Flew into Tuscon on Wednesday with John Shaw. 6 am flight from LGA. Popped a few sleeping pills and drooled on myself in a daze for six hours. When we land in Tuscon we head to the car rental. A few stickers and promises of some fair tickets John gets our car upgraded to a white Mustang on the house. Never underestimate the power of facial hair.
We check into the hotel and then cruse around Tuscon gathering supplies for the shows. Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Dollar store. Pick up a new camera. We swing by the fairgrounds to set our stage. The winds are high and dust is swirling. We hang our banners and check out the tent that will be our home for the next ten days. We walk the fair, everyone is putting the finishing touches on there tents for the opening tomorrow. Many familiar faces. John and I spot an amazing sideshow front. 200 ft banner line, great bally stage and imposing tent. Sneak in and no one is home. Three red and yellow display waggons sit next to a corral of three animals. As we get closer to the critters we start pointing out the oddities. Six legged goat next to the six legged cow. At the end is another cow with two noses and an under bite that makes him look like a bulldog.
Done working for the day we hang at the hotel. This will be our one evening free during our trip. We meet up with friends at a mini theme park/restaurant Pentacle Peak. We watch the wild west stunt show and then head to the steak house. Its one of these joints that has ties that have been cut from patrons necks and stapled to the ceiling. Longhorns and Oak everywhere. I order a steak the size of my head. Nobody touches my tie.
Time to work. Spend the day in the hotel reading and putting music together. Head out to the fair at three. The food joints are in full swing when we arrive. Everything is deep fried and smells great. John and I work out the beats of the show, he has some new comedy acts he is working on. I decided to keep it simple this year, Blockhead, Mouse Trap, Sword Swallowing, Balloon Swallow, Straitjacket and maybe Whips.
Our first show we dust of the cobwebs. We start at five. Five is a rough show, with what we are doing it is better if it is dark and the audience is a little drunk. At the seven show both John and I spot a kid sitting off to the side, Pompadour, earplugs and gas station jacket. Kid has sideshow written all over him. He introduces himself after the show, Andy. He is working the other sideshow tent and we agree to drop by after our last show. By our show at ten we are getting back in the groove. I have troubles in the straitjacket but that's how it goes. We pack quickly and head up to the other sideshow front.
We meet the Curator, Jim Zajicek. He escorts us through his show. An amazing collection of oddities. We get reacquainted with the animals that we saw yesterday and marvel at his pickled creatures. We talk about Coney and who-knows-who and who-knows-what. We are all on the same page. Hungry we decide to grab some food. Jim suggest a trucker stop down the road. The TTT truck stop diner is everything you would want in a trucker dinner and more. We spend a few hours talking with Jim and Andy. Jim tells stories of his show past, and Andy talks about his sideshow beginnings. Chicken Fried Steak fills my belly. Get in and to bed around two. Sleep like a stone.