Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wednesday Continued

Mr Squeezers
We didn't have crazy big crowds. Pig races saw the bigger crowds today. They had "motion crowds" ...what I mean by that is, since they do 4 races you have folks moving in and out throughout their 18 minute show before and after every race. In other words, a good chunk of the crowd is in motion...coming in and leaving. But still they had solid numbers. We pulled them in and held them but not as big as the pig race. Since our show is longer it's a sit down show. The folks we got were a fine group of folks and the crowds grew as the show progresses but I really would love to see bigger audiences. Feedback and comments have been good.
This fair feeds us lunch and dinner (as I mentioned before) was lasagna and sandwiches and beans and corn bread and I am getting fat!
Nilla-waffer banana desert!!!!MMM!
We hit a thrift store today in search of a bowling ball for Jim....No luck. We found a few cool Nick was a circus style eagle bookend made of ceramic or porcelain. As a carried it to the car I dropped it. With it my heart. It was only 50 cents but it was old and very cool...they don't make 'em like that anymore.
Also had to make a floor dolly (stage designed to match our show) for the Spear Box (the boys forgot to load it). So I got to sweat workman's sweat instead of stage sweat before the show.
Tommorow is an early one again...strolling for seniors. Not Bowling for Columbine. So nighty night!

Fair Photos and updates

This is a BBQ Grill...really..and for $10 you can buy a ticket to win this. By the way, it's a fundraiser for a high can't bring a squirt gun to school but you can win a gun grill....I love this state! Everything is big and they don't get lost in useless PC stuff.
Our stage area.

The kids with three lovely Fair docents.
This 1928 Model A actually runs and the owner, dressed as a hill billy drives around meeting and greeting....on top is an old matress spring.

On the back are old things like bed pans, milk cans, pans, saws, etc.

Texas Mosquito....he's over an inch long.
Here is Mr Squeezers. He is young..9 mo old and is only about 18" long and about as thick as a cigar. His eyes are really cool half beige-half brown.
We had two very nice audiences last night...albeit tiny crowds (it was a Tuesday).
Today we did some shopping for prop repairs and replacement. Then we spent the day sleeping (and some TV)...but mostly sleeping. That is after we woke really early to set up and do 2 15 minute shows for school kids who visited the fair.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Red River Valley Fair

This fair is unusual! I don't mean that in a bad way. Just in it's literal sense. Most fairs run long days...this one runs from 6pm 10pm daily a bit longer on Saturday. So that means night shows only. Well, with the exception of 9am special shows for schools, seniors, and special ed; each day a different group. But by 11 we are free until the evening. Today, however, was the first day and so it was a set up day. Lots to do! and since we ran this as a two unit gig we had a few things not here because they were with unit 1 or the boys forgot to bring them on the airplane. Or, and this happens too often, they forgot to load it in the trailer at the onset of the trip. All of these things contributed to the need to go out and buy stuff today....I don't like doing that.
Olivia and I are used to Central time but the four others are having a bit of a body regulating waking up two hours earlier and then functioning all day. Everyone was wound up, though. It's always fun to do our job and the environment here is really nice. The fair is providing awesome lunches, and dinners and the hotel provides the b-fast...and the fair provides the hotel so our meal expenses are nearly nil (we do enjoy our sweet tea).
It was very hot two days ago...then we roll into town and boom it gets cold. I want to punch Al Gore in the nose! It was the cold that kept us from brining Buttercup the Python. But when we got here we thought, "hey, it's hot. Should've brought him. So we buy a red tail boa (very cute, very small (18") (only 9 months old). Then, BAM, it gets cold....ugh!
By the way, the Boa's name is Mr. Squeezers.
The food provided by the fair is incredible. Homemade meats, and pastas, and corn bread and beans of various types....ahhhhhh! I'm going home fat.
I have to a dmit this crazy schedule this summer and fall is finally beginning to make me tired. I love performing and meeting folks but my body and mind are shot. Still I praise God for the work during these silly times.
The report on the kids' performances in Red Bluff last week were really good. They were a hit and rumor is we will be invited back next year.
Got early shows so i will upload the pix tomorrow afternoon. Got some good ones...including a large revolver-bbq pit, the boa, pur stage, and the kids.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Troupe Is together again!

Bonjour1 Y'all!

Just a picture of a Methodist Church in town....thought it looked cool.
It is late and we just got in from Dallas. The kids arrived around 8pm and it took a couple of hours to drive back. I had to drive into Dallas during rush hour. Yuck!
The day started with running around getting acquainted with the town finding the Wal-mart, Home Depot, Petco, grocery stores, hospitals, etc. We also visited the old downtown and the newer parts of town. The city planners are planning on this town's growth. Such optimism! They have built a highway loop and laid out future development areas. And they are filling them in. there is a Sara Lee plant and a Campbell's Soup plant and the parking lots looked full. There is an optimism is this least that's what I've seen so far. Still in spite of the growth going on it still a very relaxed place. And then there are the bugs. Mosquito's that can carry a car off. And these strange June bug like black beetle that is everywhere. (Need to google them.) At night there are crickets everywhere. And butterflies....I regret I forgot my net.
Olivia and I dropped the trailer and animals off at the fair. We met the pig racers who share the lawn area with us. Nice folks.
James told me they had a blast flying out here. Victor and Amelia became the air crew's pets and even got a tour of the cockpit before the flight. (rare these days). it was the captain's bday so the crew were is high spirits and were playful all through the flight. James even juggled for the crew and passengers. He has a photo I will post later.
Blessings to you all.
Good night.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Paris..the city of lights...uh...trees....cowboys

Posing and playing at a rest stop.
I was over 12 feet away when i took this picture...what a lense!

We have pulled into the lovely town of Paris, TX. Today's drive was quick compared to the last two days. And it turned greener as we drove along. Of course with the green comes the humidity. It has been in the high 90s all day. We left Buttercup at home because the coldness of Wyoming on our drive back from Iowa last week. But it turns out it wasn't necessary. So I will hunt out a pert store tomorrow and buy a red tailed boa if we can find one....maybe.
The biggest event of our drive today was when I noticed something black on the road, a split second later I could tell it was a tarantula, a spit second later it was a flat tarantula. Too fast and too late...sorry tarantula lovers.
We love Texas rest stops. they are way cleaner, bigger, and cooler than any other state so far. Most have playgrounds and super clean facilities. There are also many pic nic spots right off the highway.
Our desk clerk here has a super high pitched voice. It's like having a munchkin checking you in except she is a big lady. Helium overdose????
We have already hit the pool and Olivia is catching her first "Wizard of Oz" experience on TV. It's amazing to see someone watch that movie for the first time. It reminds me of when I saw it as a child.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Made it to Eastern New Mexico...Amarilo By Morning.

Catch Up photo of me and the girls in Iowa.
Dreaming of the pie!

Eric the Extraordinaire and his dad helps us make the pumpkin rose .254 cm.

Kevin the stage hand.
Marty Python the Iowa Sound man.

Wyoming on our drive home....the first day of Fall.
Today Olivia is chased by dinos.

I'm about to be eaten...4 year old Olivia took the picture.

I forgot to mention and warn all of you who travel Hwy 40 into Arizona yesterday. The Gestapo is on the loose. Every year I have traveled Hwy 40 into Needles I have noticed the last 10 miles (the long down hill grade into Needles) is a Highway Patrol duck pond. This year even more so. Seem they are doing fundraising for Cali. I have seen their increased enforcement of speeding laws more and more as the Cali budget gets worse but this year, and particularly on the stretch i just mentioned it's crazy....they had four cars pulled over on my side of the road only. A couple buzzed passed me on their way to their next "duck" and I saw a few on the other side heading up the hill to set up their run. I want to mention that I have the utmost respect for the police. I love our local cops in my home town and the deputies across America have always been great but the California CHP are a different story. it seems the state goes out of it's way looking for the biggest neurological jerks to be chippies. I have met hundreds across the state as they patrol fairs and festivals and individually some are OK but in a group or on patrol they are *****!

I realized that I really need to move out of Cali. I noticed that leaving the state makes me happy and coming back is depressing.

Today was an all day drive though it wasn't a tough drive.
Word from Red Bluff is all three shows went really well. Jim called to tell me that someone took photos of us at last year's fair out there and entered them in this year's photo contest at the fair. The one with Jim in it won second place at the fair.
Being on the road doesn't stop business form being carried out. In fact I booked gigs for Feb 2010 while in the middle of the NM desert. PTL
So what does a 44 year old dad and his 4 year old daughter do while driving 900 miles? We sing, we listen to Jungle Jam and Razzle Flabins, we make faces at each other, we attack the snack box, we play silly games, and she sleeps sometimes (wish I could). It's been a lot of fun. Today we were "chased " by dinosaurs. We are hoping to find a restaurant that cooks rattlesnake for lunch tomorrow.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Two Units----Tehama Fair and Road Trip

Olivia and I made it as far as Kingman, AZ as we work our way to Paris.....Texas. In the mean time Jim, Miles, Vic Jr and Amelia performed three stage shows at the Tehama Fair in Red Bluff, CA.
They tell me that the first show was shaky due to a bad combination of incompatible sound equipment. But that was all fixed by show two and both show 2 and 3 went very well with many compliments.
As for Olivia and i we had a great time on the road. It was a relaxing drive but we did have a scare when a dash light came on....oh, no! After all the trouble with the Chevy I was sure this one was going down. But there was no strange noises, no loss of power. I consulted the handbook and called my dealership back home and discovered it may had been bad gas. In Barstow (home of the best donut) I bought the best gas possible. And walla! The light went out. So if you are in Kingsburg, CA keep away from the Arco gas station.
Gas prices in cali are outrageous. Just 9 miles into Arizona and gas was a whole dollar cheaper.
(better quality too!)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Paris and London...all in one!

For the first time we are breaking the show into 2 unit will stay here in Cali and perform at the Tehama Co Fair in Red Bluff this weekend and the other unit (,e and Princess Olivia) willdrive to Texas...teh others will fly out there on Monday and we will mee them in Dallas. We then drive over to Paris. That's right Paris.....Paris, TX!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Back in Cali and updates

We decided to do an 18 hour drive and drove from Laramie, WY to our home in Norcal and did it. And the Chevy van that has been then bane of our existence actually made it back....only to discover James' car here at home as been put into the shop for repairs and Mami's van needed a jump earlier this week while we were away...(how is that for a run on sentence?)
Cynthia's operation was a success put having a low threshold for pain she is down and out for the count for the rest of this week and maybe part of next.
No rest here at the home front. New promo stuff has to be finished as bookings for next year have already started. We also have to get stuff done for some productions I am producing and we still have the drive for Texas starting Friday as four of us go on to Red Bluff for the the Fair and 2 of us drive to Paris. I also have to get all the photos I have been promising to get uploaded, uploaded.
Happy 68 to JC you are a prince among men and a pauper among sheep. I love you man!
Just watched a DVD Tino Wallenda (Flying Wallendas) gave us while in Maine that shows the family show plus his ministry and all I can say is I want to produce a tour for his show/ministry here in Cali so if you are a church interested in a Dynamic message with a mind blowing program call me. (888) 867 7077.
October is as full as the summer and November is filling up. We will be making Santa appear at several places this November...I will list them all once the bookings are completed.
We are still in touch with the Realtor in KY and still thinking about the big move. We will see where God leads us.
Was able to squeeze in a lunch date with Mami today at our favorite Mongolian BBQ in Chico, CA (Hula's). It was nice but the impending 3 day drive, shows, air travel, etc and the preparations are calling and lay heavy on my mind.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wyoming (again)

We made it once again to Laramie....strange to be at the same hotel twice in the two weeks but c'est la vie. We picked up the Chevy on the way and so far so good.....keep it's engine in your prayers. Jim did his first 13 hour drive today too. Woohoo for him.
It has been freezing all day today and there was snow on the side of the road at the peak of the mountian just east of Laramie. Global warming my........
More to come....
Blessings to you

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Waterloo is over and the road calls....And news

Well, the three shows that were stackked back to back with the other two acts we shared the stage with camoe off splendidly and we back quickly and made a bee line to Wlamart for food and the hotel to bathe and sleep early. Tomorrow we have to run 90 miles from here to pick up the Chevy (see previous blogs) then it's homeward bound. If the Chevy pulls another break down it becomes the property of whatever state it dies in.
The fair was very satisfied with our shows and we have an open invitation to coming out next year. And this makes a perfect moment to announce next year's show. There will be many of our unique and original and signature pieces and routines but we are adding my disabled son Titus(11) to the show and since my wife has been learning to juggle she will join and do a short routine with Jugglin' Jim. Here presence will mean better food too. We just need to find a nice reliable RV for next year (any suggestions?). Our opening and closing will be a salute to Eddie Foy and the Seven Little Foys (google them). They were an act where Eddie Foy added his seven kids to his show. In the earlier shows his wife (a former ballerina) joined in the show too. (So really it was Eddie And Mr s Foy and the Seven Little Foys. Already we have had a few groups interested in the new show so this winter will be much rehearsing going on at our home....we will have to do a bit of singing and dancing...but not much and it isn't supposed to be of too high a caliber. That's one of the points...we are aiming for cute and funny. We will also have some new stunts and the addition of either the high wire and/or a couple of other aerial circus stunts....we are truly trying to marry circus to vaudeville. (Any suggestions and help anyone out there wants to throw our way let me know.)
Mami has already begun work on the costumes.
I would like all of you who are brothers and sister in Christ to keep the next two weeks in your prayers. We have the drive these next few days with the Chevy as our chase vehicle (and you know how that has worked out) then we have something we have never tried. Jim, Miles, Vic Jr and Amy will perform in Red Bluff, Ca at that fair while Olivia and I drive to Texas. The day after the kids finish there Red Bluff gig they are on the plane to Texas to meet Olivia and I then we have a five day gig there. Then they hop back on the plane as Olivia and I drive back. Also Princess Cynthia will finally have surgery for her torn Tendon in her leg on Tuesday. It's our hope to be back by then but the extra stop for the Chevy Van will prove to kill those chances and it pains me not to be there since she will be under general Anesthetic. All these travels and the surgery and all that come with it are heavy on my mind and heart so keep us in your prayers. I know WHO is charge so i rest in that but i still have weakness in my flesh and worry way too much. So get those prayer chains going.
I have more to tell you regarding various things that have happened over the course of the fair that are funny and inspiring but I will have to wait until aI have more time. That will include photos too. '
God Bless and Good night!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Waterloo gave us a looloo of a Saturday

Great crowds....both in size and enthusiasm. I do have to admit the third show started at the exact time the rodeo started and that is a very big draw out here so the audience was smaller than earlier shows but made up for it with energy. We had a lot of fun. But I must confess we were all a bit tired all day. Fortunately we get to sleep in an extra hour tomorrow. But Monday starts the trek back so we will have a very early start to pick up that dang Chevy...90 minutes out of the way. Oh, is what it is.
We were once again visited by Eric the Extraordinaire and his pop. I also got to meet some of their friends including the mom of a Las Vegas pro magician. Eric and his dad were nice enough to bring us a mouse for Buttercup from Petco (I highly endorse not confuse them with the wacko weirdos that are Petsmart the overpriced nut cases with really odd store policies!)
As I sit here I think I am too tired to recall any happenings of the day beyond the general. We were all (other acts included) blessed with good audiences today and sales were the best of the three days (which really isn't hard to be.)
I do have pix for today but will have to wait to post them because I am exhausted. Keep us in your prayers and we will do likewise. Blessings to you!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Waterloo My Waterloo I love you Waterloo.

Johnny the dog show guy.
Amelia rocking out at the Nick Kid's Show

A cake...looks like a diaper bag...but it's a cake.

A cow...proving there are cows at the Cattle Congress

Ok the title of today's blog really has nothing to do with the blog at all. Sure Waterloo is a nice town. It has attributes that makes it feel like a big city and attributes that make it feel like a small town and even further attributes that make it feel rural. John Deere has a big plant here and driving into and out of here gives you no doubt agriculture is a dominate thing.
We played to good sized audiences with show one being SRO and the second likewise SRO. But the third show was only 3/4 full. It was rodeo night. And to be honest in spite of the great attractions the National Cattle Congress isn't the big draw it once was. The management is doing a great job trying to change that but it will take time.
Really slow sales of our merchandise tells me it's the economy stupid. In fact, a sales clerk at Wal-mart said, after we invited her to come see the show, that it was just too expensive, "you have to say $10 to get in $5 for parking, and then more for the rides, the foods, etc" Money is tight out here and rumor is negotiations between the unions and John Deere aren't going too well and the contract is up next month. That and the fictitious stories our government is feeding us about an economic turn around has no one fooled when folks are out of work, threatening to be out of work, or see loved ones or neighbors get out of work. Though corn yields are high i guess not everyone in this state benefit from it.
Update for Bill and others who love JC....good new is he does not have cancer and he and his bride have found a home they like and are going to buy it. Good going JC....lunch is my treat next time.
In regards to the Chevy's 90 miles out of the way from here but we are going to pick it up on Monday and try to take her back to place she breaks down is where we will leave her to rust! Sayonara $540 more.
One great comment on stage tonight occurred when Miles used the fire-whip to whip a fingertrap out of may hand. A man yelled, "Hey, do it out of your mouth." I responded, "Sure, but it's my policy that the person who yells stuff like that has to do it first..." I turned adn said it in the direction of the voice. Nos response. SO I said, "Interesting how when I say that the person changes their tune." It got a laugh. The last show also had one really obnoxious, loud lady who looked like a teen but claimed to be an adult who just blurted out whatever was on her mind constantly during the show. It got to be annoying. I had to shut her up when she demanded I jump again from the platform to the broken glass in my bare feet (earlier she was claiming the glass was fake and that she could walk on it). Fortunately (or unfortunately) I got a small cut on my big toe that bleed liberally. I held it up and said that since I was cut and she had said she wanted to walk on the glass that I would happily let her take a jump. She declined. And was quiet from then on.
The long schedule allowed me to sneak off the grounds for an hour or so to get the van serviced (oil change, etc) and do some shopping. These long time between show gigs can be killer. I was blessed with no lines at the service center and both stores I went to. Straight in, straight to the register and I am a little more broke than I was when the day started.
Until tomorrow...cheers.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cattle Congress Day 2....It's not my Waterloo.

Day 2 in Iowa. And believe it or not we didn't see a single corn stalk.
We had three shows today and some strolling. The first two shows were separated by a couple of hours but between the 2:30 and 7Pm show the wait was long. The little ones and I caught the Wild Animal show during the long wait as the older ones stilted and pink gorilla-ed around. There was also some frisbee playing and we visited the petting zoo. We also walked through the buildings and grounds at the fair...several times. The whole time we are here we are going to have a similar break between the 2nd and 3rd shows so we may just leave the grounds to sight-see the next couple of days during those breaks.
The Cattle Congress was, I am told, one of the biggest fairs in the US at one time. But for whatever reason it's a pale example of what it was. However, I can see in the current management a real desire to bring back the glory days and they are starting with the attractions. The had a jousting show tonight and that brought about a lot of interest by the public. The shows I am told are much better than what they have had in the past few years (Told by patrons and staff). There is a wild animal show with real tigers, monkeys of various types and a number of other animals....educational but cleverly presented. There is the Muttville Dog Show which is basically a man and his 12 or so dogs of all breeds that do tricks. Johny is his name and he puts on a very good show, very professional. He was a bit grumpy earlier on in the day having a rough show to show schedule between yesterday and today, and one of the acts running long. There is also a for the younger kids Kids Activity show of sorts that the two younger princesses enjoyed and finally the only downer a really boring hypnotist. She had a gigantic crowd but lost them very quickly, took forever (30 minute plus) to induce or put her subjects under and then had boring routines. In her defense she did have a strong sun light shining in from the sky lights to contend with. However, her mic blasting so loud was her own fault.
Today was school kids day and the timing of our show made it so we didn't get any at our shows. Our noon show was their scheduled lunch and at 2:30 they were loading onto buses. Blessing or curse?
The first crowd was alright but kind of a Television audience (reacts very little but doesn't leave, then compliments your show). The second audience was a total TV audience...I was beginning to think this was going to be my Waterloo this year... so for the third show when I realized, after getting weak responses upto the third routine, to educate the audience on audience behavior. I spoke to them about how we feed off their energy. I spoke of our travels and how every state is different in audiences. I told them how the Midwest were slowly forgetting how to be an audience and how New England had fabulous audiences. Then I asked if they were going to let states like New York or Connecticut beat Iowa. From that point on it was an awesome audience and it was a full house or SRO (standing room only) by mid show until the end. So here in Waterloo, Ia I did not have to face my Waterloo.
We met some interesting people all day today. There were many college aged Japanese girls in several but separate groups making me think they are students out here. There is Marty our sound guy and Kevin the stage hand who are awesome. There is John the Dog Show guy whose stress of the day vanished by day's end and he turned out to be alright. Then there was the magician and his pop. We spent a lot of time between and after the shows chit-chatting about shows, magic, life, the fair, fairs in general, the meaning of life (the cereal and the board game not life the living), and other sundry of topics. (By the way we really didn't talk about life.) They may come back this weekend.
Well, (like the dog show's trailer dog pen area) I am pooped. So I am off to read and then sleep.
I will mention that Princess Amelia always remembers to pull out the hotel bible and have me read something to them every night. She thinks it's cool hotels have bibles.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Iowa---Day 1 (in town less than an hour and we are on TV)

Beverly Nevada?
The 100 year old hall we will be performing in.

View from my room. The glass elevator up was a surprise to the kids. They loved it.

We left Lincoln at the leisurely time of 8am and drove off an hour or so into Iowa...Council Bluff, IA. I had found a Petco on line and needed to pick up food (mice) for Buttercup. So we pulled off the hwy in search of Petco. Well, Google maps blew it and we found nothing. So we tried the other way and found a Petsmart. We went in.
The store was large and clean but no costumers. The larger than average sales clerk who leaned resting her arms on the board that separates her register from the other one (she was on the wrong side) never moving from her spot watched us walk in. I walked over and she gave me an attentive head nod as I said, "hi" and asked if they had mice. She asked, "What for?" (What business is it of hers?) I said it was food for a snake. She said they had mice but not as feeders. I said that she should just forget I just said that and that she should just sell me mice. I have a snake in the can that is need of food...she doesn't want it to die does she? She called her manager and before she could speak to the manager (who was a skinny, short haired, hemp choker wearing, vegan looking hippy) I told her I needed a couple formice. She too asked what they were for. I said, "a science experiment" (we are studying the digestion of snakes). She nearly soppngly ld me they have to ask because people try to feed them to snakes. HMMMM. Ironically the mice section was right next to the snake section of the store. She explained they sell frozen mice fetuses for them. (Yup, that's not like eating a live one...just kill them in the womb...I'm taking a leap but I bet they support human abortion under they same mindset too.) In the end it was the price that stopped me. Seven bucks for vermin?
Needless to say we left and once we were settled in Waterloo we found a Petco who were happy to sell us Buttercup's live food. Buttercup was thankful and quick to chow down. So Viva Petco and down with Petsmart.....eternally on our no-shop list. By the way right before we fed them to Buttercup we named one Lazy cashier and the other Hippy Manager...Apparently they were tasty.
Since our hotel is in the downtown historic area there isn't much parking for a big van with a trailer so we headed out to the fairgrounds and dropped it off. While there the manager came over and said the local TV news folks were sending out a reporter and could we do something. So Out came Buttercup. Out came James in Stilts, out came fire-eating and out came Miles and his bullwhips. Hardly in town an hour and we are on
When I posted we were in IA their comment was Corn-corn corn corn.
I agree but there is also a lot of soybean. It's strange out here; you travel for hours passing corn and soybeans then all of a sudden there is a town. A real town that looks like any other in the US. In fact, there are old buildings, highways, tall buildings and then all of a sudden corn again.
Like I said, the folks out here are nice. Very nice so far...everyone but Petsmart and the two red doper diaper babies.
Looking forward to a nice sleep tonight.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Beautiful Drive Across the Plains...Now in Nebraska

Well, We did a 12 hour drive and are settling down for a good sleep before the final 5 hours tomorrow. Though we have been offered or invited to Iowa many many many times we have always had either another booking or it was out of our way in a tour. So Starting Thursday we will do our Iowa Debut.
In the drive Victor, happy to be free from his figure 8 harness for his broken clavicle, was practicing rope ties. He escaped everytime. No trick ties...real tie-ups. All the kids were hitting the books most the drive as well. Victor actually read over 100 pages...a big thing for him. We will pick him up a new book tomorrow.
It was a very cool day mostly overcast. There were a few pretty impressive gusts of wind that gave the van and trailer a little push...but at least we weren't driving against the wind today (added 2 extra miles per gallon compared to yesterday.
We listened to a few mix cds that I titled "Fun Music". We also listened to some great old time radio, Our Miss Brooks, Boston Blackie, The Mysterious Traveler, etc. So much fun.
Blessings to you.

Monday, September 14, 2009

On the Road....Again Rainbow in UT

We left early in my mind but we took advantage of our bodies still being used to east coast time and that gave us a good jump making it from oroville to Rock Springs, WY. It rained pretty much from Salt Lake City to Rock Springs. I need to check the weather reports but I hope it dries out. It's been a very wet year.
Pulling the smaller trailer is nice; better MPG and the Ford likes it better...less fishy.
We are Cynthia-less as she has her surgery next week and has doc apts all this week.
Everyone else is doing well. We need to find a pet store to pick up food for Buttercup though.
There was a beautiful rainbow...complete rainbow...just outside of SLC. It was really beautiful and I will post a pix of it soon.
Outside driving through heavy rain through the Rockies at dusk with semis wizzing by spraying water to the point of blindness the trip has been uneventful...but pretty.
Cheers.God Bless

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Gay Blackstone

Victor Kent and Gay Blackstone.

What do you think I did on my only weekend off since May? I should mentionit's my only day off until November too. Well, my good buddy and magical friend Bill Jackson and I drove the 4 hour trip to Fresno and met Gay Blackstone as she gave a lecture and meet-n-greet at Hocus-Pocus magic shop. Gay is the wife of the late Harry Blackstone Jr and the producer of the recent run of TV magic shows called World's Greatest Magicians.

I brought with me a program from their show I saw back in the 70s and a program I got when I sw their show int he 80s and she autographed both. She is a very sweet lady and I was so happy to meet the partner, assistant, and wife of the man that influenced my showmanship so much as a child. A true gem in the magic community. (I also picked up a coupleof tricks at the magic shop and a videography of the Blackstones.

Harry Blackstone's signiture costume.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Boys are Back in Town

In a driving relay of sorts the two young men drove up in the Penske Van bloodshot-eyed but happy to be home. As for the Chevy Van it's still in Iowa. We will look into what's going on with that and deal with it once everything is known. At the very least it's unexpected series of trouble after the last show on the last day of our 2 month 5 state tour was an adventure and a story for the books. The boys told me of Nebraska rainstorms where sheets of rain made road visibility impossible; stories of insane drivers cutting them off or driving wildly; of truck stop antics where Jim balances tables and almost anything not nailed down on his chin to entertain folks (something that annoyed Nick a bit: he doesn't completely understand our family's need to any situation.)
The plans are in the works for the Iowa gig in Waterloo, IA in less than two weeks...more driving and more awesome shows. Then, just as we get back, the group will divide up with Cynthia going under the knife to fix her Achilles tendon, Miles, Jim, Victor Jr and Amelia performing at the Tehema Fair in Cali as Olivia and I take a second unit to Paris, Texas where we will then meet the other 4 at the airport once they finish in Cali for five days at the Red River Valley Fair. Then it's a 6 hour drive to Houston to perform at a theater and then we split up again as the kids fly home and Olivia and I drive back just in time to do a fundraiser show in Cali for the local high school sports program.
Miles has added new stunts with his bullwhip extinguishing a candle is one and causing a soda pop can to explode is the other. With his advancements in the lasso arena his talents are really developing this year.
Cynthia will be sidelined wearing a special boot for nearly a year but we are designing costumes for her so she can still float and do her quick changes.
I am in the workshop coming up with trick for Titus...that's right...that 7th child, 11 year old Titus has no fine motor control, can't walk, can't talk. And it drives me nuts he can't be in the show with us. It also means his mom, my loving life-partner and wife, can't travel with us so we will find a way to work them in. Especially since my wife has been learning to juggle rather well.
An RV is also in the plans for next season, God willing. It will make traveling for Titus much easier.
We are also hoping to use the awesome skills of Nick the sound man-roadie more.
That's the update for today. Sorry to bloviate so.

Updates---Cali-bound boys----TV Series Featuring Uu?

Wow, what a difference 24 hours makes. The boys (nick and Jim for those of you who aren't following the saga) called this morning from just west of SLC, UT. They have been relay driving (one sleeps the other drives then switch) since they left Iowa leaving the sack of cr** Chevy van behind and renting a moving truck (the rental car places don't rent to folks under 25). So their timing so far will put them back her at home sometime between 7 and 9pm tonight depending on how often they stop for gas, food, and rest.
The saga of the van and what's wrong with it will continue on though. We will perform out in IA later this month and will decide what to do with it by that time. Odds are we will donate it to a charity group that you hear about on the radio wanting cars running or not.
A friend I made while visiting the Magic Castle was recently approached by a TV producer looking for a magic family to do a docu-drama TV series (reality show..magic show). So he recommended us and I made contact with that producer yesterday. It's in the initial stages of discussions but it makes for a good story to blog about so there you go. We have been approached a couple of times in the past for shows (Wife-swap, Trading Spouses, America's Got Talent, etc) and this is the first one that we truly have an interest. So we will see how that goes.
As far as the theater we wee thinking about buying...well...the politics and if I may be blunt foolishness of many involved and the threat of Obama's energy plan (Cap and Trade which will raise energy bills for individuals, families and most especially business to impossible levels) has us second guessing ourselves. Homey don't play the political game and if the wackos who insist on retrying and retrying methods of running the joint that have failed over and over again over the past 20 years (insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results) then we will just have to wait until the bank puts it on the auction block and see if we are still interested.
I want to add that this summer has been incredible. We have met some wonderful people and rekindled friendships from past seasons. We have been truly blessed in spite of the whole Chevy thing (buy Ford!). In many ways I betcha that Chevy thing will prove to be a blessing too. This month is going to prove to be just as exciting as the rest of this summer. In fact, with the whole experiment of driving one unit to Texas as a second unit performs in Cali and then they will fly out to meet me in TX is one thing we've never done before. And this coming Saturday I will meet Gay Blackstone, wife of the late Harry Blackstone Jr, one of my childhood influences in magic and stagecraft. Then there is the theater show in Lake Jackson, TX after the Paris, TX gig....oh boy, what an exciting fall!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Broke Downin Iowa----Penske to the Rescue

Well, we thought it was all groovy and the Checy was humming along until...Iowa. AS I wrote in the last blog the boys got as far as Nowhere, IA (an exit for Williamsburg, IA midway between Des Moines and Iowa City). It is there the van sits at a garage where the mechanic says it's "missing badly" referring to missing on the spark?, no fuel? stuck value? computer error?, or any number of problems that 2o years ago was pretty easy to diagnose and fix. So the mechanic is helping them get to Iowa City where they are renting a Penske moving see Enterprise, Hertz, and the others won't rent to anyone under 21 (and in some cases under 25). they will go back to Nowhere, IA and get the stuff (including an antique chair we bought in CT) and then start the trek back home. Good thing is we know God knows where we are and unlike Job (who dared to asked God, "Why?" and then had to repent...after all we are the clay and he is the maker) I will just hope that God is glorified somehow through all of this. Outside of missing this past weekend's gig (which wasn't a the last blog) and the financial costs of extra nights in hotels, etc. this hasn't been as bad as it could've been. Why, Tino Wallenda told me a story of a time recently when one of their trucks and trailers were totaled. Then their was the fire one of their trailers burned and they lost so many precious family possessions. So this man with tight shoes won't complain because I have seen those with no shoes.
Keep Jim and Nick in your prayers.
(I do want tomention theat Penske came down in their rates after hearing the boys' story. That makes them heros of sorts to me.)

Monday, September 7, 2009

I Spoke too Soon-

Sorry for no blog for three days....but the hotel the client put us in in Winnemucca, NV had no wi-fi (as well as a ton of other things like beds made in the last 30 years, enough towels, etc) but they got the rooms from the hotel for nothing since they were sponsors. At least, I am told, the rooms weren't as bad as the ones the other act at the fair had to endure at an even worse hotel. I think I smell a new clause in my contract (hotel specificity). What a three days to miss for the blog.
First the fair we were at has to be the smallest one we have ever performed at. The entire fair can be walked around in less than 5 minutes. You could stand in one spot and see all the exits and entrances and all the rides (all 7 of them) and all 5 or 6 vendors. But I am not saying it was a bad fair....just tiny. The audiences were very nice and we filled the tent with the exception of the 10:30 Sunday morning show....why events insist on doing 10:30 AM Sunday shows in Bible-belt areas is beyond me but they do...everywhere! I should mention that at 10:30 there was also a parade going on downtown that would end at the fair at noon. But all 30-50 people who saw our show had a good time.
We shared the stage with a family fiddle act. They had a lot of stuff and we had a lot of stuff so there was a lot of moving stuff around. We also had to share the stage with the community stuff like TaiKwanDo, Gymnastics, Pie Eating, Watermelon eating, etc. The community folks don;t have a lot of respect for the pros' equipment so it was frustrating from time to time. Like when the newspaper lady who is also on the fair board who was helping with one of the contests allowed her 3 and 6 year old kids run rough shot on our props with total disregard. When i shoo-ed her son off the bed of nails (he was shaking his hand like he hurt himself) she just gave me a dirty glance. When I asked her to keep her kids off the props (which were all set off to the side nowhere near the contests going on on stage, she ignored me. When I repeated myself she said, "I heard, you. and so did they (her kids)." Then she turned coldly away. So I yelled of stage in a voice everyone could hear, "Cynthia, Miles, One of you come up here and keep an eye on the props. the parents up her are irresponsible and can't control their kids." Then I left the stage more than a little frustrated. I reported the whole thing to her boss (my boss too) just to cover my bottom. He said she was in hot water for a number of things already. The things a performer has to do to keep their props safe...and can you imagine how fast she would've gotten a lawyer if her child had seriously hurt itself.
The town of Winnemucca is quite cool. it is still stuck in the 70s in many respects and it would be easy to film a retro 70s TV show thee. But that makes it quaint. The best eats that we experienced is the Flying Pig BBQ place. Their prices were really reasonable and the portion sizes were BIG! Very nice.
One more note. Even though we pulled good crowds and feedback was good I didn't feel we clicked there. There was something that hung over us all weekend that just didn't make me feel like it worked as well as I would've liked. Perhaps it was because our sound man, Nick, and Jim weren't there. But I think it was more than that. Normally Labor Day weekend we are in Fallon. NV but they made a few mistakes in their changing of the Booking-guard" and asked us back after we had booked the Winnemucca gig by one hour. In retrospect, I wish I would've canceled this one and did Fallon...but I am honorable and kept my word....even when it isn't the best choice.
the miracle of the van and the money was a great story and it appeared it was going to be a full fledged miracle...but Sunday morning right before our first show I get a call from Jim. The van's engine light came on again and the van is down again half way between Des Moines and Iowa City on the outskirts of a town called Williamsburg. The mechanic will take a look at it Tuesday morning and if it is something more difficult than a quick fix the boys will be renting a U-haul truck, loading the stuff from the van into it and bee-lining it to Cali. We will leave the van there and decide it's fate later. Since we have a gig in Iowa later this month we will have the opportunity to go back and blow it up, drive it home, or junk it....later. By the way, I haven't lost faith in the creator just because of these troubles. This has become an interesting story in our lives that we will talk about for years. Also if I am the clay and He the Maker what right do I have to complain. Besides, look at Job, his only sin was he complained and demanded to know "why?" Nah, I belong to Him and so do the boys and so does that van so His will be done.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Miracle? You decide.

What I am about to tell you gave the mechanic goosebumps.
The Chevy van that broke down in MA on the way back from the summer tour's bill just came up. It is 2895.37.....
Keep that number in mind....
Because last week the IRS found mistakes on my return...turns out I overpaid and they sent me a check for 2898.35....
the difference is 2.98.

Good News------

The Chevy van is fixed and the Boys will be pulling out of Mass. very soon.

The rest of us leave for Winnemucca for the weekend of shows....will share the road with the Burning man freaks on the way back. Always hilarious to watch.

More to come.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Olivia's Bday...updates...Pictures

Jim and Nick are spending one more night in CT as they wait for the van in MA. The mechanic has fixed all of the things that failed, broke or loosened due to the soon to be identified master problem. Now since the catalytic converter is changed and the injectors cleaned up and adjusted and a sensor or two replaced there is still a problem with compression in two cylinders. It runs but roughly and that's better than it did a couple of days ago.....more to come.

Princess Olivia turned 4 today. We went shopping and she got skates, a camera (for kids), and a sundry list of other smaller things. She also got a couple of cute outfits at the mall.

We confirmed we will be back in Calico this October. (last two weekends.)

We will be at the Tri-county fair in Winnemucca this Sat. and Sun. But without our sound guy and without Jim. We have worked without them before but we are going to miss them.

The last 2 and half days have been insane with clean up from the summer tour and preparations for Nevada. Also Cynthia will have surgery on her Achilles tendon this month so she may be out of a few shows. And Victor Jr is still a couple of weeks from being free of his brace. What a motley crew we are. We may have to make some changes in our tour. I will keep you all informed.

Maine was great. We ate lobster, blueberries, and drank Moxie. And we visted two light houses.
Prices were cheaper in Maine and somehow it was less oppressive than the rest of New England. It was open and clear. Houses were normal not super perfect...some even need a paint job. The people we polite and kind. I loved the older Maine-iacs accent...sounded like that old Peperedge Farms commercial spokesman.

The Kents Meet the Wallendas
Me and Tino

In spite of potential rain and the wind the Wallendas go on!

Tino's Dog Mausey

Crippled Chevy

Killing in time waiting on news about the van.

At the Union fair.

That rare picture of Nick for his fans.

Fall Tour

9/5-6 Tri-County Fair Winnemucca

9/10 (private gig)

9/17-20 Cattle Congress in Waterloo, IA

9/25-27 Tehema Districk Fair Red Bluff, Ca

9/29-October 3 Red River valley fair Paris, TX

10/4 (possibly Houston Area Show...Private)

10/11 (private gig)

10/17 Silverado Days Buena park, CA

10/23-25 and 10/30-11/1 Calico Ghost Town (CA)

11/13 Madera School Fundraiser

11/14 Hemet Mall (CA)