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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » 4 Greatest MYTHS of Street Performing (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Bobby Maverick
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Yeah the US is a funny bird...lol! I'll give you that. I know an old man (late seventies) in Ohio that runs a shell and pea game on the bus line! He gets off of the bus and on another every so often, and he has crews on each bus he rides!! The monte is thrown everywhere, and if you're in a locale that has a crew or two working, you'll want to be careful.

This brings to mind a funny happening that I heard about through the grapevine. I believe it was Cellini who was performing in Europe. He was in a country not sure which. He was performing the Cups and Balls, but it seemed like everytime he would begin the routine people would suddenly get get weird at the onset and leave his show for what seemed no reason at all. Then, he realized it. There were these really huge billboards everywhere with a picture of the Cups and Balls and something written in another language. He asked what it was and a person translated it for him. It was something to the effect that the government in that locale had been not keeping it's word about something with the people and the cups and balls were used as a metaphor for being dishonest with the people...in other words it was given a bad rap. The folks that put up the billboards were upset because they felt the government was dishonest and ran a "game" on them. Promised one thing but gave another.
All in all, it's a matter of perception.

Now, go back in time just a short bit, and try and perform a monte routine in London, while Cracker Parker had his minions out and about. Do you think it would be a good idea? Or go to cities in Argentina these days and try and throw it. There's guys there right now who throw it but they also use circular plaques that look like coasters. One has a sticker the other two do not, just to differ from the cards. Get this, the sticker is usually a kid's cartoon or something to make the game look more innocent! Genius.

I don't know, I think if you're comfortable in a suit, then wear it. Brian Bloodworth always dresses so well, but I know he suffers for it when it's hot. In fact, recently I saw Brian and he was wearing a short sleeved casual shirt over a t-shirt, and he said he was much happier because he was cooler. He had rigged up a really cool "holster" harness for his decks and props that he was wearing under his over-shirt. VERY NICE! I don't know why people don't talk about Brian more...he's awesome.
Stperformer
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Yep, I agree Bobby. I guess it comes down to common sense and as you say, thinking like a street performer, not a magician.
And like Herb said, location, location, location.
The Burnaby Kid
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Quote:
On 2011-04-20 21:41, HerbLarry wrote:
Post how those flaps work out. Inquiring minds want to know.

Figured I'd come back to this. There are pros and cons to the wind flaps, and right now the cons are outweighing the pros, so I'm thinking about just jettisoning the routine altogether for the moment.

Quickly...

Pros
-----
* Wind is not a problem at all.

* You can paint "Magic show!" or whatnot on the sides of the flaps.

Cons
-----
* Visibility is an issue. People can't see what you're doing from a while away, and as such only have a split second to decide if what you're doing is worth watching. All magic on the streets has the capability of making people prefer to be standoffish, but I think with Monte this gets amplified given the assumption of risk, and so I don't think it's a good idea to force the question. I might look into whether or not I can get some made out of a see-through material.

* Practicality. The things are, frankly, a pain in the butt when it comes to assembly and disassembly, which is a hassle when you're changing pitches, but it's also a real pain if you want to get rid of them mid-show. I've looked into hinged flaps, and maybe that's a better long-term answer, but one other thing to worry about when it comes to wind is that it'll sometimes find its way in from behind if your flaps don't taper towards your body. The ones I have no I can clamp down so that they angle well, but honestly, it doesn't really look all that good.

* Range of motion. The tighter the table is and the higher the flaps are, the less wind is an issue, but the more crowded it feels. The more room you make for yourself for your elbows and forearms, the more comfortable you'll feel doing the routine, but the more wind has a chance to become an issue again.

So yeah, I'm thinking that I might want to toss it (aharhar) for a while.
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Rotten
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I wear white cotten t-shirts and have several more in a zip lock in my rig so I can change when I sweat one out, and I do. I recently tried out overalls and I liked them. Much cooler than pants. But you have to get used to them. They can unbuckle all on their own and that can be embarrassing when your britches are down around your ankles.
Pokie-Poke
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Jumping in on this one.
on point 1. Dress as a performer, what ever the locals think a performer looks like.
2. Props don't count, skill dose. I saw a guy doing cups and balls with 3 papper coffie cups, he was making fat hats.
point 3, and why I jumped in, Busking is something you cant do at home. no mater how many times you do the trick at home, your first time on the street is your first time. how many of the old timers had all this on line resorses? boy it's a good thing Gazzo spent all that time reading about busking on line insted of doing it.

and tho I have a 3 card monty that I like, it is to small for the kind of show I like.
and if you do it on one corner, and some one is realy hussling people on the next corner, the cops will stop at your corner first, just the way it is.
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Wayne Whiting
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Let me draw a parallel working for tips as a pedicab driver. I tell the college kids working for me, "Dress like a poor college student, and you will get paid like a poor college student." I wear a $145 rabbit fur derby, a $50 bow tie, vest and dress shirt, $175 pinstripe bicycle knickers and $80 bicycle shoes. They wear cutoffs and t-shirts with $10 sneakers. The truth is I don't make more than they do. If I do, it's because I'm in better shape than they are and pedal more miles in a day. Last Saturday we worked a street festival and the tips went $402, $391 and $380 with me in the middle. My excuse is that they're 22 and I'm 62.
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Dynamike
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Quote:
On 2011-04-17 15:31, Stperformer wrote:
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

:applause: Smile Smile
I agree. If you dress like a hobo, people might look at you as a drug user. They will feel uncomfortable giving you money. If you dress in a professional manner, they will look at you more of an entertainer, and will be more willing to give tips.
ed rhodes
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Quote:
On 2011-07-16 23:20, Dynamike wrote:
Quote:
On 2011-04-17 15:31, Stperformer wrote:
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

:applause: Smile Smile
I agree. If you dress like a hobo, people might look at you as a drug user. They will feel uncomfortable giving you money. If you dress in a professional manner, they will look at you more of an entertainer, and will be more willing to give tips.


Why is this a "binary" thing? You "dress up" or you look like a hobo? There is a middle ground of casual that looks "bohemian" without looking like Freddie the Freeloader.
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The Mighty Fool
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1) You can dress however you like, but you should aim for DIFFERENT. don't seem to be in just ordinary street-clothes. That works for street-magicians like CalenMorelli, NOT for buskers. You need to have some sort of siginature look....something that sets you apart. If yo go for 'neat & tidy' (as Stperformer seems to prefer) don't just wear a suit...have mabye a vest with a pocket-chain & a 3/4 trenchcoat with a napkin in the Breast pocket. If you go for 'bum' or 'vagabond' wear fingerless gloves & have a battered felt hat & torn tie. Even just the addition of a hat to any outfit will work. A busker dosnt try to blend in, in fact that's the exact opposite of what to do if you want to attract a crowd! Look different.

2) I wouldnt go so far as to say the props & magic "don't count" but they definetly take a back seat to performance and stage-presence. I've seen buskers from Covent Garden to Fanny Hall keep crowds in laughter and attention with only the simplest of items. Ask yourself: Can you make a better hamburger than McDonald's? Of course you can. ANYone can. It's not the actual food that makes McDonald's so sucsessful, but the presentation and entertainment surrounding the food. If one busker has the biggest edges and best hats, does that mean he can do the cups & balls better than any other busker? No, it means he's the best at engaging and entertaining a crowd.

3)No WAY! When it comes to busking, MODO FAC!! Consider a computer / video game. Do you think anyone has ever gotten all thye way to the end on their first try? No matter how good you natural skills are, youre going to need to spend some time playing, getting a feel for what youre doing, learning the pitfalls, figuring out the secret tricks, etc.

4) No opinion....never tried it
Everybody wants to beleive.....we just help them along.
Devious
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Great posts Stperformer, Mr. Maverick, and of course Mr. Mighty Fool! I like reading what I know already to be true as it corroborates what I try and share with others as I walk through this journey we call busking. I don't mind reading opposing viewpointe either for that matter.

Mr. Mighty Fool, I would like to add that I completely agree with your statement about aiming for different...I've been told that I look like the Mexican Candy Man or Willy Wonka's Hispanic Helper! (clips on our site will show you) You gotta laugh and I certainly do at the comparisons!

Thanks for initially posting this Stperformer!
Have a fine sunday mates!
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The Mighty Fool
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Quote:
On 2011-09-11 03:35, Devious wrote:

...I've been told that I look like the Mexican Candy Man or Willy Wonka's Hispanic Helper! (clips on our site will show you) You gotta laugh and I certainly do at the comparisons!



This I gotta see.............

OMG, you wernt kidding about the Wonka thing!! Smile Well, that definetly IS different, I'd say toward the formal end of the spectrum. My freind, after looking at your pics, remarked that you

"look like a man who's contemplating bashing his head through a brick wall, & fixin' to DO it!"

I honestly don't know if that's meant to be a compliment or not, but I thought I'd pass it along.
BTW, the umbrella you carry around....is it part of your look or part of your act?
Everybody wants to beleive.....we just help them along.
Devious
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[/quote]
My freind, after looking at your pics, remarked that you

"look like a man who's contemplating bashing his head through a brick wall, & fixin' to DO it!"

I honestly don't know if that's meant to be a compliment or not, but I thought I'd pass it along.
BTW, the umbrella you carry around....is it part of your look or part of your act?
[/quote]

Hey there guy! Well I am an Iraqi War Veteran so, yes at times I am edgy and perhaps on the brink of something just a little crazy. It is a part of my psyche and thus a part of my presentations as my audience never quite knows what's coming next. I don't foreshadow anywhere we are going. I take it as quite the compliment, the bashing his head business! Thank you for passing it along.

The umbrella is both a part of the look and the act mate, but not in a Fukai way...no mutilated parasols or anything like that. You'd have to see, but I first drew inspiration from Andrew Mayne after conferring with him almost a decade ago about an idea...it's a tool used for time travel during the show. A callback of sorts!

Have a very productive week!
Cheers
Devious Deceptions
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imgic
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Browsing through old posts and came across this discussion. Such great information
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TheAmbitiousCard
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Quote:
On Apr 17, 2011, Stperformer wrote:
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

>> I think it depends on whether or not you have an excellent character to pull off whatever you're wearing.
When in doubt, don't look like a bum.


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.

>> The presentation is what matters but if you are not very good you'll fail. Make sure what you do is done with excellence!

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.

>> At some point you do have to "just get out there and do it, and yes you will learn more in a week than a year practicing". But you need to have a proficient starting point. Otherwise you'll fail.


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.

>> Anything is possible but if you're not arrogant and an idiot toward police you'll probably be ok.

So there. Disagree or Agree? Fire away.
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Magician Shaun
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My First day performing on the street, I worked 8 hours in the humid Atlanta heat and I made $36. By the end of that summer if I went out on a Weekend day in Atlanta I would bring home $200 almost every time. If it was an eventor festival I diff better. My best day ever I worked 5 hours and averaged $200/hour at a huge festival.

Besides the money, the experience I earned doing 30 shows a day is priceless. I was experienced as a magician when I went to street perform but had a lot to learn about getting the money, still do I'm sure.
Zauberman
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Quote:
On Jan 18, 2018, Magician Shaun wrote:
By the end of that summer if I went out on a Weekend day in Atlanta I would bring home $200 almost every time. If it was an event or festival I did better. My best day ever I worked 5 hours and averaged $200/hour at a huge festival.

Besides the money, the experience I earned doing 30 shows a day is priceless. I was experienced as a magician when I went to street perform but had a lot to learn about getting the money, still do I'm sure.


Impressive to say the least.

On the subject of income.....how do you guys handle Reported Earnings to the IRS?

Do you keep track of and report every cent made?

Do you keep track of all expenses and travel time and deduct what you rightfully can?

Has any of you many Buskers been audited before and questioned on Reported Earnings?

Or is it possible to simply work under the table and pay zero tax on your hats?

How about overseas earning? If I go to Europe and hat, do we still report this as income???

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
ROBERT BLAKE
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Yes, you earn money.but they can not know what you exactly get in your hat.
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Ha! It's the old carnie system! It all depends on who gets "first count"!
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