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RayJ

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This forum topic is for those of us that were once consumed by magic only to find that life had other plans in store.

Like most kids I had seen magicians and wondered about how they accomplished all of their incredible miracles.  I was fortunate in having a mother that had befriended a professional magician and I was able to see him perform.  From that first show, I was hooked.

In my teens, the hard work started paying off.  I was performing regularly in IBM and SAM stage shows.  Doing close-up at some local restaurants and stand up at a venue that had a stage in the banquet hall.  I had won or placed at several magic contests including the IBM convention.  I competed in both close-up and stage.  A highlight was when I was a senior in high school and played the role of "Marko the Magician" in a local television show promoting a new attraction in St. Louis called The Magic House.  It is a great place for kids to learn about science and physics in the real world.  I did magic "in studio" and then transported the host to The Magic House.  Then the cameras would return to the studio where I did some more magic, then returned to the field and this repeated until the end.  I was super excited to have the opportunity.  It got replayed the next year and I got a residual check!

Then life happened.  First college, then wife, then kids, and my job was sending me in many directions, traveling 9 states.  I did visit magic shops when I could, that was fun.

But my performing life suffered.  I still did an occasional Blue & Gold Banquet or a Christmas party.  Gone were the cocktail parties, trade shows, etc.

I had sold my doves while in college and much of my "act" was stored away in a big plastic tub.

I still bought and read books on magic.  I kept my hands nimble.  I rarely traveled on a plane without a deck of cards in my hands but what I really wanted to do was perform.  I didn't care if it was stand-up or close-up, I missed them both.

So here's the food for thought:  If you could do it over again, what would you change?
I know I wouldn't have lost touch with people like Dan Fleshman, Chris Kenner and John Mendoza, all guys I "grew up with" in magic.  I also would have found somewhere to perform regularly.  

So if YOU could start over, what, if anything would you do differently?


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RayJ

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Thanks to those who have read so far!  I was hoping for some dialog, but maybe nobody else has anything they'd like to change?  If that is so, then great!

What I anticipated was that there are others whose hobby or career got sidetracked and they could share their experience.

Or perhaps some might say that they never were interested in a certain magic niche and now wish they had started down the path sooner.

But it was good to kind of get things off my chest, so to speak.  There are things in life I wish I had a "do-over" for and that was certainly one of them.

Thanks for letting me share!
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Bmat

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I would have started performing earlier.  The longer you sit and practice, and make sure everything is just right, the harder it becomes to perform, (in my experience) and in my observations of other magicians.  The key is to pick up that first svengali deck or nickles to dimes and just go out and perform.  

I stood behind the counter for the longest time doing demonstrations.  But that is far different than performing. 

My advise to those starting out.   Just do it!

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RayJ

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Good advice!
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chris w

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I wouldn't have sold off any books when my interest waned for a few years. I should have known I'd be back around and should have kept the library (including volumes that would now cost me four and five times as much as I sold them for to re-acquire) intact.
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Bob Farmer

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I did have a chance to start over. As a kid, I did magic shows with props and a few card tricks. Then I discovered rock 'n' roll and magic looked uncool, so I concentrated on playing in bands and forgot about magic. Then I ended up in law school with limited time on my hands, so no playing in bar bands but one day I found a copy of the Royal Road To Card Magic in a used book store. It was cards from then on, something I could work with anywhere to amuse myself. Then I ended up in London, England for a year and this kick started everything. It's good to start over.
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #7 
"Life's what happens when you're busy making other plans."

Ain't it the truth?!

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RayJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris w
I wouldn't have sold off any books when my interest waned for a few years. I should have known I'd be back around and should have kept the library (including volumes that would now cost me four and five times as much as I sold them for to re-acquire) intact.


Amen!  And I wouldn't have traded that custom set of Rings n Things cups that there were only three of.  They were made by the original RNT and were a special gift.  They were the "Monti" style, in solid bronze and were a combo set but all identical in weight.  Oh well.
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RayJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Farmer
I did have a chance to start over. As a kid, I did magic shows with props and a few card tricks. Then I discovered rock 'n' roll and magic looked uncool, so I concentrated on playing in bands and forgot about magic. Then I ended up in law school with limited time on my hands, so no playing in bar bands but one day I found a copy of the Royal Road To Card Magic in a used book store. It was cards from then on, something I could work with anywhere to amuse myself. Then I ended up in London, England for a year and this kick started everything. It's good to start over.


By the way Bob, Rush is, was and always will be one of my favorite bands.  I have probably watched every interview with the trio on youtube.  I was so happy when they finally (long overdue) inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  To me their music is magic!
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Bill Guinee

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Reply with quote  #10 
Great topic. When I was 29, I was making a living doing magic bartender work at the New York Lounge, and I loved it. Then I finally realized that I had serious problems with alcohol. I didn't feel that I could stay sober and continue to pour drinks for a living, so I left the work at the bar. For some reason, which now seems insane to me, I conflated the bartending with the magic, and since I couldn't tend bar I packed up all the magic stuff and didn't look at it again until I retired at age 66. A very long gap. I wish I had not done that. I did find other work and things to do that I greatly enjoyed, but I missed out on doing something I loved for most of my life. I have either lost contact with my friends in magic, or they have passed away in the meantime. And, after only about a year back in magic, I am still working to re-learn my chops. So, I guess the main thing I would do differently, if I was going through it all again, would be not to give up on a love and a passion, to adapt to changing circumstances by finding new ways to pursue the art. 
     That being said, there were also things I did during the intervening years that I believe have really helped me as a magician. I have matured, read endless numbers of books and seen endless films, have worked with theater, and most especially I have taught classes for many years - learning to gain the interest even of students who were only taking a course as a requirement. Serious performance.
    And, so as not to just whine, I must say that it is great to be back. I am enjoying magic so much these days, and, even though at a rather minor level so far, I have begun performing again. Thanks again, Ray for the topic.
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Bob Farmer

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Reply with quote  #11 
One of the great things about magic is the people you meet and the friends you make and I didn't realize that until I started over. 
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Guinee
Great topic. When I was 29, I was making a living doing magic bartender work at the New York Lounge, and I loved it. Then I finally realized that I had serious problems with alcohol. I didn't feel that I could stay sober and continue to pour drinks for a living, so I left the work at the bar. For some reason, which now seems insane to me, I conflated the bartending with the magic, and since I couldn't tend bar I packed up all the magic stuff and didn't look at it again until I retired at age 66. A very long gap. I wish I had not done that. I did find other work and things to do that I greatly enjoyed, but I missed out on doing something I loved for most of my life. I have either lost contact with my friends in magic, or they have passed away in the meantime. And, after only about a year back in magic, I am still working to re-learn my chops. So, I guess the main thing I would do differently, if I was going through it all again, would be not to give up on a love and a passion, to adapt to changing circumstances by finding new ways to pursue the art. 
     That being said, there were also things I did during the intervening years that I believe have really helped me as a magician. I have matured, read endless numbers of books and seen endless films, have worked with theater, and most especially I have taught classes for many years - learning to gain the interest even of students who were only taking a course as a requirement. Serious performance.
    And, so as not to just whine, I must say that it is great to be back. I am enjoying magic so much these days, and, even though at a rather minor level so far, I have begun performing again. Thanks again, Ray for the topic.


Bill, thanks for sharing that.  I've known several "names" in magic that struggled with alcohol.  Some are somewhat well known in the magic community, some not so much.  I know I speak for all of us when I say that we're glad you lived through all of that and are here with us now, rekindling your passion for this wacky world of magic.  I'm glad the topic was well received.  Looking forward to learning and sharing right along with you.
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