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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Table hoppers & party strollers » » Bar Magic - what type works, getting a gig, and ....... (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

ELS
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Regular user
Chicagoland area, IL
191 Posts

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Just wondering what type of close up magic is suggested, and should one have a large collection of magic with you or just a few?

Would you suggest (I think it would go over), a little Tarot card reading thrown in for the ladies or couples(as in Bizarre magic way)?

I would think that the crowd would grow from one or two watching, to many as magic should be an attention getter and if it grows, do you limit the amount of magic you perform at one time or do you like a band, create a set and take a break?

Also do you perfrom it from 'behind the bar' as let say a bartender that can perform magic, or do you walk around to tables etc..

Finally, how do you sell the owner of the bar to give you a chance to see if it would work or entertain the customers. Would you suggest starting out in a Ma/Pa type of corner tavern or go a little higher class?

Thanks in advance!
Ed Smile
Were the border between the natural and the supernatural will be nothing any more but fuzzy. http://edwardshanahan.com
Michael Dustman
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Inner circle
Columbus, Ohio
1171 Posts

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As far as how many tricks you must learn, it depends a lot on where you are performing. For example, Doc Eason performs "on the boards" in Colorado in a resort town that brings people once a year for ski vacations. Scotty York performed behind the bar in Washington, DC and had a lot of the same people coming in night after night, so he had one of the largest repetoires in the history of magic.

If you are going to be in a neighborhood bar or local restaurant bar, with a lot of repeat clientele, then you need to expand your number of tricks.

As far as the Tarot Card Reading, don't forget that you are performing on a bar. You don't have a lot of room to spread out a whole bunch of cards, and if people are drinking a lot (the real reason you are behind the bar) then they may not follow everything you are doing with the cards. That is why one of the unwritten rules of bar magic is to stay away from spelling and counting tricks with cards, because you never know how coherent your audience is going to be if they have tipped back one too many adult beverages.

I bartended and did magic at a Private Members Club for 3 years. Members could bring in guests for dinner, similar to the idea behind the Magic Castle. You couldn't get into the restaurant or bar without a member to escort you. I had a few certain effects that were my pet effects, and customers would always bring their friends in for me to show them. Some things to them never got old. For example, the bill in lemon, 2 times a night for 3 years.

There are many good books and videos about bar magic. My two recommendations would be the Doc Eason trilogy of Bar Magic, and the Stevens Bar Magic video with Scotty York, Bob Sheets, and Eric Mead. This video has a lot of advice about how to do bar magic, and how to approach a bar with the idea of doing magic.

Remember, first and foremost, when you pitch the idea to a bar, the idea is to serve drinks and make money for the bar. The first thing you might want to do, is take a course in bartending first. This increases the chances of why they should hire you. And take it from me, the few hours you are seen doing magic isn't your only job. You are cutting fruit, washing glasses, changing and lugging kegs, refilling the ice bins, and serving drinks. Sometimes, you are doing these all at the same time. Eric Mead tells how when glasses were getting backed up and needed washed, he would stop doing tricks and go along the bar asking everyone to tell a joke with the winner getting a free drink. This gave him 5 minutes to wash glasses.

(Luckily for me, we had an automated glass washer behind the bar.) Smile

One other thing....
I followed Doc Eason's ideology of having sets of magic with a break. Not necessarily for you, but to take care of business. I would break my act up into ten to fifteen minute sets, stop to refill everyone's drink, and allow them to run to the bathroom, and then go into another set. If you are behind the bar by yourself, you must break up the act to refill the drinks.
ELS
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Regular user
Chicagoland area, IL
191 Posts

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Michael,
Thanks for the great feedback, it says a lot.
When I was thinking Tarot, I was thinking of a one or two card pull from the deck. My wife has a book on the Tarot, and one of the ideas pertains to a one card pull from the deck, kind of a question and mini read.

Ed Smile
Were the border between the natural and the supernatural will be nothing any more but fuzzy. http://edwardshanahan.com
al-fannin
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I have occasionally done magic behind the bar, but not being interested in tending bar, tend to avoid it. Performing in sets alternating with breaks is a good format. I think it's important to keep each set short and finish while people are asking for more rather than making sets too long and have them wondering why you haven't wrapped up yet.
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