Alan Sands Entertainment

 

Hi Chris Johnson:

I was sitting in a Delta Sky Lounge, flying from Philadelphia to San Francisco after a 3 week tour that took me to England again for the third year in a row ... and I get two - messages, "Alan, you're being bad-mouthed... you may want to defend yourself..."

I posted on my FB Page, "I am excited to announce I have a "Hater." I have achieved a new professional status. YaY!" I have gotten 70 likes and a dozen comments in less than 24 hours.

http://facebook.com/alan.sands1

Many of my peers have "haters." They are all very successful. They have taught me this is an achievement and gives one status. It's usually based on jealousy. And as such, I thank you and I am flattered.

I was not previously a member of the FB page you posted your opinion on. I do not do elementary schools and have not done a children's show in over 20 years. I thought I'd reply and let you know, I am laughing all the way to the bank, Cris.

A kid who dresses in a T-shirt to do his shows is slamming me. I bet you hate a lot of successful performers. Johnathan, Chris Angel, Don Rickles, and many more. I bet children who watch Sesame Street probably think you are awesome! Not every act is for every audience, however.

You called me a D-bag. What is that? Douche? Are you cool by not writing out the word or did you simply not know how to spell it? Do you think this makes you a gentleman by writing D-Bag? You lack in decorum.

If you are going to dump on people, it's far more professional to either not state their name and use more etiquette, or attack them directly and link their names to your attacks like our beloved Twitter-in-Chief does when he tweets. Otherwise, you are weak. Try being a man and face the people you attack.

Regardless, thank you for mentioning my name. Two very successful magicians shared your critique. Since I have posted this, I have also gotten emails and messages from some more of my peers. It's nice to hear from them. I am always happy to hear input from other professional performers, teachers, coaches, instructors in many disciplines. Especially if they are people I respect. Your methods do not deserve respect. They are cowardly.

I will post recordings of both our shows I recorded with my camera on July 4th, 2017 in Brockway, PA on this forum and everyone can make their own assessment. I apologize that the recording of myself was with a camera set on a tripod without an operator. It cuts off my head a lot. Your video includes your head because I was operating the camera during your show. If this offends you, I am competent at video editing and can cut off your head if you'd prefer.

NOTE: You accused me in your original post of criticizing the mime's PA. I never mentioned the mime's sound system once, never saw the mime's sound system. I did not see his show. I was preparing for my own performances. When making a critique of someone as you did me, stick to facts or you invalidate everything you say. Sort of like every time the Twitter-in-Chief exaggerates people think he is an idiot. You can be whiney and have an opinion, but don't make yourself look like and idiot.

You gave me permission to record your show. I like having full-length, unedited recording of fellow performers so when they die, I can post them for the public to see them and remember the performer. The mime did not give me permission to record his show when I asked, so I did not record his set. You can thank me later for recording your show with my broadcast quality camera. I have made your recording available to download. (no longer on line) If the recording being public embarrasses you, and you want me to change the setting to private, let me know. I wouldn't blame you. I wouldn't want that show public, either.

For clarity, a few weeks before the event, in Mid-June, 2017 I verified with the client, and she told me there would be a PA at the performance space. The client saw me at a State College First-Night two years ago. Your friends on the school shows forum wondered how I get repeat gigs. They made judgments without even seeing my show. Amazing. This shows how intellectual your peers are.

Let me share: I have one client I performed for 23 years in a row, over a dozen high schools I have repeated 10-15- 20 times. I do two fairs in Sept/Oct. for whom I have performed for 10 &15 years in a row, respectfully. I have done multiple state fairs multiple years in a row, but I'll stop beating my chest. I get to deposit my experience and credits in the bank.

Your sound system has four knobs on it. You were incapable of tuning the PA with two EQ knobs, and I had to tell you how to tune the thing.

Yes, I have a degree in broadcasting. I can make almost any analog system operate. I have been doing audio reinforcement since before I became a full time entertainer 38 years ago. I learned my basics doing sound and lights in Catskill and Pocono Resort night clubs beginning at age 14. At 18 I went on tour doing sound for a six-piece show band. When I was 19, I attended SUNY New Paltz and at 20 I went to East Stroudsburg State (now ESUniversity) then moved to San Francisco and continued my college while performing as a SF Street Performer. I chose Broadcasting to understand compressors, limiters, watts, ohms, amps, volts, hertz, VU meters, why mixers have a gain (trim) and volume control. I have owned multiple PA's and teach sound reinforcement to Stage Hypnotists (http://comedyhypnotist.org) My headset and battery powered Sennheiser transmitter / receiver I used that day cost as much as your entire PA system.

Since I was age 18 I have not gotten a W-4, I have supported myself as a fulltime performer and in those 39 years I have never broken a PA. I once blew a horn on one of my speakers and I blew out an auxiliary channel on my mixer. Yes, things do wear out. Not bad for 42 years doing sound. I also dropped my handheld microphone in a toilet once when it was in my back pocket. I dropped my pants to use the toilet before my show. My microphone flipped out of my back pocket and went, "Bloop!" That sucked. I have no problem with people touching my $5,000+ PA system. I am not as anal retentive as you are about these things. Knowledge will set you free. Apparently, your ignorance is a problem. You should take a class in sound reinforcement and recording. It may help.

The last three weeks have been exciting for me. I Left San Francisco on June 19th, 2017, flew to England - Spent ten days in England including five days at the Glastonbury Festival, flew back to Philadelphia on 06/29. As you may understand, bringing my PA with me was not possible.

I am not crazy about Bose systems. Some people love them. They are not my first choice. I have worked with a number of Bose systems. I do prefer a two-speaker system on tripods including brands like QSCs, the newer JBLs and I personally own Mackie Speakers. I actually like the QSCs the most. I prefer two tripod mounted speakers because then the sound energy is coming from the same place as me performing and the way two speakers covers the full audience at a 270 degree angle seems to cover the audience better. Your system was sufficient for hitting the 50 seat bleachers, but my audience was on both sides of the slab we were performing on, you may recall. Those Bose towers do an OK job - I am sure they work fine for you and your cute on-going argument with the sound system because the music kept starting and stopping as you worked the remote control ... (boy that got laughs, I'll tell you!... umm, not!)

I could never have done a hypnosis show with any of those new Bose systems. The show you watched which I call my "audience participation, situation, prop comedy, magic and escape act" - your system got me through and it did cover the bleachers well enough - but as you might remember, there were people sitting on the grass on both sides of the gazebo when I did my show. I could have filled those spaces with additional audience if the system was designed for the space (i.e., a two speakers set on tripods). If there was a monitor on the performance space, the people behind us would have heard as well, and there was a large group of people in line waiting to get their faces painted right behind the stage we were on. I did not notice if they were watching or not.

Notice I did not call my self a magician. I am sorry, I do not call myself a magician; I called myself an entertainer. One day perhaps you will also achieve this status.

If I had hurt your system, I would have taken full responsibility for it because that is the way I role. If you understood what does or does not hurt sound systems you would be aware that it is virtually impossible to hurt your all-in-one PA when plugging in and unplugging an XLR, as long as you push the button that holds the XLR in on some systems. On your PA, I do not remember a lock button for the XLR. I do recall, your system had one XLR input, one mini-plug input, one high and one low tuning knob and a master volume knob. Wow, now that is complicated!

You stated, "the audiences were 'OK' (it was hot, people weren't too responsive)" I disagree. Personally, I was pleased with both my shows and the audiences. I determine how good a show goes by counting the laughs you hear from the audience. Please count the laughs you hear on both my recording and your recording. You claimed your show was going to be comedy but you got one audible laugh at 2:30 minutes into your set and the next audible laugh was at 10:38 minutes when you pulled the mouth coil out. The third and fourth audible laughs were at 14:40-15:00 minutes -- this is not "doing comedy." This is "getting a few giggles out of the audience" for being silly. Perhaps instead of saying you are going to do comedy, say you are going to do silly.

You said, "most magicians I've met act like entitled assholes and abuse their audiences in the most degrading ways possible." I, of course, have no idea how many magicians you have met or who you have met. I am opinionated, just like you. This I will admit. It has taken me years to master this status and I do not plan on changing soon. I do a very strong, comedy show. I can and will admit that, too. I also get paid $1500-$2,000 a show and $1,000 a day at fairs. I regret to say, your show is not worth that price.

I use self-deprecating jokes, and I pick on my own Jewish heritage, as well as Jahovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Republicans and tRump in my shows and most anyone and anything else. I am sorry if you do not appreciate diverse styles of humor. I'm not into pornography or strippers - maybe you are?  I do like good burlesque. I am a sports illiterate. However, I am aware of the Penn State Coach that molested students and make reference to it in my show (As I am tied in my straight jacket, I ask the man tying me up to kiss me and then say, "Flashback. I went to Penn State".) It is a good joke, wouldn't you agree?

I don't love dancing or ice skating, don't follow any bands or listen to much music and dance recitals put me to sleep. However, I do appreciate there is a market for all type of entertainment. Stadiums fill, concerts sell out, Penthouse sells tens of thousands of copies each month and they all have a fan base.

I do not like Barney and the Tele-Tubbies either. I will assume you do a lot of elementary school shows and birthday parties. Do correct me if I am wrong. There is a need for these acts and I am glad you fill that nitch. I also started out in those markets in the 70's & 80's. I have not done a "children's show" in over 20 years. I have done ten state fairs and over 250 county fairs, festivals, Calgary Stampede and amusement parks. I have performed in 46 US States and seven other countries.

I just returned from England on June 29th, 2017 where I performed at the Glastonbury Festival for the third year in a row - the world's largest live performance festival in the world. I am the first licensed hypnotist to perform there in the festivals 46 year history. I do corporate events and 30+ high schools annually along with private events. I have worked at the Magic Castle, lectured to over 40 magic clubs in four countries and I fly over 40,000 miles a year and drive another 35-70,000 miles a year.

Elementary schools and children's birthday parties do not pay $1500 or more for one show, so you can feel reassured that I will not be encroaching on your market.

Let's discuss your cute, adequate Bose system. Yes, it is the smallest Bose system I have ever seen and it worked quite well for our audiences at this July 4th festival on this slab under the gazebo we performed on. My audience was 150+, your audience was 40 people. The reason I like a stronger, (two speaker) sound system is you can attract and hold a much larger audience. When you want to get dynamics out of the PA, you have headroom. Your PA, while adequate, does not give you that BOOST of power I like. I like to make an audience feel emotions. I want them to laugh so hard, they cry. I want them to JUMP out of their seats! I want them to feel, "cute and compassion" and make them laugh so hard unexpectedly they have soda come out their nose. I guess if I pissed you off, I also accomplished that emotion, too - but I did make "YOU" think.

I made you think about the humor you like and that is good. My style is not your style, and that is OK - but you need to approach the world more maturely and accept I had more than three times the audience you did. If you want to be a PC act, fine. I prefer to work bigger stages and get larger paychecks and larger, more mature audiences.

Your PA - well, it is a very good PA. Please do not get me wrong. However, if you stayed to see me headline that night just before the fireworks and do my comedy hypnosis show at 8:30 PM on the main stage, you would know your PA would never have been able to cover the 12 acre field with the audience of over 2,000 people I entertained that night.

But, that is why you do elementary schools and I do state fairs,major international festivals, casinos, cruise ships, colleges and universities, international festivals and corporate events. Since you were "embarrassed for your art", I have posted both your entire show and mine we both did that day, so others can see how amazingly your show was, how professional your t-shirt looked, your rapid style pacing and delivery and how you held the rapped attention of an audience of 40 and why you should be embarrassed by my show. Good luck with your career.

 

Cris Johnson - https://youtu.be/3hJYpbSm44g

Alan Sands - https://vimeo.com/224717571

Don't you love when the client exclaims, "That's a lot of money for one act...!"

 

On April 27th, I was contacted by the moms production a lunchtime show for their elementary school in Pennsylvania. Great! This is what I do. I find the best performers in the region, all over the nation, that can do things like this. When I can't find them regionally, I can fly them in from elsewhere. This is what I have done for every sized event from schools, corporate parties, casinos, shopping malls, colleges, fairs - it is what I can do and I do well, I must admit!

 

After taking two days to track down and arranging two top flight comedy entertainers for the suggested budget of $1500, the client exclaims that she feels she should get more performers for the budget. Well, I was tired, sitting in an airport and I decided to give her a piece of my mind.

 

My rant back to her today went like this:

"So - ignore my cocky tone in the following rant. I am on four hours sleep and am in an airport in Minneapolis heading to South Dakota where I will do a show from 1:am - 3:am in the morning for a safe and sober post prom party.

>>$1500 for two performers! That's a lot! <<

Yeah, that's what people say. That's what people think.

It's 20 years of practicing skills no one else takes the time to do. Imagine spending a year learning one trick - hours a day.

It's working 100 days, doing office work 200 days to get that 100 days of work - and traveling to every stretch of the world to do the work.

It's standing in the rain ... and printing promo that costs you thousands of dollars to produce. No one sees the costume investment, the photoshoots, the video shoots, the video editing costs, the web site costs, the thousands of dollars we spend to stand in booths at trade shows and meet producers, agents, managers. The garage filled with unicycles, free-standing ladders, rope walking rigs.

People don't see the travel, the killing of equipment and cars, no benefits, no retirement, no sick pay, working on everyone else's holidays, going weeks without a paycheck between gigs sometimes, the investment in make-up, training, conventions, the family events we miss because, "the show must go on"

I was in South Africa when my daughter was born.
I think I made two dance recitals - missed most of her birthdays. I didn't get to tuck her in over 220 days a year her entire childhood.

There is a reason why Johnny Carson was married six times, Elizabeth Taylor was married eight times, TsaTsa nine times, Larry King 8 times ...

Do you want quality, or quantity? I deal with quality. I don't touch people who make $300 a gig. They are not dependable, their costumes look like they are homeless, they show up late, have no car insurance and bald tires, no health insurance - and even the quality ones often times can be artists - not business people so financially insecure. So many of them have Donnie tRump-like personalities, too. I have the honor of dealing with that. Egos - narcissistic personalities or they are introverts when not performing.

If you want to give them five days of work, I am sure I can get them to drop their price 33%. I personally, do not do any gig for less than $1500. I am getting paid $1850 for the show I will do tonight - but it is in South Dakota - and I have to get there. I checked three suitcases to do one - 2 hour show tonight.

I have been in this business my entire life. There is a reason why a Lilly Tomlin can hold the attention of an audience for 2 hours with a solo show. I am giving you seasoned professionals that have toured with Cirque du Soleil, the Big Apple Circus and more.

There are two types of performers - those that do Universities, Colleges, State Fairs, Cruise Ships, Casinos, Corporate Events and Comedy Clubs along with other professional venues. Those are the performers I work with ---- 
----- and then there are those who do birthday parties and street perform.

If you want quality performers, let me know. If you want to shop around for "more performers" because you think that is going to be better and more entertaining, I thank you for the opportunity to bid on your event. I hope it is the most successful event these kids have ever witnessed.

I am sorry - I am tired. I do not sleep well the night before I have to catch a plane at 8:10 am, fly all day, - drive 2 hours to the town I will be in - do a show at 1 am - 3 am, drive back to the airport two hours to catch a plane and fly home again ...

... the client is not paying for a 2-hour show, they are paying for almost 48 hours of my labor to get there, and I have to have bells on my toes and make the audience laugh so hard they cry and think, "This was the BEST show I have ever seen!"

Yup, they could have hired a birthday party clown locally - but instead they chose to try and hire the best their money could afford. That's me, and my peers. Yeah, I have some friends who make 5X as much as me, and I have some friends who make 1/5th as much as me per show - but as a rule, I know my peers - others who are tops in their field.

I do not have details on what they will do exactly - they will cater the show to the age of the audience. I do not dictate what they should do, because they know what their best material is for the audience and it may change depending on the age of the group. i.e., Children 5 & 6 like more buffoonery. 9-10 year olds can begin to appreciate higher skill levels. If you'd like an outline of what they would suggest, I can ask them for it. I will do my best to get it to you asap.

Need to go catch a plane now."

 

 

Please share your opinion in the comments section. I look forward to hearing your input.

Some people have an option - some do not

There are performers out there, like me, who do not have an option.

We either perform - or we die.

Since I am 3-1/2 years old, I have been on stage. Doing solo work since I am 12, making money since I am 17, and never have had a job since I am 19 - I am now 54.

I honestly know little else. And when I am not on stage (or producing) I am depressed. It is not severe depression, but it is depression.

My sister deals with it too. She is an entertainer as well.

Why do entertainers, sports figures, politicians all have so many addictions? Shopping to the point of bankruptcy, religion, alcohol, drugs, over eating, multiple marriages, sex addiction, money addiction ... because we are trying to get HIGH. And we can't get the same high from anything else the same way we can get the HIGH from being on stage.

Everything else is temporary. The stage is our passion - and that is why George Burns and Sinatra were on tour till the day they died. And that is what killed Michael Jackson, Elvis and Marilyn - trying to maintain sanity between the highs of the stage and performing. The natural adrenaline - there is no better high. Why do politicians remain in office and fight to remain in office? Some thing it is power, and you are right - but really it is the "HIGH!"

Pursuit of the next gig will also help me - but it is an attempt to stay high. Find the fix, Get the Drug, have an audience that laughs, applauds and gives you their undivided attention for 60-90 or more minutes.

Do you want to get high with me? Come on stage with me. Better yet, do your solo - a song, a dance, a monologue, a routine - do an entire show. Let's get high together.

I go to other people's shows and I want to do the sound, work the video camera, be back stage - not in the front row ... I want to breath the show. Feel it, taste it, touch it. A show has a soul. Let me breath it's soul.

I live in a house - my sister's house. She is married to a performer and she is a performer and her five children are all performers - and why? Because it is in our blood. It is highly contagious, too.

We eat - drink - breath - sleep - discuss over dinner - discuss from the minute we awake - and we awake to answer the phone because ... it might be a gig. PLEASE - Get me HIGH!

Obsessed by it - we write about it - gig proposals or books or articles or blogs. We do all types of shows and we want to be around our own types - others who know the feeling, understand the addiction, support us - feel our pain.

We live together in Vegas, NY, SF, LA - because we support each other's addiction.

I went to dinner with Mitchel Barrett tonight and two other friends. Mitchel became quickly debilitated at one point and put out of business in less than a week. He talked about how he can't remember his last show ... and he wants to do a "last show" - Why? It is a passion. To run through a field with a favorite pet, to make love once more with the lover you remember best, to hike a mountain and camp in the wilderness with someone who you had the time of your life with - and to feel that applause, laughter and attention - to know you mastered that ...to remember your last show ...

Want to get high with me? I will turn you on to the most addicting drug in the world, and you make it inside of yourself - it is called adrenaline. Only Artists and presenters have the addiction. Politicians, Sports figures, Artists, Musicians, Performers - we all have a stage, an audience - the sound of the crowd... and it gets us very high. Very high. I will turn down anything to get on stage. It's better than sex!

No, really ...

Let me turn you on ...

2012 January 26. If you haven’t already seen it, you should check out this New York Times article, which I posted to Facebook today: In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad .

Apple, along with most other computer companies, now assemble and manufacture everything in China because China can do it for less than $10 a unit. How do they do it? China operates sweat shops that keep workers at the factory for 12 hour shifts to meet the high demand Apple has for its products at the cheapest price. ...

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