100 Foot Chain Escape

I don’t really do escapes in my show, except for my Straight Suit routine. Years ago I did a 100 foot chain escape, and I recently did it again at a street show at a fair.

This routine really builds a huge crowd. The nice thing about it is that it’s easy to understand what’s happening if you just walk up. You see someone being wrapped up in a lot of chain, you know they are going to get out.

My routine starts with a wrist restraint and ends with me getting out of it that restraint. The reason for that is I have a lot more control of how long the routine lasts and what the ending looks like than with just the chain. Also the starting position with my wrists secured and held out in front of my body allows me to more naturally hold the chain up, if gravity starts to loosen it too quickly before the escape starts.

It’s been probably 5 years since I’ve done the chain escape and I think I may be done with it. I might have aged out out it…or more realistically I’m too fat to do it. I can still escape from the chain, but it’s not believable when someone over weight does physical escapes. If I drop about 20 pounds, I think it would work better in the show and I’d reconsider doing it.

-Louie

Street Performing 101…

When I was a kid starting out, I used to take a bus into downtown and street perform. I still ocassionally street perform, but not usually in the normal context of plunking a table down on a street corner. When I perform at fairs, sometimes I will do a “found space” show. These shows happen on the fairgrounds and are pretty much street shows. The main difference is that the show doesn’t end with a hat pitch. I don’t ask for money.

Yesterday I performed at a busker festival, and I was one of the paid acts, so I didn’t have to ask for money. I did after my first show, but the second show I couldn’t because there was a presentation after me and they wanted me to hold the crowd and introduce the guy that was going to talk.

From the one show I did where I did a hat pitch, I remembered how important it is to actually have a hat pitch. My non existent hat pitch didn’t really work. There are essentially two elements to a good hat pitch. First is the plea, you tell them why they should tip you. Usually these start with, “This is my job…” and then tell about how tips are your income. You then do your final big trick and go into the call to action, where you tell people to put money in your hat. There are a million stock lines for this, like “Remember Tipping isn’t just a city in China…” Things like that. It’s the running lines of patter during the hat that fill the awkward, empty silence and while people are digging out their wallets.

In my opinion, having a strong hat pitch and a good show will make you more money street performing than having a good hat pitch and a strong show. If you’re thinking about street performing, be sure to work on the hat pitch!

Socially Distant Street shows…

Last weekend I was in Raleigh, NC and went for a walk. One of the things that I came across was a little street festival. It was a little bit of a return to getting back to normal. There was a street performer, and she was signer ad had a pretty decent sized crowd (also her PA was crazy loud!).

One of the interesting thing was how the crowd with now instructions, socially distanced themselves by group. This is a good sign for my summer performing at fairs. One of the things that I was worried about was how I was going to handle the crowds, and keep them socially distant. I was curious how much of that would be on me to do. It’s looking good that the audience will do it themselves. However, I think a lot of this will have to do with the local culture.

Whatever your personal beliefs on masks or social distancing, the reality is that if you want to work, you are going to have to follow whatever procedures the venue imposes. That may be nothing, or that may me a lot. Sure, as a magician whose job it is to entertain a crowd, you can’t force anyone to follow and rules or regulations. Just thinking about how you would manage a crowd now, will help you in the future if you ever need to.

Creating Digital Content…

Lately I’ve been busy creating digital content for events. This is different from virtual or live stream shows. I’m creating tricks and routines specifically for their groups and they are using them to promote their online events. It’s fun, and very much a different mindset than performing.

Here’s a practice video for one of these videos:

Ultimately we didn’t use the final trick, however this is a good example of having fairly well rounded knowledge of magic techniques comes in handy. Personally I never thought I’d be doing any illusions at this point in my career, but know a little bit about them has come in pretty handy lately!

Lip Bomb!

A couple of months ago I recorded my Coin in Chapstick magic trick and haven’t looked at it. I’m glad I finally did, the trick looks great! My only problem with it is that it doesn’t really have a place in my show. I did a blog post about it awhile ago about how just … Continue reading “Lip Bomb!”

A couple of months ago I recorded my Coin in Chapstick magic trick and haven’t looked at it. I’m glad I finally did, the trick looks great! My only problem with it is that it doesn’t really have a place in my show. I did a blog post about it awhile ago about how just because it’s an everyday object doesn’t mean it’s right for your show.

You can watch my trick here:

The trick would be better suited as a “street magic” type video than it would in formal show. I’ll probably write it up and publish it in Vanish Magazine.