Friday, July 31, 2009

Wild Day in NY

Dove Escape and recapture:
Our first show today was plagued with little things going wrong or silly. It was 100% humidity and it was raining all day. That humidity caused things to stick to themselves, lassos not to slide properly, and a number of other things. Beyond the humidity just a bunch of silly things were happening. We just rolled with it and it all turned out good. When Olivia turned her balloon into a dove the dove promptly flew off and up into a tree in the middle of the fair...visible from our stage. James ran off to get it but soon found it was too high up and the tree was unclimbable. So he asked a guy in the maintenance shop for help after getting a net from the 4H folks. The fair manager happened to be there at the time and he found the situation to be funny. Soon calls were going out over the radio and very soon a bucket truck rolled out. After a few minutes of maneuvering and she was captured and returned to her mate in the travel cage back stage. It was so much fun to watch we stopped the show and we all (audience and all) watched as things unfolded.

Since it was a full day of rain and crowds were small we decided to change things up and I offered a lesson in fire-eating to any adult wanting to try it. Two volunteers came up. A woman and a man...the man rturned out to be my long time friend at the fair, Elvin. He's a really nice man that reminds me in looks and personality of my best friend back home, JC. (JC you would love this a manly way.)

Here they are trying to touch the flame to their tongues.
Elvin did it.....eventually the woman would too.

Elvin is practicing a mouting position that will allow him to have the fire in his mouth and prduce a "blow" that will put the fire out.
She eventually gives up...but...
Elvin does it and we do synchronized fire-eating.


The girls befriended the Lemonade is a pix Joelle took and emailed to us.
Circus Bike:
If you have read earlier blogs you know Miles dresses as the pink gorilla and rides a tiny clown bike around the park or fairgrounds. While at Beechbend Park the bearings wore out so yesterday I drove downtown to a bike shop to get new bearings (the bike shop was setup and looked exactly like the bike shop in my hometown).
Then (yesterday) while riding the pedal fell off...fortunately it was only a lost nut. So I hit the maintenance shed and got the right size nut only to discover the threads on the bike were slightly stripped but I have a file and fixed it.
Baby Goat:
There is a group here called the Two-by-Two Zoo...they have a couple of black leopards, a couple of Kangaroos, Pygmy goats, lemurs, monkeys, tortoises, etc. Well one of their favorite goats was in labor all day and eventually had to assist in the birthing. A crowd formed to watch the laborious task. Eventually a 4H expert joined in and after over an hour of help the two kids were born...then rushed to the back stage area to be worked on....I don't know if they lived or I will update this story tomorrow.
It rained all day, as I already mentioned, and today was a record for this fair in low attendance. So crowds were tiny. Still they were great. The last audience was made up of mostly tired depressed vendors and carnies. They left the show with smiles so maybe we did a bit of good for them. One sat dead center . He was hard to motivate into clapping and smiling but I made it my goal. It was when Amelia read the mind of three adults in the audience that he forgot his troubles and broke out into spontaneous applause. He kept it up until the end. It was awesome.

Motion sickness from Sub-woofers:
I never could handle the club scene. The loud pounding sub-woovers make me feel woozy. The band today on the main stage had their bass set really loud and when they played their 4 o'clock show I nearly lost my cookies and had to stick paper towels in my ears and leave the area. I stayed away until the very last minute as our show started at 5. I think Buttercup didn't enjoy it very much either. He is beginning to shed his skin and is a bit moody. Being back stage during that pounding seem to bother him so he spent the rest of the day far away from the stage.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Front Page...Again

Olivia sleeps with the snake again.
Carefully guarding his master.

Chnl 6 News let me be his camera man. I was in the fair office when Doug Short the newsman came in wanting an escort to point out the high points of the fair. I volunteered.

Me and Doug Short.

Miles being filmed.

Now it's my turn.
Doug Short trying to eat fire.

Me the teacher.

Below is the photo and story (and link) to the front page coverage we got from the local paper.

By WILLIAM J. KEMBLECorrespondent

Victor Kent, of the Kent Family Magic Circus, breathes fire at the Ulster County Fair on Wednesday. His advice to spectators, not surprisingly: Don’t try this at home. Photo by William J. Kemble

NEW PALTZ — The Kent Family Magic Circus proved on Wednesday that, at the Ulster County Fair, it isn’t necessary to be involved with agriculture to be corny or on a Ferris wheel to be over the top.Victor Kent and his seven children kept the Libertyville Road fairgrounds charged with a combination of illusion and time-honored stagecraft during two shows at which fair attendees became participants in the entertainment.“When I was a kid, I was influenced by (Harry) Blackstone Jr., and he always had people come up on stage to help throughout the show,” Kent said. “I always like that whole idea of connecting with the audience.”With downpours beginning just before the Kent's’ first show on Wednesday, a crowd of about 70 people grew at the indoor Entertainment Area on the fairgrounds grew to about 80 as the Kent family had a snake appear on stage, then to about 100 by the time they made a woman disappear. And by the time flaming batons were being thrown in the air, the crowd had swelled to about 120.“I would prefer it not be raining, because last year we filled the tent every show with every seat taken,” Kent said, alluding to the fact that attendance at the fair is better when the weather is nice. “This show it was raining ... and it wasn’t filling every seat. So it’s nice in the sense that we get a captive audience, but it’s better when there is a big, big crowd here at the fairgrounds.”

We also made the Paper today in Middlebury, CT on our impending show in CT.
A beautiful day....not too hot and no rain!!
All three shows had full capacity seating and standers all around.
It was Seniors day so the annual seniors idol and singing seniors were hosted on our stage. It was very charming to see them perform. It also meant that our first audience was nearly 100% seniors. They loved the little ones performing. We had to run a shorter first show to make room for the seniors events.
The two other shows were also shorter, but only by 5 to 10 minutes. The "big stage" sound/lights guy wanted more time to run sound checks for the evening's bands. He made a stink to the fair manager and exaggerated our show length...and even though the manager was on our side and told me to just do our thing. I felt it would be better if I just capitulate and give them the extra time. keep the peace. The audience didn't know the difference so all is well. Though I really would prefer to do our full set....but that is show biz!
One other interesting incident that was a pain but funny too. Right before the second show I was found chatting with a few folks in the front row. An older couple was sitting furthers fact, they had pulled their chairs forward and sideways to watch the big stage do their sound blocked the walk way, but it didn't seem to bother them. But this wasn't the cause of the "confrontation". The woman asked if we had animals in the show. I said we did and she then asked what kind. I told her she would have to wait and see....I never tip them to what's coming. She then asked if I took care of my animals because she was a member of PETA. She asked if I knew what PETA was...I said sure I did "People who enjoy tasty animals". Her husband was visibly uncomfortable with my answer. She asked me again that she wanted to know how I treated my animals because as a member of PETA she had to know. So I told here I would beat one of the animals with one of the other animals. And then I said I treat them the way I wanted to because they were my animals. (By the way I treat them very well and all of my animals have outlived their wild counterparts and their pet counterparts....they are spoiled!). But it was none of her business nor PETA's. Her husband looked at me side-eyed as he told his spouse it would be better if they just walked around the fair rather than attend our show. I told him he would miss a great show but "enjoy the fair". They stood and walked out....I moved their chairs back...unblocking the walk way. The man disappeared but the woman watched the show from the sidelines. By the way, the folks around them within hearing distance gave me smiles of agreement and a couple rolled their eyes at them as we spoke. Those two need a hobby that requires them to mind their own business and doesn't include being busybodies.
By the way, in our opening sequence, the parade, most particularly the "O" Box, right before I produce Olivia from the box I pull out a "spring bunny" a fake bunny that looks real. In the sequence I pull it out moving it like it's alive. Then I shrug and toss it over the back drop. Then immediately I produce Olivia. The shock of the bunny toss is out weighed by the production of Olivia. It's funny.....I am sure the PETA lady found it very funny from the sidelines.
I have to tell you these crowds are fantastic audiences. I love these crowds! And the fair folks are awesome.
The kids are having a blast. They have gotten a bunch of vendor provided freebees. Candy, platics swords, toys, lemonade, dough, etc. They have also made a bunch of friends.
I met the manager of another NY Fair. Hopefully we can work with him in the future.
Got an email from a Texas Fair for a late Sept fair for this year. I will keep you informed.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rain Rain Go Away

A boy get's his photo with Buttecup and Olivia
Folks coming in for the Oak Ridge Boys
Our stage area.
Friends of ours from last year...Elvin, Maryjo, Gil's wife, Gil and Jim
The main stage during the mid day rain...more to come...a lot more and more and more.

According to NASA and other agencies solar activity is at it's lowest level since 1938. Likewise, the average temperature of the earth hasn't changed (up or down) since 1998 except last year when temps actually dropped. But politicians and nuts push on about man made global warming....then there is the rain, the cool rain, all across the US. The liquid sunshine rained down on the fair goers and kept potential fair goers away. None the less, we did three shows and all three had great audiences and in spite of the weather they were good sized crowds.

We REALLY click with the New York audiences.

We cut the Michael Jackson jokes since his death is now a manslaughter investigation. Sympathy has grown for him more and more so we thought it best not to pick on him.

The Oak Ridge Boys were the headline today and in spite of the rain a lot of people showed up in the heavy rain. Their show started at 8pm and we were all done by 7. But just as we were about to leave at 7:30pm the rain came down in buckets....15 minutes later we capitulated and needed out to the car in the deluge. We were drenched to the skin by the time we loaded into the van. The boys had an extra stop when the snack box tote fell off the cooler-on-wheels and spilled out a bunch of stuff. So in the pouring rain they repacked it.

We ran into many of the folks we met last year and have met a few new folks as well.

I just got back in from a food run for tomorrow. Amazingly, the clerk was really nice and as I was returning the cart an employee happily took it up for me with a cheerful salutation. Up to now, most New Yorkers here have been aloof or un-friendly (not mean...just not friendly). I lea end that New Paltz is more and more becoming a bedroom city for the Big City due to the outlandish cost of living there.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Arrived in NY.

We pulled out of the middle of PA this morning and headed further east. It only took about 2 and half hours but we made it to New York state after passing over the Blue Ridge Mtns and wind about the Poconos through Scranton and over the Western Hills of NY. It's hard to believe that just 9o minutes from here is the Big Apple. It is so different.
New Paltz is an interesting town. There is a small river that separates two different worlds. On the Eastern side is the college town with hippies, shirtless street musicians, unshaved pitted women, and various "spiritual" shops, Alternative clubs, etc. On the other side are the farms and generally conservative world that goes with ag. The mayor of this town made news this year when he (a just graduated from college kid) started performing same sex marriage in spite of the law.
We went to the fairgrounds first since we had to drop the trailer off in the labyrinth of kiosks, trailers, etc that make up the fairgrounds before 4pm when the grounds open to the public. We left the boys (Miles, James and Nick) to set up the show and perform a sample show for the public at 6pm. The girls, Victor and I went to Lowes to pick up a few supplies, then to the store to pick up tonight and tomorrow's meals. There are some great cheeses you just can't get anywhere else.
The boys just called and told me the audience was packed for their sample show. They apparently loved it. Miles is ahving trouble with the flame transfer on the tongue so I will go over it with him tomorrow.

Monday, July 27, 2009

On the Road....Again

Well, we have made it as far as Lamar, PA on our way to New Paltz, NY...only 4 more hours to go. We spent most of the day diagonally crossing Ohio and even past the Good Year Factory. In PA they have signs on the highway that read, "Buckle up the next million miles."
We nearly had a repeat of Wyoming 2000 when we stopped at every exit looking for an available hotel but like Mary and Joseph there were no rooms at the Inn...we are 75 miles past where we were hoping to stop where we finally found rooms. The Clerk, who was also the night auditor, seemed a little out of sorts so i related to the days when I was the weekend night auditor at the Hilton in Newark, CA so so many years ago. Then I told him about our family show and did a trick....I hadn't done it for years and really have to credit my old friend Eddie Rapoza for teaching me it. With both hands obviously empty I mime that I am sewing my fingers of my left hand together. Still very empty I mime running the thread through my thumb and pulling the whole hand into a fist. I then mime scissors with my right hand and cut the string loose an my left hand opens to show a gold dollar coin (one of the new ones.) I gave it to the clerk...he knocked about $40 off our bill. His name is Jim and he is a hecka nice guy to chat
He was out of sorts because an employee had taken part of the computer in the office home to clean it...turns out it is the computer the night reports run off of...he doesn't get to close today's books....frustrating. He said the chat and the magic made his night and he felt a lot better. On the way in with our stuff James balanced a heavy bench on his chin for him.
The kids and the animals are all doing well. A high light for them was the stop at the DQ to get ice cream treats....filled me up so much that I forgot to stop for dinner and since everyone one reminded me soooooo I guess it is a big Bfast tomorrow.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Bye Bye Bowling Green - Hello New York

It was a hot and humid day,(sounds like the start to a cheap novel) the night before it thunder stormed all night leaving behind moisture. The park was a bit slow but after the packed houses yesterday it was a nice change. We had good audiences and that makes up for quantity any day. It was our last day at beech Bend Park. It's kind of strange leaving because we really feel like we have become family to the employees and owners. The expressed the same sentiment. In fact, they invited us back next year.
Tomorrow morning starts a really long drive to New York. Google says 14.5 hours....we are debating about breaking it into two drives...but if we are peppy enough we will do it in one day. We will see.....that means no blog form Monday...maybe.
This morning I did a small load of wash and while the clothes were washing and drying I spent the time reading and explaining the bible to the little ones. It's need to see a concept or story gel in their heads. We sat in the van with the air-con on and spent a wonderful time in fellowship...though we miss church it was a nice substitute for now.
Morgan from the singing group brought candy over for the kids as a farewell present and we went around the park hugging and shaking hands with our Beech Bend Family.
The very last show was mostly filled with employees....we changed the show up for them and I even taught a couple of them plus a civilian how to eat fire during the show.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

So Much to Report:

My father was the Lead Ride Mechanic at Marriotts Great America many years ago.This photo is for him as these three guys do what he did.

Beautiful weather as the sun popped out from behind the clouds and a cool breeze kept any chance of a hot day from happening.

Penguin News: Miles did an hour of strolling in our new penguin costume...we call him Pal but the Beech Bend people call him Perky. He goes out of his way to dance with folks, hug folks, and take pictures with anyone. Well, one big guy...6'infinite came over for a hug...then the jerk punched and kicked the Penguin. Fortunately Miles is heavily padded but unfortunately he couldn't see him well enough to report him. From now on we are having him escorted.

Kids in Charge: I decided to sit out show num
ber two and gave James the Host duties. He was a bit nervous but pulled it off. I video taped the whole thing and will post it soon. It was an humongous audience and very appreciative. The kids all fell in line and did an awesome job.

Evil Leaf Bug: Another leaf bug visited our set today. James allowed him to walk on his hand. He handed it off to Miles where it promptly bit him. Miles whacked it off his arm killing it as it slammed the ground. We picked it up to see where it's "teeth" were because it didn't look like it had them...There are two black mandibles just under it's green soft mandibles. To discourage any more insect attacks we removed it's head and put it on a wire placing it on the fencing around our stage as a message to the other bugs.

Snake Makes Friends: We've added taking pictures with Buttercup this week. Well Buttercup gave one lady a bit more in the photo than she expected. He began his once a week expelling of waste matter..he pooped. Fortunately we caught it quickly and got him away. We then all watched him finish was quite a bit... and then the photos continued.

Tiffany from the other magic show at the park and Morgan from the Retro Rock show came to visit with us for a while. Both are very sweet girls and our little ones really love them both. I think they are great too.

I have been tired all day...Olivia was too. She took two naps....I wanted to take two naps.

Well that's it for now.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Only Two Days to go then New York

Not too hot...but as they say it's not the heat it's the Humidity.
Three packed audiences and all of them in great spirit.
I did laundry again and did my ritual of drop the clothes in the washer....go for a walk while drinking coffee and calling home. I brought a net this time and caught a couple of butterflies. While I walked I was followed by a couple of little kids on from the day before.
After that I went and moved the wash to the dryer. I read "Common Sense" by Glenn Beck and I read the Bible. Then I did the accounting for the trip and discovered this traveling stuff is expensive. WOW!
CC Report:
Well, I thought it was funny today when Olivia and I had to get Amy for lunch. We were headed for the bathroom and I didn't want to disrupt the music show that Amy was watching so I had Ollie go get her. I told her to ask her nicely so she goes over in front of her and yells,"Amy! You have to got eat lunch! Come on!" That seems pretty rude but it was funny because people who just watched our show were sitting in the audience and were laughing at Olivia. They would look at me and back at her and were cracking up. All I could do was laugh and tell her to be nicer and not yell at Amy. Other than that today was eventless. Our life lately has not been very exciting but it should pick up with our departure to New York and the last day of Beech Bend Park.

back to Kent:
We made home-made (hotel-made by us) tostadas with all the trimmings.....hard to find good Mexican food out here. Chinese and Japanese food as well.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Packed House

Every show on this beautiful day was a packed house. The crowds were very lively and we had a ball. I wish there were more to report but it was just a perfect day. PTL.

Afterwards we took some gift certificates given to use by the park to a very cool burger joint called Culvers (I think they are famous for ice-cream). The burgers were great! Prior to that Victor got the last of His gifts...seee the picture.

Oh, Just found out the board of the Theater we were interested in buying has been extorted by a hippy and his business manager to allow them to take over. Sad Sad day and most the board know it...but the two guys did a number on them with the help of the press and they were pressured into a failing proposition. I guess I can pick it up on the auction block in a couple of years....maybe sooner. I really want to make the place a commercial success but people who label themselves progressive (in reality are anything but) can't see the true need of the place....profit. But they will wave their magical little fairy wands and a benevolent group of benefactors will suddenly appear and forgetit!

Gotta make one more comment about Bowling Green and Kentucky in General...very nice folks!
Everyone we have met have been very kind. Race seems to be a non-issue from our experiences. No one cares what color you are...awesome.
Well, I have a big burger to sleep off and since we haven;t had a day off in quite a while and even longer if you count driving good night!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Victor's B-day and rain rain rain

Today Victor turned 8! In spite of the weather we had a great day.
Below is the photo-journal of Victor's sepcial portion of the day.
Note Victor's cool bday costume made by Mami and sent jsut for him...note his acting.
With the first part of the map he is off on the treasure hunt
At the front gate he gets the second peice of the map from Ellen....
To get the next piece the Dreaded Prirate Victor Must ride the Kentucky Rumbler....Not the scowl!
Loving it!
After getting the third piece We Bump into Charolette (the owner's daughter) outisde the Rumber where Victor get's a bday bag of goodies.

The next clue comes after he rides the Shock Drop....note our faces!

Here he gets the next piece of the map.
Time to put it all together...then it's off to Beech Bend room, snacks and Party rooms.
Up stairs he goes.

Back at the hotel we drop off our stuff and run off to J-Boys for dinner (Victor Loves J boys).

We picked up sun glasses for Victor at Walm-Mart on the way home and he wore them outside J Boys.

Back at the hotel we had an Ice-cream cake.

It rained last night, and this morning, and this afternoon, and by 5pm it stopped. It wasn't just a sprinkle poured all day. They delayed opening the park until around 10:30; the owner's dedication to the customer is so great that even for the hundred or so guests that came out (in the pouring rain) he opened the park and ran the rides. We even presented 3 shows....though no strolling today. The first show had around 20 people, the second around 30 and around 16 for the third...but we did our very best and they were a fun group...after all they had the park to themselves.
When we arrived even the ducks wanted out of the rain.....
Finally it was a busy day for us package-wise. We had one from Fed-ex, one from UPS and one from the USPS. (Diabolo string from NY for Jim, Wireless Mic from Florida, Whip crackers for Miles from las Vegas). The delivery world keeps us running even while on the raod.
Here is a bad joke my friend Eddie from california sent me:

A successful rancher died and left everything to his devoted wife. She was a very good-looking woman and determined to keep the ranch, but knew very little about ranching, so she decided to place an ad in the newspaper for a ranch hand.

Two cowboys applied for the job. One was gay and the other a drunk.

She thought long and hard about it, and when no one else applied she decided to hire the gay guy, figuring it would be safer to have him around the house than the drunk.

He proved to be a hard worker who put in long hours every day and knew a lot about ranching.

For weeks, the two of them worked, and the ranch was doing very well. Then one day, the rancher's widow said to the Hired hand, 'You have done a really good job, and the ranch looks great. You should go into town and kick up your heels.' The hired hand readily agreed and went into town one Saturday night.

One o'clock came, however, and he didn't return. Two O'clock and no hired hand. Finally he returned around two-thirty, and upon entering the room, he found the rancher's widow sitting by the fireplace with a glass of wine, waiting for him. She quietly called him over to her.

'Unbutton my blouse and take it off, she said. Trembling, he did as she directed. 'Now take off my boots.' He did as she asked, ever so slowly.

'Now take off my socks.' He removed each gently and placed them neatly by her boots.

'Now take off my skirt.' He slowly unbuttoned it, constantly watching her eyes in the fire light.

'Now take off my bra.' Again, with trembling hands, he did as he was told and dropped it to the floor. Then she looked at him and said, 'If you ever wear my clothes into town again, you're fired.'

(P.S.... I didn't see that one coming, either.)