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Jnana
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Hi I plan on doing some walking on glass. I am going to do the glass as in Swami/Mantra Blind leap. I will roll the glass in a sack to take off edges and remove pieces with jagged edges. Could anyone give advise on how they prep there glass. I hope to move up to jumping into a pile of glass and laying on glass. Thank you
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Harry Murphy
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Well friend, first of all, unless you have spent months going barefoot, you need to be prepared to be cut! It’s going to happen! From time to time until you get the knack of this down you are going to be cut.

Let me see if I can give you a tip or two that will minimize the accidents.

As I am sure the “Mantra” has told you to use thick bottle glass. Hit the bars around town and get as many empty wine bottles (both clear, green and the odd black Champaign bottle)as you can. Break them with your hammer into nice big pieces.

Remove the bottom pieces and the bottlenecks. I have a small plastic barrel thing that is used to mix concrete for home do-it-your-self-ers that I put the pieces of glass into and roll it around the yard for a few hours (a few minutes a day for several days that is).

Spread your glass collection out on a tarp or blanket and take some time going through it. Get rid off any shard of glass that looks like a spike. Some day it will be caught in the up right position and you will be cut.

Add some more glass and roll it some more. Keep it up until you have a nice bucket full of fairly large sections glass with out spikes. The edges will be softened (rounded) by the rolling process.

Save several bottlenecks to add to the show. Also save a couple of bottle bottoms that are really jagged looking. These will be used to dress up the show.

Once you have your glass made you will keep it and use it for years! It will become one of your valuable props. Protect it as you would any magic prop.

I have a double thickness canvas square that contains my glass. It is about 4 feet square. The glass stays in this canvas when traveling and on it when performing.

OK, lets pretend that you have taken the time and trouble to make up your bucketful of glass.

Practice time. DON’T start with a jump! Read that again! DON’T START WITH A JUMP. You need to learn to walk and dance before you jump!

Let me say something about this trick. It was originated in countries where the people rarely wear shoes. The soles of their feet are calloused like shoe leather. I suspect that you regularly wear shoes and therefore have “soft” feet.

I don’t care what Swami-Mantra says; there is NO lotion that you can use that will toughen your feet enough to protect you from cuts in this stunt!

IF you seriously plan to learn and perform this effect on a regular basis, start walking barefoot as much as possible. That will help toughen your feet over time. Go to the mail box in your bare feet rain, or shine, if you are saying "ouch" to twigs and pebbles then what do you think your are going to say to a sharp shard of glass? Summer barefoot on the beach (or the blacktop) is the best foot tougher there is.

But your feet don’t need to be all that tough if you have prepared your glass well.

Let’s start. The secret of this trick is the same secret that makes the bed of nails work. Spreading the body’s weight over the pointy objects. Yep that’s it.

So, get your pile of glass, keep one foot planted firmly on the ground and step, flat footed, gently on the glass. Slowly increase the pressure on the foot that is on the glass by transferring your weight. In a couple of minutes you should have all your weight on the “glass-foot”. Lift the other foot off the ground and bring it, flat-footed beside the glass-foot and SLOWLEY transfer some weight to it. In a minute you are standing bare-footed on a pile of broken glass. Ta-Da!! You are a glass walker! Take a breath, and reverse the process until you are off the glass.

Do this a couple of times speeding the process up each time. Soon you will be on and off the glass in seconds. There is no rush to this! Spread the glass out a little so that you can take a couple of steps across it. Now slowly, slowly, walk flat-footed, across the glass. Take a break.

The next trick to do is to dance on the glass. That is picking up one foot and putting it back down as you pick up and put back down the other in rapid succession. It is almost like a kid throwing a temper tantrum! It looks dramatic and it is here you will cut your self! Keep your toes pointed up if possible. Nothing like catching a bit of broken glass between them! It will cut!

When practicing your jumps, start low. Jump off a brick or a book! Learn to land on both feet at the same time. Keep the feet flat. Balls and heels hit at the same time. If you rock from heel to toe, or toe to heel, you will be cut!

Increase your jumping distance until you can jump a foot or two. Say, from the bottom milk crate, that is a good distance. Increasing the distance beyond that is not really appreciated by the audience anyway. Just being able to jump safely onto the glass is impressive enough.

Selling the act, doing the show, this is the real discussion. I carry everything in a couple of plastic milk crates. The canvas bag of glass, some bottles, some props, and hammer goes into one, a dozen bottles into the other.

For the act have a few bottles to break at the start of the performance. Break two of them at the perimeter of your glass pile. Keep all new glass to one side. Use thick bottles; they will be incorporated into the pile over time.

Start your pitch and gather the crowd. Start by rolling the glass around in the canvas, it makes a nice sound and helps draw the tip. Spread the canvas and pick up a bottleneck or two, to show the folks how sharp they are. Break a new bottle (on the perimeter remember?).

First stunt, step onto the glass, one foot, second foot. Pause and let the effect sink in. Now step off.

Second stunt, walk briskly across the glass, you may have to spread it a bit to get a couple of steps in.

Third stune, walk to the center of the glass and turn slowly 360 degrees. Arms outstreached. If there is a small child in the audience, put them on your shoulders. Looks cool, make sure the parents get a photo (if they have a camera). A squealing teenage girl on your shoulders really gets laughs and helps sell the act!

Forth stunt, get back on the glass and dance, if you have a boom box turn on some music and dance.

Fifth stunt, stack your two-milk crates bottom up for the top one. Step up onto the crate and tell the folks that you will jump, surely injuring yourself, for their entertainment for a small fee, jump off onto the ground and pass the hat, if you have a partner, have them pass the hat.

Tell them that you will risk this feat (pun intended) with just a little encouragement. Build the tension. Pass the hat some more. Finally, jump! Step off the pile of glass with arms spread and smile at the crowd and thank them!

Reset and get ready for another performance.

There are two stunts you can do to lengthen the act. One is to lie on the glass the other is to roll across the glass.

Lying on the glass is no more difficult than walking on it. Sit with your butt near the pile and lower yourself slowly onto the glass. That’s it! Do it! Now sell this trick by having some pretty young lady stand on your chest! It will feel weird but you can do it! When you get up some glass will stick to your back, shake it off! It looks like has pierced your skin. Looks dramatic and cool!

Rolling on the glass is a trick that I advise you NOT to do. I get cut almost every time I try it. I am not even going to hint how to do it.

By the way, remember the bottle bottoms and necks you have around the edges. Make sure that they are out of the way when you lay down. They will cut the heck out of you.

Now say you have a smart ass trying to show off, put you down and saying it’s only trick glass! Well, remember those bottle bottoms? Move them to the center of your pile, break a new bottle on the center, and invite the guy to come on up and try it. If he does, he gets cut! Tough!

At home after your show, pick out glass bottoms and necks, pick out spikes, and roll the glass again and again. It softens the new glass you added that day! You are ready to go again tomorrow. Roll your glass every morning you go to load it and just before every show. Take your time the post show and pre show work is important to do.

By the way, did I mention that if you do this stunt that YOU WILL GET CUT!

I recommend not doing it at all!
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Jnana
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Thank you, this is a life time of infomation. I am sure I will get cut as you warn but I will get so much futher in my practice before that happens(I hope) because of your sharing with me. I will start to work on my feet and to collect wine bottles. To date I have only been collecting beer bottles. I will let you know when I try this. I can see I have aleast a few months of prep work before me. Once again thank you for sharing. Tony
When I feel blue I start to breath again
thinkofacard
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Yet again Mumblepeas has come up with the goods.

Nice one!!!!!

Oh and just to reiterate... you WILL get cut!

But hey.. Smile
If you can't stand the blood, get out of the slaughterhouse!
Missing_Link
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Mumblepeas - great stuff as always. I keep the edges of my glass smooth by placing them in a box in the boot (trunk for my American friends) of my car while I drive about as normal. It makes a noise but is quite effective over a period of time.

I once saw a guy (it wasn't me, honest!) cover his glass with lighter fuel, ignite it and then walk across. It looked pretty neat, but of course I'm not recommending it - the glass will get hot, you can burn your legs and, of course, get cut.

Cheers

ML
Harry Murphy
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Great idea about keeping your glass in your car. Does keep it "working" on the edges!

I also liked the mention about the flaming glass!

I think that if I was going to do a fire gag that I would use kerosene. It burns bright yellow and smoky. Looks dramatic. The trouble with a lot of today’s fuels is that they burn very clean and with an almost invisible or blue-ish flame. It simply can’t be seen unless in a very dark room. If I am going to risk burning myself, I want a bright and highly visible flame.

All that said I doubt if I would ever try the flaming glass bit. It would just be too much for me to be thinking about (worrying about) which would increase the probability of me not attending properly to what I am doing. Plus the fact that I don’t like being burned and cut at the same time!

It does sound very dramatic and interesting. I would pay to watch it performed! (Even if I am too chicken to try it myself!)

By the way, did I mention, that you will get cut!
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Missing_Link
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Of course, if you get cut the flames will help cauterize the wound Smile

I actually tried this yesterday evening and I used the kerosene I keep for fire breathing. First time, I put way too much fuel on the glass. Impressive flames but they would've burned parts of my body that are very important to me.

With less fuel, the walking on glass was ok but, as Mumblepeas said, there was way too much to concentrate on. My attention was on the flames and not on the glass.

Also, kerosene (and other oil based fuels) are quite greasy and my feet began to slip around a bit on the glass. That isn't good. I stopped pretty quickly before I got cut.

I'm going to stick with the glass - hey, it's an impressive act and doesn't need fire to attract the audience, if done well. As with all acts, your acting abilities are the most important.

Cheers

ML

ps it is very likely that you will get cut. And it hurts. And foot wounds are easily infected. eeeugh.
Dolini
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mumblepeas and other contibutors,

I enjoyed the reading. My feet are small and I weigh 280. Too much pressure per square inch. Ha. Thanks for the information.

Dolini Smile
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Harry Murphy
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Dolini,

Then it is the Bed of Nails for you my friend!

Feet, even small feet, are usually proportional to the person. Keeps you from tipping over and all that!

Still, this is probably not the stunt for you!! Although I can see you walking on hot coals! LOL
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Desmanthus
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Great stuff mumblepeas! Thanks for all the info. Smile
Sincerely Yours,
Desmanthus

"That is not dead which can eternal lie, for with strange aeons even death may die."
H.P. Lovecraft
DavidEscapes
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Hi all

Just thought I would add my Two pence (Cents, Sterling) to this discussion. I have been working with glass for several years and have come to know it pretty well and my experience seems to differ a lot from some of the experiences above. Mainly in the cutting and preperation department.

I have always used thick glass from beer and wine bottles, but, apart from washing out all the bottles carefully to avoid infections from minor cuts I do not prpeare the glass in any way. I have barely ever been scratched let alone actually cut. I have also found that I prefer the glass to be as new and sharp as possible. This allows me to let responsible adults carefully inspect it. I am very strict about who I allow to inspect the stuff. If they look even slightly drunk, act over eager or I get a bad feeling I say no.

Among the stunts I do with glass are walking, headstands, handstands, and lying with a volunteer stood on me.

I have only had any problems on two occasions. Both were volunteer related. Once was when I stupidly picked someone WAY to big as the volunteer. It was a big, stupid, pointless mistake which was done out of bravado. I was having a really hard time with a difficult audience and I thought to my self 'I will show these ********. Any way, the guy was about 6 feet 2 inches and turned out to be 22 stone. I weigh 12 stone. The problem wasn't the weight though. I am used to that kind of stuff from some of the circus routines I have trained and performed, the problem was that the guy was far to eager, and probably drunk. When he stood on me he stumbled and dropped most of his weight on his heel, while at the same time dropping the heel on the left side of my body. The impact tramatised my left kidney. And while I am proud to say I completed the act I was not a well idiot in the days following.

The other time was during a stage show when a fellow, and well briefed, performer jumped on me nearly breaking ribs. "He just got over excited". I was furious afterwards and have never performed with him or the company since. I won't name them but I worked for them twice and on both occasions was put at great risk. The other time involved a staged hanging which I set up. I won't go off topic with the whole story but if anyone wants to know, just ask Smile

umm.. that got longer than I had planned!

Duncan
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george1953
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What a reply, you couldn't wish for a more in depth explanation of this stunt.
By failing to prepare, we are preparing to fail.
Harley Newman
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Actually, George, you could.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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dave_matkin
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If I were going to learn this stunt again ...... I would do it the same way as I did last time. I would learn from a pro who has been doing it a long time! I would not trust my interpretation of something on a web site. And sure as anything not trust Swami Mantra (I love that book ..... Such a great masterpiece of humour and fiction ! Smile ).

If Harley Newman posts that sort of comment you know it needs treating with caution!

If I were in the USA I would look ar going to Harley. Over here in the UK ........ well that's for me to know?....
ThatsJustWrong!
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<Uncompensated Softball Setup>
Isn't walking on broken glass something that Harley could teach at, say, a weekend workshop? Sometime in May would be nice. Maybe in PA?
</Uncompensated Softball Setup>

*cough* *cough* *** hairballs.
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dave_matkin
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He may well do that. ..... But I can fly ou over here and learn from my secret source ..... And at only 15 times more expensive than Harley's weekend it's great value (flight, accommodation, food and props not included ...... You must pay in sequential marked bills freshly prinred! Terms and conditions apply)!
Harley Newman
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Yup, it's one of the skills on the agenda. May 25-27 (though we'll probably start the evening before).
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain

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Martin_Ling
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Wow, isn't there a C.O.C that covers this stuff? This is an open forum which means all sorts of people are going to be walking in and out of here. I imagine with the new super cool sideshow TV show, every kid and there mother are going to be scouring the inter-webs looking for bad advice on how to replicate what they saw on the boob-tube. Best advice, find a teacher, take Harley's class, anything but getting info off the web and giving it a shot! The second best advice I can give is, in the end no one cares that you can do the same acts that 25 other people can do...badly. People care who you learned it from, if you do it well and present it differently than all the other people in this industry. These are traditions and extremely dangerous acts, that should be taught in person. Also, throwing information all over the Internet just to show you have knowledge is just as irresponsible and ultimately going to get someone hurt.
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Jim Hand
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Harley's Article shouild be RQUIRED reading for anyone who wants to do sideshow acts...I remember seeing a fire eater with several years expierence get a very bad burn...BE SAFE...Be careful...

Thanks Harley for the GREAT advice

Thanks Martin for posting the link.
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