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Regular user
Manhattan, KS
145 Posts

Profile of Catbacker
Being new to magic, I have been viewing public places from a different perspective recently. I've come up with a few ideas for places to perform.

We all know about the old standbys... bars (for those 21 and over), restaraunts, and street corners, but I have a few others.

I have a friend that owns a liquor store and have gotten his OK to perform for customers that come in. On Friday and Saturday nights there is a constant stream of customers so I can repeat tricks using different patter and routine variations. Plus there is the added bonus of attractive young ladies. Smile

With Summer coming up, I thought outside the public pool might be a good place to perform.

Our movie theater has a number of tables for people waiting for their movie to start. I thought sitting down at one and performing a few tricks might draw some spectators. Of course, you can't pass the hat. The management might frown on that.

I live in a college town, so I thought that the student union might be a good place to perform as well.

These aren't places to perform to make money. They are just places to get some practice performing in front of an audience and to get some exposure. What do you guys think? What are your ideas?

"Of course, that's just my opinion... I could be wrong." Dennis Miller
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Inner circle
St. Louis, MO
1419 Posts

Profile of MacGyver
Those are all good idea's, I have often gotten a huge crowd in the movie theater...

Be careful who you approach, if someone is late for a movie or in line for food, usually their mind is just on the food or movie...

I'd start with 1 or 2, and try to get a large crowd around you.

New movies that have a waiting line to get into the theater are the BEST places to perform (in a movie theater) because everyone is tired of waiting and just wants to see some entertainment, just make sure you end before the line starts moving!!!

Student Union is good, but be prepared for a tough cookie every now and then
Brian Proctor
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Inner circle
2324 Posts

Profile of Brian Proctor
I found out that public transportation is another great way to practice. Smile

I did it for a couple of years before I got my licence.

Notice how people are always quiet and keep to themselves on a train or bus?

Well, I would sit back and do something flashy and catch people off guard. They would want to see more or whatever. Then I would go into a routine before my stop.

I always got great responses. Just an idea for you guys. It is a great way to get exposure.

I was reading the paper on the bus months later, I found that I had been noticed. They wrote a small article about a young "bus magician" with great sleight of hand skills. I just smiled a little bit. Smile

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Regular user
117 Posts

Profile of xicepik
"I was reading the paper on the bus months later, I found that I had been noticed. They wrote a small article about a young "bus magician" with great sleight of hand skills. I just smiled a little bit."

A bus magician! Smile
Good story!

Peter Marucci
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Inner circle
5389 Posts

Profile of Peter Marucci
All great ideas!
Some really creative thinking has been done here.
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New user
50 Posts

Profile of Angus
I've found myself attacting attention practicing coin sleights while waiting to be seated at a restaraunt before. Hey, maybe that's the way to get a small gig at the restaraunt.
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Regular user
170 Posts

Profile of Socrates
Practice anywhere you can. Lately I've begun to perform my magic for the people I work with and this has led to them asking me to perform at other venues.

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Loyal user
293 Posts

Profile of BryanDreyfus
there are perfect places to work for free to get your act up to snuff.....use it to great advantage.

great posts,

Oh sure, I can spell "Antidisestablishmentarianism", but I can't type t-h-e.
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New user
burntwood, england
5 Posts

Profile of Bobm
I Practice anywhere i can, shops,restaraunts and waiting in the take away.The best way i have found to grab people's attention is when i go to pay i use a fire wallet.
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Regular user
104 Posts

Profile of Tommy1324
I still find myself doing magic at the airport where I work.A lot of the folks who work there are always asking me to perform a couple tricks,next thing you know here come the passengers.
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moscow, idaho
226 Posts

Profile of wassabi_87
The student union is a great idea, but a lot of the college students I know used to do magic or still do, so you might get some hecklers. One place is the farmers' market, and the fair. Smile
bike during the day,
do magic at night,
and very early the next morning,
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Inner circle
A.K.A David Kong
1368 Posts

Profile of redstreak
If you happen to perform for used-to-be-a-magi, if they were good, they probably won't heckle you, but if you come across someone who just learned the secrets and didn't know anything about magic...
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Inner circle
3098 Posts

Profile of rowdymagi5
The local Library can be a good one. Especially for kids shows. If you are in a big city, a lot of the larger libraries have a "daycare" like area for kids, so parents can look for books, etc., while the kids play in the childrens section. Usually they have a little stage where puppet shows take place. Great place to perform. Gets you used to performing, and kids can be fun too!
Josh the Superfluous
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The man of
1882 Posts

Profile of Josh the Superfluous
If you're looking for free work, check out support groups. I've done 2 shows for for kids with cancer and kids of cancer patients at Gilda's Club, a support group. Good people, good practice, good karma.
What do you want in a site? "Honesty, integrity and decency." -Mike Doogan
"I hate it, I hate my ironic lovechild. I didn't even have anything to do with it" Josh #2
Slim King
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Eternal Order
17500 Posts

Profile of Slim King
That's a good idea. They have a "Give Kids The World" here in Orlando. You've inspired me to practice enough to give these kids a free show or two. What are some good effects for younger kids? I just got "Wizard School" for my daughter and it looks like some of those things mught be good for youngsters.
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
Josh the Superfluous
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The man of
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Profile of Josh the Superfluous
there's a whole section here at the Café discussing kid's magic (
What do you want in a site? "Honesty, integrity and decency." -Mike Doogan
"I hate it, I hate my ironic lovechild. I didn't even have anything to do with it" Josh #2
Brad Burt
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Inner circle
2674 Posts

Profile of Brad Burt
Some GREAT ideas here. One place you might want to try is the local Abused Children Center or whatever they call it in your area. This is the place that those children go who are taken from abusive parents, etc. I've done this and it's great. Note for instance that most folks think of the kids as being small, but a lot of teens, etc. make their way there also. These groups are not always considered and will give you an audience to work with for close-up, etc.

Also, a basic magic class can also be a terrific break for these kids. It may not, at times, seem that your efforts are appreciated, but I can assure you that in most cases they are.

Brad Burt
Brad Burt
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Regular user
New Jersey
159 Posts

Profile of Dragona
I have found that if you perform for people in the hospital it lifts their spirits. And as someone who wants to go into the medical field, I have learned from doctors that happier people have more hope and will actually recover faster, and those expected to die may even live. It's weird how it happens, but it's great when somebody that has been in the hospital forever walks out a few days after you perform for them.
Smile Smile
I have the breath of dragons and the soul of a human.
Dr. Hoodwink
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New user
Eastern NC
42 Posts

Profile of Dr. Hoodwink

I have a few small ideas, concepts really, that I am working on for use here in my town after I debut my Steampunk-themed semi-sideshow act (hopefully) in October.

Perhaps, with some skill in cigar, cigarette & pipe magic, one could generate some business with a local tobacconist. As I partake in the pleasures of tobacco (at the risk of my health, mind), it is a venue that I am investigating myself.

Elsewhere in the Café, I remember reading that one magician was working with a bed & breakfast, another idea that struck me & stuck with me.

You might consider performing on your local courthouse steps, particularly at lunchtime. In my town, there is a small lunch counter across the street from the courthouse. I have reconoitered the location with the aim of performing some minor acts of jugglery & conjury there. The crowd can be in a bit of a rush, but with an effective act, I feel I can gather a small & appreciative tip.

Are you of a literary mind? Small, independent bookstores might enjoy some magical entertainment. Linking your magic to particular books & stories would likely help (Terry Pratchet's Discworld series is a favourite of mine). Mental effects like the 1089 effect would probably go over nicely. (note: I work for a large chain bookstore)

Keeping with a literary theme, you might try your local public library. Especially in this day & age of tight budgets, they are eager to find free or low-cost entertainment during the summer months. I have, in the past, worked with libraries (a pet "charity" of mine) with some degree of success.

Would your local coffee shops be open to the idea of a mage or enchantress plying their wares on the premises? Cups & Balls or the Shell Game with demitasse espresso cups & coffee beans?

Do you perform with billiard balls? If so, what about trying some poolhall magic? A recent phenomenon here in eastern NC seems to be that of smoke- & alcohol-free poolhalls. While I find the concept bewildering ;-), the audience within might be "gentler," & more open to some light magical entertainment.

Do you live in a town or city where there is interest in rejuvenating a decaying downtown district? Perhaps some street performing would assist the city fathers in providing a friendly shopping environment.

The weather is warm, now, & the populace flocks to beach & park. Get thee hence as well, but carry a small pack of magical props! In the past, I used to find some degree of success in performing on the beach or in the park, by torchlight, after supper.

If one was to pigeonhole the Hoodwink act, one would probably put me in the category of the Bizarre form of magic. As such, most of my apparatus is aged...antiqued, if you will. Local antique fairs might be an option for you, especially should your props either look antique or actually BE antique (or at least old junk).

These are just a few random selections from the Liber Thaumaturgica (my collection of notebooks). Enjoy, & good luck!

Your friend,
Jordan Piper
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Veteran user
British Columbia, Canada
309 Posts

Profile of Jordan Piper
How about local malls and fleamarkets? Or maybe even the supermarket.
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