The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » 4 Greatest MYTHS of Street Performing (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
Stperformer
View Profile
Loyal user
289 Posts

Profile of Stperformer
A lot of advice out there, with good attentions, but ultimately, from my experience,......somewhat erroneous.
Following is three pieces of advice that I see posted over and over that I believe are more wrong than right.

1. MYTH."Dress down".... If you look like you don't need the money, you won't get it.

TRUTH....Dress like a bum, make money like a bum. Dress like a pro, make money like a pro.
Lets put this in perspective. Claudi Schiffer looks great in old jeans and a t-shirt. You don't!
People donate/tip to people performers they like and performers they feel are professional. If you look successful they will be more inclined to tip accordingly. Now I'm not talking tuxedo or three piece suit. But put some thought and effort into it and look presentable.
If people really tipped because you needed the money, the homeless guy sitting at the corner with his hand out would have fatter hats than you

2. MYTH. "Props and Magic, your props and magic don't count....it's the presentation that matters"

TRUTH....Props and magic do matter! All of the really excellent street performers I know, when they first hit the streets, had an excellent grasp of magic and sleight of hand. It blows me away when I see someone on the street with very limited skills, who has quit his job, and decided to become a full-time busker. They inevidabily fail. I really don't think you can become a magician in a few months, even with all those self-working tricks.
And as for props. Good grief, yes you can make a table for under $50 and use plastic cups,...and your audience will judge you as a dollar store magician.

3. MYTH. "Just Get Out There and DO IT."......You'll learn more in 1 week on the street than a year practicing.

Truth...if you suck now, you'll really really suck on the street. Preparation. If you've never performed in public, take a public speaking course if you can. Or take acting. And practice a few tricks til you have them down cold. Then hit the streets and yes you may still fall flat but at least you'll have an idea what went wrong, persevere and fix it.

4. MYTH. "Don't do 3 card Monte on the street. You'll get busted"

Truth....I have done the monte for years on the street, both sides of the pond, and have never, never arrested for it. Now I have been warned, lectured, shut down over it, and rarely at that, but never arrested. On a sidenote, I've had far more problems with other buskers than police.
Now there may be places that it's happened and maybe I've been lucky, but most people I see giving this advice have never actually been there, done that.

So there. Disagree or Agree? Fire away.
HerbLarry
View Profile
Special user
Poof!
731 Posts

Profile of HerbLarry
1. Disagree
I don't look like a slob but perform flip-flops/barefoot weather allowing. Shoes make the man? I wear scrub pants and a white T. Coat was donated. Hat is most expensive item in show $70. Clothing should fit you and character whatever that entails. Some panhandlers do make more than you. They may put in more hours but daily take can surpass a busker.

2. Disagree to a point
Table? Cost me about $5, seriously. Gift of keyboard stand, top rescued, covered with found material, mat self made from found material. $5 was for material needed to secure top to stand and needle & thread.
Wand? $0 Self made. Thank you tree.
Rope? Hanks of 50' for $1 Scissors? $1 Both from dollar store.
Cards I use in show $10
#1 closer-Cups & loads at time of purchase, copper $45.
#2 closer-1 Cup routine cup $1 from second hand shop. Balls? All balls for 3 cups and 1 cup routines self made for total of $3
#3-closer is regular deck of cards & a paper bag. Bags come from local burger place $0 Special item I got free, you could have made at a Kinko for $5-$10.
Beginning & middle are auto-reset...3 closers so I can do 3 sets non stop.
Skill is required but people liking you and having a good time regardless of what you perform is paramount to profit. What you paid for props is irrelevant to entertainment. Cost can matter as to life and functionality of prop.

3. Highly disagree.
Theorize and plan all you want, till you get out and put in action all this thought & planning, you have no earthly idea how it will play or function. Time, location, crowd can change what is happening in a heartbeat. This I have found to be consistently true.

4. Agree
My middle is my own version of 3 Card Monte. No doubt in any ones mind that there is no chance of money changing hands. Spectator is only asked once at the end of routine where they think winning card is and they have no chance of being incorrect.
You know why don't act naive.
wackyvorlon
View Profile
New user
Sarnia, ON, Canada
72 Posts

Profile of wackyvorlon
Thanks for the advice! Have you ever had trouble with angles? It's kind of hard to control where the audience is.
TheGiz
View Profile
Veteran user
335 Posts

Profile of TheGiz
Totally agree. I see a lot of advice from non performers that SOUNDS good, but just isn't true. You can spot the real guys from the
wanna bees. There are just some dynamics that you don't KNOW till you get out there. Speculators really only give opinions, not
advice from experience. Some of the posts just don't work in the real world.
-Giz
http://blackbeltmagician.com

"And it's a good thing I only use my power for good!!!"
JoeJoe
View Profile
Inner circle
Myrtle Beach
1910 Posts

Profile of JoeJoe
Quote:
1. MYTH."Dress down".... If you look like you don't need the money, you won't get it.

It does not matter if you are dressed up or down ... what matters is that you have a contrasting color scheme. My favorite is white/black ... white, all colors of the rainbow ... black, no colors ... the highest contract possible.

ie: wearing a white shirt with a black dancing cane. This way the cane stands out the most. I don't need a fancy costume, I just need one that my props will stand out against.
Quote:
2. MYTH. "Props and Magic, your props and magic don't count....it's the presentation that matters"

See point #1 ... having the best looking most expensive prop in the world is going to be useless if nobody can see it. Yet, my $2.50 dancing cane will stop just about anyone dead in their tracks.
Quote:
3. MYTH. "Just Get Out There and DO IT."......You'll learn more in 1 week on the street than a year practicing.

There is no substitute for experience. The first time a little girl says "it's in your other hand" will be the last time you make that mistake. The sooner you execute your plan, the sooner you will see ways to improve it.
Quote:
4. MYTH. "Don't do 3 card Monte on the street. You'll get busted"

I once knew a cop and his favorite routine was "sidewalk shuffle". It's not "what" you do ... it's "how" you do it. The trick to doing gambling routines on the street is to NEVER ask your audience where the pea/ball/queen is. Turn it into a "story", and then tell the story.

-JoeJoe
Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazingJoeJoe]
The Burnaby Kid
View Profile
Inner circle
St. John's, Canada
3065 Posts

Profile of The Burnaby Kid
Quote:
On 2011-04-17 22:56, JoeJoe wrote:
I once knew a cop and his favorite routine was "sidewalk shuffle". It's not "what" you do ... it's "how" you do it. The trick to doing gambling routines on the street is to NEVER ask your audience where the pea/ball/queen is. Turn it into a "story", and then tell the story.


That's a safe way to make sure that you don't get in trouble for hustling people. However, you don't really need to worry about that unless there's money in hand. I'm doing it right now, I've got people guessing and betting on cards, but they're doing it with poker chips that I'm supplying to them for free (thanks Mr. Sheets!). It's not expensive to get a bunch, and some people like them as giveaways. Stories are alright, and they do have their place, but people do enjoy witnessing the game being played live.

The bigger worries I've had are the following...

(a) Getting the first person to stop. It's hard enough to convince that first person to stop for a regular magic show. If you've got the monte cards out and people don't know who you are, it's a bit tricky to convince somebody to willfully be the first sucker, which is how many of them will see it. Now, if somebody ELSE is playing, they'll be happy to watch them lose their cash, which is how you can start to build.

(b) Wind, I'd argue, is your greatest nemesis if you're throwing monte. You can fight this a bit by asking any stragglers to come close to the table and act like a wind shield around it, but it means you're starting small and bunched up.

(c) Choosing the right person to participate. If you play it straight up, every now and then you'll get somebody who wants to walk off immediately after losing a round. In the end, you want them to feel like it's a magic show (or similar), and that there's more to come. You can tell frequently by looking at them if they're there to have a good time in general or if they're just interested in that game.

(d) Transitioning into something bigger. If you've got something with a big climax (and monte can give you that with the bent corner or whatnot), it's hard to fight people's urge to leave after that moment, especially because it's such a punch to the gut. That whole "Ohhhh!" reaction is one that can drive certain people away if you're not careful. I've learned (thanks to a tip from Travis Bernhardt) to get the next trick on the table and ready to go within a couple of seconds.

That's it for now. I'm still new at this game myself, but I've already had some success using monte to lead into a close-up street set.
A screed for scams, sorcery, and other shenanigans... Nu Way Magick Blogge

JACK, the Jolly Almanac of Card Knavery, a free card magic resource for beginners.
Rotten
View Profile
Special user
833 Posts

Profile of Rotten
Your D is why I cut it from my show. It wowed people so much a few would walk off. Stunned. AND I had to talk too much. My routine is yappy but effective. They really did like it. They better I have been doing it for almost 25 years. People LOVE seeing it if they know money isn't on the table. They have heard about it, seen it in movies but few have seen it live. It's a great piece of street theater.
HerbLarry
View Profile
Special user
Poof!
731 Posts

Profile of HerbLarry
Quote:
(d) Transitioning into something bigger. If you've got something with a big climax (and monte can give you that with the bent corner or whatnot), it's hard to fight people's urge to leave after that moment, especially because it's such a punch to the gut. That whole "Ohhhh!" reaction is one that can drive certain people away if you're not careful. I've learned (thanks to a tip from Travis Bernhardt) to get the next trick on the table and ready to go within a couple of seconds.

If you get that great a reaction close with it?
You know why don't act naive.
The Burnaby Kid
View Profile
Inner circle
St. John's, Canada
3065 Posts

Profile of The Burnaby Kid
Ha! Never even occurred to me. Funny...

Still, there's a few reasons why I'm shy of doing that. It's a bit small crowd-wise, a bit weak magic-wise, and it's essentially a challenge trick that ends in spec failure. Plus, I'm not so sure I want there to be actual money on the table after ostensibly doing a scam demo -- might make it look less like a demo.
A screed for scams, sorcery, and other shenanigans... Nu Way Magick Blogge

JACK, the Jolly Almanac of Card Knavery, a free card magic resource for beginners.
HerbLarry
View Profile
Special user
Poof!
731 Posts

Profile of HerbLarry
You could build more crowd before you close.
Weak magic wise doesn't matter, crowd entertainment matters and it sounds like it's going over well.
Could you structure to ease the sting of failure? Again even with the sting it sounds like it's playing well.
The money is in the hat not on the table. Smile

Not trying to twist your arm Andrew, a 3 Card Monte is my solid middle. This is something I think we that care about our magic fall victim to, the "it's weak magic" deal. If they're entertained and part with hard earned cash we done good, period. A lesson for us all. If Magicians saw my Cups they would scream "Heretic!" but the public eats it up.
You know why don't act naive.
The Burnaby Kid
View Profile
Inner circle
St. John's, Canada
3065 Posts

Profile of The Burnaby Kid
Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm going to keep using it as well. I just had side-flaps made up for my table to deal with the wind problem. I just can't envision it as my closer.
A screed for scams, sorcery, and other shenanigans... Nu Way Magick Blogge

JACK, the Jolly Almanac of Card Knavery, a free card magic resource for beginners.
HerbLarry
View Profile
Special user
Poof!
731 Posts

Profile of HerbLarry
Post how those flaps work out. Inquiring minds want to know.
You know why don't act naive.
The Burnaby Kid
View Profile
Inner circle
St. John's, Canada
3065 Posts

Profile of The Burnaby Kid
Will do.

Sorry if I've taken focus off the initial post, stperformer!
A screed for scams, sorcery, and other shenanigans... Nu Way Magick Blogge

JACK, the Jolly Almanac of Card Knavery, a free card magic resource for beginners.
Stperformer
View Profile
Loyal user
289 Posts

Profile of Stperformer
Heya Andrew, no worries.
Of interest to you, I actually closed my show with the monte for a couple years. It worked swell. Packed small, played big. The last phase was actually a card (signed Q)to impossible place. I used it mostly when travelling and wanted absolute minimum of gear. My table folded up into my backpack so it was great that way. I now use a much shorter version sometimes at the beginning to build.

As for the initial post, it's funny that we all seem to agree on the Monte.(thats good) As for the other points/myths, nothings etched in stone as everyones situation differs. However the observations (and my humble opinions only) comes from many many many years performing, in many many many places for hats. So what I'm saying is not off the top of head but rather hard learned lessons Smile
Rotten
View Profile
Special user
833 Posts

Profile of Rotten
I don't mind admitting I'm new to the busking community, not even sure if am I a part of it but I'm doing it.

I have never studied the art of busking till now. I have owned and read the book "Passing the Hat" since I was 15. It's more of a biography than a how to. Good read though. But I have never studied buskers. I have enjoyed them along with the audience and was always amazed at the guts it took. I have probably seen just a little more buskers than the average person but not by much. So this is what I have learned, from a newbie point of view who has been around the block.

Dress down: Well I have certainly dressed down from where I started. And my nice stage show shoes have quickly lost their polish. The toes are pretty scuffed from doing pirouettes on the street. It was while juggling not ballet. I am more comfortable so the crowd is. Still look like a performer though.

Props: On stage I use a very flashy devil stick. Doesn't look right to me on the street so I am using a unfinished stick of wood that makes a very pleasent sound. Looks natural. Fits in. I also started with a big rig that I use at theme parks. Tuned that down to three plastic milk crates and it works great. Still looks like I'm a performer.

I have to agree on three. If it hadn't been for my past experience I would have failed. Sad thing is some people don't know they are failing. I had a few discouraging shows myself at first and I'm sure I'll have a few more down the road. I kept at it, planning at day and performing at night. And I studied others and looked at what they were doing. I was laid off a while back so I have plenty of time to think and plan and then execute. Repeat. Like a performer.

Already gave my two on the three monte. Great trick but it does leave people with a "oh, so that's what it looks like but I have no idea how it's done." I would bet that with the right kicker a guy could make it a great piece. Not me, yet.

In the short time I have been envolved I have come to learn that there are different views on the art of busking that's very similar to the "show business" line of thought. Is it about the show or the business. I think it's both. The art and the tip. One has a hard time feeding without the other.

So I'll keep going out and doing what I know and learning what I can. I stand on the shoulders of giants.
DanielMooncalf
View Profile
Regular user
Kansas City
113 Posts

Profile of DanielMooncalf
Are you just bored and trying to start a variety of debates? Have you seen how Kozmo dresses? He's not dressed like a corporate entertainer; or some tux-wearing dove ******.

You're a purist. We get that, but trying to tell someone... someone who will out-earn you several fold that they shouldn't dress down, and to cut all the humor out of their act is just going to get you dismissed.
Bobby Maverick
View Profile
Loyal user
252 Posts

Profile of Bobby Maverick
1. Dress- How ever you want too. Trust me in the log run it doesn't matter. BUT, be clean, look clean, smell clean. Be Groomed. I once had a guy tell me that t-shirts are underwear because I was wearing a t-shirt. He had on a sport jacket and button up shirt and long pants. It was 85 degree. He was was sweaty and looked miserable. I felt great, was comfortable and had five more shirts in my bag for the day. Oh, he was was having trouble getting shows off. I think it was due to his misery...LOL! Think FUNCTION, then think form...

2. Props- Have the best props you can afford. Sure it looks good, but in truth it's what you do with them anyway. Devil's advocate here, say you have the most wonderful props but you stink...the guy up the street has terrible props but he's knocking shows out like they're free and making folks happy and making a ****ton of money. I think you should trade props. Smile

3. Get out and do it- Yep well youre kinda right on this, Perfect practice makes perfect. I think the main point should be that when you first start out, be willing to stink, BUT more importantly be willing to LEARN from your mistakes and CHANGE what you are doing. Then again I have seen some pretty terrible acts get all kind of recognition from folks right here on the Magic Café. Heck, some even give advice... Smile

4. Three Card Monte- There's a hundred reasons why this is a bad idea and good idea. BUT lets take into consideration here one very important thing. WHERE are you fellas doin this? I bet it isn't on an actual street somewhere, or if it is, it's at a fest or something or in a very sanitized area. I say this because if you throw the broads in New Orleans you are going to jail or you're gonna get shot. don't give me all these bs excuses like "well, I do it in a fun way, and I'm teaching the audience about how not to play the game" because that's the EXACT reason you're gonna get shot. Ya dummy. I have seen Bob Sheets do his shell routine on the "street" but I can promise you that Bob knew where he was doing it was a sanitized area where there wasnt a REAL monte gang working around the corner. Scenario- Cop walks by and see's wat youre doin, breaks up the show and asks you questions. Were you making money then? Nope. One of the Monte boys walks by and watches your show, hears ya telling people how HIS scam works and taking bread out his mouth. Think that's profitable?

Posted: May 5, 2011 9:53am
The funny thing about Street Performing is it tends to happen on the street...too bad most arent familiar with what the actual street is like. There's a flow to it. It has rules. Growing up the way I did I just know the rules. If I were a lot of you I would try and think like an actual Street Performer and stop thinking like magicians.

I understand that these are your "opinions" and I respect them to an extent. I think that sometimes people miss the BIG picture because they don't really think about WHERE this venue is. There's so many more variables to it than just what you wear or carry...
HerbLarry
View Profile
Special user
Poof!
731 Posts

Profile of HerbLarry
I hear ya about the streets. There is also Location, Location, Location, that leads to most misunderstandings and arguments I get on here. I'm not in y'alls ballpark and y'all ain't in mine. It's all good...somewhere. LOL! I'm working a very sanitized area and the Monte is a go.
I really hate getting shot. Smile
You know why don't act naive.
Bobby Maverick
View Profile
Loyal user
252 Posts

Profile of Bobby Maverick
Herblarry, yes! You're right!
Stperformer
View Profile
Loyal user
289 Posts

Profile of Stperformer
Heya Bobby, interesting point you bring up about New Orleans and perhaps it relates to other American cities in general.
My experience with monte (as related to busking) has been in Europe, Canada, Australia. From 80's to present.
As I mentioned in my original post I have never been busted and I've performed it a fair bit. And this is on the streets like yourself, not just fests. Mind you I have been lectured, shut down, questioned, etc over it but NEVER more than that and seldom. I think this may partially be due to my appearance (see no.1, dress well and look non-threatening) and I speak german & French fluently enough to charm my way with the authorities in those countries.

Which brings me back to New Orleans US where you mentioned one would find themselves busted or worse quickly.

As a non-american, I've always wondered why the country that in many ways represents itself as the defender of democracy and freedom of speech is so harsh on it's citzens??????
Most Americans I meet abroad are fairly opened-minded and easy going yet I often hear stories about how busker repressive the authorties are in some locales. You would expect this in some countries but not not the US.
Comments???
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » 4 Greatest MYTHS of Street Performing (2 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2020 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.24 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL