Friday, August 18, 2017

I'm Seeing Double!

Hey everyone, Steve Copeland here. We are down to the wire here in Baraboo; only a little over a week left to go before the end of the summer season. I’m sorry I didn’t post last week, but we have had a lot going on after work, and on top of that, I was coming down with a cold and spent all my free time resting. Here are some of the highlights from the past few weeks:

First a lowlight…..I’ll get the bad news out of the way so there is nowhere to go but up. Last Friday I went to the Hippodrome building in the morning and noticed that all the lights were on. I then noticed that our dressing room door was open. Finally, I noticed that the lid of our tip jar was off, and the cash inside was gone. Uh oh.
Upon further investigation, we discovered that a box of batteries had been stolen as well. Ryan’s microphone and belt pack had been taken out of its case and was laid out meticulously, and the frequency had been messed with. Thank goodness it was still there. Our microphones, our musical instruments, nor our sound effects machine had been taken.
Over at the big top it was discovered that all the candy in the concessions tent, a leaf blower, and the computer that the lights are run off of had all been stolen as well. Fortunately, there was a clue left behind. The dirty so and so who stole everything left his phone at the scene of the crime.
The police now have the phone, so hopefully after a little good cop/bad cop, the phone will start to talk. Here's hoping some justice will be served up, although I’m sure we won’t get our money back.

One day during a morning show someone discovered a snake under the bleachers of the big top. Oliver Ramos, owner of the tent, went to investigate and see if it was poisonous or not while a few of us, me and Ryan included, tagged along to satisfy our morbid curiosity. It turned out to be a harmless garden snake, but Oliver wanted to get it safely away from the tent before it freaked out a customer or worse, an animal. 
Oliver borrowed an empty cardboard box from us to try and trap the snake, but it proved too quick and elusive. Ryan and i were watching from a safe distance, but at one point the snake started slithering towards us, and Ryan and I about leaped onto the top of the tent trying to get away.
Finally Oliver captured the snake and held it by the head so it wouldn’t bite him. He was carrying it to the woods just as Adilson was finishing up his chair act. Since Oliver runs the lighting cues from his computer, he had to make a detour into the tent to change the lights for the next act. 
It was hilarious to see Oliver standing in front of his computer while a snake’s body was limply hanging down from his hand. The audience couldn’t see it, but it was a great visual. For all those concerned for the snake’s well being, he was safely released into the woods, and he's really turned his life around. He now runs his own real estate business.

Every Wednesday in August some of us performers from Circus World go to the Ho-Chunk Casino for Circus Nights, where we perform a 20 minute show for the casino patrons. A casino is a strange place to give a circus performance (unless you are Cirque Du Soliel), especially a performance that the gamblers are not expecting to see. We set up on a little stage by the bar where we have about six people watching the show, a dozen or so walking by and shooting us curious or wary glances, and then the vast majority of the barflies looking up from their drinks occasionally to stare at us with indifference. 
Luckily the casino and (for the most part) the customers have been kind and welcoming, and fortunately for me and Ryan, we don’t have to perform as clowns. (Our market research has shown us that the last thing a seasoned gambler wants to see is a circus clown.) Instead we wear our Nothing But Nonsense wardrobe and perform as comics. 
Dave runs our sound and coordinates these shows, Robert hosts them, Ryan and I try and amuse ourselves and occasionally the audience with our shenanigans, Jacob juggles, and Wesley performs on the unicycle. 
The first performance we gave was pretty rough. The biggest impact we had on the audience happened when one guy after hearing Jacob D'Eustachio announced, turned to his drinking buddy and said, "Hey, that guy's name is Pistachio." Yep, that was about the extent of the reactions we got for that first show.....
Luckily the casino shows have gotten progressively better. We just try and have fun, and we hope the gamblers and drinkers do too.

Right after the Ringling Homecoming, Pamela went to Alabama and the Kure Beach in North Carolina for a couple of weeks to see her family. I was so happy she got to spend quality time with her son, but I sure missed her like crazy. 
I’ve realized that I have become completely dependent on my wife, so when she left I lived like a feral animal, hunting down squirrels and eating them raw, burrowing into the growing piles of filth in the trailer at night to go to sleep, letting my waste fall wherever it would……it was not a pretty picture.
But Pamela just got back to Baraboo last weekend, and so the last of the squirrel carcasses has been thrown out, and she is making delicious home cooked meals for me once again. Life is good!

During the first week of August Ryan and I participated in the Give Back concert, which is a fundraising performance that benefits the Al Ringling Theater. This year’s show was organized by Emily, the daughter of our friends, Greg and Karen DeSanto.
At the beginning of the summer Emily asked us to be in the show, and after throwing around ideas, we thought it would be hilarious to parody the clown act Greg and Karen were going to do by coming out right after them, completely dressed like them, and then try and do the same act they did, only to screw it all up.
One night Ryan and I went over to the Casa De DeSanto to see their act and then we improvised our version. Once that was out of the way, we had a lot of fun talking late into the night.

Our original idea was to have Greg and Karen do their act, and then the M.C. would announce, “And now, with a completely original clown act, here are Steve & Ryan”; we would then come out dressed like Greg and Karen, and begin the same act.
Emily asked that instead, as her mom and dad left the stage, Ryan and I would immediately come on from the other side. It worked great and got a huge reaction from the audience.

Luckily Greg and Karen had duplicate wigs and wardrobe for us to wear, and we looked pretty damn funny dressed as the Mini DeSantos. 

Even funnier (or scarier) was seeing us during the dress rehearsal the day before when we didn’t wear make up.

The act that Greg and Karen performed went like this: Greg and Karen entered, and Karen began playing the ukulele. Greg proceeded to eat a banana, and when he finished, Karen would end her song. As Greg would start to leave, Karen would begin playing again, and Greg would have to eat another banana. This happened several times, each time getting funnier as Greg was obviously more and more reluctant to eat another banana.

In our version, I “”””””played””””” the ukulele (the word played surrounded by many quotation marks since I in fact cannot play the ukulele at all), while Ryan began to eat a banana. Halfway through eating it Ryan dropped it on the floor, but I kept “””””””playing””””””, so he had to finish it.
As Ryan began to leave I started to “”””””””””””””play”””””””””” again, and when Ryan came up short on having any more bananas, I produced a raw potato for him to eat instead. For the final part of the act I produced a pineapple for Ryan to eat. 

You don't wanna know where I had that stashed.

Before he could attempt to eat the tropical fruit, Greg and Karen came on stage and confronted us. We acted terrified, but Greg and Karen began to laugh about the absurdity of the situation. We started to laugh too, relieved that the tension was broken.

Karen then peeled two bananas and gave them to me. She then proceeded to knock them into my face, smear them around, and then kick me in the butt, sending me to the floor.
Greg then took the ukulele and smashed it over Ryan’s head, completely obliterating it. (Let me tell you, I’ve never been happier to have bananas smeared in my face).

It was so much fun to get to spend some quality time hanging out with our friends, and it was an honor to share the stage with two of our clowning heroes. I told them that when I was a kid watching them both on Ringling, I never would have thought I’d get to share the stage with them….as them! It was a wonderful and fun opportunity, and I am grateful to Emily for asking us to be a part of the show, and to Greg and Karen for being cool with us parodying their act. 

Well, I think that is enough for this week’s blog. Tune in next week for more!


Paul Gutheil said...


Stan said...

So you are dressing in drag on the weekend? What is next? I am afraid to find out.

Steve Copeland said...


Dragging in dress.