Tag Archives: Busk

Hat

Years ago:
I had a hat and a waistcoat.
I put them on, picked up my instrument, and went to work.

It was raw craft, at first. I had a little skill with words and so I used them to hide the flubs.
Raw craft … and then

I missed my mother. I was unhappy that she never saw me perform one effect, never saw what my hands were destined to do. I said so while shuffling cards. I made up a trick that i thought would make her laugh, could she but see.

… and they laughed. And they gasped. And they wriggled a bit in delight.
The laugh exploded and crystallized into art. Laughter through tears.

A marine. (hard and sober)
A goth chick.
A rabbi.
A homeless man.
A homeless woman.
A college student.
A lawyer.
A superstar athlete.
And several anonymous souls
… have told me that I saved their lives with my words and my art.

Tonight I made a woman weep with my stories.
I reminded her of her son
Who died …
Laughter through tears.
“He would have loved this … thank you for being who you are.”

tonight I drove home.
And I put my instrument down (for now, not for keeps)
I took off my hat and i hung up my waistcoat
and I wrote this to you.

This … is who I am.

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Goodnight, Charlotte

Unannounced, I went busking in my usual spot in uptown Charlotte. The corner of Trade and College streets, in the shadow of the Epicentre, just across from the Ritz. Unannounced because I didn’t want fans and friends turning up. Sorry, gang: I wanted the feel of pulling my own crowd, gathering disinterested souls and entertaining them ‘cold’.

In court earlier this week, the attorney for the other side sneered at my art, my career, and my means of income. Condescending questions were asked about the ‘hidden cash’ I earned ‘regularly’. Snide comments were offered about my character and my life. She was trying to make me upset, I think. Sorry, Babe … performing on the street for so many years thickened my skin, and nobody runs the entertainment hustle like I do in this city. You just made me smile, recalling all the lessons my sidewalk theater taught me. One of those is: don’t get mad at the petty insults hurled by those frustrated by their own inadequacies. Rise above. I did, and I handed you a definitive loss.

I digress. Sorry.

Inspired by the events of the week, I tucked my table under my arm and went to set up shop. The night was crisp, but not unpleasant. I created spectacle. I gathered the people, danced with them, let them fill my hat and sent them off into the night … changed, smiling, happier than when we met. I did good work.

Charlotte is my beloved hometown, and everything I became was birthed here. I love the people, I love the buildings … especially some that have been removed for ‘renovation’ … and I love the feel of this wonderful, shining jewel. I recognize her faults, but I love her anyway. So I gave her, her citizens, and her guests my very best. Especially last evening. I did my card tricks, yes, but I put my art and my heart right out on display and offered pieces for them to take home. Streetlight for spotlight,  passing cars for background music.

We danced.

I stayed for an hour or so; the hats filled, the air rang with gasps, laughter, and applause … and I was once again truly happy in my home. I took the cash I made and gave it to the humans asking for some of it on the way back to my car. Emptied my pockets. My pay was greater than mere money.

So, goodnight. Thank you to the Charlotte streets that shaped me. Thank you to the thousands i had the pleasure to work for. I’m off in search of new horizons, but I will never, ever forget you, Charlotte.

I love you, and I hope there is always love where you are.

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My Green Grove

September 24, 2017

Festival in the Park is a yearly artisan even in Charlotte. Arts and crafts, live music, and variety acts. For the past twenty years or so I have participated at the ‘Magician’s Stage’ in one capacity or another. I started off in my early magic days, doing two twenty minute spots as part of the local magic club.

The stage has changed locations, management, undergone blistering heat and flash flood. One year the chairs and the stage disappeared under water in less than thirty minutes …

The stage is humble: just a wooden platform with the Festival banner as a back drop. Two floodlights on a metal pole are the entirety of the lighting. No sound system. Our hall is a cathedral of trees. It’s very green. This little grove sits in a small hollow, just off the main path. The sides of the hollow dampen the noise of the crowd and the live bands.

It’s really a magic place, all by itself.

Over the past three days we gave hundreds of audience members pure magic. I stood, bathed in sweat, pouring out my heart to several packed ‘houses’. All through the hot afternoon and into the dark of warm fall nights. They stayed, and they helped, and they gave us ovations and cheers. We danced together.

This was my last year with Festival in the Park. Next fall I will be living across the country. I know I’ll miss it. I know I’ll cherish the memories. I saw some friends I haven’t seen in years. I reconnected with some very precious souls that had been lost to me.

It was magical, it was beautiful.

It was green.

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Pregame (in brief)

I am often asked how I got started. Here it is, in brief.

It was the summer of 1992, and I was working full time, writing scripts and performing for a themed resort in South Carolina. I shared a tiny office with Ted Loring. Ted is an incredible friend to me, still.

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One of the characters we created was a street magician … someone to play to the resort guests and entice them to come see the formal shows. I visited a local magic shop and learned a few very rudimentary routines.

The job vanished quite suddenly and I took that character to the actual streets of Charlotte … and, 24 years later, here I am.

Cleaning out some drawers, I found my old employee pass. This kid had no clue to the future: two beautiful daughters to feed, both parents and Grandma  Hilda still living, and a road just beginning.

If I could tell him anything right now, I wouldn’t. The road unfolds just as it should and I wouldn’t change even the painful parts. It crafted me, and it is still saving hearts.

Your road is taking you somewhere, if you keep your feet faithfully to it. Strengthen your ability, craft it to your passion and keep the faith.

You’re really going somewhere, and the view along the way is breathtaking.

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Filed under Musings, Public Diary

marbles

Knuckle down or Quitsies?

My law and your ducks … mostly prits and cats-eyes; my aim is true and your hold is beauty.

No stomps, you are free and the circ is not your limit. Bombies are cool, you’re strongest on your stage, and I love your style on a leaning topper.

Colored magic glass – the first valuable gems I owned. (and I scooped most of ‘em!)

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Filed under poetry

Point of You.

I found new ideas. I found mysteries and I crafted new stories. So this past week I went busking. Not for the money … for the rehearsal, for the experience. For the look of people hijacked by joy they didn’t expect. Night one went beautifully; I call the interaction between myself and my audience/ guests ‘the dance’. (Rene taught me that.)  The dance flowed … I slowed or quickened my steps, depending on my partners … the old music played and … it rained. So I packed up and went home. The city, though … my city was gorgeous in the rain.uptown

Evening two I worked for nearly eight hours, ebb and flow. Building a crowd and then letting them go. Catch and release. I honed, I altered.
I got invited to an after hours party … food and booze and they treated me like a celebrity. No lie … it felt amazing.

What’s my point? My roots. The street and the magic and the cards were there from the beginning and they were scary at first. Terrifying. With care and devotion they started paying my bills. With steady rehearsals like these I honed myself to a  deadly sharpness. Certain magicians have called some of my technique sloppy, and they aren’t wrong, but the passion and attention somehow put support under my weaknesses. I’m surrounded by love and utterly alone at the same time. I hurt, I laugh, I sing.
My actions heal, and my words … not everyone all the time, but enough to make a difference.

I come back when I need to. My rehearsal hall, my public stage without walls. You have an ability. You have a passion. Where should you plant yourself and allow your roots to embrace the earth? You can change the world for the better.

If we all embraced our abilities and strove to love our fellow creatures? Walked a rainy path to excellence? Hijacked strangers with kindness?

How different, Eden?

On my way back to the car I passed a street preacher. A quiet, kind-looking man. We made eye contact and we smiled.

He said, “With those hands, you could do anything. What do they do that makes you the proudest?”

Without thinking I said,

“With these hands, I pray for love.”

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Filed under Musings, Public Diary

Taking Umbrage

At the request and gentle urging of my trusted beloveds, I began searching for a therapist. One that could understand my unique situation … a little background is needed, I suppose.

I’ve lived with depression for as long as I can remember. It’s not like a cloak that I shrug on and off: more a tattoo that is always there, but sometimes burns and itches like it was still healing. Due to some intense stress over the past 8 months or so, it has redoubled its hold on me, and my sorrow it so great sometimes it worries even my friends.

The Contest is a big one. I’m voluntarily putting my art up to be judged in comparison to others’ works. I had vowed to never do it again, but … peer pressure and pride.
Robin’s suicide. The man I patterned my drive after. He couldn’t make it. His sorrow took him. For all my brave talk about picking up the flag … I’m a fraud. I’m not fit to tie his shoes and … he couldn’t hold on.
Cancer … yeah.
Dawn’s sickness. Slow coming yet sudden in the swiftness in which it took her down. I felt helpless and was then accused of not acting fast enough. This is most likely correct. I’m going to shoulder the blame.
Success. Overwhelming and undeserved, I’m still waiting for the fraud police to show up.

So, I received a recommendation from a trusted friend and made an appointment. I’m going to call her Brady.

She and I seemed to hit it off right away. My first thought in seeing her was that she resembled a very distinct villain from the world of Harry Potter. How cute. How funny.

We started off with her asking some very pointed, direct questions. Events from childhood, life status of my parents, grandparents … tragedy, joys, triumphs and failures. We spoke in plain, raw words for nearly 45 minutes. It was very comforting. We were able to communicate much quicker than other therapists I’ve spoken too. After a short pause, she began speaking.

It seems … I have a generational curse. Now, my health is tied into this. My sickness is hereditary, probably. Something, some defect in my DNA triggered this sickness. It’s probably been in my bloodline for centuries.

My traumas, from the divorce of my parents to the suicide of my hero are my burdens … and my Art is God’s gift to me to help me deal with these burdens. Not eradicate, not heal … deal with.

All the depression, the anxiety, the sorrow … I caused these things by not giving my gifts as a sacrifice to the Holy Spirit. They are entirely, securely, totally mine to bear forever. I own them.

This was all caused by … wait for it … a deal made with Satan. (now, Brady didn’t use the word ‘Satan’, that would be too direct. The phrase repeated was ‘The Enemy’. I swear, you really could hear the quotes around it.) Someone, somewhere, sometime in my bloodline made a pact, whether explicit or implicit with him … and the curse shall be visited even unto the last generation. Brady told me in no uncertain terms that my ancestors were likely serial killers, or at the very least made human blood sacrifices.

The cure may be found in a rigorous treatment of Splankna, acupuncture and chiropractic medicine.

Disclosure here, folks: I don’t believe in the treatment. On the other hand, I don’t have any serious doubts about the diagnosis.

But what I DID get from the meeting was: my misery is real and it’s a part of me because I absolutely deserve it. An honest to goodness professional confirmed what my father first told me when I was eight.

So i went and visited my old ‘hometown’, which isn’t really that far away. I put my feet in the lake in the spot I was baptized in. I felt cold water and … not much else. Same as the first time. (I appreciate the water much more now than I used to, so I did take time to watch for a little while.) I went to the bleachers in the ballpark. On this spot, some forty one years ago, my father (in a very kind, loving voice) proclaimed to me that I could never really hope to amount to anything worthwhile. I was doomed to be a failure and a burden. It was a shame, he said, because he had certainly hoped for a real son to share his interests with.

I feel worse than when I went in, and that can’t be right, can it?

What I’ve written here is just the surface. I can’t bring myself to type all that I’m really dealing with. (Yes … I AM dealing with it. There’s no cause for alarm, please don’t misread my words)
I can’t express it to my family, or my best friend. Not the depth of feelings.

I have work on the stage that still needs to be done. There are things I consider important that I want to say.

But right now? Right now I’m just sad.

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An Appeal for a Very Special Kind of Show

This is for my artistic friends in the Charlotte, NC area: My dancers, poets, musicians, jugglers, strippers … what ever you are. If you do something purely out of passion, whether you consider it ‘art’ or a ‘career’ or what have you: I want to hear from you.

I’m putting together a very different kind of variety show. I want to incorporate talent and passion. So …

Send an email to MagicArtist42@gmail.com and tell me what it is you do and then tell me WHY you do it. The why can be as brief or as long as you wish to make it, but let me feel your passion, your intensity. Your honesty.

This request is not just for performance artists … there are possibilities for painters, chalk artists … knitters …

I want to hear your passion and I want it to be sincere. Can’t wait to hear from you.

h

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Filed under Blither Blather, Musings

Monday morning, early October

Hello Universe!

Hello friends and fans and people I’ve never met who read my words. (Wow … what a concept.) I’ve got a favor to ask.

My daughter Grace is getting married this coming Sunday. The wedding is small and they will be surrounded by love and celebration. Thing is … I’m coming up a wee bit short in paying for it all.

Weddings, even small ones, tend to get expensive pretty quickly. I’ve been working (and work is grand!), but the summer turned up slower than anticipated and some friends needed some help and … well, I’m coming up short. Not by a lot! Just a wee bit.

I’m a believer in letting the Universe know your need and allowing people to help you. I preach it, now I’m going to practice it: I need your help.

I have Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday night available if you have an event and would like a Hannibal show. How about 25% off my usual rate? Book a future date and get your deposit in by Friday and receive 10% off. (Such a deal!)
I have my ‘Magicians Only’ DVD “The Truth from a Liar” available directly from me for $40. If you’ve been waiting to pick this up, this week would be an excellent time to order it direct from the artist. I’ll autograph it with a special thank you and include some surprises in the package.
The “LIAR!” show itself is available on DVD for just $30. Ditto the autograph and special goodies.
T-Shirts! I have a good supply of T-shirts in S-XL. Show your love for all things Hannibal to the world. $20 pp.

The lecture I did for Murphy’s Magic will soon be available on DVD … more than three hours of Hannibal magic, philosophy and magic theory. Pre-order directly from me and I’ll ship it out the day I get them (projected mid-October) $30pp.

All of these may be ordered online at The Magic Artist Store, or by contacting me directly at info@chrishannibal.com.

If you simply feel like donating to the cause. my PayPal is Chris@hegmagic.com

Thank you, my friends.

Life is Magic … I hope that there’s love where you are.

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Filed under Blither Blather, Musings, Public Diary

The Cups

The opening scene of “LIAR!”

There was once a street magician …

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August 1, 2013 · 12:53 am