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Habbrock
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I am interested in trying to get a Laurel for magic. I don't care if it takes me 50 years or even if I never get it, but that is the path I wish to travel...the attempt for a Laurel. Do you have any advice? I'm not even sure how to enter magic into an A&S competition and as far as I can tell I am the only magician in the Kingdom (at least that will admit it). I've done quite a bit of research and have a few books on period magic (along with my big collection of books that aren't). What do I need to do to get recognised? How do I get known for my magic? I already perform but I guess that's not enough. When should I stick with strictly period magic and when do I bring out the stuff that looks correct and feels correct but probably isn't? Any highly recommended books? Any advice at all will be appriciated. Thanks.
-Jason Porter a.k.a. Aslak the Awful
David_Libertine
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Greetings Habbrock. I haven't been involved in the SCA for quite some time, but when I was involved I always found that ingratiating oneself to the Court was the fastest route to any recognition. Attend as many events as possible... perform constantly... and ALWAYS have a special show for when the opportunity arises to perform for the Throne.

I hesitate to say "consider yourself a Court foole", but hopefully you're enough of a SCAdian to understand that in the way it's intended.

Be patient... that also helps. Most of the Laurels I've seen awarded took years of work and service.
Boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead only try to realize the truth.
Neo: What truth?
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Boy: Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.
maxnew40
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What Kingdom do you play in?

I would consider Magic more of a Bardic specialty than a pure A&S because it is a performance art. I would start by competing for Kingdom Bardic champion with magic. I won a Baronial Bardic championship with some magic although it was just one of three performance pieced I did. You would also I think be expected to be quite a scholar in medieval magic performance.

If I remember right Master Payne became a Laurel for his magic. You might want to try and contact him.

The path to becomming a Laurel is a hard and long one that often requires equal amount of service and skill.

-Max (AKA Lord Nigel Compton)
Mr. Woolery
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If collegia are common in your area, teach a class on the basics of conjuring. Do not expose anything major, but do teach a couple of simple tricks and how to make them entertaining. If your name comes up every time magic is mentioned, if you are one of the go-to guys for event entertainment, and if you are someone who can be counted upon to have good ideas for entertaining people at events, your name will come to the attention of the laurels.

Also consider becoming an apprentice to a performance laurel if you can get one to take you on. This will smooth the way and bring you into the right circles.

-Patrick
Payne
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The best way to become a Laurel is to not want to become a Laurel. Never do anything in the SCA with the expressed propose of becoming a Laurel. Do it because you love doing it. Do it because brings entertainment, enlightenment and enrichment to others. Do it because it makes the SCA a better place to be.

None of this is possible if your focus is on the goal of simply achieving a peerage. After all, one is not elevated to the peerage. One is recognized as being a peer. Therefore you should be peer like at all times in thought, deed and action.

Failing that, there's always bribery.

My journey to becoming a Master was rather quick by today's standards. I was elevated six years after joining the SCA. But then I was almost awarded an AA at my second event for entertaining the Prince and Princes' children with magic while they were busy holding court. This was also a quarter century ago. the SCA was a completely different place back then and awards were easier to achieve. Especially in An-Tir as it was a new Kingdom back then.

Notoriety, at least for me, was key. You need to be not only known for being a magician, but synonymous for it as well. So you can't slink around feast halls or campsites doing tricks guerrilla style. You need to be center stage where everyone can see you. You need to be visible, memorable and of course good. You need to be the first one autocrats call when they are looking for entertainment for their feasts. When people see you at events, the first thing they should say to you is "when are you performing". Do this long enough and well enough and eventually the populace will be asking "Why aren't you a Laurel?"

Besides the Magic I also wrote plays and songs, did artwork for the Kingdom newsletter and was known for my wit and atrocious puns.

But I did all this because I enjoyed doing it. Not because I expected reward. No one was more surprised then me when I was offered a Laurel.

There is no sure path to peerage. And what worked for me might very well get you banished from your Kingdom. Remember,it's just a dangley. A meaningless bauble. Respect is not bestowed on you because you have a circlet on your head and are afforded the title of Master. Respect is earned through work, deeds and attitude. Initiation into the Order is simply recognition of who you already are.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
maxnew40
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Very well said Master Payne!

I have often heard similar advice to not seek awards in the SCA. Be a helpful person who contributes to the society and makes the game more fun for everyone. In doing these things you may get recognized for your efforts, but the real reward should be the knowledge that you helped make a great thing even better.

Payne, my wife and I were granted the AoA after 10 months in the SCA in An Tir. We did however volunteer a lot and both taught A&S classes.

-Max
Payne
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Quote:
On 2013-02-27 11:10, maxnew40 wrote:

Payne, my wife and I were granted the AoA after 10 months in the SCA in An Tir. We did however volunteer a lot and both taught A&S classes.

-Max


An Tir used to have something of a reputation for being an easy place to garner awards and recognition. I have heard that in other Kingdoms it could take years just to get ones AoA. Back when I was still playing An Tir was a fairly new kingdom. so I think there was something of a push to get a home grown curia in place. Instead of having one made up of peers who had been elevated in different kingdoms.

I really haven't been involved in the SCA for fifteen years or so. The Thirty Year Celebration was the last event I attended. And that was only for a day. So I don't know if awards are bestowed so liberally these days.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Habbrock
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Thanks for the advice guys. I'm not focused on becoming a Laurel, but it's a path I want to travel. I don't care if it takes 20 years or if I ever even get one but I want to be known at least locally for magic. I already have a few awards for service (I tend to get things done others aren't interested in doing) so technically I've been on the path of the Pelican...not that I mind. I plan on continuing my service to the dream, but I want the magic side as well. I guess I was looking for general advice and also advice on performing in SCA like when to use strictly period magic and when to use things that look correct. How to enter performance magic into A&S competitions (I was told it's ok to do this) and entering bardic competitions? Do I focus on performances during feasts or entertaining people at other times (or both)? I am comfortable with close up but that doesn’t seem to work for bard competitions so I’ve been trying to expand my selection of tricks, is this wise? Yeah, it’s a lot that I’m thinking about. I just feel stuck and a bit frustrated so that’s why I’m asking. Thanks again.
-Jason Porter
p.s. Max, I’m in Artemisia
Mr. Woolery
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Well, my take on things is that if the magic looks and feels like it should have happened then (meaning you use props that would not have looked out of place to a medieval person), use it. So, if you use a lot of card tricks, use a deck of Highlanders (also called the 1864 Poker Deck) rather than modern Bikes. I would look for non-white rope, too.

The exception to this is performance of routines for competitions. Anything where documentation is required would be a good place to use verifiable material. One of my little some-day projects will be putting together a performance that is all out of Hocus Pocus Jr. For now, it isn't happening, as I have a baby at home right now. However, I do expect to start having more time to devote to that sort of thing in a couple more months. Whether I will or not remains to be seen...

Do your local events have bardic circles? Tell a story that is illustrated with magic. Even something as simple as a DT can illustrate the way a Flemish merchant cheated you with an expensive fabric dye. A TT will let you transform common base metal coins into gold as you talk about the quest of the alchemists (reaching into a pouch for your philosopher's stone gives you an opportunity to obtain and later to ditch the gimmick - sprap paint a quarter with gold paint, borrow a coin for the trick and do the trick). Rope through neck can be the way you escaped from a mob that thought you were a witch and were leading you to the local inquisitor. And so on.

Do your local events have a lot of down-time after the tournaments (my local events essentially shut down for three hours after a tournament while fighters leave site to shower and everyone else just sits - local culture prohibits planning anything at all to fill that time)? Set up a little table and announce that the show will start in five minutes. Do a 20 minute show. Talk to the feastocrats (I hate that term), and ask if they want some entertainment to fill time right before a meal. I suggest not performing during the eating, as it is hard to watch a trick and eat a meal at the same time. Music, stories, poems, and so on are better during the meal.

If you don't already have Payne's book, I do suggest it. On thing that it talks about that is well worth considering is your performing character. Within the SCA context, your persona needs to be your performing character, I think. But who are you in terms of why conjuring is part of what you do? Are you begging? Are you a nobleman who happens to enjoy a few japes and jests? The former is room for a character devoted to performing, but you can't really let your hair down unless asked to do so and then you get to sit at the foot of the table and eat scraps. The latter is an opportunity to share a couple of things, but not let it be a large part of who you are. Just a side interest. Figure this out and you'll have an easier time deciding what to perform.

There's much more to the book and I find it provides good food for thought at any time. My one beef is that he writes his routines better than I write mine and I would feel so cheesy just stealing them, so I end up not doing some tricks just because I don't want to turn into a Payne-clone.

The other resource you need is Hocus Pocus Jr. It is floating around the web (I got it from TLPP, but that source is gone). The instructions are not wonderful, but the real value of this book is that it tells you what was being performed in 1634. Presumably also prior to that date.

As to when to entertain, be ready to go at any time, but only plan to entertain during particular times as I outlined above. If there are bored kids, do a couple of quick silly tricks (vanishes with a TT - just not a silk hankie, ring and string tricks, ball sleights, and so on). Your goal should not be to come across as the amazing wizard, here. Instead, you are just a fun guy to hang around with. The magic should be something you are comfortable doing for others at any time, not something you constantly force on others. If you are bored and find someone else who is bored (regular theme at local events here), ask "would you be willing to give me a little feedback on something I've been learning recently?" Show a trick or two and listen to the feedback. If you are any good, you may be asked to keep going, so have a couple of more tricks ready, but also have an excuse to use right before your last one. "This, lords and ladies, will be my last feat for the hour, as I am scheduled to assist in the kitchen, as it is thus that I earn my bread, since nobody in this chintzy barony ever offers me so much as a farthing in appreciation for my performing efforts. If you like what I do, please tell your friends how important it is to support live and local impromptu theater." Do your best closer and leave with a smile.

Put together a small kit that you carry at all times. If possible, have multiple uses for every item. So, a handkerchief can be used for covering a ring on a string, it can be tied in a knot that vanishes when you blow on it, it can be folded into a mouse, and it can be used for cards through handkerchief. You can get a lot of magic from a hankie! Rope can be used for a wide range of effects which come together into a routine. It can also be used for escapes, for lashing a bundle together, or for deliniating your performing area. Cards, well, plenty of tricks there and they can also be used to play games, or so I've heard... A good performer can do 20 minutes or more with a deck of cards, a handkerchief, a bit of rope, and skill.

For me, part of the medieval mindset is that people owned a lot less stuff than today. Every prop has to matter to you if you want to perform medievally.

Before you start entering competitions, get used to performing for fun. Sort of like a decent singer has to perform for friends for a while before he attempts to book a gig in front of an audience. Work up to it. When you know you can be magical at any time, keep your eyes open for competitions that include performance material as an option. Force-fit your act if you have to. Expect your first couple of competitions to be all about getting feedback from the judges. This may be pretty negative. Not everyone likes magic. (Freaks.) Look at it as the practiced eyes of judges who will tell you what you must not do to win bardic competitions. Very valuable, even if not comfortable, for improving your skills.

Finally, some bardic competitions want you to perform in multiple categories. Do you do anything else of a bardic nature? Can you sing a song? Can you play a period instrument? Can you recite period poetry? So, for example, I play bagpipes. I could play a couple of dance tunes on my pipes. I also play the Anglo-Saxon lyre and could recite a tale of heroic valor while punctuating the recitation with the lyre. My wife has written some pretty serious poetry and she sings like an angel. All of these could be valuable if a bardic competition wants more than one discipline represented.

This has been pretty rambly and long, but it is a subject dear to me. If you want to discuss more fully, please feel free to PM me.

-Patrick
Al Angello
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Soca is the indigenous music of Trinidad & Tobago. I love island music.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
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Jim Sparx
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I belong to the Radio Shack Battery Club.
Steve_Mollett
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I can add nothing to the others. The main thing is stay active and visible -- and have patience.
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maxnew40
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As far as the AoA it is very common in An Tir these days to take many years to be recognized for the AoA. My wife and I were especially active and seemed to be very popular with the group. I also believe that we were recommended by the incomming Baron and Baroness for the award. In my experience there is a small core of people that make the group work, the doers for sake of a better term. These are the people that tend to be most often recognized.

I plan on trying to a little street style show at events this year near the merchants as a way to help them attract a crowd of customers.

Becomming a Laurel would be a great honor, but it is also a very rare honor in my area and I would expect it more likely to be struck by lightning.
Habbrock
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I got an AoA and a Pillar of Artemesia for service. So I am getting known. I am now getting known for something else as well. I am taking lessons from Richard Hatch on cups and balls wich is coming along great. Thank you for all the good advice guys.
-Jason Porter
maxnew40
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Jason, that is some great news!

I need to work on my cups and balls skills. I have been performing a real basic routine at a few events, but I haven't gotten to the point of including final loads.

I am in the process of trying to learn some basic juggling also. I am trying to put together a small performance troupe in my area that will showcase many different types of medeival entertainment.

Keep us up to date on your progress if you can.

-Max
Mr. Woolery
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Max-

Years ago, I toyed with the idea of starting a Mummer's Guild to showcase some performing talents locally. The idea I had was that we could get together regularly (probably weekly) to share skills and ideas as we crafted a set of performances we could use for different sorts of events. Musicians, jugglers, a conjuror, perhaps even puppets. I figured we'd also want someone to be an MC. In the end, it didn't happen, but I still think it would have been fun.

I'm glad to hear that someone else is having some success with a similar idea (and you may have a much better model than I figured out).

-Patrick
maxnew40
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Patrick, that is just about the same as I am trying to do.

I am just getting started and finding more than one or two others with enough interest is difficult to say the least. I am a musician, a conjurer, and hopefully soon an amature juggler.

I hope in the end I have better luck, but it is a really hard thing to get off the ground. I wonder if it would help if I supplied beer Smile

-Max
Pokie-Poke
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It took 10 + years to get an AoA for me, in that time I could count the no. of times I did not work in some way at an event on one hand.
I won fencing and archery tournys, did well in heavy fighting, marshaled Principality / Kingdom level tournys. and had started teaching juggling, magic, busking...Welcome to the East.
I met a Duchess at Pennsic who had made sugar cookies with a laurel on them so she could give people "the cookie"

As far as advice... Know your stuff, if you cheat, Know when and how it is different than the period way of doing it. I keep the non period stuff for the after parties, the parking lot, refairs and other places where what you do is what counts. in compititions it is how you do it that counts, if on the off chance some on sees you use a TT, you know, that thing from that movie about the museum, that you can get at the $ store. that will follow you.
I did cups and balls for years with no chop because I wanted to do it "right" but this is just me.
short rant and my 2c, ymmv.
Good luck on you quest, If you make it to Pennsic look me up. I think I will be teaching again this year.
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The Adventure cont...
Habbrock
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Thanks Pokie-Poke. My TT handling hasn't been caught yet. I keep it pretty subtle and change methods if they seem to suspect something. I also have a few more opportunities to perform coming up than usual so I am working out a routine for that (Uprising here I come!). I've focused my magic a bit more and it seems I'm getting a better impact, probably because it narrows down my selection of tricks so it seems less eclectic. I wish I could go to Pennsic but until I graduate my travel options are limited.
-Jason Porter
Pokie-Poke
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Sorry you won't make Pennsic, I'm teaching 2 classes this year. table hopping (not a Viking game of don't touch the floor.) and contact juggling. anyone going to war, this may be the easiest way to track me down.
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The Adventure cont...
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