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Topic: Busking with Kids?
Message: Posted by: Jay Jennings (Jul 25, 2008 07:48PM)
(I used the search feature here but couldn't find what I'm looking for -- if I missed it, please point me to the right topic.)

My kids , ages 12 and 14, juggle, ride unicycles, and my son is into magic - they want to do street shows with me (and I want that, too).

We homeschool the kids so we don't have time of day restrictions or anything like that.

Is there anyone here who does busking with their kids? Or knows someone who does? Other than the common sense "keep an eye on them" are there things I'm going to want to watch out for that might not be immediately apparent?

I think having a family performing will be a "gimmick" that could really work to our advantage, but I'm just guessing since we haven't hit the streets yet.

Kids and busking -- comments?

Jay Jennings
Message: Posted by: manal (Jul 26, 2008 12:36AM)
Look out for yo-yo's who may cry unlawfull child labor.
Message: Posted by: Christopher Lyle (Jul 26, 2008 01:02AM)
I would also "guess" about someone wondering WHY the kids aren't in school if you guys are planning on busking during the day when normal school hours are in. If you're approached by a Truent Officer, be preapred to show documents that they're home schooled b/c just telling them that won't make a hill of beans without proof.
Message: Posted by: Paddy (Jul 26, 2008 01:50AM)
Jay, gald to see you in this forum. You will get answers here.
Message: Posted by: Jay Jennings (Jul 26, 2008 02:25PM)
We're going to keep our Alaska residency (never staying in any state more than 60 days, keeping vehicle registered in AK, permanent mailing address in AK, etc.) which means we should only have to comply with AK requirements for homeschooling -- which is nil. Well, you have to educate your kids, but there's ZERO paperwork and you don't even have to tell anyone you're doing it.

But you're right, in other places a lack of "documentation" might be tough. I think I'll see if I can't come up with something that might satisfy a busybody.

As far as "unlawful child labor" goes, not sure how to combat that, but I know kids can work in a family business, so I'll read up on how that works in different places.

Thanks for the tips.

Anbody else have anything to add?

Jay Jennings
Message: Posted by: T. Sebastian (Jul 26, 2008 10:48PM)
I just think it's really cool.
Good luck and have fun.
Message: Posted by: Al Kazam the Magic Man (Jul 27, 2008 04:49AM)
I think it's great as well. I lived overseas for a long time and my wife and I home schooled our 5 kids. We did a lot of public performing as well. Living in Asia was quite easy in a lot of ways as people there wouldn't ask you about the kids too much. In the so called modern countries like Australia and the US, I'm sure there are the do gooders who can't help themselves and butt their noses in.

In the city where I live in Australia (Perth, Western Australia) the city laws state that kids under 14 must have their parents with them if they busk in the city limits. I think people really like seeing families performing together.

All the best,

Message: Posted by: MagiCol (Jul 27, 2008 06:21AM)
Your kids could well be the inspiration for other youngsters to get learning such skills. Here in Northland, New Zealand, there are a number of Community Circus groups teaching children, disability folk, and some adults, like myself [65 years age]. http://www.circuskumarani.co.nz/ I joined this circus to gain showmanship skills for magic presentation, and that has helped me get on to busking. I "ran away and joined a circus" when I was old - your children will be starting out young :) If you have a spare pair of flower sticks, juggling balls, or similar your children could be introducing children they meet to basic performing skills.
Message: Posted by: MagiCol (Jul 27, 2008 06:33AM)
O.k. I thought of Shamus and his son of about 13 years age based here in NZ. See their 2008 performance listed in http://www.royaleastershow.co.nz/shows.php
where you scroll down about 1 1/2 screens to "The Most Dangerous Stage Act in NZ
A hard 'n' fast stunt danger show featuring NZ's youngest professional extreme juggler and danger entertainer Shamus. This is the only place in the world where you can see the world famous juggling/balance act performed on four skateboards. Other danger highlights include sword swallowing, playing with fire and broken glass. They are also the only father and son stage show in the Southern hemisphere." Maybe you can be the only father and TWO children stage show in the Northern Hemisphere. [doubt it] But...we're talking about busking in this thread - a street show is putting yourself out where the public is.
Message: Posted by: gallagher (Jul 27, 2008 07:42AM)
Hi Jay,
just read your post. Hmm,... I/ we travel with our children (3), but we don´t `busk´ our children. Like you said, it would be a "good gimmick",.. but I think it´s more important to be a `good parent´.

I´ve met lots of kids who juggle, magic, ride unicycle; all very happily. But `busking´ with it is something different. Kids should be allowed to be kids. Develope themselves, try this, that, and the other. Not be committed to something, as a gimmick to make more money. ,... gosh, what kind of values are we showing here?!?

Message: Posted by: Jay Jennings (Jul 27, 2008 01:51PM)
Gallagher --

If my kids didn't want to perform I (probably) wouldn't force them to -- but they both love the idea and both have been with me on stage for the odd party here and there.

I intend to build my show with "replaceable parts" which includes either or both kids. Which means if they are having a "bad day" of some sort, I can drop them from the act and plug in something else. If I'm performing I feel an obligation to the audience to give them a good show, and that doesn't include watching kids with an attitude problem. The audience can probably get that at home.

I also think teaching children responsibility and skills that will serve them later in life IS being a good parent. I'm sorry if I gave you the idea I was going to shove them in front of people and force them to do somersaults -- just because I can recognize what looks like a good "gimmick" doesn't mean that's the reason I'm using said gimmick.

Jay Jennings
Message: Posted by: T. Sebastian (Jul 27, 2008 02:42PM)
I believe that showing children the value of hard work is good parenting.
I also believe that giving your children a tool they can use to make money is great.
My biggest concern as parent is that I will only teach them how to make the same mistakes that I have made.
How do you teach a child to get ahead in a dog-eat-dog world?(
How do you teach children to be kind and respectful when it seems that the only people who get ahead do it by stepping on anyone in their way?
Please forgive my cynical outlook, but I've been slapped back to square one so many times (due to backstabbing) that I've lost most of my faith in humanity.
Magic restores it. But the drain is still a constant.
Keep your family foundations intact and strong.
When all is said and done, they are all you've got.
Message: Posted by: Mark Rough (Jul 27, 2008 03:26PM)
I taught my daughter the three shell game. She doesn't ask for money anymore, she makes bets with me. . . and wins. Does this make me a bad parent?

Go for it, Jay. Your kids will thank you. . . in about 20 years (the delay will be true no matter what, can't be helped, it's the hormones I think, but they will thank you, eventually).


PS I wouldn't worry about truant officers or home schooling "documentation." The former are mostly powerless and the latter is mostly meaningless.
Message: Posted by: gallagher (Jul 27, 2008 05:39PM)
Hmmm,.. I´d like to believe all of this `positive talk´ about bringing the kids into `the business´; but what I´ve experienced, in life, tells me otherwise. First, and somehow funny; it has often appeared to me, that `professions´/talents/driving interests, always skip a generation. And somehow, children are pretty good in something totally opposite of what their parents are. (Maybe, because their parents lives, are so `everyday´?) Secondly, I´ve seen so many circus, and carnival kids who are `brought in´ at early ages, and these kids later in life, CAN´T do anything else,... they´re uncapable!. In Europe, 90% of `single family circus´ people, and 65% of `Carnival´ people; are analphabet! I think it´s also important that children get out and see different ways of lifes,...outside of the home. Otherwise things become a bit `incestual´.

I think good parents, are good role models;.. who give their kids loooong periods of time to grow up. ,...where learning to make a buck doesn´t rank that high up on the list.

I wish you all the best,... good luck,...
and keep thinking about it.
I think, as long as we remain `concerned about what we are doing´,... we´re doing OK.

Message: Posted by: Jay Jennings (Jul 28, 2008 01:10AM)
Gallagher -

I'm not bringing my kids into the business at a very early age -- they're 12 and 14. And for the last 7 years I've been working an internet marketing business, so this is a change -- not the same old thing.

Plus, one of the reasons were going on the road (and then sailing away) is so the kids can experience more than just the "normal" American way of life with XBox, digital TV, etc. I want to hit some 3rd-world countries (or, at least 2.5 world countries) and spend some time there so they can see there are good people way different than what they've experienced so far.

Thanks for your input, seriously. While it kind of appears we're very far apart in our thinking, my guess is that we're probably closer than it looks.

Jay Jennings
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Jul 28, 2008 01:51AM)
On 2008-07-28 02:10, Jay Jennings wrote:a family performing will be a "gimmick" that could really work to our advantage

You're right. I've seen this work. I watched a family act do "not much" and they got a big crowd and used a trickle tip jar and it seemed to work wonders.

And believe me, they weren't doing much. Dancing, playing instruments, mostly in a strange sort of distracted, absent-minded way as if they didn't care to be there.

Even so, it worked. Come up with some funny gags and bits and you'll do well.
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Jul 31, 2008 08:20AM)
I think this is far from any form of child Labour but an increaderble education for life for your kids. I say go for it, what ever you kids choise to do with thier lives they will never forget this time with you. don't let fear, what if's, all buricotic bull stand in the way. You have a story to write and to be able to do that with your kids I am in awe of you. I hope one day I will get an oppertunerty to spend such qwalerty of time with my two lads. With a tear in my eye I am looking up to you Jay, and if I can ever help get in touch. I am often on the Med-Coast, give us a wave.
Message: Posted by: Mario Morris (Jul 31, 2008 03:11PM)
PS. is that a rat on your head?
Message: Posted by: Jay Jennings (Jul 31, 2008 04:07PM)
A rat? My wife is going to fall over laughing when I tell her that. =:)

No, it's just my mohawk haircut. But now that I squint at it, I can see how you might think of an animal...

Jay Jennings

PS - Thanks for the other comments. =;)
Message: Posted by: Airave (Jul 31, 2008 05:41PM)
What a cool Topic!

I do Magic at a small scale
and have a 4 1/2 y/o Daughter
who just has soooo much Fun
playing the "Part" (she has also
caught me in some cases in some
cases when no one else ever has).

I think if they really want to
play along, and are rewarded,
and they fit into The Game,
well, why not?

But yes, it is a hard call.
And one each must make with Fairness
and Honesty. And being a Great Parent
above all else.