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


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Harvey Comics

I found this cover on the web a couple of days ago. The cover art is beautiful. Harvey comics were a favorite of mine growing up and I always enjoyed the art. My kids would really enjoy reading these comics but they're pretty hard to find. I think it's because they're still that popular. I've yet to attend a comic book convention but I'm guessing that's the best place to find them. I wonder if there's ever been a collection of these put out in book form? Anyone out there know? And in case anyone out there has a hankerin' for beautifully drawn, kid friendly comics check out The Big Blog of Kids' Comics .

From the Sketchbook- Classic Monsters

Here Today Gone Tomorrow

I painting above was made a few years back when we lived in Dallas. The neighborhood was made up of 1940's era homes that emphasized gardens and had front porches. The place we rented was a duplex from the same period and had the prettiest garden in back that we nursed back to health. The place was old and had been long neglected but it was home.

Anyway, it was winter and I wanted to paint the tree out front so I got all my paints and set up on the porch. That month it was all about sleet and some snow day after day. It was freezing cold so I could only paint five or ten minutes at a time before I had to go inside. A couple of hours later I had it finished and I was pretty pleased. What I didn't realize as I painted the tree was that the homes in the background would soon be gone and replaced by townhome-style structures minus the porches and gardens.

After we moved the duplex we lived in was also leveled to be replaced by the same kind of contemporary homes that were quickly sprouting up throughout the neighborhood. I'm glad I made that painting.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Roundup

It's Friday. Hard to believe. This week I did the final round of recordings for the Spanish/English narrations for the Milagro de Monterrey Apps down at Raining Popcorn Media offices. This book has been out a couple of years and it's interesting to see how many different ways a book can be re-packaged with all this handy new technology that's changing the book publishing world so quickly. It's a strange, new world in which my children will be quite at home but Ill always feel a little bit like a visitor trying this new gadget and that new feature then making a dignified retreat to my analog t.v., vcr and books.

This week marked the first time I've ever done any publicity work for Ringling Brothers outside of the circus and it was a good experience. It didn't make me miss the circus as much as it made me miss working with performers of the caliber of Rik Gern on a regular basis. When you work with clowns like him you can't help but be inspired to be a better performer. That's the thing about working in a strong clown alley is that your surrounded by very talented performers from whom you can learn so much. That day I missed being in clown alley. We haven't been to a single circus this year and Ringling show will be in Austin next week but it doesn't look like we'll be able to see it this year. Such is life.

I'd like to wrap things up by sharing a funny Youtube video Rik Gern showed when he came over for dinner the evening after we finished our gig. It short and it's a great way to end your day: with laughter.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Corrrecting My Recollections

When I posted this clipping a few days ago I couldn't remember the clown in the center of the photo. He's incorrectly identified as Keith Alexander who was a part of clown alley at the time and a fellow RBBB Clown College grad of 1993. Thanks to a little internet digging I found his name: Brad Aldous. He is a graduate of the RBBB Clown College class of 1994. I remember him as a pretty bright and funny guy and performer. Click on his his name to link to his website. It looks like he's doing well for himself in New York City. I wanted to make sure I corrected my fuzzy memory as soon as possible. Sorry Brad.,0,214,314_.jpg

1994 Clown College grad Brad Aldous.

Of Politicians and Clowns

The above photo was taken at the National Conference of State Legislators at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. I was expecting to be around a stuffy crowd that looked down on clowns but was pleasantly surprised. It was a pretty friendly setting for us. There were all kinds of booths throughout the place including the one set up by Ringling for their Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida where we spent our day entertaining the guests. I never knew if a person stopping at our booth was a politician and quite frankly didn't want to know. I was content to do my best to put smiles on people's faces.

I hadn't put on my costume and make up in a long time. Doc Ed is the closest thing to clowning I do on a regular basis so it was really a great deal of fun slapping on the grease paint again. Clowning allows one the freedom to do and say a good many things you wouldn't normally allow yourself as well a remove a few social barriers that would otherwise make it difficult to strike up a conversation about something like juggling with someone in the political elite. It's fun to be a clown and it felt good to feel like one again.

Peggy Williams was there too. She was the first female graduate of the Ringling Brothers Clown College in 1970. She's a hard working lady and pretty nice too. The last time I saw her was at Winter Quarters in Florida for the Ringling show back in December of 2000. Has it really been that long?! Time zips along doesn't it? All in all is was a good day to be a professional goofy-type person. I hope I don't have to wait so long between gigs.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Clown on the Go!

Late last week I received an interesting phone call from my buddy Rik Gern a.k.a. Bonzo Crunch of Austin, Texas. He had been hired by Ringling Brothers to work at a convention that was to be held here in San Antonio and an extra clown was needed. It was for the Texas Legislature Conference. I'll post about it in the morning. I've been up since 3a.m. because I couldn't sleep. It was a fun day but I'm beat! Night, night.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Circus Memories- 1995 Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Commercial

Circus Memories- Barnum Museum 1995

The Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Pictured above is a page out of the September/October 1995 issue of White Tops Magazine . The photo (taken at the Barnum Museum ) shows me plus three others members of the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus Red Unit's clown alley at a celebration for the Ringling's 125th anniversary. I'm on the far right. The clown in the middle is incorrectly identified as Keith Alexander. Unfortunately, I can't remember the guy's name. It's been a few years. You can click on the image to magnify it for a better "look-see".
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