On the Busk – The Next Night

After the events of Thanksgiving Friday, (Seen here) I was determined to get right back on the bike, so to speak. Saturday evening I gathered my gear and went right back to my corner. I hoped cooler heads would prevail and a chance to apologize for my explosive out-lash. Traffic was slow, not many pedestrians or cops out, but good enough for a couple of good shows early on.

I had been set up for about an hour when a gentleman came down the sidewalk, stopped in front of my table and made a call. “He’s here, bring everybody.” That was kind of chilling, yeah? In about 5 minutes my buddy Theo shows up with three additional people, two of them carrying bullhorns. The five of them set up in a circle around me and started chanting. Lots of “Jesus”, “Rebuke”, “Evil”, “Sorcery” and so on. The din was such that people were avoiding the corner altogether: crossing the street in order to not come close. A few people who tried to come over to the table were impeded: Theo’s group would just move to where they were walking and continue screaming louder until they gave up. There was no chance of me even attempting to start a show.

So I packed up. Score one for the good guys.

I walked up the street to Trade & Tryon. There’s a nice park there and a good place to busk just outside the gates. I set up shop and … the next thing I know Theo and his friends have encircled me again. Now the bullhorns are out (since it’s a bigger area) and they are preaching loud & proud. I had a small group elbow the way through them and ask to see some magic. They were clearly trying to help me out and defy the preachers. That warmed my attitude and I went into my show.

I did my best, despite the din, and things weren’t going badly. One of the preachers stopped his chanting and walked over to join the small group at the table. I thought this was a good opportunity, so I went into a short speech about why I do what I do. That’s not an uncommon thing, if you’ve seen me work you know I’m often verbally passionate about my work. I had spread a deck out on the table and … the minister poured his large beverage all over them, the table and partially me.

“Whoops. Someone bumped me. Must be God’s will!”

That effectively ended the night. The small group were outraged and tried to engage the ministers, but the deed was done. I tossed away the ruined props, dried myself off as best I could and started packing up to leave. Theo’s group surrounded me. “Leaving so soon? Can’t do your witchcraft anymore? Jesus wins!” Keeping a grip on my anger (fury) I just headed back to my car. They followed for a block or two, shouting “Praise Jesus!!” at my retreating, defeated back.

Onward, Christian Soldiers.

What to do next? I don’t need to busk, but I love to busk. I enjoy the rawness of the situation, the delight looks on unsuspecting audiences. How do I fight back against this kind of perverted mindset? I doubt they will be waiting for me every time I set up shop, but there’s no doubt that we share a turf and our paths will cross again.

And of course I can’t stop my brain from thinking: “What if I’m in the wrong?” Somehow.

I’ve been asked to not return to churches. I’ve been denied participating in plays and other artistic endeavors at my home church because of my profession. I’ve even had a church refuse to cash my tithe checks and offerings. I offend. Sometimes on purpose.

As I was typing this incident up, a friend sent me news: A magician friend of mine was performing on a TV show in the Dominican Republic. The host attacked him by throwing flaming oil over his head, setting him on fire. If not for the quick actions of the magician’s crew, he would have lost his life. As it is, he sustained bad burns on his head, face, neck and hand. It was later revealed that the guy did it as an exorcism, to get rid of the demons. This was not part of the show. It was a brutal attack. (LINK) How far removed are the two situations? Crazy is crazy …

Please keep Wayne Houchin in your prayers as he recovers. Please Keep Theo and his gang of thugs in your prayers, and hope they recover before they hurt someone or themselves. And pray for me, if you will.

“I am not of this world: I am a red light from God.” ~ Talking Heads


Filed under Musings, Public Diary, View from the Pew

4 responses to “On the Busk – The Next Night

  1. It is mind boggling that people who supposedly are representing a “church” have enough time to badger a person trying to entertain & make people forget their troubles for a little while. You would think they would be helping the homeless try to find a warm place to spend the night or find a meal. Too bad they have so much time on their hands that they delight in bullying you. The worst part is you can not reason with that mentality. They are what is pure evil, not you.

  2. batdoc

    You are amazing at what you do. Don’t let haters like this make you doubt yourself. I’ve seen many of your shows. I’ve watched you make people laugh, smile, and forget about the troubles of life for just a little while. You entertain and you bring a message of peace and harmony to your fellow man. These people certainly aren’t doing what Jesus would do. I think Jesus would enjoy the hell out of your show. Heh heh heh, sorry, I just couldn’t resist the joke.

    Also, in regard to magic, there is a degree of fighting fire with fire here. Jesus walked on water, turned water into wine, and raised a girl from the dead. Impressive. However, when I was a kid, my parents took me to see David Copperfield at Ovens Auditorium and I watched him turn a motorcycle into a tiger, shove a bunch of knives through a woman in a box, and cut himself in half with a death saw and put himself back together. Not so different, magicians and Jesus.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I love Jesus’s style. And God seems like a pretty solid dude. It’s his fan club that I don’t like. I like to beat religious folks at their own game. You can always go with the popular Jesus quote from Matthew 25:40:

    “That which you do to the least of my brothers, you do unto me.”

    That’s a fun one to watch them ponder on. And now you have a new game to play…finding awesome Jesus Bible quotes with which to combat religious zealots!

  3. batdoc

    Reblogged this on BatDoc and commented:
    This is one of the primary reasons I do not attend churches or participate in organized religion. Such hate, such closed-mindedness, such awful things that those who claim to be Christians do to their fellow man. And if you see Hannibal out busking on the streets of Charlotte, stop by, say hello, enjoy some awesome street magic, and throw a couple bucks in the hat.

  4. Bro, if I were you, I’d find a different church. If the people there can’t tell the difference between sorcery and magical entertainment, and discriminate you because of it, you don’t need to be around them. I’m a Christian as well as a magician. People at my church love watching me perform and have even hired me for company parties and such. You’ll always encounter the crazy people, but you don’t have to be around them all the time. I’m sorry you had to endure this harassment, I would have been enraged too.

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