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mplegare
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... granted, this may not be the best place for this, but I don't know that performing in a Renaissance Faire can be filed in 'Street', 'Stage', or 'Strolling' exclusively Smile

Ok. I know you're out there, I can hear you breathing. My fellow RenFaire, Dickensian, and Other Historically Themed Events performer bretheren, I'm wondering what you like to do for 'gig' magic. That is to say, magic not performed on stage, but the a more hit and run 'the audience changes every 3 minutes' environment of the Faire?
Matthew Legare aka Tobias the Adequate! - http://www.adequateblog.today.com - you know you want to.
Reis O'Brien
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I can't say I've ever done it, but as a former SCA heavy weapons fighter, I miss my old medieval days! I would KILL to do magic at an event. Unfortunately, I live in a decidedly non-SCA area.
Homo vult decipi; decipiatur

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Lee Darrow
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Firedice,

Chicago is the home of Tree-girt Sea, a Principality of the Middle Kingdom of the SCA. Northwestern U (Evanston) and University of Chicago (Hyde Park area) both have active groups.

Let me poke around and I'll see if I can hook you up!

As a former stick-jock myself (back at Pennsic 2 or so), I always enjoyed working events and, having had a Japanese persona (back when such were still allowed, when the cutoff date was 1650), I favored Japanese style magic - a small table on which I did Owan-to-Tama (bowl turning, ala Futagawa's book), Snowstorm in China, Linking Rings, Thumb-Tie (updated, slightly, as I did a comedy bit about the Imperium as the presentation angle for the Red Tape Thumb Tie by Irv Weiner).

I also did some work with Fl!p Stick, Chinese Sticks, a LOT of coin work, Professor's Nightmare, Rope Through spectator's Finger (Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic), passe passe salt and even stepped out of period a little and did card to forehead using tarot cards.

Loved that one until I got the Death card and one audience panicked! Smile

Hope this helps!

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
(formerly Jubei, Tarkhan of the Dark Horde and the man who delivered Yang the Nauseating's resignation to the Mid-Realm)
http://www.leedarrow.com
http://www.leedarrow.com
<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
Whiterabbit
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Kevin Mc Lean
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I carry a gibeciere and do cut and restored rope, a couple of rope effects, sponge, some card effects, coins, hankerchief stuff, and now I have another pouch made up, I'll do the cups and balls with a small collapsible close up table I'm making. I also do a couple of pouch effects (egg bag stuff) and I tend to travel with what can be carried in one to two large hip pouches. Depending on the crowd, the occasional balloon sword is blown.

Been doing it on and off for five years now and on the subject of travelling light carried the stuff in a large cloth drawstring bag tucked into the belt for the first year and a half. Loading both hands from it is simply a matter of pretending not to find what you're after, holding it with both hands, peering in, saying "ah there it is" and reaching in with the other hand. Consequently, you can do a lot of effects that require pockets that way. I placed all the objects inside in pouches with distinctive buttons etc. so I could find stuff by touch (avoid drawstrings on the pouches inside though as they can tangle).

I'm thinking of learning to juggle to attract the crowd, bring out the cups, then go with the magic from there... I guess that's traditional. I costume up in the Elizabethan era, when cards were plentiful enough to be legislated against. I also use old imperial silver coins as they look great.

Again, to the powers that be: please, can we have a renfaire site?
May your fingers never lose their deftness,

May your tongue always lead them down the garden path...



Regards,



Whiterabbit
Reis O'Brien
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Thank you, Mr. Darrow!
My problem is that I actually live south of Chi-town. Kankakee area to be exact. No SCA going on around here at all! No fighter practices. Nothing. Then again, I don't own any armor anymore, either. So it's probably for the best. But once I move into the city (hopefully soon, somebody in Chicago give me a job!) I plan to look into the local SCA scene.

I imagine that performing magic in these venues would be awesome. Do they allow card effects? I have an old repro deck, but I don't think it's medieval.
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EricHenning
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I did an article for M.U.M. in their Bill Palmer Ren Fair issue about 4 years ago. I did street magic in the very first years Maryland Renaissance Festival http://www.rennfest.com/mrf in the late 1970's back when it was in Columbia, MD. (Back then, you could get in free by wearing a costume and weapons had not yet been outlawed.)

In 1978, I worked alongside Penn & Teller (who were unknown and doing two acts to keep from starving), Avner the Eccentric and the Flying Karamazov Brothers.

I researched at the Library of Congress, using their copy of Scot and others, and did Cups & Balls, Torn & restored paper to Mouth Coil, Cut & Restored Rope, Coin and ball manips, Egg Bag, and Linking Rings.

We were working for tips, genuinely busking, so the act became tighter and tighter. I played a tune on a tin whistle to attract a crowd. After a while, I got rid of the table and the Cups & Balls and just worked out of a small knitting bag that opened in an "X" fashion. Worked for me.

If I had to do it again, I would do Cups & Balls with the leather cups that Great Scot makes, a Cut & Restored Rope and an Egg Bag, possibly adding the Mouth Coil as a plays-big finish. I never did cards because in this period playing cards were tough to use. Also, cards are hard to see and harder to use outdoors in the wind and humidity. And I wanted to show things the audience may not have seen.

I wish now that I had done the Needle Thru Arm, because nowadays no one will let you - liabiilty issues are rampant.

I would do no more than 10-12 minutes and would allow 3 minutes for collecting money, or, if not allowed to busk, for clean up and reset. I would try to do 2 shows per hour if not busking, 3-4 per hour if busking.

Get Jim Cellini's book and videos. Most Ren Faires, no matter what they say, really don't care how "authentic" the magic is, as long as you're not doing Hippity Hop Rabbits. Don't worry about authentic methods; the audience is paying for what they see, not what they don't see.
mplegare
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... great stuff, gang... and just to amuse Eric, one of my colleages *does* Hippity Hop Rabbits at the California RenFaires. Smile

Since I started this, I should contribute my stuff: I've been working as a RenFaire magician proper for the past two years. I started out with an almost 100% rope magic act (hey, rope's cheap) and have branched out a bit here and there, interspersing gags and humor in between the tricks

Mind you, I use the hook of having been a sailor (well, I was with the SeaDogs for seven years) before I became a professional charlatan, which allows me to use

* Color changing rope (one of the old white-to-black ones) to explain 'tarred' rope
* Disolving knots
* One-handed knot (as a stunt, the difference being 'in a stunt I am not actively lying to you')
* Why I Don't Do The Indian Rope Trick (using the hoary Rigid Rope gag that everyone gets and immediately tosses into the junk drawer)
* rope through magician's neck (Tenkai's New Rope Trick?)
* Coat escape (because nothing looks more amusing than a small child tied up with 1 1/4" cotton hauser)

Finales kill me. By that, I mean that it's a real moose to come up with a solid finisher that's not susceptable to the angle issues you run into in an open air environment. I misused a sword through neck as a demonstration of mind/body control (resulting in jamming said sword through my arm), but have settled, for the moment at least, on the Iron Garotte as a nice solid, angle-resistant finisher.

Mind you, I'm as susceptable to 'ooo! shiney new toy!' as the next gazabo, and hence I'm going to be taking the Animated Mouse On Wand out for meet and greet (and hawk my shows)...
Matthew Legare aka Tobias the Adequate! - http://www.adequateblog.today.com - you know you want to.
jaxonlee
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I've been a member of the SCA for about 12 years and I am just now working magic into my personnae. Sword through neck, leather cups and balls, miscellaneous coin vanishes/appearances, etc. Nice to know I'm not alone here!

Lord Morgan Glynndwr, denizen of the Shire of Dun Braga, servant of the Kingdom of Artemisia.
Whiterabbit
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Kevin Mc Lean
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Quote:
On 2004-04-02 14:03, mplegare wrote:
Finales kill me. By that, I mean that it's a real moose to come up with a solid finisher that's not susceptable to the angle issues you run into in an open air environment.



Can be a real problem. If you're doing static show in the open you can hammer in tall wooden stakes and use hessian bags stitched together and tied on with twine to the stakes as a backdrop. I do it in a loose 'u' shape with painted hessian and it makes a period backdrop and covers you from the back from 1 ft to 4 or so feet. Watch out for pipes and cables though...

On the subject of cards, I know they were hard to use, but Scot mentions at least one card effect. The effect is where the cards are shuffled four times, a different ace is found on the bottom each time, the aces are placed on a table etc. When the cards are turned over they're all jacks. It's still a good effect even now. My limited reading into the matter indicates that false shuffles, stock retentions, glides, passes and palms were probably used.

The double lift almost certainly wasn't and would have been hard with a period deck.
May your fingers never lose their deftness,

May your tongue always lead them down the garden path...



Regards,



Whiterabbit
DanielGreenWolf
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Well, I have many different Ren Faire shows and perform stand-up / close-up and 20 min. stage shows. Here's a few of the things I'll do:

Close-up / Stand-up:
-Finger Ring and String routine. This has become really a signature effect for me because it involves the audience completely, is visually stunning, fits my character and, because of the celtic designed silver ring, works great in a Ren setting. It's really fantastic to see the audience respond to it.

-Card Through the Air. I use 1864 cards and it looks really good indeed. The people love it.

-The Wicker Man. Also known as the Okito Voodoo Doll. Voodoo dolls don't quite fit my character. Folks always enjoy it.

-Color Monte in my own way. I use cards I made myself specifically for Ren Faires.

-Torn and Restored Bill: I will usually take a dollar placed in my Tips bag to do it. Great response and makes sure more tips get in the bag.

Any many others. In terms of close-up / stand up material, I have about 2 hours of material. Now, I may not use all of it, but just in case someone comes back to my table time and time again to see something new. I've gotten over $20 in tips from people like that. And those are in $3 increments. Every bit helps.

For my stage show, I do a lot of different items. Silks, ropes, manipulation, rings, water, fire are all involved with my show. Here's a list of what I have come to call The DIRT ROAD SHOW and after I give some effects, I'll explain why:

If a warm up is needed, I'll do cut and restored rope. I do it completely silent with alot of movement and audience participation and it never ceases to get people's attention.

I start my show with what I call: Casting the Circle, where I produce a silk of each color from each of the four elements: I reach into the air and a yellow silk appears: I reach down and pick dirt of the ground, toss it into the air and pull a green silk from it. I pour water into my hand and clap my hands and a blue silk appears between them and fire flashes and a Red silk appears. I then put them all together and pull a 100ft mouth coil from it, that being the fifth element SPIRIT from which magic comes. I then place it all into a bag and change it into large white cloth that says Welcome on it, welcoming the patrons to my magick circle.

I'll do Card to silk in my own way, using the 1864 cards and I love doing it.

I'll tell a story and use the Wicker Man or Prof. Nightmare. I'll also tell a story in my show and make streams of water appear in my hands.

Miser's Dream is also done. I also am working on adding the egg bag to my show.

I close the show with my Linking Rings Routine. It goes over very well and then I have my own little ending in which I gather tips from the crowd.

I also do Fire-eating depending on the show and many other things between these effects.

I call it the Dirt Road Show because of an idea I had long ago based on McBride's Commando act. I thought there were certain flaws in his formation of the act (and believe me, I'm a HUGE McBride fan so this was a task for me) so I took it upon myself to fit it to me. All effects in my show can be done completely surrounded, there's no plastic items in my show, can be done with music, without music, with talking, without talking in rain, sun, wind, etc. Any part of the middle of my show can be removed if need be without interupting the show's flow. And it all fits into a big shoulder bag or, usually I use it anyway, my rolling table. It's painted black and covered by a celtic cloth so it works perfectly for me. Also, everything in my show is instantly packable. I mean instantly. I'm off the stage in one minture after I'm done if I need to for the next act. These are all things that Ren folk should consider when performing a Ren Faire stage Show.

-Daniel GreenWolf
-Much love,
Daniel GreenWolf
Celtic Magician

www.GreenWolfMagic.com
Adammcd
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How do I get involved in Ren related stuff? I know my question is off magic but I have no Idea where to start and being 26 am I too old to start?

Thanks for the help
Adam
The last thing you ever expected, should have been the first.
Harry Murphy
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You are never too old to start! I know a performer that started at 66.

There is a magazine that is sold in most well stocked bookstores and magazine shops. It is called Renaissance magazine. In it toward the back is a listing by state and country of almost every Renaissance Fair. There are points of contact for each fair for vendors and talent.

It can be difficult to break into this venue. Often a fair will give you a shot for a couple of weekends as a guest performer. It is really an audition to see if you fit the nature and tone of the particular fair. Some fairs are well established with an entrenched group of performers and don’t invite new blood. Some fairs spend their talent money on one or two “big” draws (Like Johnny Fox, Gazzo, Puke and Snot, Hack and Slash, Broom and so forth) and everyone else gets peanuts (a much lesser salary). Very few fairs today allow busking (passing the hat0 but do allow back-end sales.

Interesting, Pennsylvania has two established Renaissance Fairs. One is near Pittsburgh and the near Philadelphia.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Reis O'Brien
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Man, you guys talking about working the ren fairs has really grabbed my imagination! It sounds like a ton of fun. I miss my old SCA days, and now wish I had been interested in magic back then.

Malak, your show sounds like a real eye-catcher! But from what I gather, this doesn't sound like the most lucrative venue, so I imagine the fun of it must have plenty of its own value to the performer.

Good show, old chaps!
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mplegare
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A good source of reference would be

http://renaissance-faire.com

This is probably the most complete directory of Faires in the US, both big and small.

Firedice: It depends on what you see as 'lucrative'... honestly... I can't tell you what some make, but I make enough to cover expenses, lodging, gas, food, and still have cash left over to put back into my bank account. Smile

Adammcd: I started doing this RenFaire magician thing two year ago, at 34. Your Mileage May Vary (tm)
Matthew Legare aka Tobias the Adequate! - http://www.adequateblog.today.com - you know you want to.
Reis O'Brien
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Thanks for the heads up, mi amigo. By the way, I just checked out your site, very cool!
Homo vult decipi; decipiatur

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DanielGreenWolf
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Firedice,

You'd be suprised how lucrative working the Ren Circuit can be. Some performers tour the country doing nothing but Ren Faires and do quite well for themselves. I'd certainly say check it out.

Also, thanks for the kind words.
-Much love,
Daniel GreenWolf
Celtic Magician

www.GreenWolfMagic.com
Reis O'Brien
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So, last night, I was having coffee with one of my more "medieval" freinds and we both agreed that getting involved in the SCA again would be a killer way to spend the Summer. I'm in the Middle Realm and looked up the event schedule for the Summer and it is packed! So I guess I'll break out the garb again! I'm excited, as you can see. I have a deck of medeival style cards and some dice made of horn. I guess that's a start. Maybe I can busk the market square. Now, I just need some new armor... hmmmm....

Thanks all for re-inspiring me to get involved in this awesome little corner of subculture. I think this is exactly what I needed!
Homo vult decipi; decipiatur

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Lee Darrow
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Quote:
On 2004-04-05 07:27, Harry Murphy wrote:

There is a magazine that is sold in most well stocked bookstores and magazine shops. It is called Renaissance magazine. In it toward the back is a listing by state and country of almost every Renaissance Fair. There are points of contact for each fair for vendors and talent.



Well, if any of you have any back issues, you will see that my wedding was one of the winners in their wedding contest a few years ago! A little off topic, but I had to crow, especially as we FLEW our rings down the aisle tied to the jesses of an honest-to-heaven Falcon!

Just crowing a bit about my wedding and my Blissful Bride!

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
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http://www.leedarrow.com
<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
Payne
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I've been working the two faire's here since they started. One 23 years ago and the other for 18 years though at the latter I did miss one year as I was performing in England at the time.
We have had another fair start up in the last couple of years but it runs opposite my home fair so I have not gone, let alone performed at it.
I do set stand up thirty minute shows at these faires and no street work.
My sets include.

Set One
Cut and restored rope
What's Next, redone with X's on parchment
Die Box, Remade into a reliquary.
Sword Through Neck. My signature Ram's Bladder trick!

Set Two
Colour Changing Handkerchief
Chinese Sticks
Egg Bag
Linking Rings

Set Three
Cups and Balls
Coins Across
Card Stab using period style playing cards.

My philosophy is to dress modern effects in periodesque presentations as I feel that they are far more entertaining and versatile than proper period tricks. Most everything I do you can find a reference to an very similar effect being done in period.

I started off in the SCA and recieved a Laurel in An-Tir for the performance of magic.

These days I do not play anymore as I have gotten too busy with shows and other aspects of life.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Reis O'Brien
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"My philosophy is to dress modern effects in periodesque presentations as I feel that they are far more entertaining and versatile than proper period tricks. Most everything I do you can find a reference to an very similar effect being done in period."

This is exactly along the lines I have been thinking. I have learned many effects that could easily be revamped with a more medieval feel or look. And it seems to me that lately I have seen many marketed effects that already have a historical vibe.

My new query is this; What is your performing persona like at these festivals and events? Traveling entertainer? Mystical wizard? Do you have specific things about your costumes that show off you magicness?
Homo vult decipi; decipiatur

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