Performing Close Up Magic In Restaurants

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Larry Horowitz
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Re: Performing Close Up Magic In Restaurants

Postby Larry Horowitz » November 14th, 2009, 3:46 pm

Major W.A. Bishop (Billy) V.C.,D.S.O.,M.C., Was an ace in WW1 best known as the "Balloon Buster". His book on the war is "Winged Warfare" 1918

Mark.Lewis
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Re: Performing Close Up Magic In Restaurants

Postby Mark.Lewis » November 14th, 2009, 5:36 pm

As a psychic reverend and holy man of the cloth I predict that both restaurants in Santa Barbara will be kaput by December 2010. Remember you read it here first.
I have made various psychic predictions on this forum before and they have all come true. Headline predictions without having to use billet knives and other gimmicks. I predicted them on here before they happened for all to see.

As for Major Bishop if he was indeed Canadian then no doubt the Canadian airport was named after him. But Glenn need not despair. There is still hope. They recently named a Toronto street after a deceased street busker. Mind you he wasn't a magician.

Glenn Bishop
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Re: Performing Close Up Magic In Restaurants

Postby Glenn Bishop » November 14th, 2009, 7:43 pm

Larry Horowitz wrote:Major W.A. Bishop (Billy) V.C.,D.S.O.,M.C., Was an ace in WW1 best known as the "Balloon Buster". His book on the war is "Winged Warfare" 1918

Thanks Larry. My Dad read his book - and many books on aviation and WW1 and WW2. My dad was a Major and one of his stories is featured in the Book P38 lightning by the Turner Publishing CO. He was writing a book about his war experiences called Photo Joe. However he never finished it.

He told me that it was magic that helped him get singled out to get officers training. When he joined he did card tricks in the mess hall - the officers came into watch. And because he could talk to a group - he went into officers training.

Most of this is published in the book I wrote about my Dad - The Life and magic of Billy Bishop "Bish The Magish" Published by David Charvet.

Most of my Restaurant Jobs have been very positive. However I have had a few that let me go without a two week notice. One of the problems of the job I guess and the cost of doing business.

Just my opinion.

Mark.Lewis
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Re: Performing Close Up Magic In Restaurants

Postby Mark.Lewis » November 14th, 2009, 8:53 pm

In my youth I would have jumped at the chance to work in a restaurant but the venue didn't really exist then in the UK. Somehow nowadays I do not feel terribly enthusiastic about hanging around a restaurant for a few hours for little money. Nothing wrong with it of course and I do see the advantages of the work. It helps get the repertoire honed and it is a fairly secure way of working until the restaurant goes kaput of course. And of course it is a breeding ground for other work.

I do remember mentioning my theory of restaurants who are daft enough to hire a performer going broke to a magician whom I now do not approve of. He in turn mentioned it to Tommy Wonder who scoffed at the very idea. Just as they were discussing it Eugene Burger walked by and Tommy asked him how his restaurant gig was going and Eugene replied, "Oh I am afraid that restaurant has now gone out of business"

I did purchase two books on restaurant magic some years ago. One was by somebody or other called Sisti and the book was perfectly readable and not soporific at all. Quite good advice in fact.

The other book I liked a LOT! Very good read indeed despite the fact that the author came from Yorkshire. I am afraid that I have held a dreadful prejudice against Yorkshire people for over 40 years. If you have ever tried to sell svengali decks (or anything come to that) to them you will soon realise why. Mind you I did by some miracle sell one to John Kimmons' mother when John was 6 years old. It started him on magic and he became the World Champion of Children's Magic according to Derek Lever anyway. Naturally Jolly Roger was not placed at all in the same competition. And neither was David Ginn to my great amusement. And to my even greater amusement and even delight neither was Quentin Reynolds. This confirms my theory that if you have any sort of reputation in magic you should never go in for a magic competition since you will always lose and look a right pillock when you do. I remember reading Goodliffe's sage advice on this years ago and was reminded of it when Al Goshman went in for a close up competition and came fifth!

Anyway the book mentioned was by John Howtoka. I very much like the question and answer style. If I were going to become a restaurant magician I would recommend it.

Glenn Bishop
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Re: Performing Close Up Magic In Restaurants

Postby Glenn Bishop » November 17th, 2009, 9:07 am

As far as pay - I never really charge a lot to perform magic in a restaurant once a week. The reason is that I like the steady work. I try to get three places on Monday Tuesday and Wednesday that way it doesn't get in the way of any weekend show work that comes along.

I think that there is a lot of bad entertainment out there that tries to get work in the restaurant market. In my Market there is also Dan Fleshman who is in my opinion one of the top restaurant close up magicians of all time. In my opinion good guys working help the business over all.

I had an experience with the local clown class not long ago. I had to take a night off for a show. When I get a reputation of being in a place - I don't like to take off - However I do make it clear that I will need a night off to do a show now and then when I book the place.

I told the owner I would be in later so I could do this gig. He said just take the night off - I did not know it at the time but a local clown was teaching a clown class and they were going to come in that night for free and work the room.

Well as the story goes - they did not know anything of how to work a restaurant - and the owner told me that they hand no idea about how to work with people.

There is a professional side to doing this as a business. It is not the fun and easy job that people may think when they watch a good restaurant entertainer.

Because the good restaurant magicians make it look easy.

Just my opinion.

Glenn Bishop
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Re: Performing Close Up Magic In Restaurants

Postby Glenn Bishop » November 17th, 2009, 11:31 pm

That is the funny thing about this business. People that know nothing about it and have never experienced doing shows - or working a restaurant - or busking - how much work it is.

I remember people used to come into the magic shop - they would look around and say something like - wow this must be a fun business to be in. They have no idea how much work it is and it is as much work or more as any other kind of business that is a store that sells products.

The same as magic as a performer. People tend to forget that magic is what we do - but it is the service of entertainment is what is sold. At least that is from my point of view.

I don't care what others think about this. Pitching svengali decks or the squirmal for eight hours is work. And doing it outside at a fair or festival it is hard work.

Performing magic as a kid show entertainer is hard work. I was asked at a party I was entertaining at last Saturday. They asked what it was like to be a magician? I answered as I held up one of my suitcases where I pack my stand up show in. I said it is like moving day every day.

Dragging suitcases and props around all the time is not fun it is work. And through the rain - snow - and wind of working outside it is hard work. When I did the State Street Mall in Chicago in the month of October many years ago - it was very cold. Doing street magic in the mall and I can see my breath as I talked.

When working restaurants - some days are great - all you get is great audiences. They laugh - they have fun and sit back and enjoy the show.

Then there are nights when you get audiences that are much like some magicians. They grab props - they challenge - they want to shuffle the deck - they follow you around from table to table to try and spot the tricks. They interrupt - and they can be out and out rude.

Dealing with both kinds of audiences and making it look easy and it is not easy but it is part of what I do and part of the cost of doing this business.

Just my opinion.

Mark.Lewis
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Re: Performing Close Up Magic In Restaurants

Postby Mark.Lewis » November 17th, 2009, 11:49 pm

You know it is possible to work out of a small briefcase if you want to cut the props down. That way there is less to carry. And you can do just as good a show with few props as you can with many props. It saves dragging all that stuff around. I believe the expression is "pack small and play big"

As for selling svengali decks it is the hardest thing on God's green earth. I should know if anyone does. Sure people get enthusiastic over a short period but when you have to do it on a regular basis for too long a period it becomes hell on earth. A business I would avoid quite frankly especially if you are an older person. It takes an incredible amount of stamina.

Plus you have to have a certain mental toughness. This is not a business for babies. I have had a knife thrown at me by an irritated neighbouring vendor whose stand I was blocking. You become as hard as nails as a result of it.

It is far, far harder than doing trade show work.

Glenn Bishop
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Re: Performing Close Up Magic In Restaurants

Postby Glenn Bishop » November 18th, 2009, 8:51 am

As I remember - when I was still in Chicago several years ago. I used to do a few illusions. I got a call on the phone from a guy that wanted to book me and the big stuff. At the time I used to pay a girl to box jump.

I told him my fee and he said - that much for an hour show like it was a way to large amount of money.

I told him that this was the cost for me just to move the show to the show location and then set it up - the show was free. This was only a moving cost.

I still own a few big props but I rarely do them. Even if the act is two suitcases - and a sound system - that to me is a lot of stuff to drag around all the time. I remember Jack Pyle used to do a dove act and produce a rabbit. Because of the many props over the years he stopped doing doves.

He used to close his act with a large rabbit production from the knotted silk trick. Then later on he started to do more mental magic in his act and stopped doing the rabbit. He also did close up card magic. I guess as we get older many of the guys that I used to know - just don't want to drag a lot of props around as they get older.

For most of my Dads life in his later years he had me to do the grunt work. I dragged that box into and out of more moose lodges and halls through the back door - up and down stairs - than I want to remember all over Illinois for about 20 years for him.

When he hit his 60's the box was retired. I used it a few times and the box went over great but it was so old - and used so many times - I had to retire the box. Jay Marshall once said that my dad and mom worked so much that they wore out three box lids over the years.

They had to - they had 6 kids to feed.

I don't think that performing magic was easy in his day - and I think that it is even harder today.

Just my opinion.

Brandon Hall
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Re: Performing Close Up Magic In Restaurants

Postby Brandon Hall » November 18th, 2009, 6:16 pm

So Glenn, you didn't have any little "prop haulers" of your own?
"Hope I Die Before I Get Old"
P. Townshend

Glenn Bishop
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Re: Performing Close Up Magic In Restaurants

Postby Glenn Bishop » November 19th, 2009, 11:34 am

Sorry - No. I think that those days are gone. I am talking about the old days of the "family act". The Gwynne show was a "family act". Most of the kids worked in the act for a time as they grew up. It is much like a circus family.

I grew up that way. All of us kids at one time or another helped my dad with his show. My sisters were my dads assistants from time to time. My mom was my dads lead assistant. The act that my dad did for money was considered to be the "family business".

In my family the act - the show came first because it put food on the table.

When I wanted to be a magician as a kid - it was not taken lightly. I was asking to take part in the "family business". My dad and mom also had a reputation having been performing all their lives. In night clubs, vaudeville and TV. So for me to ask to do magic and want to be a magician was a very serious thing.

I learned the business from dragging props and doing grunt work. This put me into contact to learn show business from the ground up. I learned how to act in front of clients - and other important things that in my opinion few - if any magicians do today.

It was like this because it was a business. The business came first - not feelings - not playtime. Magic was a serious craft and secrets were valued.

I have chosen to keep my kids away from the social side of magic and show business. I am reminded of something that Don Alan said to me. When people asked him how to be a magician. And he said something like this. There are people that "want" to be a magician - and people that "need" to be a magician.

The people that "NEED" to be a magician and make their living performing magic - seem to find there way!

Just my opinion.

Dynamike
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Re: Performing Close Up Magic In Restaurants

Postby Dynamike » November 23rd, 2009, 7:58 pm

I used to perform in several restaurants. The main reason I lost the shows is because of new management. Presently I am working on that venue again.

Bob Sanders
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Re: Performing Close Up Magic In Restaurants

Postby Bob Sanders » January 25th, 2010, 11:58 am

Dynamike,

Have you done my Walk-Around Silk to Egg in restaurants? It can be repeated and resets. So you can carry it until you need it and repeat as often as the situation allows.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
DoveLite Silk
Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz
AmazedWiz@yahoo.com
SilkMagic@DoveLite.com



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