Friday, October 30, 2009

WMF Devlin

Deutsche Version

This Weekly Magic Failure will be the shortest ever. As few words as possible. Just because it is Halloween.

Hurts the magic image. Really hope it is a joke.

Halloween Mood Freestylin'

This is the story
of a magician I know.
On Halloween he did
one hell of show.

He always carried
a few decks of cards,
and on that night,
he did a lot for the arts.

You see, it was then,
he did sleight of hand,
when a few of the dead
crawled out of the sand.

The corpses that walked,
where special indeed,
wore tuxedos and bow ties
and needed to feed.

Some had a top hat
and some did wear gloves.
Some others were sticking
to half rotten doves.

But back to the story
back to the walls
in which our hero
did the cups and the balls.

He heard the strange sounds
that only zombies are making.
That call for "brains",
our hero was shaking.

But still he managed
to stay calm and he said:
"It is time for some action,
to kill all of the dead!"

So he gathered some props,
to start fighting the bodies.
Who once used to be
some of his magical buddies.

Who would have thought
that invisible thread
is strong enough
to cut off ones head.

Tossing the cards
takes lots of skills,
but it is worth the practise
as you get lots of kills.

Only one dead guy left,
among bloodshed and gore
our hero realized
his possession of cards was no more.

No more weapons,
just pure sleight of hand,
the dead wizard grinned,
it was a last stand.

But our hero had
an ace up his sleeve
and with that trick,
he gave it a mighty big heave.

The head was cut off
dismembered the fool,
who would have thought
that magic is cool.

The name of the hero?
It could have been me!
But it was not,
because it was thee.

Yes you heard right,
you fought the threat,
because the story
has not happened, yet!

The moral for you:
Show no mercy nor hearts!
And always carry with you
a few decks of cards!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

EDEN - This looks late, but it's technically early.

Deutsche Version

Hi Friends,

Before I start this rant, I think it's only fair that I mention I have been making a living performing cups and balls as a street performer for the past two years. Yes, like many others, I have been doing "Gazzo's Show". For those of you who don't know, it has pretty well become the standard street magic routine (especially in the UK). They even have a whole pitch of nothing but C&B workers doing the exact same show on repeat at Covent Gardens.

With that out of the way...

Yes, it's true I started my routine heavily HEAVILY influenced by Gazzo. What I noticed very quickly, however, was that a lot of Gazzo's lines just simply did not suit me. For reference, Gazzo is a fifty something British man, and I am twenty and Asian. So what did I do? I stopped doing them and wrote my own lines. And my show was better for it. Last August though, I travelled to Scotland, where I saw a handful of Gazzo Clones still doing his show line for line. They must have been making decent livings doing it, but it raised some questions. Why not write some of your own lines? Granted, Gazzo's show works because it has been audience tested for about thirty years, and many "stock lines" are funny just because most of your audience has not seen a street performer before. Consider this though. Gazzo's lines work for Gazzo. You are not Gazzo, and your own lines will work for you. If you follow in someones footsteps, you will never be in front of them. I can only think of one reason.

It's too hard/I'm just not funny
I think this is more a matter of laziness. I'm not saying don't do any stock lines, but if you manage to get a laugh doing something off the cuff, try and work it into your next performance. Keep this up, and over many performances, you will have something to call your own.

Moving out of the realm of street performers, it pains me to no end to see performances taken word for word from the DVD. I think this is more a problem with video teaching, as a book (even with lines suggested) will force you to find your own timing and wording of the lines. I have even seen performers unknowingly adopt accents when delivering lines taken straight from tapes. And I think we all know of the 13 year-old starting a trick with "...and this one I learned from my travels to the orient". Painful. Don't be those people. Think for yourself. You CAN do it. It will pay off.

One of my friends (and an awesome street performer!) frames every new idea with the question: "Does it work for my character?" and if it doesn't she simply doesn't use it, no matter how good the idea was originally. I don't think she reads this blog, but if she does, Hi Billy!

For the record, I have created an entirely new show that is ready to debut any time now. I am excited for it. Sorry for the lack of hilarious ranting in this post.

eden loves you all and hopes your dreams come true.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Comic Time #9

This weeks magic failure will be delayed due to some stuff in my personal life. Be patient! And don't forget: "Love and magic have a great deal in common. They enrich the soul, delight the heart. And they both take practice." Nora Roberts

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Just A Sunday Post #22

An oldie, but a goody! Let the happy thoughts sink in... next WMF will be ugly.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cough, Cough!

Deutsche Version

I got this stuff called crazy slime. It is a black slime that you can play with. I was thinking how to use it in a magic show. Here is the result:

Cough it up: "Smoker's cough, sorry... gee all the tar."
Even works as a nonsmoker "Oh boy, passive smoking still does the trick!"

Imagine this as a little funny bit during a health convention. Or during a cigarette routine.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Faster than the Magic Newswire and iTricks! Haha

Deutsche Version

"Women in Boxes", a documentary about the women in magic.

Women in Boxes is the first film to uncover the Unsung Hero behind the magician. The devoted Magic Assistant who distorts her body into impossible positions while the magician cuts her in pieces, stabs her, sets her on fire, crushes her and restores her to life with a dramatic Taa Daa.

Here is the link:

It's from 2008 but free to watch!

Comic Time #7

EDEN - Late Again!

Deutsche Version

Me and my big mouth, telling Roland I would update on Tuesdays instead of Thursdays...

Anyways, the topic for this weeks discussion is webcam performers.

Stop doing it! What the heck, you guys? Don't even get me started on the fact that 90% of these are shot with a complete mess of a bedroom in the background. At least clean it up and pretend to be presentable. Jeez. My guess is that a lot of these people are going to be very embarrassed in ten years. It's on the internet, and it will theoretically be there forever. Once it's online, its out of your control. Lesson learned from Paris Hilton.

Aside from utter lack of presentability, (not to be confused with presentation, next weeks topic!) webcams give you bad habits. Spectators are not fixed into only watching you from one specific angle, your patter starts to seriously diminish, (more next week!) and you end up taking advantage of a slowed frame rate. But, hey, what do I know? My pass is garbage.

Go perform for real people! It helps make you into a real magician.

I appreciate comments.

eden loves you and hopes all your dreams come true.

Monday, October 19, 2009

WMF Emilio Pistolas

Deutsche Version

And I thought that Pumaman Brad Jackson was the most annoying of his kind. But now I found Emilio Pistolas. Who is Emilio Pistolas? Well, another little rascal who abuses the magic art for base motives. To pick up women. Here is his great website.

I will not make a big fuss about how such actions hurt the magic image. Nor how much I despise such people because how they treat magic without respect. No... not this time.

Instead: Emilio Pistolas actually claims that the used material is his own. "All the girls where approached using only my original material and unique Stree magic skills." I assume he talks about this patter when he talks about his material not about the tricks itself. Because they are everything but "original".

Here is the website where you can see the routines:

First video: The Beamer... well, aside from the fact that the very untalented Daniel Madison (who probably will appear on my blog in time) has done it before (same gestures as he makes the corner vanish) the idea is not new. ("Self-Working Coin Magic" by Karl Fulves, done with a dollar bill)

Second video: Cash & Go... obviously Extreme Burn currently sold by Richard Sanders. Emilio Pistolas sells the trick as well, so this makes him an amoral person.

Third video: The Levitator... coin on string. Well.

Fourth video: Relative Matter... PK-Ring, a bottle, a folded bottle cap and a duplicate of the later one. What is one supposed to say about that? Oh yeah, it is Prohibition by Charlie Justice!

Yes all "original"!

Let's keep it short. Emilio Pistolas is a young man whos lust is bigger than his moral objection towards the ancient art of magic. Can he be blamed for that? No! Can he be blamed for receiving the title WMF? No!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Just A Sunday Post #21

Deutsche Version

What is GURU?

It's the closest demonstration of mind over matter that you'll ever be able to do.

GURU is inspired by an ancient technique used by monks called "Tum-mo". The technique allows them to raise the temperatures of their fingers by as much as 17 degrees. The human body gives off enough heat in 30 minutes to bring half a gallon of water to a boil.

? International researchers are astonished by these results.

GURU enables you to perform one of the most intriguing psychic feats that your spectators will ever experience.

One of the many possible uses of GURU:

Ask your spectator for a coin, and hand out a small clear plastic bag for examination. The coin is signed by the spectator and placed inside the bag for isolation. The spectator holds the bag.

You start to concentrate, letting your energy flow and heat up your fingers. You gently rub the coin, and transfer your energy and heat to it. You place the signed coin inside the bag, and continue to rub it softly. The spectator feels the coin inside the bag and confirms that the coin is getting hotter. The borrowed coin starts to heat up and VISUALLY melts through the bag. The spectator can see it and feel it. Give away everything to be examined.

The effect can take place on the hands of the spectator, and has been designed to be performed under test conditions.
Easy to do
Highly visual
No switches
No chemicals of any kind
Borrowed signed coin
Perform it surrounded
Everything can be examined before and after
Perform it anytime & anywhere
Always ready to go
Comes complete with patent pending technology and detailed instructions.

"FFFFing awesome!"
- Ben Harris

- Andrew Gerard

"OK Jay - you got me!! What a great premise and the method is revolutionary. The method here is diabolical and this certainly opens up an entire new field of magic effects. This is going to be the hottest effect in magic for quite some time. Also makes a great addition to other coin routines such as bending a coin. This is BLAZING HOT!!!"
- Paul Romhany

What a long winded advertisement for a really crappy effect for about 25 dollars. Here have a look:

What really would get me going if I cared a little more are the testimonials.

Ben Harris and Paul Romhany... I know little about the later one. But Ben Harris... I own the "Quarks and Quirks" book and aside from half backed ideas it is worth nothing. Except "Wink Wink" maybe. That is what Ben Harris is known for. For half backed stuff. Paul Romhany, well I heard him a few times on the iTricks Podcast and watched a few videos on YouTube, nothing which would label Paul as a creative magicians. But not bad. Both of them. How come they give that crappy effect of melting plastic a good review?

Unless I am missing the genius of the idea or the possible applications, I do not get it. Sorry.

PS: The effect would be good, if you take out the content of the plastic bag without hurting the plastic... a hole is just a hole.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Just A Twin Update!

Deutsche Version

Magician and website designer Moti Penna put together this nice website about the Twins featured earlier this week.

Please have a look at the site and make sure to read the first ever interview with the Twins on this subject:

@Justin: No I am not "pretty fired up" about this matter. I am actually pretty calm.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

EDEN - New Author!

Deutsche Version

Hi everyone,

My name is Eden. I've been doing magic professionally (paying all my bills, and only source of income) for two years now. I live in Vancouver and I consider myself a street performer first, with some corporate work on the side.

Just going to do a quick rant, since it's my first day on the job, and I am already showing up late for work.

Why do we, as magicians get caught up in the hype machine over and over again? Every time a new product is announced, there will be a massive seventeen page thread on the "Magic Café" debating how amazing it's going to be and someone will inevitably say "Oh, I've known the inventor for twenty-three years and he's one of the brightest minds in magic and I can't believe he's actually selling this and I wish I could buy all the copies just so I could keep it to myself" and then dozens of "magicians" (and I use the term loosely here) will chime in on how "this looks amazing and it's going to be the next big thing and this is going straight into my act and thanks so much for releasing this, inventor!" ...and all this before a demo video goes online. Case in point: search for the little man discussion thread on the Café.

Why do we do all this garbage? It's not going to make you the next big star. It's not going to get you a headlining spot. It's not going to get you a TV show. It will sit in your bottom drawer next to your Raven, Black Widow and Gecko. What will make you a better magician? Hard work, practice and performing for real people. In the flesh. (not over webcam! next weeks topic!)

That's all for now.

Eden loves you and hopes your dreams come true.


Deutsche Version

Boy our latest magic failure, the twins, are bad losers. They made YouTube take down every single copy of the video that shows them ripping off Marco Tempest. This behaviour is natural for the common copycat twin. It is part of their ritual to become the strongest of the tribe. This is no territory disputes but part of the rite of passage for the common twin (GEMINUS COPYCATUS). It is important that the elders reprimand the behaviour of their young. Otherwise the young have to leave and live outside the safety of group in the hostile environment outside.

It will take some time for the common copycat twin to learn that being part of a clan means to respect the habits and skills of the others. And that this respect is above legal claims.

Bonus: I saved the video. If anybody wants it, send me an email and I send it to you.
Due to legal reasons I am forced to say that the offer above is satire!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

WMF Gary and Paul Hardy-Brown

Gary Hardy-Brown and Paul Hardy-Brown (according to facebook as the last names are not on their website) are the two identical twin illusionists from England. Here is their website. Following now is a nice little video that Marco Tempest linked to in an email he wrote. (BTW: I wonder how in the world I ended up on Marco's emailing list.)

I am not going into the thievery aspect of it. The video does a pretty good job doing that. No what I am wondering about is this: If those guys are identical twins and they are into illusions, why the hell do they reveal the fact that they have an identical twin? If we only knew about one, the show would have so much more possibilities. Have they watched the movie "The Prestige"?

OK, OK... just kidding of course I will mention the aspect of theft. Did the brothers really think they can get away with that unnoticed? And when caught they actually denied it. When asked by Marco Tempest they replied: "We are both disappointed and sorry that you thought we have used/copied some of your ideas. [...] The footage you speak about was just us 'playing around with video media' with some new/old ideas, but you seem to have laid claim to these!"

Hilarious. I know it is part of the magicians job to lie, but this is a bad lie. The footage is just too similar to have come up with independently. Look at the video, at 1:12 you see Marco Tempest holding a sign saying: "Did you see it grow?" at 1:19 you see one of the twins holding up a sign using the exact same words. The rip off cannot be more blatant.

Oh boy, I wish this sort of derisive conduct would be a new thing in magic. But unfortunately it is not. Especially in the illusion category.

Just A Sunday Post #20

Deutsche Version

Wow, already 20 Sunday Posts. So here a particular scary post, since we are getting closer and closer to Halloween.

Peki, a German magician and one of first few Weekly Magic Failures. Here we see yet another thing. Peter Kinnigheit obviously discovered YouTube. And if you see nothing wrong with the video below I don't know what is wrong with you. He is the winner of multiple awards, and the video shows:

Is this a convincing levitation? All three of use the same method, commonly known as the Fearson Hook-up although the origin us much older. (Earliest mention I found was in a book called: "Démonstrations mystérieuses" by F.W. Conradi, 1922)

But what bothers even me more ist the setting. The costume and the music. Is there an actual performance niche where this can be performed? It is neither table hopping, nor walk around, nor stand up. It's not comedy and it is not really magic. So what is that? The additional information to the video says: "PEKI shows his best Magic Floating Routines, which are unbelievable. Peki is one of the best and most creative magicians in Germany." First part: I totally agree, it is HIS best and it is unbelievable. Second part: Obviously Peki has never heard of the Flicking Fingers, die Zauderer, Topas, Alexander de Cova and others.

Fact: Peki is past is prime and has not been informed about it yet.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Some Little Thought!

Deutsche Version

Am I that narrow-minded and such a heretic if I do not like Dai Vernon's Cups and Balls routine? Contrary to many magicians I talked to I don't think the routine is well structured. If anything I find it confusing.

  1. First the balls vanish and reappear under the cups.
  2. Then the part that the spectator decides where the center ball will go.
  3. After that the penetration of the balls through the cups.
  4. Followed by the jumping of the outer balls to the center ball.
  5. Then the bogus explanation with the explanation of the concept of the false transfer and the secret load under the cup.
  6. And at last, the final loads.

Isn't that a different premise with each effect?

First a vanish and a reappearance. Then a transportation. So far so good, but then penetrations... that is an inconsistent explanation of the miracle. Especially, because in the beginning it could clearly be seen, that it was not a penetration that caused the balls to travel. If Mr. Vernon had chosen not to open his hand after the false transfer of the ball and instead had chosen to push with the hand on the cup, it would have looked like a penetration and therefore consistent. But no, first the whole palette of magic effects is celebrated, regardless of a uniform appearance of the act. Even the transportation of the balls from cup to cup does not fit. Does the ball become invisible after it leaves the cup? Does it travel at all? If Mr. Vernon had chosen that a penetration is the cause for all the effects, a transportation would only be thinkable, if he would have moved with his empty hand near the side of the cup, miming taking out the ball through the wall of the cup and then without opening the hand pushing it into the next cup. But no, he doesn't do that.

The following upsets me the most. He admits that all of it is a swindle. With that he cancels the former premises, which considering the missing consistency of the former part of the routine is not too much of a bad thing and explains the concept of the false transfer. Which disturbs me. Why does he explain the concept? Does it have to be? May be this fit Mr. Vernon, but does every little magic worm have to do it? Especially those who cannot do a proper false transfer.

Then it is time for the final loads... the following note: Darwin Ortiz wrote the wonderful book "Strong Magic". In it he explains the success of the final loads, that a spectators probably perceives the effects of a Cups and Balls routine differently than anticipated by the magician. To him the little balls appear under the cup while they should not be there, therefore a lemon, which really should not be there is a stronger effect.

My opinion: Obviously magicians are often unclear themselves what the cause of the effects is. Be it a penetration, sleight of hand or transportation. So the spectator has to make up his own mind what exactly is the cause of the miracles.

And Vernon's Cups and Balls is a sample item for a routine that is almost good, as it needs only minor modifications to do it right.

Monday, October 5, 2009

WMF Marti Brill

Deutsche Version

I admit it. I had no idea who this magician is. A friend made me aware of this "Expert Magician". Here is his one of a kind website which among other stuff leads to this promotional video.

I will not mention that there is a typo in the first sentence ("Gallaxy"), his constant leaning to one side, his bad topit work, that palming should be practiced, that the audience is the same (friends/family), that the video is way too long for a promotional video, that each routine can be directly attributed to other magicians, who can do all of that much better and I will not mention how poorly false applause is edited into the video.

What I will mention is his appearance on "America's Got Talent". Here the little anecdote: Marti decides to do a little bit with card manipulation, a chair levitation and assistant, perhaps because he thought he's "Got Talent". His performance was disastrous. The audience booed and the comments of the "judges" were a "hit in the face". So what does Marti do? Does he sweeps his performance under the mat and hopes that nobody will mention it again? No. He reedits the footage. So it looks like he was successful. A positive remark by David Hasselhoff, originally directed at the better magician Drew Thomas, was taken out by him and cut into his "own" video to make it look like his "own" comment.

Wow, that is ugly. Here is a link to the video in question, because embedding it into this blog has been deactivated for some reason. The actual performance is from 2:20 to 4:00. You can see the bored faces of the "judges", you can hear the audience barracking. It is poorly edited.

Next to the video it says: "Marti Brill is the most amazing Magician of all time ever in the history of the world! Amazes the audiance on America's Got Talent. Book now for Corporate Events, and Trade Show$!" Wow, that is hubris in pure form.

He deserves to be WMF.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Just A Sunday Post #19

Deutsche Version

Sometimes 2:44 minutes are really long. Especially when the movements of the ball are in direct relation to the movements of the hands. It dangles, it jiggles, it terrifies.