Monday, November 18, 2019

Steampunk Show Case Manheim, PA

What a great Steampunk Convention!. While performing at another event I learned about this one.
Tucked away on the second floor of the Spooky Nook Sports Complex, the vendors set up and the meeting rooms were ready for the panels.
I left Brooklyn Friday night with my camper trailer in tow. In the past I've stayed in hotels the night before a show away from home but this time I thought it would be nice to just stay in the camper and save on the hotel and have a little more freedom.
I parked at the closest rest stop to the venue and bunked down for the night.
Saturday morning it was off to Spooky Nook for the Con!
One of these weekend events is A LOT of work and I must compliment Allen Wong and his staff for their effort.
I arrive and changed into my Steampunk garb and grabbed my table and headed into the venue.
The vendors were all on site setting up their wares and one of the hardest things at one of these is to not buy too much stuff I don't need.....kind of sounds like a magic or clown convention!
I walked around and introduced myself to all the vendors and discussed the dynamics about my gathering a crowd and then recommending them to shop shop shop at the vendors.
Part of this time is also spent  looking for the "best" spot to set up my table based on what appears to be the traffic flow of the guests and layout of the room.
I selected my spot......
Just at the end of the vendor aisle at the passage to the panel meeting rooms.
Set up and ready to go I continued to walk around and speak with people and vendors.

I noticed across from me was a table with books on it and the author was behind the table. Now if you are a Steampunk fan then you know this name, Leanna Renee Hieber , she writes novels in the Steampunk genre and she is very good, great characters and great stories. I decided to buy 2 paperbacks and she autographed them for me! I wish I could have been around for her panel discussion about writing these types of novels, but I'm sure I can catch her at a future event. 
Then it was time to perform. I did my street act numerous times during the day for all sizes of 
crowds, and happily all the shows went very well. 

Besides the panel discussions, there were a few fun events scheduled throughout the day.
I made sure to take plenty of breaks to sit in on panels that interested me and they were both fun and informative, not to mention that I made a bunch of new acquaintances of the Steampunk crowd.
By the end of the day I was done, and packed it all up and back out to my camper to change and head home. One of the best things that happened was a compliment I received from one of the vendors.
He motioned to me and called me over to speak with me. He said, "I just wanted to tell you that I've done a lot of these events and seen a lot of magicians doing what you do and by far you have the best technique and mannerisms I've seen, I really enjoyed it...."  Honestly this was completely unexpected and unsolicited, and I actually blushed! That made my weekend, My hats weren't that great but that small compliment made me feel great! 
I look forward to the next Steampunk event I'm scheduled for in April 2020, or anything else that come up  in the meantime.
Until the next post......Keep 'em clean and Be Well

Monday, October 28, 2019

2 great events......

Every year I look forward to performing for Autism Speaks at their Walk-A-Thons both in NYC at the South Street Seaport and on Staten Island at Staten Island University.
The Seaport event happened at the end of September and it takes over the entire pier! Families and school groups, Girl Scout troupes and College Fraternities join together after raising funds and donating time to support people with autism. There are also a bunch of booths with organizations that support everything from supportive therapy for people on the spectrum to educational foundations and schools.
Of course Autism Speaks has their own tents with resources and additional booths with healthy snacks and water for all those in attendance.
I arrived early to run through the layout and register at the volunteer tent. After I got my button I headed up to registration area to get my Blue Pompom to shake as all of these events are sensory friendly. Now it was time to turn on the bubbles! I have found in the last year or two that the best prop to work with at this and many other events is a very productive bubble wand-machine.
The majority of my time at the walk is spent walking around with a stream of bubbles flying from the wand and dancing with the kids and encouraging the families to have a great walk and thank them for "joining the walk today"

Then onto the Staten Island Walk at SUNY Staten Island University. This event has a very different vibe. Its much smaller and quite intimate, but just as exciting and all the families who come to walk for their friends or family on the Spectrum are there with lots of energy and support. 
My performance is about the same with the bubbles and some physical comedy interacting with the people, getting laughs and smiles all around. 

I know that the events go on no matter what and I feel honored that they allow me to contribute my time and talent to add to the event with laughs and smiles, hugs and dancing, and I really do look forward to this every year!
Be Well, and Keep 'em clean

Monday, September 9, 2019


2 Weeks ago I was privileged to participate at the first SteamFest hosted by WeDiscoverGeeks in Bethlahem PA. The location was AMAZING! A place called The Stacks. This was the perfect backdrop for a SteamPunk event. The old factory and buildings were great to look at and use as a backdrop for photos and selfies.

The plan was to host an event that highlighted the importance of STEAM in education and how the Maker movement has encouraged and embraced this philosophy. SO on August 31st I arrived and checked in. The excitement was like static in the air. The goggles and gears and Victorian dress was everywhere. I strolled around the vendor area to check out the wares for sale. I am always impressed by the level of art and ingenuity of the creators that make up the vendors. I met and spoke with a few as I scoped out my pitch trying to gauge guest traffic flow to get the most foot traffic.  I set up my table at the top of one of the vendor isles between the vendor area and the Steampunk Sailboat-Car
Yeah it was cool. And I spoke to the builder and its a real vehicle and he actually drove it to the fest. I put on my badge, put out my hat and watched the crowds grow to start my show. 
What a great day! I did about 10 shows, and had generous hats. between shows I walked around the Fest, sat in on some panels and just soaked in all the creativity and enthusiasm for this cool genre.
At the end of the day I spoke with my hosts and they told me they pre registered and expected about 600 people but in the end they had well over 1000! Truly a successful event...…and of course I was invited back for next year. 
Then as a bonus, they contacted me about another event WeDiscoverGeeks is hosting and invited me to work that event as well. I also plan to reach out to some other SteamPunk Festivals I learned about from people I got to know during the day. 
I look forward to working at many of these events in the future......
Be Well and Keep 'em clean

Monday, August 5, 2019 actually happened!

After performing the cut and restored rope for almost 35 years I finally screwed up and cut my finger while cutting the rope! It was quite a scene, at least from my side. I was performing at the Carousel Fantasy Forest in Flushing Meadow park and I was having a great show.

A nice little girl was helping me and I handed her the scissors and asked her to cut the rope in the center loop I presented to her and used the line," remember the rope is the white thing and my fingers are the pink things" she cut the rope fine and the routine was going well. Next after restoring the rope, I am supposed to take the scissors back and after the volunteer sits down I go ahead and trim the end of the rope for the next step.....that's when it happened. I was snipping the end off the rope and came too close to my left thumb and slice! I caught my thumb in the scissors. Pretty stupid mistake and I immediately looked at my finger and thought," did I really just do this? Well luckily it isn't bleeding...."
Well I thought too soon..... I continues with the rope trick and suddenly noticed the end of the rope was bright red! that ended the regular finale of throwing the restored rope into the audience, the rope trick was OVER.
I grabbed my towel I use to wipe off my hands and wrapped my thumb up and held pressure on the cut. The audience to my knowledge didn't realize what was going on. I flagged one of the staff from the Carousel as he walked by and asked him to get me a band aid from the office.
I know they have basic first aid stuff on hand, like band aids and ice packs etc, some child is always running and falling and scraping a knee or banging some body part on something, or a klutzy magician who doesn't know how to use a scissors.
I get the band aid and remove the towel and put band aid on the cut. Problem solved........well not quite.
The next effect is the Peanut butter and Jelly trick. This has got to be one of my favorite parts of the show. It is easy to perform and fun for kids and adults alike. Part of the routine is to get a kid up to stand in between the 2 tables and hold the paper bag with the 2 slices of plain bread in it. Then at the end you tear open the bag to show the bread is now a real peanut butter and jelly sandwich! amazing and tasty too...
I put the slices of bread in the bag and fold over the top flap and hold it up and just as I am ready to call a kid up to hold the bag, I see my thumb bleeding through the band aid and starting to run down the back of the bag......uh oh change of plans.....I don't call a kid up, I just put the bag down on the ground between the tables, I clench my thumb into my fist and squeeze,  and say,"and now the finale, the Peanut Butter and Jelly Trick" It wasn't supposed to be the end of the show but now it was going to be. I finished the trick and grabbed the bag tearing it open and holding my thumb behind it and showed the real sandwich.....Thanked my audience and they applauded and dispersed. One little girl from the front row came up and asked ,"are you ok, did you hurt your finger" I assured her it was ok and said, "remember you always have to be careful with sharp scissors"
SO that's how it finally happened, I cut myself during a show during the cut and restored rope.
I'm sorry if this post is too graphic for some.....I didn't include any gory pictures.......But its a real lesson that you should never get too complacent about performing, "second nature" doesn't mean you don't pay close attention to what your doing, accidents can always happen.
Keep 'em clean and Be well

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Circus Magic In The Park

It was a great day! Thanks to my Son @phineasjuggler I was on the list of performers for the weekly entertainment her in Queens NY at the Flushing Meadow Park's Fantasy Forest Amusement Park at the Carousel. Every weekend they have a performer to do a "clown show" at 2 and 4 and I was the performer today (Sunday July 7th)
So I put on my Dr. Molar Magic Summer clown costume and headed out to the park. I arrived and set up my show in the designated performance area and then went about the gathering a crowd. This part of my job consisted of walking around the rides and interacting with the people on the lines, doing walk around stuff, small magic, and letting them know that the magic clown show will be starting at 2pm.
At 2pm we started the show. As the families gathered and the kids took their seat on the artificial turf put out for them and I started with some juggling. My shaker cups (a personal favorite) which are loud and visual. Once the crowd was settled it was on with the show!
My 30 minute kid show is fast paced and involves lots of audience participation. This show I added something new....the new Rocky The Raccoon Zig-Zag.....yes our old friend Rocky comes out of the magic closet and instead of just doing the usual gags and jokes, I place him into a vertical box slide bladed through him and move the middle section apart from the others! Its Rocky meets Harbin. The routine is fun to perform mainly because its just so ridiculous and in the end if a real fooler. I'm glad I added it to the set as it got a great reaction from the kids and their parents.
My finale is the Bells.....bells in the key of C covering a full octave and a few of the sharps/flats just in case they are needed. I line up 6 young volunteers and they each get a bell. Now if you want fun and comedy just give 6 little kids bells and tell them not to ring them until told.....yup its a tough one, but that's where a lot of the comedy and fun develops. We manged to get the kids under control and they were able t follow directions to allow this impromptu bell band to perform Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and of course the cell phones were videoing and taking photos of their performing kids!
After the last note and a colorful throw streamer the show was over and everyone had a great time.
I love this kind of show because the families come to the park and they know the rides are there and maybe they know about the show but they are not paying a fee for the show. They are staying and enjoying the magic and fun. I'm proud to say that the audiences were large and there was plenty of clapping and laughing. I know that when I have fun performing the audience has fun along with me, I'm happy to say the audience agreed.
Be Well and Keep 'em clean

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Have Magic Will Travel......

For any of my regular readers you all know that as a Busker I try to perform everywhere I travel. So for business or vacation I always have some magic with me and some sort of busking set up.
I also happen to be a bag and case fanatic! I love different bags and cases both custom and generic and I've spent a lot of time looking for that "perfect bag" to carry my act that is both portable and can hold all the magic I need to street perform. I've also come up with many different portable magic table designs that are adapted very well to the portability needed for street performing.

Well this trip is no different. I'm back in Baraboo Wisconsin and Wisconsin Dells for @Pupperdoodle18 's YMCA Gymnastics National Competition. So I assumed there would be some down time so I brought my Busking bag. This case is one of my favorites. I've travelled all over the place with this one, its a case that holds a tiny table top and tripod stand as well as my 8 inch linking rings, chop cup and a bunch of other magic for a solid 20-30 minute street show.

Its a violin case I found at a thrift shop and after removing the guts from one side it holds plenty  of magic as well as one of my Steampunk hats, goggles included. Its small and has a handle and the case can be left open leaning against the tripod to have a collection bin after all those clever hat lines at the end of my act. So keep an eye out on your travels for me and of course other buskers. Be they magicians, or musicians or balloon sculpture artists please support street entertainers. 
Until next time Be Well and Keep 'em clean

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Busking Cardiff

What a great trip! I Just returned from Cardiff Wales where I participated in the SCHOOL OF BUSKING with Master Magic Buskers Mario and Veronica Morris. Got there Thursday morning jet lagged but excited......I fell asleep, very exciting I know, but I did wake up in time to get some dinner in a local restaurant. Cardiff is a very nice city and everyone I met, spoke with, or just interacted with was pleasant and happy to talk. Very welcoming! Friday morning we gathered at the Ocean Arts Center and after meeting the rest of our group, Jeremy, Jan, Phil, and Scott we started working through our acts giving feedback and getting feedback from each other. No matter how long you've been performing, and how great you think you are its always a good idea to work with a coach or director or even just a colleague to get objective feedback. This means notes on the good and bad aspects, what works and what doesn't. Its a very important part of the improvement process.

Then we hit the streets. Mario scoped out a good pitch and we all took turns doing our shows. Stopping the crowds, getting them to stay and watch and then collecting the money for a show well done.

By the time I started my Cups and Balls Finale I was performing for a crowd of about 75 people and everyone was having lots of fun. It was great when I started my hat lines I hadn't even finished the finale and people rushed forward to put money in my pouch! Then after the finale it kept was a good day.
Clearly the busking environment in Wales is much different than NY.  I can't wait to head back and busk more places in Europe.....but that's sometime in the future. For now I'll be out in the Parks in Queens and Manhattan.....and a few festivals around the tristate.

Be Well and Keep 'em clean

Steampunk Show Case Manheim, PA

What a great Steampunk Convention!. While performing at another event I learned about this one. Tucked away on the second floor of the Spoo...