Alan Sands Entertainment

 

County fair entranceAs I travel around the nation, I pass many fairs when they are closed. I seem to notice if the entrances appear inviting all year round or if the fair looks abandoned. This is especially important if you are trying to attract off-season events.  →

Bathrooms comparedThis is my 25th year performing at fairs. I have heard many presenters at conventions and listened to a lot of vendors, service suppliers and patrons at fairgrounds. One of their most frequent comments are about bathrooms. While entertainment, animals, attractions, games, food, and vendors are really important to an attendee’s experience at an event, the basic needs of comfort and convenience must not be overlooked.  →

Parking lot sign: 'Epic Parking'When guests arrive at your event, one method of creating an atmosphere of excitement is to make sure your patrons hear music. The moment I hear music, I feel like I am at the fair. This is why I highly recommend providing background music or entertainment before attendees even enter the festival.  →

I have been wanting to hire an assistant for 20 years, so it must have been kismet when I got a call from my good friend and fellow performer, Paul Nathan, a few weeks ago.

"Alan, I've got this girl you need to meet. She is working part time for Frank Olivier right now, and she's looking for more hours. She's got an MBA and she's way smarter than she seems."

I invited Yevgenya to a Grad Night show and she worked the video camera for me. After talking a while I learned that she is not only smart and organized, but I felt confident she could do what I need with my business - something I have not had around for a long time. I knew we'd get along famously.

Yevgenya has been assisting Frank Olivier, a brilliant comedy juggler since last year. She recently spent a month with Frank and Paul in Seattle as the box office manager and volunteer coordinator for their show, Twisted Cabaret.

Paul, Yev and Frank

Now, Yevgenya will be assisting me with my latest endeavors as well, keeping me organized and focused, and productive! You will meet her at the IAFE and WFA conventions and meet her on the phone and internet.

In case you're wondering about her name, Yevgenya is Ukrainian-born, but spent most of her life in Providence, RI. She's as American as M&Ms. Lucky for myself, Frank and Paul, she decided to move to the San Francisco Bay Area to pursue her dream of providing administrative assistance to 3 middle-aged variety artists. I hope the day never comes when the 3 of us need to fight over whose files she gets to organize first.

I got an idea! I know--it doesn't happen often! A few years ago, I realized there is one perfect fair that I do year after year where I can train another hypnotist: the Robeson County Fair in Lumberton, NC.

Instead of teaching someone the basics, however, I decided I would share my knowledge for free with an up and coming hypnotist--someone who has already done training with someone else, or has done a dozen or more shows and needs a place to get some experience outside of a classroom.

I remember when I first began doing hypnosis shows, it was difficult to find an audience. In my first few years, I only did 5-10 shows a year; that is not a lot of practice in front of a live audience--something a new stage hypnotist desperately needs.

Fairs are a great place to teach someone how to be a better stage hypnotist because they get to repeat the same show multiple times a day. I have been performing at The Robeson County Fair for 12 years and know that it lends itself to the flexibility I need to teach someone, do them justice and not hurt my shows by allowing the student to be on stage with me.

With the Pitt County Fair in Greenville, North Carolina immediately before the Robeson County Fair, I'll have 13 days in a row to give someone a lot of attention. And with daytimes free, we can do classroom-style work such as watching/critiquing videos of the shows the night before and working on scripting.

Between September 30th and October 12th I will be bringing two up and coming hypnotists with me on the road to mentor and give them my insights and guidance as they hone their skills at making people bark like roosters and milk ducks for their new career.

I have picked one person so far: 39-year old Dennis Clause, a.k.a. Andrew Bear Claws, from Sanborn, NY. Andrew has already performed about 20 shows. Once he has polished up his act, Andrew hopes to tap into the Indian Casino market through his Native American heritage. He tells me there are 450 Indian Casinos and 85% of them need to buy Native American Services first, when they are available. I am excited to be working with him. I think he is a perfect candidate, and I am excited to be able to make a new lifetime friend of him.

I have four other people who have asked if I would consider them, but I have not chosen any of them yet. I’ll keep you posted once I can share more.

Canadian maple leaf

It is March 2013, and I return to Canada to perform for a fundraising show in Kindersley, Saskatchewan, about 2 hours outside Saskatoon. Kindersley has a population of just under 5,000 and is a mineral rich farming community, like so many others in this region.

Over the last 25 years of my career, I have performed for a lot of fairs and expositions, including the Calgary Stampede, Saskatoon Prairielands Exhibition, Medicine Hat Exhibition, Royal Manitoba Winter Exhibition in Brandon, private parties for the military, and others.

In December 2011, I did not apply for a tax exemption before doing a show for a military squadron. This was my mistake and I knew better. Regaredless, it cost me $225.00, which the government withheld from my check and submitted to Revenue Canada (the equivalent of the Internal Revenue Service in the USA). The only way I was going to get that money back was to file a Canadian tax return. I didn’t bother.

Before working in Canada, U.S. citizens must apply for tax exemption. If they do not, it is mandated that the Canadian host retain 15% of gross payment and send it to Revenue Canada. To apply for tax exemption, there are a number of steps to take. It is not complicated, but it must be done at least 3-4 weeks before the event date to give Revenue Canada sufficent time to respond.

George SandsDecember 2012

My father was George Sands. His mother called him Georgie. He called himself SandSational. I called him dad.

People ask me all the time, “What was it like growing up with a father who did magic?” and I can only reply, “That’s all I knew.” I didn’t realize that my life was exceptional. For a long time, I would say, “I wish he had been a doctor or a lawyer,” but I have changed that tune. I miss my father, for who he was.

California coastline2012 July 8 - I recently went camping along the coast of California at Phieffer Big Sur State Park to get out of the San Francisco Bay Area and breathe some smoke. The neighbors at our next door site were friendly enough when we arrived, but there seemed to be some differences in how we communed with nature. The first sign was their Coke Zero, the giant red bag of Fritos chips, and the two cushioned, raised chairs their designer Scotties (dogs) sat on. The clincher was when they used a remote control to close the door of their VW SUV from 60 feet away...

Another Grad Night / Post Prom season is coming to an end soon. Each year I perform about thirty shows for high school groups. This is a market I have been developing for twenty years now, since I began doing comedy hypnosis shows in the mid-1990s. Beginning in late March and ending mid-June, this is my primary market for close to 3 months—a time of little sleep, lots of travel, and great audiences. I have slept in many beds—none my own.

Magic Castle, Hollywood CAOn March 19th, 2012 I flew to Long Beach on a whim, to visit the Magic Castle in Hollywood. I went there to visit a childhood friend of my father’s, George Schindler, and got to meet his wife, Nina, for the second time. George was performing in the Parlor at the Magic Castle and I had never seen him perform before. He arranged two guest passes for me, so I brought along hypnotist Marc Bachrach, whose home I stayed at while in the LA area. ...

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