Monday, October 10, 2011


me and Sonny are gonna be in workin sidewalks in vegas.


the great master Sonny Holliday will be workin next week, on the greatest show business sidewalks in this country,

since we're gonna be in town for our lecture at denny's in vegas, we're gonna be workin the sidewalks in vegas, so if y'all wanna give us a holler or watch our shows while we're out buskin come on down.

if your a big Sonny fan this is a once inna life time thing.

just went and checked it out and vegas is the sidewalk performers dream....miles of very very small sidewalk pitches only large enough for doorway acts with thousands of people walkin by.

i have been donating my fees,hotel pay, and now, any unsold inventory, to denny to show my support for his new free magic school he's putin together.

i'll be writing an artical about this monumental school later.

things are looking up for the beginner who doesn't have the funds to start their new life in magic.

Sonny has agreed to do a show and answer questions at the lecture.

this is big.


Thursday, September 22, 2011



i'm actually gonna take off to do a lecture. i make my sole living on the street.

i work every day of my life.

but after meeting Denny at denny and lee's magic shop.

i realized that i needed to get over my hang ups about bein around the magic clubs.

denny is the real thing, he's the old school.

he has what john rachenbaumer has called the last real magic shop in the u.s.

and it is said that Teller loves to get lost in denny's library.

this is a shop for pros this, is where we get our stuff.

the difference is denny is a retired performer who had a huge successfull career and will now teach to who ever will listen the real truth about what we proffessional magicians do.

it took a guy like denny to get me to do a lecture. so i am asking all my friends that can, to go, and also, all those close up magicians looking for a venue and a career to come and see what magic used to be and could still be again if we support folks like denny.

here's the info;


also i will be doing my show and hatting the crowd in the lecture hall.

i have books and the brand new dvd that every one has been waiting for.

also i wll be in vegas speaking at jeff mcbrides school of busking oct 7,8,9th and may do one last lecture in the states in vegas.

if you wanna teacher this is opportunity.

here's denny's site;

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


it should be understood i am not calling myself a master by any

but this artical is good as a goal to try and be one..........

any shmuck can get an amp a table and two generic tricks and clap and cheer an audience into paying a big hat.

believe me, i've done it many times.

it's even easier to just clone a show that works.

they can do this and call themselves a magician and if they make enough money the "magic community" will follow them around and honor them like lap dogs hoping for crumbs to fill their egos.

but this don't make it true.

the fact's difficult to be a real magician.

first off, you have to be one.

no really.

and being one has a whole lot more to do than just having chops. skills alone don't make a magician.

how are you gonna convince laymen your a magician if you don't believe it?

second, you have to just suck it up and embrace the fact that you are one.

and stop trying to be something you're not, to "please" the people around you.

you're not doing any one any favors.

third, you have to devote your life to it.

being a magician is a state of mind, life style, a practice, and a real person.

being a magician is a like a disease, the victim can't be anything else.

it literally consumes him.

i believe we were born this way.

i believe merlin was from the same stock as us.....only better.

ask yourself, if there was such a thing as a real magician, what would he do for a living?

what would he look like?

what and where would he eat?

how would he commute?

the fact is a magician is a wise man, worldly, theatrical, eccentric, with extensive knowledege of the sciences, the occult, spiritual, supernatural, and bizaar things.

he is a master of ESP and psycology. he can conjure with his hands and if he's any good no one will know this.

society relys on him to entertain, educate, give hope, and protect them from charlatains.

and to fill in many other holes that the modern world just can't fill.

being a magician is a lot bigger than all the things i've listed here, but i am limited in space and in time.

the point is, to try and master this takes commitment and disipline....even if you were born one.

any body can buy a gimmick, but in the hands of a magician it becomes real.

because to him it's not a sneaky trick to decieve people, it's an ancient real magic device to make stuff appear and vanish etc. it's a tool to make magic happen.

it's real.

an amatuer or a layman can't grasp this, they think magic is a trick and or superstition....they don't really understand that magic is a real thing.

whether it's trickery, illusion, or assumption, is irrelevant....we're talking about magic remember, not empirical science, different subject.

is a nightmare any less frightning, because it happened in a dream?

is a movie really not real...than what were you doing for two hours at that theater?

movies, books, and other art forms are real. they time travel and create real moments and dramatically change the world.

this is why real magicians are artists, - NOT craftsmen.

a carpenter can make a chair, but an artist creates one....this is harder., when your out there on the street representing us magicians remember this.

i know it's easier to just listen to those "get rich quick" buskers who call themselves craftsmen, who tell you to forget about magic.

they'll tell you to just clap and cheer them and stay focused on the money and treat it like a sales presentation.

they will tell you people like sheridan or cellini's style wont work now...but just remember sheridan and cellini and the many other masters could do it because they had talent and didn't need to rely on cheap gimmicks or extortion to make their living, they didn't have to.

their work spoke for itself and got the people to stop, stay, and pay.

there are plenty of performers doing creative quality shows out there right now, making a great's just harder that's all.

try and remember who we are and how we represent ourselves and our art.

don't sell out, show a little dignity.

after all the streets are an escape from conforming to the business machine....don't make them the same nightmare we ran away from in the first place.

Friday, May 6, 2011


I did an interview about busking in San Diego on a podcast for City Beat Magazine, I hope you'll check it out HERE

You can download the podcast.


this of course is written for the beginner.

the key to busking i think is;

"get em to stop." "get em to stay." "get em to pay."

this is what matters most.

it doesn't matter how long your show is, or how big or small it plays.

what matters most is, if you got em to, stop, stay, and pay.

before doing a show, KNOW what type of show you are going to do!

you may like to do;

close up, or parlor, or stage, on the street, but what ever you do,

you have to set up and organize the crowd to present your work and then get paid to do it.

there is of course different methods to do this depending on the size and length of your show,

and you should choose a method that best suits the need of the show you wanna do.

generally speaking;

1."close up" or "sidewalk show", is a short show around 8 - 12 mins. and therefore,

in my opinion,

demands a quick build. and a brisk steady tempo to finale and hat.

to start, the intire crowd walking by on the sidewalk, needs to stop walking all at once and turn to you, then be brought in as close as possible.

this can be done with sharp patter and a simple large visual effect, or mimed in the same way.

after they are brought in, they are held in place by steady mime or patter and presentation.

through out the show they are reminded that they need to tip at the end of the show, and at last, before and after the finale.

2. the parlor or half circle show is the same, except the tempo is slowed and the program will run longer 15 - 25 mins.

after the crowd has been brought in close, for commitment sake, they are backed up to present parlor,

this of course isn't always needed if the crowd is a strongly committed one, as in maybe a festival.

3. stage or circle show can either be started by progressing up the latter from close up to parlor or can be started with a slow build of crowd building instead.

in other words you can entertain your audience with magic while they wait for the audience to get bigger or you can clap and cheer them for the entire time,

and or using other stalling methods some use stand up comedy to entertain them while they wait.

this is needed of course, because a large production usually needs a large audience and it can take awhile for the bodies to move into position.

also the "circle show" has a much slower tempo because it's motivation is different.

it's motivation of course is to attract those who are willing to stay 30, 45, or more mins.

- in choosing the size and method of your show;

it should be understood that a pro can perform any of these, and if you desire to be a pro you will need to know how to do all of them.

different size and method should be used to fit the venue.

but if you have the luxury to do what ever you want on your venue, in other words,

if there is a pitch of any size and lots of foot traffic, then the decision is a simple one, do what you love most.

- my choice?

i have done all of these, but i prefer to do sidewalks, but if i need money i do half circles.

this has worked best for me in my career on the street.

the only time i do circle shows anymore is if i am hired by a festival to do circle shows,

or on the street, if the show turns into that...if that's what the people want, then i will slow the tempo down and put in more material.

the point of all this is to know what the show is going to look like before you present it to an audience,

that way you and your adience will know where your going and what is expected of everyone.

and stop thinking about money......people smell what you love and the money will follow.

it has always been my opinion that no matter what the type of show or work we do on the street we are all in it together,

we are all buskers and should try and stick together.

also, i'm writing this because when ever i am teaching on the street, i have found that beginners are going out there and just trying to make anything work on a wing and a prayer.

don't get me wrong this is great in trying to find your self and what works, but it can be a bit brutal on you.

so i think you should try and invision the show first...after all, how is the audience supposed to understand your program if you don't.

any way, i hope this helped some one.

you pal jimmy

Thursday, February 17, 2011


street magician

alot of people unfamiliar with street magic,

Who see a good street magician always ask,

"where did they learn that show or where did they get those quality props?"

"where did they come up with that way of doing that trick or where did they get that character?"

welp, they made them.

you see along with being an art and business, this is a craft.

if you can't make your own show,

you may not belong in this business, unless maybe, you can pay some one to make you a unique original show for you.

but even then you should ask yourself, "if i'm not creative enough to make my own show, why am i getting into the creative business?"

granted maybe your charismatic enough to entertain people from a tellemarketing script,


if your not creative enough to create your own routines, lines, bits, and shows, you may just be a common salesman, who by the way can be very entertaining,

but of course for a different motive and venue.

and if you are a common saleman, i assure you there is much more money in tax annuities than busking.....go there, because that should be the motive of a salesman.

you see, the motive of a magician is to be a magician and to live that life.

you see, a magician makes his living by doing magic, not by any other product that will make him more money.

if you can't make your own props, it maybe because your not a creative person....and what makes you think you should be in a business that is intrinsically creative?

the reason we make our own props, is because one size doesn't fit all characters, physiques, and comfort zones.

heck, most of the props we need are not made because we maybe the only person doing that trick.

if you want to be a proffessional magician, you should do a lot of soul searching and strict self criticism to see if you really are this thing.

because i wouldn't wish this on my own worst enemy.

we are born this way, more than we are made.

if you weren't born to be a magician, my gad please look into what you were born to be.

it will save you years of up hill battle.

many amatuer magicians are always looking for that newest one big trick that will make their career.

the place to look for this trick is in research, stage time and in your own imagination.

now, i know that there are a lot of tricks, props, and other products on the market that promise you fame and fortune......

wake up!!!!!

these are made by creative people for uncreative people, just as a magic show is created for people who can't do magic.

these products are wonderful to use as research and a thing to get the creative juices flowing, or as another color on the palet.

please don't get me wrong products are great!

but what you do with them and how you make a new tool from the original idea is what is most important.

and i assure the reader it will be the self made, or proffessionally written, original presentation, of a very unique effect that will make you successful.

this of course is extremely difficult and not many of us, myself included, have achieved this to perfection, as many of the great legends have, but this is the work.

the real work.

in my book i try and teach this.

i go in length how to create a show and props.

i don't want anyone to get the wrong idea and think i am full of myself and think that i am the most creative person, blah blah blah.

infact i am not saying this at all.

it should be noted i believe of course, that everyone is creative, to some degree, and with their own thing.

i fancy myself a good cook, but i simply wasn't born to be a proffessional chef.

i am not driven for that, hence my creativy wont excell in cooking, as much as some one driven to do it.

lord knows i love to eat good cooking and try my hand at it some times.

but that's a big difference from thinking i am a master chef and i will take on the world with it.....

also i am well aware that there are many more creative people than me in busking,

certainly many of my students and all of my teachers are,

but i'm the best at doing my show, because it's mine.

this is about being honest with yourself and knowing your limitations.

this is about not pretending to be something that your not.

this is about keeping up the quality of our society as magicians, by being where we are needed most.

your pal jimmy


for the past two years,

i have been working in the hardest town,

i have ever had to work.

i have been supporting myself and my family.

i have had a lot of requests to tell my secret.

so here it is.

the trick to making a living as a busker in a very small town with hardly any foot traffic is to;

work small short shows all day and night, every day and night without fail.

if you do not work you will go back to the "real job."

YOU MUST get it into your head that this is a real full time job.

so pack a lunch and go put in as many hours as you can.

think 8 to 10 hours miniumum.

even if you suck you are bound to make money with those hours seven days a week.

# 2.
week days are a must, no exception.

do short small sidewalk shows all day and night on the week days.

week days are crucial. if your only going out on week will fail.

if you are going out on the weekends,

fighting with other weekend warrior buskers for the good spot and only getting a few shows off for the will fail.

on the week ends go out and find your own pitch somewhere and bang out as many shows as you can all day.

by the time the weekend comes, i have already made my money during the week.

so the weekend isn't a big hassle and rush to make money.

working when it is hard on the week days make you a stronger busker, so when you are on a better spot you will clean house.

the amatuer goes for a few hours on the weekend and makes a little.

the pro works all week and makes a living.

this is the #1 thing that a beginner doesn't get.

if you wont work weekdays, save yourself and all of us pros some grief and give up your dream of being a pro.

when working week ends do as big a show as you can to maximise your hats.

week ends are for half circle to circle shows.

so you may have a week day rig and a week end rig, but be careful because some week days you may be able to pull a big show off.

a circle show is quick big money if you can get one off.

don't judge your money by the day.

judge your money by the month.

judge your money by the week to see if your on track for the month.. then divide by forty hours to see how you compare to a real job.

if you have 3 bad days and you judged by the day you will get very discouraged...but you may have had a great week.

you will have to make less money per show, to make more money in the long run.

in other words if a mall or a shop is letting you work their property and you keep blowing the pitch up with huge crowds and loud amps and long shows....

they will get rid of you.

remember familiarity breeds contempt.

this of course will cost you quite a bit of money per day, but in the long run over a year you will have a full time job.

if you can get the cops and the shops to think that you care about their rules and that you are not making that much they will will defend you.

remember, no one cares until you start making money.

figure out the foot traffic schedule for each pitch for that day in your town.

when your on that pitch, stay on that pitch til it's done, milk it.

also if your pitch dies at a certain time of day and another one in town picks up go there and milk that one.

in other words,

the park or the board/river walk may be busy during the day

then at night the downtown club strip may pick there's your schedual for the day and night.

try and keep your 10 hour day to no more than 2 locations when you go out and work.

pick up as many festivals, craft fairs, and town events you can crash or get permission for.

try and move about town through out the month, when picking these up,

because if your in a small town, by the end of the day, they may have all seen you in that little section of town.

keep a record book.

record all your pitch locations, your hours on each pitch for the day, and how much you made per pitch.

also, you may want to make a little note of things conserning the job that could be important in the future.

this will tell you how much your making per month and where.

it will also let you know next year where the money will be and what you may expect.

don't be afraid to commute every day to the closest busy town next to you.

i myself commute, two hours by trolley to the pitch then two hours home every day.

bad weather?

no problem,

if it's not too cold for people to stop, then work.

i have worked many times in the snow, when i was hard up.

there's gloves that are thin enough and tricks that you can do with stiff hands.

also if it's raining, that's great, because you can busk under an over hang to a {literally} captive audience.

also when there's a break in the rain you can make a big show with a fat hat, just make it quick and judge wheater or not it's gonna rain before your finale.

of course, you can also busk indoors throughout the winter.

just hit every single family resteruant and bar in town.

this is about commitment.

once again, work weekdays.

this will make you the strongest crowd puller in your town.

it will also make you the monthly income you so desperately need.

while the weekend warrior idiots are fighting over a pitch and scrambling to make all their money in two days,

you will already have made your quota for the week.

let em fight, and you go find a pitch of your own, because your strong enough to work a slower pitch then them,

because you have trained all week on the slow pitch.

and remember.

short small shows on the weekdays.

and large commercial shows on the week ends.

i hope this helps.

your pal jimmy