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....


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