Bad Magician

Glossary of terms you should know when hiring a magician

Thinking about hiring a magician for your next event. San Francisco magician Paul Nathan is always looking for ways to make your event special and ways to make it easier for you to book your next magician. Communicating your ideas effectively and understanding what the magician or party planner is talking about will help you make the right decision and ensure that your entertainer has the correct information to make your event as special as possible. Here are some vocabulary words to help you communicate your desires and understand what they are talking about. 


Close Up Magic

Intimate illusions performed in the hands of the magician or guests.


Strolling Magic

Close up magic performed while the magician strolls around your party mingling with your guests.


Parlor Magic

A small show appropriate for living room (parlor) sized audiences of about a dozen people up to fifty or even more. These shows are created specifically for presentation in people’s homes. Similar to small stage shows in many ways, the parlor show has a certain familiarity to it as it is usually performed for an audience who all know each other while larger stage shows are usually performed for groups of people who may not.


Stage Magic

Shows created for small, medium, or large stages as opposed to close up or parlor style shows. Though some of the same elements my be included in a parlor show and stage show the stage show is designed to be presented with a certain separation between the audience and the performer. This limits the amount of audience participation a performer will want to include in the. There are other differences both subtle and overt. For instance, in a parlor show where most of your guests know each other and almost all of them know the host there is a certain familiarity, which comes into play between the performer and the audience. This is very different in a stage setting where guests may not know each other and where uninvited interactions between the guests or between the guests and the people on stage may be considered taboo.


There are certain formalities and conventions associated with stage shows. These can play into the presentation as part of the show or can be intentionally broken as part of the act.


Comedy Magic

 Many magicians include some jokes in their show. In a comedy magic show the jokes come first and the magic is usually less important than the comedy. Great comedy magicians are masters of both comedy and magic integrating both into the show without sacrificing one for the other.



Although the word illusion simply means to trick the eye, in magic illusion generally refers to bigger tricks usually involving large equipment.


Card Tricks

Cards are such a ubiquitous part of our society that everyone has a relationship with them. Everyone understands what they feel like and know what is and is not possible with cards. Card tricks are like jokes. Everyone knows one. So everyone understands and appreciates great card magic.


Custom Magic Tricks 

Being able to integrate a special message, event, product, or concept into a magic trick is a common request. Many magicians have one or two tricks which can be modified to include specific messaging or physical objects for a client. If you have something special that you want to present just ask your magician. Anything from a wedding ring to a new product or even a new staff member should be easily crafted into most magician’s shows. Be aware that there is sometimes an additional charge for creating custom magic.

San Francisco magician dressed in santa hat for the holidays.

Holiday Magic Shows

Magic adds a wonderful element to holiday events.  Look for a professional entertainer who can participate in the holiday while respecting the HR guidelines your company has set up. For a lot of company events, especially here in the San Francisco Bay Area where diversity is a huge part of the culture, respecting differing religious, philisophical, and social beliefs is important. 

Ten years ago we used to have Christmas parties. That changed to holiday parties in an effort to respect the diverse beliefs represented in our rapidly integrating society.  Now many companies are having "End of the Year" parties in an effort to avoid the issue all together. 

Let your performer know if you have any particular issues that need to be considered during your holiday event. You don't want your magician showing up in a Santa hat (like the jerk in the picture did last year) because they were told it was a Christmas party, only to have them hide it in their magic bag due to HR policy revisions. 


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