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


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sesame Street- How Crayons are Made

Circus Memories 1994- Guest Clowns Addendum

I wanted to identify the clown performers in the photo. Starting on the far left, with only his arms, bare leg and yellow shoe visible is Keith Alexander. Next to him in a blue derby is Huel Speight ( who at the time was starting his fifteenth year with Ringling). Behind Huel, wearing a Blue hat and yellow socks is Ray Ray LeClaire. Left of center is Benny Schultz. Next to him is Edge Szumoski. That's me in the red white and blue costume and behind me is Chris Allison. On top facing away in the orange jumpsuit is Max Richardson and facing the camera is Josh Schulman.

FYI: Just a quick note about magnifying the images. If you click directly on the image it appears on a black field but not much bigger. If you click on the white area just outside the image (if at all possible) you'll get a better magnification. Don't ask me, why it just does. Usually.

Circus Memories 1994- Guest Clowns

Click on the photo for a better look.

The clipping above is from 1994, almost a month into our First of May year on the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. We joined the show midway through their two-year "Children of the Rainbow" tour. The second leg of the tour is referred to as the "Rodeo Route" presumably because some of the arenas we played were used for rodeos.

By this time we were starting to become pretty familiar with the day to day life of clowns in this particular circus. As part of performing in the shows we sometimes would be tasked with working a "Guest Clown" into come-in, which was the 30 minute, pre-show put on by clown alley that would lead in to the show. Guest clowns could be just about anyone. These guest clowns could be contest winners but often times they were local celebrities such as newspaper reporters as was the case on this occasion.

If you had a guest clown to work with during come-in you'd have to apply his makeup, select his costume from the Guest Clown trunk and give him a crash course in circus clowning. You also had to work him into the routines that you were a part of for come-in. All this usually had to be accomplished in a very short amount of time. An hour seemed to be the average in most cases. Once come-in started the Guest Clown was with you for as long as you were on the floor performing.

The above article details a reporter's Guest Clown experience with Chad Miller and Benny Schultz as his clown guides. At the opening of come-in Clown Alley performed a comedy acrobatic routine after which, upon it's conclusion, we'd break off into different groups to perform our individual gags on the track surrounding the rings. Chad and Benny did a "doctor gag" that, for that afternoon, included an extra doctor.

I haven't looked at the clipping in a long time and smiled at the references to what Benny refers to as clown combat, which is what he called come-in. That's not a term we used and was probably created by Benny and Chad for that particular article. The doctor gag had a blow off where the patient being worked on was actually a car that Chad or Benny would drive away...sometimes. There were times when the patient wouldn't make it and would have to be pushed away.

This particular article was special because photos were taken of our come-in which we couldn't do for ourselves. It shows Benny, Chad and the guest clown in the doctor gag and the end of our comedy acrobatic routine. If I'd been a little smarter I'd have talked to the photographer about getting copies of any other photos he'd taken of come-in. Too bad.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Doc Ed Update

My alter ego Doc Ed is always going here and there to edu-tain the kiddos. Here are a few upcoming performances.

February 15th....... Ed Cody Elementary
February 23rd...... Woodridge Elementary Science Night
March 31st............ Witte Museum
April 3rd............... Medina County Fair
April 4th .............. Northside Environmental Fair
April 21st.............. Kidfest
May 1st................ Schultz Elementary

Monday, February 6, 2012

From Way Back When: Teri Garr for L and M (196?)

Monday. Is It Really Monday?

Today was not bad as Mondays go. I put an air compressor for my airbrush on layaway. That's right- layaway. That's old school. There are still a few places that do that. I don't think I'd be getting the compressor without it. @#!* the credit card companies! Viva the 70's!!

I'm still drawing presentation art for a puppet show which is going well. They're color studies in pastels which is a fun medium to work in. I can't post any of it now but later, if possible, I will. Now it's time to call it a night. Long day, y'know. Night, night.
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