Busted!

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Guest » 04/17/05 10:38 PM

On Thursday night, I got busted. The fire marshal saw me performing a flash-paper trick and told the owner that it was verboten.

Aughhh, such a loss. Using flash paper in a restaurant is like having a roving advertisement for your services. People see the flash and it's a primal reaction of alarm: What's that?! They look and pay attention, trying to figure out what's going on. Within five seconds, they can figure out that I'm a magician, and it spreads the word.

The fire marshal told the owner that he wasn't going to fine him or me, but that using flash paper in LA County requires a permit. I've heard that permit requires two years of classes. I've also heard that different counties and different states interpret the laws governing flash paper in different ways, and that it's pretty much up to local officials.

A few years ago, I was there when a fire marshal told Zach's Restaurant in Studio City, CA, that they had to take down all those playing cards on the ceiling that Johnny Ace Palmer had put there. As if you could actually make plastic-coated cards burn!

I know that there's legitimate concern about fire safety, esp after the Rhode Island fire that killed over 100. But really--that was fireworks splattering all over the place on soundproofed walls. This is just a half-second flash.

Ughhh.
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Postby Steve V » 04/17/05 11:06 PM

It is California, where we have to label empty containers as empty containers by law.
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Postby Robert Allen » 04/18/05 07:26 AM

I wonder if California restaurants can no longer cook Bananas Foster or other open-flame dishes tableside. OH, wait, never mind, we're talking about California, where nothing has to actually make sense or be consistent.
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Postby Guest » 04/18/05 07:59 AM

Have you considered a "fism flash?" Same flash, much safer...

M Pete
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Postby Guest » 04/18/05 08:00 AM

Very thoughtful response, Nick.

Yes, you and Mark were some of the last ones to see flash-paper effects in Palermo Restaurant (Thursday evenings in Hollywood, come down sometime, anyone, and I'll buy you a drink). The next table I did the trick to, the fire marshal talked to the owner and the owner summoned me over.

Good idea to check with the fire department directly. Everything that I know about fire regulations is hearsay, actually, and it's better to get it from the horse's mouth.

Why couldn't I live in Louisiana, where everything is legal, even three-card monte? And even:

"I'll bet you $10 that I can tell you where you got those shoes!"
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Postby Guest » 04/18/05 09:17 AM

I think everyone's trying to turn this into a Nerf planet... all soft and squishy with no hard edges.

I like M. Pete's idea of the Fism Flash... it is pretty startling and in a dark restaurant the brilliant flash will catch people's attention.

I'm sure someone's going to complain that the flash could give someone a seizure. :D

I seem to remember Dave Cox telling a story about how he just bought in a fire marshall to the Parlor in the Castle and just showed him the bit of fire he was going to do and got the permit to do it so give it a try.

Greg
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Postby Brad Jeffers » 04/18/05 01:14 PM

It's interesting that there are regulations banning the use of flashpaper, when I doubt that it's a violation for restaurants to have burning candles at each table, or even worse, those decorative bottles of flamable oil with the floating wicks (in essence, little Molotav cocktails).
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Postby Guest » 04/18/05 03:58 PM

That's interesting. I guess the best solution would be simply to stop in at the local fire station.

As far as the FISM flash, I have been using it recently in my regular strolling gigs, but don't find it nearly as arresting as flash paper.

The reasons, I suspect:

*You can't see the source of the flash (we hide that in order to make it seem like magic).
*Fire is primal, and we're hard wired to feel alarm when we see it.
*Flash fire is uncontrolled, while a flash is discreetly controlled.

I enjoy my FISM flash, but the effect is about half the effect of a good flash paper burst.
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Postby Guest » 04/18/05 04:41 PM

Ya know Brad, who is in one of my favorite cities (I moved to California from South Georgia), the couple of restaurants I would go to that had candles no longer have them...I wonder if they went that far and wouldn't be surprised if they didn't.
Steve V
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Postby Guest » 04/18/05 08:33 PM

Re. the FISM flash:

I must say that I was surprised, when first using the FISM flash, that some effects were ho-hum and others were more stunning, depending on the way that I used the flash.

If the audience can't pinpoint where the flash came from, it's worlds better than if they can. (I had one kid point to my belly and say: "You just set off a flash bulb! You just set off a flash bulb!")

If the effect is in the mentalism category and is believable, it's much better. In the instructions, they tell you to rub two pieces of silverware on your clothes and then bring them together, explaining that they're now electrically charged. When the flash goes off, it stuns some people, primarily because it's somewhat believable--that is, if you know nothing about electricity, which many of us don't.
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Postby Pete Biro » 04/19/05 09:56 AM

Did you tell the kid, "Right, it hurt too, cuz it's screwed into my naval. And boy it's a killer putting them batteries in."

Michael Jackson would add, "You wanna pull the switch?"
Stay tooned.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 04/19/05 11:35 PM

Jeez--let a guy go to Chicago for a measly 36 hours and this place goes to hell in a hand basket. MJ, I deleted your post because it was completely off topic. Let's stick with the legal issues surrounding, or the alternatives to, flash paper, shall we please?

Thanks,
Dustin
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Postby mrgoat » 04/20/05 10:58 AM

Originally posted by DustinStinett:
Jeez--let a guy go to Chicago for a measly 36 hours and this place goes to hell in a hand basket. MJ, I deleted your post because it was completely off topic. Let's stick with the legal issues surrounding, or the alternatives to, flash paper, shall we please?

Thanks,
Dustin
Just a thought, but would it be a good idea to keep the posts you want to delete, and place a warning that this sort of post is not welcome on the board?

That way people that didn't see the post you deleted will understand what is a no no.

I didn't read the offending post and frankly it is unimaginable what could have been written in a thread like this to cause offence/be so OT it requires deletion.

I am not after any fighting or arguing, this is merely a polite suggestion of a possibily more effective way to keep the types of post that The Powers That Be want.

:)

Respectfully


Damian
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Postby Bill Palmer » 04/20/05 01:59 PM

About 1985, the State of Texas passed similar laws; however, the restrictions weren't quite as stringent. For certain items, such as flash pots, you had to get a permit from the fire marshall's office. This meant that you either had to take the device to the office or have him come to your venue. I was going to do a flash appearance portal for a client, so I had to have the fire marshall clear the device. It was due to the client's insurance, not mine. The marshall showed up, looked at it, had me set it off, then he said, "I thought it was going to be like an Atom Bomb or something. This ain't nothin'. That will be $75.00. Next time, bring it by the station and you won't have to pay no $75.00."

However, various fire marshalls have their own "flash points." Open flames are strictly forbidden in public places in Texas. This means that fire eating and juggling flaming torches is illegal. So are regular candles. Regulated candles are not.

We didn't have any problem at the Texas Renaissance Festival, because we were permitted by the Mayor, who just happened to own the place.

But in Texas, enforcement is a local option thing. Some clubs obtain their permits by comping the fire marshalls, or so I have heard.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 04/20/05 06:04 PM

Originally posted by mrgoat:
I didn't read the offending post and frankly it is unimaginable what could have been written in a thread like this to cause offence/be so OT it requires deletion.
Hi Damian,

I appreciate your comments and certainly understand them. Please see my post in the Announcements page here.

Thanks,
Dustin
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Postby Pete Biro » 04/22/05 11:29 AM

Sylvester the Jester has a great electric Funkenring.
Stay tooned.
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Postby Brian Marks » 04/22/05 01:40 PM

a match
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