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Topic: My first job at a bar/restaurant!
Message: Posted by: armagic (May 13, 2002 07:06PM)
Hey everyone,
I've finally landed a job at a local restaurant/bar and am really pumped up about it all. I have been talking to a lot of magic-related friends about it and thought
"Why not post it on the Magic Cafe for some input?"

I was just wondering about any interesting first time, or anytime stories about restaurant jobs. Also, any general observations or quick advice. I know I'm not being very specific here, but a lot of my questions have already been covered, so I didn't want to be repetitive.

Lastly, I would like to hear some favorite tricks, maybe a top five, used in your restaurant magic.

If I'm asking something that has already been asked, tell me and I'll read the forum again.
Thanks a lot everyone! In advance.

Message: Posted by: CharlieC (May 13, 2002 07:19PM)
Hi, congrats on landing your first gig. :D

Great Scott had some advice awhile ago which I still remember for some reason (probably because it was good advice?)

Try to set up your routines so that you can end them anytime, since you never know when the food is coming.

Good luck and have fun. :D
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (May 13, 2002 10:02PM)
After 10 years of bar and table work,
I offer the following advice:
Don't open with a card trick -- ever!
You're there to entertain the customers, not punish them! :hrmph:
Peter Marucci
Message: Posted by: Paul (May 14, 2002 01:27AM)
Well, I don't agree with Peter's thoughts on the opener, but I can see where he is coming from. A lot of card tricks are too lengthy to be used as openers.

I use cards a lot and I am quite convinced I am not punishing my audience. :) :)

Paul Hallas.
Message: Posted by: Magique Hands (May 14, 2002 01:29AM)
Hello Armagic!!

Mr. Marucci is correct in stating 'Never open with a card effect'. Primarily, you want to open with an effect which establishes you as a magician, but doesn't rely too much on the 'intamacy' of your surroundings. After all, you've never met these people yet.

I usually begin my first effect with my routining of SILVER, COPPER, BRASS. This lets the guests know that I am a magician, therefore their entertainment. I only perform 2 card effects at any given table, and end my little show with those.

As Suffer mentioned, your routines and effects need to be developed so that you can end at any given moment. I usually spend no more than 10 min. at each table (unless otherwise requested).

I would have to say that my 'Top 5 Effects' are:

1) Sponge Ball routine
2) Silver, Copper, Brass
3) Feather Thru Quarter (gets best reactions)
4) Mis-made Bill or Torn-N-Restored Bill
5) Standing TRIUMPH routine

Congrats on landing your first restaurant gig!! You'll have an amazing amount of fun.. and so will the guests! :dancing:

Break A Leg!!
- - Troy
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (May 14, 2002 04:43AM)
Okay, Paul; maybe "punish" was too strong a word.
Maybe it was even unnecessary.
But the advice still stands: Don't open with a card trick.
First, almost everybody knows at least one card trick (sort of) and you are leaving the door open for them to say: "Hey, I know a trick; let me see those cards," or something like that.
Second, almost everybody knows someone who can do one or two tricks really badly and you don't want to have to overcome that before you've even started.
Third, as Paul says, too many card tricks tend to go on too long. ANY trick that goes on too long shouldn't be used as an opener.
There's probably a lot more reasons but those should do.
Peter Marucci
Message: Posted by: armagic (May 14, 2002 11:42AM)
Thanks everyone. It all helps a lot. I would welcome any other advice that can be given.

Message: Posted by: Kaliix (May 14, 2002 02:58PM)
A few points:

1) I agree with Peter, don't open with a card trick.

2) Rehearse an opening line that lets the customer know who you are (magician), why you're there (to entertain) and that it's complimentary.

3) Learn stuff that can be done in the spectators hands. For example, Crazy Man's Handcuffs, Sponge Balls, Daley's Last Trick etc.

4) Your effects must reset quickly, 5-10 seconds at the most.

5) Dress in a jacket and tie so you look professional.

6) Always put things in the same pocket, each and everytime. Develop a routine to set up and break down. That way you'll know what you have and what your missing.

7) You will screw up, learn to deal with it. Most times the audience won't know it, so just go with the flow and act like that was exactly how it was supposed to work. Also, know where an effect is likely to go wrong and rehearse your outs.

8) Don't be afraid to use the edge of the table, but always politely ask. Others may disagree and that's their perogative. I've never had a problem with it. Your mileage may vary. :P

9) Smile! :) Your job is fun and it should seem that way to your audience.

10) Don't take any c**p. If someone heckles you or gives you a hard time, smile, thank them for their time and move on. Life's too short. :righton:
Message: Posted by: armagic (May 14, 2002 04:42PM)
Thanks Kaliix. Points well taken! Thanks everyone.
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (May 14, 2002 09:35PM)
Kaliix's post is a short course in table hopping.
And excellent advice, too.
Every point is a valid one and just about everything is covered.
Peter Marucci
Message: Posted by: E-Leoni (May 15, 2002 10:47AM)
I wonder what Chan Canasta would do ?


Message: Posted by: Todd (May 15, 2002 05:37PM)
I've heard sponge balls are the best for table hopping. Anyone know of a good video that helps with it. I already have 25 tricks with sponge balls but think the tape is poorly made.
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (May 15, 2002 09:35PM)
Sponge tricks are excellent for table hopping.
But a word of warning: Don't use balls.
I use sponge rabbits from a trick sold by Tannen's called Rabbit Explosion (the trick sucks but the rabbits -- about 40 -- are charistmatic).
Or use cubes. Or anything that won't roll off the table.
Otherwise, you end up with -- well, your end up, as you crawl around on the floor looking for the ball that went rolling off the table.
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com :bunny2: :bunny2: :bunny2: :bunny2:
Message: Posted by: Missing_Link (May 16, 2002 05:52AM)
As I'm primarily a juggler, I don't do a huge amount in the way of table/restaurant performing. Having a machete landing in your lap doesn't really please many customers! But, I have done some medieval banquet performing and have the following tip - take loads of business cards and leave them with the Maitre D. When you do well - which you will - customers will inevitably ask the restaurant staff about you, so it is handy for them to have your card to pass out.



Message: Posted by: Kaliix (May 16, 2002 08:17AM)
On 2002-05-15 18:37, Todd wrote:
I've heard sponge balls are the best for table hopping. Anyone know of a good video that helps with it. I already have 25 tricks with sponge balls but think the tape is poorly made.

I have that tape and Brad Burts sponge ball tape (not worth the money). I think you are dismissing the 25 tricks with a sponge ball tape much too quickly. It has a good set of basic sponge ball vanishes and appearances in there. I still use the basic routine that's on the tape, with my own patter and giant sponge ending.

Patrick Page also has a sponge ball tape out I believe.
Message: Posted by: preston91 (May 16, 2002 12:07PM)
The Patrick Page video is excellent. Also includes a Benson bowl routine that you can adapt using a coffee cup..

Message: Posted by: Garrett Nelson (May 16, 2002 02:03PM)
Great advice on the business cards, Missing Link!

A good friend of mine (M.P.D. in this forum, no less) used to walk around doing Hummer Card (or UFO, or whatever other names it has aquired over time) before he performed. For those unfamiliar, it is a floating, spinning card or credit card. He would walk around making it float, go around his body, etc.

This established him as two things right away;
1) a magician;
2) a magician who is good enough to make objects float.

After doing this for a little while, there was no need to explain who he is when approaching tables. Also, it perked people's interest and made them WANT to see his magic.

Just something interesting for a restaurant worker to consider.
Message: Posted by: armagic (May 16, 2002 05:51PM)
Nice idea Garret. I never knew (from the ads I've seen that the U.F.O. was so free, ie: being able to move it around your body.
Message: Posted by: Darrin Cook (May 19, 2002 12:18AM)
My top 5 effects

My version of "Here and There" from the Annemann card book
The Ambitious card
Torn and Restored card
Reverse Matrix
3 Chinese coins off ribbon, preceeded by Daryl's "Elbow, Knee & Neck."

If you're working at a family restaurant learn kids' tricks that are still strong enough to fool adults. I'm a believer in give-aways for kids. My motto is "No kid leaves empty handed." I have tricks that end with an item in play, such as a sticker, being given to the child. This is fun, creates good will, causes kids to be fired up about seeing you and therefore dragging their parents in, and it also increases your perceived value to your boss and customers.

Dress well and wear a name tag.

Get on the good side of your fellow employees. See Jim Sisti for killer advice along these lines.

If you're looking for a great sponge ball routine, see Scott Guinn's "Peanut, Butter, and Jelly." It ends strong, has funny lines, and automatically resets. I have seen Scott do this both up-close and on stage, and it plays very well.
Message: Posted by: JBmagic (May 20, 2002 11:23AM)
I am not sure if this has been said yet or not, but I always finished with either a floating bill, or mis-led, or something using a borrowed bill. Try to borrow a ten or a twenty, and 90% of the time they would tell me to just keep it.
When I began to close with borrowed money routines, my tips went from 100 dollars a night to 200 - 250 every single night.

Never open by borrowing money though, the trust isn't established yet. Unless it's repeat business.

I had people bring their friends back a night or two later and literally throw a twenty at me right off the bat, and say "here... make that float for him". I usually end up keeping that 20, as well as getting tipped at the end :)

Why the heck did I ever leave this profession in the first place?
Message: Posted by: BenSchwartz (May 20, 2002 07:31PM)
JB is so right! Borrowed bill tricks at the end will give you the tip you deserve. And... as long as you have good manners, good tricks and are well respected by the spectator you will not look like the greasy magician that most magicians view other table hopper who semi-"solicit" tips. It's all in good fun and why not do it?

Message: Posted by: JBmagic (May 21, 2002 06:55AM)
Aye Ben, that's a great point!
I should have said that actually, I never ask for the tip, nor do I expect the tip, I just provide them great quality entertainment and close with a borrowed bill, that is usually enough to net me the tip :)

With as expensive of a hobby/profession as this is, every little bit helps! :bg:
Message: Posted by: armagic (May 21, 2002 07:52PM)
I am still not sure about tips, however, the way you put it, it sheds a new light.

Thanks again everyone
Message: Posted by: Matt Graves (May 22, 2002 07:39PM)
As for five favorite tricks . . .

Coins Across
As Easy As Spelling Your Name
Coin Through Ring
Handkerchief Through Arm
Sponge stuff . . .

and a bonus . . . I really like doing Coin Through Pocket . . . people always amaze me with how much they like that one. . . even if it seems simpler.

And I agree with the statement about not getting upset with anyone who tries to disrupt something . . .

The world has an overabundance of people with very short fuses. Magicians are supposed to be different, in my opinion. If you're going to put yourself in that position, to be the one to bring wonder and joy to people, you should have a joyful attitude and not always be on the defensive -

I've seen that a lot, and I used to have a big problem with it, but it really doesn't set the right mood for magic at all.
The most important thing, I think, is to just to treat your audience like you want them to have a good time and that you are sharing something very special with them.

Once again I have to say . . . watch Garth Brooks's concerts, if you have a problem with showmanship. Watch how he connects with the audience. Especially in his Central Park concert, you can see his nervousness when he comes up onstage - but he gives the audience his best, and when he talks to them he is always very appreciative of their response. And in return they treat him very well - heck,

I even saw one concert where he laid down in the audience and they passed him through the crowd over their heads! How many people would actually have that much rapport with the crowd? Anyway . . . I'll hop off my soapbox right quick, but just remember, as you would have the audience treat you, treat them that way. I'm becoming more and more convinced that that is the key to any performance.

Message: Posted by: JBmagic (May 22, 2002 09:52PM)
Serling, that is some great advice!
And Garth is a showman for sure!
Message: Posted by: Kaliix (May 23, 2002 07:55AM)
I have never heard of or seen "Hankerchief Through Arm?" Could you provide a reference for it?
Message: Posted by: mclare (Oct 25, 2002 06:34PM)
hmmm. sounds like an effect with a reel? I remember Berglas doing something like that.
Message: Posted by: Andy Charlton (Oct 26, 2002 05:31AM)
Hnadkerchief through arm is in Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic. (IMHO Best Value magic book on the market.)


Message: Posted by: GlenD (Dec 19, 2002 02:01AM)
Hmmm, 5 favorite tricks for table hopping...
Mine would be:
1) Coin flurry or a coins across routine... using my own coins of course, so nothing is borrowed yet and coin manipulation also shows that you are a magician...
2) Pen thru bill... i know its borrowing currency, but i always have it on me and get great reactions from it
3) Card Warp- you show the 2 cards but quickly explain it is not a card trick but an illusion using 2 ordinary playing cards, and go from there (i present it as an up close mini version of sawing a woman in half)
4) Invisible deck- I have a 52 in one card in with the other cards and pull out the 52 in one card and ask someone to try and name my selected card. After some build-up, i finally allow them to see that they indeed were right by showing them the gaffed card. It gets a few laughs but nothing magical has happened until i call attention to the closed deck on the table, explaining that i earlier turned one card upside down, and suggest how interesting it might be if their previous "guess" happened to be the same card ... Thats how i present it.
5) Coin in Bottle a la "Vacuum Packed" from John Bannon's "Smoke And Mirrors" book... it is a very nice coin in bottle routine with the added feature of visibly removing the quarter from the bottle with a pair of tweezers(after having pushed it in there through the bottom).
Those are my current top 5, i would say... "Vacuum Packed" being the latest addition which i have performed in a table hopping situation, it went over very well (amazing what solutions some people come up with) but you have to be careful of the angles just as you do with lots of effects.

Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Dec 23, 2002 10:58PM)
Sponge Bunnies, Lethal Tender, Scothch and Soda, Pen thru Anything, Card on Ceiling and The Brain Wave
Message: Posted by: Mickey Cohen (Jan 12, 2003 09:34PM)
I personally hate to watch card tricks. But my audiences here in Las Vegas love them . I have to disagree with Mr. Marrucci. I always open with a card trick ,3 card monte.In Vegas cards have a different meaning I think than in other places.They are metaphorically symbolizing wish fullfillment. Here in Sin City fortunes are won and lost on the turn of a single playing card.I hate card tricks .Not doing them but having to watch another magician do them . I have a low attention span and card tricks demand me to pay attention.I don't understand it .Sometimes Im hired and told that all they want to see is card tricks.I can't even convince them that maybe a coin trick or something else might also be interesting . I lost a gig once for just suggesting that.So I work in Las Vegas and I have to do card tricks. I open with 3 card monte and I get paid well so why tamper with success.As magicians we become jaded and sometimes lose sight of what the audience wants. Who knows.So I'll continue forcing myself to learn these cardtricks.In my heart I will always be a coin man.
Message: Posted by: Maestro (Jan 12, 2003 09:47PM)
"Hankerchief Through Arm?"

Isn't that effect in Tarbell #1 as well?

Yes, I just checked, "Al Baker's Hankerchief Through The Arm" also be found in Tarbell vol. 1 on page 385. :cucumber: