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Topic: Table hopping prop management ideas?
Message: Posted by: Alyx (Nov 12, 2018 11:47AM)
Hi! I'm wanting to get into table hopping, and I'm struggling to know where to carry everything? I plan to wear a dressy shirt and designer dress jeans (planning to work at hip style establishments and somewhat classy (but not jacket and tie) places). Right now I'm planning to keep spongballs in the back right pocket and ninja rings (barely fit!) in the back left pocket. But now I'm tapped out! Where do I keep my deck of cards? A wallet with extreme burn?

Do you just carry a purse and leave it on the ground as you work? Also, spongeballs in the back pocket isn't ideal, because they just make my behind look a little funny. Front pockets are too tight to work easily from. What ideas do you all have?

PS I'm coming at this as a former busker and worked from pouches. It's really hard leaving the pouches behind.
Message: Posted by: danaruns (Nov 12, 2018 01:27PM)
I keep props a small shoulder bag that hangs at hip level, and I just wear it throughout. Occasionally, I will wear it diagonally across my body. But I get every prop just by reaching to my left hip. And it's great for sponge bunnies.
Message: Posted by: jimgerrish (Nov 12, 2018 05:42PM)
My Wiz Kids, both girls and boys, use a black canvas "fanny bag" which can be easily swiveled around to the front, either side, or stored in the back. Each bag is specially fitted with prop holders, such as saving the cardboard box that Goshman Sponge balls come in, open up one side and fit with cardboard dividers to hold a red, yellow, blue, and green sponge ball without any contact to pass on their colors - and other such containers and dividers built into the bag. With the bag in front, they can even use it as a tiny temporary table for holding props. Pull out a rope and swivel the bag around to the back out of the way for the performance. Bring the bag around to the side or the front to put the rope away and get the next prop. The bag also serves as a servante for disposing of gimmicks as you, for example, go to the bag to get a small sized wand or a pair of scissors.
Message: Posted by: Emory Kimbrough (Nov 12, 2018 06:57PM)
Sounds like a vest could easily be added to - and go well with - the outfit you described. That vest can add a bunch of pockets - smaller ones outside, plus very roomy ones inside. It could be a casual open vest, or a modern update of the Annie Hall look.

Putting anything on the floor is a non-starter. Any kind of shoulder bag or belt bag can make it look like you need to haul around a tool kit to be entertaining. (And at worst, it can make you look dorky, particularly for the "hip" audiences and establishments you mentioned.) Instead, you want to appear as your natural, casual self, able to fit in and be entertaining and amazing without obvious preparation and encumbrances. You want to be the interesting woman (first) who happens to do excellent magic. Not the awkward girl who totes around a bag full of tricks. Important for the type of venue you've described as your target.
Message: Posted by: Alyx (Nov 13, 2018 07:43AM)
Dana, thank you so much for weighing in with what is tried and true for you. I'm so wanting to follow suit, as it would be so convenient. Still, it may look out of place on my character -- perhaps "character" isn't the right word, but I'm hoping I'll be mistaken for a manageras I approach tables.

Jimgerrish, I would love something like that, as it would be reminiscent of the pouches I wore on the street -- so functional! I don't think it would fit my character/dress for the restaurants I'm eyeing, though. Bummer!

Emory, you bring up wonderful points, and I agree with everything you're saying. I've been trying to steer clear of vests, because they just aren't flattering on me. That said, a vest may be the only practical option. I guess I just need to start my homework on finding something that fits the purpose and enhances or maintains the look I'm going for. Thank you for your thoughtful thinking points and suggestions. Time to get busy!
Message: Posted by: 0pus (Nov 13, 2018 09:00AM)
I am not entirely sure what "look" you are going for, but I think that these look very hip and fiercely stylish:

Pouch: https://www.etsy.com/listing/244732824/leather-leg-pouch-with-belt-loop?ref=related-2

Hip Bag: https://www.etsy.com/listing/472046769/unisex-leather-hip-bag-and-shoulder-bag?ref=listing-shop-header-1

Bandolier with Pouches: https://www.etsy.com/listing/248142436/leather-bandolier-with-pouches?gpla=1&gao=1&&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=shopping_us_a-accessories-belts_and_suspenders-belts&utm_custom1=08df722b-9829-4260-bcc9-b8c4fa2d083b&utm_content=go_304498835_22746106955_78727341755_pla-106551381395_c__248142436&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIrsGt18rR3gIVUbjACh01oAj0EAQYBSABEgKqvPD_BwE

Hip Bag 2: https://www.etsy.com/listing/91816406/leather-hip-bag-from-ellko-otono?ref=related-1

I love the first two, and I do not think that they would clash with refined-line dressy-chic clothing.

I think any one of these suggestions could look great.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Nov 13, 2018 09:38AM)
My wife uses these regularly: https://flowtoys.com/hipsacks - lots of pockets and they look pretty nice in person. More of a festival gear thing, but it may help.

I wonder if they make clutches that are designed like a doctor's bag? That could look very classy and give a lot of range for organizing props.
Message: Posted by: Emory Kimbrough (Nov 13, 2018 09:55AM)
Alyx - Do you live in or near a large city with one or more professional theater companies, or one with really expert women's tailors who do custom work, not just alterations? You could explain your performance needs and your previous problems with off-the-rack department-store vests to the theater's costume designer or the tailor, and hire them to design a single vest or outfit that solves both problems. This would likely be expensive, but it would be a professional investment, not frivolous luxury spending. I helped a friend develop an act that later won at both IBM and SAM and took him to FISM - he did exactly this, and it was a wise move. Also, one of the two vests I use for performance was made by a costume designer at a professional theater company. It fits well, makes me look like a professional entertainer, but in an understated, non-flashy way, and it's cut so I can jam a ton of magic in it without looking like I'm trying to smuggle bowling balls.
Message: Posted by: Alyx (Nov 13, 2018 05:40PM)
Emory, once again, this is stellar advice. I'm not far from Philadelphia and could go to New York City. I may have a few connections that could introduce me to the types of people who would know these types of designers. Very cool idea!

Opus, those are amazing, and I had no idea bags like that even existed! The look I'm after is stylish, but could be mistaken for a manager at a posh restaurant. So...not sure if this would fit that, but I'm going to seriously consider these! Thank you so much for linking all of them and for taking the time to voice your input. These are so cool!

WitcDocChris, I like those. Probably wouldn't fit what I'm looking for, but if I ever return to the streets, I'm seriously going to consider those. Thanks!
Message: Posted by: Jacene (Nov 18, 2018 09:46AM)
Hi Alyx.

I struggled with this very problem and worried a lot about how to carry my stuff. I didn't want a vest, as it didn't suit me AT ALL. I didn't want to shove my pockets, as I hate the way it looked and I just felt stuffed. So, what I do now is just carry a small clip board, with a little stack of things on it. As I go from table to table I go back to my 'main area' where I have left my small case. I drop off and pick up new stuff as necessary and it gives me a chance to grab a quick sip of water and see what direction I want to head in next! On my clipboard I have a small makeup style back I guess it is that holds a few extra small things as well. Works well for me!

Good luck.
Message: Posted by: Wravyn (Nov 18, 2018 02:55PM)
One question that hasn’t been asked, which may help with different ideas... what tricks are wanting to carry?
Message: Posted by: Alyx (Nov 21, 2018 05:37PM)
Jacene, this is a really interesting solution. I'm going to really dwell on this as a possible solution, thank you so much for offering what works for you. This is a super fresh idea.

Wravyn, that's an excellent question. Right now I'm wanting to carry (and not all at once) three sponge balls, a set of 4" ninja rings, one small wallet, a deck of cards, 4x half dollars, and a small ring box.

I haven't completely given up on the vest, as Emory recommended, but I'd like to explore other options. Inspired by Opus's post, I bought this small leather hip purse: https://www.etsy.com/transaction/1526929647?campaign_label=proteus_transaction_buyer_notification_v2&utm_source=transactional&utm_campaign=proteus_transaction_buyer_notification_010170_239798626671_0_0&utm_medium=email&utm_content=&email_sent=1542416550&euid=Vyup40IdJ_ziplq9o07k36J-bigB&eaid=2788103729&x_eaid=6940155616

I don't like the idea of wearing a hip purse (too much like a fanny pack for me), but I'm going to give it a shot. The clipboard idea is super interesting though...

Anyway, thanks everyone for your generosity in providing ideas and insights. Keep them coming if you've got 'em, and I'll let you know what I settle on. I'm hoping to be working before New Year Eve.
Message: Posted by: Wravyn (Nov 21, 2018 07:27PM)
Since you already have the pockets set for both the sponges and the rings, perhaps this may work for cards, coins, wallet and perhaps ring box.

Message: Posted by: Jacene (Dec 2, 2018 09:33AM)
[quote]On Nov 21, 2018, Alyx wrote:
Jacene, this is a really interesting solution. I'm going to really dwell on this as a possible solution, thank you so much for offering what works for you. This is a super fresh idea.

No problem at all! I also have a little box that I will at times carry with me to tables (you know, the boxes with the lid that flips open and it's designed to look like a book?) Anyway, if you don't know I can post a picture. It's a very manageable size, yet will EASILY hold everything you mentioned above in your post! Anyway, I don't feel like a dork carrying it with me, it's not too big and I just pop the lid open and exchange whatever I need to head into the next effect.

Just wanted to share another option!

Again, I feel for you because I really would overthink this. Now, I kind of just don't worry about it and haul along whatever I need. As long as I don't have my pockets loaded or carry a purse that I have to dig through to find stuff, I'm happy! :) It always works out in the end!
Message: Posted by: Wravyn (Dec 2, 2018 11:43AM)
Jacene, Dr Jaks also carried his close up materials in a book. He called it his book of wonders (if my memory serves me). It also had some pages of which he had some of those he performed for autograph.

You are in good company with the book :)
Message: Posted by: Jacene (Dec 2, 2018 06:03PM)
[quote]On Dec 2, 2018, Wravyn wrote:
Jacene, Dr Jaks also carried his close up materials in a book. He called it his book of wonders (if my memory serves me). It also had some pages of which he had some of those he performed for autograph.

You are in good company with the book :) [/quote]

Interesting! I've got 2 of these 'boxes' and have been thinking of how I can incorporate one into an effect.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Dec 3, 2018 09:04AM)
I got my wife one of these on a trip to New Orleans a couple years ago: https://tinyurl.com/y7yv4xc4

Got some pockets inside for organization, decent size but not so huge it would feel cumbersome. Might be a good option?
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Dec 7, 2018 05:33PM)
Ladies, the 1st thing you should do is have your close-up sets, listed and laid out. Then look at the area it will use. I still thing the most logical item for a lady is some kind of hand bag. When you find one that will hold your props, then make pocket that will line the interior of the purse. Sew them on a heavy material, and fit each prop or deck to the pockets. Now use Velcro tabs to install the wall of pockets inside the sides of the purse. Now you have a the center section open for larger props or finale production items, that can be easily replaced when the routine is over.

I totally disagree on wearing tight jeans of any price range. A performer should be the best dressed person at the establishment. There are really nice lady slacks available, that will give enough pocket room to carry a few props as well. If you get confessed with being a manager, then just say, thank you, but I am not the manager, but I will pass on you wish to speak to him/her, or simply tell their server. Remember, even though you are not an employee, customers see you as a part of the establishment.

I put together a several effect act, by using a ladies makeup bag. A mind reading lip stick effect, a linking bracelet routine, and some other effects that ladies carry with them. I open the routine by simply saying, I found this small bag, and will be looking for the owner. Then open the bag, and remove the items
to look for contact information. Then do an effect with the item. With some thought, you can do more then 5 minutes with this kind of set up. Gambler theme tricks, coin effects, money dollar bill effects, and so on. Just keep light and funny with your patter.
Message: Posted by: danaruns (Dec 7, 2018 09:09PM)
That's some Olympic level mansplaining, there, Bill.
Message: Posted by: Wravyn (Dec 15, 2018 05:42AM)
Just curious as to what you have found and hope that you are progressing into your goals.
Message: Posted by: Alyx (Dec 15, 2018 10:06AM)
Oh, hey everyone! I've made some progress, and you've all been super helpful in my creative problem-solving journey.

I did pick up a leather hip purse (inspired by Opus's suggestions), which isn't the perfect solution, but it's a starting point. This is the one I purchased: https://www.etsy.com/listing/235273274/leather-hip-bag-handmade-hip-purse?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=hip+purse&ref=sr_gallery-1-43&organic_search_click=1

I've also changed my business plan to target corporate walkaround and similar gigs. So, alas, the classy jeans look is probably out and with it are the back pockets. Stuffing back pockets has been irking me anyway. So, I've decided to strip out as many props as possible.

Right now I plan to keep the rings in the hip purse along with a nesting wallet and a very slim wallet for business cards and Extreme Burn. This is pretty tight, though, so I may swap the nesting wallet for coins -- haven't found the right walkaround effect yet, though. Eventually, I want to ditch the hip purse, but I'm not quite ready to leave the comfort of the ninja rings (maybe a custom leather rings holder some day?). The rest of my kit has been confined to cards. I've got 5-6 strong tricks with an ungimmicked deck suitable for walkaround. Just need one or two more, and I'm done -- phew!

Wravyn, you opened my eyes to deck holsters. The Josh Jay one that you linked is probably too big to look good on my hip (since I'm not concealing it under a jacket). I'm presently searching out a good looking single deck holster. I may go with Josh Jay's original one modified with a belt clip rather than a belt loop, but exploring all options.

So there you have it, I've switched to a walkaround focus. I've got a small hip purse for now, and plan to eventually just use one or two deck holsters. Thank you again, everyone, for welcoming me to the Magic Café with lots and lots of great advice!

PS I miss my street pouches soooooo much, haha. Oh well. Roll with the changes. ;-)
Message: Posted by: Wravyn (Dec 15, 2018 01:53PM)
Thank you for the update. Sounds like you are moving closer and closer to obtaining your goal.

Perhaps somewhere down the road, instead of carrying your rings in a pouch, you will be able to wear them on your wrist. I know these are on the pricey side but figured I would share for future reference.
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Dec 15, 2018 06:25PM)
Alyx - I wouldn't give up the idea of restaurant work. It is a good complement to corporate strolling. Allows you to perfect new routines - once ready for real audience, you can perform over and over at your restaurant gig in one evening. It is a quick way to build your repertoire. An added benefit, if at an upscale place, it will generate leads for you.

Good luck!

Message: Posted by: Alyx (Dec 18, 2018 07:16AM)
Thank you for the insights, Hudson. I completely agree, and I'm not planning to do away restaurants entirely, just a shift in primary focus.

I've got my set lists completed, working on the new routines, and costuming is nearly finished. Hopefully, I'll be working by the end of January. Hold me accountable, everyone. ;)
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Dec 20, 2018 01:01PM)
Alyx that is a classy hip purse!!