October 3, 2010

2 New Print Pieces for DonB!

It takes a while, but with some persistence, feedback from friends who know what they are doing, and a lot of tweaking, I finally finished 2 new pieces of publicity materials for DonB!.

The first one is based on feedback over the years of my red poster. It looked great, but the photo didn't properly portray what my programs are about. So, with a simplified design, subtle color usage, and trying to remember that "empty space is good", here is my new poster:

If you have a booking coming up with DonB! Ministries, please call and request the new posters.  Unless you want a really boring show, then don't use any posters at all.  :)

The second piece I finished is the advertising for our new Dontar Machine.  Based on the machine from the Tom Hank's movie, "BIG", we have created an "interactive LIVE robotic automaton." what is an "interactive LIVE robotic automaton", you say?  It is a multi-use machine that contains a robotic living half person, designed to fit over 25 different themes, that can come to life and drop prizes to participants.

The pirate drops foil chocolate coins.  "Grandma Bea" gives away funny, comical advice, the type your Grandma probably gave you at one time.  The casino dealer can either perform mechanical card routines, or give away prizes that fit into a casino-night themed party.

Other characters include "ASYLUM S.K.P.", for halloween parties, "Dontar" the comedy fortune-teller, "Elf Magic", featuring Santa's tallest elf performing magic, and giving away real magic tricks.  Others include the "Cheeky Magician", "Wisdom of Solomon" for Christian events, and your usual "Gypsy"-styled fortune-teller, giving away comedy fortunes.

Here is that new poster, already in the hands of 4 talent agencies in the Midwest:

Our first booking with the machine is this Thursday at the University of Minnesota, as a promotion for their extracurricular programming.  I will be in the box as a goofy, malfunctioning cheerleader, giving away pom-pom and megaphone keychains.  Pictures to follow.

Have a great week everyone,


August 29, 2010

A Week in Georgia

After leaving Maryland, Dale & I ventured down to Georgia, to perform and teach at the TnT Clown Conference.  The conference ran a week, and we stayed busy the whole time.

I taught many people, including Dean Cook, to juggle.

Dale even taught an impromptu class on bead dogs, stars and cross necklaces.

On Saturday, we all did an outreach event in downtown Toccoa, and Dale tried his hand at some strolling juggling.
Some of the 100+ clowns headed into town for a community event.
Headmover, still funny looking.

Ball Juggling, during my show
Homer, in a moment of adrenaline
A goofy moment with an audience volunteer.
Freemounting the 7-footer.  This photo is just a second before I came tipping to the ground, then off the front of the stage.  It all happened in slow motion, and I survived with only a carpet burn on my knee & elbow.  PHOTO CREDIT: All show photos by Jerry Godolphin

After the conference, Dale & I headed up to Yankton, South Dakota, to perform a show at a senior activity center for Grandparent's Day.  Another good show, and then we headed home to Minnesota.


Summer in Maryland

This summer, Debbie, Dale and I spent it working at Sandy Cove Ministries in North East, Maryland.  Debbie helped run the craft cottage, Dale was the unofficial camp gopher, and I did shows, taught classes and helped M.C. the brown bag family devotions each morning.

We had an opportunity to visit with some circus friends from my past, including Chris Shelton, who was the boss clown on Ringling Brothers Circus way back in 1985, during my short stint on the road.

On our drive to the east coast, we made a day long stop at Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio.  We rode just about every roller coaster they have there.  By the way, they have 21 roller coasters!

I'll let the photos tell the rest of the story.

120 miles an hour, straight up.
Dale, going stir crazy in the van
Debbie completed a triathlon, in the pouring rain.
I went parasailing one day.

Dale, with a submarine in Baltimore Harbor
We saw HUGE butterflies all summer long
We made some great friends.
Normal?  Who wants normal?!?
We loved eating Rita's Frozen Ice on the hot days. Mmmmm...

We saw old friends.  This is one of our weird ones, David P.
And did I mention going stir crazy in the van?

When Deanna joined us for a week, we went to Washington D.C., and visited the Holocaust Museum, as well as  the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.  That's Deanna, with the original Wright Brother's plane.
We had a great summer of fun, of ministry and an experience that we will remember for a long time.

We saw friends from our past, made many new ones, rode our motorcycles through the small roads of Maryland and Delaware.

However, no matter how much we enjoyed our time away, there's no place like home.  We left Minnesota on June 16th, and returned home on August 15th.  2 months.

And now, we continue on with our regularly scheduled online newsletter posts...


June 15, 2010

The Amazing "Dontar" Machine is Done!

I have been working on a project for about 2 years, and it finally has come to fruition.

If you've ever seen the movie, BIG, with Tom Hanks, then you may remember the machine on the boardwalk that Tom's character made a wish at, so that he could become big.  Well, I've always been intrigued by mechanical arcade games and automatons, so I set about making one for myself.  However, this one has many theme possibilities, and is also different in one main aspect: it has a live, living half-person inside of it.

Watch this video and you'll get a better idea of what it looks like, as well as what it can do:

Now THAT'S Cool!!!

The wooden and plexi components were built by Tim Anderson, here in Mora, and I put together the mechanical and electrical parts with the help of my neighbor, Jim, who is an electrician. After 6 months of planning, building and tweaking, it is finally done.

If you would like to see this machine appear at one of your events, give me a call, and we can talk about the various themes we already have for it, as well as more that you may think of.

I can't wait to get it out in public and start using it.


May 18, 2010

DonB! Does Corporate Work Too.

Last night, I had the opportunity to put my close-up magic skills to the test.

I was invited, along with good friend, Craig Carlson, to bring 2 hours of interactive magic entertainment to a group of Minnesota ophthalmologists.  (Eye doctors from all over Minnesota)  Craig and I passed juggling pins around some of the big wigs, I pulled signed cards from my pockets, Craig made juggling ball after juggling ball disappear for one astute lady, and we both had fun convincing guest after guest that the 3-shell game is NOT rigged, and that they COULD win.  (cough) liars (cough)  One lady played the game at least 20 times before finally winning!

I miss doing the corporate interactive entertainment, and wish I could perform it even more than I do.  However, it makes it even more fun when the events are spread out.

Don't we look dapper?

Until we get to "magish" again,


Don takes a (very) short road trip

Last Wednesday, my friend, Mike Norton, and I, left Mora at 7AM, and drove down to Minneapolis to pick up one more friend, Ben Christensen.  We gassed up the van, and headed toward Chicago.  We were home the next morning by 7:30 AM.

Every year, right before the Magic Collector's Weekend (yes, there is such a thing), there is a magic flea market near Schaumburg, Illinois.  Magicians come from around the country to buy and sell their used magic props, illusions and books.  Mike & I decided it was time to do a little magic house cleaning of our own, and gathered about $800.00 worth of things we were intent on selling.  We did well.

All combined, the three of us sold about $700.00 worth of props and books we no longer use.  That's the good news.
Don, at the booth.

The flip side is that we were also going with our eyes open for items that we could add to our own shows, and we did.  Mike can now make it seem as if a kid can float in his show.  Ben can make it seem as if his head, covered in a small box, can spin 360 degrees in any direction, in a very comical fashion.  I found a great book for $40 (retails for $150), a famous magic prop called Mental Epic for $40 (retails for $250), as well as some smaller items that I can use in my shows and close-up magic gigs.

As soon as the flea market was over, we loaded up our wares and took off back to Minnesota.  We drove through the night in order to get back to Minnesota in time to meet our obligations elsewhere.

It was a lot of driving, and many miles, but all in all, we came home with a little more money than we left with, and each of us found some really neat bargains.

We've decided we're going to do it again next year.  Same bat-time, same bat channel.


May 11, 2010

Check out this page! DonB! is going cruising again!

As I mentioned in an earlier posting, I have been invited to perform on the K-Love Friends & Family Music Cruise in February 7-11, 2011.  The website that lists the confirmed entertainment (so far) can be found HERE.

It is always an honor to be on the same page with folks like tobyMac, Casting Crowns, Newsboys, Matthew West and Bob & Larry.

Interested in going cruising with me?  Click HERE for more information.  Tell them DonB! sent you.


May 10, 2010

Hand Shadows are fun. And scary?

Last Saturday, while performing in Fort Wayne, Indiana, there were two small "smart lights" on the floor of the stage.  So, in the middle of the show, I thought I would take advantage of one of them and performed an abbreviated version of my hand shadow act on the closest wall.

I made a wolf shadow, and had him bark, making people giggle a little.  I then made a bunny rabbit, and people made quiet "aawwww" sounds.  I then transformed one hand into the bunny, and the other into the wolf.  As one little girl made sense of the shadows, it suddenly occurred to her the dilemma that the bunny was now in. (He could get eaten by the wolf).  The girl started crying, sobbing "noooo, nooooo,..."

I explained that it was only a shadow, and to ease her discomfort, made a really nice kitty cat shadow for her.  Again, I think she still was feeling the sadness over the possibility of the bunny getting eaten, so I "disassembled" the kitty cat, showed her my hands were back to normal, and went on with the show as scheduled.

It is amazing how complicated the mind of children can be, in that two shadows were able to be "real" in her mind.

It makes me wonder what it would take to "un-complicate" our adult minds, filled with life's worries and responsibilities, and become as children once again.  Life would be so much simpler.  As long as we don't encounter those hand shadows again. :)

I'll leave you with this fun one:


A comment from my Fort Wayne show

I always love to hear from folks that were at my shows, and here is one from my show this weekend:

We really enjoyed your Fort Wayne show Saturday night. We were lucky to be front and center 3rd row. I was the mom with the 2 little ones on my lap and a look of panic on my face when you were on the tall unicycle. =) My 4 1/2 yr old daughter was mesmerized and wanted to know when it was her turn to have the stage with you. She wanted you to pass the bottle through her. She talked about the show the rest of the night and into the next day. Loved the message that was delivered with the show as well. Great family entertainment, so happy we came!


May 9, 2010

Fun Photo from Sens de Vie tour

While performing in Ada, Oklahoma, EverLife went out to sing, but Sarah's microphone fell off the stand.  I went out to fix it, but found that the threads had broken off inside of the boom.  In order for the girls to sing their song, I chose to sit quietly on the floor and hold Sarah's microphone.

Even though one song doesn't seem too long, holding that old-fashioned microphone, along with the boom, made my arm start to shake near the end of the song.

I thought it was fun, and thought you may enjoy the photo.

Photo by Zuri Louis

May 8, 2010

DonB! at Central Ministries, Fort Wayne, Indiana

I just returned to the hotel after a nice show at Central Ministries in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  The audience was made up primarily of families with kids.  Many kids.  And that's what makes my shows so much fun, even for me.

I presented my "EVAN-tastic" full evening show, and now I'm tired. Of all my shows, this one is the most energetic, since it utilizes the "best of" all of my shows, all rolled into one 90 minute show. Ring juggling. Cups & Balls, Headmover, Ropes, Bowling Ball production, Ball Juggling, Bottle through body, western rope spinning, bowling ball juggling, plate spinning, Message, and finishing up with the full unicycle medley.  90 minutes of almost full-on energy, and I LOVE IT!

Thanks to Phil Miller for allowing me another opportunity to not only entertain, but to share the Gospel with the families that were there. 

I LOVE my job!!!


May 4, 2010

How thin can I stretch myself?

After being teased for many years about how thin I was, I am finally holding a healthier weight.  But now, the thinness comes in the form of involvement.  I ask myself, how thin can I stretch myself?

Just last week I was nominated to my church's board of stewards last week, and our first meeting is next Thursday.  My official title is Worship Ministry Team Representative, overseeing many of the aspects involved with the actual services at church.

I know it will be a challenging year ahead, but with God's grace and His strength, I know that it has the potential of being a great year ahead for all of Emmanuel Baptist Church.

Please pray, that as my church goes into the new fiscal year, that we can all unite together, for growth and ministry.  It can be difficult when there are so many different personalities, but it IS possible to work together for the greater cause of ministry within our community.

I look forward to serving my church, and I hope I can be a part of the future growth of the Christian community within Mora.

I will also be spending 7 weeks in Maryland this summer, performing and speaking at Sandy Cove Ministries in North East, Maryland.  Debbie & Dale will be there with me for the entire 7 weeks, and Deanna will join us for one of those weeks (she will be a nanny in Mora the rest of the time).  I will be performing throughout the weeks, as well as leading the morning family devotions each day.  Debbie will be running the craft building, and Dale will have the high position of "camp gopher", filling in wherever he is needed each day.

While in Maryland, we will have most weekends off, so we intend to take a day trip to Washington D.C., as well as one to New York City if our schedule allows it.

Right after Maryland, I will head down to Georgia for 1 week of performing and teaching at the TNT Clown Conference in Toccoa, Georgia.

I'll get back to Mora, MN, in time to spend 3 weeks cleaning the house, before school starts up again.

As busy as it seems, there is no other life I would choose.  I love it.  My family loves it.

God is good, all the time.


"Sens de Vie" Tour is done for this year

Well, another year of touring with the "Sens de Vie" show has come to an end.  We covered a good portion of the country, and finished up fairly close to home. At least for me.

We traveled to Panama City, Florida, where we actually has enough time to throw a Frisbee around on the beach for a couple of hours.  Here is the crew from that day:

Front: David, Amber, Don
Back: Adam, Zuri, Sarah, Bex, Beth, Julia, Katie, Harris

While waiting in Nashville for 4 days, we had some time to go geocaching, and my favorite cache location was this statue of guitar legend, Chet Atkins. The tiny geocache was hidden up, under Chet's bronze jacket.  Wish I could have met the real Chet.

While in Georgia, I had the great opportunity to meet up with a friend, Luke Davis, and his Mom, Laura.  I met Luke at the TNT Clown Conference a few years agao, and have kept in touch via the phone.  I was glad that they made the trip over to see the show, and so that Luke could see how my clowning and slapstick are still developing after all these years.

Our show in Ada, Oklahoma, took place in a newly renovated place, the McSwain Theatre.  The Chickasaw Nation purchased the theatre, and spent untold amounts of time and money to renovate it back to it's historical condition when it was new in the early 1900's.  The woodwork, the stage, the velour; it was all incredibly redone.  I think it was the classiest place I've performed in a long time. And the crew there was amazing. Servants at heart, wanting to make everyone look and sound the best that we could.  And, I was happy to see my name scrolling across the marquee outside.  
As Navin Johnson would say, "Look, I'm somebody!!!"

On the last 4 day leg of the tour, all of the driving was to happen at night.  To avoid the need for any of us to do the driving, we travelled on a really nice tour bus, pulling all of the equipment in the trailer.

In Eldora, Iowa, we parked below a large wind turbine, and I thought it would make a nice picture.

As great as the tour was, it ended on somewhat of a sadder note.  First, I found out that a good friend, who had a very progressive form of cancer, had passed away on that Sunday.  As for the rest of the tour group, they were warned of the massive flooding in the Nashville area, where they live.  Here are two pictures, the first is of us resting in the park about 2 weeks ago.  The second one is that same park, completely under about 4 feet of water.

Please pray for the family of the cancer patient friend of mine, as well as the folks from Nashville that have been hit so hard by the rain and storms.


April 27, 2010

I am very touched, humbled and gracious.

This last weekend was a very busy one for me. A quick summary would be:

3 days, 2 shows, 2010 driving miles through 7 states, 2 audiobooks, 7 podcasts, 1 rental car, 1 lost wallet (later found), and a return to home when it was all done.

My last program was in Yankton, South Dakota, which I am finding has many connections with my own town of Mora, MN.

Last night, as I laid in bed, I checked me email one more time, and was reminded just one more time why there even IS a DonB! Ministries. Here is the email, with the identity of the writer protected (typos have been left intact):

Don came to Calvary Baptist Church in Yamkton on April 25th 2010...I have been going through a really hard time over the last year and drifted away from church. On April 19 2010 my dad passed away and I slipped into a huge state of anxiety and depression. I came to church for the first time in like a year on the 25th and heard Don was gonna be there that night so i decided to go. For the first time since my dad ended up in ICU and on life support then passed away, i laughed and had a real smile. i was able to focus on the things I do have like God. I just wanted him to know how greatful i am that he came right when he did. in my mind it was a God thing. I needed that. I was ready to give up on life and throw everything away. after Don preformed at the church...i felt like it was okay to be happy. my dad would not want me to give up and i may not have my earthly father any longer...he is my gurdian angel now. but i still have my heavenly father...Don helped me realize that with God I can heal...so thanks Don. You helped give me back the hope that i thought i had lost and could never get back. in time i know i will heal and it will get eaiser and giving up is not an option.

I was absolutely touched and humbled. I simply responded to her:


You have no idea how much you have now blessed me.

Making people laugh is the strange gift that God has blessed me with, and I know that God has put me in the right place at the right time on many occasions. Your comments mean more to me than anything else.

If you were blessed by my program, please give God all the glory. His mercies endure forever.

With great love and thanks,

Don Bursell
DonB! Ministries

Some ministries seem "big", and some seem small. I'm simply thankful that God has put me where He has, when He has. And for this young lady, "He who began a good work in you, will see it through to completion". Philippians 1:6



April 6, 2010

DonB! creates in another direction

My brother, Bob, plays in a band named "Juan Roberto and the Bubble Bakery Orchestra". For an upcoming show they are doing, I created a poster, basing the design on one of their songs, "Tightrope Dancer".

Another piece that I put together was the opening splash page of their website, using floating bubbles (you'll have to go to their website to see the floating bubbles effect).

Check out their music and schedule www.juanrobertobbo.com

It has been fun creating new things, and learning more about Photoshop and Illustrator at the same time.

And now, off to tour for a month with Harris III, EverLife, and the show, "Sens de Vie". See you on tour.


March 10, 2010

Kidz Blazt 2010

Kidz Blazt 2010 is a conference of kids and leaders from Wisconsin and Northern Michigan, all gathered together at the Kalahari Water Resort in the Wisconsin Dells. They spent the weekend playing at the waterpark, but they also attended classes that can help each of them be more bold in their faith. The theme was "Rock the World", and those kids were-a-rockin!!!

I had the opportunity to perform and speak during the three large sessions, and here are a couple of videos that one of the leaders (known as "flossindaflava") posted from the conference.

First, the unicycle:

And here is the plate spinning:

I had a blast, but can you tell from the video clips that I was having fairly bad asthma
problems during both routines?

Life is good though. No complaints from me.


March 4, 2010

The Great Audience in Detroit Lakes, MN

Here is the great audience I had last night in Detroit Lakes, MN., at Community Alliance Church. It is funny how mellow they all went when I snapped this.

Earlier in the day I did an assembly for the 1st-5th graders at Roosevelt Elementary School, and they were great also.

Thank you to Connie Johnson for arranging both programs in the same day. Plus, her son rides a unicycle! How cool is that?!?!

See if you can find yourself in the picture...


January 29, 2010

It's Such Great Frosting

James 4:14

Last week, at Camp Lebanon in Minnesota, I did two shows, both of which were very high energy, and the audience is what I would call a "perfect" one. Kids and adults, all laughing REALLY hard. Feeding off of the frenzy, I used my absolute best improvisational skills to add lines here and there, try out funny moves, etc. Both shows were "perfect" shows for me.

Right after the 2nd show, while packing my sound equipment up in the sound booth, the 2 guys up there asked me the question I get quite often: "We were trying to figure it out: Do you mind us asking how old you are?"

I said I would tell them, but only if they tell me how old they THINK I am, along with any interesting reasons why they came up with that guess.

He answered simply, "By watching you and listening to you, you've had so many amazing experiences already in your life, it forces me to guess that you must be at least 50. Maybe even 55?"

I loved his reasoning, and told him that I was 44.

Later when I thought about it, I realized that he was indeed correct.

My time spent with circus travels, 3 years at Disneyland, 2 years of school tour performing that took Deb & I through 42 of the United States, and working cruise ships alongside many HUGE names in the music industry. I've flown on a flying trapeze, walked a tight wire 30 feet off the ground and rode my unicycle in the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico. I became a Christian in 1985 and have shared the Gospel in at least 5000 shows since then. I've been to Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, Bahamas, Ukraine, India, England, Germany and Amsterdam.

I actually have more friends OUTSIDE of Minnesota than I do INSIDE my home state. And the "inside" group is pretty big.

All of this before my 40th birthday!

I remember commenting to my wife, when I was about 40, that I felt that I had done so much in my life already, that if I were to die tomorrow, I could do so very happy. Very "complete" and very fulfilled. I remember also saying that "everything from here on out is really just frosting on the cake."

Well I have to admit, the frosting is really, really good. Here are some things I've done since turning 40:

More cruise ships, huge music festivals, multiple tours with other performers, including the "Sens de Vie" Shows twice and the L.O.L. tour with my 2 buddies, Randy & Ben Christensen. I've spoken and performed at national conferences, as well as taught on Wednesday nights to the 1st-4th graders at my home church.

I have taught myself how to use PhotoShop and InDesign (two HUGE computer programs). I continue to add new routines to my shows. I still read at least 30-60 minutes every day from books in my library (origami boxes, circus history, magic history, magic tricks and routines, Christian topics, the Bible, promotional materials, graphic arts, old movies).

I've watched our 2 kids grow up way too fast (something I wish WOULD slow down). Point: Our little curly-haired Deanna, goes to test for her driver's license on Monday. Wait a minute: little kids are not supposed to drive!!!

I remember, as I was growing up, always looking for that one experience that would make my life "complete,", or convince me that I had "made it". I realize now that it was ALL of those little details that have made my life complete. Not just one of those things. All of them together.

It's pretty incredible that the "cake" that made up the first 40 years of my life was so amazing, but I have to say, the frosting is even better. I get to enjoy it for the next 40+ years, and I can only imagine what is still in store. What will I have with my frosting?

Something to think about: What are you doing? Where are you at? Are you still mixing ingredients? Are you enjoying the cake? Are you savoring the great frosting?

Because it really is GREAT FROSTING!


Matthew 6: 19-21


January 26, 2010

New artwork for DonB!

I have been experimenting with some new artwork to be used within DonB! Ministries, and here is one of the first trials:

The plan is to have pictures available after each program. Kids, and adults, can take them, color them, cut them up, and do any artistic treatment to it. They can them send it to me in the mail or over the internet, and I will draw from the returned ones, awarding some free DVDs or DonB! t-shirts to the winners.

The unicycle one is next, followed by the juggling one, and then a plate-spinning one. However, each one can take up to 4 hours to complete, so it may be a while between the completion of each one.

Alright, copy this to your computer, and color it. Send it to me. The 5th one I get back will get one of my DonB! T-Shirts as well as my new "illusions!" magic DVD.


UPDATE (1-26-2010): Here is the next one, and please, no Herman Munster jokes.

January 5, 2010

New Sens de Vie video is Online

After selling out the entire tour in the Fall of 2009, we are doing it again in 2010: We are touring with the "Sens de Vie" show across the United States.

The new video has been posted, and you can see it HERE.

Enjoy the video, and then entertain the idea of having "Sens de Vie" perform in YOUR CITY.