Monday, December 13, 2010

San Fransisco - Iowa - updates

If you didn't know let me tell you now. This past weekend, in fact, since Thursday, James (aka Jim) was in Des Monies, Iowa for the AIF (Association of Iowa Fairs Convention. He flew from SF to Minnesota then into Iowa. He was lucky not to take the same way back because midway through the weekend a blizzard hit the Midwest. Minnesota was hit particularly hard. His flight back went through Phoenix. No snow there!
From the airport to the hotel through the convention and back it was rare to find Jim without a table. suitcase, potted plant, chair, ladder, or even a woman's shoe balanced on his face. His humor went a long way to get the Kent Family Magic Circus noticed.
In the picture to the left Jim is in a hospitality room at the convention demonstrating his awesome awesomeness!

He played up the California boy who never saw a blizzard and that played well. He was able to play it up so well because he wasn't playing. He is a California boy who has never seen a blizzard.

He made quite a few contacts and even booked one fair with potentials still in the wings. He said they could've landed more gigs but the dates of the fairs who wanted us conflicted with our booked schedule.

Snow stopped the use of the main hotel doors.

Jim was not sent alone. Long time fan Vaughn Ver Steegt (left)has been hired on as our regional rep and will travel with Jim to a few more conventions. Having two voices promote the show really seems to be working out well. Jim and Vaughn really made a great team and I look forward to seeing how well they do at the conventions coming up in January.
In the picture to the left Jim meets a beautiful woman and tries to woo her.

It might be hard to believe but it was cheaper to drive three hours to SF to send Jim off to Iowa then it was to use our nearest Airport in Sacramento. I dropped him off early Thursday morning had a magnificent breakfast at an 80 year old diner I ate at 20 years ago.

Sunday it was time to pick him up and since he would arrive in the evening I thought it would be fun to go to the SF zoo. Victor Jr. didn't want to go so it was me and the two little princesses.
We had a wonderful time. Though I must admit there seemed to be fewer animals there than I remember 23 years ago and when I was a kid even furhter back. No more elephants due to social pressure and no hippos (though they are expecting to get one). I was dissappointed with how "politically correct" the zoo has become but it is in SF!
The girls knew no different since the only other zoo they've been to was in Dodge City, KS. In many respects, though smaller, it was better.
To the left Princess Olivia is excited because she just got to see an Anaconda. She discovered they have rather big heads.

23 years ago Mami and I took a picture in front of this building . The bench and building are still there. The building has been painted and the banners block the engravings in the wall. Below is the picture.......

of Mami and I on our first date. We went to the SF zoo, the movies, and lunch in Japan town.

Now married nearly 22 years with seven kids....who would've thunk!

Olivia morphed into a spider.

An Amelia into a peacock. BTW there are a bunch of peacocks walking freely around the zoo. The girls would walk with and sometime after a peacock bopping their heads as they go trying to be a peacock.

See the Lion....they only had two. Very majestic!

Here was an animal I couldn't identify. It looked dangerous.

Aping and Ape.

Each pen or cage had a "Fun Facts" card. Amelia read everyone.

At the front gate the zoo had Santa taking pictures with anyone who wanted to do it. Not the most authentic. This was their thrid or forth Santa this year. The one we made appear at the Hemet mall was the most authentic looking.

Thus ended our day at the zoo. But since we were near Ocean Beach we went out and played on the beach until the sun set. It was pretty.
After that we killed time before Jim's flight by going to Japan Town and doing a little shopping for Japanese ingredients for Mami and then it was off to our favorite noodle shop. Amelia surprised me by eating some of my very spicy soup and then eating the wasabi from her sushi. She ia a growing pepper-head.
Our timing was perfect. We finihsed dinner, loaded into the van and just as we were leaving SF my phone rang. It was Jim and his plane had just touched down. Twenty minutes later he was with us and we were on our way home.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hometown Christmas

This past weekend we performed at "Hometown Christmas" in Colusa, CA. It is the first time I've seen a west coast Chrsitmas festival with a Northesteran feel. SInce the merchants were putting it on the use of Christian songs and the name of Jesus was not a fearful thing to mention.
Here is a local dance group shaking it like a polaroid picture.

Belle trying to stay warm with Olivia in the van.

Fianlly Belle and I strolled about the festival. SPoiled dog was in my arms most the time.

Jim rocking it in his new costume.

Perky Peguin having a ball. Poor Victor has to act as body gurad.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

2011 Season's Show is going to be off the charts awesome.

The kids have really taken to getting ready for the 2011 season with some really intense practice sessions. Not only the kids but the animals too.

We have the tightwire set up out back and the kids spend no less than an hour a day on it regardless the weather and almost everyone can cross without a fall. (we have it set a 36" off the ground). I even got the nerve to do it and I made it across seven times. Granted I fell about 20 to get to seven. The hard part is to train oneself to fall to the wire and not the ground.

The three boys have been working ontheir form on the pull up bar for the trapeze and wehave hung a real professional fullsize catcher's trapeze in the garage to further help the kids work on form and strength.

Amelia wins every hula hoop contest she has ever been in for endurance and number of hoops she can do. So it's a natuaral for her do develop that into a routine. Right now she is working on the corkscrew. That is where you take the hoop as it spins around your hips with your hand and then move it above your head then spinning it on your hand then back down again. She is also working on spinning the hoop on her arms and neck while keeping the hip hoop going. She's ccatching on fast.

Olivia is working on hand stands and head stands.

Belle the Wonder dog has learned to jump from one platform to another through a hoop in two days. We've even started to raise the hoop high up and she makes it every time. She was scared of the hoop three days ago, and now today! Wow. What a smart dog.

Bobbi the cockatoo practices her "dancing routine" daily. Working on some new ideas for her too.

Victor Jr. besides the trapeze, headstands, high wire, etc. he has been working on taking CC's place in the "Shoot" illusion where he shoots a ribbon tied to a dart propelled by a gun-powder shell from a rifle through a card and through me trying to hit the bulls eye on the target behind me.

Mami does her daily juggling practice of a doll, a spatula and a plunger so she doesn't loose her edge and won't drop in the new season.

The zip line for Miles to swing or fly onto the stage to add drama to his bullwhip routine has been ordered.

Jim heads off to convention in Iowa. There he will be joined with our Regional Representative Vaughn Ver Steegt to promote the show and fill in some of the blanks in our 2011 tour schedule. he leaves next Thursday. Vaughn is the newest member of the KFMC family (By our relationship with the Lord he is my Brother). He will be testing the waters with marketing, sales, and sponsorships. He and his whole family are wonderful people.

We are hitting eight conventions over all. And we are moving from California to Kentucky, which puts us in the middle of our markets. The next few months will be insane.

And any hour now the artwork, our new artwork for 2011, by that awesome artist Phillip Powers will be finished. It's so exciting. he always does fantastic work and I have been thrilled with the preliminary stuff so far. I will post the picture when it is fact, I will be posting the picture everywhere and getting banners made, etc so you will be seeing it everywhere.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Read this and rename our show!

I got a very interesting email today. A fair we had included in a mass emailing this past week sent me an email informing me that they can't use us because they have booked a similar act as ours. I was flabbergasted! I will explain why in a minute.
First some background. Choosing the name "Kent Family Magic Circus" has turned out to be a curse in many ways. I found this out slowly over time. You see people see things differently and read things differently. Some people are headline readers, others just glance at pictures, while others take in the whole story, if you don't mind me using a newspaper as an example. The first will only get a quick splash of an idea of what the story is all about. The second will get a visual idea of what it is all about. The third will know the whole story.

In regards to the first person there is still an even greater danger. Depending on a number of reaons they may emphasize one word in the headline over the others. Benny Hill used to use a joke, "What's this thing called love?" making it funny by saying, "What is this thing called? Love."

There is one more thing that comes into play that I must mention before I get to the point. There seems to be a schism between magicians and other arts, most particularly circus. Because anyone who picks up a trick deck of cards or a self working trick can call themselves a magician and the rest of the arts world knows this magicians are often considered to be on the lowest rung of the arts ladder. This is unfair because there are so many great peformers who have such skill and showmanship that they would equal any other artist in those areas. In my own experience I have had circus people, when introducing us or talking about us as, "The Kent Family Magic Show" (changing cirsus to show) Even though magic is becoming less and less in the show. Because of the "magic" they can't include us in the close-knit world of circus.

On the other hand most magicians, perhaps because there are so many, have real complexes about just about everything that they will leave the "magic" part off and call us, "The Kent Family Circus". It's hilarious to experience all of this because it happens almost always when a magician is introducing or talking about us. This includes some pretty awful performers as well as some pretty good ones.

OK, so here we are. I started off as a magician and it plays a big, though diminishing, part of the show. Most of the "tricks" I have, over time, relegated to my kids. But there is so much that falls into other categories. The tight-wire, juggling, and trapeze are without a doubt circus. Though juggling crosses over into vaudeville as well. The bullwhip stunts and lasso tricks are rodeo and western thrill show fare. The fire-eating, walking on broken glass, nail bed, human block head, etc are from the side-show. The Foy routine we do is 100% pure early vaudeville. Cynthia's singing is pure universal. Belle the wonder dog and her tricks are circus and vaudeville. While Bobbi the Cockatoo is circus, magic and vaudeville. Victor's escapes fall into magic, even though he doesn't rely on "tricks" or "gimmicks" very often. Amelia's mind reading is from magic but her clowning and contortionism is from circus and side-show. The comedy is universal. But Olivia and her snake Buttercup are right out of the side show with a magical twist. Miles' new stunt of zip-lining onto the stage for his opening of his whip routine is from the stunt show world. Where his fire-whip comes into play is any one's guess.
My point is I doubt seriously if that fair manager had booked a show anything like ours so when she said she had booked a similar show I was flabbergasted. So I wrote back and, very respectfully, told her so. She wrote back and I discovered she was a "headline reader" and thought that by booking a circus she had booked a similar show.
That leads me to a challenge, perhaps even a contest. Name our show. If you could name our show what would you call it?