Monthly Archives: November 2011

Book Launching, Auctions and David Acer – A Magic Combination!

Once or twice a year we (Perfect Magic Shop)  have an auction.  David Acer is the auctioneer. Since his new book has come out, “More Power To You, The Very Best of David Acer” he thought it might be a good idea to launch his new book here at the same time as the auction. We agreed.

We had a full house, but then again, the shop isn’t that big. There was standing room only. David came in with a bunch of books. Phil took one look at the pile and said, ” Don’t worry, whatever is left, I’ll take for the shop.”

It reminded me of the time we were dealers at the S.A.M. Convention  in Chicago many years ago. We had a booth next to Peter Scarlett from England. He was selling the Pimpernel Notecase, which is a signed card to wallet. That’s all he was selling except for one, maybe two other tricks. He had hundreds of wallets. I’m a magic dealer. I know how card to wallet works. Every chance I got I watched him demonstrate that Pimpernel Notecase.  I just didn’t get it. He was selling them like hotcakes. When we were covering our tables for the evening I went over to him and said. “Peter, I’m going to strangle you.” He laughed out loud and said, “What, you still don’t know?” I said no. He showed me how he did it and I said I’d take a case back to Montreal for the shop. He said, “Let’s wait until the convention is over. If there are any left, you can have them.” I looked at all those wallets and smiled at him. He smiled back. At the end of the convention he did not have one, not one, wallet left. Check out the reviews and you’ll see why. He shipped me some when he got back to England. It is still a constant seller in the shop. I, who cannot control or palm or do anything that requires ability used to demo it all the time and sell it. Anyhow, all this to say, there was a line-up for David’s book and he’ll have to send us some as not one was left unsold!

Besides the book, the auction went well. David is funny and that’s all there is to it. It wasn’t just an auction,  it was entertainment and bargains and a good time was had by all.

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Filed under Auction, Perfect Magic

Clowns and Magicians Often Ask Me this Question.

How Much Should I Charge for A Magic Show? That’s the question I hear many times from up and coming magicians. I don’t have an answer because it depends on many things. What kind of show? How far away is it?  How many people? Etc.

But I have learned a few things after 35 years. If it’s for a birthday party or kids show you should have references. How do you get references? When you are first starting out, you can do volunteer work. There are hospitals, libraries, senior residences, clubs,  family get togethers, etc.  You have to start somewhere. Ask the activity coordinator for  a letter of recommendation. Have your recorder on to capture all the comments after the show. A web site helps. You know more about that end of it than  I do.

After you get your feet wet, go out there and ask what you think is fair. Don’t sell yourself short. Lets say you have been getting $125.00 for a show. You think its time for more. You ask for $175.00. Sure. No Problem. Then you start cursing  yourself for asking too little. But there is a wonderful thing in magic. It’s called add-0ns.

If you feel your client would have paid more, you can tell them for a additional fee you can make animal balloons and every child will get one. There are DVD’s and books to teach you how.

You can hire a face painter to work with you for after the show. It happens to be the in thing now and guess who just happens to have in stock in the shop now the best line of face painting supplies by Wolfe Face Art & FX.   There are books and DVD’s on the subject as well. Of course you’ll have to pay the face painter but you can work out a deal where you can both make something on it. You can do Hand Shadows  Do you do oragami, or paper cutting  or towel folding ?

What’s towel folding? With a plain white towel you can make all sorts of wonderful animals. What’s more if the parents are willing to spring for it you can bring a towel for each child and teach them how to make it. And they can keep it. That takes time, it keeps the kids busy and happy and that’s what the parents want.

There’s Chapeaugraphy  and even juggling, but whatever you do it has to be entertaining and appropriate for the occasion. You may have to learn a new skill or two, but the more you have in your arsenal, the better off you are. You pick and choose what you have to offer according to the age and size of the audience.

Now, what if your client says  $175.00 is too much. Ask them what their budget is. If its close, and you usually include balloon animals in your act, you can say, well you can do the show for that price but you’ll take out the animal balloons. They might agree. And by the time the party comes around they may decide on the balloons anyhow. People spend a lot of money on their children.

If you have any other ideas or suggestions feel free to share. Hope you had a great Halloween. Christmas is just around the corner.

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Filed under entertaining, Evelyn Matlin, Performing

Jeff Sheridan Synonymous With Street Magic

As I may have mentioned, Phil and I are working feverishly on the Perfect Magic website as it still needs a lot of tweaking. I found that in some of the descriptions some words run together or the writing is tiny or its difficult to read so I have taken on the task of going through each write up and fixing it.  I’m  on the J’s. I came to Jeff Sheridan 4 DVD’s and the blurb under the title read “As popular as the concept is now, contemporary street magic can all be traced back to one time, one place and to one performer – Jeff Sheridan.”  As I went though the DVD descriptions I found myself saying, WOW, does he ever give away a lot of stuff. He used to have a book, Street Magic which we used to carry, with his picture on the cover. That’s how I knew who he was. There was no YouTube at that time.

The book Street Magic by Jeff Sheridan (1977) has been out of print for maybe 20 years. That’s how I know it must have been at least 20 years ago that Jeff Sheridan sauntered into Perfect Magic, our magic shop, and said something like, Hi, I’m Jeff Sheridan, a visiting magician and I thought I drop in to say hello. Phil said, I know who you are and I’m pleased to meet you in person. They started talking, the way magicians do. Phil asked him if he was working and  Jeff said  no. He had come to town to visit a friend. They chatted for a while and then he left. The next day he was back. It was summer and the weather happened to be gorgeous. His friend had taken him to Prince Arthur  St. for supper the night before –  a couple of blocks are closed off to traffic and are full of restaurants all with outdoor terraces. He said he couldn’t resist that. He bought a hank of rope and asked if  we would come to watch him perform? Of course we would.

After work we went straight to Prince Arthur and there was Jeff  finding himself a place to work. He chose a backdrop of high shrubs and started  working. He did ropes and cards and I don’t remember what else. I don’t remember him doing anything drastic to draw attention to himself. All I know is that within a few minutes he had such a mob around him that we couldn’t figure out where they came from. We moved back to let others see the show and when it was over Phil tried to put money in the hat. Phil couldn’t get near him, and he smiled at Phil and shook his head “no”. The people were pushing each other to get to throw their bills in the hat. He did well, his audience appreciated it. He thanked us for coming down and we were so glad we did!

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Filed under Magic, Phil Matlin

Reminiscing With Luc Langevin

So we recently had a visit from Luc Langevin, He’s been here many times since he was a kid but I’m getting older and my memory isn’t what it used  to be. I suspected that that’s who it was but I asked him his name, just to make sure. He said Luc. Phil almost collapsed with embarrassment that I didn’t recognize him, especially since I watch him on T.V. But it’ was my birthday the next day and I’d be 71 so that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. We had a good laugh over it. We started talking about old times.

Luc said Perfect Magic was the first magic shop he had ever been in and of course it was me demonstrating because I always looked after the kids. David Acer told me that he knew he had graduated when he walked in the shop once and Phil was behind the counter and he didn’t call out “Evy!”

In any case Luc remembers me showing him the Magic Colouring Book, the Silk to Flowers, and a bunch of other simple tricks which he used for many years in his birthday shows.

Its a good feeling when you see someone who started off with you do well. David Acer, Ricky Bronson, Richard Sanders,  Ted Outerbridge,  Barry Julien, to name a few, all used to come here as kids, (of course to me they still are) but they are big names in magic and entertainment today.  I wish you all continued success. Spread the magic!

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Filed under Perfect Magic, Phil Matlin