Stage Make Up

One of the things that I learned to do a couple of years ago was makeup. Coming out of comedy clubs, that’s something that performers really didn’t do. During the 2020’s I needed to learn to do my own make up for a TV show as they couldn’t provide a makeup person per the covid restrictions at the time.

I don’t do much, it’s really to take the shine off, but it makes a huge difference in pictures!

Stage Make up

If you don’t know how to do very basic stage makeup, there are tons of books about it and probably a ton of YouTube videos that can teach you. I hired a theater person to teach me a very basic routine. It’s totally worth learning!


Too Much Tech…

Last night we watched the production show on the Cruise Ship we’re on vacation on. It’s essentially a dance show with some singing, but the whoever wrote/designed the show decided to highlight the tech over the people. While not an always bad choice, for me (and I’m biased as I make my living as a live performer) watching special effects on a screen gets old…especially when you have talented humans on the stage.

There was a lot of the time they had dancers doing their thing in the dark while the screens overpowered them.

robot cabaret show

I totally understand what they were going for, which was a high tech show. I think there were ways to do it, like simply lighting the live performers while still keeping their futuristic theme.

Then at then end something strange happened. The cruise director came out (which is normal) and mentioned that the six moving screens cost a million dollars each, so six million total. It was, as my wife said, “a strange flex“, where he was giving props to a robot. For six million dollars, you could have an insanely amazing show with minimal tech! In my view, the cruise director trivialized the humans in the show. A better thing to say would have been something like, “let’s not forget a round of applause for the million dollar robot screens…and another round of applause for the cast of Pixel’s Cabaret that came from 7 different countries and 3 continents to entertain you.” He’d still get to brag about how much the TV’s cost, but also honor the performers. Without them, I don’t think anyone would watch the 40 minute show of just flashing lights.

Look at your show, is the technology overpowering you?
We’re in a time where it’s easy to add production value to your show, but is it always necessary?
Does tech in your show get in the way of you connecting on a human level with your audience?

I could be old school and out of touch, but that’s my opinion.

Studio Promo Videos…

I’m thinking about updating my promo video and was watching some other magician’s promo videos this morning. One thing I noticed that I don’t like, however I’m not sure if anyone else notices or not are videos that don’t show the performer in front of a crowd. Here’s one I found from a magician named Alfred, who from the video has great technical skills, however there’s no audience:

What that says to me is the person doesn’t do many shows, I could be wrong. I honestly don’t know if that’s what a booker sees?

I also don’t know how I feel about “studio” shots in a promo video. I understand that a lot of the time it can be the only way to get a certain piece of video, like a close up that wouldn’t really be possible without really annoying the audience. I can usually tell when a studio shot is mixed in with live shots, the energy feels different.

I guess my feelings on promo videos that don’t show actual performances clips is that they aren’t for me.

Do It Live…Please!

Last week I worked with an 1880’s Frontier Show. The description made it look like it was one of the shows where the kids from the audience get dressed up and they do a show. Usually these types of shows are circus themed and the kids do the circus acts. This one was frontier themed. They have a very limited amount of the kids being dressed up, and they have one kid do the bit alone. Which is strange as the kids alone really lack direction and don’t know what to do.

Their set up looks great and had activities for the kids to do all day. The show lacked a lot. It was all done to a track and they performers lip sync’d the show. This took any sense of spontaneity out of the show. That’s the fun thing with kids, funny and unplanned things can happen. Most of the show was the people who run the show performing. It was pretty sad, I don’t want to see someone lip sync a song, I want to see them sing the song, that’s why you got to live entertainment!

They had a ventriloquist (I think that was the intention) tell a story that was all to a recorded track.

The picture above pretty much sums up the energy level of the show. If they simply switched to doing all the songs, and talking live the show would instantly get better!

Here’s what I learned form watching this show. People go to live shows to see people exhibit their talents…and to see them do it live. People don’t want to see you mouth along to a prerecorded track. They want the experience of something happening now!

Empty Theaters…

Next week I’m performing at the Auburn Ave Theater and the other day I found out on the news there’s some changes about the show:

It’s kinda surreal to get texts about changes to my show from friends who saw a news article about it that used my picture!

Personally I don’t care if I’m performing for 25% or 50% capacity, I’m going to give the best show that I can under the conditions that I’m given. Sure it will be strange performing to a nearly empty venue with everyone spaced out, but we’ll have some fun regardless!

Live “In Person” Shows…

Recently I finished a road trip around the USA and I stumbled upon two live music concerts. This really surprised me as I didn’t think live, public performances are something that would be happening right now. One was in Arizona and the other was in California. Since I wasn’t seeking out live entertainment and came across two shows, I’m assuming a lot more is happening.

The first one was in Arizona and it was in the corner of a restaurant’s outdoor patio. The band wasn’t wearing masks, but they were “socially distant” from the audience. There was no seating within about 12 feet of their performance area. This one felt like it was within the area’s health district’s guidelines.

The second was in California at a “pop up art installation“. This one all of the band except the singer had face masks, however there was no real distance to the audience and the audience’s seating had no space between the chairs. This one felt like it was done with no regard to what their local health department is recommending (I could be wrong).

In addition to these two concerts, I ran across about half a dozen street performers. This tells me that people are ready and want live, in person entertainment. Is the time right to go out and start doing shows?

I don’t know.

Personally I’m following what the health department says. If they say I can do a show for less than 10 people with them all 6 feet apart, then I’m good with that. If they say I can do 30 people in a small room or 500 people outdoors, then that works for me.

Is this the right way to do it?

For me it is, it may not be for you. I’m trusting my the health department and in theory they’re more informed than me. This may or may not be true. They also may have an agenda or be directed by someone who does.


Seeing other magicians do magic tricks is something that inspires me. They could be amazing, horrible, or whatever and I’ll love it. More than enjoying it, it inspires me to be better. A bad act inspires me to be better to put distance between me and the act and good act makes me want to … Continue reading “Inspiration…”

Seeing other magicians do magic tricks is something that inspires me. They could be amazing, horrible, or whatever and I’ll love it. More than enjoying it, it inspires me to be better. A bad act inspires me to be better to put distance between me and the act and good act makes me want to be better to close the distance between me and the act.

Based on how many magicians I see at all the magic stuff I go to, I think that not many magicians are out there supporting magic. I go to most of the local shows and hardly ever see the same faces, with a couple of exceptions.

Your New Years Resolution should be to go out and see more magic shows and support live magic. The more of us out performing the better it is for all of us.