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Topic: Street Escape
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Mar 21, 2003 01:52PM)
Pick one! Make it work. Doing anything on the street takes special skills to build a crowd, hold a crowd, and then encourage the crowd to toss some money in the hat.

Two of the best street performers I have ever seen used an escape.

One was a young guy at Venice Beach California who did a straight jacket escape. He looked like the typical Surfer Kid (thin, clean cut, blond, with great teeth and smile!). He had a quilt on the ground, made a great production of being buckled up and then flopped around and struggled (including making his face turn bright red with effort!) while his girlfriend passed the hat. He kept us enthralled and got a great round of applause when he finally escaped. He wiped down with a towel, took a drink of water, and started all over again. He was a great street showman.

The other guy I saw, performed a 100-foot rope escape. He built the crowd as he was being tied. He continued to build as he struggled to escape. He passed his own hat at the end. His was another great act that played well because of the skill of the performer. His jokes kept us laughing and kept us standing there for the ten minutes it took to tie him up and for the five minutes he took to escape.

There are two ideas being used by actual street performers.
Message: Posted by: Big Jeff (Jun 29, 2003 11:56PM)
Where can I find information about the 100 foot rope escape?
I've been reading posts that mention it.

Message: Posted by: James Peters (Jun 30, 2003 04:05AM)
No need to buy a book for this one ...

1. Get 100' of rope (actually, get 70' - nobody will measure it!)
2. Get tied up (Breathe in!)
3. Escape before your audience get bored!!

Any questions on technique/tricks, feel free to PM me.

Message: Posted by: Scott Xavier (Jun 30, 2003 10:54PM)
QUESTION?: How many people have seen a real S.J.? Let alone an escape? 5000? It amazes everyone and draws a huge crowd!


July 7th

Chris Ivanovich and I have invented an awesome NEW ORIGINAL escape/mentalism/magic routine as a closer for my routine while talking at benagins. Its amazing what you come up with after a hard day of street performing. Now BOOK me, and I'll do it for you! :rotf:
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Jun 27, 2004 08:05PM)
Further info and tips on the challenge rope escape (traditionally 75'):

"The Real Secret and Methods of the 75' of Rope Challenge Escape" (title may not be exact) by Lee Jacobs


"What Lee Jacobs Didn't Tell You about the75' of Rope Challenge Escape" (title may not be exact) by John Novak

Message: Posted by: Michael Lee (Jun 28, 2004 11:08PM)
Hello All

Probably the most famous escape act on the street today is the SJ while chained up. Always seems to generate a great response;

Hope this helps

Michael Lee
Message: Posted by: cupmagic (Oct 1, 2005 08:57AM)
Well guys..

Recently I performed the 100 foot rope challenge escape..

But there is a problem that I encounter..

I would like to clarify this again.

Is it a 100% sure that the audience can tie you up in any manner -(not inclusive of danger parts groins and neck and fingers.)

Audience gets to get borded with the participant trying to tie me up..whats the remedy for this ?

The audience gets tired and shagged. after all the tying..Is this what suppose to be happened ?

Whats the best way to bring the best climax with this effect...
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Oct 1, 2005 11:01AM)
Well friend you have just learned a valuable lesson about many escapes. They can be boring as hell! Watching someone being tied up (chained up or put into a straightjacket) is about as exciting as watching paint dry. Watching them then try to get out is just a little more exciting.

If you cannot keep the audience engaged with a line of banter, quips, witticisms, moans, and groans then you probably should not do rope ties, chain ties, straightjacket escapes or anything that takes longer than a couple of seconds to put on.

Steranko, Lee Jacobs, Mark Tripp, John Novak, Harley Newman, Steve Baker and a host of others have said this again and again in print, on video, and in some cases, here on the Café. But then you have read and watched all of that already, yes?

You noticed that your audience was bored after all the tying and disinterested in your act. Well, friend, what were you saying and doing to keep them interested? Being tied up in 75 to 100 feet of rope (or chain) and getting out is not an act and as you discovered, is not inherently entertaining. Where is the drama, the tension, the pathos, or comedy in what you are doing? What is your script? Where is, what Steve Baker would call, “the snap”?

Go back and reread my first post about two street performing escape artists. They worked hard at keeping the crowd and entertaining them. The escape was only (ONLY) the vehicle for the entertainment. The personality of the performer and his engaging with the audience is what kept us rooted to the spot and rooting for him to succeed.

Do a search for Mark Tripp’s many posts on the art of performing escapes (the focus is on performing and entertaining rather than showing off) and read them closely. They are a primer for entertaining with escapes. Then PM Mr. Baker right here on the Café and ask for some guidance. He has forgotten more about entertaining with escapes than most will ever know. Heck, Baker doesn’t need 100 feet of rope he can (and regularly does) entertain with 10 feet of rope.

OK, so you have the basic skill of getting out of a rope tie. So now learn what to do with it. The more you perform it, the more different audiences you work for, the more you will learn to control those audiences. DON’T GIVE UP! Just start working on the entertainment part of your routine. Ask yourself, “Why would I stand and watch something like this?” Write out your answers and build a script from there.
Message: Posted by: cupmagic (Oct 1, 2005 01:50PM)
Thanks Murphy for the quick and kind reply,

you pointers do make me think of my script and lots of other factors...hmm..entertaining..I will think about it.


There is two more question that I would like to know..Hope to get some advices !!

---Is it a 100% sure that the audience can tie you up in any manner ??-(not inclusive of danger parts groins and neck and fingers.)

----The audience gets tired and shagged. after all the tying..Is this what suppose to be happened ?

Message: Posted by: Tyler_Magician (Oct 1, 2005 02:14PM)

Have you read any books, or seen any videos teaching you the 100ft rope escape? It seem like you are just trying to perform the escape without knowing the secret. The, almost, new DVDs from Dixie Dooley teach you in depth about the 100ft rope escape. He gives you many tips on performing. Just because you think you know how to do it, doesn't mean you can...
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Oct 1, 2005 02:50PM)
Cupmagic I’m not really sure what you are asking when you post: Is it a 100% sure that the audience can tie you up in any manner?? -(Not inclusive of danger parts groins and neck and fingers.)

If you are asking if an audience member (or members) can tie you up any way they want (excluding choke ties) then the answer is YES!

If you are asking if one could still escape if the audience member(s) tied you up in any manner then the answer is YES!!

I strongly recommend that you read the Novak book on the subject and also read the Lee Jacobs books on the subject.

When you post your question: “The audience gets tired and shagged after all the tying. Is this what suppose to be happening?” (OK, so I corrected your English)

In answer I recommend that you go back and reread my previous post about entertainment. If you are entertaining them they are not tired and shagged they are engaged in the process and in the act! I think that you missed the point.
Message: Posted by: Arkadia (Oct 1, 2005 05:19PM)
It is indeed difficult to entertain with an escape. But I have found that gathering the crowd while beeing chained up is pretty easy. If you have a strong character and you pick good audience helpers you have a show worthy of the name. Still you really need to think about jokes to pull of during the escape. Ask yourself; "what situations am I likely to find mysel in?" Think about it and write down jokes that fit that situation. A basic exampel is the crouch strap in the SJ. Another one is if the audience members don't pull hard enough on the chaines or ropes. What do you say...

By constructing a lot of different jokes you show becomes much better. Create as many jokes as you can - you can't have enough of them. Because you will find that you run out of jokes very fast.

Another tip is to write down all the good jokes the audience pulls of during your shows. If you don't write them down you will probably have forgotten all about it at the end of the day. So, have a notebook ready after each show and write one or two sentences.

Message: Posted by: Kondini (Oct 1, 2005 05:53PM)
Very difficult,,,,street escapes.
In the realm of street entertainment a PA is the norm, so ever tried to use a mike while being strapped or chained up !!!!
On one Street Festival DVD there is an artist doing the SJ with a radio headset mike on,,,,,I found this to be absolutely amazing,,,, how the hell he did it was a piece of magic on its own.

Mike tech is proberly the most important thing that an ea has to master but how often will you see this discussed here or anywhere, it makes me wonder if anyone actualy uses a talk over / banter with the crowd type presentation required of a street show or just puts a tape on to give a music backing to the escape (Usually performed as a finish this would make hat lines next to impossible).

My own approach is the same as Johnny Eagle,,,,,,would love to know how others get over this problem???

Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Oct 4, 2005 12:39PM)
When doing escapes on the street I tend to use just the SJ and do it as my finish. I put in the hat lines once I've been strapped in and sent the spec. back in to the crowd. I'll pick one guy out to be the first to rush up and put money in etc. etc.

Sometimes I've had the hat passed before I do the escape, but usually I pass it after. Depends if I have the luxury of having someone else with me, how I feel etc.

Before the escape I'll chuck in some stupid stuff. I like to use my fire skipping rope. It always interests me how many people will just stand and watch a grown man skip just because the ropes on fire. I don't do any skipping tricks, not even the crossed arms thing that 8-year-old girls do in the school yard.

I might do a bit of fire juggling/breathing, if I can be bothered, and then end on to the sj to end.

I've never used music, nor have I ever used a mic.

"What no mic?", I hear you cry. Nope, no mic. I need to get one really, but never got round to it. I don't work huge crowds, maybe 100 people or so, and I've never not made money. The main reason is as Ken mentions above, not really knowing how to fit in the use of a mic in the street.

On stage I use a mic stand and have it moved just before the escape. But I've never done this on the street. How do you others cope? Ken, what would you suggest?
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Oct 4, 2005 02:08PM)
Do all the talking,ditch the mike then escape to backing track (There is a slight dead period on transfer which I don't like)Good if you have someone to operate the PA and remove the mike for you.
There is the exception to this rule in my act,,,,if doing standing SJ,Belt,Chains in fact any restraint which will allow you to talk into a stand mike when restrained, then this is best (As only the restraining process has no talk over)So when ready to make the escape a few words can be used to clarify and build the tension etc,,,,then your backing track goes on and the tussel of escape can be made.
On completion I reverse the proceedure and complete the patter.

On the street its far more complicated and some escapes are not possible to do in a professional way,,,,,,I too have gone voiceless working on the streets,,I don't know the answer to a good fool proof method of street presentation,,,wish I did, but a mike working London / Bath /Newbury etc etc on the streets with traffic noise etc requires me to be heard, if they cant hear me they cant tip me and the man with the mike is always in control.

This is a very important issue and seldom talked about,,,I have seen many escapes on the streets ruined so it looks like we all have this problem.

Any thoughts from those who do this.?????
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Oct 5, 2005 04:57PM)
Thanks Ken, you're right that this is something we as ea's don't talk about and should.

I was thinking that maybe in the street you could grab a member of the crowd and have them hold the mic for you as a kind of human stand. Not sure how well it would work, but I think it may be worth a try.

Something else that may be useful to discuss is the type of mic / pa equipment that is best suited for escape work on the street. What do you guys use?

Also, even before the show begins there's the skill in attracting the crowd in the first place. This is something that I've always loathed doing, although without it you don't have anyone to perform for so is really quite important.

What types of things do you do to get them in? I think one of the best acts I've seen for this is Bristol's own Skate Naked. Ok, I may be a little biased as they're from my home town, but if you get the chance to see them work you really should.

These guys are street stunt men, doing back flips, hand balances, fire breathing and other bits of stupidity in their show. But they are the only act that I've ever seen that have attracted a crowd, not like them and tell them to clear off, only to get in another crowd that was three times as big as the first one!!

They just made lots of noise, shouting and generally making people see them. It helps that they are two grown men that, after they have a crowd, proceed to take all their clothes off except for a thong. I'm sure you'll agree this will get most people noticed!
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Oct 6, 2005 02:37AM)
Fire draws an edge like no other,,,,light a brand up and wave it around and you will get a crowd right off.

On the Sidewalk Shuffle section here its been covered in depth,,,,but mike tech for the ea not a thing!
Message: Posted by: Scott Xavier (Oct 6, 2005 07:13PM)
When performing on the street:

Watch your money.
Be prepared to run after some one.
Keep it simple!
Message: Posted by: Starry (Oct 19, 2005 01:01PM)
On 2005-10-04 15:08, Kondini wrote:
... if they cant hear me they cant tip me and the man with the mike is always in control.

This is a very important issue and seldom talked about,,,I have seen many escapes on the streets ruined so it looks like we all have this problem.

Any thoughts from those who do this.?????

I did my strait jacket escape on the street and my comedic lines in the act completely sold the show. The real secret was being heard. When I started street performing, I chose to use my voice because I had years of training in theater. Voice training will give you an edge that other performers don't have. Wearing a microphone is very difficult, to say the least, on the street and the requirements for good sound is an absolute must.

Also, to maximize sound, one must first learn how to discover the good performance areas. If you are standing next to a busy street, learn to find the alcove that projects your voice. Also, you have to learn not to yell, but to "call" from the diaphragm. This will make your voice last for 8 to 10 shows. Myself, I can only do 8 shows before my voice is toast. I have a bunch of suggestions on my street magic page: http://www.starry.com/magic/street.htm

Ace Starry
Message: Posted by: KerryJK (Oct 19, 2005 05:29PM)
I have a wireless headset mike which I use onstage when I need it; with it on I can fall about, turn around, even do rolls and cartwheels and still be able to communicate. The only problem I have found with it is that the signal sometimes becomes unreliable if it has to make it through the canvas of a straightjacket, so for that escape (which, incidentally, I perform whilst singing) I revert to using a mike on a stand, seeing as it's a face the front stand up escape anyway.
Depending on my costume I have to put some effort in figuring out how best to place and secure the transmitter unit (much easier if you have pockets), but it's certainly a lot less hassle than a long snaking mike lead and those horrible chunky tie clip mike holders that some magicians seem so wedded to.

For smaller spaces and street work, though, I ditch the mike and rely on the fact that I am, put simply, a loud bugger. I'm a singing teacher as my day job so I happen to know anyway how the voice works and how to project it but to be honest, even with amplification any performer who doesn't give at least some attention to being able to project their voice is leaving themselves way behind the eight ball.
Amplification is a tool, not an excuse, and if the basic power and personality isn't there the best PA system money can buy won't supply it. I've busked in the past simply to practice vocal projection, it's an environment where you're forced to be loud and clear.

So do some sort of voice training too; either get some acting training, learn to sing, read up on theory, but most of all put yourself in positions where you have to learn to be loud, amplification or none.

If there's any interest, I could post up a few specific pointers as an introduction, though that would probably call for a seperate thread, probably in a different section of the Café.
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Oct 20, 2005 11:45AM)
Hi Helen,

I think it'd be great if you could post any info on voice projection etc. Also, do you know of any books that teach the theory of how to do this?

I too am a "loud bugger", but find that after one show my voice begins to die and takes a couple of days to come back.

If you could post it here that'd be grand, since it would be about voice projection for the ea I wouldn't have thought the management would have a problem with it.

Thanks again,

Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Oct 20, 2005 11:50AM)
Oh, I forgot to add my thanks to Ace for posting his thoughts on street performing and if you are new to it I would definately suggest heading over to his website. Loads of great info over there.

Cheers Ace.
Message: Posted by: KerryJK (Oct 20, 2005 03:01PM)
I'll get on it; thinking about it, it'll probably be a short series of articles. Even at a basic introductory level, it would take an individual article just to discuss breathing (the first thing I teach everyone).

As for books, try "The Actor Speaks: Voice and the Performer" by Patsy Rodeburg ( http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0413700305/ref=pd_sim_b_dp_2/026-0353453-0122009

Also look up anything you can find on the research and method of Jo Estill and the Voicecraft technique it inspired; it has caused something of a revolution in the field in recent decades and is an enormous influence on what I do.
Message: Posted by: KerryJK (Oct 20, 2005 04:39PM)
'tis done; the first article is up in the "Food For Thought" section now;


I'll add more later.
Message: Posted by: glatner (Oct 21, 2005 04:19PM)
For theissue of boredom, I find using something like thumb cuffs, handcuffs, or any other "quick" restraint can be a remedy. Also, when doing a chain/rope escape, how does one ensure that you are tied up hard enough to be impressive, I've been tied up before, and the people have done such a horrible job that it fell off before they even finished, it was really embarassing, any advice?
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Oct 21, 2005 09:31PM)
Best Advice might be to Ham it up a Bit. or encourage the people on as they are tying you up.
Message: Posted by: KerryJK (Oct 22, 2005 06:34PM)
Just to say I've posted up the second and third parts on my series on basic voice projection; you can find them on the links below;

Part 2: Confidence And Nerves


Part 3: General Tips


So it's all up there; hope it's useful!
Message: Posted by: Roslyn (Oct 23, 2005 03:00AM)
Cheers Helen,

I'll be sitting down to read it all later.


As for the rope/chain problem I let them finish, then just allow it to fall off saying: "This is cr4p! You took all that time and produce this?!?! My nan could get out of this."

Then get a small girl to come out with them and help them to tie me up better. This is really funny if the perso who tied you up initially is a big guy.