Friday, October 31, 2008

Rainn Rain Go Away!

Today, Halloween, we performed at our regular haunt in Elk Grove, CA. We have been doing Oct 31 for the last 3 or 4 years. It's a Christian Church and as an alternative to the ghoulish and spooky they offer folks a chance for an uplifting message, games, food, and entertainment. They get thousands of visitors. We performed three shows with a church "stomp" group performing in between our acts. We brought in our own stage for all this. It rained all morning but tapered off and by show time the clouds, though ominous, were impotent. Well, that is they were until the last show where it started to rain mid-way through. We continued until it came down in sheets and ended the show 5 minutes early. The last thing we did was Jugglin' Jim juggling fire while on his 5' unicycle. It was cool...the rain caused the torches to smoke ravenously while still on fire. The audience stuck with us until then. Right now the stages and props are drenched and in the trailer waiting to be dried tomorrow.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Picture arrived today...

A picture of me pefroming at Calico Ghost Town Ghost Haunt from about 6 years ago or so arrived today in the email. The gent says he willbe sending more.....the picture is "BC" (Before Chops) and notice Jugglin' Jim about 12 years old in th background and Dana my female assistant (Princess Cynthia was too young for the bigger tricks). Also Notice I am fat!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Calico Last Day - Red Ribbons - Family Fun Nite

Alrighty, we are back from Calico and Socal after a great Sunday at the Ghost Town. Normally Sundays at the town are slow but this Sunday was pretty busy. Still the festival drew fewer folks this year, mostly because of the economy and the fact there were several other events in the county this weekend. We had packed crowds at all three shows. And in spite of the fact that show 2 (AKA the 2pm Show) sucked, the other shows were great. I don't understand why 2pm show audience's are often quiet and hard to impress (maybe it's lunch settling and the heat). And here is the kicker, after the show we had a ton of folks telling us how much they enjoyed the show. In fact, many came back to the 4pm show...go figure.
Over the weekend Klaus the Blacksmith, after asking me if I knew how to throw knives, let me demonstrate with a knife he made from a Horseshoe. Eventually I had to stop because I was slowly tearing up the wood that made up the walls of the Blacksmith shop. He gifted me the knife.
The drive home was 8.5 hours and that meant we pulled in at 2:30...could've been sooner but fatigue and new road construction lead me off hwy 99 onto hwy 152 for about 5 miles and the 5 back plus 5 more south then 5 more north just to get to where I should've been nearly 20 minutes ago. Oh well.
4 hours sleep and we were up to go to a school a town away to perform a Red Ribbon show. 600 kids approved of the show. This show was only me, Miles and the two little princesses.
Back home it was a short nap and then an hour drive to a family fun nite at a school in the next county.
In case you can't tell...I am pooped.
More details of the above to come.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Busy Day At Calico and Grey Haired Magicians

grey haired magicians and the witch
relatives visit us...Cuzin Pamela is in the back (Yes I know I spelled it wrong)

The grey haired magicians

It was, as expected busy today in Calico. However, it turned out not as insane as we have seen it in the past. Still we drew the biggest crowds up there and that made for a good time. Grant it audience number 2 at the 2pm show were sticks in the mud (due to the heat me thinks) the 8pm audience #5 was awesome (due to the beer me thinks). I was told there was a parade in Barstow and an off road thingy going on nearby that drew some of the Calico crowd away.

Victor Jr had a hard day. he tumble down a hill and bumped his head (no seriously), then he dropped his lunch all over the back stage floor, and later when he was trying to stand up smashed his nose into a chair. He was looking forward to bed.

Apparently the dry air cause my nose to clog up and I ended up breathing through my mouth last night causing me to snore ( I rarely snore) and Princess Cynthia had to move to the bathroom floor to sleep. I know, it surprised me too.

At a show yesterday a young man came up after a show and thanked us for the show and said he was coming today as a magician. I told him real magicians have grey today he showed up with grey spray painted hair. Laughed by patooty off!

Did some knife throwing for the blacksmith. He made a nice knife out of an old horseshoe. Took a few throws to work out the balance and distance. Nailed the target!

Had an argument on Facebook with a Prop 8 opponent....jeez! Talk about the cool aid drinkers; can't people argue without using logical fallacies to support their side.

By the way YES ON 8!

Friday, October 24, 2008

It's a 5 O'clock World and jerks are everywhere

The kids in front of a ouse made from thousands of bottles. Built a long time ago.
Enjoying the greatest donut in the world...frosty's

Taking a bath? Am I really nude? Is there water in there?

Three in a bath.
Victor climbs a wall.
Dead Victor?

The Ghost Haunt officially started at 5pm tonight. Our first show 5:30PM. Since we arrived yesterday we had a lot of time to kill before showtime. At first we were going to visit relatives who live in Barstow but they weren't home so we stopped by the store for lunch provision and a quick stop at Frosty's (the world's best donut...make Krispy Kreme taste like dusty sand...I mean these donut really do melt in your mouth...they're big...twice the size of KK's and not encrusted in overly sugary glaze. I mean these are great!) We then headed off to Calico to set up and kill time. I took the girls and Victor all over the town exploring and the older ones studied and goofed around. The pictures above shows a few shots around the town.

The first show was fabulous and in spite of the show happening just 30 minutes after the event started we had a good crowd. The second show was a really big crowd and they were spirited. One man had a bit too many but was a funny drunk. I poked fun at him through-out the show. Then there were three young men, boys really. They mustn't be loved at home because they spent the entire show trying to draw attention to themselves with all kinds of annoying heckling. At the end of the show one kid came over to the front of the stage to explain in his loudest voice how he knew how such and such was done. I interrupted (with mic on) and said, "That's great kids now get out of here you are annoying everyone. He quietly went. Another of the boys tried to buy a magic wand (we sell after the show) I refused his money (and with mic on) told him I refuse to sell it to people who act like jerks during my show. I told him I would sell him one if he brought a parent to me and I sold to them after giving them parenting lessons. I then asked the crowd if there were any parent who thought I was being harsh. No hands. I asked if there were any parent that agreed with me.....50 hands. So I came up with an idea. If he apologized to the crowd and me then I would give him a wand. He did. I got many pats on the back after that by parents later on. One mom even brought her kids over to say thanks for the show.

We have since tonight talked about how to handle these types of hecklers and we have decided to send the older Kent kids into the crowd to not-so-nicely tell the offender to shut up or get out. Second offense we will publicly kick them out. We seem to have the audience on our side with this. A note to any parent reading this. It is your fault 99% of time that your kid is a jerk when you are not around. Be a parent not a buddy. Train your kids to be good when you are there and when you a re not.

All the regulars Klaus the Blacksmith, Nugget Norm, the Piano man, etc are all here.

Soup, salad and Bagel night for the Kents.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

8 hours Subway and Udon

It seems like just a week ago we did this drive....oh yeah, we did.
Outside of watching a couple of skydivers zig zag down and land at the airport right off the hwy in Lodi the trip was pretty standard. Grant it there were a couple of construction zones that weren't there last week and the search for a restroom occupied a bit of time on the latter half of the trip: the Shell at Weedpatch Hwy was once again packed with Chinese tourist waiting for their buses to refuel. So 25 miles later we are at a Texaco in Tehachapi and whoever was in their single restroom with a toddler (we could hear him or her) was in for the long haul.
We have made it a habit to stop and pick up dinner prior to checking in and then eating in our rooms after the check in. Today we feasted on Subway, udon, and gyoza. MMMMMM.
Today I must admit I carried a lot on my mind so I came down a bit heavier in thought than usual. Hopefully this will pass. James is with us and that is nice.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Back to Calico

Well, We depart for Calico once again in about 12 hours. This time we are joined by the brilliant Juggln' Jim who has been off at college. This weekend being the same week as Halloween will be insane in number. With gas prices lower and everyone needing distraction from the economy of the election it should be record crowds.
A potential client will be coming out to see our shows to be considered for their event. That's how many clients have come to use us.
The return on Monday brings two local shows (a school assembly and a family fun night). So the next 5 days will be very busy. But that's the biz!
By the way we are on Facebook now. If you want to chat with us, blog with us, share with us, anything else here is the profile link:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tid bits and bits of tid

Nugget Norm, a real life miner at Calico (see his picture in the previous entry), told a funny true story to us while we stood around in front of our stage waiting for the Sheriffs to per-walk the two teens who assaulted and battered another teen (see previous entry). Being a Ghost Haunt event Nugget painted is face white (at least the non-whiskered parts) and was sitting on a bench. While he sat staring off into nothing (he was just resting and daydreaming), a visitor to the Ghost Town must have thought he was a manikin (there were many ghostly ghoul manikin and the like around the town) because without a word to Nugget she sat in his lap, "not noticing the soft lap", he said. Realizing she didn't know he was real he got the idea to take his arms (currently out-stretched to his left and right along the top back of the bench) and slowly bring them around the unsuspecting sitter, much like a robot arms would do- never actually touching her. He got two reactions from her (it was a woman): one reaction he expected, the other he didn't. She screamed and jumped up....that was expected. While screaming and just before standing she peed- unexpected. Two people learned a not to sit on a manikin without checking to see if it is indeed a manikin; the other learned not to let anyone think he is a manikin.

I have noticed over the years that I have grown to be a bit politically incorrect in my show. I slip in little jabs and pokes at the insane politics of our day. Neither a Republican nor Democrat I have the freedom to see a lot of the squabble from outside. I have a couple of thoughts for all you out there just for fun: Do you realize that both major candidates are from the lowest rated congress (Senate) in the history of the US? If we are to judge each candidate by the roads of their state (Since they as Senators are supposed to get money to keep those roads maintained) then drive Illinois highways and Arizona Highways....Arizona highways are smooth...Illinois highways are the worst in the country next to Hwy 80 near Truckee, CA. How can either candidate say they can bring has been in the Senate for decades, one comes from the infamous Chicago Political machine and has been in politics for 25 years. Both are millionaires...yeah they understand us (not). Let's face it most people are issues people and are siding with the candidate that reflects their view on their issue closest. Both men hare espousing socialist ideas but the Rep is espousing a little less, while the Dem seems ready to move a bust of Marx into the White house. In case any of you like the socialism idea I want to ask you one question...can you name a country where socialism broguth anything but ecconomic collapse? National security is easy...the Rep is the choice. I have read many articles and seen many news pieces....the terrorists are hoping for the Dem...that says volumes. The economy is a tough one. Neither one seems on the right track. What experience or what good idea has either man had? In the end remember this ...... Almost every president elected has NOT kept their promises from the campaign trail..... They WILL SAY ANYTHING to be elected!

OK, I have ranted about politics.

Alrighty then....

You know how thoughts rattle around in your head until the rattling gets so loud and you just need to say something sometimes.....well that was what just happened.

Some people ask what goes on between bookings on the home front. I have mentioned some of the things in previous entries, but I thought I would give you a more complete picture. Take today for example. On the business end today I have to prepare and mail about 100 postcards to potential clients, I have a couple of contracts to put in the computer and mail, I have to check the website for updates and a couple of phone calls to clients to return. In other words, I am a marketing and advertising guy, a sales guy, a demi-lawyer, a secretary (filing too), and more. I also have to prepare the props that need prepping for the trip back to Calico this Thursday. I have household things too. I drop Victor Jr off to school, the princess' to the grand parents house, the wife to and from the dentist, mow the lawn and pull a weed or two. I also have to clean Bobbi the wonder Cockatoo's cage. The costumes need to be cleaned and checked and the kids all need to be picked up today. All of a sudden the show business life sounds a lot like any other persons life. I do have to admit between gigs when the honey-dos and office work are done or if i just don't feel like doing them I have more free time than the average dad. But I make up for it when the tour schedule goes crazy during the spring through autumn.

See I told you ...tid bits and bits of tid.

Notice the dynamite in Nugget's hand. Nugget had a great idea that we quickly discovered was a bad idea. He thought it would be cool to whip the fuse out of the dynamite. I thought it was cool. We learned something about fuses on that day. Miles Whipped out the fuse, it fell to the ground where it (still lit) spun around and around like a small 4th of July fire-work. Then, when the fuse burned down small enough that it's weight was right, it flew off into a tree like a bottle rocket (albeit a tiny rocket). Luckily it burned out before it hit any flammable part of the tree.

I actually was thinking it would be a good thing to add to the show until I realized the fuse could fly into a drape, curtain, bail of hay or somewhere flammable so that thought is now gone!

In the words of Paul Simoni a friend of mine from my High School days until today (even though he is now is Heaven no thanks to cancer) Thank you, I love you and God Bless you!

Remember the secret to true success is to Love God with all you heart, all your soul, all your body and all your mind!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Last day of part 1 Ghost Haunt-Where's Waldo and more

Where is Waldo?
Miles, Victor, and Nugget Norm
A stick bug takes the stage.
That was a spicey taco!
Hot Hot Hot!

OK, Sunday, in spite of being the slowest day on the usual, was very eventful. The audiences were smaller but so was park attendance. (Next week will be insane.)

It has become a tradition that we are booked for a 10 am show on Sundays at Calico. That tradition also includes virtually no one showing up because the Christians are at church and the heathens are recovering from hangovers (no a joke down here). So with permission we canceled the 10 Am show. Instead we tried taking some fire-eating publicity shots. That attracted about 6 people over and that lead to me teaching a couple of men how to eat fire. I should mention that the first step in learning to eat fire is to get over the fear of having fire in you face. The first guy had no problem with that, the second couldn't overcome the fear. It was very funny to watch (for those busy bodies who are so concerned with others' situations when you should really be concerned about cleaning out your own closets I kept an eye on the men's safety).

A short time later there was a ruckus going on at the same spot where a lady had slipped and cut her leg badly a couple of days ago. Rangers were dealing with an injured kid. But unusually the first officials to show up were two sheriff cars. Then the ambulance. The kid ended up getting a neck brace and lots of bandages. Turned out it wasn't an accident, but a couple of teens had jumped another and beat him up. They were local boys. As one drove off in the ambulance the tow others did the perp-walk to the back of the deputy's car. The most action on a Sunday morning at Calico in a long time.

The blow by blow commentary of information was given to us by a local who plays an old miner at Calico, Nugget Norm. He knew the kids in the fight and said they were the local punks. He also had a ton of stories about Calico and the area over the years. The stories included a man on PCP who got into a fight with him and a bunch of other guys at an event at Calico several years ago. There was also the story about a man who decided to take the easy way out by running a pipe from his tail pipe to the interior of his car and how he found the car and the body on an old back road. Or how he and a PG and E guy found a man who found a man hanging from one of the service towers out in the desert. Or the time....well, let's just say he was a man who lived a very colorful life.

It's Halloween up here so there are costume of every type; montors, angels, animals, ghosts, ghouls, and even a Waldo. He sat and watched our show. In fact I saw him several times during the day all over the's was the easiest "Where's Waldo" ever!

Clean up was easy this time around. We just had to load it all into the back stage. No trailer loading! WoooHooo! (Since we are coming back in 4 days.) The drive home was quicker too because we didn't have the trailer.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Day 3 of the Calico Ghost Haunt Tour (day 2 of event)

Here's our stage.
The gunfighters...they've changed a lot since we started 12 years ago.
This is the Calico Piano Player...he's been here forever.
Aunt Lucky came over from Barstow for a visit.
During clean up this desert Tarantula strolled passed our stage. It's migration season. The kids really loved seeing it. It measure about 6" across.
What a day. By our recommendation we performed 5 shows today; 3 shows performed 2-3 hours apart is a tough schedule so we asked a couple years back to do as many as we can. Also sales for our post show magic and novelties are always good at Calico and more shows means more sales.
Today had many more people than yesterday and we had packed seating at every show. We rotated three shows with a special last show that had the cremation illusion (One of us gets turned into a skeleton after going through a fire).
We all finished the day extremely hungry in spite of all the food we had today...five show can do that to you. So a trip to Vons to get microwavable stuff and then off to the hotel where we are all stuffing ourselves right now.

Almost forgot: The little ones are constantly making new friends. In fact, today one little girl who assisted Princess Amelia in her act came back to another show just to give the Princess a necklace she made for her. It made Amelia very happy. But she is aware of her popularity. She told us, "I don't know why, but everyone sees us on stage, then they want to be my best friend and they give me things." She says it in a matter of fact way. ( By the way we really try to dissuade people from giving the kids stuff but often it happens out of my sight and even though the kids say no the gifter usually insists and the kids give in.)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Calico Ghost Haunt Day 2

A shot of the blacksmith shop outside made up for the Haunt. I have no idea who the lady is...didn't realize until I uploaded the pix on the computer that she was in the picture.
A ghostly welcome at the front gate.
Klaus the Blacksmith.
This used to be the medicine show wagon...they moved it, painted it a gross color and now it sits doing nothing.
The not so busy town a couple hours before the official haunt begins. Tomorrow night it will be insane!
Only two shows today. Set up seemed slow without James. After all for the last 11 years James was always there with us. To say it is weird to be without him here is an understatement. It's comforting to know he will be with us next week. Still for the light crowds (after all it's still 2 weeks until Halloween) we had good crowds. The only routine I don't think worked out well for these crowds was Seance. Had some problems with in in show one and it just seemed long and anti-climactic in show two so we are cutting it.

Klaus the Blacksmith, a regular here at Calico, was back at his anvil today. He has lost weight and looking healthy.

Wayne "Damage" (that's his moniker during the Haunt) the ranger who is always so helpful, was here today as well.

While setting up an older woman fell over some low rocks and cut her leg open pretty good. The whole thing happened near our stage area. An ambulance eventually had to come up. There was a nice blog clot puddle and they put gravel on it to clean it up. Silly me nearly slipped an fell due to the gravel a little later on.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Calico Ghost Haunt Mini-tour

For 12 years we have been traveling the 8 hours to Yermo (outside Barstow) California to perform at a theme park I used to visit as a child. Calico Ghost Town is an actual town that went ghost-town when the silver mines dried up. After changing hands a number of times the town is now run by the county and it's basically an old west themed amusement roller coasters or twirling rides...still it attracts a lot of visitors from around the world. They have several festivals over the year. One is their Ghost Haunt held over the two weekends leading up to Halloween. They take the old Maggie mine and turn it into the greatest spook house in the world. After being scared out of your skin you come out the top of the mine and come off the hill where the Livery Stable Stage and the Kent Family Magic Circus performs their show.
This is the only time of year we perform our Cremation illusion and a few other "seasonal" tricks. We love the audiences up here and the area is packed to the point where you can hardly move. It's fun!
Well, the drive went smoothly...I noticed that late morning starts feel longer than early morning starts. Late night drives go fairly quickly too. We have our regular stops and can figure the eta of our trip by the stops. One stop is a gas station outside of Bakersfield. The last three times we have stopped there we have arrived just as a tour bus with Chinese tourists arrived....they flock right to the rest rooms clogging things up for so long that we had to just leave. Today the bus was there but this time they were loading into the bus so the bathrooms were open and the visit went quickly.
Nothing special happened today on the drive. We passed cotton fields and corn fields. We passed citrus trees and walnut trees. We drove by Andrews Air Force Base and a billion sage brush. There were Joshua Trees and purple mountains. It was a nice drive.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

PPAC Show October 10-----Success--It's Theater Season

This time of year,after the fairs and after most festivals (still have a couple) Theater and Corporate Season (with a little bit of school shows thrown in for good measure). For the past four years we have kicked the Theater portion off with our show at the Paradise Performing Arts Center (PPAC). We debut the new illusions/routines for the season; which is another way of saying we audience test them. Last night we debut Bump in the Night (which fooled my wife even though she knows how it works.) and re debuted (haven't performed in over 10 years) the Vanish (where one of us stand on a table we just built out of two saw horses, two 2X4s and a flat board, toss a foulard in front of us and then immediately vanishes....and the table is promptly taken apart.), and the re debut of a routine we only did for Halloween shows aver 4 years ago, The Seance (where Princess Cynthia is tied to a chair next to a basket full of stuff from the remains of an old haunted house, a curtain-hoop made from the bed curtains of the haunted house are raised in front of her the instruments fly and bang and honk and clang. Then the drape is lowered and she is still tied tight. Much more happens including an audience member joining her.)

All in all the show was a success and in spite of a couple of technical glitches (the worst being the lights tech missing her ques and screwing up one trick as a result; the other glitches were un-noticeable to the audience. ) The AM show was a sell out and the PM, though not a sell out, was in the black ink. Both audiences were enthusiastic and happy with the shows according to post show comments (We have friends and staff out in the audience and lobby to listen in and hear comments so we can fix the things people don't like.

I dropped the show off at the theater the day before and we did a bit of set up before heading back out. The next morning we arrived about two hours before curtain and finished setting thing s for the first show. Jim came down from college to join us. Having grown up doing this and knowing the show the way most kids know their gameboys and cell phones the show was deftly put together and ready to go. The show ran smoothly and even Princess Olivia who was visibly sad when she was introduced (some ting went on back stage that mad her sad....still don't know what it was but with a three year old it could've been anything!) After the show we met and greeted the audience on their way out then changed and started the PM setup.

Though there was 8 hours til curtain the setup time included rehearsal of the new things and technical work for our new set. Also since we were using the fly system to lift some props there was the weight balancing of those and the setting of the lights. Naturally food, naps, and personal stuff had to be worked in as well. That's life on the stage and backstage; especially for a family with little kids.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Death is sad!

We are introducing a new illusion at this Friday's show at the PPAC in Paradise, CA. It's Called "Bump in the Night". The basic concept is three ghostly goblins will be made to appear with a cool twist. We have built the prop and are in rehearsals with it. In doing it we have experimented with various costumes. Miles was modeling a "reaper costume" with an evil metallic face. He liked it a lot but when we all decided it wouldn't do (remember he's in the costume) he turn, slumped his head and sighed. It was death was sad. We all burst out laughing.

Monday, October 6, 2008

PSA on KUBA Radio for PPAC Show

Below is the script recorded at KUBA studios to promote the PPAC show this Friday:
Imagine cheesy circusy music in the background.

The Kent Family Magic Circus-Paradise Performing Arts Center

Are you suffering from body odor, bad breathe?
Is your stock portfolio not as meaty as you would like?
Are you tasteless and droopy? And more meaty than you would like?
Well, there isn’t much I can do about any of these things….
But if you want to have a ton of fun, get your mind off the crazies on Wall Street and Washington then I bring you real Hope and Change, Bring your family out to the Paradise Performing arts center this Friday night at 7:30pm and enjoy the mysteries and comedy that is the Kent Family Magic Circus. The show performed by a real family; a dad and 6 of his 7 kids.
You know, 9 out of 10 psychologists (that we paid to say) say that during harsh economic times individuals need to spend a certain amount of time each day getting their minds off their troubles, in fact they specifically mentioned the Kent Family Magic Circus …and no better way to do that then to take that short drive up hwy 99 to Clark Rd to Nunnley Rd in Paradise and catch the Kent Family Magic Circus perform magic, juggling, fire eating, bull whip tricks, why there is even a 5 year old who can read your mind! Blows my mind.
Once again the Kent Family Magic Circus at the PPAC this Friday October 4 at 7:30pm…. mention this commercial and one child under 12 gets in free with one paying adult.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Update October 4, 2008

We are in the process of retooling for the upcoming theater Shows.

Newark Days sent me a copy of their local newspaper and low and behold we made the front page of the local section....a big picture.

We are excited about our new Bump in the Night Illusion and have started rehearsals. It will depute at this coming Friday's show at the large and beautiful paradise Performing Arts Center in Paradise, CA. The PPAC is where we traditionally kick off our theater season introducing our new routines and illusions.

This is year we are introducing Bump in the Night, bringing back Seance (a routine where Princess Cynthia, tied and bond to a chair conjures up "spirits"- perplexing and funny), as well as a number of other smaller routines and tricks including Miles with a new Whip routine (to depute in December) and Jim with some new tricks in his juggling repertoire.

This past week I also met with JC Dunn, the incredibly nice, very funny, creative, did I mention nice, member of the Magic Castle, knowledgeable, nice, friendly, kindly magician and The very cool Bill Jackson- extremely creative, very smart magician and friend.

Also this past week or so I opened a Facebook account (under Victor Kent) so go and become a "friend".

And finally I have published the three newest wand tricks for the Victor kent Crystal Metalic Magic Wand. It can be found at go to page 7...there is even video of it.