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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Finger/stage manipulation » » What would you do different if you knew what you knew now? (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Pakar Ilusi
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At least from the stage manipulation angle.

How would you approach it differently, if you were given a chance to start over?
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
Bill Hegbli
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Stay in California, get an agent, work in Las Vegas, and Cruise ship. Work Europe and South American Resorts.
JNeal
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Isn't everyday a chance to start over? What is so firmly entrenched in this category that might inhibit a 're-do'? Unlike Box illusionists, the expenses of this branch of magic are relatively minimal. The expenditure of time, means you have acquired skills that are easily transferred or adapted to conceptual changes.

Personally, I have revisited routines that I have used for years and restaged or 'started over' and I was happy to do so. Nothing is more irritating than to continue to perform a piece of material that is no longer as good as it might potentially be with a bit of revision. If you see something is wrong, change it...now!

Posted: Sep 11, 2015 04:01 pm Bill's posting must have come in just before my own!
I wasn't thinking in terms of life altering career changes, but rather changes in the act, structure, and way of approach to material.
But Bill does bring up interesting points.
As it happens (and Bill knows this) I ended up staying in California, working Vegas, cruises and all that.... but I wish I had become a doctor!

just kidding...(I think....)
visit me @ JNealShow.com
Bill Hegbli
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As far as manipulation magic goes, it is still in it's infancy, when I stated in the 1960's at the ripe age of 8 years old. I could only find the Modern Conjuror book in the library. I learned the back palm from that book, and the vanish and reproduction the cards.

Back then, all manipulation magic was totally secret. You had to hunt and search printed catalogs, and I found Ed Marlo's booklet on card fan productions. It took me 6 to 8 years to find that booklet.

After much searching and subscribing to 9 magic magazines, I ran across an ad for the Chavez School. Again, years had passed. After I got out of the Army in California, I went home and went to Abbott's Get-Together. Marian Chavez was performing, and I finally got in touch with her.

So you see, it was very different then, now people are sharing all but their own secrets.

Since learning, manipulation was only Cards, Coins, Billiard Balls, Thimbles, and Cigarettes. Along with a little Dove magic. That was it. If you go back and read the old magic magazines, you will only find very few, maybe a handful who manipulated jumbo items and other props.

Today, we have CDs, parasols, Jumbo Coins, Fire, Oriental Hand Fans and a whole range never even thought of back then, or maybe they were thought of, but no one figured out how to manipulation the items. Oh, there were no CDs back then.

What would be different, well I would have the most fantastic magical manipulation act there was.

Alas, today, there is not place to work such an act. All the night clubs are gone, Europe and South America, is all but nonexistent.

Now is the time to adapt, and find the venue for magic in today's society. Mostly, today, everything with live variety entertainment is private, not open to the public. You have to find a where your services would fit in some how. You need connections, and people that will advise you and give you the information you need to succeed.

That bring to mind reading the late Ade Duval's book, he was so savvy that he changed, found, or created places to present his acts. He must have been a very outside the box thinker. If it was not for his health, I bet he would be working today.

After vaudeville most performers could not find work because of moving pictures, but Ade Duval did. After night clubs and dried up, and television took over and kept people home watching the small screen, Ade Duval appeared on television variety shows. Most other performers could not make the transitions, but Ade Duval did.

Now we have this horrible Internet, keeping people from enjoying the real world. How can that be used to make a living performing manipulation magic as entertainment for those that can't put their hand held device down.

Posted: Sep 11, 2015 04:55 pm
JNeal, it was not that life altering, after all, you did it. The Army said my time was up, so with a new wife, I thought and thought, and made the wrong decision, I came back to my hometown. I kind of thought the new wife would have objected, but not a peep. Had a job lined up in L.A. and everything, only would have moved from San Francisco. Hid sight is always 20/20.
JNeal
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Bill, I have to agree with you about Ade Duval! That clip on Youtube with smoking his thumb is a textbook example of how personality trumps everything else. The trick is great, but he makes it greater! Timing is everything in our business and it applies to catching a lucky break as well...

But every top name magician I know, feels like they always were a bit too late for the 'really good days'. Marvyn Roy used to say it was about 10 years before he got into the game, and I'm sure his predecessors felt the same way. I always felt that I was born too late in this business. But looking back a bit now, I realize I was lucky: right time, right place...makes the right guy succeed. Moving to LA in the late 70's just as the magic boom 'hit' big...gave me a career when I wasn't even ready for one. It's kinda' like catching the perfect wave.
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Bill Hegbli
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JNeal, you overcome a lot of rejection from the magic community. I say that from the articles I read when they mentioned you in Genii and other magazines. They indicated you only had style and showmanship to offer, not new tricks, or did not create new tricks. You could read it from how they referred to your name. And yet you got on the board and performed at the Castle awards ceremonies. I was surprised when they would write about you, then here you are performing for them. So you prevailed, and that is all that counts. You must have had some good people in your corner.

Just not enough in print about you, as I remember always wanting to know more of your performances, but they would never say much more then you performed.

And you never publish anything. So you are a mystery to most of the magic community. I can't remember you being on the cover of a magazine. Were you, if so, I missed it as usual.

So how about that book and DVD.
George Ledo
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Not sure if this is going to respond to the OP, but I'm going to pick up on Bill and JNeal's comments.

To me, a question like "what would you have done differently" is always balanced by "what would you have done the same," i.e., what worked vs. what didn't. Both can be a learning experience.

What I would have done differently was to continue with my cards-and-doves act, which was getting some real notice, then paid my dues by playing smaller gigs, all the time pointing my nose towards Vegas. There was a lot I didn't know then, little things like I could still go to college during the day if I was playing Vegas at night (UNLV was there all along). Or like a casino could hire you under a year-or-more contract instead of just for a few weeks. I also didn't know about FISM, which always looks good on your resume. However, by then I had decided I was having more fun designing and building than performing, again not knowing that I could still have performed at night and studied design or theater during the day.

But it's been okay. I had a career in architecture and then came back to theater, and so far I still love it.

What I would have done the same was joining IBM at 16 (the youngest age you could join back then) and meeting several guys at the Ring and elsewhere who were full-time or part-time "pros" and learning everything I could from them. Our Ring had an interesting mix of people, including several pros, a number of hobbyists, and a few guys who seemed to be there just to show "the latest toys." The way to get known became to perform new stuff all the time, and I got caught up in it: I bought stuff, only to use it once, or created stuff just to "impress the guys." One day I finally asked myself, why am I doing this? There were a few, newer, guys who one day decided they were hot stuff because they had branched out into close-up and therefore could "entertain with magic" without all the equipment. They actually came across like they thought they were "above" the rest of us. Being a high-strung teenager at the time, I thought they were just being lazy, but their attitude turned me off to close-up to the point where I still don't care for it.

I had a lot of fun at the Ring and doing exchange shows and such, but what really worked out for me was meeting several of the pros, who had been around the block and were willing to take on a kid who wanted to learn about doing magic for a living. Interestingly, putting my cards-and-birds act together did two things; it saved me a lot of money since I didn't have to keep buying new material, and it really focused me on continuing to perfect the act.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
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Bairefoot
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Kiss more butt in the Magic Community. Its hard to be your on dog.
Anatole
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I would have invested more in some of the magic that I felt like I couldn't afford back then--especially considering the value of some of the stuff now on the used magic lists.
Earl Edwards let me use his Bogart Tube a few times and it is a great silk production item. I've seen a few nowadays in the range of about $1400.00
I don't know what it cost in 1965, but an ad in a 1920's issue of _The Sphinx_ lists it at a "regular price" of $22.50 and a "sale price" of $18.50
When I used Earl's Bogart Tube, I dressed in a Chinese costume and we produced a 6-foot Rice Dragon Silk followed by two bowls of goldfish.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
----- Sonny Narvaez
Pakar Ilusi
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Thanks guys! Smile
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
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