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Profile of Zauberman
Are Street Magicians looked down upon???

I asked this question in 2 parts.

First by other magicians
Secondly by the public.

What are your experiences with regards to this, good or bad.
Mine have, sadly, have been negative at times. What does everyone else think???? experiences?

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Inner circle
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Profile of gallagher
A two part question,
I have THREE different thoughts(!), 🤔
And a 'fourth'....experience. 🙃

I think it depends a lot on 'which' Show they SEE!
As a Street Performer,
we ALL have 'good' Shows,
and ALL have 'bad' Shows,..
the best of us.

When other Performers, see us turning a 'good' Show,
they smile and wink,.."bwaa."
When the 'public' experiences the same,...
the same,..."bwaa."

When we have a 'bad' one, one wants to know you!

The two Shows can be a half-of-an-hour apart!
The Streets.
One Show you're 'god' and get licked(!).
The next,
you're a 'dog' and get kicked!

The 'third' group:
those who DON'T see us,
but 'imagine' what Street Performing is.
(good luck!,..
especially when you're over 60!...! 😕)

There are the 'romantics',
..and there are the 'realists',...
or should I simply say: 'pessimists'?
'Pests', for short.

I NEVER try to explain.
They simply cannot imagine it.

My fourth 'experience',
came from my family(!).
That was a surprise.
After a good 20 years behind me,
...and honestly,
the first 20 ARE the adventurous ones(!),
I started hearing comments,
from my eight brothers and sisters,...
("siblings", they call themselves..)

"It's never too late to go to college."

"A 'real job' would definately be more rewarding."

"...and your children?"

"You always liked McDonald's food. Why not WORK there?"

On my 55th birthday,
my mother told me:
"The Catholic Church excepts un-married men,
in the seminary, any age."(!...!)

{,...Monika responded:
"He prefers having sex with women."}


In all honesty,
it's in our own heads.
I can honestly NOT think of ANYTHING better to be doing!
It's simply,..the greatest.

I'm a Street Performer, by choice.

I wish all my Collegues
the same blessing.

Have a nice day,

p.s.: Yesterday...blessed in Perleberg.
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I have danced upon
667 Posts

Profile of Magic.J.Manuel
Stilt walkers look down upon everyone!
Nothing would get done at all, if man waited so long that no one could find fault with it.
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Profile of thomasR
It takes a special kind of talent to be a “real” street performer. For one, you have to be good enough to get people to stop and watch you despite their fears (is this guy gonna scam me, is this some kind of set-up, will people think I’m weird for watching... etc.) out on the streets, that’s talent right there. To get those same people to give money, give cash willingly to some guy on the street? Even more talent. To me that’s way more talent than performers in a Vegas theatre, cruise ship, etc.

I believe the public sees most street performers as either - 1 homeless people / hippies that live in a commune that are performing so they don’t get in trouble for begging for money. 2 - hobbyists who are just out performing for fun.
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Eternal Order
Northern California
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Profile of TheAmbitiousCard
I don't know the answer.

But I do know that as a street performer, it's not a license to say , do ,dress, behave in any manner you want just because "you're a street performer".

You need to follow the rules where you're performing; don't create a situation where people are complaining about you.
You should dress appropriately. My advice... Lose the "cargo shorts and sandals" look. Hand Crafted Magic
Trophy Husband, Father of the Year Candidate,
Chippendale's Dancer applicant, Unofficial World Record Holder.
D. Yoder
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Profile of D. Yoder
I think the answer to both questions is that it depends on the performer as well as the person who is doing the evaluating. Yes, buskers are just a step above being homeless beggars. Yes, buskers are romantic vagabonds free from the oppressive jobs that many people suffer through each day. Of all the hat lines that I have heard, I think Niko the Magician on a Motorcycle is the best at answering the question on whether he should be admired or pitied.
Phil Ainsworth
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Profile of Phil Ainsworth
I’ll answer the OP’s question with another question:

Why should a Street Performer CARE whether or not he or she is looked down upon?
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Profile of Zauberman
Thanx for the responses lads. Interesting and valid food for thought.

My initial post was prompted by a couple recent events where I am at the moment.

Firstly, a couple pitches that I rely on here were suddenly 'Pitches No More'. One was public land administered by the State and the other, while used by the public, belonged to and was run by a private firm. Both of these places had a change-over in staff....that suddenly decided that Buskers/Street Performers didn't portray what they thought was 'Art and good business'. A lot of this stemmed from their (misguided) attitude of what 'Busking and Street Performing' entails.

At the same time, a couple magicians I am acquainted with let it be known that they thought the very idea of performing magic on the street....brought Magic down as an art, by the very fact you are performing for a non-paying crowd. Sigh.

My personal thoughts....unfortunately there is an attitude out there towards buskers that while not hateful, tends to put us in a lower category. This is by no means the Majority....but it is more common than I'd like...and when these people get in charge, busking is at risk.

As for would think this is the last place you find this...but there are (amateur) magicians that because they do a few corporate gigs....put themselves above the rest. But again this is by no means most....any magician that has been trying to make a go of it for any length of time has had their egos put in place more than one way.

But that's just my feelings at the moment, nothing written in stone.
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Profile of noland
I think many layman have trouble separating a busker performing and asking for a contribution from a homeless person straight out soliciting money. Since much of the public looks down on the homeless, they frequently view a street magician in the same light. I got kicked off the side-walks in two Maryland suburban towns (Silver Spring and Bethesda) because the property managers who controlled access to the sidewalks there didn't like the idea of someone soliciting the public on their turf. Incidentally, I always dressed "up" when I busked--including wearing a dress shirt, slacks and tie, so I didn't look like a homeless person. Regarding magicians: the only ones I've ever spoken to who thought poorly of magicians who busked were ones who had never actually seen a great, or in some cases, any, magical busking act. Most magicians I've spoken to are in awe of the skill set required to successfully build, entertain and hat a crowd.
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Profile of Yellowcustard
On Apr 15, 2019, Zauberman wrote:
Are Street Magicians looked down upon???

I asked this question in 2 parts.

First by other magicians
Secondly by the public.

What are your experiences with regards to this, good or bad.
Mine have, sadly, have been negative at times. What does everyone else think???? experiences?


I am a a pert time, weekend warrior busker.

The past 8 years I have mainly busked in New Zealand and Australia.

The fact I don't play music are have a giraffe unicycle confuses people. And in answer to your question 'do they look down on us?' I think in my case they don,t know what I am!

If they have seen magic on the street it normally pick a card any card, her it is, here it is again, and again, and again. and it pretty much one to one and not presented in a planned out show format.

Also the skill and performance level is not always that great. There is no grade you must be at so anyone can get out their. People see the street as a place to be bad and try things out. This leads on to something I call the performers Busk-Skill-Level. Yes there are a lot of transferable skill. However there is something about the experience of begin out there and developing your martriel to fit the street.

I hear in walk round circle the key on costume is look like your dressed to go somewhere better. if people think your a beggar, ask your self why?

So in short I think people don't know what we are, and / or have had a bad experience.
Enjoy your magic,

and let others enjoy it as well!
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Moved to Seattle to see
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Profile of imgic
I am 6 foot, 3 inches tall...most times I’m looked up to...
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
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Myrtle Beach
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Profile of JoeJoe
On Apr 21, 2019, noland wrote:
because the property managers who controlled access to the sidewalks there didn't like the idea of someone soliciting the public on their turf

Right there is the problem - soliciting money - it's always the problem.

If a store is having a bad day, they look at the window and blame whatever they see ... if they see you, it must be your fault they are not making money. Like Jimmy Talks-a-lot says: "nobody cares until you're making money".

That is all people in this society seem to know how to do: fight over money. Telling people they can't street perform is a form of "fighting" - they will lock you in chains, put you in a cage, and force you to give them your money ... all because you want to play with magic tricks instead of working a "real job".

Watch my "Crowd Goes Wild" lecture, the part about being "the world's greatest magician": the world's greatest magician does not need a crowd of people watching him, he already knows he is the world's greatest magician and doesn't care if people watch or not. It doesn't matter what people see when they look at him, he already knows he is the world's greatest magician. Smile

Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=]
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Agent of Chaos
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Profile of gaddy
IMO -Yes, but who cares?

I forget who it was, but one longtime busker said to me: "After a certain amount of time, you can take the magician off of the street, but you can't take the street out of the magician..."
*due to The Magic Cafe's editorial policies, words on this site attributed to me cannot necessarily be held to be my own.*
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Profile of cfirwin3
This question makes me think of "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone". The movie hits on a ton of magician stereotypes in a variety of performance settings. And none of the movie is especially glorifying of magic performers (but rather it comically focuses on the self-glorification of magicians).

I think that the term street magician suffers an easily applicable (and historically deserving) stereotype... which can be comical and self-deprecating if we are good sports about it.

I think though, that an encounter with a street performer (or any stereotyped magician) can defy the stereotype. I remember hearing Greg Wilson talk about certain kinds of patter as being off-putting to some. That people can easily see the performer as less mature and less captivating than their usual company (the adults that the hang around with) given the wrong kind of stereotypical talking or speech. Magicians can come off as 'cute' and amusing rather than mysterious and engaging. This is easily overcome if you meet people on their level and don't ask them to come to where YOUR persona is.

Now all of that being said... LOTS of performers (not just street performers) depend heavily on their 'completely separate from normal' personas to achieve their acts. And if they are good at what they do, then why in the world should they do it differently?

I don't think that other types of magicians look down upon street performers. Those that are making some sort of great living on performing magic such that they aren't performing for small groups in public spaces on occasion, and have the position from which to "look down" on street performers MUST be in a very, very small percentage indeed.
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Profile of MateosSpain
Personally in the magic association I hear really good stuff about street performer as we learn and improve routines really fast and never heard bad things about one in the inner circle just for being a street magician, but for the general public yeah Its like when you see a actor in a theater or a street entertainer (social psychology makes the difference), but the ones that put we in caves are the real ones to look us down up, the rest of the people enjoy the show to be honest
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Profile of Zauberman
Maybe under appreciated by many would be a better term.

I really think Street Performing is a barometer of the societies openess/culture.

When an area bans, makes Street Performng impossible...the area looses something..more sterile.

I've done tons of shows in areas that have put smiles on the fans of both tourists and locals. Businesses benefit. A win-win situation.
Yet suddenly....gone/verboten!

Grumpy business person, out of touch administration, clueless polician.

Maybe I just got out of the wrong side of the bed today.
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Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
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Profile of Josepher
I am in awe of the audience management skills that a good street performer has.
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