Thursday, February 16, 2012

Build the Piano

Over on the Mr. Snapper & Mr. Buddy Facebook page we have an album called "Inspirado", dedicated to the entertainers who inspire Phillip Kelly and I in our neo-vaudevillian madness.  Since his birthday was yesterday, Teller of Penn & Teller was digitally enshrined with the following quote:
"To compose a new tune in magic, you don’t just write the notes, you build the piano."
- Teller
This is true for all the lively arts, not just magic!

One of the defining aspects of an "amateur" (or a hack) is the use of off-the-shelf costumes and props.  In the world of burlesque, there is general disdain for unembellished Leg Avenue costumes and leaving the tags in store-bought lingerie.  The fact is, there is no such thing as a "turn-key" entertainer package.  You can't just buy a bunch of fancy looking stuff and expect to be taken serously; you have to put a little blood, sweat, and tears into your gear.  If you use off-the-shelf costume pieces or props, you have to give it a tweak, add some rhinestones -- something.  You have to customize it for your purposes.

The lively arts are truly bespoke.  Performers spend considerable time custom-making their gear with one goal in mind:  Entertaining an audience.

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