Originally posted by Jon Racherbaumer:
My stance on strolling magic in some quarters is well-established. My initial, hard-line screed published in MAGIC was purposely worded and designed to create vigorous discourse and incite intelligent discourse.
There is room for debate and one must be prepared to exercise what I call "creative flexibility."
When I've done events in the past, I explain to the client or sponsor that 65-70% of my performance must be stationary--not only to establish my credentials and permit spectators to VOLUNTARILY enter my arena and "space," but to establish my IDENTITY as an invited, fully sponsored professional.
These stationary performances (5-8 times during the night)usually ensures that 75 % of the audience has at least seen "something."
When this is done, I then mingle on an individual basis throughout the room, mostly talking to individuals and cordially saying, "I hope you've had an interesting and enjoyable evening." If they appear to want "more," I then perform a few tricks for them. By the this time, they know who I am and more or less have invited me into their private zones.
There is nothing unbidden or intrusive.
The key is to use your head, analyze each venue, and then maximize your strengths and "presence."
This is not the same as "trolling for attention"...or, worse, being "window dressing" or part of the general atmospherics.
Respectfully, I disagree with a couple of your points. I've only been in the biz about 30 years and worked with Heba Haba Al, Tony Andruzzi, Jeff McBride and a few others as a pro, so my viewpoint might be a bit on the inexperienced side. ;)
In many instances, when booked to entertain, a magician will be required to go from table to table as part of the contract. If the magician disagrees and will not do this, he or she does not work that event.
And, in all probability, won't work much for that agent, party planner, etc., either.
That's an economic reality I have had to adapt to over the years.
Creative flexibility works both ways - the talent has to be creative in meeting the CLIENT'S needs if the magician wants to work.
While there should be some give and take, this is often, IME, not what happens. The agent and/or client want what they want. If the contacted magician does not want to provide that, then the booking entity will find another magician.
In their minds, magicians are a dime a dozen.
IF you can get the formal, fixed position deal - great! I always go for that, but rarely get it because the booking entities that I work with want to use magic as an interactive ice-breaking vehicle.
A formal close-up gig is, to me, a dream gig. I love doing them. But to think that a crowd of 400 is going to come over to watch you during a pre-banquet [censored] hour is asking a lot of the audience, frankly.
It all comes down to the booker and their expectations and what I am and am not willing to do.
And when it comes down to it, I like working, so I tend to flex.
It's been my experience that most of the full time close up guys do as well - and for the reasons I have stated, as well as a few of their own, I bet.
No flame, honest. Just a different view of what it takes to keep working.
We all do what works best for us. Being flexible to the client's needs is what works best for me.
Loved the book on Marlo at Treasure Chest, BTW! I was the guy who took over after he left the dump back in the early '70's.
Lee Darrow, C.Ht. http://www.leedarrow.com