Appearing at Bay Area Shuckers game March 24

I will be appearing March 24 at the Bay Area Shuckers Fan Appreciation Night. The game starts at 7PM.

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What’s the big deal about this show?

The AlchemistYesterday, I posted about making some changes to my act. A friend of mine asked me on Facebook if I was going to be doing my Street Act.
Like most things worth discussing, it’s a complex subject.
My Street Act was developed with specific criteria in mind.
1. It has to play fast, under 15 minutes (to allow for more ”hats”)
2. I wanted it to consist, for simplicity, of three routines.
3. It has to pack light (the whole show has to be portable enough to carry, set up and break down quickly by myself)
4. Everything needs to reset automatically and immediately, in the open.
5. It has to use no consumable materials, i.e. liquids, paper or the like, that have to be replenished.
6. The show still needs to be a complete act with a proper flow and dramatic build, with an interest-catching opener, audience-holding body and a strong close.
The goal of the show is to entertain the audience, and induce them to be generous when I pass the hat after the show. I then need to be able to immediately start the process again.
The requirements of the Stand-up show I am working on now are somewhat different, as are the goals.
1. I want the basic show, the core, to be 20 minutes long, with additional routines and bits that can be added and substituted to allow the show to be adjusted easily to fit any time slot up to an hour. I also want to be able to substitute or even delete material to shorten the act to 15 or even 10 minutes.
2. At present my core show consists of four routines. I have other material available to use, up to an hour, but some of these routines are not yet performance-ready.
3. Portability requirements are less stringent. As long as I can carry the show by car and set up by myself in 30 minutes I can work with it.
4. Immediate reset is not important.
5. Consumable materials, such as liquids, paper, foods etc. are not an issue.
6. The modules I add or remove need to be designed to flow together, and provide a proper “build” of interest, so that the show maintains that interest from start to finish.. Like the street show, the opener has to capture interest, and the close must be strong. The body of the show must build dramatic interest, and make sense.
7. Every transition between routines must be logical and interesting. “And now for my next trick…” is not an option.
The goal of the stand-up show differs slightly from the Street show. While it still must be solidly entertaining, I am hoping to generate repeat bookings and referrals, rather than tips.

I’d like to hear from other performers, not limited to magicians, about their experience along these lines, and any hints or tips they may have to help with the process.
Thanks!
Dr Don S.

The “Good Old Days”

This morning when I opened my email, I was greeted with yet another Right-Wing chain letter. This one cried the usual river of complaints against government interference with business. Naturally, all this alleged government interference began with the Obama Administration.

According to this letter, the entire reason for the lack of jobs in the economy is the backbreaking burden of government regulations, telling businesses who they can hire, what hours they can require workers to work, and what they can be paid All government does in return is tax these poor beleaguered businesses.

First, let’s talk about these unfair regulations and burdensome labor laws. Evidently those on the Right need to be reminded about how “Business” operated in the days before government regulation.

Here are a few scenes from our History, in the days before the government stepped in and told business “who they can hire, how many hours they can work and what they have to pay”

It’s true that many of our jobs have been lost when “Business” outsourced these jobs overseas. Why did they do it? Because they are free to operate without government regulation, and their costs for labor are lower.

What do they get for their money? Sweatshops, child labor, unsafe factories, and poverty level payrolls. Exactly the way they’d like to be able to operate here.

“The Good Old Days”, indeed.

Now let’s take a look at this awful tax burden they are complaining about.

Corporations have been successful at returning to a profitable mode of operation, and the stock market has indeed recovered from the economic disaster that occurred near the end of the eight year Bush Administration. During that administration, a tax restructuring gave the wealthiest businesses and individuals in America the biggest tax break in history. This tax break remains in effect to this day, and yet business wants more.

They argue that they pay an unfair amount of the tax burden, and that this burden should be shifted to the shoulders of the Middle Class Wage Earner. They further argue that the money collected in taxes is wasted and frittered away by the government.
Perhaps so.

After all, business gets nothing for their money, do they?

So, lets all jump on the Tea Party bandwagon, and get government out of the way, so Business can return to the Good Old Days, and we can all have sweatshop jobs with no minimum wage, no collective bargaining and no Social Safety Net, and get rid of all these useless government programs! (he sneered, his jaws dripping with sarcasm…)