Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Thursday, August 13-Sunday, August 16: Chicago, IL


8/13/15- 7:30 p.m.

This afternoon Ryan and I caught a train and headed to downtown to visit Chicago's Chinatown area.


We had a huge lunch at a dim sum restaurant, and then we went in many of the shops to browse. Ryan was looking for a Mahjong table, but they were just a bit out of his price range for the moment.
After visiting a couple of markets so Ryan could buy all of the Asian groceries his heart desired, we caught a Lyft back to the circus.

Our friends, Greg Parks and Beth Grimes, came to visit this afternoon. Greg worked with me and Ryan on Ringling's Clown Alley, and we have known his girlfriend, Beth, since we joined Kelly Miller.

Greg and Beth watched our show tonight, which had a fantastic audience. I was happy that the power stayed on during the carpenter gag, because when they saw the show last year the generator died towards the end of the act.
Both agreed that the ending is a lot better when you can actually see what is happening.

There was a radio DJ at the show who had given away a lot of free children's tickets to the circus on his show. He came out before Intermission as a special guest so he could say a few words.
Memo told him that for all of his hard work the circus was going to provide him with two lovely dancers, and they were going to take him back to the dressing room for 15 minutes.

That was the cue for me and Ryan to enter wearing our mock ups of the dancers' feathered headdresses.
I linked arms with the DJ, and as the three of us were exiting the ring, Ryan goosed the DJ.....hard!
The bit and his reaction got a big laugh from the audience.

In addition to Beth and Greg, our friends Don Lansu, his wife, Phyllis, and their daughter, Donna, were at the show.
They brought all kinds of goodies for me, Ryan, Tatiana, Nico, and Abrianna.
Don brought two movies, "The Gambler" and "Focus", for me that we had talked about when we met up for lunch. I was equally excited about the walkie talkies that he brought for Nico.
Thank you, Don, Phyllis, and Donna!

After the show I went out to grab a bite to eat with Greg and Beth. They found a little 24 hour diner not far from the lot that had a simple menu.
After eating we all headed over to Ryan's trailer where we visited until the power cut off at 2 a.m.


8/14/15- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

This morning Greg and Beth took me to the West Town Bakery, a cool restaurant that Beth had visited on one of her previous visits to town.
They had an impressive array of items on their menu. Beth ordered vegan S'mores pancakes, and Greg and I both had Morning Poutine, which contained fries, short rib meat, cheese curds, chopped red peppers, sausage gravy, and a poached egg on top.


West Town Bakery is also famous for their doughssants, which are long john style doughnuts made from croissant dough, so of course I had to pick up one of those to go!

To avoid lapsing into a food coma, the three of us headed over to Berwyn where I took Greg and Beth to Horrorbles and Reel Art, the horror and movie memorabilia stores that I love so much.

This time around I spent more time browsing in Reel Art, and I found some reel treasures (pardon the pun).
I picked up a souvenir magazine about the movie, "Gremlins", that had all kinds of cool articles and photos about the making of the film.

Beth and Greg visited with me and Ryan for the rest of the day, and then they took off just before the first show.

Right before the second show our friend, Alex Zaprudsky, arrived with Jojean, one of his co-workers from Camp Courageous.
Alex just finished working at the camp this morning, and so he came to visit with us for a few days.
He is heading to Israel this winter, and it may be a year or two before we see him again.

After the show Alex, Ryan, and I caught up with each other at the birthday party for Visan's brother, Andrei.


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

This morning Alex, Ryan, and I played a couple of game of Mahjong, and then we watched the hilarious movie, "Walk Hard".

After a quick trip to the supermarket, Ryan made tuna melts, and Alex made homemade hummus. The three of us had quite a delicious lunch!

Even though I didn't have a strenuous day, I was feeling worn out for the shows tonight. Luckily once I got going I didn't have a problem getting through the two performances.

At the first show we had a guest radio DJ nicknamed "Chuy". Naturally, being the nerds that we are, Ryan and I heard it as "Chewie", so we started doing the Chewbacca roar from Star Wars.



At the conclusion of the second show a little boy ran up behind us in the ring and started trying to pull Ryan's wig off.
He then ran around in front of us and began trying to pull my wig off. Not succeeding in that, he ran over to Ryan and began twisting his clown nose until it came off.
Meanwhile the brat's mother stood outside of the ring taking pictures of the whole scenario, not doing a thing to stop him.

Ryan and I began calling out, "You're a good parent!" and "You're doing a great job with your son!", but since I don't think she spoke English, our smart aleck comments were mostly for us and the other performers around us.
It was a shame that a fine night of shows had to end on a low note because of a little demon spawn from the audience.

After work Ryan made stir fried vegetables and heated up some duck for me and Alex. Tatiana, Nico, and Abrianna had been visiting Carson & Barnes since Thursday, and they arrived back at Vazquez sometime during our two shows.


8/16/15- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

This morning Alex and I went to Panera Bread to pick up breakfast for ourselves and for Ryan and his family.
We spent a couple of hours before show time eating and playing Mahjong in Ryan's trailer.

Alex took Tatiana, Nico, and Abrianna out today so they all wouldn't have to sit around the trailers while Ryan and I did the three shows.

The first audience was really rough, and it gave me and Ryan a pretty grim outlook for the rest of the day.
Luckily things got better starting with the second show, and we ended with a great audience for the 8:00 p.m. performance.

I gave a very simple Inspirational Speech before the third show. I simply went around the group and had everyone name one thing that made them happy today (mine was that a little boy after the first show knew us by name and said, "Bye Steve! Bye Ryan!").
Even though it wasn't a complex musical number or a funny original speech, I think the idea paid off, and people were sufficiently energized and motivated.

After the shows I took Alex to a couple of my favorite food haunts over in Melrose Park. First we had  french fry topped hot dogs at Gene & Jude's, and then we followed it up with Italian ice for dessert at Johnnie's Beef.
Well, I had a beef sandwich for dessert too, because I'm a hog.

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