The Big Juggle Finale

On the last two Chautauqua tours, we've had a lot of jugglers. From that stemmed the idea of getting a huge blowout piece with as many jugglers on stage as possible to finish the show. Well, it was a hit and has been in just about every show since, whether on tour at a small community show or big public show, or at the various benefits we have throughout the year.

The pattern is simple. As many jugglers as we have, we pair off in twos. It is 5 throws on a 4 count with your partner, finishing with a self double and tada. Center stage is a two high (or a couple two highs) that leads things. There's also a fun hectic buzzing/getting to position part. Basically, it is super fun.

This weekend Chautauqua did a show/workshop/parade combo at the Stillaguamish River Festival and, sure enough, the big juggle finished the show. This time around, we only had 16 or so jugglers on stage, as opposed to the 22+ during tour, but it was still a great spectacle. It is great hearing the "oh my"s from the crowd as we raise our clubs and start.

The group juggle, which I seem to be the default for heading up, is a ton of fun and totally embodies the Chautauqua fun-loving spirit. Maybe it's this 45 seconds of stage time that is helping me get over my not-a-performer hang-ups so that I can fully participate in all the glory that is the circus!
Tuesday August 14 2012File under: juggling, circus

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Happy Little Circus

I may have mentioned a time or two that I'm not really a performer when it comes to circus*. I do, however, make an occasional appearance on stage when the situation is right. This past weekend at the Happy Little Farm party in Conway, it was perfect.

A "party" doesn't really describe it, because it is much more: with bands, circus, pot luck, rock paper scissors, camping, etc. But it isn't quite a festival: not advertised, no tickets, no wristbands, mostly friends and friends of friends. It is really the perfect mix. So the last two times they've asked me to put together a show, I've been stoked to do so. The performers that I rope* in seem to enjoy themselves too. That I would get on stage in a show that I produced* in a fun, circus-loving, low pressure atmosphere only makes sense.

We had juggling, music, hat tricks, mime, fire, balance, and more. Della and I did a rope act that is shaping up to be pretty dang neat. Keep your eyes peeled for it at August's Vaudevillingham.

In conclusion, circus is fun, and the Happy Little Farm party is one I hope to keep circusing at for years to come.
Tuesday August 7 2012File under: circus

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Sleeping Around 2011-2012

Overall Stats
Nights At Home101 (27.5%)
Nights Housesitting112 (31%)
Nights of Travel153 (42%)
One of the things I most look forward to on this blog is the collating of my year of sleeping around. It, better than possibly anything else, encapsulates what my year was like. And, since it is so nice and quantifiable, it serves as a great comparison to previous years. Did my housesitting business go up or down?* Did I travel more or less than last year?* The fun I have with looking through these numbers is really quite ridiculous.

Today represents the end of the fourth year of data, 1461 days of logging where I slept. I've presented this year's data in various ways here, some specifically for consistency with previous years for comparison. To see a breakdown, check out the calendar

What, in my eyes, is notable? Travel is WAY down, esp. international travel which is down from an average of 65 nights to just 4. Nights at home is higher than normal, partly due to [happily] playing live-in nurse for Ma when she got a new hip. Nights in a car is up, which is what happens when one's girlfriend lives* [by choice] in a car.

I very much like the transient nature of my life, at least for the time being. And I like numbers and data. So I trust this über-nerdy habit of tracking and analyzing will go continue for years to come, possibly to the point of it being the only post per year on the ever waning* Blog du Wren.

Previous years' posts can be found here: 2008-2009, 2009-2010, and 2010-2011.

Travel Breakdown
In-state91 (59%)
Domestic58 (38%)
    # of states (other than WA)    5
International4 (2.6%)
    # of countries (other than US)    1
Additional Stats
Nights in a Car37
Nights in a Tent39
Nights in a Boat0
Nights in a Hotel9
Longest stretch at home7

Wednesday August 1 2012File under: stats, travel

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Food Preservation

The Northwest provides a bounty of wonderful food during the summer and fall. Come winter, I always say to myself, "Dang! I wish I would have put up some of those lovely berries or whatever.*" Well, with a little help and encouragement, this year, I'm doing it!

First up, cherries! Cherries, when in season, are ridiculously cheap and awesomely delicious. I'm currently babysitting Della's food dehydrator so I figured I'd give drying cherries a try. Success! It is amazing how small the amount of dried cherries one gets from a giant bag of fresh cherries. But dang they are good.

Up second, blueberry jam! This was an all out effort by Della and myself. We picked the berries, took a lesson from Ma in canning*, and ended up with a bunch of awesome jam! It's good too.

What's next? Maybe blackberry jam? Hopefully some dried plums. Perhaps some frozen sweet corn. Here's to the wonderful northwest bounty!
Monday July 30 2012File under: food

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Chautauqua 2012 in Pictures


Being so busy and having so much fun is kind of a mixed blessing. It is wonderful in the moment, but afterwards, I find myself wishing I had taken more pictures and perhaps submitted a blog post or two more. Such was the case with Chautauqua tour 2012. I did wrangle a few photos and post them here for your viewing pleasure (and my archival pleasure too!) Be sure to check out the captions for context



Thursday July 26 2012File under: circus, pics

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30 Club 12 Nipples

What happens when you take a whole mess of good jugglers and send them on the road but with limited juggling opportunities because eastern Oregon is so dang hot? Well, late night juggling sessions in warehouses tend to arise. This was at about 1:00am the night before our John Day show. Good good times!

This session inspired an act for the Ben Show (our for-our-eyes-only self satire show) that involved more clubs, more nipples, and burlesque moves! I'll have to look around to see if video from that survived.

(To see a larger size video, click here)
Thursday July 19 2012File under: circus, juggling

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Chautauqua Goes to Jail

It's not often that I get to go to jail*. Well, chalk up another life experience to running away with the circus!

On Chautauqua tour, we do a combination of big shows in local theaters and smaller shows in community spaces (assisted living facilities, children's groups, and jails). My first three tours, we never made it to a jail show, for whatever reason. This year, however, we have 2! Let me tell you, they are awesome!

At the first [minimum security] facility, we had no stage, no lights, and no microphones. The audience sat in the grass or stood. Backstage was behind a tree. But despite all that, it was easily the best show I've been involved in. The inmates really really appreciated it. They clapped, hooted, and laughed when appropriate and were nothing but the best audience one could hope for. The audience participation bits were even more hilarious than usual because everyone knew everyone else. So much of a show is in the enthusiasm of the audience. This enthusiasm was off the charts.

While the scene and stage was very different at the second [medium/maximum] facility (we performed indoor in the chapel with the audience neatly seated in chairs], the enthusiasm, behavior, and appreciation of the audience was just the same. There was a lot of laughing, smiling, and cheering going on. Afterwards, we all formed a line to accept their hearty handshakes, joke about the show, and mingle. It was great.

Yeah, going to jail is pretty awesome. Here's hoping it becomes a part of every Chautauqua tour!

(To read more about this year's Chautauqua's tour, check out our official blog here)
Monday July 2 2012File under: circus, travel

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Chautauqua Tour 2012

It's that time again, time for the New Old Time Chautauqua's summer tour! This year, we are headed to Eastern Oregon, and I couldn't be more excited about it. I recently cruised through there and it is gorgeous countryside with lots of good people (not to mention all the good people we'll be traveling and juggling(!) with)!

This year I've turned in my chef's hat for a clipboard and will be doing some logistics work. I've spent the last 4 or so months helping to plan an awesome tour and it will be great see it all come together. If you have any friends or acquaintances in Eastern Oregon, send them our way! The schedule is below. Any questions you can send my way. Otherwise, follow tour on NOTC's blog (hopefully with the occasional post here on BdW!)

Baker City - Saturday, June 23
noon: Parade from Main Street to Geiser Pollman Park
1:00-3:00 Free Workshops in Geiser Pollman Park
7:30 Vaudeville Show at Baker City High School
***
Enterprise - Thursday, June 28
4:00: Parade to Farmer's Market
7:30: Vaudeville showat the OK Theater
Friday, June 29th
noon-3:00: Free workshops & band performance at Watershed Festival at Wallowa County Fairgrounds
***
Pendleton - Saturday, June 30
noon: Parade down Main Street
1:00: Free Workshops at SW 4th and Court Avenue
7:30 Vaudeville show at the Vert Auditorium
***
John Day - Tuesday, July 3
Noon: parade down Main Street
1:00: Workshops at Grant County Fairgrounds
7:30 Vaudeville Show at the Grant County Fairgronds
***
Bend - Friday, July 6
1:00 Workshops at Bend Circus Center
6:00 Parade from Wall Street to Mirror Pond Plaza
Saturday, July 7
7:30pm Vaudeville show at the Tower Theater
*****
Tuesday June 19 2012File under: circus

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FC 168 - Fritter Pillow


To those comic artists/creators who create comics every day, I'm in total awe. I used to struggle to get one per week, and now I can't even churn out one every other week. This week, I had to go to the archives and co-opt this comic from a birthday card I created a while back. My apologies to the original recipient.

I'm taking the next couple weeks off from comics while I'm on Chautauqua tour. Perhaps I will come back refreshed, read to step back up the comic schedule. Or perhaps not. Anyhoo, I'm off to eat a donut and go to bed.
Friday June 15 2012File under: comic

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10-Year College Reunion

I had originally hoped, when composing a blog post about my 10-year college reunion, to be writing about how comforting it is to see those with whom I've shared a significant experiences (like college) and be reminded of how friendship can effortlessly pick right back up, to relive old stories and perhaps even create a few new ones. Unfortunately, however, I can't. Not because it was discomforting to see old friends or because my ideal of friendship was disproved but because all my friends chose to skip out due to complexities of life, travel, and memories. While a bit of a bummer to not get to catch up with folks who I seem to see less and less, it turned out to be a fun weekend nonetheless.

Maine is down right beautiful. Bates goes all out spiffing up the place and putting on a show for the attendees. And to frolic about a place I used to live after having been away for so long was a wonderful dose of nostalgia*. And while none of my '02 friends made the trek north, I ran into an old juggling buddy with whom I spent a fair number of pleasant practice hours*. So the weekend was not without the requisite "where are you what are you doing?" conversations.

We mostly spent the reunion simply just enjoying the place. We wandered around, Della being so kind to let me tell her stories. We took a few pictures, ate in the new dining hall*, and noticed changes around campus. I ate a lobster roll* and we toured a friend's brewery.

No, my 10-year college reunion wasn't I was hoping. I imagine my 20-year won't be either. But however it goes down, I'm sure it will be great, just like this one.
Wednesday June 13 2012File under: travel

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