As I start getting excited for the warm weather to get here in St. Louis again so I can start busking, I’m drawn to these sorts of acts. Close-up with the crowd right there in your face. Waving a knife around might not be the best idea for me, but Bob Sheets (www.bobsheets.com) keeps the crowd rolling in this Card Stab routine.
OK, this entry is a little bit different in that I have no idea who the guy in the video is. Admittedly, he’s doing the Three Shell Game in the spirit that we know it from in movies and books. In reality, I don’t think I’ve ever really had the chance to see a real worker doing the Three Shell Game or the Three Card Monte for money on a street, so for me, this is pretty cool to watch. As you’ll see, he does lose, but he’s making far more than he loses. Considering the amount of money people are paying to play, I think he’s doing pretty good.
Bob Sheets (www.bobsheets.com) is one of the rare breed that comes from experience in circus, sideshow, trade show, bar magic, festival, and street performance. Man, his manner, patter and crowd handling is the type of performance I really dig and pretty much aspire to. His recent DVD of a “boot camp” course in the Three Shell Game will probably become a new standard in teaching a routine until it is drilled in as second nature. This video, though, is of him doing a Cups and Balls routine, and what sets it apart from most performances is how he is working not only closely surrounded, but also has members of the crowd (in this case, kids) involved and working with him. The magic community knows Bob Sheets’ name, and everybody who is into life performance should, too.
I’ve been working on my close-up magic, lately, and one of the set of DVDs I’ve been using, in addition to a number of books, is Jeff McBride’s (www.mcbridemagic.com)”World Class Manipulation,” which covers coins, balls, and thimbles. Now, when it comes to the plot-line of The Miser’s Dream, my personal favorite is Al Flosso’s, which I posted a while back (Daily Dose of Magic – Al Flosso). Jeff’s take is fun, and what I like about this is the interplay in this silent routine between Jeff and at first the audience, then the boy.
A couple of days ago, I read a post about Aldo Colombini (www.wildcolombini.com) suffering a catastrophic stroke, and today he passed from us. I never got a chance to meet the man, but he was on the list of magicians who I respect and hope to meet some day. I’ve watched a good number of his performances and have one of his books, and his charm and ingenuity left him in a league of his own. My condolences to his wife and family. Today’s Dose is one of his Ring routines, and even though it is silent, his wit and humor is still strongly conveyed in this beautiful piece. RIP, Aldo.
OK, it may be a serious misnomer calling it the Spring Parade of Magic, but a great show of magic performances will be held on Saturday February 15, 2014 at the Kirkwood Community Center, located at 111 S Geyer Rd, Kirkwood, MO. Show times 2 and 7 pm, but when the doors open an hour before showtimes, close-up magic will be performed in the lobby. I’ll be part of the lobby close-up team, along with my friend Cameron Jones (the youngest magician in Ring 1) and the great Harry Monti. Main stage performers will be Terry Richison (magicofterryrich.com), Steve Barcellona (stevebarcellona.com), Marty Kopp (martinkopp.com), and Mike Niehaus (mikeniehaus.com), and the show emcee will be the IBM International President, Bill Evans. Admission is $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for children.
I’ve been remiss by not posting anything by Jimmy Talksalot (jimmytalksalot.blogspot.com), and the reason why he has been important and influential to me and my performance is his blog (located at the above address) was what inspired me to try my hand at street performance in the first place. Because of what Jimmy has posted online, I’ve seen and read quite a bit about performing magic on the streets. Once again, not the David Blaine “Do you want to see a trick,” but getting a crowd, keeping them, and (the hardest part) hatting the crowd after giving them a show. Even my final trick that I had performed for my show last years was inspired from Jimmy after seeing how Jimmy gets a good reaction (although my Ropes Through the Neck is not quite his bit). Jimmy turned me on to Jim Cellini, who is the godfather of contemporary street magicians, held in the same esteem as other magicians hold Dai Vernon. I hope to cross paths with Jimmy someday and give him my thanks personally.
The Six Card Repeat is a classic of magic, and most magicians are familiar with the trick and what’s almost become a standard routine of magic storytelling. Then again, today’s Dose is from Pop Haydn, so expect things to be turned a bit on their ear. Pop turns this classic into a presentation of The Magician in Trouble plot, and for a routine that can seem tired in the wrong hands, it’s just fun to watch Pop stumble through. Pop posted this on his blog at (pophaydn.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/the-six-card-trick/) a few days ago. Yeah, I definitely prefer this to the usual routine I see, and it’s one more reason I’m a fan.
Since I got back into doing magic, one of the routines that has constantly been on my mind has been The Multiplying Balls. To get used to ball manipulation, I’ve collected balls from sporting goods stores, toy stores, and dollar stores trying to find good balls to at least learn basic manipulations with. I finally got a multiplying balls set with the original thought of just using them for practicing manipulations, but found myself being sucked further into Multiplying Balls routines. I’m not one for doing silent acts, so finding Paul Daniels’ act is kind of an inspiration just seeing what a talking routine can be like. It’s not the script I would use, because, like doing any of the classics, I want to do my own. His routine is perfect, though, and proof that this does not need to be a silent routine. Enjoy!