Saturday, March 26, 2011
Princess Olivia's Pictured used on Trapeze maker's website.
Aerial Hoop - Free Shipping!
Carol Knopf hanging on the Single-point Lyra.
- Made of 1" solid aluminum
- Available in three sizes: 34", 36", or 38" vertical inner-diameter
- Three shapes: single-point, double-point, double-point with flat-top (see below)
The Single-point Lyra
A completely round hoop with one attachment point. An all-purpose lyra that is easier to twist. It is typically hung from above by a wire or two ropes.
(Shown wrapped with white sports-tape.)
The Double-point Lyra
A completely round hoop with two attachment points, for added stability. When used with the optional ropes and hardware, it provides additional space between the ropes to perform in.
(Lyra shown has optional ropes and hardware attached.)
The "Dance Lyra" (Double-point with Flat Top)
A lyra specially designed for more aggressive "aerial dance" routines. Like the double-point, but has a flat top, making it easier to grab and manuever around.
(Lyra shown has optional ropes and hardware attached.)
5 year old Princess Olivia of the Kent Family Magic Circus demonstrates a few poses.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Light's Out! Mid morning, around 11AM the lights went out at our home, which happens to be my office too. The predicted windy rain storm came. With gusts up to 60 MPH it was inevitable that we would loose power. Thankfully I had a full battery on my laptop and a little gadget from Verizon to access the Internet. I checked PG&E and discovered there were hundred and hundreds of power outages across California. Well, all this gave me a reason to get a new generator for the show (that we can use for home emergencies too). It's not gigantic, only 3650 watts. But it will keep the electrical part of the furnace running and allow us access to TV for Titus and for us to get news. The ironic thing, but somewhat predictable is that literally five minutes after getting it all set up and running the power came back on!
Princess Olivia is five years old and is tiny. So our 34" dance lyra (standard is 36") was too big for her. Her tiny little arms could barely reach across. So I contacted the man who builds these things for us and he made her a custom 27" lyra.....in spite of the cold and rain we set it up between showers and Olivia gave it a test run.
World's greatest Mom: Some of you might be moms. Well, I would like to introduce to you “Super Mom”. Her name is Mami Kent, born in Osaka, Japan 45 years ago I doubted her parents knew the significance of naming her Mami (pronounced mommy.) She and fell in love with the English language as a child so her parents sent her to schools where she could learn to speak English. From preschool to university she studied the language. She won a scholarship from her university to go to America to study for a year. It was during that year that we met at SF State University. I knew by our second date that we would be married. Two years later we were and on our honeymoon we conceived our first child. Over the next 17 years we would have a total seven kids. James (21), Cynthia (19), Miles (16), Titus (13, and disabled), Victor (9), Amelia (7),and Olivia (5). (It would had been nie kids but her last two pregnancies ended in miscarriages.) Mami is 45 and we live in California part of the time and Kentucky or the road the rest of the time. We’ve been married 22 years!
If the shear number of kids alone isn’t enough to qualify her for the title of greatest Mom then read on.
Our family performs a small magic-circus-vaudeville show that travels all over the US and sometimes ventures outside the borders. We most often perform at fairs and festivals but sometimes do theaters, churches, and the like. At home she is already a superstar homeschooling two of the kids and taking care of our disabled son Titus who cannot walk nor talk (he has no fine motor control and is still in diapers)while running the household and taking care of the rest of us. Though the older kids help her so much with Titus and the household chores, it is our super mom that holds the family unit together and makes our house a home. On tour she has to pack a smaller version of the house into our RV and manage to teach the kids, take care of Titus, and cook the meals. Since I have to take care of the long drives, show setup and performances, not to mention the business end of it all so she manages the family and the domestic duties on the road. I shouldn’t forget to mention that she even performs in the show.
To give you an idea of a typical day on the road I will elucidate. We may pull into a town, find the venue, and start the show set up at what could be any time of the day. Regardless, Mami takes charge of the family matters and gets Titus’s diaper changed, and the little ones out of the way of the unloading. She may be cooking a meal, finding a DVD for Titus to watch and doing a lesson plans for the kids all at once. If someone gets a bump or bruise she is called in as a nurse at the same time. If we are in a tight pinch for time she may even throw in with the older kids and I and help with the unloading and setup. Then she makes sure everyone is fed and ready to go out on stage. In the midst of all this she will get Titus into his costume ( we have even developed some fun routines for him) and herself into her costume. Then she keeps Titus happy backstage (being disabled he sometimes doesn’t have patience to just wait.) The she meets her cue or Titus’ cue, they do their routines and before you know it she is back into her smock either getting the next meal ready, lesson plan prepared, or taking Titus for a walk (she pushes him around the venue in his wheelchair) to keep him happy. I mentioned the costumes. You know she made many of the costumes and her and I both share the duties of seamstress when costumes tear or get damaged. Mami also has an integral part of the show design and routine ideas. After the shows and bedtime approaches she gets the little ones ready for bed. That is no simple task with Titus. He is nearly the same height has her and is very strong. We all help her the best we can. Converting the RV from daytime to nighttime use is always a task. Then, when all have been bedded down she finally takes time for herself. She is often first to wake and last to bed. Super-woman; super mom!
I should mention her cooking here. I know in today’s modern world some women don’t like to be defined by domestic deeds. But Mami is one of the most creative fantastic cooks alive. Being performers we sometimes have cold months, sometimes referred to as “famine” months. During these lean times over the years she has learned to take $100 and turn it into a month of great meals. It amazes me. And her baking is out of this world. I mentioned that by our second date I knew I was going to marry her. On that date she gifted me a tin with nutcracker artwork on it ( it was near Christmas) filled with five different kinds of cookies, fancy cookies. It must have taken her hours to make. On top of that she backed me an apple pie from scratch. The pie had a weaved crust with my name and a heart in raised crust. She had cut out the letters and heart in crust doe and put them on the weaved curst! The way to my hear was definitely through my stomach. ( A blessing and a curse. ) On each of the kids’ birthdays she bakes each of them a special something. For example, she makes my eldest daughter a jewelry box made completely out of homemade sugar cookies (like a gingerbread house) and inside the box with it’s working lid she places rings, bracelets, and necklaces made out of cookies but looks like toy jewelry. Another example is the cakes she makes for my second youngest. Amelia is into piggies. So every year Mami makes a different unique Pig cake or giant pig cookie. She somehow even manages to make these special confections while we are traveling using the tiny RV oven. On top of the special deserts for their birthdays she also cooks them their favorite dishes for their birthdays. Remember, seven kids, seven times a year (eight counting me) she bakes a special desert that often takes painstaking time and a special meal EVEN while on the road.
Traveling with a show is daunting on it’s own. Doing it with small kids and a disabled son on top of it all is down right crazy. But out of this insanity Mami brings it altogether and makes it work. She is a super mom and super wife.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Greetings and Happy Spring!
I don’t know if the weather where you are is showing any hint of spring but I write this with my smart phone's weather-ap warning me of flood warnings in our area. The dam here in town has had to release water several times over the past few days and the forecast calls for more cold rain for at least another week. Makes it hard to practice the trapeze and tightrope when they are out in the elements. But I’m not complaining. Things could be worse....
I don’t know how many of you know that my wife, Mami, is from Japan and two of our seven kids (Princess Cynthia and Indiana Miles) were born there. We are fortunate that her family is located in southern Japan and are doing well. In fact, they tell us they feel guilty because life in Osaka is “normal” as though nothing in the world has happened when just a couple hundred miles north there is pure hellish devastation. We were living in Japan at the time of the Kobe Quake back in the 90s. We are not rescue workers, doctors, or experts in affairs that could help with rescue or rebuilding but we were and are performers so we produced a fundraiser show to raise money for the victims. That gave us the idea to do the same thing here for the Miyagi-ken (that’s the prefecture in Northern Japan that you have been seeing on the news) . On April 2nd at 6:30 PM the Kent Family Magic Circus with special guest performers from Japan will perform a benefit show at the CSU Chico BMU Theater. Here is the link http://www.chicojapan.org/Calendar.html .
By the way, I learned while watching NHK News today (love the Internet) that Japan lost quite a bit of coastline with some parts as many as 2 kilometers in are now 70cm under water (over 6feet never to be recovered as the area is now below sea level. The Pacific Plate actually rose several meters and pushed Japan a little closer the America by as much as 8 meters (1 meter is 39"). Over 22,000 dead! One American Confirmed dead, a school teacher of three years in that town.
Jugglin’ Jim turns 21-
You may have met him at one of the conventions this year. He was the guy wearing the red scarf balancing things on his face....anything and everything on his face. Well, he can drink legally now. But having relatives who have died or suffered greatly due to alcohol he is choosing not to. One relative has less than 10% of her liver use left due to her inability to moderate. But thankfully family has intervened and saved her life. Still, March 3rd was a great day for Jim, but a scary one for me. Victor Kent has two grown kids and one is 21. You know how hard that is to say, let alone believe. And what did he get for his birthday. What else? A very rare Egyptian scimitar for his juggling act.
Offers to perform in Korea and Hong Kong. Bitter sweet news here. We had two offers to perform in Asia this year. Sadly we would have had to cancel all of our spring and summer gigs and upset all of our clients to do it. The Kent Family does not do that. In our history we have only had to cancel two shows. Once, because the car broke down and the tow truck driver took 5 hours to find us. And second, due to a non-show related major injury the day before. In both cases we honored the contracts later for free. We have an ethical code we just can’t break. Beyond that we have had inquiries from England, Canada, Switzerland, and others. We will see how those pan out. We will have a Canada tour in 2012.
The BMT has arrived and the kids attack it like nobody’s business. The BMT is the “Big Metal Thing”, a freestanding static trapeze needing now guy lines. Not many venues can afford or does not have the space for the large flying trapeze. So we had a custom made BMT made that allows the kids to present their “non-flying” routines on the trapeze. It also allows us to add the dance lyra (a big metal hoop that artsy and daring stunts are performed). The weather has hampered their practice a bit but anytime a sliver of sunshine breaks through the are all over it. For second generation circus they are more eager than I have seen multi-generational circus people go at it. Our clients this year will be getting a real treat. Two young college girls from Japan who will be performing with us for the Japan Fundraiser also have taken to the Lyra. With a dance background and strong muscles they are naturals.
New original Illusion. If you like illusions you will love this new one. It was custom built for shows in South America. The first part is going to sound familiar but then it gets way out of control cool! It starts off with the “Twister Illusion” ; that’s where a person’s head is twisted round and round and their body ends up wrung out. Very visual. The twist is here. The magician removes the box containing the head and places it on a separate table...you can see under and around the table. You see the girl or guy’s head ...heck it can even talk to you. To prove it is really severed the box is moved around the table. It’s placed back on the box containing the body and then the untwisting begins. But wait, in an instant the person has vanished an is now standing amongst the audience. The props are designed as though they are made of bamboo. It’s a beautiful prop and a great trick and is part of the 2011 season.
Tour now up to 13 states with several others in the pipe line.
WI, MI, OH, TN, KY, IA, CA, OK, VA, NY, MA, CT, TX are the states we have booked at this time. Not a record but if we can book a few more maybe we can break that record this year. Though we have been doing shows over the colder months everyone in family agrees it’s the long road tours that are the best. It is amazing how much I don’t miss being a home owner when I am on the road. And how much I hate it when I came back and realize the care takers didn’t do as good a job taking care as I would’ve preferred.
April 2 (morning show and second venue evening show), 5, 8-16
The Move. We announced we were moving to KY in January. But the weather across the country has stopped the gargantuan trek in it’s track several times. Every date we set for the move ended up having major storms along our route. So we have had to come up with a new strategy. We will be keeping the California house and buying a smaller home in Kentucky. The property we are looking for will have a large workshop and storage room. We will keep unit one there and unit two in California. We can flee weather and earthquakes whenever we see fit. It also keeps our friends and family on both sides of the country happy.
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Kent Family Magic Circus: Vaudepalooza
Friday, March 11, 2011
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
All was going well except my gas cap didn't pass the test. Can you believe it? Someone actually came up with a gas cap test. $15 for a new cap fixed that. Now before you think the shop was conning me they tested the locking gas cap I had on the van (which did have a bad seal) and the OME cap I saved (it was old). It passed.
I took the paperwork to DMV and for $157.00 my car is now legal in California. Add that to my list of reasons to 86 this state.
So far the day was going OK. Being Scotch decent I don't like spending money but the motherland required it of me...so what can a guy do. With a shrug I continue my day.
I avoid my office like the plague today. I just don't want to work so I take a gander at Facebook and notice a left wing rant my a FB friend. So I join in. One of his FB friends also joins in and calls me loose with the truth. Blood boils and I let loose a rant of my own and eventually get bored with having a battle of wits with people who are either half armed or unarmed. My biggest pet peeve with arguing with ideologies is they resort to name calling and then use unrelated equivocation to justify their rudeness.
Blood back to normal and boredom setting in I went on a honey-do run to the store for the wifey and find myself walking up and down every aisle looking at everything and nothing. Then back home.
Not wanting to be idle I decided to cut down some table legs of a prop that is 3" too high. I did a fair job of it until I noticed I cut one leg twice and one leg not at all. Now two legs are the right size, one is too short and one is too long. UGH I came in and sat at the settee in my office amazed at my incredible mistake.
Tempting fate I went out to the RV to Bondo up a small hole in the repair job I did from last summer's mishap at a gas station. That I can report went well....I think. That RV looked inviting so I took my cell phone in and laid out on the bed away from my squawking cockatoo and my whining son. I called our Iowa rep for the show and talked over this and that and some strategy....battery begins to die. So back inside I venture tomy office just in time for the phone to ring. It is an old client wanitng us back in May. Bingo we are booked May 17th at Country Oaks Baptist Church in Elk Grove, California.
In my wanderings today I went to the local Tractor Supply store and saw my sononsor's product Antin Monkey Butt Powder on the shelf near the register. Men's and Women!
Monday, March 7, 2011
As was reported on this blog a few weeks ago we have partnered with a company whose product we really use and enjoy, Anti Monkey Butt Powder. Part of the partnership is having their ads on our tour vehicles. Here are some shots of the decals on the two trailers and the RV.
There are two ways t apply the decals, wet or dry. I tried dry first. Really tough with suck a large decal. Though hard to see there were a few crinkles in the application. So I went with wet application. It was so much easier and went on so well. Even over rivets. Only problem is if it rained. Fortunately those ominous clouds held their water and the application was a success!
I bet these are going to get a lot of attention on the road.
Riding easy with Anti Monkey Butt Powder. Talc and calamine powder that fights and repairs monkey butt...aka chaffing.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
April 2 Family Fair (Colusa, CA)
April 5 Plumas Ave School Fundraiser 6pm (Oroville, CA)
April 8-17 Los Angelas Spring Fair (LA, CA)
May 27-30 Burlington Chocolate Festival (WI)...
June 2-5 Swartz Creek Homecoming Days (MI)
June 10 Westgate Chapel (Toledo, OH)
June 27-July 2 Laurenceburg Fair and Horse Show (KY)
July 5-9 Laurel Co Fair (KY)
July 11-25 Beech Bend Amusement Park (Bowling Green, KY)
July 28-31 Plymouth County Fair (IA)
August 1-5 Clark Co fair (KY)
August 11-13 Franklin-Southampton Fair (VA)
August 15-21 Delaware County Fair (NY)
September 2-5 Three County Fair (MA)
September 28-Oct 1 Titus County Fair (Mt Pleasant, TX)
October 21-23, 28-30 Calico Ghost Town (Yermo, CA)
October 31 Elk Grove 1st Baptist (CA)November 12 Hemet Mall (CA)See More
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
A few days ago it snowed up in Paradise, CA, a town just up the road from us . Fortunately, our good friend, JC Dunn and his wife invited us up to his home in Paradise for the kids to play in the snow. It was the kids first snow man. It was also their first snowball fight and little Victor mastered the art of war real fast. He was hiding behind a small bush at one point and I launched a pretty good one from about 25 feet way and nailed him in the chest. He fained he was hurt and came bent over to the deck I was standing on. He then walked past me and then turned and nailed me point blank. To the Victor goes the spoils....see if I trust him again.
Today was Jim's 21st Birthday. Instead of taking him out for his first drink we went out for Chinese food. I did advise him against drinking since both sides of his family has a bad history with booz!
Here he is making a wish.
After months of homeschooling all three of the little ones Mami finally said three is a crowd and we sent Olivia to Kindergarten. Monday was her first day. Here she is acting shy.
On the note of school stuff. Earlier tonight her school had a fundraiser at the local pizza joint. So Olivia and I went there and had a pizza together. The school got 20% of each purchase and they were selling baked goods. Mami's cupcakes (elegantly decorated) went like hotcakes.