Clean Show…

One thing that I think a lot of acts forget about is keeping your props looking clean. Sure you can wipe them down, but at some point they will just get worn down. I understand some props are irreplaceable or expensive to replace, but that needs to be part of the plan when you get them. Yes, I do understand that some props aren’t supposed to look new, and most props don’t have to look brand new.

I used to do lasso in my show a long time ago and I’m learned to do it again, so I bought a new lasso. Of course right after I get the new one, I found my old one. Here they are side by side:

The old one looks pretty filthy, and with something like a lasso, it’s hard to keep it looking brand new, but they are pretty cheap to replace at less than $30ish. The old one I used for many years, and there’s really no reason I can’t replace it every year.

Take a step back and look at your props and see what needs to be replaced or maybe just needs a fresh coat of paint!


Abbott’s Day 2

Yesterday was the first official day of the Abbott’s Magic Get Together. I spent a good chunk of the morning in the dealers room showing people the products that I brought with me. Then I walked (15 mins) into downtown to see the street performer:

People liked him, however he was a little bit too standard for my tastes. All standard tricks, done in the standard way, with standard patter.

Later in the day was Nick Diffate’s lecture.

It was good, he shared some good stuff.

The stage show that night was fun, and it was good to see Stuart Mcdonald’s act.

There are a few choices that performers make that make me scratch my head. The first is when you’re dong a magic convention and in the evening show, why would you do a standard trick in the standard way? I honestly believe that professor’s nightmare has no place in a show at a magic convention.

The other was they had a speed painter who added a mentalism bit to his speed painting. The effect was he was going to paint the person that someone was thinking of. He used an Amazebox to force it, and from the audience I could tell something didn’t look right. The speed painter got to the end and when he asked the person to reveal the person they were thinking of, it wasn’t who he painted. It took all of the air out of the trick. If you have a skill that’s very interesting, don’t try to add a magic trick to it…especially if you’re not a good magician.

So far, the first day has been a blast!

Take Them Off…

One thing I don’t get is performers who wear sunglasses when they perform outdoors. It blocks your connection to the audience. I don’t care if you have a sensitivity to light, it hurts your show. I get that standing in the sun is uncomfortable, but so is sweating in 107 degree heat.

At the ND State Fair, on the stage next to my stage is a music stage. Daniel Kosel is performing, and all week he’s been wearing sunglasses for his shows. I want to note that his show is a lot less of a show than the other acts I’ll be talking about later in this post.

Daniel Kosel performing at the ND State Fair

Daniel is just a guy with a guitar, who stands there and sings. He sings slower songs and mostly older songs. His performance isn’t very dynamic, there’s nothing he does that makes you want to watch him, he’s more of an ambient act, than a mainstage act. While there’s nothing wrong with that, I also don’t think this is the venue for that. He’d be better in a smaller, indoor type venue.

Yesterday on the same stage they had the 188th Army Band of North Dakota. This is one of the Army/National Guard Band, and if you ever get the chance to see any of the army bands, do it! They performers are all super talented and very dynamic. They do upbeat music, and their show is super tight! Any performer can learn a lot about watching these band.

188th Army Band of North Dakota

If you look at the pic of the 188th band above, you’ll notice the guy in the center is wearing sunglasses. While I’m not a fan, I also give him a pass, as he’s not the front person, it’s the lady to the left that’s the signer. The guy in the middle was doing a guitar solo when the pic was taken.

The final show of the day was Sting Rays Jukebox Rock. This show is a high energy show that’s full of production and is a lot of fun. Sting Ray plays oldies, but songs everyone knows. He’s got a great look and a tight show. He does a good job connecting with the audience. He’s very likeable onstage.

Sting Ray’s Jukebox Rock

You’ll notice that no one in Sting Ray’s show is wearing sunglasses. I know this pic was taken after sun down, but at his earlier shows while the sun was up, everyone’s eyes were visible.

I’ve always told performers you can learn more about performing by watching other shows than you can by doing your show. You learn what you like or don’t like, and once you know what you don’t like, you can try to avoid those things in your show.