Friday, July 06, 2007

07.07.07, 07.13.07 and Robin Hood the Magician

Tomorrow is July 7, 2007 . . . commonly written as 07/07/07 unless you are in Europe . . . then it is written 07/07/07 (!!!) and next week . . . is Friday the Thirteenth!!!

Seven is the luckiest of all numbers so tomorrow, should be a good day, while next Friday . . . well, we'll see . . .

I tend to be a superstitious person--believing that success is often times set in motion by certain days, hours, times and locations and one's place within them. I believe in the magic of numbers--although I don't live my life by them. I think there is something to the zodiac--esp. Sun signs--although I also agree with Thomas Aquinas' assertion that those who do not believe in the zodiac--have its attributes fit them like a glove. (Believing its possibilities--he thought--allowed you to exert free will, thus negating the controlling power of the zodiac). I also believe in sympathetic magic in all of its various forms esp. that a parallel person's success will almost always lead to mine. Various times in my life I have traced my particular success in something directly to another person's success. I know its strange and I'm not entirely sure its real . . . only that I tend to believe in it.

One example I can relate of karma or sympathetic magic working in my favor occurred many years ago on the streets of NYC. This is probably around 1990--1991 after I quit working cruise ships. I was desperate for any success as a magician. I worked tons of dive clubs, sometimes I wasn't paid. One time I had some coins I used in my show stolen off a table at a trade show I was working. Another time I was stranded in Philly because the organizer stiffed me and I had no train fare back. It was just horror show after horror show and somehow, miraculously, I lived through it all. Well, a good friend of mine, Polaris, an excellent magician, was doing street performing in NYC about this time. He would work usually all day on the weekends and at the end of the day could make some pretty good cash.

I thought street performing might be good and lucrative. So, I created an act . . . magic incorporating escapes and for about a year I worked everyday at lunch hour on the streets of New York. My favorite places to work were in front of the Plaza Hotel right under the General Sherman statue and along Sixth Avenue from about 47th to about 53rd. In the warm weather, the sidewalks in front of the McGraw Hill and Time Life Buildings were filled with people and it became my daily audience.

I kept some of the money myself but gave most of it away. I did pretty well. I met many people and got alot of business cards. Roughly three months into it, I met someone who was a promoter. (He shall remain nameless). We became friends and he often took me out to dinner. Over food, he would tell me of the outlandish pranks he had conceived over the years--how he had fooled the NY Times into publishing his obituary and on and on. He was an interesting guy.

We talked about what I was doing on the street and he offered a suggestion that he thought would take me to the next level. He said that I should play the character of a wealthy business man who did not need to work and instead wanted to make people feel happy by performing magic. At the end of my set, instead of soliciting money from people, I would give it away. (You heard right). I would produce money from an empty top hat and before leaving would give it away. If anyone tried to tip me, I would refuse it. He suggested I get some business cards which read: Robin Hood The Magician--and hand these out if anyone asked questions. People who wanted further information were to contact my manager, him.

Well, it sounded interesting--and within a few days we had an agreement. But I must tell you, the prospect of giving money away when I had so little, absolutely killed me. Many days I went without eating after a day of performing in which, playing the wealthy "Wall Street Executive", I gave away money. Somedays, all I had left was the "Robin Hood" business cards. Well, I did that for five months--I figured I had given away about $1000.00 keeping just enough money to pay my rent and get some food. Everything else was gone. In the picture to the right, I have just concluded my act and have produced money out of an empty hat, which I gave away to stunned spectators.

Eventually, the "manager" and I had a falling out and we parted. Soon after, I quit the Robin Hood thing. I pursued other work from people I had met on the street--for awhile working as a regular at The Front on Seventh Avenue South in the Village, then Cafe Bonjour on 53rd and Lexington. I even got booked at The White House!!! I soon forgot about street performing and the brutal Robin Hood image. Whenever, my mind went back to that crazy time, I thought about how much money I had given away and would always wonder when I would get it back--since my belief in karma always said that money freely given will be received back doubled.

Well, about a year afterwards, I was contacted by a researcher for a publishing house who was doing a book for Harvey Mackay on business practices and the unusual lengths people would go to secure a dream job or to boost their business. Someone, she informed me had been watching day after day--as I performed and then gave away money to astonished spectators. They thought it was a wonderful method of standing away from the crowd and marketing oneself. They listened to people wondering out loud who this mysterious figure was--why on earth was he giving away money? Is he crazy? Who is this?
Remember, this was before websites and the proliferation of email and camera phones--so the word of mouth would spread thus increasing the mystique. I would see some of the same people every day--oh but with ten new friends they had brought. I began to wonder if they even cared about the magic or the escapes--or if they just wanted money.
Anyways, this person followed me--she noted the reactions of the spectators and must have seen the crowds as they increased everyday. Most importantly she remembered me and kept the business card I probably gave her. About a year later, the publishing house she worked for contacted me and offered me $2500.00 to publish my "Robin Hood" story in HarveyMackay's next best-selling business practices book.