Mike Rogers – Controversy Revisited

Columnist:
Mike Rogers
By Mike Rogers

Several months ago there was considerable controversy on Gemini regarding the handling of a close up venue. The clamor dealt with whether a close up magician should stroll about the room performing here and there, or whether he should remain stationary working from a home base. Jon Racherbaumer was the advocate for the home base contingent, while Paul Green led the charge for the strollers. The exchanges became a bit heated at times, in fact down right steamy. Through it all there was never a resolution, nor will there ever be. Some stroll, some don’t. Period.

My good friend David French is an extremely busy close up magician in the East. He and I have exchanged posts over the years regarding this subject. He recently sent another post where he goes right to the meat of this thing without wasting words. David offered his thoughts to me in the manner of a question. I felt his question to be interesting enough to share them with Gemini readers. David has agreed to allow me to reprint his e-mail here.

This column now becomes interactive. You, the readers, have a part to play. Please respond to David’s questions in the ‘Column Talkback’ Conference of Gemini as this is something of interest to many. I’ll forward them on to David. Additionally, you might also send your views direct to David. His e-mail address follows his letter.

Incidentally, David knows where I stand on these issues. However, I’ll refrain from commenting now so as not to influence what others might have to say. So please respond to David’s question and not to any views I might hold. (If I were to ask for a response to my views I’m certain many would say they belong in the garbage can!)

OK, here’s the letter from David French. I’ve changed nothing.

Hello Mike,

Hope all is well. We exchanged several e-mails about a year ago regarding working conditions and the like. I have a few more questions if you have a moment to respond, I would be thrilled.

I have recently been doing a lot of cocktail parties. I always tell the client I work stationary. They provide me a table. As of late, however, I am provided the table, but am having difficulty attracting a crowd. Many times the table is there for me and there are several other tables set up for people to sit. Most of the time the guests arrive and immediately take a seat at one of these “other” tables. I will begin to stack dice or other crowd attractions and no one wants to move. I will stroll a bit announcing that I am doing a show at my table and I get many folks say they will come over, but don’t. I end up going table to table the entire evening, limiting my magic to my pockets.

I know a lot of this is very dependant on each situation. I have had the venue provide the table for me to perform in the hallway outside the main room of activity. If I had asked the table be moved inside the room of activity I would be shouting over a guitar player that was hired. I have also had a table set up in the same room as the dinning hall and again all the guests take a seat at other tables. I guess my findings are that stationary close up only really works when all the guests must stand and can make their way over to my area. Otherwise they grab a seat and stay there.

I have thought about carrying a small doctor bag to each table when I am forced to table hop, but that lends itself to other problems of where to place it? And will there be room for it. As you know table hopping constricts you to what you can carry in your pockets.

Basically, my question is how would/do you work a situation like this? Where the guests all sit down at banquet type tables and tend to stay there?

My clients are always happy because they see everyone having a good time and I tell them that I am flexible enough to make the event fun for everyone. It is more a personal thought that my show is better if I am stationary.

Any thoughts or comments are greatly appreciated.

David French – CPM:
[email protected]

You can visit David French’s web site at:
http://www.geocities.com/Broadway/Stage/4303/