Tales From the Streets by Kozmo - my review
Busking has always been a fascinating yet distant art to me. Watching Gazzo dazzle his crowd with the cups and balls, I've wondered how he got that huge crowd in the first place. When the guy sets up his table, what does he say to the first person walking past that attracts them? How does he build the crowd from that initial guy, finally arriving at 50 people crowded around waiting to see the next trick?
Yet this is something I need to learn. Imagine the power of making quick cash while on vacation, during a business trips, or even locally during the weekend to supplement your income, all tax free. Especially during the economic times of late, this could be a life saver. Yet the questions in the back of my mind remain: How do you start, what tricks to use, and how long for a show? Do you just beg for money at the end or what?
And the Cellini DVDs are $60 for 50 minutes of instruction, ouch. So here comes Kozmo with FIVE HOURS
of instruction for $60. I simply must buy it...
Demo video: (none)
http://www.penguinmagic.com/specialorde ... p?ID=11030
Cost: $59 after discount
If you've watched the wonderful Dan Tong Live DVD (or Reel Magic, Chris Capeheart, many more) you've seen the marvelous camera work, editing and outstanding talents that Kozmo and friends bring to the production. In "Tales From the Streets" all this clearly shines. With Kozmo and Danny Hustle in an empty small theater resembling ones I've watched porn in, you get:
- Crisp, clear camera work, DVD menus resembling green street signs and perfect sound quality
- Brief summary of tips at the end of each section (wrap-up), presented in text street signs along with his voice in the background going into specifics of every item
- Cut scenes to the street during both the in studio performances AND explanations
- Voice overs in the street performances, explaining why he's moving a table, what he's thinking during that segment and the why's of crowd handling
- Huge variety of audiences in different situations, from 7 people gathered really close to his table in a more intimate style to huge crowds of 50+ people where Kozmo resorts to a microphone and amp. This is not one isolated, perfect scenario performance but instead you get to see real life: A challenging freezing cold day where nobody wants to stop, small crowds, large ones, etc
And best of all, you get to see his performance from when he's standing there alone at his table trying to get passerby's attention to after a huge crowd of 40 people have gathered around.
- The beginning (12 mins)
Kozmo tosses a quarter around to convince spectators into stopping. Like talking a scared dog into the house, it takes skill and charisma and definitely ain't easy. It's fun to watch him epic fail a couple of groups until one finally wants to see the coin trick. His voice over goes into detail about the whats and whys of his actions.
- The first group (5 mins)
Building the core group that will hang around for the entire show.
- The first routine (17 mins)
A detailed look at what makes a good first routine, the requirements of being able to stop/restart at any point for new people gathering into the newly forming crowd.
- Spectacle to build (12 mins)
How to build upon that initial group, engaging bystanders to come closer, dealing with people that are leaving and finalizing your final crowd that you'll be asking for cash.
- The finale (24 mins)
When to ask for cash, where the dialog goes into your routine, how to build toward the finale, getting your crowd into the action and excited, presenting the finale then how to get money into the hat. During a bill to lemon effect, Kozmo has also developed an ingenious method of borrowing cash from strangers that I loved.
Again, let me stress HOW WELL PRODUCED
all these sections are. The video is constantly spilling out into the street performances from their studio, demonstrating what they just discussed. And for longer street segments, Kozmo tosses in voice overs to explain what's happening, and WHY he's moving tables, the reasoning behind him yelling at spectators, etc.
The interview (1 hour)
Kozmo and Danny discuss a huge variety of street subjects, from safety to answering questions they've both received over email. Very insightful inside look at the minds of these two guys during years and years of street performing.
The rig and table (6 mins)
Kozmo rolls in his rig and table on a dolly, then shows how everything how the stand, savant, and table are constructed and assembled.
Loading the savant (5 mins)
He reviews all his equipment, his likes and dislikes of the chop cup, plus where every piece is installed into his savant.
Coin in the eye (13 mins performance + explanation)
Routine to stop the first group. Inspired by a Charlie Frye coin to eye routine, Kozmo shows the types of coins needed and how to handle them during the different phases of this routine. Several street pieces are inserted into the explanation to show how it works for real spectators. Most importantly, you get to see how he coaxes the crowd from FAR away into his table area. Very helpful to me to see this in action for real people.
Coins across (7 mins performance + explanation)
Huge benefit of this routine is the ability to stop/start/continue from any point to any other point when new spectators arrive. Simple, powerful and hard hitting coin work.
Coins in cup (15 mins performance + explanation)
Kozmo pops out a cup and does this effect as a smooth transition from Coins Across.
World's greatest card trick (20 mins performance + explanation)
His completely original card routine where a signed folded card transposes with one in a cup, and a transpo to another card under spectator's feet. The audience interaction makes it fun (one kid stares into the cup to guard the prediction, etc).
Johnny Carson's favorite trick (45 mins)
Bill in lemon
Instead of wrapping up with the cups and balls, Kozmo introduces a multi-threaded effect with multiple climaxes and big endings. As the audience is recovering from a stack of sponge ball surprise, they're hit with a melon production and finally a signed bill to lemon. Kozmo breaks down the astronomical amount of moving parts into bits, explaining the routine, audience handling and transition to asking for cash in the hat. Each segment pans out again to various street performance locations to bring it into perspective.
Bloopers (6 mins)
"Let's watch the fat bastard stroke out!" - lol
The art of street performing
As I recall...
Card warp finale
I hate David Copperfield
Live at the jailhouse
Miracles for mortals
The spritz switch
Kozmo has transcended the traditional 20 minutes of performance + 30 minutes of explanation magic video to create an almost interactive experience, answering every possible question you could have along the way. Combining voice overs, street cut scenes, a huge variety of locations to keep your interest, this 2 DVD set presents a learning experience unparalleled for street performing. Not only do you see the tricks, but you hear the logic behind their various parts in a five hour spectacle of intelligent instruction.
If you've always been curious about street magic, this should be first on your purchase list. Spectacular bargain for $59.
The official spam:
On this 2 DVD set you will learn the real secrets about how to stop, build and collect. You will learn the importance of that first routine, how to choose the routines to use in your show, theory on building and keeping the audience. All the answers are here. This 2 DVD set will teach you the entire magic in my show that has earned me a great living for years and years!
-"The One Coin Routine": A great way to stop the first group.
-"The Coins Across and Coins to Cup Routine": A Terrific Modular routine that is perfect for building.
-"The World's Greatest Card Trick": A Very Entertaining Routine that becomes a Spectacle.
-"Johnny Carson's Favorite Trick" : This is my Chop Cup Bill to Lemon routine that just kills audiences.
"In Addition to this, Danny Hustle has a long conversation with me about the Does and Don'ts of the streets!
The question is, how does a guy who's a little funny and does some pretty good magic, make a great living in this most challenging environment? the answers are all here!" - Kozmo
"Performance is always about the audience, but being able to gather and energize an audience is a First Principle that Koz understands in spades. He not only draws audiences into his sunny lair of hilarity, he holds them captive until they have totally surrendered. This is because he knows at gut-level the a"about-ness" of magic, as well. I watched him work the hard-scrabble streets of the Big Easy. He is the best I've seen in the trenches, bar none!" - Jon Racherbaumer