I realized it’s been a little over a month since my last post. I don’t really have much of an update. Work on my room continues slowly and we hope to have it finalized around the first part of February. It will be good to have a “place” in our home for my things. It will also be a place I can escape to when I need to work on something without the distractions the living room provides. I’ll also be setting it up as a virtual studio so I can start doing some magic online. Speaking of…
I was asked to perform for a virtual show for our local magic club but with construction dragging on and my stuff packed away I told them I wouldn’t be ready in time; maybe next month. I miss being able to perform. My last opportunity was in September when we filmed the Jolly Rogers show which was broadcast on Youtube in October. I posted about it last month.
I can’t wait for things to open back up and get closer to normal now that a vaccine is available. My wife already got her first dose because she’s on our local city council (continuation of government) but because I’m not in one of the “at risk” groups I probably won’t be eligible until late Spring/early Summer. Still I encourage everybody to follow health guidelines: wear a mask, stay socially distanced, wash your hands. Before long it will be over and we can get back to what is important to us.
Contacts are being made for the upcoming year. Spring shows are iffy because of the slow vaccine rollout, Summer shows are better but not guaranteed, Fall shows like KCRF will probably happen. I’ve already been told by one owner/operator in Iowa that even though we were good for them last year his regular people are coming back so they don’t need us. However, the show at the Bellevue Berry Farm outside Omaha is looking forward to having me back assuming they can open safely this year. I’ll keep you updated when I get dates secured.
There you have it, the post telling you all about the absolutely nothing going on in my life right now.
See only a month since my last post; I’m getting better at this.
We started construction on my workspace at home. Since we’ve moved into this house 16 years ago I haven’t really had a space to call my own. All my magic props and materials are in one corner of the basement which I set up as my “space” when we moved in. That space has never been conducive to rehearsal or actual use, just mostly storage. Not to say it’s not workable but with no walls I really had no way to set up the space to be functional.
So starting the second week of November we began construction. With the help of friends we’re doing it ourselves to save money. There have been some mistakes made, but nothing that couldn’t be corrected. The walls and electrical are in and this week we’re finishing up mudding the drywall so I can start on painting and getting the drop ceiling installed. Once that’s done I’ll call somebody to do carpet and I’ll finish out the room by installing trim and doors. Okay, after checking, it looks like I need to trim first and then do carpet. Whatever, I’m getting to the point I just want it done.
Aside from the construction, not much has been going on the last month. I’ve been working on setting up the two websites for our other ventures: Claire Up There and Doodle Faces KC. The Doodle Faces site at least has a home page. Claire Up There just has a landing page and nothing else. I’ll get them done, but at this point it’s not a priority.
So there you have it. If I don’t have the opportunity to get back here before next month I want everyone of you to know I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May next year be easier than this one was. I’ll see you soon.
The first weekend of May was spent at Renaissance Festival of Nebraska at Bellevue Berry Farm outside Omaha, NE. Because of all the flooding along I-29 this year we had to take a longer route up US 75 from Topeka. It’s two lanes most of the way and I do not recommend it unless you have no other choice. This was the second year I was at this event and I had requested being somewhere other than the children’s area all day. I was not disappointed, four shows per day each at a different stage. Since last year I had figured out how to minimize my props so we didn’t need the wagon, instead relying on a foot locker and a fold-able two wheeler. The shows seemed to go over pretty well and management seemed pleased with the way everything went.
After that, we were back in Oklahoma for the next three weekends at the Oklahoma Renaissance Festival working for T’ger Toggs. There was one weekend that a strong storm rolled through overnight. Hearing tornado sirens and looking outside to see it eerily quiet is not something you want waking you up at 3am. Turns out that storm had spawned tornadoes to the south of town. It missed largely populated areas but we heard later about several homes that had been damaged.
We returned to Great Bend the first weekend of June. This little one day event is a great local festival and I am always grateful that they ask me back year after year. We rented a trailer this year so I could bring the Acupuncture illusion with me as well as all the other equipment this family of performers requires. I only performed the Acupuncture once due to technical difficulties. Trying to fix what was wrong in the blazing sun wasn’t working so I ended up cutting it from the rest of my shows for the day. My wife painted faces all day and was joined by our daughter in the afternoon. Also longtime friend Beth Byrd performed throughout the day handing out tickets to patrons for silly things like being “too darn cute” and did a show followed by a workshop on miming for all the kids. Always a good time.
Spent some time in the mountains of Colorado relaxing with friends and family.
I fixed the problem with the Acupuncture so that shouldn’t be an issue anymore.
Walked on broken glass at Kansas City Magic Showcase with Rod Sipe, again.
Fringe Fest meant performing friends staying with us. Mike and Nancee Micham presented their performance piece “Red Clay Country and White Cloverine Salve” five times during the 14 day run. It’s a rustic story about Nancee’s grandmother and her trip across the dust bowl to a better life in California.
Below you’ll see Mike and Nancee putting their lives in my hands in some dangerous equipment. I can’t say enough about what good friends they’ve become over the years.
So the new prop I ordered back in April has finally arrived in Kansas City. I need to get it picked up and transported home so I can work with it a bit before debuting this at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival this coming weekend. Nothing like only having two days of rehearsal to get everything ready.
Two weeks ago we traveled to Sin City, Las Vegas, NV. Spent time doing touristy things. Saw two amazing magic shows and met with the illusion builder I talked about in a previous post. I had a few ideas and he pointed out that one wasn’t currently acceptable and the other was overdone. Then he gave me a new option I hadn’t considered and that’s the one I’m going with. A few close friends know what it is, but for the rest of you I’m going to keep it close to the chest until I can debut it later this year…
Next month is Norman Medieval Faire and I’m looking forward to returning. I’ve made some changes to my show to be more “family friendly” for this audience so I hope it all works out. I just checked the schedule for this year and I’m on the Unicorn Stage which is right at the crossroads of the three areas and I’ll be sharing the stage with Tullamore and Bardmageddon. Tullamore is a well known Irish music act and I know them personally so this should be a good weekend.
I originally started this post on July 13 today I finish it.
I will start now and work my way back, kind of like a time machine…
June 19 the call was taken. The info confirmed. The waiting began. That’s the short of it. The longer version, I got called by Kansas City; they confirmed I was still interested and said the contract would be out in a matter of days. That was nearly four weeks ago. I got the word between now and then by a third party that the festival office had to send parts of the contract out to a lawyer for review before they could send it on to performers to be signed. I guess to make sure it meets the guidelines for anti-bullying and harassment or something like that. In discussion with others we wondered will the office make the time to reprint those contracts that had been issued earlier this year and require all performers sign or will they just “let it go”? Doesn’t matter as long as I get my contract prior to opening day.
In other news, I did one weekend a the Renaissance Festival of Nebraska (not to be confused with the Nebraska Renaissance Festival) and it was a good time overall. I did have to cut my show short due to only being allowed 30 minute time slots as opposed to my normal 40 minute slots. 30 minutes really only allows for a 15 minute show after accounting for setup, calling the show and tear down .
I also did the June Jaunt in Great Bend, KS again. This makes six years doing this fabulous small town event. I was joined by another magician/mentalist Curtis the Mentalist from Wichita. During lunch he mentioned that this wasn’t his typical type of event, but I think he did pretty good wowing the crowd. Because of the rain that had started the afternoon ended a little early for us entertainers so we packed everything up and called it a day.
Well there you have it dear readers, my summer in review.
Update** The contract for KCRF finally arrived July 14th and I just sent it back today. I’m hoping that they don’t reject it for any reason and I can get serious preparing for the 2017 season.
Back home after a gig at the Medieval Fair of Norman. Friday was sunny and cool, Saturday was overcast and the rain held off until late in the afternoon, and Sunday was dreary with light rain and drizzle for most of the day. Because this is a free fair there were still lots of people at the event all three days.
This was the first time I’d done this event and I’m hoping it wasn’t my last. Most of my audiences were rather small. That may have been a result of the threat of inclement weather Saturday and Sunday or something else that I can’t put my finger on. The audiences that I did have seemed to enjoy my show. My favorite part of the whole weekend has to be the egg routine on the last show of Sunday. I had chosen a tween girl to assist, like I normally do, and when we got to the part about her favorite magic word she says “Taco Bell”. I and the people in the sound tent lost it. I know I laughed through a good portion of the rest of the show.
The one downside of this event is that apparently not everyone appreciates my particular sense of humor. I learned, on the way home, that one lady posted on the official Facebook page of the event that she was offended at the use of sexual innuendo in the show and that she had to take her 6 1/2 year old daughter away. At first I was saddened that I had offended anybody. But as I played the entire script of my show from beginning to end I realized that I hadn’t said anything during the show that would upset a 6 year old, only her mother. Sure there are lines that can be taken different ways, just like in the old Rocky and Bullwinkle show. I understand wanting to protect your child, but nothing I said would have led a child to believe I was saying “naughty” things. Apparently I should add a disclaimer at the beginning of the show as many do these days, “If the kids understand the jokes, it’s not my fault.”
Here is a picture that conveys the same idea:
A child sees the dolphins, an adult sees something else… The question is how do you see the world?
Sometimes people ask, “What do you do to get ready for KC Renfest?” This year it was construction.
The hut on the current Wizards Tower was built 20+ years ago, has had very little maintenance, and was literally ready to fall in on us.
It turns out that there was almost no support structure left beneath the shingles. The plywood decking was rotted and infested with termites. The joists, where they still held together, were soft and spongy.
Those pictures are looking down into the hut from the staircase that runs up the tower. Not much left is there? And most of it just fell in after removing the industrial plastic sheeting that was affixed inside.
Once we got the rest of the roofing off we started rebuilding. I wish I had got pictures of the nearly finished roof but at the end of the day I was so tired and sore I forgot. Maybe I’ll go out today so you can see where we’re at.
EDIT: Here are pictures from this morning showing our progress.
New joists are in and new decking is up. I can now stand on the roof without fear of falling through to my death.
Later this week we’ll go back out and do the felt and shingles.