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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Do I need a Table? Also flea markets? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of meco

So I went to south street last night and in about an hour drew in about three semi decent (12-18) people or so. I brought a restaurant wait staff stand (looks like a piano stand) and a piece of plywood. Im shortening my act and got rid of the stuff I needed the table for and today I couldn't get one person over. Should I bring a table even if I'm not using it just so people know I'm an entertainer and not a homeless person?

Also, Anyone busk at flea markets? Seems like a good idea because the crowds are kind of big.

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NY Metro
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Profile of solrak29
On 2012-11-15 18:08, meco wrote:
got rid of the stuff I needed the table for and today I couldn't get one person over.

Yep, tables are magical crowd pullers...I've seen it with my own eyes!!!
Especially when you have cups on them. To do without is a true test of
skill of street technique.

All kidding aside...I'd recommend more flash... costume, rope, sign, speech...

Not that I know a whole lot...
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"I intend to live forever, or die trying" - Groucho Marx
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Inner circle
New Zealand
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Profile of Yellowcustard
I work out of my pockets so no table. I have a small case with a sign on it it saying MAGIC SHOW. I also make a lot of noise and do eye catcher tricks like TT silk vanish and recently I am playing with mulityplying bananas.

Pepole will stop and look at odd things like a table in the middle of the side walk. So you need to stand out and be odd.
Enjoy your magic,

and let others enjoy it as well!
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Inner circle
Moved to Seattle to see
1162 Posts

Profile of imgic
Just spent two years in middle Georgia where the excitement for the weekend was the flea market. You're right, lots of people, lots of traffic, but don't think the mindset is right for busking. People are there to find a deal, not necessarily to have a good time like you'd find in a more touristy spot.

But then again, you never know...give it a try, worst is you'll be out a few hours. Best might be finding a great new pitch.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
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Profile of DoctorCognos
I use a local flea market as a practice set for new routines.

It started when I saw a young man selling magic from behind his flea market table. We talked a bit, and he asked me why I thought he wasn't selling much.

My answer? Lack of engagement. If you want to hide behind a table, don't think they will search you out.

We pushed his table back, got in front of it and started building a tip. Card flourishes, and eye to eye contact brought us a half dozen and we went through a few tricks and he sold some Svengali decks, and cups and balls. I went back a few times, and he was starting to "get it". He actually got into the traffic walking past the rows of tables and starting engaging the people with eye contact laughter, card flourishes, and clever reparte....

He is off at college and doesn't do the flea market any more, so when I am not traveling and trying to break in some new material or routines, I set up for $20 and usually at least triple my money, not a lot, but it is gas money, and more importantly I get face time with strangers.

A table is not a bad thing. In fact they can be downright beneficial.

But don't hide behind it. You can be behind it, after you gotten a nice crowd.

And also don't pay too much attention to your table. Constantly looking down will lose your tip.

Keep your eyes on their eyes. Eye contact is critical. I used the word "engage" earlier. It best represents what I think is necessary to make them feel connected, and part of the fun. And it is the only way for you to know that they are "with you". And if they are not with you......... you will certainly lose them and their money.

The Doctor
The Doctor Knows.....
Hugh Entwistle
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Profile of Hugh Entwistle
I have very little experience in busking (only 3 times) but I use a medium sheet of cloth to put on the ground which I place my props on and tip hat. And on another occasion I just did standup busking. I found it much easier to gather crowds when I had the cloth because it established a sense of 'professionalism' rather than a weird guy with magic tricks. I think it helps to have some sort of table/cloth even if you don't actually need it.
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Dargaville, New Zealand
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Profile of MagiCol
I use a table at times. It does give me a waist-high place to display things, put things down on. Most of my card tricks are worked in mine and helpers hands, but those needing a table are better on it rather than down the pavement. A table does have a look of 'professionalism", as Hugh says. And getting out in front of the table to engage people is a good idea.
On the other hand, if getting the table to and from the venue is awkward, I leave the table behind.
The presentation makes the magic.
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Profile of SheldonR
You know I've done a quick survey to other people in our place about this matter of putting tables when you're in the streets and they all agreed you should. The most helpful reasoning that I could recall is the fact that people in the streets always expect something to be presented at a table, something to be displayed at it. So whether there's nothing in it but just the wave of your hand is already enough for people to notice it and wonder "what's there" and you can have your opportunity to hook them with your introduction on what you are about to do. Of course this is still situational okay? But I highly recommend for you to bring a table when you're in the busy streets like marketplaces and the like.
The Great Zoobini
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Boulder, Colorado
443 Posts

Profile of The Great Zoobini
Flea markets are great...
Meet you in Busker Alley Smile
Octopus Sun
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Wiggle Wiggle
586 Posts

Profile of Octopus Sun
I performed walk around at the Boulder CO Farmers Market before moving to Oregon.
I can't imagine having a table at a crowded market, plus sellers must pay a hefty fee for their table
space and that wouldn't be fair to them, most likely get you in a bit of trouble.
You should check with the organizers of the events you want to work so they know whats going on when they see you there.

After the Farmers Market Sat Sun I'd walk to Pearl Street Mall about a 10min walk up 14th,
and do my walk around gig for people. I never stayed on a one pitch, always moved about,
to many homeless, tweakers, and punk thieves lurking on Pearl watching.
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Profile of DoctorCognos
It is all about your style, and your goals.

Nothing wrong with doing walk around. If you enjoy doing it, and can make money doing it.

I have a jacket with more pockets than I can count and two topits sewn in to it. I can easliy do 45 - 50 minutes out of it. But unless I just am trying out new stuff, or just showing off at a gathering of sorts, I prefer to work off of a table, and a drape on it so that my busking bag is hidden from view.

It also gives me a recognizable focal point to center things around.

The Doctor
The Doctor Knows.....
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