Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Back in the Saddle-

It has been two weeks or so since my last entry and for that I must plead laziness. When I wasn't being lazy I was busy. It seems I have only two gears.

I will cover:

Ed Rapoza's Visit to the US.
Summer Tour


The start of March we adopted Belle. Belle is a miniature poodle (bigger than a toy poodle but way smaller than a poodle). She was raised as a human baby by her original owners and by the time she was 9 months old had lost many of her "dog skills". She never went for walks. Rather she was pushed around in a stroller. So "going for a walk" was new when our friend took over care-giver needs. A month later we adopted her and she has been learning how to be a dog again. Thank you "Dog Whisperer" TV show since many of the techniques we've been using are from that show. She is a real character and in one months time has really become a part of the family.

She did have to be "fixed". She didn't realize there was anything broken to "fix". So she had to wear the "cone of Shame", as Cynthia calls it, to keep her from licking the surgery site.

We are slowly beginning to train her to perform in the show.

Ed's Trip to the US-

I have been friends with Ed for over 18 years. We met in Japan and he joined me on many projects out there. I also want to mention he has been in Japan for nearly 28 years. he hasn't visited the States in over 10 years. During those years he grew ever frustrated with life and the cards he had been dealt. If I may stay on the card analogy, he was down to his last chips and he held a losing hand. He had reached his bottom back in November. But God did some remarkable things with him. First, in an act that can only be by His hand, Ed met a Japanese-Singaporean young man who was living in the US studying but was home in Japan for vacation, Kyle, around Christmas time. Kyle is a Christian and spoke to Ed of remarkable things. Ed also noted that Kyle was filled with an awesome Joy he had rarely seen in others.
Next, after many years of silence Ed was led to call me up one night a month ago and with tears in his eyes and sorrow in his soul poured out his heart. I invited him to come and stay with us. He did.
While here he took the opportunity to relax and recharge. But God had more plans for him than Ed could imagine. Ed spoke many times with James and Mami about his life and the comforting words that came from my family members' mouths were pure Gospel. He attended church with us and was astounded how the messages the pastor gave seemed to be speaking directly to him. Then Mami gave him a Bible and the very first time he opened it the verse he came to was a direct message to him. (That would happen many times over the weeks.) After 2 weeks here Ed Rapoza surrendered himself to God and was Baptized in the Feather River in Oroville. Pastor ken Killinger, a family friend, James, and Kyle (who flew out from Chicago) all shared in the ceremony.

Summer Schedule:

Though we are still booking shows we have a pretty full record breaking summer-fall tour.

Ten states and Canada are on the schedule. July and August are full and we are working on filling Sepetember up.

We are also on the hunt for and RV.

This year has so many new things going on. The new travel laws means passporst for everyone. Then there is the whole family traveling together for the first time. We may also be moving to KY and are working on the logistics for that. At first we may just rent a house in KY while we rent out our house in CA. Then, after a year, we will decide the final move.

Since we are adding an RV I am looking into a class A license and running down options for the actual purchase of the RV.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Incredible Two Weeks

The past two weeks have been incedible for the Kent Family. Hilarious in some cases, heart wrenchingly wonderful in other cases, and still other times earth shattering, and others charming and beautiful. There was also the weird.

First the charming. Princess Cynthia participates in a culinary class at her high school. Last week she was invited to demonstrate making suchi-rolls at a Gourmet Supply store in Chico, Ca.
Below are a couple of pictures.

Note the mirror above shows her work in progress.
It was funny because her teacher can't pronounce Japanese words very well (like most Americans...after all ask someone how to pronounce Karaoke and you get "Keree okee" when it is "Kaw Raw O Kay". ) So when Cynthia stumbled when she was speaking (on an English word) the teacher hollered the correction from the back. Since he had told the audience about Cynthia's correcting him all the time earlier it brought lots of laughs.
There was also a couple of hMong girls who showed us how to make cold spring rolls and they were so good we went to a hMong market afterwards and made them for the fmaily the next day.
We also learned to make Endive boat hor devours and likewise made some the next day.

On Wednesday JC Dunn, Ed Rapoza and I went out on a magician's day lunch but could resist to raise a little cane before going....I know it's a big cane.
When he came he was 8' tall but boneloss has made him barely able to walk with his cane.
JC Dunn (68) upside down...or is the rest of the word upside down and he the only one right side up?

Also this week poor Belle went under the knife...she's now "fixed". I don't think she is thinking anything was broken that needed fixing! Here she is in what Cynthia calls the "cone of shame".
Eddie's News-
When Ed came here from Japan he was at the end of his rope. But through a series of very interesting circumstances God had brought him to a place where he was brought to his knees and surrendered to Him. Little did he know at the time that God had been moving him towards this for many years and more aggressively these past few months. Little did he know that so many had been praying for him for so many years. And two nights ago he handed it all over to Jesus. The transformation of him before my very eyes was nothing short of miraculous. Like Scrooge when he awoke on Christmas morning and proclaimed he had become as giddy as a school boy so Ed had become but even more so. He was radiant!
He will be baptized next Friday in the Feather River.
Since it is his story I will have him share the details of the whole transformation in his own words soon.
Anyone who has not witnessed true conversion and transformation will not understand. Some of you will believe it only myth, hypnosis, mind washing, etc. But I can tell you it was none of these things. For over the years I have seen people who have come to "believe" by those methods and this wasn't the same...and in all those other cases the life and longevity of their faith always died out.
Ed did not sleep that night but celebrated his coming to the Lord all night and into all day yesterday. Praise God.
I want to add that I have met and witnessed people with many problems and heartaches who have searched out "cures", "salivations", "help', what ever you want to call it. I have seen many of them claim to find it but their eyes revealed they were still in so much pain and loss. What I see in Ed's eyes, as I have seen in so many (how I wish were more) eyes was a clarity and joy I have NEVER seen in the eyes people who have searched other paths. I marvel at what I have seen and praise God.
On the Show News front:
We have added New Mexico to our Summer-Fall tour. The Southern New Mexico State Fair Sept 29- October 3.
Michigan is in the works but not confirmed for June.
Looking to fill July 27- August 1, August 30-31 and Sept 7-15.
If you have any suggestions please let me know.
May 8-9 Calico Ghost Town
May 28-31 Wisconsin Chocolate Fest (WI)
June 12 Gold Sox Baseball Game (Marysville, CA)
June 30-July3 Swift Current Frontier Days (SK, Canada) (((then 2000 mile drive to))
July 6-July 10 Laurel County Fair (London, KY)
July 12-25 Beech bend Amusement Park (Bowling Green, KY)
August 2-15 Quassy Amusement Park (Middlebury, CT)
August 17-21 Delaware County Fair (NY)
August 24-28 Union Fair (ME)
Sept 1 New Life Neighborhood Church (Asheville, NC)
Sept 3-6 3 County Fair (MA)
Sept 16-19 National Cattle Congress (Waterloo, IA)
Sept 29-Oct 3 Souther NM State Fair

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Misc and Stuff

Below are pictures of friends and the 2010 running gag Alf.
Today was spent doing two school shows. One more tomorrow.
The season is warming up with mostly school shows this month moving into festivals and fairs starting next month.
Bill Jackson with Shawn Farquar at Shawn's Lecture in Sacramento
Where's Alf.....taken at a school show we did today.

Publicity pciture gone silly...Dead-Ed.

California Sunshine for Ed

Publicity Pix 1
It's what's for Dinner with Uncle JC in the back.

Whya re all my friends bald?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Revised Summer Dates-----Fortuna Show----Uncle Eddie

Good Friend Ed Rapoza, known around here as Uncle Eddie, has arrived from Japan for a visit and for research into moving back to the States. He is a fantastic mentalist and entertainer in general.
He performed with us at our Fortuna Fundraiser last week and did a fantastic job. He told me he has been using Japanese almost exclusively for the past 10 years it was tough to get his mind into English.

Eddie and Good friend Bill Jackson...seems being bald with a goatee are requirements to be called friend in my house.

I gifted Eddie with his very own child. It was a gremlin like latex doll I picked up a few years ago with the intention of using in a show or not. Since he liked it, i gave it to him and he now has a son. Looks a lot like he has Eddie and Obama DNA.

Where is Alf?
Here is a shot of the audience, or part of it. The organizer did a fantastic job securing us a very old beautiful theater and creator a fabulous poster. She advertised the show allover the place but forgot the number one rule in sales...advertising does not equal sales. Instead of pushing the sales-approach, she advertised and hoped for the best. Turned out to be very small audiences. In contrast we did a fundraiser in a town 1/4 the size of Fortuna (Laytonville) just 20 miles south of Fortuna and for three years in a row packed the house. The advertising was weak but the sales were off the charts. Students, teachers and staff all sold tickets. A ticket sales contest was held.

Notice to the right Olivia was asleep on the floor between shows as Alf runs amuck on stage.
This is cat Clark. I performed for her girl scout troop about 15 years ago near Mt Lassen. Then a few years later at her school in Quincy. Then again at a fair a couple of years ago and now tonight. All together 4 different towns all over the state. I would call her a stalker.

Eddie tries on my hat.....OK I have a big head.

Revised Summer Schedule A: (Public dates only listed)

May 8-9 Calico Ghost Town
May 28-31 Wisconsin Chocolate Fest (WI)
June 12 Gold Sox Baseball Game (Marysville, CA)
June 30-July3 Swift Current Frontier Days (SK, Canada) (((then 2000 mile drive to))
July 6-July 10 Laurel County Fair (London, KY)
July 12-25 Beech bend Amusement Park (Bowling Green, KY)
August 2-15 Quassy Amusement Park (Middlebury, CT)
August 17-21 Delaware County Fair (NY)
August 24-28 Union Fair (ME)
Sept 1 New Life Neighborhood Church (Asheville, NC)
Sept 3-6 3 County Fair (MA)
Sept 16-19 National Cattle Congress (Waterloo, IA)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Summer Tour Dates and other information

Here is how the summer is shaping up: (Public shows only listed)

May 28-31 Wisconsin Choclate Fest (WI)

June 12 Gold Sox Baseball Game (Marysville, CA)

June 30-July3 Swift Current Frontier Days (SK, Canada) (((then 2000 mile drive to))
July 6-July 10 Laurel County Fair (London, KY)
July 12-25 Beech bend Amusement Park (Bowling Green, KY)

August 2-15 Quassy Amusement Park (Middlebury, CT)
August 17-21 Delaware County Fair (NY)
August 24-28 Union Fair (ME)

Sept 1 New Life Neighborhood Church (Asheville, NC)
Sept 3-6 3 County Fair (MA)

Sept 16-19 National Cattle Congress (Waterloo, IA)

We still have dates to fill: July 22-August 1, August 30-31, and Sept 7-15....if you are an event, have an event or are an organization, church, etc and would like us for one of those events we will be in the mid-west-New England.

As I wrote in the last email Mami miscarried our 8th child (10th pregnancy). She was only at the 7th week so it hasn't been "that" bad. If by "that" I mean compared to loosing it further along. Still it was tough. Please keep her in your prayers as she is still not 100% out of the woods yet.

Ed Rapoza:
Good ol' Uncle Eddie as the kids call him is here from Japan and rewinding after 25 years of being a foreigner in Japan. Though fluent in language and more knowledgeable in the culture, food, and traditions of Japan he is still considered a foreigner by locals. I lived there for 5 years and know what it was like for him. He arrived Tuesday and is still adjusting to the time and culture difference.

Our newest family member is really adapting to life in a big family. She still is skittish around fast moving things and loud noises but so am I. The hints I learned from the Dog Whisperer on TV has helped a lot. She can already walk on her hind legs and will make her show debut this summer.

We are looking for a class 3 (class c) motor home/RV to buy for the show. if you know of anyone selling one call us 530-532-7933

Asylum Straps:
Victor Jr has a new prop for his escapology demos. He is currently practicing with Asylum Leather hand restraints.

Ghosts in the Show:
Besides juggling Mami will be presenting a very cool illusion called the Spirit Cabinet. David Copperfield did a version of it on TV and in his live shows but the illusion goes back over 100 years to the Davenport Brothers who amazed and started audiences with the manifestations of ghosts in the act. Our version is quirky and fun and filled with surprises.

Show in Fortuna, CA:
We will present a fundraiser show for the Fortuna School District in the Norther Coastal town off hwy 101 this Saturday at 1:30pm and 5:30pm. Ed Rapoza will even make an appearance with his wonderful mentalism.

Monday, March 1, 2010

God Bless the Broken Road...(UPDATES)

OK so I start off philisophical in this update. It's amazing how 24 hours or even less can change the direction of things. Look at Haiti or even Chili. But those tragdies, though in my prayers and on my heart, aren't the reason I sound so deep.
To understand this mood I am in as I wirte I have to go through the last 3 days.

I will skip Thursday because it has something to do with today sooooo.....

Friday: We kick our 2010 season off with our traditional kick off, Magic for Mexico 6. (Though we have performed shows through January and Februray, they are last year's programs sprinkled with some of the new things as a test of sorts.) Right before leaving for the show local TV news calls to do a piece on us at the show. I will meet to interview with them 45 minutes before the show.
We arrived at 4pm and loaded the show in, set it up, and prepared the stage and backstage areas.
Below are pictures from Friday's show.......
The Foy routine....yes I am in a dress....Victor is doing one of his gags.
Pre-show TV Intervirew

Amelia about to read someone's mind.

Miles' Doing his best Eddie Foy Jr Rubber man dance.
Titus Making a balloon into a dove.
The final Bow.
Cynthia soon to be impaled.

Jugglin' Mama

Cynthia Belting it out!

Jim getting carried away.

There were a ton of glitches in the show but the audience was generally unaware. For fun I will share them with you. The kids left our "shoe box" at home. that's a special tote box that carries all the kids' show shoes. So being close to home Jim raced off to get them....15 minutes before curtain. Since we open with the Foy number I had to change things around and have my friend Bill Jackson, who was on the schedule at mid-show, to open the show. He did a remarkable job with an incredible trick that got just the desired reaction. The crowd loved him.
By the time Bill was done, Jim was back and all of us were shoe-ed.
We opened with the Foy routine and it went very well, in spite of the fact we had blocked and practiced the dance number entering the stage from the opposite direction.
Midway through my first "magic trick" after he Foy number Jim scrawls something on my show form and headed out on stage to juggle (he wasn't due up for around 30 minutes later). I asked him what was up and he told me to get back stage in a serious tone. So I went and found Olivia being treated by a doctor friend of ours who was at the show with blood gushing from her head. She had slipped and hit her head on a prop. No tears came from her eyes and she showed her first inkling of unhappiness when I came back and asked what happened. All that blood had come from a teeny tiny little scrape. Once cleaned up she said she wanted to do her trick with Buttercup the Snake, but she passed the "O Box" duties to Amelia.
The show featured six new routines, tricks or illusions for the 2010 season. Any seasoned pro knows you don't introduce that many new things but we were in front of a home town crowd and in spite of the two little backstage blunders I mentioned things went well.
Mami juggled for the audience and had to struggle for the first time with lights in her eyes. But pulled it off well...OK she dropped a couple of times but no biggie.
A few on stage gaffs were not generally "caught" by anyone in the audience so I won't spill the beans here.
After the show we were all drained to our cores. The stress of the new things and the errors or gaffs can be worse than 24 hours of manual labor.
We got a little sleep and on Saturday we were found at the Arts center in Marysville, CA to perform at a Mark Twain themed event. They had a lastminute cancelation of their main act and we were called in. The show was smashing! It rocked. We did much from the night before and nailed them. the fact the audience was so wonderful was icing on the cake.
The good show followed by a wonderful date with my wife to celebrate the news we learned on Thursday (it's coming be patient) gave me a very good sleep that night. in fact I over slept and left to pick up the poodle late.
Sunday Cynthia, Victor and I drove 200 miles to Santa Cruz area to pick up Belle....We got a late start due to the deep rest I had on Sat. Night. In fact, I woke up at 9:30 and while praying before getting up (as I usually do) I drifted back into a very deep sleep only to wake one hour later.
She is a mini-poodle and a real girly girl. She is totally a lap dog and is house trained....yeah!
She has adapted to us quickly and is learning house edict. Soon she will begin learning tricks for the show. Not used to sleeping with a dog I had a dog days night.
Now today------first

Thursday: Mami (my wife) takes pregnancy test and it is positive. Woohoo! #8!

Well, Mami started the process of a miscarriage today. Looks like #8 is not meant to be for now. She is doing well but needs your prayers. The one other miscarriage in our lives ended in an emergency DNC. So my request is prayers.

Lack of sleep (last night) and a busy weekend and the new family member and the fact we are having a guest this week has left me tired. So prayers for me and the children too please.