“Life is not a spectator sport. If you’re going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you’re wasting your life.”
– Jackie Robinson
One of the Burning Man Art Festival mottos is “No Spectators!” In a magic show I think this is a crucial concept to incorporate.
“People support what they help create,” is one of the mottos I live by!
This concept holds true in just about any organization, political movement, internet group, club, and yes, even in the theatre or at a magic show. I feel that the more audience participation there is in a show, the more successful that show becomes. If you look at current Las Vegas shows, the ones that have lasted have a lot of audience participation: Penn & Teller, Mac King, Amazing Jonathan & David Copperfield.
“It’s better to be in love than to watch it!”
There is a huge difference between a spectator and a participant. A spectator spectates, merely watching, witnessing without being directly involved. A participant is co-creating the experience, and has a role to play in the production of the magic.
Experience and learn from some of my favorite participation routines at SCIENCE VS MAGIC.
I’ll be performing in the Close-up Room with Kevin James for the special Rudy Coby week at the Magic Castle, April 21-27.
Also appearing with me will be Marco Tempest, Chris Korn, Rafael, Kevin James, and Timo Mark.
When I hear a magician say, “I have the spectator select a card,” I cringe inside. I am aware that they are not conscious of the words they are using. The more conscious we are of our words, the more conscious we can become as performers. Spectators do not pick cards; they watch cards being picked. Participants pick cards. I want everyone involved in the experience…not spectating. An example is my poker routine called:
This is one of my favorite close-up card routines. I get the entire audience into the story and playing parts in the show, and it’s very easy to do. Have a look and you might like to try it as well.
You can ask me to perform this routine if you attend one of my shows. I have a few coming up while on tour.
I will be performing with my friends at the Weekend of Wonder — perhaps we will meet there?
I rarely get to New York City and I’ll be performing and doing the lecture and workshop at FANTASMA magic shop in New York City, after our evening show Salute to Magic at the Queens Theatre.
I love to perform for Spanish audiences. And the Spanish magicians — especially the close-up artists — are some of the best in the world. If you are in Spain join me here:
Jaun Tamariz is one of the top Spanish magicians. He get the audience to join him in creating the magic. I encourage you to study great performers like Juan, and how they generate excitement, mystery and fun by using audience participation techniques. Explore ways you can welcome your audience into your magic world, and participate in the magic.
Remember: “People support what they help create.” So let them help you create magic! If you have ideas to share with me on ways that you engage your participants, email me and let me know. (just reply to this email!)
The Lance Burton Teen Magic Seminar is where we help the next generation of magicians learn expert skills.
This June, Eugene Burger and I will be joined by Larry Hass and Bryce Kuhlman at the combined IBM-SAM Convention. We will be working with Lance Burton hosting the youth magic seminar. These are the magicians of the future.
Xavier Mortimer will be our special guest this month. Take a look at his amazing talent here.
Early stage - 8pm
Your Host is the versatile Tim Wise
Joe Krathwohl, The Birdman of Las Vegas
Alien Warrior Comic
Close-Up – 9 pm
Your Host is the most elegant Christian Diamond
plus! The Psychic Sideshow with Allan Scott
Late Stage - 10 pm
Katie Kenner and the Maraschino Dolls
With: NWR Dancers, LiveDJ, Art by Areeya, video by SteelFyre
At WONDERGROUND and all of my shows I encourage “PARTY-cipation!
Take a look at one of our shows, and learn from our examples of how you can move your audience from being objective witnesses into subjective participants. Objective witnesses have less responsibility, and do not participate in the action. A subjective participant is actively engaged in the magic experience. They support the show by not only applauding at appropriate moments, but also by selecting cards and helping the magician with various tasks. I use this technique all the time and I would love to teach you how to use it in your work.
We often talk about this kind of technique each week on our Mystery School Monday Show. I invite you to join us and participate with us at our online Mystery school classes!
So come join us online or at one of our shows and be PART of the fun!
See you onstage,