Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More Photos!

We have here...

-A groundhog that I trapped in the hippodrome bathroom

-Me cleaning out a wardrobe wagon before helping fill it and load it out for the Great Circus Parade. GOOD TIMES!

-An awesome shot of me chilling out before the parade.

-Laura and I after the parade...

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Greater Part of July...

It happened. Right before the parade... the week of parade -I hit my wall. I did not want to be here. Crowds were quiet, I was tired, and above all -I MISSED HOME!
Luckily the parade came along in time to break up the monotony and tension that was rapidly building.

It was the day before the parade and I decided to head out to the fairgrounds to check out the scene and plan ahead for the upcoming day of madness. I also wanted to see the circus that Kelly Miller (John Ringling North II) had put together... it was a two hour drive to Milwaukee. We loaded the car with our snake charmer costumes (3rd arm puppets. a basket sewn onto a jacket with a hole and a foux arm holding the basket creating the illusion that a snake -being operated by the free hand- was alive and biting me in the nose). We also packed make-up, over night packs, and face paints. I was to be making up 20 or so "clowns"* in the parade (*actually rich people who rode on top of wagons wearing clown costumes -while I had to walk through the damn thing. -SCRATCH THAT- I ANIMATED during the parade. I was TOTALLY into it and the crowds were abundantly responsive! I was happy and proud and both Laura and I CONQUERED the 3.5 mile parade -and heat stroke!
Before the parade I spotted shade under a tree (prime real estate with our elaborate costumes bearing NO skin.) We got into the shade and a large man with a foofy beard said that that space had been reserved for the horses. I calmly said that the horses weren't in sight yet and that we weren't hurting anyone waiting there for the time being. He responded with a threat of calling the sheriff. I was livid. I said that we were all working together doing the same thing (I didn't mention that I had helped put this parade together and that I was with Circus World and that I was good buddies with BOTH parade directors!) We moved to the edge of the shade and he clammed up. THEN, who should pull up in his golf cart, but Ernest Borgnine himself! In full clown getup. It was awesome. To have a legendary actor and Oscar winner right in front of me -in FULL CLOWN TO TOP IT OFF! Did bushy chins ask him to move? HELL NO! Then ol' Santa clause himself came up behind Laura and I and put his arms around our shoulders "Let me guess... are those snakes in those baskets?" "Yes they are," I responded trying not to be pissy. "Why didn't you tell me!? These are the snake charmers! You are exactly where you are supposed to be!" I turned around to see a group of lounging teens in Arabian costumes... I took a good look in the Tupperware and found giant snakes -REAL snakes. They were pretty cool and calm. I told the security officer "Well, this is where they TOLD me to go... you had me very confused." Fluff neck apologized and we parted ways right before the parade began. THE PARADE WAS ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC! The wagons looked BEAUTIFUL. The weather was PERFECT. The crowds were AMAZING -and I was shocked and surprised to have so many people recognize me through out the parade "ROGER, ROGER! HEY ROGER!" It was remarkable and it recharged my batteries. However, my voice and legs and back were SHOT! I was exhausted. We stuck around in Milwaukee and had diner at the Safe House. It was an awesome restaurant with a spy theme. Complete with secret entry way and passage ways and gags all through out the restaurant. It was an easy drive back to Baraboo and we were greeted with puppy kisses. While we were in Milwaukee, Tucker was being looked after by Maggie -Tristan's Gal- and what a sweetheart she is. The next day I was sore, my voice on the fritz, and my mind was in a land far, far away... However we had great crowds coming back from the parade -who were loud and enthusiastic. It was marvelous.

Another big event happened just the other night...

Tristan had a show at a big restaurant in Wisconsin Dells and he asked me to help and do a 10 minute spot. I premiered a stuntman character named "Captain Willy DeWitt Professional Stuntman Extraordinaire." It was a cold jump in the water but it went decently I now know what works and doesn't work for our second show coming up there in August. MORE developments to come.

I've hit my wall and I am moving on. The light at the end of the tunnel is starting to shine brighter and brighter. I'm about ready to sit in a desk for a couple of months. I'm dreaming of home and looking forward to some family visits in the next couple of weeks. The next post will be about Baraboo National Bank day... and also a short story about the night before the parade.

Hope all is well on the reader side of the computer. The summer has hit it's peak and is slowly coming to an end. Enjoy it while it lasts. ALL my best! And I am sorry for not posting earlier... things should pick up from now on!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Welcome Back Readers!

I have come to realize that I have not posted in quite a while... This blog is due for some SERIOUS updating. Sit back and enjoy readers; this could be a long one.

Since we last checked in, it was Laura's night off... Laura made it back safely the next day and no great tragedy was seen or heard from. In fact, it was nice to have a night alone. We have been inching towards P-Day, (Parade Day), and have been holding up surprisingly well. No one has been chewed out, there have been no meltdowns in the ring or in the office, and spirits are comfortably maintained at a relatively high state.

I got a surprise visit from my Uncle Don and Aunt Julie from my father's side of the family. Sometimes all you need is a familiar face -a friendly visit -and your comedic batteries are re-charged and the season coasts along without any moments of impatience. -Also on the visitor's list was my High School Drama Director, Gary Parker and his grandson Owen. I was glad that Gary got to see me, as he was a great theatrical influence and he is the reason why I got into working at Renaissance Festival. (A WHOLE other blog that will surface sometime in September.)

SPONGE BOB SQUARE PANTS came to the circus. Well, actually, it was Sponge Bob's body shell, shoes, leggings, and fabric bag to prevent dust or any other harm in the ever-so-dangerous dressing room of a Ringmaster, Magician/Drummer, Clown and Production Girl. -AND which one of these lucky members was chosen to do meet and greet sets in between shows in a giant, friendly, yellow heat box of PR DOOM!?!?! -LAURA! YAY! We had a weekend with Sponge Bob at the Circus -and, SUPRISINGLY, It brought in GREAT crowds! -I am very happy and excited to say that, because of Sponge Bob Square Pants, I BROKE THE 100 DOLLAR MARK IN THE FACE PAINTING BOOTH!!! $123 to be exact! I've only broken the $100 mark once since then... which means I get roughly 50 EXTRA DOLLARS PER VICTORY! I've already surpassed my gas and snack food funds for my ride home... and am still working on school books -however much THAT'S gonna run me up... yikes!

I've decided that (even though it's gonna be a huge pain in the wallet) I'm going to pay for my tuition and books for this semester. -So, student loans won't be as hard to pay off on the upcoming future... I just have to keep working hard and picking up odd jobs to get my damn degree!

I am ALL juiced up for two shows that I'm doing with Tristan off site. I'm working on a comedic character performance that is going to be a great break from the clown I am everyday -I can take a stab at straight up physical comedian. I was inspired as one of my great influences and teachers, Chris Allison, got on America's Got Talent -and made it to the next round in Las Vegas! He has a Coney Island Chris character -who performs old sideshow acts as a bumbling nerd resembling Jerry Lewis. He KILLED at the Clown College reunion and I can only imagine how far he will go, he is truly one of the greats. -ANYWAY, I am taking inspiration as my character (who is still yet to be named) is a stuntman/amateur magician. Who's favorite word is "Extreme" I can't WAIT to see how he plays and have a new personality in my repertoire.

The 4th of July was festive and cute as always in the small town of Baraboo. The local band played patriotic songs as the sun went down on the football field of Baraboo High. Then the entire town watched the annual fireworks display. It wasn't as impressive as I remembered it last year -but it was still a fun night out. We had some fantastic White trash behind us claiming that a quarter of the fireworks resembled a dolphin and he would predict every time they picked up the speed that we had indeed come to "The Grand Final!" (You did not misread and there is no misprint... f-i-n-a-l. as in final four or final countdown.) I caught up with the DeSantos and we planned a get together.

In other news, since I last wrote a blog, we filmed a TV commercial for Circus World and I was the lead character in it! It’s only running in Wisconsin, but I’m getting a copy of it to gloat about in the very near future. I probably should have asked for some money, but promotional footage is a fantastic trade off for now. It was just another bit of excitement to add to this crazy summer of circus and mayhem.

I am currently writing and re-writing my 10 minute spot of madness for the illusions of reality magic show at Buffalo Phil's a major restaurant in Wisconsin Dells. I am also looking forward to a few more visits coming up... Friends from college and my mom and dad both plan on making the trip out. I hit a mini-wall and wanted to go home for a few days, but the sun is back out and I'm still happy to be here. Still not sure about next year -but why worry!? All things happen for a reason. P-Day is closing in... Here I go... wish me luck!

Until next time...

Stay safe, happy, healthy, and West Nile Free!