Saturday, July 31, 2010

78 Down! Bye Bye Ohio!

We are done here in Owensville, Ohio. 78 shows for the month of July. Four venues. Three states/province. Reports from the management were all good. Feed back was off the charts good. They were amazed at the crowds we drew.....Those were the boss' words. He siad it on camera too. So check out the video blog in a week or two.
It was cool all day today. ew...I just noticed the time......I have to get up in five hours so I will finish this on Monday....enjoy the picture:

Miles got me good today. he felt bad until the next show where he did better.

A nice shot of the sword suspension.

Our new routine where the kids enjoy "skunk juice".

Look...Elton John.

I met Santa, Kenny Rogers and Alf at our second show. These folks were in the audience and i couldn't resist having them come up for a picture.

I knocked the trailer off it's blocks and we had to reset it. It sucked because it put us 20 minutes behind. The demolishion derby would end before we could finish and that hung us up in the parking lot for an hour.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Big Crowds! Hot Wings!

The week is flying by. We beat weather odds and had beautiful days almost everyday. It ever really got too hot or too humid and today was nearly like a California Spring day. Very Nice!

Pre-show meant another laundry day for me. I went to the Fluff and Fold and washed mostly costumes today. It was very busy today, unlike two days ago. It was filled with colorful characters. At one point when I was unloading my dryer I saw an item fall from the corner of my eye. I thought it was one of our items, a pair of the little one's underpants. WRONG! Just after I picked it up I realized they were in fact a somewhat stained pair of thong underpants that had fallen from the dryer next to mine. The very rotund deaf woman who they belonged might have been offended when I realized my mistake and drop them. Now I didn't mean to grimace as I let them go but I was really truly horrified and was at a complete loss of words when I dropped them. For the next couple of minutes my mind could not escape reliving the moment over and over again and I am not sure but I think each time I did I grimaced again!

New Hair do for Olivia.

We made it to the fairgrounds and found everything already abuzz with vendors, carnies, and 4-h folks preparing their day. The girls, Mami and Titus went for a stroll and the girls got a free "duck" creature from one of the booths. Amelia got a "pig-duck" and Olivia got a "rocker-duck".
This nail was a chalenge nail. A "stalker" (a person who comes to a lot of's a good term when used by us) brought this and presented it to me when I was doing my Human Block head trick. At first I said, "no". But after doing my routine I decided to give it a try. I was worried about the file like ribs on the nail. Since my nostrils were moist from the stunt it wasn't a big chore getting it in. Pulling it out went slowly due to the saw like nature of the nail....but I did it!

After the show Belle and I kicked back for a while as the kids packed up.

Cynthia snapped a pix of me after I put up rope and caution tape to keep our stage from being used or abused while we are away. Looks like I have lost some weight.

Wings and Rings Sports Bar and Grill was the source of our chili -head challenge. We like to try the hottest wings a shop has to offer.
We got mild for the kids and "very Hot" and "atomic" for us.
Mild was nothing more than fried chicken. Very hot was alright but not earth shattering or sweat making. Atomic was sneaky. At first it was just a bit hotter than Very hot, but then after eating the wing the after burn kicks in and it burned good. Still not the hottest we've had...but good.

Nick loved the atomic sauce and finished it off with the celery. He built up a nice glistening sweat.

Victor chowed down on Mild.

I still don't completely understand the crowds here. During the demolition derby, a bike race, and the tractor pulls (and our show) they just sit on their hands. Today we had really big crowds. Over 200 blocked the walkways and driveways around us to watch the last show. As the show progressed they crowds grew and grew. But getting them to clap or respond is a lot of work. With prodding and a few hints a few times I was able to pull teeth or in this case pull applause out of them. They smile, they watch, they gather, they compliment, but they don't respond. Still tons of compliments and people who stick around and chat with us. It's wild. Our boss and all the fair board have said feedback has been really big and really positive.
A shout out to our London, Ky friends who taught the kids the Ninja game.....we are still playing it.
Cynthia has met her future dorm room mate on line yesterday. Since we haven't got her papers yet her room mate has filled her in on the dorm building, room, etc.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Over the Hump!

This big moth (wingspan over 4") was on our stage this morning. he died there. The picture doesn't do his beauty justice. The coloring and eye design on the lower wing are beautiful.

We started with threatening clouds and had strong winds all day but mostly sunny. No rain! By 5pm it was all sunshine but that dang wind. Makes fire-eating, juggling, and balancing a wheel barrow on your face tough. Still we pulled it off.

Before the show I had to take care of resupplying our show with cinder-blocks, rabbit food, sweet tea, and other sundry items. So it was that 10 minute drive to Walmart.

The morning started off with me being a bit grumpy. All I wanted to do was get away for a while so the trip to Walmart was well timed. When I got in the car I felt bad about being grumpy so I laid it all at God's feet and prayed hard. I also read a little scripture. Then an ease came over me. And the day suddenly became wonderful. Everything fell into place. Why, Walmart even had a stack of cinder blocks they were giving away. What were the chances of that?

I also picked up a water mellon with yellow flesh....not pink. I didn't tell the kids. Instead I gathered everyone around and video taped them all as we cut it open.

I thought of you JC when I did that (JC is my best friend and is reading this right now back in Paradise Cali). JC did a magic trick with just such a yellow watermelon years ago. I forgot what trick it was and wished I had remembered so I could've pulled it on the me dude.

Mr Grenko who runs many of the concessions, including the pony rides gave the kids a free pony ride. Way cooler than a carousel. Smells more authentic too.
Titus had a blast. Back in Cali he went to Handi-riders, a place where special kids can ride horses as a form of therapy. He loves it.
The audiences were big today but very quiet. The crowds would grow and grow as the shows went on, and they had smiles on their faces...but they would sit on their hands. It seems to be a trend with the locals from towns nearby. But folks from Owensville, and those who come in from Cincinnati are totally different. Usually only the 2pm show has been that way. Today all three had the hand sitter elements. Yet the responders were enough to make us not feel bad with the low response. Again many compliments after every show.
The 5pm show, where we have to take a second sound system and a ton of equipment from our stage to their entertainment tent, had an extra surprise. The band that was to appear at 7pm had already began setting up their drums and sound system. They took over 2/3 of the stage away (it's only 24 feet wide. That left us with just about 8' X 8' to do our show. So we cut anything big and I had to watch my fire eating and blowing so that I missed their stuff, missed the audience, and the tent. It was a headache. I had to apologize to the audience for the set up as the audience was lined up the whole width of the tent and those on the 2/3 band side of the stage had to suffer from their angle. No apologies came from the band and they actually lied telling me the fair manager told them to set up then and there. (The manager told me earlier that the band request to set the drums up on stage..that's all...not the whole fact, he was a bit perturbed at the band for doing that. I got the impression from they might not be coming back to the fair in the future. )
We pulled off a descent show none the less. We drew a huge crowd and the everything went swimmingly. Still the hand sitters were present, but so were the responders and that made it better.
Two days to go then it's marathon 14 hour drive to CT. Today marked shows 70-72!
Cynthia spent the afternoon as teacher to the smallerr three as they continue home schooling. She has a knack for it.
I had to finish fixing Mile's gorilla bike. That meant that I had to go to the fair's shop and use some tools to make a part for it. Smashed my thumb in the process but that's life in the shop. I'll survice. Good news is the bike is fixed.
James and Nick did some video work with the stilt cam...coming soon to the video blog.
I uploaded a new video blog on our website. Check it out.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Whipped Again! Loopy! Snake nap!

Hanging out under the sound tent right before a show. Click on the picture to see it larger and get all of our faces.

We have been tired but slowly adjusting to the east coast time.

Each morning we wake around 8 something then I have to drive down to the fair to get the three boys (Miles, Nick and Vic Jr) and transport them to the hotel for showers and b-fast. Then I run out on Laundry. I have been scolded by everyone for washing everything in hot water and drying everything in very hot heat. I guess things are shrinking.
At the Laundromat I met a nice older guy who works at the Bengal stadium as an usher. He struck me as a little slow and simple. We chatted about everything from Lindsay Lohan (his topic) to the death penalty, to sports, to was a very simple news show. Laundromats are the best places to meet interesting people.

The girls caught in a candid moment before a show.
Titus and Mami appeared in our third show tonight. Both were hits. A person from Amnesty International approached Mami and expressed interest in having us do a fundraiser show for them in the near future.
I was told we were on local Cincinnati News last night. Didn't find out which station.
The picture here I am checking out a 4 h kid's lop bunny. He was very cute. The bunny's name is Paul...pronounced Pa-ul.
On compliment notes. The federal judge from Cincinnati yesterday (I was told today) said we were one of the best acts she had ever seen at a fair. To bad I didn't catch that on video...what an endorsement. Also, today, an older woman and man from Florida (visiting their hometown in Ohio) told us we were THE best act they had ever seen. Again...I gotta keep that camera handy.

Olivia fell asleep backstage with Buttercup...again. Picking up the habit she had last year.
When we walk back to our stage after the 5pm show at the entertainment tent Olivia stops the crowds in their tracks when they notice her walking by carrying her snake like it's no big deal. It is hilarious to watch and hear their reactions.

When I went to pick up the boys this morning I spotted this cicada fresh out of it's shell. You hear them all summer long but rarely get to see them. Here is a brand spanking new one. Cool colors.
Today we dodged thunderstorms though we had light sprinkles once and ran into light showers on the drive out. We did have moments of strong winds from time to time. Our back drop and tents are tied down but we did have to do some re-rigging a couple of times.
I hope and pray we pull off a week of light weather (it's been in the 80's...a bit humid...but not bad.
One tough part about the humidity is the chaffing...since I wear a bow tie my Adam's apple gets raw. Thankfully I have Monkey Butt powder. It has helped but I keep forgetting to apply it before each show.
The 69 straight shows are beginning to take a toll. I have been a bit loopy. I could barely remember what we had to do in our last show right before the show. I had to ask the kids. Also, on stage I sometimes forget my scripted lines or get tongue tied. Crazy! First day off will be in September.
Today we had Metwursts and bratwursts for lunch. We all know brats. But Mets seem to be a local food. It's a white Brat, kind of like a British Banger. Both were good. Local brats are milder than everywhere else.
For dinner we had Cincinnati Chili at Gold Star Chili. Chili spaghetti, chili dogs, burgers, etc. Tasty! We will include these things on the video blog .
On stage today: Our first show was weird. The audience sat on their hands but responded when prodded. Still no one left and compliments were many. Miles swacked me in the face again with the whip...twice in two days.....that's three times in my life. It hurt and I have a welt on my forehead and a scratch on my cheek. During my fire-blow I had a blow back (when the wind shifts and the fire comes my way). It wasn't the first time in my happens occasionally. But I heard the sizzle of my sweat soaked chops burn and I trimmed my eyebrow a bit. Little did I know that my face would later on get whacked.
Jim was less a juggler and more a dropper in the first show. He blamed the wind. We blamed the 2am phone calls to his love interest in Bowling Green. He used over 2 hours of our family across network minutes on his cell phone. That's over $70! He paid in loss of skill too. He pulled it together the rest of the day. Now, I'm not throwing stones. Hormones and girl-fever has gotten me in trouble with my folks and others. Besides I talked with Mami all night twice when we were dating.

Walked on glass for the first time since cutting myself doing it last week. It went well and the reactions were great. But and hour afterwards I felt a stabbing pain in my foot. I took my sock off and found a really fine sliver of glass in the middle of my foot. Hurt worst than a full cut. Pulled it out and things are much better now.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Whipped! Closed with a bang. Dodged the Rain.

Bobbi meets Belle. This picture was taken at Beech Bend Park.
Belle would become to friendly and get a gentle bite on the nose from Bobbi and top bird is established.

This is our stage layout. We have a tie line to keep unwanted folks out. The kids are setting things up as Titus and Victor enjoy a video on the stage.
Our stage area is really small.
No seats for people...they have to sit on the grass.

As you can see from the next pix we are pinched in pretty tight. The dirt road goes out to the track and next to us is a hippy family that sells tie-died and hemp bracelets.
This Bull had really big horns and his brands looked more like graffiti .
I took this picture of myself to check my face after Miles whipped it during the show. The left side (my right) of my mouth and chin are a bit swollen. It doesn't hurt now...but it felt like my lip was hanging off at the time.

Jim is such a poser!

Cute....the Princess and the King.

OK, so Miles is funny!

Panorama of the view from my stage an hour before the show.

Princess Smiles!

Jim at work at the last show.

Where is Alf?

We dodged a rain bullet today. The storm expected here passed to the north and only threatened us with a couple of dark clouds and a whole bunch of smaller white ones. Those clouds kept the suns full power from wreaking sunburns and sweat. So in the end the day was pretty nice. Humidity was low and there was always a breeze.

Miles, Nick and little Vic spent the night at the fair in the RV. The rest of us are at the hotel. We woke early so I could drive over and get the boys for breakfast and shower here at the hotel .
Mami and I did the shopping this morning and found the Walmart down the road. Tomorrow I have to find the Laundromat.

We are getting our stalkers. At every venue there are people, most often kids, who come to almost every show. My kids often become friends with them and play together. It's already started here. Don't know if they will be here all week but there are already one family, a gentleman, and several little girls and a boy who have been to most of the shows.
The girls still miss their friends from Beech Bend but they are coping. It's wonderful to meet som many woanderful people across America.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Owensville, Ohio Here we Are!

After a crazy hot humid week we were granted a reprieve today when we drove 4.5 hours to Owensville, Oh, a suburb of Cincinnati. It was a cool 83 degrees today and almost no humidity. The crowds were fantastic. We got here at 11:30 AM and after hunting down the manager we set up and performed our first show at 2:30PM. Crazy right, no day off...driving or performing. But everyone did great. We are tired but the great response from the crowd really spurred us on.
Our hotel is OK, nice even. But after the royal treatment of a spectacular suite in BG.....mmm, mmm, mmm. Well, I'm not complaining. Nick, Miles and Victor are Rving at the fair.
The fair is a medium sized one. It has a ton of vendors, rides and activities crammed into a fairly small area. But, like I said, the crowds were exceptional. Our stage is set up under a maple tree and at the very end of the midway near the back public walk in entrance. I don't think they expected us to draw the crowds we have been drawing because the area is a bit tiny. Our crowds totally blocked three directions of walkways.
We do two shows on our own stage (pictures tomorrow) and one on their entertainment stage. Their stage is under a tent. Their stage riser is 24" like ours but the tent slant comes down to 8' along the sides from 20' in the center. That means that the slant cuts to 6' at the back of our stage and with my top hat I have to duck along the back. Still as masters of adapting to any stage we pulled it off. With the tree and the tent at the two venues I have to be very careful with my fire-eating.
Since we lost an hour we were surprised how quickly 9pm arrived. It feels earlier. But we will stay on Eastern time until September so no more time jumps.
It's amazing how a river separates southern twangs from damned Yankees. Ohio folks seem to have a neutral accent, but Kentucky has that pleasant down home southern "drawl"....gotta love it. There is something homey and nice about that accent.
Oh, they do tractor pulls here too. infact, I think some of those guys do a circuit because I recgonized someo of the "tractors" from London.

More to come.....

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bye Bye BG see you again!

Well, today under the oppressive humidity and heat of a very warm (understatement) day we closed out shows 58-60 of our summer tour. Beech Bend Park 2010 is now a memory and we shall miss her. We made many new friends and reacquainted with many old friends. We have started the ball rolling on looking for a home here and we performed a bunch of shows. The park opened it's new wave pool and lazy river attraction and then caught up with the things put on hold until those tasks were done. I got to know the owner a little better but spent less time then we would have cared for with his kids and grand kids. They are very nice folks.
Our audiences were small today; Sunday is always slow here and the threat of 50%+ for thunder storms kept crowds away. Still our first audience was very good. The second and third were stinkers. I think it was the heat and humidity but even a tongue on fire couldn't move them to any great reaction. At least we had fanatastic audiences for most every show (I think only 3 or 4 were stinkers all said and done.)
We had special visitors from London, KY (our last booking). One of the fair volunteers from London brought his family down and were our guests at the park. They left a little redder from the fun in the sun they had. Thanks Tony for coming out and supporting our family and show here in BG.
I took the two little one (Amy and Ollie ) into the Lazy river and then through the wave pool. It was a lot of fun. But easy to sun burn since you just lazily drift around the attraction until you are deposited into the wave pool and pushed by waves to the shore.
Lots of goodbyes and farewells.
I have lots of video footage to edit and will have the videoblog for Beechbend in a few days.
We were inviterd back next year.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hot Busy Day

It broke 100 today and it was humid. As a result we were hot and wet for most of the day.

The three little ones and I hit Splash Lagoon today. It is amazing how cold the water was and how after going in I was actually chilled when I came out. But as the water dried off the heat came back and once again it was hot and humid.

These corvettes were lined up outside our hotel today....nice!

The "stalkers", a group of kids who have seen just about every show and then hung out between shows (season pass holders) came out for their last time. They have church tomorrow so they will miss our last day. Thee were heart felt goodbyes and hugs today.

I was pretty sure Victor wasn't going to get out of this rope tie. They had his hands tied very tight and they interweaved the rope around his arms and legs. I was so convinced I took this picture because I thought I would be paying out $400. Victor also whispered to me that he didn't have a good feeling about this tie-up, after being tied. But when the clock started and the music started pumping he fell to the floor , kicked off his shoes, and wiggled his way out. He was out in 35 seconds. It was astounding and the crowd went wild.

We had a taste test today. We had something called Hot Souse. It is a lunch meat made of all the leftovers of a pig (snout, ear, skin, etc) It's kind of a head cheese. We all tried it for our Videoblog. It will be posted in the next couple of weeks. Needless to say it looked very...interesting and tasted ....well....each of us had our own opinion. Mami's was the funniest.
Well, tomorrow we pack up and Monday morning we drive off to Ohio. It's only about 4.5 hours away ( a morning commute for us). Tomorrow's pack up is going to be nuts so I hope it isn't too hot. The kids will play their last time in the Beech Bend water and ride the rides. We are going to miss the Jones and Gonzales family (Owners) and the "stalkers" we have come to know and love. But we will stay in contact via the blogs and Facebook.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Three Days to Go the Ohio! Nick Goes Crazy!

The forecast called for today to be very hot with a real feel index at 105. I don't think it got that hot. It was hot and humid but the humidity was much lower than yesterday and so it wasn't really that bad. Grant it at the 3pm show I was moist with sweat through and through it wasn't as bad as yesterday.

Since the new lazy river and wave pool open our earliest show crowds have been light. We usually average 150 per show but that has been down a bit for the first show each day as everyone is in the pool. By the second show each day the numbers are back to normal. Our third show started off really small but swelled to average size by show's end.

We introduced a new trick today. It is in fact an old trick that the father of modern magic, Robert Houdin, invented 150 years ago...but new to us. I have a tea kettle that will pour whatever drink called for. Then I have a surprise ending. What I mean is each kid comes up and asks me for a drink, each a different drink; Victor asked for Grape juice, Olivia , strawberry, and Amelia had tea. Then Cynthia asked for plain water. When they ask me how I can pour four different drinks from the kettle I open the kettle and pull out a skunk and explain it is because I use "magic Skunk juice". The four kids then spray-spit out the water in shock. It got a good laugh and gave me a new way to introduce the skunk to do the demo for the spring skunk sales. Oh, by the way, the skunk is dry.

Miles performed his Firewhip today. He does it every day in the third show. I realized we never had good shots of it so here they are.

Cool! or Hot!

Nick is a great guy. He never complains. He works hard. And from time to time he gets his own group or individual fan(s) who adore him. But I think all the heat has driven him mad.......

See...and he seems to be enjoying himself.
Actually Miles was teaching him how to escape. Tomorrow Miles hangs over the lake and escapes upside down. We will shoot it and film it.

""Look Daddy", Olivia yells when she saw the camera in my hand. This is what I had to see and ordered to take a picture of.

Victor had a haricot today. We forgot to take the picture earlier when it was fresh...this is after the last show....he wears a hat in the show.
This is a Wal-mart haircut. They actually have a hair place in the Wal-mart here.

Mami and Titus stayed at the hotel today in anticipation of a hot day that only minimally manifested itself. We will all be together at the park tomorrow as we prep for loading up after the last show on Sunday.
We take off for the 4.5 hour drive Monday morning to Ohio.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Victor Kent Jr turns 9......A really Hot Day

Victor Jr was born 9 years ago today. When the doctor asked what we were to name him we told him, "Victor". The doc said, "Well, if you are a Victor you will never be a looser!"
He was thrilled with his presents. He got 8 rolls of various colored duct tape, fuzzy craft wires (pipe cleaners) , Popsicle sticks, a possible wood model doll, and a few other craft related things. he immediately went to work making a big building out of sticks and tape. He made a dragon blowing fire from the pipe cleaners. He is one creative kid.

A couple of friends from the park came over to our suites for a small "hot pocket" party. We ate hot pockets as per Victor's wishes, then ate his cake, made by his sister, Cynthia, and ice cream.
Grant (in red shirt) made Victor a Duct tape wallet with 6 card holders as a present.

Here is the cake. It's a hot pocket on top of a cheese cake. The inside of the hot pocket is candy (starbursts) made to look like cheese, peperoni, and jelly was used for sauce.

The girls put are trying to grow up fast....but their feet can't keep up.

Jim with a little down time. hard to tell it is over 94 degrees and 50 % humidity.

"I am Buff" is Olivia's new line. She even used it in the show.

Glamour shot of Cynthia.

This bug visited our sound man Nick....we can't find Nick so w think he ate him.
By now you should have guessed that today was hot. Thankfully and to the thrill of the park owners their new "wave pool and lazy river" ride open today. It is late coming due to bureaucratic delays and a flood earlier this year. I saw smiles on their faces and a more restful spirit in their eyes and gait.
Life on the road means all kinds of things including trying to get our various prescriptions thousands of miles from our regular pharmacy. Then the insurance and all that jazz. Since Titus requires a special prescription Mami manipulated the levers of the health industry to get the prescription out here but then his insurance wouldn't work here so we had to pay never realized how expensive it was. But I am happy to pay it since it helps my boy.
Another part of traveling is getting our mail (most often bills) forwarded to us. Thankfully my parents in Cali are acting a the forwarding clearing house and we get occasional packages from them. I am thankful for their help. Thanks ma and pa!
The same goes for coordinating having packages for our shows and show sales sent to us. Timing the packages arrival to get to the proper event venue at the proper time can be a nightmare but has worked out so far.
I am thankful online banking exists too. Otherwise the coordinating of bills would be insane.
Then there is the coordinating of new bookings, marketing, and contracts. That means emails, cell phone msgs and office message machine are constantly being checked. Then the calls and emails have to go out. Recently a fair manager who also works for a school district has helped me make contact with schools to perform for to fill some open dates in Sept. Already calls are coming in.

On a couple of other notes:
Cynthia ran into a family that really enjoyed our show today. She was coming out of one of the parks buildings and they stopped her to compliment us and then tell her how much they enjoyed the box trick (Zig Zag). They went one to venture a guess how it was done and asked if Cynthia had a twin. She was dumbfounded. I told her to say, "yes", next time.
I had a couple of mishaps happen to me in the shows. But if you take the chances you have to pay the fiddler for the dance I suppose.....what did I just say?........Anyways, Miles hit my hand with the whip today leaving a nice welt and I cut the side of my foot when I jumped from the pedestal onto the broken glass. Miles felt bad but I told him not to fret. He's so kind. As far as the foot....I video taped the cut and my reaction to it. Coming soon. I also nearly burned my hand when the white gas fuel I use when I light my tongue on fire dripped down the torch and onto my hand. I didn't notice it until my hand was aflame. It looked cool. I shook my hand and it went out burning only the fuel and not my tender beautiful flesh.