Simplifying Show Set Up

I’m trying to carry less stuff with me when I’m on the road with my show. I used to carry a powerbank, USB micro cord, lightning cord and a USB wall adapter. I use this to plug in the show’s iphone that I run my music off of.

Recently someone showed me a powerbank that has the wall adapter and cords built in!

The nice thing is everything folds into the power bank, so I’ve eliminated carrying two cord and a wall adapter. I’m a fan of this, simplifying what I carry to it’s more direct to set up and strike the show. Sure eliminating two cords and a wall adapter isn’t much…but it’s less to haul.

-Louie

The Road to FISM

Yesterday was travel day to get to Quebec City for FISM. It’s been quite a journey, I bought tickets when they first when on sale, so I’ve had me ticket for around 4 years! This is a bucket list item for me, and I’m glad I get to attend!

There have been a lot of challenges just to physically get there. I was performing outside of Reno and booked a flight from Reno to Quebec City. That flight got cancelled and the airline moved my departure airport to Sacramento, about 3 hours drive. Then my flight got cancelled again and the only way to get to Quebec City was to drive almost 6 hours at night to San Francisco to get on a 6am flight yesterday!

I finished my shows Sunday and drove into the night and slept a few hours in my car at the airport. I got to the airport and I have a lounge pass, and when I went into the lounge for a cup of coffee, I noticed they had SHOWERS!

I was probably really stinky from doing three shows in the sun, then driving all night and sleeping in my my car. The shower refreshed me!

This is one of the little things that having a luxury like an airline’s lounge pass gets you. I was able to take a shower at the airport and now my travel day was way less depressing! If you travel by airplane frequently, I highly recommend getting a lounge pass. Do some research and figure out which one is best for you. I use the Alaska Plus lounge pass, as my home airport has three Alaska airlines lounges and I can usually use American Airlines lounges as well. they’re not cheap, but I get my value out of them with the amount I fly.

I missed the first day of FISM as it was my travel day, but I’m excited for today!
-Louie

Cutting Up Jackpots…

One of the trends in the county/state fair market is the fair putting the performers up in a house like an Air BnB instead of a hotel. Usually this is a great thing, I haven’t been housed with anyone I don’t get along with…yet.

The camaraderie that’s built hanging out at night BS’ing over a few beers around the table is one of my favorite things. In the carnival world that call it “cutting up jackpots

This is also where a lot of networking and creative brainstorming happens. I know some performers like a space to themselves, but they are missing out one of my favorite parts of working on the road!

-Louie

Save Your Back…

For about 4 years I’ve used a Pelican 1615 Air as the main case for my show. I like 97% of the things about this case. The 3% I don’t like is that I think it could be a little bit bigger and still not be oversize for checked luggage.

pelican 1615 air

My case has travelled all across North America, from Panama to Alaska and from Seattle to Florida. I noticed last week that the wheels were getting sluggish. I think the bearings were going bad. I got a set of replacement wheels and in 5 mins I was up and running again!

Moving your gear around is one of the things that will wear you out, and having good wheels that reduce effort is important! Keep up on the maintenance of your gear, your back will thank you!
-Louie

Quarantining With Props….

Yesterday I mentioned that I’m out of town performing. I had to fly to this gig and it’s been a while since I’ve had to fly. Here’s the gear I use to fly:

The Pelican Air 1615 carries my show props, then the suitcase holds my costumes, non show clothes and other personal items. The particular gig I’m out for right now required me to go from the airport to the hotel and quarantine for two days. Then I have to go direct from the hotel to the gig…in addition to passing several COVID tests over the course of about a week.

This has presented some unusual challenges. Normally I would buy a few of the “grocery store” props once I got to the city I’m performing in. That’s not an option for this gig due to the quarantine. I had carry onto the plane some items that are semi fragile.

One of the hard things was travelling with bananas that I intend to use several days later was finding green bananas (that would be nice and yellow in three days). I ended up having to go to a restaurant supply place and had to buy a box of green bananas!

I could have had the production provide the bananas, however in the past when I’ve had them provided for me, they always give me the worst bananas. Same with the crackers…I rarely get exactly what I ask for. The trick is pretty specific to what I need. For example, I use unsalted crackers as they are easier to write on than salted crackers. I’m just trying to eliminate a headache before it happens.

Travelling…

Newer performers frequently ask me about how I travel with my show on an airplane. People are worried about lost luggage. Unfortunately the only thing you can really do about that is to either carry everything on, or accept that can happen. I guess there’s a third option and that is having a show where … Continue reading “Travelling…”

Newer performers frequently ask me about how I travel with my show on an airplane. People are worried about lost luggage. Unfortunately the only thing you can really do about that is to either carry everything on, or accept that can happen. I guess there’s a third option and that is having a show where you can find all of your props in your destination city. Then there’s combinations of the three.


Unfortunately for my show, I can’t do it all in my carry on. Some of the items I use can’t be taken in the cabin of the plane and can’t be sourced locally, so I’m stuck checking at least some of my show. Since I have to check a bunch of stuff already, I check almost everything.


Currently here’s what I carry onto the plane in my backpack:

The white tube has my vanishing birdcage. If that wasn’t so easy to break by someone who examining it, I’d check it. In the zipper compartment is my cage pull, a thumb tip, mismade bills and a thumb drive with everything the people running the theater would need (cue sheets, video, music, intro, etc). Then in the yellow case is my audio gear (mics, mic packs, audio ape, etc). Everything else in the backpack is my personal stuff, so books, my laptop, etc.


I’ve had my luggage “lost” by the airline once, and they had it delivered to me within six hours. I also have had TSA screen my bags and forget to put a couple of things back into it, luckily after weeks of phone calls I tracked down my props!


What do I do if my luggage gets lost?


I’m lucky that I can do a lot with simple stuff and in the past I’ve done a lot of standard magic, so I can source a show locally. It’s not the ideal situation, however I can go to the Walmart in any city and pick up a two deck of cards, rope, scissors, yarn, pad of paper, duct tape, a couple of handkerchiefs and some markers and I’m good to go. This isn’t the show that I want to present, but I can do a decent show with that.


Custom Props…

The more you do magic, the less “off the rack” magic props you will use. The more you use props professionally, the more you figure out exactly how you’d like them to feel, handle, or whatever. Sometimes this means using custom made props, sometimes this will mean using props that are altered. Recently while travelling … Continue reading “Custom Props…”

The more you do magic, the less “off the rack” magic props you will use. The more you use props professionally, the more you figure out exactly how you’d like them to feel, handle, or whatever. Sometimes this means using custom made props, sometimes this will mean using props that are altered.


Recently while travelling the TSA screened my checked baggage and lost my two table tops. After two weeks of phone calls I managed to find track them down at an airport lost and found at McCarren Airport in Las Vegas. They are sending them to me via overnight FedEx at my cost! It’s crazy, that they were in the TSA’s control, and I need to file an claim to get reimbursed shipping to me.




The worst case scenario was that the tables were gone and I had to get them remade. This scenario where I’m out a few bucks to get them back is still cheaper than having to have them remade. Also it gets them to me quicker, I don’t have to wait while someone remakes them.