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Old 05-14-02, 06:40 AM   #1
The Had Matter
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Butterfly Help me start glass walking/bed of nails etc

Well - I'm trying to start on this sort of thing.
I know the theory but as yet have not tried any of this stuff - I've been thinking about lying/walking on broken glass, sword swallowing, perhaps even the human pin cushion if i'm feeling brave oh and of course escapes.
the escapes I've got covered - it's the rest I'm stuck on.

Has anyone got any golden pearls of wisdom (tips) for me please? - Frack? - Dr Eric?

Many thanks

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Old 05-14-02, 10:49 AM   #2
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Ok, you know the theory, here's some more, which youmay already know...

Prepare your glass for the show, remove the small splinters, etc. Then you can smash one bottle during the show, and remove the top and bottom part of the bottle - which you can show to your audience, so they can make sure it's real glass. The bottle should be round, without a label and preferrably dry on the inside. (Otherwise, the glass will stick to your feet or back)

(But please note, I'm not very experienced in this myself yet, but haven't hurt myself badly until so far... knock, knock)
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Old 05-14-02, 12:39 PM   #3
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This may just be me, but I find lying on a bed of nails for about fifteen minutes does wonders for hangovers or sleep-deprivation nausea. Just make sure you get on very carefully, and it helps to have something under your head, which doesn't distribute easily. The one I used had nails spaced about an inch and a half apart, I think, belonged to my school's physics department (they'd have a student lie on it and then drop an apple next to his head from 4 feet up- the apple would be completely impaled)... Just make certain the nails are not needle sharp and (more importantly) that they're all the same height.

Another thought which may be incorrect; isn't broken windshield glass supposed to be fairly non-sharp (so as to avoid piercing the tires of every car that comes by after an accident and killing a hundred people instead of just two or three)? Not sure where you live, but it shouldn't be that hard to find the scene of an accident or a car break-in; or find yourself a salvaged old craked windshield and smash it up yourself. Plus it's pretty.

Glass sticking to your feet issue- if it's warm & you're sweating, gymnast's chalk?? Or talcum powder? You could always powder a small hand towel or something before and then just stand on it for a second before doing your walk, so they don't think you've got some powdered kevlar cheat going.

Time for breakfast.
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Old 05-14-02, 01:16 PM   #4
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Just do it... That's how we all learn. As far as all that 'theory' you've heard about, it's B.S. You will get hurt, and you will get hurt, and then you won't, it's that simple. Of course all of this info pertains to glass walking, if you want to learn how to swallow swords, I would suggest finding one of these older more experienced folks around here to teach you (shouldn't be that hard), in the past 2 years, three good friends of mine have screwed their throats up pretty bad due to rushing the process. None of them can swallow swords anymore. So team up with somebody for that one.

When you actually get to presenting this stuff, remember that all that supposed theory you know is something that alot of your 'smarter' spectators will be armed with. Not only do they have these wierd explanations, they are also dead wrong. Getting around people's know it all attitude is probably the most challenging.

Here's another tip, if you are walking on glass alot, and getting the occasional cut/scrape/@#!$%@?ing piece of glass stuck in your foot, use garlic to disinfect it. If you have a painful or infection-red spot on your feet, cut a clove of garlic in half, so that you have a good sized chunk with it's juicy insides exposed, and tape it to your wound for a couple of hours, the garlic will suck out infections, and it works better and quicker than any over the counter stuff.

Hope that helps, if you're ever in my neck of the woods, come find me, I'll go through it all with you.
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Old 05-14-02, 01:25 PM   #5
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dr. e ~ do you or any in your troupe do the sword swallow? i've been thinking of adding it to my show - thom gave me this 'thing-a-majiggy' that he says you're supposed to start practicing with - but, other than that hasn't been of much use in training to do it...

just curious...
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Old 05-14-02, 04:40 PM   #6
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[quote]Originally posted by firegirl:
<strong>...sword swallow?...thom gave me this 'thing-a-majiggy' that he says you're supposed to start practicing with...

~firegirl</strong><hr></blockquote>

Now *there's* one for the 'Pick Up Lines' thread.
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Old 05-14-02, 05:14 PM   #7
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Thank you for the tips - I'm off to buy some garlic. I like the idea of using windsheild glass though. Thanks for the advice Eric - I'll hold off the swallowing for a bit - If I ever get there I'd love to take you up on the offer of talking shop for a bit.
I think I'm gonna give it a go soon - I let you know how I get on.

I've just been working out a walking on sword routine too - using the live edge like a tightrope on the principle that if you place rather than slide your foot it won't cut. Our Bujinkan sensei does trick like that on his kneck!
If I ever try that one you'll be the first to know.

- Would it be worth using stage glass to break instead of an actual bottle? It'd look good without cutting? - Neil - any Ideas where I can get some?

Thanks
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Old 05-14-02, 06:28 PM   #8
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Ok, here is the best advice I've ever gotten on the whole walking on glass thing.
(Pyros advice dovetails very well with this)
I got it form Jerry "Ras Poppa" who has been a sideshow,whip,vaudeville guy for longer than most of us have been around. Smash a bunch of bottles in a containment unit of some kind. About 2 to 3 feet wide and 4 to 6 feet long
(use 2x4's for the sides)
, but make sure it is metal or has a metal bottom. Build it out of wood, and then put an aluminum or sheet metal floor in it.
Ok, so smash your bottles
(the ones Pyro suggested)
take out the bottoms and cover the surface of the floor of your "glass walk" contaner, then
(here is the key to the whole thing)
drive around with it in the back of your truck, trunk, car seat for about 2 to 3 weeks so that the glass rattles around in it and the motion of the moving wears down most of the pieces of glass in your "glass contaner". The glass in the contaner is not very sharp and at the top of the act you make a big deal about smashing one or two bottles and putting them in your "glass contaner".
(taking the bottoms out)
You can paint/decorate the "glass contaner" and make it look show-worthy.
As for the stepping on the glass, lift the foot and set it straight down as you walk, DONT DRAG THE FOOT OR BE CASUAL IN ANY WAY ABOUT STEPPING. Lift and set lift and set.
The rest is just showmanship.
Its like the bed of nails, its all in how you do it not what you do.
Someone once wrote me and asked me how the Bed of Nails works.
(I do it in my show)
You build it lay on it and physiscs takes over. It's totally a "Dog-and-Pony Show", but its up to you to fill it and make it entertaining.

Onward
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Old 05-14-02, 08:38 PM   #9
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I'm pretty sure that using stage glass would be a problem--for one thing, it's rather expensive, so one bottle per show over the course of a season would really add up. Also, if you are using sugar glass (although I understand most stage glass is made of a resin these days), you'll run into problems with it melting in the heat, and if you step on the sugar glass you'll make the bottoms of your feet all sticky; then on to the real glass. . .

(Hey, Todd--I sent you ande-mail on a similar topic. Did you get it?)
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Old 05-15-02, 02:37 AM   #10
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Here to chime in again...
IN MY OPINION...
(I capitalize that because I'm going to say some things that might torque some people, these are merely my opinions, take them as you will) Todd's post is a bunch of hooey. If you can't heat, get out of the kitchen, because none of that stuff is necessary. The act, in and of itself, is an act of faith, if you have no faith, don't do it. I do my act with fresh bottles, and I do some of the most dangerous stunts you can do on a pile of glass. Take it or leave it, I think there is no reason to make a "trick" out of this, as there is more behind it than that. If you want to challenge yourself, and do dangerous stunts, then you are going to have to learn to live with a few scrapes (which is mostly what happens at first). I've seen alot of torture acts, I have seen beds of nails more comfortable than my futon, and I have seen beds that are truly an act of superhuman will to lay on. In my opinion, if you want to do tricks, buy some cards or some coins.
And Todd, I mean no offense, I know that you come from a different school of thought, I figured I would talk from the other side of the fence.
And using windshield glass will not work really, it is actually safety glass, made to break into tiny cubes that won't hurt you. Abroken pile of it looks more like a pile of dirty diamonds (A neat effect in and of itself), than broken glass.

Cheers,
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Old 05-15-02, 05:56 AM   #11
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I agree with Eric here. Nothing can beat the real thing. And though I haven't much experience yet, I know it's possible with real glass. Friends of mine have been doing this one for many, many times, even with their faces flat in the glass bed, without seriously wounding themselves - note the word *seriously*!
The advantage of breaking your glass on stage is, that doing so, will prevent the audience from thinking there is some trick behind it: they can see with their very own eyes that you are working with the real thing. Hollywooded as we all are nowadays, people easily start thinking it's just some kind of special effect. The big attraction for me of this kind of performances, is that it is all so damn real!
And if you really want to prepare your glass: instead of having it in a box in your car, boil it for a couple of hours in a big bowl of water. And forget about the windshield glass. Most people know that stuff is called 'safety glass' for a reason. As a little kid I used to wonder why this glass wasn't sharp at all...
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Old 05-15-02, 06:02 AM   #12
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Ok - well I was thinking of using a stone polisher to take the worst edges off - but if it's possible to do without that then I might try it with un-doctored glass. I have to agree with pyro on this one - hollywood has made us very sceptical when it comes to impressive feats.

Eric - I've just had a look at the website - very cool. That's more of a pile of glass than just a tray - impressive. Is it possible to do this without the tray - just put a sack down, pile up some glass and go or do you think the glass would be too unstable without the sides of the container there?

On the subject of nail beds - I want to build up to the 4 nail bed. (I saw someone doing this a while ago, it's got to hurt) - I think it'd look good and I don't mind the discomfort.

A bed of nails as home furnature - good Idea [img]smile.gif[/img]

[ 05-15-2002: Message edited by: The Had Matter ]</p>
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Old 05-15-02, 12:06 PM   #13
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Ok Eric, first off if you dont mean to offend, then a little lesson in net kindness, dont start off your post with "bunch of hooey".

Sure you take hurts etc, in doing danger stunts, but personally the "super human" theory is total garbage.The act of faith theory is also garbage. There is nothing super human about being able to do any of thse tricks. Any dope can learn them in less than a half an hour in thier living rooms if they put thier minds to it. I was simply putting forth a theory that will allow you as a perfomer to be able to do the act and entertain and audience for many shows, with out having to tap into your "super-human" ablity to walk on glass.
Also, the audience doesnt know if you are really doing it or not. And they dont care either, they only care if the y "think" it is real. Jugglers work for hours, months, years, on doing difficult tricks, so that when the do them in a show so that the risk of failure is very low, but they "act" like the risk is high. Magic is total smoke and mirrors, totaly fake, there is no magic hapening, but the really good performers of magic tricks, are able to get audiences to suspend thier disbeilef and buy in-to the magical world that they are trying to create. It is not the trick, or the difficulty therein, but the ablity of the perfomer to sell the trick to the audience.
I can do the 4 nail bed of nails, but I dont, because to the audience it doesnt matter. To them, a bed of nails (any bed of nails) is a danger object, especally if the performer sells it as such.
There is nothing wrong with doing it the "real" way as you set forth, but in my humble opinion, that drive to "make it real" can get in the way of a novice performer creating an act. The audience cant tell the diffrence. My friend Johnny Fox can swallow a 14 to 17 sword-sandwitch, but he doesnt, because (in his own words) it is a tough trick and in the end doing one sword is just as impressive as doing 20. He saves that and the neon tube for special occasions. The biggest and best example of a trick that is all smoke and mirrors, but when it is sold right it really works, and that is the Bullet catch. Penn and Teller do this very very well and we all know that they never are really in any danger, but they do an amazing job of creating an atmosphere of "real" danger. The idea of "real" in the theatrical world is very subjective, cause even when you do it for real, it is still fake, because you have done it before and have come up with techniques to help you do the stunt. The audience can only imagine themselves doing the trick/stunt for the first time, where as we performers have done the tricks/stunts many many times and have developed an ablity to concentrate and "work through" the trick/stunt. Why take out the bottoms of the bottles? Why not use bottles with stickers on them? Why bottles? Why no light bulbs? Florecent tubes? By not using bottle bottoms and bottle shards with lables, light bulbs and such you take the "real" out of it, beause you create favorable conditions to do the trick/stunt in. By following those rules, your presentation is no longer "real", but a series of decisions made to make the trick/stunt easyer.

When you really think about it most sideshow stunts are not "real" to some degree.

Blockhead? Nasal cavity goes straight back.

Sword swallowing? There is no edge to the swords. Rod swallowing is a better term.

Bed of nails? Physiscs. Go look at how a bridge is made.

Fire eating? Science. Take away one part of the fire triangle to make it go out. (spark,O2,fuel)(really its the slow liver poisoning thats the danger)

Sword ladder? Step even, dont slide the foot on the edge.

Glass eating? Use a light bulb because the glass is finer and more sandy, eat a banana after, crunch it all, dont swallow the 'big' pieces. Why not eat a beer bottle? Oh yes, cause glass that big is dangerous to the human digestive system.

Human Pin cushion? Put the pins through the arms and neck and only through small patches of skin near the surface where their is fewer veins etc. Why not straight through the arm, or the torso?

In the end if you do it for "real", or "the easy Hooey way" it only matters if you entertain the audience.
There are many roads to mecca my friend, dont "hooey" one of them, or look down your nose at them just because you follow a diffrent road.

[ 05-15-2002: Message edited by: Todd ]

[ 05-15-2002: Message edited by: Todd ]

[ 05-15-2002: Message edited by: Todd ]

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Old 05-15-02, 01:22 PM   #14
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I knew that was coming.
Other side of the fence Todd. If you have FAITH in science, that's fine. Go see Zamora. I started off my post with "IN MY OPINION, Todd's post is a bunch of hooey", I give my audience more credit than most, and I don't want to argue with you, you have the right to believe what you want, I just wanted to offer the other side of things to Had Matter. I know lots of folks who agree with you, I just don't. I never made a comment about YOU, just your advice. The argument we are having is very, very old. Once again, no offense.
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Old 05-15-02, 01:37 PM   #15
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I'm just a nitpicking idiot and I should be stapled to a wall while someone reads these posts to me from across the room but faith and science are mutually exclusive. You can't have faith in science. The definition of faith is believing in something that cannot be proven, the definition of science is believing in things that systematicly and repeatedly can.
Oh my god..someone outside's just missused a hyphen..I must dash
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Old 05-15-02, 01:58 PM   #16
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Actually, science can only prove itself, and it's motives are suspect.
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Old 05-15-02, 02:15 PM   #17
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Science can only prove itself because all outside it cannot be proven and relies on faith.
Science and faith are both big things and to attribute motive to 'A systemized knowledge derived from observation.' is in my opinion just a tad harder than attributing a motive to ' an unquestioning belief'
still live and let live I say, personally I like science because i can question it and I like dictionarys because they help me with what words actually mean.
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Old 05-15-02, 02:32 PM   #18
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Speaking of science and on a less esoteric level.
This is not directly related to nails and glass but fire and all the messy smelly fluids that go with it.
Quite often kero and petrol and the like take a few washes to get rid of the smell on your skin.
I'm serious..Try rubbing peanut butter on your hands or face or whatever instead of soap and washing that off.
The oil breaks stuff down or something and leaves you with a clean fresh, slightly peanutty smell first time.
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Old 05-15-02, 04:58 PM   #19
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Martin rocks.
On the other side of this, Eric, I'm not mad.
What I do want to point out is that because this is a forum the ideas that get posted here are, for the most part, an informal debate.
(with the exception of the Blah-blah section which was set up to just mentall jerk-off on the net. Which would explane the stick floors)
With the informal debate setting in mind, sure have your opinion, but be ready to back it up with more than just "I'm allowed to have my opinion". That is sort of the trump card which stops all of us from learning form others, and is used all too often in our world today. I jumped on your post because your opinion is valid (very valid) but I wanted you to back it up better than "Hooey" and "It is how I feel"
Also, we live in an "end-gaining" culture which looks at debate as a "win or lose" situation, which it is not. We should use these forums for more than just "I feel this way" or "HEY, come watch me perform this weekend at the.....". If we open ourselves up to having our opinions questioned and challenged , we all might learn more about our work and find way that we never thought of to do the work. I'm also siding with Martin on this one in the support of science (in my case the science of debate), because it can be questioned and challenged. Our "faith" or belif systems are a choice. We choose to think one way or another, either through education or ignorance. We (all of us, myself included) should open our faith up to be challenged and then we can take a hard look at what makes up our faith and why we chose to make that our faith.
(Faith here in the larger meaning of our beleif systems albeit religion, performing, child rearing, education etc.)
So, go ahead, post an opinion, but when you do realize you open yourself up to have those opinions challenged.
I could have said your post was a bunch of hooey, and then where would we be. I insted went ahead and tryed to back up my opinion with reasons for why I feel the way I do.

Also, MArtin is right, peanut butter is the best stuff, or keep a small bottle of peanut oil handy. There is something to be said though for smushing peanut butter between your fingers

Onward
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Old 05-15-02, 06:28 PM   #20
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Ahem.
Now let me start by saying that all you say is quite true. And, as a matter of fact, is not in question. My point, made (but odviously not quite clearly) about 5 posts ago, is that the Had Matter's thread asking for advice and schooling is not the place for another one of these long-winded semantics debates, however, I would be perfectly willing to debate semantics all day long face to face, Todd, since I am planning on working Daytona for July/August, I may very well be able to pay you a visit.
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