I have always tried to avoid the ordinary.
When I first got started in magic (back in the 60’s, in a little town north of Philadelphia), I took the same route as others: performing at kid’s birthday parties, Cub Scout banquets, stuff like that. Granted, I made some money there, and I was learning my craft, but I was never happy doing those shows. And, let’s face it: What’s the point of doing anything, if it doesn’t make you happy?
As a teenager in the mid-70’s, I came out to California to attend a wedding. On that trip, I went up to San Francisco and (as a pleasant byproduct) saw my first street performer. There was the life!, I thought to myself. Here was a class of performer that a) worked whenever they wanted, b) worked wherever they wanted, c) got paid well when they did a good show, and d) if they tanked, they sometimes didn’t get paid at all.
This seemed to me a very honest form of living so, once I got back home, I quickly found a tourist trap in Philadelphia that welcomed street performers. I quickly (literally) took my act on the road, and wound up performing on one solitary piece of sidewalk (near 2nd and Pine Streets, if you feel compelled to Google-map it) for almost 15 years.
The streets taught me a lot; how to react to people, how to stay really sharp for each and every show. But, after years of working in Philly, I was restless to take the next step.
That restlessness reached a peak when, in the early 90’s, I came out to California with just one goal in mind: To join a club of magicians called the Academy of Magical Arts, whose meetinghouse was the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood. This was a place where the ‘best of the best’ met nightly, to sharpen their skills in front of each other and magic-savvy audiences. Sounded like paradise!
A lucky break came a few years ago; I was asked to develop a special show for Halloween Week at the Castle. Off the top of my head, I proposed a dead Old West gambler/scoundrel character, whose ghost comes to life every Halloween and tells the tale of how he lived and, more to the point, how he died. The producers loved the idea; the resulting character was such a hit, I’ve been asked to (pardon the expression) resurrect “Deadeye” year after year!
I’m not one to ever repeat a show at the Castle so, as a result of being called back so often, I got the chance to write several shows for Deadeye, each one a little bit darker, and a little bit more theatrical than the last. It’s been a blast!
Why do I tell you all this? To give you an idea of how bored I am with the ordinary, and how unwilling I am to settle for something merely because others are doing it as well. If you respect that attitude, let’s talk.