This week performing at the fair, we’re not required to wear masks when we’re performing. That’s great, however I found for my roving magic, people were more receptive when I was wearing a mask. I think it shows respect for them as people that walking up unmasked and assuming they are OK with that doesn’t.
One thing I’ve noticed when performing with a mask is that my whole face is still animated. You can’t see much of it, but I think it adds to the overall energy when I perform. That and it will be automatic to do in the future when I’m not wearing a mask.
When I was first starting out performing and I had a gig, that would literally eat up my whole day. From packing for it, to travel and performing, even for a local gig. Then as I got more confident in my show, it got much faster, I knew everything was in my case, and didn’t need to double check anything. I was also a lot more confident and had more experience as a performer, so that if a prop was missing or whatever, I could still make it happen.
I’m heading out to my first fair contract in about 18 months and it’s an out of town 10 day contract. Another challenge on top of not having performed at a fair in a year and a half is the scope of work I’m doing. I’m pretty much doing whatever they want me to do. I know I’m doing some stage shows, stage MCing and some roving. Once again, this wouldn’t have been an issue in 2019, but it’s a lot of stuff to figure out how to pack.
So why not do it how I did it a couple of summers ago?
Well, every summer I work on a lot of new material at fairs, so the packing of the show will be different than it was before. Also I’m not sure the level of contact, or social distancing that people will be comfortable with. One of my routines a couple summers ago was an 8 minute bit where someone fed me marshmallows, and that’s something I probably can’t do for a little while. Sure I could get someone on stage and ask them to do it, and they probably would…but I’m worried it would be “cringy” for people watching it. I don’t want that.
I’m going to spend a day stressing out on how I’m going to pack the show, then hopefully the next contract will be much easier!!!
When I do roving magic my main tool is a regular deck of cards. The reason for that is you can do a lot just a deck of cards. Also they are larger than a rubber band or a coin and when someone walks by they know that you are doing magic tricks. When doing … Continue reading “Something Special…”
When I do roving magic my main tool is a regular deck of cards. The reason for that is you can do a lot just a deck of cards. Also they are larger than a rubber band or a coin and when someone walks by they know that you are doing magic tricks.
When doing roving magic I also try to pack one other thing to perform that’s special. Something that’s fairly unique, so something that they wouldn’t see another magician typically do. Frequently this is the Linking Pins or something I’m working on that uses a unique prop. I save this for special groups that fun to work for.
Last night at a roving gig in addition to my normal card set, I did a trick with a nut and a bolt. Basically the nut and bolt unscrew while covered by a cup, then you repeat it. It’s a great trick and something that I love doing, but more importantly, it feels special. People really seem to dig the special trick, and can feel that it’s not something from your normal set.
The other night I did a corporate gig and before the stage show I did some roving during the cocktail hour. Personally I prefer to do this than not do it at a corporate event, as it basically lets me be my own “opening act”. People start to warm up to me before the show. … Continue reading “Solid Background Helps…”
The other night I did a corporate gig and before the stage show I did some roving during the cocktail hour. Personally I prefer to do this than not do it at a corporate event, as it basically lets me be my own “opening act”. People start to warm up to me before the show.
When doing roving magic, I’m always looking for miracles to make happen. Things that aren’t part of my normal close up set. Typically these use things that are in the performing environment. The round tables in this room had a table cloth with a square cloth napkin in the middle. I’m assuming a center piece was on the napkin at some point. That led to a miracle!
I was performing for a group. I asked a guy to name any card. He said 10 of Diamonds. I handed him the deck, he shuffled them tossed them in the air so they landed on the table, and his named card ended up under the middle of the napkin!
How did I do it? I remember watching Eugene Burger’s video on Matt Schulien’s Fabulous Card Discoveries.
On that VHS tape he did Matt’s Card Under Tablecloth and that’s basically what I did. I did have to adjust it a little bit for the situation. That’s where having a solid background in different tricks and sleight of hand moves comes in very handy! This trick was the talk of my roving set and was totally worth the risk of trying something I’d never done before.
The first paid gig I ever did when I was a teenager was an event where I did close up magic lane to lane at a bowling alley. It was a rough gig, and even and a kid after doing it, I knew it sucked. It was a bad show because the event planner was … Continue reading “Coming Full Circle…”
The first paid gig I ever did when I was a teenager was an event where I did close up magic lane to lane at a bowling alley. It was a rough gig, and even and a kid after doing it, I knew it sucked. It was a bad show because the event planner was trying to put an activity into an an activity. No one wanted to watch the tricks, I did, they were busy bowling and I as interrupting them.
Over the years I’ve gotten requests to do gigs at bowling alleys and I’ve turned them down. However over 20 years later I finally accepted a roving magic gig at a bowling alley.
Why did I take this gig? I wanted to try it again, and see if I could conquer it. I’m happy to report that last night the show went wonderfully!
What did I do differently 20 years later?
A lot of things have changed. First of all there’s the “David Blaine Factor”, which is that his TV shows have made people aware of what close up magic is. When I was a kid, people didn’t know what close up magic was, and they thought it’d be lame tricks that your uncle Jimmy Does.
This time around I also had over twenty years of performing experience. My close up set was short tricks, nothing too long and drawn out. It gave me a chance to leave if I noticed they were more interested in bowling. Add that to being a much stronger performer than I was as a teenager.
My advice is if you’ve had a rough performing situation in the past that you swore you’d never do again…maybe try it again. I’m glad I did!
I love tricks that have unusual visuals. Here’s one of my favorite “novelty” card tricks that I do: The problem with it is the recent batch of gimmicks that have come in have had a very short lifespan compared to the ones I was using a year or two ago. I bought a bunch … Continue reading “Be Self Sustaining…”
I love tricks that have unusual visuals. Here’s one of my favorite “novelty” card tricks that I do:
The problem with it is the recent batch of gimmicks that have come in have had a very short lifespan compared to the ones I was using a year or two ago. I bought a bunch of them over a year ago and down to my last one. I have a feeling that the glue that was used had degraded over time and that’s why they gimmicks aren’t lasting as long.
Luckily I know how to make this style of gimmicked card. I started playing with them when I was a teenager when I got the book Gaffed to the Hilt. If you’ve never made your own gaff cards, the DVD Gimmicked by Andost is a great resource.
I have some time today and am going to make up some of the cards for the hole punch trick. The main reason I’m making instead of buying is simple, I have one left and they’ve been lasting me 1-2 shows, I won’t have time to order more and have them by when I’d need them.
Making my own makes me be able to operate without being a slave to shipping times. I’d still rather order them than make them myself, however that’s not an option if I want to do the trick at my gig today and tomorrow.
The moral of the story is that if you are going to have a prop that you use a lot of, have a back up, or if it’s like this card that has a limited life buy a bunch of back ups. Better yet learn to make and repair them!
When I’m out performing mingling magic (aka roving close up) I frequently throw something into my pocket that’s not part of my normal set. It could be a full trick, gimmick, prop, or whatever. A couple of nights ago I put a pair of blank dice in my pocket. Years ago I published a … Continue reading “Play Around…”
When I’m out performing mingling magic (aka roving close up) I frequently throw something into my pocket that’s not part of my normal set. It could be a full trick, gimmick, prop, or whatever.
A couple of nights ago I put a pair of blank dice in my pocket. Years ago I published a trick with blank dice in the Linking Ring Magazine. Basically the gist of it was someone selected a card. They rolled the blank dice, told you the number they rolled, and you dealt down the number they rolled. The selected card was at the number. This is based on an Eddie Fields trick that uses a name.
Here’s video from the first table I did it at the other night…it’s been years since I did the trick:
After I did the trick in the video above, I realized it needed another phase. For the next phase I added this trick that’s part of my normal card set, but using the “rolled” numbers instead of any number:
Now I’ve got a little routine…but it needed an ending. So I’m ending it with a third phase where they shuffle the cards, roll again and deal down to that number. This time the card is not there. It’s folded up in my wallet.
I like that in this routine, each time the card is found it’s in a different state. First it’s face down, next it’s face up and finally it’s folded up. By the end of the night it went from OK to pretty good!
So the moral of the story is don’t be afraid to play around!