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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Street Magic » » How is Criss and David Blaine street magic anyhow? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Dannydoyle
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Why is this new type of magic even referred to as "street magic"? It is obviously scripted, obviously more often than not set up, and that is fine, but why do some magicians fall for it? Why do so many magicians think what they do is street magic?

I am not wanting to start an "is it better or is it worse" debate. That is not relevant. Just why is it called "street magic" when it so obviously is not. These 2 guys use more gimmicks and set ups and helpers, and camera edits than many stage productions of magic shows. Not really "street magic" in my view.
Danny Doyle
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unilogo
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It has a catchy/accepted name brought onto by the creator; He who brought this brand to the masses: David Blaine. The first special has it's lasting power. Ellusionist and The Magic Café enhance and support that definition.

As long as it is performed on the street <--- That is the standard.

Criss, David, Cyril, etc... Just fit the environment.

It's the only way to market it to a lay audience. I don't think "Production/Stage-Show magic done on the street," is fitting for what we are trying to make people believe. Insinuating the use of all those "Extras," is obviously a bad idea. The celebrity and his crew are in charge of changing the label and only until the mainstream catches onto it we will continue to call it so. Just like some people are calling Criss Angel- "The Mindfreak."

From a business point of view-We as magicians understand what a store is selling to us as Street Magic. It is a really simple way for us to browse magic items at a shop. Forums like this one are really easy to access based on our basic knowledge. Television shows are also very easy to label; Be it current "Street," Criss Angel Or "Stage," days *TV special* David Copperfield.

Altho, a new genre would go over fantastic for the magic community-There is no urgent need to fix the inaccuracy; It's not worth all that trouble. We would need to add like 30 sub-forums to label everything in "Magic Names...Media" section; Just to discuss here in the Café.
Steve V
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Simple answer, the title of Blaine's first special was Street Magic and since the kids that got motivated (most were kids) to get into magic not understanding the dynamic they decided what Blaine was doing was 'street magic'. Good thing they didn't call it "***%@#$ Magic" because then the kids would be walking around their high school halls saying "wanna see a ***@$%@?"...sure it would be more accurate but still....
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sman
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You know anyone who walks around ready for magic any time any where can be classified as a street magician. There are few that do that day in and day out. I know of only one person that does that continually and that is Jeff McBride. I know that I may sound like a McBride zealot and perhaps I am but from personal experience, he is what you see. A magician 24 hours a day and performs for free many times and daily. Perhaps he is a throw back to busking days but with out pay. Big time magician who performs all the time. Just for the pleasure of performing. What a high that is. I truly do not understand why people talk about Blaine and Angel all the time. Must be TV exposure as opposed to walk the walk and talk the talk that Jeff does.

Thanks for the opportunity.

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Dannydoyle
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You do know that there is NO way to be a "throwback to the busking days, but without pay" right? Isn't being paid almost in the definition?

As for Jeff, I gotta tell you if you ask me NOTHING could possibly be more annoying than someone "on" 24/7. Unless it was a mime. Let's hope we never have THAT happen.

And not to burst your bubble, but have you ever been with him for stretches longer than a convention or lecture? It is possible, heck probable that he puts it away at some point, but who knows?

Let's not get Jeff into this.

Funny thing though you should consider. Ask MOST people on the street to name every magician they know. Less than 1 of a 100 will probably say Jeff. MAYBE that guy with the masks if he is lucky. But far far far more will say Blaine, and Angel. Any wonder why everyone talks about them?

I never even knew Jeff did street magic, and I am a MAGICIAN! Do you mean he walks around in his goofy outfits and make up and approaches strangers just to do magic for them? Sounds great.
Danny Doyle
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ed rhodes
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Quote:
On 2006-09-07 13:18, Dannydoyle wrote:
Why is this new type of magic even referred to as "street magic"? It is obviously scripted, obviously more often than not set up, and that is fine, but why do some magicians fall for it? Why do so many magicians think what they do is street magic?


Blaine's argument was that he wasn't "busking" so much as simply performing magic out in the street. Yeah, it's set up (He gets to perform for a football team in the first special, trying walking up to a football team in their locker room and see how close you get.) But he felt "Street Magic" implied something more "real" and "gritty" than Copperfield or Burton with lights, girls and fans.
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Dannydoyle
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He was wrong.
Danny Doyle
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Bill Hallahan
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Being an entertainer is often about fantasy. “Indiana Jones” isn't really an archeologist or an adventurer, he's a character portrayed by Harrison Ford. Blaine wasn't really a busker, but then he did perform on the street for his television special.

The term makes sense in that context.
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cheesewrestler
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Quote:
On 2006-09-10 20:14, Bill Hallahan wrote:
Being an entertainer is often about fantasy. “Indiana Jones” isn't really an archeologist or an adventurer, he's a character portrayed by Harrison Ford. Blaine wasn't really a busker, but then he did perform on the street for his television special.

The term makes sense in that context.


Harrison Ford hasn't spent the rest of his life since then trying to make people believe he really is a bullwhip-carrying fedora-wearing two-fisted archaeologist ...
Dannydoyle
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Bill cheese beat me to it. The people you refer to are "actors" and they stop "acting" at some point. These guys want you to believe they are mystical.
Danny Doyle
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MagiUlysses
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Greetings and Salutations,

Actually, I believe McBride got the inspiration for his Commando Act after watching Jeff Sheridan perform out of a shoulder bag. McBride dropped his multiple case act for one that he could carry in a catalog-style case.

While he is ready to perform 24/7, I don't think McBride does it in make-up and costume. I can't recall which magician-of-olde did it, but one of the greats of the past was always performing, at dinner, for bellman and hotel workers, cashiers, etc. His rationalization, as I recall, was that if he was a magician, he should be magical. In recalling my brief study of McBride -- his Commando Act theory is nothing short of brilliant, IMHO -- he did not advocate performing 24/7 but merely being prepared to perform as the situation warrants.

As for the original question, there is a vast chasm between performing on the streets and being a busker, which is the real point here.

Anyone, with the backing of a network, a support team and staff, with television crew in tow can draw a crowd, perform, and get great reactions. A talented performer who busks can draw the same size crowds, perform, and get great reactions -- those reactions, however, will be in he form of dollars in a hat, and not screams and feints in front of a camera.

Angel and Blaine have opened the doors of magic to a new generation, for which I, for one, am thankful. They're both talented, and they both paid their dues. And both were smart enough to parlay their talents, time and effort into great network gigs. More power to 'em, says I!

As for the Angel and Blaine wannabes, everyone started out imitating someone. As long as they don't stay stuck in imitation mode, they'll grow into their own personas and become performers in their own right, become hobbyist, or drop the habit after a few short years. As long as they don't muck up the streets for buskers, what's the harm?

Just my $.02 (USD) worth.

Joe in KC
Dannydoyle
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Your last sentence was great. "As long as they don't muck up the streets for the buskers".

Things that make ya go Hmmmmmm
Danny Doyle
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sman
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Joe in KC - glad you remember his Commando Act, I've seen it. He showed it to a few people at his house in Vegas. Dannydoyle you might be interested to know that he is also a mime. He is extremely talented. I must say that I do like both Blaine and Angel. They are showmen as well. Joe - he does magic 24/7 but only when presented with the opportunity. If you deliver a pizza to his house you will be treated to magic. He does wear a costume of sorts almost every where he goes, even to lunch with friends like Eugene Burger.

I think Blaine and Angel just might make it easier for street magic in a way, especially if you have strong effects.

They all make me go Hmmmmmmm at times.

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Guardian452
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I do street magic all the time...and its not scripted for me, of course Criss (who is a stage magician who is a street wanabee) and Blaine use gimmicks because that's part of the effects...use cig through quarter with a real quarter and I do it all the time and I get great reactions from it....i stick with cards but that doesn't matter....its street magic because its "unrehearsed" and you do it to random people that's why
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Dannydoyle
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Guardian: Do you think David Blaine and Criss Angel are "unrehearsed"?

Just for clarification "unrehearsed" is "impromptu". NOT street magic.

You can use gimmicks and be "impromptu". The use of a gimmick does NOT disqualify the definition.

Sorry but I hope this helps. It is actually the source of some of the frustration that started the thread. Thanks for injecting the irony for us.

Oh by the way "unrehearsed" magic is just bad magic LOL.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Dove84
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This may be a little off topic, but who else is sick of the whole street magic craze? It seems like every magician who comes along now tries to portray himself as being from the streets. How about some originality. If you're really from the streets, fine. If not stop faking it.
Dave V
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"Unrehearsed?" Smile The truly great street magic shows are heavily rehearsed! Every line, every ad-lib, every move... It's this rehearsal that makes their shows seem as if they're unrehearsed. It's what separates a true performer from someone just wandering around doing tricks, hoping someone will hand him money.

Street magic, real street magic is terribly difficult. That's why I choose not to do it. I've only been in magic for 30 years, and I still don't feel ready.
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Guardian452
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I see that they have a cigarette and I use it.....and I mean that...on TV it is because they have to sign a thing and everything but for me I have the patter and all that I just go up to someone and do tricks...randomly.
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Steve V
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Guardian, I want you to go and get the David Ben biography about Dai Vernon and read it. Dai was able to get help from magicians starting at a very early age and the reason was how he approached magicians. Dai Vernon studied magic for about 94 years and on the day he died he didn't think he knew everything and he was still listened and learned from others (well, up to about a year before his passing). My suggestion is one I make to non magicians as well who think they know the score because that is exactly what a teacher did when I was a kid, had us write down our thoughts and put 'em away for about fifteen years. You print your comments and read them again when you are in your mid twenties and if you don't hang your head I'd be very surprised...and saddened.
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Dave V
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To balance this discussion just a little bit, there is a great little ebook by Owen Lean entitled "Hit and Run Magic" that describes his technique for performing this particular brand of "street magic." He's learned that you just can't walk up to someone and say "Wanna see a trick?" or "Nice shirt, wanna see a trick?" or whatever. Instead he performs "mini shows" by attracting people's attention and performs just a couple of tricks for just a couple of people at a time. Each "show" runs for about five minutes or less and includes his own version of a "hat line." Each "mini show" is well scripted, well rehearsed, and he's in and out quickly to do it all again.

If you can keep up the pace you can do 20-40 "shows" a day, earning a few dollars each time. Or, you can do it the "busker" way and do less shows for more people at a time. Each method can work, but neither is easier, or necessarily "best." For the young guys with energy to burn, let them burn it. For us old guys, slow and easy works better and if done right it all comes out the same at the end of the day.

Owen's website is http://www.roadmage.com

Don't be surprised to see his video clips doing standard "Busker" shows. It seems that Owen discovered himself that less shows and more money was a better way to go in the long run. But, he didn't *start* there, it was a long journey to get to where he is today.

Owen's ebook can be ordered from http://www.magictricks.co.uk Just put "Owen Lean" in the Search box.
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