Best "Stop a Spectator In His Tracks" Flourish?!

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Guest » 05/16/07 07:46 PM

Fans, Multiple Cuts, Color-Changes--what do you do that makes people stop and say :eek: "Holy Mackeral!!" ?

I've had success with things as simple as a coin-roll to a bit of flash paper; from boomeranging cards to card-fans, spreads, etc...
Anything to 'show-off' without 'turning-off'...

Without giving anything away (HA), what ploys do you use when walking around, or opening a set to gain/secure the "awe/respect" of a/the crowd?

Postby Guest » 05/17/07 03:45 AM

Springing the cards. Its easy and it looks good.

Postby Guest » 05/17/07 03:51 AM

Also: S-fans. They look good and they're easy. I've done heaps of more interesting flourishes to get people's attention but at some point I decided I'd rather pull it off properly everytime and stopped trying to do things like boomerang cards and catch them in my teeth.

Postby Guest » 05/17/07 04:23 AM

Most people don't care to be stunned by strangers. In polite company one can do wonders with a thoughful or considerate gesture.

Postby Guest » 05/17/07 08:18 AM

The Werm.

Postby Guest » 05/17/07 09:14 AM

I would do some work I am not prepared to tip here but it's called the 'Hello, how are you' method of engaging your audience. As opposed to the 'LOOK HOW BLOODY CLEVER *I* AM, I BET YOU CAN'T DO THIS!' method.

I think Acer is going to write it up in a future Magicana, but we cannot agree terms.

Postby Larry Horowitz » 05/17/07 09:40 AM

Fans, Multiple Cuts, Color-Changes--what do you do that makes people stop and say "Holy Mackeral!!" ?\

This looks like a typical Magic cafe question. I hope that is not starting here.
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Postby Guest » 05/17/07 10:33 AM

This looks like a typical Magic cafe question. I hope that is not starting here.
Initially, I thought the same....but Castawaydave is a keen individual who's worked the trenches and speaks from direct experience.

Please dont let this thread degenerate off topic.

Postby Dustin Stinett » 05/17/07 12:17 PM

I agree. I would think that, particularly for a street performer, attracting attention to ones self is rather important. It could make for an interesting topic.

The notion of using card flourishes made me think of something that happened with Mark Wilson on a show called Livewire (a show geared toward kids in their early teens) on Nickelodeon many years ago.

At one point, Mark performed two perfect one-handed fans; no reaction. A few moments later, he spread the cards out on the table and did a simple turn-over; huge reaction!

Go figure.
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Postby Guest » 05/17/07 03:43 PM

Uh oh--looks like I'd better explain myself, and (or) re-frame my topic--Lord knows I don't want to traumetize Mr. Horowitz (et al) with further low-brow thoughts of "The Cafe"...sorry about that.

[First, Thanks for the endorsement, Raj.]

I have been doing magic for 30+ years.
I am not of the "street generation", nor am I a 16 year old looking to steal anyone's opening bits, NOR am I looking for the one sure-fire way to show off and meet chicks. (Strike that last one--har har!)
I HAVE heard that the "Look-at-me-I'm-a-Jerk School" has been discredited.

The above (admittedly beginner-styled question) was posted, on a lazy afternoon, in a spirit of bon homie. You know...a little fun...?

--I know how many different performing circumstances arise, and I have different ways to take advantage of different circumstances.
Sometimes a quick effect can snap passersby to attention...I have seen slow, quiet, graceful movements captivate.
I am polite when performing and people usually seem to like manners...but I have seen loud/brusque/funny or mile-a-minute guys go over great too.
I have been at huge events where you actually had to vie for attention...

Once again, I admit I do not know everything.
I was curious about what others might jot.

Thanks for the advice about not being a rude jerk: still practicing that one... ;)

(Just off-hand, the "technique" I actually use to break ice when necessary was beautifully described by Eric Mead in his little gem "Tangled Web".)

Postby Dustin Stinett » 05/17/07 04:31 PM

To be clear, when I say street performer, Im talking about the Gazzo, Cellini, and Sheridan type of street performer.

Those associated with the magic linked to David Blaine et al bastardized the term in more ways than one (and I never intended to link Dave to that group). One has nothing to do with the other and, frankly, I wish theyd find a name of their own so this confusion will be forever put to rest. Perhaps hit and run magic is more appropriate a name for that style.


PS: If you want to react to this statement, please do it in THIS THREAD and not this one, which is supposed to be about how to stop traffic, gather a crowd, gain interest, etc.

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Postby Guest » 05/17/07 05:51 PM

Hear hear Dustin! (and thanks--)

--Did you just coin "hit-and-run-magic"?, because that has some serious marketability. That phrase has street-cred. Copyright it quick-time!

I really WAS (albeit ham-fistedly) just trying to spur a bit of conversation about engaging an audience, whether of one or 2, a parlor set, or an actual CROWD streaming by...
Polite introduction? Amusing anecdote? Emotional appeal? Wily, sagacious bromide? Hunk o' flash paper?

It is funny that it has come to this: that we to have to pause & take time to distinguish between "street magic" (the historical tradition revived by Jeff Sheridan--i.e., classy, intended to entertain and amaze) and "street magic" (the grafitti-splashed vaguely threatening hit-and-run crowd--i.e. intrusive, crap-ass stunts intended to shock, scare, or other-wise freak-out, with no actual point).
[Art history aside: Almost like the Dadaists of 100 years ago, creating events or happenings, but without any of the intellectual motivation behind it--shocking for shocking's sake, thus ultimately pointless...but I digress.]

It has become a generational distinction; we are among the oldsters, and getting older...

I forgot I should have made clear at the out-set that I didn't mean I wanted to learn how best to go-about assaulting spectators...Though if anyone has hints along those lines after-all...sorry in advance if this reminds anyone of the "Magi-cafe". :p

Postby Guest » 05/17/07 07:52 PM

This sort of "hit and run" mentality has attracted the attention of corporations and advertising agencies. A current TV spot for T-Mobile shows how a much of teens or twenty-somethings can coordinate meeting in an office building, one group riding the up escalator and the other riding the down escalator. When they meet they attack each other with Silly String and then run out of the building.

Apparently T-Mobile is no longer interested in selling their services to adults but instead are targeting the hooligan crowd who don't have jobs and responsibiities. Apparently they have parents who pay for their phone service.

Postby Guest » 05/17/07 09:07 PM

I think this is a great topic and is something I have been re-evaluating in my own show. I believe Darwin Ortiz refers to it as building presitige, in Strong Magic. My show normally begins with an introduction and set a of card tricks, but I felt I was hitting them too hard without a proper build up of prestige. I had been looking for that perfect opening effect, or flourish to let the people know some amazing things are going to happen through the course of the evening. Then I read the review of Sudden Deck 2 in Genii. David Regal's effect has provided me with that perfect attention grabbing, introduction to my routine. Thanks for the effect David.

Postby Guest » 05/19/07 12:07 AM

A few techniques I've used in the past when bartending at parties were to start small. That is, I engage one or two individuals, ideally female as they tend to be more expressive. The converstation is diffused, but probably centers around beverages. Soon, I'll serepticiously segue into a tangental topic, when they've realized they have just experienced some great magic effects.

Their reactions are usually strong enough to attract the attention of those in the immediate surroundings. They approach, and I continue. This chain reaction of enthusiasm quickly ripples outward to the rest of the room. By the second or third effect, the maximum crowd is generated. Those that want to experience the magic are at attention , clustered around me. Those that are preoccupied with more important things remain aloof. But I usually see them peeking over to see what the fun is about.

I try to allow guests approach me rather than impose myself onto the guests. Thats just my comfort level preferences (or low self esteem).

Alternatively, when I'm in the general public just the mere presence of a deck of cards is interesting enough for people to approach me. I find it very fascinating how open people are in engaging a stranger when they see playing cards in view. I've not been able to quantify it.

Non-english speaking Japanese business men captured my attention on the train. A few color changes, Bedwells version of Harris' vanishing deck, and a final change to a pack of cigarettes later, they were all smiles. Stifling their laughter, they showed their appreciation by bowing their heads with respect.

Postby David Acer » 05/19/07 12:50 PM

Quote from mrgoat - "I would do some work I am not prepared to tip here but it's called the 'Hello, how are you' method of engaging your audience. As opposed to the 'LOOK HOW BLOODY CLEVER *I* AM, I BET YOU CAN'T DO THIS!' method. I think Acer is going to write it up in a future Magicana, but we cannot agree terms."

What am I going to write up? What terms? What?
Now tweeting daily from @David_Acer
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Postby Ian Kendall » 05/19/07 02:08 PM

The solution is dictated largely by the situation. If we are talking about working the streets as an olde style street performer you will find that if the person is working a large circle show the vast majority will use a slow build by deliberately setting out their props and striking a conversation with whomever stops to watch. From then, it's mostly talking and the skill of the performer in building that edge.

Now, if I am working a smaller table show, which has a much more intimate feel and a smaller footprint there are fewer props to lay out. In this case I do some contact juggling with a clear acrylic ball while blowing a whistle (I know, subtle). When I have a group of people watching I spit out the whistle and go into a normal edge building speil.

If you want to see a fantastic bally you should go forthwith to Don Driver's site and buy his Building a Tip DVD. Also, the Todd Robbins video from the Greater Magic Library on Sideshows has a demonstration of Todd performing a similar 'dollar bill' bally.

The best trick to get someone to stop on the street? Eye contact and a sincere smile. Honestly.

Take care, Ian
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Postby Guest » 05/19/07 05:06 PM

Thank you for the thoughtful answer, brother. :whack:

Postby Guest » 05/19/07 05:14 PM

By the way, Audioslave, that is your best post ever.

P.S. Please give your baby a smooch for me. I will email you with a couple ideas...

Postby Guest » 05/19/07 10:30 PM

Quote confusion from Mr Acer:

It was just a joke dude.

Damn limey sense of humoUr (sic)

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