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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Finger/stage manipulation » » Club acts... what are they? (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Magicjg
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So... I've come across a bit of literature here and there about acts that performed in Playboy Clubs and other similar venues. Are there any particular books you can suggest that deal with club acts? I'm currently reading Starlight by Benson and know there is a bit of info in The Wakeling book... can you suggest any others? Also... what is the difference between a club act and parlor show (is there even one)?
Bill Hegbli
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Magicjg, club acts are just that, years ago, as you mention, the Playboy Clubs is an example. There was a stage, announcer, a live band, no recorders back then. Acts were usually 20 minutes in length. Examples are in the old Ed Sullivan show on television, only shorter for television. Take a look at Fred Kaps act and most of the famous magicians on YouTube. Those are examples of Club acts. The audiences were setting at tables with their guests. Not in auditorium seats. The ate, drank, and enjoyed entertainment. Some had dance floors as well.

Parlor or Parlour shows are shows given in peoples homes, Now the Parlour is called the Family Room, only larger. Back in the old days, houses had, Living Room, Parlour, Dinning Room, Kitchen, Bedrooms, Smoking Rooms, Library Rooms, Sitting Rooms. They done away with all that as today we are a causal society. Not manners, dress like poor people, considered slobs.

A Parlour act can be 20 minutes to an hour. It is magic show in a small room, back then it was stand up magic, about the same as you present on stage, as the audience was several feet away from the performing area. Many Parlours has small elevated areas, that could be used for a stage.

Today, England now calls there close-up shows in homes, Parlour shows. The magician brings his own tables or portable bar setting, and preforms an hours show of close-up magic, some even bring bar stools for the audience to sit on.

Way, way, back in olden days, Parlour shows were given my magicians inventors, to their guests, it then developed in todays birthday party shows for kids.

There are not many places to perform Club shows, even Vegas done away with short acts that filled the time to reset the main attraction show.

Paris France is the only place I know that still uses club acts, one bar where Tom Mullica and Norm Nielsen worked for years, it is a topless waitress club. Can't remember the name, but a copy of it is or was in Vegas.

Club acts were booked by Entertainment Agents, even they are gone these days, there might be a couple, but they stay silent, they find you, you don't find them. Many magicians now work for Speakers Bureaus, even though they don't give lecturers.

Hope this gives you some idea of the differences.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
Anatole
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I feel that a club act refers to any act--magic, music, comedy--where the draw of the venue is a combination of food, drink, entertainment, and social interaction. Resort areas are places where a club act might appear--and I don't mean just places like Vegas and Atlantic City. In the summer, many smaller beach tourist areas offer live variety shows. I saw Martin Lewis at a comedy club in Virginia Beach.

Here's a repost of Joseph DePaul's promo video from when he was working gigs in the Virginia Beach area:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lX6Z2gCOF_k

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
----- Sonny Narvaez
Dick Oslund
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Bill did a great explanation of the "history" of club dates. I would like to add one more .

Companies, lodges (Masonic, Knights of Columbus, etc. service clubs (Lions, Kiwanis, Rotary, etc) Athletic groups, have awards banquets, etc. all have banquets, etc. They book entertainers, too. These are commonly called, "club dates".
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Anatole
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I got a lot of great experience when I was a teenager starting out in the 60's by performing for military groups like the U.S.O. and the Navy YMCA in Virginia. There was always an elevated stage and at least a backdrop curtain and backstage area behind it. The servicemen were always appreciative.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
----- Sonny Narvaez
FrankFindley
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Quote:
On Apr 25, 2018, Bill Hegbli wrote:
There are not many places to perform Club shows, even Vegas done away with short acts that filled the time to reset the main attraction show.

Paris France is the only place I know that still uses club acts, one bar where Tom Mullica and Norm Nielsen worked for years, it is a topless waitress club. Can't remember the name, but a copy of it is or was in Vegas.


The Chicago Magic Lounge has separate areas for club, parlor, and bar magic. Guests are also treated to tablehopping. It is a must visit destination for magicians travelling to the windy city. So much living history.

https://www.chicagomagiclounge.com
Dick Oslund
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IIRC, Chicago is the "birth place" of "bar tender magic". There was a magic bar, about half a block from Magic Inc. on Lincoln Avenue. I've only been in the Windy City, once in the past 10 years, for a lecture and book signing at Inc. I think that that bar no longer existed!

The Lounge sounds like, "where it's at" these days. Next time I'm down there, I'll try to stop and see. Thanks, Frank!
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Bill Hegbli
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What happened, Magicjg disappeared, guess he was not interested to stick around. What a waste of my time. I guess I will never learn.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
Riley
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Bill, your posts are never a waste of time.
Dick Oslund
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On May 2, 2018, Riley wrote:
Bill, your posts are never a waste of time.


I certainly agree! Occasionally, Bill and I have minor differences of OPINION, BUT, I've learned to listen to the opinions of others--especially if those others have been "around" for "awhile"! (It's really AMAZING, how much we can learn by hearing of others' experiences!)
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Stanyon
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Dick,

Were you thinking of "The New York Lounge"? Just down the street from the old Magic, Inc. and home base for Heba Haba Al.
Stanyon

aka Steve Taylor

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"If you've enjoyed my performance half as much as I've enjoyed performing for you, then you've enjoyed it twice as much as me!"
Dick Oslund
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Yes! Thank you Steve!

My dusty old memory bank, was "stuck". Jay introduced me to Al, many years ago. I always enjoyed watching him work. I got a "kick" out of the NEW YORK LOUNGE in CHICAGO!!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
paulalpha
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Quote:
On May 1, 2018, Bill Hegbli wrote:
What happened, Magicjg disappeared, guess he was not interested to stick around. What a waste of my time. I guess I will never learn.


The OP is never the only one reading these posts. I thoroughly enjoy your posts as do many others here.

And I know why you cant recall the name of the topless bar in France. When you were there you had other things on your mind. ;>)
RVH Magic
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Quote:

Paris France is the only place I know that still uses club acts, one bar where Tom Mullica and Norm Nielsen worked for years, it is a topless waitress club. Can't remember the name, but a copy of it is or was in Vegas.



You are refering to the 'The Crazy Horse' and it doesn't feature topless waitresses but beautiful nude dancers that are covered by light projections making the show very sensual & artistic.

Also several of the other cabarets in Paris and in France but also in other countries like Spain feature visual acts.
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