Why did I want to learn to be a magician? Pt 2 – Threats, Cabaret and Mentors
June 17, 2020
I should probably apologise for writing up the rest of this story so far from the first part. Especially since you’ve clearly been waking up every morning, rushing to your computer, and then desperately refreshing my feed to see if today was the day that I would finally finish my enthralling tale into the world of magic.
If that is you, I apologise for making you wait so long. If that isn’t you, I apologise for my inflated sense of self importance.
Where I left off, I had just started performing magic at Tharen’s Restaurant in Kings Cross, Sydney, having quite my job as a bartender. I performed two to three nights each week in the restaurant, performing to guests in between courses and occasionally doing a semi double act with the drag queen. It was great fun. Until, that is, I started receiving threatening calls and messages against my life.
Unbeknownst to me, there had previously been another magician who worked in the restaurant. It turned out I had unknowingly replaced him. This made for a relatively uncomfortable situation that took a while to resolve, and only did so when I asked Tharen’s for more money, at which point they let me go. The magician’s reasoning for “demanding” I charge more money was that by charging so much less, I was lowering the bar for all other magicians. Tharen’s of course didn’t appreciate me trying to renegotiate and was quite right to send me on my way. I still had a lot to learn about the business side of magic.
During my time performing there though, I had massively improved my skills as a performer. This is why I recommend all magicians get a residency. It is by far and away to get lots of practice in-front of a live audience, repeatedly, make a little bit of money, and most importantly, earn more clients. I only got business cards, because people kept asking for them, and I only diversified my effects away from just card magic because I realised I needed the variety to keep people entertained.
With these improved skills, I was comfortable performing at private events. I was doing a couple of these a month, which helped me improve further and provided the opportunity to charge more money.
I was very lucky at one of these events to be performing to some of the guests, when they said they would put me in touch with a friend of theirs who was running a cabaret show which could be of interest to me. I had no idea how important that chance encounter would prove to be.
This is how I met James and Simone Karp. They ran a show called, “The Magician’s Cabaret”. We got on very well and after showing them a bit of magic, they suggested I come along and perform at their next show, performing to the guests in the audience around their meals between the different acts of the show. We became good friends and I started performing regularly again with James and Simone taking on the role of Agent and Manager.
I learnt an incredible amount from both James, a professional magician with decades of experience both as a performer and a director; and Simone, a dancer and singer for just as long. They had toured the world, created endless shows and had a lot to teach me.
Our team of performers also included around six dancers, two circus performers, several wait staff, a chef and one sound engineer. We all grew very close and I loved performing in that group.
I was also lucky enough to pick up another incredible mentor at this time, a retired clown by the name of Jim Holt. Jim had been a clown by trade, but had worked as a magic consultant, performed internationally as a solo act, and had a lifetime’s experience as a performer. All of which he was kind enough to impart on me, suggesting we meet once a week and go over all things magical. I couldn’t believe my luck and Jim proved to be a hugely useful resource and great friend. Although, I may have accidentally stolen one of his magic books that he lent me when I left the country....
I was very lucky to be able to curate my love of magic and to work at the art form with such incredible input from other performers; not to mention being able to practice and entertain in such a beautiful space. All good things must come to an end though, but it’s about time for another cliff hanger I think! I promise not to make you wait as long this time! Previous Blog Next Post