I just wrapped up performing at my first fair of 2022 and this fair has reminded me that to be successful performing at a fair you need a lot more than a good act. You need to be flexible as there are soo many unexpected variables.
The fair I was at has soo many challenges. One of the biggest ones was that it way very windy. By windy, I mean it would blow my table over. I’ve had to deal with that before sometimes the solution is simply to unscrew the top off my table and set it on the floor.
The stage was mostly in the Arizona sun all day, which bakes your props. I do a trick with keys and by the time I got to that routine they were physically uncomfortable to touch. The solution was to put strings on the end of the keys, so people could hold them by the string.
Then there was the blowing dust. Unfortunately there really wasn’t a solution to that. All that really can be done is to either pause until it stops or power through it.
Having performed at many fairs in the past, I’m aware of the challenges and while I’d prefer to not have the wind blow over my table, I’m equipped to handle them. Fairs will make you a better performer because you’ll have to deal with pretty much everything from weather, to people, to venue challenges. If you can figure out how to adapt, you can figure out how to work your show virtually anywhere.
When you get into comedy, one of the things that you need to get out of the way is your first experience of “bombing” onstage. Once you do that and realize it’s not soo bad, it’s much easier.
Doing the Vanishing Birdcage, I’ve had a fear of it not going up my sleeve all the way ever since I started doing the trick. It’s not something you can really have an out for…you can’t tap dance around a cage hanging out of your sleeve.
Last night at the fair on my last show of the day, I went to vanish the cage, and it got stuck, with about a quarter of the cage hanging out. Honestly in retrospect, I don’t think the audience really noticed it. In the moment it was a scary moment as a performer.
What did I do?
I pushed the cage all the way up my sleeve, then pulled the bird out of my pocket. It got applause. However the bigger lesson was seeing peoples faces, they seemed to still be amazed by the trick. I think if I had more of the cage hanging out it may have been a much bigger deal.
I feel good that I finally got my first vanishing birdcage failure out of the way and it’s no longer something I’m scared of!
I used to do a video series where I created magic tricks with things I found at my hotel. It’s been a long time since I’ve done one, they take a lot of energy to do. I stopped doing them pre covid, and I just made my first one in a couple of years.
It’s not the greatest trick in the world. However it’s getting me back into thinking creatively when on the road and it led to another idea with the forks.
What if you have two forks. You unwrap one and someone picks a tine and breaks it off. The second fork that is still wrapped is missing the same tine!
Methodwise you’d need to force a tine and then prebreak and reseal the other fork. easy peasy… -Louie
Sometimes I see people post things on social media that confuses me. I will also agree that I maybe old and not seeing things with a young person’s lens. The other day someone in a magic group asked if anyone still uses a website. What they meant by that is that they only have a facebook page…and that’s how they book all of their work.
I think just having a facebook page is a bad idea for several reasons. First of all you put all of your eggs in someone else’s basket that you have no control over. Second they’re soo much distraction that they can get when looking you up, that you really don’t have their dedicated attention. Finally if your name is hard to spell, or there’s more than one person with your name, it can be hard for someone to find you easily.
Why not just have a domain name you use and have it redirect to facebook? That solves two of the three of the problems of just using a facebook page. If facebook becomes the digital Sears, you can simply point your domain to a new space. You can also pick an easily spelled and remembered domain name that you can give to people.
Having a domain doesn’t solve the problem of distraction. Someone looking to book you will still have all of their facebook notifications on the top popping up.
Domains are cheap at about $20 a year, that’s less than $2 a month. Suck it up and buy a domain. -Louie
It’s been a while, but I think I’ve finally got my carry on magic show finished. This is a 30 minute show that fits in a briefcase and could be carry on luggage on an airplane. The case on the stand will go to my right and the applause sign is to my left when onstage.
I think the applause sign is something that adds some physical dimension to the show, so everything in it isn’t a flat handheld prop. The nice thing is while the applause sign is a large prop, it’s hollow, so that I can put things inside of it for travel.
Inside of the case when it’s set up for the show has a lot of free space, so nothing is too cramped inside. I do think I need to find a better way to store the fork and spoon trick, as it takes up a lot of space on the ledge in my case. I think I may make some sort of holder that’s on the inside of the lid of the case.
When the case is packed up, there’s not a lot room to spare:
I’m thinking I’m going to eliminate the stand for the applause sign and put a mic stand mount under it. That way all I can ask the venue for a mic stand and use that. I guess worst case scenario is that if they didn’t have a mic stand, I could simply set the applause sign on a chair or stool.
I’m trying is show out this week at a five day gig that I’m driving to, so I have my normal show with me as well as a backup in case I need it!
I think I’ve written about this before, but Hondo’s Flap Cards are amazing! These are essentially cards that change from one card to another. I frequently do quick little videos for events that I perform at for them to use on their social media and I usually use a flap card.
Here’s one I recently did:
What makes the flap card so great is that I can get two changes in very fast while delivering the message. Also it’s a very visual trick that doesn’t have a phase where I have to prove something, like showing a box empty. For me, these cards fit the bill!
In this episode of the Moisture Festival Podcast we triangulate locations and interview Stephon Walker aka Swami Yo Mami aka Less S Moore. We talk with Stephon over Zoom and discuss his many characters he has created in his 20 plus years of performing, what led him to create his characters and how his performance at the Kennedy Center was received.
We also discuss the world of pickpocketing, and how one even begins to explore the art of pickpocketing. A first attempt at interviewing where all three people and Stephon was awesome. We hope you enjoy it.
In Seattle we recently got our first NHL team, which is exciting. I finally made it out to a hockey game at our team’s first season. At the game for the preshow and the filler during the intermissions, they used the ice as a projector screen
This got me thinking about how to use space like that in a magic show. The rough thing is that in most venues that I would perform in the entire audience wouldn’t be able to see the floor.
They did a bit where they played bingo with specific sections, it was produced well, they lit the four sections that were playing and the bingo cards were projected on the floor.
It was a great use of the ice as a screen and the way they lit the audience made it play well.
I wonder if for a magic trick you could have essentially a bingo card that was projected onto the stage and people stand on numbers. You then have some process to eliminate people and end up predicting the final person standing. -Louie
I’m getting ready to head out for the beginning of my “Fair” season of 2022. My first one for this year is also the first one that I had cancel on me in 2020 and it also ended up cancelling in 2021. I recently did an interview with a reporter and did a quick search for the article. It doesn’t look like it’s been published yet, however I did find this one from right before the 2020 fair:
I like how the article does get a little bit of my “flavor” in there about going to ghost towns. It really doesn’t do a lot to put butts in seats, the show description lacks a lot of sizzle. I think it may not have been the writers fault, I may have not told them about the show in a super exciting way.
Reading this makes me remember how important it is for me to convey specific things and emotions from the show. Also, the line about me debuting a trick, I need to sell that a lot more. It’s lacking a ton of sizzle.
The season is just getting started, and I’ll have more chances to work on it! -Louie
This summer I’m planning on attending FISM. I bought my ticket in 2018, so been waiting four years for this to happen. I realized my FISM card had expired, so I renewed it.
The card is less than $15 if you belong to another magic organization like the International Brotherhood of Magicians…and it’s even cheaper if you just want a digital card. It’s an easy way to support a magic organization, and it’s a fun, unusual thing to keep in way wallet.
If you got a FISM card when they started selling registrations for FISM to get the cheaper rate, you should check your expiration date, it’s probably expired.