What's the least number of props you've ever taken to a gig?

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Guest » 06/30/04 02:54 PM

In my restaurant work I use the cups & balls and even though it's a two cup routine I find the final loads (three) are just too much hassle and make whatever you're wearing look like hell. I've tried a routine using sponge balls as the final load and the reaction isn't nearly as strong as with lemons, limes, etc.

I think the least I could get away with would be:

1) Brainwave (or just a regular deck)

2) Two sponge balls

3) Thumbtip

What's the least anyone else has used for say, a 2-3 hr. restaurant/strolling gig. I differentiate between this type ofenvironment and a private gig where you have to have a LOT more material.
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/30/04 06:36 PM

instead of cups and balls do a one bowl routine with sponge balls and final load of something flatter, like a bagel :D
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Postby Guest » 06/30/04 08:37 PM

Roberto Giobbi has a solid one-bowl routine on his lecture video / DVD.
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/30/04 09:36 PM

Johnny Thompson, AKA Great Tomsoni, has the best idea of when to load with GREAT misdirection. It is what I have evolved to. I start with the Rezvani Tomato trick version, seguey into the Bennson Bowl and Tomsoni's closing.
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Postby Danny Archer » 08/05/04 06:31 PM

Did a 2 hour strolling gig with a deck of cards and four coins just to see how it would play ... the gig was a breeze ...
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Postby Joe M. Turner » 08/05/04 06:36 PM

Ditto to Danny's note... I've worked my 3-hour restaurant gig with a deck of cards, a marker, and the coins in my pocket (which included 4 halves and a shell).

Frankly, I like to have some other things available for the kids, but with the immense variety of magic that has been developed for cards, you can get by.

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Postby Pete Biro » 08/05/04 09:05 PM

Paddle, deck, 3 coins
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Postby Paul Cummins » 08/06/04 03:06 AM

Fifty-two.
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Postby Andy Hurst » 08/06/04 10:13 AM

I once managed an entire gig with nothing more than six decks of cards, 2 sharpies, 8 gaffed coins, some envelopes, sticky tape, eighteen packet tricks, 12ft rope, scissors, changing color pocket knives, seven silks, a silk change cabby, a top hat, rabbit, three wallets, twelve fall apart wands, one regular wand, a zig zag illusion, a fold down table and wonder words.

Obviously I had to borrow a few items, but I got a full 10 minutes out of that little lot.

Andy ;)
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Postby Fred Zimmerman » 08/06/04 01:25 PM

Ah, cold reading. I've brought nothing but myself, but then, that isn't Magic is it ... or is it?

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Postby Curtis Kam » 08/06/04 01:41 PM

From my collegue and magic bartender extraordinare Bobby Acoba, the story of the time he showed up for a gig on a dinner cruise, but had forgotten his usual magic bag. He ended up doing a four hour gig with the incomplete deck he found in his glove compartment, and a couple of rubber bands he found on the deck of the ship.
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Postby Tom Stone » 08/06/04 05:56 PM

Originally posted by Curtis Kam:
From my collegue and magic bartender extraordinare Bobby Acoba, the story of the time he showed up for a gig on a dinner cruise, but had forgotten his usual magic bag.
That happened to me last year.
I forgot my bag on the train, on my way to do a 30 minutes stage act, and discovered it first when I arrived at the location, 20 minutes before I was going to start.
I entered the stage on time, with stuff I had assembled, and did 25 minutes.
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Postby Pete Biro » 08/06/04 06:17 PM

Pretending to have "lost his luggage," Joe Berg once did an act coming out explaining how his luggage was lost, he just flew in (it was a convention show) and didn't have any props.

He was wearing an overcoat and a hat. He took off his coat, tossed it aside, then passed his hat out to the audience, "Would a few of you put some things in the hat and I'll try to do some magic with them."

You guessed it... a stooge put some gaffed items in that Joe had pre-figured to use.

He was one of the clever, original, great guys of all time in magic... :genii:
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Postby Curtis Kam » 08/06/04 07:12 PM

Congratulations, Tom. It's moments like those where you don't really know whether to be porud of yourself or not.
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Postby Danny Archer » 08/06/04 07:27 PM

Tom's tale reminds me of a similar story told to me by Chris Capehart ... after driving 30 miles to the gig, he popped open his trunk and saw to his horror that his suitcase containing his act was not there!

Luckily there was a Walgreens nearby ... and after making a few purchases (newspaper, rope, scissors, cards, can of coffee (for Miser's Dream) ... he went on and did his show to rousing acclaim ...
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Postby Pete Biro » 08/07/04 10:52 AM

Similar... when I was assistant to Francisco (Midnight Spook Show) we hit one small town and the theater had NAILED the movie screen down to the stage and the manager refused to raise it.

So, with NO STAGE and an illusion show, what do you do?

We hit the local hardward store and bought a lot of stuff, like rope, etc... (It was a looooooong time ago and I forget the items) and Francisco (Arthur Bull) said, "Well, it's a good thing I know most of the stuff in Tarbell."

We did a couple of the smaller illusions IN THE AISLES of the theater... and a lot of small stuff from the hardware store.

Knowledge is power (as Goshman used to say). :cool:
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Postby Ray Eden » 08/07/04 12:33 PM

Actually Pete knowing how to use one's knowledge is power!

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Postby Guest » 08/08/04 12:31 PM

How about the story about T. Nelson Downs - He went onstage with the wrong jacket - got the stage manager's instead of his own, so had no coins, loads, nothing! Pantomimed the first half of his act, to a standing ovation!

Best, PSC
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/08/04 01:39 PM

I've seen Carl Ballantine do the same thing, though it was no accident. Unless he's paid, he won't bring his props. If he is cajoled into going on stage, he will fumble his way through his act sans props and milk it for laughs.
Sometimes it works, but after you've seen it once or twice it gets tedious. I mean, if you're going to bother to get up on stage, just bring the damn props and do the act.
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Postby Guest » 08/09/04 08:11 AM

I once did my 3 hour restaurant gig with just a Zig Zag. The guests loved it but the wait staff seemed a little miffed.
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Postby jimmycards » 08/09/04 09:35 AM

Like Paul Cummins, 52. Although 54 showed up but two were just plain jokers and no help at all!
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 08/09/04 10:58 AM

Bob Read, as described in the Genii cover story, once did an hour of "entertainment" for a roomfull of Japanese lay people in a restaurant. He had no props on him. Everything was borrowed from the kitchen. (Ah, the glory and guts of being a professional, especially one used to pub-venues.)

Onward...

P.S. My most difficult challenge was having no props at Gottlieb Kogel's annual magic show. Kogel, now in his 80s, was a long-time magic dealer and local magician in New Orleans. He knew Felix Herrmann very well. Well, Kogel owns a nudist camp in Slidell, LA called Indian Hills. The performers and audience are...well...mostly naked. So, no props, no clothes--the challenge is enormous.

Paper balls over the head in this case was truly baffling. Kogel offered me an Ellis Ring, but I declined...

Onward...
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Postby Guest » 06/26/05 06:01 PM

That is a neat story about T. Nelson Downs. Another story about him performing with very few props: One time he was at the Ringling Bros. circus (Dai Vernon tells this story on his Revelations tapes, volume 17) and was asked to stand up and perform in the center ring. All he had in his pocket were three matches, and he improvised a little routine with three matches and held the attention of the entire audience, with girls riding elephants and trapeze artists on either side of him. Now that's what you call a showman . ..
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Postby mago » 06/27/05 11:35 AM

All I have ever had with me on my performances, was deck of cards, coins and close-up pad.

I never needed anything else..
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Postby Guest » 06/30/05 12:25 PM

My 'Cavalcade of Body Fluids' routine has saved the day more times than I can remember.
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Postby Guest » 07/08/05 12:00 PM

The least number of props?

That's easy: 52
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Postby Joe Z » 07/08/05 01:06 PM

I've entertained professionally for three-plus hours using nothing more than a supply of business cards and my audience's palms.

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Postby Rafael Benatar » 07/09/05 02:57 AM

Maybe it's time to go back and look at the original question. "The least number of props you've taken to a gig" is not the same as "the least number of props you've managed to get away with."

If you are trying to do your best gig, you bring what you need. Maybe hte question relates to what is the least amount of props you're comfortable with. That you didn't bring more because you didn't want to or need to.

Then there are special circumstances. Maybe you lost your briefcase and had to manage wiith one or no props, or borrow a deck. Or somebody saw you in the street and said "can you come over right now and do a show for us?"

On the other hand, if you mention how long you performed, you should say how long for the same audience. If you're strolling among a thousand people, it's no big deal to perform for 6 hours with a rubber band.
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Postby Brian Marks » 07/09/05 08:34 AM

Originally posted by Paul Cummins:
Fifty-two.
exactly what I'd expect from you.
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Postby Guest » 07/10/05 06:05 AM

Just a pack of cards, after leaving my close up act behind. I always make sure there is a deck in the glove compartment of the car now. Most of the material was exactly what I would have been doing anyway.

Paul.
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Postby John Hopkins » 07/10/05 07:20 PM

I have a Cubio. It packs small. I rarely get a big response.* I had hoped to become Mr. Cubio, and after 15 years developing my "act" I am looking for someone to mentor (if he will take the Cubio off my hands: diligent application of stain remover and a paint job will restore it to "like new" condition). My dream of becoming Mr. Cubio simply was not going to happen. I fight bitterness.

Some advanced Cubio workers "kill" with this thing.
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Postby Brad Jeffers » 07/10/05 08:12 PM

John, Prehaps you will one day come close to achieving your dream, and become known as Mr. L7 ;)
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Postby Guest » 08/18/05 11:45 AM

I am notorious for over-packing. I can't seem to stop myself from thinking, "What if I need this...? Maybe I'll need to do that... Oh...this is good for kids..." Yadda yadda yadda. I end up with a briefcase packed with stuff...but end up actually using much, much less.

At a recent gig, I found myself thinking, "What if I had lost my kit?" I realized at that moment that all I'd need to do is walk into the nearest drug store or dollar store and buy 3 decks of cards and a bag of rubber bands, then make sure my change contained a certain combination of coins.

Rather than list the smallest amount of stuff I've ever brought to a gig, I'll just list the smallest amount of stuff I've ever used in a gig -- which is pretty much my standard:

Two decks of cards and a handful of rubber bands.

One of these days, I'll actually try to force myself to bring just that small amount of stuff. But I feel so NAKED...!

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Postby Fred Zimmerman » 08/18/05 01:46 PM

Hi,

I suppose this could into a pissing contest about who can work with the least amount of stuff, and I guess I try and pack fairly lightly myself, but personally, I like props.

Not in the stage-illusion type, but in the Dr. Jaks style. I like interesting objects, or at least objects that people dopn't normally carry with them. Good conversation starters. Perhaps this puts me in the same category in magic and mentalism as a "prop-comic" in comedy, but that really doesn't concern me.

The answer to this question also depends on the type of show I'm doing, the length, and how well I know the audience. Usually, I keep my primary bag locked in the trunk of my car, and then load up what I think is appropriate. Then, if I need to make some changes, I go out during a break and switch up. I don't like to bring my whole bag inside the venue because of the obvious rip-off potential.

So that's it. I like a lot of stuff, as long as I don't look like a rag & bone man.

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Postby Guest » 08/18/05 04:06 PM

I usually take a big bag to every walkaround performance, filled with lots of various stuffnuts, and then when I have to do a stage show, another bi case.

But once, I did a show at a nudist colony naked, with only a thumtip, strategically hidden.

I think that may win an award, what to you think?
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