Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hollywood, Strange candy, Dim Sum, Magic Castle, Griffith Park

This week in Hollywood....and Covina. Here is our story in pictures....sorry they are out of order but I am too lazy to rearrange them.)
Monday started Scottish Week at the Magic Castle. The Gent to the right is a close-up Magician from Scotland, I am next to him, founder of the Castle, Milt Larsen, is in the middle and two pretty grirls joined in. On of the girls borrowed by hat.
Monday morning before we hit our busy schedule JC shows Bill a trick at the hotel.  Bill was purposely uncooperative and drove JC crazy.  (On the drive home JC would say the most memorable and funny comment: "Before I forget, this weekend was the most memorable of my life."
On our way to the Griffith Observatory we drove down Hollywood Blvd. Where I saw the 5'9" Darth Vader again. I wish he would have turned around.
These two are not real Hollywood Police....I think.  Like many others they are costumed street performers who for a tip will pose in a picture with you.  Elmo, a 3' little person dressed as an indian, an emaciated batman and a potbellied spider-man were among many others. Some had great outfits others were so ridiculous it was funny.
Powerful me holds Hollywood in my hand.
While JC catches Hollywood in his hat.
And Bill crushes Hollywood.
Alas, Hollywood survives us.
This retail hawk spent his morning flying over the Griffith park. So I shot him....with my camera.
Hollywood in the foreground, LA in the smog.
So this is graffiti at the Griffith observatory. They have people constantly paining over any graffiti on the walls. So the bad guys have gone for carving it into the toilet seats.
Super powers exposed as JC hits a pose at the observatory.
Most of Griffith park has been taken over by a film crew.  There were hundreds of people, tents, trailers, equipment trucks, cameras, etc  taping an episode of a TV show called Castle.
From the observatory we went to Rosemead, CA and met up with Gordon Wong, a childhood friend. He treated us to dim sum
We pose with our food.
JC trying a chicken foot.
Since I put my foot in my mouth so often why not try a chicken foot. I also tried a very tasty pigs foot or two.
Back to the castle. Well actually we had one more stop before rushing back to the hotel to change and walk up over to the Castle. But I will get to that in a moment.
Pop Hayden, the Tennessee born turned Angelino Magician and Medicine show man poses with us. JC has know him for years and Bill has exchanged emails and discussion board arguments with him for years. I was just happy to meet him.

The three musketeers.
OK, back to earlier in the day. Above are picture of vials containing weird candy.  Unlike Jelly Belly where weird named candies like "boogers" actually taste like what they are. These just have great names, and look like what they are called but are sweet and yummy.  Zombie Boogers, Uncle Urnies Ashes. DNA Kit containing "urine", :Blood" and "Mucus" are also available. So where did we get this large collection of weird stuff....?

From the Candyman, David Klein, inventor of the Jelly Belly Jelly Bean. The Goeletz family tricked him into giving up his creation to them and have made millions as a result. It was David who came up with the unique idea of gourmet beans and the unusual marketing that made them famous.

See "urine samples"...really just lemon candy with real natural lemon flavor.
After spending a couple of hours there we headed back to the castle to have dinner and enjoy some great shows.  
I want to mention that we will be promoting some of David's candy at our shows this year.

He is reintroducing the gourmet jelly bean calling them David's Gourmet Jelly Beans" and has Jelly Belly worried.  He told us JB is using their giant corporate status to block distributors from selling David's beans. So anti-trust suits are flying and the fight by the little man begins.  Watch his story on Youtube The David Klein Story.  It has been on various TV networks over the past couple of years. It will enlighten you as to how some of the BIG boys crush the little ones. David Vs Goliath.  In the mean time go to www.sandycandy.com and buy some candy.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Hollywood 2012 on the Blog

JC Dunn, Bill Jackson, and I did our 8.5 hour drive to Hollywood, CA for our yearly pilgrimage to the Magic Castle.  The drive went quickly because of the great conversations and horsing around that three pals do on these trips.  We are staying in Hollywood just off the Sunset Strip just a couple of blocks from the castle. Our room was pretty sweet.
Before hitting the castle we strolled Hollywood Blvd. Being a Sunday the streets were full of all kinds of people including families and young couple, older folks, hookers, homeless, and a large number of folks in fancy dress costumes. I snapped a picture of Darth Vader from behind, mostly because he stood only 5'9 though the picture didn't capture his stature as well as I hoped.  
In one store window I saw an Elvis cardboard cut out with Justin Beeber and a few other teeny-bopper idols...it was just wrong to put Elvis in with them of visa versa. 

I had a hangerin' for some sushi but sadly our regular spot was closed so we asked a Korean Girl who happen to be waiting at a light with us if she knew of any other sushi joints. She did, we went, it was terrible.

So I had a better meal at the Castle latter that night.

At the castle we were joined by my childhood friend Gordon Wong and his beautiful wife Diane.  Performing Buddy, Eddie Rice and old time performing friend Dennis Forel. (In the picture below.) We ran into a whole passel of magical names: Milt Larsen, Irene Larsen, Norm Nielsen, Mark Wilson, Dale Salwak, and many many others. It was an incredible evening and for a Sunday it was down right busy.
We were in bed by 1:30 and up by 9am.  Sadly the room we were in is needed by the hotel so we have been moved to a not a s nice room. But they are giving us a price break. c'est la vie.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

HOME: Snow on the Road-Road trip Finale

At the writing of this I am at home and suffering from "Road Buzz" (that vibrating feeling all over by body from the 16 hour constant hum of the road and van engine) and jet lag...still on Central Time. 

We woke up yesterday in Gallup, NM to a blanket of snow on the van and the roads.  Hwy 40 heading east was said to be closed due to the snow. Thankfully, westbound was wide open. Mushy, slushy, but open.    The snow on my windshield was thick and thankfully a well prepared man from Chicago was leaving the hotel the same time we were and he had an ice scrapper on hand and gave me a hand clearing the windshield.  The wind was so cold that even with the heater on the windshield the remaining snow and ice stayed on the glass for nearly two hours. The sliding windows were iced closed and the wipers were stuck but the Chicago man used the scraper to loosen them . 

It was a two hand on the wheel keep it under the limit drive for a while.   At stops Victor enjoyed playing with the fresh powder.  

Our original plan was to drive as far a Bakersfield in California. We would stop in Lake Havisu and see the London Bridge.  While on the way we looked up the London Bridge on my smart phone and we discovered it wasn't much to look at and figured it wasn't worth the drive. Both Victor and I expected something a bit more grand. So we had extra time and decided to drive until I got too tired to drive. That got us home. 16 hours after leaving Gallup, NM we were pulling into our driveway.  We were greeted with hugs and kisses and Belle gave all the family a "I'm home" kiss.   It was nice to be home. 
The phone machine is filled with many messages and most of them are show bookings and Inquiries...PTL.  I also want to report we have confirmed we will be at the Mohave County Fair in Arizona in September. (BTW in AZ they spell "Mojave" "Mohave". 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Roadtrip...Now we are in New Mexico

From OK City to Gallup, NM.
I wish I had a lot to report but outside of Victor beating me in the Alphabet game and we split a game of crazy 8s (at the hotel) there isn't much to report.
We drove under wonderful weather except for high side winds from Amarillo to Gallup.
The other kids all made it home 12AM yesterday or today or whatever...they are home.
We are thinking of stopping and seeing the London Bridge tomorrow as long as the good weather holds up.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Goin' Back to Cali - Nashville Road Trip In Reverse

After a good night sleep and a nice breakfast Victor Jr and I gave Jim, Miles, Olivia, and Amelia hugs and kisses and we started our trek back to Cali.  We made it all the way to OK City.  Victor won the alphabet game again (4 wins to my one loss).  The rest of the day was filled with homework, old time radio and driving.
Our cheap hotel  non-smoking room smells like a smoking convention occurred here and the young lady next door I think has a spare time night job according to some of the banging noises on the wall. But I can't be for sure.  Fortunately that's the only noises making it through the walls.  It''s official, tomorrow I stop being cheap.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Shotgun Red Taping Nashville

Today is the day we have been driving and flying cross-country for. We got to the General Jackson River Boat where the Shotgun Red Variety Show is taped. This is season 2 and we are one of seventy-two acts chosen out of 2000 acts that were considered. The Jackson is located just around the corner from the Grand Ole Opry. 
We arrived just before 8am (and remember we are all on California time).  We had to carry all the props you see on the stage in the pictures below from the van to the boat down the really long gang plank.  Miles was limited to holding doors open for us since he injured his foot at youth group last Sunday.  He has been on crutches but on stage he toughed it out and did a splendid job. 

I was surprised how small the stage was because on TV it looked a lot bigger. It's amazing how TV can do that.  
We had to five minutes to do our piece then 2 minutes to do an interview, thirty seconds for a commercial lead in and then we did a bit more at the final bow. 
Here is what we did....Intro-I ate fire and lit my tongue on fire. Used the fire to light a fire in a cage then covered the cage and made Amelia. Olivia and Belle Appear.  Victor and the girls laid down between Belle's platforms. Belle jumped over the three of them through the three hoops they held.  Victor climbed onto the tightrope and walked most of the way across and turned around mid-stride then walked more than half the way backwards to the other side.   Olivia came out and made Buttercup appear (the snake). Then Miles whipped an item out of my hand and mouth.  Next Olivia climbed a pole and Jim balanced her on his chin.   Then Miles came out and laid on the bed of nails. Jim stood on him juggling Machetes.  I then broke a brick on his stomach while on the nails.  That ended part 1.   For the commercial lead in we had Miles whip an item from the Sheila, the co-host's mouth while Jim balanced the giant bottle of Anti Monkey Butt Powder on his chin.   At the close I hammered a nail into my nose as Miles did lasso tricks and Jim continued to balance the big bottle. 
The host, a puppet named Shotgun Red, really respected our wishes to promote AMBP and talked a lot about them.  We even gave free samples to the audience. 

The funniest thing was right after we did our first part Belle disappeared some place.  Since things are taped out of sequence it was alright because we didn't need her but it became a big running gag as to where is Belle. The ship crew, musicians, camera crew, stage hands, performers and us all went on a search as we simultaneously cleared the stage for the next act.   She ended up being under the musician stage risers.  Seemed she was spooked by the live band and especially the drums. 

All the pictures here are about an hour before the show since it got real busy from that point on. 

Everyone did a great job. I envy singers since all they have to do is show up. Being a prop heavy show had us the first people there and the last to leave.   Since we were deprived lunch we grabbed some yummy pizza on the way back to the hotel.  Tomorrow Vic and I will start the trek home and the rest will fly home.