I’ve got a few summer camp shows this week. Yesterday I mentioned that I use a Hat Coil in my summer camp show.
Last night I was getting them ready, so here’s how I prep them. I start by removing the inner brown cardboard from the hat coil. Then I take a bit of the middle and I crumple it into a ball. That ball then gets shoved into the middle of the hat coil. That makes it easier to pull out when I’m ready to produce it.
Next I cut off some of the outer layer and throw it away. I use tape to secure the end. The reason that I do that is because the hat coil slows down a lot towards the end and the last bit just takes forever. By cutting off a little bit is makes it a little punchier:
It takes about 10 minutes to do 7 -10 of them, so it’s pretty quick.
When I was a lot younger I used to do a ton of summer day camps. By a lot, I mean 2-3 a day all summer. Now I do about a dozen or two a summer. I really enjoy doing them, however I’m trying to get 5-14 day contracts and having a single day camp show can get in the way of booking those longer contracts.
Here’s my case from one that I recently did:
While this show isn’t what I would consider what “my art” is, it still has a lot of things in it that I find interesting. One of those is my hat coil routine. It runs about 5 mins and is what currently is closing the show. There’s not much to it, it uses a hat, electric deck, two loose cards and a hat coil.
A while ago I had a use for hat coils and had bought a bunch of them, then stopped doing the routine, it just wasn’t playing how I wanted it to. So they sat for a while and I decided I wanted to get rid of them, so I started throwing a couple in my case to try to find a use for them. Over a few years I eventually came up with a routine that works.
One the surface, hat coils are expensive at about $4-$5 each retail plus any shipping. However, I had bought a bunch of them initially, so I didn’t pay that much for them. Now whenever I’m at magic swap meets, frequently I can find them and pay virtually nothing for them. Enough old time magicians have these in their collections to keep me doing this routine for a while! Even if I have to pay retail, the routine is worth it!
Today I’ve got a show for a day camp, but it’s slightly unusual. Right now all of my props are in Montana, but I’m a home in Seattle. This isn’t a lost luggage situation, it’s intentional. The show is for about 20 kids, so I don’t need sound and I left my PA and mics with my show.
It’s always strange doing the show without music. Over the years, I have developed a lot of bits that use music in my show and figured out that many of my bits play much better with music. I do have a PA here, but really don’t need to lug it out for this gig. Also it’s a fun little challenge to perform with less production elements. It makes you work a little bit harder to connect with the audience.
I’m a big fan of getting out of your comfort zone as a performer every now and then.