Tuesday, June 30, 2009

WMF Chris Kenner

I heard so many good things about Chris Kenner. Being a consultant of David Copperfield and other stuff. In fact, I read his wonderful book, "Totally Out of Control" It is a great magic book. Lot's of knuckle busting stuff. Hell I even perform a few of his effects. ("In Ten City" and "Long gone Silver")

So I know this guy is good. He is a great thinker and reading his book I got the impression he loves magic. But he seems to like money even more.

Exhibit #1: "Tnr by Mathieu Bich" a horrible effect that Kenner advertises on the hip and cool website Theory 11. Effect: A card is torn into 4 pieces, the pieces are restored piece by piece and in the end the card transforms into a different card. This is a monster.

Not only is the trick extremely impractical, it also makes no sense. If a card is torn and restored, the first assumption of any spectator is "switch". And basically their thoughts are proven with this.

Chris Kenner is smart enough to understand that this effect is trash and that the trick is impractical. The fact that he still advertises it makes me think that he is either forced to do it, (I think I heard the trigger of a gun in the demo video) or that he just wants to milk our money, implying that he doesn't care for the art anymore (if he ever had).

Shame on you for being such a sellout, for saying "f*** you art, hello business."

And I really like your routines.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Just A Sunday Post #6

This is good for a few reasons:

  1. No cards and coins
  2. There is a build in visual component to remind where the dice travel to. (The red die)
  3. The little cup adds an impossibility in the end, which creates the feeling of progress.
  4. Did I mention No cards and coins?
  5. It is done quickly and straight to the point.
  6. It is practical.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I have too much time to think about stuff like that!

This is just a little addition to the gag where your turn a towel into a chicken... Here you see the gag

Have an egg palmed as you do the folding parts. It won't hinder you and you can hide the egg the whole time.

After the chicken is created have it lay an egg as a kicker.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Passing Time

Frequently asked questions and their answers:

Can you turn a 10 into a 20?

  • "If I could I wouldn't be here!"
  • "Sure I can, I just don't want to. I like being poor!"
  • "Well yes, but tell me: Why should I do it for you?"
  • "Yes, I mean no, forget I ever said 'yes'. Even forget that I just said that. I better shut up now. And you do the same. Understood?"

Can you make my wife disappear?

  • "Okay, close your eyes." then addressing the wife "This is your chance. RUN!"
  • "Of course I can. I just need to call my pet Mafiosi Luigi and all will be well."
  • "How much will you pay?"
  • "She asked first, so both of us have an appointment in that dark ally outside, later."

Where did you learn that?

  • "I could tell you, but then I have to kill you!"
  • "I am not telling you, I do not want future rivals"
  • "I bought a magic set yesterday"
  • "I was born with this, it's a gift from my father. Favourite guy in the 70's. Doug was his name!"

How did you do that?

  • "Not quite sure, I am surprised myself each and every time. Call it motivation!"
  • "I wish I would get a buck each time I hear that question. Oh by the way, you owe me a buck now"
  • "42"
  • "Oh boy, that question again. I'll give you the most honest answer:" yelling into their ear "It's a trick!"

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

WMF Shawn Farquhar

Shawn Farquhar, the two time world champion of magic. He acts so professional, so ultra professional, so super duper professional. Well in a certain way he is. He is a professional in making others believe he is a professional.

Have you seen his magic?

Decent. That is it. No more. He claims he created the tricks above. Really? I have NEVER seen something similar before. And I am not being IRONIC.

I saw him at a lecture. Mr. Farquhar is a name dropper. This is a habit of people with a low self esteem. And if this guy lacks anything, it is modesty.

His skills and his presentations are barely above average, yet he acts, as if he is the best thing since sliced bread.

And I assume he googles his name every day, so: "Shawn Farquhar: You are not awesome, your are just normal. Face it."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mental Toy

Do you know those thumb toys? A little figurine on a wooden base. On the bottom of the base is button. If you push it with your thumb the figure breaks apart. Threads keep it together. When you release pressure, the figure stands up again. Pretty old but here is my idea:

Instead of a person or animal you have a spoon. And on the base it says: "Uri Geller's first toy"

This might be a seller. If someone wants to make it, send me a free copy!

Bonus: I am making a prediction here: Michael Jackson will die in the next few days! His death will totally overshadow the death of Farrah Fawcett who will die the same day.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Just A Sunday Post #5

This I like. It is on the magic market for quite a while now. The price will scare most, but this is so good. Any arm chopper will scream "gimmick" so having an ungimmicked one is priceless. Also it packs small and plays big. The build in structure nicely motivates the secret move and you get in the arm of the spectators in a very scheming way. Jimmy Finger, I like you.

The next one is bad. David Regal sells the effect (plus gimmick)for 37,15 dollars. Really? Now how could that work? I cannot tell. Maybe I should ask a layperson. They will instantly know. Maybe in context this is applicable.

And to finish something in between: Dice illusion v.2. Really interesting effect, and actually performable in the right setting.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Jumping On The Hype Wagon

There is this classic trick. Five paper cups are on the table or a board, the magician does not know under which a nail is hidden. He starts smashing the cups with his bare hand. In the end only the "dangerous" cup is not smashed.

Instead of a nail or a knife that is hidden under one of five paper cups, take an iphone.

It seems that nowadays the danger of smashing an iphone outweighs the danger of having your hand turned into a bloody mess. Especially with the young generation.

Friday, June 19, 2009

WMF Daniel Ulzen

This delayed WMF goes to Daniel Ulzen a German magician based in Berlin. Here is why: Daniel has a website. On that website you will find a video. On that video (it's German) you will see a whole bunch of quick tricks that he teaches children in his online magic school. For 5€ (about 7$) a month, you will learn 35 new tricks each month and have access to all of the previous month's tricks. That is less then 15 cents per trick.

So Daniel Ulzen is basically giving away magic. He claims that most of the tricks just need 5 minutes to 30 minutes of practice... well yeah right.

But all of that make him not WMF-worthy. It is this: He is also active in the Magic Café. He asked for a cheap alternative for rough and smooth spray. A friend of mine told him where to get the alternative. Daniel thanked him, mentioning that he will need it for the Invisible Deck, that he might teach for a fee to his "pupils". My friend was outraged, naturally.

Daniel asked for a information, as if he needed it. But all he wanted was to turn this into money. And he doesn't even feel guilty about it.

His Magic Café name is "Daniel Ulzen" I recommend searching for the thread I mentioned. I will not link to this, because it seems like a common habit that the thread will be deleted, if it is mentioned anywhere.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Gazzo? What have You Done?

I am in London right now. And today I went out doing some busking at Convent Garden. Holy crap! Every magician I have seen copied Gazzo's act. I mean there was almost no variation. Same appearance, same tricks, same jokes. They copied everything. These guys had no character. I was hurt.

Why? Well, because it works. It was creepy. They took turns performing. And it was the same act again and again.

I make a bold claim here: They are not in for the magic. They are in for the money. In fact there was no artistry, no creativity, there was nothing that I love about street performing with those guys.

I was shocked. Their skill was decent, but nothing had soul. To me they seemed like empty shells.

Monday, June 15, 2009

PSA "Just Say No"

I am in London right now, so this weeks magic failure will be delayed a few days. But something funny to help you wait.

One of the many gags with "Knife through spectator's Jacket" is the security chip gag. That little plastic chip thing that clothing is secured with in malls. It is secretly attached to the jacket. I found this to be not easy sometimes. So I created an alternative gag. And I seem to be the only one doing that.

Basically palmed in your hand you have a little transparent bag of cannabis. Mine is actually tea, glued on little wooden pellets. Just take the jacket with the hand that palms the little bag and drop it on the floor. It will be noticed. You pick it up and do your gag.

And although I don't do drugs: "Legalize It!"

Btw: Thumbtips are great for smuggling drugs. Fingertips are even better. They never seem to check the very end of your hands.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Just A Sunday Post #4

There is this Youtube-User who calls himself mismag822 he explains a whole bunch of rather simple, almost self working tricks.

At first I thought he his one of those who disrespects magic. But having seen many, many videos of him explaining stuff, I realize that this old man loves magic. He really likes it. Not the wonder, but the challenge, the puzzle. And there is nothing wrong with this. Obviously he sits at home (with his dogs) creating those videos.

He has fallen for false friends. Who praise him doing it. So he gets the "social feedback" he needs and that encourages him to do more videos. He's got more than 5000 subscribers. What he needs is a friend or at least real spectators. 

This is just one example. I think it doesn't hurt magic.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bunny From Top Hat

Regular bunnies or rabbits are way too big to fit in a top hat. And the "dwarf kind" is too expensive. So here is the solution: Guinea Pigs... they have the right size and there are costumes for them. 

Be scared, be very very scared!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Gee, he needs help! Let's leave him Happy Pills!

Back to David J. Castle the Michigan Marketing Consultant Magician. His business website is really, really bad.


He should hire a web designer, that would be a good marketing move.

Anyway, I ranted quite a bit about the magic website he runs. But even worse is the message board. The way the members treat secrets and magic in general makes me sad. They openly ask for secrets and they get answers. Links to file hosts and plain text explanations. This forum is the lowest form of a gathering of magic scum. Even worse than the Magic Café. I hate them. I really do. I feel that my beloved magic is abused with such treatment. Sad, so sad.

Anyway, something funny to help me and something funny you can do:

Fun With Mall Detectives!

Go to a supermarket, have an empty bag with you. Go to a shelf with valuable stuff, that is fairly small. Now pretend to steal it. Put it in your bag, palm it, get other one (same one) and keep doing that for a little bit. Don't be subtle about it. Just put stuff in the bag. The last one (the only one) you put back in the shelf.

Make sure to stand optimized towards the surveillance camera. Then wonder around in the store, look at stuff and then slowly walk towards the exit.

Chances are good, that security is waiting for you. Look all innocent, follow them, make no trouble. Make slow movements. For they expect you to get rid of the bag before you all reach the office.

Let them search you, but insist on an official apology in the end.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Update on the Puma Thingy

As expected I get daily email from Brad Jackson. Of course no personal email, just the "newsletter" that I didn't sign up to. (It's actually marked as spam by my spam filter)


I don't think I'm being to subtle when 
I say I've been trying to get you into 
the PUMA Skills Mastery Course 2.0, 

But if you're not convinced I decided 
to give you an exclusive sneak peak 
inside exactly what you'll 
be getting


Brad Jackson

That link above will lead to this:
A video telling me what I will get. I suggest hitting the pause button once in a while to read some of the stuff in the video. It will tell you a lot.

But this post lacks funny. So here it is:

"I bet you all wanna know what that pixie dust is! Right? Well if you put it on a mirror, in a line and have a rolled up dollar bill... Let's say it this way. You are gonna see the pixies."

Monday, June 8, 2009

WMF Brad "Puma" Jackson

Puma Skills. Yeah. Puma, stand for Pick Up Magic Artist. Brad Jackson is the "creator" of this marketing idea. It is not a new idea to sell the hope of getting sex to social losers. Heck it is not even a new idea in magic. But it deserves mention. 

Naturally, being a social loser I signed up. I got a few emails, giving me links.

Here they are in order:

  • http://pumaskills.com/2.0/mysterystrawrevealed/
  • http://pumaskills.com/2.0/newpuma/
  • http://pumaskills.com/2.0/tsb/
  • http://pumaskills.com/2.0/famous-pumas/ 
  • http://www.pumaskills.com/masterycourse2 

All of that serves one purpose, to hype the Mastery Course. Which is on sale for $67.00. 

So, we got a decent looking guy who says is good picking up chicks, lousy at doing magic (he flashes in the performances a lot) and I am led to believe I can be just like him.

This is really cool. No wait, it is not. It is selling a lie to the customer.

I love magic way too much to see it abused for such purposes. Unfortunately it works. You can actually pick up chicks with doing just magic. Well, you also need decent looks, nice behaviour, something to talk about besides magic and confidence.

And the lack of the later one seems more of a reason why most of us got into magic in he first place.

Thank you Brad for rubbing it in our face. Uh, I mean, for pointing it out.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Just A Sunday Post #3

Presenting: Mr Awesome 257. Not only is he NOT a Mister. He is also NOT awesome. The way he handles cards leads me to believe he is into magic for no more than two weeks. But he feels totally eligible to explain this trick. Not that it is good trick to begin with, but nevertheless.

The Youtube profile tells us he is 22 years old. Yeah right. So he lies about his identity making him as trustworthy as a loaf of bread. *rolleyes* Kids!

Oh, my I am getting old.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Coin Introduction

Have a coin finger palmed in the left hand. "Look, I have a very special coin right here" and pretend to hold a coin visible at your fingertips in your left hand (which is ironic because there is a real coin right there)
"It is special, because only smart people can see it. You can see it, right?" pointing with the empty right hand to anybody in the audience.
Then the right hand opens wide to show it's emptiness once again and pretends to grab the left hand invisible coin, but grabs the real one. "But if I turn the coin around, only dumb people can see it," The turning motion is acted out and the coin is actually displayed and put back in the left hand (same position as the invisible coin before)
The right hand goes up to the beard in a pondering motion "Or was it the other way around?"

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

From My Heart

Warning, the video contains strong language.
If you are a sissy magician, do not watch it.
You have been warned.

Monday, June 1, 2009

WMF Lou Serrano and the Free Bonuses

Hmm, where to start. With his 70's hairdo, his cute lisp? No let's start with the thing that makes Lou Serrano WMF: His advertisement for his Steel Ball routine. The routine itself might be alright, (I don't know for there is no public video on Youtube or anywhere, which in itself is a suspicious conduct)  but the advertisement for the routine has one passage which alone makes the whole thing WMF-worthy. Let me quote:

"But I decided to give you even more of a bargain! Along with the complete performance and explanation of The Steel Ball Routine you also get all of these incredible FREE bonuses valued at $1,254.00.

Lifetime Performance License That Includes Television Rights:
You will receive a license to perform the routine exactly as is anywhere in the world including television. (I may change my mind in the future, and sell television rights on a one-time performance basis, but for now you will get a license that includes television performance rights. Even if I do change my mind in the future, if you invest in this DVD now, you will have a lifetime license to perform it anywhere.) Value: $1000.00

A Full Set of Steel Ball Bearings:
Since the correct type of steel ball bearings are difficult to find, you will receive a complimentary set of the exact steel ball bearings I use in my routine. Value: $30.00

One Special Gimmick:
This gimmick is easy enough to find and customize yourself, but I’ve included it here to save you time and money. Value $10.00

Four Bonus Routines.
That’s right! I wanted to give you the best value I possibly could. When you invest in my Steel Ball Routine DVD, you’ll also learn four other professional routines in complete detail. I was thinking about releasing these effects on four separate DVDs priced at $35 each, but I decided to include them all here as a free bonus!

Everywhere and Nowhere: My handling is a huge improvement of this classic plot in magic. Now it’s easy to get into while strolling or in between tricks, and it has a simple clean up that leaves everything examinable at the end.
Value: $35.00

Card to Picture Frame:
Vanish a card from the deck held by a spectator! A moment later, the card appears in a picture frame that was in plain view the entire time! Value: $35.00

Magic Castle Matrix:
Four coins, placed under four cards, magically gather together. It is said that the difference between a craftsman and an artist is in the details. Here, I reveal all the details, tips, and finesse that transform this classic from Al Schneider into a theatrical piece of close-up wizardry. As performed at the Magic Castle to rave reviews. Value $35.00

Fireball Finesse:
Perfect for close-up or stand-up, this extremely visual routine immediately gets people’s attention! Fireball was inspired by John Bannon and later transformed into a highly visual stand-up piece by Diamond Jim Tyler. Here, I reveal handling tips that clean up the one weakness of the original routine. I perform this in all of my close-up and stand-up shows and it always receives great reactions. Value: 35.00

Bonus live footage shot at the Magic Castle.
We’re all tired of seeing instructional DVDs shot before overly enthusiastic, handpicked audiences. I want you to see how these routines play in front of an audience of strangers with no prompting. You will see unedited footage of the Magic Castle Matrix, The Steel Ball Routine, and The Animated Dollar Bill (performance only) shot live at The Magic Castle, so you can see real-world reactions. Value: $25.00.

Bonus Report on Maximizing Your Income Performing Close-Up Magic:
It amazes me when close-up magicians tell me they can’t find any work, or that nobody is calling to hire them. Even in this slow economy there is plenty of work to be had if you know where to look and how to get it. This detailed report spills the beans on all the different venues available to the close-up performer. I explain the pros and cons of working in each venue and describe the types of fees to expect in each. Most importantly, I describe the one real secret you must possess to have a thriving magic business. Without it you will flounder indefinitely. With it, success is inevitable. I’m not sure how long I’m going to offer this free report. I may stop offering it at any time. I can only guarantee that you will receive all of this valuable information if you order today! Value: $49.00

That’s $1,254.00 in Free Bonuses!"

So, 1,254.00 dollars in free bonuses. Let's break it down. The steel balls and the gimmick. Well okay. I agree on that. But the rest. The rest are routines, information and the Television rights. All of these things have no real value, ergo no price tag can be applied.

Let me explain: Assume I make up a card routine. It is a good routine. Good enough to sell it. How much should I ask for? Well, I should ask for the amount I want. So the "price tag" is an artificial one.
People might argue, that writing down the routine takes time and spent time should be paid. But the amount of pay for that time is also artificial.

Putting that into perspective it means that Lou Serrano made up the price of the "bonuses". It is an artificial value, therefore an artificial argument to sell his actual product.

I think the official term for this is "bullshitting" (sorry for the strong language), making this item WMF.

This seems to be a common trend lately. Adding totally fabricated stuff to make the actual product seem more valuable than it is. I am sick of this. Really. If you got a routine that you want to sell, give us the price you want and then let us decide on our own.