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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Busiest weekend of the year Part II

Wow, what a day. From Ellicott City, MD to Media Pa to Crownsville, MD. From Professor Snape at a Hogwart's theme birthday party to having fun at a 13 year old young man's party in a gorgeous house seriously done up for the occasion.
Both were great parties with parents going all out for their children. Everyone was nice as could be and a good time for all.

The Harry Potter theme party was amazing. The house was done up like the great hall and the outside was done as Hogsmeade. I tested the students as Professor Snape. Am sure you can guess the results. The transformation from paper to fire certainly shocked the student.

Might not have handled the second party as well as I could but they had inquisitive minds and lots to say so I tried to work with them. Given the choice between stopping the show and demanding quiet or going on and taking their inquisitive nature into account and working with it I choose the latter. All in all they were a cool bunch of kids and the parents were great. Had to adjust the show as I went along but it worked out. Always amazes me how well the linking rings go over everywhere. Everyone loves the fire bits, I think the fire bits are cheap theatrics but they work.

Again the original pieces are the stars of the show, I have to find the muse for more

Denny Haney has it so right in his lecture notes. It really is about getting the audience to like you, then presentation and it's got to be tight and it's got to be fun.

If I can reach someone's mind and make them think and or feel, then I've achieved art

It was a challenging weekend but I think we did ok

Going on with the show

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Busiest weekend of the year

For me Halloween will be the busiest weekend of the year. Have done more shows in a weekend but never through 3 different states and the District of Columbia

Friday October 31, Halloween work started at 3:00pm with a 45 minute show for a senior assisted living facility in Virginia. When the show starts with asking a resident (who seemed fairly alert and I had seen playing cards earlier) to name a card and after some thought she says "4th of July" you hope it's not a harbinger of things to come.
Fortunately it wasn't and the set went well (except for the facility dog eating my chocolate covered cherries but in trade for the pumpkin pie and apple cider I came out ahead). Again my original pieces were the best received of the set which tells me I'm on the right track.
One women was such a sweetheart, as I was packing to load out she came up and spoke with me thinking she had seen me before. Her smile and asking to give me a hug made the day. Sometimes it really is the small things.

Even with a 2.5 hour drive home through some of the nations worst gridlock

Tonight I was the featured performer at 12:15 am for the Alliance Française party at the Napoleon Bistro and Lounge. Incredibly crowded all through Georgetown (DC), had to create a parking spot (I am a magician after all). Got there with 15 minutes to set up, club staff saw me at the door and took me right in (in front of about 25 people who were waiting to get in) .
Imagine trying to do a 15 minute set in a crowded dance club!!?? Have worked for Alliance Française before so I had worked up something special for them but wasn't expecting the conditions. The show MUST go on. With an elbow to elbow crowd I was beyond nervous, the skull I was going to float broke from it's anchor. Had a flat response to the head growing disc but patrons love fire.

For the scariest thing I could think of I did a piece about ..... Corporate America ah ha ha ha
It's the Box from David London (which is going over well) . Had a few challenges but with a lot of fire work in a small place the set went on.

Really like the Alliance Française parties and the people but hopefully if I work for them again it will be more like the party from October 3rd. If I knew what the working conditions were going to be tonight I would have prepared a different set. Had an avant garde, performance art set ready but you work with the circumstances.

Got stopped as I rolled my table down the street (why carry if you can roll) by a group sitting outside to smoke at another club, they recognized me as a magician and asked me to do something for them. What else could I do, I start pulling lights out of the air and passersby.

The 2 shows could not have been more different or more challenging in their own ways, really measures and shapes who you are as a performer. Glad to have these opportunities, to grow and gain unusual experiences.

Later today (it's 2:28AM) Professor Snape in a very special recreation of Hogwarts in Media PA and then onto Crownsville, MD to be the surprise entertainment at a upscale birthday party

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Magicial ranting and ravings

From The Actor Magician Essays
By Louis C. Haley
Extracted from his book "The Dramatic Art of Magic"

" ......People now-a-days are beginning to look upon the Magician as one who can especially amuse the children. In times past whole cities used to get wrought up to a high pitch of excitement over things that do not approach in real mystery the things that are done today. I think one reason for this attitude on the part of the public is the fact that the Magician has lost the dignity of his calling and is in imminent danger of seeing his self-respect going with it."

Written over 100 years ago and true today

It saddens me greatly to see magic considered by some as amusement for children, it grieves me worse to see heinous performers foisted upon children.
Perverse and or pretentious performers who denigrate themselves in their base attempts to pander to the lowest common denominator at what they misguidedly consider entertainment. Completed by their strange and improper looking props. Why must everything have some strange pseudo Asian writing on a painful color scheme?

Are such want to be performers too unintelligent to know any different?

I could post hundreds of thousands of pictures and websites to support my statements.

We could have enlightenment in entertainment, but instead it's a weekend clown in a $5 cape and discount wand calling it a Harry Potter show.

Can Darwinism please happen quicker in the world of magic?

Obviously you don't have to play down to anyone, especially children. Acts such as tearing apart toilet paper and offering it up to be placed in the mouth to produce a mouth coil (oh wait, I saw that in a show for adults, not kidding). All performances, children included can be presented in an intelligent, elegant and incredibly entertaining fashion.

Why are we accepting the bar being lowered in performances for children when we should be raising it to stimulate their fertile imaginations?
Why do we accept performers insulting their intelligence?

Of course there are outstanding performers who specialize in working for children. However I'd wager all of you reading this know of more heinous performers thinking they are geared to children than quality acts.

There is and always will be a place, need and market for comedy magic, but all too few quality comedic performers.

Sounding Off from the Soapbox of the Society for Quality Entertainment

Sunday, October 12, 2008

David London Lecture

Saw David London's lecture least night.
I'm totally blown away, incredibly creative, totally illogical while being perfectly thought out down to the smallest detail.
Picked up the workings for a new piece that I think will be an outstanding addition to my show.
If you have an opportunity to see David London don't pass it up
4 out of 4 stars!!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The tale of 2 different magic shows

What an outstanding weekend, 2 great shows that were as different as could possibly be.

Friday night at Hillwood Museum (absolutely beautiful facility), a show for Alliance Francaise Soirée Carte Blanche: electronic happy hour with an artistic twist. Upscale, very cool, great party concept, the hosts were incredibly gracious. Interesting crowd, good mix.
Did a short set featuring "Seduction of the Senses", "Sorcerer's Apprentice", my homage to Dia Vernon "Symphony of the Rings", multiplying bottles and a closer. Had a challenge with cueing the music at the right time but oh well. Loved the people, the place and while I see the problems overall it was a decent set.
Best part is the Alliance Francaise has invited me back for their Halloween Party at Bistro Napoleon for a midnight show. Going to put something special together. Very much looking forward to working with Alliance Francaise, in particularly Anna & Sylvain.

Saturday night was 180 degrees a different world. a 50th birthday party at a V.F.W. English Consul hall. Some old friends and people I worked with in the past. About a 40 minute set, got to stretch out a little while performing. More music problems, went to start Sorcerer's Apprentice and my CD player had been moved by the DJ, it's a good piece but it needs the music to be fully effective. Melissa did an outstanding job of getting me there and birthday girl Cheryl couldn't have been more happy. Great to get to spend a little time with them and see a very dear long time friend and other familiar faces.

The 2 shows couldn't have been more different and both were great in their own ways. Really like the crowd at both and who could ask for more than 2 decent sets that well fairly received. Yes I had problems in both sets but that's the advantage to experience. I might be the only one who saw all the problems.

Next up, Halloween Weekend - 4 shows in 3 states & DC in 2 days.
Am I crazy or in love with the business and want audiences to see what good magic can be?

stay tuned