Last weekend I was working at an Oddities Expo with Brent Fiasco. Brent crushed his shows and does a great street style show. He does a solid crowd built, and a great job of uniting the audience.
In his 30 min set, he does four routines. He does three routines in the first 12 minutes and one in the last 18 minutes. The show does a good job of building the crowd in the first three routines and then selling the “big trick” and prolonging it as long as possible in the last 18 minutes.
Brent’s show is a great lesson in how to structure a street show and he also does a great job of living in the moment. If you get the chance, his show work worth checking out!
This weekend I’m working at an oddities expo in Phoenix, AZ. I did one of these last year in Michigan and with this one being my second one, I’m viewing it with a different lens than my first one.
The first challenge is that the audience is standing, there’s no seating for them. Here’s my view from the stage before the expo opened.
With no seating, getting audience members to commit to the show is very different than if they were seated. This is really street performing on a stage, versus a stage show.
In the last year I’ve been transitioning my show to be more of a theater style show, so this was a challenge for me material wise. Each show the first day I made some changes and it’s gotten better, but it’s still got a long way to go to hit hard for this situation.
I’d love to say how hard I killed, but I didn’t, I’m doing OK and treading water. If I did more than one of these events a year, I’d probably get way better at it, but with only one, improving the show for the venue is slow and difficult.
When I was buying some props at a Walmart I came across the Nertz game that is put out by Bicycle. It’s got different colors of the rider back cards. These would be great for making color changing card tricks. The only downside is that these appear to only come in jumbo index.
and a funny little thing that I noticed is on the back it lists all the colors and which ones are new. It lists red as a new color?!
If you’re working on a color changing card effect, I think it’s worth it to pick up a pack of these!
In this episode of the Moisture Festival Podcast, we are thrilled to have the extraordinary performer Maria Margiyeva! Maria takes us on her journey from her childhood as a gymnast to performing in a bubble 3o feet in the air! It’s a great interview with a very talented performer.
I’m going though stuff that I have and on my shelf I have a really cool set of Will Goldston Magic Books. These are the Locked Book Series where the first three originally came with a leather binding with a lock on it. Unfortunately most of the copies that have their original bindings are in rough condition and usually the lock is unattached.
The set I have are numbered first editions and have been rebound and it’s previous owner was John Pomeroy who owned GEM Magic.
I mentioned the previous owner to David Charvet and he said he thinks that Pomeroy put the new covers on them himself!
This is a cool set of books and they’re available as reprints that you can find on Amazon. They’re worth looking into!
One of the things that I’m trying to figure out for the Giant Linking Pin / Thumb Tie routine that I’m working on is what is the presentation hook. It’s the why am I showing this to the audience. This is usually the hardest piece of the puzzle to figure out when creating a routine.
I’d been doing it as “the first trick I ever learned“, but artistically, that’s pretty lazy. That premise is a good placeholder to get the routine onstage, but it’s now a good long term one (usually).
It hit me the other night, I personally have a needle phobia (in a medical setting). I could use that as the hook by saying that I did “exposure therapy” starting with carrying around safety pins in my pocket and eventually moved up to the giant pins. That tells the audience something real about me, and gets an unusual prop (the giant safety pins) into play.
I need to play with it more, but I think it’s a good idea…
I’m liking the thumb tie routine that I’ve been working on the last two weeks. There’s a lot of big laughs in the routine!
One of the challenges in writing for this routine is that a lot of the “comedy” comes from me and the guy onstage being stuck together. I want to make jokes, but the reason for the joke funny can’t be because it’s “gay”. What I mean by that is if the only reason the joke gets a laugh is because it implies one or both of use is gay, I don’t want it. I personally don’t think anyone’s sexual orientation should be the punchline of a joke. That and I don’t have any sexual content or inuendo in the show.
The jokes have to be about the situation that the guy and myself are in. Writing with rules can be harder, but ultimately I think it will make a better routine.
The last ten days I was sharing the stage with another act that used a lot of magic tricks. One of the tricks that they used was my Snake Wand Surprise!
I always love seeing my props out there in other peoples shows! This is the first time I’ve shared the stage with one of my props used by someone else. It’s a good feeling knowing that people are out there using my stuff and making a living with them!
It’s an OK media spot, not the best. They wanted 90 seconds, and I ran the card trick for the camera guy and producer and they wanted the whole routine, just done in 90-120 seconds. That made the spot rushed, I should have let most of the effects linger longer for displays of the card.
Then the camera work during the card trick missed a lot of things because it was tightening up when it should have been wider. All in all, it wasn’t a bad TV spot, but it wasn’t great.
The last week I’ve been working on a thumb tie using electrical tape. The routine is starting to figure itself out, but I keep noticing dead spots or spots where the blocking is rough and hard for the audience to see.
One place in the routine that’s both dead time and not really audience viewing friendly is when the guy on stage cuts the tape off my fingers. About half the time they try to cut into the gimmick, which obviously is no good. Then I also have to make sure they don’t cut my thumb! While the whole process probably takes 5-10 seconds, it’s a hot mess onstage.
My solution has been to hand the guy the scissors, then take them back, but with my now free hand and cut the tape off my left hand. It gets a laugh at the surprise of my hand being free! I can cut the tape off my thumb really quickly and while facing the audience.