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Topic: Performing in night clubs/Bars
Message: Posted by: Jaxon (Sep 27, 2007 04:06PM)
I just want to share this bit of advice that I had to learn the hard way.

A night club or bar is a place we can always find people to perform for. Not only on a professional status (as in being hired to perform there) but also as a place to practice or just perform magic as we socialize with people.

I'm sure you could see this coming. I'm about to talk about the dangers of alcohol on these venues. I've touched on this topic before in a post about the dangers of actually becoming an alcoholic from doing this. But I'm not just talking about that here.

There has actually been studies on how Alcohol effects people in social environments and while doing various activities. For example I saw one study where they took a guy and asked him to play pool (billiards). They recorded the average time it took for him to make all 15 balls in the pockets one at a time. Then after they drank a couple of beers they timed him again and guess what. He was able to run the table a little faster. This is because the alcohol was just enough to calm his nerves so he was more relaxed. But after drinking a couple more beers of course he got worse and worse.

Some people actually call alcohol "Liquid courage". This is actually true in most cases but here's the problem. You can't make the alcohol effect only the part of your brain that effects courage. While it might make you a little more relaxed it's also effect your brains reaction time, memory, motor skills and cognitive ability. These are key skills we need to perform magic. Simply put, diminishing these things diminish your ability to perform magic.

So it's best to learn how to deal with anxiety without the use of alcohol. I'm not saying to not drink at all. That's your decision. But don't kid yourself into thinking that you perform better with it. Just because you feel a little less anxiety when you perform doesn't mean you performed better. It just means it was a little less stressful to you.

If anything use your love of magic to teach you to have control. Think to yourself that if you want to be a good magician you'll need your wits and alcohol can effect your wits.

Just something to think about when you are in the partying mood. You can have fun at a club and perform without drinking as much as everyone else. In fact it'll give you an advantage if you're mind is working better then everyone Else's.

Ron Jaxon
Message: Posted by: JamesTong (Sep 27, 2007 05:15PM)
I agree with Ron fully. Now I don't even drink a drop of alcohol when I am in those clubs. And I find myself in a position where I am always in the upper hand - unfair advantage to those intoxicated with alcohol. I can anticipate the audience behavior better. That's because my mind is not clouded.
Message: Posted by: The Amazing Noobini (Sep 27, 2007 05:38PM)
I hardly ever drink and people always tell me that I should drink more because I am extremely nervous. Too nervous to successfully perform magic at all. Really... I always hear that I should start drinking. That is our heard mentality culture for you. Alcohol is a good thing because it is fun and bubbly and it makes you loud and obnoxious, which translates into "cool" from a pack animal point of view. The alpha male jumps onto a table and beats his chest. Evolution's eternal winner. If the same crowd met someone who got that same way from pills, they would be shocked and disgusted by his behavior. Even if a doctor prescribed them.

The ability to concentrate/focus on small details is among the first things to go when you drink. And the ability to see clearly. After one or two drinks you will see someone at the party struggling to read the small print on the back of a CD or take longer to send that text message. No... If I wanted to calm my nerves to do better magic, I certainly wouldn't do it with alcohol. It's not the right drug. Come to think of it, I don't know what would be.

I can't really imagine that people who perform regularly in bars would drink much on the job themselves just because they were nervous and inside a bar. Maybe people who do mostly party tricks involving shot glasses and whatnot. But I think, and I don't mean this as criticism towards you, that a tipsy bar magician or bartender for that matter is unprofessional.

There is no more reason for a bar magician to drink than there is for a DJ in a strip club to start taking his clothes off. OK, that was a corny example. Sorry. But you know what I mean. You are not there as a guest. Never erase the line between you and them or you will eventually "go native" and we will have to send martin Sheen up the river to get you.

I have never actually tried to drink and perform magic myself but I know at least that I will quickly lose the ability to for instance play guitar when drinking, long before I feel what can be described as being drunk. The ability just goes away almost at the starting line.

Still people are different. A good friend of mine has stuffed himself with drugs every day since the late '80s and gone on to be a successful computer programmer. The man is equally brilliant as ever, but more focused than before he took that up. He really makes the rest of us who listened to all the warnings feel stupid. Happy, healthy, brilliant and rich for 20 years. And he's not even loud or obnoxious. Just wired differently than the rest of us.

Me, I will wait until science does something useful and comes up with better drugs. Something that calms the nerves with no side effects or addiction whatsoever. Until then I recommend a shower, a clean set of clothes that you feel cool in. Right down to the underwear even though nobody will see it. Well... not unless it's a very successful night.
Message: Posted by: CasualSoul (Sep 27, 2007 08:16PM)
Well I personally like to drink, quite often in fact, but I totally agree with Jaxon that it impairs one's ability to perform magic well. I always do my magic at the beginning of the evening, before I'm too hammered. :lol:
Message: Posted by: Jerrine (Sep 28, 2007 09:35AM)
Drunk Magician is more daring and "out there" but not necessarily more entertaining.
Drunk Magician flashes and fumbles, stumbles on patter, and is even more arrogant.
Drunk Magician has no idea when to stop, just stop.
Drunk Magician is not my favorite entertainer.
Message: Posted by: Nedim (Sep 29, 2007 03:12AM)

I think you don't have to drink. You must learn how to be calm without drinking. Its not a help for you.

magicially yours,

Nedim Guzel
Message: Posted by: gaddy (Sep 29, 2007 01:46PM)
As A bartender/magician I can speak with some authority here...

Fooling drunks is easy. Controlling them is another matter altogether. Like children, they can be your best audience ever or your worst nightmare.

Drinking before performing magic is a basic recipe for failure.

a telling irony is how many pro magicians in the past (and present) have succumb to alcoholism.