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


Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Roundup

It's the end of another busy week here at Rancho Ramirez. Pammy and I have been busy with our respective jobs, which is good. It's much better than the alternative. This is also the last week before school is out for the summer when much of our time will be spent hanging with the young'ns. Needless to say we've been trying to get as much done around the house that needs to be done before summer officially kicks in. 

 An audience member for my Doc Ed presentation at Government Canyon .

In the meantime Pammy's busy making yummy pastries at work plus planning ahead for the theater classes she'll be teaching this summer. I've been going to schools as my alter-ego Doc Ed and going to stop motion animation class. 

I haven't mentioned this before but the camera which we use to film our work was stolen from it's storage area in the classroom. I lost all the footage I'd shot but fortunately my son had the better part of his footage already loaded in the computer for editing.  I was very upset about the stolen camera (Maybe not as much as the teacher) because I now had to re-shoot my footage in much less time. It's not really possible. Bummer. So, I don't know how it will all turn out but at least I'm learning. That was the goal. To learn how to make a stop motion animation movie. Got to look on the bright side of things. 

A happier time when I still had the footage I'd shot over the course of several weeks.

I'm still working on my illustration that I'll post over the weekend. The goal as I've mentioned before is to have a large body of work to take to a comic book convention to display and with any luck, sell. So far so good. This summer will begin a push to achieve that goal. Tick, tock. Pammy and I are both in need of some new challenges so we're both looking to the future with specific goals in mind. 

Happy Birthday Star Wars!

It was thirty five years ago today that Star Wars opened and life was never quite the same after that. Thirty five years!! If I remember correctly I was a wee lad of fourteen when it opened. Time flies.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Circus Memories- Load-In Ringling Style 2001

Pammy outside the Denver Coliseum getting ready for load-in one early morning in September 2001.

Load-ins on the Ringling show didn't usually take too long for the clowns. It involved bringing in the trunks, wardrobe boxes and other assorted clown stuff and setting up the alley. One person usually had the job of setting up clown alley, placing all the clown steamer trunks in a particular order, usually by seniority. The Boss Clown and senior-most clowns had their trunks placed closest to the clown alley entrance. Sometimes, if needed, the trunks were also arranged according to who got along. Once that was done we'd set out to find clown wardrobe, the restrooms arena floor entrances and exits and the Pie Car though not necessarily in that order.

A clown on the Ringling show was only obligated to load-in and I'm referring to loading-in our clown stuff not extra load-in "cherry pie" jobs, for the first two years on the road. After two years it was strictly optional. Once that two year period was completed most clowns were elsewhere, far away from the arena sleeping or checking out the sights if there were any to see.  

 After load-in, if time permitted, you could go for a walk to scope out the area around the arena  or you'd go about the business of setting up your trunk for the day. Sometimes that was done because you might have a p.r. to do that day before the show as it often was the case for some performers. If you'd sent out a costume to be dry-cleaned you'd go find the racks near wardrobe and get that costume piece and hopefully it was there. 

Before showers were installed on the train cars (rapture!!!) you'd also look for the showers in the arena and perhaps the quickest route to them. If you got there a little too late after a show, you'd had to wait your turn and possibly risk taking an ice-cold shower. Then, as a result of a late shower, you might also have to wait a long time for the circus bus that would take performers back to the train. That could mean a couple of hours if the train was far enough away from the arena. 

On load-in day, if you waited long enough for things to settle down in the arena you might be able to work on some routine or gag on the track or in the ring. That kind of time was precious because when the up close and personal "Adventure" pre-show was introduced back in the early nineties it severely cut the time between shows that a performer like a clown could normally use to practice some new material out on the floor. Now if you happen to have a trailer and parked it at the arena you could practice after the show then walk to your "home"but that wasn't the case for the clowns. We all lived on the train and after a long day all you could think of was getting back to your room on the train to wind down.

Hurry Up and ...... Wait.

This morning I had three Doc Ed presentations scheduled at Fuentes Elementary School in Kyle, Texas which is just a little north of San Marcos. I left at 6:40 a.m. for what should have been a forty minute drive were it not for the traffic jam I encountered due to a rather nasty roll over accident. The distance from the spot where the photo was taken to the point just past the accident was a couple of hundred yards but took forty minutes to get through it. Yeesh!!


Anyway, I made it to the school and did the shows and all's well that ends well. At least the weather was pleasant for the drive and the sky was beautiful. I snapped a few pictures while I waited. When you get lemons make lemonade, okay?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

On the Verge...

I'm feeling really good about my latest illustration and I plan to have it completed by the weekend...Sunday at the latest. I've already got the next one figured out and I'll get to work on that one this weekend. Fun times!! Stay tuned!

May Sky #5

Doc Ed Winding Down

The school year is almost over but I've still got a few more presentations lined up before the last school bell rings. Here are the remaining schools on the Spring 2012 calendar:

May 23rd Jackson Keller Elementary School
May 24th Fuentes Elementary School
May 25th Madison Elementary School

Doc Ed is ending the school year keeping busy edu-taining the kiddoes on all things Edwards Aquifer.
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