Street magic is also known as “street performance” or “guerrilla magic.” Street magic first appeared as a form of busking (or performing for money from passersby). It included card tricks, eating fire, fortune telling, clowning, juggling, etc. Today, street magic is mainly used for the film industry. The reactions of people are taped, and they are later on edited and distributed to the wide public via DVDs or regular television broadcasting.
In street magic, an illusionist must not only find an audience, but he or she must also keep them interested and awed of his performance. It is the magician’s job to crash the rational thinking of the crowd. At the end of his or her performance the audience must start doubting physics and begin thinking something to the extent of “I know levitation isn’t possible, but could it be possible?” This is harder to accomplish when performing in a large theater where people are a certain distance away. But when you are standing right next to your audience, on the street, within a touching distance, people start believing that maybe whatever you do is indeed possible.
Who are the street magic masters?
Jeff Sheridan – The most amazing thing about Sheridan is the way he can manipulate cards. His silent approach to performing is even more astonishing because usually magicians like to talk in order to distract their audience. Jeff Sheridan is the teacher of two great magicians – David Blaine and David Copperfield. He has been an inspiration to many other performers with the street magic he practiced in New York’s Central Park. Jeff’s ideas have been used by two famous companies that manufacture magical toys and accessories.
David Blaine – Blaine is not only a magician, but he is also an endurance artist. Some of the stunts he pulled in the past few years have put his life in danger. One such example is his fast over the Thames River. He was put in a see through plastic box where he didn’t eat anything for 44 days. During his stay in the box, he lost 54 pounds and his body mass dropped to 21.6% (from almost 30%). David Blaine has made street magic very popular thanks to his TV show “Street Magic.” He performed tricks like levitation, card through window, card in a bottle, and voodoo ash. Like every other good magician, David’s main goal is to entertain by deceiving. Most of his tricks involve a lot of practice and the help of a third party (other people who are in on the trick).
Cyril Takayama – Takayama is a very popular street magician in Japan. Some of his most famous tricks include the hamburger in the menu and the card through the window. One of his spectacular performances was his bungee jump into a pool with a sword in hand. There was a deck of cards floating in the pool, including the card chosen by his co host. He was then able to spear that chosen card with the sword.
The world of street magic is very exciting because it makes the experience more believable. However, it does require a lot of work and practice, and there is always something that can go wrong when performing in front of a crowd. In order to impress the crowd street magicians may sometimes need a “lovely assistant” that stays in the shadows and goes unnoticed. At times this assistant may act like he or she is part of the crowd. The more impressive a magic trick is, the more likely a magician will need additional assistance from either a person or a specially created device.