Close-up case?

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Tony Rush » 04/07/09 03:23 PM

I was browsing Stevens Magic a moment ago and found this "close-up case" for storing and transporting effects.

Close Up Case -- Stevens Magic

Anyone own this? Or have a recommendation for a case that you own and love?

Thanks,
Tony
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Postby George Olson » 04/12/09 03:44 PM

Try an artists "field case". I have used one I bought at a Garage Sale 16 or 17 years ago. It is about a foot tall and wide. Has a depth of nine inches and light weight too. They come in many sizes and styles at your local artist supply stores. If I could figure out how to add a picture here, I'd show you.

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Postby Darryl Harris » 04/12/09 04:13 PM

I use a small doctor's bag, or a large doctor's bag, depending on the circumstances. Both have foam inserts that were cut out by me to hold the props. If you are looking for something more causal, and/or less expensive, You can visit your local Home Depot, Lowe's, etc., and check out their various tool bags. If you have loads of disposable income, you can check out some of the larger camera cases. Zero-Haliburton (sp?) comes to mind.
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Postby David Alexander » 04/12/09 04:45 PM

When I was doing a lot of walk around I bought a high-end leather briefcase at Savinars, an outlet store in Los Angeles. It was around $200 then for a nearly $500 case. It was well worth the money because when I walked in I looked like a professional.

One guy I knew found a briefcase made of beautifully finished hardwood that always caused comment. Of course he was mildly paranoid that it would be scratched. As I recall, it wasn't cheap.

Zero Halliburton briefcases look good when they're new, but tend to attract scratches like a black sweater attracts lint.

Today, if I were working a high end market, I'd probably buy a Dunhill or Hermes case because you make a strong statement when you walk in with your props in something of that quality, presuming you're working for people who would recognize the brand. EBay has them regularly. EBay also has doctor's cases of various sizes from time to time.

For the more industrial look, try a Pelican case. I use one to hold my wireless mic outfit. They usually come with solid foam liners that are easy to customize to your needs.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 04/12/09 06:04 PM

My advice: work out of your pockets.
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Postby Lee Almond » 04/12/09 08:33 PM

I completely agree with Richard on this one. Read "Standing Up Surrounded" by Kirk Charles. Best book on working strolling magic bar none, great advice from a working pro. Excellent!
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Postby Darryl Harris » 04/12/09 08:56 PM

That's fine, if you don't want to do cups & balls, for example. The props really ruin the line of your clothes, when you put everything into your pockets.
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Postby David Alexander » 04/12/09 09:27 PM

Yes, "Standing up Surrounded" by my friend Kirk Charles is an excellent book filled with good advice from a seasoned pro. When he was writing the book and told me the title, my response was, "How else?"

I always worked out of my pockets when walking around and actually performing, but when I arrived at the gig I had my supplies in a nice briefcase that was put someplace out of the way but still near to hand. It had several decks of cards, replacements for effects I did that needed to be replenished as the evening wore on, backups of different things that could be damaged if a cocktail was spilled, and one or two special things that I would do if the situation called for it - working for the company president at his table with something special not done for others being an example.

The last thing you want to do is shove things into your pockets so you ruin the line of your clothes and look stuffed and sloppy.

Sometimes I used a small green felt-covered table and sometimes I didn't. It always depended on the situation, but the advice about the briefcase still holds. You dont take it to the table and work out of it, it carries your supplies to the gig in a professional manner.
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Postby Jon Allen » 04/13/09 02:15 PM

The problem with using a high quality briefcase or even a camera case is people will see it as something desirable to steal. I cannot aways leave my case locked away and I sometimes even leave it under a table in the room I am working. I've heard many stories of people getting their cases stolen. Much better to go for something that doesn't attract attention.

I currently use a material toolbag from Halfords.
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Postby George Olson » 04/13/09 03:25 PM

I, too, worked out of my pockets. My point was that to carry your props in a dignified and utilitarian way you need something where everything has it's place. When you check in to the gig, you "load" up (as David states above with room for back-ups) and when you are finished everythiong goes back into its place. Not like most cases I've seen wherein folks have to dig through piles of diorganized junk to find anything.

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Postby Terry » 04/13/09 07:35 PM

Tony,

Go to WalMarts sporting goods section. Ask for the aluminum handgun storage case. It comes with a keylock and costs about 1/3 of the Stevens case.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 04/13/09 09:45 PM

Plus people might be less likely to steal your stuff if they think you're packing heat.
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Postby Tony Rush » 04/14/09 11:21 PM

Anyone got some pics they'd like to share of what's working for them?

Also, a clarifying comment that I should have offered earlier: I'm not a working magician in the sense that I'll be going into restaurants or venues with my props. I'm a hobbyist who A.) needs an organized way of storing the most common props while at home and B.) needs something that's fairly portable for putting in the car in the event that I want to choose a couple of things to put in my pockets before going into a dinner or a party.

With that said, even though I'm not a pro or semi-pro...I wouldn't mind choosing something that will last for years and that will hold my cups, balls, cards and some gaffs in a nice way.

LOL -- I'm not sure if that clarifies or not.

Either way, thank you for the input that's already been given. If anyone else has ideas, I'd love to weigh them all.

Thanks,
Tony
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Postby Tony Rush » 04/14/09 11:36 PM

Hoo boy. Just found an incredible-looking bag. Pro, semi-pro or hobbyists....I'm having a hard time not buying this. I think it would be perfect for cups/balls, cards, etc.:

Doctor's Bag on Amazon

I wonder if I can justify this if I buy my wife a new purse at the same time? ;)

Tony
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Postby Paul Amerson » 05/05/09 11:34 PM

I found a shoulder holster by High Caliber Magic. I have been using it for a few months now and I love it! http://www.hcmagic.com/ It allows me to work out of my pockets and out of the holster without the awful looking sag in the jacket that comes when you overload it.
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Postby erdnasephile » 05/06/09 07:27 AM

Tony:

If you really like the Doctor's bag, you might contact Daryl, who I saw using one for many years ago (circa early 1990's). He used to sell them.

Also, > $200 seems a bit high--I wonder if any medical supply houses, or better yet--your local medical school's bookstore might have a better selection.
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Postby Terry » 05/06/09 10:34 AM

Pete McCabe wrote:Plus people might be less likely to steal your stuff if they think you're packing heat.


Nah, that's better left as a surprise.

The case in question just looks like an aluminum storage case with key lock.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 05/06/09 03:44 PM

TUMI is having a sale right now (which is rare for them). Just picked up a nice leather case that will become my new close up kit. Lots of room, isolated pockets, and perfect to carry under one's arm. Both Burberry and Louis Vuitton have some basic bags that offer a good open space when fully unzipped, but I like how the TUMI has more compartments for stuff (AND it hangs).

They have it in both leather and in their normal material.
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Postby greg manwaring » 05/12/09 07:41 PM

Image

Talk about looking like it belongs in Harry Potter.. ...I found these baby's for sale at a knick knack shop here in Munich. 10 Euro's a piece! Perfect size and mystical looking!
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Postby John Carney » 05/13/09 12:08 PM

re: Amazon bag......This is a gladstone type bag.....but very nice, and looks like it is worth the money.

I have several real doctor's bags. The ones with sections in them are quite expensive, new. ($800-1000 or so)

$200 for a real doctor's bag is a bargain if its not too beat up.

Over the years I have collected lots of bags from swap meets and antique stores. They are different sizes and I use them for different purposes, depending on how much stuff I am carrying and if I use them on stage.
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Postby Damian Odess-Gillett » 05/13/09 03:20 PM

Thanks, Paul,
I was eyeing those holsters, but haven't heard any reviews. Glad yours is working out.
Anybody else try one out, yet?
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Postby Gord » 05/13/09 03:35 PM

Go to your local big box hardware store and track down the aluminum tool case. It looks like an over sized briefcase, and inside has dividers so you can set it up as you like. There is also an inside flap where you can store your markers and other items.
The best part, it's around $30 Canadian.

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Postby Jon Allen » 05/16/09 02:20 PM

I use the holster and it's great. Aside from being able to carry a few more items, it helps with pocket management in that items can be segregated uses the holster. I also used it externally last summer when it was too hot to wear a jacket so I wore it over my shirt. I made sure certain items were removed so as not to expose any gimmicks but it seemed perfectly natural wearing it.

I highly recommend it.
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Postby Bill Johnson » 09/12/09 06:09 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:My advice: work out of your pockets.


That is sound and wise advice if!!!
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Postby raider53 » 06/11/10 02:34 AM

Tony Rush wrote:Hoo boy. Just found an incredible-looking bag. Pro, semi-pro or hobbyists....I'm having a hard time not buying this. I think it would be perfect for cups/balls, cards, etc.:

Doctor's Bag on Amazon

I wonder if I can justify this if I buy my wife a new purse at the same time? ;)

Tony


If you can pull THAT one off, you are a magician, my friend!
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Postby erdnasephile » 06/11/10 05:27 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:My advice: work out of your pockets.


What I find ironic about this thread is that the vast majority of actual docs these days eschew the traditional doctors' bag--they work out of their pockets.
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Postby Terry » 06/11/10 09:01 PM

One would think the doctors bag went the way of the traditional house-call.
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 06/20/10 10:23 AM

That shoulder holster is a very interesting idea. I use a side bag that hangs over the shoulder for walk around. It holds the props I do not carry in my pockets.

For a formal close up show I add a second side bag and they are both connected together with a strap that has snaps on it and they become saddle bags that are placed over a chair.

Place them over the chair the long way and one saddle bag becomes a savant.

They work well for what they are.

I hope this helps!
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Postby Kent Gunn » 06/20/10 05:17 PM

Glenn,

That sounds like a good rig for performing. I think we can safely refer to that set-up as a:

Bishop-savant.

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Postby Noel Grassy » 07/01/10 06:37 PM

Tony Rush,
I would bet buying her a bag would smooth that deal nicely.

I have some clean examples of old Rx bags made from Walrus, Elephant and other way wrong hides. The satin linings have
the most gorgeous Emerald moire. They can be found chock full
of tools and tinctures sometimes. For less than the bag on Amazon.

I would be nervous about having that nice satchel snatched if
I took my eyes off of it. Then again mine have never been stolen.

You have nice taste to be sure,

Noel Grassy.
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Postby Seuss » 07/01/10 10:37 PM

I have multiple schell bags all off ebay all less than 40 a piece

http://shop.ebay.com/?_from=R40&_trksid ... edical+bag
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Postby Matt Richman » 07/17/10 04:34 PM

Go to a camera store and get a Quantaray case. They're the best.
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Postby SteveP » 07/17/10 07:03 PM

The debate of working out of your pockets vs. a case depends on the circumstances of the gig. I'm sure most of the people who contributed to this thread so far can have a working repertoire out of their pockets and not have to worry about the pockets on your tailored suit bulging. (You guys are wearing quality, tailored suits?)

If you're working a company event, cocktail party, several hundred people in a couple of hours, you typically don't have the option of working out of a case. You're going to be doing the same six effects for the gig and you're going to be moving fast.

If you have the chance of working a formal close-up gig, then you have the flexibility of the case, although it's probably going to be out of site. Daniel Cros has the best case I've seen. Custom wood briefcase that "transforms" into a performing surface and storage all-in-one.
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Postby Brian Morton » 07/17/10 08:19 PM

I've spent most of my professional career working my way down to the point where I am working with as little as I can and out of my pockets as often as possible. That said, a good working case is an essential item, because as it has been said before, working with too much in the pockets will make you look like a wino in a saggy suit.

My first one (and the one I still use the most) is a small black leather rucksack that I found in a luggage store. It can hang over the back of a chair, doesn't look too much like a ladies' purse and can unobtrusively hold everything I need all the way up to and including my Miser's Dream bucket.

Eric Henning kindly gifted me with a small classy black case that looks like it was once either a train case or makeup case for women (although it doesn't look effeminate eitherhe bought a load of them at Wal-Mart and was selling them while he had them). I later found a somewhat larger hard-sided case that also is big enough to hold all my props and the bucket (which the train case wouldn't do). It was the case made for a hookah and its assorted paraphernalia that I found in a shop in the East Village on St. Mark's Place. The interior lid has all sorts of straps to hold things, and the interior came already equipped with foam ready to be cut for props. It also has a combination lock.

Lastly, I found an old leather doctor's bag in decent condition in an antique store in southern Maryland for sixty bucks, which holds everything I need and then some. It also works well for magic when you have to perform in character (Western gambler, con man).

Not saying that any of these will work for you, but if you look around, there are plenty of options that will work quite well and not look like you are some hack from Binky The Clown's magic club.

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Postby Frank Yuen » 07/17/10 08:26 PM

I work out of my pockets but the case I use to carry my extras and replacement props is what is known as a catalog case. It stands upright and opens at the top. I've worked out of it when doing standup shows as well.
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Postby Suresh » 07/30/11 10:15 PM

Although I have thought about solutions for carrying items, and experimented a bit with a few approaches, I do not have the experience needed to comment meaningfully on this matter. However, I did learn one relevant fact that is general (not specific to magic); I was surprised when I learned this fact, and am mentioning it here in case it might be of interest to others.

The fact is that the design of holsters appears to be very advanced; it comes under the subject of "concealed carry [of weapons]". It appears that if one is wearing any cloths at all, there is a solution for carrying a weapon in a concealed manner. Moreover, a shoulder holster does not require a jacket to remain hidden -- shoulder holsters can remain concealed with as little covering as afforded by a vest. One can see a wide range of amazing concealed carry solutions demonstrated in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogGBPVk5GQk

Now for some connections between the above general fact and magic:

As another indication of what little it takes to conceal a shoulder holster, is worth noting that the owner of hcmagic.com says that his motivation for inventing his holster type products for magicians was, not for use with suites but for use with flimsy summer cloths! (I am _not_ saying that his products are unsuitable for wearing with suits -- they are indeed suitable; I am just saying that his motivation for their invention was as a solution for carrying items while dressed in minimal summer clothing.)

Incidentally, on his web-site, he does mention that since the police can carry weapons concealed in shoulder holsters, one ought to be able to believe/infer that one can carry items for magic using his products. Not having paid any attention to the dress of policemen, this argument did not carry much weight for me; also, the policemen I have happened to glance at have appeared to be bulky and so concealing things on them doesn't seem to be a challenge. However, after I saw the video linked to above, I readily grasped how a solution for concealed carry would be applicable as a solution for carrying items for use in magic.

I have come across reviews of products from hcmagic -- all are extremely positive, and people rave about the product they purchased starting from the way it is packaged for shipping.

I have interacted with Joel Broock, the owner of hcmagic.com, regarding pre-sales matters. He has been very patient with my inquiries and has responded promptly, clearly, and in sufficient detail to all my questions. It has been a pleasure learning about his products.

The pictures of his products on his facebook page are much clearer than those on his web-site.

Incidentally, I came across a few negative comments about the use of scantily clad, slim models (sylphs?) in his advertisements. I found such comments surprising; I think the use of scantily clad, slim models in his advertisements is very appropriate because such pictures vividly/eloquently illustrate how well hidden Joel's products would be on the people he is selling to, viz., magicians.
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 07/30/11 11:35 PM

Frank Starsinic sells a strolling pouch that you wear under your suit:

http://www.theambitiouscard.com/aitem.cfm?itemid=64
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