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Mind Phantom

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Reply with quote  #1 
Well last night I had a spectator who was drinking and he couldn't remember the name of his selected card. I am thinking that mentalism isn't for people who drink i.e mentalism or doing walk-around close-up magic. Also, last night a spectator grabbed my Zenner cards out of my hands ( he didn't see the double card lol ) yup, he was drinking too.

What is your approach to doing corporate parties for people who have had too much to drink ? What kind of effects do you do ? I didn't have an ID with me when the spectator forgot the name of his card, that won't happen again.

What would you do ?


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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #2 
People who don't drink forget their cards. Or miscall it. Ex: Four of Spades when they picked the Four of Clubs. 
I always have people sign their card. If you don't want to do that, make sure more than one person sees the card. 

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Axel

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Reply with quote  #3 
Signing the card in a magic surrounding is a good strategy or to let them show the card to at least another member of the audience...but in a mentalism show I find signing a card most of the time misplaced. There is a great close-up book from Doc Dixon, Everything Is Funnier With Monkeys, and there is an article from an experienced showman about your choice of material...and the criteria is "Can You Do It For Drunk?"....I hate to think that way because there are so many beautiful routines you could do; I am no professional magician...but if I would be I┬┤ll think on a regular working basis this criteria is worth of thinking about it because in normal life you are hired for doing magic for people who celebrate something...and ..yes they are drinking.
Another thing is that the one grabbed you Zener-Cards, I think this is a status thing and how you present your show-character. Richard Osterlind has some perhaps helpful thoughts in his "The Professional Mentalist┬┤s ...Guide"-both volumes.

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Waterman

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Reply with quote  #4 
Regardless of your show character...an obnoxious drunk will always be an obnoxious drunk. Think of a police officer. Their "show character" needs no introduction , or defined role as far as the job we expect them to do. Still, despite years of training and on the job experience, they too will be treated by some intoxicated people in rude and disrespectful manners.

I can remember many situations working venues where some of the guests were obviously under the influence. The learning curve in dealing with these type of spectators takes much more than reading a book or getting advice on magicians forums. The ONLY way is to experience these moments and to learn from them.

Performance magic, especially close-up, is more often than not defined by some type of strolling based gig. Unfortunately not every guest is interested in seeing a card trick, or having the social graces to control themselves in a respectful manner when too much alcohol enters the equation. When sober, a simple no thank you is sufficient to allow the strolling magician to take his sponge balls to the next group of guests...no harm, no foul. However, the inebriated guest sees a perfect opportunity to make him or herself the center of attention and attempt to befuddle the entertainer ranging from grabbing their staked deck of cards to grabbing their privates (the latter actually happened to me at a gig many years ago).

It's usually a rare event where I need my go to strategies, or come up with new ones, when dealing with disrespectful spectators (alcohol need not be flowing through ones bloodstream to make them an a**hole). 25 years ago my concerns driving to a gig were remembering my routines and hoping I didn't mess up a trick, nowadays it's anticipating the crowd and preparing for those specs who may just want to be part of the show in a non-productive manner!
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Tom G

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Reply with quote  #5 
While the title of the thread is Mentalism and Drinking, I think any kind of performer would have horror stories involving drunks.
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #6 
And just because they're not falling down sloppy drunk, doesn't mean that they aren't impaired enough to cause you problems. 
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Paul Hallas

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Reply with quote  #7 
Needless to say, being a mentalist, you should have seen it coming......[smile]

I remember telling agents and event planners in the U.K. NOT to book me to do strolling mentalism at banquets etc. Usually such events in the U.K. are very  boozy affairs. I'd do strolling close up magic still, and have dealt with enough drunks in my time but the atmosphere for me was not really fitting for mentalism. Even Derren Brown admitted to hating the strolling banquet performances in his first book and was glad to be able to get away from them. 

The more you do these things the more you are able to weigh people up. I would also recommend a little booklet called "Out Precautions and Challenges" by Hopkins for when people forget/misname cards etc. Certainly the magician has more leeway than the mentalist for outs etc.


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sjrwheeler

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Reply with quote  #8 

For me "Can I do it for drunk spectators?" is less of a problem than "Can I do it when I'm drunk?!" Haha! 

But seriously, I'm not a professional performer, I perform casually for friends and people I meet, but usually only when someone asks to see something. And generally that means I'm only performing in social situations, often that means I'm performing in the pub. 

I've had a few situations where people were too drunk to follow my instructions. 
I've also had a few (embarrassing) situations where I was too drunk to perform, and nothing went well!

That said, I usually quite enjoy performing for people who have been drinking. I've never performed for a troublesome drunk, and I've always found drunk people get really into it and are quite enthusiastic. 

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Paul Hallas

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjrwheeler

 I've always found drunk people get really into it and are quite enthusiastic. 



You have a lot to learn.
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sjrwheeler

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Hallas


You have a lot to learn.


I'm in the fortunate position of only performing when I want to. Nobody is paying me to be there.
So I guess whenever I've found myself with a drunk idiot I've never thought "I know, let's do a card trick!"

Mostly the people I spend time with are quite friendly and upbeat even when drunk. So I guess my perceptions of performing for drunk people is quite biased by my filtered experiences.
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Stevie Ray

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Reply with quote  #11 
Short of carrying a breathalyzer with me, I've had to rely on my better judgement when engaging spectators.

In restaurant work, I've found that large parties arriving from the bar to the dinning room are gold. These folks are usually in a celebratory mood, warmed up, juiced and already laughing. I don't perform pure mentalism--and I can certainly see where the traditional instructions and interrogations could go horribly wrong with drunkards. I do hit them with fast visual effects and plenty of engagement. My goal is to get the table roaring with laughter. If a spectator is slow of the uptake or bordering on belligerent, I take their drink away and motion toward the bar that they've been cut off. This usually gets a huge laugh from their tipsy friends. After five minutes with a big, boisterous group, it seems everyone in the dinning room wants to see the magician. No marquee or table tents required, just a long table full of semi-buzzed celebrants is all the advertising I need.

I have seen magicians work a small group with grabby or loquacious sots. It can be awkward, particularly if the drunk is more entertaining than the performer. If a marinated patron is sloppy, interruptive, hands-y, sad, angry or one shot away from a blackout. Finish and move on to the next group.

I do not do children's parties... not that I don't get asked. The problem is, when I agree to take the gig on the condition that the kids first be served alcohol, the client withdraws the offer.
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #12 
Drunks CAN be fun though.
I'm sure I posted this before someone on this forum but here it goes again.

When my best friend Tommy and I were in the Navy we spent a lot of time drinking in the base bowling alley. One night before closing our friend Bruce wanted to see some magic. So I think I showed him Color Monte. Then Tommy says, "I can do magic too. Look, an empty pack of cigarettes." He showed Bruce an empty pack of cigarettes, closed it and waved his hands over it. He then opened it saying, "And now it's full." Bruce's jaw dropped farther than when he saw the $14 in Color Monte.
SECRET: Bruce was hammered!!!! Tommy showed him a full pack of cigarettes both times.
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