In this episode of the Moisture Festival podcast we talk via zoom with funny man Alex Feldman. He tells us about how he came to be so funny without speaking and how he is able to find the sliver of funny in every place he performs.
We discuss some things he did during covid and how he got involved with the moisture festival. A great chat with one of the festival’s favorite performers.
This morning I’m heading out to AZ for my first fair gig of the year. When I do fairs, I try to work on new material. I’ll be doing something like 15 stage shows, plus I can do as much close up as I want in between shows.
The presentation is based on a old myth that was popular during the WWII era myth that Asians can tell time by looking at a cats eyes. I had some posters made of my cat and someone is going to try to guess the time and that’s the time on the clock.
I’m hoping the idea of having a cat and talking about my cat will suck people into the trick. I’m not sure how it’ll play, but I have five full days of shows to try to figure it out!!
He’s doing the trick “French Kiss” which is a card transposition. I’ve seen it done by several performers and only once have it seen it where it wasn’t cringy. I should say that the trick unless it’s framed perfectly leaves you open to having a pissed off spouse/partner etc. The guy from the audience shouldn’t have shoved Ben, and there’s a lot of context missing as we don’t see the whole routine. I don’t know how suggestive Ben was, from what I can see the routine is being done as flirty, or with sexual tones, but that may not be what’s actually happening. In our modern times, I think this sort of routine really needs to stop being done…or have very clear expectations of the person coming to the stage.
A good, but very different example is when Rob Williams makes a sandwich with his feet. He’s very clear with what’s going to happen and what’s expected of the person from the audience.
The other problem I have with the trick like French Kiss is in the post covid world, I wouldn’t want my me or spouse to have their face that close to a stranger’s face for hygiene reasons. The lamest way to get the flu or covid would be from a card trick!
I’m essentially using my forearm to block the drop of the fork. It’s a good clean up, that honestly I think only magicians will notice or appreciate that I didn’t take the lazy route of just dipping my hand to the edge of the screen. It’s not always possible to do it this way, but I think whenever possible using slightly more creative ditches are better.
The other night my wife and I went to a hockey game and it got me thinking about magic with a hockey puck. The nice thing about them is that they can be big, or fairly small depending on the side you have towards the audience. It’s also a really well known thing, at least in the northern hemisphere.
This morning I wrote a bunch of ideas and found one that I kinda like:
You have five different colored hockey pucks on the table. You ask if someone in the audience played hockey or a sport as a kid. Ask them if they remember their number and using that number you count across the pucks back and forth finally ending on one. Let’s say they ended on the green puck.
You then have a prediction that shows they picked the green puck…but then on the back of your puck has their number on the back!
This is simply Phil Smith’s Quinta Force and a nail writer.
Not much to it. It’s a pretty simple and direct trick. You could use any force like PATEO or the Hot Rod Force, but I personally like that with Quinta you can use their jersey number.
It’s something that really fills the stage without much in the way of props. It’s the two metal triangles, some rope and 4-6 people from the audience. I think the stunt is very relatable, you’re playing “tug of war” against two groups of people from the audience at the same time.
For me a lot of strength feats fall flat because it’s a “look how cool I am” sort of thing, but I with this particular one, no one wins and you’re fighting a losing battle and essentially it ends in a three way tie. I really like it and I’m surprised more people don’t do it.
There was a great mix of traditional skills, and crazy new twists on classic stunts! One of the highlights for me was Chris Broken and his chainsaw guitar! Going to events like inspires me to be better. If you’re not going to industry events to see how people are pushing boundaries within their art (and yours), you really should be!
I got home late last night from spending a week in New Orleans at the Sideshow Hootenanny. It was four days of watching incredible acts doing some crazy things! For me the value of these festivals is to run into old friends and make new ones within the industry. These are people I’ll work with in the future or hang out with when I’m in their town, or their in mine.
A great way to do this is with shared housing (aka Air BnB). By putting you all in the same spot, there’s coffees in the morning, or whatever and you get a chance to really bond with a group.
These people you meet understand what it’s like to be a performer and are a great support system and great people!
I highly recommend making friends with people in your industry, and not looking at your peers as “competition”, it will make you a happier person and will open a lot more doors for you!
One thing I learned a long time ago is that an idea or routine is never finished. There’s always room to add or cut from it. For example there’s a prop that I use that uses batteries and it works just fine. There is one thing that I don’t like about it, it doesn’t have an off/on switch, you have to pull one of the batteries.
This isn’t a huge deal, but it is kinda annoying. The reason it doesn’t have a switch is there is physically not enough room inside the prop for it. I’m working on a redesign to make room for a switch. I just did the 3d model for the parts, now I just need to print them out and assemble it!