When you make a habit of creating public spectacles, in which you are the center, you tend to get noticed. And when you create these spectacles in one of the most visited places on the face of the Earth, the effect is multiplied to a degree that your author here can hardly comprehend.
Ever since I started doing "street magic" shows in one of these places, all kinds of people have been introducing themselves to me; tourists, families, professional graffiti artists, personal trainers, preachers, producers, agents, the occasional fellow magician, as well as people who see me and what I do as something that could help them, who thought they could also help me in some way. They saw mutual opportunity in our meeting.
One of these people (lets call him "Josh") asked me, out of the blue (he had barely seen me perform for more than 10 seconds) if he could get one of my social media handles, so he could contact me. He said we worked in "nightlife". I was intrigued (and its simply good practice to not miss out on a gig opportunity) so I gave it to him. He hadn't given me his, so for all I knew, that could be the last I heard from him, and sometimes that's how it goes.
He contacted me the next day. Said it was nice to meet me. He contacted me again the next day, asking if I was available that night. Said he wanted to "collab" and that he could "expand my network".
Now, that could mean a lot of different things, all of them probably worth looking into. I didn't know what he meant by "collab" (collaborate on what?) but I had time that night and decided to tell him "Sure".
When I met him again, only a couple blocks down from where he'd seen me perform, I learned that he was honestly a pretty normal guy. He worked as a nightclub promoter (which I had already gathered) and inside the luxury apartment we met outside of, were a bunch of "Influencers".
Now, I knew what that meant. Kind of. People with huge social media followings... Who have influence? Considering my personal feelings about social media (which are... not positive) I was a bit skeptical. Josh saw this as an opportunity for me to network. The plan was to just go upstairs, hang out until the women among them were ready, then we all go to the club. I was not entirely down, but I decided to go up anyway.
What was waiting for us on the 30th floor (aside from the most amazing view that I've seen in a long time) was far more relaxed and low-key than I anticipated. There was music playing, an open pizza box, and I was quickly greeted and offered any food or drink that I'd like. The apartment was full of about 8 people. A couple people were chatting, but most appeared occupied
I decided to just act like I was at a walk-around gig, and in a few seconds after making introductions I was doing my opener for three people.
Since I wasn't at a gig, I had to keep going in and out of my "performance mode" in order to keep a balance between making an impression with my magic and just talking with people and being a person. The "Influencers", it turned out, were real people too. Nearly everyone I met, it turned out had their own thing going on. They weren't the image I had in my mind of people who are seemingly always on vacation and don't work (although there were a couple who seemed to lead that life). One was a DJ. Another the DJ's agent, and designed "visuals" you might associate with EDM. One ran a media company. Josh was a promoter for at least 3 nightclubs.
One thing that surprised me was the way these people were using social media. While it was ever-present (which I expected), it wasn't all-consuming. Every time I was doing magic, there was always someone (or more than one) filming me with their phone, and there were constantly posts being made, I noticed everyone was being quick about it. I've been to many other parties and gatherings where "ordinary" people were far more absorbed by the social media in their phones.
More people kept arriving and I continued to do some magic every time I met someone new (as long as they were interested). It was going really well. Some even told me "One of these girls is gonna fall in love with you tonight if you keep doing that".
I liked it. However, I did feel I was the odd man out. I didn't feel quite right. And I wasn't even the only person there that didn't really know anyone, either. Was it the fact I was the only person with apparent supernatural abilities? Eh, maybe, but that's not what I'm thinking, in retrospect. Can you guess? Right now, what I'm pretty sure it was that made me keep having that feeling: It was me. I'm pretty sure it was just me.
I was seeing everybody as "them" and myself as separate from them. Where, in reality, we were all separate from each other in an uncountable number of ways. So letting this one way that I was different from them ("influencer status") get to me and make me feel odd, that was entirely my fault. If I just saw all of us as people with something in common (being invited to and being in the same place that night), on top of anything else we found we had in common, I never would have felt that way, I believe.
So, in the end when it was time for everyone to go to the club, I still decided stick with the decision I made before even got into the apartment, which was not to go. When we got outside, I said my goodbyes, watched them get into their ubers and we parted ways. I felt some regret.
The moral of the story? Be more open. Or at least, I should be more open.
Sure, I had a bag with me. Sure, I had my busking table with me, but I should have gone with them. Who knows what would have happened? Who knows what connections could have been formed? Who knows, maybe I would have even danced? That night was far from a waste, but it could have been so much more. One thing I want you to take away, if your are sometimes standoffish, like me, is this: When someone is holding a door open for you, a door of opportunity, you should walk through it. Chances are, it can only lead to good things.
Below, you can find a compilation of videos taken that night during my adventure. Enjoy!
Warning: Video includes Strong Language