Working on the Half Circle Show

One of my goals this summer is to work on my half circle show. This a street performing style show where it’s more parlor or stage than it is close up magic. Last week was the first week I took out the current version of the show and it had some wins and some losses.

The things that I need to work on:

  • I need to lay out a larger perimeter. I’m putting my rope line too close to my performing area, leaving me with a very tight half circle.
  • I need to get out from behind the table. This is partially a symptom of laying out my perimeter too tight.
  • I need to do the three trick set that I had planned and do it as planned.

A few other mistakes that I made.

  • I tried a routine from a different show that’s a comedy escape, but there’s a blow off at the end where I don’t get out. It’s funny if you see the whole routine, but if you only catch the last 30 seconds, you don’t get it and it looks like I messed up.
  • I need to take my PA out of my cart. It doesn’t sound right with it in the cart. I blame laziness on my end for that.
  • If I continue to use music, I need to plan it out better than using my existing stage show music.

Ok, so things that I did right:

  • I tried to improve every day.
  • I did things outside of my comfort zone

Well, those are my general reflections on the week. Hopefully the show will continue to improve the more I do it an the more I start to figure it out!


Walnuts to Glass Magic Routine: UPDATE

I’ve been working on a walnut to glass routine for a little while and there’s one challenge I keep hitting: Why walnuts?

Using balls with cups and balls makes sense as it looks like the shell game which people are aware of. Even though it’s cups and balls and the shell game visually are very different to people who do them, to the general public who have never seen them in real life, it’s appears to be the same.

The challenge with using nuts is basically I’m fighting the whole routine being a testicle joke. I can’t call them “nuts” in the routine, they have to be walnuts. However every time I handle them, I think I’m going to be fighting people in the audience making their own jokes. I really just don’t want that.

I’m switching over to using my Cee Lo dice and cup routine and doing the hat load of the giant metal nut. I’m also using a devils hank for a vanish of all three dice instead of doing a two in the one in the pocket sequence. The bits I have planned for the devil’s hank before the vanish will hopefully help the routine play larger!

I’m hitting the road in a few days and I’ll know if it plays or not soon!


It’s a Sign…

The book To Lure With Spectacle by Jimmy Talksalot is fantastic! One of the pieces of advice that I fought for a long time was to make a simple sign that says, “Magic Show”. I finally did it a month or so ago.

magic show sign

It’s crazy the difference that little sign has made. It helps build a crowd before I’ve started. Sometimes the simplest things make a big difference! Also go out and buy his book.


Call and Response…

There’s a common street performer “trick” to unite the audience and it’s call and response. If you’re not familiar with what that is, it’s typically used when the performer says something like, “Would you like to see another trick…say YES!” then the audience responds by saying YES.

This an effective technique uniting the audience, they’re doing something together and it helps them start to become an audience and not just a bunch of individuals. This is especially important for an outdoor show where you may have a transient audience. Another thing it does is forces the audience to invest energy into the show. The more they are invested in the show, the more they will stay and watch the show…and like it!

I like the technique, but I personally don’t like how most people do it, they’re doing it simply because it’s effective. There’s no real purpose besides filling a hole in the show because you don’t have a segue to the next routine.

When I use it in my show, I give it a bit of meaning. In my Drawing in Ball of Yarn routine, I do it to have the audience vote on whether I should buy the person’s drawing. It accomplishes the same thing and just telling the audience to say “yes”, in fact it actually moves the show forward!

With a little bit of thought, you can find ways to use this technique to move the show forward, instead of a hack bit.


The Vanishing Birdcage

Last week at the fair I was performing at, I decided to to carry my vanishing birdcage on my walk from the dressing room to the stage I was on. Whenever anyone asked me about it, I made it disappear!

@louiefoxx Taking my bird out for a walk between shows at the San Mateo County Fair! #sanmateocountyfair #countyfair #sanmateo @SanMateoCountyFair #magic #magician #birdtrick #louiefoxx #magictrick #parakeet ♬ Stolen Dance (Instrumental)

It was a fun thing to go to give fair goers a special moment…and something that made my daily commute to the stage a little more fun!


Shell Game Phase

I frequently have people ask me about why I like Leo Smetser’s Three Shell Game set. I like it because it’s the shells are heavy, and I prefer the bowl shape. Another thing is that it all fits together into a nice container that fits neatly in my pocket.

I just started doing a phase that’s unique to this shell set. This set has rubber O rings on the top of them, and I use those for a phase:

With Leo’s set, you can do soo much more than with just a regular set. I really dig this set, sure it’s probably not everyone’s flavor, but I’m a fan!

Photo Ops!

When you are out performing, I always try to keep an eye out for photo ops. Moments where I can take a picture and it will make good social media content. Once you do this a while you start to have some ones you do often. Things like a dog watching my flea circus or law enforcement playing the three shell game!

Three shell game

Once you have a few “hits” you know what to look for, but don’t get soo blinded by the hits that you aren’t on the look out for new things!

card sticker on kid

For example the new thing I’m doing where I peel the picture off of the card and stick it onto a kid. This is a great photo op!


Street Show Props…

A couple of weeks ago, I was loading my street show into the dressing/storage/green room at a fair and had all my gear laid out before packing it into it’s cart.

street magic show

That’s my street show. There’s not much to it. I have a shoebox with close up magic, but 90% of the time I don’t do any of that aside from the card trick that’s my initial crowd build. I’m not sure why I travel with the close up magic anymore, I think it’s my mental security blanket in case I can’t stop more than two people.


Fair and Festival Roving…

I think I was scrolling through facebook and I came across this video on the props that another magician uses for strolling at a fair:

There’s a lot of stuff in this that I disagree with, but the first thing is what he says he wears. He says his costume (whatever you wear while performing is a costume) is a t shirt and cargo shorts. I’m someone who is pretty dressed down compared to most magicians, but I don’t think I would perform in a Tshirt and shorts.

The other thing that I don’t agree with is how much material the he’s taking. I should say that I don’t agree with it “for me”. You really don’t need that many props, you’re doing roving, not a formal 22 minute magic castle close up set.

Here’s the props for my roving set:

That’s a 20 minute set if I wanted to do it as a long chunk, however I normally wouldn’t do it that way. Normally I’d do it as a 5-10 minute set. There’s a lot of variety in what you see there. Obviously there’s a lot that I can do with the deck of cards, then there’s the linking pins and finally the wallet. The wallet is a card to wallet, but inside it I have my Splitting Image trick, and a bunch of business cards that I can do mentalism with.

That’s the core set, then if I’m working on something new, I will add that to my those props. The whole works will fit into my two front pockets. Just because you have a ton of pocket space, it doesn’t mean you need to fill them with tricks!


To Lure With Spectacle!

When I was performing in King City, CA a few weeks ago my buddy Skip Banks let me read his copy of To Lure With Spectacle by Jimmy Talksalot. I mentioned to Skip that there was a couple of things about my street show that I didn’t like and he brought in the book for me to read the next day.

To lure with spectacle by jimmy talksalot

I was a great read and it really helped me solve some of the problems I was having with my street show. I like it so much I bought one for myself!

The current edition looks different from the previous one, it’s got a lot less frills, but the same great information. If you’re interested in doing street shows, I highly recommend it!