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Profile of Stef
I've been thinking about starting on the street. But am unfamiliar with the setting.

Are there any books, articles or just something out there that can help someone starting out... or do you just "jump in the water and swim"?

Life is a throw of the die.
Mentally yours.
Great Scot
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Bellows Falls, VT USA
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Profile of Great Scot
Jim Cellini, The King of The street Magicians, has a video and DVD out. He also does lectures at SAM and IBM meetings and at magic conventions. He is a master at the topic.

There are some websites devoted to street magicians, you can find them by doing a google search for them.

There are also a number of books written on the subject, How to Be a Street Magician by David Groves is one that comes to mind.

Another route to take is to get someone to mentor you or take some classes. I belong to the Society for Creative Anachronism, a medieval/Renaissance group, and there are folks that teach classes in street magic at different events.
The Great Scot, Bardic Magician
Bringing Magic To People's Lives
Stuart Joseph, 802-463-1954
Bellows Falls VT
Andrew E. Miller
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Inner circle
Southern California
1428 Posts

Profile of Andrew E. Miller
Whit Hadyn is probably the best source for street magic out there. That is how he started magic. I believe he has a few notebooks or phamplets out, possibly a book, on the art of street magic. I am not sure about names though. Run a search at and you will find some stuff.

If you get bored go to and watch some magic.

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Profile of StreetMagicMagician
I would think you could check out maybe just a regular magic shop or an online shop and see if they can offer you anything. My local shop has a ton of great material
John Fitzgerald
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London, England.
215 Posts

Profile of John Fitzgerald
No offense.

But I think you people are a little confused.

Firstly, about what "street magic" actually is.

Secondly, the forum you are in.

Wasn't this forum made for all the David Blaine imitators (no offense to David Blaine, just his imitators)?

From the advice people are giving out here it looks like some of them should be posting in the "Sidewalk shuffle" forum which is for traditional street magic.

I don't mean any offense here as some of the advice was genuinely good for someone wanting to get into street magic.

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Special user
Kansas City
504 Posts

Profile of MagiUlysses
Greetings and Salutations,

To the original question regarding books, articles and such, all these apply to busking or street performing:

Jim Cellini's "The Royal Touch" book, goes for about $80. (USD) and is stuffed full of great advice on working the streets and tricks that he has proven with street audiences. His "Art of Street Preforming" video or DVD (about $50. USD) covers similar material for working the streets but contains no magic, however, it does have a nice segment on Sony Holiday's show in New Orleans, and what is explained on the video is applicable to any street performer, be he/she magician, musician, mime, or juggler.

"Gazzo Uncencored" ($30 USD) shows Gazzo's show on the street, at a renaissance festival, and at the Magic Castle. For street and festival performers, this guy is a master at building and keeping a crowd.
"Gazzo on the Cups & Balls" ($30. USD) explores every aspect of his C&B routine, and if you view it with a critical eye and ear, he gives a lot away to the street performer.

Whit Haydn's "Street Magic" book is an expansion of a lecture he did at the Magic Castle.

Jeff Sheridan has an excellent book on the history on street magic and street magicians.

These guys have all cut their teeth on the street, and you won't go wrong heeding their advice, but as always, take what applies to you and ignore the rest.

As for web sites, head over to "the sidewalk shuffle," which is the forum listed directly below the forum you're currently in.

The above recommendations apply to performers wanting to do shows, i.e., draw a crowd, entertain them with a show that's good enough to entice them to throw their hard gained dollars into your hat. "The sidewalk shuffle" contains mounds of free advice that is book-worthy, it'll just take some time wading through the threads, but it's worth it.

If you're interested in Blaine style effects, read this forum, do a google search for "Blaine" and "Street Magic," get to, buy a handful of videos and impress the heck out of your friends.

As always, YMMV.

Joe in KC

Make magic happen, live a great adventure!
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Inner circle
St. Louis, MO
1419 Posts

Profile of MacGyver
You could always "jump in".

It is probably the best way to start; the worst thing that could happen is that you go home without any money, but you will have gained experience!
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Profile of Stef
Thanks guys.

I appreciate your help and advice.

Life is a throw of the die.
Mentally yours.
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51 Posts

Profile of pcamel
I think it's more fun to just jump in and swim. that is part of the allure of street magic, it isn't such a controlled environment. there is risk and adventure. you get to meet new people. and the great part is that you can figure out how to adapt alot of regular tricks for street use, with the proper angles and what not. that is where connections start being made and new ideas and effects start to develop. jump in and learn to swim as you go.
Oz Fan
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Profile of Oz Fan
I agree just go for it.
Blake S.
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316 Posts

Profile of Caspar
Some advice I would give you would be to select people waiting for a bus downtown, a college campus after classes or at lunch; somewhere where people are not in rush going about there daily business. But rather passing their time. You will also need to develop an approach and a presence. Remember we all have been conditioned to keep strangers at arms length or to avoid them totally. You have to overcome this. One thing that will work in your favor though is that most of us are also conditioned to be polite which gives you the opportunity to "capture your spectator.

My approach is not to ask the question "would you like to see some magic?" but rather to ask "Have ever heard of a the Three Card Monte?" or "Do you mind checking this out" as I am handing them a card.

In developing your presence you want to be sincere. Addressing people formally when you normally do not address people with sir or ma'am will be perceived as being phony and the stranger conditioning will kick in. Also in your approach you do not want to appear as if pleading with someone to please let you perform. I would also add to be open to different people and learn to communicate to them. This will improve you as a human being.

If you are new to Magic, has some very good videos that will teach presentation as well as the mechanics of an effect. The also have forums where the presentation as well as the mechanics of the effects themselves can be discussed openly as long as you have purchased the respective video and discuss them in the appropriate forum. They have a bunch of good people over thier and their customer service is second to none. I had a question on Superbowl Sunday and got a reply on Superbowl Sunday from one of the staff.

I know that some people do not like Ellusionist for whatever reason, but they also disrespect the code of respecting their fellow Magicians as well.

One of best things in magic is to have someone perform right there in front of you and to connect with you. I beleive this is amplified when it happens right out of the blue, totally unexpected.

I performed for a group of teenage kids at a park yesterday and when I was block away, I could still here them reacting. One of the girls actually trembled after I gave her a double whammy by performing Here Then There followed by a vicous Two Card Monte that finished with the original two cards in the middle of the deck.

I can't get enough of the streets. I make it a point to perform at least two times a week for a total or familiar stranger.

Good Luck

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Profile of philipmac
I too say, just go for it.
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