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Danny Diamond
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Two tables and situations from last nights 2-hour restaurant shift...

-The Grabber-
Alright, tonight I introduce my chop cup routine to this restaurant. I've done this routine for almost two years now, maybe a hundred performances. Not having a good place to steal my final load from, was my main reason for not including this routine in the restaurant earlier. When I wear my suit jacket, I just steal it from the jacket pocket. But in this family restaurant, I wear a vest. I actually built a ball dropper myself this week, from a wire hanger and duct tape, and it works like a charm! Now I can steal the load from under my vest. Perfect!

First table of the night. Two older women, and a 5 year old boy. Sponge ball routine is received well, as is the quick coin routine I do next. Finally, the chop cup. After a couple phases, the boy's attention wanders. Well, the final phase is here, I am sure he will enjoy the final load. My routine is based on Don Alan's, and like his, the last phase before the load, is along the lines of removing the ball (apparently) from the cup and saying "just for fun, is the ball in the pocket, or still in the cup?" As I say this, I point to my pocket and to the cup. As I point to my pocket (and steal the final load), the woman to my left, in one smooth motion with no hesitation, reaches forward and lifts up the cup and looks inside it. My hands were away from the cup for 2 seconds - and that's all it took for her to make her move.

Well, hooray for her, she discovered the secret.

I was sort of in shock, that someone would be so bold as to reach over in the middle of my routine, and lift up and examine a prop that I was using. She kind of looked up at me after she peered inside, and slightly rolled her eyes and looked away. I didn't have a good line prepared for this, and I think I said something to the effect of "ok, fine, well, let's not ruin it for Tommy, ok?" And since I had the final load palmed at the point, I loaded it and revealed it a few seconds after. This final load actually got a great response, even from the woman who helped herself to my props. I ended it there and walked to the back room of the restaurant to think for a minute.

Honestly, my first reaction was "I want to slap that *%#&$ woman - why would she try to ruin a trick that I was doing, with a little kid there? Why would she be so rude?? I might expect that from a kid, but she is a grown woman who should have more manners!"

But those thoughts were swiftly replaced with the thoughts of "well, that was certainly a lesson learned". I thought of the Café, and of a post Danny Doyle made towards me a while back, saying "I am glad things went wrong" - referring to a trick I botched during a prior strolling gig. I was glad too. While I do think it is rude for a grown woman to do what she did, I know that I should be ready for this. I will try to protect my props better in the future. Now that I know it CAN happen, I will be more prepared to prevent it.

-The Non-Believer-
As I walk by a table, I hear a man say "oh, is that the sleight-of-hand guy?". He is older, about 50, and has a full glass of beer in front of him, as well as an empy one. His wife sits across from him, and there are three children at the booth - a girl who looks 7, a boy who looks 5, and a baby in a high chair at the end of the table. I respond to the comment with an introduction, "my name is Danny, I am the house magician here..." - he interrupts me with "sleight-of-hand". I ask the kids, "would you guys like to see some magic?" - again he corrects me with "no, we want to see sleight-of-hand". This is a weird situation and the atmosphere is already getting uncomfortable - for all involved.

My first line in my sponge ball routine, is "do you guys believe in magic?", which I direct at the kids. I almost knew what would follow, but I delivered the line anyway. "Do you guys believe in magic?" I ask them. The daughter looks to her father before answering, and he is quick to answer for them. "No, they don't, we want sleight-of-hand." The daughter looks confused and doesn't know what to say. The dad further explains to her "ya know, it's not real, he's not doing magic, he's doing tricks, sleight-of-hand". I get through a few phases of the sponge ball routine, and the kids are reacting well, and it is time to use mom's hand for the "one in my hand, one in yours...mine is gone, two in yours" portion of the effect. It goes over well, and even the dad is impressed. But he has to experience it for himself, so he reaches out a hand and says "alright, I gotta try that one, do that one to me." Well, having already stolen a third ball, I tell him, "ok, but you hold both this time, ok?", and I load three. I mime removing an invisible ball from my sleeve, and I tell him to watch it as I toss it invisibly into his hand. I ask if he felt it, he says something like "no, nothing happened, I want you to get one out". I say "why? Putting a third ball into your hand invisibly wasn't good enough?" He says, "you didn't put another in it". I tell him to open his hand, he does. Everyone, himself included, is shocked and laughs when three balls pop out of his hand.

Then the mother asks where Iearned this, and after my typical brief answer of "books" (I like to encourage the kids to read), the father starts to tell me about this book he read. "It tells about all of the moves that they do, all of the sleights". I say "well, that may be interesting to you and me, but sometimes it's also fun to just believe in magic. At this point, he has literally mentioned the term "sleight-of-hand" about twenty times. He seems to want nothing more than to make everyone aware of the fact that this is not real magic, but rather sleight of hand.

I have encoutered this a couple times before, but nothing this bad. How do you guys react when a parent makes it a point to explain to the child, that the magician is not doing real magic, but rather doing moves with his hands? Part of me feels bad for the child, that they are not allowed to believe in magic. It's hard to say what the reason is for parent's doing this. One time I remember, the child was about 8-9 years old, and was learning some magic, so the father wanted to point out what kind of magic I was doing. I guess since it was Miser's Dream, the father wanted to show his son the difference in sleight-of-hand stuff vs. colorful boxes at a kid's show? And in some cases, the parents are very religious and want to make it clear that magic does not exist, and it is only a trick. And I guess other times, the insecure parent might just want to make it clear to everyone that they are not fooled, and know it's not real.

Either way, what do you think is the best way to proceed, given this type of situation?
You don't drown by falling in the water;

you drown by staying there.



- Edwin Louis Cole
Dannydoyle
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Danny let me rephrase my quote a bit to make it seem nicer.

"I am glad you learned from advirsity". THAT really is what I mean by saying I am glad things went wrong.

It is a sign of a pro. ALL pros have things go wrong, it is the way you handle them, and then adjust to them so it does not happen again that really sets a new level for us.

"Guarding the props" is ESSENTIAL in what we do.

But consider this about what you were doing before you bash yourself too much about the cup.

She seemed to be having fun. Yep a pain in the hind parts but having fun. ULTIMATLY your goal.

PM me I can help you avoid this again really. It is easy to avoid if you try.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Bad to the Balloon
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Never put anything on the table you don't want touched.

Personally from your verbiage you invited the woman to pick up the cup .... she made her choice kinetically when you were expecting a verbal response.

The other guy was justifying your performance to fit his world view. It sure beats the guy who tells you your doing the Devils bidding.

Great line I have used before for for Killjoys "You must be a blast at the movies" Or "so how did you like StarWars?"

The one that kills me when I do My Bunny Daryl (aka the sponge bunnies) I have women tell me it is creepy ....what is so creepy about squishy bunnies?
Mark Byrne
AKA Mark the Balloon Guy
As seen on the TODAY SHOW
www.balloonguy.net
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MAKMagic
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Give up performing and hang with the family instead. Slacker.
.:Michael Kelley
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MAKMagic
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Just kidding and he knows it. Danny and I have already discussed the evening earlier this morning:) I say we hunt her down.
.:Michael Kelley
<BR>www.RandomActsofEntertainment.com
On the Level, By the Square
Danny Diamond
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Quote:
On 2007-08-06 12:14, Dannydoyle wrote:
Danny let me rephrase my quote a bit to make it seem nicer.


Sorry Danny, didn't mean to imply that you were being brash or rude in your comment - here is the actual quote...

Quote:
On 2006-12-14 11:05, Dannydoyle wrote:
Danny I am glad things went wrong. They always go wrong. Anyone who tells you any different is selling you something!


I knew exactly what you meant then, and I get it more then ever now. It was embarrassing to have her discover my secret like she did, but I tried to learn from it and turn it into a positive. Nothing can teach you more about guarding your props, than actually having someone actually grab a "dirty" one during a performance.
You don't drown by falling in the water;

you drown by staying there.



- Edwin Louis Cole
Danny Diamond
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Quote:
On 2007-08-06 12:40, Bad to the Balloon wrote:
Personally from your verbiage you invited the woman to pick up the cup .... she made her choice kinetically when you were expecting a verbal response.


Actually, there is one part of the line that I didn't type, in my original post - and that is "if you had to guess, just for fun, where would you say the ball is..."
I always thought the "if you had to guess" comment, made it clear that they shouldn't look under the cup. But maybe I will rethink the actual verbiage used there. Maybe it's as simple as saying something like "ok, WITHOUT PEEKING, if you had to guess, where would you say the ball is now - pocket or cup?"

Actually, isn't there a clip of Don Alan performing the chop cup on TV (That's Incredible, maybe?) and the female host, seated to his right, picks up the cup after the first final load is revealed? In that case, he had the second load already loaded, so she got a funny surprise and did the second reveal on her own.
You don't drown by falling in the water;

you drown by staying there.



- Edwin Louis Cole
Stevethomas
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He didn't like the term "MAGIC"...probably for religious reasons. I see (and hear) it all the time here in the South!

Steve
Nash
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The grabber actually accidentally strengthened your ending. I had a few of those before, people grab, and fortunately they didn't discover the dirty works...That makes the final effect that much more impossible to them.
But yeah, they can be annoying.

As for the "sleight of hand" guy.. I can see how that's annoying. But its just unneccessary arrogance feeding off his insecurity. Who cares, not everyone believes in magic. If he's going to be a j@ck@ss like that, just don't use the word magic in your work.. ( come to think about it..I never use the word "magic" in my patter... hheemm, never noticed that before).
Same thing happened to me too, although the person was a lot more gregarious. She was with 5 children and repeatedly mention there's no magic.. the real magic is the work of God or something. I'm not religious myself, but oh well, the kids are enjoying it, she is enjoying it...
Don't give up, don't EVER give up.

Corporate event magician
MagicSanta
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The worse grabber I ever ran into was a woman I knew for years but never did magic for. I put things near her thinking of anyone could be trusted it was her, she did whatever she could to destroy the act and afterward she told me she hated magic because she felt it made her feel stupid. I was really surprised because nothing in the delivery was even close to making anyone feel stupid. I saw her with a walk around magician another time and same thing, she was a nightmare.
patrick flanagan
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I have a couple at the restaurant I work at. They are regulars there, and I see them once or twice a week. I've known them for about 10 years. I try all new routines on them as I know they will give me straight answers of whether the routine is good or whether they saw anything or thought anything was odd. The lady is a grabber. So, anytime I try something that can't be touched...I move to the husband's side. Anytime I have something that can be touched, I move to the wife's side. I realize this doesn't help because usually we don't know the people that we are working for, but I just thought I'd share.
Patrick
kammagic
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Danny Diamond,

I let my customers know right up front that what I do is just sleight-of-hand. Some cultures and religions are very afraid of magic. Letting them know it is just sleight-of-hand doesn't lessen their amazment at all. Many will still beleive its magic. When we perform our goal should not be to prove magic exists. Performing with that kind of attitude will make you appear foolish because 80% of the people out there know that it doesn't exist. We have no magical powers. We just present performances that appear that way. If a spectator wants to beleive its magic great!. If they are amazed by your skill great! If they think you're entertaining great! You shouldn't feel bad leaving a table and you didn't get them to beleive in magic. You are just there to entertain them.

, Jonathan
Ted Danger
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It's all about composure (not spelling) and thinking on your feet. For the slight of hand guy, you might take a paper napkin, float it, and then light that humungous fireball in the center of their table. Then switch to mentalism.

Just have fun with it, but do blow them away...... Do you carry a finger chopper?
"One may say the eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility." Albert E.
Danny Diamond
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Quote:
On 2007-08-06 19:01, kammagic wrote:
Danny Diamond,

I let my customers know right up front that what I do is just sleight-of-hand. Some cultures and religions are very afraid of magic. Letting them know it is just sleight-of-hand doesn't lessen their amazment at all. Many will still beleive its magic. When we perform our goal should not be to prove magic exists. Performing with that kind of attitude will make you appear foolish because 80% of the people out there know that it doesn't exist. We have no magical powers. We just present performances that appear that way. If a spectator wants to beleive its magic great!. If they are amazed by your skill great! If they think you're entertaining great! You shouldn't feel bad leaving a table and you didn't get them to beleive in magic. You are just there to entertain them.

, Jonathan


For adult audiences, I agree completely and have no problem making it very clear that I am just entertaining and perhaps it's not real magic.

But with kids (and this is just a personal opinion) I think they should be allowed to believe in magic while they are young. The girl at the table in my example, seemed to want to say "yes" when I asked if they believed, but looked to her father to see if it was ok to believe. Then when he stated for her, that they did not believe, it seemed a bit sad to me.

But maybe I am reading too deeply into it.

Of course, I realize that this was HIS child, and I would never dream of telling him how to parent. To each their own.
You don't drown by falling in the water;

you drown by staying there.



- Edwin Louis Cole
Flec
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I agree with you diamond. I'm not a kids magician, but in a restaurant I don't mind entertaining them...and I do call it magic. Sounds to me as if the father was a bit harsh on them, yes adults may know its not magic, but when you're a kid you really belive it, and to no harm!

Do you think he lets his kids believe in santa or the tooth fairy?
MagicSanta
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Hey now!
Josh Chaikin
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Quote:
Do you think he lets his kids believe in santa or the tooth fairy?


Well, I never did get the Powerwheels I asked him for for...
TheAmbitiousCard
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Regarding Mr. "Slight-of-Hand"...

One of the things that is important to know/learn is:

Do NOT try to teach, persuade, ridicule, or win anyone over from their way of thinking about magic to yours during your brief time with them.

Worst case it goes very badly and you get agitated and lose your cool.
Best case, you spend a great deal of time with someone that does not deserve your skills.

Be polite, focus your attention on those that are appreciative, and move along.

You'll know you're a seasoned pro when you realize that you had a few "troublemakers" and never once did you even think about them during your drive home.

If you're mind is distracted by people like this you have more growing to do.
www.theambitiouscard.com Hand Crafted Magic
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derrick
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I once got invited to perform at a "Fallfest" party also known to everyone else as a Halloween Party at a church in a small rural town. Before they would hire me I had to assure the caller I didn't perform any of that "Dark or Black Magic" in my show. I didn't even want to start the argument so I quickly found that I had a conflict in my schedule and suggested they hire a Vent that I knew in their area. Why they would want to hire a magician at all is beyond me?

There are those that find evil or harm in a number of things I find harmless. An example: reading Harry Potter will be downfall of our youth. Just try arguing that with someone who brings it up.

I find it is best for my mental health to politely and quickly remove myself from these situations.
Dannydoyle
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Here is the deal.

The man was a guest at the restaurant. Not your restaurant, someone elses.

He has a right to teach his child anything he wants too. So it may be annoying, but it is his child. Just get through it and move along. Fortunatly it won't happen that often.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
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