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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Believe it or not... » » Fake sideshow stunts... (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Kameron Messmer
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So I do some sideshow mixed with magic and comedy and was wondering what are some good joke sideshow stunts?

I got the collapsing sword for swallowing and the fake skewer for the tongue (the bent rod one)

also what are some suggestions for adding them to the show? I do real fire eating glass walking, blockhead, mousetrap...

should I add them randomly throughout the show?
I was thinking of playing them off as real until the end... I dunno... just bouncing ideas around...
erikkloeker
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If you play them off as real till the end, and then reveal that those particular tricks are fake... people are going to question if your entire show as being fake.
Freak Prodigy
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He's a magician.
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http://www.bloudermilk.blogspot.com
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thegreatnippulini
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The head twister. So fake it's good.
The Great Nippulini: body piercer, Guinness World Record holder, blacksmith and man with The World's Strongest Nipples! Does the WORLD care? We shall see...
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gsidhe
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I used to do the fake sword swallow when I was transitioning from Magician to sideshow.
Don't.
Just drop it now. It is an insult to real sword swallowers. By doing a fake sword swallow you are damaging the credibility of those that do it legit.
The ONLY excuse to do a fake sword swallow would be to show what it looks like when it is faked, and then do one for real. If you can't swallow a sword for real and do the fake, I will find you, sit in your audience and throw tomatoes. Every show. Until you stop.
Is it really worth that?
;)
Choose your path- Magic or sideshow. Don't mix the two in the same show.
Gwyd
Kameron Messmer
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Don't mix them? From what I've read a lot of sideshow acts had magic in their act? Maybe I'm misinformed... I'm self taught so the sideshow stuff comes when I can get it. Like I said I do glass walking, fire eating, blockhead, but I cant do a whole sideshow for an hour. I LOVE the sideshow stuff though. it's real. I like showing a bit of real talent with the "fake" magic. I love magic too, but for it's entertaining property's more than the effects. What about escapes? what about mentalism? or juggling... they are all separate but have a common thread. Who on these boards ONLY does rabbits out of hats, or Just does animal balloons. I dunno I like the variety in one show... keeps 'em guessing... I was only thinking of throwing it in there as a gag and telling them... "Im not good enough to swallow the real swords yet..." I salute the guys who can... just cant find a teacher...
Harley Newman
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Historically, it was all mixed up, but traditional sideshows were not solo performances. That's part of the current confusion.

If you look around the archives, you'll find a thread where we listed all kinds of sideshow acts.

These days, a lot of "sideshow" performers take pride in doing "pure" stunt shows. In my experience, you can mix stunt and magic, but you have to be verrrry careful how you do it. Otherwise, you lose all credibility as a performer.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Kameron Messmer
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Harley: I've been trying to figure out how to mix them for over a year... any suggestions? ive had about 3 different ideas, the most obvious one is to tell them "This is real" for the stunts and not saying anything for the fake... the real stuff is the dangerous stuff anyways... very little of my magic is dangerous... I dunno I am open to suggestions... as far as credibility goes, all I care about is that people were entertained...
Stephon
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I start off my show with two tricks, the first of which is clearly fake from the beginning, and the second it tipped as fake very quickly; they're both played for comedy (an important distinction, I think).

Before I continue to the real stuff, I make a point of saying that everything the audience will see from this point on, is real, and dangerous, etc.

So far, I have not had anyone seriously question the honesty of my sideshow stunts.
~Les S. Moore, The Dapper Dipper
Swami Yomahmi and Cheeky Monkey Sideshow

"Comedy is a man in trouble." ~Bill Irwin
Martin_Ling
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I say always take credit where credit is due and don't try to decieve your audience. When doing magic if a trick is difficult take credit for the slight of hand or manipulation, I think our audiences have grown beyond believing that it was done by means of higher powers, Im not saying reveal the trick, but a good trick is a good trick.

Same thing with sideshow, it is what it is and nothing more. You either do it or you don't you either fail or succeed. I think its that honesty that makes it intriguing to an audience, if you start to cloud that, more than usual skeptics will begin to doubt it.

Yes, often there was a magician on the bill of a sideshow, but he was a seperate act and as Harley said, that was a long time ago. I feel the only way to use magic tricks based on sideshow is to reveal them for what they are, a cheap toy, then show them what sideshow really looks like.

"Lady if you fell for that, your gonna hate this!"
Harley Newman
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Not that long ago.

Tommy Windsor's "Suitcase Sideshow" is a series of themed tricks, some of which could be used effectively today. The Afghan Bands routine was based (I might be wrong here) on a Blackstone presentation.

There was a performance style that was hokey comedy. There are several Youtube clips of Earl "Presto" Johnson, that are worth watching. He was one of the most entertaining performers I've ever seen, and a nice guy.

Tommy Cooper is always worth watching. Always.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Rotten
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Kameron,
I don't like the gag swords unless they are shown for what they are. A gag.

Can you mix magic and sideshow as a solo? Why not? Every sideshow I have seen had both. There are no longer dove acts but I still see "magic" in every sideshow.

Can you do a blend of both as a solo? Follow what Harley said to you in another thread. If it makes sense to the audience. I would put it in quotes but I might be off. Maybe it was, if it makes them care. That's probably it.

Harley, Are you the new diplomat for the forum? Did Todd step down? WWHD?

Stephon, great share of your formula. Fun to think about.
Harley Newman
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Mixing it up, is all in your scripts, character, and plot. Things make sense, because there are no disconnects between them. You might want to consider this: http://www.bladewalker.com/www.bladewalker.com/Oddity_U.html One of my students said that he'd been reading Burger for years, and didn't understand it until he'd been in my class (for less than 20 minutes).

Todd's got his hands very full right now. I doubt he has time to grab a sandwich.

This is his project, years in development, and starting to bear fruit. The things I've heard, make me consider it an absolute "must see"! I can hardly wait! http://www.playdeadnyc.com/

Me, a diplomat? Hmmm, a lot more than I used to be. It's a bit odd, becoming the elder generation in life, and in the art form. Perspectives change. I'm finding myself becoming less physical in performance. I stopped taking my full-size BON to gigs, a couple of years ago. A few weeks ago, I took out unicycle, 20 minutes of interesting, funny, polished material. I still filled the time, and led the audience into a state of delightful panic.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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thegreatnippulini
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Quote:
On 2010-09-18 04:19, Rotten wrote:
I don't like the gag swords unless they are shown for what they are. A gag.


If you gag on the sword you are doing it wrong.
The Great Nippulini: body piercer, Guinness World Record holder, blacksmith and man with The World's Strongest Nipples! Does the WORLD care? We shall see...
http://www.greatnippulini.com
thegreatnippulini
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Quote:
On 2010-09-18 07:59, Harley Newman wrote:
One of my students said that he'd been reading Burger for years...

Todd's got his hands very full right now. I doubt he has time to grab a sandwich.

Now I'm hungry....
The Great Nippulini: body piercer, Guinness World Record holder, blacksmith and man with The World's Strongest Nipples! Does the WORLD care? We shall see...
http://www.greatnippulini.com
Kameron Messmer
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The show I'm doing today has: a hypno wheel (shrinking head), disappearing bottle, a card trick (mind reading), an escape, glass walking, fire eating, a saw an audience member in half trick, and a smash and stab I developed myself... most are strange or dangerous... I guess that's my thread...
Chance
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I think in terms of themes and segues. I would not mix types without considering how they can be linked together into a cohesive whole.

Currently I perform an escape with a single warm up stunt. But the stunt is a tie-in to the escape following, not just a random stunt, like, say BON or fire eating, which have no direct connection to escapology. So the 2 things I do complement each other.

If I were doing anything with broken glass maybe I would produce a few bottles magically and then add them to the pile. If I were swallowing swords maybe I would use the same sword I had just done a blindfolded cut with, or vice-versa. Tie-in. Continuity. But never just a bunch of random stunts for the sake of filling time.

And after watching so many fake esacpe artists take the hack to my real escapes and stunts, I have to say I agree with Gwyd on mixing fake with real. The real is just as easy to pull off, it just takes a few extra months of training to learn. Take the time.
Doctor Mythsonian
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Like Stephon, I do one fake stunt as a bally for my museum, and it is played out as a joke. It sets up the level of entertainment in my tent, a lot of which is tongue in cheek, so I see it as a gateway to what they'll find inside. Right or wrong, they come in smiling and leave laughing.
You have to be careful not to cross the line of trying to fool your audience, then showing them what idiots they were for believing you... you need to find a happy medium that fits the whole presentation without bringing the rest of it down. Penn and Teller have it down pat... they do silly things like that rocket illusion (Countdown to Love?), but it's done in such a way, even though it's a bold-faced reveal, that you still suspend disbelief when they do their other 'miracles'.
Fitz
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This is a struggle I have had with my own performances for years now.

I am currently working mostly as a "comedy magician" but I do still include some real side show stunts. I let the audience decide what is real and what is not, however I don't do anything to discredit any real working acts. I really wanted (want) to be the sideshow freaky guy but in reality it is not my character, but it doesn't mean I cant include a little of the "weerd" stuff.

Fitz
I have a daily web show all about magic at http://FitzMagic.info
Rotten
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I'm happy Todd has his hands full.

I remember years ago, like 15, a guy I knew that was a great card worker saw me doing block head one night and he walked up and said, "I'm putting that in my show." Of course I thought he was kidding. Right? Sure enough he tried. Not very well. His nail was tiny. But worst of all it didn't fit his show or his persona. The audience didn't care and if they did they were confused. Why is a card guy hammering a nail in his head.

I do very little magic anymore. Whips, juggling, fire eating, swsw, B.H. I like stunts so they fit my show. I have always wished I could be a great card man but it's not going to happen. It just doesn't fit me.

And that's all I have to say about that.
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