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Emazdad
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Plymouth UK
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Just got back from a great weekend in Blackpool, Met Pillip Jones, which was brilliant, a Phil your a star. I managed to hopefully only buy stuff I'm going to use. (I wish)

I was a bit disapointed with the events laid laid on for the children's entertainers, the competition was a farce, it was obvious Mr Trix was cosen to win before he went on, It's the same every year. The competition was opened by Silly Billy from New york, the star guest performer, Everyone was eager to see him perform, He's been mentioned several times in the Café, so I expected something really special. but He failed to live up to his reputation and if he worked in my area it wouldn't effect my work load one bit. When Talking to lots of other working entertainers afterwards I found that I wasn't the only one who thought he was rubbish and I didn't find anyone that thought otherwise. Luckily his lecture was a bit better than his performance, although he diodn't teach me anything new about performing to children, it was very usefull for the newcomers.

One performer (who I know is waiting to hear what his performance was like) caused a gasp of shock from the audience.

The Great Si moano (who if I remember right is a Café member.) dressed a 12-13 year old girl up in a magicians costume, went behind her and put his arms through the costmue to pretend she was performing, everyone gasped in disbelief that he could be so stupid. You could hear the sharp intake of breath.

In this day and age where we are all very very careful about contact with the children it's very stupid to put your head on the block and leave yourself wide open to accusations of sexual abuse. It only takes one person to voice an objection that you are touching there child improberly and however innocent you are you will never shake the stigna, and you will never work with children again. A couple of times when producing a string of sausages he rubbed her tummy as if to say mmmm food, but she was a developing young girl and his hands were just inches away from her chest. Plus all the time he had his hands through the costume his body was very close, if not touching the back of hers, which means he could be accused of rubbing his crutch against her back / behind. A very very dodgey thing to do.

It was a good convention, and I'm totally knackered. The only new ready made trick I bought was the pearl necklace trick, A necklace is removed from a stand, the stand covered the necklace is vanished and appears back on the stand, I've got a few ideas what I want to do with it, probably start off with the necklace being broken, and the children having to fix it with magic, I'll change the necklace to one that you can buy cheaply in toy shops and the when they've fixed it the asssistant can keep it. That's the plan anyway, but for now everything I bought is on the shelf in the box where it will stay untill thursday when I've got time to start playing with it.

Apart from that I bought things to use to make up my own routines rather than ready made tricks.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Jimo
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Bristol
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Well if the poor guys on crutches---maybe they will cut him some slack---LOL--------Cheers!---Jimo
p.b.jones
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HI,
I only saw Silly Billy at the lecture as I do not even bother going to the childrens ent of the year as it is always Naff. Silly Billys lecture was OK but as Emazdad said had little if any content for experienced performers . I thought the Quentin Reynolds lecture was much better and it would have been better to give the time all to Quentin. I do not know why Blackpool convention likes to have lot's but short lectures I rather the full 1 1/2- 2 hour type myself.
It was nice meeting Emazdad and Billy and to see our mutual friends Gary Jones, OZ ext.
The trouble is I spent so much time talking to people I could hardly take 10 steps without meeting someone I new and getting into conversation!
Phillip
Smile
mslj
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I'm The Great Si Moano. Just about to go to work so don't have the time to respond in full here but will do so at a later date.

Emazdad, with regards to your post and the criticisms you offer of the 'Instant Magician' routine, I have no objections to discussing this in a rational and constructive fashion.

However, from my observations (and here I own the fact that I'm feeling a touch raw and defensive about this right now), the structure of your post rather than developing scope for discussion and offering feedback, is quite abrasive.

For you, I was borderline abusive, Silly Billy was poor, the show was both a fix and a farce - I just hope you had good seats!!

Regards mslj
Emazdad
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Plymouth UK
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Hi, Simon,
If you read my post right, I wasn't being abrasive, I didn't accuse you of being abusive, I said that you put yourself in a position which could leave you open to accusation. Before replying to this discussion remember We live in a compensation culture and in a time where all you read about is stories of perverts who get a sick sexual gratification from kids. Even though your routine is meant to be seen as a fun bit of your act, there is always the chance that someone will see it otherwise. If you read my post correctly it is offering you some constructive advice. IE don't put yourself in a position where you can be falsely accused of abuse, because mud sticks and even though you are innocent your guilty before your proven innocent in all these cases, and you can never get the mud off. The comment everyone came out with was "I don't believe he did that, especially in this day and age".

As for the competition being a fix, if you talk to the regular attendes they all say the same thing, IE That the winners has already been decided before the competition starts. As always there wasn't a lot for the childrens entertainers, that's why we all make a bee line to watch the competition, however I know a few childrens entertainers who been attending for years and never even bother to go to the show as they say it's always a fix.

How can you be the United Kingdoms Children Entertainer of the year when you only competeing against 5 other people? The only way you could call yourself that is if the country was split into 6 sections, all the clubs in that section had their own competitions, the winners then take part in regional competitions with the 6 winners then going on to the final in Blackpool.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
p.b.jones
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HI,
Either there are a lot of performers with a similar name or MR Trix or he has entered several times before. the criteria to enter the comp are simply to send Derick lever a video of your act and in his words (I was standing there when he told someone) "I look at it and see how it fit's with the other acts in the comp as people are paying to see it and it is a show as well as a comp" So as well as being any good to enter(IN MR LEVERS OPINION) you have to have an act that compliments the show.....
Strange rules but there we go.

phillip
Mark Andrews
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Have to agree with Emazdad. I've often thought how were the competitors chosen and by whom? Surely for the title to be truely open and fair there ought to be regional heats etc throughout the year with the final taken place in Blackpool??

I managed to see Silly Billy - died a death.. my own six year old nephew certainly WOULD NOT have worn the shower cap bib etc and would have walked off!

Pat the Clown, nice act for playgroups and young children but the flower feature went on far too long and i can see children getting bored easily.

Wayne Burns - who was fantastic in my opinion and judging from the laughs he seemed very popular. I can see elements of my own act in his style - what makes me think he has been working that act at the holiday camps over the summer?

Si Moano i saw up until his torch routine and had to dash off. So impossible to comment.

Over years I've noticed less and less children in the audience. This year it seemed to be just one Cub Scout group. Why not give tickets to local Primary School Children hold some sort of competition on the local BBC Radio tied in with a phone in on Magic, or a compeition in the local Blackpool newspaper?

For any children's entertainer, working to an audience of mostly adults, it really doesn't work, it's becomes impossible and would NOT bring out the best in any of those entering the competition.

Any thoughts???
Emazdad
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Plymouth UK
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Strange rules I agree, all I can say is he obviously dodn't have many videos to chose from.

I must give credit to the bravery of the contestants though, it's not easy to stand up infront of a couple of hundred of your peers and perform.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
kenscott
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Emazdad

I cannot speak for what life is like in Plymouth. But i have been doing the TUX routine for 10 years now. When I put the routine together I wanted to change a women into a magician. After practicing on my wife we saw there was alot of closeness and grabing for props that it would not do well for a lady. So, I do the routine on 8 years and older and most of the time I do it to adults. Since I lecture on this routine many times it has come up if I am scared of what people might think about the routine. My answer is NO!! The routine has become such a HUGE part of my show. I have gotten hired just to do that one single trick.

I have taken it out of my show where I would return to perform the following year and my clients where upset that I did not do the tux routine.

I must SAY I HAVE NEVER had a single parent say anything NEGATIVE about the routine. ALl my evalutions come back with the tux trick being one of their favorties.

I close my shows with the Fantasy magician routine. I guess if I where to do it at the beginning with not establishing my charcter on stage then I could see people saying things. But by the time I do the trick in my show they have gotten to know me in 45 minutes and I have established a rapport with my audience.

So I hear your argument and you are not alone in your thoughts. But I think the argument is coming from magicians and not the lay audience. At least not in my case.

Now for those who have bought Kevin James "Instant magicain" version I am on his tape offering my ideas. I also sell my version which is called "fantasy magician". I sell out at every lecture and convetion that I do.

Sorry to hear about Silly Billy he is agood friend and I have seen him KILL at other conventions.

I would love to come to that convention.

How was Oscar Munoz?

Best<
Ken Scott
Mark Andrews
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Coventry in the UK
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Oscar was funny!

My partner who is not a magician and attended the convention for the first time, was totally taken by his linking rings (we were both fortunate to be given a personal demo on a couple of moves) and his rope routine.. loved his catholic jokes too
James Fortune
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Hi Y'All,

The first time I saw "The Instant Magician" I was staggered by its inappropriateness. The very idea that a grown man would consider doing this beggars belief! It's also very expensive for what it is at $149.95. Interesting that it is put out by Kevin James.

> How was Oscar Munoz?

Just STUNNING! Both on stage and in close up he blew me away with his rings, balls and the instant dove that just appears!

And funny too!
Unlike most of you, I enjoyed Silly Billy's lecture. It was interesting and thought-provoking. I'm a bit of a fan and I have been doing his two expanding wands for a couple of years now.

Thanks Emazdad Clive for guiding me towards the best Multiple Wands in the show.

Great to see you all!

Rest of the weekend? A curate's egg but I enjoyed it. Smile
Warmest regards
James

James Fortune MIMC
www.comedymagiciansurrey.co.uk
www.bestweddingmagician.co.uk
Emazdad
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I enjoyed Oscars act, one of the best things I saw. I love Noel Brittens stuff as well, I was wetting myself.

Ken, I think the Instant Magician routine would be OK if done with an adult, and a few years ago it would have been no problem with children. It can be very entertaining, but with the paranoia around now, caused by all the story's in the news about children being abused and lots of famous people being accused of all sorts of stuff I think it's best to avoid totally doing anything that can be in anyway put you in danger of being falsly accused of anything. they may not say anything to you, but Somtimes it only takes one person to sew the seeds in peoples minds, "OOOh he was very good, but I didn't like him getting so close to my susan" in a conversation could excalate in true chinese whisper fashion and have terrible consequenses. An over reaction maybe, but better safe than sorry.

James, it was a pleasure meeting you, and even more of a pleasure being able to assist a man of your reputation and experience.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
mslj
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Very briefly as Ken has noted many of the points that I would have made.

I have never had a single complaint or voicing of concern over the 'Instant Magician' routine. Infact it is a requested item and often receives a round of applause as soon as the top hat is put on.

One week before Blackpool I used the outfit at a 10 year olds birthday party and the whole family enjoyed it and thought (along with Whit Haydn's Comedy Linking Rings routine)it the highlight of the show.

When working with children, as a matter of course I speak to the parent(s) or caregiver before the show explaining in depth the routine and what is requires in terms of body contact, I also speak with the child explining how the routine will work. If there are any issues, and I mean any issues, the routine will be dropped.

I went throught this process on Saturday and both the volunteer and her parents were fine with the structure of the routine and were pleased with the performance.

I'm strictly a weekend warrior when it comes to magic and as just a novice in the art form I bow to many people's knowledge in terms of magic and it's theory. However, my other job is that of manager of a counselling service. I have worked extensively with children who have been abused, forming close working relationships over long periods of time, I have worked with adults who were abused as children, adults who have been raped, and I have also worked with those who have committed these offences. So I hope I am qualified to comment on the nature of appropriate and inappropriate behaviour with regards to children. Children can be protected while at the same time being afforded the freedom to be a child. To do any other than that is to exclude the child on the basis of the paranoia and over reaction that was mentioned above.

In my counselling role I have often to be positions that may open myself to false accusations - it's part of the job. As I have very firm boundaries with regards to my work it not something that I unduely worry about. I apply the same boundaries to my magic and thus again do not worry about false accusations with any routine and in particular with the Instant Magician.

So will I keep it in - yes.
Will I apply the same boundaries and processes - yes.
Will I succumb to the paranoia and over reaction - no.

Regards

Simon
kenscott
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Perfect Simon! Well Put.
Ken
Emazdad
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I agree well put, As long as you inform the booker excally what your doing that's OK. Just make sure you put on your contracts that there should always be another adult in the room during the show, it's for your safety as much as the kids.

I love your use of the word paranoia. I'd rather be a slightly paranoid full time professional working magician, Than not worry about things and have to get a real job when it all goes pear shaped. Even when I have my photo taken with the kids my hands are in full view all the time, Look what happened to mathew kelly, the moment he got accused of something all these people came out of the woodwork from his past jumping on the "he abused me" bandwaggon. Now according to the papers it turns out he was innocent, but the damage is done.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Dennis Michael
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I am surprised to here your opinions of Silly Billy. Yes he is different, he entertains in a very "silly" fashion.

When I saw him, he did his show on stage with kids, then afterwards, the kids left, he explained in detail why he did the things he did. It made sense and the performance was great with tears of laughter, and side spliting fun.

I am no Silly Billy, yet, I agree with the sillyness. I would not do exactly what he does, but I understand what he is saying. He did a great job in the Poconos.

I also can understand why other magicians wouldn't like him. He "clowns" and "goofs off" with the kids more then he does magic. "Entertains first, magic second" not a bad way to do magic. He is also not hurting for performances and gets an nice buck for what he does, so the paying audience likes him.

As for the Instant Magician, I really like Simons' pre-OK by the Child and Parents when doing it using a young girl. I have this effect (I do want Ken Scotts Version and want to sell my KJ Version) and was wreslting with related to this issue.

With Children Entertainers, one's personality is extremely important to how he presents his magical material. Gentle Magicians, like Dave Risley and Sammy Smith are so much different when compared to extroverted performers like David Ginn and Silly Billy.
Dennis Michael
p.b.jones
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I also can understand why other magicians wouldn't like him. He "clowns" and "goofs off" with the kids more then he does magic. "Entertains first, magic second" not a bad way to do magic. He is also not hurting for performances and gets an nice buck for what he does, so the paying audience likes him.

HI Den,
I did not see the silly billy performance. However, The people that I spoke too did not critisize his act per say but rather his lack of profesionalism... How many profesional performers would go to a kid show and ask to borrow a newspaper? Silly Billy did! When he had a problem with a childs name he teased the child making jokes at their expence rather than dealing with a common problem in a pro manner.. It was this sort of thing that most people disliked as I understand it.
Phillip
Emazdad
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When I read your Post Dennis My first thought was we are talking about different performers, the Silly Billy you describe is not the one that stood on the stage in front of me at Blackpool. The one we had was neither silly or funny. maybe he was having an off day, but he died a death on stage.

I agree with Silly Billy when he says the entertainment comes before the magic, The clowning and goofing off is an important part of my act. however I don't consider humiliating the child as fun. When the boy was asked to spell his name as billy didn't understand it, he started to do it phonetically which is the way kids over hear are taught to do it. Silly billy didn't understand this and started to take the mickey out of the boys attempts to spell his name. Also if he was goofing off and being funny, it was well disguised, He had to borrow a newspaper as Phillip said, and he started to do mis-made flag, asked the lad to name a country with red white and blue in it's flag, the boy naturally said, England. Billy promptly gave up and through the change bag away as it was obviousy set up the the USA flag. There was a lot of discussion afterwards about whether it was meant to be a joke or not, but if it was, it fell flat as a pancake as his delivery of the joke was off. When he dressed the boy up in a babies bib and ladies shower cap the lad was obviousy unhappy and there was some loud aarghs from the audience as they voiced their opinion. Assisting the magician is supposed to be a fun treat, Do this at a birthday party and it will put the other kids off from coming on stage.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Dennis Michael
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Quote:
..he started to do it phonetically which is the way kids over hear are taught to do it. Silly Billy didn't understand this and started to take the mickey out of the boys attempts to spell his name


Clive,

Please explain this. I don't know what "mickey out" means.

Quite possible, a culture difference from NY City, a strange piece of land in the USA, and Blackpool is possible.

When you read Silly Billy lecture notes and his Psychology of Performing Magic for Children, he does make sense..
Quote:
Children and adults in your audience will judge you on how you interact with your child assistant. If you have fun and a good rapport you will score big points. If you are rough and nasty with him the audience will dislike you.


Apparently what he writes and what occurred, are opposite. I agree, I would not put a bib on a child, on me maybe, but not a child who will get ridiculed by his peers.

I think the flag thing flopped, and his recovery was to just move on. As Ken said, he has been well received and apparently not so in Blackpool. Is there something we are both missing?
Dennis Michael
Emazdad
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Taking the mickey out of someone, means your making fun of them, and not in a nice way. I found his atitude quite agressive, and maybe the kids in new york are more used to the "in your face" aggressive approach but not here.

I like the quote, and I agree with it totally, I wonder why he didn't follow his own advice. With the childs name for example, if you don't understand what a child says, you either get the to repeat it, and use the old tricks to try and find out what they said, after you've used all the old methods and you still can't understand you just ignore their name and carry on just calling them mate or princess. I've done shows in Russia, and lots of other places where I didn't stand a chance of saying their names and I've never had a problem.

When the child tried to refuse the shower cap and bib, Billy forced him to wear it, I have a magic hat the kid wears when they help, if they don't want to wear it, I just put it back in the box and carry on, if it's the birthday child and it's the part of the show where he makes the big silk appear in the hat, (which is a change bag) I wear it myself. I never ever make a child do anything they don't want to do.

As you say Dennis we may be missing something, perhaps he was having a bad day. We all have them, but the professional doesn't let it affect his show. He leaves his troubles in the car.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
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