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Topic: Sidewalk Shuffle terminology
Message: Posted by: steve_seguin (Mar 21, 2002 09:42PM)

Just a quick meaningless rant:

I really don't like the current use of the term "Street Magic". Currently it has been very trendy to use "Street Magic" to describe the Blaine style of approaching people on the streets for a quick effect or two. This has also escalated to essentially asking for a tip afterwards.

On the other hand, "street magic" in the street performing sense consists of a more organized show. The street performer gathers as large a crowd as possible and performs a show for them during which he asks for money.

The approaches and structure to these two types of street magic are very different. The tricks used in each are in most cases not interchangeable. I would not recommend doing an ambitious card routine in a full street performance. I also wouldn't necessarily recommend doing a linking ring routine in a Blaine style street moment.

Personally, I prefer the term "guerrilla magic" to describe the Blaine-style hit and run performance, and "street magic" for street performing.

Because of this confusion in terms, I find that the posts in this forum tend to blur across lines. Advice given for someone asking a question about one style often gets answered in terms of the other. Is there any chance of grouping this street magic forum with the stage related forums, and using the impromptu forum for "guerrilla magic"?
Message: Posted by: Starry (Mar 22, 2002 10:11AM)
You are right about the difference between street magic and David's magic, but I think we've already got a name for what Blaine does, it's called "close-up." He just happens to use less patter than most.

Live the magic!

Ace Starry
Message: Posted by: Pokie-Poke (Mar 22, 2002 01:57PM)
To me street magic is performing on the street. You are not hired to be there, and more importantly your audience does not expect you to be there. The style of magic has little to do with it. It has to do with wind, sun, drunks, cops, crazy people, kids who have watched your show for the 5th time today and yell out the punchlines before you tell the joke! Rain :( muggers :( pushy balloon-twisters ;) ....... outside, in the real world, without a net!
Message: Posted by: BroDavid (Mar 23, 2002 09:55AM)
I agree that Street Magic, and walk around closeup magic are different. But as Pokie pointed out, they are a lot the same in that they happen out side - without a net.

The key element that separates Street Magic from Stage Magic (and therefore shouldn't be grouped together, IMHO) is that you have to draw your audience on the street. You don't go to the room where they are all waiting and expecting you.

The Second major thing obviously is the way you earn your way. Paid as you exit the
"theatre" or paid as you go on the street.

Since the Street Walk Around Closeup, and Street Standing Magic are different and there are some issues of each which are different, I think we should just be more clear in our questions/discussions/answers as to which form of it we are talking about.

Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Mar 23, 2002 11:47PM)
The standard definition of street magic is (and has always been) a busking act that plays for a fairly large group of people.

Blaine did close up magic on the street, and he wasn't trying to make money from the people for whom he was performing. This is basically impromptu close up, and it can be done anywhere, including on the street. However, if it were done before a ballet, we wouldn't call it ballet magic, just because of that, nor would we call it stage magic, if as an actor at the rehearsal of a play, you performed close up impromptu for your fellow actors on the stage during a break.

I'm not knocking Blaine. He did some strong close up effects for passersby on the street. But that is not Street Magic, anymore than I become a car by walking into my garage. And if that is how you attempt to make money performing on the street, you won't do too well.

As I said, Street Magic is, and always has been, working a fairly large crowd and then passing the hat, or some variation thereof.

In other words, all Street Magic is done on the street, but not all magic done on the street is Street Magic.
Message: Posted by: r4bid (Mar 24, 2002 07:20AM)
But that is not Street Magic, anymore than I become a car by walking into my garage.

Everyone should take a minute to think about this, it's visually hilarious. :rotf:

But back on topic...
What Blaine is doing (or at least what we see of him on TV) is meant to be filmed, that's it's only purpose. He is not trying to get people to pay him money for his act nor is he trying to gather large crouds so that he can perform another show for them. H**l, it isn't even a routine, he is doing one, two tricks at best per person and usually with patter that doesn't go far beyond "hey look at this". This is obviously not street magic

By selling him as a "street magician" they make him more mainstream, more mysterious to the ignorant. H**l, I have teachers who watch his specials, won't see them going out of their way to watch the worlds greatest magicians or go to a magic show when they are in Vegas.

What is all boils down to is sounding cool. Street magic gives the networks viewers pictures of a guy out on the street with a dark jacket performing for strangers and then vanishing into the mists. They have had no previous exposure to street magic so they believe whatever the network shows them.

If they were to call it close up magic, something many people have experience with the viewers will think that they are going to see footage of some ninty year old guy in a bad suit sitting in some casino doing some flashy card tricks while beautiful women laugh at every possible moment.

The issue is not so much with Blaine's "street magic", it's with the audiences. They don't understand the difference between street and close up and therefore accept one as the other.
Message: Posted by: Pokie-Poke (Mar 25, 2002 03:33PM)
It is definitely a selling point, no one wants to see magic on TV, I have seen Living Dinosaurs, Superman Fly, Jerry blow up Tom for the 5th time, and you're going to say pick a card?!?! :P Trying to make it "REAL" is the point there.
Message: Posted by: Magicboy41772 (Oct 28, 2002 01:06PM)
But that is not Street Magic, anymore than I become a car by walking into my garage.

That is funny when you think about it!
Message: Posted by: KingStardog (Oct 31, 2002 05:35PM)
Its More a case of the networks branding an an item like Kleenex, its not the only tissue,but Blaine is street magic brand, not street magic.

And what about Chris Angel? He's not an angel. And his show Mind Freak. He's not a mentalist. But now there is a freak brand of Kleenex too. Or angel, or Mind.

Oh never mind. :confused:
Message: Posted by: vinsmagic (Nov 1, 2002 04:46PM)
David Blaine has great patter for his street magic
"watch watch or "look look " thats his pater
Message: Posted by: KingStardog (Nov 1, 2002 05:13PM)
I've heard he peeks in here every once in awhile Vinny and now youve gone and given away the whole thing Shame on you. :lol:
Message: Posted by: sdgiu (Nov 2, 2002 04:22AM)
People want to be amazed, they crave something magical, and although it doesn't seem quite right to us, it does spark interest in magic.
Message: Posted by: RandyStewart (Nov 2, 2002 01:33PM)
If any stranger (everyone I'm not with keeping company with) comes up to me while on the streets, holds out a deck and says "pick a card", I'm runnin' and consequently reaching my destination a lot faster.

Message: Posted by: Alan Wheeler (Apr 28, 2003 08:29PM)
Is parlor-sized busking the only type of magic suitable for the street and the only kind of magic that can be called "Street Magic"? In my hometown of Athens, Georgia, there are several magicians--including myself--who regularly take a table out on the street and perform close-up magic. We do not gather the traditional crowd as in busking, but niether do we do "guerilla magic" as seen in Blaine specials. Rather we gather small groups and perform short sets of effects.

For lack of better terminology, we call what we do "Street Magic." It is not my aim here to waste time on a semantic argument, only to describe another facet of magic among its myriad forms...

alleycat :kitty:
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 28, 2003 08:49PM)
Hi Steve,

I remember some of us used to bother folks in the street when we were working on short routines or testing simple effects.

This was lots of fun as we discovered just how well and how quickly we could establish rapport with strangers, and how well some ideas work under field conditions.

It seemed a most natural way to test ideas we were discussing. When we got to an idea we wanted to check out, we would stop someone and ask them how it looks. "Hello, nice afternoon isn't it... perhaps you could help us settle an augument. Does the coin change in midair or when it hits my other hand? " or such like.

This also worked well for learning to be gracious about fooling people. It seemed all too easy to gloat over effects that got reactions and sleights that went unnoticed.

Random acts of kindness can make someone's day.

We did, of course, stay away from working street performers. They were trying to do a show and were there to make money.