Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Lack of Response, Bigger Goals, and a Straight Jacket

It's 1:45 in the morning... what the hell am I doing trying to put myself into a straight jacket?


You would be amazed the number of things a magician can get away with doing by saying that little word to anyone who knows him.

Why am I picking up a 6-pack of wire coat hangers, a gallon of white gasoline, and a random end table?

I'm Practicing.

What the hell am I practicing for?

Ummm... a... show... at some point later?

Yeah... that'll work.

This is a slight dramatization of many of my late night self-dialogues after my wife and our roommates have fallen asleep. But in this particular case, I really am practicing... almost on the verge of rehearsing. And yeah, believe it or not, those are two very different things.

This time, I'm practicing for a show I'm going to be doing at Lyric Hall in New Haven, CT. (It wouldn't be me without the shameless plug- Celtic Magic LIVE at Lyric Hall) and the concept is simple: 8 Shows in 4 Days with 75% new material or material I've only done in one or two other venues in the past. It's a little nerve wracking, but I need to do it. It's closer to the illusion show I've always wanted to do. A theme I've always wanted to tackle and hopefully one I'll be doing, at some point, for the rest of my life. No big illusions yet, just stage magic and one big, stupid escape with a message. So maybe it's not THAT stupid. We'll see.

I like to challenge myself. I like to be excited to the point of mild terror when I'm working on a show. Vince Lombardi said: Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence. And this journey scares the mary hell out of me. And doing 8 shows in 4 days means I get to be scared A LOT. I think that it's natural- fear of failure. But, like that moment when a trapeze artist lets go of one trapeze bar to do a 360 spin to grab the second swinging trapeze bar. That moment when they're free in the air, when the audience takes in a deep breath because they're not totally certain they will make it... and then the (hopefully) ecstatic relief and joy when they grab that second bar... That's the moment. I think I live for those moments. Doing improvisation for so many years and interacting with different audiences constantly gives me those moments all the time.
In Blogger related news, a trio of people randomly commented on one of my previous blog posts from two and years ago... over a year ago... and I never got notified of it. But they weren't happy. Oddly enough, they all responded nearly the exact same time. Two of the three were well worded and unhappy I had judged them unfairly. (To the Magic Greeter at Wal-Mart... I got nuthin' for ya. Live the dream, bro. Live the dream.)

They felt that I was offensive in my idea that people who do a multitude of characters and a large variety of show types are probably not offering any of them with any level of quality. And then for some reason, they felt like defending kid show performers (Which is idiotic because I think that Children's Entertainment may be some of the most difficult and creatively demanding work to do. I know, I've done it. And would gladly do it again) despite the fact I never degraded "kid shows".

I will clarify... if you spent weeks and months and years developing a character and then you developed a different character with that same level of fervor, then YOU ARE NOT THE PROBLEM. I will be the first to bitch-slap a bad Renaissance Performer, as I hope people who are purely focused on children's entertainment will bitch-slap a bad children's magician. Hopefully repeatedly with their own "Folding Banana Trick", especially if they're using the exact same routine they bought with the trick. (I've seen this painfully far too often from "Pros")

But... if you offer twenty totally different show types and different show types within those show types and you have twenty totally different characters I still stand by the idea that you probably suck. If you do 3 or 4 characters with a 30-year career and different shows with those characters... you have a highly less likely chance of you sucking. Hell, with any luck, you are AWESOME. Thank you for being awesome. However, if you suck... STOP IT! STOP IT NOW! YOU'RE HURTING US ALL YOU SICK BASTARD! TAKE UP STAMP COLLECTING OR POLITICAL AD WRITING OR ANYTHING THAT DOESN'T REQUIRE HUMAN INTERACTION! *Breathing*... I'm good now.

So to those who don't suck. I salute you. I hope to be among your ranks.