Sunday, November 29, 2009

Just A Sunday Post #27

Deutsche Version

Wow, this is bad. No audience management. The spectators simply go away. And he drops that one coin. How embarrassing. And his English, boy I heard better.

KORBINIAN - Waste of words...

Hello, you spell weavers and magic makers.

Today I'll revive an age old topic, probably one of the oldest topics in magic history. Critics and their opinions.

Most of you are probably part of a magic club or have at least attended one of their meetings. So surely everyone knows the kind of talk, which goes on after the presentation of your favorite routine.
You spend a lot of time in studying details, learning sleights, inventing pattern and all these other stuff, we like to think about, and then the first point of critique is: Why do you use a black-backed deck, or maybe, you should use red balls instead of the brown ones.

I'm thinking, where lies the point of these critics. Why do they do this? I remember vividly a meeting, in which a young magician showed this thread from eye-effect. Okay it's probably not on the same level as an award-winning manipulation act, but it was cleanly shown and without flaws. An the critic was, that it was oral magic, so untrue, since it is ocular magic, and as such unworthy of a magician. WTF.

Okay, it is not an effect for a restaurant magician, but this critic is just shit. Especially in the context of the next performer, who is a graduate-student of the magic-school in our city. Oh I almost forgot, that the previous critic was the former owner of this school.
So this nice-looking fellow, maybe a little bit overweight, clumsy and insecure, not to insult him personally, showed us a wonderful silk production.

I fucking hate silk production, especially out of a soap bubble, with lousy steals and without context or sense. Why on earth would anyone like to see this. Where lies the wonder, where mystery, anything. But no critics, nobody stood up, nobody shot this fella down. There maybe truly wonderful silk effects, but this was certainly not one of them.

So why got the first one criticized and the second not. I'll tell you two reasons. First one, he was a student of the school and no ones dares to criticize someone, who has a diploma on his wall or maybe won a competition somewhere, which is really not that difficult, thinking about the sheer amount of competition, which are taking place all over the world.
And second, because his magic is fucking old-school, no threat to the images of the old geezers, who despise real magic. And that is because they hate to be fooled, they hate it when they have to feel like real persons. And they feel humiliated, when they have to ask how it works.

And one must think, that most of them don't perform regularly, especially those with the biggest mouth, they usually perform never, expect for the mirror and even then only self-working Tenyo replicas.

So the only advice I can give you, stick to your buddies, listen to them or even better listen to none, who says how things should be. Think for yourself and believe your audience, but not a single magician.

And one last thing, someone once said to me, critics are only angry, because they are unable to produce art, that's why they became critics.

Friday, November 27, 2009

WMF Gandalf The Grey / The White

Deutsche Version

Throughout the big epic fantasy novel "the Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien we are told that Gandalf is the great wizard. That he can do so much. But let's face it, he does little magic. He blows a smoke ship, lights his staff, creates an energy shield do save him from one lash of the fiery whip from the Balrog and that is pretty much it.

That is very little magic compared to the time that the whole show/book runs. Which is years.

So I must conclude that Gandalf is a pretty lousy magician. I suppose his Double Lifts are weak too.

Compared to other fictional magicians he doesn't do anything. Merlin does way more. Any random witch is more busy. Hell, even Harry Potter, an apprentice is more diligent.

That is why Gandalf is this weeks magic failure.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

EDEN - On Double Lifts

I met Shawn Farquhar several weeks ago. I told him that everyone can talk all they want about his performance at FISM, but the fact remains that he is the champion.

I just wanted to say that his double lift is hardly world champion material. And the fact that it's possible to win FISM with such a sloppy double lift is less a slight on Farquhar than it is a statement on weak double lifts everywhere. Yes, you're the champ, but man, what a painful double lift.

On the other end of the spectrum is the fancy pants double lift with convincers. Asher's Diving Board Double, or Daryl's preferred handling (whose name has completely escaped me) are prime examples of this. Who actually turns a card over like that? (Jugglers, possibly, but see last weeks rant) Don't get me wrong, they are amazing to see in action and I respect the work put into them, but sleights should be invisible.

Learn a nice basic strike or pushoff double. And make it look exactly like your singles. And save your fancy moves (card masturbation, really) for the magic club.

For such a fundamental sleight, there are so many people who do it very badly. Don't be one of them.

eden loves you

Comic Time #17

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The German Special

Here if you speak any German, you will have fun, as it deals with last week's magic failure Mickaelus.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Just A Sunday Post #26

Richard Turner, he is the man. Unfortunately he can't see his own work.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

KORBINIAN - Our beloved freaks...

So this time a post about a little special someone.

A guy called Dan Sperry. I think he is in some way connected to the Theory 11 guys, but I am not exactly sure. He is teaching some stage card manipulations there.

What do I have to say about him. At first I liked him. I like tattoos, piercings, spiky hair and weird looks. I firmly believe that all those clean shaved, handsome and well-groomed magicians are a bit boring. Magic could certainly be more fun and carry more meaning, if not everything would be flowers and doves.

And exactly that's my point. This guy Mr. Sperry tries to be so freaky, its almost satire. But okay, whatever, thats personal taste. But then his show. Dove manipulations with colourfully dyed doves. I would have expected big black crows or vultures, but pink doves are just poncey. Thats so totally out of character it's just silly.

Just take a look at his video.

I don't want to say, he is a bad magician and I also must admit I really liked his clockwork-bird effect. But in my opinion he really needs a new and coherent image.


KORBINIAN - An introduction of my humble self...

Hello to you folks out there.

My name is Korbinian Häutle and I feel very honored to be allowed to contribute a little something to this fantastic blog.

I am working on the streets of Munich in Germany as a busking magician. Because of that I have played a few hundreds show in front of audiences, which really don't care about new gimmicks, fancy moves or other stuff, we magicians love and buy. But I love these people, these earnest hard-working fellas, who support our art and without whom we would be just a bunch of jugglers.

Why do I call us magicians jugglers? We are jugglers, but we don't show our moves. Eden got it right in the context of XCM. This is clearly juggling, just show-off stuff.
"Magic is the absence of moves." (Dai Vernon)
[Roland is right, quoting makes me feel smarter.]

So the audience is hopefully unaware of our moves, all they perceive are our effects. But these effects just happen in their heads. We all know that nothing of the effects we show happen for real. So all of the time we should be thankful to our audiences for letting themselves be fooled.

So be nice, treat them with the most earnest respect and don't ever forget, that without these fellas, you would just be juggler but not a magician.

P.S.: But I also like jugglers. :-)

Friday, November 20, 2009

WMF Mickaelus

Who is this young German man? Yet another one who feels the need to explain magic tricks that are not his own creations. Below you see a version of the linking rings "performed" by this 18-year old fellow.

If you check out his channel on you will see that he explains a whole bunch of stuff.

Among the explanations you will find: The folding coin, the linking rings, various card moves, Tarantula, the Raven, the invisible deck, Tagged and the Intercessor.

Most of it is in German but a few bits are in English.

Let me make one thing clear. Mickaelus does not contribute anything to the art he just spoils it. And he calls himself a magician. Oh dear! The parents have never heard of responsibility. Otherwise the could have put an end to this in time. By doing an abortion.

Mickaelus has quit magic, he is no longer Weekly Magic Failure.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009


Hi Friends,

I'm pulling double duty, because Roland has been stricken with the H1N1 virus.

Today, we are going to talk about XCM. Why do you guys learn these moves? They are only useful for impressing other magicians. Lay people have no idea how hard it is to learn these 7 packet cuts and therefore have no interest in watching you do it. I guess the argument can be made that you learn what you want, and that you'd rather learn a fancy cut than a nice sidesteal, which I suppose is fair enough.

What I also think is fair enough is that XCM is not magic. XCM is a series of difficult moves, which suggests (only suggests!) proficiency in sleight of hand, but XCM is not magic. When a lay person sees a series of moves, the logical conclusion is that the series of moves effects the result. When a lay person sees you do nothing at all, the logical conclusion is that magic effects the result. That's the difference. This is why an ambitious card routine should never have a shuffling phase. When you shuffle, the shuffling action causes the card to rise to the top. But when you apparently do nothing, magic causes the card to rise to the top. Unless you have a weak double lift. Then that causes the card to rise to the top (oh, I feel next week's topic alread). But you get my point here.

XCM has more in common with juggling than magic. Do whatever you want to do, but be aware you're not performing magic.

eden loves you. even you.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

EDEN - A Near Life Experience

for putting myself in the hospital this weekend, i am forced to award myself weekly magic failure.

everything below is how i remember it. times given loosely correspond to time stamps on text messages sent and received.

saturday, november 7th, 2009.

get out of bed. skip breakfast. meet september at deighton's well. get a ginger ale and the world's smallest portion of potato wedges. they were free. estimate and cut 5 feet of white upholstery thread. do this twice. start threading 32 size 9 sewing needles onto each length. tie needles about 2 inches apart.

finally finish threading and tying one set. other set still unfinished and stuffed hastily into pouch. remember thinking they will get tangled but not caring. september leaves and i leave shortly after. walk along cordova street to granville street. i am shivering uncontrollably. it is not that cold. i cannot stop my teeth from chattering. it is really not that cold.

roll a cigarette. start slowly forming whip cracking motions without cracking them. light my cigarette. start cracking whips for real. trouble with poppers being brand new. start breaking poppers in. not shivering at all any more. gather a crowd. forget to do vanishing cigarette trick. inflate balloon for balloon swallow. crowd starts to cheer. balloon pops. inflate another. swallow balloon. crowd starts to cheer. balloon has a hole. inflate third and final balloon. swallow balloon. crowd does not cheer.

remove nail from pocket. nail is examined and verified to be a real nail. nail is inserted ten centimeters into my nasal cavity. crowd responds in kind. nail is removed from nose. crowd responds. needles are produced and examined. female volunteer with flashlight brought onto stage. she verifies a needle going into my mouth. she checks inside my mouth. she finds nothing. she verifies another needle going into my mouth. she checks inside my mouth again. again, she finds nothing. several needles are shown. she is asked to guess how many there are. she says ten. there are twenty-two. the whole packet is placed into my mouth. one last time, she verifies that she cannot see anything remaining in my mouth. i produce 1500 m of white cotton thread. i estimate and break off a five foot length. i swallow the thread. nothing remains in my mouth. i reproduce the first needle. it is now tied to the thread. and the next needle. it is tied to the thread. and the next needle. and the next. all the needles are coming back tied to the thread. but wait. i had two more than that.


collect the money. hurry. someone asks if i have $45 to make change for a $50. i do not. i empty my hat into my pouch. i jam the needles into my pouch. balloon pump left pocket. sewing thread right pocket. shit. hurry. kneel in the middle of granville street and reach down my throat. nothing. walk to johnny fox's irish snug. say hi to dave. use the restroom. it's occupied. get in. wash my hands. use soap. try to see down my throat in the bathroom mirror. on tiptoes. impossible. lock myself into a stall. reach as far as i can. j hook. nothing. i try not to swallow, cough, or gag.

ask dave for closest hospital. st. paul's. tell dave i'll see him later. walk to st. paul's. jay walk. stomach pains along the way. has a needle fallen down? ER entrance. embarrassed to tell reception what happened. tell them anyways. they say: on purpose? no.whips taken by security. fast tracked through ER. check in at fast track waiting room. pushed through to ENT room. have to explain to doctor what i did. doctor looks for specialist. i try not to swallow, cough, or gag.

text september with news. use words "retard" and "hilarious dumbassery" to describe self. confident i will be out of hospital in time to grab a beer at johnny foxes. i try not to swallow, cough, or gag.

2 x-rays taken to determine location of needles. stomach/abdomen and then throat/jaw. x-rays only show 1 needle. definitely swallowed two. i try not to swallow, cough, or gag.

1 more x-ray of stomach/abdomen ordered. no needle. closer examination shows two needles stuck very close together in my throat. try to get copies of the x-ray. they only exist in electronic form now. saddened. back to ENT room. continue texting september. start texting erin. jokingly work out contingency plans in case i die. try to arrange saturday night drinks with erin. use my hospitalization for pity points. i try not to swallow, cough, or gag.

whips are returned to me. security guy is done his shift. sent to wait in the fast track waiting room. ENT specialist calls another ENT specialist. watch peachtree TV. movie is about a teenage boy losing his virginity to a much older woman. total milf. TV is on auto timer. TV shuts off by itself. pretend to be interested in my fingernails. notice they need a trim. try to read a waiting room magazine. accidentally choose chatelaine. try to turn the TV back on. cannot find button. continue text messaging. continue examining fingernails. i try not to swallow, cough, or gag.

2nd ENT specialist shows up. this is my third doctor. i still do not think the problem is serious. back to ENT room. new doctor is suitably amused with my situation. promises to try get me x-rays to show my friends. machine is produced with which to look into my throat through my nose. numbing spray is determined necessary for me. i protest. they insist. i try not to swallow, cough, or gag.

numbing spray is found. seriously. that is the actual time it took. disgusting numbing spray applied to both nostrils. i gag. instrument inserted into my nostril. both needles are visually verified. i figure we are almost done. i text erin to start heading downtown. i try not to swallow, cough, or gag.

we walk to the ENT clinic. i text erin and apologize for misjudging the time. hospitals are creepy at night. a third ENT specialist in consulted and will actually remove the needles. this is my fourth doctor. i am still not aware of the potential danger of my situation. new doctor hears my story. new doctor makes me promise to never do it again. i promise. they look for instruments to use. various scary metallic objects in sterile, vacuum sealed bags are produced. a similar instrument as before is used to look into my mouth, but this time hooked up to a TV screen. a mirror feed is behind the surgeon so i can see as well. i try not to swallow, cough, or gag.

the procedure is described to me. i have to hold my tongue out of the way and control my gag reflex while the surgeon removes the needles. erin arrives downtown. i tell her to grab a coffee and that i will be right out. i grab my own tongue with gauze and pull down as hard as i can. it hurts. i have to pull harder. large tongs and the camera go down my throat. i am told to breathe through my nose. i cannot. i stop breathing. i gag. it hurts. numbing spray is produced. disgusting numbing spray is applied directly to my throat. i gag. it hurts. we try again. i grab my tongue. instruments go in. i gag. it hurts. the disgusting vomiting spray is applied to my throat ten times in rapid succession. i dry heave, but there is no food in my belly. it hurts. we try again to grab the needles. i gag. we try. i gag.

we take a break. i try to reach my zen place. we try. the surgeon has the needles in his forceps. he works them side to side to free them. they are nearly out.


i gag, i gag, i gag. it hurts, it hurts, it hurts. the needles are stuck in my throat sideways. i am asked if i am okay. i am not okay. i am coughing up blood. a lot of blood. i am gasping . the needles are still sideways. i have tears running down my face from the instruments in my throat and i have snot coming out of my nose and i have saliva and phlegm and blood in my mouth and i am scared. i finally realize i am in big trouble. miraculously, one of my convulsions loosens the needles and sets them how they were stuck before. i text erin and tell her to go home because i will be a while.

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

i am going into surgery to have the needles removed. there is no one in the OR. lucky me. erin comes to the hospital to see me. she hates hospitals. another surgeon shows up. this one is dressed in a tux. i am embarrassed for pulling him away from an engagement and apologize. he waves it off. i leave my effects with erin and she goes home. i have to strip naked and put on hospital clothes. i think how one of the gowns is like a snuggie. i try not to cough or gag.

i get placed onto a hospital bed. i get wheeled around. luxurious. no allergies, no previous medications, otherwise healthy, no family history of complications. i sign forms. they start to stick things to me and in me. a mask goes over my mouth.

i wake up. i am in another room. i am asked if i want to leave now or in the morning. i choose morning. i get wheeled to on overnight room. i try to sleep. i call erin and thank her for showing up. my phone is running out of batteries. i turn it off.

my throat hurts. a lot. worse than it did with needles in. i do not dare make a noise with my throat. i do not remember being told how to summon a nurse. i panic and look at instruments around me. i find an unlabelled button. i am paranoid pushing it will kill me. tell myself this is unlikely. i am still afraid to push the button. i try to trace the cord back to the wall. it gets lost in a tangle. my throat still hurts. i close my eyes and jam on the button. i hear ringing in the hallway. a nurse appears. i whisper for painkillers. he comes back with ice water and two dosages of liquid T3s. ice water stings my throat but i have to try for it. i shoot the T3s down. they are surprisingly tasty. i drink some more of the water. does not hurt as much as before. i am told to pee in a bucket.

turn my phone back on.

i overhear nurses talking about my case in the hallway. they sound mildly amused. i'll be discharged after breakfast.

cell phone dies.

erin shows up and i get to leave.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Comic Time #14

This weeks WMF will be delayed, I got that stupid swine flu and have to get past the point of just sleeping all day. So here is the comic... it is such a nice filler.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Just A Sunday Post #24

You might have noticed the poll on the right side, asking for who Magic Failure of the Year is. I am being totally unscientific now and give you my personal top three.

3. Kevin Parker
This man is just a bad magician. According to his own words he doesn't perform ("I only perform when I'm asked by acquaintances, or when I want to make a performance video.") and the stuff he sells sucks. In fact, everything he released and I mean every single item is crap.
That this man is even allowed to release anything borders on insanity. Gee.

2. David J. Castle
I do not know what is wrong with this guy. I really don't. But I see what he does. Not only does he explain magic on a big level. No, he actually hosts the biggest Internet forum that is all about spoiling magic and explaining tricks. The target audience 14-year-olds... I wish. Unfortunately all ages are found in that group of magicians who do not take the craft seriously. That makes me sad.

1. Lou Serrano
You might say: what? Why him? I have seen him, he is a good magician. And I certainly do not doubt that. But he is a bullshitter when it comes to marketing. He has this constant habit of making up price tags for the stuff he sells. And that in itself is not bad, everyone does it. Everyone asks for the price they think the product is worth. But he justifies his prices by lying. Television Rights... there is no price tag for Television Rights. And all this stuff is thrown at us by Lou Serrano, that we nod in agreement about the high price he asks for.
This actually makes me angry, it actually generates real feelings of hate towards this man who I have no doubt is a good magician. I simply do not get his business approach. In fact I think it is the most insincere approach to selling magic that there is.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Tommy Dafoe

Deutsche Version

Did you ever notice that Willem Dafoe looks like Tommy Wonder...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

EDEN - Practice!

This Sunday, I saw a terrific magic show at the Railway Club in Vancouver. It was called Magic and Mayhem, and organized by Jamie D Grant, who probably reads these blog type things. So shout out and props to you, Jamie.

The show was well attended, and a smash success, at least from my point of view. It is therefore with great discomfort that I need to rant about something. One performer in particular, was not quite up to snuff. He was attempting to do a mentalism/hypnotism type trick that started poorly and became a car wreck to watch. The audience did not buy into his "serious" premise at ALL, and at one point he quite rudely sent a spectator back to her seat for not being serious enough. He tried to cover it the rudeness, but it was quite apparent that he was offended and had sent her back to her spot with malice. I distinctly remember her saying "he just embarrassed me in front of a hundred people. what a jerk." By the end of the routine, he was so flustered he ended up getting the trick wrong. I tried to be encouraging about his performance afterwards, telling him it was a very good premise for a trick but that it needed a lot more performance/practice time and that I looked forward to seeing it in the future when it was polished. He was bold enough to correct me and say "Well, a little..."

No, sir, it needs a LOT more practice. And you need a LOT more performance time before you can call yourself a magician.

That's all beside the point, I guess. To be a pilot, you must first log enough flight hours under supervision to get your license. Doctors have internships. Lawyers do petty work in law offices before they get barred. Yet anyone can get on stage and call themselves a magician. Dariel Fitzkee estimates that out of the group that identifies themselves as "magicians" at least 50% are mediocre to poor and another 24% are very poor. When 99% of a group is worse than mediocre, it reflects poorly on the 1% that, to put it gently, doesn't suck.

That being said, a single bad performance did not ruin the night. I want to give a shout out to Travis Bernhardt who absolutely brought the house down on Sunday. Everyone needs to keep an eye out for his name in the future.

eden loves you.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Just a loose thought!

Deutsche Version

Every week I teach some kids some magic at a local school. Simple stuff. And now it hit me. Hard. Almost all of Jay Sankey's none coin, none card stuff is excellent material for 11-year-old kids. Because it is so very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very weak... and most often easy.

WMF Uri Geller

Deutsche Version

Yeah... him... what to say... can't he just leave mentalists alone? He is a liar, has been debunked many, many times. Always using weasel words. James Randi did a whole lot of work to educate people. Most of that is futile. I even know a magician who is a lawyer who seemingly adores Mr. Geller, just because Uri is a nice guy. Well I am sure quite a few dictators in history were considered nice guys... but I am not going to take the polemic pathway today, at least no more than usual.

In spite of all the negative critic the whole search for the "Next Uri Geller" goes on in so many countries. And a few mentalist and magicians hop on that train hoping to get famous. Well very few of them do. Most don't. But do they really want their name attached to Uri Geller?

So why is he a magic failure? He clearly doesn't to any magic. And least not the nerdy kind that we do. Well no matter how he calls it, I call it tricks. And bad ones. Damn, I have seen "spoon bends" for sale that look better than the stuff he does. (I believe he actually enriched mentalism with spoon bending... gotta give him that)

So he is a bad magician, if he chose to use magic tricks. And if he is using divine powers, well... why doesn't he heal amputees? I am just asking the same question I would ask God.

Even though is presentation sucks, it is a magic trick.

Yeah, but Uri Geller loves publicity, so he is going to love this one. So I was actually thinking a long time not to include him. But I did, because I chose not to take a look at Uri Geller the Guru, but at Uri Geller the magician. And as such he sucks big time.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Audio Rant #1 - Being unique, original and different!

I am not sure about this new segment. I'd like some feedback please!
I went with a very mild topic to begin with. No anger so far.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

PETA would love to see this!

Deutsche Version

Let's play a little game.
The game is called:
"Name the animal abuser and the copied act!"

Starts at 2:30

I really would like to know who this guy is. The first one who gets me the info gets an awesome prize.

Just A Sunday Post #23

Deutsche Version

I have noted that many magicians fear to end not clean. They want coin vanishes where both hands are empty. In a coins across the last coin needs to be overly clean and the hand totally empty.

I do not fear that. I keep my coin palmed. No need to put it in a top it or ditch it in a pocket.

I do not know where this fear comes from, nor do I care. But I realize that this is one of the driving forces of the magic industry. Horrible coin vanishes are published, like the revolution coin vanish, because in the end the hands are empty.

Sometimes it matters, to be able to show your hands empty AFTER a certain trick. But most often it doesn't.