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Profile of Sparrowhwk
Greetings all in the sideshow tent.
First by way of introduction, I have drifted in here on occasion, primarily because of the influence of the "Showman Extraordinaire" - Harley Newman.
I do not currently perform any sideshow stuff, but I am interested in some aspects - particularly as they pertain to showmanship skills. These skills share some performing concepts with my primary areas of interest (escapology, juggling and general circus arts), and there are some fun characters here as well.
I'm planning to be spending some time with Mr Newman in May (Oddity-U), and figured I'd better start paying attention to what's going on in the sideshow world. It would be great if I can incorporate a few sideshow elements from the training into the other areas I'm working on - for example, juggling while walking on glass etc.
Obviously, all this will depend on how things go during the training, and the guidance I receive from Harley. If I have learned nothing else so far - at least I know that these skills need to be learned from a good teacher, so I plan to proceed with due caution.

And so to the comment I heard recently that raised some questions in my mind, and made me wonder ...
I was chatting to an acquaintance who had attended a variety type show, and he made the following (completely unsolicited) comments about one of the acts:

"You know the walking on glass routine, and you know how they use fake glass when they do it? Well this guy did something similar, but he used Lego pieces - it was pretty impressive, there's no faking that"

This is not the first time I have come across a spectator who has told me that this act uses fake glass (I don't know if in their minds "fake" is the same as "treated glass" - but none of them have had any inside knowledge of the act).
I have got the distinct impression that for many folk with a strong logical side to their personality (engineers etc), the assumption that the glass is "fake" comes pretty quickly to them, and they tend to quickly dismiss the act as a mere trick.

Now, as I'm typing, I can hear Harley in my head saying "It's all about the PERFORMANCE, with the right presentation, you can entertain anyone with this act irrespective of their logical side"
Perhaps with 40 years of experience this is true, but I would be very interested in your opinions of the comments above, which imply that "fake glass" seems to be a common perception, and where does this leave the choice of whether or not to perform the walking on glass act?

Thank you to everyone who generously contributes to the forum and shares their experience. I look forward to reading and learning.
All the best.
Harley Newman
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Inner circle
5108 Posts

Profile of Harley Newman
There's always going to be somebody who's trying to show how smart he (usually he) is. If your performance is good, the questions are eliminated.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain
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of Hell because I've made
2589 Posts

Profile of thegreatnippulini
A very wise man told me once "You cannot know everything, yet you cannot learn enough". I guess he was wrong, Harley knows EVERYTHING!
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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176 Posts

Profile of Sparrowhwk
Well, that didn't take long...
Like I said, I could hear you in my head when I was typing, Harley - I guess I should have just listened in the first place Smile.
And that folks, is the reason I am heading to rural Pennsylvania in May - there is "stuff" to learned there that I really need to know!!!

The comment I quoted was indeed from a guy, but I have also had a logical female state "I always just assumed it was fake glass..."
(I'll avoid any temptation to editorialize about the concept of a logical female Smile )

The funny thing is, when the guy made the original statement about the Lego's being real, the first thing that popped into my head was... well - best not to say on an open forum, but I think he might not have been quite as smart as he thought.
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Arlington, Virginia
2423 Posts

Profile of rossmacrae
Consider how many people "know" how firewalking is done: your feet are treated with special salve, or the ashes are rigged to be cool, or you're in a trance and therefore invulnerable. Same with the ladder of swords, or ... fill in the blank.

You'll never convince 'em all, and you shouldn't feel that a challenge from a spectator makes you somehow responsible to prove anything to them.
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