Meeting Report: January 8, 2020 - Carisa Hendrix Lecture

Say you have a three-month residency at the Chicago Magic Lounge—you do walkaround with only three minutes at each table—by trial and error you work up an act that not only wows the folks but gets them to like you as a person, with the associated large tips. What do you do with everything you have learned? If you are CARISA HENDRIX you tell all in a fast-paced, experience-filled lecture that leaves the magicians gasping, as she did at the heavily-attended January 2020 meeting of IBM Ring 216. With her boundless energy and never-ending openness, she detailed not only every moment of her successful three-minute routine, but also the deep thinking on the principles of social interaction that guided her performances.

Carisa stressed the principle of social currency when first approaching a table. Immediately give value: the audience doesn’t owe you anything. So she starts off right away with strong earring magic (with tips for adapting the routine for those magicians who do not wear long earrings). She explained the three essentials for quickly establishing an identity the audience can relate to and the value of calling back to that identity at key moments in the routine. The goal of efficiency of audience management was demonstrated in a swift pickpocket routine. Loud environment? She can do her act without words: it’s all in the eyes and the checking-in with the spectators. With an Okito box routine and a Tommy Wonder prediction trick she not only could fool them in three minutes, but she was prepared to use the same props to go on longer if the audience insisted. As a bonus, she revealed all the details of the book production she performed (as Lucy Darling) on Penn and Teller’s fool us.

Above all, Carisa stressed the importance of empathy. The best thing you can give the audience is everything: your story, your smile, your attention. Make them feel seen. Really listen. Talk to them like a person. This ability to form a one to one connection is the highest achievement of the unique art of close up magic. Carisa made everyone in the room feel like this just might be within their grasp, too.