Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fair Season is DONE!

Shared the stage with the very good clean act Hypnotist Tammy Harris-Barton
Matt Mavrick Burton (I'm stealing his cards.)
An honest pose.

With our last show at the Tehama Fair in Red Bluff came the end of our fair season and the start of our Theater and Corporate season. 12 days from now with the props cleaned and the focus shifted we start on the less dusty of our markets.

We performed our standard three shows...the 2nd show had to be short because the diaper derby was starting 30 minutes into our front of our stage area. So We did a very fast show...Jugglin Jim did only 2 of the shows today because he had to head back up to college for early classes tomorrow.

The last show's audience was the smallest we had all weekend with around 80-100 people and they weren't as spunky as the other audiences. Not the best way to end a run. Still we made a bunch of friends, net some new performers, tasted some good tri-tip and smoothies, and had a generally good time.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Red Bluff---Day 2

Sleeping beauty-----during the show.
Princess admire a tank of fish...the first time we saw a mini-aquarium with all kids of local fish at a fair.
In the floral building the Princess pose in front of a really long cactus.
Cowboy he lost 13 lbs since May (SIlver Dollar Fair....check it out on the May blogs)
The nice smoothie vendors...if you are at a fair and see this stand...get your drinks here.
Peyton's Mom owns the Science exhibit.....the Princess' endulge in the sciences.

Amazing Light Schedule today....two stage shows and some strolling.

Both audiences were full houses and the shows went swimmingly! It's nice to have Jugglin' back with us....he missed a few gigs due to the first year of college stuff. His character and showmanship are brilliant.

There is a strolling juggler at the fair as well. He is 35 but looks like he's 17 or so. He is very talented but like some he chooses to wear tie-dyed shirts, different color vans shoes, sequins vest and or hats, and baggy pants. Being cotton the outfit is somewhat faded and comes across artisian-hippy-ish. (He is from Berkley.) I mention again he is very talented but not a showman...he has substituted the loud ridiculous for the clever and polished. But I mention again he is VERY talented....he can do a lot of great stuff with his juggling and unicycle, etc....but he comes across as a big brother fooling around with the kids. But he is skillful.

There is also a close-up magician doing a close-up strolling show with mostly cards... He's Matt the Maverick. He is excellent. his sleight of had is great and he has great presence. He wears cowboy gambler wear.

Olivia fell to sleep laying prostrate on the stage near the sound during the first charmed the audience.

Tehama District Fair-last fair of the season

The Princess with our vendor Friend Michelle...she gave them all the accessories you see...our sound man is on the phone behind them.

It's nice to end our Fair Season with a fair close to home. Last year we closed it with a fair in Texas. Still only 60 miles from fast food. Don't get me wrong, we love traveling but after a very busy and successful season a slower pace is least for a short time. We start our theater and corporate season October 10th. (We still do an occasional festival or theme park during the theater season.)

The Red Bluff fair has great audiences but the stage there sucks. It's tiny, it holds heat in, and it has low ceilings. We haven't performed here in six years. We've resisted until this year....I gave in to the money...I feel so dirty.

We have come a long way these past six years. We've learned to acclimate ourselves to any stage...and if we can do it here we can do it anywhere. Instead of using their back stage we set a tent on the side with our trailer and we are working out of that.

The stage is skirted with cheap plastic birthday party plastic skirting and it's not fire-rated. So when it caught fire when a drop of fuel grazed it I had to pat it out....dumb....burning plastic sticks...and burns. There was no danger of a fire engulfing the place, and I should've used a towel to smother the fire....I have icky burns on my pinkie and ring finger now. OUCH! It's not too bad but it hurt.

the two Little Princess' drew first blood when it comes to being treated by vendors. The Aloha Smoothie people took a liking to the girls and the got little plastic tieras, magic princess wands, leis, and little stuffed dolphins, and a smoothie each. We have know these people for many years as we have worked events they have vendored at. Just last year we worked with them at the Sonoma County Harvest Festival. Like us they bring their child on the road with them. Really nice folks.

The Swan Bothers are here too (the clowns who perform a cute program for kids). We work with them at least twice a year.

Two bands that are regulars on the Norcal circuit are Wylde Side and Cottonwood. Wylde Side are the ones we worked with at Modoc. We share the same hometown. Cool dudes. Cottonwood we worked with at Silverdolalr Fair. Made the mistake of talking politics with them. I am a right wing Christian Nut and two of them are cool-aid drinking lefties (all said with smiles and a wink) bless their hearts. They told me straight out that ABC News and the New York Times don't make mistakes and are not slanted toward any party. HAH! That's like saying Fox News is the all Obama station. (By the way I am not Republican or Democrat. I am one of those Independents the candidates are I have no dog in this hunt.)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Newark Days (Day 2)

This picture appeared in the local paper on Monday.

Our first show wasn't until noon so we got to sleep in. Then after a good hotel b-fast and a run to the local Lucky's to get lunch and snack food (we don't do fair food....$$$$ and health) we got to the park and started the clean up. An empty stage becomes the play ground of kids, teens and adults. it also becomes a picnic ground. People when in public at a fair or festival and with friends become pigs. I mean that. The filth they create, the garbage they refuse to throw away, the damage they are willing to purposefully create is always surprising me. Sadly, we also have come to expect it. "Don't get on stage", "stay off stage" etc signs become mere decorations. One sign even had a gang "sign" drawn onto it. This is the only part I really hate about fairs and festivals. We even found an empty bottle of booze (whiskey) in our backstage area ( in Modoc a few weeks ago we found a used condom). Sad to say most of the mess isn't from kids but from adults.....I've witnessed it.

OK, that rant aside.

Tamaka and the Empress, a really nice magical pair, performed with us today. They are really good and they are very nice. We both drew good crowds. He is also a Christian Magician and it is always nice to be around brothers and sisters in Christ.

An old high school friend, Connie and her son, came out to see our show. It has been over 25 years since I saw her. She is looking good and has a very nice son. Her husband (a football star of yore ...she was a cheerleader...a match made in heaven or television) and her daughter couldn't make it. Still it was nice to see her again. I guess since the passing of a good friend and classmate, Paul, a month ago has made me a bit nostalgic. By the way her son was very helpful in our pack up.

We were packed up by 7 and on the road to home....three hours later we pulled into home base.

Another fun, safe, and blessed trip complete.

Today (Monday) is Titus' B-day...He's our disabled son who doesn't perform int he show. he's 11 today.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Newark Days Day 1

The kids on the stage...noitice the banner. It's our old show banner before the Circus name came in. The event is magic focused.
Magic Dan and the girls.
We are in Newark, Ca right next to Fremont, CA for those of you who have no Idea there was even a Newark, CA. We are performing at a local event called Newark Days; a celebration of the city of Newark.

We had to leave home base at 4:30 AM so that we could get to the park where the event was being held so that we wouldn't be blocked from getting in due to a race and a parade... we had to be there before 8AM. We made it! We are sharing our stage (the stage we brought) with other acts. One act today, Magic Dan and tomorrow Tamaka and the Empress.

Dan is a local Bay Area Magician that primarily performs for schools and libraries. He's a real nice guy and the kids like him. He drew good crowds. He doesn't perform big illusions; he performs smaller parlor tricks. His routines are well thought out and he is very good and working his name into the show constantly; a great PR move...people will remember him.

We had good crowds too. We reached a broader audience and, though all three shows were packed and the audiences were responsive, the third show was the liveliest. My humor seem to to go over well.

After good shows and a fun day we packed up and headed out to dinner (the trailer and tents stayed behind). We went to the best restaurant in Fremont, The Country Way on Mowry Ave. I went here over 25 years ago as a kid. They used to serve the drinks in mason jars. The service was ultra fast and the folks there are kind. All of us ate to our fill and still had to ask for take out boxes. MMMMMMM!

Like always the girls charmed everyone. One of the vendors even gave them each a blow up frog doll. Victor got a blow up airplane. The vendor's names are Larry and Linda and they are both magic enthusiasts. Nice folks. They both are full of stories of various performers they've met. He told one story about an event he went to that Harry Blackstone Jr was supposed to be at. But Harry had died a week earlier. Then he told a story of another performer who was supposed to be at another event but it turned out he too had died shortly before the event. I just want to make sure that any event I plan on going to Larry isn't supposed to be there because I might die the week before the event.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Coming up on shifting gears

Today was prep day for Newark Days, a festival celebrating Newark, CA. It's a pretty big festival and the theme this year is Magic (last year Circus) so we have fit in two years in a row. This and Tehama County Fair in Red Bluff, CA next week caps our fair-festival season as we move into the multi-market month of October....sometimes festivals, always amusement parks, and theaters, some school family fun nights.
Today was also the day I spent painting the new illusion, Things That Go Bump...where I make three ghosts appear and then I close myself in the illusion-box (looks like the top tier of the Adams Family House) and then each hopping ghost takes off it's sheet the third one being me....but wait I was just int he's empty now! Even adding smoke pots to the box. It should be done next week.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Short Time Off- new stuff

After the Children's festival last week we have taken a well deserved nearly two-week stint off. But, let's face it, there really is no such a thing as time off. I say that because while on the road office things, household things, school things,etc pile-up. So we play catch up with all that.

There is also the touching up of paint, fixing the broken, washing and cleaning the dusty and dirty, and building the new for the show. Those who watch our show and show up at least 15 minutes prior to the show know we use a cool song at the 15 minute mark prior to the show. It's called, "Bump in the Night" from the Scoobie Doo Movie. I always wanted to do a trick to that music. As a kid I saw Doug Henning perform the a trick that is called "Bump in the Night" where he makes several "ghosts" appear and at the end one of the ghosts turns out to be Doug, who you just saw a second's easier to explain if you see it. And you will be able to see it next month. I have already began construction on the Illusion (though the method and props are different from Doug's it's the same concept).
Doug Henning
We have also taken the research from our strong man routine performed by Victor (we test performed it at the Cantaloupe Festival) and are moving to stage two taking the lesson from the tests as well as redesigning the props.

Princess Amelia will introduce a very cute but very perplexing mind reading puzzle to her repertoire. She will read the audience member's mind with the help of a teddy bear. Don't let the concept trick you into thinking this is going to only fool kids....I promise you adults will be just as puzzled.

People waiting for new wand tricks on the wand tricks page won't have to wait much longer I plan on having them up this week.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Glenn County Children's Fair

With the end of the first part of our west coast tour last week end I thought a week without shows would be nice...turns out when you're on the road the stuff around the house piles up. And since we don't have a maid, a Gardener, and the like the work falls on us, the the new fence is section by section getting put up, the grass is getting mowed back down from jungle length to respectable crew cut length. The weeds are getting pulled, the office is getting cleaned up...HA....Too scared to tackle that one yet.
Well, Saturday brought us a little break in our break (we return to a heavy full load next weekend). We agreed to perform at an event just 45 minutes from home, the Glenn County First 5 group asked if we would do a stage show and strolling from 10 am to 2pm in Willows, CA.
It went swimmingly! We brought only 3 or our 12 4X8 stage sections and it was a good thing we was a cramped area with quiet a few vendors and activities for the kids. It was a bit worrisome at the beginning because the seating (or standing) area in front of our stage was the intersection of the two roads where the event was taking place, and they had turned it into a kids obstacle course of sorts. So at 5 minutes to show start no one knew where to stand or sit. We set a travel cloth (covers props in the trailer) to sit on (the road was getting would reach 100 degrees). Still even with announcing it seemed no one was coming over. Then at about 1 minute 'til they showed up. We had a good sized audience for an event this size (the smallest event we've done this year).
Miles and Cynthia did the strolling and the little ones hit the vendor booths and amassed a fabulous booty of toys, pencils, coloring books, etc. One eye doctor booth gave away sticky eyeball know throw them at the wall and the stick...if you can get them unstuck from your hand. A shout out to Sierra, the office manager running the booth.
We ended up providing the sound for the event as they didn't have any other...well they did but they didn't have a sound guy to work it so we were the default. An older couple from the town did some singing using our stuff too.
Off to home after the clean up because Jugglin; Jim is coming home for a visist.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Last Day- Home and a Birthday

Getting a free ride around the fair with Andrea the Fair Manager and today the lady that drives the water sprayer cart.
Princess' boogieing with the clowns.

Pink Gorilla riding his bike enticed by a banana. (Our new strolling act)

Free Bull rides ( a bit scary)
Not scared here!
The tiger show with their human prey....I mean trainers.

Labor Day at the Fair- Not as windy. Today's first show was scheduled at the same time the Parade downtown was scheduled so our audience was made up of about 50 people. It started to increase near the end of the show. Only two shows on Monday. The last show was also the last scheduled event at the festival so we had a good crowd.

As always it was pack up time and that went fast. The BBQ guy ( were generous and gave us a couple of giant BBQ tacos, a Bubba -rib rack and a large Pork Rib bone. Vendors at these events are often so wonderful and nice.

Nice thing about this gig is that we are only 4 hours from homebase and the next three or four days are gigless (no gigs).

Tuesday (today) is Princess Olivia's 3rd b-day so it was pancakes for lunch and shopping for a couple of dresses, shoes, and toys from a big toy store (who refused to sponsor us once so I won't mention their name).

Ice cream and a jelly-bean cake tonight.