.
They took me to a sushi restaurant in Chandler, AZ where the sushi goes around on a conveyor belt, and you pick out what you want as it passes by.
Each plate contained two pieces of sushi, and it was only $2 a plate. I was impressed with the quality and variety of the sushi for the low price. By the end of the evening the three of us had amassed quite a stack of plates.

Back at the circus we sat in the mall parking lot and watched the big top go up as we visited and caught up some more.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Saturday, May 2 & Sunday, May 3: Phoenix, AZ

5/2/15- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

This morning I joined Viśan, Laura, Jose Alberto, Jo, and Emma for brunch at O.H.S.O. Eatery + nanoBrewery.
Everything on the brunch menu was $10, and our meals included a craft beer or mimosa. Now that's what I call a deal!

We all sat outside in the patio area, which was pet friendly. They make dog biscuits that customers can give to their canine companions, and they also provide dog bowls full of water.
That's what I drank my water out of.

After eating, I dropped Emma off at the circus, and then I went back to the Verizon store yet again. Between shows last night my phone began saying once again that there was no Sim card installed.
I tried the resetting trick the Verizon employee showed me yesterday, but it took several tries before my service would return.
Then again, on the way to brunch this morning I got the Invalid Sim message, so I decided I needed to get everything sorted out before our shows tonight.

Luckily this trip to Verizon was much faster than the ones yesterday. I was able to talk to the same employee who helped me yesterday, so I didn't have to waste time giving him the full backstory.
He simply placed a new Sim card in my phone, and I was good to go. Fingers crossed.....

The temperature today didn't reach 100, but it was still very hot in the tent, particularly for the 6:00 p.m. performance.

Not many people came to the shows tonight. I think folks were more interested in watching the big fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather.
Even the circus was able to enjoy the match in the backyard (enjoy might be too strong a word since everyone was pretty disappointed with the bout). Performers and crew would run over to watch between numbers.

The second performance was so painful. The people in the audience were just not into the show at all.
What made it worse was that our clown friend, Lance, was watching, along with Ryan's in-laws. Nothing like having friends and family watch you suffer and die in the ring!

5/3/15- 5:00 and 8:00 p.m.

This morning I joined Lance for a service at the Pentecostal church he attends. I had never been to a Pentecostal church before, so it was neat to see how passionate everyone was, especially the preacher.
Everyone I met was very nice and welcoming as well.

After church Lance treated me and a couple of his friends to breakfast, so overall I had a great start to my day.

Once again we only had two shows on Sunday, which was wonderful. I believe we are not doing the 2:00 p.m. performances here because of the heat in the tent.
More people were at the shows today, so it seems like only two shows was the way to go.

Ryan was complaining about being worn out and out of it today. I didn't realize how much so until we did the second vacuum gag.
When I picked up the vacuum's nozzle I realized that it was much lighter than usual. I quickly looked inside and saw that the sucked out face mask was not inside! We didn't have a way to end the gag!

I quickly explained to Ryan what happened, so after his pants got ripped off, he chased me out of the ring.
Luckily Marcos picked up on the fact that something was wrong, so he gave us our announcement as we ran backstage.
We're fortunate that everything was ready to go for Duo Exxtrem's act, which follows us.

Backstage I tried to figure out what had happened, and Ryan told me that he simply forgot to set the face.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Thursday, April 30 & Friday, May 1: Phoenix, AZ

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

Today I drove to Chandler, AZ to visit with the Taylor family. Barbara Taylor was a clown on Ringling's Red Unit in the 1980s, and now she and her husband, Martin, have a family circus with their children Elia, Aubrey, Ian, and Liam.

The Taylor family treated me to breakfast at T.C. Eggington's, a great breakfast restaurant that is close to the lot we'll be playing in Mesa next week.

After eating we went back to the Taylor's house where Barbara showed me some of the costumes and props that she had made.
In the middle of one of our conversations, Barbara whipped up a delicious batch of cherry scones for me to take back and share with Ryan and his family.

The Taylor family was so nice to me, and I had a great morning and afternoon visiting with them. I can't wait to spend more time with them when we get to Mesa!

The temperature reached triple digits today: 101 degrees, to be exact.
Not surprisingly, it was still warm in the tent by showtime at 7:30 p.m.

I received some upsetting personal news right at the beginning of the show, and I was down for the entire performance.
What's worse is that my mood affected my performance, and I had an awful show.

My funk must have caused a cosmic disturbance in the ring, because as the water tank was pushed out for Duo Exxtrem's act, it came off of one of the rails just as it reached the entrance of the ring.
Mecho and Mira were unable to use it for their act, and we had to run out for finale dodging the giant tank in our way.

I'm not sure how they got the extremely heavy tank back on the rails after the show, but I don't envy anyone who had to deal with that problem.

Marcos España invited me to join a group going to see the new Avengers movie tonight after work, and at first I wasn't going to go because of the mood I was in. Finally I decided I needed to get out and occupy my mind instead of wallowing in self pity in my trailer.
I made the right choice.

Marcos, his brother Julius, and Franchesca Cavalini, and I caught the 10:30 p.m. showing of "Avengers: Age Of Ultron" at the mall's movie theatre.
I expected a huge crowd, since the movie just came out, but we were four of eight people in the auditorium.

Since we saw the film at a Cinema Latino location, the movie was in English with Spanish subtitles.
Two and a half hours of mindless entertainment was exactly what I needed, and I enjoyed the film, even if I didn't like it as much as the first film.

5/1/15- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

Happy First of May, everyone!

For those of you who don't know, and I'm paraphrasing here, circuses used to hit the road on May 1st, and so new circus performers are still known as "First Of Mays".
One of my favorite parts of May 1st is looking at pictures that my circus clown friends post on Facebook of their first year with a show.
I posted this photo from 2003 on Ringling that I felt perfectly summed up what it is like to be a First of May.

Sandor Eke, my personal big brother/bully

This year I had a very frustrating First of May. I spent all day up until showtime dealing with my phone at the Verizon store.

Ever since we arrived in Phoenix, my phone has been acting screwy. My signal was never strong, and my phone would drop a call anytime I moved even a few feet.
When I found out that no one else on the show with Verizon was having service issues, I decided to go to a store in the Desert Sky Mall to hopefully solve the problem.

After much troubleshooting to no avail, I was told to go to one of the big stores. There was one about two miles away from the lot.

Once I got there my problem was pegged as a manufacturer error, so my phone was replaced with a new version of what I already had.
It took forever to transfer all my photos, contacts, and other information from one phone to the other, but finally I was able to go home.

Not thirty minutes after leaving the store, my phone flashed the message Invalid Sim Card, and I was unable to make calls, send texts, or use the Internet.
I was cutting it close to show time by this point, so I rushed back to the Verizon store to see what the problem was.

The staff member who helped me tried a simple reset of the phone, and after that my service returned, and luckily all of my information was still intact too.

Weather wise, today was another triple digit day, and the audiences coming to our shows were just not having it.
It was so hard giving the people all our energy and getting nothing in return.

In the first performance Ryan and I popped a car tire at the beginning of the carpenter gag, so we spent all of our free time after Intermission replacing it.

Then, when we were throwing the beach balls in the audience during the second show, my ball got a rip in it, and it quickly deflated.
Mind you, this happened on my second throw, so I was left with nothing to do for the rest of our time covering the Russian swing set up.
I pulled every bit of schtick out that I could. I gave the deflated beach ball CPR, and then I began doing hat tricks with the bowler I was wearing from the carpenter gag. Luckily that got me through until the end of the number.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Tuesday, April 28 & Wednesday, April 29: Phoenix, AZ

4/28/15- 7:30 p.m.

Today I met Doug Boyd for lunch at the Olive Garden next to the lot. Doug was a clown for three years with Ringling's Blue Unit, and then he went on to build props at Clown College, tour as a clown on Clyde Beatty, act as general manager on both the Blue and Red Units of Ringling, and work as technical director for Cirque Du Soliel's "Love".
As you can guess, we had plenty to talk about!

Besides my lunch outing, I spent another low key day at home.

We had a small crowd for the show tonight, and they were not responsive at all; they didn't even give Carmelo the time of day.
It was very surprising then when everyone got huge cheers from the audience in finale.

After the show the cast gathered in the ring to film a video for Facebook wishing everyone a "Feliz Dia Del Nino" (Day Of The Kid), which falls on April 30 and is a big deal in Mexico.
Everyone had to wear foam clown noses, which knocked them all down to me and Ryan's level. That'll learn 'em!

4/29/15- 7:30 p.m.

This morning I went to Encanto Park in downtown Phoenix. The park had a golf course, a fishing pond, and even a small amusement park.

Naturally my favorite part of the park was the ducks and geese. I got to see some adorable baby goslings (while keeping my distance so I wouldn't have to be chased by angry, protective geese parents).

I also got to see two male ducks fighting over a female duck. That was worth my whole trip, and it gave me many valuable tips for future dating attempts.

Tonight when I came back to the men's dressing room from the water gag, everyone was amused to see that I had a bee on my baggy pants attempting to sting me in the butt.
Ryan and I made the joke that the bee was willing to end his life by losing his stinger rather than have to watch more of our comedy.

After the performance Alexa asked us to film another Facebook video with her announcing the winners of some free tickets to the shows in Phoenix.