Well, I think I’ve finally accepted that virtual shows aren’t really a part of my business any longer. Sure, I can see one or two occasionally popping up, but they are really in my rear view mirror. Before heading out on the road last week, I disassembled my virtual show table and it returned to its former life as my street show table.
I still have all the parts and can easily rebuild it for virtual shows. One of the things that I really liked about the table was how high it was. The base was a speaker stand, and the table was about armpit height. The reason it was soo high was so that I could easily frame my face and the tabletop in the camera frame.
I’m a little sad to see the virtual show go, it was fun to do.
It’s a great shop, it’s mostly geared as a “pitch” shop, which makes sense as there’s not really a magic population. That said, he still has things of interest to a more experienced magician and Seth is very knowledgeable. He and also order things in for you to pick up if you know you’ll be in town.
It turns out I was familiar with Seth’s trick Howard’s Hustle and was recently thinking about it, so it was good to chat with him about it. Howard’s Hustle is a two card monte routine that has an ending and begins and ends with showing both sides of the cards. It’s really clever and I have an idea for using the general idea for what Seth’s doing in the trick for a very different routine.
If you’re passing through Astoria, OR you should swing by and say hi. His shop is in the tourist area, so you’ll probably walk by anyway.
Show business is funny. In less 24 hours you can go from performing outdoors in the full sun (I’m not complaining, I love outdoor gigs):
To performing indoors at a really cool theater!
While both shows are similar, there are things that I do indoors that I don’t do outdoors and things I do outdoors that I don’t do indoors. There are reasons for that, the audiences are different. Inside I can take a little bit of time with things, so I can do some slower tricks. Outdoors everything is a bit quicker and I’m a little more aggressive when I perform.
I enjoy indoors and outdoor performing, and both have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. As a performer you need to learn what material of yours works in each situation. -Louie
In the past I’ve written about trying to make little sizzle reels for events that I’m performing at. I really started doing this with virtual shows as it’s really easy to as it’s already being done for a camera. Most of the ones I’ve been doing recently are videos of me doing close up magic. This is my first one of the stage show that I do for fairs.
Now that I have a template of what to show, it’s shouldn’t be too hard for me to do them for future fairs. I know the things to show, and can spend more energy on the look out for more spontaneous things that get caught on video.
Right now we’re in the middle of the summer outdoor performing season. One of nice things about performing at fairs which are multi-day events is that you only need to load in once and load out once. After the first day my gear lives at the fair. Normally they are supposed to have a space for me to store my gear on the grounds, however that doesn’t always happen.
Last week my stage was a trailer and to avoid doing a complete pack out everyday, I locked my show to a chain that was under the stage!
Is this the most secure way to store a show? Probably not, however anytime you store your gear anywhere you are taking a risk. The amount of “locked” storage areas where I keep my trunk which seem to never actually be locked is very high! At some point you have to have faith that no one is going to the fair to steal your show. It does happen, I know of people that have had things stolen, however it’s pretty rare if you take basic precautions like locking things up.
Many times after shows magicians will comment on how much is must cost me to perform my show. I have several spots where I use props that I can’t reuse each show. Honestly, I don’t have too many props that are single use. Here are my consumable props for my day at the fair:
Each show I use a paper coil, kabuki streamer, bar of hotel soap and a banana. In addition to the picture I also give away some of my wristbands which I sell after the show. Every show costs me about five dollars to do. To me this isn’t a big deal and since I’m getting paid, it’s just the cost of doing business.
If spending $5 or $100 to do your show is what your vision as an artist is, then it’s money well spent! -Louie
Last week while doing my sound check, I had the sound guy ask me to turn up the volume on my handheld mic.
This is a scenario where knowing your gear comes in handy. This was a Shure SM58, which is a very standard microphone and 99% of handheld mics don’t have volume knobs.
I asked the sound guy for clarity, that he was referring to the corded handheld I was holding. He said yes, and repeated that I should turn up the volume on it. I told him I was unaware corded handheld mics had a volume knob and didn’t know how to adjust it, and he’d have to show me. At that point, somehow he magically made the sound go up using only his soundboard.
The whole week ended up being a struggle with this sound company. From them wanting to sound check a band 10 minutes before my show after I had already starting to my “talk up” for crowd building, to them telling me my gear was bad when it ultimately was their snake that had bad inputs.
The moral of the story is to not let anyone push you around, and know your gear, so that you know how it works, why it works and that will usually give you a clue as to why it’s not working when it doesn’t.
Whenever I work with an act that uses a Samson Airline Microphone, I always know at some point it’s going to give them some trouble. I know tons of performers swear by these microphones, however I’m not convinced. Usually there’s interference or the just plain drop out during the show.
Part of the problem could be that it has a very limited number of channels it can use. If there’s already things on the three frequencies it can use or other things trying to use them, that may be the problem.
It could be that the people who swear by these mics work in small venues that don’t have a lot of other radio frequencies going around. They may work perfectly at a school, but take it out to a busy fairground where there’s a lot more trying to use radio frequencies and from what I’ve seen, you’ll have trouble.
I use a Sennheiser mic pack and it has tons of channels it can scan. Sure it’s more expensive, but it’s never let me down (except for operator error).
Last week I performed at a fair that was very windy and dusty. One of the things that the wind and dust (plus the sun) does is put a lot of wear and tear on your props. After the fair wrapped up, I got up early the next morning before my flight home and did some cleaning and maintenance on my props.
There were several things that I just had to throw away as the dust made them not work properly and I really couldn’t get inside them to clean them. It was also a good time to give my magic show props a good once over to look for things that need repairs, or touch ups.
The nice thing about doing this clean up before I left is when I fly back to CA in a couple of days, I won’t have to clean my props, I can just load into the next gig.
My first night hanging out at Magic Live, there was a free show that I could attend. This show was technically not part of Magic Live. It was a show that was honoring the Amazing Jonathan. It was produced and hosted by The Shocker and it was a ton of fun!
The show was billed as an edgy show. Some of the people performing did their acts and other people did what felt like custom things for this show (I can’t imagine why they would do it anywhere else).
One of the highlights for me was Chris Korn. He did a strange thing where he “switched places” with someone from the audience. I’m not going to say what the trick was, you had to be there, but I will say the trick really fell flat, however I loved it. Chris took a risk, and big one and had to commit 100% to the bit. I admire and respect that!
The show makes me want to be more fearless onstage! -Louie