We Are Enjoying a Golden Age for Magicians in San Francisco
San Francisco is enjoying a Golden Age of magic – there are more live magic shows playing in town than there have been in over 100 years, when Vaudeville brought professional entertainers to town, before the talkies really caught on. In the old days, San Francisco had dozens and dozens of theaters where you could catch the equivalent of How I Met Your Mother down the block with your friends, or maybe Oscar Wilde coming through town to give a lecture and reading from his work. But you can bet your cage of doves that there’d be a magician or two, or a few hundred, on these San Francisco stages in the age before you could summon them to your television set.
One of the Friends of BAS over the years has been magician Kevin the Cap (full disclosure – I just edited his video for teaching magic or juggling for corporate events, and was under deadline), who also happens to manage the first magician ever reviewed on Yelp on the planet earth, Ash K. You can read Stuart’s interview with Ash right here.
Kevin is the one who pointed out the fun fact that there’s more magic now in town than ever. “From my friends David (Gerard) & Jay (Alexander), to the other, taller Kevin, to Ryan, there are easily a half-dozen folks giving public shows, and another twenty who regularly perform in the San Francisco Bay Area.”
I summoned the daemon of Google, dropped in “magician San Francisco,” and pages and pages came up. Did they all make a living doing this? “Oh no,” he said. “As my friend Jay often says, ‘Magic is a great way to make extra money, and a very hard way to make a living.’ I only know four magicians who bought a house with magic money, but I’ve never met a dentist-renter here in town.” Solid point.
Did he have any tips, with the holiday parties coming up? “Yes, three things I tell anyone who will listen: remember that as long as the food and drinks are good, nobody will be disappointed, but they will not remember the food & drink a year from now. They WILL remember how they felt during their magic show, or seeing a magician strolling around during the cocktail hour, so budget accordingly. If you’re doing dinner and drinks at $90 per person, don’t have just $5 set aside per person for your entertainment, and do read their reviews and see their videos. Yelp doesn’t enforce not asking for reviews, so be a little skeptical when you see hundreds of reviews.”
Kevin recommended seeing his “frienditors” (he says he coined the term): “Jay (Alexander) bought out an existing magic show a few years back, and has made it exceptional – seven shows a week, often sold out. You can see my buddies from the next generation of diligent artists, David Gerard, Michael Feldman, and Theron Schaub pretty regularly at PianoFight, and Ryan Kane regularly has a show at the Exit Theater and other venues. But if you want to see Gandalf the Grey & Merlin alive and magishing, catch my friend Kim Silverman – he’s so busy, I don’t even think he has a website.”
To wrap up, he made me a little, origami rabbit that … really sucked. He could see the look on my face, said that I seemed disappointed, lit it on fire, and it turned into a gold-foil-wrapped coin. Opened it, and it was chocolate. I told him he was forgiven.