$$ for Club performing

Lets face it. $$ makes the wheel go round.

At present, our club (Memphis Unicycle Club) has no formal dues (ain’t that nice). But since we parents are all spending all available $$ on MUnies and Cokers and such, who could afford dues.

Here’s the thing…We could easily justify spending $$ on Unicycles FOR THE CLUB. Especially if the MUSters earned the $$ performing and such.

Does anyone have any thoughts on how much to charge for general putzing around. I’m sure we’d need to put together some routines. Does anyone do this?

ESSAY QUESTION: I would appreciate Routines Advise and its Relationship to $$ value.

We’ve got plenty of kids. They like to spin wrist to wrist. We’ve done a little formation riding (kriskrossing…). One little boy is a real headbanger. Surely a future crowd pleasure. We occationally have access to a bonafide clown. He’s quite good.

We’ve got an organization whiz at the helm, but I bet we could also just pass the hat on Main Street…

{Sound of wind blowing across the dusty street}

{Tumble weed}

{Sound of crickets chirping}

Re: $$ for club performing

I do not have personal experience in this area, but did recently have occasion to speak to someone who does performing for pay on the side. This person is local to my area and got his start doing a few birthday parties and built up his business completely by word of mouth over the years. He now is in a position to turn down jobs.

Our town has an annual Matawan Day at the end of the summer. This fellow who dresses in a low-key clown suit, e.g. face paint, colorful, but not oversized clothes, yes a big red nose, got paid $350 for 2 - 2 1/2 hours work. He rides around on his 24"er and his giraffe. He does some light juggling, i.e. nothing overly technical. Mostly he is paid to interact with the kids a lot. Not bad pay for a gig that, hell, I could do. (Oh, he also gets to go into the local tavern and have a toot or two on the house.)

It all comes down to personality and pleasing the crowd.

I’d say, yeah, do some street performing to see what among your groups chops work. Pass out the hat and have a card to hand out. You’ll find out what your strengths are and you’ll probably, assuming you’re amusing someone, get some bookings. Quote a bit more than you think you’re worth and scale back if you’re not getting any bites. You’d probably be surprised what people will pay for quality entertainment.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Re: Re: $$ for club performing

That’s a pretty good sum-up. It also comes down to looking and acting like you’re worth the price. Matching uniforms and good music can make up for a lot, but there has to be something there when you perform, too.

Raphael’s suggestion of doing “free” street shows for practice is a good one. You can find out what gets good crowd response, what doesn’t, and hand out cards to people who may call you later in the year for jobs.

My old unicycle club, the Redford club in Michigan, used to do parades and demonstration-type shows. They weren’t so much performance-oriented as they were demos. This made it easy to just go out and do each show section, one after the other, and it sold because we were a unicycle club, a bunch of kids and young adults, and not presenting ourselves as professional entertainers.

I think we used to get between $200 and $400 for appearances, back in the early '80s. Much of these gigs are found by word of mouth. Riding in parades gets you seen, but people may not think of you for stuff other than parades. So doing some free street stuff might be a good way to get seen as well.

Good luck,

Exactly. 3 parades coming up. Handing out cards is a fantastic idea. I expect we’ll grow in membership, and in that we’ve accomplished a multi-faceted goal.

We’ve got some folks who will ride backwards, hop. Last wknd I saw one of our kids (relatively new to all this) riding comfortably with seat on stomach! Great stuff. (Dang Kids)

BTW: we’re a bunch of kids, young adults, and bonafide card-carrying 40+ers.

I tend to forget just how amazing it is for the non-unicycling observer to watch someone do anything on a unicycle. We’ve been at this for going on two years now, meet weekly in our club and do quite a bit of unicycling throughout the week. So now it’s second nature to “think” unicycling and not have a second thought about how unique it is.

A quick analogy, I spend four years working at the Pentagon with a high level Top Secret clearance. The documents I saw when I first arrived blew me away. Four years later, I was caught up in the mindset, as were many others in the business, that a document stamped Top Secret looked normal, ordinary, and much like any other piece of paper in my life. We were desensitized.

So it is with unicycling. I am now desensitized to the uniqueness of our sport and can’t see it through the eyes of the non-unicycler without great effort. Some of the higher skills as we saw at UNICON still blow me away but that’s because I can’t do them yet. All this to say, Mr. Mud, that even the seemingly insignificant unicycle skills (to us) will look giant in the eyes of performance observers. Go for it. Try it out. I think you’ll get a great reaction.

One of our goals is to develop a 5-8 minute routine to use at local and even University basketball halftimes. Alan Tepper shared with me that one of the most effective routines happens without talking to the crowd. Hit the music…LOUD…then hit the floor with non-stop action. I hope to be there soon with our club.

Bruce