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Topic: Busking in a winter wonderland
Message: Posted by: matt straightedge (Nov 1, 2010 11:16PM)
I live in Salt Lake City and busk throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Winter has been off limits for me because I hate the cold and figure other people do too. However, Xmas shopping and the Sundance Film Festival sound very appealing to me this year. I figure I can perform the material that doesn't involve complicated sleight of hand and keep my gloves on. Has anyone else busked in the wintertime?? I have a feeling that Sundance will be particularly profitable!
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Nov 2, 2010 09:39AM)
I can't get over the feeling that you'd have even more trouble getting a group of people to stop in the cold! Sundance might be different because it's a festival sort of thing, but if I were out and about, I wouldn't stop to watch a magician in the cold.

I hate cold, I'd rather sweat than shiver.
Message: Posted by: jazzy snazzy (Nov 2, 2010 10:00AM)
This does not sound like fun. Working with gloves on would be a pain.
You'll find me inside,
near the buffet,
vanishing the shrimp.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Nov 2, 2010 12:21PM)
Right next to you... calling dibs on the boneless ribs!
Message: Posted by: matt straightedge (Nov 2, 2010 09:33PM)
I feel the same way, but Sundance is the exception. The streets are FILLED with people, there just for the experience. Holiday shopping may be different, but hopfully I can cash in on some hoiday cheer. I'm trying the Sundance experiment and I'll let you know how it goes ;)
Message: Posted by: JoeJoe (Nov 2, 2010 10:58PM)
People go outside in the cold ... people will stop in the cold ... but here is the thing: they just left a store or somewhere and are still somewhat warm.

You however will be outside the entire time, getting colder and colder and colder.

Just something to keep in mind and prepare for.

Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Nov 3, 2010 11:25AM)
You'll blow your entire hat on heat packs!
Message: Posted by: Skip Way (Nov 3, 2010 12:13PM)
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If it works for you, $150 will buy a decent propane patio heater that does a pretty good job - for you and your audience.

Also, consider military surplus Nomex, Cabretta Leather or Neoprene gloves. They're quite thin, form fitting and warm yet very flexible with a good tactile gripping surface.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Nov 5, 2010 03:43AM)
Another thing to consider is that not every winter day is going to be a bleak, gray, windy, wet, freeze-your-buns-off experience. Some days are pleasantly sunny even if the temps are low. There are lots of people who enjoy cold weather, assuming it is not too extreme.

When I was in Alabama, where many people worship the sun, there were MANY days that were just plain too hot to work, so it goes both ways.

I'd say don't talk yourself out of it without giving it a fair shot.

Look at your material also, and see if you have routines that rely more on entertainment value, and less on nimble finger work. This may make your job easier, too.
Message: Posted by: Arkadia (Nov 5, 2010 01:21PM)
I live in Sweden and have done some winter work. The hats are a bit less, probably because the money is stuffed inside layers and layers of clothes.
Message: Posted by: acephale (Nov 7, 2010 09:34PM)
Fingerless gloves, take them off for sleight work but leave them on all other times. Set up where the sun is coming down on you. Make it short and sweet and hat the crap out of them. I've worked 20/30 degree weather in Seattle, but having the sun coming down on you makes a world of difference.

Also, never underestimate the amount people will respect and tip you because you're out when no one else is. That plays directly into your hat.

In truth, I don't see any huge differences between summer and winter hats, because in the summer everyone and their moms are out busking (and that's not just a figure of speech, show me one soccer mom that's bringing her cute little eight year old out to juggle when it's snowing) so you're getting a smaller amount of their cash, but in the winter? You're the only one for blocks and blocks. People respect that.

Your hands will be much more dry, making everything more slippery. Follow Eric Evans advice and cut grooves into the edges of your coins. Buy his coin DVD, he explains it, and it's an amazing street routine. I use glycerin to keep my hair pulled back, right before going into a coin routine, wipe your hand through your hair and it'll put the perfect amount on your hands to keep balls and/or coins from launching out of your palms.

Also, don't forget that winter plays directly into the holiday season. Nothing beats Black Friday and Christmas Eve for large bills.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Nov 8, 2010 04:15PM)
We've got a New Year's celebration here called "Opening Night," (because it turned out "First Night" was copyrighted). I know there was on magic act a couple of years ago, not bad but I felt they were a little more mediocre than me. (And I consider myself the Salieri of magic.
Message: Posted by: matt straightedge (Nov 8, 2010 11:18PM)
Awesome! I don't think some of you understand that at sundance people are outide mingling and partying, many are NOT looking to go inside. There are bands playing outside, bar patios are open, lines around the corner for clubs and movie screenings, and EVERYONE is riding the bus and taking the shuttle...oh yeah, and everyone is wealthy!
Acephale, you rule! Thanks for letting me know I'm not completely crazy. I'm thinking my 3 ring routine on a milk crate and that's it. Maybe a super basic sponge ball routine if it's needed.
Michael Baker thanks for the encoragement, however I will be performing at night so heat from the sun is a no go. Maybe I can score a sweet spot by a propane heater out front of a club!
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Nov 9, 2010 10:35AM)
I love this, LOL.
Why not after all these years a propane patio heater. I mean stuff the head mike and the pa, get a propane patio heater what great logic.

On 2010-11-03 13:13, Skip Way wrote:
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If it works for you, $150 will buy a decent propane patio heater that does a pretty good job - for you and your audience.

Also, consider military surplus Nomex, Cabretta Leather or Neoprene gloves. They're quite thin, form fitting and warm yet very flexible with a good tactile gripping surface.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Nov 9, 2010 10:54AM)
I think Wal*Mart has portable propane heaters in its camping section.
(Probably Target or K-Mart does as well for those of you who believe Wally-World is in league with the devil.)
Message: Posted by: matt straightedge (Nov 9, 2010 10:00PM)
They're all in league with the devil! Go local or go home!!!!
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Nov 12, 2010 11:20AM)
OK, but I don't know where everyone lives so I can't suggest any "local" hardware stores!

The magic act I mentioned earlier was part of the celebration and performed indoors.

If you work with whatever New Year's group is in your area, maybe they can set you up outside the scheduled events but _inside_ the lobby of the hall where the event is being presented. That way, you can work for tips and not freeze.
Message: Posted by: TheGiz (Nov 14, 2010 06:19PM)
I worked a couple winters in Seattle. Not that cold, but it was below freezing when I went out. I did OK. During the Christmas season some people seemed to be more generous and it would show in the hats. After New years all bets are off.
Not much competion. . .Didn't attempt too many complicated sleights though. Cards handled better in the cold than the summer humidity. (If I could keep my hands warm enough.)
Message: Posted by: imgic (Nov 15, 2010 10:53AM)
Perhaps structuring your show to be more of a trickle show versus 15 minutes and passing the hat. Have bucket sitting out, keep the tricks moving, and throw in a line about tipping every so often. Might not get the long green as with a hat show, but might get more as folks would be willing to stop for a few minutes rather than stand for a length of time...just brainstorming...
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Nov 16, 2010 11:47AM)
Wow, imgic. If I look in between your posts, it's like I'm really there!
Message: Posted by: TheGiz (Nov 17, 2010 12:30PM)
I ALWAYS do the trickle. Money can is always out. It's the only way I know.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Nov 18, 2010 10:02PM)
On 2010-11-17 13:30, TheGiz wrote:
I ALWAYS do the trickle. Money can is always out. It's the only way I know.

pm me if you don't want to talk money on the forum, but I'm curious as to how well you do. Me, I tend to wobble between not very much and less than that.

(I joked once that I actually lost money one day. I thought I'd made enough for a couple of pieces of pizza and a coke, only to find I'd miscalculated and had to dig into my own money to make up the difference.)
Message: Posted by: matt straightedge (Nov 20, 2010 01:53PM)
I like the idea of the hat always being out. if people want to pay, make it easy for them!