LESSONS LEARNED ON THE STREET
Street magic is one of the fastest growing new styles of magic, yet it is one of the oldest forms of magic as well! Today, there are many successful magicians that began their careers working the streets. The streets are a place where a beginner can go and get real world experience. When I first moved to New York City, I had the pleasure of studying with the man who literally wrote the book on Street Magic. Jeff Sheridan and I met in the mid-1970s in New York City. Over the years, I have met many of the top “classical” street performers from all over the world, including Jim Cellini, Chris Capeheart, and Gazzo, and I have learned something from every one of them. There is also a new breed of internet street magicians, like Cyril, Marco Tempest, and David Blaine, and they have lessons to teach us as well…. The world is changing.
The old school street performers are very low-tech and high-touch. Their effects must be able to be performed in the round. They have to play for small audiences as well as large audiences.
The new school techno-mage designs effects that are often specifically created to play for “the home viewer.” Many of these effects are shocking, get spread as viral videos, and reach a global viewership. Years ago, a young magician might upgrade their stage show by adding an illusion, such as a zigzag or sub trunk. Today’s new magicians are getting a high-def video camera as the upgrade to their shows. The amazing thing is that some kid living in the boondocks can make a clever magic video at home, and be seen by thousands, perhaps millions of people. Twenty years ago, this was unheard of. Street magic, and the internet, are changing the way we experience magic.
I have been very blessed in my life to have traveled the world with my show. Street performing has taught me many important lessons:
- how to draw a crowd
- how to take command of an audience
- how to sustain their attention
- how to use audience participation
- how to deliver my message clearly
- … oh yes, and how to get good money for something that I love to do!
Many of the lessons that I learned in the school of hard knocks are ones that I still use today, whether I am designing a corporate show, a theater show, a casino show, or even when we design a show to play a luxury ocean liner.
I’ve learned many tricks of the trade and secrets that make a great street magic show. These lessons can help you. I will be sharing these secrets with many of our friends at the Magic School, October 9, 10 and 11th.
MAGIC AND MEANING
“Magic is the art of reaching into a deeper reality and bringing gifts from it into the ordinary world”
The Magic and Meaning Conference is a distinctive, annual small-group conference that focuses on creating meaningful magic routines, effective scripts, and new venues for performance. If you love magic, storytelling, motivational speaking, the philosophy of magic — or want to learn more about it — this is the place to be!
The 2009 conference will feature Keynote Addresses by Jeff McBride, Eugene Burger, Robert E. Neale, and Lawrence Hass. The conference also features a select number of Short Talks by conference attendees on subjects relating to the themes of the conference. Also, the conference will offer interactive small group sessions as well as “works in progress” shows where we create a safe and fun space to try new ideas and get valuable feedback on your magic.
Magic is exploding in China. Recently, a Taiwanese magician named Lu Chen appeared on the biggest Chinese New Year’s television show. He only did three close-up effects, but it made a huge impression on the Chinese viewers. Now, the entire country is crazy for magic. I experienced this recently, at the World Championships in Beijing, and I took a few videos, too! You can see them on my internet television channel here:
MCBRIDE MAGIC WORLD TOUR
Our entire company is off to Shenzhen, China, to a huge theme park called Happy Valley.
See you on the road, or here in Las Vegas!! (We’ll be back October 8, just in time for the Street Magic Class).