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!


Roger Berkley said...

You were no more than half an hour from our New Jersey digs. Sorry we didn't know the show was coming. Dan & Lisa were in from Chicago for Thanksgiving and on Friday (after Thanksgiving) we went to the Big Apple Circus too!

Steve Copeland said...

I wish I would have known you were so close. I seriously slacked off on contacting nearby friends by the end of the tour.


Jack Stokvis said...

I too wish I had know you were so close
Will now have to wait a while
See you down the road
Jack Stokvis

Steve Copeland said...

Sorry, Jack. Hopefully we'll be back in NJ sooner before later!


cirbly said...

Wish you guys would start having "Adventures" again. I miss my daily reading while having lunch, laughing, and getting indigestion from all the laughing!

Steve Copeland said...

I have been so lazy about posting about the last week of Vazquez and the Christmas tour, and I apologize for that.
Pamela and I have been on the road the past few weeks visiting family for the holidays, but we just got back to Hugo to get ready for this summer.
Expect an update soon.


cirbly said...

I'm glad you had a great Christmas with family and friends. I do want you to know that always amazes me how in your busy world you do find time, and are as consistent as you are in getting great stuff out!

Planning on visiting Baraboo this June for the Model Builders Convention. My wife says she hopes to meet you duck!


Steve Copeland said...

Hopefully I will have some new ducks come the spring. My last two ducks I gave to a farm in OK before joining Vazquez.
See you this summer!