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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Ending a street show with escape? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

kasper777
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I have been working on a street act for a while and trying to consider the best way to end the show. For all of you buskers out there, is ending a show with an escape (e.g. straight jacket or chain escape) a good crowd pleaser? Is there concern about not being in control in case someone comes and takes off with you stuff. Or is ending with C&B betters. I am considering busking as my livelihood. Thank you in advance for the information.
RandomEffects
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You actually have hit on some of the biggest points right there. While an escape makes a great closer, one that does keep people there watching it does leave you incapacitated if someone wants to make off with your stuff. I have seen a few people who do do the staightjacket escape, and they always collect first then place the money either right next to them or hidden way deep in their tables. Generally a good crowd will stop anyone from making an obvious theft of your property, but do not count on this especially if you are considering this as a career.

You may want to get to team up with another performer and take turns performing in the same area. This way you can look out for each other. Of course, this also halves the amount of shows and therefore cash you can make.

Mat
Harry Murphy
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One of the best street acts I have ever watched was at Venice Beach California. A young, surfer looking (sun bleached blond, lean, and fit) kid did a great straitjacket and chain escape. He pulled in a fairly large crowd then had a couple of folks strap him in and two more chain him up (about 50 foot of log chain! Heavy stuff!). He really knew how to sell the escape including his face turning red. His girlfriend worked that hat and kept it moving throughout the process of the escape. He used a spectator with a stopwatch to call out the time.

When he finally made it we were all exhausted just from watching his efforts. He pitched the tip for a bit more hat. He would take about three to five minutes to reset the chain, locks, and jacket then start the whole thing over. I watched him turn three crowds. Yes I tossed some cash in the hat! His was perhaps the best escape act I have seen in years. I couldn’t hang out and talk to him so I don’t even have a clue who he is!

His act was one trick/stunt, the escape. That’s it! Nothing else! And he was doing well, at least as well as the Glass Walker and better than the musician on roller skates.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Eric Evans
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If you want to go anywhere, don't do escapes. I've seen guys that began to include them in their acts. Then they find a suitable pitch (incredibly large and extremely rare as a result) and the escape becomes the majority of their act, if not as Mumblepeas has suggested, the entirety of their act. The explanation is simple, the majority of escapes are easy to do, it is selling them as difficult and funny that tests one's showmanship.

Taking that all into account, I've seen many pitches where one could clean up performing just the straight jacket. However I've never been tempted to include one in my show as I'd rather perform magic.
JamesinLA
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Harry,
When were you out at sunny Venice? How long's it been. Next time you're out here, you must give me a call! I mostly hang out at Santa Monica's 3rd Street, but will make a point of strolling down to the Venice boardwalk to check out the scene. Maybe I'll see the surfer-Houdini you speak of!
Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Harry Murphy
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James, I watched the Surfer-Houdini three or four years ago. I had a bit of buisness in Long Beach so hit LA, Hollywood, but mainly hung out at Venice Beach. It was just a nice variety of street stuff. The guy juggling the chainsaws and bowling balls was still a big draw there.

Since remembering and posting about that act, I have being rutting through some boxes of photo’s hoping to find a picture of the guy doing his bit. So far no luck! I wish I could hold a crowd as well as that kid did!

Next time I am out your way we’ll have to get together and play some magic!
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
m@t
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Was he using a gimicked strait jacket and handcuffs or was it skill?
Smile
Harry Murphy
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He used straight chains and locks (with over 50 feet you don’t need any gimmicks!) and a non-gimmicked straight jacket. He let people examine his jacket to their hearts content.

His act was pure showmanship! Pure skill. The real skill was keeping the interest level high which keep the spectators there (which often leads to a fatter hat!). He demonstrated total control of all the elements of his show.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
RonCalhoun
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Escapes add the element of danger.

People like danger.
BroDavid
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And as Hary said, a good escape act like the surfer Houdini dude is pure showmanship. I havent tried 50 feet of chain, but I would think the hardest thing based on the weight of the chains is to keep them from falling oof due to the weight. So making it look difficult takes showmanship. Now the straight jacket is something else, and it is a lot of work. It certainly helps to be like him, young, lean and fit when getting out of one.

BroDavid
If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
Dr_Stephen_Midnight
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As a busker I did nothing but escapes. It worked for me.

Steve
Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
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