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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Busking in San Francisco (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Eldini
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Hello,

I am preparing to hit the streets of San Francisco in a couple weeks. I've been putting together and practicing an act for a couple of months now. I'll be going out the first week in December, no matter what. It is time to do the show.

While I have some experience preforming, I have no experience busking.

Anyone living in San Francisco able to give some practical advice about this city specifically? Any spots to consider outside of Fisherman's Warf?

Also, and advice on busking, in general, is appreciated.

Thank you!
imgic
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Do a quick search about San Fransisco in the room. I got these:

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......&forum=6

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......&forum=6

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......&forum=6

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......&forum=6


They may not give direct answers to your questions, but it’s a start. And points you to some users you contact for more information. I’m not sure if Gaddy is still around, but he’d be great connection.

Also, quick google on where to busk in San Francisco came up with:

https://stevetjoa.com/busking.html

https://sfport.com/street-performer-program

https://busk.co/blog/busking-in/16-focus......sco-usa/

There’s more as well...

Good luck, and please make sure to post how you do.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
peppermeat2000
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Update please!
Eldini
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Eldini lives!

Today was my first day out and performing my act, after months of preparation and practice. It felt great to do the show for people, although my crowds were very small (2-4).

I started doing card tricks to try and gather people at the first spot I stopped at. I performed the Chicago Opener a few times for people. However, there was a homeless gentleman nearby the couldn't resist getting into the show. People stayed for the one trick but moved along very quickly.

I moved to a spot near a crosswalk with people going by. After 15-20 minutes of basically yelling "Shows about to start. Come see Eldini perform an alchemist miracle. I will create gold from nothing!" I collected 4 people and did the show. It went just OK. A few slip ups, fortunately nothing that tipped the trick. The few that stopped seemed impressed and genuinely amazed by the magic. I had left my backup rope at work so could only do the act once. So, I packed up and am back home now. That said, I'll go back again next week. My goal will be 3-4 shows, with more card tricks in between.


Here is the routine in brief.
I am the Great Eldini, magician. I have learned the secrets of transmuting gold from a famous alchemist. The show begins with me explaining I know many magical beings. One of them is on my table, the magical lemon Mephistopheles. I know other magical beings that can appear and disappear.
-Sponge Ball routine (Balls appear and duplicate. Two in hand, one in pocket. All three disappear)

Put magic lemon away in bag hanging on my table in front. Before I will transmute gold I will demonstrate that physics and magic co-exist in this world. We live in a world where the laws of physics are constant and unbroken, like this length of rope.
-Professors nightmare a la Marc DeSouza's routine from "World's greatest magic" series

Transmuting gold requires an object of value, paper money to be exact. Borrow a bill and have it signed. Spectator holds the bill under a scarf above his head. Remove magical lemon "Actually Mephistopheles is a demon I defeated and turned into a lemon, he promised to show me his secrets to be released." The demon does not help. I attempt the transmutation. Bill disappears from scarf. "Within him is the secret. He holds the magic within him". Cut the lemon, reveal the bill is inside (with a 'bar of gold').

So that was my first show. Can't wait to practice all week, polish it up, and go back to perform multiple times. Maybe, I'll bring a hat next time.


The Great Eldini
Eldini
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Yesterday I went out again, this time to the Ferry Building. I had about an hour to work with before my shift at the restaurant. I spent about 20-25 minutes at each of two spots. Unfortunately, I was not able to get a crowed to pop off the show, not even a crowed of one! However, as I know nothing and am just learning it was still a valuable lesson. I think I picked spots that were a little too out of the way or with crowds already formed for another act (Christmas choir). Of course, a good busker would have gotten her show going regardless.

Any advice? I am attempting the "Subtlety of Curiosity" method as outlined in the School of Busking videos using silks. I have a red silk to black linen TT routine and a larger silk that I do a few one handed knots (out of Mark Wilsons book).

Thanks!


Eldini


p.s. I heading out again right now!
Eldini
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Yesterday I went out to the Ferry Building area again. I found a wide sidewalk with lots of traffic in between two shopping/restaurant areas. I decided to stay in this spot no matter what. I did three shows for between 8 and 20+ people. They all went increasingly better. By the third show I was starting to pull the crowed in, move my table back, that kind of thing.

I stuck with the "shows about to start" and doing the TT routine (red silk disappears and reappears in black linen).

Some take aways:

1. I am getting through the set act "fine", but need to practice and practice. It isn't perfectly automatic yet. I can see the act itself needs to be almost reflexive so I can work on crowed management, etc.

2. As soon as I got 3-4 people to stop I would start the set act. By the second or third trick more people had stopped. However, it's probably better for me to do some card tricks or something for those first few people and wait to start the show once a larger crowed has formed.

3. There is definitely money to be made. I'm not doing any hat lines throughout the show. I don't even have a hat (figurative or literal). Yet people just hand me money. I'll keep at it this way for another 10-15 shows then start adding in hat lines (and hat). Since I do cut and restored rope a la professors nightmare, and bill in lemon, the break even is about $6-$7 a show. That's no problem but worth mentioning.

It felt great to perform and get crowds! The months of practice and preparation have paid off. Throughout it all I was wondering "will I really do this thing"? While I have a long way to go to be "good" or even "not bad", I finally feel like I can call myself a magician! Thank you to those who have messaged me encouragements. Most importantly, thank you to Joe Pon of Misdirection Magic who helped me put the act together and has been a great source of knowledge, inspiration, (and rope)!



Eldini
imgic
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Great to hear your stories! Please keep us posted.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Wx4usa
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Post a video of your tt silk routine sometime.
Hal in Alabama USA
TheAmbitiousCard
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Great job, Eldini,

Keep it up.

Busking provides lessons you'll never get anywhere else. And quickly.
www.theambitiouscard.com Hand Crafted Magic
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Eldini
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Thank you sir!

I was able to get out twice more since my last post. Nothing since the new year though. I will say every time out there has been better and better. Still so far to go.

Thanks also for the great table top and bag! I haven't said anything yet but they are both in the act and work wonderfully.


I went back to the midwest for the fews two weeks of January and took the act to show friends and family. So, I got a couple of shows in. They went well, also my family has been wondering what I've been up to so great to show them.

There was one disaster, I'm glad I got out with family and not on the street. I fumbled a rope transfer, leaving no space to make the next 'cut'. Ended up taking the tip of my finger off in the process. My brother-in-law is still not totally convinced it wasn't part of the act! After bandaging I continued with the act. The show must go on!

Anyway, am planning on getting back out there on Sunday, to the now regular spot next to the Ferry Building. I'll post a video of the silk routine and patter too, soon.


-Eldini
Wx4usa
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Oh no. Im so sorry. wow. Ouch. Im glad you were able to continue. that's gotta hurt. Kudos to you. Keep us posted. Looking forward to the video.
Hal in Alabama USA
Wx4usa
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Ok, I was just thinking Eldini, Your brother-in-law's reaction...the fake blood stuff...that's really cool. How'd you do that? huh? Come on. Tell me. How'd you do that? That was an awesome part of your trick. It was so realistic.
Hal in Alabama USA
Eldini
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Its a good trick, but I can only do it 10 times...well now 9. VERY realistic! (:
Wx4usa
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Oh too funny. You could add a TT to cover the shortened finger lol
Hal in Alabama USA
Eldini
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Hello,

Well today was a bust. I got a late start because I thought the weather was supposed to be better in the afternoon. However, by the time I got to my pitch, it was very windy and starting to rain. I probably could of gotten off at least one show had I started right away. My confidence is not at 100% yet, so it takes me a bit to talk myself into setting up the table and getting started. In doing so, I missed my chance.

Does anyone perform in the rain? Maybe I should have just done the show even if just for one person? I've put some red velcro on my table top so my sponge balls don't blow away (after learning that lesson!). Thought about street performing in bad weather?

It is discouraging because I have made Sunday the one day a week to go out. Part of this is how I look at my time. So, I'm going to go out tomorrow again, in the morning. I don't need ALL DAY. I just need to get out there and get as many reps in as I can, in the time that I have. Plus, I should just set up as soon as I get there. I always feel great once I get going.

I'm also learning about filming and posting videos. As a trial run, here is my TT Silk routine, in the youtube link below. I repeat this over and over, to E. E. Cummings poems "Who knows if the Moons a Balloon", until I get some eye contact and people stopping. After that I try the "Shows about to start" or just start the show.

https://youtu.be/OH_Kfgkd4TM

Any feedback, however painful, is always appreciated.
Wx4usa
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Thanks for posting your video. Very nice. Is that a diamond cut silk? What size? Looks huge! You take your time. Very well done. I like your facial control... Looking at the hand... Nice and slow reveal of the vanish....
Hal in Alabama USA
TheAmbitiousCard
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Eldini,
A couple things to consider:

1. You switch to a different technique when you want to drop of the TT. Why different right when it matters? How can you make sure it's the same every time.
2. You use your T to pick up the TT using a very old and known method, telegraphing what you're doing, even to amateurs. Why not use an updated method where your T never enters the top of your closed fist?

Otherwise it's pretty good!

I suggest getting the Patrick Page TT video which will help you. Cheap as dirt and has a lot of great stuff to help you improve your techniques.
www.theambitiouscard.com Hand Crafted Magic
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Chippendale's Dancer applicant, Unofficial World Record Holder.
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