Considering a Bounce House for a Kids Birthday Party?

Bounce House Considerations

Of course not everybody will want or need a magician at their birthday party. A popular alternative is to rent a bounce house. Here's a list of 10 things to consider before renting a bonce house for your birthday party. Many of these points are overlooked and result in a stressful or even a dangerous day.
Bounce houses actually are fantastic for a children's birthday party.  They usually have a fairly large size and their bright colors add to the festive atmosphere.  The excitement they can add to the party that is hard to match for kids of all ages.  But it's not all as simple as it sounds.

1.  Bounce houses are only for only children ages 3 - 12.Kids need, for safety, to be able to leave the inflatable on their own. Kids under 3 years old will have trouble with that, and so bounce houses are to be avoided for kids under 3. Older children, over the age of 12 are quickly bored by a bounce house (even though it's fun!) and so some sort of interactive entertainment is best for children over 12 years of age. 

 
2.  Choose the appropriate size bounce house for your party guests.It's important to work with the rental company to find an appropriate size that fits both your budget and your number of guests. If the bounce house is too small, children can not freely and safely bounce inside and one that is too big is simply a waste of money. 
 
3.  Be sure the rental company has insurance
Ask what type of insurance they carry and be specific with your questions. 
Its important the the children using the bounce house will be covered if anything should malfunction. This is far more than just a money-back guarantee. If a rental company's prices seem "too good" they may be operating without insurance.
4.  Get a written contract.
As with all party entertainment, it's important that the rental company and you have a clear written agreement including specific dates, pick-up / delivery times and prices - to avoid any surprises.   
 
5.  Inspect the bounce house upon delivery
If there are any issues, do not sign the paperwork and make sure they find a solution before allowing anyone to use the equipment. 
 
6.  Have the delivery person wipe down the mat inside.You don't want someone else's germs at your party. 
 
7.  Supervision is a must at ALL times.
Never leave an inflatable bounce house unattended when children are inside.   Make sure to designate an adult that will stay with the bounce house and watch the kids during the party. Because inflatables seem so safe, this is often overlooked, but it is SO Important! 
 
8.  Don't overload the equipment by having too many children inside at once.The rental company wil guide you as to how many children may be in the moonbounce at the same time. Accidents can occur when the unit is overloaded.
 
9.  Group children together by agesKeep age groups together - ages 3 to 5, 6 to 8 and 9 to 12. Children not inside need to be monitored too!
 
10.  Unplug or power off the unit in high winds or bad weather.
Never allow children inside during these conditions.
 
These 10 things should keep everyone safe and having fun at the birthday party! But it does take a lot more diligence from a responsible adult than you might have thought, and that takes away from time that parents can use to prepare the cake & ice cream, set up games, and catch a breath. A bounce house might be fun, but it's surely not easy!

Magic Routines

Magic Should Tell a Story

So, as I continue my never ending process of developing a magic show and routines within the show that have a good start, middle, and end ( a useful narrative technique) I saw this link from Bizarro    to a video  which, says all good stories basically:

  • Tell a story to a certain point, and then need a ...
    • But, then or
    • Therefore ...
  • And also have multiple things going on so that at each crescendo of each story, we can cut back to ... what's happened elsewhere and get that story to it's next (but/therefore)
For magic purposes, if applied to the "snap silks" we have a single sink handkerchief. music playing. But! With a snap there's another. And But! with a snap there's another... and so on for a bit. By the end, there's one last one. THEREFORE, at least as Anastasia performs it, that seems to be it, and all the produced silk hankies are lifted, BUT ... there are many many more all coming out in a flourish!
In the full routine context the first time an additional silk appears is unique, and then serves to lead the audience down a certain path.
This leads towards the kitten story theory which I will discuss in an upcoming post.

Great Christmas or Holiday Games for Kids – Add to a Magic Party

Kids Party Games for any Birthday Party

I just found some great Christmas & Holiday Themed "Minute to win it" Kids Birthday Party games over at Birthday party Ideas

These are great additions to a Kids magic birthday party. After a magic show, and some cake, if there's time left in your party schedule - and cake always seems to be eaten faster than planned, these are really easy games that just take a few minutes each and use supplies which are easily found. You probably have them already. Here are some of my favorite Christmas Minute to Win it games:

Jingle all the Way
4 empty 2 liter soda bottles, small bells, tape
Before the game, take four empty liter soda bottles and rinse them out. Put a large amount of jingle bells into two of the liter bottles, then tape the empty bottles on top so that it looks like a giant rattle. You want the openings of the bottles touching so that the bells can pass from one bottle to the other.
The players that are able to shake all of the bells down from the full bottles to the empty bottles in under a minute wins!
Jingle Bells Junk
Empty tissue boxes (large), rope or belts, jingle bells
Attach an empty tissue box to the player’s waist using a rope or a belt. The opening should be facing the back. Fill the tissue boxes with ten jingle bells. The players then must jump, dance, and wiggle around to get all of the bells out of the box in one minute.

Red Christmas Tree

36 Red Solo type plastic cups One at a time, give a player 36 red solo cups to stack into a pyramid, or Christmas tree, and then take back down again.
Red Light
25 Red Solo style cups, 1 Blue Solo cup
Give each player a stack of red solo cups and one blue solo cup, with the blue cup at the top of the stack. The player must transfer the blue cup to the bottle of the stack by taking red cups from the bottom and moving them to the top. The player to do this in under one minute wins!

First Friday in Lansdale

Great Shows in Lansdale

 

Had some great shows at the June Lansdale First Friday.

Funny little incident during a break when the police informed me local residents were complaining that the audience was laughing & screaming too loud.

They had a DJ with giant speakers in the same spot before so this is pretty funny.

An Interview – Kayla Dresher, Magician

Here's the promised interview with Kayla Drescher. I found her answers interesting and inspiring for all magicians, but of particular interest to female magicians. The world needs more of these, and I'm happy that Anastasia had the opportunity to learn from an up & coming star ..

What's something you've found different as a female magician and how did you handle it?

The biggest difference for me is
how I need to act and look on stage.  I can't tell the same jokes or sometimes use the same patter as the man or men who created the effect and wrote the directions.  I can't walk the same, use the same props, or even use the same volunteers.  I shouldn’t use a briefcase or bag.  Most audiences see a female performer calling up a female volunteer to be a type of rivalry, where as if I call up a male volunteer, there is more of a friendly and almost flirtatious interaction, which is more interesting and fun to watch to the audience.  It’s the little details like that I’ve learned along the way that aren’t published in any books for us ladies.

Do you find that different groups respond differently to magic? (Children, teenagers, adults and the elderly as well as male and female)

Most definitely!  Children love visual entertainment, various colors, and physical comedy.  Teenagers don’t think magic is very cool, but are still intrigued and will watch.  Adults think magic is for kids, but LOVE to watch it.  The elderly just love to laugh and be entertained, and therefore love magic.  You can do different types of magic for teenagers and older because they have a better grasp on how things in the world work well.  All of these groups have one big thing in common: laughter.  They love to laugh and be entertained.

How and how often do you practice, and who serves as a test audience for any new routines?

I’ve never liked to practice.  But if we’re going to be any good, we have to practice every day.  The best way to practice alone is with a camera at 3 different angles-left, right, and center.  This way, you know what your angles look like.  But the best way to practice overall is in front of an audience.  Use your parents, sibling, friends, open mics, and anyone that will watch.  That’s the best way to see how your routine will work.

David Copperfield has told a story of how he was able to show his pockets empty (when they were not) while being mugged. Have your magic  skills ever proven useful in the real world? How?

 Most definitely!  I used to work as a bartender and would use magic both for entertainment and to get more tips.  One time, a gentleman, who was not very nice, said that if I made his trip memorable, he would give me a big tip.  So I should him magic and got a 50% tip!

Suppose you have just a minute or two to show President Obama a quick magic miracle. What effect would you choose and why?

I would do something original and fun that would make him laugh and make his magical experience memorable.  AKA probably something with a rubber band.

Are there any magical items that you carry almost all the time?  

Rubber bands, hence the answer to the Obama question.  I rarely am without 4-10 rubber bands on my wrist.  I also try to pay attention to my surroundings just in case someone asks me to show them a trick.  That way, I can grab any object around and do something!

Another New Magic Blog

Another new magic blog

So there's a great new blog I've found, just starting up by the wonderful magician Kayla Drescher.
http://magicinheels.com/welcomeklog/ She's most well known for winning a little contest held by the Today Show & David Copperfield a while back. She's personally known to me for generously offering advice and inspiration to my young teen magician daughter Anastasia.

Later this week, I'll be posting an interview Anastasia did with Kayla - stay tuned! #magicinheels #klog

An Interview: Magicians Magician Daryl

The Late Great Daryl - A Mgic Interview

Here's an interview Anastasia did with the "Magician's Magician, " Daryl!

Daryl - The Magician's Magician

Daryl, My father has many of your videos and it feels like I grew up watching them. I especially remember in one of the series that each video started with an introduction with you spreading the cards and saying, “ I can explain it in one word, and that word is control…” If you really had to summarize the most important principle/method in magic in one word, what might it be, and why?

Great question and my answer is “Misdirection”. Why, because in magic, it’s ALL misdirection. It’s not really about what you do it’s what you make the audience THINK you do. It’s true that at times you may be misdirecting your audience’s eyes, but more often you’re misdirection their MINDS.

Most magicians seem to begin to be interested in magic at an early age. Can you describe your first experience with magic and how it managed to grab a hold of you?

At the age of seven, a friend of the family, who was an amateur magician, came to visit and performed a quick Svengali Deck routine for me. I was SO AMAZED, that he decided to give me the special deck as a gift. I studied the construction of the pack and I was fascinated by how it worked. I started to purchase other tricks because I was amazed at the cleverness of their methods. Eventually, I started performing the various tricks for family members and friends at school. The rest is history!

In magic, unlike most other art forms, a single error can seem to ruin an entire performance. Do you allow any margin for error in your performance (as mentalists sometimes do)? How do you handle or avoid mistakes?

Another great question! I do not “allow” any margin for error, but if an error occurs, I simply deal with it and move on. I’m and entertainer and magic is my medium. It’s the “instrument” I use to express myself. I do what I can IN ADVANCE to prevent mistakes, but if all else fails, and I can’t make it right, I could imagine myself laughing it off by saying something like, “If this were easy, anyone could do it!”

That being said, so far, this has never happened. By the way, if you do card magic, an EXCELLENT book to study is “Outs” Precautions and Challenges by Charles H. Hopkins.

Do you find that different groups respond differently to magic? (Children, teenagers, adults and the elderly as well as male and female)

Yes, but as minute as the specifics can be, generally, reactions are probably more similar than different.

How and how often do you practice, and who serves as a test audience for your new routines?

I don’t practice often these days because I have been PERFORMING the same routines for many years and I’d say I pretty much have them down. If I’m learning something new, then I practice until I can do it well. There is not specific amount of time that is required that is the same for everyone. Just keep practicing until you can perform it properly.

My friends and family serve as my test audience as well as members of various magic clubs.

Often beginning magicians have few outlets to perform and tend to perform nearly exclusively for family & friends. What are the reactions of your friends and family who have been exposed to your magic for years, and do you perform for them regularly?

I’m pleased to say that I have NEVER overexposed my magic to friends and family. This is one of the many good reasons to attend local magic club meetings. NOTHING takes the place for gaining experience than performing for live audiences. If you actively LOOK for audiences, you will find them. Do NOT concern yourself with getting paid in the beginning. Perform for FREE for church groups, retirement communities, even street magic. The most important thing is to get as much PERFORMING experience as you possibly can.

Copperfield tells a story about showing his pockets empty once when being mugged. Have your magic skills ever proven useful in the real world?

The David Copperfield story is a great one, but I’ve never had such an experience. On the other hand, I’ve seen things at the card table that other players probably never noticed. Because of my magical background, understanding the value of what I’ve seen has, at times, been very advantageous!

What's the first thing people ask you (or ask you to do) once they find out about your profession?

Probably the same as most other magicians, “Show me something.”

What is the best piece of advice about magic you've received, and what was the source of that advice?

Dai Vernon has always said, “Be natural and be yourself.” The professor’s advice has served me well!

Suppose you have just a minute or two to show President Obama a quick magic miracle. What effect would you choose and why?

I’d probably do something totally impromptu like the Tenkai Pennies trick. It may not be the greatest miracle there is, but it is impromptu and it can be performed at any time and place.

What magical items do you carry with you everywhere?

At the risk of disappointing you, there are no magical items that I always carry with me. If a situation comes up, I can always do something that is truly impromptu.

Do you have any new releases coming out?

Yes… always! There will be more Essentials in Magic Master Courses to name a few. To be the FIRST to learn of my new releases, simply visit my web site and join our private email list. www.Daryl.net

Balloon Sculptures at Pennridge Holiday Bazaar

So the holiday bazaar at Pennridge was fun. I think the event itself had lots of vendors but attendance was a bit low. We were the only entertainment apparently scheduled and were booked late in the process so that probably did not help. It was the first year for this particular bazaar so I would assume it will be bigger and better next year.

I brought my new signage (below) which promotes me as both a magician and balloon entertainer. This drew particular interest from one boy who was clearly a magic fan, and many parents took a business card as well as a balloon sculpture.

But we weren't there for magic this night -- it was all about balloon artistry. We made the usual dogs and swords, and silly hats. A few slightly more advanced designs like an elephant and a teddy bear. The biggest hit was a Christmas Wreath complete with a festive red bow.

DZ Magic Sign

Box Jumpers and Magicians

So for the first time tonight I heard the term "box jumper"

This was used by a magician in a derogatory manner. I assume it implies something ...

Nonetheless, I have recently had a positive experience with who I presume would be considered a "box jumper" ... with Harry Blackstone (Sr). In his day, his stature as a magician was such that the (Senior) was never actually required.

Here's a link to her page ... Perhaps the last living member of Blackstone's show: http://elusivemoth.com/

The Elusive Moth - One of Harry Blackstone's
The Elusive Moth - One of Harry Blackstone's "Box Jumpers"