Street Mentalism/Busking

Instead of mentally projecting your mentalism thoughts, type them here.

Postby Guest » 06/22/04 08:03 PM

I have been wondering how one might make some money busking with mental magic/mentalism. The nature of street hawking for money does not allow for most mentalism tricks/routines/approaches.

How does one make money on the street as a mentalist?

Does one do some great Gauci effects and pass a hat? Charles himself says that mental effects do not lend themselves to "holding" people on the streets. That is not to say that Charles does not have some great effects; it says that Charles believes that mental magic is just not appropriate for the fast-paced magic that helps fill up a hat on the street. Do you agree or disagree?

I really am interested in knowing how one might busk, using mentalism tricks/routines/whatever.

opie
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Postby Guest » 06/22/04 08:53 PM

Whit Haydn's book Street Magic has at least one mentalism effect in it, The ESP Survey. I seem to recall him saying in an online discussion that he used his Mental Epic routine, Killer Epic, on the street.
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Postby spike » 06/22/04 11:01 PM

doing mentalism on the street is no different from doing magic on the street. you will succeed if you understand the psychology of entertianing!
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Postby Guest » 06/22/04 11:51 PM

If any of you have seen Derren Brown on television he performs on street quite often. In his most recent series he set up a board that said 10p to read someones minds.
He then did effects that appeared as if it was the spectator reading the other persons mind.
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Postby Guest » 06/23/04 07:37 AM

I've written a few articles about this topic and covered it rather deeply in some of my manuscripts and books (the one scheduled to come out next spring will go into serious depth on this topic, in fact.)

Personally I believe that the "performer" that does mentalism on the street is belittling both, the craft itself and his/her own advantage. Let me clarify... if you are approaching mentalism in the same way you approach magic, then you will loose certain psychological advantages. In saying this I'll touch on a few things that I've done over the years so as to "step out of my own way" when working said medium (no pun intended.)

The first rule is to keep things exceptionally simple and to see what you're doing NOT as your sole means of income but rather, as a marketing opportunity. In other words, try to work routines that place YOUR contact information into the hands of the passing public.

HOW?

I have "business cards" printed on colored paper vs. card stock. I use these as my billets. I also have cards with a Tic Sheet on the back (for Swami routines). I do the poster/backdrop thing that "advertises" what I do e.g. mind reader, astrologer, psycic whatever, with a SUGGESTED price.

In my opinion/experience, the best material to use in this setting are bits that work fast and draw people into the action. Once you get a tip built, you can shift into more dramatic demonstrations like MR or limited PK type stuff. However, the lure that will make things happen is your effective use of the basics -- Swami Routines, PW effects, and Q&A styled demonstrations (keep in mind, you can do this with just one person to over 20... it's up to you. I do recommend checking out Cassidy's JAZZ Q&A if you want a clean way of blowing minds, whe all are gathered about.)

DON'T TRY DOING MATERIAL THAT DON'T FIT YOUR PERSONALITY!

This is the biggest mistake made by 95% of those attempting Mentalism/Bizarre Magick. Be natural, be casual and try to work with stuff that don't look proppy or like a trick... as I always say "Study the real life psychics of the shut-eye world and strive to mimic what it is they do." To do less makes you come off as some kind of clown doing little other than magic tricks and BSing your patrons.

Hope this lends some degree of insight on things, this is a topic that honestly does require a more indepth degree of discussion however and I'm out of time for now.

Catch you on the flip side!
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Postby Guest » 06/23/04 07:20 PM

There's a lot of controversy in this area.

The standard wisdom is that mentalism plays too slowly and requires too much patience for the impatient audiences of the street, who are all ready to bolt at a moment's lull. That's basically true.

However, advanced performers can violate that standard wisdom and get away with it. But it takes skill and pacing.

I perform a piece of mentalism in my "A" street show, but it doesn't take the whole show, and it moves fast and plays nicely.

Kenny Lightfoot, the masterful busker who has played the streets for years (much of the time at the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, CO), gets away with a billet routine in his show, but I'm not sure how he gets away with it. Basically, his show is fast-moving enough and at such a good pace that a quick bit of mindreading works okay.

But it's advanced stuff. If you must do mentalism in a street show, just know that it's going to be a lot more difficult for you, not just to keep your crowds, but also to collect the money at the end.

--David Groves
author, Be a Street Magician!: A How-To Guide (Aha! Press, 1998, $40). Available now only through the author.
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Postby Guest » 06/23/04 09:38 PM

2-Person mental acts,(a generation+ ago) did well on boardwalks/midways, and sometimes streets where there was heavy foot-traffic, performing a "Horoscope Pitch", where they would apparently,(and quick, for more turnover) tell those who gathered, their name, zodiac sign, and answers to thought of,(!) questions...instead of busking, selling their "scopes" to each person who wanted to get their question answered. By working very fast, sometimes one or more a minute, they could keep busy for hours at a time, and those quarters added up.

Good work, if you were a grind artist, when their were no theaters/nite clubs left to book.
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Postby mrgoat » 06/24/04 06:14 AM

Originally posted by Jordan Waller:
If any of you have seen Derren Brown on television he performs on street quite often. In his most recent series he set up a board that said 10p to read someones minds.
He then did effects that appeared as if it was the spectator reading the other persons mind.
Maybe its a teensy bit easier to draw a crowd with a broadcast TV crew there and if you are famous...

:)

ALthough [censored] could do it without such things I am sure. :D
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Postby Guest » 06/24/04 08:09 AM

Obviously there are varying opinions regarding mentalism on the street. I have tried to recap both general and specific comments, so that I can print out this page to really analyze and study.

The down side of mentalism on the streets has pretty well been stated--too slow, not enough opportunity to fill hats, etc.--so let us concentrate on the positive.

It would be helpful if every comment below were approached with a "Yes it can and why not try" attitude, so that we can really brainstorm some usuable effects and tools on the street, using mental magic, mentalism, numerology, palmstry, and all related arts which traditionally do not busk well. I have numbered the "facts or opinions" to allow for specific and systematic responses. Please keep the comments on the "positive" side, since we have already addressed the negative. Don't be afraid to really get on a "YES WE CAN" bandwagon. I have deleted the "authors" names to help alleviate the old "halo" effect:

1. Mental effects do not lend themselves to "holding" people on the streets.

2. Mental magic is just not appropriate for the fast-paced magic that helps fill up a hat on the street.

3. Set up a board or poster that lists the services you can provide and the prices for them.

4. Use effects that appear to have a spectator read the mind of another spectator.

5. A performer that uses mentalism on the street is belittling the craft. Don't use material that does not fit your personality. Don't use "tricky" looking material for mentalism effects. Study the real-life psychics of the shut-eye world and do what they do (if it fits your personality).

6. Some compiled positive comments: Keep things simple and use effects which will place your contact info into the hands of the spectators. Use effects that work fast and draw people into the action, until you have drawn a crowd; then you may use more dramatic MR and limited PK type stuff. Use Q&A demonstations like Cassidy's JAZZ Q&A. Use business cards printed on colored paper, rather than card stock, and use them as billets. Use cards with a TIC Sheet on the back for Swami routines. Two-person mental routines, horoscope pitches, and sales of "scopes" to those who pose questions. Arrange to get TV coverage...hehe...Mental Epic.

So, there are some really good posers to ponder. I am especially grateful to those who provided specific suggestions (Waller, Browning, Domingo, Koram) and ask that those who provided general comments to be more specific.

Thanks to all who commented. Now, let us see how we can really brainstorm some usable stuff for the street, by addressing the numbered items above. My special thanks to Craig, who hit on some very specific points.

opie
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Postby Guest » 06/25/04 07:36 AM

Well, since I am not getting any responses from experienced mentalist buskers, it is reasonable to assume that nobody is making any money on the streets doing mental magic and related arts(?).

What about all those claims in the books by mentalists that one can make money on the street busking? Urban myths???

opie
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Postby Guest » 06/25/04 05:00 PM

...tsk tsk....opie
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Postby Guest » 06/28/04 12:42 AM

Originally posted by Opie R.:
...tsk tsk....opie
Opie, this is the real difficult work that you're going to have to do yourself. We can't come up with a consensus mentalism street show for you.

You have to go out onto the street, try a few things, and see what the reaction is. You keep what works, and you discard what doesn't. Over a period of months and even years, you come up with a show that will work for you. But we can't do it for you.

I'm sure you can do it, because your posts are intelligent, informed, and wise. That's why magic is so difficult: Nobody can write out instructions for you. People who buy other people's shows are invariably unable to succeed with those shows. Magic is like recovering from alcoholism--one step at a time.
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Postby Guest » 06/28/04 01:16 AM

Thanks PDQ. I am a firm believer in trial and error and know that "discovery" learning is the type that sticks with a person. However, I am also an old academic and manager and detest venturing into an area without all the obtainable material possible.

So far, I have been unable to find anyone who has been successful on the street doing mentalism and related arts. One might make some bucks touring the psychic fairs or very similar venues, but nobody seems to think that a street corner is the venue to produce much of a hat for a mentalist.

I am just trying to gather information and ideas, and, so far, the material is not forthcoming...

Thanks again...I do appreciate the "tickle" on the thread, to keep it active.

opie
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Postby Guest » 06/28/04 11:58 AM

Do I dare guess the name of someone who wrote a book on doing mentalism in the streets?
Steve V
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Postby Guest » 06/28/04 12:03 PM

Hi Steve,

Are you saying that there is a book of mentalism busking?

opie
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Postby Guest » 06/28/04 03:31 PM

I can only assume there is based on your following statement:

::What about all those claims in the books by mentalists that one can make money on the street busking? Urban myths???::

If there are claims made in books, as you stated, then there must be books. If you don't know of any then I guess there are not any.
Steve V
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Postby Guest » 06/28/04 05:23 PM

Good point....The claims were made by some folks, I don't remember who, that there are books which contain the answers I seek, but nobody seems to be able to name those books or even provide some effects that would play to filling a hat...

I apologize if I was not clear in saying that I do not believe those works exist. I know that one mentalist claims that his book, which was due out over a year ago, was going to have everything in it that any mentalist needs. I think the price mentioned was $300 for the book which he was trying to sell way back when. I look forward to seeing the book.

In the meantime, we also serve who merely sit and wait and gripe and wonder when something new is going to come out that is not just a rehash of some old pulp paperback trick book.

Thanks for the heads up, Steve....opie
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Postby Guest » 06/28/04 09:11 PM

I cannot recall a book on the subject of street mentalism/busking, but a rightly respected and regarded mentalist, noted in a book about performing/selling astrology, told of his one attempt at street horoscope pitching which caused him to abandon the idea. Street work is hard work, learned by hard experience.

I often find it interesting/amusing the high number of books/manuals...especially in the mentalism world, that claim to sell/"reveal" inside secrets to selling/marketing...often being rehashed, unworkable, or abandoned concepts or methods.
When reading the latest "How to make Jillions in mentalism" deal, I would check to see how many ideas cannot be found or touched upon in Robert Nelson's, "How to book your Attraction", published 50+ years ago. ANSWER: Very few...with the exception of now being in a world of websites,email and cell-phones.

QUESTION TO ASK, BECAUSE THE ANSWER IS OBVIOUS:
Why didn't Dunninger or Kreskin ever write a book, "How to get fame and money in mentalism"?
(Now you know why the others did.)
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Postby Guest » 06/28/04 10:59 PM

There are very few books on street magic, period--Groves, Cellini. There are a couple of lecture notes on the subject--Whit Haydn, for example. There are a couple others of diminishing value. There is very little if any discussion of mentalism in those books, primarily because it's been tried and didn't work all that well.

If you think there have been "claims" made by some people on this forum that mentalism can work on the street, look it up. It's all here if you go through the text. The Genii forum is a great resource.
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Postby Guest » 06/29/04 07:53 AM

Groves, Cellini.
When speaking of busking books; Let's not forget Eric Evans. His wonderful treatise on Street Magic and The Art of War is the most complete source of information for the street entertainer.

Mentalism can be played on the street...
As usual, it all boils down to you, your energy and what you can deliver. I've seen it succeed (and I've seen it succeed in "The Big Easy" where short attention spans are the shortest on this planet... short and drunk at that!) Though, the challenges in presenting a cerebral act are more formal than the standard visual/comedy magic skits.
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Postby Guest » 06/29/04 08:38 AM

Thank you, gentlemen.

Now that I have confirmed that some pretty good minds agree with me that mentalism on the street is not AT PRESENT a big money maker, let me repeat the question and rephrase it a bit, so that we can get some positive (let's-give-it-a-shot) opinions/research of how the following areas might be made into money makers on the street:

Name up to three effects/routines that MIGHT attract and hold a crowd and/or get them to fill the hat, in the following more-or-less mentalism areas?

Mind Reading?
Telekenisis or mysterious animations/levitations?
Thought Transferrance?
Teleportations?
Transmutations?
Living/Dead?
Spirit Manifestations (full-light, no cabinet)?
Palm Reading?
Numerology/I Ching/Astrology?
Tarot?
Other?

When you have read the above items, in a serious vein, think about how each might be adapted to a one or two person comedy set.

Good? Bad? Indifferent? This is brainstorming, folks. Let us stomp around in it.

Now that I have broken some effects down, can you think of some or recall some that might be adapted to street work? I did not include "story telling", but I am recalling one young man who gathered a crowd and, through sheer charisma, held them through a rather boring story and made them fill his hat. If story tellers can do it, so can mentalists, if we just think about and apply the psychology needed to draw in and hold the passers by.

Any thoughts on those specific areas?

Seriously, I really think we can break some ground here and come up with some ideas that will benefit all kinds of strolling or street performers. I think we have enough opinions that "Yes, it will work" and "No, it won't work."
Let's hear some solid suggestions, for the benefit of all.

opie
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Postby Fred Zimmerman » 06/29/04 10:07 AM

Mentalism is my stock and trade. However, I have NOT performed mentalism on the street, so what I am about to suggest is derived from many years of performing for contained groups. However, I have done street theatre, so I understand the rigors of attracting and keeping a crowd.

My first thought concerning staying lively and engaging is to lean toward an active persona, rather than the stereotypical one adopted by many would-be mentalists. I really am going to shoot someone if I see another mentalist publicity shot where the mentalist has his or her hand to their head with a pained look on their face. "Look at me," this image blurts, "I'm having a migraine and you're invited to watch!"

It may have worked when it was a NEW idea, but it has been done to death. Find something new. There is absolutely no reason why mysteries of the mind can't be fun, engaging, and dare I say it, active. Smile! Be happy to be there, not confused and in a daze. Genuinely LIKE the people in the audience and be excited about what youre about to demonstrate for them, and possibly teach them to do for themselves! Which brings me to my next point.

In order to maintain an active program, it may be wise to delve into the "powers of the mind" FIRST, then segue to mind reading or mind control. Things like Rapid calculation and memory demonstrations can be very compelling when presented in a fast-paced manner. How about doing a magic square to rap music or hip-hop, spray painting (a la graffiti) the numbers on a large canvas? Of course, Id look like a sad, aging narc doing this, but perhaps a young, hip person could do it to much acclaim.

I think I'd be VERY intrigued by a fun and engaging performer demonstrating how EVERYONE can utilize the powers of the mind in their everyday life. Memorize stuff for schoolbalance your checkbook in your headremember the names of everyone you meet.

Richard Osterlind made a very cogent statement in his latest e-book that offers the observation that when a spectator jokes, "Can you make my wife disappear?" (Or something similarly vacuous) that the subtext of that question is "Can you do anything useful?"

This, to me, was very eye opening. It's the old WIIFM factor. What's in it for me? If you're demonstrating to the street audience how you can use the human mind in new and powerful ways that could help THEM in THEIR everyday lives, that hits a chord with young and old alike. THEN you can segue into some effects that use these powers like mind reading and influence. It also allows you to sell memory books and the like which can add to your hat pass totals.

Again, I have used these ideas in my private shows and they have kicked up my audience response considerably. At least, it works for me. However, I would think that they have some validity in the street-performing venue as well.

It all boils down to two questions.

1) Is your personality powerful enough to hold a crowd o the street? If it is, you could demonstrate Tupperware and keep them entertained.

2) Why should they care about what youre doing? Is it eye-candy (a perfectly acceptable entertainment choice) or is it food for thought?

Know thyself.

Fred Zimmerman
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Postby Guest » 06/29/04 12:33 PM

Fred, that is one of the best posts I have read on many forums....Positive thoughts will give us more ideas than those you present.

For those who did not read Fred's post, do so; it is the attitude which will help us answer the questions which have been posed here...

Thanks man...Hell, there may even be hope for me to come up with something for the street. I especially like your positive attitude about humor; mentalism does not have to be serious bs; it can be ENTERTAINMENT and pull in some tips.

opie
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Postby Fred Zimmerman » 06/29/04 02:06 PM

Thank YOU for your kind words as well, Opie R.

I see you're in Austin. I went to St. Edward's University back in the late 70s and early 80s and entertained a little on 6th street. It was a much different town then, but I'm sure 6th (and 5th, I now understand)are still suitable places to perform.

I found that doing a quick and strong ten minutes in front of a live theatre during intermission was a good way to get an appreciative audience and one nice round of tips.

It makes sense. The people are already in "watching quietly" mode, they are generally in a good mood and willing to be entertained (that's why they went out in the first place), and they usually have some money in their pockets. ALSO, and this could be a big plus, you may be better thna the play they're watching. You could even theme a piece of two to riff on the play's title.

If you can set it up that you're working in a bar later (Maggie Mae's was my favorite) then you can invite everyone for whom you just performed to go to THAT bar afterwards and see you some more.

Wouldn't the owner of that bar think you're special if at 10:15 or so a group of 10 or 15 people came in looking for YOU ... and spent money in the process?

Austin's a great town. There used to be a chain of bar/restuarants called "The Magic Time Machine" and that was where I worked primarily. A little too loud for my kind of stuff now, but that was then and this is now.

"The Drag" would be a tough place to work since the crowd is mainly for college kids, and unless you're very hip or somehow ooze a cool factor, you're dead. I can usually woo them in a controlled environment, but on the street they'd eat me alive.

Take care and say hello to Austin for me. I still have one of my best friends there, Michael Stuart. He's very active in the theatre scene.

Later!

Fred
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Postby Guest » 06/29/04 04:13 PM

Ah, the early 80s in Austin! I was into the poetry bit then and met with many poet friends at the Chicago House, on the roof at Maggie Maes, and in the Library (saloon). I still like to occasionally go on the roof of Maggie's and entertain out-of-town guests...

Last Thursday some friends and I took Charles Gauci to see Ray Anderson at Esther's Follies. You may remember Ray, since he has been a headliner there for almost 20 years...The show is great and is a must when you visit Austin. Charles said it was the best show he has seen in years.

Charles and I had a chance to chat about the theme of this thread. I have already told you of his opinion that mentalism might be a bit slow to hold and keep an audience. He did say, however, that he would be interested in seeing what I can come up with on the web. Having spent some time with Charles, I would say that his effects are ideal mentalism effects, once a crowd is collared. I look forward to spending a lot of time with him in St. Louis at the SAM convention.

There are a couple of places in Austin where magicians are welcome to come in an meet/perform informally. One really nice place is the Omni Southpark Hotel where we hold our SAM Assembly meetings. They have two bars there and love magicians...We had a little competition a week ago and had more than a hundred people attend; Doc Seaton told the bar tender that it was an open bar on him and had the food people set up all kinds of great snacks....We do have an active magic community in Austin.

Austin is still a great busker town, since the tens of thousands of college/university students are more spectators than performers. They are discriminating (and party) people, however, and demand some talent...

Your comments hopefully will encourage others here to "create" some ideas that might be tried on a mentalism circuit...

If you are in Austin, give me a call. Just plug in Opie R.Houston, Austin, Tx into Google, and I my contact data will appear...

Thanks again, man....What do you have in a good comedy palm-reading routine?

opie
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Postby Fred Zimmerman » 06/30/04 06:52 AM

This is off-thread, so I'll try and keep it short (I love to hear myself type).

No, I don't have a comedy palm reading routine or bits for one primary reason. I've done readings for years and years, using all sortw of tools, and while it's great to be funny and engaging, the public take their fortunes seriously. I know this sounds wierd, but even if you're reading someone's palm or their cards "on a lark" at a party, it amazing the power you wield. They may laugh and scoff, and poke their elbows into their friend's ribs, but when they go home, your thoughts and predictions will weigh heavily on their minds.

I liken it to a doctor's bedside manner. It's great if they're glib and can make you laugh and feel good, but you don't want them using the comedy fall-apart stethescope on you. You'd feel pretty creepy about it. Believe it or not, the same holds true for fortune-telling.

So be fun, humorous, etc. in you MANNER, but take the reading part seriously, even if your interpretations are tinged with asides and funny observations. People will love you for it.

Fred
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Postby Guest » 06/30/04 07:47 AM

Good point, Fred...(right on the topic, actually)...

I must admit that I do tend to express disapproval with "serious" mentalism, but I was hoping to keep that old argument out of this thread, so that we can do some serious and humorous brainstorming...

Thanks for the observation....

opie
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Postby Tabman » 06/30/04 08:26 AM

a brief story in response to the thread on street mentalism: in early 1972 or 73 i found myself in bangkok after getting out of saigon. bangkok was a great place after war torn vietnam and i spent a lot of time just walking around in the city waiting for transportation back to the states. one afternoon i met a gentleman from india complete with turban working the streets using a pad and pencil. he stopped me and pretended to write several things on the pad then asked me my favorite number, color and flower which he then revealed to me on the pad. at that point he offered to tell me my future for a few bucks. he was well dressed and adept at using the gimmick (which i never saw but would have to assume was the standard of the day like the johnson or maybe even home made) and spoke english with a great indian accent. he was working a park near the center of the city. a fun experience. :genii:
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Postby Guest » 06/30/04 08:57 AM

Ah Thailand...Somehow I missed the magicians on the street...

I had a cousin in Vietnam, who was assigned as the advisor to a Yard outfit in a small village. One day an old Vietnamese magician came to the village and did some tricks (my cousin could not remember exactly what tricks), and then asked Stan if he would allow him to put a spell on his field jacket that would protect him from being blown up.

Stan agreed, and the old man took Stan's field jacket out into a field, where he did some mojo over it. Coming back to where Stan was standing, he asked Stan to toss a grenade out onto the jacket. After making sure everyone was behind cover, Stan tossed the grenade and it landed right beside the jacket. After the explosion, they examined the jacket and there was not a hole in it.

Some time later, Stan's outfit was caught in a firefight and came under direct mortar fire. He woke up on a chopper covered with blood from head and leg wounds, but there was not a hole in the jacket. Stan swears that the old man had the power...

....off topic? Naaaaa...THAT'S the real thing!

opie
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Postby Guest » 06/30/04 09:58 AM

Opie... I'd suggest you look up some of Robert Nelsons old mspts on doing Malls & Shopping Centers... that may give you some of the specifics you're looking for.

When Marcy and I used to work the Renaissance Fairs we used various gags as lures. One of the things a previous post reminded me of, was the two-way Telepathy bit we'd do as a comeon... I would be in the back doing a Reading and she'd merely touch items out front, to prove to folks I was "gifted" (is was that touched?)... anywho... I would name the items, colors, etc. It was a blast and very effective for building tips.

I've done plenty of street fairs, carnivals, etc. over the years and I'm not hesitant to say that selling a psychic bit ain't easy! It's harder than barking off Svengalli decks or pitching the blow-off at the end of the side show.

Typically we would have one person working the Ballet (out front) and at least two or three people in the back doing Readings. Add to this a small retail counter with crystals, amulets, tarot decks, etc. I would do all the basic gags up front using a Swami, PW, MR, etc. The pace had to be rather quick, fun and of course, generate interests in what we had to offer.

I'll not go into all the details, but there was a lot involved and unless you have a big family that's interested in traveling full time on the weekends and hustle their butts off (14 hour days at minimum)... well, I don't recommend trying it. Too, you must look at this kind of action as a marketing opportunity more than a mode for making a decent living... believe me, there are days that you can pull in several grand with an operation of this kind... there are also WEEKS when you barely make expenses. In our case we had 5 young mouths to feed, plus ourselves and two huge dogs... we wont even get into the gas gusling camper, costumes, etc.

Yes, there are easier ways of working it, I've experimented with many. Bottom line is, none of it is easy. The best deal is to learn how to do an effective Reading, how to observe folks, and hit the area coffee houses, tea houses, etc. and do mini-sessions for folks @ $10.00 to $35.00 a session (I do 10-15 minutes for $35.00 now days and people think they're getting a deal.)Catch is, you need to know an actual divination system and not the hookem all the magic books try to get you to buy into. Ask anyone that works either side of the fence the way I do, they'll all tell you the same thing.
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Postby Guest » 06/30/04 10:59 AM

Thanks Craig....Great post....

Any tips on actually getting the bucks in the hat?

opie
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Postby spike » 07/05/04 04:26 AM

I believe unless you have performed for a living as a street performer and I mean for years as your main source of income, then your missing a crucial point. There are very few street magicians who really make there living on the street.....The main reason why is because most magician get into magic to fool people and people don't like to be fooled! People like to be entertained. The best street performers are always entertainers first and magicians/mentalist/jugglers/whatever second I've done both mentalism and magic on the street for a living and it's a piece of cake if you know how to entertain on the street. Spend a few years ENTERTAINING as a street performer and you'll soon discover street mentalism is
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Postby spike » 07/05/04 04:29 AM

easy
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Postby Guest » 07/05/04 07:34 AM

Wise words, Spike. The same advice goes for performing in any venue, from stage to smoke-filled bar rooms. Experience is the key to success, and I really do appreciate your reminder that ENTERTAINMENT is the main reason we should be performing.

Do you have any specific favorite mentalism effects that you use? What are the effects you use to attract and gather the crowd? What effects do you use to help fill the hat? What do you toss in the middle?

I really would appreciate the answers above from someone who is experienced. Thanks in advance...

opie
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Postby spike » 07/09/04 03:00 PM

I most of the time use think of a card...but the effect is less of a factor...your basically letting your audience get to know and like you...if your really an entertainer that's not a problem...if your not then you always have your friends and family to show your feats to. Most people like to think it was there ideal to stop and watch your show....so the trick is to stop at least two people and entertain them long enough for others to follow. Most mentalism effect that can be done surrounded can be performed on the street. Pick any effect you are comfortable with...but remember just because you fooled someone dosen't mean that they will stay to watch more.....when people are fooled badly they sometime walkaway to realese the tension...things like laughter and applause help realese tension and keep your crowd watching till the end.
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Postby Guest » 07/15/04 02:36 PM

Spike...another good post...thanks...opie
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Postby Guest » 07/17/04 01:51 PM

Well, the SAM convention was a great event, despite what our host here might say...hehe

It was a pleasure to see RK who was hustling his magazine and generally being his amiable (hehehe) self...

Richard had a table in the dealer's room, right across from Charles Gauci and right next to Lee Earl....After paying my respects to Richard, I approached Charles (an old friend) and Earl (a new friend) and asked them about busking with mentalism. Neither had a good answer, but I was tempted to blow ninety bucks on the bound magazine that Lee puts out. Charles gave me an Eye to Eye, after he and I entertained a table full of Cardinal-fan ladies at a nearby restaurant.

I asked Lee to show me an impromptu mentalism effect that could be done anywhere, without any prepartion. Usually, I get a response like, "Do a cold reading." Lee said that, but I would not let him off that easy. I caught him in the hotel restaurant and asked the same question. I guess out of frustration or to pacify an old man, he got up from his table and killed me with an effect that I promised not to do for any large groups (and it would certainly be inappropriate to describe the effect here, but it had to do with me writing down my worse fear and him causing me to eliminate that fear....Wow!!!)

Hey, I know bull crap when I see it, but that was prime BS, and I honestly believe that my fear that I wrote down is not as strong as it was before he did the "exorcism". I even understand the hows and whats of the effect, but I was really impressed with Lee, a real professional...(Don't tell the mental cases here that I was moved by that kind of guff.) Eat your heart out, rookies.

Charles literally had a young lady broken out in goose bumps with his Eye to Eye in a restaurant, after I did a table approach and warmed up a group of ladies with some quickie ice breaker effects...The young lady was too good to be true. She literally broke out in goose bumps at my rubber-band routine. I told her that she really should move over to our table and allow Charles to show her some real magic....Charles killed her, but the four ladies still chose the Cardinal/Cubs ball game over any ball games that Charles and I might have had in mind...hehe

Well, anyway, I had a good time at the SAM convention, and it was primarily because I got to chat with folks like Charles and Lee (and Richard, but don't tell him I said that)...

opie
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/17/04 06:47 PM

Opie, I enjoyed the SAM convention. My work, which consists of sitting at the Genii booth during all the hours when the dealer room is open, doesn't allow me to see much magic, but I do get to visit with lots of friends, do some interviews for Genii during meals, and I did get to see part of an inspirational lecture by Stephen Bargatze, and a KILLER Saturday night show where Bargatze did one of the best emcee jobs I've ever seen.
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Postby Guest » 07/18/04 05:34 AM

Bargatze is certainly one of my all-time favorite entertainers...period!!!

...and I did enjoy visiting your table and our little chats....thanks...

opie
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Postby Guest » 08/03/04 10:05 AM

For David Regal: I was looking for the type of effects you seek on the "No Cards...." thread in this thread, and, although I did not get a lot of close-up mentalism effects, I did get some great responses from several mentalists...Give them a read....

I too would like some killer close-up mentalism effects. Lee Earl and Charles Gaucci were very helpful to me at the SAM convention, but both agreed with me that setting is important in mentalism and that mentalism effects in any environment which has gross distractions are almost fruitless.

My studies to this point have convinced me that a Swami gimmick might be the best tool a mentalist can have....

opie
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