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


Saturday, April 28, 2012

On the Road with Doc Ed

Having fun with the wonderful first grade students of Woodlawn Elementary School last week.

This week was a quite for good ol' Doc but last week was pretty busy. I did a total of twelve presentations at three different locations including driving up north a bit to New Braunfels. I spent a couple of days at Woodlawn Elementary School edu-taining kids from kindergarten to fifth grade. Not an easy feat to accomplish. This coming week will be just as busy too.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Roundup

The "Rock"!!

This was a good week to catch up on some things I had to set aside temporarily. Some Doc props needed tending to like the big foam rock I take with me to many school visits. Sisyphus aint got nothin' on me!

Pammy and I continued to work on new puppet ideas for the fall. I'll be making some marionettes pretty soon. You can never start too early, know what I mean, Vern? We didn't have stop motion animation class this week. My son and I are both anxious to get back to work on our film. It's going to be a long weekend! 

And I finished a cool illustration that I'll post this weekend once I get a photo of it. It's all part of my goal to get a table at a comic con-type event. Lots 'o' irons in the fire! Until next time. Adios. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Doc Ed Nature Update

Here's another of nature's beautiful sights. Enjoy them while you can. Many are fading and going to seed. Summer is almost here.
Doc Ed says get you cameras and capture some of these beauties before they're gone.

Circus Memories RBBBC 2001- Publicity Forms

In any town we played you could always count on having to do public relation work or "p.r.'s" as we called them. We had a bulletin board in Clown Alley where the forms for the p.r.'s were posted by the Boss Clown for the alley to review. The p.r.'s could ranged from radio, print media and television. These were the days before the Internet became such a dominant presence in our world. 

The clowns were either interviewed or performed a skill oriented routine or gag. So, as a clown you had your own little "bag 'o' tricks" you favored for such occasions. I usually brought along my mini-me marionette along with some juggling props. Sometimes the p.r. could as simple as a backstage tour for special guests as on of the above forms show. In those cases you really were not expected to clown as you conducted the tour but if children were around I always tried to make sure to put a smile on their face. But generally speaking those were the easiest p.r.'s to do. 


Me and my shadow.

I got the ones for Spanish media. I had extra p.r.'s in places like Arizona or southern California. There was usually a brief interview where you were asked about life in the circus and then you might break out the props for some funny business. Often times you tried to include the interviewer if possible because they like to play too. having a marionette really set me apart though and got me extra photo opportunities. That's a good thing.

Sometimes the p.r.'s were meant for a particular clown. Sometimes they were assigned to a clown or clowns if no one singed up on their own. If it was an early morning p.r. on a one show day that meant you didn't get to sleep in and you'd be at your trunk getting ready long before any other performer set foot in the building. Clown Alley never feels so empty as it does in the wee hours of the morn'. 

Each and every p.r., though, was a very valuable learning experience, especially if you were on your own. Sometimes things don't go as planned and you have to be ready to think on your feet. On rare occasions an interviewer might ask a question that is meant to catch you off guard and possibly embarrass you. Pammy once told me of an interview where she was asked what she thought of the t.v. movie "It" based on the Stephen King novel by the same name. In the story there is a monster that can change it's appearance to look like a clown in order to lure his victims, usually children, to their doom. In the movie Tim Curry played the part of the clown/monster. Pammy answered by saying " Tim Curry is playing the part of a monster that assumes the form of a clown.  He's a wonderful actor but he isn't a clown and isn't playing a clown in the movie."


Pam hamming it up for Today Show p.r. on the performance floor at Madison Square Garden.

As a performer it those experiences allowed us to create material that we didn't use the show. Chad Miller and I wrote a gag we used on a Spanish television show when we played in San Diego back in 1995. We went shopping for props at a hardware store in New York City and left with metal buckets two mops a broom and dustpan. Hardware stores are full of clowny goodness. We spent a few day working out the gag idea then rehearsed and refined it until the opportunity arose to use it and it went well. 

We haven't done p.r.'s like those in a long time but we know if asked we could go to our trunks and bring out our trusty "bag 'o' tricks" once again.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Christmas Toyshop Puppetry 2001

 Me and my goats!

 That's Melodee Lenz (what a wonderful name that totally suited her) in a shot I took from the bridge where I was probably getting ready to work a marionette. I think she's using one of the chicken puppets.

 I found some photos of the last time I got to work the Christmas show at the North Park Center Mall for Le Theatre de Marionette way back in 2001. Seems like ages ago! I loved that show so much. Where else could you have goats, chickens, elves, wooden soldiers, a dragon, a seahorse and an ostrich as co-stars? I'd often stay in the house between shows just because I liked it so much. It felt like a clubhouse and I wanted to enjoy it as much as possible.



Tina performing the concert pianist marionette from up high on the bridge.

 The dragon, seahorse and some chickens, oh my!

 Tina Gromova operating an elf puppet. Hanging off a hook in front of her is, I think, the dragon puppet. To her right is the mainstage where the marionettes were presented when the red shutters were opened. It was a pretty versatile set.

Doc Ed Update

May is shaping up to be very busy month for my alter ego Doc Edwards. Here's the latest on where he'll be in the next few weeks:

May 1, 2012    Schultz Elementary School
May 3, 2012    Big Country Elementary School
May 4, 2012    Mission Academy
May 8, 2012    Big Country Elementary School
May 9, 2012    Wilderness Oak Elementary School
May 10, 2012  Jackson Kellar Elementary School
May 19, 2012  Government Canyon
May 21. 2012  Jackson Kellar Elementary School
May 24, 2012  Fuentes Elementary School
May 25, 2012  Madison Elementary School

Lord of the Rings Bloopers

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