Monday, August 31, 2009


I am on vacation, so see ya next week.

To pass time, a Lance Burton Copycat..

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Just A Sunday Post #15

I considered him a possible WMF, but then had a change of heart. But this is a typical case of molesting the deck. Not enough practice, yet enough confidence to "demonstrate". Hilarious I think. And it started so promising, so professional, giving credits and so. But the second he starts handling the cards, you know you are in for a bitter treat. AMAZING that he actually manages to get through the trick.

Actually take a look at his channel. Makes you feel like a pro.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I Am No Layman

I am annoyed. There is this notion in magic that all we do must look "natural"... And this is often confused with "like a layman". This is not the same. The most notable example is the double lift. It seems to be a common place to say "The card must be turned over like a layman turns over cards, or else the move is suspicious."

Well, guess what, we are no laymen, we are professionals. Ergo our turning over of cards should look professional. And that means beautiful and efficient. Both of those attributes have to apply in order for the move to be "natural" for the professional.

If it is lacking one of the two attributes, beautiful or efficient, only then the move is suspicious.

How come this is not understood by most magicians?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Want You!

Frustrated with the magic community?
Suppressed anger and creativity?
Tired of life?

Don't change anything!

Because I want you to join the Weekly Magic Failure Staff. So far the staff consists of me! It ain't much, but so far it has been great.

As a staff member you are asked to write posts. Very simple.

Here are the conditions:

1. You have to reveal who you are, no anonymous bullshitting!
2. At least one article per week!
3. Keeping it short and sweet!
4. Try to keep it clean!
5. Try not to make it personal!
6. Be sober, factual and try to add some funny!
7. Be a good magician who knows about the stuff he is talking about!

So if you think you can do it and offer more than just a weekly magic failure (theories, magic related jokes and such stuff) write me an email. Native speakers are preferred. (English that is!)

Add a little example of your written work, so I can see, that you are

If I like it, you could become a permanent member of the staff and tear a rift into the magic community.

Be part of the blog that makes a difference...! (hey, I am trying)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I Lol'ed When I Got This!

I got an email by Roland Henning. An email where he tried to justify his snarky blog. Let me quote his email:

"How dare you to criticize my blog or my personality. I am just doing what is hardly done in the magic community. Pointing out failures in magic. People get into magic for lots of reasons, but most often because of insecurity and inferiority complexes, which means something is wrong with those people. A few of them actually manage to overcome those issues and either stop being magicians or become the best ever. But the majority remain losers.

And if an art form is driven by losers it is clear that a lot of rubbish happens along the way. People who strive self-affirmation by taking part in contests. People who create weak magic and try to sell it, by hyping it into heaven. People who steal from old ideas and sell them as their own new ideas, just to have their own name on the product. People who are just unaware how bad they are, be it skill, personality or performing character. Then they are those who populate the Internet forums claiming to be experts when instead they should try to get paid performances. And of course the Youtube magicians who never heard of actual spectators than just the camera.

All of those and their crossbreeds pollute magic as they give the public magic image an ugly taint. Is there a public outcry? No! All is concealed under neutrality. Only a few have the guts to say, that this guy sucks and should work on his pass. And almost all of the few do it anonymously like fainthearted scrimshankers. I am not. I do voice my opinion and I make no big deal out of the fact that it is my opinion. At least I have an opinion.

Does this make me a well-liked man? No, of course not! But I do not care for the love of magic folk, nor do I need their praise. I love magic, not magicians. Doing a simple trick like having a card selected and being replaced in the deck, only to end up with the selection reversed in the deck, might be boring for magicians, but it is a solid trick for laymen. Provided, that the method is deceptive and the presentation is entertaining.

A while ago I came up with the three features a magicians has to have in order to be a good magician.

1. Be technically really good
2. Be entertaining (for lay people)
3. Be likable (towards lay people)

If you miss just one of the three point you are a bad magician. And do not confuse being likable with being nice.

So you may think of me what you will, but I will keep this blog running as I am sure the magic failures will come up. Each week.

mmG Roland Henning"

I could go into each point disproving his dilettante attempts to reason. But it will not be necessary for obvious reasons. I just wanted to show you what a pitiful man he is.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


The magician enters the stage. Looks at his audience with a sad face and says: "I am sorry, I have run out of ideas." Then he leaves.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Awesome I Got A Thief!

"rolandHenning" what an awesome youtube user name. He used to have a picture of me as his avatar, now he changed it, after I reminded him that it is illegal to claim to be somebody else. He also claimed that "" is his website. A clear case of identity theft. Yeah. Someone must be pissed. He told me via message "Just bored and decided to have some fun this morning." Ok. Fun is ok.

Right now he says on his profile: "i am a magician based in Germany, but NOT the Roland Henning that writes a blog at He has stolen my good name."
I doubt he is from Germany, as the youtube account was registered at 4 am (here in Germany) in the morning. So he is probably lying about being a magician based in Germany.

Anyway I did what youtube recommended. Like a little snitch I told youtube, that he is violating the TOS. And, as recommended by youtube, I did tell the police.

So, let's see what will happen.

He is probably a friend of Shawn Farquhar, as the video on his channel suggests. Not Shawn himself. He would not go that low.

Oh, just in case he actually is a German: "Wenn du was zu sagen hast, sag es mit deinem eigenen Namen oder bleib anonym. Meinen Namen zu klauen und dreist zu behaupten du seist ich, ist vermessen und unangebracht."

Monday, August 17, 2009

WMF Greg Solomon

There are two Greg Solomons that might be confused with one another. The first one is this. He is a hard working magician. He smiles a lot, and belongs in our circle of nerds. He is ok.

But the other... well he belongs to youtube. A man who is so full of himself when you listen to him speak. He speaks of himself in third person and most of his appearances are in artsy black and white. He talks slowly and with a redundant style using big words. And I would not be bothered by that if he had chosen not to invade the art that I love.

You might say: "So what the Chicago Opener aka Red Hot Momma aka Best Card Trick in the World by Al Leech has been spoiled over and over." Well yes, that is true but this man has a cult following. Over three million times has the video above been seen. That is spoiling on a big level.

Is that Greg a magician? ...He claims to have done magic when he was younger to score with chicks. Wow, even better. Crash any dignity that magic has!

So this weeks magic failure is Greg. Not the REAL Greg Solomon, not the one that actually does magic. But the black and white one.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Just A Sunday Post #13

Barry and Stuart, I love those guys.
A little old, for those of you who do not know this bit, it rocks! this is the actual video.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Ultimate Out

Here is the presentation: "I am going to find your card, if I do not find it, I'll give you cash. Worth 50.000 Euros. No kidding. I never messed up that trick. And I never will. You know why? Because I am that good." After that speech you better deliver. And of course you fail.

But instead of giving them 50.000 Euros you give them shredded Euros. They are cheap. In fact I have about a million Euros right here. And I got them for free.

It is a useless but nice souvenir. 

PS. It would be wise to use the currency of your country.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Memento mori

According to history and legend, when a Roman general was parading through the streets of Rome a servant was next to him and kept reminding the general that he is mortal. Memento mori - "Remember you shall die" or "Remember you are mortal" were his words.

I suggest the same in magic. A servant constantly saying: "Stop talking and get to the point!"

Monday, August 10, 2009

WMF Val Valentino

Val Valentino, aka the Masked Magician, aka Leonard Monatono. For those who have not had the pleasure of bumping into this character here is a brief summery: Val is a half decent stage performer in Las Vegas. Fox wanted a magician who would reveal secrets on TV. After a bit of back an forth Val Valentino agrees to reveal old illusions. Fox basically forced him, with money. He puts on a mask, et voilà the Masked Magicians is born.

At the end of four of those TV specials he reveals is identity and claims the following:

"It is time to change, the audience wants something new. Magicians need to think, not rely on illusions that other magicians have created many years ago?"

Really? I think one of the strengths of the cups and balls is the fact that pretty generic objects are used. Just cups and balls. Well unless the Masked Magician is referring to stage illusions, which have changed over time. And I am not just talking about a new coat of color. OK, I agree that the Zig Zag Illusion is a bit over done. But is that the fault of the illusion, the fault of the secret? No it is the fault of many many lazy magicians who are unable create something themselves. Just like Val Valentino. So he is what we in the business call a hypocrite, making him a long overdue Weekly Magic Failure.

And part of a magic trick is the secret. So a "secret" should have an important role. Yet the "secret" is treated with disrespect and all for money.

Is he a good performer? Well... good question... here you see him failing a self working card trick.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Just A Sunday Post #12

I made this video during last week. After making it I didn't want to use it, but then again, I made so here it is. Tomorrow will be a regular Weekly Magic Failure. And it will be someone who is not controversial at all. The Masked Magician.

Unrelated: Here a quick list of what not to do in magic:

1. Do not think by yourself! It is all in the books.
2. Do not overestimated your audience. They are just "sheeple"!
3. Do not perform anything but the classics! That is why they are called classics.
4. Do not deviate from the norm, be as likable and boring as your peers!
5. Do not set new standards in magic! This is important!
6. Never strive to be better than a juggler! They are way ahead of us.
7. Never dislike any other magician! All of them are your friends, because all do magic.
8. Do not, never copy your fellows! Yeah that is double negative.
9. Never think that you audience deserves better! All magicians agree on that.
10. Do not practice! Be team player!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Looking Cool!

I read an interesting article a while ago. It made the point, that people are never totally satisfied with a magic show, when all they experience is secrets and mystery. It is like having a great crime novel and you see all "entertaining" murders but you never get to know who did it. So some "secrets" have to be told.

And you know what. I totally agree. So far in my act there is always a bit of "exposé". But it got me thinking even more. So here is the result of that "thinking":

If you gonna have to tell a secret, tell them a false one. Example: Explain palming. Say it is the great weapon in the arsenal of the magician. Without it he is nothing. Explain the thumb palm, the back palm and even the Harada Hold if you have to. But also tell them that the real secret is to shift from one palm to the other, so it can appear as if the hand is totally empty.

Later just don't use it. Do a false transfer of a coin and simply show them an empty hand. Because they expect palming to be the method, it will cancel the thought of you merely not having put the coin in the hand to begin with. And because they will not see the coin, they will also give you credit for your great skill.

According to the "Too Perfect Theory" the audience will think of a method anyway. So why not give them a plausible one. One that makes you look cool.

I suggest doing this near the end of your show, so people will fell rewarded for having been fooled all the time and yet will greatly admire your skill.

So you get best of both worlds. A mystery and recognition for your skill. (Even though you are doing something different. Call it a yet another layer of deception)

And by not telling them the actual secret you keep your dignity.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Farquhar Aftermath

Was I too harsh on Shaw Farquhar? Yeah I was, of course. But I made it very clear in the beginning of that post to say "If you are offended by naughty words and evil thoughts DO NOT READ IT." Obviously people read my unfiltered thoughts anyway.

I could have been nice about it, but then not as many people would have read it. Although, honestly I wasn't expecting that much controversy, for I thought that very few people read my blog. Oh, boy I learnt something.

So I promise I will not do that sort of thing again! I promise!

But... I meant every word I wrote about Shawn Farquhar. I do not like the guy. He stands for a lot of things I do not like in magic. And I still think that he did not deserve the prize for that Shape of my Heart routine. But at least he will not start with that routine again, as he finally got the first prize. Hopefully!

But I was too mean. I really was. As much as I dislike the guy, I think that my choice of words was too wreckful. So here I am admitting and saying:

"I am sorry Shawn, I was too patronizing towards you, I should not have projected my thoughts via my blog.
I said it before and I am not tired of saying it again. I think you are a decent performer, I wish you well."

With that being said... is it over? No, I will still watch Shawn. Maybe there is hope for him, maybe he will be modest one day. And as I heard from a few people, he is not the man he is on stage. Let's hope so. Because I hate the later one.

And if this whole thing has thought me anything, than at least, that now I know how to spell Shawn Farquhar's name properly.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Professional Mode and Impromptu Mode

As long as you are performing within the act, you are considered a professional. Therefore the subtlety of taking out the keys from the pocket, right after the load of a palmed card to create time misdirection from the actual sleight and the revelation is crap. Really! Why would a professional be so unprofessional to keep the keys in the pocket? The performer knew he was going to do this trick, ergo nothing should have been in the pocket to hinder this trick to begin with.

However: In Impromptu Mode this is a perfect subtlety. It shows that you are thinking on your toes, and that you are a better magicians, than those who can only do their act and nothing outside of it.

So working in Professional Mode in the beginning, for a short while, then thanking the audience and acting, as if you end the show, followed by Impromptu Mode (which is still part of the show) is strong stuff man!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Résumé towards FISM

Just some thoughts.

1. Norden posted on Itricks: "First off I know Shawn quite well. He is an amazing magician and talented beyond most of us. He is a real working magician and most of cannot say the same."

And you know what... I think I agree on that. If one takes into consideration the whole amount of people who call themselves magicians, Shawn really is beyond most of us. Maybe my definition of a magician was too narrow, for I never considered any "none performing trickster" magicians which led to my understanding that Shawn was just a regular performer with a huge ego problem.
But now, accepting all magicians in the definition, I do agree, that Shawn is an amazing magician and talented. He still has that ego problem and still has to actually use that talent, but that is another story.

2. FISM isn't what it used to be. Past winners like Fred Kaps, Richard Ross, Lance Burton, Geoffrey Buckingham, Tonny van Dommelen and even Johnny Ace Palmer are great magicians and deserve the "grand prix". FISM should be a contest which awards, skill, creativity and personality. This year only the later was awarded. So I conclude that FISM isn't what it used to be. Maybe an alternative contest should be initiated. The award is a magic cookie, that must be eaten during the celebration. SO there is no actual award to be displayed over and over again.

3. Beating a dead horse has no purpose, aside from the fun of it. So I'll stop. Russ Stevens has said what he wanted to say, Shawn Farquhar got the award for HIS signature piece and Tim Ellis will support Shawn, as it supports his involvement as a judge during the contest. If that is the status quo, I guess we'll have to live with that.

4. So Shawn enjoy your award, be sure to ride it to death. I am sure it was a certain satisfaction to change the "signature" on the Genii Forum to "Three-Time FISM Award Winner." It couldn't have been quicker.

I am out as this past weekly magic failure is a hot candidate to be "magic failure of the year".

Bonus: Sting should have won FISM.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tim Ellis is a sore winner...

In case you do not know. Tim Ellis is a hardworking blogger. His blog is actually pretty good. Sometimes. But his recent post... well, he obviously has an opinion.

An email is circulating the magic community from a certain JIM McDONALD accusing Shawn Farquhar of ripping off Russ Steven's with his now FISM Grand Prix Award Winning routine 'Shape of my Heart'.
Pete Biro said at the time: "The choice of music was the same, but to say the routines are similar if off base. No resemblance at all."
The email directs people to a blog that's so desperate to seek attention it's current post makes fun of Ali Bongo's recent passing.

In it's posts about Shawn, the author (a Roland from Germany) calls him a name-dropping braggart with inferior technical skill not worthy of being call FISM World Champion - and he says "the contest must have been rigged." He calls Shawn "A disgrace to magic" and says that FISM is now a disgrace too.

Sure sounds like the rantings of a loser.

Yes, my Ali Bongo joke is a bit tasteless. But baby, that's how I roll!

Back to "Farquhar's" routine. The premise is the same as Stevens' version. Even the theatrical approach of using a bar stool. Russ posted a statement on

"Hello Everyone,

As some of you may know, I have generally kept out of this situation publicly. The only time I ever got involved was when Shawn was saying to friends of mine that I'd lifted 'his' idea and I emailed him to prove that I hadn't. The fact is, that I was doing this routine for at least TWO years before him and have the proof to back that up. Shawn was very nice in his emails and I accepted that we'd just had the same idea, although when I did finally see his version 'live' in Blackpool a few years ago, the style of performance and staging was uncomfortably close."

Russ made up this routine in 1993. Shawn never asked for permission. And I agree with Pete Biro, yes, the routines are quite different. Both have a different structure and use different sleights. But watch them side by side without the music. Both routines are pretty dull. So naturally the strength of the routine comes from the music. So the music is the key here and I know that Russ Stevens came up with this first.

Also, if you take a look at Shawn's routine without the music this is a pretty bad routine. The sleights are visible. The get-readys for the many, many breaks are done by a push-off deal, which is the worst sleight to use considering the scrutiny of a fixed camera. A pinky count would have done the same result. Or a thumb count. But that is just detail for a routine that is no more than an ambitious card routine.

I thought this man is a professional, a professional should know how to block his angles.

This year FISM was bad. Really bad. They needed a filler, and Farquhar happened to be at the right place at the right time. So he won first prize.

I cannot believe, Tommy Wonder, who was and still is light years ahead in terms of originality, creativity and skill never won 1st prize. He only got to be 2nd. And as much as I dislike mentalism, I think Marc Oberon should have gotten the prize, for his act was really good.

Oh, did you know that Tim Ellis was a judge during FISM 2009? Just saying!

Bonus: I seek attention? Of course, I am a magician. But not desperate. If I would be desperate, I would go to competitions and do the same routine over and over again, until I win. Then, because I am so desperate I would take my prize and hold it up all the time. For years to come.

Ali Cooper

If you wanna get famous go to England and every time you perform, you end the show by wearing a fez, reenacting Tommy Cooper's death. Then as people are shocked you get up and say, "Just kidding, I am actually Ali Bongo." Then fall over again, producing a spring flower along the way, which you hold out in front of you.

Monday, August 3, 2009

WMF Steven "The Card Mechanic" Warren

Take a look at this! It is an Ambitious Card routine. The performer, Steven Warren, seems to be absent-minded. Loud breathing, hesitation within the routine, as if he thinks of the next move. The sleights have tell-tale signs (about the same level as Shawn Farquhar) and the presentation is not creative. You can tell because he uses common magic patter like: "When I snap my fingers..."

Is this a Failure? Hardly! But this young man runs a website called Card Mechanic. He dedicates lots of videos teaching laymen sleights and tricks. Because in the FAQ's on his site he clearly states: "This site was created to educate laymen and magicians alike in the world of magic."

Yeah right!

His skill is not good. I have seen great "cardicians" and I have seen beginners. Steven Warren belongs in the later category.

On his website he says the following about him in third person: "Steven has been doing street magic and card cheating (educational only) for years." Of course: Street magic = no paid gigs. And card cheating (educational only) means, he would never get away with this in a real setting. So I would not consider him a working performer. Just a dude who loves card magic.

He thinks he can teach. I think he cannot.

Steven Warren! You are WMF.

EDIT: Obviously Steven takes magic seriously, and has taken away the trick section on his website. He still explains sleights but out of context, so people who struggle with a written instruction of the sleight have something to refer to. It is reasonable. While I still think that lots of his "skill" needs improvement, I must say, if the only purpose of the videos is to make the concept of a move visible, then it works. So he no longer is a weekly magic failure. The awesome title "WMF" is revoked and he cannot bear it anymore.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday Post Follow Up

Wow, I mean, wow. I got 32 emails, each thanking me for what I wrote about Shawn Farquhar. I am overwhelmed. It is interesting how a few words of honest despise are so well received. The picture above was send to me by one of them, telling me, that it might be useful for this blog. Well yeah, why not.

But I do wanna end on a reconciling note. So here are a few tips for Shawn Farquhar to better himself.

1. Stop name dropping! Nobody cares who you met and where you have been. Name dropping is a practice for losers who have trouble with their own significance in their lives.
2. Do not brag with prizes, that you have won, that are older than two years! It is ok, to have won a prize. It shows that the committee which awarded the prize thinks you are the best. The truth might be different though. So it is ok, to brag a bit. But no longer than two years. That is the magic time frame that discerns a real winner from a showoff.
3. Face the fact, that your skill is not superior! It is just ok, and there is lot's of room for improvement.
4. Check your sources! Whenever you claim to have come up with something chances are good, you did not. And I am not talking about reinventing the wheel. Often we see something, and forget about it. Years later we come up with an idea, based off that old idea that is not ours to begin with. But it seems like it. So we claim to have come up with it.
5. Stop grinning! Not only does it make you look like the Grinch who Stole Christmas, no it makes you look arrogant.
6. Be modest!

So Shawn, enjoy your FISM-award. But only for two years. Max!

Just A Sunday Post #11

WARNING... this will contain the F-bomb and other improper words a few times. Usually I try to keep this blog clean, but this really bothers me. If you are offended by naughty words and evil thoughts DO NOT READ IT.

What the fuck is wrong with the World Championship of Magic, that name dropping magic bullshitters like the unoriginal Shawn Farquhar wins first prize in the category of card magic? This man is a disgrace to magic.

And now FISM is a disgrace too.

It is not new that certain, horrible acts win. But this year is the worst ever. Comedy Magic: no first prize, Mentalism: no first prize and Close Up Magic: no first prize.

If you do not know what that means: It means, that the overall effort was so bad this year, that even the judges were embarrassed to be there. Having been there would have been just a waste of time.

But maybe it was just the place. China is far away.

2012 FISM will be in Blackpool. Let's see, if the acts are better when performed in a place, commonly known as "cradle of filth".

FISM was always a bit of a popularity contest. It was never about the magic, it was about who fools the most magicians. This year most failed. They failed so bad, that dickhead Farquhar who is so full of megalomaniacal shit wins first prize.

It was a pity prize, a mercy fuck. And unfortunately that grinning, presumptuous bastard, got it. And as if he doesn't brag enough about the other 40 prizes he got in the past, this will be the laurels that he will rest on. I can see him jumping around, singing "I do not need a likable character, I've got awards and I am better than you!"

And because I feel like ripping that smirking guy a new one, let's use this opportunity to discuss his signature piece called "Shape of my Heart."

Dumb and benighted magicians praise this hubristic asshole as being creative. None of his ideas that I have seen so far are creative. Being creative means to come up with something that was not there before. Well doing card stuff using this Sting Song has been done before. By Russ Stevens in 1993.

I mentioned it before. I am not saying, that Farquhar is a bad performer. His skill is decent, but that's it. Let me quote a friend of mine: "I simply cannot understand how this man can win the FISM. Words are simply failing me. I would let him pass a Magic Circle audition at the most." I agree.

He is so complacent, so smug about himself. But why? Why is he constantly out to do contests? Why does he need to prove himself all the time?

Well, I do have some theories, but none of them would leave that self-opinionated shitface any grandeur.

If it sounds like I do not deign Mr. Farquhar the first prize he won, then because I do not deing Mr. Farquhar the first prize he won. The last time this holier-than-thou fucker won, was 2006. With a cups and balls routine that is only good for magicians. The main effect, that the cups turn out to be blocks of steel in the end is not new either, but hey, I never won any prize, naturally I do not have the authority to criticize this hard working wanker, erm, I mean, man.

I do not have any right to pick on him, for I am not into magic as long as he has. So let me end this by saying that all of the above is satire and not meant the way I wrote it. Because I am way too kind to this man. Even Steven Youell seems like a nice man compared to this autocratic twat.

I am sorry for that outburst of inappropriate emotions. I'll get back to my regular kind way of dealing with Weekly Magic Failures. Pinky swear!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

WTF Shawn Farquhar

He has won a FISM Prize. "- 1st place … Shawn Farquhar - Canada" HOW?


Look at this short clip of his card act. (Link no longer working... but here) This is beyond bad. He flashes as if there is no tomorrow. How is this prize worthy? This doesn't even deserve any prize.

But maybe the rest of the routine was nice, maybe he didn't flash during those. But even if, he would not get first prize. One flash equals loss of first prize. Damn it, I am angry. Really angry. This contest must have been rigged.

Everything Jay

Having watched many, many Jay Sankey videos I have compiled eleven things that you need to become as creative as Jay Sankey:

1. dorky glasses
2. very, very little hair on the head
3. lots and lots of hair everywhere else
4. a failed career as a stand up comedian
5. stick to one sleight and apply it to everything (shuttle pass)
6. a really bad Twirl Change
7. take old principles, change just one thing about it and rehash it
8. get help from more skilled magicians like Richard Sanders
9. be Canadian
10. publish stuff, that you published before again and again

And most importantly; 11. If the magic impact can be rated on a scale from one to ten, ten getting the best reactions, make sure that ninety-five percent of your material gets a two or three. And only the last five percent gets a straight eight and a half.