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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Alaska Themed Illusion show, Need your advice (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

MagicJack99
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North Pole, Alaska
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Hello, I am in the planning stages of building a new illusion show. I live in Alaska and wanted to do a "Magic of Alaska" show, mostly for the tourist season. If any of you have seen the Magic of Polynesia - (John Hirokawa) I am looking to do a similar style show using Alaska as the theme, everything from the Gold Rush days to bush pilots, the Iditarod, native villages, wildlife, Northern lights, ice road truckers, you name it.

I am looking for some ideas from the folks in the lower 48, What do you think of when you hear "Alaska"? I am trying to build some of the standard illusion with themes, for example using the a Northern lights and ice fog display and creating a smoke chamber illusion with colored smoke to match the aurora backdrop. Maybe create a gold camp scene and use the traveling storage box for a sub-trunk? And of course using a snow storm generator (Snowstorm in China) for our tourists who only like to come see us in the summer.

I have a venue available, A full theater with lights, sound, box office etc, seats about 400 and only cost $200 to rent, as it is owned by the State. We get several thousand tourists in a 12 week season..

My plan is to offer 3 shows a week, two on the weekend and one midweek. A small stage crew and 2-3 on stage assistants. My budget is not huge and I can make just about any illusions myself in my shop. The theater provides a 20 foot screen, so I can use a series of projections rather than having to paint backdrops.

I have done many illusion shows and worked as a pro for over 30 years. I have been away from magic full time for a few years now, but have the itch to do something big. I could use any ideas and advice out there, especially in the area of promotions, I was never very good at that aspect. Please feel free to give me the good, the bad and the ugly. If I am undertaking something crazy I want to hear it before I waste time and money. I value your advice and combined experiences. Thanks, Magic Jack
w_s_anderson
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The United States
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You could change a pit bull with lip stick on into a soccer mom or vice verca! That would be hilarious!

Possibly intertwine a story about the gold rush into a miser's dream routine.
MCM
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Minnesota
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Just off the top of my head:

1. Any illusion that involves a spike or sword could be converted into a large "icicle".
2. Produce a "sled dog" or two (not sure how a real one would like the stage though).

3. have a kid-sized old-style flight helmet and goggles to have a kid wear for a child suspension/levitation.

4. Costuming should be coats with hoods (light so you don't melt under the lights). For the assistants, think "Santa's little helper" outfits, but all white instead of red and white.

5. Since it is right near Canada, re-watch the opening and closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics. Use it for some inspiration, just don't rip them off outright.
MagicJack99
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North Pole, Alaska
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Those are some great Ideas, I do have a team of sled dogs but not sure if I could keep them from barking. I could make my sled appear (ala motorcycle appearance)
one of the biggest issues is the ability to load the show in and out weekly, the theater is used almost every night so I would have to set up and take down 3 times a week. even though it is very inexpensive to rent still a bit of a pain. Any suggestions out there on scenic aspects? I need simple set pieces that will play big, there are plenty of lights and effects to use also. Thank and keep the ideas coming
jazzy snazzy
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Cut and restored Muktuk,
...just kidding.

Actually you have all kinds of possibilities depending on the purpose of the show.
Is it educational or purely for entertainment? Do you plan to assume a character such as a Chilkoot Charlie type or will you take a more serious tone.

The first people inhabited the place more than 10,000 years ago. You can draw from a vast amount of mythology surrounding the native cultures.

You could present a history of Alaska to include themes on the gold rush, survival, wilderness life, avaition. logging, earthquakes, snow snakes, colorful Alaska people and customs, moose, bears, cold weather the midnight Sun.

I would tend to use the lighting/projection resources to the max for this.
Lighting effects would allow you to "travel" by creating moods. You could tell a story while performing "snowstorm". Perhaps some type of "encased in ice" illusion. A mining camp or saloon setting allows for rowdy comedic material.
Do your assistants have any acting ability?

I'm just throwing stuff here without knowing your style or deeper intent.
There's certainly plenty to draw from.
"The secret of life is to look good from a distance."
-Charles Schulz
cairo
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Can you see Russia from your kitchen window? How about a voodoo doll of Sarah Palin, when you stick pins in it she bleeds.
MagicJack99
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North Pole, Alaska
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Wow great ideas, I would like the show to be educational with as much entertainment value as possible, kind of a walk thru journey of the history, many of our visitors are aware of the vast history but will never see all we have to offer in a short trip, especially with Alaska being twice the size of Texas. I think the comic aspect can from the Saloon and Gold camp scenes. Assistance will double as actors, I would play a more serious role, almost like an MC. The show would be divided into mini "Acts" for example, Act I , the gold rush, Act II, the Iditarod, etc. I thought about introducing a small effect or prop for each Act in front of the main curtain and then "Journey" back in time to the Illusion effects, for example maybe turning a Gold pan into a dove tray, then move into the gold camp scene, the entire show would be scripted out like a play. I like the idea of the show being portable but the next major city from here is 7 hours drive. so I would have to really think if it were going to travel or not. The venue is awesome, especially for the cheap price. The show would run for 12 weeks in the summer, after that it is a ghost town here. I need to figure the best way to promote it also, thanks again for all the help.
MagicJack99
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North Pole, Alaska
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I think I will keep Sarah out of the deal, but thanks....
Laszlo Csizmadi
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From Hell
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Quote:
On 2010-04-22 16:08, MagicJack99 wrote:
I think I will keep Sarah out of the deal, but thanks....


Why? She is not blond. Smile

Up there people use tents. Shadow tent?

http://www.mjmmagic.com/store/shadow-ten......699.html

Best,

Las
MikeHMagic
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Multipling and passe bottles, 3 card Monte/Find the queen in a saloon scene, Hippy Hop Moose, D'lites as the stars in the sky.
Just a few thoughts, hope it helps.
Mike "Gus" Harvatt
"Bullwinkle that trick never works."
jazzy snazzy
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Alaska is a place of extremes.

I had a job in Fairbanks one day. It was 14 below zero in the morning. By that afternoon it read 100 degrees on the bank clock. Everyone was tearing their clothes off.
It was the day of spring.
"The secret of life is to look good from a distance."
-Charles Schulz
Payne
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Seattle
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Chinese sticks made up to look like totem poles
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Spellbinder
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The Holy City of East Orange, NJ
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You did not mention if you have assistants, how many and what types, but perhaps you could use your dog sled and one or two assistants dressed up in Husky costumes. It would be funny and quiet. You could also have your sled pulled by a team of kids, but ix-nay on the whip.

Fishing is a popular sport, so some aerial fishing might be in order, but not with those wimpy goldfish used by other magicians. See if you can construct a large aquarium in your workshop, and use it to produce real Alaskan fish one by one. The actual catcher would be a large net like the one used to seemingly catch doves from the air, only yours would make a fish appear in the net, apparently right after landing an invisible fish on your fishing line.

Good luck on the show.
Professor Spellbinder

Professor Emeritus at the Turkey Buzzard Academy of Magik, Witchcraft and Wizardry

http://www.magicnook.com

Publisher of The Wizards' Journals
Zazz
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California
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The famous con man, Soapy Smith comes to mind when I think of Alaska. A con man's show with School for Scoundrels Large Trade Show Shells would work well on stage.

The Northern Lights also comes to mind. Sands of the Desert could tie into Northern Lights. I have seen a very good Native American Indian themed show use Sands of the Desert where each color sand represents Earth, water, sky.

Good Luck,
Dan
pradell
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Alaska
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Hey Magic Jack. . . I've had the same thoughts of an Alaska themed magic show as you after living here for the past 25 years. . . one of our compeers has actually done this type of show! His name is Jeff Brown, jbrown@alaska.net. He lives in Juneau and his Alaska themed show has toured in that area of the state. Jeff sends out a magic newsletter to Alaska magicians. I'm sure he'd love to discuss his thoughts. From a member of the frozen chosen...

:magicrabbit:
Bill Hegbli
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Fort Wayne, Indiana
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Alaska, I think of 6 months of night. You could do a Floating Light Bulb.

If you are not into setting up and tearing down your show, then maybe you are not ready. Doing this helps you learn your equipment and it is part of the job. It is hard work.

This is April and you are just now considering this. If you do it right, then you will not be ready until 2012. Making illusions is not a quick easy job either.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
MagicJack99
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North Pole, Alaska
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I know the hard its work, I have been performing for THIRTY FIVE years, and yes I do plan for this to be atleast a year out, The summer season is already booked for this season. Thanks for the heads up and the friendly reminder however. I went into a semi retirement after fighting Cancer and finally beating it. I decided that with my life span being unknown and perhaps very shortened that I would get back into doing what I love, MAGIC, and I would not concider it hard work. Hard work is getting out of bed and standing on your feet after 600 hours of Chemo, building illusions and loading a show in and out is cake walk after that...
I do like the floating light bulb idea, maybe moving from darkness into light, kind of like a mirror of my cancer journey. Thank again. THANKS PRADELL I will look you guys up down there in Anchorage, its loney in the magic world in North Pole...
DWRackley
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Chattanooga, TN
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Any of the "Mask" type illusions where the Magi trades places with one of the assistants could reasonably be facilitated by using huge parkas or ponchos.
...what if I could read your mind?

Chattanooga's Premier Mentalist

Donatelli and Company at ChattanoogaPerformers.com

also on FaceBook
w_s_anderson
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The United States
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MagicJack99,

I wrote a brand new "themed" show while I was in Iraq. (I already owned all the props) After I returned home my crew and I started rehersing the show almost every night and started performing it after 3 months. I know many others who would say that is sacrilege, but if you know what you are doing and you already have the props it doesn't take that long to get a show up and running. It is going quite well and we are selling out the theatres in almost every town we are going to. Granted, they are only 500 to 1000 seat houses and I am only going around Oregon and Washington, but still.....it's a blast, we are having fun, and the audiences are loving what we are putting out there. Enough so that I have booked my first magic convention and am currently in talks to appear on the Ellen show and the Tonight show.

Scott

p.s. Congratualtions on beating the big "C!"
pradell
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Alaska
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Congratulations on your fight with the big C. I'm 20 years cancer free this year. Having cancer forced me to prioritize and I did more artistic things after learning that life is short and it's now or never, literally.

Cancer is a catalyst for life changing its course.

Don't let anyone talk you out of your dreams. Go for it!

Mr. Whitekeys has a few Alaska DVDs out there. If you haven't seen them, they are a good start at seeing someone's vision for mixing Alaska history with entertainment. Another good source of ideas would also be the Alaska Almanac, by Nancy Gates. You can pepper your show with facts about the state.

North Pole has a couple of things going for it. It's in Alaska. AND it's Santa's home. So Santa's magic, right? An Alaska/Santa themed Magic Show in the North Pole with the Elves as assistants. . . .

The Osborne plans can be adjusted to the Alaska theme. Watching the old Mark Wilson TV shows where they had created new illusions every week for the next show built by John Gaughan may be a source of ideas too.

The Magic Jack is also a device that, for $19.95 per year, attaches to the computer and makes it into a telephone. Without violating their copyright, maybe you can use a "magic" jack to do things that link your tricks together, or links up different parts of the remote Alaska locations, or acts as a time travel device to link up the history of this State. . .

:magicrabbit:
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