Street Magic

All beginners in magic should address their questions here.

Postby Guest » 09/07/01 06:11 PM

I am thinking of putting on a street show. However, I have always concentrated on close up card magic in the past and would like something more eye catching, my first thoughts are something to do with silks. Any suggestions?
Guest
 

Postby Brian Morton » 09/07/01 07:20 PM

Alex,

Putting on a street show is daunting work to say the least. Perhaps more important than what you're doing is the persona you adopt when doing it, and how you do it.

Street shows are often in the round -- simply because you have no control over who can go where at any time. Cards swell in humidity, and can blow away. Silk magic can look cheesy if not given some sort of meaning. Most big box stuff is a pain to haul around. Think about what has worked for buskers over the long history of street performing and you can see why they've done what they've done.

Good places to start reading are the Sheridan book, "Street Magic," The Jim Cellini book, "The Royal Touch" (very hard to find, but I understand he's coming out with a new edition in the coming year) and for a how-to manual, David Groves' book "Be A Street Magician."

I would really start looking at your current repetoire as a close-up person and see what plays big enough to captivate a full room -- and then work from there...

brian :cool:
User avatar
Brian Morton
 
Posts: 387
Joined: 03/12/08 11:43 AM
Location: Bawlamer, Merlin

Postby David Nethery » 09/08/01 04:55 PM

Brian Morton wrote:
"Silk magic can look cheesy if not given some sort of meaning."


Yeah, well , then do it with some meaning.

First of all, DON'T refer to the objects as "silks". (only magicians have a category called "silk magic" and only magicians call them "silks") . Normal folks call them hankerchiefs or scarfs. Or bandanas.

Work out routines that use ordinary cotton hankerchiefs or bandanas. If you must use silks try to use white silks or muted colors, not the bright, garish ones associated with magician's silks.

Or go to the opposite extreme and use really ornate, elaborate, authentic Chinese silks.
(look in the Oriental import stores, not magic shops). Sometimes these sort of scarves are really unusual and "exotic". With the right personality you could build a cool act around using these exotic Oriental items.

Just avoid using the standard "magician prop" silks that one would tend to see in a magic shop.
(unless you are doing street magic in San Francisco, where the rainbow scarves and rainbow streamers might go over really big!)
User avatar
David Nethery
 
Posts: 187
Joined: 05/13/08 06:39 PM

Postby Guest » 09/08/01 08:28 PM

Dai,

Please clarify this:

"(unless you are doing street magic in San Francisco, where the rainbow scarves and rainbow streamers might go over really big!)"

Is it because color attracts tourists, the main audience at Fisherman's Warf and the immediate area where probably all street magic is performed?
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 09/08/01 10:08 PM

Check out Cellini , he is probably the best street magician.
at International Magic,they may give you his contact detaills. They also have his video.
Guest
 

Postby Mark Jensen » 09/10/01 04:28 PM

Jim Cellini is a Master when it comes to street magic!!!

Jim does the Slydini Silks and the TT Silk Vanish as a regular staple of his "Show".

Jim's book, The Royal Touch, is fantastic!!! My understanding is that Jim is now working on a book on Slydini's Magic (Jim was a student of Slydini's for 5 years).

I may also know where you can get a copy of The Royal Touch - email me for details.

Best,

Mark

[ September 11, 2001: Message edited by: Mark Jensen ]
Mark Jensen
 
Posts: 319
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Murphy, Texas

Postby Bill Mullins » 09/10/01 06:37 PM

Originally posted by Tom Cutts:
Dai,

Please clarify this:

"(unless you are doing street magic in San Francisco, where the rainbow scarves and rainbow streamers might go over really big!)"

Is it because color attracts tourists, the main audience at Fisherman's Warf and the immediate area where probably all street magic is performed?


San Francisco is a center for homosexuals in America; the rainbow is widely seen as a symbol for "gay-friendly".
Bill Mullins
 
Posts: 2778
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Huntsville, AL

Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/10/01 10:16 PM

Alex, I suggest you purchase the book "Street Magic" by Jeff Sheridan and Edward Claflin. I think we still have a few copies (it's pretty cheap in softcover).
Do you want to know what Sheridan did (dressed entirely in black, before anyone else decided it was cool) on the street, silently, and drew huge crowds, mesmerized them, in the middle of bustling Central Park in New York City:
1) Card manipulations
2) Sponge Balls
3) Rope magic
Those were the basics of his act.
Many others, like Cellini, focused on more traditional items like cups and balls and fire eating. Cellini is great. Others, like Gazzo, are horrifyingly rude.
You will need to find a character to perform as on the street. You need to figure out how to dress. You need to figure out if you're going to talk or not. Here's a tip: if you decide to bring your close-up magic with you and do tricks like "Triumph," you're already moving down the wrong road. I think silk tricks can work really well if they're done correctly. While it may sound silly to use rainbow colored silks in San Francisco, it's not a joke--it's a great idea if you know that a large percentage of your audience is gay. It shows that you acknowledge that in a "magical" way, and it'll probably get you some contributions. In some sense it's just like working a trade show, except focused groups of individuals are your customers instead of corporate clients.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 19989
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Jeff Haas » 09/11/01 03:33 AM

Actually, the street performing scene in San Francisco is along the Fisherman's Wharf and Ghirardelli Square area, which is a tourist destination. This means the successful street performers have simple, visual material that plays well to an audience that has many non-English speakers in it.

There are all kinds of street performers there...guys who paint themselves silver and act like robots, jugglers, musicians, magicians, and whoever else shows up that day.

I once saw a street magician there get a big laugh out of the bra trick; but it fit his character. He also got a big laugh with a styrofoam sledgehammer he'd throw at the windows of the passing tour buses. Audiences on the sidewalk loved seeing the shocked faces of the people sitting on the buses as the hammer flew toward their window, and then it would harmlessly fall to the ground. He did that whenever a tour bus rumbled through and "interrupted" him, and it kept the crowd there for the entire show.
Jeff Haas
 
Posts: 917
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: San Mateo, CA

Postby Guest » 09/11/01 03:10 PM

With all due respect to all:

That one would expect their audience in SF to be predominantly gay "just because", would be exactly the problem I suspected with the "rainbow streamers" line.

To assume an SF audience is predominantly gay is an uninformed misconception which ignores the tremendous diversity of cultures in The City By The Bay.

I fear Richard's line might well be construed as such.

Perhaps more immediately pertinent to this board, it ignors the real reason one might use brightly colored items, so succinctly put forth by Mr. Haas.

[ September 11, 2001: Message edited by: Tom Cutts ]
Guest
 

Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/11/01 07:18 PM

My point was that it's wise to use materials in your performance that will appeal to the specific audience for whom you are performing.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 19989
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Guest » 09/12/01 01:48 AM

Yes, and you very skillfully managed to say "...if you know that a large percentage of your audience is gay." without saying that this was just because you happen to be in SF.

I didn't want your careful choice of words to get misunderstood.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 10/02/01 09:13 PM

I too am interested in going to the street and have heard that Cellini is it. As for someone's comment earlier about Gazzo, I just saw him lecture and he was brillant, yes he is a bit rough on his audience but when we went to see him perform the day at the inner harbor, he was awesome. Humor seems to be the key knowadays. He onyl did THREE tricks but his show was about 25 minutes long because of the audience inter play. Gazzo has a video which you can get from Denny and Lee's dennymagic.com.

good luck eMail if you want to talk specifically with another person who has the same desires :cool:
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 10/29/01 07:18 PM

hey although I am a young guy this is one area I can give good advice on. don't start off with a big show planned, go out there with a table some cards and coins and learn how to build and manage a crowd, then slowly start to work all the way up to having a big show. The hard part is hearing no, no,no no, no,no no, no,no no, no,no, over and over again.

Noah Levine
Guest
 


Return to General