Thursday, September 18, 2008

Searching for beauty

Been searching for beauty in my work, the artistry. . . the outward demonstration of joy and the desire to share a unique experience with the audience. I just struggled with what word to use. My first inclination, was to use the word crowd, but thought the word audience sounded more refined. Perhaps that's a fundamental issue. What's the difference between a crowd of people watching something and an audience? Chairs. . .

Every night I go to work, as I'm leaving the house, I come up with some half baked strategy for the evening. The other night (after seeing Man on Wire) the strategy du jour, was to find the beauty in what I was doing. Found it in the strangest place that night. In my deck pitch. I can't get most people to tip a buck for an entertaining show. . . but I can get them to hand me $25 for a Stripper Deck. It's beautiful thing that I fine tuned over the years of owning magic shops.

The next night, still searching for the beauty in my work; I had a new notion. I wondered why I only measure the beauty of the magic by external factors like audience reaction and the money I make. It's fucked up, when I'm making money, everything is great. . . . when I'm not. . . . I can't see the beauty. I work at the Universal CityWalk for people coming out of Universal Studios, at the end of a long day of being over stimulated by the magic of Hollywood and the excitement of a theme park with roller coasters. They're hot, tired, broke and emotionally spent. But, bless their hearts, they stop and watch. . react or not, tip or not. If I've learned anything in this life, it's all a crapshoot.

Things are tough out there and I'm really feeling it in my hat. My peak season numbers were down over 50% from last year. . . OUCH!!!! People are scared, and they're holding on to their money. . . while they drink $4 coffee's from Starbucks.

Is a flower any less beautiful if it never gets seen? Is the art, that I'm working hard to bring forth, any less beautiful, because I didn't make money? I did some beautiful magic last night. Multiple card selections/revelations. 4 handed and 8 handed poker deals. Esoteric Coin Manipulations (that no one cares about), the linking rings. The money I made sucked and the people seemed cheaper than their usual puckered ass selves as Wall Street Crashes over 700 points in two days. But hey, I found the beauty. It's a simple thing. To smile. . . to live. . . to love. . . . to learn. . . and grow.

I got a great life


Timmy Jimmy said...

From reading and journeying on the Magical mystery tour... I've found that the difference between an audience and a crowd is this: An audience is a listening thing, individual people listening and watching you perform. They don't bond with one another, they are seperate from the other members of the "audience." While a crowd is an audience that becomes a crowd. There is a mentally shift akin to a mob. They have invested in one another. What happens to one in the audience has now happened to everyone when they become a crowd. They have bonded into a mob mentality, for good or ill, or "have now BECOME a crowd. They now laugh together and root for each other as one single unit.
Just my thoughts.
I am listening to Michael Ammars "Making Magic Memorable" cd. Watching you perform is akin to watching T.V. or a movie. It only employs the two senses, Hearing and sight. When you bring them into the show a whole raft of other senses are involved making the magic more memorable.One of the things he mentions. is the difference we as magicians need to give our audiences is the abilty to touch the item. Touch is extremely valuable. This also helps bring the "audience" into that bonding of a crowd I mention earlier. Bringing someone up to "help" you or tobe a "volunteer" allows that person to "represent" everybody else. People think, "that could have been me" and they relate as such. Then when they are a bonded crowd, when one tips, they feel it is appropriate for themselves as well, almost a guilt not to tip.
This is at least in theory from some Gazzo or other book I read.
Love you man! Good luck in the trenches!

Ryan Swigert said...

How come you lowered the Stripper Deck price to $25? Hahaha.

In all seriousness, keep doing what you're doing and it'll all work out. As the back-up Miami Sound Machine singer - Jon Secada says: "Things are only as important as you want them to be."

All the best!