Just saw this thread. Unfortunately, I have very little time today (rushing to a restaurant gig) and will be leaving on a weeklong cruise tomorrow, so this will have to be brief.
I second many of the things that people have said here about raising the ticket price (so parents will find it prohibitive), serving alcohol (creating an adult atmosphere), and holding it in an upscale venue (somewhere that kids won't be comfortable in).
However, I also second Nick's point that it's not necessary to totally prohibit kids in order to perform your adult show (unless it's blue).
I nearly always perform my adult show at Magic in the 'Burbs, even if there are a few kids in the audience. I just ignore the kids. When they raise their hands, I almost never choose them. Sometimes, when they raise their hands as if their life depended on it, I say, "I have to choose an adult, I'm sorry." It ends up being an adult show.
Our current venue has requested that we not allow kids in, so we've cut out the $2 kiddie discount and have that 2-drink minimum. Still, I sometimes allow kids in.
"Are kids allowed in?" I'm sometimes asked.
"As long as they have a couple Scotch and sodas," I say with a grin.
Last night, we had one kid. Jim Skaggs used him for two tricks, that's it. The rest of the evening was completely adult magic, including my own 40-minute mentalism show, which is decidedly not kiddie in tone.
Also guys, you should be aware that there's a bucketful of money to be made at these venues in late May and early June. Think about this: Every time a Harry Potter product comes out, the media goes ass-up crazy, and so do kids. They gotta have Potter stuff for about three weeks. Then it almost immediately calms down.
If you have a regular venue, you can get lots of press if you hold a Wizards Magic Night for kids. Last year when the fifth HP book was published, we sold out on that basis--without advertising, without special promotion. If we had had press, we could've had three or four of those nights.
Hey, is it so painful for you guys to dress up in wizards' costumes and do your kids' show for a couple nights, if you get a bucketful of money in return? If the press covers you, the kids are gonna come.
Just make sure you contact the press at least four weeks before the event. And make sure the date of the first event is a couple weeks before the movie comes out. You can even have it on a night that your normal venue isn't held on. Then you can promote your adult magic night from stage:
"Parents take note! We have a magic night specifically for adults--you know, with alcohol and without screaming kids--every Thursday night in this location. So get a babysitter some night and check us out...."
Anyway, gotta run. I talked for longer than I wanted to, and the traffic is undoubtedly getting heavier by the minute. I'll check into this discussion when I return from my cruise.
[P.S. Another secret is to never not be marketing. If you're interested in coming to Magic in the 'Burbs, information is below:]
MAGIC IN THE BURBS
Thursday, April 1
6:30 7:30 pm: casual closeup magic at the bar
7:30 8:30 pm: main stage magic show
8:30 10 pm: hang with the magicians
Note: We are no longer holding Magic in the 'Burbs every week. It will instead be held on the first and third Thursdays of each month.
Santa Anita Inn
130 W. Huntington Dr.
Arcadia, CA 91007
Directions: Its directly across from the Santa Anita racetrack. Its off the 210 freeway, just west of the 605 freeway. Whether coming from the west or the east, exit at Santa Anita Ave., turn south onto Santa Anita Ave., R onto Huntington Dr., its on the left at the fork.
Reservations: To make sure you get a seat, you can make reservations by phone or e-mail at (310) 450-6850 or email@example.com
. However, reservations are not required unless we sell out.