Thursday, November 29, 2018

Which one are you? An update on My dove work

As my readers already know I have 10 doves, 4 parent stock and 6 second generation. All the offspring are from the same father, he's a tangerine dove named StudMuffin.The reason I got tangerine doves was that my performance character is the SteamPunk Time traveling Magician and Canine Psychic , Dr Vir Lateus Dentum. Steampunk involves a lot of copper and brass tones in the costume and props so when I decided to work with Doves I wanted birds with the orange color in their feathers. Its actually a very nice match.

As with all animals, each bird has a bit of a different personality and each is better at certain things than others.
                                                             4 of the 6 second generation

All 6 of the birds were hand held and fed while sitting in my hand from very early on.
 Even with that some of them are more tolerant of handling than others. #5 and #6 the youngest of the birds are currently still the most relaxed and take well to being handled and in the harnesses and load chambers of the various effects. #2 is good with siting on my head and won't fly off,
                                      Not the best picture of me but there's #2 on my head.
#3 is the most aggressive and hasn't responded to the training very much at all. #1, and #4 actually have god days and non cooperative days. But through it all I have had one problem......telling them apart without lifting them and looking at their tag numbers! So I decided to get different colored leg tags. Most leg tags come in a single color set, so all of the bands are orange. Now I've had to buy a few different colors and keeping their numbers, they will all have different colors. Now when it comes time to go through the training exercises I will be able to just pick up the dove I need to work with. Simple solution but sometimes the obvious simple solution is the one we miss. Which is the message for this post. I've been spending a lot of time working on my different shows. My Street show, my table to table show, my walk around show, and even my stage show. All related to the different venues at which I perform in my magic life. The work when putting together a good show is to stuff it full of great magic and good scripts and sometimes music, then start the real hard work of cutting things out to streamline and fine tune everything to get rid of what is really unnecessary. You need to get rid of the stuff that my clown teacher Dick Monday of The NY Goofs taught us that the great Clown Lou Jacobs called, "Shpegetti" Its very temping to keep adding magic and the latest effect I've found on ebay or trick I've learned at an SAM or IBM lecture and I need to work had to keep things tight and focused. More  magic isn't better, its just more complicated. Everyone advises to KISS and its good advice.
By the way I got the same advice from Jeff McBride at Mystery School! You'd think I'd learn it by now.....
So when your planning your act and show don't overdue it, just get rid of all the Shpegetti!
Be Well
Keep 'em clean

Friday, November 23, 2018

A Lot to be Thankful For

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone and boy it was a good one! Yes I'm still stuffed from that meal that the Kitchen Goddess @thoreaulife made an amazing meal as usual. While @pupperdoodle18 helped get the house in order for the extended family arrivals and @PhineasJuggler was working for Macy's at the parade I was set free to go perform and CLOWN!
Every year I try to get to the Elohim Church in Richmond Hill to perform walk around for the gathering community there for a church provided Thanksgiving meal.
I arrived at 12:45 for the 1pm meal and went in, I was in my regular clown outfit but due to the cold I added the new sport jacket and because it was Thanksgiving I added my new Turkey Hat, man I looked good....
I went in and just started wandering around dusting with my feather duster and engaging the people. Wishing everyone a happy thanksgiving in English and Spanish (actually I speak fluent Spanglish, in a rather embarrassing Brooklyn accent)
The next hour was spent engaging the people and doing magic and playing games with the kids I made and gave out a lot of napkin roses and took plenty of photos with everyone. As the buffet line opened and tables started going up to get a sumptuous meal prepared and provided by this great community center in the Elohim church and food pantry I excused myself. After all with all that great food and groceries who needs a turkey headed fool with a feather duster!
As I made my way home my cell phone went off and I was tested that at home we needed lettuce. I headed to Keyfood and went shopping. Its amazing how so many people are so wrapped up in themselves that they either didn't even notice me or when they did they just ignored me. I wasn't trying to get attention but attention kind of follows me. Many shoppers did acknowledge me and smile which is all I ever ask, and I wished every one I passed a happy thanksgiving. I did make a bit f a scene at checkout, actually the nice lady who rang me up didn't even look at me, but four other cashiers came over and asked to take a photo with me.
After that it was off to the house to deliver my Lettuce and get ready for the family..
I would like to wish all my readers a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving and try, just try a little everyday to do good for another human on our planet....that's the only way it gets better.
Magically Yours
Be Well and Keep 'em Clean

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Hey why are you out here instead of doing magic at parties or something?

That's a question I was asked by a member of one of my audiences after a show in the Park. Often after the hat lines are done and the money is in the bag people want to come up and want to speak with you. This is one of the great aspects of busking, you get to interact with PEOPLE!. Any of my reader who are performers and have ever worked on stage at a banquet in front of a diner crowd, you'll know that you can only interact with the audience generally not one on one. I love working the streets because its mostly closeup and parlor type magic and with the gags and lines and even the hat lines you are directly interacting with the audience. You see their reactions to everything you do and say. You can develop a show and script all you'd like on paper but getting in front of strangers and performing is the acid test. I like it better than restaurants because you are getting the audience to stop and watch, they are not captive while eating.
I've been hired to do many types of shows and worked for lots of different audiences of all ages and backgrounds and its always better when I can work close up and watch their reactions. Even the lines and gags that I use can vary based on the reactions I get. For example, once my show starts and I finish the first effect, in most cases its the "mystery of black holes" a routine with black sponge balls, I put the sponge balls away and grab 2 small squeaky dog toys shaped like steaks, and I  move them up into the air one in each hand and say," Ok now I'm doing it, raising the steaks" Now I always try to do a clean family show and this gag is really cute and good for everyone and it usually gets a laugh. I also use this gag as a barometer to see how the audience reacts and I determine how much comedy I can disperse between and during the magic. If they laugh I can go on with more, if they crack up and really laugh out loud I know I can go and use another gag as soon as it fits, If they don't react, I know they are low key and I stick to the magic without as much by play. If they just walk away, well that happens also......BUT its the street, the next audience is just a few steps away.
I enjoy performing anywhere and everywhere, but busking and working the parks and streets will always be my favorite. (please feel free to use my gags but give me credit when asked where you got it......)
Be well
Keep 'em clean

Thursday, November 1, 2018

quick I need a story......

So I 'm busking at the Steampunk Festival and I decide I was going to use my thunder tube to make noise and get the passers by to stop because there is a magic show starting. What's a thunder tube? A great little bit of seventh grade physical science, (I learned this stuff in the seventh grade I don't know what grade its taught in today) Its a demonstration of sound waves. Its a spring attached to a tube and the spring pierces a drum head. when you shake the tube it rumbles like thunder and its surprisingly loud. The movement and wave shaped motion of the spring transforms to sound waves once it passes through the drum head.
After I stop the linking rings which gets attention and they stop to see my next effect- "The Black Hole Theory" which is a routine for multiplying black sponge balls I shake the thunder tube and announce the show will now begin.
But as the people gathered around and respond to the sound they began asking, "what is that thing". The thunder tube has always been known to me- well since seventh grade at least, so I needed to explain a Steampunk festival in my Dr. Vir Lateus Dentum character. I needed a story so I made one up that was topical and appropriate for the time.
"This is m Thunder Tube! One day there was a passing thunder storm and I decided I wanted to capture that sound, I jumped into my airship and flew it up to that dark and stormy cloud. I grabbed a handful of thunder clouds and stuffed them into this tube, then attached this spring to the bottom. Now when I need my thunder I can just shake it and the clouds rumble just like in the sky!"
Wow....that was a great improv story! And I used it over and over again at that point in the show even when the audience didn't ask what it was. And that is how a show and a script for a show grows and is refined through practical performance......more next time
Be well
Keep 'em clean
(PS you can purchase a thunder tube from American Science and Surplus for $12.95,

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...