Flag Magic Done Bad

One thing that drives me nuts is how performers use and treat the US flag in their show. I’m not the most patriotic person in the world, however one thing that stuck with me from school as a kid is when we learned about the US Flag Code. The Flag Code are rules that define the US flag, but also how to display and handle it. Once you learn it, you’ll see violations everywhere from flags hung backwards at the grocery store, to displayed on vehicles wrong (FYI, flying it from the middle of the tailgate of your pickup truck is incorrect).

Now let’s get to performers using flags. If you do the bag you put silks into and then that turns into the flag, technically you’re violating:

§ 8 (h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.

However using the flag as a receptacle isn’t seen to the audience, but does that make it right?

If you do mismade flag, its it neatly folded before you load it into the change bag, or do you stuff it in there? And then at the end of the trick, what do you do with the flag? If you put it in your case, do you make sure no other props get set on it?

A few months ago I worked with a band who had a flag hung from their singer’s mic stand.

band performing

Unfortunately the flag is hung upside down! This is a big NO NO for hanging the flag. There’s a very specific reason to hand a flag upside down and it is:
§ 8 (a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

If you use a US flag in your show, you should read and know the US Flag Code and follow it!


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