The Magic Café
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » San Francisco (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

View Profile
New user
22 Posts

Profile of zman1234
I noticed that some people asked about certain areas for performing. I hope that it is OK to ask about this.

I was wondering what the busking situation is in San Francisco. It is infamous for con-men, along with the shell game and three card monte, so I don't know if a lot of people would stop. On the other hand, by pier 39, there are always break dancers, or other acts being performed. Has anyone ever performed here? How was it?
View Profile
Loyal user
New Mexico
211 Posts

Profile of Shawn74
I have a friend Keith who juggles and does a little magic on the Pier. He loves it! As far as I know, though, the acts there are pretty regulated by some type of committee. It's not like just walking out there and starting to draw a crowd. I'll see if I can find out more about it from Keith.

Hold your breath...make a wish...count to 3... and you'll be in a world of pure imagination
Willy Wonka
View Profile
Special user
Snohomish, Washington
529 Posts

Profile of irossall
When I was doing my street work in San Francisco in the 80's a permit by the city was required to be "legal." Most police officers are not interested in busting a street performer but I have had more than one officer tell me to pack it up and move along.
Iven Smile
Give the gift of Life, Be an Organ Donor.
View Profile
Veteran user
310 Posts

Profile of mcmc

I've been considering hitting the streets of San Francisco. Do you remember what type of permit I would require, and how much it was?

The last time I tried it, I went to Oakland downtown, Jack London Square, and then Oakland Chinatown - and some cop stopped me, ran me through his records, and let me off with a 'warning' since I didn't have a "criminal record". You'd figure they have better things to do! But it couldn't hurt to do it all 'aboveboard', even if it costs a bit.

Logan Five
View Profile
Inner circle
Northern California
1477 Posts

Profile of Logan Five
How much was your permit?
Self concept is destiny..
View Profile
Loyal user
221 Posts

Profile of bropaul
I haven't worked there since the late 80's. It is very regulated. You need to get in with one of the stages like the Anchorage or Pier 39 to make any money. I did do some stuff up by the Trolly turnaround. It was good. A different crowd every 20 minutes or so.

The permit was from some Art's Council and if I remember it was free. They just wanted you to be registered. But that was some years ago, so do some homework. I'm sure someone here will chime in and give you the low down.

It was free in the 70's too. And a lot more relaxed. But times change.
Bro. Paul West
Logan Five
View Profile
Inner circle
Northern California
1477 Posts

Profile of Logan Five
I am thinking about doing a street gig on Telegraph Ave in Berkeley just for practice and to do something different. Just put on a tie-die shirt and not shave and just go out there and read minds.

However, I wouldn't know how to get people to stop and watch me..since I really have no props. I couldn't just use my opening line "Hi, my name is Rick K and in the next few mintues were going to explore some of the un-tapped powers of the human-mind".

That's too long a line to get strangers attention on the street..I think.
Does anyone have any ideas about getting people to stop and watch what you are doing? Would I have to become more "prop heavy" just to get attention? Or can you recommend any quick statements that would grab peoples attention so they could stop and watch what you are doing?

Any advice would be great..

Self concept is destiny..
View Profile
Inner circle
America’s North Coast, Ohio
3176 Posts

Profile of BroDavid
You have to interest them quickly. Go one on one with passerbys. Make eye contact and smile a lot. Talk to them, and give them something to see that shows that "something exciting" is going to happen here.

I do one handed card flourishes with American Flag card decks that look beautiful (and are cheap at Walmart) I talk to the people and tell them what they are going to see. "Hey there, you look like you enjoy magic", "The show is about to start, stand right here, and you will see it all." Magic from around the world, right herer, right now." yada yada yada .... If that isn't your style, then figure out what works for you.

If you do linking rings, people are drawn to the shiny circles Smile I have drawn an edge just standing on a corner fooling with the rings, (I use 10" rings) and before you know it, I had 20-25 people up close to see what was happening.

Catch one or two, and you can catch a crowd. It is kind of like a car wreck. Once it happens, others will stop to see what happened.

How many you draw will depend on how many you perform for. If I have a circle set up, with space a big crowd, I use bigger things like the rings or rope to draw. If it is a small 20-35 crowd, I can use cards to just my magnetic personality.

Once you draw them, you need to hold them. Buy Krowd Keepers for a start.. read more posts here. Do searches here. But if you are a close up person, then drawing 100 people wont do you any good (even if you could do it) since only about 15 people will see what you are doing. Think about how to get them, but think too about how to keep them entertained. don't lose a good smal crowd trying to build a bigger one that you cant keep.

You have to try something. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn't work, try something else.

If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
View Profile
Inner circle
1235 Posts

Profile of Magicmaven
Too cold and windy. Maybe a pro can do it, but for someone starting out... That could be tough.

"The coldest winter I spent was the summer in San Fransisco" -Mark Twain.
View Profile
Special user
Sweden, Sundsvall
866 Posts

Profile of Arkadia
I got some ideas. Don't know if any of it fits you, but hey. I give it a shot.

Perhaps have a huge poster with the words: "Rick K - the mental mastermind" or something that fits you. Wear clothes that agrees with your poster and your character. Try to be as much of a character as posible - with that I meen that on the streets everything is loud and buisy. If you somewhat stand out from the crowd the onlookers are more likely to stop and watch your show. Start of with something really strong such as fork bending or some sort of mental drawing on a big cardboard. The tricks in between doesn't have to be all that big. End with a hyped (not over hyped) finale that really kills. Pass your hat.

I also think that ProDavids post is great. Couldn't agree more concerning the size of the crowd.

Don't miss out on the great new mentalist magic:
Logan Five
View Profile
Inner circle
Northern California
1477 Posts

Profile of Logan Five
Thank you BroDavid, Magicmaven & Arkadia for you wise advice. I can see that I have my work cut out for me. It would be difficult but not insurmountable to put a street act together with my current routines.

I'll get Krowd Keepers & I just found the Danny Hustle Forum this morning.

So I will get to work on it.

PS Magicmaven, Berkeley is a LOT warmer than SF.


Self concept is destiny..
View Profile
Eternal Order
Northern California
13417 Posts

Profile of TheAmbitiousCard

And sacramento is a lot warmer than San Francisco. Smile
If you want a gig or 2 to practice your act
where you can get paid, let me know.

I have an idea.


If I was not clear, the gig would be in sacramento.

Frank Hand Crafted Magic
Trophy Husband, Father of the Year Candidate,
Chippendale's Dancer applicant, Unofficial World Record Holder.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » San Francisco (0 Likes)
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2021 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.08 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL