This past weekend, I was a featured performer at the Big River Steampunk Festival in Hannibal Missouri. And though Hannibal is the home of Mark Twain, I felt more in line with Charles Dickens, as it was the best of times and the worst of times. Let me explain...
On Saturday, the weather was overcast, with a rain that seemed to continue all day long. It was never a heavy rain, but more a constant thing. And it was ungodly humid. WOW! I'm from Northern Virginia, I've experienced humidity. But this was something on a whole new level.
My first show was at noon. It was in front of Mark Twain's boyhood home!!! I didn't even make that connection till later, that's how off my game I was. I started making announcements for my show about 15 minutes early and by showtime I had a nice grouping of folks even with the rain. And speaking thereof, I discovered WATER to be the arch enemy of MAGIC, lol. My first trick, a simple routine with a piece of rope was proven impossible as the wet rope was sticking to itself and binding while I was trying to present it. So I had to bail on the first trick. It was at that moment I went into survival mode, I threw out all the planned magic and let experience and knowledge take over. I began doing material that was tried and true and that hopefully wouldn't be too affected by the rain...
That said, a few of the routines were card tricks and they went GREAT. But it was the aftermath that was an issue. When I finished with a routine, it went into a case with an open top. I soon discovered I needed a covering as everything in the case was getting wet. One problem after another had to be solved on the fly.
I had a good mixture of kids and adults helping in the show. The audience stayed the entire program even in the rain!!! They were so wonderful and kind to do so. Afterwards I signed some autographs and packed up.
Now, notice what I said, I packed up. AND went straight to my CAR. I was exhausted from the show from the rain and the humidity. My clothes were all sticking to me, it was awful. I sat in the air-conditioned car for a while until I cooled down. Later when it came time for show two (at a different location), I unpacked and headed for that venue.
This time I was in the DEPOT, which was the old train station. The show was sold out. No worries of rain
because it was indoors. My only issue here was exhaustion from earlier. And yet, I did the whole show and had a fantastic time with a most wonderful audience of Steampunk fans and followers.
Sunday. Well, this was the exact opposite weather wise. It was BEAUTIFUL. The weather was perfect. I had a morning show at 11am on the Steampunk Stage which had a huge crowd. Big difference between that show and the day before....1. No rain and 2, they had benches for the people to sit. The other morning venue didn't have a place for folks to sit. I had a few people from the previous nights show come up and say hello and stayed for this show as well.
Sunday night, back at the Depot and that show went splendidly. It ran like clock-work to coin a Steampunk phrase! The audience reactions to the show were incredible. My energy level was much higher than the day before, though I doubt you could tell. I think I projected well both evenings, despite how I was feeling inside.
I did leave two things out. I had planned to do my Tug of War Rope Tie. But the tope got wet from Saturdays show and I feared that once wet, it might be impossible to get out of and also impossible to untie, in the event I couldn't get free. Wet rope and escapes are very problematic. The other thing I left out was my Disectolator. I did use it Saturday night, but the humidity was causing the wood to swell, just enough to make the prop difficult to use. The disectolator is a device I put my entire arm into. Then two real metal blades are shoved into my arm. Next I pull out the middle area between the blades, zig-zagging my arm. It's a wonderful image. But the space between the blades and the wood was so tight I could hardly get the inner section to move. Considering I only had one good arm to work with, the other being inside the device, it became near impossible to use. So the routine got dropped. But it made a nice piece of scenery!
All in all, despite the weather, I had a fantastic time in Hannibal. Special thanks to my new friend Brent and also Tammy Riley for bringing out to The Big River Steampunk Festival!
(I grabbed those pics from the BigRiverSteampunkFestival Facebook Page)