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Topic: Improving over last year
Message: Posted by: Yekrats (Jun 5, 2013 10:41AM)
Hi there, folks...

I'm set to hit the streets this Saturday at a street festival in Lafayette, Indiana (called "Mosey Down Main Street"). Basically, the town shuts down the downtown street once a month and has live entertainment, food booths, and other vendors. I got out there last year, for the first time as a "busker". I put busker in quotes there, because it was a learning experience. While I was able to form a crowd with my opener, and entertain people for a while, I had problems with my transitions, and could not keep the crowd in order to properly hat them. I made just a bit of cash - about minimum wage - mostly relying on passive tips.

However, last year I had a killer opener - Bill Abbott's Five Card Opener. I've modified the "story" to fit me, but it is absolutely killer on the street. I used Bill's "messy" method which - not a big secret here because it's in the trailer - I just chuck the cards in the air as I count them. There's just something about a guy weaving a wacky story over and over again, throwing cards into the air that attracts attention fast!

This year, I've been working on a cups and balls routine as a closer. It's nothing revolutionary. I started out looking at a lot of different routines: Gazzo's, Ammar's, Mark Wilson's, etc. I bought the Michael Ammar's cups & balls ebook/PDF. Yet, I was having problems getting the routine to 'click', because the routine didn't feel like 'mine'. Finally, I threw my arms up in the air and decided I would just do "my own" routine, taking some phases I like here, and a bit from there. I've been practicing daily (a bit to my wife's chagrin) and have even worked out a hat line before the Cups' finale. I show the hat empty at this point, and the plan is, while I give my short advertisement about supporting street magic, I sneak a big-ole 7-inch neon-yellow soccer ball under my hat for a final reveal. ;-)

In researching how "other people" do it, I found Jimmy Talks-a-lot's walking through ropes closer, and like it a lot. So I've been experimenting with it, but don't have anything ready yet. (Well, it's also in a couple of books in my library: my Tarbell book, and Abbott's Encyclopedia of Rope Magic). I'm wanting to eventually be able to hand the ropes out beforehand (so that rules out the methods in both of those books) so I've been experimenting with some invisible magical forces to hold the ropes together at a key point (cough - M*gn*T - cough) however, I haven't yet found the right one to make it work. So, that may be used down the line at a later show.

So, my routine for Saturday:
[list=1]
[*] Forming a small seed crowd tricks - Ambitious Card, Sankey's Holy Moley, Coin Flurry, Bachelor's Button (rope routine from Abbott's), etc.
[*] Bill Abbott's Five Card Opener
[*] Professor's Nightmare/Fiber Optics
[*] Cups & Balls
[/list]
Message: Posted by: troppobob (Jun 5, 2013 07:26PM)
G'day Scott
Hope you have fat hats as you Mosey Down Main Street
Bob Latta (aka troppo Bob)
Message: Posted by: Yellowcustard (Jun 5, 2013 08:12PM)
It sounds as if you have it sorted. You seem to be at a simalaur point to me. I have my edge builder and then my 3 trick routine. First trick introduces me and pull the crowd in. Second trick lot of fun with a kid from the crowd towards the end I deliver the hat line. Then third trick stand alone rope routine finsh and hat line. the hat lines are working and something I have focused on. Next up is pulling them in more before the first trick and tithing in the first trick. And developing them as a audience. I don't know if this helps but I will finish by saying have fun best of luck.
Message: Posted by: Yekrats (Jun 7, 2013 12:54PM)
Well, I passed a big test last night. I performed my C&B during my monthly Ring meeting last night. There's some real pros in the group, so I get more jittery in front of them than I do with laymen. (Is that normal? They are all good guys, but for some reason I get the self-conscious jitters with them.) However, I was able to hold up pretty well, and only had one minor mishap in the whole routine. So, I feel like I'm ready to take on the world!

Also, I received my shipment of M*gn*ts yesterday, and I tried out a test case on a couple of pieces of rope. It is just about as perfect as can be, giving almost exactly the right amount of resistance & attraction! I'll probably try creating the proper gimmicks this weekend, and walk through a couple of ropes.
Message: Posted by: thomasR (Jun 7, 2013 03:04PM)
I always get nervous performing in front of anyone that knows magic. I don't like it one single bit. I feel like they are analyzing my sleights or trying to figure out where I got what from. It's just not fun. I can be super sloppy in front of an audience and they still have a great time. Don't get me wrong.. I don't WANT to be sloppy.. but I feel like I need to just worry about talking and having fun, and less about trying to make a move go perfect. Hopefully one day, I can do both at the same time. ha.
Message: Posted by: Devious (Jun 8, 2013 11:52AM)
I noticed that the only reason you have to use
a table is because of your cups finale. I would
seriously consider switching and ditching the
table in lieu of a table free performance mate.
Message: Posted by: thomasR (Jun 8, 2013 11:06PM)
Devious makes a good point... I love performing without a table.. even though it takes some getting used to.
There is just something awesome about walking onto the street with nothing but some cards and some rope, and
maybe a few coins and being able to get people stop and watch for 10 or 20 minutes.

But then again... I love cups and balls!
Message: Posted by: plink (Jun 9, 2013 12:06AM)
Something to think about...I get nervous, up tight, etc. in front of my Ring, I could palm a canoe when I do my weekly restaurant. The guys at the Ring have seen it all and generally know what's coming. I love and respect my ring buddies, but they are not the usual audience. A lot of time the old classics done well will slay an audience of muggles, but leave the Ring members bored. Who's paying you?
Message: Posted by: troppobob (Jun 10, 2013 02:24AM)
G'day Yekrats

Did you get out and perform on the weekend? (It is Monday here in Oz - but I figure the time will catch up by the time you get to respond to this)

The issue of table or no table has been on my agenda for some time and I have 2 versions of my street show based on the criteria.

I will be bringing the "no table" version with me to the USA in August and plan to present it in places like San Diego and Vegas while traveling with my wife and enjoying some of your surfing locations on the way to the Magic Live convention in Vegas.

The no table version is much easier for traveling.

It looks like this (the routines) plus Troppo Bob's way of presentaion (this includes an Ausie accent and an approach to humour strongly influenced by belonging down under):

* Some crowd building routines (some juggling if I can get the balls and juggling sticks through customs) as well as a selection of close up effects including: one coin routine, 5 card repeat, rubber bands routine, TT and hanky routine, Side Walk Shuffle, Svengali routine that I call "The best card trick in the world" - these effects build the audience to the size required to commence the show - not all of the effects but just as many as required to establish reporte and numbers.

* Next is what I call the pre-show segment: 1. "The Fake Knot not Knot" (a routine with a spectator and based on the "Slydini knoted Silks") 2. "Blank Cards" Daryls Photograhic deck. ( Again this section is determined by the numbers gathered and will at least include the blank Card routine)

* Next is the show
1. Daryl's Rubbix Cube (quick and flashy)
2. Silk to black cane/magic wand (quick and flashy) - Effects 1 and 2 in the begining of the show are in fact an extension of the crown build - they are both quick and have no volunteers.

* Now for the real show:
3. Baloon dog with a squeaker component and plenty of audience interaction (volunteer is in audience).

4. Cut and restored rope - 2 cut and restored sequences inspired by Cellini's DVD (presented as a lesson in how to do a simple magic trick).

5. "Arnold Swartzaflea" (rising card in the hands of a volunteer who is up front with me) This routine uses a mutated weight lifting flea that comes from the balloon dog and is built on ideas from my flea circus and uses the version developed by Henry Evans (rising card) with some modifications.

6."Big Surprise" this routine is mentioned repeatedly from the commencement of the show as the final effect. This is a 3 rope routine (that appears at first to be a 2 rope routine and calls back to concepts introduced in the cut and restored rope effect)- it has bits from lots of places and was origionaly my interpetation of Daryl's "Ropes of Mystery" - This finale has the hat lines worked into the patter.

No table, every thing fits into a small bag - the show itself comprises 4 effects - all the preliminary effects can be moved around and/or left out to suit the situation - most of the crowd building effects are in my pockets.

Thanks for the opportunity to ramble on about my show - I hope that some of you will find it in some way helpful.

And BTW I will be happy to catch up with any of you on my USA travels - just say g'day in a pm or send an email via my website.


Bob Latta (aka Troppo Bob)
Message: Posted by: Yekrats (Jun 10, 2013 10:12AM)
Thank you for the responses, my dear friends!

Yes, I got out there and did better than I ever had, both magically and monetarily speaking. I managed to do a full set, complete with hat line, and hatted the audience afterwards.

I still need to work on what my hat line is, and how to KEEP my audience after the hat line. Some people heard my hat line and promptly left! (You mean, he's not just amusing us for FREE?) Some just stared at me with my hat out. Understand, this is my first time actually hatting an audience. And the truth be told, I don't think the audience is used to reaching into their pocket to tip a performer.

There were a lot of compliments heard, however. Lots of laughs, lots of expletives in surprise, several instances of slack-jawed surprise, and several people saying "Man, he's pretty good!" I kept my composure even in the face of a few hecklers and ne'er-do-wells. So, I think I'm on the right track.

My loving and wonderful wife snapped a couple of pics, which I hope to have up shortly.
Message: Posted by: Yekrats (Jun 10, 2013 10:47AM)
Specifically above, thanks to Devious and TroppoBob, and everyone that commented. I think you may be on to something there. The only reason why I'm lugging around a (small) table, cloth, and carrying a small bag - The Cups & Balls. One of the reasons I went out there with the C&B was to prove and improve my "chops". This brings up a fundamental question: What else do buskers use their table for, besides Cups & Balls?

If I could ditch the table-work in favor of (for example) the walking through ropes like Jimmy Talksalot, a la Tarbell/Abbott's. I'm also working on the presentation of a Passe-Passe Sand (instead of "Salt") again taking another page from Dr. Tarbell! (A small container of sand can be reused over and over again.)

Also, I'm beginning to question my use of Bill Abbott's Five Card Opener. It really attracts attention and is great, but it's almost "too good". It almost always develops such a crowd, I almost feel like I should hat them right after the first trick! Also, I need to keep several sets of gimmicks on me made out of ultra-cheap cards, and it might be better to find something that I do not need to go to a gimmicked card-set.

Best wishes and fat hats!
Message: Posted by: troppobob (Jun 10, 2013 05:47PM)
G'day Yekrats
My show with a small table can include my chop cup routine (that looks a bit like a lot of cup and ball routines - with hat load etc) and most commonly my mind reading duck routine (Dippy Duck).
Bob Latta (aka Troppo Bob)
Message: Posted by: MagiCol (Jun 11, 2013 03:49AM)
Yekrats, I've enjoyed reading your posts on this thread, learning of your progress.
My street magic routines show my background of being greatly influenced by Jimmy Talksalot who in his book "To Lure with Spectacle..." on page 51 writes: "If you have a table and you're not doing' cups and balls, ask yourself "Why in gads name am I draggin' this table around all the time when all I'd have to do is improvise like a real entertainer." You can read part of Jimmy's book by a free download at http://www.leapinglizardsmagic.com/LureWithSpectaclePreview3.pdf
But the whole book is really worth buying and studying.
So, I never used a table when I started my part-time busking. Even some 3 years later when my personal magic tutor here in New Zealand, Ken Bates, urged me to do the Chop Cup using a table, I resisted for a year or so. But eventually I started using a table because I figured it would be a new approach to try out. After all, you don't know some things until you try them out.

At some pitches I use a table now, even if on the day I end up not doing the Chop Cup at times. So what else do I use it for? Well I set out some of my magic props on it, Han my Magic Show sign on it where the sign is easier to notice and read, and put out playing cards on it for some tricks, as a change of location - more for my own self than the need to do it. But I don't need a table except for Chop Cup.
When I busk in far-off places, or catch busses, or if I had to use trains or planes, there's no way I would, or need to, cart the table with me. I'm very grateful I got established in my early days performing street magic without using a table. I love the freedom of just having a small bag of magic to work from. Yeah, the size of my bag of tricks has got condensed over time, too.
Message: Posted by: Magician Shaun (Jun 11, 2013 03:14PM)
About a table:

When I first started street performing I had no table. My routine was Silk Vanish, Sponge Balls (Ambitious Card sometimes if I wanted to build longer, this before sponge balls), Invisible deck, Professors Nightmare. I did this for a while and made good money and had good shows.

I wanted to do the cups and balls. I like it. So I built a table. I take it out and I do the cups and balls on it. That isn't all though. The table creates an anchor point it. Is it necessary? NO. Can yo succeed without it? Yes. Sometimes I think it helps to build a crowd. It is nice to hang my box with my sign off of it and raise it up off the ground, it is more "flash".

Most of my show is done out in front of the table. Sometimes I will start my show at the table with a Roth Coins across or 2 copper 1 silver trick that leaves people stunned. I will then move them outside my rope and begin my regular show.

My show now is Silk Vanish, Sponge Balls, Professor's Nightmare, cups and balls - my shortened version of the Vernon/Gazzo routine with 4 lemons and melon hat load finale. I have slowly modified my show as I remove bits that are not as strong as others and try and test new things. I only ever keep the good stuff though and I am out every week working on the sidewalk.

Sounds like you are doing well. Keep it up if you can hack it only gets better if you can't you quit!