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


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Enter the Hertzberg

That's Pammy and Kim Brand standing at the entrance to the Hertzberg Museum in a photo taken in the spring of 1992. Kim Brand was one of Pammy's classmates in 1989 at the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Clown College. Even though the collection is being taken care of at the Witte Museum and occasionally shown, I wish the city of San Antonio had taken a better interest in maintaining the that place so that it could still be there for the general public to enjoy any time of the year. Last I heard tons of money had been pumped into the old building even expanding the space for a western (as in old west type) art museum. Ho, hum. Plenty of those around.

Out and About with Doc Ed

This afternoon I got to meet some special folks during the Community Fair at the St. Matthews Methodist Church organized by the Girl Scouts. Pictured above is myself with Sparky the Firedog of the San Antonio Fire Department and below is Buster, the VIA Bus mascot. Oh, and I did one presentation for the kids there which was pretty fun.

From The Sketchbook- Godzilla

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Roundup

This week's highlights were particularly special for me. On Monday my son got to animate the first few seconds of his short film which was really impressive and wonderful. His face just lit up when he saw the results of his labors. I'm very proud of him.

This week I also touched base with Mr. Dick Monday of the New York Goofs to see about working at Seaworld again next fall. If all goes well that's a good possibility. Cross your fingers for me, please.

And finally, this Friday I had the pleasure of having lunch with my good friend and local children's entertainer David Pitts better known to parents and children around town as the Astonishing Mr. Pitts! He's got some great new ideas he shared with me about his character and shows. Those images above show some of those ideas. They're flyers he's mailed out to various schools and daycares around town and I really think it's going to be a hit with the kids.

The thing I like about David and any other entertainer who share his approach, is that he doesn't short change his audiences. There are some children's entertainers out there who don't put as much effort into their shows, especially for the really young ones like the kindergarten age children. Their attitude is," They're just little kids and they don't know the difference." They're in it primarily for the money. Not The Astonishing Mr. Pitts. He genuinely loves what he does and wants to please both the kids and the parents to the best of his ability.

It was really fun and inspiring talking shop and brainstorming with him. He really is very inspiring and I wish him all the best with his new ideas. I know they'll be a hit. If you live in the San Antonio area and you'd like to have him be a part of your special occasion check out his website here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Doc Ed Update

A shot of our setup for the presentations Sarah Valdez and I did at the Environmental Fair held at the Texas Research Park early last week.

The school year is almost over but I'll be going out and about to a few more schools as my alter ego Doc Ed before all is said and done. Tomorrow I'll be at Carson Elementary for two presentations edu-taining 375 pre-kindergarten through 2nd grade students for the first show and 375 3rd through 5th grade students for the second show.

The soccer field where we were for last week's Environmental Fair.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hertzberg Clown Association

The photo above, taken in April 1991, shows some of the members of the Hertzberg Clown Association posing in front of the float for the Hertzberg Circus Museum while waiting for the Battle of Flowers Parade to begin. On the far left, standing behind the sign is Chencho the Clown, a staple of the local children's entertainment community. Also standing and on the far right in the predominantly green costume is Bill Johnson. On the lower left, kneeling is myself, in my first clown costume that I put together from whatever I could find in the closet. Pammy is kneeling on the far right wearing her Ringling agent suit.

Back when I first started clowning in 1991 Pammy and I became members of a clown club. At the time I didn't know much about the world of clowning or that clubs such as the one we were members of existed. As a result of becoming members I very quickly became a part of the local clown community, that again, didn't know existed. Pammy was the only clown performer I knew locally up until then but I had met some of her former clown alley buddies from the Ringling Red Unit as well as her old Clown College roommate Christy McDonald. I figured that clowns could only be found in the circus.

We were members of the Hertzberg Clown Association which was affiliated with the Hertzberg Circus Museum, one of the few circus museums in the country. We met once a month at the museum for a couple of hours after it had closed for the day. After the minutes were read and any new business was discussed we often had a workshop on any variety of skills like magic or juggling.

The club was very active with a large number of members composed of working clowns, some magicians and a few of others who simply wanted to clown at the various charity and fundraiser events we sometimes worked. There were also annual events we were a part of such as the Battle of Flowers Parade.

A better shot of the float.

Another group shot taken inside the museum lobby. The bearded fellow was a member of the club but I can't recall his name. I do know he was a local magician. I'm terrible at names! Doh!!

The photo of me taken above by Alex Rubio, was taken right after I'd done a trip which led into a dive roll. It got a good rise out of the crowd. Fun stuff.

You can see the backside of our float which has painting of various personalities from the sideshow world of the circus and that I painted. I wonder what happened to that painting?

One of my fellow clowns had brought along a prop giant baby bottle and I decided to take a drink pretending it contained something a little stronger than baby formula causing me to stagger as if "tipsy". I was glad I thought of that bit because I couldn't do dive rolls for the entire parade and expect to survive the event. Oh, I didn't mention that the weather that day was, as it usually is that time of year, unbearably hot and muggy. And the float wasn't motorized but had to be pulled rickshaw-style by us.

LinkThe garish fellow is readying to steal my comedy bit... why?... because it's there!

I tried looking up info on the Hertzberg Clown Association and came up with nothing. I looked up the Hertzberg Circus museum and came up with surprising little. Most of what is known can probably only be found at the Witte Museum where the collection now resides. Below are the links and some images I found for the Hertzberg Circus Museum. At the bottom of the post is a tantilizing little video taken in the late 80's showing a little of what could be enjoyed inside the museum.

Tom Thumb's carriage.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Bigfoot Sighted!

Bigfoot is finished! I had some problems with the armature and yet, somehow, life goes on.

Stop motion class was the best tonight! Jose started animating and it was so cool!! He was pretty impressive as I listened to him explain to the teacher how he wanted to to set up the shot and the lighting it would need. That'sa ma' boy! Next week I'll get my turn and I'm really looking forward to it.


April Sky #3

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