(Close Window)
Topic: Busking research...
Message: Posted by: Korbinian (Oct 18, 2010 04:39AM)
Hello fellas,

I just want to share a bit of information with you. I am a busking magician from Munich, Germany, the city of beer, oktoberfest and weisswurst.

Besides the magic I am also a student of cultural anthrophology and just finishing my studies. My thesis is about "Trickster and street magicians". I want to show the connection between the mythical figure and the real living buskers. I believe that we buskers share a lot of the same traits as e.g. Hermes, Loki, Mephistoteles or the Coyote.

In course of this research I am reading a long list of busking resources, not so many DVDs because most DVDs are just concerned with tricks, although I know the good exceptions, like Cellinis DVDs or Kozmos DVD.

Certainly one can differ about the value of the single works, but I thought I will share my list and my reviews, so one can add or recommend new works.

One of the last books is also one of the best. It is not expensive but well written. I must admit the production cannot be compared to a work like Royal Touch, but it is one of this small booklets, which contains more gems and gold than the English Crown jewels.
I am talking about "Street Wise" by Gary McKibben aka "The Blackbeltmagician". In about 40 pg. one can read a lot about performing on the street, be it money lines, trick suggestions or stories and what I like most about it, one can feel the spirit of the author between the lines, a quality which I found seldom in a book. Another thing which is just great is his self-reflection, his thinking about his own thoughts.
It is certainly not a monumental work, if one looks just at the content, but how should I say, it is one of the books I am digging through. It is a sort of meditation manual for me. Open it up and I easily find something, which I missed before and gives me new insights.
And lastly I have to add, that Gary is a fantastic and wonderful person, although I just know him electronically or through his book, I am happy to know people like him exist in this world.

So right now I am getting sore fingers and I also have to read on. But I will write again, about the other books.

best regards,

Message: Posted by: Arkadia (Oct 18, 2010 04:49AM)
Please tell us more about your project. Sound really interesting.
Message: Posted by: fireperformer911 (Oct 18, 2010 11:57AM)
Gary booklet "Street Wise" is very good booklet!!!
Message: Posted by: Jerry (Oct 18, 2010 11:02PM)
Is this the same Professor Gizmo?

I have never heard of this book. Is there an english version?

Message: Posted by: gaddy (Oct 19, 2010 04:00AM)
Eric's book is good...
Message: Posted by: Jerry (Oct 19, 2010 02:32PM)
So Eric is Gary and Gary is Professor Gizmo and there is an English version?

Message: Posted by: Korbinian (Oct 20, 2010 04:18AM)
Hello again,

sorry for the delay. But I have to read a lot and started doing some sports so I forgot to write.

Concerning your request Arkadia, I think I best start to explain something about the trickster figure. The Trickster is a sort of mythical prototype, which can be found in many legends or folklore. In Norse mythology it would be Loki, in Greek it would be Hermes and in North America the Coyote. These three are only examples, there are whole books just listing the different gods or entities.
One could say the trickster is an universal phenomenon, they can be seen all over the world. Almost the same could be said about street magicians, especially the traveling ones.

I quote from a book of mine: "In short, trickster is a boundary-crosser. Every group has its edge, its sense of in and out, and trickster is always there, at the gates of the city and the gates of life, making sure there is commerce. He also attends the internal boundaries by which groups articulate their social life. We constantly distinguish - right and wrong, sacred and profane, clean and dirty, male and female, young and old, living and dead - and in every case trickster will cross the line and confuse the distinction. Trickster is the creative idiot, therefore, the wise fool, the grey-haired baby, the cross-dresser, the speaker of sacred profanities" Lewis Hyde - Trickster makes this world pg. 7.

In my opinion this same quote could be transferred almost 100 percent to the street magician. There are a lot of other examples, but this would take to long.
And I also wanted to write about other things besides my research. In the next days I want to introduce the books I am reading about street magic, on the one hand, because I have to read them and to give reviews, on the other hand, so someone may recommend other readings, which could help broadening my research.

So concerning epoptikas post, no I am not a friend of Gary, I have not met him except through his book, but I think it is a very good book and it was on top of my pile of books.

The next book I want to introduce is the absolutely brilliant, "Dreamers Highway" by Cellini. I never had the fortune to meet him in person, so the only chance to learn more about him would be this book. A bit difficult to get my hands on, since no normal dealer has it on its list and so I had to order it from Shawn Greer, what proved to be a perfect decision, since it arrived very fast and in perfect condition, this book proved far better than I expected.

In contrast to the wonderful Royal Touch, about I will talk some later time, it is full of wonderful stories, which tell you about the real value of working the streets. It is not about the money, it is about the lifestyle, about the people you meet and influence or are influenced by.

There are some tricks explained, which in my opinion are some of the best for the street, that I have yet read. For example, knife through coat. But I must admit, that the book is to short. I want more, more stories, more background. Not that the book isn't long or comprehensive, but the stories awaken a desire to hear more of them, the tricks seem like prototypes of real magic for real people, a kind of magic, which I think is missing in most published material. Most magicians won't probably like them, since they are too simple and on the other side too difficult, like all real good magic.

But if any magician or any person, likes the sun more than the spotlights and the pavement more than the wooden floor of the stage, then this is the book for you.
One last thing, a drawback is the style. It is a collection of material, it is not a carefully laid out and perfectly prepared work. It is sometimes very associative, what I like but I can be difficult for other persons.

My best regards,

Message: Posted by: gallagher (Oct 20, 2010 10:01AM)
Living in Bavaria, you won┤t learn anything about Busking!,.... it┤s one of the most controled states in Germany. Selective approval. Adolf┤s spirit is still in the air here.

Message: Posted by: TheGiz (Oct 20, 2010 04:42PM)
Thanks for the plug. Hope the book is working for you.
Message: Posted by: Korbinian (Oct 21, 2010 02:47AM)
To Gallagher...

Munich is certainly not the best city for busking, but the rules make sense and one can easily busk outside.

Message: Posted by: gaddy (Oct 21, 2010 03:02AM)
Best thread this month...
Message: Posted by: gallagher (Oct 21, 2010 08:01AM)
I┤ve just busked my way out of the Chech Republik, thru most of southern Germany,... Sachsen, Thuringen,.. over into Bayern. A couple of the big towns, most of the small ones. The moment I crossed into Bavaria, I┤ve been dogged EVERY day!. Every day,... evey town. Dogged, Shammed, Abused. Clearly told, "Unwelcome". Three years ago, I had the same experience here. Talking with every other Performer I know, the same story. And, the citizens close their eyes and accept it. "Well, that┤s the law."

Problem is, this isn┤t the law. In every town I┤ve been stopped, I┤ve pulled out the court case, fought out in the Federal Court in Karlsruhe, stating I have the right to perform `uncontroled┤ on the streets. In EVERY Bayerische town, I was told, "It doesn┤t interest us what in Karlsruhe was said." Every town.

Every city official who stopped me, then later called the Police to hall me away, said the same thing, "It might be good what you┤re doing, but we┤re just doing our job.",....Followed by, "Hey, I don┤t make the laws."

Four times, I┤ve had my arms twisted and shoved into a police car the past two weeks. Only to be released four hours later, no charges pressed, and told if I do it again, the same thing will happen,.... with a smile on the face, letting me know the twisting will be a little harder.

Your thread states "Busking research...",... I don┤t want to take your thread in a different direction,... but you mentioned Bavaria, the traditional peak of Cultural and Artistical Intolerence in Germany.
and as BMW says, "the tradition continues".

p.s.: I┤m sitting in NŘrnberg right now; when stopped, was told to get a permit. I went and requested a permit and was told, "All the permits have been issued until Nov. 22nd. As of Nov. 22nd, no more permits will be issued because of the Christmas Market.",... the street were absent of performers today,.. not one,... I wonder where the permitted were.
MŘnich?,.. a half a day permitt, every two weeks. "For `Shows┤, it┤s better to apply a week before,.. and audition.",.. if it rains on your `half-a-day┤,.... too bad.
Selective Control,.. boardering on Censorism.

p.s.s.: Korbinian, try to understand the past, otherwise, there is a good chance it will repeat itself.
Message: Posted by: Korbinian (Oct 22, 2010 02:27AM)
Hello gallagher,

If you have a decision from the court in Karlsruhe, please give me the number or even better send me a copy. This would really interest me.

Concerning Munich, your statement is simply wrong. In Munich one has to make a short audition, but as far as I know, there has been only one magician, who didn't pass it and this was because he was starting a fight with the boss there. And then you have to pay 10 Euro for the permit, which allows you to work from 12.15 am until 10.00 pm. You have to change your place every hour and are not allowed to use amplifiers.

For Performance artists, like mimes, magicians or jugglers, only two permits per day are available. It is quite annoying, but there aren't many performers in Mun-ich, so most of the time it is no problem to get a permit, if one stands up early,
and this permit-system is made just for the pedestrian area. Everywhere outside of this area one can busk as long as you don't annoy anybody. Not fair, I know, but I never really had a problem.

Concerning 10 Euros, if one can't make these 10 Euros, then one should seriously question what he or she is doing. Munich is controlled, but if one stays calm, nice and friendly, one never had trouble.

We could certainly discuss at length, if rules makes sense or not, but this would lead to far away and is also a matter of opinion.
So I just finish with a quote by Cellini: "Our Strength is that we can leave." That is my opinion, we can be the wise monkeys and find our own ways, where as blind rebellion will always get you into trouble.

Best regards,

Message: Posted by: Korbinian (Oct 23, 2010 08:29AM)
Hello dear readers,

I'm sorry for the delay and also sorry for this fruitless fight. Today I want to try to introduce my project even further. The finished thesis will be around 80-120 pages, excluding credits, notes and other supplements. I am writing it in order to gain my ÔÇ×MagisterÔÇť in Cultural Anthropology, which could be compared to the PhD.
In 2008 I quit my job at a magic and jugglingshop here in Munich, where I was working for 3 years and started busking. I first worked in Munich, then started travelling. At the moment I am not working that much on the streets, since my main aim is to finish my studies.
In the beginning I want to introduce my basic question, which is: ÔÇ×Are Street Magicians Tricksters?ÔÇť I believe the conclusion will probably be ÔÇ×yesÔÇť, but I try to be unbiased, something wich is not very easy.
My modus operandus will be a mixture of different methods and approaches. I am reading several books written by and about street magicians and other buskers.
The nearly complete list is:

Caveney, Mike (1993): Harry Anderson - Wise Guy. From the Street to the Screen. Pasadena, CA: Magical Publications. (Simply brilliant work. So funny and creative. Superb layout, great stories and even better tricks.)
Cellini, Jim (2006): Lecture Notes 2006. Selbstverlag: Selbstverlag. (A little bit poorly edited, not everything is clear, best in compound with Dreamers Highway)
Claflin, Edward; Sheridan, Jeff (1977): Street Magic. An Illustrated History of Wandering Magicians and Their Conjuring Arts. Garden City, NY: Dolphin Books.
Cohen, David; Greenwood, Ben (1981): The buskers. A history of street entertainment. North Pomfret, Vt.: David & Charles.
Cova, Alexander de (1995): Strassenzauberkunst. Ein praktischer Leitfaden. Freiberg a.N.: BAT Magic - Magical Arts Studio. (A good work, one of the few german books, most ideas are already published elsewhere. DeCova credits Cellini as inspiration and teacher)
Evans, Eric; Craver, Nowlins (2003): The Secret Art of Magic. Plainview, TX: Magic To Laugh By. (Do I have to say anything about this book. In my opinion one of the most important magic books of all time. One should simply read it from front to back and then meditate everyday about it.)
Foley, Brian (1986): Street Magic oder Kann man denn davon leben? Erfahrungen eines Profis nicht nur f├╝r die Strasse. M├╝nchen: Zauberzentrale M├╝nchen. (Short and Sweet)
Freund, Martin (2006): Zauberk├╝nstler. Berufsbild, Typologie und Karriereverl├Ąufe einer seltenen Berufsgruppe. Coesfeld: sic!-Verlag. (A sociological analysis of magicians in general, who are they, what and where do they earn their money etc.)
Groves, David (1998): Be a Street Magician! A How-To Guide by David Groves. Los Angeles: Aha! Press. (In my opinion also one of the best books out there, since the author really discusses his theories, which very few authors do)
Harrison-Pepper, Sally (1990): Drawing a circle in the square. Street performing in New York's Washington Square Park. Jackson u.a.: Univ. Press of Mississippi. (One of the few scholarly works, with nice stories, although the intellectual value is constricted to analysis of space, which is good and profound)
Haviland, Jimi (1985): Der Strassenzauberer. M├╝nchen: Zauberstudio Rudolf Braunm├╝ller.
Haydn, Whit (2001): Street Magic. 1997 Magic Castle Lecture: The School of Scoundrels. (Brilliant although a bit short)
Huggins, Wilfred; Culpitt, Frederic: Secrets of the Street Conjurer. A world-wide collection of Conjuring Secrets for Magicians who entertain when surounded by spectators. London: GEORGE JOHNSON, Magical Publications. (A very old but quite interesting book. My copy is unfortunately missing the last pages. So if anyone has a complete copy, I would be happy to hear from you)
Hyde, Lewis (2208): Trickster makes this world. How disruptive imagination creates culture. 1. paperback ed. Edinburgh: Canongate Books.
Hynes, William J; Doty, William G (1997): Mythical trickster figures. Contours, contexts, and criticisms. 1. paperback printing. Tuscaloosa: Univ. of Alabama Press.
Knorr, Alexander (2004): Metatrickster. Burton Taxil Gurdjieff Backhouse Crowley Castaneda ; eine Interpretation von Leben Werk und Wirken ausgesuchter historischer Pers├Ânlichkeiten deren Wohlgelingen der Hilfe des Diskurses zur mythologischen Trickstergestalt bedurfte. M├╝nchen: VASA-Verl. (Alteritas, 3).
Mason, Bim (1992): Street theatre and other outdoor performance. In: @Street theatre and other outdoor performance, Bim Mason. Online verf├╝gbar unter http://www.gbv.de/dms/bowker/toc/9780415070492.pdf.
Matheis, Gerhard Max; Meyer, Ulrich (2008): Anlocken - fesseln - abkassieren! Handbuch der Stra├čenzauberei. Stuttgart: Privatverlag. (A german work, has a very good chapter about acting for street magicians)
McFalls, E. M. (1997): Cellini - The Royal Touch. Ein Leitfaden f├╝r die Strassenzauberei. Magical Classics Verlag: Z├╝rich. (The tome of street magic. Buy it, simple)
Rubinstein, Michael (1991): "Strassenmagie & Gesch├Ąft". M├╝nchen: Zauberstudio Rudolf Braunm├╝ller. (A work, which I don't really like, since it is quite dry and not very comprehensive)
Siegel, Lee (1991): Net of magic. Wonders and deceptions in India. In: @Net of magic, wonders and deceptions in India, Lee Siegel. Online verf├╝gbar unter http://www.loc.gov/catdir/enhancements/fy0608/90048328-t.html. (Now this is a brilliant work, if one wants to know about street magic in India this is way to go, also very inspiring, if one reflects about our own thinking and traditions)
Talksalot, Jimmy (2007): To Lure With Spectacle And Our Mysterious Society. A Street Magician's Manual. Orlando, FL: Leaping Lizards Publishing. (Brilliant, another must have, although most of the material is available and already published in his blog)
Witt, Wittus (1986): Taschenspieler-Tricks. Tips und Tricks f├╝r die Zauberei I'm Freien. In: Taschenspieler-Tricks, Tips und Tricks f├╝r die Zauberei I'm Freien, Wittus Witt. (The german masterwork of street magic)
If somebody knows a book, he or she thinks is important, and is not listed here please send em a message. But I think maybe excluding some lecture notes, this is quite comprehensive. I just realized, that Dreamers Highway, which I think is written by Cellini but edited by Shawn Greer, and Streetwise by Gary McKibbens are missing, maybe I will include them in a future release, but they lay just beside my desk.

Now I am searching these books for clues to the trickster, could be stories, quotes or whole concepts. Certainly not everything will fit, but most will probably give further clues to the trickster.
So this is the basic idea, I would be happy about further comments.
I will stop here and hope to hear from you.

Best regards,

Message: Posted by: ringmaster (Oct 23, 2010 01:57PM)
Wonderful bibliography, hopefully one of our language experts will put out English translations of some of them.
Missing is Henry Mathew "London Labor and London Poor" , it may be referenced in some of the other works.
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=fIoBAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA107&vq=busking&dq=%22london+labour+and+the+london+poor%22&output=html Ace Starry "The Magic Life"
Billy Bryant "The Children of Ol' Man River" , rare but wonderful look at showboats and medicine
shows, including making and pitching "electric belts"
I've always seen the busker as more Trubador or Gypsy showman, than Trixter myself. It might profit you to look into the "shaking tent" rite of Native Americans, also.
You might find this interesting too. http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=292513&forum=27
Good luck, my friend
Message: Posted by: trickymagic (Oct 23, 2010 03:25PM)
How about Gazzo's book "The Art of Krowd Keeping?"
Message: Posted by: MagiCol (Oct 23, 2010 05:09PM)
Korbinian, thanks for sharing what you're doing, letting us benefit from your extensive research. I look forward to hearing more from you. Perhaps you might get your finished research published in book form for those who want to buy a copy?
Message: Posted by: troppobob (Oct 24, 2010 05:56AM)
G'day Korbinian

I am looking forward to reading more about your thesis.

Bob Latta (aka Troppo Bob)
Message: Posted by: epoptika (Nov 19, 2010 07:45PM)
Korbinian, I must apologize for my earlier post on this thread which did not add anything to the discussion and was, thankfully, deleted. Your project is interesting.

There have been earlier CafÚ threads regarding the compilation of a busking bibliography and you may find some titles there which you have overlooked;

Message: Posted by: mtb (Nov 20, 2010 05:29AM)
Certainly a worthwhile project. Good luck. :)
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Nov 25, 2010 09:23PM)
On 2010-10-23 14:57, ringmaster wrote:
Wonderful bibliography, hopefully one of our language experts will put out English translations of some of them.
Missing is Henry Mathew "London Labor and London Poor" , it may be referenced in some of the other works.
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=fIoBAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA107&vq=busking&dq=%22london+labour+and+the+london+poor%22&output=html Ace Starry "The Magic Life"
Billy Bryant "The Children of Ol' Man River" , rare but wonderful look at showboats and medicine
shows, including making and pitching "electric belts"
I've always seen the busker as more Trubador or Gypsy showman, than Trixter myself. It might profit you to look into the "shaking tent" rite of Native Americans, also.
You might find this interesting too. http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=292513&forum=27
Good luck, my friend

As one of the resident "language experts," I can state categorically that the probability of ever seeing an English version of any of the German publications is basically nil.

Why would this be? It's very simple. Money. There isn't enough money in translating these books to make it feasible. Let's say that we have a book with a potential market of 300 people. Let's say we have another book that is about the same length with a potential market of 3000 people. It takes the same approximate effort to translate both books. Which one would YOU translate?

Another problem is getting permission to publish a translation of a book.

Regarding [i]Royal Touch[/i], it is a tragedy that the original English version has been lost. The present English version is a translation into English of a German translation of the original. There are MANY errors in the present English version.

Korbinian, with all respect, I would suggest that you check previous threads to see what has already been posted about [i]The Royal Touch[/i] and [i]Dreamer's Highway[/i] so you don't duplicate what has already been done. If you can find these threads, it would also be a good idea to add your comments to the existing threads.
Message: Posted by: ringmaster (Nov 25, 2010 11:18PM)
Two things Bill;
We really need a translation of Jero, which may have some busking reference or at least C&B. I'd like to see a bound version, but eBook or print on demand is chopped liver either. You or that other Texas publisher, or the other eBook guy who speaks good German. No names please.
Is it posable to get The Fleming Classics back in print in some form ?
Message: Posted by: ringmaster (Nov 26, 2010 11:17AM)
Another bibliography site http://www.houseofdeception.com/Carnival_Sideshow_Bibliography.html
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Nov 26, 2010 01:45PM)
On 2010-11-26 00:18, ringmaster wrote:
Two things Bill;
We really need a translation of Jero, which may have some busking reference or at least C&B. I'd like to see a bound version, but eBook or print on demand is chopped liver either. You or that other Texas publisher, or the other eBook guy who speaks good German. No names please.
Is it posable to get The Fleming Classics back in print in some form ?

I suppose you mean the Joro book, [i]Kleines Becherspiel Kompendium[/i]. I have permission to translate it, but I've put it on the back burner for now. Too many complications with the publication. You have to realize that it's not just the translation.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. About a decade ago, I was asked to translate Borodin's book [i]Sheherazed[/i] into English. An American publisher had the rights to publish the book. The German publisher owns the German version. So, I translated the book for the German publisher and submitted the manuscript to him on DVD. I thought he was going to publish it. He thought the American publisher was going to publish it. At first, it didn't matter that much to me. However, I met Borodin, and we discovered that we had a lot of mutual interests.

Now the crux of the matter was this. The German publisher paid me to translate the book. After that, it was up to him whether or not it got published. The American "publisher" was simply going to be a distributor for the book.

This was a twist on a familiar story. I have written several books that never got published. I had also written several translations of German books that I got a tiny pittance of the amount I had coming to me. So here I was with a really good book, and it didn't look like it would ever see the light of day.

I had never published a hardback book before. I got permission from the German publisher to publish the book. I spent a little over $1000 for the right software, plus an equal amount to get a computer that was capable of handling the work. I didn't have the money to publish the book, though. So I took the Cezanne code out of the book, and I used it to produce the seed money for the publication. The book sold out. I paid Borodin a royalty, and I refunded the money that the German publisher had paid me for the translation.

I didn't make a cent on the book.

I've had requests to reprint it, but it's not going to happen. Why? I would have to be guaranteed that I could sell at least 500 copies of it before I did the work. Otherwise, each copy would cost a tremendous amount of money.

It's too good a book for Lulu.com.

There is not enough busking material in the Joro book to make it worthwhile for the busker to use it. There are a number of basic routines, but nothing earth-shattering. By the time I split the take with the original publisher and Joro, I wouldn't make anything.

Even the historical section, which was of marginal interest, i.e. the part about the "Hofzinser cups," has been disproved, and there is a much more complete bibliography available.

Regarding the Fleming Classics -- the Carl Waring Jones estate owns them, and they won't pass into the public domain for a while.

They are still available from used book dealers. They are not very expensive. You just need to know who to call.

So, the answer on the Fleming classics is basically not likely.

The other German translator from Texas isn't here any longer. He moved back to Utah for a family committment.

You must understand that it's not just a matter of being able to speak German well, when it comes to translating. The translator must have a comprehensive knowledge of conjuring terms in both languages, and his/her skills in the target language must be flawless. Otherwise, you wind up with a botch job like the reverse translation of [i]The Royal Road.[/i] Of equal importance is the ability to translate in a style that is consistent with the speech and writing of the author.
Message: Posted by: ringmaster (Nov 26, 2010 02:10PM)
Thank you
Message: Posted by: The Great Zoobini (Dec 12, 2010 02:10PM)
Concerning Munich, there's no need to get bent out of shape. Laws are simply changed over time. As one city goes about forbidding busking, another city is just starting to allow it. Things change. I busked Munich's main shopping street way back in 1992 and no permit was needed then.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Dec 12, 2010 09:21PM)
This area from Karlsplatz (Stachus) to Marienplatz is one of the greatest places to busk and to sightsee in Munich. The problem is that EVERYONE knows about it. So they regulate it. The last time I was there, I saw an incredible busking act. I have NEVER seen a busking magic show that came close to the appeal that it had.

It was a fellow who played the marimba. He was excellent. He had marvelous crowd control. He made a huge amount in his hat, plus he sold CD's. He was very careful not to clog the foot traffic or to impede people getting into or out of the stores where he was playing.

In the Marienplatz in 1990, I saw some fairly original busking ideas. Back then there was very little regulation at all.

Salzburg has some excellent places to busk.