Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Day 3 Traveling East Iowa-Indiana-Ohio

Utah Salt beds. (Day 2)
Tire-change day 2 due to tread seperations causings a lumpy tire...after the change fuel mileage imporved. Until I was forced to use ethanol in my gas then it dropped again.

Victor created this flower from gum foil, a straw and chewed gum for glue.

We are in Ohio after another long day of driving. Forget about global warming it has been cold out here. We had to wear jackets for half the day whenever we got out of the vans.

Breakfast in Iowa (at the hotel). Lunch in Indiana (Burger King). And dinner in Ohio (on the Turnpike at a fast food Italian joint....it wasn't half bad).

Wish I had some fun stories from the road. The kids played the Alphabet Game (finding words that begin with a, then b then c...... in order. We did a van vs. van version via walkie talkies.)

The girls found a million more "maracas" (cell towers that look like the instrument.)

Princess Cynthia has done three days of 11 plus hours of driving....doing swimmingly.

Sometimes the road demands things you may never do anywhere else. yesterday James could not hold the build-up of liquid in his body and so unable to reach us in the lead van he went to the back of CC's van and filled a bottle. Sorry for Any images I just gave you.
The mild weather is keeping everything so wonderfully green. It has been a beautiful drive. The ridiculous windmills popping up along Wyoming and Iowa are ugly and from what I understand use a ton of carbon to manufacture, transport and set up, and maintain (it takes 6 very big Big-rigs to haul on in, a craneto set up, and lots of grease. ) Hope the output makes it worthwhile.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Conducting business on the road. In an earlier blog I mentioned my "office box" a box filled with all the things needed to be an office away from home...I forgot to mention the two most important items..this computer (which gets frustrating to use when at a hotel with a single router and plenty of guests or a weak signal) and my cell phone. Had many calls while crossing the plains today.
Saw a statue of Lincoln's head, a giant statue of Mary, a sign advertisng Kool-aid Days in Hastings, NE...birthplace of that delightful libation, and much more.
Had several big semi-truck loaded with live pigs pass us today...occasionally the stick there snouts out the side...cute or hilarious?
I have photos and more stories but it was a long drive today so it's bedtime. I will post the pix and share the tales soon.
Best to you all

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Leaving the West

We are, by the grace of God, in Wyoming and should make Eastern Iowa by sleep time tomorrow. We are moving at a slower pace than usual because we are using two 15 passenger vans this year. Princess Cynthia (17) is driving the second and she hasn't the experience to do the realllllly long drives yet. Though she has done 1 11 hour drive and 1 12 hour drive so far. The trailer is particularly heavy this year and even the Ford E350 with all it's torque still slows going over really steep hills. The Ford is also very squirrelly with this trailer. So for these reasons we are taking it slow.
The only big thing to report today is our front tire looked a little warped. I noticed it while at a rest stop in Utah this morning. I had seen this before. Two other tires of the same brand (Hancock) had had the same problem and I had to replace them. There are still two Hancock's on the van but since the three other tires (remember there is the spare) were Hancock's and all three had the tread separation problem....we won't be coming home with these tires.
As I type this I just noticed that there are railroad tracks about 50 yards from my window...it's a nioce hotel...kinda upper crust.....I hope there are no 3 am loud whistle blowers going by. I'm closing the window.
Buttercup the Python is doing well. He was held a lot today during the drive. We have to turn off the air-con when he is out....remeber he is from Africa...he prefers heat....moist heat.
Regarding the weather and scenery. I am surprised how green the deserts and high forrests along hwy 80 in Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming are. Apparently it has been mild and wet. Ussually it is golden brown and hot. Right now it's just right. At night it is down right chilly. While my home town has a 100 degree heat spurt...out here it's very comfortable. .......though, humidity coming after we reach Iowa.
Olivia taught me a song today..."So yummy. So yummy. There's a party in my tummy." Apparently they got it form some kid's tv show...too cute. (They don't watch much tv so I guess what they do see sticks.)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Excitment-----So much going on!

We are off in less than 24 hours to our big (and it seems ever growing) summer tour. As I mentioned last blog we have solidly booked the Union Fair in Union, Maine and can be seen there on August 25 and 26. I have learned that we will be sharing the fairgrounds with the Flying Wallenda's, the ultra-famous circus family famous for their 4, 7, and 10 person pyramid on the high wire with no nets or safety equipment. The family faced tragedy in the 70s when they fell and two members perished. But they are true troopers and kept the old saying, "the show must go on" and they continue on today into the 7th generation. I am like a little child waiting for Christmas, waiting to meet them.

Believe it or not we are loaded. Just the final stuff to do. And we have a really exciting gig going on tonight. We will perform on the field at a baseball game including a really awesome fire-eating spectacular with flag, stilt walkers, fire, and more fire during the 7th inning. Marsyville Gold Sox Baseball minor or AAA ,or something like that, team.

Been receiving booking info from various acts for a fall-winter line-up if we end up with the Theater. A newspaper local to the theater interviewed me a bit about it today. It was exciting to share a bit of my vision.

Buttercup has timed his shedding perfectly ...he has begun to go through the process. (He won't miss shows next week.) Even his eyelids shed....he is actually mostly blind for a couple of days during the process. His lunchbox is packed ..... 5 fuzzy juicy snacks. Some people might worry about traveling with a snake....I'm more worried the mice might get out. Ball pythons don't bite, eat wires, and only poo and pee about once a week. Mice have no bladders so it's constant peeing, constant pooping, and they love wires, and they bite......so I'm taping the lid!

We have several new stunts, tricks and routines this year including a brand new routine where Princess Cynthia's costume changes spontaneously several times, A small beautiful wood box that is so heavy only little Victor can lift it...not even the strongest man in the audience, Buttercup's magical appearance, of course, Miles has added lasso stunts, and Princess Amelia has several new mind reading experiments...and we have added a roady/sound man/gofer/and all around nice guy, Nick, to the bunch (first non-family member in years)....it's going to be an awesome tour!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Summer Tour

We are less than 40 hours from our departure for our Summer tour of OH, MO, KY, NY, CT, ME with a quick trip back home only to head out to NV, IA, TX. Preparations are in full furious gear!
Ten sets of street clothes each, six sets of washable costumes plus the dry clean and other costumes. Snacks. (The show has already been loaded into the trailer but there is always a few things that we have to add in. ) The new pipe for the backdrops arrived this week and will have to be loaded. Not to mention we still have two gigs before taking off....fortunately they are relatively small so it won't disrupt the lading too much.
Then there are the computers, cameras, non-show sound, toys (for the kids), books, (we don't allow DVD players, video games, or any other electronic toys....that's how they all got to be straight A students with above average reading skills.), everyone brings a log as well. There are the coolers, water containers, animal cages, animal toiletries (to coin a phrase), animal food, cleaners, disinfectants, deodorizers, etc. There are the tool boxes, craft boxes, and my office box (a box that carries all the paperwork, marketing material, maps, contracts, etc. ). Then there is the newest two boxes...the one with Buttercup the snake (a tote converted with a wire-mesh door, thermometer, hydrometer, fake rock house, water bowl, substrate, etc) and the snake food box.....a small plastic terrarium for 5 mice. We will carry a live mice trap and if that proves fruitless we will be visiting feed and pet stores across country.
Then there are the hats that Miles and us wear...on stage and off that get there own special packing. ..........
The vehicles have been inspected, tires rotated, oil changed, fluids topped off, engines and transmissions checked, filters checked or changed, and tomorrow they get washed.
So after all that do you want to be in a traveling show?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Theater

I presented my proposal today to the theater board and most seem to really like it. I should say all in attendance liked it. There was one gent from the world of the upper crust and academia who wasn't present that panned it (I had sent advanced copies to the board) before ever hearing from me. Can't please everyone. It seems he wanted to maintain a course that has been tested and failed time after time for this particular theater in this particular town. The board was looking for new ideas and a commercial approach. I believe I can bring that to the theater. Especially since I have vast experience and vast connections in the real world of commercial entertainment and not from the non-profit sector, or the world of college arts, or similar programs that could not survive in the commercial world but are subsidized by schools, foundations, tax money or the like.
Our approach will be a grass roots outreach to the thousands of people in the area who have never ever ever ever been inside a live theater and bring family friendly (don't be a moron and ask, "what is family friendly"....common sense rules the day here) entertainment. We will also have the artsy stuff that everyone should be exposed to for the sake of seeing things from various perspectives but it will only be house-produced if it shows the potential for being profitable. Otherwise a school, foundation, or some other entity will have to sponsor it ...because the goal is to keep the doors open...and if a show doesn't put butts in the seats or has a sponsor to pay for the use (regardless if there are butts or not in the seats) then it should be done in a park for free. Harsh? The reality is the reality and the bottom line is the bottom line. The employees, the utilities, the bankers, etc are not going to be happy unless they get paid. Our hope is to make sure they do get paid and perhaps help this economy out a bit.

Maine is a Go!

We just booked the Union Fair in Maine for August 26....then it's back to Cali only to head out to NV, IA, and TX in September. Heading off to the meeting regarding the Theater.....will update later.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yes-NO-Yes-NO-Yes...will I just make up my mind!

OK OK....
A few months ago the opportunity totalk with a group to buy or take over management of a very nice theater comes up.....I'm excited. But the enthusiasm was mellowed with truth regarding a number of things already outlined somewhere on this blog. Needless to say politics and personalities and emotions get involved when you have a city gem, a board, and scores of benevolent folks who put their heart and soul into the gem. So you have to tread lightly, listen, pay attention and do your homework.
Well, cutting to the chase............. tomorrow (Wed) I go before a special meeting of the board to promote my vision and business plan. If I impress them who knows what happens next (read the first paragraph again about the personalities, politics, etc). So I leave it in God's hand and just present my proposal completely, truthfully, and competently....that one will be the hardest.
It would be wonderful to run such a place and bring fun entertainment to a community. Hey, maybe it will become Branson West. Smiles!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Enchanted Garden and more

Ever since I was a kid seeing Blackstone Jr Perform live twice and many times on video or on TV there were several things he did that I loved. The first was the vanishing Birdcage and then redoing it with all the kids from the audience gathering on stage to help hold the cage while it vanishes again... I got a hold of one when I was an early teen and have used it in almost every theater show we do. The next was Blackstone's floating light bulb and dancing hanky routine. Both I have had the opportunity to perform and maybe will make a regular part of the show...someday. Next was the Buzz Saw Illusion where he cut his wife Gay in half with a giant buzz saw...she was put back together only to scream then faint as the curtain was drawn and the stage went black only to have Harry himself step out and solemnly announce it was intermission time. Finally Harry's Enchanted Garden where he made millions of flowers a dove or two and more appear and fill the stage. Over the years he cut back on the size of the presentation. It was the original one in it's full grandeur that I fell in love with. Though the routine wasn't a Blackstone original his style and personality on stage are similar so it was his version I loved. It has been my hope to add the Enchanted Garden to the show. But the props are costly, the set up immense, and the care and time needed unending.
Well, we have started putting the Enchanted Garden Routine together and version 1.0 will be presented this summer with me and the three youngest Kent Kids performing it together. version 2.0 with more flowers and more birds and a couple of surprises is planned for November.

Monday, June 15, 2009


We have added to our Fall tour the Tri County Fair In Winnemucca, NV Sept 5 and 6. There is still the possibility of a Maine addition to our Summer tour. I will keep you posted.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Enchanted Garden----Quick Change--Strong Man

Every season we introduce new routines, stunts, and/or illusions to the show. With the kids getting older and more talented their ideas and skills expand and begin to flow into the show. Likewise, we have a high rebook rate so we try to bring new things, while keeping the favorites, to our clients...keeping things fresh. Here are some New things for the 2009 season ready to go:
1. Princess Cynthia will add more quick change costume changes. We have had in our show's rotation two quick changes over since our Japan shows in the early 90s. In fact, we have back in the rotation one of those at the beginning of the show since earlier this season. However, we wanted more so we have developed a full routine dedicated to the costume change with several changes happening in the blink of an eye.
2. Strong Man. Last year I developed on version that had mixed success so I went back to the drawing board and now have two versions. Victor Kent Jr is our strong man...stronger than any man in the audience.
3. Enchanted Garden. Anyone who knows me knows that I have been greatly influenced by Harry Blackstone Jr and indirectly by his dad. As a kid I saw him life twice. One memory I had was the enchanted garden. he would fill the stage with flowers. It was beautiful. I have contracted with a builder who makes the flowers and we have started the slow development of the our own Enchanted Garden. It won't be until next season that the full routine will be in place but a sample of it will be in our three show rotation this summer.
4. Appearing Boy. We will do this once per venue and it will blow you away.

This weekend has been a heavy rehearsal weekend and I have been plaqued with a cold. In spite of that we have made a few hundred wands for the give-aways and sales. We have completed the building of the abovemention props and started practice. Two weeks or so until take off on the 2 month tour.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"Best Show Ever" 20 years!

This time of year we do a lot of end of the year gigs for schools; be it high school grad nights, proms, grade school or kindergartens. It's fun to do because once June is gone we go into hyper mode criss-crossing the country doing amusement parks, fairs, and festivals. Yesterday it was a school in Sacramento and that was a ton of fun. We did it outside. Today, however, had to be the best school ever. The school was in Santa Clara and the kids were extremely well behaved. I learned it was a "Basics Plus" school....no social crap clogging the system, not Title 1, no free lunches, not bells or whistles.....just basic fundamental education...and the students were awesome! I was told they score incredibly high on standardized tests, and they rank very high nationally. get this...it's not in a rich neighborhood.
Jim, Princess O and I performed and boy was it a pleasure. The principal said it was the best show they ever had! She's a little older than me and has been principalling ans teaching many years so I took that as a major compliment.
The Sacramento school folks, and today's school folks all invited us back next year and promised to spread the word about the show. Cool!

Today Mami and I have been married for 20 years! 7 kids. One marriage. On Friday we take a one day honeymoon...20 years late....but definitely needed! Best wife ever!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sacramento -Oroville - Santa Clara -Yuba City

Back and forth to and fro we wander with 19 days left before the big tour we are doing the mandatory end of the school year school shows. No themes, no special messages...just fun shows for the kiddies. Today we performed outside at a small school in Sacramento, CA. Just Jim Princess Olivia and me. Global Warming, that mythological demi-god that so many worship, took the day off with a very cool 70 degree school yard swept by gentle gusts of wind. Love the outside shows because that means we have liberty in out juggling, and in some of our stunts...like fire-eating.

On the good news front a nationwide syndicated radio show out of St. Louis wants to interview us for a show we are doing in July in Missouri. More on that after it happens.

The new two-step prop is nearly complete. The bed of nails was given an upgrade, paint job, sharpening, and trim. New tables for the show...really colorful1 ( Made them myself.) The snake shed again and is hyperactive these days....I think he's ready to travel. made a travel cage for him out of a plastic tote box....riveted the top to the bottom, put a door in the top (cage mesh and wood) Magnet latches plus regular latches and a bungee should assure a secure environment. And finally Victor Kent Crystal Metallic Magic Wands are in full production. Costumes are be updated, repaired, replaced, redone, reduced, refitted, and re...uh, re....uh remember I will always love you....

Tomorrow a school in Santa Clara and Thursday the Yuba City Water Park public show at 7pm

Friday, June 5, 2009

CNR News Story about KFMC

Sideshow swell
Oroville’s Kent Family Magic Circus tours the world

Copyright Chico news and review June 4, 2009
By Christine G.K. LaPado

Victor Kent separates Princess Cynthia in half.

Princess Olivia’s ball python, Buttercup, wasn’t going to be at the 5 p.m. Saturday performance of the Kent Family Circus, one in a string of shows on the Garden Court Stage over the six days of the 2009 Silver Dollar Fair. Ringleader Victor Kent informed the audience of this fact and then proceeded to hammer a 20-penny nail deep into his nostril and then move it in and out like a slide whistle without sound (eww!).
Especially in contrast to my experience of nearly getting hit by gobs of spit dropped down about 35 feet from the mouth of some teenager on a carnival thrill ride called 1001 Nachts, the show presented by Oroville’s Kent family during last week’s Silver Dollar Fair was pure pleasure. The 45-minute act put on by The Seven Wonders of the World—as father Victor Kent and his six circus-performer offspring are also billed—made me and my 8-year-old daughter very happy.
Bullwhip tricks, Houdini-like escapes, fire-eating, dove and rabbit magic tricks, mind-reading, and the swallowing of a roughly 3-foot-long, skinny, inflated, pink balloon (that never reappeared!) were some of the many impressive offerings in the Kents’ “illusion-based variety show,” as it’s called on their Web site (kentfamilymagiccircus.com). This year was the Kents’ seventh performing at the Silver Dollar Fair.
Victor Kent and his six kids, ranging in age from 3-year-old Princess Olivia to 19-year-old Jugglin’ Jim (a seventh Kent child, who is disabled, remains at home with mother Mami), take their highly professional show on the road year-round—to fairs, corporate functions, churches (where, according to their Web site, the evangelical family offers the option of a Christian-themed version of the act), all over the United States and Canada, and Japan, where Mami Kent is from.
At one point during the Garden Court performance, the 5-year-old mentalist Princess Amelia came on stage in a long, fancy, red princess dress and proceeded to concentrate intently on a sandwich bag containing a light bulb until the bulb exploded without her ever touching the bag. An illusion that looked utterly real—I have no idea how she did that.
Kent with princesses Olivia, Amelia and Cynthia

Ditto for 17-year-old Princess Cynthia’s “Modern Art meets Circus meets Samurai” act, which looked convincingly like her body was separated into two halves after she was put into a Cubist-style box, and then put back together again—all with a smile on her face.
After the show, the Kent family relaxed on the Garden Court lawn, in the shade of the 15-passenger Ford van and large metal box trailer the family travels with.
“This is how we pay the mortgage,” offered Victor, surrounded by his kids, including cute 7-year-old Victor Jr., the escape artist, and “Indiana Miles,” his 14-year-old expert bullwhip-cracking son.
Kent, a bright-eyed 42-year-old with huge, silver, mutton-chop sideburns, has been practicing circus magic since he was 7, and professionally since he was 16. After getting “burned out” on performing at age 19, he got a degree in Japanese at San Francisco State, where he met his wife, who was an exchange student from Japan.
Kent got back into the circus profession, joined now by his wife, who had become his on-stage assistant. By the time James (Jugglin’ Jim) and Cynthia were 5 and 3, respectively, they joined their parents on stage.
“They would stand and hold stuff at first,” explained Kent.
By age 10 (which seems to be the magic age), each Kent kid has evolved from “holding stuff” to deciding what character he or she wants to be in the family circus. After traveling the country and beyond year after year, seeing numerous other performers, the children have had lots of ideas to choose from.
Kent spits fire.
From famous circus artist Jean-Paul Valjean, for instance, whom he met while working at the Tehama District Fair when he was 10, the young juggler James learned the Diabolo, or Chinese yo-yo, and how to juggle balls. He has taken his Jugglin’ Jim character many steps further, perfecting such things as balancing a huge metal aluminum ladder on his chin, stilt-walking and juggling fire sticks while riding a unicycle.
Miles, the bullwhip artist, also walks on broken glass, eats fire and lies down on a bed of nails. He joined the family circus at age 2 (and a half).
Victor Jr. became an escape artist after his parents realized he was allergic to the doves and rabbits he had been handling during the show. In his “100-foot Rope Challenge,” Victor Jr. escapes from his constraints “in less time than it takes the audience to tie him up,” said his dad.
“I’m crazy! I’m really crazy!” blurted an animated Victor Jr., as his older brothers mimed that an empty box they were lifting into the back of the trailer was very heavy.
“That’s how new tricks are born,” said Kent, smiling.
BALANCING ACT While they miss about 30 days a year of school due to performing, all the Kent kids are in the Oroville school district (except the junior high kids, who are home-schooled), with GPAs ranging from 3.83 to 4.0-plus.

New Old Bunny - Birthday - News

A couple of weeks back our Flemish Giant bunny died. he is the one we use in our Boy to Bunny Illusion. These big bunnies only have a life of about 4-5 years and all we ever owned exceeded longevity by as much as a year and a half. Our first lasted 6.5 years. Our breeder only had older ones left over the past few years so we had each of the last three for a 18 months or less. But the price was right. (Free). This dame of bunnydom is 3 years old and likewise has only a year or two left. (A little hint on their impending demise is their back legs stop working well. At that point we put them to pasture where they live out their last three months (or less) in comfort. We will call this one Bertha Bunny!

Princess Amelia and I share a birthday. This past Wednesday she and I spent the day with an IHOP pancake lunch, Toys R US, Dress Shopping, a Nature Museum, An Icee snack, and miniature golf. We had a wonderful time. She also gets her first bday party this Saturday.

Home baked apple pie was the treat on Wed. Saturday at the party it's cake and ice-cream. (the picture isn't backwards...the "?" is!
We have a new DVD promoting the show. Jim did the editing so if you want a copy call us 888-867-7077 and ask for one.
Our big summer tour starts in less than a month....OH, MO, KY, NY, CT, IA, TX are on the schedule with a couple of other possibilities still int he work.
In spite of my efforts to get out of it. The possibility of the Theater purchase is still dangling around. With the government's plans to heavily control energy use and put into place cap and trade I am reluctant to continue. Why it won't go away is beyond me. But there it is. Will have more definitive news in two weeks.