Thursday, June 21, 2007

Appropriate Behavior

A couple of pet peeves of mine lately during the performance of street magic happen to be: The use of cell phones to talk or text during my performance & The idea that somehow it might be appropriate to talk about how they think a trick is done while I’m doing it. Both of these things are increasingly annoying.

Tonight I handled one situation properly and another not. A guy in the front row, gets a call and starts yaking while he’s watching me. I calmly whispered to him and pointed away from my audience and asked him politely to take his call over there. He did and the show went on.

The other incident was during my ring routine. I’m trying to create good art, combining magic with poetry and this lady is talking in her husbands ear about how the rings all have spring loaded trap doors. I try and ignore it but she persists pointing to this hand or that. I finally say. “Lady, I’m 3 feet away from you, do you mind waiting until after the show to talk to your husband about how you think it’s done? For the love of God woman, I’m trying to do a show here. Can I get a verbal agreement from you that you’ll just let me finish my trick without distraction?” Someone behind her yelled out “No!” and I said “Folks that’s the end, If you liked the show. . . let my hat know”, followed up by some more pitch tag lines.

I don’t know what’s going on with me, but I’m becoming much less tolerant of rudeness during my performance. I’m feel like it’s part of my job to educate the masses, as to what proper behavior is for a street show. Tricky goal to accomplish without sounding like a dick.

Guess we’ll just have to see.


Scotty Walsh said...

Sounds tough. But you must live in probably the most jaded city in the world, don't you think? Why not just treat the lady as a heckler and attack her and have the crowd close in in front of her, or was the whole crowd just that shitty? I noticed you changed your title from street performer to trick deck pitchman. How come?

love you man


johnthemagicguy said...

Too bad there are jerks out there.... I use a gag that I learned from Gazzo when dealing with cell phone jerks.... I ask to say hello to the person on the phone then present a riddle... "What has small balls and hangs down?.. A bat.... "What has big balls and hangs up..... Then I hang up the phone and hand it back to the person. Always gets a laugh.... Good luck Tom

dconn said...

"All you people do is.... eat... watch football... and shit"

quote from "Sonny Holiday"


Anonymous said...

One thing that always works with overly talkative students, especially those who sit in the back and do a running commentary on the lecture, or other wise, is to get them immediately involved in the act. Start discussing issues with them directly - for a lecture it might be to start asking questions about the subject matter and then pose one which is very difficult to answer without some good thought. Then I tell the student to ponder it quietly, and we'll come back to them as soon as they have it figured out. It usually cuts to the quick and they hush up.

For the talkative chick, you could have asked her to assist you with something, or brought her in as an audience participation thing. It would have gotten her to be quiet. And it would have brought her in on the act so that she would have had in investment in things going well.

Humor and tact are two gifts you are blessed with Tom, the trick is using them at the same time.