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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Table hoppers & party strollers » » Family Restaurants (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

cardguy
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Queens, New York
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I was recently talking to another local magician who does some restaurant work and I asked him if he had any idea what kind of restaurants are best to perform magic in, meaning either classy adult restaurants or family restaurants. He told me it depends on my style. If I wanted to work in a family oriented place then I'm better off knowing how to do balloon animals. Is this true? Honestly, I have no time or energy to learn how to do balloon animals. Plus, they just don't fit my personality. Should I stay away from family restaurants, or are sponge balls and silk/coin vanishes enough to keep the toddlers happy? Smile
Frank G. a.k.a. Cardguy
Mark the Balloon Guy
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Tampa Bay Florida
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Balloons can be an asset to working restaurants, but not neccessary.

I have worked both ways with them and without them.

Don't underestimate the mind of children though. Children like and understand three card monte', color monte, color changes. Magic should be direct and to the point. Young children don't understand suites (and many adults too)
:bikes:
Children don't laugh at jokes, they laugh at situations. Smile
Mark Byrne
AKA Mark theBalloon Guy
"Bad to theBalloon"
Scott F. Guinn
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"Great Scott!" aka "Palms of Putty" & "Poof Daddy G"
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I've worked restaurants (both family and upscale) off and on for 20 years, and steadily for nearly the last decade. I have NEVER done balloon animals.

Mark is right--kids understand a lot more than they get credit for. But make your kids effects strong and entertaining enough to capture the adults, too. Plus, most adults love watching kids' reactions to magic.

Your friend may well be right--for him. But for you, you'll have to make up your own mind.
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
My Lybrary Page
SloMo150
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Speedway, Indiana
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Performing for a family has to be one of the greatest joys. At least this is my opinion. Parents would much rather the kids be entertained. If the magician can get my kids attention then I am there also. Make trick understandable and flashy. Kids love to be mesmerized. Remember. It's not what you make but the impression you left behind. Give Magic a good name,
Hey wanna see me pull a rabbit from my hat, (lion appears). I gotta get a new Hat.
Paul
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A good lecturer at your service!
4391 Posts

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When I did a residency years back, I started to do balloons for kids, after awhile I stopped. Balloons are balloons. There is nothing wrong with doing balloons, but it is not close up magic. Appearances, vanishes, changes work for all ages.

There are plenty of packet tricks with pictures on the cards rather than standard playing card faces and these are perfect for family groups. Things like Tamariz Rabbits, The Vain Queen and The Vanishing Cream, Gourmet Mouse, The Beautiful Witch, etc...

Entertaining everyone well is the greatest joy. Working evenings I didn't get over run with kids like a weekend lunchtime performer might. The problem with playing to the kids is that you get looked on simply as a kids entertainer, so may not get inquiries for other types of shows. Also approaching a table of adults after playing to a table with kids I always found a little harder to gain acceptance, they are initially dismissive of the idea thinking you are a kids entertainer and are going to do something childish.

Paul Hallas
http://www.PH.Marketing-magic.co.uk
cardguy
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Queens, New York
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That is a very good point. I never thought of that.
Frank G. a.k.a. Cardguy
Scott F. Guinn
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"Great Scott!" aka "Palms of Putty" & "Poof Daddy G"
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Which is why you need to make sure that your kid's routines are strong enough to impress the adults, too!
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
My Lybrary Page
Mark the Balloon Guy
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Tampa Bay Florida
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When you do family entertaining make sure it has a broad appeal. I can't tell you how many times people say to me "I bet you would be fun with a group of adults too!!" and "I say do you think all my clothes come from the Barney collection?"
I actually wear a Purple and Teal outfit.

Sarcasm when used right can drive home a point. A standard line people say to me is
"Do you do kid's parties?" I reply, "I do kids and BIG kid parties"

Whether you do balloons, magic or play the Kazoo, you need to be straight about who you are as an entertainer. Know what you do and do it with confidence. Nothing beats a steely gaze and delivering your message in 15 seconds or less.

Spectator: are you a children's clown or something?

Mark the Balloon Guy: I am a Family Entertainer, I entertain families because I think most people belong to one. I use a combination of comedy, magic, juggling and balloons. Here is my card.
(my card of course has my balloon motorcycle upon it)

Spectator: thanks....huh.... Smile
he, he, he...... oh, how cool. Would you consider coming to my: Wedding, business, kids party.

But this only happens 10-20 times per night. <more sarcasm> Smile
Mark Byrne
AKA Mark theBalloon Guy
"Bad to theBalloon"
Paul
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A good lecturer at your service!
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Scott, the routines I used WERE strong enough to impress the adults, because they were adapted adult tricks. But people on other tables couldn't be impressed with them if they can't see them.

If you do balloons they can be seen from afar, and as you know, people create impressions within seconds.

But then, restaurants over here are not generally quite so family orientated as in the USA. And Brits are a little bit more reserved with a sarcastic sense of humour. Smile

My favourite trick for kids? Multiplying Sponge Rabbits. They don't roll all over the place like balls.

Various restaurant approches work, it is just finding the one that works for you.

Paul Hallas
Author of "The Table Hopper's Source Book"
(recommended in Pace and MacGregor's The Restaurant Worker's Handbook)
Peter Marucci
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While I do balloon animals, hats, etc., I don't normally do them while table hopping.
Balloons are -- well, balloons, and they can pop.
About the last thing you want is a piece of broken balloon flying off into somebody's meal or drink.
And, if you do balloon animals at a family table, the kids are going to be more interested in playing with the animal or trying to pop it or untie it, than they will be in eating dinner; not something that will endear you to the parents, even if they don't say anything at the time.
Balloons have a place, but it's probably not in a restaurant.
Oh, sure; there will be those who say they do balloons in restaurants with great success.
But there are performers who do the bra trick, too, and they think that the audience loves it! Smile
cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com
Munskin
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Cheshire, UK
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Surely with a lot of card tricks, it is just a matter of tweaking the patter and presentation to make it suitable/ideal for kids? Or am I being far too simplistic?
Geoff Williams
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St. Pete Beach, FL
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Scott G., Paul H and the others are right when they say kids understand more than you might think.

Just last week, I performed a sponge ball routine for this little girl. I begin by pulling one of the sponge balls out of her hair (BTW, the name of my routine is "Hairballs"). She squealed with delight and began to search her hair for more.

She laughed again. I asked her mom how old she was.

Her mother said, "18 months." Wow.

Seems that some VERY young kids don't have trouble enjoying the "art of astonishment."
"Saját légpárnás tele van angolnák."

(Hungarian for "My hovercraft is full of eels")
Jim Pace
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V.I.P.
Portland Oregon
556 Posts

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The other day I gave a kid (five years old) a paper napkin and we each tore them into pieces. She did exactly as I did... except for the end; she restord hers while mine was still in pieces. She said "You forgot to wave your hand!"
Kids do understand...
Jim Smile
"The drum that beats the loudest is always the most hollow."
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