I am in Memphis. And I think it's time I set out and try my hand at busking.
I need help. The only resource that I have that tells me anything about busking is a DVD of Gazzo's Street Cups and Balls that I set aside years ago because I didn't have the money to invest in a pouch, though I always had the intention to learn the routine. I have two sets of Penguin's cups and balls... (I think Penguin had a giveaway for them once upon a time). And I have my years of experience as a hobbyist magician that I need to convert into a serious street job.
My attempts to research Memphis' laws on busking permits have failed. I need help and ideas for good pitches when it appears as though there aren't a lot of buskers around. I have seen musicians and flippers (think street-performing acrobats) every so often on Beale Street.
And... frankly, I need help with knowing what I need to do to put together a show. I've got some money saved up, but I know it's going to start going down fast if I go around trying to make too many purchases. I need to prioritize and spend wisely.
From what I've gathered, I should make a table and get a pouch (if I were to end with a cups and balls routine). I can use the magic I know to make up the rest of the show. What's the best times to perform? How long should I go for? And - as a young woman performing out there on her own - what kind of places would be the safest place to set up a show?
I greatly appreciate any help and information that you guys can give me. Thank you.
OK, first off you made some assumptions and you know what "assume" means. You do NOT need the cups & balls so forget that. As for a table, get a restaurant tray jack, put a 22" x 12" shelf you get from Home Depot and your ready.
Next, the "permit" crap. You are now a BUSKER and the rules are simple #1, thru #10 state "it is better to beg forgiveness than ask permission." Just DO IT and if a cop hassles you just say "sorry sir" and go someplace else.
Now the hard part your act. take the 3 effects that are your best, that you can do in your sleep. Arrange them in order as opener crowd builder and finale and rehearse the crap out of a 15 minute show (called a sidewalk show.) Then hit the streets and keep running the show. As soon as you finish one show start crowd building for the next show.
Are you going to suck? Yep, we ALL suck when we start but we keep kicking butt until we get better, and you will get better. You're not going to hit the hundred dollar hats per show, but if you get up to even $10 per show you are going to average $30 an hour on the street and as you get better the money goes up.
Gazzo does what we call "circle" shows that run 30 to 40 minutes per show. He can do that most of us can't I would FAIL if I tried it. But I make good money as a full time busker. BIG HINT the tricks mean zilch the ENTERTAINMENT brings in the bucks! be funny = make money