Carter The Great!

Finding vintage magic stuff out in the wild is fun! The other night I was at McMenamin’s in Tacoma, WA and spotted this Carter the Great poster!

carter the great poster

This is an original three sheet poster and looks great for being about 100 years old! The marquee illusion in the poster is “stretching a lady” which is usually a comedy piece now, but I’m sure was a show stopper back then!

Keep an eye out there for magic posters in the wild, there’s a ton of them!

-Louie

Super Creepy…

When I clean up the office, I sometimes will find things I forgot about. I’m going to give you a bit of a backstory: When I was a teenager I went to Dave Goodsell’s West Cost Wizards Magic Camp. One of the instructors/leaders was Bob Markwood. A few years later Bob went to jail for molesting kids and you can read about his and him continuing to perform for kids as a registered sex offender at: https://www.insideedition.com/5402-kiddie-party-magicians-secret-past

When I was at magic camp Bob always gave me a weird vibe. I remember hearing kids talk about Bob inviting them to the hot tub and then the time he hung out in our bunk and I’m 99% sure he was drunk. I have a picture of him from that night somewhere.

Anyway, after the magic camp ended one of the kids send me a copy of a picture that I was in. On the back he wrote a note:

bob markwood

The “I hope to see you at Bob’s” was something I had forgotten about. Bob had invited us all to his place for a camp “reunion” a few months after the camp hand ended. Seeing that note really creeped me out and I’m lucky at how close I came being in a bad situation with a very bad dude.

-Louie

Ring and Silk

A trick that I love, that you don’t see very often is the Ring and Silk. This is usually a sequence of a silk magically going on and off of a ring. I think this trick isn’t common is that it’s most common method makes it a better stage trick than a parlor trick and definitely not a close up trick.

If you do a search on this blog you can read about my version of a Silk and Ring routine that uses a coat hanger in place of the ring.

A couple of weeks ago when I was performing at the Moisture Festival I got to work with Steve Owen and he did the trick!

steve owen silk and ring

I got to watch it the first time on the TV in the green room, then the second time I got to watch it live. One of the cool things about Steve’s routine is that he uses multiple methods. This makes the trick a lot stronger. I think one of the drawbacks of the standard method is that you use it over and over and if someone catches it early on, the routine is no good for them. But mixing methods can cancel out methods.

-Louie

Generic Kid’s Show

Last week I did a library gig, it was my, first one since last summer and it was a lot of fun. They had me doing a show for kids on spring break and had me do a fun, non themed show.

library magic show

The show has a very simple set up, just a case, banner and my sound system. The show is my generic kid show.

library magic show

Here’s a peek into the show’s case. That’s a 45 minute show with about 10-12 minutes of additional emergency material. The emergency material is for when the audience is a lot younger than what the show is designed for. I’ll swap in the emergency material for things that aren’t for kids under 5 or 6 years old.

That material for younger kids is considered emergency as my show is sold as for being for school aged kids. If you’ve worked libraries at all, then you know the audience will frequently skew younger than the suggested age range and it’s important to be prepared for that.

-Louie

Cool Moments in the Show

One of the great things about performing at higher profile gigs is that there frequently great photographers there. That’s one of the cool things about performing at the Moisture Festival, they have photographers who are experienced in taking pictures of variety acts. More than just having experience with variety acts, they usually get to see an act multiple times, so they can figure out where the moments are in your show!

Louie Foxx at the Moisture Festival in seattle
Photo Credit: Sanderling Photography

The picture above was taken right after the guy in the middle guessed the girls card! This is a 6-8 minute routine that I do where someone from the audience guesses another person’s card. This used to be a longer routine with three people, but I’ve shortened it to just two and it’s a much tighter routine.

Another change that I made to the routine a few years ago was switching to jumbo cards.

Louie Foxx at the moisture festival

That makes the end of the routine really pop for the entire audience when the card is finally shown!

-Louie

Filling Your Emotional Tank

On Sunday the Moisture Festival wrapped up in Seattle. It’s a four week variety arts festival and it’s a blast! No one there does it for the pay, we all do it to get to see our friends, make new ones and see amazing acts!

The moisture Festival

One of the perks is hanging out at the meals and “cutting up jackpots” with the other performers. The stories of horrible shows, crazy things we’ve seen and done help fill my soul and get me through the upcoming busy season. It’s nice to bond with people who also share in the unique experience as a travelling variety act!

Remember, it’s not all about the money when you’re offered a gig!

-Louie

Leaping to a National Act

Many years ago, when I made the leap from a local/regional performer to a more national performer it took some deliberate steps. One of the main things that I did was try to do more big things that were noteworthy on a national scale I did things that were of interest to bookers who booked out of town acts.

One of the first things that I did was look at acts that were doing what I wanted to do and see what was on most or all of their resumes. These are things like America’s Got Talent, and Guinness World Records. Both of those were things that I went out and did and put on my resume simply because I saw that those were things that national acts had.

Do you need them?

No.

However it when you’re getting into a new or bigger pool, it helps to have the same equipment that everyone else has. Not just credits, but same level of promo.

The other thing I did (and still do) is that I do something of national level of interested each month. This can vary from writing an article in an international magazine, to publishing my 150th trick, or whatever. The only thing it needs to do is boost my status above Larry the Great or whatever local act they may book. I feel it’s important to justify why they’re bringing you in from out of town instead of hiring locally for a fraction of the price.

So to work more nationally, what are you doing to boost your status…but more importantly, who are you telling this to?

-Louie

Do You Have an Online Calendar?

I was just updating my online calendar and it reminded me of one of the things I really don’t like on performer’s websites and it’s most of their online calendars. I’d say about half of the entertainer’s websites that I visit have calendars that are out of date…and very out of date, by years!

First of all, I don’t think you need a calendar, especially if you do mostly private shows. For someone like me where more than half of my shows are open to the public, I keep an online calendar. I will sometimes take it down if there’s not much on it, like at the end of the busy season, and before booking season for those busy season shows. If there’s not much to post, I will take that page offline.

If you do have an online calendar and the most recent show is from 2017, it makes me as a booker wonder how much you’re working or if you’re still actively performing. Personally I delete dates after about a month of when they happen. I go through once a month and delete the previous month and add new dates. Try updating it monthly, if you can’t keep it updated, you should consider deleting it. No one really needs to know where you were on a specific date five years ago.

-Louie

The Moisture Festival Podcast – 2024 Festival Live part 1

Today’s episode of The Moisture Festival has Louie Foxx hanging out with two new performers at the festival, Marcus Wilson and Spencer Androli!

We learn about performing in circuses, how performers select material for the festival and learn the history of Yo Yo performers with a surprise visit by Mark Hayward!

This is a fun backstage peek at the 2024 Moisture Festival!

Road Hack – Extra Room Security

Sometimes when travelling you end up in sketchy hotels. Sometimes this is by choice when you just need a cheap/close place to crash and sometimes there’s only one place in town. Recently I had a sketchy hotel in a sketchy part of town. Normally I travel with a little door lock that I can add to the door for extra security, but took it out of my bag and forgot to put it back in. This is the temporary solution:

It’s not much, but better than nothing! Stay safe out there!

-Louie