Sunday, April 26, 2009

Picking up chicks

Two baby finches managed to find there way into our tent.

I dropped them off at the 4H barn. Either they will be raised or released or fed to something bigger.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Thing

The Arizona landscape is beautiful. Stretches of sun bleached land overshadowed by amazing mountains. But there was one thing in the desert that we could not ignore.

The Thing.
Over two hundred of these billboards dot the Arizona highways beckoning travelers to answer for themselves "What is the Thing?"

After an hour drive we make it to the Thing. On a side note that is our trusty Mustang that we were upgraded to at the rental place just for being weird.

We enter into the gift shop and do our souvenir shopping first. We are confident that the Thing will be well worth the shot glasses and bumper stickers that we buy. We drop a buck and enter the museum.

On the other side is a museum. Littered with artifacts recovered from the desert. Painted tree roots, strange dioramas and old cars pave the way to The Thing!

I am face to face with the Thing! Locals have told me it was not worth it but what I see in the pit is beyond description. It is horrifying, it is mesmerizing it is amazing. It is everything I wanted it to be and more. I leave happy to know what the Thing is.

Oh and what is the Thing? Well if you are passing Dragoon, Arizona you can find out for yourself.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Yes We Can

John and I wake early. We are both beat from the Tiki bar last night but we have a plan and we are sticking to it. We head out to Old Tuscon. Many westerns have been filmed out there including one of my favorites. Three Amigos.

The chapel on the grounds offered us no comfort. God could not help us shake our hangovers. But we find something that can.

Can-Can girls.

We jump a stagecoach with the ladies. We were joined by the Future Cowboy. The man in gold was a mystery to everyone in the park. His armor was made of gold spray painted cardboard. He carried plastic laser guns. He refused to show his face and generally creeping
everyone out.

We circle the park. As the girls have a laser fight with the Future Cowboy John and I serve as human shields.

After the ride we catch the stunt show and then hit the road. We crash at the hotel for an hour until we have to leave for our five o'clock show. We are beat for the rest of the day.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tiki Town

Saturday we decide that it is time to hit the town for a drink or two. We head to the Tiki Bar.
People tell us that the Kon Tiki is a seedy bar. Not so much.But they do have strong drink. Our friend Donovin meets us there and we have a great conversation about magic and special effects.

John and I drink way too many cocktails of rum and syrup. Not a good mix on an empty stomach and days in the sun. Donovin hooks us up with tickets to Old Tuscon the movie set in town. The next day will prove to be a chalange.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Bulls and Bruises

We roll into Pima County Fair around four. The weather is warmer and the crows are a bit more active than yesterday. As I enter our tent I feel someone staring at me. I turn and there he is.

Champ. He was eyeballing me all last year. He has some problem with me. Did I steal his girl? Did I insult his mother? Whatever it is we have a score to settle. The showdown is set for after out second show. Once the sun goes down it is time to ride.

I mount ole' Champ. He jerks a bit but nothing Mr. Vomit can't handle. Not so tough, but what do you expect for a bull with no legs?

Champ starts playing rough! He bucks and swings. Those skinny carny legs hold on for dear life!

Champ tosses me to the ground. He proves himself to be the better man. Or at least the better bovine cyborg. With the way my legs feel afterwards I believe that he was sent from the future to keep me from sirring the leader of the resistance.

During our ten o'clock show we try something new. While in my straitjacket John comes on stage and sticks a plunger onto my bald head. To my surprise I was able to get my arms over my head without popping the plunger off. I start to tug at the plunger and it gets a good laugh. I'm gonna milk this. I struggle and pull and toss myself about trying to get it off. It pops with a great sound and the crowd loves it.

This morning I see the results of my antics.

Giant hickey upon my head. Please note this is twelve hours later. See how I suffer for my art? Sideshow is a dangerous business friends.

Touchdown Tuscon

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.