Arts in the Family: A Family of Artists Just Trying to Make a Living in the Wilds of Texas


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Entertaining the Little Ones

Pammy entertaining the kids at the Howard school in April and is loving every minute of it.

If there is one thing we enjoy more than anything it's making little children laugh. When Pam and I met it was at a children's theater that catered mostly to a daycare- age audience making for some of the most enjoyable and memorable times we've had on stage. They can be the toughest audience too. If they don't like something they don't hesitate to let you know and we never tried to give them anything less than our very best in all regards from the sets to the costumes to the music and makeup.It all mattered to us because we put ourselves in their place. They expected and deserved to see a good show and that's the way it should be regardless of the audience's age.

Some folks like to cut corners on production values because their audience is very young. Rather than make something by hand or spend a little extra money and/or time going the extra mile on a costume piece or prop they go to Party City for there theatrical supply needs. (Nothing personal Party City.) That kind of practice is all too common these days and drives us crazy. It doth maketh our teeth grit! Respect your audience please.

If it helps, think about this way:Those young children are the theater patrons of the future but they wont be returning to a live theater as adults if they have memories of fidgeting in their seats because they were being assailed by a mediocre production from a non-profit theater and bored out of their minds. They'll be at the movies or plop themselves in front of the t.v. quicker than you can say "thespian". It's a privilege to perform in front of any audience. If you really love it do it right or look into a career in the food services industry so I don't have to worry about developing an ulcer and a drinking habit. Man! Sometimes you just need to vent!! Y'know ?I'm okay now. Really. I love everybody! "We are the world, we are the children...".

Friday, June 4, 2010

Hello darkness my old freind

College kids who can't pay their bills sit in the dark. This is not supposed to happen to us, man!

No blogging today Albert and staring at it wont help.

No t.v. , kids. The lights are kaput!! No C.S.I, The Mentalist, Big Bang Theory, etc. Nada.

Hello everyone!
I know what your thinking .... your thinking whats the deal? No entry for two days?!
Welllllll let me tell you a story. Let me first say that I, Pam Ramirez, am not a pioneer woman. Having written that I will continue. I was coming home from the store when I saw a very bad storm in the distance with what looked to me like rotation... like tornadoville. I rushed home and as I told Albert about the storm a big wind began and stuff was being blown everywhere. Having lived in Dallas for a while I thought "into the closet we go!" When the wind slowed the lightning became the star of the show.

Then it happened.... the transformer blew and darkness. That's okay because we have candles! We lit the candles, put the kids to bed and went outside to look at the neighbors huge tree branch that been twisted off and blown into the street. After that we just went into the house to go to bed. What else is there to do?

The next day still no power. I'm thinking to myself," how do people up North handle it?" The first moment that I truly realized that I'm very electronically spoiled was first thing in the morning. What? No coffee pot?! I gotta make cowboy coffee? Now I must tell you that my daughter woke up because she didn't have a night light and it was so dark at 4:30 a m so she couldn't go back to sleep. As we waited for dawn and tried to go back to sleep, she said to me "Mommy this is the longest night ever", which pretty much sums up my dramatic reaction to cowboy coffee.

24 hours later and still no power. I had to get some sleep! My wonderful neighbor let me borrow a camping light to sub for the night light. Wow! What a difference! The night began to cool so everyone slept and woke to a beautiful morning. By then we didn't even miss the electronic trappings of life then... the power came back on.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


My homage to Rizzo the Rat but named Ralph, after the man who was responsible for feeding us at the RBBB Clown College in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

In 1993, Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Clown College went from being in Venice, Florida to the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Unlike the setup they had in Florida we had lunch and dinner provided for us on site by a fellow named Ralph. I can't remember his last name at the moment but Ralph, who owned a restaurant in town, personally cooked our meals five to six days a week. It was rich, buttery, flavorful, high caloric and always included lots of meat. Were it not for the fact that we were working off those calories like crazy we would have become as big as a circus tent... a least a one ring tent.

Out of the thirty omnivorous students in our lot was a lone vegan. She was a young lady from, appropriately enough, San Francisco, named Sasha Breitman. Now, it must be understood that any special dietary needs were known well beforehand by the appropriate Clown College staff in order meet the dietary needs of all the students that were about to begin very physically demanding training in clowning and the circus arts.

Ralph's menu was reminiscent of what's served at the Cracker Barrel: most of it was brown, deep-fried or covered in gravy or all of the above. There were veggies on the menu but were battered and deep- fried or if not, were sauteed in lard and served on a glistening bed of butter. I come from the land of butter and lard so I'm o.k. with that but not so for our dear vegan friend. Mmmmm...deer. On that first lunch we got our meaty delights to gleefully devour as we watched Bugs Bunny cartoons and Faulty Towers.

When it was Sasha's turn to order she looked at the menu and listened to Ralph's suggestions. I think he tried to offer her a kielbasa salad covered in blue cheese dressing. Vegans were totally alien to Ralph and quite possibly to most of Wisconsin but he tried as best as he could to provide for her daily sustenance. She came to sit at our table and on her white styrafoam plate was a single, raw, unsliced, yellow squash as per Sasha's request.

The same routine was played out daily for the duration of Clown College with Ralph suggesting a certain vegetable dish and Sasha dining on a raw potato or half a dozen carrots. I don't know if Ralph ever saw a vegan again but I'm certain if he did he would still be tempted to serve her eggplant stuffed with pork ribs and wrapped in bacon. So, here's to Ralph of Baraboo, Wisconson: server of all things animalia and friend to veggy chompers. May your deep-fryers blaze a tasty, greasy trail for all vegans to follow.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Caterpillar: the Sequel : Part 2

Viola! This is the finished product in action. It was taken during rehearsal at the Carver. We had to change the material on a small section of the forehead for better visibility but this is basically it. No time to catch our breath. On to the next project!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Playing at the Salado Silver Spur

Two days and still no tacos! The only Mexican restaurant in Salado had closed and the next best thing was a taco truck that never seemed to open for business. In Salado no one can hear you scream. It was rough man!

This the first step to painting the scenery: the sketch.Yawn!

Some paint slinging has occurred here but no light at the end of the tunnel yet.

Things are looking good now. I have to tell you that, despite the appearance, things on stage were a little messier than they appeared.

All's well that ends well. Sixteen hours later the job is done. Now I can shower.

While in Salado we stayed at the lovely Rancho Esch, owned and operated by Don Grainger Esch.

After a hard day of paint slinging I get to enjoy this view. I'm such a bum.

There's no better way to unwind after two days of taco-deprived painting than by watching Porky Pig cartoons.

Alas, all good things must end. We'll be on the road shortly and only a few short hours away from taco heaven.
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