Category Archives: entertaining

Magic in Montreal Gets a Big Boost

There was a time, a few moons ago, that there were Magic Conventions in Montreal, once or twice a year. At Magie Montreal there was a lot of magic of course, but more than that was the comraderie and we haven’t  had that in a long time. Our last Convention was in 1998. CAM (The Canadian  Association of  Magicians) had one one the South Shore a few years ago. There is also a Festival in Quebec  City.  But in Montreal it’s been quiet. We miss it. It’s just too much work and too expensive. But at the Comedy Nest at the Old Forum, a few months ago, David Acer took a  chance and decided to make one Sunday night a magic night. It turned out there was standing room only. It was such fun. And the after show was great too. The magicans hung in there and chatted away. It was like old times.

If you missed it you get a second chance. SUNDAY JUNE 1st, at 8:00pm The Comedy Nest is having another magic night.  It should be a blast. Jonathan Burns, Richard Sanders, Romaine, and Angelo the Amazing Food Magician will be performing. We’ll be there! Will you? The Comedy Nest is not a big place so put your reservation in now if you intend to go. Otherwise you may be disappointed.

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Filed under Comedy, David Acer, entertaining, Magic Conventions, Magie Montreal, Richard Sanders

Boom Years for Restaurant Magicians Part 2

Last week I wrote a blog on boom years for Montreal magicians and asked for anyone with more info to write in. Here’s the reply from Jonathan Levey who has offered some solid advice to those interested in trying that venue. Here is what he has to say…

“Great article on the Boom Years, Evy.

I will have to thank Mark for mentioning a few of the restaurants I worked and you for posting this info.
If you have the chance, kindly consider adding a few more restaurants that I worked during the Boom years.

Those were the days when Jim Sisti’s infamous The Magic Menu (which actually started out in newsletter format!) served as vital inspiration and gave us practical tips and information on how to actually find and secure the venues on a long-term basis. As well, The Magic Menu provided us with precious tips and insights into how to negotiate our contracts and more effective ways to perform table-to-table magic within the (often) tight physical constraints of the dining room areas. In addition to Sisti’s Magic Menu (of which our own beloved David Acer was a regular contributor) other books which inspired and taught us were: Kirk Charles “Standing up Surrounded”, Paul Diamonds “it Takes Guts Dammt!”, and Charles Greene III “Restaurant Magic” (audio tape!), as well as Michael Ammar’s Negotiating Fees (also on audio tape at the time).

These great resources provided me with the insight and encouragement needed to secure and perform at the following restaurant-type establishments for most of the 1990′s, for a minimum of 6 months and on average for 1-2 years+: Le Lutetia (inside the Hotel de la Montagne), Thursdays, Moby Dicks, The Atlantic Pavilion, Jardins D’Hivers (inside the Montreal casino), La Tulipe Noire, Mikes, Nick & Marios, Holiday Inn Pointe Claire, and the Ramada Inn.

Of course, as most of us “old-timers ” know, if it wasn’t for the ground-breaking success of the skilled and charismatic Tom Auburn (aka Magic Tom), securing restaurant work in the city of Montreal would have been a much harder sell.

To those younger magicians seeking to work in a restaurant venue, I believe many of the above books and audio tapes, though admittedly somewhat outdated, will still serve the budding restaurant magician as relevant, informative and inspirational. Perhaps there are new “how to” books on the market these days that will add to your arsenal. A trip to Evy and Phil’s Van Horne Perfect Magic store in Cote-des-Neiges (…or is that Phil and Evy’s store?), will allow you to browse their shelves to find such treasures. One thing for sure is that it’s a great place to start your journey. Because, as Evy and Phil will tell you without pause… “if we don’t have it, we can get it… within days.” …and they mean it too!”

Thanks for sharing and thank you also for the praise for Perfect Magic!

Just so you know, Sisti’s Magic Menu is still available;  Negociating Fees by Michael Ammar and Restaurant Magic By Charles Green as referred to by Jonathan are now in CD format. Since then there are more books and DVD‘s to choose from if you are interested.

If you have info on who did what when and where re restaurants, let me know.

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Filed under "Magic Tom" Auburn, entertaining, Magic, Perfect Magic, Performing, Restaurant Magic, Show buisness

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