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


Saturday, December 29, 2012

December Sky #5

Saturday Night Doodles

Had a late start to my drawing session this evening but I still managed to sketch from my favorite t.v. show Star Trek. This evening was another third season episode titled "The Empath" starring Kathryn Hays in the title role. I especially enjoyed her performance since she had no lines. It was all pantomime. Pretty neat! According to Wikipedia and Memory Alpha, she appeared in many television shows throughout the sixties and seventies including The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Bonanza and Mission Impossible. She best known by her fans for her role as Kim on As the World Turns from 1972 to 2010. Great gig!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Friday Roundup- Holiday Fun

The week was very fun thanks to the Christmas holiday. Lots of presents were opened and there was a wonderful turkey dinner with all the fixins' on Christmas day thanks to Pammy who, by the way, sold an apple pie this week. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well here.

 Oh, and let's not forget the kid had a weekend of Nutcracker shows they performed to sold out houses! Pretty cool! 

All in all it went well for us at Rancho Ramirez. The only downside was a major oil leak to our car but otherwise we had no complaints. 

Tonight I'm burning the midnight oil working on the paintings for our circus themed art show. I've pulled out photos, circus programs, books and anything else I could think of for inspiration. I hope to have a good number of pieces for the show. Gotta go for the gold or else why bother. That's all for now.  Have a great weekend!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

It's Just Not Christmas Without Christopher Lee

Indiegogo Clown Scholarship Fund

A message from Clown Conservatory director Joe Dieffenbacher:
"Here's a video we put together to raise money for our clown scholarship fund. It's for a good cause so please share with everyone you know! Some of the students who will benefit are in this video. They are a talented and funny bunch. Now that Clown College is closed, we're lending a hand to train the next generation of clowns. Every little bit helps. Thanks!"
To learn more about the Clown Conservatory click on the link below for the Clown Conservatory/Circus Center website.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Slapstick Theatre- Bedtime for Sniffles (1940)

From the Sketchbook- Snoring 'Shroom

Sunday Morning Matinee- A Christmas Carol (1971)

December Sky #4

Been a Long Time

After last night's show the cast exchanged autographs and took photos onstage. It was a flurry of activity!
It's been a while since I've posted so I'd like to try and catch up today. It's been all about the Nutcracker this past week since our kids are in it this year. We take every other year off so December wont be so hectic. We had evening rehearsals which led to the opening on Friday to a sold out house! Not too shabby for ballet in San Antonio! Pammy and I saw the matinee show on Saturday which appeared to have a full house too. The kids have been really enjoying the whole experience both onstage and backstage. They've made new friends. What more could one ask for? 

Foolin' with the camera at Woodridge Elementary.
There was a Doc Ed show this week at Woodridge Elementary School. It's the last one for 2012 and it was pretty fun. I love teaching kids through laughter. Sneak that education under their kid radar. 
 There were approximately 200 wonderfully rambunctious 2nd graders present for my Amazing Aquifer Adventure show on Wednesday morning. The kids were ready to learn and laugh. Great way to start the day. 

The next time good ol' Doc Ed edutains the kiddoes will be in early 2013.

Along the way this week Pammy and I have managed to do some of the day to day chores around the house ( the dishes are piled high) and ready ourselves to move into the space at Tres Rebecas next month which we're really looking forward to doing as a way to kick off the new year with a new adventure. Life is good at Rancho Ramirez!    

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Roundup

 “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” -Fred Rogers

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Our Future Space at Tres Rebecas

 Pammy and I went to Tres Rebecas today to look over the space again, taking notes as to what we wanted it to look like. Our goal is to make it a multi-purpose space where we'd have art exhibits, teach classes 
 and do puppet shows.
We also want to do theatrical readings there. Lots of ideas. We hadn't given any thoughts to New Years resolutions except to try new things. Nothing specific. This space will allow us to try many things, all related to the arts. It's going to be a good thing for us. It's a self-administered shot in the arm for us. And long overdue. 

The photo on the right is the first floor of their their store full of lots of fun, colorful goodies.

Our space is located on the second floor which  we'll  share it with several other artists. Follow us upstairs please.  

It's nice space where we'll have plenty of room to do so much even though the photo (left) doesn't give that impression. We're looking forward to setting it up for use pretty soon.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Slapstick Theatre- I Dream of Jeannie: My Master the Magician (1966)

Sunday Morning Matinee- Batman T.V. Series Screen Tests

Saturday Night Doodles

I meant to post last night but I ran out of steam. So here goes! We had a good dinner of homemade burgers and fries followed by our Saturday Night lineup of fun! Started with Batman. The last few weeks of the series had Batgirl, which, if I'm not mistaken was the last season of the series. Anyway, last night's episode didn't include Batgirl in the credits and the directing style of the show was noticeably different from season three. After looking up some info on Wikipedia I found out it was the first season pilot. Very cool! Frank Gorshin starred as the guest villain in his first appearance as the Riddler. I really think he made an outstanding Riddler. I liked Jim Carrey's  version but Frank Gorshin set the standard. 

After that we watched Lost in Space and Star Trek and finished the evening with Svengoolie who was featuring the classic 1950's giant monster classic:"Tarantula". As always, he had plenty of trivia for us to enjoy. It had a cast of familiar faces but of special note, making a brief appearance at the end of the film as fighter pilot, was a very young Clint Eastwood. Fun night. Can't wait for next weekend!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Roundup

Well, our involvement with the fledgeling children's theater ended. Easy come, easy go. But on the bright side. Pammy and I got ourselves a space where we can have exhibits and do marionette shows. It's an artist coop and we'll be actively doing our "thing" there in January. Great way to start the new year. 
It's taken us ten years in this town to get this far and we'll make the most of this wonderful opportunity. As soon as we're settled in I'll post some photos of the space.  

I signed a new contract for 2013 to be Doc Edwards for my sixth year. They've flown by so quickly. The new year will be busier than ever for my alter ego with the addition of the new show for the kinder and pre-kinder kids that Pammy and I have written.

I have high hopes for 2013. Goodnight.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Upcoming Doc Ed Dates


Good ol' Doc Edwards of the Edwards Aquifer Authority is busy edu-taining the young'ns through out the San Antonio. here a few of the upcoming dates.

December 7th N.W. Crossing Elementary School
December 11th Stonewall Elementary School
January 9th East Central Development Center 
January 25th Highland Park Elementary School

Dallas' Lone Star Circus

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Milagro de Monterrey Newspaper Article

Here's a newspaper article from the San Antonio Express News reporting on the story of the underdog team from Monterrey, Mexico that won the Little League World Series in 1957 by pitching a perfect game. It also covers  the picture book, "The Miracle of Monterrey" and the film version of the story, "The Perfect Game".

It's an amazing and inspiring story so read the article then look up any info out there on this true life story. You can click on the images below for a larger view.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Saturday Night Doodles

Twas another fun evening at Rancho Ramirez. This evening there were no games that interrupted our Saturday night fun. Batman was enjoyable but the villains for the two episodes weren't as fun as they usually are. Lost in Space did their take on "The Most Dangerous Game" that included a wide variety of monsters. That's always fun. Star Trek had McCoy suffering from an incurable and fatal blood disease, so what does he do: falls for a high priestess to a civilization living in an asteroid ship. 

And Svengoolie showed the all star, chock full of monsters Universal classic: House of Frankenstein. Starring Boris Karloff, John Carradine, Lon Chaney Jr., Glenn Strange, George Zucco...I could go on! Great cast. Plenty of classic monsters. You can't go wrong with a movie like that! I hope your Saturday was just as fun. This is Rancho Ramirez, ending it's broadcast day and signing off. Buenas noches. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Rainy Monday

We spent the better part of the day working on a first draft script for our version of Little Red Riding for the fledgeling children's theater we're helping to start. It's definitely got the Ramirez brand of comedy in it and that's a good thing. Tomorrow we meet to discuss it and other subjects on our "to do list" in preparation for the opening of the first play scheduled for very early 2013. It could be a very productive and creative year. Keep your fingers crossed.

I contacted a couple of schools confirming Doc Ed shows scheduled for the remainder of the 2012. Next year looks to be busier for me as my alter-ego Doc Ed with the addition of the new Doc Ed show for the kindergarten age kiddoes.  

Pammy and I have written all of the shows in conjunction with education department of the Edwards Aquifer Authority and have had great fun sharing our brand of humor and entertainment with them in order to produce a show that the students will enjoy and learn from and remember for a long time. 

I'll be starting my sixth year as Doc Ed in January. That's a long gig. And I mean that in the best way possible. Buster Keaton, I think it was, said'"Last week is a long time in this business." True enough. As performers we don't take these long term gigs for granted.  When Pammy and I sat to write the first show I remember it was late in the evening because our son was finally asleep and we could work. We laughed as we wrote because of all the goofy stuff that went into that first draft. We had no idea that silly night was the beginning of a run that will begin it's sixth year in 2013. I know it might be more appropriate to be thinking about 2013 on December 31st but I'll likely be distracted then and forget. Champagne will be on my mind and sloshing about in it. 

So here's to 2013. To long runs and new opportunities. To hopes and dreams fulfilled in the New Year for all of us.    

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Saturday Night Doodles

Had a good night of t.v. with the family. As always. Star Trek has Klingons in the mix as they and the crew of the Enterprise battled for control of a malevolent entity that feeds on hatred. It's one of my favorite third season episodes because I get to watch sword fighting in the 23rd century. Abbott and Costello meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was the feature film for the evening. You can't go wrong with Boris Karloff and Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in any movie. Lots of fun! I can't wait for next weekend.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Roundup-Our Thanksgiving


Once again the holiday season is moving past us with the speed of light but we're trying to savor these special times as often as we can. We remind ourselves to stop to take a nice long breathe between the hectic pace that has latched itself to the holiday season. 

The kids have been off almost a week now for the Thanksgiving break so most of our time, when not working, has been devoted to them. Most of that time has been spent at home but we've also been to the bookstore and today we went to the movies. A real treat! And speaking of treats, we also had our favorite: Shipley's Doughnuts.

 We also had a great Thanksgiving with Pammy's parents. There was plenty of food for all and then some. But we never seem to have enough stuffing, so this year so I bought a bigger turkey (22 lbs.) and it solved that problem easily. We had all the sides like sweet potatoes topped with marshmellows, mashed potatoes, green beans, broccoli salad. No one left the table hungry. And we're so grateful for it. 

It wasn't that long ago, having just moved back to our hometown, that work was scarce and bills were plentiful. The bills haven't gone away but much of our worry has been minimized to a miniscule spec. And we are grateful for that.

But we're even more grateful for our family and the time we spent with them sharing in our good fortune as they so often have done for us. It's about family. Where would we be without them? I dare not imagine. 

The harshest of times would be more so if we didn't have our families. Like food and water and shelter they sustain us, give strength and protect us as much as they can from life's in-climate weather. 

So I am grateful for all that we have and most grateful for the presence of our families in our lives. Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Saturday Night Doodles- MeTv is Back!!

Here's my latest Saturday Night Doodle and I didn't miss any shows on account of a game. Life is good! I'd write a little more but it's almost midnight and I'm going to bed. But I have to say it was a perfect Saturday night here at Rancho Ramirez.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Roundup

Theater was at the top of our list here at Rancho Ramirez. We've working out the first draft for the children's play. a version of Little Red Riding Hood, for the Alamo Children's Theater, as part of it's season for the 2012. If it looks good it will be the inaugural show for the theater. We'll see how it shapes up.

This week also saw me taking on my alter ego of Aquifer Explorer Doc Edwards. I did shows at Schulze Elementary School and Wilderness Oak Elementary School. The film crew for the documentary shot footage of both shows I presented at Wilderness Oak and I'm pretty pleased they will give a peek of our wonderful educational program in their film. Of all the cities in the country they chose only six, including San Antonio in their shooting schedule. That's a pretty big deal.

I've also continued work on the final sketches of the cover for the children's book I'm currently illustrating  about an orphaned African child who wants to grow up to be a doctor. I expect that sometime next week I'll be working on the interior art for the book...but not on Thanksgiving. I'll be working on expanding my waistline on that day. Yay!

I found this movie at a Half Price Books and got it for the kids. I recalled the title but don't recall ever having seen the movie. I looked at the release date on the box which read 1979. I was sixteen when it was released thirty three years ago. It might have been on HBO. I can't remember. The kids enjoyed it. Robot dog. You can't go wrong with that.

That's all for now. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Taking the Plunge!

Pammy and I are partnering with a very talented group of theater folk to start a children's theater here in San Antonio. We've already had a couple of very productive meetings during which we discussed a wide variety of things including script ideas. We now have a Facebook page and our theater is called Alamo Children's Theater. Our target audience will be pre-school and kinder-age children. The next couple of weeks will see us develop our logo, a rough draft of the first play and lots of other stuff. It's going to be fast and furious but fun! More updates to come.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Journey of Shadows Available at Amazon

Just a quick fyi  that Journey of Shadows, the first book in the Immortalis Trilogy by Dee Sutter and cover art by yours truly, is now available on Kindle through Amazon. Swing over to Dee's blog Dee Declares to purchase it and then spend some time enjoying her blog.

Water Blues Green Solutions Documentary

Photo: Day 2 in San Antonio, Texas began with filming an Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) Doc Edwards presentation at H W Schultze Elementary School. Here, Mark Stitzer & Joe Maniscalco are filming a student volunteer educating students about the Edwards Aquifer. See more on Twitter @H2OBlues.

Documentary filmmaker Frank Christopher and film crew Crew Mark Stitzer and John Maniscalco of Penn State Public Broadcasting were at Schulze Elementary School this morning shooting a segment for the documentary "Water Blues Green Solutions" which will air on PBS in the fall of 2013. The documentary takes you to six U.S. cities, including San Antonio, that are using innovative ways to protect and conserve the precious natural resource:water. 

They filmed both presentations of the Amazing Aquifer Adventure show. I was interviewed briefly between shows about the Doc Ed program and what it meant to me to be a part of it.   

Below are links to their Facebook and web page. There are some cool photos from today's shows on both sites. Check them out when you get a chance. And be on the lookout in the fall of 2013 for the documentary on your local PBS station.


Monday, November 12, 2012

A Blustery Monday

We awoke to a cold, windy morning at Rancho Ramirez and it's about time! It actually feels like autumn. Naturally, the day had to start at our favorite restaurant deep in the heart of the westside: Natalie's or the Pink House, as we like to call it. Later in the morning, I had lunch with my kids at school and now I'm blogging. 

In a very short while I'll have to get ready for tomorrow's Doc Ed presentations at Schulze Elementary School. I've been informed there will be a film crew present to shoot footage of the presentation as part of a documentary on water conservation that will air on PBS. The crew is traveling all over the country filming this documentary and as soon as I get more details regarding this film I will post them here. Tomorrow should be interesting. Whether the footage they get ends up being in the final cut is another story. We'll see.

I've got to squeeze in some more writing time today for the children's play Pammy and I had been working over the weekend. It's good to be working on a children's play again. It's like a breathe of fresh air and long over due. I'm grateful for the Doc Ed shows I've been doing for the past five years. They been a blessing and have provided me with a regular paycheck to take care of my family. I'm eternally grateful for the job. That having been said, there's nothing like entertainment for entertainment's sake. It's just downright fun.

 Texas history comicbook cover color study.

I spoke to Art Avila of Raining Popcorn Media about meeting for lunch this week to go over cover sketches for the children's book we're working on. We want it to be just right because it has to draw your attention to it and away from other books. That's a good reason to fuss over it. The cover should be finalized before the end of the week.

 We'll also discuss finishing up the Texas history comic books we've been working on with the hope of getting them printed and for sale very soon. The book contains three seperate stories set during the early to mid 1800' during Texas' formative years.

I hope your Monday is going well and feels like autumn. Hasta luego.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Program

No "Saturday Night Doodles" this evening. The kids and I went to a meeting of the Star Wars Society of San Antonio. Football games have been preempting out MeTv Saturday night lineup so I thought we'd try something different. It was fun and the kids got light saber training lessons. We got home thinking that a football game would still be on but were pleasantly surprised to see Svengoolie on and showing the 1931 Darcula starring Bela Lugosi. I think I'll just kick back and enjoy the movie. "Saturday Night Doodles" return next weekend.  Have a great evening.

From the Sketchbook- Elf Maiden

Friday Roundup- Damn the Torpedoes

This week was calm compared to last week which is a very good thing. It allowed us to catch up on various things including catching up on writing and illustrating a book on fairies I've been working on for the last five years. These things take time but I hope to be close to finishing what might be the first of a series by years end. It's not a traditional take on the faerie world. I added a few twists. As I come closer to completing the book I'll post art work here. Now I've also got to scrape my pennies together for more art supplies that I'll need for the remainder of the illustrations which will be both in color and black and white. I'm very excited about it.

This week included a couple of meetings one of which took place today at the Edwards Aquifer Authority to discuss, among other things, renewing my contract. It looks like I'll be back as Doc Edwards for another year. Nice.

We also met with some theatre folk to discuss the possibility of putting together a children's theater. That's something that Pammy and I have had a lot of experience in and would love to do again. So far so good. Another meeting is scheduled for next week.

Oh, and I managed to contact a local Star Wars fan club to see about attending their meeting this weekend. It sounds like fun. They work on costuming and prop building and best of all for my kids, do light saber skills classes. That's something we're all looking forward to doing. We need a little something different in our lives to shake things up a bit and keep things interesting. It seems like this week had a lot of that going for it. Karma.

That;s all for now. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Recent Acquisition

My precious.

If you have tons of paperwork to organize, why not use something fun like a candy display? I found this treasure at a thrift store this past weekend. I couldn't believe it when I saw it. An M & M candy display. You could almost hear an angelic chorus. It was sitting there amongst the usual knick knacks and furniture, people walking past it without taking a second look. Unbelievable! My son and I went over to have a closer look at it, explaining to him what it was and told him how unusual it was to see something like that there. I was already prepared to walk away from it when I decided to show it to Pammy. She could see that I was taken by it but could also see how it could be put to good use. Bingo! I've already got paperwork and photos occupying the shelves. Sometimes you need to introduce a little whimsy to your work day. Work has never been more fun. I like making  mundane activities as fun as possible. 

Clown Alleys On Ringling

Francesco Villares' trunk space. There's a blanket on the floor for naps when possible. We usually had metal folding chairs but it looks like Francesco found himself something more comfortable. Nice.
I've been meaning to post more circus material. This time around I'm sharing some clown alley photos from the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus 2001 Bello and Bo Tour. That was last time Pammy and I toured with circus before settling down, at least for a little while, to be parents. 

Every clown alley was different depending on the arena we'd be playing on a given week. Some were large enough to comfortably fit all of us, our steamer trunks, wardrobe and entertainment center/ tool box./kitchenette. Others were very cramped and unpleasant. The women and men each had their own alleys, of course, but often times the ladies would end up in our alley since the majority of clowns hung out there.

 The entertainment center consisted of a color t.v. and a vcr. The tool box was a set of drawers containing hand and power tools we employed making or maintaining our assorted clown toys. In years past, room had to be made for the trunk containing the pyro goodies which was always stationed at the Boss Clown's trunk. The Boss Clown's trunk was always at the entrance to the alley. Yes, there was, at least at that time, a heirchey in the alley. First of Mays generally were at the very rear of the alley. 

In Rosemont, Illinois,  where the First of Mays traditionally have joined the show for rehearsals in November, the alley was a narrow hall that ended in a ramp that rose up 30 degrees ending with a concrete wall.. The trunks on the far end of that alley were at a tilt as a result.  The plus side was that of that particular alley was it's proximity to the backstage curtain where we would make most of our our entrances and exits. The drawback was that it was also a few steps from arena's freight entrance where the cold winter winds would always enter making ours a frosty clown alley.

One of the smaller alleys. You can see my trunk on the upper right of the photo. There's a black and white striped shirt draped over my chair. The communal table is on the lower right.

Whatever the size or location of the alley, it was our second home so we tried to make it as comfortable as possible for all of us. We tried to make as much room as possible between trunks even when space was at a premium. More important than the space was placing the trunks according to who got along best. We're all human and you can't always get along with everybody. Setting the alley usually fell to the Boss Clown.

 A clown's trunk space could also become a refuge of sorts too. If you had walls rather than a curtain forming the boundries of the alley you could open your trunk so the inside would face the wall. You had a little more privacy that way which was always nice in the smaller alleys especially on three-show-days which were very long and tiring. In New York City you had "nine packs" which were three-show-days three days in a row.

More clown alley stuff later. Got to get movin'.     
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...