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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Learning the ropes... (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Joe M. Turner
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Atlanta, Georgia
247 Posts

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Well, this past weekend I began a new chapter in my magic life. I have taken an opportunity to start performing street magic at Underground Atlanta. Not "hey watch this" roaming close-up magic on a street... actual street magic.

Saturday was the first time I had ever tried to perform in this type of environment. It was an experience to remember, and I think I built on it for today. I expect to go back as I can hardly envision a better situation in which to really WORK through material. If it's shaky, or boring, or poorly done, the crowds will not stop to watch, much less put a dollar in the hat.

The routine I'm doing that has the best initial "draw" is a rope routine to music. It is based on ideas from Jeff Sheridan, Daryl, and John Zander. It runs about 2:45 and has been effective in drawing a nice circle of people around me.

As an admitted street performing novice, I am aware that I have a weak point in the act trying to pick up when that music leaves off and I try to smoothly get into the next routine. Musically, it seems like a good place to walk away, and some people do... to avoid being hit up for the tip. My lesson here is to either fade the music out and work into a spoken routine that picks up immediately, or segue into faster music that leads to the next routine... just as long as there's no "button" on the end.

I have taken a lot of material out there on the "street" and have been experimenting. I took some straightforward close-up material that I work on the table... as well as a cups & balls routine that plays a bit bigger.

My 3 main components are the rope routine, a multiple selection card routine, and a cups & balls finale. (No, I don't even pretend to have the impact that Gazzo has and no, I don't produce any grapefruit.) Smile

I am going through my repetoire to find other material that will work in this new environment for me. Some of my stage stuff that I do for banquets, etc. doesn't look good from the back, unfortunately...

I've really thought about the rings, but I have second-guessed myself on that due to the exposure on television. Of course, if presented well I am sure that a good routine will overcome that...

I had my first obscene drunk walk up today... that was fun... Also had to keep my eyes on some sticky-fingered vagrants who the other merchants, etc. warned me about.

I don't guess I have anything to add except that I'm excited to be exploring this area of magic and I'm enjoying reading this part of the Cafe to learn more. But the real education is coming from going out there and doing it. I increased my tips on day two, although tipping in Atlanta is extremely low compared to what I've heard about other locations. I am going to figure out how to overcome that, though... if it takes the best written pitch in Atlanta history, I'll just have to sit down and write it.

Learning by doing,
Joe
...
Regards,
Joe M. Turner
[email]jmt@turnermagic.com[/email]
www.turnermagic.com
Eric Evans
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Rio Grande
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Congratulations Joe, you've discovered a wonderful venue that will keep you learning for years to come.

I might make a suggestion that may help your opening segue. Take a page from Cellini's book and write an opening pitch that you can go right into once your music is over. You might explore some flourishy stuff to perform while you are introducing yourself. Cellini has several sample pitches in his book. But that way you can go right into your card routine if you perform some table spreads and fan stuff while your talking.

It's hard to believe that more magicians don't take that important step out there on the street -- I've never for a moment regretted it.
John Pezzullo
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Sydney AUSTRALIA
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Joe,

I hope that you experience future success, growth, and learning with your street magic.

What motivated you to make the move into performing street magic?

Regards,


John
"One arrow. One life."
Bird Brain
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Joe- WAY COOL!!! Congrats, buddy!

Sounds like you got some good things going!

An obscene drunk.... Huh... Lol! Did he cuss you out? I've actually had old people cuss me out at the nursing home that I volunteer at. If they're kind of out of it (and therefore don't know what they're saying) Smile it CAN be kinda funny! Lol!

Good luck, and keep that hat heavy!

5150,
Bird Brain
Yes I know my enemies
They're the teachers who taught me to fight me
Compromise, conformity, assimilation, submission
Ignorance, hypocrisy, brutality, the elite
All of which are American Dreams, All of which are American Dreams
BroDavid
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America’s North Coast, Ohio
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Congratulations on a bold new step!

And as Eric suggested, you must transition the first effect, and a scripted opening as suggested is best, because you can be bold and certain of your words. Also you need to raise the volume, and visual as you set the stage for what is to come.

The clip of Sonny Holiday that appears on the Cellini "The Art of Street Performing." video is priceless (unless of course you get the opportunity to see him live)

You have to control the situation, and once you have caught their attention with your rope and music, you must tell them why you are there (to perform Magic that makes you a living..), what they can expect (10 minutes of the most amazing stuff, and some really great stuff if they stick around for the 10 minutes), and what you expect (if they like it, that they will enjoy themselves, be amazed, and applaud with their wallets).

If you are serious, and frankly since you took that first step - there is no turning back Smile then you can benefit a lot from the Cellini Video.

Again, Congratulations on a great first step!

BroDavid
If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
freaksrock62
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Congrats Joe...
You have stepped into a realm that I have yet to attempt conquering. I'm still fine tuning my show and don't quite have the faith to jump out there and take on the streets. Tell me more about this rope routine, if you don't mind me asking.
La dee frickin' da!
I live in a van down by the river!
Danny Hustle
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Boston, MA USA
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Welcome to the streets Joe! lot's of good advice from Bro. David (as usual)I worked with Sonny Holiday this weekend here in Harvard Square and he says that new tape is going to make him an international star Smile

A good time was had by all.

Don't worry about only having three tricks, Joe. Even Cellini says, start with three good tricks and build an act around them.

The thing you might need to concern yourself with is premature showtime. What I mean by that is, be aware of how big your crowd is before you break into trick two. With three tricks in your act I am assuming your entire act runs about 15 minutes or less. Most people will not tip unless they have seen two tricks or at least nine minutes (my personal opinion and not based on an international survy). This being said when you are getting near the end of your rope trick guage your crowd, at this point you have the amount of potential tippers. Now divide this number by 2. This is about how many people will actually tip.

If at this point you look around and you do not see the size crowd you want you can do one of two things.

1. Do a filler bit. Do a silk to TT routine. pull a coin out of a kids ear. Turn a kid into a rabbit (The theme here is you stop a kid you can stop the world). You need to build up your crowd before you do the next trick. Because if someone walks in during trick two they are only going to see five or six minutes and not tip.

or.

2. End the show early, and start on another edge. Sometimes you have to let them go. your audience might be the reason no one else is stopping. This is something they don't mention in the magic books. If you have stopped a less than desirable element (Tough guys, drunks who are loud and appear violent, jerks of any kind) no one else is going to stop and watch your show. Finish the rope routine call it the end of the show and don't pass the hat. Rinse and repeat.

My advice is, for a 10-15 min show if you do not have at least 20 people I would pass on it. 10 or 20 bucks per hat doing 3 or 4 shows an hour is where you want to be I would imagine.

Guys like Gazzo may make two or three hundred dollar hats but they do 40 min. shows. Not to mention they are at the top of a very high pyramid.

As far as the rings on the street goes, do not worry about it. Any good ring routine has built in devices to protect you against key ring exposure (FWIW The key ring has been exposed since the 1800's and guys like Whit hayden and Cellini still fool the pants off people with it). I would suggest Cellini's two ring routine explained in his book "The Royal touch" (a book EVERY street magi should own) or Whit Haydens comedy 4 ring routine. Buy the tape and the booklet and learn it well. This is the most commercial ring routine I've seen in a long, long, time.

That's about it. Welcome to the pitch and fat hats.

Best,

Dan-
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"MT is one of the reasons we started this board! I’m so sick of posts being deleted without any reason given, and by unknown people at that." - Steve Brooks Sep 7, 2001 8:38pm
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Joe M. Turner
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Atlanta, Georgia
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I have more than 3 tricks, but that 3-trick set was usually the main show. I have some silk/TT stuff, some other card and coin material, etc. I use the close-up as fillers between larger shows. I am really using these first few times on the street to experiment with material and see what works well for me. I use the Haydn 4 ring routine in many of my other stand-up shows, so I will plan to take it to the streets next time. I know that is where it was honed by Whit...

I liked your poem idea so much that I wrote one of my own:

---------------------------------
Thank you! You folks are a wonderful crowd!
I'd clone you and keep you if I were allowed.

Your applause is like music, your smiles like fine art,
And I'm certain each one of you has a kind heart.

My performance comes from my own heart, so you see,
By watching, you've taken a small part of me.

Your smile, and your feelings of wonder and mirth...
Have you ever considered what they're truly worth?

So since you enjoyed my sleight-of-hand show,
Drop a five or a ten in the hat 'ere you go.

I thank you, and now as we go our own ways,
May God bless you and keep you through all of your days.

---------------------------------

JMT
...
Regards,
Joe M. Turner
[email]jmt@turnermagic.com[/email]
www.turnermagic.com
Doug Byrd
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VA
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Now I wish I did street magic. That was a great poem Joe. Good luck to you brother and may your hats be fat indeed.
Doug
"Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc"
Starry
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New York
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Joe, I've got a few suggestions posted on my web page for street magic. You might enjoy them and I've written another verse to put in your poem, I hope you like it.

... considered what they're truly worth?

"Though we've filled the streets with generous applause and laughter,

You all know, in the end, what I'm really here after...(heh, heh)"

So since you enjoyed my sleight-of-hand ...

Live the magic!

Ace
Ace Starry - Author or THE MAGIC LIFE - A NOVEL PHILOSOPHY
http://www.starry.com/
BroDavid
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America’s North Coast, Ohio
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Well done Ace!

And BTW if you are thinking about street magic, and havent been to Ace Starry's Web site, you are missing a great resource.

The rhyme you offered reminds me of one of the old "Laugh-in" TV show lines, that Artie Shaw (dressed as dirty old man) used to say to Ruth Buzie (dressed as spinster):

He started by asking; "Do you believe in the Hereafter?"

She would hesitate and think and say; "well...yes.."

To which, he would raise his eyebrows, give an orney look and respond with; "Good then you know what I am here after...."

A rhyme taking a bit of that thought, and some from what Mr. Starry has kindly offered might give a laugh and get the point across.

BroDavid
If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
Pokie-Poke
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Bensalem, PA
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Quote:
(The theme here is you stop a kid you can stop the world).


Oh boy, grab a kid!!! this works great!!!

And DON'T worry about your hat while your doing your show. This is the best way to trash your show, and kill your energy.
I'm a bit superstitious, I never count my hat till I have left the pitch. This way one bad show won't throw my energy, If it was a good show you will know. If not you won't dwell on it in your next show. You bombed in the last show...the audience doesn't know that why spoil it for them?
I also started In NY where flashing cash in the street is not a good thing. Smile the audience does not need to see how much you made, just a buck or two, RIGHT Smile

have fun, heavy hats.
www.pokie-poke.com
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