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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Know the Culture when you touch Assistants! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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DarryltheWizard
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We all shake a hand with a helper from the audience and think nothing of it.

When you get a helper from the audience treat him or her with respect. At one of our ring meetings an older lady got a young male teenager up and did the Twentieth Century Jockey Shorts effect on him. She didn't let him stuff the silks down his pants, but did it herself. The poor kid died with embarrassment and never came back to any of our ring meetings.

In my own show, I turn a girl or boy into a rabbit, using a banner. I put ears on them and secretly attach a fluffy tail to their backside; however, I've raised the height of the tail to the sacral vertebra.

Now it doesn't matter if it's a boy or girl. People are so conscious about inappropriate touching today you have to cover all the bases.

In some cultures, it is very inappropriate to touch a person, male or female on the head for religious reasons. This is true in Thailand where the people are quite shy and do not feel comfortable doing all the things magicians normally have assistants do.

Think of all the times you've touched a helper. Did it embarrass them or show respect for them? Think about it. Research the group or culture you are performing for and relate your gags, jokes, situational comedy to their cultural backgrounds, their business, etc. and you will create a lasting impression with your magic.

Darryl the Wizard Smile
DarryltheWizard
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Peter Marucci
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Unfortunately, too many magicians today create a lasting impression -- of the wrong kind!
Much of this is due to the very cultural insensitivity that Darryl refers to, above.
It's hard to believe, but magicians are still doing the Chinese Laundry Ticket trick ("punch" line: "No tickee, no shirtee".)
As Gene Poinc has pointed out several times, you still see advertised the Buddha Tubes production device, which offends millions world-wide.
A major name in magic still does a "mock Italian act", complete with the worst Italian accent you have ever heard; it is something that is almost as offensive to me as a minstrel show would be to an African-American!
The list goes on and on.
Isn't it about time that we looked over our material in a new light?
And I don't mean the current nonsensical "politically correct" repressiveness.
I mean basic common sense, common courtesy, and common decency.
cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com
craig fothers
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In Australia... the advice to all the teachers about touching kids is 'don't'.

It's a sad thing I guess... but perhaps this is one of those relationships that really has been wrecked by some terrible actions that have and I guess still do, happen.

Darryl is dead right when he says that people are conscious of inapropriate touching and I reckon that we need to be really conscious of it too!
mr.t.ricks
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Hi everyone, as a clown, I find this thing about touching can be a nightmare, as most kids love us clowns. The first thing they want to do when they see us is give us a big hug, this is fine when their parents are there but if they come running up to you there's very little you can do about it,
after all the kids think it's great to give a clown a hug. They don't yet understand
that there my be a mery Whitehouse looking and thinking all the wrong thoughts.

There are parents that say give the clown a hug or a kiss, that's fine but I still say ok and give them my cheek and if they want a hug I let them hug me, I don't hug them, if you see what I mean.

If the child is there and wants to give me a hug and their parents are not there, I say
give my arm a hug it has not had one all day, they are normally fine with this.

It's a shame that you have to be so careful these days, the action of a few may one day lead to a total ban, or having to perform inside a barrier where the kid can't get to you.

This will be a sad day, not just for the entertainers that love performing for kids but for the kids as well.

regards
mr.t.ricks
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regards to all

MR.T.RICKS
John Zander
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Any magician who does a 20th century shorts trick to a child has no business performing.
Thank you,



John Zander







***************************

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John Zander

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professorpopcorn
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Quote:
On 2002-06-02 20:17, mr.t.ricks wrote:
If the child is there and wants to give me a hug and their parents are not there, I say
give my arm a hug it has not had one all day, they are normally fine with this.

mr.t.ricks


Hey what about that, I've been visiting this board for one whole day and already I've got an ideal solution to a long term problem.

The subject of children wanting to 'give the clown a hug' has cropped up many times over the years. Now thanks mr.t.ricks for the answer.

I agree it really is a shame that we have to keep our young assistants at arms length these days but it's far better to err on the side of caution. Smile
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mslj
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A really important debate!

Firstly, always have the parent(s) or the booker in the performance 'room' with you.
A quick glance at them when a young person wants a hug will usually give you the answer. It seems a common sense point, however, I have had many occasionsal when the parent of the child seems to vanish as soon as I go on. So before the show a quick word with them regarding their attendence is a wise move.

There is a move today that seems to suggest that any physical contact should be avoided. My main point is that the avoidance of physical contact such as a hug is as inappropriate as are the other extremes.
A child that wants a hug wants to express their thanks to you, their affection, their warmth. To block that is a possible source of damage to their developing sense of self.

Peter's suggestion of common sense seems to be on the botton.
Bird Brain
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Quote:
On 2002-06-04 11:28, John Zander wrote:
Any magician who does a 20th century shorts trick to a child has no business performing.


John, I agree with you! The only trouble is....I just bought the "20th Century Shorts" effect. If need be, I will NOT use it in my kids shows. However, I was wondering what everyone's opinion was on a proper way to present this effect for kids. I THINK this relates to the thread....Rather, I hope! Lol!

When I was younger, a magician did the "20th Century Shorts" on me, but he never came NEAR my pocket. I absolutely loved it! That's the main reason that I got the effect! I have good memories of it.

So, do y'all think the "proper" way to do the effect would be for me to put the silks in MY pocket, and pull 'em myself, all the while pattering funny (but not trashy) stuff? I understand that one has to be careful, but I ALSO remember being a kid, and loving that kind of humor! Heck, I still do! LOL!

Thoughts, anyone?

5150,
Bird Brain
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Peter Marucci
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Bird,
I have done the 20th Century Shorts (as the close of my part of a stage-show act) and I did it on (to?) myself.
The first silk vanishes and I pull the other two from my waistband (I have looked around and found no table so, apparently, that was the best place for them).
When they come out, they have a pair of shorts between.
I looked shocked and dash off the stage to a blackout.
End of my portion of the show.
To do this to someone else, especially an audience volunteer, is to invite disaster! (Or a punch in the mouth!)
cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com
Bird Brain
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Thanks, Peter!

I think I'll take out my own shorts, and avoid the punch in the mouth! Smile

5150,
Bird Brain
PS. To get back to the thread, I DO think that one has to very careful these days with the kids shows, or any shows, for that matter. It's a good thing to keep in mind.
Yes I know my enemies
They're the teachers who taught me to fight me
Compromise, conformity, assimilation, submission
Ignorance, hypocrisy, brutality, the elite
All of which are American Dreams, All of which are American Dreams
mr.t.ricks
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Hi professorpopcorn,
I'm glad you got some useful info from the Café site. I have always used the arm hug and when I work with the very youg kids, I always sit down to do my show, this is better, if they want a hug, you can hold your arm out-streched.

When the grown-ups ask, why did you sit down I don't tell them, it's so I am the same hight as the kids when thay stand up, I say cus I'm lazy, this gets a smile most of the time.

regards to all
mr.t.ricks Smile Smile
regards to all

MR.T.RICKS
Cheshire Cat
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If I can catch up on this year's topics and bring this back to the top of the list again please (hope I'm not posting too much too quickly!)

Children are naturally tactile creatures, they want to touch you, give the odd hug and hold hands. Fair enough! But you must protect yourselves. House-parties must have another adult present in the room at all times. Venue parties tend to be much easier.

Our customers know we are 'family' people - this helps a bit. But just imagine having your whole business ruined by some false or malicious allegation made against you!

I feel also that it is the duty of entertainers to police the business. In the 1980s we were aware of someone advertising as an entertainer and exhibiting strange behaviour towards the children and parents (who let's face it are SO trusting).

A bit of research in the City library on the microfiche records (as they were then) revealed he had been in Court for indecently assaulting a boy in the 1970s. The organisation called Childline in Britain seemed uninterested, in fact the only people who took the matter seriously were Yellow Pages Legal Dept. who put a ban on this guy's advertising. He then retreated to newspaper ads. until these also were subsequently refused. He then disappeared from the locality - who knows where? he could still be working with people's children somewhere!

We would advise touching children by: holding hands/hands on shoulders to position them/a stroke on the back of the neck. We avoid sitting on knee/picking up situations etc. If you need to protect props. from a naughty child then grab their arm and steer away - bearing in mind to use minimal grip as God forbid if some hyperactive horror went home with a bruise and said "the entertainer did it"! Smile

PS: Have you had any 'undesirable' entertainers in your location?
Adam V
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Not in that way, but I know a man who is a top notch close up performer. He was asked to do a children's party but said he doesn't do them. He had a business card for a guy he knew did them. He had never actually seen him perform, but thought it should be safe enough. The day after the party he got a phone call from the mother saying "I don't want anything to do with him or you ever again."

To this day I don't know what he did. I think he was just really, really bad.
Adam V - 9 out of 10 dentists recommend him.
DanTheMagicMan
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Another sticky issue is with "stickers" (sorry for the pun). But seriously, I give out stickers and kids want me to put them on their shirts. I do not put stickers on the front of shirts (girls and boys). I instead give them the sticker for them to put on themselves or I put the sticker on their hand or arm.
Dan The Magic Man
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Alan Munro
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People are shocked by the behavior of some magicians for a reason. Two magicians from my area are in Jackson Prison, for good reason, as I speak. The trouble is that the authorities won't keep them locked-up forever, when they should be.
Cheshire Cat
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Do most other workers, i.e. nursery nurses, teachers etc. have to be screened in your States Alan and Dan prior to being employed? Here in UK they have to be. But anyone can set up as an entertainer - same with private music teachers etc. and work with kids without being screened. You used to be able to pay here to voluntarily be investigated, then they'd issue you with a document. Without mentioning any names Alan, what did they do? Smile
DanTheMagicMan
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Ace: I think requiring screening for child workers would vary from state to state, however, most do in order to prevent future lawsuits. A friend of mine told me about a pre-school at his former church that was closed down due to an incident involving an unscreened teacher. The church was sued by parents for not screening the teacher. A child was harmed, a teacher is in jail, a church was sued and a school was closed down. A lot of grief and sadness can occur by the actions of just one individual.
Dan The Magic Man
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Cheshire Cat
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Just thought I'd bring this thread back and put it beside the Blackpool 2003 one.

Smile
Schaden
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Now i know why Michal Jackson wants to become a magician. Hahahah, no i think you are right and it is kind of bad. I don't use ladies for the 20th bra trick, i use men for a funnier reaction. I think Kevin James has a trick where you have a kid in a jacket and pretent to be his arms. When i saw it, i thought it was painful to watch because he was wrapped around a kid. I don't think putting a sticker on a kids shirt is bad, you just have to be careful.

Lee
kenscott
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Lee I do the trick you are talking about I make them and sale them and so does Kevin James and it has been in my show for over 10years and it KILLS. It is MY FAR the most requested routine that i do.

Best,
Ken
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