Friday, July 31, 2009

Doin' the Math!

In case you have not noticed, there was a poll on the right side of this blog, asking if what I am doing is right. Here is the evaluation of it. A whooping 80 percent of you guys think I am on the right track. Eight of you think I should die in a fire. That makes me sad. I thought this blog would polarize a bit more, generating a lot more hate. Anyway, but the main thing, and the reason this survey was there in the first place is this: Nobody thought that this blog hurts magic. Not the guys who hate me nor the people who support me.

That gives me the liberty to keep on doing what I do, as I do no harm to the art that I love.

Thank you very much.

Old joke: What is the difference between a stripper and a bad magician?
The stripper poses, while the magician exposes.

And aside from that, a stripper is much more pleasant to watch.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Lavand Method

The purpose of the common lie is to believed. In magic it means, that when you say "Pick a card any card!" the lie might be, that they cannot pick any card, but in order to be believable we have to have to lie indirectly. If we say "each card is different" you won't be believable for you are in the role of a magician. And therefore people expect a lie.

That means that lying has to be a rather indirect process. By showing the deck of cards in a mixed condition, by briefly exposing the palm of the hand to be emtpy, without pointing it out.

But there is a lie that is commonly used, and which pisses me off. Example: "Because you signed the card, it makes it ambitious and therefore it comes to the top." or "The red cards are printed with water based ink and the black card with oil based ink. And water and oil don't mix!"

Those are what I call stupid lies. Nobody believes them, ergo not meeting the purpose of the lie, ergo having no reason to be there at all. Unless that lie is extremly funny, and therefore justifying the stupid lie as mean of entertainment, it serves no purpose if it is not believed. Many magicians seem to miss that point.

Sometimes a stupid card trick is just a stupid card trick and bad magicians makes up stupid lies to justify the stupidity of it. If you need to broaden the significance of what you are doing, I suggest the "Lavand method".

I have seen René Lavand doing this several times. Basically he recites his patter which is much bigger than the trick and does the trick alongside. He never claims that the cards something other than cards, yet he talks about life and death and the stars and the heart.

This is an example how he might do it. This trick is not part of his act as far as I know. Ambitious Card: "Sometimes there are ideas in the world, that are so great and so new that certain conservative forces try to bury that idea before it reaches the top of our consciousness but a great idea will always surface" as you say that, you take the top card and put it in the deck and then reveal it to be back on top. You never claimed that "cards are just like ideas". Or in other words: you used no stupid lie. That is the Lavand method. Use it! It's better than lying.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More about our recent WMF

Just some thoughts:

Losander rehashes his old stuff. The floating ball became the floating table, became the floating baseball cap which became the floating haunted box. Isn't that a sign of missing creativity?

He came up with a way to let the thread move into the dancing cane after the performance. Since the dancing cane cannot be examined, isn't that kind of pointless?

The dancing cane (which is not his', as it originated not from magic thinking, but from dance) became the dancing wand and the dancing candle. Isn't that rehashing as mentioned above?

Same with his "loop work"...

He did this clip, claiming that being an original is rewarding and the best thing that can happen to you in magic.

Well being original AND creative will help a lot more, to becoming a good magician.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Putting the Fun back in Funeral

Effect: During a funeral with an open casket, the magician claims to have come up with a new trick. Naturally all the guest won't be interested in attending the funeral celebration anymore. Instead they want the miracle worker do do his newest trick. So the performer goes to the casket waves his arms a little bit over the body and suddenly the corpse begins to move. And it starts to rise like the Frankenstein Monster. Then the decedent falls back again and may the defunct person rest in peace.

Method: The Windomation gimmick.

This trick will make you an unforgettable hit.

Monday, July 27, 2009

WMF Dirk "I didn't steal the floating table" Losander

A German Magician, who didn't steal the floating table from Tommy Wonder. Just the gimmick from Tommy's floating bird cage...

Anyway. I always found this magician kind of odd. Something about his style, his hairdo or his weird obsession with levitations, I do not know.

And I must admit his floating tables are damn fine products.

But this is just bad:

A card is selected. Lost in the deck. The deck is put inside a box. The box is levitated and when opened the selected card is apart from the rest of deck.

Wtf, What is the effect?
Does the card separate from the deck and that separation causes the box to levitate? If so, why the box?
Does the box cause the separation by levitating? If so, why the piece of silk?
Does the silk cause the levitation and the separation? If so, how?

This is a product that is not fully cooked yet. Sure it looks nice, but that should not be the only redeeming quality.

And this is true for a lot of his products. Same method, a floating baseball cap.

Same wtf from my side.

In the magic community he is known for floating soap bubbles. Why float soap bubbles? They float by themselves. I get the impression that Dirk doesn't really think his stuff all the way through. In fact it seems like the good stuff he does is created by chance and not by hard work.


We do not play this game in Germany. It was made up by Dirk Losander, spreading lies about us salt tossing Germans.

So why is he a WMF... because I said so. It is my blog I can do what ever I want.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Just A Sunday Post #10

Claimed to be an excerpt from the Geoff Williams/Scott Franz "Brain Candy" DVD.
Geoff Williams has a website too, that I urge you to check out.

He claims no camera tricks and tricky editing. Well if this is true this is either totally impractical, only looks real on camera or real magic. Well Fake or not, it got my head spinning and reminded me what real magic should look like.

That "Brain Candy" DVD is free, if you send him an envelope containing a self-addressed CD mailer that is pre-stamped ($2), he will send you a copy. So he claims.

To me he seems to be a funny guy. Funny enough to prank other magicians, making them think there is real magic. Or not.

On the website (link above) you will find and embedded video with a self levitation, that is too good to be true, but the premise so funny. Reminding me of the German collection of stories called "Schildbürger" basically a small town full of dumb people who try and succeed to do weird stuff. Like carrying each other by the neck, except the last on who carries himself. And forgetting to make windows in the newly built town hall, so they take buckets, go outside and catch the lights in the buckets to bring it into the town hall.

The last one reminds me of something... Oh yeah, that Peter Loughran Frozen Glow thingy. I knew I smelt something dumb.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Baby Card Shuffle

Talk about weird parenting:

Actually wanted to keep this video until Sunday, but could not wait...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lou Serrano Update!

Lou Serrano has been WMF for telling so much BS about the price of his steel ball routine. My main complaint was that there was no video of the routine. Now there is:

Of course it is cut at crucial moments. Of course the video doesn't tell us anything. Of course it is still a WMF.

The routine might be really nice, but not the way it is advertised. A new set of BS-business speak has been added. When asked how much it costs:

"This is one of my bread and butter routines, so I want to keep it exclusive and out of the hands of the merely curious. Therefore, I’m not selling this in stores or anywhere else on the web."

Why then sell it at all?

"I asked many of my magician friends who have seen my act at the Magic Castle, ...[Spot the name dropping!] ...what they would pay for this routine. Most of them said they would gladly pay $200 or more to learn all the work on this routine. Others have asked me to give them lessons on the routine, which would take a minimum of three to four lessons to teach in person. They would still have to practice in between lessons to get it right. My private lesson fee is $200 per hour which would equate to $600 to $800 for lessons on all the inside work."

So again Lou is justifing the value of his product. The price still is totally contrived as well as his private lesson fee. So to justify a price by telling another price of a different product is like lying about a lie.

Again: Lou! If you want the 117,00 USD that you charge, just ask for it, don't warrant it. The most honest answer for the question "how much?" would be: "117,00 USD, because I said so!"

Gee I am pissed of once again.

AND ONE MORE THING: He claims to be “America’s Leading Corporate Magician & Sales Entertainer” HOW CAN SUCH A CLAIM BE MADE? This is like saying, that I, Roland Henning, have won the "Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence" Such an award doesn't exist... oh wait, it does. Never mind!

Frozen Glow by Peter Loughran

OK, I predicted he will come out with something new. But is it good?

I DO NOT KNOW HOW IT WORKS... on the website it says.

- Frozen Glow can be used with any card in the deck.
- Frozen Glow can be used with any brand or deck of cards.
- The cards can be borrowed.
- Frozen Glow can be instantly repeated.
- There is no card force, it is a free choice.
- There is no switch of any kind.
- Frozen Glow is easy to do and requires no sleight of hand.
- The performer's hands are shown empty at all times.
- The card can be examined before and after the effect.
- The Lens is fully examinable and never touches the card.
- Frozen Glow can even be done with business cards.
- Capture the light on either the face or the back of any playing card and over top of their signature.
- The light can be captured in any position on the card.
- Frozen Glow will be an unforgettable souvenir for your spectator.

Notice it doesn't say anything about NOT using a stamp to apply some sort of translucent ink/color on the card.

Using my awesome brainpower, taking into consideration all of the "conditions" above and knowing about the Too Perfect Theory, popularized by Rick Johnsson, I'd go for a stamp.

By the way, I have a problem with one condition stated above:
- The performer's hands are shown empty at all times.

Does this mean no cards are held, no card box, no "lens". The video shows different, making this a lie. But I guess "The performer's hands are shown empty at all times, except for all the stuff that is supposed to be there" would be too much of a statement, for it could lead to making up a theory how exactly the stamp is stamping the card.

Again, I do not know how it is done. I used intuition. I might be wrong. And honestly I hope I am. Because if I am right, Peter would have created another brilliant masterpiece of crap.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Crazy Card Puppet Show

A flourish for those Xtreme Beginners out there. I have never seen this particular cut, so I claim this to be my own little creation. At least I came up with this myself. If you are a smartypants, let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.

Monday, July 20, 2009

WMF Michael P. Lair

Is it so hard to do magic without being smug about it?
Is it so hard to come across as a genuine and honest?
Is it so hard not to sell crap?

Obviously it is. Featuring Michael P. Lair. Five-time winner of the award of Special Merit for Creativity from the International Brotherhood of Magicians. Five-time winner of the national magic competition at the yearly Magi-Fest in Columbus, Ohio. First place award winner in the stage competition at the Cleveland Magic Convention and more bravado can be found on his website.

Look at this:

This is bad. Cute idea, maybe, but turning a sponge ball into a poker chip? Boy, one needs to create a whole lot of motivation around this.

But I see where Michael wants to see himself. As an elegant magician reminiscent of the old times when everything was good, magicians were respected and respectful to one another and when a man handling candles was standard.

Does this actually fool?

The ditching of the candle was way too obvious and the hand clearly has something in the hand to begin with. (You can actually see it at 0:08 in his right hand)

Are those mistakes OK in a promotional video? No, there not. I would film it again. Or maybe this was the best take before it was bedtime.

Or this one:

I consider this direct spoiling of the method.

ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR, why is this man such a bad performer? Why are his unique ideas so weak? Why is he so obsessed with streaming coils? And why is his attire always so clean?

I guess I'll never know. But I'll make him WMF. One more bravado he can add to his website.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Just A Sunday Post #9

Just a card control designed to fool other magicians:

Have a card selected via the handling required for Marlo's Convincing Control. Instead of transferring the selection to the bottom, it is controlled second from the bottom. This is simply done by buckling the bottom card and therefore the selection goes second from the bottom. As the "false selection" - that is out jogged - is squared up, tilt the deck in such a way that the bottom card is visible. Most magicians (who know the technique) would expect the actual selection to be on the bottom, but it is not. (Those who do not know Marlo's Convincing Control might expect a break that is held below the selection which is assumed to be in the middle)

Then the deck is spread on the table (for those who thought of break) and the top card taken, flipped face up (just for those who expected a pass) and used as a pointer to show that the selection could be anywhere in the spread. The card in the hand is put back on top of the spread and the cards are scooped up. But start from the third card from the bottom. That leaves two cards "by accident" on the table. Those are simply taken and put on the top of the pile. (Furthermore confusing those who expect a stack)

Now the selection in on top. But most magicians are completely fooled by this.

Peter Loughran Week: Black Hole

Yesterday's chat with a friend.

Friend: wow you really have a problem with this guy PEter Loughram
Friend: poor guy
Friend: he's filling half of the blog
Roland: lol
Roland: it is peter loughran week
Friend: did he beat you up or something?
Roland: his products are sh*t
Roland: real bad
Roland: and he seems to think he is a creative gift to the world
Roland: well he is not
Friend: yeah I hate those guys
Friend: but here is the way I look at it:
Friend: those guys producing a lot of sh*t on the web..... they have an important function in magic
Roland: to get rich?
Friend: they are making it harder for a layperson to find exposure of good magic
Friend: good magic gets clouded by their presence online
Friend: and so,
Friend: when I do magic,
Friend: layperson see something they have never seen before
Friend: cause all they saw so was was Laughran stuff
Roland: well, OK, than this is how I see it...
Roland: then it is my function to rip on those guys
Friend: yeah you are good
Friend: it's making it even bigger for them in a way
Friend: their online presence gets amplified
Friend: the more sh*t the better
Friend: cause it hides real magic
Friend: real magic becomes like a needle in a haystack
Roland: well, yeah, but have you actually looked at the products that peter Loughran sells?
Friend: looking at one now
Roland: which one?
Friend: he's holding a chain
Friend: tying it around his neck
Roland: oh, that garotte thing
Friend: isn't that the Tenkai rope through neck thing?
Roland: pretty much
Friend: oh that blood is so cheesy
Roland: but without the rather convincing fake wrapping around
Friend: one wonders if this Peter Loughran actually knows he is a bullsh*tter, or if he really believes he is a master of magic
Roland: Hm, if you read is bio, that he has obviously written himself, I think he actually thinks he is good
Friend: he is terrible
Roland: his "ultimate cane is so bad"
Roland: dancing cane combined with the vanishing cane
Roland: the way he does it... horrible
Friend: I'm really surprised he hasn't come up with a torn and restored card yet. or his own 3-fly.... it's the typical trick for that sort of people
Friend: I must say that I also think people like Loughran damage magic. They pollute our reputation.
Friend: they are the cause for people not hiring us
Friend: cause they give magic a bad name.

Now.... to finish this week. Yet another item of the Peter Loughran product line. The Black Hole:

According to the website: "The Black Hole effect allows you to control, produce, vanish, steal, conceal, and change heavy and large objects at your fingertips. Produce a small tray with a bottle of wine and a full wine glass, visibly throw a large object into the air only for it to change into a silk and/or confetti in mid-air, steal and conceal dozens of coins, vanish full cans of soda, produce cutlery for an entire table, manipulate large and heavy objects that seem to come and go from nowhere. So many effects are possible with this deceptively simple gimmick. Requires no pulls, no black art and can be done in short sleeves! Geared for the street performer, this is the perfect utility device for not only the close up worker but also perfect for the stage performer. Your imagination is the only limit you have!"

Ok, how do I start? Oh yeah, have you every played with magnets as some sort of hold out. Usually you put them in your back pocket and use it to get rid of a coin and to get it back. Later one realizes that this is not necessary at all. Well the Black Hole ist pretty much that. Just not your pocket, but your back. Sure it allows for some interesting stuff, but this is not a new concept. So charging 44.99 USD is overpriced.

It says: "Geared for the street performer," I honestly don't know in what world Peter is living, but a street performer works completely surrounded. (that is 360 degrees) So something on the back will be seen. Because the Black Hole is not angle proof.

I only see an application in stage magic, making the whole advertisment a phrasemongering. This is false advertisment, and I don't even know if Peter is aware of that. If he is aware, then he is a sell out, if he is not, he is a poor soul who lives in another world. A world of smoke, cheesy music and low video resolution.

Well this ends the Peter Loughran Week. I was seriously thinking about adding a second week. But I will not. Let's just wait what silly next thing Peter will release. Maybe this time he will get it right. He is due to make a good one.

Oh Peter, one more thing just for you: Name your products less boastful, Entity, Ultimate Cane, Black Hole, Elevator, Rainmaker, Broom through Body, Head Rush, Irone Garotte, Seep.... all of those titles sound like some horrible suppressed sexual experiences. And be less megalomaniac. Claiming to have "created another brilliant masterpiece" is a sign of hubris which often leads to tragedy.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Peter Loughran Week: Iron Garotte

From the website: "The performer introduces an execution device that apparently originated from Spain called a Garrote. The Garrote was intended to execute its victim by means of strangulation or decapitation." Well the garotte was never used to decapitate anyone, but that would be nit-picking.

What the effect is: "The performer passes the Iron Garrote amongst the audience, and they note that it is extremely solid chain! It is then wrapped and tied tightly around the performer's neck (with the help of volunteers if you like). Suddenly the performer pulls the Iron Garrote, ripping it right through his neck!"

What is really is: Just rope through neck, done with a chain of metal. The chain links offer offer the possibility to do this effect surrounded. But in order to get to that display you cannot use the standard looping around the head which is common with the classic presentation of rope through neck.

Basically the handling demands a pretty unconvincing wrapping around the neck spoiling the method to smart people. See:

Anyway, Peter claims that Criss Angel did Peter's Iron Garotte on his special. I looked at the video. It is a totally different chain. Leading me to believe that Peter adorns himself with borrowed plumes.

So it is 69.95 USD for a chain that you can buy in your local DIY market for a fraction of that price. Totally not worth the purchase.

Or, get two chains (still cheaper than the Iron Garotte) and get them around your neck in "Grandmothers Necklace" fashion, that is much better. It seems more dangerous (2 chains) and it eliminates the extra wrapping in front of your neck and it is still angle proof.

Tomorrow: Black Hole

Friday, July 17, 2009

Peter Loughran Weak: The Ultimate Cane

The dancing cane is a pretty old effect. And if done correctly pretty deceptive. Hardly anyone does it correctly. But what does correctly mean. It means that the cane is perfectly balanced, that during the dancing it remains perfectly vertical. Any tilting makes it look ugly and gives away the method. And a perfectly balanced cane is not easy to make.

Though it is possible to make a Fantasio vanishing cane into a dancing cane it is not recommended. The Fantasio canes are ways too heavy to be a good dancing cane.

So Peter Loughrans idea to combine the two is not the brightest idea. Or as he claims on his website: "another brilliant masterpiece".

Another problem: When something burns it gets lighter (most of the time) so the longer the cane burns the lighter it gets, ergo the balance of it will be off. And does adding fire add anything to the effect? (Btw, adding fire has been done before. Dirk Losander sells a dancing candle.)

So nothing is new about the Ultimate Cane: Not the vanishing, not the dancing nor the fire.

Here is the video, again bad quality, Peter obviously hates quality.

You can see, that the can tilts to the right and to the left. This is ugly. This is a bad performance. Simon Drake did a much better version, here it is.

Simon is actually dancing with the cane. It looks good and it feels like the cane has a live of its own. The cane remains vertical, most of the time. This is a good performance.

In conclusion: Peter Loughran's Ultimate Cane is not so ultimate. It is not worth the price of 47.00 USD and Peter will not give you handling tips which will be worth anything, because his own presentation sucks.

Peter calls it: "one of the most beautiful effects in magic of our time" Yeah, right.
Tomorrow: Iron Garrote

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Peter Loughran Week: ELEVATOR 1&2

Continuing with the Peter Loughran Week! Today's item: Elevator and Elevator 2. Both are bunched together, because they are basically the same. This is one of many self levitation out there. And pretty much all of them are trash. (save Steve Fearson's Fantastic Floatation) This is no exception. But it was the first self levitation that got major hype after David Blaine did his fake levitation on his first TV special. And it is pretty much what one expects to get. Something you stand on (how else, applying the too perfect theory) and a way to get rid of the gimmick.

Btw: It is kind of cute how the advertisement picture above says that the picture doesn't show the actual height and that it will not create a blue sphere around you.

But what is the actual levitation height? A laughable inch. It claims to do 3-4 inches, which is still laughable but one inch is about right. Of course the gimmick requires you to balance, something that not even Peter is able to do in the demo video.

If you make the claim that you can levitate... why only an inch for about half a second? This is weak magic. Imagine I claim I can make a coin vanish and I do it, for half a second, showing a half open empty fist and then the coin is back. You would say, that this is stupid. Same with levitations. Copperfield did it right, Criss Angel did it right and even Blaine did it right. But all of them used elaborate rigging, impractical for the usual magician.

If you need a good practical self levitation, go with the one by Steve Fearson. It is tongue in cheek yet high and quite deceptive.

Tomorrow: The Ultimate Cane

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Update on SEEP #2

Now the video has been removed in its entirety. On the website it says: "Demo video coming soon shot in front of live spectators!" Of course I will link to that one and comment on it. Oh Peter, at least be metonymic with your products...

Peter Loughran Week: ENTITY

Peter Loughran’s Entity only $399.99 USD. What is does: You can move objects across a flat table in a controlled way. No threads. Of course there is a certain weight limit and the condition, that the object is either gimmicked with or naturally contains metal.

We all go through phases in out magic life. There is the gimmick phase, the rough and smooth phase, the purist phase and of course the magnet phase. Peter seems to have come up with the Entity in the later one.

The gimmick is big. Really big. The is no way to palm it.

From the website:
(It is still too big)

You can have your spectators search the test area for threads, magnets, wires, etc., and they won’t find a thing.
(Yeah, as long a you define the test area as ABOVE the table)

And let's face it. As soon as the objects moves people will look under the table. And what will they find...? The secret of course.

I guess you could darken the room so much, that the underside of the table appears black hiding the gimmick. Well, if it needs to be so dark, you can use thread.

Now the video its intro is still tooooooooooooo long:

This is a promotional video right? Then why is the video quality so low. (all his videos are) He charges 400 bucks for this "illusion" yet cannot afford a decent video camera! The glass in the video moves way too shaky and jerky and what is the point in 1:34 with the waving hand?
Tomorrow: Elevator and Elevator 2

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Update on SEEP

odd, embedding this SEEP video has been deactivated. It was not before... how come? ;) I wonder.

Peter Loughran Week: SEEP

Peter has done it. He took an old principle, usually done with bills, and applied it to cards. So this is not new. ONLY $24.95 USD according to Peter. So rehashing a magic principle is worth ONLY $24.95 USD. And it is not done well. Cards have rounded tips, this is a problem with this routine. Bills do not have rounded tips, ergo they suit the principle much better.

The following is quoted from his website. My comment in the brackets.

-Seep can be performed with 2 normal borrowed playing cards.
(true with a little bit of preparation and a duplicate card)

-There is no force required.
(true, sort of... I go into detail a little later!)

-You can use any deck or brand of cards.
(absolutely true)

-The borrowed cards are normal and can be handed out for examination after the illusion.
(yes, I agree)

-Seep requires virtually no set up and can be instantly repeated even with different cards.
("virtually" means, yes it requires set up. And it can be repeated with different cards, and different gimmicks)

-Seep is easy to do and requires no difficult sleight of hand.
(well it is easy yes, but it can greatly benefit from sleight of hand)

-Seep comes with instructions, special gimmick and multiple handlings and performance variations.

I must give Peter credit though. Having the card that is penetrated "face out" does enhance the illusion. Just like a few basil leaves make a fat dish appear healty.

Now for the video, its intro is just way tooooooooooo long:

Talk about false advertisement. At 50 seconds into the video it says. "No Force Required". Well Sort of. The card that is penetrated needs to be a specific one. (Matching the gimmick) Ergo it is either forced or just taken. But "No Force Required" is so misleading it makes one think, that any card will do. And that is just not true. (Btw: At 1:05 you can see the secret.)

And to quote a friend of mine: "He rapes the cards." meaning his handling is stiff and the secret is apparent.

So is it worth ONLY $24.95 USD. No, it isn't! You can make this yourself, if you want to, the video above offers a exellent source of how not to do it and I suggest you use bills instead.

Tommorow: Peter Loughran's Entity

Monday, July 13, 2009

WMF Peter "Master of Illusions" Loughran

This is the official start of the "Peter Loughran week". Each day of this week we will look closely at one of his products, that he sells. This includes a close look at the website he runs. Or as I like to call it: The slowest damn website on the Internet.

Peter Loughran, the man who wants to be more famous than David Copperfield.
Peter Loughran, the man who's name magicians won't forget, but cannot spell properly.
Peter Loughran, the magician who is a man... or something like that.

Here is the thing, Pretty much all, what he puts out into the magic community is weak stuff. I am talking about the tricks and his advise (Magic Café). Or as a friend of min put it so nicely: "Just over priced, over hyped sh*t that only idiots would buy. And there are a lot of f*cking idiots out there."

Tomorrow we will look into his latest creation, aka "Seep" and why it is not worth buying at all.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Just A Sunday Post #8

Hell, I like this guy. Chris Ferguson aka Jesus despite the fact, that he is an atheist. This guy has a cool attitude. Reminds me a bit of "the Dude" in the 1998 movie "The Big Lebowski"

He is not a magician, he is a poker player. But he throws cards. And he is cool.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Magic is way too hard!

magicdude09, he is such a funny act. Complaining, that palming a coin is too hard and that Card College is crap.

So I thought I do a video answer. Here it is:

Yes, that is what I look like.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Passing Through The Week

Something light hearted for the middle of the week. Directed by Rouven Köhnen and the magician in the video is an actual magician from Berlin, Germany. Kolja Kaldun his name.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

"pSnype" What An Idiotic Title!

To dig a little deeper into the failure that is Kevin Parker here is "pSnype" aka psychic sniper a 17$ download or more if you buy the DVD.

The Effect: You give the spectator a deck of cards which they can cut as many times as they like, then peeking at the top card (whilst you are turned away). You turn back around and tell them the name of their peeked-at card.

Now I learnt how to read dealers speech. Naturally the "cutting", not the "shuffling" of the deck gives away the method. And yes it is. Si Stebbins to the rescue.

As mentioned in the comments, a friend gave me the "download" for free, so I could take a look at it. Horrible. It is shot with a low quality cam. And Parker himself poses with sun glasses, as if he is the coolest thing that ever walked the earth.

He claims to have come up with this stacked deck himself. Well Stebbins' system is +3 to each card. Parker's version is +4. So I see no justified claim of intellectual property.

Then he explains what verbal approaches he does, so the spectators do not shuffle the deck. In the live performance a few minutes later we see the spectators actually shuffling the deck. (Parker just got lucky, that the trick didn't mess up.) So his verbal precautions did nothing. That means the entire first part of the video was pointless. 

The whole video is a pain to watch. I cannot do it in one sitting.

You get better results if you just force the card. This whole "pSnype" is totally overpriced and Parker did NOTHING to make any of this his own. 

The Great Karma once said: "There is a difference between stealing and reinventing the wheel. And that is awareness of magic history."

My theory: Parker is not stealing, he has no sufficient knowledge of magic, yet he feels totally eligible to market and sell magic. 

And that is a clear sign of loser, making clear once more why he deserves to be WMF.

Monday, July 6, 2009

WMF Kevin "Revolution" Parker

There are magicians who just put out quality, like Al Schneider. Not a lot, but good stuff. And then there are the quantity magicians like Jay Sankey. Most of what he releases is decent, but among all of this a few gems remain. And then there are those magicians who constantly release crap. Like Kevin Parker.

In an amateurish interview with Kevin said that he discovered his talent for creating magic tricks, after he created "Revolution" his coin vanish.

First: The idea is not really new.
Second: It is a bad idea to begin with.
Third: His execution made the method more obvious than it should be. 

I talked to many magic friends. They all agree, that he can do nothing right. Stay away from his products. I urge you to.

Here is another thing. His website is no longer continued and all the YouTube videos of him performing have been taken down by him. So unfortunately I have no "proof" how bad he is. You just have to trust me.

But his own words might help you. In the interview mentioned above Kevin was asked:

Where do you usually perform your effects? Where might someone expect to see you?
His answer:
"I only perform when I'm asked by aquaintances, or when I want to make a performance video."

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Just A Sunday Post #7

Theory11 released "Pressure" a while ago. A crappy effect, but lots of people like it. Including me. It never fooled me, but this is so much fun to do. But I realised that a small minority of people really are fooled. And for those I think it is worth doing it. The rest will perceive the effect as a visual gag, as nothing that spectacular.

So I thought of a few ways to "clean up" the effect, without tearing up the balloon.

  1. If you are working outside and you do a few card tricks, you can stop and get out the coins... but stop right before that and take out the balloon. "In case it rains, I need water protection for my cards" as you do the Pressure effect. Those few people who are fooled by this can marvel at this "gem" and the others now know a funny way to protect a deck of cards from water. Leave the balloon packet on the table, do your coin tricks and later get out the cards.
  2. Again this works best if you work outside for a crowd that are strangers to each other.
    Ask for a cellphone and do the Pressure effect. Then take the phone with the balloon around it and put it back into the spectators pocket. "Now it is save...." The funny thing: To an ordinary mind of a spectator it proves to be genuine. Why else would the magician give the balloon to the spectator, if it is not really all the way around. Again, for those who aren't fooled it still is a nice gag.
  3. Switch the packet after the effect. It will not work with a borrowed cell phone, but you can do it with a deck of cards and still give the impression of "free choice" by forcing the balloon colour earlier on.
  4. Have a few objects inside balloon and one of those in pressure fashion. Show all those objects. You just need to hide the back of that one object. Now force the object using the magicians choice or whatever and "pop" the object out of the balloon without hurting the balloon itself.

I am aware that the last one is a different effect, but it uses the same principle and might be a better effect than you might think.

I never bought the effect by T11 (and according to the magic folks on youtube, neither did they), so I don't know if the "clean up's" above are thought of by the T11 guys. Could be.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Jeff McBride Is So Weird!

I just took a look at the DVD-Series on Manipulation by Jeff McBride. And damn that man cannot manipulate. I am not talking about his card stuff, which is ok. But his ball manipulation on that DVD. (All 3 of them) It sucks. It sucks balls, haha, pun intended. There was no colour change that looked half decent. His hands were shaking all the time and it look like he learnt the moves 10 minutes ago.

Sorry Jeff, but that was an insult to us.

To make up for his horrible mistake here is a colour change that I use. No side to side movement, all done at waist level. THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON THE DVD!

The pictures should make things clear.

This pisses me off, to see videos of magicians who teach techniques and a blind man can see how it is done in the performance part. Then in the explanation part it gets even worse. It flashes from all angles making it obvious that most of the taught techniques are crap and not useable in the real world. (Btw: The little colour change above is useable in the real world.)

This happens with a lot of performers, they are forced to do the video (by either money or praise) and they actually need to fill the time. So they learn new stuff just for the production. In Jeff McBride's case it was obvious: Pretty much all of the ball stuff was rushed material and most of the coin stuff as well.

And when he talks about "misdirection" it seems like he doesn't even know what it means. I expected more from a so called "thinker" who hangs out with Eugene Burger. Pointing to an imaginary spot in the air is not misdirection, it is an application of misdirection. But the real misdirection would be to create an atmosphere, that the mere thought of a hand, that goes out of sight could even do something secret, is not occurring.

Was this a productive rant? I don't know. Got misdirected, Am hungry now. 

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ranting And Raving

This is something that really annoys me in magic. The cheapest effect is done and still the magician raises his arms to get applause. 

One example. Cups and Balls. Usually the first phase. Three cups and three balls on top. Each ball is vanished and all three cups are lifted to reveal the balls underneath. Then the magician stops the show to get his applause.

For what? This is a small effect. It hardly deserves any applause. Maybe a chuckle. But most magicians treat it as if they made a dead person walk again. Are they so desperate for praise that they need the applause? Is their self esteem that low? Well in most cases... the answer is yes.

I hate that. Screw that. In a cups and balls routine only the final loads deserve applause as well as the routine as a whole. There are so many phases, imagine each tiny bit gets it's own round of applause. Annoying. Then again, do not imagine that.

If the audience claps enthusiastically by itself, so let them, but if you have to beg for it. Then you are not worth it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The End Is Nigh!

"Last night I had a dream. It was the end of the world. Everything was desolate. I was the last person on earth. I found a newspaper, the last newspaper ever printed. And on it, it had a date. It was October. And I even saw the year. When I woke up, I wrote the year on this piece of paper. Can you guess the year of the Apocalypse?"

Let a year be named by the spectator. And secretly write it on that before mentioned piece of paper with a nail writer.

"Oh my, you did you have the same dream?"