Friday, May 29, 2009

Unicycle Mishaps

When you perform 350 shows a year and you use a unicycle in most of those shows you are bound to wear out a part, experience strange happenings, or screw up.
Jugglin' Jim, the 19 year old juggling prodigy of our show, my eldest, has been using unicycles for nearly 6 years now and has used his 5 footer for nearly as long. As you learn the unicycle or uni as we call it, you are bound to have screw-ups on stage. The first couple of months this isn't uncommon. Jim was lucky however to run into Chaz Marquez(I think I have the name right) at a fair we were performing at. Chaz is either the holder of or former holder of a couple of unicycle records including world's tallest unicycle. He took Jim to the side and blessed him with a ton of information that turned his uni-riding into artful bliss. But all that practice and insight can't prepare you for the broken chain, the stripped seat tightener, the broken chain tensioner and the spontaneous popped tire.
At last week's fair on the 2nd to last day. The part one would least expect to break, the chain tensioner (a simple eye bolt like thing with a cross bar on it to hold the tension on the chain sprocket), just broke. It isn't a moving part but I guess it moved in vibration or torque enough to snap at the eye hole. And of course it happened as he mounted the uni. Fortunately the less impressive but function 24" uni was nearby.
It seems that if it is going to go wrong it happens only during performance. The strangest mishap happened with no one even near the thing. It was laying to the side of the outdoor stage on the hot cement in Hemet, California...high desert. By showtime it was 100+ degrees. The slime in the inert congealed in two spots and the relentless sun reflecting off the white cement and beating directly on it as well forced the air in the tube to expand greatly between the congealed points and BAM! It exploded. Sounding like a gun shot.
Then ther was the time that the warn slick ground (made slick from my fire-eating fuel not evaborating quick enough) caused the uni to shoot out from under him and fly off behind him like a rocket flying into the skirt of the stage.
So much many things that can happen...I guess it's the spice of life.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Boysenberry Pie and Awards

What a great a million things checked off my list (OK maybe 10) including an MRI for my neck and construction of a new cage for the Sultan (our tortoise...took two large tote boxes, cut them long-wise and riveted/taped them together, added sand and rocks and vegetation) and to cap the day I went to the Student of the Semester Awards where Princess Cynthia got the award in two subjects. Now from my computer I go to the dining room to fetch a hot piece of fresh Boysenberry pie made 1/2 with berries from the farmers market and 1/2 from our own garden. Life is good.


You sometimes this blog will be filled with the happenings of the day...sometimes with sill stuff...sometimes with inner thoughts and philosophy.

Today, I have been thinking about fame. As a performer you naturally want it. With fame comes more bookings....I love preforming. With it comes more money...who couldn't use that. I want that kind of fame.... so that we can get more booking so I can make the living I love and provide for my family. BUT, I don't want it at all if it means the type of exploitation I see in People magazine, TMZ, etc. or if it threatens my relationships or turns me into one of those celebrities on People, etc. If I ever arrogantly stick a 1" thick cigar in my mouth and swirl a brandy at a popular celebrity club and I am not doing it as a joke but am actually taking myself seriously in that roll then put a fork in me...I'm done.
There are trade-offs for fame I suppose. And few can handle it without those trade offs, I suppose.
People postpone having kids for fame. Fools. People put their fame ahead of their marriage. Fools. And I have noticed that fame brings you many many friends who are really fools because when the fame is are they. Fools.

Now if I were to tell you my heroes who have fame, or a sort of it (people who have handled it well and humbly) , then I have to name Jimmy Stewart, Alex Trebek, and JC Dunn. All three men were or are terribly humble. They love what they do and they don't get their kicks flaunting their notoriety. If people know of them...great. If least they get to do what they love. OK, the first two you know...who is this JC Dunn fellow? Let me tell you. If you meet him you will remember him always. He is a generous, kind, sometimes silly, always entertaining magician friend of mine (who is reading this right now...Hi JC). When we are together for a lunch or just hanging out at a store, a park, a nature center and we end up, or sometimes just he ends up performing for the workers, patrons, kids, whoever, he is generous in telling everyone who I am so that if they ever want to book some entertainment they will remember my name. Big hearted man! (Truthfully it drives me crazy because he deserves the fame and name recognition because he is the one usually leading the impromptu performance and has such a powerful personality. He deserves any bookings that come from these little mini-shows.) But fame means little to him. He just loves what he does and loves to make others happy. Sometimes I loose sight of that and that's why I am writing this. JC is a blessing.
My family has had chances at fame; we have turned down a couple of exploitative TV offers and fate kept us from one that we were interested in but turned out to be a bad choice. In fact, if we can control the content we would take a good TV deal. But anything that could wiggle into the delicate fabric that binds my family and relationships and God then begin to eat away at that fabric in exchange for fame, or money, or momentary pleasure. Well you can keep it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Penguins---Appearing Kids and Glasses

The Penguin suit we ordered a long time ago from Peru came today. It's a member of our strolling acts. We call him Pal and he is awfully cute. But Princess Amelia in helping her big bro Miles out decided to pull the suit open like velcro jamming and breaking the zipper....Mama has some sewing. Still It's is a picture>>>

We also have bought rights to a new illsuion that is fast and very cool. An instant appearance of anyone of the kids. It's so cool we will only do it once per venue this summer. Video coming soon.

Victor Kent is getting old. Most folks get far sited as they know they need reading glasses. I went the other way. I have gone a tad near I now have glasses....mostly for driving at night and after long show days. Here is a pix:


Chances are the only time you will see them is if you see me driving at night or on after a loooong day.

After a deep, long winded blog yesturday I am keeping it short and sweet today.

Blessings on you.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Last day at the Silver Dollar Fair---Confrontations and resolutions

Memorial Day, the day to say thank you to those who have died to keep us safe and to those who were injured to keep us free and those who have sacrificed time and much more to give us those men and women I say a heart filled thank you. I come from many generations of military and in fact I am the first in many generations not to go into the service....I am the black sheep. But to my brother in law serving in Afghanistan I sincerely send my gratitude and prayers for his safe return.

We celebrated Memorial Day with three shows. With the first show being the blow-out best of the day and the second being the worst of the 4 days....not that it was was the hottest time on the hottest day of the fair and the numbers and enthusiasm wanes in the heat. The last show was great...almost as good as show one.

My good friends JC Dunn visited bearing gifts; he brought us a bunch of tiny bananas and fresh fruit and vegies. I guess he saw the juckfood we were eating the other day and wanted to help keep us healthy. My best bud Bill Jackson (also a Magician) aslo came out to visit It is always a pleasure to see him. The little ones, Bill and I all went for a nice post gig stroll. It was quaint. Always good to hang out with Bill and JC.

I suppose there was a bit of adrenalin in Show one that helped. A little background will help. In the ten or so year past we have performed seven times at the Silver Dollar Fair. The very first year we met the fair-supplied sound guys. it would be a rocky relationship to the end.

(These guys aren't pro sound folks and their equipment by pro standard was rock bottom with feed back all the time and phantom power spikes often as well as a number of other problems including variable sound shifts during the performance. But at first they also provided the fair with a western band {local garage type} so I am assuming the sound system was tossed in of maybe visa-versa. I should mention that the entire crew is two men, both amateurs, both brooding in character...I assumed the mean one was the leader but the quiet one told me they were partners...but the mean one certainly treated the quiet one like a subordinate. Over the years their equipment hasn't really improved and they have both enlarged and actually do very little work in regards to sound...though I noticed the fair doesn't hire their band anymore.)

I don't want to sound negative...though I am sure a I do. This story is just to illustrate that even the glamour life of performing allows one to cross paths with the not-so-nice. I have found this more often true in our California travels compared to our out-of -state trips. Go figure!

We were told, that first year, to share the closet on the stage with the sound guys to store our stuff. The sound guys didn't like it (but management made them concur)and when we had gone home for the night they moved our stuff chipping a fresh paint job on a new prop. I confronted them the next day and was called a liar but they did admit to moving it. But they wouldn't look me in the eye the rest of the fair. (A simple, "I'm sorry, it was a mistake." would've ended it.) So we brought in a trailer to store our stuff and not have to deal with that situation.

(This year duirng their set up and tear down of the music acts that shared our stage the sound guys' speaker where stressed many times as they struggled with phantom power problems and other situations of thier own creating.)

The next year we had our wireless mic plugged into their system. As I mentioned their system was quirky and whould often spike due to their phanton-power problems and due to the low-end stuff they use. Any pro would put a limiter inbetween the mixer/amp and the speakers to protect blowing out the speakers. Well, during one of their spikes I pulled our $600 mic reciever plug out of their mixer to prevent damage to our stuff. He siad I blew his speakers. He became a stalker of sorts because after the fair was over for weeks he would call and eventually he came to my house hasseling us. To shut him I paid him the money he wanted and thought that would end it. BUT>>>>>

A few years later we are back at the fair. By this time we only use our own systems and NEVER get anywhere near their stuff. They considered that an insult. But then again we had invested in really nice equipment being guided by seasoned pros we had met across the country including the main sound guy for Merle Hagard. ( Who by the way concurred the scenario of me blowing that guys speakers was ludicrous. ) They took that as an insult and the valley between us widened. So much so that I caught the quiet one actually slamming one of our cords on the ground bending the sleeve of the jack. He didn't see me standing nearby and once he noticed me he did a quick double take then pretended not to see me. I confronted him and he denied it. I was fact I was nearly out of my head angry. With no recourse I gave the family standing orders to always be present when our equipment was out. The valley was now a giant gorge.

I want to mention that I don't think these men are inherently evil. They have friends and they must being doing something right to keep getting their sound rebooked....even if it's the only fair or event they do...might be their price. I think we had a bad start and stupid things made the initial wound worse and worse until I also want that to avoid confrontation I have not confronted them or had any interaction with them beyond the unavoidable (and general civil) and the times I mentioned above.

Today, the mean guy was going into and then coming out of the closet I mentioned earlier. In doing so he hit the door against our metamorphosis box just outside the door. Quietly I said, "try not to ding the box." he looked at me a smiled....You know one of "those" smiles. Then without a word he walked off. I was incredulous. I was also near the end of meekness and letting this go any further. As I told our sound-guy-roady in training what had happened mean guy walks up on stage with a Sharpie and tells me I can use it to fill in his ding and "all the others" . (The box has a ton of's supposed to appear old...Houdini's Box....the point wasn't the was the courtesy, the "Oops, I'm sorry". ) With pen in hand he disappeared behind the stage. No longer meek I knew I had to confront him, no violence, no anger just straight-forward "what's your problem?" and get this taken care of. So I followed him....he went into the men's room and into a stall. I followed....but not into the stall. I confronted him...granted there was a stall door between us. He came out and came nose to nose with me. The chocolate he had eaten earlier rank on his breath....(I think he thought this might intimidate me) I didn't move. I told him that this years of junk had to stop. he had dinged my equipment and not apologized. He burnt out his speakers and blamed me...i detailed my research and proof that I couldn't have destroyed the speakers, he called me a liar, he called me an ass and a "crap-christian" He compared me to Dick Cheney (which told me his politics and them I knew reason had no chance) but he did say it was good my kids didn't inherit my crapiness. I kept on target...I wasn't going to be drawn into his name-calling, his ad-homonym attacks. I felt his anger and part of me was hoping he would take a swing. But I moved forward in this nose to nose and it was he who backed up and retreated into his stall yelling, "Crap christian" "Ass". I honked back, "Just the truth"...just telling the truth". I walked out to the echo of his "you're and ass. Crap-christian". (I should mention he considers himself a Christian. His term "crap-Christian" was meant to call me a bad Christian. ). My goal was to hammer it out or go nose to nose and let him know that I wasn't playing his game. I called him no foul names nor spoke any lies nor did I give into the desire to go after him in a personal way. I wanted to stay on the facts.
Some of you may wonder why I never took it to the manager. For goodness sake man, I am a man not a child. I don't run to the nearest teacher or mommy to complain. I try to work it out with the individual first. (Case in point coming up.) But I will be filing a grievance against this man with the fair board (in fact most of this blog will be included) since their is no rational way to deal with me mean -guy and his quiet friend.

Now here is another situation that had other results. At fairs their are folks with all kids of personalities. So you are bound to have personality conflicts. The owner of a small circus at the fair and I were chatting when he turned the conversation to politics. I told him it's better we not argue that. (He and I are on opposite spectrums). But he kept bating me and I bit. With the bite he pointed out that I hypocritically was arguing politics with him. The end of the conversation ended with me leaving in a huff and him going to his backstage in a huff. Well I knew I was in the wrong to take his baiting, regardless. I also knew our paths would cross many times. So I manned it up and marched myself to his tent and apologized for allowing myself to be drawn in. Then I suggested he and I never talk politics and for good measure religion. He concurred, then started trying to make his point from the day before....his grown son at that point said, "Dad. You agreed not to talk politics." And he quieted down. We then spent the next 20 minutes talking about the fair business and show business.

Both men had a rage inside them And I felt it. I have discovered that my son James and I have the ability to empathize with others....not psychologically but physically...we actually feel the feelings of others as if they were our own feelings. It's odd. But we have experienced it so often it has become undeniable. The problem is if someone near us is angry we feel angry. if sad, we feel sad. It's not that we can easily rationalize out that it's someone else's feelings...we just feel it. In both the men I mention their was a deep ferocious anger. But today I remained master of the beast and in one case was able to tame it...for now. For the other, there was nothing I could do. I knew, because I had no anger in me today, not even for the mean guy, that the feelings I felt were his. I saw them in his eyes and smelt it on his breath. And while I still felt his anger I felt sorry for him too. It's as though I glimpsed his pain. The circus man, I felt his anger as I came near him but I felt something else as I apologized (specifically for my being baited and being drawn into the fight). I felt a smugness come across him. I smiled. He was feeling like he had one a tiny battle in a life that has been unfair. I felt it with him. Odd, I also felt myself feel sorry for him that such a thing would bring such a pride.

God gives all of us so many wonderful gifts. The sound man is a good singer, well fair, better than me. The circus man a good old fashioned performer. I enjoy his show. They both have friends and are probably good citizens. There are just things that happen when the chemistry of personality and the sin of pride rules our lives. And it is often not very pleasant. I will include myself in there too.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Silver Dollar Fair- Swine Flu? Retirement! Old Friends!

Day 3 for us at the Fair....
It was a breezy and cool day and with it came me waking with a cold, or is it swine flu? Which ever I took a massive Vit.C Dosage and some other vitamins and went to the fair. Grant it when I got there I slept until showtime (below).

We had a ligher schedule because the plaza where our stage is located was used for the fair manager's retirment party. He and I are pictured below. A vendor from the islands gae him a cap that matches the vendor's own hair....proof we are in Chico, CA.

Buttercup finished up his shedding and so was able to join us today. The gasps from the audience was awesome. They even became popular at the retiement party. Below Princess Olivia shares her snake with a party goer and tells them all about it.

The young lady in the picture below (Cat) is sporting a necklae I "magically" made for her over 10 years ago when I performed at her birthday party when she was 9. She hasn't seen us in all that time but heard we were at the fair and came to see us....she wore the necklace to show me.

Once again packed crowds at our shows. We filled the house everytime. And they were enthusiastic. The hard part of the day is the long wait between shows (one at 1pm and one at 8pm) Jim had two juggling shows int here too. But the party mentioned above took performing time out. Just like any kind of work slow time is LOOOOONG time.

We passed the time by hanging at the party and eating cake, Playing board or card games, strolling, chatting up other performers, or resting. Jim's girlfriend came to the fair and we spent time with her as well.
The new roady, Nick, is working out really well. He is interning now but will join on for the summer tour as a paid employee.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What a wonderful day Silver Dollar Fair

Shark exhibit...there were even real live sharks.....The guy on the far left is Nick our new roady.
The whip on.
the donut guys.
Shamwow !
Day two for us at the Silver Dollar Fair in Chico. Three shows sharing a stage with two musical acts (one with extensive equipment) so our times were spread pretty far apart making it a long day...but not a bad day. After show "one" a familiar face came up and said to me. "Do you remember me?". It was a former assistant from about 9 or 10 years ago. She was all grown up and getting married in a month. Dana was always an eager assistant and had great stage presence. She was also the last of my long line of helpers as the Kent kids were getting old enough to do those jobs. It was wonderful catching up with her and chit chatting. As our time together wound up the owner of a tiny traveling circus who is also at the fair came over to chat and to offer Jugglin' Jim a gig for late September....we will be in Iowa at the time so we will be turning him down. Just as our time ended my good Magical buddy JC Dunn showed up with gifts of jerky, dip and chips. We spent the next hour eating, talking and and laughing.

Back to the first show. As many of you know we have a lot of routines, tricks, stunts, etc. So no two shows are ever the same. In show one we did the walking on broken glass. It's real. And I can prove it as I cut my big toe on a nice tiny piece of's always the little ones that do the damage. The addition of the blood just added to the reality and got wild reactions.

All three shows had good sized audiences....every seat filled and standers on the sides and back...though the full audience came in about 5 minutes into the last show.

The last show had another fun bit of action for the audience. Miles, for the first time in over a year, hit me with the whip....and for the first time in over 2 years he hit me in the face. It took the safety glasses off my face. The audience loved it. Miles was nervous from that point on....his long standing confidence was lost. We are posting a video of the whipping soon.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Elvis Lives! Tid Bits

While at Victor Jr's School's Spring Musical a classroom full of Elvis' took to the outdoor stage along with hippies, beach-blanket co-eds, and rockers. But, in my humble opinion, the kind of the little Elvis' was none other than my little Elvis, Victor Jr.
His teacher said he was the best looking little Elvis he had ever seen......OK have I bragged enough?
See you at the Silver Dollar Fair in Chico this Weekend...we start Friday night and continue through Monday. Who knows maybe little Elvis might make an appearance.
Today I had the pleasure to lunch with Bill Jackson and JC Dunn, two local magicians with a lot of class and talent to boot. Chinese was the flavor of the day and we had such a good time that even tears were in order from the laughter. After a great meal we went to the feed store to pick up a mouse for Buttercup when in the dog chain area good ol' JC had to try the chain through neck trick. Well, he goofed somewhere and surprised himself when he nearly choked the life out of himself. It was hilarious. Then we returned home to feed Buttercup and share more laughs. JC had found a great video on BBC that relates to ESP that was pretty astounding. We also checked out some old time performers videos that were incredible. the conversation turned philosophical about presentation. It was a cathartic day!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Four Eyes

Once apon a time long long ago when I kept 20 hour days going to school, doing shows, working at the Hilton, and dating I developed tired eyes at night...every sign was blurry. Seems without the same schedule I have developed tired eyes again....but this isn't from school, work, etc. this is a gift from life. And I don;t mean Life the magazine and that stupid free clock you get if you renew your subscription. Nor the cereal and the cheesy plastic toy inside. Nor the game where the only prize is winning. I mean the one we are given at conception and are forced to endure until that fatal last breath....I suppose I should say that live giving last breath...not taking it would be fatal. My glasses are round in the form of John Lennon or Ben Franklin...but not supper tiny as to call me a beat nick....though I wouldn't mind. I will post a picture when it comes. The nice thing is I don't have to wear them always only when my eyes are tired like driving 19 hours or late at night. So chances are you may never see me in them.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Updates-- Toady's Show---Theater Purchase...more

Well, May is here and under full swing. That means we are busy. The two days of +100 degrees last week at the fair did wear us out a bit. But we were up and swinging today.

We did three shows for a school not to far from our home. Jim, Princess' Olivia and Amelia and myself performed the three 40 minute spots as an end of the year hootenanny sponsored by the PTA. It was broken up by grades and we were "blessed" with the sixth and fifth graders for the second set. They sat the sixth graders the closest with a class particularly full of ganglings (future or nearly current gang-bangers) closest to us. The organizer didn't plan it that way the class just took it upon themselves to take the best seats. (Usually the younger kids are closer with the older ones in the back.) In spite of the negative energy of that group the set came off well but both Jim and I preferred the two other sets with the younger kids. Personally I don't like performing for Junior High aged kids (6-8th grades)...we won't even take bookings from them....not even for double or triple the cost.

Now the younger kids were awesome (pre-5th). The wonder in their hearts...the innocence...wonderful!

The Theater: Well, what can I say. The door seams open and the time ripe but I won't be eating form that tree. With the economy like it is and our fine government (state and federal) doing really dumb economic, really business unfriendly moves and threatening to do more (like cap and trade) I have decided to pass on the project. Cap and trade could triple (according to the White House) or multiply up to fifteen times (according to various other sources) the cost of energy. So a $4000 electric bill would rise from $12,000-$60,000 per month. That would kill us in one month. It would kill a lot of other small theaters too. At the very least the price of entertainment would go through the roof. )

A year back we started experimenting with Victor Jr doing a Strong man act similar to a feat performed by Magician Robert Houdin back duing a war France had with the Moores. It revolves around a small chest only he can lift. Event he strongest man in the audience can't pick it up. Many mangicians have come up with their versions over the years but I wanted to have a couple of methods at hand fo various performing situations. I am happy to report one is complete and the second is nearly there. Victor will be a strong manthis summer.

Do you think you could lift one of these boxes?....neither one is larger than 12" or so across.

Bet you can't!

But a little 7 year can...Victor Jr.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Glenn Vounty Fair: Day 4...and home again

It was HOT...for two days in a row it was over 100 degrees....but don't get you panties in a bunch and start creaming Global Warming you crazy tree hugging enviro-nazis. The fact it was only 2 days over 100 degrees in may in Glenn County California is amazing. It's the north central valley of course it's going to be HOT.
It is an interesting contrast between the humidity of the east though. Cuticles are dry, skin is dry, dry lips, dry throat, dry hair.....takes a couple of days to re-hydrate. Not complaining...just reporting. We went through about 30 gallons of water each day.
Sunday was very slow at the fair. This picture of the midway shows the sparse crowds at 3pm. It picked up later on as it cooled and after the 2 games 7s of NBA finals finished up. The ecconomy might have something to do with it too.....
Below are Princess' Olivia and Amelia and Victor JR with Dilly Dally the clown...Self taught balloon twister.....very creative!
Sudoku is the name of the game for lame Princess Cynthia. Our trakc star apranged her ancle a month ago and didn't stay off of it and so she was ordered to sit and use crutches. She will miss the State finals for hurdles this year. There is always 2010.
Patrick the young man who helped us load up the show each night. Nice guy!
We are back home and have a priate show tomorrow but will be back at the fair...this time the SIlver Dollar Fair in Chico, CA this Friday-Monday. Come out and see the show.
Buttercup missed Sunday's show as he is in the process of shedding his skin.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Day 2 and 3 at the Glenn County Fair

Local fairs mean we have to drive in and out to home instead of a hotel. There are pluses and minuses to this. Hotels are usually just a few minutes a way and a local fair we define as being within 2 hours from home..Glenn Co Fair is 50 minutes away. There is a ton of family related stuff that has to be taken care of if we are staying at home as well. A big plus is we can bring dirty clothes and costumes home for a quick cleaning (at hotels you have to use their laundry room if they have one and if it isn't being used by others.) The minus is you can easily forget those items at home and then discover your kids are missing theirs costume or part of the today. Victor Jr had no costume and the girls had no shoes.......So the first show went on with Princess Amelia in flip flops with a Burgundy Victorian dress and Princess Olivia with brown Mary-Jane's with a red sequence show girl outfit. Being a local fair meant I had Friends nearby and Uncle Bill, my good magician friend, was home. He went to my house and grabbed the items from my wife and delivered them to the show.....Praise God for him. Thank you Bill. A heart of pure gold.

While yesterday was a great day with almost no problems today had a few. The 100+ degrees of dry California heat meant we were hot and dry all should on all our faces during the 4:30 show and I felt sorry for the audience who faithfully sat through the whole show. We had a bunny prop that the bunny learned to work and escape from. The kids forgot to bring the glass out for the walking on glass routine and I had to fill the time with an emergency trick....I keep several of those in my cart for just such an occasion. Princess Olivia after walking on the glass went back to the side of the stage and sat down to put her shoes back on (no the correct ones) and unknown to me at the time started sucking on a toe. She gave the impression a piece of glass got in there. Turned out she was just being silly. The impression of left over glass in the foot was exacerbated by her walking on her heals instead of the full feet when she marched out to sing. Turned out she was still just being silly.
Found out yesterday that that the two construction reps who had a booth of sorts next to the stage were scared of Princess Olivia's snake. The management asked us not to walk by their booth with it as one of the tow had " a major psychological problem" with snakes. These men look like they eat nails for breakfast with battery acid as a chaser so it struck me funny that a 3 year old girl's ball python (notoriously friendly snakes) would cause such a reaction as to get management involved. I went over later and applogized and explained we didn;t realized her snake had scared the, They back pedaled and said that it really didn't bother them....Ego? Hmmm I don't know.

Princess Cynthia is still nursing her foot. She spranged the ancle 4 weeks ago and the heavy schedule and her not using her crutches has kept it sore. So we have been enlsiting a local youngman to help the load in and out paying him with items from the show store. He's a really nice boy and I am just to tired to recall his name. I should mention that I write these blogs late and while everyone else showers so my mind is not as clear as it would be any other time.

It has also been fun hanging with the other acts. Met with Jim the puppet car driver, Dilly-Dally the clown, Dennis the Baloonacy guy and Zippy and his brother Hi-tops several times through out the day. Fun stories and by 8pm everyone looked beat. The heat took it's toll today.

As far as the crowds I am told we are bringing the biggest crowds out of all the shows and we are holding them. In spite of the heat most are staying for the full 50 minute show. I wouldn't and I like my act a lot. Lots of wonderful people as well. We chit-chatted with many nice folks a many brothers and sisters in Christ.

See you at the fair.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Day One Glenn County Fair

&:30ish we pulled out in two cars to make it to Orland and be ready to perform by 10am...oday is Kids day so lots of school kids. Since we are close to home and the show will be a short one we only took the two little princess, Jim and Me. The 20 minute show was awesome...a ton of kids and all in good spirits. Jim drove off to a college class and me and the girls went home.
Everyone joined in the drive back up to Orland (nice to live less than an hour from a gig.) by 2:45 we were on the road but where was Jim....his class had ended over an hour earlier and he wasn't answering his cell phone. Nearly half way to the gig he calls...he had a test or we told him to just drive up to the fair. What we didn't know was he needed his stilting costumes back home and he forgot to tell us. So no stilting today. He had to be Magic Mouse instead. The sole of MM's shoe came off during the was one of those days.
On the stage show front the first show was scheduled at the exact time the gates were opening so the audience was wasn't until midway through the size grew big enough to make me a least a little happy and the energy level rose.
The second show, however, was awesome and all went well. In spite of the tiny things that filled the day to annoy or add a touch of stress (and bigger things like my spastic back) the day came off OK.
One of those little things was the need to relocate the show trailer and van to satisfy and make happy a vendor who was promised a "clear view" for his booth. The man was nonetheless entitled since he was promised it and was paying for the spot. Funny thing was when him and his coworker (big burly men) jumped out of their seats when 3 year old Olivia walked up to me while I was talking with them...she was carrying Buttercup (the python.....who was a hit at the fair.)

Glenn County Fair

In little Orland, Ca located about 15 minutes west of Chico the county fairgrounds can be found. This is where we can be found for the next 4 days. In fact, we have already started performing doing a special morning show for the school kids. These kind of shows are generally shorter than our standard show so just Jim, and the two tiny princess' and I performed...oh yes, and Buttercup the Python.
Before the 2o minute show we strolled around with Buttercup giving kids a chance to see and pet him however, we are rethinking the petting thing because one 8 or 9 year old girl grabbed his head and gave it a bit of a squeeze....I wasn't worried that the snake would bite her....Buttercup's defense is to roll up in a ball and pretend there is no threat (kinda like Democrats) not bite and make enemies think twice about trying that again (Like Republicans....not like the modern conservative-lite brand of Rs but more like the Ronald Reagan kick 'em in the butt but don't wake me if it ain't our guys shot down type of Rs). Buttercup wasn't hurt but since the potential is there we will keep little ones telling them all it's a rattler. Gonna have to tie a baby rattle to it's tail (some of you know that's just what I would do too). The morning AM show went awesome with Princess O making Buttercup appear from fire and Princess A reading minds and Jugglin' Jim doing a fantastic juggling set. I ate fire and hosted. Leaning heavy on the kids routines this fair due to a recovering back spasm.
Lots of great acts at the fair: Dennis the Big "Ordinary-Bike" balloon twister, The puppet truck guy, the Swan Brothers and us.
Come and see us at the fair....
to be continued....

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Yesterday we had the pleasure of being a guest "entry" into the 62 annual Kiwanis Kiddie Parade in Oroville, CA. As I mentioned in an earlier blog the last time we did the Miles was 3 and made the front page of the local paper....11 year later we made it again. This time Princess Olivia with Buttercup around her neck made the news.

Princess Olivia Kent, 3, a feature of the Kent Family Magic Circus carries a live snake around her neck during the Feather Fiesta Days kiddie parade on Bird Street in downtown Oroville on Friday.

Though it is a short parade it was a lot of fun and we got to see a bunch of local friends along the parade route. Princess Amelia pushed the small circus wagon with our big white bunny in it, Jim stilted while carrying our show sign, Indiana Miles bull whipped around, Cynthia was "Freckle-Face the clown and rode in the larger circus-wagon which Victor Kent Jr in dressed as Aladdin pulled. Mami (my wife) dressed in an oriental frock pushed Titus (my 11 year old...he's disabled) in his wheel chair. Titus had a ton of fun waving to the's tough for him; he hasn't fine motor control. But he laughed and enjoyed it immensely!

A quick mention...we did a similar parade at Butte College the day before for their Spring Carnival. We also did strolling magic, clowning, stilting, the snake, Pink gorilla, the dino walker and more. What a fun time!

Monday, May 4, 2009


You know how a little girl acts when she gets a brand new kitten? The wide eyes, the giggles, the excitement? I was reminded of that when a friend on Facebook posted pictures of her daughter with her new kitten. It was cute. Well, It's the same thing with my little three year old. She giggles, and is wide eye-ed and excited as her python slithers around her neck and along her arms. It's little face coming nose to nose with her as it's tongue pops out and tickles her nose. It's adorable....even her mom who is scared to dearth of Buttercup thinks it's cute......
I'm beginning to think we are an eccentric family.
By the way, I suggest to my FB friend that we get the pets together for a play date.... would've been cute...for a few seconds. She turned me down.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Snakes--Peace---First of the month Social Commentary

Princess Olivia has mad up her mind...It's Buttercup...even though the ball python is a boy and Monty Python would've been funny she likes Buttercup. He makes his first show appearance tomorrow night.

I have to say that the First of the month is not my favorite time of any month. Especially since we live in the county seat city. There are a good number of people who receive government assistance here and sadly it's mostly generational out here. So when the checks are cut from our generous government to those "less fortunate' (by choice or fate?) the local stores flood with a sorts of people and in my town a good many who haven't bathed in quite a while, nor know how to use a washing machine which puzzles me because it;s this time of month I can never find our favorite detergent in any store...sold out.
I have two stories from my trip into town today. Both may be related to the "first of the month"...but ,might not......I am not going to assume anything.
Story 1.....I went to the Wal-Mart. Did my shopping and in spite of the long lines and crowded parking lot I got in and out pretty smoothly. It was on my way out of the parking lot I ran into a pretty funny thing. AS I backed out of my spot and began moving forward a relatively old mini-van with fading paint and a nice layer of filth zoomed out of their parking spot causing me to hit the breaks. Sure I was annoyed but that turned to amused as I realized a hypocrite was in front of me. There pasted all over the back of the (what once was) blue mini-van were several peace signs, "make love, not war" stickers, "Pride Power", and other stickers and signs of various shapes and phrases that impressed on the reader this was a peace loving individual....until you read the green bumper sticker with yellow letters pasted dead center of their back read "If you drive any closer I'm going to slap you". I had to laugh.
The second story is bit more difficult to tell or understand. My town has only 2 full groceries stores and a number of smaller markets. At the lower end grocer I picked up the apples Jim needed for juggling tonight and my Sheboygan Sausages for my lunch. As I walked up to the register I spied a person when gender was difficult to tell. That occupied my thoughts for a moment and then again when it turned out she would be the person directly in front of the way the proximity of being in front of me gave me the clues to figure out "she". Now I'm not judging this person in anyway....I am just sharing my observations. To give you an idea she was from the grunge faction of teens with really long dirty-looking denim shorts, lower-Vans shoes, black baggy t-shirt with a hodge-podge design on it. He hair was long and greasy and she had a ring in her lip; no makeup. No smile. A brooding look owned her face. I couldn't help but notice that with just an tinsy bit of cleaning up and a smile and she would've been very pretty. She was a bit impatient with having to wait. There was a large Hispanic family in front of her with a whole bunch of food and stuff on the conveyor. Besides the food and stuff the dad had set a divider between the family's food and his beer and wine (just a large can and a bottle). When the conveyor belt moved along enough to fit her tofu and spinach she placed her goods on it. Not wanting to reach for a divider she too the one separating the beer from the food and used it to divide her stuff from theirs. Kinda rude. I was thinking since I was after her that I would take the same divider and divide my stuff from know send a message. I didn't. However, as I was think about that I realized the line had stopped all together and there was a problem with the payment process with the family in front of Grungy. Their teen daughter had to translate for the cashier so the process became more obvious to all of us in line. Their EBT (food stamp card) had only a $1.32 balance. While this was being discussed the dad was already opening a bag of chips and sharing it with his daughter int he cart. Their stuff was bagged. Turned out they were going to have to leave the food in the cart. But they did have enough to buy dad's been and wine with a $5.00 bill. My heart sunk for the kids and I was embarrassed for the family. By the time I really realized what was going on they were on their way out the door. The thought of paying the $143 bill crossed my mind. That all was washed out of my head when I went into the parking lot and watched the family drive off in an SUV nearly twice as expensive as my van. No commentary here....just a story of my trip to the store.