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Kondini
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So you want to travel the world with the street magic as a supplement to the costs? You have your own personal bag to carry. Customs are a funny bunch so what props would you take? Remember you may not speak the lingo!!! Oh yes the Cups & Balls are great anywhere, anytime, and anyplace, but what about carting that table around? Also, no cheating. You can't afford to buy new props at each destination. Remember you have to carry the lot. Your replies please!
Dave V
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Las Vegas, NV
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I'm traveling to Denmark in a few months. I'm planning on dismantling my wooden tray stand (eight screws) and packing the pieces in a shipping tube. I figure some duct tape and rope and it slings over my shoulder during my trips through the buses and airports. Tray table fits nicely at the bottom of my travel suitcase.

Props should be fairly minimal. Hat goes on my head, cups, dice, wand, pouch, a few decks of cards... A trip to the nearest fruit stand should provide the rest.
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
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Nice idea on the table, Dave. If you haven't already, consider using threaded inserts and matching screws if you plan to assemble/disassemble it often. The wear and tear on the screw holes in the wood will be less.

While cups and balls doesn't fit this theory, I'd consider props that have potential for multi-tasking. TT would be one such item. Cards another. Handkerchief. What's the airline rule on rope? Seems I've heard anything that could effectively be used to tie someone up is a no-no.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Dave V
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Thanks for the insert idea. I'll look into it. I'm only planning on reassembling it once for this trip, so the wear shouldn't be too bad.
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
JamesinLA
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Gazzo travels with his table together in a padded garment bag. That's how I would do it. But I would be tempted to forget the cups and work from one of those collapsable tables like Cellini had in his first dvd. I hate to lug stuff while traveling. Takes all the fun out of it.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
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The garment bag idea is good. For my regular stand up show (not streets) I use a small wheeled travel bag with an extendable telescopic handle. I can bungee cord my table top (16" x 16") and its Eureka base to the extended handle and I can wheel the bag mostly anywhere. Without the table, the bag is such a size that it can be carried on an airplane. So, this got me thinking. I wonder if it a table could be designed in which the top separates, or folds into a size that would fit INTO one of these bags. It would have to go against most popular construction styles, but I think it may be possible. There would be room for every other prop that you could possibly need on the streets... and you won't wear out your shoulder lugging it around.

The stand could be designed to conform to carry-on baggage standards, fit into a tube as mentioned, and you'd never have to entrust your stuff to anyone else.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Dave V
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Not a bad idea! Cut the table top in half and hinge it on the bottom and toss a rolled up mat in your bag. Unfold the top, toss on the mat and you're ready to go.
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
Eddie Torres
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New York City
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Here's an idea. If you've ever seen those collapsable tents that you simply open and toss up and they unfold into a big tent. I've been looking everywhere for a way of getting a small table sized version of this, it's tiny, it's compact and once you stick that sturdy plastic piece into the center it'll stay hard enough to meet most table needs, unless you're doing a through table effect. Unfortuantely I haven't been able to find a small enough one to do this and my attempts at cutting a large one just didn't quite work out. As for what I'd bring? Some Linking Rings, C&B's, napkins, a deck of cards, my umbrella, and a hat.
Eddie Ivan Torres
BroDavid
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America’s North Coast, Ohio
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My table case holds a bunch of stuff, including my 10" rings, and razor blades for swallowing, about a dozen decks of cards, color changing kives, and Ninja rings, and ropes, and chains for endless chain, the close up mat, a shelf, and a full drape.

In addition, I carry a knapsack with a few other goodies, like Spring skunk, my sports illustrated effect with a small (2")base ball that I "remove" from the picture of the inside of the sports illustrated magazine, then do a Chinese egg bag routine based on abaseball, and a small (14") baseball bat, and small ball glove appearing, and my Gazzo cups and balls.

All of these have played with no words, as I have performed next to a rock band, and I think I get them to relate culturally anywhere I go, even if the language is not understood there.

BroDavid
If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
The Mighty Fool
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I feel like a big-top tent having
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Well, I've done this, on numerous occasions, both in Europe , the U.S., and once in Asia. Well.....'Asia' might be a stretch...it was only in Japan, but that's part of Asia so it counts right?
Anyhoo, the last time I did this in Europe was in 2003, and the attitude, which was never exactly LOVING, has definitely taken a turn for the worse. Street magic is how I make my survival money, so to eat, there were times & places I found it necessary to speak with a vaugely East-European accent, or when asked, say I was from.....ah....the name escapes me, but it's that big cold place to the North of the U.S.. (I just KNOW I'm gonna catch it for that one!)
The logistics of this travel-perform method really depends on how you're going about your trip. Are you staying in hotels? Cheap hotels? Dives? Youth-hostels? Or sleeping wherever it's safe for free? (as I do) If you're staying in any type of hotel, my advice is do NOT leave your performance props in your room. That lock on the door means NOTHING. Youth-hostels have security lockers which are a good deal safer, but your best bet are the lockers in train stations. These are cheap, strong as hell, and extremly difficult for a thief to hit, due to the public, lit 24/7 surveilance area they're in. If you use bulky props like a folding table, amp system, linking rings, etc., stop by the station and stash 'em, then just retreive them whenever you're ready to hit the bricks.

As for customs, there's no way to hide your nationality from them, but they're not ALWAYS belligerent, and now that the borders in Europe have fallen, you don't have to deal with them as often. Believe it or not, the one magic thing which might raise the eybrows of customs guys are coin tricks. Gaffed & tricked-out coins might be suspect as counterfeits, or fraud tools. A German officer once seemed convinced that my flipper-coin was designed to help me cheat merchants. (I still don't know exactly HOW this would have been done). Only after seeing a number of coin tricks did he beleive my magician angle. A friend of mine also ran into trouble when after emptying the metal contents of his pockets into the airport screener's cereal bowl, the guard noticed the centavo coin, the chinese holed coin, the English Penny, and the Norse Holed coin, and interrogated my friend as to why he was carrying coinage from countries not stamped in his passport.
One thing that's gotten easier about street-performing in Europe, is that now that all the countries use the same coinage, you only have to buy ONE extra set of coin tricks no matter how many countries you're moving through. When I was in anime-land, I bought a set of copper-silver & 'scotch n soda' equivalent in Yen coins. Haven't gotten to use them once since leaving the country. *sigh*
If you really want to go commando & low-budget, then try to make your whole show fit on your person. Pants with multiple pockets, belly-bags, etc.
Everybody wants to beleive.....we just help them along.
Chance
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As a US citizen now living abroad for over 7 years, my experiences are somewhat different.

Firstly, the only belligerent border officials I have ever seen -- in 25 countries -- are US Customs. In every other instance I was treated with courtesy and respect. The treatment I received at the hands of my own country is a whole other story...

I travel with almost 100 pounds of gear worth thousands, and I always stay in mid-range hotels or youth hostels. And I can honestly say that never once did I have any trouble with doing so. The only theft problems I have had were from young street punks trying to snatch things during my hat pass; but I caught them and got my things back 30 minutes later, anyway.

Also, I have never, not once, been closely scrutinized when passing customs in Europe. The contents of my pockets, or that of my bags, has never been gone over piece by piece, for example.

The main thing to consider when passing customs, is to look the part. Certain kinds of hair and clothing, or the outward appearance of your boxes and bags -- not to mention how you carry yourself physically -- these are all signs the agents are trained to interpret one way or the other.

Finally, some countries are known to be more liberal and carefree than others. Do your homework, then arrange your flights to come and go from these places. Hint: The US is not one of them!
Kondini
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Many thanks for all of these thoughts on this matter.
It stemmed from earlier last year, October to be correct, when I took props to the US for gigs in New York and Annapolis.
The checks both at Heathrow here and JFK were thorough to say the least, including belts and shoes off!! My bags as such totaled 3 plus table and small rucksack. This gave me enough clothing and props to do the work, just as I was there for a three week stay.
I stayed in hotels, traveled by Taxi and Amtrack. It was not easy. The sheer effort physically and mentally (Keeping track of everything) was a nightmare. I have secured work for this year in several countries which will require a run of twelve weeks, plus umpteen flights and train trips. Having learnt from my past mistakes, I intend to adapt a street style presentation by mixing and mingling the few effects which I shall take with me should cover all the show type which I have been booked for. As well it will enable me as the desire takes to work the streets as an extra.
Try as I may, deciding what tricks these will be and just how many bags of clothing to take is still a battle in the brain.
Linking rings set off all the alarms and street tables get flung around at most airports, customs think I am an international scrap man and Amtrack baggage space gets smaller and smaller, the US underground carries passengers who look upon me with scorn, and Taxi drivers see me coming with arms overloaded and bid a hasty retreat.
Hence the thread!
Arkadia
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Sweden, Sundsvall
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I would bring six juggling balls, my linking rings, a carpet, a strait jacket and 30 feet of rope. (Instead of chain...) With that I can do my circle-show without any problems. Not too heavy either.

I do a juggling routine, then a linking rings routine based upon juggling. After that I go into walking on my hands (therefore the carpet) and finaly an escape using the jacket and the rope. Though I prefer chain, I would have to do it with rope if the aim is to pack as light as possibly.

/Ark
Don't miss out on the great new mentalist magic: www.metalwriting.com
Mario Morris
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Mario Morris
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Chance is right about the hotels.

Taking stuff through customs you should be fine as long as you put the stuff you are not sure about in your main suitcase. I always put my indispensable stuff, like my cups in my hand luggage.

Mario
Lee Darrow
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Well, I do a lot of trade shows, which is like street magic, but indoors with lights in many ways. My act fits in a brief case and that puppy NEVER leaves my side. Ever. While I am usually put up in pretty good to excellent hotels, security is always a problem, so I am rarely without my prop case.

Airport security, along with Customs, is the biggest pain and US transportation Safety Agency types are by far the worst. Talk about "crack troops manning the security perimeter" and you are NOT usually talking about the TSA folks who are still trying to deal with myriads of conflicting rules and new equipment and bosses who can't seem to decide what's what, so they are more than a bit difficult at times.

The best solution, with ANY of them is a smile and a polite "Is there anything I can explain for you? I am a magician and that bag contains my props" can work wonders. Also, having everything ready for them (computer out of the bag, cell phone in plain sight, no knives,scissors, etc.) and having copies of promotional materials can go a long way towards keeping you from the fun and games of a body cavity search.

US Customs are far more professional, but seem to play the intimidation game a bit more than the TSA people - and it pays off. They find more guilty people through the intimidation process than they probably do using the hardware they scan folks with.

Again, good manners, a smile and a "thank you" at every turn is a good way to work with these people.

I remember once, on my way to a gig at Sandals Resorts in St. Lucia (yeah, I know, it's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it!), I wound up doing almost 10 minutes for the security detail in Miami. They were thorough, but they missed three pads of flash paper that I had forgotten to take out of my bag. In St. Lucia, they didn't care about that - they were more interested in my tarot cards! They all wanted readings!!

Lee Darrow, C.H.
http://www.leedarrow.com
<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
Chance
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Actually Lee, you just reminded me of another point...

When making international border crossings, and you are not already carrying official working documents, it would be wise to never carry anything that singles you out as a wage earning professional. Not even as a busker. The props themselves can be explained away as simply keeping up with your hobby. I have some great lines ready for explaining my strait jacket and chains, but as I said, I've never needed them yet.

I can relate several stories, though, of performers not taking this kind of advice to heart, and being turned away and sent home (or back to where ever it was they were entering from.) In one case of a busker trying to enter the UK, something as simple as a diary entry was used against her.

If you are turned away, and many have been, your name will be waiting in the computer for the next agent to find should you try entering a day or two later, or from another entry point altogether. The trick is to never get noticed in the first place.
Pete Biro
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1933 - 2018
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Try travelling with $10-20,000 worth of photo gear! AND your hobby magic stuff!

Worst going into Canada... 2 hours in a room, wound up paying a huge deposit of cash "so you don't sell your equipment here before you go home." Three months later I got it back, but lost some on the exchange rates. Argh.

Get a "Pac-Safe" it is great. You can get different sizes, but the one I use goes AROUND my large bag or backpack. It is a stainless steel webbing with a cable. Lock your bag inside it and put the cable around a pipe or the toilet, anything you can lock it to in the room while you are out. Or even just down for breakfast.

If you have a car lock it to your steering wheel.

Before I got mine someone stole my complete camera bag, and air tickets, passport, etc. from the car (in just a few minutes in broad daylight).

If you get hit IMMEDIATELY GO TO POLICE AND FILE A REPORT.

I got almost all my stuff back from someone that found it and went to the Police (they knew where my hotel was). Oh, this was a previous robbery, not the camea gear.

I had a special insurance policy for the camera theft trip JUST FOR THE TRIP.

Well worth it.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
swatchel-omi
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I never heard of pac-safe. They are pretty amazing. Thanks for the tip !!

Joe
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