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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Polly wants a cracker... » » Popularity of dove acts (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

jay leslie
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I realise that silks and water tricks haven't been popular for several years but I want to ask specifically about producing 6 doves and vanishing them.

Puck advertised a used proline vanishing cage at a reasonable price, a while back, and has since dropped the price to a ridiculously low 675. Its unbelievable.

What's going on?
• Are people buying their V Cages from overseas (and we know what that means about quality) BUT are they only interested in the price?
• Is the classic 6 bird act where the cage vanishes just not popular today?

•Are birds getting too expensive to feed?
•Are people too lazy to train their birds?
•Have all the venues dried-up where this kind of act is appropriate?
•Are people just performing smaller routines that don't take much time set-up?
Bill Hegbli
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Fort Wayne, Indiana
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Actually Jay, I think it simplier then that. Magic dealer now make magic to sell for profit, not to full fill magicians as performers. It is all about "how is that done", and then on to the next trick. That is why close-up has taken over the majority of the market. Those "how the trick is done" guys are not interested in the art of magic. They only want to know how the latest new trick is done.

It is still a very small market, and super small when it come to standup magic. Dove magic has even been smaller, and the reason is the same as for liquid tricks. Just to much trouble to mess with. Now the standup guy only wants to take a briefcase and go do a show and get his check.

When I did dove productions, it took me months of trial and error to get the perfect dove production. These guys today want instant and work now when they give the cash.

To answer your other question, yes, there is hardly anyplace to do dove productions on a stage of any size these days. The band gets the stage and you get the floor down in front if you are lucky. I once was in the table room full, and got a 6 foot by 6 foot spot near the exit door.

Then there is the need for a place to load just before the show. Not the best for most places. Have to have a convenient room or carry a backdrop to be out of the way to get ready.

So your right, the market just is not there for expensive vanishing dove cages. Now if it could be converted to another type of prop, then maybe more would be sold. The hydraulic system works for many vanishing boxes, or even in reverse for production of large items in a finale, like a mirror ball.

Could it be used for a Rabbit in Vanishing Cage? Now there is an idea!
sperris
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Bill is right...in some ways the dove act is going the way of the cigarette manipulation act - at least in the states

I'm very fortunate I still get to do my dove act pretty often - is it my regular "full" dove act? sadly no, hardly ever. Traveling internationally and sometimes even domestically with doves is expensive - for example I recently flew to Louisville for a show with my 9 doves and cockatoo...that costs about $450 round trip...last summer I flew to Dubai with my 9 doves and that was about 8K round trip. I'm mostly performing a watered down B- version of my act and having to borrow doves. I still do a small opening dove act for some corporate and fair/festival shows when I can sneak a few doves on the plane or am driving to the gig but most of that is self-contained prop effects like my dove from sketch pad, dove bag, maybe one or two simple body loads - its just a little flash n' trash act. In my experience - and this is just me here - "the act" in terms of putting together a dove act and working with it is dead. "the show" is what people want and if the act is part of that great if not no biggie - they just want a solid 20, 30, 45 minute show. Rarely am I hired for just the dove act anymore. The buyers want it, ask for it, etc but usually don't have the budget for just the act and its 5min. The dove act all packs into the vanishing dove cage case...but it is over-weight so add on about $100 for the 75lb case to the baggage fee of my other 2 cases that take up my "regular show" and multiply it by 2 for traveling round trip that's a big chunk into your travel budget.

Now if you're driving of course that's a different story -but - you still have basically an entire "second show" to set up. Simetimes when you get to a ballroom you have a small pipe and drape on a raised stage to perform in front of and yes sometimes that is shared space so now you have to find out where you're going to safely load the birds and then who's going to unload them if you close with a vanishing dove cage? That's now a second person you need to travel with. Are you tail dumping any doves? If so now you have to take off your act jacket and hand it off to this second person to retrieve the doves in your tails and of course it always looks shady why is the jacket coming off right after the dove act - know what I mean?

Of course all of this is situations and issues you potentially run into and always have to be ready for AFTER you've dedicated months of time spent each day working with your doves. Sometimes its a lot of effort done out of love for an act that doesn't always necessairly love you back...
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hugmagic
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Dan has told one of the main reasons about the lack of dove acts. The problems of traveling have been come worse since 911 and the bird flu problem. Borrowing birds presents its own set of problems. I get angry when I hear people blasting guys who have borrowed birds and then have problems. Obviously, they know nothing of the real world.

And lets not forget all the animal rights nuts who make life hard for all performers of livestock.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
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Ken Northridge
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I suppose times are changing and it is becoming more difficult to do a bird act, but that could be an opportunity for some to stand out. I'm doing my part in keeping the tradition alive by producing two doves at every show.

Richard, What is the criticism with borrowing birds? I have not hear that before.
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hugmagic
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Some people have remarked how the bird did not fly back or stay put when placed on stands. Flyers take a lot of training. It is unfair to criticism acts when the economic conditions dictate using borrowed birds.
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
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Ken Northridge
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Oh, got it. I thought they were criticized for simply borrowing doves.
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sperris
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Richard is right on...When I toured in the UK the doves I had to borrow were crazier than a **** house mouse and even figured out the bars on the cage are not solid and would fly out and never would just sit nice on my hand so I had to be really quick with them and do my best to hold them under control mostly for their own safety. Not only did I look and feel like a chump but I got a lot of hate coming at me saying I abuse the birds and was too rough with them etc. which anybody who knows me including Richard (he's seen me work Abbott's many times with my birds) will tell you that's not how I roll. It was very frustrating and depressing.


Posted: Jun 12, 2014 01:57 pm
I was told when I was in Germany that a friend of mine saw an email go around from some Germany magic club saying not to let me borrow doves because I kill them all the time or some nonsense like that haha
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Bob Sanders
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Grammar Supervisor
Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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With 53 years in magic and 40 of that in dove magic, I'll admit things have changed. Also as the former owner of a booking and talent management agency, I am well aware that animal acts are much easier to sell at higher prices than mental, card or box magic.

The changes come from many factors.

1. Transportation costs and other transportation and lodging problems. For $27 six doves could be shipped overnight anywhere in the 48 states. The US Post Office essentially ended that service. It is more practical today to drive between shows with doves. That can be expensive.

2. Venues have changed. Low budgets simply don't get the variety of acts larger budgets get.

3. Government regulation has become a serious barrier to all business endeavors in the USA. Animal acts around food are very limited and rediculous regulations like "Disaster" plans like Marty has been fighting are just the tip of the iceburg.

4. The magicians themselves more often lack resources and knowledge to include animals in their acts.

5. The scaling back of the scale of magic acts.

Since over 25 years ago when I started and wrote Dove Hotline on the Internet for dove magicians the magicians' perception of what constitutes a good magic act has contracted. Card magic has replaced large scale acts especially for begining magicians. The commitment to live animals is much more demanding than for a deck of cards. For a hobbist there is no comparison. Reality is that today most are hobbyists.
Bob Sanders

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Lou Hilario
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In my case, I have eliminated my dove and parrot acts because most of the venues I perform like 5 star hotels no longer allow animals or pets specially birds because of this "bird flu" epidemic.

Aside from that, dove acts are now too common in my area. Even clowns use them in their shows now.
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Bob Sanders
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Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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Don't confuse "popularity" with actual "availability". Good doves acts are more rare today.

Going back to something Bill said, Magic dealers of last 20 years are not the same as those for the century before. Now they essentially run hobbyshops and are mass merchandisers. They are no longer the right arm of professional magicians. That is neither good nor bad but the inventories are certainly different. As the magicians' silk importer I find that true in sik magic too. The pros will buy more pieces of silk in one size and one color than most dealers have in total pieces in their whole shop counting all sizes and all colors. (Some dealers even sell "silk magic tricks" and there is not a piece of real silk in the shop!) Inventory is an investment and dealers must go for markup and turnover. A pro can invest in his act. You don't take a race car to WalMart for a tuneup.

Transportaion is certainly a hassle for many. I simply don't fly commercial anymore. It is slow, expensive, and unreliable unless you are leaving the USA.

The other reality from this old booking agent is that livestock acts are still easier to book and at higher prices. Is it worth the extra $150-$300/show to you? Frankly, it may not be worth it.

It is a decision each performare needs to make for himself. Of course there is professional help available.

You are asking the right questions. Can you deal with the answers?

Best wishes!
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

AmazedWiz@Yahoo.com
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