Saturday, February 22, 2014

Let's talk about openers

You have a private strolling gig, or even better, a restaurant gig and you need a good opener. For my money you can do no better than The One-Coin Flurry. For the past 23 years it has been my go to opener for any kind of close-up performance.

The Flurry is a one-coin sequence of vanishes and reproductions. While David Roth was very likely not the first person to perform a sequence like this, he was the first to codify it and get it into print. His routine appeared in his 1985 Expert Coin Magic. David says his inspiration was Tony Slydini. Here is an abbreviated version of my One-Coin Flurry.

The Flurry is perfect as an opener because it modular. It’s free form, almost jazz-like. Even though you have a set ‘script’ you can vary from it adding or subtracting moves to fit the situation. This is perfect for those times when you start performing and realize that the crowd is just not into it. Or, in a restaurant, when the food arrives in the middle of your first effect. What would you do if you were only into the first coin of your 4 Coins Across routine? Probably stop, stutter, and slink away from the table. Or worse, keep going while the hungry patrons try to split their attention between your coins and passing the ketchup to each other.

With a Flurry you can end the routine at any time by jumping to big finish. In my case, it’s changing the coin into a giant 3-inch chrome coin. On the other hand if the crowd is really into the effect you can add to it to extend the magic. You control the pace of the effect.

There is nothing for the audience to sign, or hold, or remember. It is eye candy at it’s best. This allows you to further gauge your audience’s interest level and show off some skills. It establishes you as a wonder worker and, with a good script, allows the audience to get to know you.

The Flurry is also good for getting over those first-effect jitters. Since it's self-contained it allows you to perform a lot of magic without having to engage or even say too much. By the end of the effect, your audience is applauding and you have gained your foothold. Now you can relax.

Speaking of skills, the Flurry is also a wonderful way to break in new sleights. Vanishes and productions are like card controls to a coin magician, we all know a ton of them, but can never resist learning just one more. It’s easy to work that new move into the Flurry without a major re-write of the effect.

Wow! What more can you ask from an opener?