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Topic: Newbie adapting sleight of hand & pickpocketing styles... where do I start?
Message: Posted by: MARS (Jun 5, 2012 01:45PM)
Hello Magic Café! I've always been interested in pickpocket magic, as well as quick sleight of hand composures. I finally decided to venture off and start learning about these techniques. The only issue is, I'm not familiar on where I should start practising these gambits!

I've ripped through Techniques of the Professional Pickpocket - a great, short read on the insight of [i]actual[/i] pickpockets. I nabbed the Encyclopedia of Pickpocketing and The Art of Pickpocketing, two great series that delve into the brilliant motions behind removing different articles from a mark.

As you may know, pickpocketing is a variation of a sleight of hand, as is "put"pocketing. I can't find many resources on how to practice the multitude of sleights, though, aside from that one special Penn & Teller video that everyone and their grandmother has seen. Also, for the pickpocketing side of things, I don't know where to gain sufficient practice before actually hitting the streets... I'm terrified of messing up a picking routine and being branded as an actual thief.

Any suggestions, fellow magicians? In case you didn't bother reading the above, I'm looking for ways to apply my knowledge for pickpocketing and sleight of hand, as well as resources to help me practice different sleights.
Message: Posted by: Ray Bertrand (Jun 5, 2012 02:05PM)
I don't know where to gain sufficient practice before actually hitting the streets... I'm terrified of messing up a picking routine and being branded as an actual thief.

I'm not sure where you will learn the particular skills you are looking for. I do know that if you 'hit the streets' to practice your art, their is a very high probability you will be arrested. I would err on the side of caution.
Message: Posted by: MARS (Jun 5, 2012 02:32PM)
That is my worry, Ray. I really like the idea of pickpocketing and the whole suite of sleight of hand performances - misdirection, load, etc. - but I'm worried about bombing a set.
Message: Posted by: Er1tro (Jun 5, 2012 04:15PM)
Sometimes I do pickpocketing just for fun to friends or people I know, but I don feel confident enough to apply this in a routine.
I think that when you do Pickpocketing magic to people you don't know you have to do before you start some 'normal' magic tricks that's really identify you as a magician (like with silks or spongballs) and, maybe, some poker or gamblers routine. So if something goes wrong is clear to everybody that the attempt was part of the show. At the beginning I would try with just some easy moves that can't go (to) wrong (like the one where you fake to put something back in the pocket of a spectator) so they realize that you will give things back and It's just for entertaining.
Message: Posted by: dattyw (Jun 5, 2012 04:23PM)
Show the person a magic trick and do the pickpocketing during the trick. Then after the trick also revel the pickpocketing. Just a thought.
Message: Posted by: MARS (Jun 5, 2012 04:31PM)
Thanks for the response, David. I've seen videos of pickpocketing so my issue doesn't lie in the "what do I do once I picked the pocket." The issue is where do I gain practise for this sort of thing and also for sleight of hand movements?
Message: Posted by: axxell33 (Jun 6, 2012 06:34AM)
This is a very good question. Perhaps a very close family member/friend/significant other can be your assistant for practicing. Also, this may sound silly, but perhaps a life size maneken could help. I understand that they're not moving, but it would atleast give you the ability to practice in private and learn the moves with a "person" standing in front of you. They always say practice as you perform and I don't think stealing your own watch or wallet would help you in anyway with "muscle memory" while smoothing out a routine.

On a side note, as a small child I was visiting Myrtle Beach with my family. We were at the Carnival and a strolling magician walked up. He gathered a group of folks and showed a few tricks.. I have no idea what they were. But the one thing I ALWAYS remembered about that magician is that as I walked off he called me back and handed me my watch. I was floored and had no clue that he had even touched my wrist. So, in my opinion, for a pick pocketer, the tricks/illusions performed as part of his/her routine should primarily serve the purpose of misdirection for the main objective of pick pocketing. Then close with the reveal.. they will never forget it!