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Posts Tagged ‘festival’

More catching up

December 18th, 2009

Ok, I’m typing again. The best thing about spacing, facing and tweeting is that it forces me to write, which I’ve always thought something should be doing.
June is the end of snake mating season so that traffic slows down a bit on the Snake Removal front, but then in August all the little babies begin to hatch (or gravid females of some species will give live birth) so Aug-Nov is the busiest time of the year for that.

It’s also the busiest time of the Snake Encounter year, with libraries, parties, fairs and festivals – and usually a museum here or there being among the possibilities. Libraries in particular have their Summer reading programs, and since I’m willing to travel farther than most, you never know what far flung Texas town I’ll be in next. Generally speaking, my library shows are usually rather significant violations of the fire code (room capacity) but Fire Marshals, men who aren’t afraid of burning buildings, are rarely as calm about snakes. Don’t think I’ve ever had one in my audience.

In late August I boarded the Carnival Conquest for a trip to Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. A buddy of mine (I was best man at his wedding) in Houston had a marriage that lasted less than two years, so I went along in her place (with her blessing) on what was supposed to be their 2nd Anniversary cruise. All in all it was amazing, and I befriended and hung out with a group of closeup magicians that were on board. Usually they only have one, but the other three were going from there to other ships the following week.

I also met the ship’s acupuncturist, who did a great workshop on intro to Chi Gong, and I had a session with him later. Pretty cool.

The timing was a challenge, being gone for a week during peak season, and cell time (and internet time) at sea both cost a fortune, but it was a worthy experience. In Cozumel we took an excursion and I swam with stingrays, and one big female was thrashing around when any of our group tried to hold her for a photo op (including the guides that knew her) but I gave her Reiki and she promptly went to sleep in my arms. She didn’t move a muscle for several minutes until I gently let her swim away, which she did VERY slowly as if in a trance. The guides were freaking out.

In Grand Cayman we snorkeled the wreck of the Cali, a ship that was a sailing vessel and later an engine driven ship, later unwisely converted to Diesel. This stressed the boat so bad during a full power attempt to beach her to escape an oncoming hurricane, that the seams began to give way and let water into her holds – which were filled with a huge shipment of rice. The rice met the water and expanded – making the Cali the only seagoing vessel ever sunk by rice. The port authority later declared it a hazard and ordered it destroyed, but the military types who brought the explosives got it wrong by a decimal point, and blew her to smithereens. It blew out almost every window facing the port, and impaled her mast deep in the ground quite a ways onshore. Very interesting wreck to explore, and the sea life there is gorgeous.

All in all the Snake Removal season continued a decline that has pretty much mirrored the economic news, with more and more people deciding that if it costs money to fix, maybe that snake problem isn’t so bad after all, or being duped into cheaper alternatives like snake repellents, which do not work – but have a powerful placebo effect. You rarely see a snake in the same place twice anyway (from his point of view, you’re HUGE) so you put out a smelly powder and don’t see him there again – and you think it worked. Usually, your footsteps (he can feel them through the ground) are what drove him off instead – if indeed he was even still around when you did it.

Meanwhile, some members of our government are trying to legislate people like me out of existence, proposing a ban on what is apparently a growing list of constrictors that would make it illegal for me to transport my animals to many of the places where I do my shows. The day may come when I’ll have to decide upon a venue to work for and put down roots. That’ll be sad for a lot of clients who have booked me year after year because, they say, I’m their most requested performer. I’ll create an alternative show with more magic, more stories, more media and fewer snakes, but some cities are so clueless about all of this that bans on “all constrictor snakes” are being considered or even enacted. The smallest baby corn snakes that couldn’t constrict your pinkie hard enough to turn it pink – are constrictors.

October I was performing almost every Friday and Saturday night at Screams, the Halloween park in Waxahachie on the grounds of the Scarborough Faire Renaissance Festival. I was the new kid on the block and was strictly busking, but the response was good enough that I expect bigger things for next year.

November is birthday month for Julie, my son Daryl, Julie’s dad, several of my friends – and me.

And December, my usual slowest month, did at least have Discovery Science Place the first weekend. There’s a day camp show in late Dec, and I did walkaround at a couple of parties. At least, for now, everyone is still eating.

Market Street Festival – Columbus, Mississippi!

April 9th, 2008

I’m craving boiled peanuts. Must be Market Street Festival time!

Every April my mind drifts to Mississippi, and to a town that seems to have adopted me. My first visit was for Discovery Networks, representing Animal Planet for CableOne. They were just launching new Discovery product, and my show made a great reason to sign up for cable.

The response was so big that CableOne has invited me back year after year, and this one’s going to be bigger than ever. We’ve got a bigger tent so everyone can actually fit inside, and the festival itself just keeps getting more acclaim as one of the very best local festivals in the entire South.

This year’s dates are May 2-3. A band will play Friday night and Saturday is the big street festival, followed by another great band jamming into the evening. I’ll be doing three shows outside CableOne’s location on May 3.

Columbus is a great college town located on the Tombigbee river, a lush landscape filled with heritage and history. The festival boasts some of the best food from the area, plus booths with all kinds of interesting things that I only seem to see at this particular event. The entertainment is always excellent, and I’m very pleased to play my part in that.

The folks at CableOne have become like family to me, and it’s great to be invited back to the big party. They pulled off a genuine miracle a couple of years ago after a tornado hit the town, getting cable and high speed internet back online in a huge undertaking. This bunch is really top notch.

My entire fascination with snakes began in Mississippi, in my great-grandmother’s back yard in Jackson.  That little Speckled King snake really created a cascade effect.

So if you’re in the Columbus area be sure to catch the show, but if you’re in Memphis, or Tupelo, or maybe Jackson or Birmingham – why not load up the family and make the trip? I guarantee – you’ll love it.