I've been building props in my workshop quite often recently. I have no woodworking training and but am teaching myself slowly. I've also been creating some objects with acrylic (which is brittle and therefore quite frustrating to cut or drill holes through). I'm not very precise with my measurements. So far, my creations have so far looked a bit wonky but they are functional and don't look terrible. Nothing has spontaneously broken or fallen apart during a performance. I've made three special wooden tables that look deceptively thin. Today I constructed a heptagonal sided prism box with a surprisingly large secret compartment that fills two thirds of the volume, yet it still looks completely empty. Construction was almost finished when I realised I had forgotten to give it a lid, meaning that people would need to just taky word that things were appearing or vanishing inside. I created a gimmicked jug for making liquids appear or disappear. I can now transform milk into a sock and make a deodorant can appear in my sock. I've created a method for making an empty box of cookies fill up, although I've realised this trick can be very risky with children and can easily lead to chaos. I made a special set of boxes that all fit inside of each other in which an object borrowed from a spectator might appear inside, I was thinking of stealing someone's wallet and then having it turn up inside these containers.
I recently was lucky enough to perform at the Coffs Harbour Buskers Festival and it was probably the furthest I have needed to travel to perform. The event was quite spread out, I had to travel 2 hours west of Coffs to Armidale and an hour south to Macksville to do shows. I met some interesting people, performers who venture far and wide to entertain audiences around the World. There was an duo circus act called the Flying Dutchmen, although really one of them was French Canadian. They juggled an absurd number of balls and somehow managed to balance two spinning basketballs on top of each other among other juggling and uni-cycling stunts that were stressful just to watch. There was another Juggler called Kit Kaboodle who was also amazingly dexterous and coordinated. He also made huge elaborate balloon sculptures. One very impressive stunt of his was balancing two golf clubs with a golf ball between them on his nose, one club vertical on the tip of his nose, the ball above this and the other club horizontal on top in a T shape like a seesaw. Kaboodle doesn't seem to obey the laws of physics. Sports Suzie also had a great sports themed circus show that was very impressive and funny. For her finale she rode a 3 meter unicycle while skipping with a rope, bouncing the cycle like pogo stick. A clown called called Yoshinori from Japan did a hilarious silent comedy act with circus stunts. It used to be my goal, when I was a teenager, to have a silent comedy show, a very old art-form which has sadly grown quite uncommon since the days of silent film. I just found it much more difficult to make people laugh if I'm not verbally communicating with them. It is a rare talent to be able to create a comedy show that appeals across many cultures and is not restricted by language barriers. When I was younger I wanted to tour the world going to these sorts of festivals but now I feel I would get too lonely and I need to buy too many props and books for my show which would be very impractical to travel with unless I had some sort of entourage of assistants.
At Coffs, I heard stories from the other performers about their travels, The Flying Dutchmen have done shows in a huge number of countries, they went to about 8 states in Europe last year and were going to Japan soon after the buskers festival. They must have such exciting lives, I just don't think it would suite me, I'm not that bold and adventurous.
The people doing all the behind these scenes work for the Coffs Buskers festival are also very switched on, John Logan, the main organiser, seems to have quite a good reputation among the buskers I have spoken to about this festival. The audiences he was able to draw for us were large and very appreciative. Despite being called a buskers festival, I didn't really need to draw a crowd, there was always one waiting. My one complaint was that it was a bit of a pain travelling two hours to Armidale just to do one half hour show, but that's partly just because I get bad motion sickness when I'm a passenger in a car, although a nice man called Wayne generously drove us there in a bus. I felt very well taken care of during my trip at Coffs, the Pier Hotel provided comfortable accommodation to all the performers in exchange for a kind of sponsorship and the large numbers of customers that would be drawn to see the shows at their venue.
All in all, a pretty good week. If you are ever around the North Coast of New South Wales in early October, you should definitely go.
I'm organising a performance on the 21st of October at the Cafe Lounge Bar in Surry Hills. I used to do roving magic at this venue on Tuesday nights and the owner, Louis was nice enough to let me use his venue for no fee. It will be for a small audience of 50 or less. I have never done anything like this before, I have always been hired for private functions rather than organising events myself. I've invited my friends and my parents and I'm pitching the show to everyone I perform for. I've also listed it on Eventbrite, Weekend Notes and Event Finder.
The performance will be a sample of some of the tricks I've been working on over the past few years, things with pencils, coins, ropes, balls and card tricks. I will tell a short story at the end.
About a month ago I came to a serious realisation. The Sydney rail network is shit. I was catching a train to Blacktown to do a job when the vehicle randomly stopped at Lidcombe. The driver told us we should get off an listen for announcements as the timetable screens were incorrect. I waited for about half an hour for information about a train to where I needed to go when there was another announcement saying that trains would be delayed for an indefinite amount of time and that we should seek other means of transportation. It took another half an hour to get in contact with a taxi company as countless other people were also calling for cabs and the telephone queue was huge. I was late to the gig and had to spend $100 on the ride. I realised I needed a car as public transport was unreliable. Within a week I bought my first second hand automobile from a guy called Leon who was migrating to Canada.
The awful day with the Cityrail delays was a blessing in disguise, a car allows me to put on a much bigger magic show. I've been building a whole range of props that I have long wanted to include in my act but have been restricted by what I could carry in a backpack or suitcase. I'm not sure if this was product of minimalism or stinginess. Transportation has long been a problem for my business, I once had to travel to Coffs Harbour to perform at their buskers festival. I caught a train from Sydney but didn't think to check how I would get from the train station to the hostel I was staying at. I arrived at about 10pm and upon realising I still had quite a distance to travel I asked the other two people who had gotten off the train with me if there were any buses going to where I needed to be. They said there wouldn't be until the next morning, however I managed to hitch a ride with them. I'm not sure if this was a result of how charismatic I am, or how pitiful.
I also am creating a box that could perhaps be used to make a small animal like a duck or rabbit appear or vanish. There is also an idea I am pondering for a translucent Chinese paper lantern in which I could make something slowly appear or vanish although I will need to study how these are made.
Julian is a magician in Sydney helping you make the most of your special events. He has performed many hundreds of magic shows over the last 11 years. Call him on 0437896344 or email email@example.com