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MikeIkirt

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Reply with quote  #1 
Here's a question.  Some of you know that I'm a bartender by trade, and that I do perform magic for people.  I've always had a limited range of effects, preferring sleight-less effects due to the close proximity of  my spectators.  I've always just figured that most sleights could be easily spotted that close up.  The bar is a horseshoe, so it kind of rules out finding a dedicated space to work in.  So, how close is too close, in your opinions, for sleight of hand card magic?
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Michaelblue

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Reply with quote  #2 
Scotty York worked behind a bar and did lots of sleight of hand stuff. Depends on just what you want to do
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MikeIkirt

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Reply with quote  #3 
I love most of Doc Eason's stuff.  My problem is that since it's a horseshoe, I always have someone behind me who either can't see, or the people behind me can see too much.  I've had a lot of success with Daley's Last Trick, and a little bit with Aaron Fisher's Search and Destroy.  I don't think I've ever seen anything Scotty York did, but other than online, I have had very little exposure to other magicians.  Not even on TV, since the satellite company never seems to air the good stuff.  I've seen enough David Blaine to last a lifetime.
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mark lewis

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I don't care how close people are when I do sleight of hand. You do have to watch the angles though. But that is a simple problem to solve. Just don't do tricks which are a bit iffy angle wise! Easy...................


I must be missing something somewhere. Close up magic involving sleight of hand is designed to be done close to people.

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MikeIkirt

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark lewis

I don't care how close people are when I do sleight of hand. You do have to watch the angles though. But that is a simple problem to solve. Just don't do tricks which are a bit iffy angle wise! Easy...................


I must be missing something somewhere. Close up magic involving sleight of hand is designed to be done close to people.



The angles are kind of what I'm worried about.  Every close up performer I've seen (save for Doc) has always had at least a couple feet between them.  Even on Doc's DVD's he has a little space between him and the people in front of him.  No one behind him either.  I suppose that's my main worry, as there is no space that I could set up where I'm not completely surrounded.  I thought about using "All Screwed Up", or even "Kate and Edith" but I'm unsure of how that would play.  Although the latter might be doable if I go to the front of the bar to do it.

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Mr. Danny

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Reply with quote  #6 
I have a picture of a young girl, burning my hands VERY close. Will post it when I find it. And, no, she didn't catch me. [smile]


[image]
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mark lewis

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Reply with quote  #7 

I love people all around me, on top of me, underneath me, every which way when I work close up. I suppose the secret is not to use all those fancy moves that can be detected easily. The fundamental moves with cards are pretty angle proof such as the double lift, the glide, palming, forcing, controlling a card. With coins and other objects only slightly less so. Years and years and years ago I once mentioned angle problems to Jon Tremaine, a well known magician and mentalist in the UK. He said, "You make your own angles, don't you?" and of course you do. I really can't figure out what the big deal is. I suppose the cups and balls might be a bit angly but even here it is possible to work out a routine where you have no angle problems.


You WANT people close to you! They say afterwards, "But I was so close and I couldn't see anything!"

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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #8 
     I wrote about it somewhere...a famous close-up guy, known for his close-up card work, was watching me do my Invisible Pass Routine on a glass tabletop. He kept asking me to "do it again." After a few times, he moved to a different chair and asked me to "do it again." He did that a few times, moved to different chairs, hoping to catch the "work" from that angle. And, ready for this? After "trying" every chair, he finally went UNDER THE TABLE so that he could look up to see that angle as I did the thing. He never did catch the "work."
 
     Point? If you're doing CLOSE UP, it shouldn't matter how CLOSE your audience is. My attitude always was/is the closer the better.
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #9 
I perform at festivals with a small iNstand table. Easy to carry around from spot to spot, etc.
I have people on all sides of me.
Card tricks, chop cup....it doesn't matter. If you're worried about it, then you might be telegraphing that you're doing something, or drawing their attention to it.
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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #10 
   Or, if you think something you don't want to be seen can be seen from certain angles, don't do that particular item when people are standing or seated at those "angles."
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MikeIkirt

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Lorayne
   Or, if you think something you don't want to be seen can be seen from certain angles, don't do that particular item when people are standing or seated at those "angles."


That is pretty much what I do.  If I think something might be seen, I don't do the effect.I'm working on Simon Lovell's Fingered Number 3 right now.  That one is pretty much angle proof.  I'm sure I'll find others I can work with. Not sure about the cups, but I think a sponge ball routine might work well too.And yes, I'm probably just paranoid that I'll get caught.
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #12 
Like Harry said, turn. You don't have to be straight on all the time allowing the audience to burn your every move.

There's a lesson in here somewhere.
I knew a guy that installed windows. He liked to just do his job.
Sometimes he'd have people that would hover over him while he was working. He hated that.
So, what he'd do in those situations was prep one window just a little, move to the next window upstairs and prep a little, go back downstairs, etc.
He would run the people ragged until they stopped following him and just let him do his job.
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Deckster

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Reply with quote  #13 
Aren't effects that take place in spectator's hands some of the most powerful?  I can't think of how it can be any closer than that. I think there are so many great self working tricks that finding material that works in a fishbowl is possible, but even knuckle busting moves can be done surreptitiously if the psychology is right.  Perhaps using spectator's hands as your work space would help with misdirection and your lack of a dedicated area.  I think Ortiz's book Designing Miracles could help you with your conundrum particularly the time displacement concepts.

As Harry said above an invisible pass can be invisible even with the most scrutiny if mastered.
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Reply with quote  #14 
I found these interesting, as the view is about as close as you can get




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Mr. Danny

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Reply with quote  #15 
Dan said: "He would run the people ragged until they stopped following him and just let him do his job". When I have this problem, I just had them a wrench, they will do one of two things, either start helping or put it down and walk off. Either way, problem solved! [smile]

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Gustav

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Lorayne
   Or, if you think something you don't want to be seen can be seen from certain angles, don't do that particular item when people are standing or seated at those "angles."
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Gustav

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Reply with quote  #17 
You read my mind sir. dont give them a chance, control your audience and if they are burning, fine, different handling.
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John Johnson

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Reply with quote  #18 
Much solid advice here. I've performed nothing but sleight of hand routines behind the bar on and off for years. My cousin does primarily sleight of hand behind his magic bar in Key West and has for many years. Scotty York did top level work behind a bar.

You pick your moment. Use humor, conversation, impromptu occurences and more to find that moment blended in with a solid routine and spot on work.

Your routines should be down rote. What I mean is the work is automatic and you are focused on and focusing the audience on having a hell of a good time!

Get your comfort level up by putting in a well familiar sleight routine within a string of routines that you are confident with so you're not thrown off your usual game.
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MatthewOlsen

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Reply with quote  #19 
The main reason the videos of magicians working a bar have a few feet between them and the spectator is because they want the tricks to be seen by more people (and the camera).  Just like if you're doing walk around it's good to step back a couple feet so you can perform for more at a time. Closer can be more deceptive but then you can only work for a couple at a time. 
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alexandercrawford

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Reply with quote  #20 
I'm puzzled how this whole thread has happened with hardly a mention of misdirection. 

The issue of whether sleights are going to be spotted is a matter of angles and misdirection rather than how close you are.
Arguably being very close means the spectator's field of view is restricted giving more opportunities - think of walk around magic or performing at banquet tables, where moves can be done behind spectators backs or chairs while keeping the focus up.
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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #21 
Here is a video of Rudy Tinoco performing stand-up sleight-of-hand card magic for a small group of people who are standing in front of him, beside him and behind him. 



One crucial move is literally done right in the face of one of the audience members, but Rudy's control of attention is so strong that the gentleman in question doesn't see it - it's masterful.
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Rudy Tinoco

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Dawes
Here is a video of Rudy Tinoco performing stand-up sleight-of-hand card magic for a small group of people who are standing in front of him, beside him and behind him. 



One crucial move is literally done right in the face of one of the audience members, but Rudy's control of attention is so strong that the gentleman in question doesn't see it - it's masterful.


Thanks for sharing this, Robin! It's one of my favorite tricks to perform. I'm often amazed at how people are looking right at me when I'm doing that pocket load, but they just don't see it.

Directing the attention of our spectators is a very powerful tool. Trust it and be bold!

Rudy

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alexandercrawford

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Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Dawes
Here is a video of Rudy Tinoco performing stand-up sleight-of-hand card magic for a small group of people who are standing in front of him, beside him and behind him. 

One crucial move is literally done right in the face of one of the audience members, but Rudy's control of attention is so strong that the gentleman in question doesn't see it - it's masterful.


Thanks, Robin - and my point is perfectly demonstrated by Rudy.
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HexTheDoombunny

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Reply with quote  #24 
Yes. Practice. Yes, get your routines down by rote. But... Here's the best advice I can give. You ready? Get caught. The only way you will be able to get past the concerns about being caught is to recognize that you, like everyone on this forum, will get burned and caught, and you can either worry about it and obsess and stop, or treat it as a learning experience and try again.

When I was starting I almost didn't get started. I had no confidence in myself or the material I was using and my anxiety about getting caught was, to quote Mel Brooks, at ludicrous speed.

But then I performed. Didn't get caught. Best feeling ever. So I did ur again, and again, and the anxiety faded.

Then I got caught. And I am actually thankful for it. It showed me two things: one, what routine needed tweaking, and two, how to manage the embarrassment.

Being in the middle of a routine and getting caught is embarrassing, but it's not the end of the world. And you have to learn to recover. No one can teach this; it's something you learn with time.

The other thing that helped me get over my anxiety was a realization that if I am doing a scheduled show for a party or a variety show set, people aren't out to burn me. People who attend, who say yes if asked if they'd like to see a trick, are typically not interested in burning you, they're interested in being entertained. Give them that. Working in a bar I have found if I focus entirely on one person, the person who wants to see the magic, then it goes off without a hitch. From there the magic spreads to those around them.

Also, the longer the routine the better the chances of getting caught. Stick with simple. Two card transposition, card under glass. Scotch and soda. Etcetera. This lets you focus on presentation and allows you to perform and bartend with minimal issues.

So. Keep it simple. Practice. And perform. Perform. Perform.
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Jeremy Salow

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Reply with quote  #25 
I think sometimes as close as possible is better for hiding sleights. Often what's right under their noses is what flies by.
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Tom Kracker

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Reply with quote  #26 
A great example of as-close-as-possible that works great is Crazy Man's Handcuffs.  I usually perform it from normal distance (like arm's length away or more), then I get closer so they can participate and hold one of the bands, then I've even reached my arms around from behind them, so they can see it from my point of view.  They are all focused on the linked area that they will never see what's happening.

Or like some others mention above...  misdirection.  I was doing a workshop in college with some other students, and they had asked "how can I get away with ______?", to which I replied "with some misdirection".  Then at that moment, I pointed to something that was on the table with my right hand (and grabbed something with my left to hold up).  All their eyes followed where I was looking and pointing.  Then they looked up when I did and saw what was in my left hand.

And like Harry said above, if you don't want them to see something (and if you can't do good enough misdirection in that situation) don't do that particular item when people are at certain angles or positions.  Well I added the parenthesis part.

I like close... real close, especially when they think I'm going to do a sleight, but I'm really doing a slightless routine.  I think it does do some good if they are really trying to get in close, because it gets us magicians to think about what the spectators are thinking.  If they are looking somewhere, chances are, they have "a" method in mind.  Might not be the right one, but it's "a" method.  What can we do performance-wise or handling or misdirection-wise to change their focus and destroy their mind when there's no possible explanation in the end.

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