Wednesday, September 1, 2021

THE LATE GREAT, DIOBO!

This article is an excerpt from my new book THE NOBLE VAGRANT.
Diobo chose to be my student many years ago in Barcelona. I met him by his real name Maciek Musialik. We shared a pitch on Las Ramblas, with Antonio Labella, and Diogo Alvares, all under our master Istvan. Istvan ran a tight ship, and we all loved him, and we were all very good friends. These were some of the happiest days of my life, and I know, because I am an old man. So it broke my heart, the day Antonio called me, and told me Maciek was dead. Maciek was the most unique street character I had ever seen. Even his stage name was unusual, DIOBO. He told me once, he chose his stage-name, as a twist, off Diogo Alvares' first name. His strange Act began with a cigarette moving around on the ground, as if possessed, then it would levitated up to his mouth. And when he took it out, it began to appear and vanish in his hands, until it just vanished all together. This was all compounded, by his very mysterious appearance. His clothes were dark and rugged, and tight fitting. He wore a medieval hood, and moved like an insect. He created an instant crowd. A very bizarre act, at one point a wine glass sitting on the ground filled itself with smoke. Things vanished and appeared in peoples clothing. Small animals seemed to appear and vanish at his command. A scrap of paper was found on the ground, and wet in a puddle, and balled up. It was placed in a wine glass and swirled until it grew into an egg. When it was cracked open on the glass, a mouse poured out. All of this, without a word spoken. He was tall, slender, and Nordic looking. His strange moods and theatrics, seemed to attract women, which of course brought men. He was not a safe Magician, he dealt in the experimental and the bizarre. A very polished experienced full timer. He lived well and sometimes dangerously. He didn't worry about cops, even working forbidden zones, because his show was Rambo. He walked up, did his bit, collected, and moved on, unless he could milk the pitch. He had a small rig, no amp, and an uncanny street smarts at all times. This is not to say he was not capable of doing circle shows, I saw him do many. In fact, in some countries, that's what he was famous for. I've seen him work with a borrowed amp, to music, which made him seem like a big expensive act, creating huge crowds, enthralled in what he was doing. Where he excelled, was in creativity, always doing effects almost never seen, on the street. A real worker, a genius. A MAN. That is what we lost Ladies and Gentlemen, but I lost more, a lot more. He was my student, and the triumph of our Artist Guild! He proved that we are not merely craftsmen, but that we are true Artists and that Art itself, is divine. He proved this over and over again, in his humility, his words, his dedication, his loyalty, and in his character as a Man. Few of us in our ilk, have done that. I feel humbled and even shamed that I could not do more for him, or even reach his stature as a Gentleman Magician. May God have mercy on his soul. In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen. Goodbye Maciek, for now. I break my wand for you.
I dedicate my new book to you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Hi, I'm Jimmy Talksalot.


And this is my blog of Sidewalk Performers and Magicians I know, or have heard of, over the years.


Many of these people are old masters, some of which have passed away since their posts.

I have been away from this blog for awhile and I haven't added too many people recently, but I'm back now.

I also have another blog that is dedicated to learning the fine art of busking as a full time job, it is my main blog, and that's where most of the action is, you can go there by clicking HERE.



Lastly, I  sell busking instructional manuals, some of which have become very well known in the industry,  Like my first book To Lure With Spectacle. It made quite a stir when it first came out many years ago. You can check out any of my books by clicking on the "Buy My Books" links at your top right, it will send you to a sales page with free previews.

Or you can tip me right below in my virtual hat.

Your Pal.
Jimmy.

Nolan Davis

Hometown Pitch- New Orleans.
Region- Louisiana/Texas
Music- 1950's Rockabilly.
Band Affiliation- The Eastside Birds.
Full time Busker and Gig-er.












You may find him working for huge crowds, in big city markets or festival events.

















You may find him in bars and gin mills across our country.

















You may even stumble upon him on a Downtown sidewalk working a trickle.

















Or you may find him just signing hot-rods for his fans.










But where ever you see him, you'll know you stumbled on something weirdly authentic. Weirdly because of his age and the age he lives in. Nolan it seems would have fit in better somewhere in the middle of our last century.

His duck-tail is cut right, his clothes are right, and his sound is right and after getting to talk to him you'll find the attitude's right.

When I hear his music, I hear some Johnny Cash, some Eddie Cochran, and something I have not heard since the very early days of Punk, I hear raw.

As our nation seems to be fighting over everything, looking for false utopias, this young man has looked somewhere else, he looked inside himself, he looked inside all of us and tapped into what makes us proud of who we already are. This young man, wise beyond his years, remembers who we are.

When he plays people forget their problems for a time and just want to breath in our culture, and our thing.

If you're a street performer this is the vein you want to hit.

He started out influenced with Delta Blues Porch Music, an old sound, before country and blues made such a prominent split. His music evolved over the years while busking across country, into his own version of Rockabilly.

Being a son of mine, he has been around entertainers all of his life, so he has cultivated quite a show over the years.



The Late Great Keith Wilson was a very close friend and teacher of his, they considered each other family and Keith taught him quite a bit about the streets, stage presence, and patter.







Nolan's moves and antics were heavily influenced by old footage of Iggy Pop and Chuck Berry. This article does little justice, to really appreciate what he does, he should be seen live.






Video footage doesn't do it either, but I thought I would post some anyway just to give you an Idea.






Over the past year his career has boomed, he works every day, and is a huge help to many of the other musicians and performers, helping them get gigs and teaching them to street perform and changing lives for artists less in the know on making a living in the U.S.

Nolan thanks for your life work, you have made me the proudest dad.










Check out more stuff about Nolan at his Instagram and Youtube accounts.
Or at his Band's Facebook

The Eastside Birds


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Gypsy Joe

When I first met Joe, years ago, he came up to me in a dapper, but very conservative, suit and tie. He looked like he just came out of a board room. He had just watched my show and told me, that, this is what he wanted to with his life. Having heard this from enumerable and convincing young men, I sloughed it off and went on with my life.

But every day he was out there.

He didn't know much about magic, at all, but he wanted it. So me and Kris Bentz gave him a Svengali Deck, a Silk Vanish, and a half dollar, and left him alone for months. He was on his own, because at the time we were swamped with our careers, around the world. I still feel bad for not giving him all the time and opportunities we gave the other students.



A couple of years went by and we had heard about Joe's exploits and we would check on him from time to time. One day, Daniel Devenport stumbled up him and spent time with him and that launched Joe, that time with Daniel launched Joe big.

Daniel is a master and knows how to make masters. After teaching Joe the state of mind, of a Magician, Joe began doing magic.
Magic that nobody was doing. Mind blowing creative stuff.

You see, Joe started out with nothing. 

So he couldn't be influenced by all the clones and hacks out there who would try and "teach him" the canned formula, that was really designed to make the magic sales industry more money, and not designed to make the artist a great artist. You can't package artistic inclination. So he dodged that bullet, and created an original show, with original material.
His latest claim to fame, is working the medians and cement islands at streetlight intersections, and working in front of grocery stores and box store's doorways. He works them, as they come in and out, from the store parking lot. No one "taught him" that doing this wouldn't work. So he did it. For lack of a "proper spot." He did it. Because in his life, at that point, he didn't have any choice. 

One day, I went down to meet him, for lunch in a local suburb. I was broke, so I told him, I couldn't pick up the tab for both of us. He told me no problem and asked if he could work for a couple of minutes. I laughed and said, where? 

(In the U.S. suburbs, there is high car traffic and almost no foot traffic.)

He walked out to the island in the intersection and began doing silent visual effects, for the cars, and to my great disbelief, I watched him get handed tips from moving cars. In a short time, he made about a hundred bucks, and told me, lunch was on him! 

So...

For the next few weeks, I went out and watched him. 

Newspaper reporters would come out every once in awhile, and interview him, and take pictures of him on the cement islands. I read some of their articles, about him, and it was impressive, they loved him, and knew a good story when they saw one. 

The cops didn't love him so much, but got to know him and would look the other way, so he could work, or told him where they wanted him instead. 

Joe didn't have to go to a "Busker Training Workshops" or watch and memorize some one's act from a DVD, in fact the reason Joe is such a success is because he didn't. He just went out and made it work and created magic with imagination, reason, and experimentation. 

Instead of a Magic DVD.


Yep, he just used his brain, unlike so many in the magic community. 

Yes, granted, we did teach him some very few basic moves and very few techniques, but not routines or patter. We tried to teach him STATE OF MIND, instead. So he took what he had, and made magic effects, and routines, and put them into an order, to make a show that worked. He can work anywhere; doorway acts, half circle shows, full circle shows, grocery store fronts, intersections, indoors, outdoors, and whatever!















Gypsy Joe is a real magician.

















He also incorporated other performance art forms, into his act, that he picked up on the way.















And he IS the street. 

And this write up does him no justice to show his variety, sorry. 

He belongs to those, we sometimes see hanging out on street corners, "Spanging" and "Flying a Sign" for spare change. They look like grungy Peasants, from fairy-tales past, but with a modern, dangerous, punk, hippy, gypsy, look to them. 

Unlike the rest of us magicians. 

He's not "famous with magicians." Most magicians, don't even really know who he is. But the gutter punks all over america do. And his audiences of middle class families all over america do, and the people and festivals that hire him.
They do. 

And they all love him. 

And I love him. 

Because Joe has the Royal Touch. He can interact with the Corporate world or in the diciest of situations in shadey neighborhoods. He can work at Burning Man (a bohemian festival in the desert) or at a corporate company picnic. Needless to say he would prefer not to work at a corporate company picnic, ha. 

Joe to me, is what every american sidewalk performer, should strive to be.


He's Authentic.


A final thought, to whom it may concern: 

Gypsy Joe attracts the masters and veterans of the streets, with his work. A good example of this is "Sleeveless The Magician," who saw him and took him under his wing and taught him quite a bit. 

This is notable, because "Sleeveless" is a bit of a recluse when it comes to other magicians, so it says a lot for Joe, that Sleeveless would feel, that it would do our art-form good, to give Joe a helping hand up. 

you can check out Sleeveless Here.

And a note to Joe: 

Thanks for being such a good and loyal friend. I am so proud of you and your work. I am proud of being associated with sidewalk performing, because of you and your work. You make us all look better, than we really are. God Bless you Gypsy Joe. 

We're all grateful for your life's work.



Thursday, May 5, 2016

DANIEL DEVENPORT





I've seen Daniel Devenport do any size show.

one on one, doorway acts, trickle, half circle shows, giant stage circle shows with hundreds watching.

Daniel -IS- street theater.

I met Daniel a number of years ago out in Frisco.
He was workin the sidewalk on the Warf.

A student of mine had discovered him before me and told me that, he didn't like Daniel's "style."
So when I was going up to see Daniel's show, I had a preconceived idea about him.

Then I watched him.

And as I watched him. 

I turned to my student and told him to pay attention, because this was the epitome of a sidewalk performer.

A few days later, that same student had gotten into some trouble with a large group of buskers and thugs. 

They had weapons and wanted trouble.

There was just me, an escape artist, and that student, against a bunch of them.

Daniel barely knew us, but he jumped in on our side anyway.

Because that's who Daniel is.

Don't expect this from too many street magicians, just the few real ones.




Another thing Daniel is...


He is a master.

He's a fanatic with his work, a perfectionist, a natural born entertainer, and a respected magic teacher.

A survivor who grew up on the streets, so he's a loyal friend who takes care of those around him and can handle himself in most situations.

I have had the privilege of working with him around the country. 

You know where you stand with Daniel, no games.

All the masters in our country know who he is.

In fact he's good friends with Tom Frank, Sonny Holliday, Doug Conn, Eric Evans, Eric Cash, Chris Carne, and the list goes on.






He is my vision of a sidewalk magician from the day. 

He dresses spot on, he's got the gift of gab, and the chops to back it up. 

Fast hands, and fast talkin.

If your watchin him, you're watchin a piece of our history, and our tradition, on the sidewalk. 

So it figures that his students are also the most creative mind blowing performers out there.

These guys aren't actors playing the part of magicians, they are magicians!


So if you're walkin by and you see this guy Daniel Devenport, 

stop what you're doing and watch him, 

because this is a once in a lifetime thing, believe me.












And a note to Daniel,
You've worked hard, your whole life on our art form, and it shows, you've brought our art, to levels many of us never thought possible.

We've all been watching and we're blown away at what you've done.

Thank You.

I'm telling you, because you know as a street magician it's tough getting acknowledgment  from any of our peers.

Thanks for your life's work, 

Your Pal Jimmy. 






Daniel, Doug Conn, and Me on the west bank of New Orleans on Mardis Gras years ago.







And here's a video of him just goofin around in L.A.


Friday, December 28, 2012

CHET HARRISON


when i set up this blog i set it up for those artists i believed were not getting the credit they deserved.

chet is definately one of these.

he is a master musician and a serious scholar of music and has been all of his life

I met chet in the 80's. he owned a swapa tape used record store.

me and my hoodlum friends used to go in there and sell used tapes and records that we had "aquired."

some of the best musicians in town would float in there and we would all hang out in the back room.

he educated me to music.

he has forgotten more music than most of the pros even know.

the picture does him justice, because he is a sage no question.

i had not seen chet for many years, when i stumbled on him in balboa park in san diego busking.

i would say most buskers no matter what artform will use theatrics and street tactics to get peoples attention.

this is a must, because the attention span of the passer bye is that of a gnat.

it has always been said that talent doesn't make a busker a living.

but, chet breaks all the rules here.

his technique is simple, he plays mind blowing music and people stop.

when you hear him play you know his music is on a skill level not heard on the radio.

he stops people because they know he is a virtuoso.

i have always looked up to chet, so seeing him working the street confirmed that i was in the right place in my life.

chet i want you to know that you have inspired alot of people in your love for music.

i'm magician not a musician, but i know you influenced my life and how i approach art.

and now it has influenced my son's life.

he turned to music and one day he and his friends came home thrilled,

telling me they met a guy named chet who was an increadable musician.

i just laughed because i felt the same way when i met you all those years ago.

i let them know i knew you and that they should watch you if they wanted to learn from a master.

thanks for your life's work chet.

your pal jimmy

here he is on his pitch in balboa;



here he is on stage doing a mini concert;



i would urge the reader to find chet if your ever in balboa park, he is well known in the magic world here in san diego as a master at what he does.

here he is on his pitch in balboa park.




UKULELE BOONE


I met Boone some years back in the gaslamp in san diego. i watched in amazement how he could just mingle with the passer by. he could start up a little party right on the sidewalk just by telling some jokes, playing a tune, or tellin a story.

people fell in love with him right off the bat.

he made it look easy, but i assure the reader san diego is the tuffest town to busk in.

boone has probably the highest respect out there on the street because he is true street. he is not a weekend warrior. he is every day.

this is a nice clip where he tells us a little bit about himself and what he does.

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Boone is from the same stock of free spirits that pioneered this country, in fact he has told me he is a decendant of the legendary Daniel Boone. it's not hard to believe after talking to him for just five mibutes.

boone is a good hearted, adventurer, a sage, and an artist.

he could pop up any where, i've seen him workin in the most unlikely places.
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he takes his art and the tradition of the street seriously.

i've seen him help out fellow musicians and street artists in need and people always seek his advice...i know i have.

it was honor hanging out with him and i always look for him when i'm out.
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one of my busker friends did a write up of him too and i would hope you'd read it too!UKULELE BOONE