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KenTheriot

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Can I get advice from the experienced magic performers? I have spent about 15 months learning and practicing, and I've got a few dozen tricks up my sleeve (ba- dum-DAH!). Anyway, beyond my SAM audition and demoing for my friends and family (and occasionally springing a quick trick on an unsuspecting member of the actual society like doctors, store clerks, waitresses, etc.), I don't have a very good idea how to get started doing actual performances.

I REALLY want to perform at an upcoming event that will be at a somewhat unconventional (for modern magicians anyway) setting - an outdoor week-long festival by a medieval group I belong to called The SCA (Society For Creative Anachronism). We'll be camped in the woods in Mississippi, a few thousand of us. There will be a market place (Merchant's row) and a Tavern, which is where I will actually be camping and spending most of my time. 

Just taking the tavern, for instance, how would I best break out some magic there? Since I will be camping with the staff there and might even be behind the bar for a shift at some point. So I could truthfully say to anyone that "I am the house magician (or juggler/conjurer for the medieval mood). The 2 different scenarios will be like this:

1. People milling about the noisy and poorly lit tavern at night, drinking and chatting with friends. There are 4 or 5 tables with benches for seating, and most folks will be standing around. If I wanted to do some performing there, how do you recommend I approach folks? It feels weird and creepy to just say "wanna see some magic?" Advice/Ideas?

2. I might be behind the bar. There is only one area (all the way to the right) where folks line up to order drinks/snacks (not like a regular bar). The rest of the bar length has sections where one might be able to do some tricks. Assuming that the proprietors allow it, how would spring a trick on someone when behind the bar? It would have to be when time and space allows, so no area could be dedicated to it. Is this even workable?

Any ideas would be appreciated. My problem is that I have no frame of reference for this and no experience.

Thanks!

Ken

ps- There IS one guy in The SCA who usually attends this festival, and he is a professional street magician. He takes a busking table into the middle of the Merchant's Row and does 15-20 minute shows for tips. I might also try this. At least I will have him there to ask about it.

pps -  I specified "magic performers" at the top because I am an experienced performer as a professional musician. Ironically, our main music audience is The SCA now, so a fair number of folks in the group know us as musicians. I'm very comfortable performing in front of people. That will probably help.
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Chi Han

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hey Ken,

I'm not much of an 'experienced performer', so I don't really have anything to offer.  But these 2 threads might be worth your perusal regarding the tavern scenario.

http://www.themagiciansforum.com/post/any-tips-on-approaching-people-during-restaurant-work-7903245?&trail=25

http://www.themagiciansforum.com/post/book-rescources-for-restaurant-magicians-7912619?pid=1290799444

Hopefully you'll get more specific advice, but these seem like a nice general place to start.
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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks ScreenguardGuy! There is some gold in those threads.

Cheers!

Ken
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #4 

Approaching a small group you start calling out "Miracles for Sale!" much like "Bring our yer dead" in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." 
This automatically puts you in performance mode.
Miracles for sale! Would you like to see a miracle? Well, like I said, these miracles are for sale. But I tell you what, I'll perform the miracle after which I'll pass my hat and you can pay me what you thought the miracle was worth. Let's begin....

The SCA is like a Ren Faire group that gets together and beats the hell out of each other. That sounds like a fun group that likes its down time as well. If that one magician can go and busk and have no problem, you should have no problem with your new found strolling gig. 

That one magician is known for busking. You could be known as the "miracle man" by saying Miracles for Sale. In fact, if you enter a tavern and say "Miracles for Sale" that lets everyone know that you are in the house. 

Some history; I used to hang out at a friend's magic shop that was inside an indoor flea market. There was a tattoo booth run by "Tattoo Al." They started a tradition when either of them entered that wing of the flea market they would shout "Sim Sa La Bim." To other, if in the wing would respond back with the same "Sim Sa La Bim." Everyone else in the wing knew when these two were open, or if one was just open. 

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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #5 
Cool, Dan. Thanks for the tips[smile].

Ken
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GregMcMahan

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Reply with quote  #6 
Follow that magician, study what he's doing, learn. When he's not performing, chat with him, let him know you want to learn.

Outside of your SCA event, join a local community theater group. Take improvisation classes. Learn to perform. Knowing how to do tricks if useless if you can't entertain with them.
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Robert Parris

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Reply with quote  #7 
Dan hit the nail on the head. With the SCA you can be pretty much whoever you want and go into character when you perform, which might makes things easier. Also, I can't see any problem with approaching anyone in the SCA.  I like the 'miracles for sale' line. That would work great. A good idea might be to learn some tricks that have a story to them, or make up a medieval version to fit the situation. Could be fun!
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #8 
The great thing about performing for the SCA is that THEY are performing in character as well. You'll blend in easily.
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Michaelblue

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Reply with quote  #9 
Sounds like a good opportunity to stand behind a table and perform for people who walk by. I've done a lot of that in various places. It's good to have a way to end a set, so you are not performing for 12 hours straight. Something like, "thanks for stopping over, magic will resume in 10 minutes."  Then you can get set up again. And have fun!
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #10 
Or perhaps you can lay claim to a tavern table and set up court so to speak.
You stay perform. People come and go.
You might want to have a couple really good effects to have them wonder if you'll be performing that tonight.
Something like card on ceiling or chop cup or something with similar wow/crowd factor.
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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #11 
Ohhh. Great idea Dan. I'm actually camping with the Tavern people, so I will be in there during Closed hours. That would be a good opportunity to prep a card, etc. That again for another good tip!

Ken
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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaelblue
Sounds like a good opportunity to stand behind a table and perform for people who walk by. I've done a lot of that in various places. It's good to have a way to end a set, so you are not performing for 12 hours straight. Something like, "thanks for stopping over, magic will resume in 10 minutes."  Then you can get set up again. And have fun!


Yes! that's a different kind of busking - can be done either in the tavern or market place. The guy I was referring to does a street show and gathers a crowd in the middle of the "street" to do his show, then puts the hat out for tips and packs up. But doing it the other way would be more like what I do with music (when I do busk). Just plant myself somewhere and do some stuff when it seems right.

Mark Lewis had a couple of good ideas that he does at trade shows. Like waiting for a small group of 2-3 or more to walk by together and then saying something like "Have you seen this?” Then he adds  “you can’t go through life without seeing these,you know.” Then draw them over with visible, colorful sponge balls saying something like “come and have a look. You don’t have to spend any money. Nobody else does” Mark Lewis says that always makes them laugh, it breaks the ice and they come over

Thanks for the tip!

Ken
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Robert Parris

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Reply with quote  #13 
I think that the SCA is the perfect forum for a wandering magician. You could dress as outlandish as you like and have a completely different personae than you would otherwise. As Dan says they're all dressed up as well so it might make the nerve factor a bit less than normal as well. I can imagine the cool little travelling magicians table you could make, or have someone make for you. There are a lot of talented builders and craftsmen in the SCA. You could build a great little show that involves more medieval looking props, like a leather chop cup or pewter cups and balls. You could even go so far as to get yourself some replica medieval coins, which you can find quite easily online. Try and stick to period tricks like cups and balls or chop cup..maybe an egg bag etc. You can also buy replica antique looking cards for card tricks. The cool thing about that is that there aren't a heck of a lot of magicians in the SCA. At least not performing. I knew only one in my 10 year time involved with the SCA. So you'll be well known in no time if you do it often enough, especially if you go to Pennsic and perform in the market. But yes, I think if you set a little table up in the market at an event or in the merchants area you would have a lot of people coming to check you out. You could maybe even do a wander around during a feast and perform at the table for the royalty etc.
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mark lewis

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Reply with quote  #14 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KenTheriot
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaelblue
Sounds like a good opportunity to stand behind a table and perform for people who walk by. I've done a lot of that in various places. It's good to have a way to end a set, so you are not performing for 12 hours straight. Something like, "thanks for stopping over, magic will resume in 10 minutes."  Then you can get set up again. And have fun!


Yes! that's a different kind of busking - can be done either in the tavern or market place. The guy I was referring to does a street show and gathers a crowd in the middle of the "street" to do his show, then puts the hat out for tips and packs up. But doing it the other way would be more like what I do with music (when I do busk). Just plant myself somewhere and do some stuff when it seems right.

Mark Lewis had a couple of good ideas that he does at trade shows. Like waiting for a small group of 2-3 or more to walk by together and then saying something like "Have you seen this?” Then he adds  “you can’t go through life without seeing these,you know.” Then draw them over with visible, colorful sponge balls saying something like “come and have a look. You don’t have to spend any money. Nobody else does” Mark Lewis says that always makes them laugh, it breaks the ice and they come over

Thanks for the tip!

Ken

 

That wasn't "David". That was ME!

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Rudy Tinoco

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark lewis

Quote:
Originally Posted by KenTheriot
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaelblue
Sounds like a good opportunity to stand behind a table and perform for people who walk by. I've done a lot of that in various places. It's good to have a way to end a set, so you are not performing for 12 hours straight. Something like, "thanks for stopping over, magic will resume in 10 minutes."  Then you can get set up again. And have fun!


Yes! that's a different kind of busking - can be done either in the tavern or market place. The guy I was referring to does a street show and gathers a crowd in the middle of the "street" to do his show, then puts the hat out for tips and packs up. But doing it the other way would be more like what I do with music (when I do busk). Just plant myself somewhere and do some stuff when it seems right.

Mark Lewis had a couple of good ideas that he does at trade shows. Like waiting for a small group of 2-3 or more to walk by together and then saying something like "Have you seen this?” Then he adds  “you can’t go through life without seeing these,you know.” Then draw them over with visible, colorful sponge balls saying something like “come and have a look. You don’t have to spend any money. Nobody else does” Mark Lewis says that always makes them laugh, it breaks the ice and they come over

Thanks for the tip!

Ken

 

That wasn't "David". That was ME!



Correction made [smile]

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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #16 
Thanks Rudy. I thought I'd lost my mind. I went in to correct it myself (Sorry about that, Mark!) and saw that it was already correct. I appreciate it!!!!

Cheers,

Ken
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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #17 
Robert,

You were in the SCA?! Wow. That's awesome. I've been doing it for 27 years. My wife and I are pretty well-known musicians and perform at Pennsic and Gulf Wars every year. Not sure how much you were into SCA songs, but if you ever heard The Feast Song or Agincourt, or Band of Brothers, those are our songs[smile].

I actually started into magic with the idea that my primary venue would be the SCA, like it is for music. So I have a pewter chop cup and period cards(as well as a very period-looking deck that are the same size as modern ones and have indices, which are not period....sssshhhhhhh[smile]). And I have a few replica coins as well. But at the moment, I'll probably just use Morgans and Barbers as I am used to handling them and they look different enough that it won't immediately scream "modern."

I got a copy of The Discoverie of Witchcraft (hmm, I should add that to my library list) very early on and got to see what things are absolutely period. Coins, balls and cards are specifically spelled out in there. And of course cups and balls are period too. I'll be focusing on those things, adding in some rope magic as well for when I am outside and further away from folks.

Anyway, I think it's so cool that you were in the SCA. Thanks for your suggestions.

Cheers!

Ken
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Robert Parris

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Reply with quote  #18 
Yup, Ken I was an active member for quite a number of years, then life got in the way. I always wanted to, and still do want to do magic at SCA events, just because it lends itself so well to the time period and costumes, but I never had the guts back then. Who knows, I still just might dust off some of my garb and get back in the game at some point. It was a fun release that's for sure! I had a magician friend in the SCA who went by the name of Pancratz. He dressed more toward a court jester and was pretty well known around Pennsic. Have you heard of him?
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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #19 
I have not heard of Pancratz. The most visible street magician at GW and Pennsic right now is probably Kuji. Kuji Kaoni Musashi, in the SCA and Emmett Miller mundanely. He's a professional magician in the real world too. He went by the name Windy City Wizard though he now lives in New Orleans.

Anyway, I'll be trying my hand at lots of magic performing at Gulf Wars in a couple of weeks. I'll let you know how it goes.

Cheers,

Ken

I forgot to mention Dr. Henry Best (SCA name), who is also a professional magician. At the big SCA wars, he normally does fortune telling. His mundane name is Jack Strauss, and he's become a mentor of sorts for me.

-K
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