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JJohnson
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A good magician wants to be in character.

I want to get into character.

I once saw a magician who was old, fat, disgruntled, and the center of attention at the local magician meeting. When his turn came around to show a trick he called out to a young little girl, "go get my suitcase [some endearing word here, I can't remember what though. Perhaps a nickname]." She brought him a beat up small small suitcase that had papers and gimmicks popping out through the sides; when he opened it it all burst out with anticipation. He grumbled a few words under his breath and pulled a trick out from underneath it all, then slowly proceeded to perform without changing his pace in the slightest. It was as if the girl and everything was part of his set-up.

The way he held himself and the persona he had was so entertaining I couldn't help but smile. I couldn't wait for the trick. Maybe it is just me, but when I see a magician pull out a silver case with expanding sides and organized compartments it feels.... artificial. Bought. Plastic.

Now I'm not saying you can't pull this off, different performers have different styles, yeah? But I'm wondering if there is someone like me who would rather have an old beat-up vintage case. Or maybe someone who does street performances and has a gimmicked back-pack. I want to know how your equipment matches your personality... please do tell! I want to be a good performer and I must know how all these puzzle pieces fit together. Tell your secret! Heh, heh.

JJohnson.
TheAmbitiousCard
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I think most performers that perform regularly do what you're saying. I've bought several vintage suitcases/bags off ebay for that very reason. Some I use. Some I hope to use. Some I toss in the garbage.

I know a lot of performers that have the metal cases with dividers but those cases are usually left in a back room, in the car, or out of sight during their performances. They seem to know better.

The places where these unsightly cases are worshiped and put on display for hopeful ooh's and aah's seem to be at the magic club gatherings and lectures. There, some magicians hold, caress, show off, and even rub their metal prop cases with a diaper to keep them nice and shiny.

I think you're wise to notice what you did and to do something about it.
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JJohnson
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Quote:
I think you're wise to notice what you did and to do something about it.

Thank you! I over think everything in this life, it seems doing something about it is the hard part.

Quote:
The places where these unsightly cases are worshiped and put on display for hopeful ooh's and aah's seem to be at the magic club gatherings and lectures. There, some magicians hold, caress, show off, and even rub their metal prop cases with a diaper to keep them nice and shiny.

Ahh... there is the catch, eh? Magicians with other magicians.

I think magicians that let their personality mandate what they do and how they perform are inevitably more entertaining than those that let their tricks mandate their personality. I'm in a bit of an identity crisis lately and I'm changing up my personal wardrobe, and it seems I'm simultaneously changing up my magic. Is this normal for anyone or do you dress up and feel like your stepping into character for a show?

JJohnson.
David Thiel
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I use a deliberately battered suitcase in my shows. It works.

I can't imagine something wonderful popping out of a sterile plastic...thing.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


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JJohnson
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Hahaha... Good to hear I'm not the only one!

Now... to find a suitcase I can deliberately batter.


JJohnson.
wjkrysak
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I found mine at a yard sale years ago. A battered, brown pebble finish leather suitcase. I like the distinctive "click" when I open the latches. At one time, I had considered repair, but felt it had more character with worn edges.
These may be harder to find, as more luggage is now canvas material. Try thrift shops, yard sales, Goodwill, etc. Wish the best. Enjoy sharing your magic. cheaha bill
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gaddy
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Generally, the moment a magician starts digging thru his case to get the next series of props is the weakest point in the show. a clever magician can take this moment and turn it into pure comic, or even dramatic, gold with some careful consideration...

As to the nature of the case itself, well... To each his own!
*due to The Magic Cafe's editorial policies, words on this site attributed to me cannot necessarily be held to be my own.*
JJohnson
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Hmmm...

Anyone think it is best not to have a bag/case at all? That because a magician produces things... seemingly out of no where it is more magical? Too bad top hats aren't really in style (I mean, you can't wear one without looking costumed).



JJohnson
Bob Sanders
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The bag is a costume too. What is appropriate in one place is not appropriate in another.

There is no bag for my stage shows.

For sales meetings and some corporate shows a metal brief case is used.

For Some closeup work I have a leather doctor's bag.

They are all props too!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander

PS --- Ever thought of using a violin case?
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

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rsylvester
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Quote:
On 2011-03-06 19:34, Bob Sanders wrote:
... Ever thought of using a violin case?


Excellent, Bob.

I saw Harry Anderson in a D.C. nightclub and he used what looked like a vintage carpet bag.

The doctor's case is a good idea, too.

I have an old leather briefcase, circa 1966. Kind of like this.

It belonged to my dad, when he was working in an office in the 1960s, and I nabbed it after he retired. It has the funky look and has folders in the lid to help keeps things organized, so if you don't jam it full, you can pull things out without having to dig through it and slow up the pace of the show.

Add a couple of comic props like the appearing pencil or appearing pole and the bag becomes magical, too. Remember "Mary Poppins?" Does anyone make an appearing coat rack?
TheAmbitiousCard
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I bought a violin case several years ago. I keep a 20 minute act in it ready to go but honestly have never taken it out and used it.

I've had a lot of my cases altered with several things on the inside.
dividers, velcro-friendly do-dahs, etc. All professionally done at our shop.

That way there's a spot for everything so you can tell if you're show's ready to go or what's missing.

Keeps things organized, etc. Nobody sees the inside. Next project is to do that to an old leather suitcase.
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epoptika
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If you have an extra several hundred dollars laying about there are some nice looking bags here;

http://www.saddlebackleather.com/
General_Magician
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Quote:
On 2011-02-19 06:26, JJohnson wrote:
A good magician wants to be in character.

I want to get into character.

I once saw a magician who was old, fat, disgruntled, and the center of attention at the local magician meeting. When his turn came around to show a trick he called out to a young little girl, "go get my suitcase [some endearing word here, I can't remember what though. Perhaps a nickname]." She brought him a beat up small small suitcase that had papers and gimmicks popping out through the sides; when he opened it it all burst out with anticipation. He grumbled a few words under his breath and pulled a trick out from underneath it all, then slowly proceeded to perform without changing his pace in the slightest. It was as if the girl and everything was part of his set-up.

The way he held himself and the persona he had was so entertaining I couldn't help but smile. I couldn't wait for the trick. Maybe it is just me, but when I see a magician pull out a silver case with expanding sides and organized compartments it feels.... artificial. Bought. Plastic.

Now I'm not saying you can't pull this off, different performers have different styles, yeah? But I'm wondering if there is someone like me who would rather have an old beat-up vintage case. Or maybe someone who does street performances and has a gimmicked back-pack. I want to know how your equipment matches your personality... please do tell! I want to be a good performer and I must know how all these puzzle pieces fit together. Tell your secret! Heh, heh.

JJohnson.


I have always felt that the secret to being a good performer is not really "performing" but sharing a moment with others and simply being yourself. I like to look professional when I perform (as in dress like a professional) but I don't wear some kind of costume or "play a character" I just merely be myself, crack a joke or two when I can...and share a moment with a magic trick (ie effect). Tarbell once wrote in his book that the world wants you to be yourself.
"Never fear shadows. They simply mean there is a light shining somewhere nearby." -unknown

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Mike Maturen
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Quote:
On 2011-04-13 00:23, General_Magician wrote:
Quote:
On 2011-02-19 06:26, JJohnson wrote:
A good magician wants to be in character.

I want to get into character.

I once saw a magician who was old, fat, disgruntled, and the center of attention at the local magician meeting. When his turn came around to show a trick he called out to a young little girl, "go get my suitcase [some endearing word here, I can't remember what though. Perhaps a nickname]." She brought him a beat up small small suitcase that had papers and gimmicks popping out through the sides; when he opened it it all burst out with anticipation. He grumbled a few words under his breath and pulled a trick out from underneath it all, then slowly proceeded to perform without changing his pace in the slightest. It was as if the girl and everything was part of his set-up.

The way he held himself and the persona he had was so entertaining I couldn't help but smile. I couldn't wait for the trick. Maybe it is just me, but when I see a magician pull out a silver case with expanding sides and organized compartments it feels.... artificial. Bought. Plastic.

Now I'm not saying you can't pull this off, different performers have different styles, yeah? But I'm wondering if there is someone like me who would rather have an old beat-up vintage case. Or maybe someone who does street performances and has a gimmicked back-pack. I want to know how your equipment matches your personality... please do tell! I want to be a good performer and I must know how all these puzzle pieces fit together. Tell your secret! Heh, heh.

JJohnson.


I have always felt that the secret to being a good performer is not really "performing" but sharing a moment with others and simply being yourself. I like to look professional when I perform (as in dress like a professional) but I don't wear some kind of costume or "play a character" I just merely be myself, crack a joke or two when I can...and share a moment with a magic trick (ie effect). Tarbell once wrote in his book that the world wants you to be yourself.


I tend to agree...when it comes to personality...but costuming is all a part of the performance. When I perform, I usually wear Tux pants and a red "pirate" shirt (see my profile pic). I will, at some point, change into a white tux shirt. To close my show, I genrally add the bow tie and jacket.

This allows me to have three different "moods" in my show, and follows a natural progression. Personality-wise, I am "me".

However, I am in the process of designing and building a large-illusion stage show. I am going to modernize my attire a bit...but it will still be more than "street closthes".

Bags are the same way. If you use one (I don't) it must fit the rest of the show.

If you are looking for a well-weathered looking bag, go to your local St. Vincent dePaul store or Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. They tend to throw the beat up looking bags out, so you might want to have a chat with a manager and tell them what you are looking for.

This is also a great place to buy props. You can find all sorts of glassware (veses, goblets, etc).
Mike Maturen
World of Wonder Entertainment
The Magic and Mayhem of Mike Maturen
989-335-1661
mikematuren@gmail.com

AUTHOR OF "A NEW DAWN--Weekly Wisdom From Everyday Life"

member: International Magician's Society
Alexander Wells
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[quote]On 2011-02-20 02:41, JJohnson wrote:
I over think everything in this life,
[quote]You're in the right line of work then!

Quote:
I'm in a bit of an identity crisis lately and I'm changing up my personal wardrobe, and it seems I'm simultaneously changing up my magic. Is this normal for anyone or do you dress up and feel like your stepping into character for a show?

JJohnson.


I found this happened to me when my character developed. My offsatge personality and wardrobe started drifting towards my onstage persona. They have almost met somewhere in the middle....
P.Synenberg
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Quote:
On 2011-03-03 12:31, David Thiel wrote:
I use a deliberately battered suitcase in my shows. It works.

I can't imagine something wonderful popping out of a sterile plastic...thing.

David


I second this motion. However, I haven't thought of buying an old bag or suitcase from ebay. I'm headed there now.
-P.J. Synenberg
Merry_Magician101
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Hi, I am a guy who's looking for a cheap magic case. its gotta be cheap because I don't got allot of money and I don't have to give that much shows.
i'am pretty joung (13years) and I cant get allot of money. but I do wanna hevae a good closeup case beacouse i'am doing some close up shows.
Greetz Merry
I'am from Belgium so my English i'snt that good
Iam sorry for that
KeithP
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At your age I used to check out thrift stores like Salvation Army outlets for cheap cases. Also check out every yard sale in your bicyling area.

Keith
David Eichler
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Durham, ME
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Quote:
On 2011-03-20 00:37, epoptika wrote:
If you have an extra several hundred dollars laying about there are some nice looking bags here;

http://www.saddlebackleather.com/


The Saddleback Leather quality is amazing! These bags get better and better with age. If you want to find a good deal, watch on eBay for folks who are parting with theirs for one reason or another.
dandydimartino
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I always had plans to buy a new shiny travel case. Then I pull out the old hardside from e-bay and the jokes start flowing. As a comic magig performer I love the old tries and true that the original poster described. For my short set stage shows I usa an old music case. I do not know what instrument it originally held but an aunt gave it to me in '71 when I did my first big school play. It is wood with black pebbled leather covering and the interior is padded black velvet. Some cheap rubber stick -on letters and a star on the lid and I am feeling cheap and ready to go. I guess it depends mostely on your character, but the look is a good part of the act and the case is a good part of the look.
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