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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Busking vs Street Magic? (8 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Michael Baker
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To Joe in KC,

Your time here was thoroughly enjoyed, and certainly gave me a few minutes away to earn a living.

Clarity: I was one of the more vocal "gents" on the other thread, "What is a street magician?". I will avoid redundancy by simply saying that in response to a PM I received reminding me that I am not the magic police, I will go back to carving my wand into a nightstick.

To Frank,

It's not unusual that you've never seen them. But, there are guerillas in the mist. I can smell them...
~michael baker
The Magic Company
The Mighty Fool
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To MagiUlysses:

I've gotta admit, you sir have the gift of gab. Or just a way with words. Your audiences must be some of the most entertained in all the land. And at no time did I say you were WRONG about anything. In fact, you've pretty much been right about everything: street magic doesn't pay a living wage, we ARE criminals (albiet it's a victimless crime) and we CAN be considered part of the broadly-defined family of buskers, although you could say we're the 'black-sheep' of the family.

To chriskline: No, there's no secret mark or password...unlike say, hobos, we don't have a special vocabulary, nor do we use graffiti to let other street-mages know what's afoot in a particular area. The best way to find a street-mage is to do it youself, and travel. Odds are you'll encounter one sooner or later. I myself am in Orlando, and I bounce between Daytona, Miami, and the Keys, and I try to go abroad at least once a year. My name stems from my stature and mental capacity (it was given to me at a Ren Festival). There's a street-mage in Daytona by the name of "Lucky the Loser" who specializes in card flourishes. Another here in Orlando calls himself Hallelujah Jones on account of the fact that he can quote any Bible passage verbatim. There are probably others here in Florida, but moving outward...Lord Gus works between the German towns of Koblenz & Mainz, and gets out to Frankfurt (where I met him) a lot. Gus really goes for the macabre angle--razor blades, chain escapes, etc. Stewart-the-******* worked the subways in London for awhile, but now he has a nice semi-regular gig at Covent gardens. I think he calls himself Stewart the Beautiful now. (the big ham). The Blue Muse played recorder on the streets of Amsterdam till I met her. She did some accompaniment for me for awhile, then insisted I teach her the tricks. She's never looked back. There are others, but that's enough I guess.

To Michael Baker: Good to see you again. Sorry to hear about the PM...I wasn't offended by your comments at all. In fact, I found your hard-luck story rather inspiring! And thank you for backing up our existence...even if it is by odor.

Finally, to Constantine: Ah the skeptics! You gotta love 'em! Think a moment, if everyone believed wholeheartedly in magic, would they feel all that compelled to watch a performance? Where would magicians be without all the skeptics out there? Or in here, apparently.
Everybody wants to beleive.....we just help them along.
Pokie-Poke
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I like the costume change idea. You could do a trick for someone, walk around the block, change, and do another trick for the same people, all the time claming to be someone else.
There is nothing wrong with this kind of magic, however it is not busking, unless you are doing it to start a larger show.
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The Adventure cont...
Bill Palmer
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Regarding historical Faires -- the one Joe was thinking of was Bartholomew Fair -- it ran from 1133 to 1855. There is quite a bit of info about it on the net. As far as who actuall brought magic indoors -- I don't think that can be pinpointed. I know that Fawkes had an enclosed booth with a large banner -- perhaps that was the name Joe was hunting for.

But Fawkes charged an admission fee to his booth, so he wasn't really busking. He was basically playing a "sit down gig."

Max Malini was also a busker of sorts. He would troll the bars in the better hotels, rent a suite, and then perform for the fellows he could get to come into the suite. Generally, the rental was covered by the drinks the marks purchased.

Bob Hummer was a bar busker. He would end his turn with the production of a full glass of beer, which he would then drink. The "beer" was made of vinegar and soda. It may have been the constant drinking of this concoction that caused the stomach cancer that eventually claimed him.
"The Swatter"

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Dr_Stephen_Midnight
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There was a fun, illustrated version of the history of the St. Bartholemew Faire in "The Big Book of Freaks."

Steve
Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
The Mighty Fool
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To the esteemed Bill Palmer: I'm guessing that a lot of your avatar is just make-up, but I gotta say, your image really seems to match your capacity for lore & information!
Everybody wants to beleive.....we just help them along.
BroDavid
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Nope, Bill pretty much looks like that before he puts on the makeup. Afterwards he looks like a sedate gentleman of nobility.

BroDavid
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tabman
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I had that book, "Street Magic" in the 70s. I bought it (or might have copped it, I was very poor then) in a bookstore in Amherst, MA. It's a lot of the reason that I was able to survive when I was living on the street in western Masssachusetts (I survived winter, imagine that). Jeff Sheridan (I think) was the author's name. I never equated busking and street magic at the time. I'd play the guitar and do a coin matrix on a close up pad using the closed guitar case as a table, laugh and joke with people for a few minutes. I'd do it for an hour or so. Nobody seemed to mind and I ended up making a lot of friends, some I have to this day. I would only pick up a few bucks a day. Enough for lunch and to pay my post office box rent. I was selling suede leather close up pads by mail order with an ad in Genii too. In may ways those were the best of days but busking??? That was what you went to Europe to do in those days.

I hope you solve this puzzle though. I see that Sir David Blaine changed everything with his version of "street magic." My hat's off to him I guess. You live by the motto: GTFM!
-=tabman
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Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2004-11-22 18:32, The Mighty Fool wrote:
To the esteemed Bill Palmer: I'm guessing that a lot of your avatar is just make-up, but I gotta say, your image really seems to match your capacity for lore & information!

Actually, the only thing in the photo that isn't real is the wig. The rest of it is me!
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
The Mighty Fool
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Oh....well.....it STILL matches!
Everybody wants to beleive.....we just help them along.
tabman
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I'm disappointed about the hair!!!

Long haired country boy,
-=tabman
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

http://Sefalaljia.com
RonCalhoun
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Language is a living breathing ever changing animal. Words sometimes change meanings.

I remember when coke was a drink, down with in was the flu and crack was something a plumber's butt did.

Before Blaine, Street Magic was “Busking” by a magician. In the magic world it probably still is. But to the general public its Blaine style “stuff”.

I often have people tell me Copperfield isn't a magician he's an illusionist.

Ron Calhoun
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irishguy
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Quote:
Max Malini was also a busker of sorts. He would troll the bars in the better hotels, rent a suite, and then perform for the fellows he could get to come into the suite. Generally, the rental was covered by the drinks the marks purchased.

It was my understanding that Malini would troll bars and restaurants, perform for a few, and then sell tickets to private shows in his suite. I never heard that he covered costs with drink purchases, but rather from ticket sales.

Posted: Jan 2, 2005 6:35pm
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Quote:
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I had that book, "Street Magic" in the 70s. Jeff Sheridan (I think) was the author's name.
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Are you thinking of this book?

Click here!

If so, is it worth owning?
Dave V
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Murphy's shows that it's out of print. I don't know if that means they have copies left or not. I do know I saw some on the bookshelf at Denny and Lee's. I skimmed through it, but left it there on the shelf.
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
Danny Hustle
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The book "Street Magic" is a great read. It is more of a history of street magic than a primer.

If you are looking some books that will teach you something about creating an act that is essentially "Street Theater" I would suggest Gazzo's "Krowd Keepers" book as well as his cups and balls book, Whit Haydn's book, "Street Magic", Cellini's "The Royal Touch", Professor Gizmo's book on street magic...

Now, if you are wondering what it takes to develop the performance aspect of a street act that is a whole list of other books. If you are going for funny I would suggest learning something about pantomime. Now before you blow a gasket I am not talking about invisible walls and pulling rope. I am talking about the physical ability to sell it big to a crowd. If you have a table act and want to do a circle show you will need to make small play big. I know that this was the biggest hump for me to overcome going from the doorway to the circle.

I would suggest getting a netflix account and renting every Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle, and Harold Loyd, film you can get your hands on. You need to be able to "sell it" with every fiber of your being on the street.

Some good books are, "The Physical Comedy Handbook" by Davis Robinson, "Truth in Comedy" by Charna Halpern, Del Close, and Kim Johnson, American Vaudeville as seen by it's contemporaries" by Charles Stein (Pay particular attention on the article about the "WOW" finish and think of Gazzo), and finally "The Jugglers Manual of Manipulative Miscellanea" by Reg Bacon, because let's face it, if you are a variety artist you should be able to do at least a hat flourish. Smile

The street is the last gasp of Vaudeville in this country. If you look the history of what we do it has its roots and its structure in continuous entertainment. the similarities are astounding.

Best,

Dan-
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irishguy
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Quote:
The book "Street Magic" is a great read. It is more of a history of street magic than a primer.

That is all I am really looking for. I love reading about the history of magic.
Quote:
If you are looking some books that will teach you something about creating an act that is essentially "Street Theater" I would suggest Gazzo's "Krowd Keepers" book as well as his cups and balls book, Whit Haydn's book, "Street Magic", Cellini's "The Royal Touch", Professor Gizmo's book on street magic...

I may have to look into one or two of those. Seems interesting.
Quote:
The street is the last gasp of Vaudeville in this country. If you look the history of what we do it has its roots and its structure in continuous entertainment. the similarities are astounding.

I agree. Thank you for the information and your time Smile

Posted: Jan 2, 2005 9:42pm
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Quote:
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Murphy's shows that it's out of print. I don't know if that means they have copies left or not. I do know I saw some on the bookshelf at Denny and Lee's. I skimmed through it, but left it there on the shelf.
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I don't think they have any in stock...it was just the first link I could find.
chrisrkline
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Yea, watching those old silent stars is a real education. What is astonishing is how much time these people would put into rehearsing every pratfall, bump, tumble, etc. That may be the real lesson. It is not easy to do silly comedy, for a large crowd anyway.
Chris
TheAmbitiousCard
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I believe I saw this book on the shelf at http://www.grandillusions.com
www.theambitiouscard.com Hand Crafted Magic
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S2000magician
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Quote:
On 2004-11-16 02:43, Frank Starsini wrote:
So you're saying it did happen? The wagon thing?
Seems like more trouble than it's worth unless it was like .... hey, maybe they did "square" the wagon.

Topologically, a square and a circle are the same thing.

Maybe those settlers knew more about math than you thought.

;)
TheAmbitiousCard
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Topologically speaking, you're correct.
And both are closed and bounded and therefore....Compact?
But Topology was not "around" back then was it?

But travelling in a relatively straight line is easier than ....
... oh forget it (as I peer up on the shelf for my topology book,
wondering whether I'm correct or full of ****. I really cannot remember
anymore).

By they way, who goes back and re-edits my posts and turns them
into complete nonsense. I don't even understand half the stuff I wrote
anymore becuase the words are all different than my original "poetry".

I didn't write "we'll get an ellipse"
I wrote "we got an ellipse" and someone changed it.

I don't think the indians would let you re-round the wagons because you wanted to get an ellipse the second time around. They would just shoot you with an arrow or scalp you on the spot.
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