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Friday, May 30, 2008

Indian With Teepee Outruns Cowboy

I've got a great installment of The Pinkie Chronicles ready to publish but I feel I should get the OK from Pinkie first despite the relative anonymity of the "Pinkie" sobriquet.

Instead, here's an exciting episode that took place a few days ago during the second show.

Byron was "dancer" that night. Included in the dancer's duties is the task of carrying the "teepee" into the arena for the Medicine Ball Pass. The "teepee" is really a large tripod made of three 3-inch steel pipes roughly 10 feet long, bound together 1.5 feet from the top. It is carried on stage in a closed position then set up to form a "basket" at the top. The first of four Medicine Balls to be successfully launched and lodged in the top of the teepee, after first being passed through the audience, wins the event.

The teepee is fairly heavy and awkward to carry in any case but on this night Byron had an added challenge. As he approached center stage with the closed teepee balanced on his shoulder, Brice grabbed one end of the pipes and walked in a wide circle around Byron, causing Byron to spin and creating a visual effect reminiscent of helicopter blades, with Byron as the pivot. After a few turns Brice stopped with a big grin and started towards his position on stage, probably thinking he'd had his fun and that would be it.

It wasn't.

Byron lowered the steel pipes to his side and charged Brice. Around the arena they ran as the other performers tried to concentrate on the task of demonstrating to the audience how to pass the Medicine Ball and the Principles described the game. Byron chased Brice through Gold Star, then towards Blue Moon. Brice cut over to Green Mountain but Byron didn't let up. Brice seemed to be feeling cornered and ran towards Red River. Byron kept on him, cutting him off, forcing him against the wall, until finally Brice had nowhere else to run. Later backstage Brice told me, "Next time I'm going to pick on someone who's slower than me." All in good fun.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Wild West Indian Becomes Opera Phenomenon

Ex-Wild West Show Indian Ferlyn Brass has become an unlikely darling of European Opera. For one, he doesn't sing - other than randomly belting out a few unnounced high-pitched wails characteristic of traditional Native American singing or a few phrases of whatever is on his iPod. Certainly for his role in Canadian director Robert Carsen's modernized version of Voltaire's satire Candide, featuring music by Leonard Bernstein, Ferlyn does not sing. He just "plays himself".

Ferlyn was handpicked by Carsen himself, who also adapted and directed Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, Disney Village, Disneyland Paris Resort where Ferlyn worked for several years. Ferlyn is not a formally trained actor (or formally trained anything as far as I know) but he's naturally talented and was entertaining to watch at the Wild West Show. No doubt Ferlyn's loud, brash presence and infectious smile both on and off stage contributed to his appeal to Carsen. Ferlyn claims his experience working with some of the world's top opera talent on a world-class operetta production has taught him more than any formal school could have, reshaping his view of acting.

Carsen's Candide was first produced at Theatre du Chatelet in Paris before spending a season at La Scala Theatre in Milan, Italy where it was temporarily cancelled subject to restaging a scene that featured "a drunk Silvio Berlusconi and other world leaders dancing in their underpants."

Based on Voltaire’s satirical masterpiece, Candide follows the journey of a young man who is determined to follow his tutor’s philosophy of absolute optimism – ‘all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds’. However, his beliefs are severely challenged when he leaves the sheltered environment of his home to embark on an epic journey across 1950s America... ENO

Candide will open June 23, 2008 at The Coliseum in Westminster, London - the official home of the English National Opera , with Bush and Blair in the controversial scene and Opera superstar Toby Spence in the title role. Ferlyn is consequently back in France to gather up his costume and make his way over to London for rehearsals and the performances. Book seats now!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Texan in Ireland Sends Compliments

I recently received an email from one of The Casual Reporter's 10 million readers and thought I'd re-post it here (with her permission):

Hey Ya'll,

My family and I caught the show on Tuesday night, my little guy actually won the shooting contest! That made our short break!

I am actually from Texas (DFW area), living in Ireland for 10 years now (itching to go home in a big way), I think it is really cute how Europeans dig the Western thing. I was very curious the first time I heard about the show (worried about the fromage), but after seeing the show I think you guys "do good" and have no problem recommending to others (exception "veggie-chili", being from Texas I have to boost to having the best chili this side of the pond!!!!

Are any of you guys doing extra stuff in Ireland this summer? I plan on going home in August to get some warm weather! But I will keep one eye open on your upcoming events!

Sincerely I want to say great show and keep up the good work!

Toksa ake,
Stephanie Glaholm

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Disney Village Gets Landscape Upgrade

When I first walked through Disney Village nearly 13 years ago on a cold, drizzly September day I remember thinking how cold, miserable, gloomy, industrial, and decidedly un-Disney the area seemed for an entertainment complex. Judging by online reviews, I'm not the only one who thought so. The Disney stockholder who published the first photo above writes,
"On the way, Disney Village was utterly deserted, and in the daylight, it looked run down. As a Disney stockholder, I was mortified!"
The first photo was taken AFTER Planet Hollywood and King Ludwig's Castle were added, concrete was colored, Billy Bob's was painted terracotta instead of gray, and metallic panels on the columns were removed, so it was actually worse in the beginning.

Apparently Michael Eisner, a big fan of architecture, chose the design from among several alternatives which were favored by others on the design team. The one he chose was added simply to flesh out the choices but was never intended by designers to be "the one". Eisner saw something he liked in it, though - I'm guessing the nod towards New York City themes and the lights strung across the voids at the top of the pillars meant to simulate an eternally clear, starry night in oft-overcast France. It didn't work. The place felt cluttered, claustrophobic and gloomy from the outset even in fine weather.

I generally enter the Wild West Show via the backstage entrance, hole up in my dressing room, and rarely venture into Disney Village, so it was via a fan-based website forum that I discovered Disney Village has undergone a rather significant landscape upgrade, much to the delight, I'm sure, of visitors. The news inspired me to venture into Disney Village myself and take the the rest of the photos you see here. I think it's a vast improvement. Comments?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ludovic Desette Wins Roping Contest

Ludovic Desette, one of the Moody Brothers' biggest fans as a teenager, won the roping contest a few days ago in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, Disneyland Paris Resort. Ludovic Desette started frequenting Billy Bob's when he was 14. He came by train or friend from his home in Croissy Beauborg about 10 miles away to watch and listen to country music and became a bit of a fixture in the bar. His likability made him one of the favorite fans of the musicians who played their regularly. So impressed was he with the music and the musicians that Ludo vowed to learn to play like them. So he did. He learned to speak English fluently, practiced guitar, and became an accomplished guitarist and singer.

One day during this time Ludo was invited backstage to see the Cowboys and Indians in the show. Upon seeing them exit at full gallop from the arena he decided he wanted to do that as well. So he did. With the help of some friends in the south of France, he learned how to ride horses western style well enough that now he currently plays Cowboy in the show with a high degree of authenticity. He is one of only a handful of French performers who looks the part on stage. He wear the right clothes the right way, with the right swagger.

Roping, however, has been Ludo's biggest challenge, undermining his determination to be seen as an authentic Cowboy. But Ludo rises to challenges. He practices. He listens. He learns. Several days ago he not only caught a horse in the show but won the roping competition, beating out several other very accomplished North American Cowboys who are normally excellent ropers but who failed to catch. Congratulations to Ludo for his numerous accomplishments.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

URGENT! French Taxes Due NOW!

For those among you who work at Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and have their taxes prepared by Karen Carmichael and/or Gregory Smith: French taxes are DUE! NOW! Christelle and Cecile are absent at the moment, so you must mail your signed French tax forms directly to them no later than Monday May 19, 2008 or "we'll be in a big mess by the end of the month".

The address:

Smith Carmichael Associates
23, rue du Montparnasse
Paris 75006

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For those who don't know, The Casual Reporter is a blog by me, Trent Vance, about cast members of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, Disneyland Paris - cast past and present updates, show info, jokes, news, local info, and more. I'd be grateful if you would email me contact info for former cast members, updates of you if you're a former cast member, photos or videos of the show (especially bloopers), stories for me to follow up on, comments on the blog, or whatever else you want. Make sure you let me know what info I can post and what you want kept private. I've found it best to subscribe by email or news reader from within the blog (or by clicking the above) so you don't miss out. You can also email stories, make comments, and share posts on all the major social networking sites via links at the bottom of each post. Check it out if you have a minute and haven't already done it. Subscribe if you want - you can always unsubscribe later. Cheers!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Enrique Nearly Killed AGAIN!

That Enrique Barrera is just one crazy guy.

So.. Enrique loses his hat during the first lap of the Pony Express, riding for the Gold Star Ranch of Texas. His team mate, Jesse James Townsend, picks up Enrique's hat during Enrique's second lap. Enrique dismounts, runs to the mailbox, puts the letter in the mailbox, and runs towards the ranch. As he does, Jesse frisbee's Enrique's hat in front of Enrique so he can catch the hat in mid-run. Enrique accelerates, determined to catch his hat before it hits ground. The hat sails, twirling through the air and, despite Enrique's efforts, lands inches from the wall of the Gold Star ranch. Enrique, still running full-speed, smacks head-first into the wall. Or at least it looked head-first. His body snaps back and collapses on the sand. He appears unconscious with a small grin on his face. Jesse runs over and grabs Enrique by one ankle, pulling him upstage to safety. As Jesse struggles and it's clear nobody's going to help him, Enrique grabs Jesse's leg and trips him as well. Good clean comedy.

Clay Smith Shows Off Antique Road Grader

A few weeks back Clay Smith, former cowboy in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, Disney Village, Disneyland Paris Resort, sent me a short message about an antique restoration project that few others would likely have experienced. Clay writes:
"It may seem odd to some people, but I’m very proud of this restoration project. It’s a 1930-ish pull type road grader. I use it about once a month on the place to maintain the roads."

Monday, May 12, 2008

Teri Matter's Mission Matters

Perhaps Teri Matter's name has subtly influenced her current mission, which many would agree matters. I recently read in Yes!: 50 Secrets from the Science of Persuasion that a study conducted by social psychologist Brett Pelham shows strong evidence that our names can affect important, life-altering decisions. Dentists, for example are 87 percent more likely to be named Dennis than you'd expect if name similarity had absolutely no effect on career choice. Is it true for Teri as well? Here is an excerpt from a recent email Teri sent to The Casual Reporter:
I am a nonprofit organization "Forever Faithful Ministries" helping all children through horses We take in rescue horses and children with emotional needs. We serve the community with the Gospel and Horses. We have 13 horses including Goya (from Disney) and just want to bring families closer together with 115 acres of nature and the beautiful nature of horses.
Teri Matter played Annie Oakley in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, Disney Village, Disneyland Paris for several years on and off since the inception of the show in 1992. Hey.. maybe "Teri" has had some influence on another thing she's involved with:
I have an article coming out in the newspaper this week and have been nominated for Extreme Makeover Home Edition on TV.
..because "Teri" is like "terry cloth" like the towels in her bathroom after the Extreme Makeover. Or maybe it's Teri as in "don't tarry" because Extreme Makeovers happen fast. Did you know Teri Hatcher had a similar makeover? Coincidence or destiny? And what about my buddy Robert LaPoule: first name sounds a bit like "Rubber" when pronounced in French and "LaPoule" means "Chicken".. and he's a rubber chicken. Weird man. Has your name subtly impacted your major life decisions?

The CR Apologizes for Robert LaPoule Post

I apologize for the post my friend/colleague Robert LaPoule made a couple days back. Robert has lived at the Wild West Show in someone else's locker for years with no complaints. A few years back, following the Bird Flu scare, the real chickens disappeared from the show without warning or explanation. Ever since then Robert's been depressed. I think he had a crush on Mildred. I felt sorry for Robert so I invited him home for a good meal, play with the kids, and just to try to cheer him up. Now he won't leave. He invites himself along on family outings, laying quietly among us in silent judgment (aside from an occasional squeak from his butt). Now he's apparently figured out how to hack onto my blog. I didn't even know he could write. (I suppose there's a good argument that he can't.) Robert means no harm, eats nothing, and can be quite entertaining at times so I just don't have the heart to kick him out of the house. I had a long talk with him the other night about personal boundaries and proper spelling, things that escaped him during his difficult upbringing. He didn't say anything but I got the impression he was listening. In the end I gave him a big hug and his butt squeak woke up the kids. That's exactly him - likable, funny, disruptive and annoying all at the same time. Someone you want to hug and slap in the same moment. Anyway, I thought you deserved an explanation.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Ze Adventuhres of Robert LaPoule, Stoont Cheeken

Alloh, allow me to intr-hodoos myself. My name ees Robert (wiz a silent "t") LaPoule , alzhough my American friends call me "Rubber Chicken". Not so deegneefied but I love zeez men like zay are my brozzers. It is an honaire to have a neekname from zem and I wear it wiz pride.

I am what zay call a stoont cheeken. Mais non.. Wait a meenute. In my profeshun I cannot afford to be so modest. I am zee greatest of zee French Stoont Cheekens. Bettaire.

I am woorking at zee Boofalo Beel's Wild Whes Show in Deesneeland Paris dooing zee very dangeroos falling from zee sky. I also do some funny stuff wiz my good friend Pete Thias, also known as "Chicken" by heez American friends. He eez a whonderful guy whis so many talents, beeg muscles and legs not so unlike my own. We share an unspoken cameraderie zat not so many peeple can share and for zat I am sankful. My job has many rewards. And yet deespite all of zees, my life eez verhy lonely. Not always waz zees so. But zat is anozher story for anozher time.

I was born in China but move to France when I was only a few weeks old. If my American friends are my brozzers, France eez my mozzer.

I admeet I am not much of a writer. My educashun is zee skool of hard knockers. In my sinking eet eez zee best skool. For zee typing I hunt and peck, of course. I am a cheeken after all. I do not speak because my mout is only a robaire beek. Zee only noise I can maik eez a leetle squeek out of my butt. And zen only if you squeeze me. Not so deegneefied and not vairy good for comoonicateeng. So I blog.

My friend has agree to let me use heez Casual Reporter blog for zee blogging to you. I would like to write so many sings, show you so many sings. I am going to start wiz some photos of me just zee ohzer day at zee Foret Fontainebleau wiz my good friends. Laitaire we stopped queekly for a foto in front of zee Chateau Vaux le Vicomte. My freinds are so generoos wiz me. I am 'onoured and 'umbled by zeir generoseetee.

I am a great lovaire of zee nature. As you will see I prefer to go naked all zee time. I hope you are going to enjoy zee fotos and my ozher blogghings! A bientôt!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Jim McMullan Book Coming Out in September

Jim McMullen, former Buffalo Bill in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, Disney Village, Disneyland Paris Resort and veteran screen actor with an impressive list of Hollywood credits, has written another book. His first two books, "Actors As Artists" and "Musicians as Artists" were co-written with Dick Gautier. Actors As Artists is "a tribute to 77 stars of stage and screen who are gifted visual artists," an idea inspired by Jim's discovery that like Jim, actor James Stuart had a degree in Architecture. Musicians as Artists is a follow up to the first. Jim recently wrote to The Casual Reporter about he and his wife Helen's current life, and a bit about his newest book. Here are excerpts from his email:

We are still in New Jersey living on the Toms River. We sail our 30ft. Sabre up to Maine for a month each summer. Our boys, Sky & Tysun live in LA. We visit them in Feb. and I vote for the Academy Awards at the same time. No more acting for me. I have a studio next to our house... Doing sculpture and writing books in my office above. Look for my new book coming out in Sept. Called, DO IT NOW- TIME TO SEIZE THE MOMENT- It's a clock and book in a gift package.

The Casual Reporter will keep readers abreast as details unfold.

Lucas Hogue Understudying Sitting Bull

The Casual Reporter has learned that Lucas Hogue will become the next Sitting Bull understudy in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, Disney Village, Disneyland Paris Resort. Lucas, from the Navaho tribe in New Mexico, has been a respected member of the Indian/Warrior roster for around 13 years by my estimation. Lucas isn't the first among the Hogue family to play Sitting Bull in the show; his brother Shawn Hogue currently plays Sitting Bull full time. Lucas comes from a rodeo background. He's an excellent roper, horseman, saddle bronc rider, Indian dancer, and all around entertainer in our show. Occasionally Lucas makes appearances outside the show such as the one shown here during a festival in Croatia or in rodeos throughout the world.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

"Jesus Christ is King and Lord" - Couy

After writing Couy Griffin Rides for Jesus, an article about Couy's calling to ride horseback from San Francisco to Jerusalem "just sharing the wonderful Hope that is found with Jesus Christ to anybody who will listen" I wrote to Couy. He responded with the following email message, reprinted here in its entirety.

Hey Trent,

Good to hear from you and hope that all is going well. I just finished the trek across Ireland yesterday and man had a good trip. It took about 8 days to ride across Ireland and met lots of good people and saw the country from a great view. "The back of a horse".

I can only imagine the first thoughts many may have when they hear the words that I speak on camera and the calling at hand. I know that it seems crazy but man it has been a good ride so far. I know that lots of past friends and aquaintances probably don't know how to react with the extreme change of course that I've made in my own life. I'll tell you Trent. The thing that I found in life that made the difference is spelled by five words. JESUS. I finally woke up Trent and realized that I was in bondage to sin and through that bondage my life was slowly being destroyed. Now I have found in life true victory over guilt, shame, addiction and heartache. I found a new life with Jesus Christ. As the scriptures call being "born again". I have been born again into a whole new life of peace, happiness and joy and that "new life" can only be found in one name. JESUS.

The Gospel is true Trent and Jesus Christ is King and Lord. Religious hypocrites and religious institutions have tried corrupting the Gospel but a relationship with Jesus can't be found in religion. It can only be found in being "born again". Remember how Christ referred to religious people in the Bible? He called them a synogogue of Satan, a brood of vipers.

What I'm out here doing has nothing to do with religion. What I'm out here doing is just sharing the wonderful Hope that is found with Jesus Christ to anybody who will listen.

I'm planning on being in Paris towards the end of this month. The days are quickly passing by and I haven't even made it to England yet and have that whole country to ride across first. So saying that I'm not sure if I will make it by the date that I'm hoping to or not. That's the direction I'll be riding though.

I have a contact from D.C. that is going to meet me at the end of the month. She is setting some production stuff up in France and plans to cover more of the ministry there. I'll forward her info. to you and if you would like to make contact with her please do. She really knows her stuff and is already getting some type of crew put together in Paris.

Well I do hope that we can stay in touch and I pray to make it out to Disney when I get there and see everybody. I never did get a "last show" so who knows, maybe the Lord will line something out.

If you will Trent poste this up on your casual reporter site. And tell the guys there at Disney that I look forward to seeing them soon.

In Christ,

p.s. Maybe I'll even get a look at ol' Liberty. Praise God!!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Graham Can Get You High Cheaper

It's no secret among the cast that Graham Hay, musician in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill), Disney Village, Disneyland Paris Resort, likes to get high next to the airport in Lognes in his spare time. Recently Graham revealed to The Casual Reporter his plans to get other people high as a business. Graham is a junkie, but not of drugs. He's a remote-controlled helicopter junkie. Sort of. But not really. Flying remote controlled helicopters is part of a bigger plan, outlined here by The Casual Reporter.

Graham's Plan to Get People High.

1. Invest in radio-controlled helicopters capable of carrying professional video cameras and camera aiming device.
2. Invest in a pro-sumer quality video camera and remote monitor.
3. Invest in a radio-controlled camera aiming system.
4. Become proficient at using his helicopter-based air crane camera system.
5. Rent his services out to various video content creators, most notably real estate developers and agents in Kenya.
6. Say "sayonara" to Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.

Crazy? No crazier than riding a horse from San Francisco to Jerusalem. (Maybe Graham could provide Couy some high-angle footage of his mission, combining the ideas of two visionary Wild West Show veterans.) Graham's helicopter is cheaper to operate than a real helicopter, capable of flying at lower altitudes, and usually faster/easier to set up than a big film crane. Graham's videos indicate the potential of his idea.
Disclaimer: To the knowledge of The Casual Reporter, Graham Hay does not use drugs or even drink alcoholic beverages on a frequent basis. The Casual Reporter does not endorse the use of drugs or the use of video-equipped remote controlled aircraft for spying on naked people.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Couy Griffin Rides for Jesus

Couy Griffin, a former Cowboy for 6 years in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill), Disney Village, Disneyland Paris Resort is on a mission. Literally. He intends to ride horseback from San Francisco to Jerusalem, spreading the Gospel of Jesus along the way. Already Couy has completed a journey from San Francisco to New York City, riding his horse through major cities and capitals along the way, hauling his horse between cities, according to his website. In mid-April 2008 he started his journey across Ireland. For those of you who know Couy as a fine horseman and cowboy but might be somewhat surprised to hear he has become a messenger of the Lord, an explanation would be useful. Nobody better to give it than Couy himself. In a recent improvised mobile phone interview on one of Ireland's mostly widely-listened-to morning radio shows, given while Couy was riding along one of Irelands' main East-West thoroughfares, Couy says that one day a few years ago he found Jesus and accepted him as his Savior, thereby completely changing his life. A calling from the Lord set him on his current journey: to travel across the United States (done) and Europe to Jerusalem, encouraging others along the way to take a step in the direction he has found. God willing, Couy plans to be in Paris to attend a Gospel-related event in late May. Couy mentioned during the interview that he'd worked at Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. Couy captured the attention of the nation of Ireland and of the radio show's producers, securing a studio interview upon his arrival in Dublin. Listen to the improvised interview , watch videos of his journey on YouTube, or learn more about Couy's Mission here.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Coopers and Clay Collect Cows

Former Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show Cowboys Chris Cooper and Clay Smith, along with Chris's wife Joss, penned some cattle recently at Clay's place after spending the night there on the way to visit Chris's parents in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Clay writes, "It was the end of our breeding season, so we had to sort off all the bulls. I put Joss on an 18 year old solid cow horse. The same horse I take to the Ranch Horse competitions. I think she had a good time." Here are some pictures sent to The Casual Reporter by Clay.