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Topic: using a busker's organ to gather a crowd
Message: Posted by: hat trick (Aug 27, 2002 12:19PM)
I'm curious to know if anyone has used or has seen anyone using a busker's organ (organ grinder, street organ) to gather crowds before a show.
Message: Posted by: Payne (Aug 27, 2002 01:55PM)
I have never seen anyone using a barrel organ to attract a crowd for anything other than watching them play a barrel organ. I don't think it would be a good crowd gather for a magic show as they are very expensive and fairly large and would be just one more thing to have to lug around. you also would have to keep an eagle eye on it during your show to make sure no one fiddled with it or tried to steal it while you were performing.
Also those who would be attracted to the novelty of seeing a barrel organ would probably be more interested in the instrument than they would a magic show. You could attract a curious crowd with the music only to watch them drift away when the music stopped and you broke out a deck of cards. If you have a barrel organ or hurdy gurdy I would be interested to know how it works out for you but I really wouldn't invest in one if you didn'y already own or have access to one. As a side note if you had a helper playing one to both attract a crowd and to supply music for your performance this might just then be the best of both worlds.
Message: Posted by: Swami Bill (Aug 27, 2002 02:27PM)
I like the idea. I have thought about using a busker organ for the very same purpose. If your magic is such that it blends with the idea of the organ, I say go for it. As mentioned earlier, they are pricey. Security and size are a consideration, too. Let us know how it works out.

Swami Bill
Message: Posted by: hat trick (Aug 27, 2002 04:17PM)
Payne, I thought about the drifters too. During my high school and college years, I traveled and played banjo with a comedy troupe of Disney street performers. Whenever we finished playing music and went into the skits the audience would begin to thin out. So, we re-wrote the skits into the music(ala Smothers Brothers)to address the short attention span of Americans. We performed this one 15 minute routine (with only minor changes) successfully, every summer, for 7 years (that's one of the major differnce between performing professionally and as an amateur) before audiences ranging from 50 to 3,000. Music has a 'magical' attraction that gathers and keeps crowds. I can see how the mystery and challenge of how magic works is similar to music and its effect with audiences. So, I began putting together a 'traditional' street magic program (almost a year ago) but haven't started performing it as of yet. I hope to be able to adjust with not using music, perhaps as a crutch, to gather crowds. Then again, I've been thinking about writing another mini-musical incorporating magic and the busker's organ. The organ may seem bulky(15"x12"x11" average size for a 20 noter)to some (by the way, I found an extremely good organ kit for $895 at http://www.castlewoodorgans.com) but it's not as cumbersome as carrying around a Gibson Mastertone banjo that must have weighed 30lbs., at least. I'm just looking for opinions of using the organ for this purpose before I invest and go in that direction. Thanks, Hat Trick
Message: Posted by: Payne (Aug 27, 2002 05:43PM)
Well if you have had experience using music and magic together then I think the organ would be a good draw. I work several Ren fairs and the hurdy-gurdy players never fail to draw in the curious who sit throught the sets so they can ask the musician about their unusual instrument.
And if it fails to work out the way you wanted you could always give up the magic and buy a monkey.
Message: Posted by: Chessmann (Aug 29, 2002 12:20PM)
Drawing an audience is much easier than "holding" an audience. You mention is your post that you had to adjust your skits to include music because you were losing your audience. You hit the nail right on the head: what GOT there attention was not what was used to HOLD their attention. And so continuing the music not only got their attention, it kept it as well.

So think carefully about how to transition from getting their attention to the actual show.
Message: Posted by: SpiffnikHopkins (Aug 31, 2002 01:29AM)
I've only seen the organ thing done on its own. A man in white tie crahnking his crank. He didn't seem to do very well and I gtta be honest, I was all that impressed myself. No skill or talent involved. I hope its what i think it is...
Message: Posted by: Payne (Aug 31, 2002 01:43AM)
On 2002-08-31 02:29, SpiffnikHopkins wrote:
I've only seen the organ thing done on its own. A man in white tie crahnking his crank. He didn't seem to do very well and I gtta be honest, I was all that impressed myself. No skill or talent involved. I hope its what i think it is...

Not everything in this world requires great skill or talent. The fact that he was sharing one of these rare and marvelous instruments and bringing a enjoyment with those around him is talent enough.