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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Correlation - clothes to dollars? (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Zuke
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Hi folks,

I know some buskers like to dress quite smartly, in a similar fashion as you might when doing a corporate gig, ie. good trousers, button up shirt and vest/coat. Whereas other like to go out like dressed in a very casual way, ie. short, sandals, t-shirt etc.

I'm wondering if there is any correlation between how well you dress and how much you get in the hat. Is there anyone here who has dressed both formally and casually while on the pitch? If so, I'd love to know if the change in attire affected how much went into your hat. My guess (and this really is a guess) is that you would make more when dressed down than you would if dressed well, but I'd love to hear from anyone who has experience in trying it both ways.

Cheers
Zuke
tabarin
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I have seen people dressed up and down and there seems to be no correlation as to money. What seem to does make a difference is if the way they dress matches the persons personality and their show. Having a strong character and a good show is what seems to make the most difference in how people feel about putting money in the hat.
StarkRavingMatt
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I think Flyin' Bob's rule applies.

In show biz, you need three things to succeed:
Good Costume, Good Promo, and Good Show.
(Any two of them will work.)

There is no promo on the street, so choose your clothes carefully. Don't be afraid to get an outside eye you trust, or experiment with what fits your show. Tabarin gives good advice: dressing well depends on who you are, what you do, and who you are doing it for.

If you record every hat, and can more or less predict what the hat will be before you pass it, you will really be able to track differences in the pass, and change variables. At the beginning, there is way to much fluctuation for tweaking properly. By the time things stabilise, I bet your hat pitch is a more important factor than anything else.
Paddy
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Yes clothes are very important when busking. If you wear older clothes you come across as a bum begging. If you are smartly dressed, people will be more likely to stop, stay & pay. It does not have to be "formal," casual is fine but be CLEAN, and NEAT, not frayed and slovenly.
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magic123
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I read an article about the Amazing performer Michael Lee, who was a student of Jeff Sheredan.
in it Michael explained that an artist should never look as though he needs money, when Michael street performed
he would wear a Black turtle neck,(Light cotton ) Black dress pands and a dancers shoe or a cuban hel boot, as did many acts of the 70,80s into early 90s
Teller,Bill Mcqueen, Mel cross, Philip petit ( the wire walker and of course Sheredan.

He went on to say that a performer should never look like a begger , but to be neat, clean, well groomed and certinally comfortable.
if the performer wants to use a hat that fine as long as its Not Cheap looking but a nice fedora or a borceleno brand.

Bottom don't look scruffy but bring class to your Art, and be proud of the tradition you continue.

Used with permission from Michael Lee ,Artist of Illusion.

Hope this helps
m123
The Great Zoobini
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I started without a shirt and in flip-flops at the beach and ended up in a white dinner jacket high in the Rockies.
Nuff said...
Meet you in Busker Alley Smile
ROBERT BLAKE
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Also keep in mind people can ask you to perform on thiere event. if you look good you will give the message I am a professional - this is good - I know what I do. people will stop quicker because they reconise you as theater and not as an beggar. look like a good performer. people wil reconise you quicker because the picture you make will be stuck in thier minds.
Eric Evans
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I disagree. Well, not with your question, but with the opinions proferred here.

"Costumes" can have some impact on earning potential, but ultimately not much.

Dress as you want, for your own comfort and functionality. And if you're new to all this as I suspect, realize what you think is practical now will probably change quickly if you keep doing it for very long.

As an addendum, Zoobini, I've been through Boulder many times over the years, never have seen so much as one magician working the mall there in anything close to a white dinner jacket.
Eric Evans
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Tabarin nailed it.
Mario Morris
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You can also dress down smartly, ie clean and tidy but as a bum.
Just look at Charlie Chaplin.
nautimike
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So I will dress comfortably smart to match my personality tomorrow.
imgic
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Just look at videos of Jimmy Talksalot. Sleeveless jacket, shorts, flip-flops. But he's clean, it fits his character, he appears to be comfortable, and seems to be doing okay in the busking world.

Travelling through Nashville, you see all sorts of buskers. The ones that seem to be doing the best are those that have a good act/talent/show, have a character/personality and are clean. Have seen some great talent, but filthy clothes and bad hygiene, that made me not want to go near them.

So just repeating what others have said...fit your character and be tidy.

BTW: Eric: I'm in Boulder. And while I haven't seen Zoobini yet, have seen quite a few magicians on Pearl Street. Most of time have to wait out 3 or 4 jugglers first...
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
imgic
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Just look at videos of Jimmy Talksalot. Sleeveless jacket, shorts, flip-flops. But he's clean, it fits his character, he appears to be comfortable, and seems to be doing okay in the busking world.

Travelling through Nashville, you see all sorts of buskers. The ones that seem to be doing the best are those that have a good act/talent/show, have a character/personality and are clean. Have seen some great talent, but filthy clothes and bad hygiene, that made me not want to go near them.

So just repeating what others have said...fit your character and be tidy.

BTW: Eric: I'm in Boulder. And while I haven't seen Zoobini yet, have seen quite a few magicians on Pearl Street. Most of time have to wait out 3 or 4 jugglers first...
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Eric Evans
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Imgic, if you see Rooster there, please tell him I said hello and hope he's doing well.
StarkRavingMatt
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There will always be exceptions that prove the rule: Argentinian Street Performer Chacovachi (http://www.chacovachi.com/) who bills himself as a third world clown, and has a beautiful show that he could probably do wearing a garbage bag.

Dirty Fred who wasn't really dirty in appearance, didn't dress up. He was special, though, in that he auditioned his crowd, and worked hard to get rid of people who didn't get his humor. His boy scout appearance contrasted with his material.

Pepe in London also does ok with pretty ragged looks, but that is about him and his style.

Barcelona based Leandre Ribera, whose quote, "when you take a risk, you NEVER lose" is worth thinking deeply on ( see him doing just that at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBm6J_q5Vzw) dresses exquisitely poorly, like Chaplin.

I think the rule is it is only art if you aren't drunk.
You have to consciously make a choice to dress base on your who, how, and "who for".
KC Cameron
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I have done a lot of experimentation, and found that too much of a "costume" can hurt. I want to stand out, but I don't want to look the fool.

The problem is I look like a thug if I don't dress well. I am part American Indian and my mouth naturally goes down, so when I am chiilin' I can look upset (think of the cigar-store Indian - he was smiling!). I now wear somewhat expensive light tan pants, bright pastel shirts to tone done my natural brutishness. I wear a straw fedora and suspenders that make me look different and interesting w/o looking too "costumey". It looks quirky-classy and since starting this I find I get a better (and bigger) response.

I personally think you will get a better hat if you dress well, w/o looking "dressed-up". Your clothes should fit your personality, and you should be comfortable in them. What this point is depends on the person. I think people will judge your show more favorably due to first impressions - and you can get away with more. You clothes also advertise your personality. It was a hard lesson to learn that it isn't your skill with the mechanical part of magic that people like, it is your personality.

On the other hand, I also dress waaaay down in a t-shirt and overalls and work as "Bubbadini, the Southern Magician. It can be a lot of fun, but it takes a bit more work to get the audience's respect. Once I have it, I REALLY have it because (I think) they feel "If this bumpkin can do it, maybe I can do it too."

Still, have a huge, red parrot always helps draw a crowd!

However you dress, do it for a reason. Your dress is an important element in how people perceive you and your show.
Nate The Magician
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I personally wear a top hat and tails when I'm street performing. It never fails to A: draw attention and B: let people know I'm not just a broad tosser.
writeall
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This thread is inspiring.

I'm thinking dressing in drag might get some attention. But you know, a nice evening dress with matching shoes and maybe pearls. Tasteful.
Nick W
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Dressing in drag might not get you the attention you want writeall. Then again, I live in Thailand and you just gave me an idea...
writeall
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Drag is really the only costume that works for my multiplying breasts routine. It's high-larious!
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