Street Performance – The “Ugly” Truth

I have a few street performances under my belt.  I don’t consider this my target venue but on occasions I’ve found that it can be a powerful business move and I do it at least twice a year or sometimes more. Many people have the misconceptions about street performances or street magicians in general. You think of street shows you think of a one or two things; a homeless person trying to make a quick buck or an eccentric (like David Blaine or Criss Angel) going around and interrupting strangers to show them something for the camera. The former is probably more closer to reality than the latter.

Street performing is NOT walking around and interrupting strangers. Yes people are taking 30 seconds to a full hour or so out of their day to watch you but it isn’t random – it is planed by the performer. Be the performer a musician, a magician, clown, juggler – whatever- each street performance is strategically planned out by the performer prior. The location, the clothing, how the performer intends to interact with the pedestrians walking by, how they will deal with the police or anyone who tries to give them trouble – all of it is well planned in advanced.

My earlier days in street performing I was honestly under the delusion that you had to be spontaneous and bug the living Hell out of innocent people in order to build a crowd. I’ve grown out of that mentality thanks to a book I will recommend later on.

Street performance that you see David Blaine do on TV does not exist. Street magic does not exist, it is a simple term used by the television networks to boost ratings. If you attempt to perform the same way as Blaine and Angel – your success rate will be ZERO. People do not like being approached by strangers. People are too busy and people are too cautious.

Busking on the other hand is what is meant by street performing. Busking is the art of attracting attention, building a crowd and passing the hat. Busking is the oldest form of theatre. I won’t go through the fine details in the busking process here – I do recommend picking up The Secret Art of Magic by Eric Evans & Nowlin Craver ( this book has been long out of print but you might be able to find it used on the web.) This book is two books in one – it is The Art of War by Sun Tzu and the Secret Art of Magic all in one. There are no revelation of methods in its pages – it is a guide book using Chinese warfare wisdom for the busker.

The two greatest threats a busker will face while out performing is the weather and the police. Being an outside performer – you are at the mercy of the weather. As for the police – they will look for any excuse to shut you down. Even though the right to assemble is a protected right and the right to travel is a Universally declared human right- many cities in the US have felt the need to charge performers or fine them for not paying. Usually the fee for a permit is $15 and it can cover you for a full year. When you are stopped by the police (even if you have a permit – some may insist that what you are doing is still illegal) just cooperate and leave the area. ( I am not an attorney,  I will not go any further in giving you legal advice – use your best judgments – or you can purchase a pocket US Constitution from the ACLU at their website).

There is one other threat to the street performer – it statistically never happens but one should still use caution – other people. This is a bigger problem in Europe than it is in the US – pickpocket thieves like to stick close to street performers – picking the spectators blind. There is also the off beat chance (You probably never will have this happen to you) that someone in the audience will try to rob you as well. Best line of defense is keep everything close to you, locked up when not in use and never leave your items unattended.


Author: The Jordan Allen Experience

"Greetings - I am Jordan Allen. I want to thank you for coming by. This is The Jordan Allen Experience - I'm all about taking you on an adventure that you will never forget - a journey into the mind. I possess no supernatural abilities - I use a mix of sleight of hand techniques similar to that magicians use, I use concepts from hypnosis, and my knowledge I have gained from many years of studying neuroscience." - Jordan Allen For nearly two decades Jordan Allen has entertained audiences all across the South Eastern United States with his illusion and mind reading shows. Jordan Allen first received a magic kit as a gift from his parents while on vacationing in Louisville Ky. After a few years of practice Jordan made his first public debut in 1999 before a local church. The following years since Jordan has worked tirelessly to perfect his stage skills. Sometime in the early 2000's Jordan Allen took an interest in psychology and eventually graduated from Murray State University in 2016 where he studied both psychology and theatre - he combines the knowledge to give audiences a show that Tymeless Hearts INC has said to be " A Show You Will Never Forget". Jordan Allen provides entertainment for private parties, corporate events and banquets. A few notable past and ongoing clients include Tymeless Hearts Inc., The CFSB Bank, Fierce & Fabulous Pageants, The City of Murray KY and the City of Joppa Illinois. In 2017 The Jordan Allen Experience was drafted - The second show written & directed by Jordan Allen. The Jordan Allen Experience features 45 minutes of pure wonder that only the imagination can conjure. The Jordan Allen Experience is perfect for corporate and parties / celebrations.

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