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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Busking vs Street Magic? (9 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Thirston
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Probably this does not matter what it means. Maybe we should not talk about this anymore so we don't start fights.
Dave V
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WHO ARE YOU TO TELL US WHAT TO TALK ABOUT!!
YOU LOOKING FOR A FIGHT OR SOMETHING???

:mad: Smile Smile
Just kidding Smile
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
mplegare
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The thing to keep in mind is that until Mr. Blaine went out on the street with a full production crew, cameras, boom mics and a 300 lb bodyguard/producer, *he* didn't do 'Street Magic'.

Me, I do 'room magic'. Smile
Matthew Legare aka Tobias the Adequate! - http://www.adequateblog.today.com - you know you want to.
Whit Haydn
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Topology is "squaresville."
ed rhodes
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Quote:
On 2004-11-19 05:14, The Mighty Fool wrote:
To MagiUlysses:

I've gotta admit, you sir have the gift of gab. Or just a way with words. Your audiences must be some of the most entertained in all the land. And at no time did I say you were WRONG about anything. In fact, you've pretty much been right about everything: street magic doesn't pay a living wage, we ARE criminals (albiet it's a victimless crime) and we CAN be considered part of the broadly-defined family of buskers, although you could say we're the 'black-sheep' of the family.

I understand your position. But from the point of view of the police, you could be the opening of a con game or worse. Police are notably conservative and tend to frown at "stealth" tactics no matter how benign.
"He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." - Rafael Sabatini, Scaramouche
Danny Hustle
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Quote:
On 2005-01-06 19:01, whithaydn wrote:
Topology is "squaresville."

It's L7 daddieo. Smile

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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Matt Graves
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Although this is replying to something waaaaaaayyyyy back at the beginning of this thread, I think it's interesting to note - somebody said David Blaine's special was misnamed. He admits as much in his own book. He said he picked the title to underplay the value of the magic. He thought most magic specials had grandiose titles and no real content, and he wanted to do the opposite. But he had actually never done any street magic.
The Mighty Fool
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I remember hearing that one should avoid using the label of magician in a special / show / whatever. Penn&Teller used to call themselves "The bad boys of magic" until they discovered that the word 'magic' was keeping people away in droves!
Everybody wants to beleive.....we just help them along.
KirkG
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I think an old definition of the current "street magic" magician as opposed to a busker is a "rank amature." Bascially someone with little background and ability cornering a slower moving herbivore and pouncing with the almost always lethal, "Pick a card, any card." Remember Uncle Joe?

Street magic used to mean busking, then it was chosen as a buzz word and lifestyle of adolescent wanna be's. End of story. Even though they grow older, magicians are unlike mutual bonds, they almost never mature.

Kirk G
TheAmbitiousCard
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Kirk, Where were you back when this all started. You could have saved me
from writing all those embarassing posts.

And ...
Quote:
...until they discovered that the word 'magic' was keeping people away in droves!

I think each of us needs to realize this, acknowledge that it is fact, and do something (when performing) about it. Every time! Peronally I think that most people love to see magic. They just don't want it done by a magician. They like it done by someone like themselves. Not a 'performer', per se. It's more palatable that way. Go and do likewise.

Who would you rather hang out with... Jerry Sienfeld or a fantastic used car salesman?
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chrisrkline
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Actually, I was going to add that is like comedy. They want you to be funny, but they don't want you to be a comedian. Smile
Chris
mplegare
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Quote:
On 2005-01-12 15:42, chrisrkline wrote:
Actually, I was going to add that is like comedy. They want you to be funny, but they don't want you to be a comedian. Smile

That's a good way of putting it. People are more likely to respond if you have something *along with* 'hey! I do magic!' as your presentation.
Matthew Legare aka Tobias the Adequate! - http://www.adequateblog.today.com - you know you want to.
Dr_Stephen_Midnight
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I think part of that is that people want to see entertainers with unique personalities, and not 'out of the box' entertainers. Both magicians and stand-up comics have an annoying stereotype to live down. Mimes have an even worse one to live down (Man...look at all the 'Biffs' touching invisible walls, pulling invisible ropes and 'walking against the wind').

Steve
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Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
TheAmbitiousCard
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You're right.

magic is very strong when performed by someone that appears to be ...
"a normal guy" and not someone that is overtly "entertaining".

it creates a connection between magician and spectator.
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Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2005-01-06 06:28, Thirston wrote:
Probably this does not matter what it means. Maybe we should not talk about this anymore so we don't start fights.

Actually, it does matter what it means. This is a "sticky" topic. It contains the key to whether you need to look in this part of the forum or in the Smile "Street Magic" part of the forum to find the information you need.

I'm just guessing now, but I would also wager that a higher percentage of the people who post to this section actually perform for paying audiences -- even though they are busking -- than the "guerilla magicians" in the "Street Magic" section.
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The Mighty Fool
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Quote:
On 2005-05-25 12:28, Frank Starsini wrote:
You're right.

magic is very strong when performed by someone that appears to be ...
"a normal guy" and not someone that is overtly "entertaining".

it creates a connection between magician and spectator.

And therin lies the power of a street magician

(Ducks out quick before the tomatoes start flying)
Everybody wants to beleive.....we just help them along.
chrisrkline
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Quote:
On 2005-05-29 02:28, The Mighty Fool wrote:
Quote:
On 2005-05-25 12:28, Frank Starsini wrote:
You're right.

magic is very strong when performed by someone that appears to be ...
"a normal guy" and not someone that is overtly "entertaining".

it creates a connection between magician and spectator.

And therein lies the power of a street magician

(Ducks out quick before the tomatoes start flying)

No tomatoes. Smile

I don't know what Frank meant when he said "normal." Maybe normal is wearing Dockers and a button down, or in a fancier show, a nice dark suit. Maybe he sees Blaine as being too "entertaining."

Of course, he might mean by normal, more what you might mean--a homeless person that you see on the street holding a cup out for change to buy coffee and then having the coins poor out as coffee--in other words, setting up a scene where reality seems to distort around the performer (who of course is not really a "performer.") This does get great reactions, or maybe it is fairer to say, it generates strong reactions.

But it comes down to what the performer wants to elicit. I do not necessarily look for just any strong reaction. There are all sorts of ways to push the envelope and get strong reactions--just bite the heads off of live bats is one way. Some performers get an emotional high that correlates to the "freak out" level of the spectator. The more the spectator freaks, the better the high. This can become addictive. I just wish to do a fun, safe, show—But not too safe. I want parts of my routine to touch the spectators in ways that they won't forget. I want them to see things that just can't be. But I still want the safeness to be there. Because I want to eventually perform for larger groups--family oriented groups--that are also willing to tip, I shy away from controversial routines. I want to be known as the magician. I want that fact to be on their radar screens. So I dress a little different, but not too weird. My character is normal for a person who has chosen to do street performances.

But I suspect some of us, when we are doing close-up or other types of gigs, will perform, more as "normal" person. Even in my street show, I am not too ostentatious, particularly when I am doing something for a few people.
Chris
TheAmbitiousCard
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NO, I do not see blaine as overtly entertaining. exactly the opposite.
that's why he gets good reactions. I don't think his reactions on TV are any better than your average professional magician. About the same, I guess.

I'm not sure how many dull reactions he gets that don't make it to tape in comparison, but there is a natural connection, I think, that is generated with someone that is not constantly "over-the-top".

For a lot of people, if the magician is "over-the-top" it puts up a wall, that cannot come down. Not everyone, but a lot of people.

I could be wrong. I could just be me. But it would be my preference to watch someone like Michael Ammar perform than The Amazing Johnathan.

Maybe that's why Copperfield (the only time I saw him) came out with his shirt untucked, sleeves rolled up, and had a very causal demenor.

Kinda looked like yer buddy.

No strutting around, no fake open-mouthed-wierd-vegas-face, just kind of walking around with his hands in his pockets, type of thing.

I (and my wife) found that very refreshing.
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Dr_Stephen_Midnight
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I think the over-the-top behavior and 'sequin suit' approach triggers the Used Car Salesman / TV commercial 'puker' imagery in many people's minds.

(a 'puker,' by the way, is a commercial talker who speaks in a loud and overly-excited manner to get and hold your attention, usually with a gigantic smile and ultra-wide eyes)

Steve
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Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
chrisrkline
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Some of what we wear is determined by whether we are working a paid gig or the street, and what our own desires are. Unfortunately, we are also creatures of habit, and we often lack the creativity and/or self-confidence to be different (or is that we lack this ability to be normal?)

Copperfield can get away with his new way of dressing because people walking into the show know they are seeing a magician. What he wears is secondary to the magic. Also, he is a known entity. People will buy his tickets as long as the magic is good. They do not worry too much about his dress. I wonder, though, about the stage acts in Las Vegas or Branson, MO. You see a lot of ostentatious dress (with notable exceptions.) Is this done because of the expectations of the audience? The people who frequent those shows expect to see sequins. The acts also sell their shows through advertising. Showing a promo of a big stage show, with glittering sequins, and half-naked women, seems to be standard. Would an ad of someone in regular clothing sell tickets as well for a big stage show?

Blaine was able to get away from the "magician's dress code" partly because he had a camera crew with him, which, ironically, may have detracted from the "normalness" of his act. I will grant that his dress is more contemporary and in many ways is much better for doing close-up magic for a few on the street then trying to do his tricks in tails and top hat. How well he would do on the street dressed that way, sans camera crew, and a family to feed, however, is debatable. Having people enjoy his act on the street is not the same as being able to make enough money for your family--that needs bigger shows. How we do that, is part of the problem. In other words, people might like normal dress for intimate close up on the street, and may even prefer it at a paid gig at a party, restaurant, or small stage. But would that work trying to attract a large circle show on the street where people were not expecting a show to even exist?

But, if we are not comfortable in our costume, then that is a problem. Or maybe if it is too clear that we are in a costume (even when people know we are costumed,) then that is the problem. Sometimes I wear a nice shirt under my vest, with a tie, all within a color theme. Lately, I have taken to wearing a t-shirt under the vest. I may try to work without the vest, if I think it will work better. But I need the hat. I need it to be a fedora or a bowler, to do my routine.


On another point, there is a fine line between doing a good pitch and sounding like a clichéd used car salesman. Some used car salesmen are decent and very effective. Some of us probably sound like bad used car salesman (although, done correctly, sounding like a bad used car salesman can be good comedy.) I will definitely assess whether this is what I sound like.
Chris
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