Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thursday, September 3-Sunday, September 6: Aurora, IL

9/3/15- Day Off!

After only 4 hours of sleep last night, Ryan and I were not the cheeriest people in the world as we headed off to Baraboo, WI around 6:00 a.m.
We started to perk up after some breakfast at Panera Bread, and as we got closer to town, the prospect of spending time with our friends made us even happier.

We spent the morning at Circus World Museum with our friends Scott O'Donnell and Dave SaLoutos,   and after lunch with them at the Chinese buffet, Ryan and I headed over to the International Clown Hall of Fame to visit with our friends Greg DeSanto and Sandy Weber.

The four of us had dinner down the street from the ICHOF, and Ryan and I reluctantly had to leave Baraboo around 9 p.m., which put us back in Aurora around 1:00 a.m.

The long day and eight hours of driving were all made worthwhile by sharing so many laughs with our friends.

9/4/15- 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.

After our whirlwind trip to Baraboo yesterday on just a few hours of sleep, my bed and I had a lot of catching up to do.
I slept so much today to rest up and get ready for our opening night shows.

We had fantastic audiences for our first two performances in Aurora. Lenny De La Rosa, an actor appearing in the telenovela "Yo No Creo En Los Hombres", was our special guest tonight, but I'd like to think that the high attendance for the shows was due to the excitement of the people of Aurora over having the circus in town.

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

I had another lazy day in bed, but I was able to get a couple of business e-mails sent out as well.

We had a fantastic audience for the first show; Ryan and I really rocked the crowd with our gags.

Since we were able to clean our water mat outside during Intermission, I was free at the start of the second half to watch Vincent Von Duke's tiger and lion act.
I found a good position under the bleachers and settled in to watch.
Unfortunately, I was sitting underneath the clumsiest people from Aurora, IL. Every couple of minutes someone would drop a shoe, a light up toy, or a phone under the seats and then see a clown lurking underneath their feet when they would look for their fallen possessions.

No one ever questioned why I was down there; they just kept asking me to retrieve their goods. Even though I was doing nothing wrong, being spotted by the audience while I tried to watch the show made me feel like such a creep.

There is a standard poodle with a pink mohawk that is part of the Pompeyo Family's dog act, and his name is Sugar.
Oftentimes on the way to opening I will pet Sugar, and he will stick out his paw to shake hands.
Tonight we continued with our little ritual, but when Sugar went to shake, he shot his paw out very quickly and nailed me in the groin.

I should have taken that as a sign of things to come.....

In the water gag Ryan was chasing me with a bucket near the end of the act. The soles of my shoes were slick, so when I turned quickly on the ring rubber, I wiped out and landed on my face.

Ryan is unforgiving when it comes to chases in our gags, so I knew that he would be hot on my heels.
I jumped up as fast as I could and grabbed the foam wine bottle off the top of our crate prop.

I spun around, and sure enough Ryan was almost on top of me. I threw the wine bottle at Ryan to slow him down a bit, but instead of sailing past him, the bottle crashed into the bucket Ryan was carrying.
Ryan instinctively fell down, but in doing so, he turned the gimmick that releases the spring snakes inside the bucket.

The blow off of our gag was now ruined, but we had to continue anyway. I felt like such a chump!
Luckily we redeemed ourselves with an excellent carpenter gag.

That's the last time I try to shake hands with a poodle!

9/6/15- 2:00, 5:00, and 8:00 p.m.

This morning Emma and I had brunch at the Pomegranate Cafe, which was near the lot.

Before the first show Ryan and I were visited by our friends Sandy Weber, Greg DeSanto, and his daughter, Emily.

The three of them watched the first performance, and I felt bad for the them because it was ridiculously hot in the tent, even with the air conditioners running.

We had several friends from our Kelly Miller days come to watch the second performance. Rick and Paula Purdue, Charlie Bellatti, and Dave Williams were all front row center showing their support.
Check out some of the excellent photos that Rick took of the show at this link (the ones from Aurora are towards the bottom):

While we were visiting with our friends, Rick introduced me to five year old Julien Zoppé, son of the renowned clown, Giovanni "Nino" Zoppé.
Julien's mom told us about how Julien has been our biggest fan since seeing us on Kelly Miller, and he watches us on Youtube all the time.
I got a Steve & Ryan 8x10 photo from my trailer so that Ryan and I could autograph it and give it to him as a gift.

That whole encounter gave me a great topic for my third show motivational speech. I talked about how at the 2:00 p.m. show Ryan and I got to perform for Greg DeSanto, one of our heroes.
I told the cast how as a little kid I would always look for Greg when I would visit Ringling, and now it is an honor to have him come watch us perform.
I was then able to bring things full circle and talk about how we had just met Julien, who is the age I was when I went to my first circus. Hopefully in twenty years or so I'll be sitting in the audience watching him perform.

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