Busking and Magic Two Professions Separated by the Slightest of Lines


Busking and Magic: Two Professions Separated by the Slightest of Lines: a blog about busking and the differences in busking vs. traditional magic.

Busker is a term for street performers who entertain people for money on the streets. They may have other jobs or they may be professional performers whose only source of income is busking. Buskers usually perform in public places such as on the street, in subways, or in shopping centers. Tricks include juggling, magic tricks, playing an instrument, storytelling, fortune telling, mime and more. There are many who say that the word “busker” comes from “busk”, which was the word used to describe a musician who played outside of a theatre to attract attention so that people would go inside and pay to watch their show. Others say that it comes from the Spanish root word “buscar” which means “to seek”.

To be an effective busker you need to learn how to draw a crowd and gain their trust; as well as create illusions that will make them stop and take notice of you. Most importantly you need to keep them entertained so that they will give money at the end of your performance. This can be done with simple tricks or by building up tension

This blog is dedicated to busking and magic, two professions that are separated by the slightest of lines. Busking is a profession that has been around for centuries and consists of street performing to make money. Magic is a profession that has also been around for centuries and consists of entertaining people with illusions. While the two professions seem almost identical, they have many differences between them.

This blog will not only talk about those differences between busking and magic but also include stories from my personal experiences as well as other professionals in the industries. Hopefully this blog will help people realize how similar and different these two professions really are.

Busking has been around since ancient times in many different forms. It usually involves a performer who maintains a crowd of people on a street corner or other public place for an extended period of time, often using jokes, tricks, stunts or music to entertain the spectators. The performance usually lasts for several minutes at least and can go on for hours if the performer can maintain the interest of their audience.

Magic has also been around since ancient times but hasn’t evolved quite like busking has over the years. This is mainly due to magicians having to practice their craft inside a controlled environment, like a stage or theater, instead of out in public where they

[This post was written by Magicians Alliance of Eastern States President Michael Chaut. The article originally appeared in the latest issue of *The Linking Ring* magazine. We are republishing it here, with permission. -Ed.]

I never really thought about the similarities between busking and magic until I was asked to write about it for this column. After all, I am a professional magician, not a busker. Yet, like many close-up and parlor magicians, I often find myself busking without even realizing it.

What exactly is busking? The dictionary defines busking as “an act or exhibition performed in a public place (as by a street entertainer).” It sounds pretty simple, but the chaos of performing in public places can be daunting to professionals who are accustomed to performing on stage or television.

Traditionally, the word “busking” evokes images of jugglers, unicyclists and musicians on subway platforms and street corners. But in recent years there has been an explosion of walk-around magicians at corporate events, trade shows and banquets who rely on spontaneity to create magic right before people’s eyes.

While many magicians may experience trepidation when performing for strangers in

In the world of magic, there seems to be a very fine line between Busking and traditional Magic. Most people believe that a Busker is just a magician doing tricks on the street. This is not quite true. Generally, a magician may do some shows at a convention or be booked at a local restaurant.

A busker is someone who puts up his act on the street in hopes of getting paid by the public for their performance. A busker will often have many acts up their sleeve, as well as different ways to perform the same trick so that they can catch the audience off guard, and sometimes they will even change their act while they are performing it on stage.

In fact, I have been told that if you get caught doing the same trick twice in one day, you should quit and go home!

I think this stems from the fact that most magicians are used to working with an audience who is there just for them, such as at a convention or birthday party where everyone knows there will be a magic show! This type of audience is very different from an audience that might not have any clue what is going to happen next!

The busking magician has a different perspective on the world than the strolling magician. While both perform in public places, the strolling magician focuses on performing for a single group at a time, while the busking magician performs to a large group of people as they walk by. The person who wishes to become a busking magician must have thick skin and be willing to take risks. In this blog post, I will share some of my thoughts about these two professions and how the risk really pays off.

Busking, by definition, is not magic. Busking is the art of entertaining people on the street while they walk by and throw money at you. Street performing, panhandling, or begging are all terms that may be confused with busking. Busking is a performance. Magic, however, is not.

The differences between busking and magic are actually very slight; yet in both cases the audience is usually unaware of what is really going on. In magic, it’s obvious that there’s a trick involved and that you’re trying to pull one over on your audience; in busking it’s obvious that you’re trying to get money out of them by making them laugh or smile. The primary difference between the two is that busking is done on the street where anyone can stop and watch while magic shows are generally done in an auditorium or theater where people pay for tickets to see the show.

Most people who do stand-up comedy also do magic tricks from time to time because they both have some things in common: the performer has to be funny, charming and able to hold his/her audience’s attention for at least a few minutes. And both tricks require a degree of misdirection so that when you finally reveal what has been happening all along

When I was in college, I had a roommate who loved magic. He practiced sleight of hand tricks, card tricks, and even did a couple of shows at the local hospital around Halloween.

Later on, he dropped out of school and became a full-time busker. Busking is the practice of performing for voluntary donations in public places. It’s what street performers do – play music, juggle flaming things, swallow swords… that sort of thing. The best buskers make a good living by doing this, and my roommate was pretty good at it.

He’d go to the farmer’s market twice a week and do card tricks for tips. He’d also do a couple of parties occasionally, and would do a show for kids at our local library every so often.

He made his living by making people smile. And he always seemed to have money in his pocket.


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