Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year

I hope you had a great year.

It is so interesting to run such a blog. You get to learn so much about magicians and the magic world. Each month I get about 20 suggestions for a weekly magic failure. Most often it seems to be a personal thing between the one suggested and the one suggesting the magician in question. I generally tend not to use those.

Also I get a lot of requests to make certain human failures known. I do know of magicians who are facing charges about theft, rape and pedophilia, yet I choose not to publish this, even though I do have legit proof. Because those people are human failures, not magic failures. So unless it has something to do with the magic world, I am not interested.

As strange as it sounds I do not take joy in making certain people a weekly magic failure, by pointing out their flaws. I certainly don't publish a post saying to myself "ha ha, now he got what he deserved"

So why am I doing it? I gain nothing. No money, no fame, no knowledge, not even wisdom. I cannot answer this question. But I do have one question for you.

How come you don't stand up for it?

Let me explain. I learn about a lot of magicians doing this blog for almost two years now. I learn about what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong.

And I understood that magicians are average humans, so the same "fail/winner - rate" applies as with an non magic crowd.

So when you see an doctor messing up, you don't say "oh come on, give him a break, we all make mistakes"

If an architect messes up you wouldn't say "You can fail once, just build another house"

You would say something. Even if that doesn't change anything.

I hear see you saying: "Roland, doctors and architects? The stakes are much higher with those. We are magicians, bad magic doesn't endanger human lives."

Well yes. But it endangers "Magic as an art." It is my firm belief that if magic isn't treated well and if we as a community of a shared interest do let bad magicians go loose our beloved magic will suffer. The image of magic will suffer. And by that the magicians will suffer. By getting less bookings, as more and more people don't even think of "perhaps hiring a magician"^

So again:

How come you don't stand up for it?

So this is to another new year. Goodbye 2010 and Hello 2011.

Let the failures go wild.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

On A Lighter Note



I want this fact to sink in:
SOME OF THE GREATEST TRICKS AND ILLUSIONS ON THE STAGE ARE UNBELIEVABLY SIMPLE.

Don't forget that you were once one of the spectators and believed these tricks to be almost superhuman feats. Now, when you learn how very simple they are, remember that to those who are not "in the know," they are still deep mysteries.

Harlan Tarbell

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hello Rob Matthies!



You wrote:

Racist anti-semite blogger Roland Henning of Germany wants Rob Matthies of Vancouver to stop offering Matthies' $75 Family Magic Shows so that Professional Magicians can charge more $$$ for their services


What the fuck is wrong with you?

I never said or wanted you to stop offering your cheap ass magic shows. I wrote:

You can be a Birthday Rescuer, you can do as many shows as you want to. But leave other magicians out of this.


Where does it say that I want you to stop offering cheap shows? It says, LEAVE OTHER MAGICIANS OUT OF YOUR ADVERTISEMENT!

Read the last line carefully. READ it, don't interpret it!

And what makes you think, that I am racist anti-Semite? That is extremely offensive here in Germany, considering the German history. Call me an asshole or a dumb piece of shit, but don't you dare to call me a racist anti-Semite.

First it is not true and second: Where the hell do you get that from? I never wrote anything even remotely going into that direction.

You said that you googled "Russian", "Munich" and "Busker" and found links to three performers who happen to be Jewish. Well do a search for "München", "Russisch" and "Straßenkünstler" and you will find something different.

If intended to be racist, I would say so and not be fucking cryptic about it, by making sure that everybody would do a Google search first to understand what the bloody hell I am talking about.

But aside from that I suggest you take it down a notch.

You clearly are reading something into my little words that isn't there and you a convinced enough to openly call me a racist anti-Semite, which I find both offending and untrue.

And such behaviour is pathetic.

You claim that I started a "hate campaign" against you. I don't hate you. I pity you.

But I am afraid, you won't READ THIS either, you will probably just interpret this as some sort of attempt to weasle my way out of this trap you have set up.

Oh, Happy New Year everyone!

Btw: Rob! Speaking of yourself in third person could be a sign of hubris!

Possible Failure?



Thanks to Cardman to let me find it: ÜBERAWESOME LINK
[...] but by promising to assist children's charities, I do not believe this is something he can wheedle out of. [...]

What are your thoughts on Kreskin?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Just A Sunday Post #76



It's on. It is time for Magic Failure of the Year. In fact I'm a bit late, so the poll will go on until the end of January. I included even those who were not part of the election last year. They are in order of appearance. If you forgot what they did, here is a handy LINK.

The three winners will go to the WMF Hall of Fame which already include last year's winners Criss Angel, Shawn Farquhar and Steven Youell.

You can select multiple answers.

Did I tell you it's on?

It's on!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Hate Campaign Against German Blogger

If you are reading this and you are not Rob Matthies please skip this post.

Dear Rob,

you wrote an email to Andrew. It escapes me, why you are not writing an email to me. Well anyway. I read that email and you say a few things which simply are not true. You write:

There is, in my view, no doubt that Henning was referring to a Jewish busker when the German magician Ronald Henning provided the “solution” to your problem as the “disappearance” of Rob Matthies.


I did not say anything about a Jewish busker. I was saying something about a Russian busker. Please note, that I am aware that there are Russian Jews, but I was not referring to those. I was just talking about a busker who happened to be Russian. That's it.

I am of the opinion that Roland Henning’s use of a “Russian” immigrant, who is apparently either run out of Munich by threat, or murdered, is a thinly-veiled reference to a Jewish busker, perhaps a klezmer musician.


I wrote that the RUSSIAN busker learned a lesson that day. How could he have learned a lesson if he was murdered?

Please Rob, don't read stuff into my words that isn't there!

Your assumption that I suggested that I would like to have you killed is seriously offending me. Furthermore suggesting that I would do it in a manner similar to the "Final Solution" is especially offending to me, considering my German roots.

So why are you starting a hate campaign against me? Just because I dislike your marketing strategy? Seriously, I am afraid of you. You even ordered some other person (with deadline) to report me to the police, to two jurisdictions and the JDL.

Isn't that some incitement to get rid of me? It could be understood as such.

So not only am I offended that you even dared to compare your case to the worst crime ever committed, but you also make demands and suggestions how to get rid of me.

Gee, Rob, I am scared.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Damn those Umbrellas!

If you notice a theme it means that you are smart!

















Guessed the theme? That's right, it's Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

This Post Is Just For You Rob



Now that we got that out of the way here are two tips for you.

1. Stop the way you are advertising.

You can be a Birthday Rescuer, you can do as many shows as you want to. But leave other magicians out of this. And then others will leave you alone. Simple as that.

2. Be less aggressive on the Internet altogether.

There are many haters out there and if you let them speak up (like me), by waking the sleeping dog, it will turn ugly.

In a forum you wrote:

The veiled bodily-threat uses disappearance of the competing “Russian” entertainer as a “solution”. In my view, that threat seems to be a subconscious or conscious parallel to Hitler's “final solution” to the Jews in Europe.


I am a German, naturally I know all about the issue. So I can assure you that it was certainly not my intent to make any references in that direction.
Which brings me to:

3. Relax!

Obviously you take yourself way too serious and your ego seems way too big to assume I would compare this case with the most disgusting, biggest mass murder in history. I was merely suggesting to get rid of you. Not by violence, but by competition.

So if you get it the wrong way it means you are way too aggressive about it, reading something into this which is not there.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

PC...? BS!!!


by
Christopher Lyle
www.lylemagic.com


I get so hacked off every time I read one of these stupid PC debates concerning the appropriateness of certain effects in the realm of Children's Entertainment. For all of you who are spouting off about "don't do this in your show!", why don't you focus on your own show and quit worrying about ours.

If you want to use fire in your show (or anything else), then use it and quit asking a bunch of magicians who have nothing better to do than sit around on a magic forum spouting off nonsense and "preaching the gospel" what their opinion is. Who cares what a bunch of magicians think. The important thing is what your clients think!

It's all about COMMUNICATION people!!!! Plain and simple!!!!

Unlike many, I am able to offer SEVERAL different shows to my clients...eight to be exact. The two shows that I book the most for birthday parties/private home shows are my "Whirlwind of Magic Show" and my "Concentrated Insanity Show." They are completely polar opposite of each other. One show is what many magi would consider "young child friendly" and the other show is full of daredevil stunts and dangerous shock magic. I'll let you figure out which is which...

When the client calls me, I give them a description of each show and I let them choose which show will best fit their crowd as they know their audience more than I do.

Concentrated Insanity is my most popular show and the one that is usually booked. The show contains:

- Fire Eating and Fire Manipulation
- Torch thru Arm
- The Balloon Swallow
- Razor Blades
- Spike Roulette
- Needle thru Arm
- Straight Jacket Escape

...just to name a few.

I have performed this show for ages 6 and above. Why? Simple! The client selected that show for their child's party. They could choose from whatever shows they wanted and THAT was the one they picked!

I use more than a lighter in my show, I use torches! YES! I do fire eating in peoples homes. I communicate my needs to the client PRIOR to the show and it's all drawn out in my contract. The client disables their smoke alarms so they won't go off during the show. I have two fire extinguishers on hand at all times, one on each side of my set up along with a fire blanket as a safety precaution. In 20 years, I've NEVER had to use any of them. I have a spotless safety record!

At my weekend restaurant, I perform my stage act 9 times Friday thru Sunday and Fire Eating is part of the show. The owner of the restaurant loves it and it's a staple of my act. He has to pay for all of his permits (and from what I understand, it ain't cheap), but he supports it as we witness every weekend the reactions it gets.

I do have insurance on my act, so if something does go wrong, then I (and my client) are totally covered. I pay up the wazoo for it, but it's worth the peace of mind. There is also a clause in my contract that states EXACTLY what my show will consist of and I make the client initial that clause giving me permission to perform it their home, or school, etc. My contract was drawn up by an attorney and it is rock solid and it will hold up in court...should the need ever arise.

As I said above, as long as you provide FULL DISCLOSURE to the client during the booking process as far as what your show is all about, then your off the hook! If someone get's hacked off over the material in your show, then you can direct them to the person who booked you because it was their choice what show you performed.

I have performed all of the above routines in home shows, daycare's and schools before 100s of kids ranging in age from 6 to 12+ to great applause and I DO get called back to perform over and over again. Why? Because my show is fun and entertaining. Mystery, Magic, and Mayhem. It's all about ENTERTAINMENT!

The natural argument that I get sick and tired of hearing from all you PC junkies out there, usually goes something like this:

"Children will try to duplicate what they see a magician do on stage. It's irresponsible to perform anything dangerous or even something that gives the illusion of danger in front of children."

or

"I don't care how often you say "Don't try this at home", they will try it at home. I hope you never have to live with the knowledge that something you did caused a child harm when they tried it themselves."

I've been listening to that same tired argument for years now from other Magicians. I think it's rubbish and I dismiss it...and I'll tell you why.

First of all, I have found that no matter what you do, you will never be able to please 100% of your audience 100% of the time. It's just not going to happen! Truthfully, it seems to me that the majority of folks who take issue with this are overly sensitive magicians who are so concerned with being Politically Correct that they condemn themselves to Change Bags and Run Rabbit Run.

My answer to the above argument is quite simple. How can a child duplicate what they see me do during my show?

Let's chat first about RAZORS. Truth be told, double edged Razor Blades are not even that relevant anymore. Much like wearing a monocle in ones eye would seem out of place, so are double edged razors. But people can still identify with them as something sharp and potentially life threatening, especially when placed in ones mouth! But that's another story for another time...

WHERE is a child going to get a double edged razor blade? That's not usually something that is kept in the home. A child would need to go out and buy them. What idiot would sell a child a packet of razor blades???

Also, (since I brought up how this item isn't very current in today's society) it's becoming harder and harder to find Double Edged Razor Blades in stores. The Wal-Mart out by me no longer sells them. The last time I was there, I was talking to the stock person who told me they no longer sell them, but he had about 4 packages in the back (which I bought up). Walgreens no longer sells them either (at least in my neck of the woods).

So these aren't' even easily obtainable by an adult let alone a child. So how would a child emulate me performing my razor blade routine? Hmmm...I think not!

Now let's chat about FIRE! Where is a child going to get the material to perform fire eating/manipulation? To do a basic fire eating act you need the following:

- A Lighter
- Fuel
- A Container to Hold the Fuel
- A Torch or Torches
- A Fire Extinguisher
- A Fire Blanket

Where is a child going to get all of this from? They would have to go out and buy it. Again...what idiot in their right mind would SELL THIS STUFF to a minor? Let's just say for the sake of saying it, that some idiot did sell a torch, lighter, and fuel to a child (which would NEVER happen). So now little Johnny is out in the back yard and he lights up a torch. Little Johnny assumes the fire eating stance and starts to bring the torch close to their face. They feel the heat and how hot it is...so they pull back!

I was talking to Fielding West once after a lecture about his very subject and his response to me was "NO KID IS EVER GOING TO PUT FIRE IN THEIR MOUTH! They'll feel the heat and pull it away"

Now let's talk about the BALLOON SWALLOW. Where is a child going to get a 260 balloon to swallow? Hmmmm... True... they could go to a store and buy 260s if they know what to look for. However, a 260 fully inflated is too wide to fit into a child's mouth. It won't fit! It's a physical impossibility. IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!

The whole point of all this is if a child is able to gain access to any of the stuff I have mentioned above then seeing my show is the LEAST of their problems!

WHERE ARE THEIR PARENTS???? It's up to the parents to teach their children that they are not to do what they see the Magician do. If a child sees me or anyone performing something dangerous and doesn't have the common sense to talk to their child and exhibit a little bit of parenting, then if their child injures themselves after the show while being an idiot, as unfortunate as that would be, it's the parents fault, not mine!

There is MUCH MORE DANGER represented on your local news, on TV Shows, in the Movies, etc. There's more danger on YouTube than in my show.

People should give the kids of today a tad more credit then they do. Kids are smart (far smarter than most adults I find). Most kids wouldn't be dumb enough to try this stuff. If they are that stupid, then their parents are to blame for not doing their job as parents...not for me doing my job as an entertainer.

Let me throw a different slant on this for a minute. I have been to Ringling Brothers Circus every year for the last 10 years. The circus (geared towards families and children) is LOADED WITH DANGEROUS STUFF. I have seen people juggle fire while on a 10 foot unicycle, perform fire eating and blowing, putting their heads in the mouths of lions and tigers, swinging from a trapeze, being shot a 1/2 mile out of a cannon, etc.

After the circus, if a child were to go home and try and stick his head in the family dogs mouth and gets injured or ties a rope between two houses and falls while attempting a High Wire Act, who should be held responsible? The circus? Of course not! The parents would be held responsible!

There seems to be a double standard. Why is ok for kids to watch danger in a Circus or on TV or on YouTube or in the Movies, but it's taboo outside of those arenas?

It's this kind of mindless nonsense that really hacks me off! People don't really know how good magic can be. Why? Because their only experience with Magic is some guy doing 20th Century Silks at a Birthday Party and pulling a rabbit out of a hat. As a community of Magicians, I fear that many of us do more harm than good. We have gotten so PC when it comes to performing for kids that many of the shows lack ANY ENTERTAINMENT VALUE WHATSOEVER!

As of late, I have been doing quite a bit of soul searching about my magic and what it means to me. Tho' my show is riddled with humor, insanity, and zanyness, I do consider myself a serious performance artist. I enjoy performing for people who enjoy magic...however, it seems to me as the years go on, that finding "adults" who enjoy watching the fine art of magic are becoming fewer and fewer.

Why is this?

I believe that there is a negative perception that has been around for many years that magic is nothing more than entertainment for children. I think that most people, when they think of what magic is, will always remember a time when they attended a birthday party (either as a child or an adult) where they saw Grandpa Earl dressed up in his Lodge Jacket wearing his Benevolent Order of Antelope Fez hacking thru his exciting rendition of Hippy Hop Rabbits and Stratosphere with 50 yards of multicolored silks tied together coming out of his sleeve.

Sadly, there are MANY ACTS out there in the trenches today that are EXACTLY as I described above. So long as Magicians continue to perform this same things over and over again with stock presentations, the perception will never go away. It's that reason that I feel I need my show to be different from the normal "kids show" that people are accustomed to watching. It's my hope that YOU feel the same way about YOUR SHOW!

The society that we live in today is far different from that of say 20+ years ago. The world is changing and if we as entertainers do not change with it, then I fear Magicians will become nothing more than a bad punch line... which technically, we already are.

I will leave you with this final thought. Follow these three rules:

1. Do your act
2. Do it well
3. Be entertaining

AND QUIT asking a bunch of magicians on a magic forum what they think about your act. It doesn't matter what we think. Do what you want to do!!!!

Rant over...!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Rob Matthies is a Scumbag



So now we got a title. And I know the following: Google will find this title and will link this when you search for Rob Matthies eventually. Because it is true. He is a scumbag.

Let me explain! Robert Matthies is a magician who found out that he will get noticed if he uses other magician's names to advertise. So he does have a really crappy video out that I urge you to look at at YouTube. That way you can see that the tags and keywords are basically all names of magicians from around Vancouver.

So whenever you look for one of those names, his video with his contact address will come up. The video also tells you how much Rob charges for an hour. 75 dollars. That is way cheaper than most magicians in the list. Ergo chances are good that Rob will get the job.

Such behaviour is a big "fuck you" to the faces of other competitors. You can read all about it right here and even more on the follow up

I think we have found a new low here.

I certainly do not endorse the following behaviour I am just telling you a story how a comparable case was "solved"

In Munich, Germany there is a common place for street performers. One day a Russian street performer was doing his show there. He didn't let others do their show, he just kept making money. (Usually if there are more than one busker a line up is discussed so everyone gets a fair chance to make money) Well, the other buskers were pissed naturally. According to the story this took place on several days.
Munich is big and it has a lot of performers. So it happened that this Russian performer was finishing his last show, packing his stuff and wanted to go to his hotel room. Let's just say he never performed in Munich again and he had learned a valuable lesson.

Vancouver is big too.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Just A Sunday Post #75

I urge you to try the following. Watch Jeff McBride without sound. Suddenly his whole Mask/Card-act feels forced. His expressions seem pressed (2:55) and the whole thing seems rushed.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

BEFORE YOU DELETE A COMMENT

Note: I do get an email once a comment is posted. If you delete your comment I still get the email.

Knowing that help to understand the following really, really funny incident:

I open up my emails and it say that I got a new comment on the "Mind reader post" So I open up my blog and find this by Ben:

Ben said...
I just bought this product and I have to say it's great. I know most of the comments are negative but I need to defend this guy and the videos cause it's really frusting me that magician's like yourself are so immature. Obviously before I bought it I did a bit of rearch on the net and found a few posts on the cafe etc ...but i totally disagee... i love it and i'm sure heaps of other people do too...anyway that's just my opinion!!


The above comment was by Xavier (The Mind Reader himself I suppose) and it is deleted.

So I wondered what that post might have been. So I checked my emails again. And here is what Xavier commented

Xavier has left a new comment on your post "Who Is The Mindreader?":

I just bought this product and have to say it's great. Now I understand that all the comments on here are negative but I have to defend this product as everything about it is great. Obviously before I bought it I did a bit of research on the net and found a few posts on the cafe etc and am really disappointed that fellow magicians are acting like this...i love it and i'm sure heaps of other people do too...to be honest it really annoys me reading all this stuff which isn't really true at all...anyway that's just my opinion!!


About the same text! So what happened? Well Xavier found this blog and decided to add his two cents. Which is good. But then he realized that he was posting using the Xavier-account, which would tip off that it is him. Then he deleted his own comment and used a different account to post as Ben.

So Xavier has decided not to stand up to his own product and to pretend he is someone else, defending his product. Even claiming that he bought it. So it is a lie.

So why did he do it that way? Well because he would have to deal with the claim that he stole Millard Longman’s Acidus Novus and is selling it. And that might get him into legal trouble.

So again, before you delete a comment, know that I still know what you wrote.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dear Best Method



For along time I have believed that the effect and the method are disconnected from each other. Because method should not matter to an audience, only the effect. And because the method is unseen it really doesn't matter what method you choose, as long as the audience is fooled. I don't think so anymore.

The choice of method directly relates to the perception of the effect. Let me explain. There is no invisible method. A method always requires you to do a specific action that is seen. If you do a double lift in order to switch a card for another you need to turn over the card on top of the deck, before dealing it to the table. The choice of method prohibits you to deal the card to the table in a face up manner and turn it over there, disconnected from the deck. So naturally the effect changes. In this case the card was turned face down near the deck, so the last glimpse of the card was "connected" to the deck.

To some this might seem like nit picking, but this applies to all methods in one way or another. If I make a finger ring travel into a box that the spectator is holding I might use a dummy to show the finger ring after the spectator is holding on to the box. In this case it is much more relevant to use the dummy method, as it strengthens the effect, by making it feel more impossible.

The obvious choice in the above case is to go for a dummy, as it will fool a higher percentage of the audience. It makes life a bit harder, but it is well worth the effort.

And you can do that with every magic trick you can go further and further to enhance the magic effect. But how much is enough. Every single effort beyond "fooling" is wasted. Once the audience is convinced that no trickery could have occured it is enough. But how can you tell that you achived the required maximum of "fooling". Experience will tell.

So choosing the best method is always a balancing act between, practical, convincing and the relationship to your character.

Your character plays an important role in your choice for the best method to achieve an effect. Let me explain: If you do ball manipulation and use flourishes like a ball roll, you establish credit. And having credit allows you to get away with bold methods later on. You do the flourishes, you make the ball appear and reappear over and over again. And in the end you get rid of the ball by tossing it behind the chair. In the beginning that last method might be too much of an obvious thing, but near the end, once you established credit this method not only is extremly practical but also convinient.

Here are some tips on choosing the best method for an effect:

  • Make sure it is not the very first method a layperson would think of by the "how else"-principle aka Too Perfect Theory.
  • If you choose a bold method establish credit to get away with it before it is time to do it.
  • Choose the method that is invisible with in a logical handling. (e.g. picking up something from behind a chair as you get up on the chair, making your arm go naturally to the back rest, as not to lose balance)
  • Pick the most deceptive method, if it happens to be the most difficult, too bad, you gotta learn it then.
  • Do not trust magicians, who rarly perform for laypeople on anything concerning deception and perception.
  • Learn to trust your "gut feeling"!
  • Actually go out and perform and you will learn.
  • The beaten path is good! Methods off the beaten path require a character off the beaten path. And most often magicians do not fall into that category.
  • Humor helps to misdirect from methods.
  • If the effect is travel, teleportation or transposition make sure the method doesn't require that both objects are close to each other. Or that the hands come together during a coins across routine.


Tired now, will go to bed.

Monday, December 13, 2010

WMF Xavier de Soul



I am not sure if Xavier de Soul, a magician from Brisbane, Australia is just the poster child of this recent cheap way to get your money or if he is responsible for it. But here he is, teaching you all about the Poker Face Effect:



So what is this load of BS? Well it is one of the free bonuses that you will get when you order The Revelation Effect. What's that you ask? Have you not heard of The Revelation Effect? It is the hottest thing in mentalism right now.

So hot that even the letters are burning.

But here is what it really is: A way to get your money for Millard Longman’s Acidus Novus (To my knowledge without legal rights) and will not make you a better magician/mentalist.

Learn about the scam right here and here

I have did my share about ranting about this particular kind of selling magic to the community. Usually the people behind it try to hide there name. Only a few, like Lou Serrano, stand up for this with their name.

Xavier made no attempt to have his name on the website. His own website is no longer working and only the fake that someone recognized him (thanks Harry) made it possible for me to tell you who he is.

Xavier promises a money back guarantee. How can he, if he is not even standing up for this with his own name.

Interesting side note: All the name in the testimonials are fake. I googled them.

Mike Renshaw
is a football player
Michael O'Connel is a writer and comedian
Avi Hoffman is a comedian

Magneto from Mexico (actually a music band) claims that he bought the trick 6 month ago. Obviously a fake testimonial, as the website was first up two days ago.

So we got fake testimonials, the usual sales BS and a product that is more than questionable. The maker remains anonymous and there is the usual affiliate program scam to generate free advertisement.

How can I not make Xavier a Weekly Magic Failure.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Just A Sunday Post #74



This is weird... Obviously thought went into the routine. Yet it sucks on so many levels. It is way too slow, thereby making the sleigts way too obvious. The grater pun is cheap. And cheap puns work as long as they are within something greater. But there is nothing greater surrounding this cheap joke, making it fall flat.

This is a typical case of work going to wrong places. To me it looks like a rehearsal video, not a performance video. It feels like the performer, The Amazing Schu, is trying to not forget his lines or the structure.

So watch out when you are uploading magic to the Youtube!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Who Is The Mindreader?



A while ago Corey Burke was weekly magic failure. He either doesn't know or doesn't care, as I am still getting his newsletter. Right now he is doing advertisement for a soon to be released product called: The Revelation Effect.

According to Mr. Burke he does it for a friend called "The Mind Reader". Well whatever!

But what is "The Revelation Effect"?

Both pre launch websites are bullshitting you into loving this upcoming product.
Number 1: telling you all the 3 common truth secrets to become a great mentalist.
Number 2: telling you an anecdote which is probably a lie, yet even if true, doesn't tell you how good the product is.

So if I get this right, and I might be dead wrong here, the following has taken place. Corey Burke who is The Mind Reader does a series of free tricks, by that method he gets a lot of people to subscribe to his newsletter. The whole purpose is to have a lot of people's email addresses interested in magic.

Now he can write up his bullshit, about a probably not so great mentalism effect, and hype that stuff before it gets released, probably selling a few copies more.

This might be good business practise, but I feel a bit used. Just saying.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Offtopic



A little off topic rant. But getting closer and closer to the holidays a few things piss me off. In the mall, there is a huge line, each one buying Christmas gifts. How come that only after every single item is scanned and the total amount is added up the people get the bright ideas to get out their wallet. And usually it is somewhere inconvenient. At the bottom of the rucksack for example. Damn! Seriously, what is so difficult to have the wallet in the hand as the items are scanned? It's a riddle to me!

Also, I travel a lot by train. Why do women tend to carry luggage that is heavier than they can lift? The room in a train is not really big. The suitcases are barely fitting in the narrow corridors. Now two people cross. Each one dragging a heavy piece of luggage behind them. But as soon as they meet they realize that there is no way to pass next to each other, except to lift one suitcase over the other. Naturally it is a hilarious sight, that just makes it difficult for everyone else.
A side note: People want to go from Hamburg to Berlin, that is a two hour trip. But they carry water supplies that would last for a trip through the dessert.

Walking the dog off-leash.... I am afraid of dogs. It is a real phobia. It means I know that the dog is a cuddly creature that is harmless, but as soon as a dog is a round I cannot access that information anymore and it becomes a vicious monster out to kill me. But those people are totally ignorant of anyone's fear. And even worse, as soon as I tell them, not to get the dog too close to me, they get closer with the dog to "cure" me. That isn't gonna work that way.

Not having any cash is also a big issue that makes me mad sometimes. I do admit that having a bank card is nice and that it is oh so convenient, yet is having 10 bucks in cash with you at all time to much to ask for? "Can you pay for the coffee, I got no cash!"... no I don't have cash for you anymore.

Curling is no sport. An iron shaped stone moving across ice to a target is no sport. It is the direct result of a lost bet and a bunch of drunk guys. Stop pretending it is a sport. It's a reason to drink. Period.

And what is the deal with most people and soccer balls? As soon as you put down a ball, the brain goes dead. "Uhhh a ball, must kick it!" So here is an idea. Fill a regular soccer ball with cement and install it at a public place. Have camera ready, so you can sell the picture to those who broke their feet.

Put all of that together and you know what my day was like.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

WMF The Former Headmaster from a Grammar School in Germany



I don't like it if I don't get a name, but at least I am not short of information. Let's start with the basics. In Germany there is a town called Goslar. That town has a grammar school. The former headmaster is this weeks magic failure.

The former headmaster, a 63-year old man got his award because he loves magic more than his job. From 2002 to 2006 he has not given the demanded amount of class hours. From the required 15 hours per week he did only 6. That means he was short of 1.250 hours by the end of the four year period. Still he got paid to do them, because he actually signed the class books accordingly. What did he do in that time? Practising magic. From the school budget he took 20.000 Euros to buy magic props and he did shows for kindergartners at a rate of 200 Euros per show.

It was all over the news in Germany and now the judge has decided the verdict. He simply loses his job. What a loss for a 63-year-old. So he gets his regular, slightly cut, pension (which is still good, being a public servant in Germany) and has a bunch of magic props. Yeah!

Loving magic is fine, but loving it so much as to not use the given money to buy paper for the copy machine and instead using the money to buy business cards is too much. Children deserve to see a magic show, but they need to be properly educated first.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cardpeople Unité

I wanna start a rather ambitious project. It will be yet another Blog, but this blog will actually have content that is not as bad as this one here.

I read so many interesting ideas in magic books. Most of them I just skip over and I am sure that there are a few ideas that will never see the light of day.
It doesn't mean that those ideas are bad. They just don't fit me. Sadly others might not have access to those great ideas and will not use it either although it could possibly fit them. And there is the danger that the good idea might get lost.

So here is the idea: A blog; each day a video of a card trick will be posted. Along with the demonstration of the effect there will be the exact source of the effect. It doesn't have to be effects, it can also be the demonstration of a particularly good control or anything like that.

I wanna stick to cards in the beginning, seeing where this will lead me to. But I will need help. I need ambitious card magicians who will record themselves doing the tricks that are in the books. Then the video will be uploaded to YouTube. It is set up in such a way that it will not show up during the usual YouTube search. The video will be posted on that blog, along with source and a short personal commentary by the creator of the video.

I want all the videos specifically made for the blog, so I get into no trouble with copyright and all of that shit. I have enough of this to deal with here.

So who is with me? Raise your hand!

BTW: if you think that this is a really stupid idea or that there is such a thing already (no MVD doesn't count) please enlighten me.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Just A Sunday Post #73

Many times I see magicians lie badly. When they tell their story about their latest trip to China, or how they worked in that spaghetti factory. I guess lying is sort of an art.

Take a look at this. She either believes what she says or she is a good liar.



We magicians can learn so much from her.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Editorial

Btw. No failure this week, had a change of heart. Damn human that I am.

"You really look the part of Geoffrey Hansen."

Interesting magician

He reads a book every day, and never reads fiction.

He never watches "current" TV programs like soap operas, dramas, games shows or comedies. Geoffrey only watches history, travel programs, or documentaries.

He does not drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, or gamble and has never drank a can of beer in his life!


In other words: He has no fun! A least his website is fun to read.

But something is missing. Oh yeah a silent video!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Failures Wanted!



I am lazy. Research takes time. I need that time for other stuff. So searching the Internet for a magic failure is not really a pleasant experience. I watch tons of magic videos. And most of it is "OK". I understand why most magic blogs are on the sunny side of things.

I want to have a bit more time for all my other projects, so here is how YOU can help me out. Become a magic failure! Treat others disrespectfully, become a sell out, claim false awards, rip off other's creations, be a shitty magician and claim the opposite. Create unusable magic and sell it for tons of money, preferably using funny business talk to make your stuff more appealing.

Or you just go the cheap way by exposing magic like crazy.

However, if you don't want to do that, you can always suggest a possible failure. I won't mention your name, but I will check the facts. If I agree that the recommended person really is a failure I will write about it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Science, oh Lord!

Sleights of Mind - The Neuroscience of Magic from theory11 on Vimeo.



Watch out! Scientist all over the world are watching you. Analysing magic and trying to learn from it. From their point of view this makes complete sense. From their point of view, magic is an old kind of performance that deals with deception. And magicians, so it seems have figured out how our mind processes information and found ways to trick the brain into thinking something else, thereby fooling the audience.

And guess what, we have. We have found principles and methods that trick the perception. Problem is, we do not know why they work. But it really doesn't matter that much, as you don't have to know why vanilla tastes good, you just enjoy it.

So scientists have a lot to gain by exposing the magic. But we magicians have nothing to gain by helping the scientific folk. We get noting of any value out of it. We get no money, no bookings, no information that is of any use for us. It is simply a one sided relationship. Science is the parasite and magic is the host.

Think about it!

So why are we open when a scientist ask us to explain a certain method? Damn, we need to learn to shut the hell up. If they wanna know about it, they need to learn, practise, rehearse and perform.


Keep the secret!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Irony is Weird



The most recent magic failure Zenneth Kok has a blog. He ironically made a post about stealing. Lets quote the whole thing before it gets deleted.

Friday, June 22, 2007
How to make easy money with Magic

Dear my peer professional magicians,

As we all know, magic is a probably the best hobby and nearly the worst profession of all time, to work as a professional magician, it means you are under constant pressure to make cold calls, sending emails in order to solicit bookings and shows.

However, with the booming of magic in recent years, your source of income will be much more secured if you choose to publish your creations in the form of DVDs or books. Then again, good and marketable ideas are not easy to come, I, however,inspired by Simon Lovell, have found a brilliant way to make money with magic, and it's easy! Since I am a very generous person, I am going to share the secret with you, for free!

Here we go:

As all know that John Bannon's Twisted Sisters [based on Phil Goldstein's B' wave] is one of the best packet tricks ever created, it comes with two specially printed gimmick card and some Jokers, which is also one of the earliest purchases on mine back then in my formative years. I however, recently noticed a new trick/DVD has appeared on the market which is called: The TransoKings with Simon Lovell.

The difference between Simon Lovell's TransoKings and John Bannon's Twisted Sisters:

Well, Simon has changed the Queens to Kings and Jokers to blank face cards! Wow, that's a great innovation, a giant leap! Why didn't I come up with good ideas like such? Fortunately, this is not too late, guys, I am going to make a few more changes and release a new DVD:

Transpo Jacks - One of the best packet tricks ever devised!!!


The difference between my version and Simon Lovell's version:

Instead of the gimmicked Kings, you will receive gimmicked Jacks; instead of the Blank Face Cards, you will receive Guarantee Jokers! Of course, it's going to be more expensive than Simon's version, but hey, for $21 USD, I am offering two DVDs, one DVD contains only the performance and the other contains the explanation, so if you are lazy to perform this trick, you can simply bring the performance only DVD with you and find the nearest DVD player to play my DVD.

Oh, this is so good, I do all the hard work and you get the credit! Think about that, this ought to be the best deal in magic.

What are you waiting for? Send in your money now!

The formula:

Step 1: Change the title of the trick
Step 2: Change the value of the cards [for example, say you want to steal Alex Elmsley's Diamond Cuts Diamond, in this case, don't use Diamonds, use hearts! As easy as that!]
Step 3: Change the packing of the trick if there is any
Step 4: Make a DVD to explain this
Step 5: Market it and you will get big bucks!

So my peer magicians, do you see how does this formula can generate big money for you now?
Many magicians have already made big money with this formula, and I guarantee you that this formula never fails, all you have to lose is your conscience and dignity, heck, which are nothing these days.

Cheers,
Zenneth


I must assume he is being ironic. Therefore it is even more ironic that he copies John Bannon's "Strangers Gallery" He even mentions John Bannon in his own blog post. Mind you the post above is more than three years old.

So I give Zenneth Kok the benefit of a doubt and assume the following: Years ago he got his hands on John Bannon's "Stanger Gallery". Zenneth Kok like the effect and worked on it so much that he had forgotten that the structure and the effect is not his own. Then a few years later he decided to marked his creation calling it "Change is Eternal" obeying the formula he set up for himself in the above quote.

A lot to read I agree but i leave you with the following bit of trivia. Zenneth Kok also ripped of the Paul Fox Cups and here is insightful review nobody seems to mention.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

To The Young Magic Guys

My native language is not English yet I know, that it is spelled PERFORMANCE.... not PREFORMANE nor PREFROMANCE. Just a subtle reminder....

WMF Zenneth Kok



When is a rip off a rip off? Does it need to be 100% identical? If so, using a Hindu shuffle instead of the riffle force would not make it a rip off anymore right?

John Bannon created a nice little card trick called "Strangers Gallery"! Here is a half decent performance:



And now take a look at an effect called Change is Eternal by Zenneth Kok a magician from Hong Kong:



No different right....? Well naming it differently for YouTube reasons I can see. That way the inevitable explanation by some shithead is not listed along side the video. But Zenneth Kok sells this to magicians as his own creation. No mention of John Bannon. Why not, didn't John Bannon have a major influence on this one? Just saying!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

lol, lmao



I get emails a lot. Most of them are nice, very few tell me what "fucking, pissed off asshole" I am. But getting emails from former failures is always a special thing. Often they threaten me with legal actions.

So if you are a failure, or think you might become some in the near future:

You are not immune to criticism and/or ridicule. If you push yourself into the spotlight that is. If you go nuts on the Internet or are otherwise active in public it means you are open to criticism. (like an actor or an author)

I could go out and call you a "fucking, pissed off asshole" and it would be OK for me to do so, "Right to free speech" is for everyone, including me. So be happy that most of my rants are rather constructive.

Just sayin'

Also, take it with a gain of salt... According to many, I am just a bitter, lonely guy, typing away in my underwear from the basement of my mother's house.

So how serious are you taking that?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hyping Old Cool Stuff



"It’s the latest and the greatest thing to hit magic, and it is a tried and true workers utility tool!

Now you too can own the underground tool used by all of the best card magicians of the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Versions of this deck have been used by such greats as Hofzinser, Erdnase, Houdini, Nate Leipzig, Dai Vernon, Edward Marlo and even David Copperfield in their everyday performance repertoires."


More right here

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Just A Sunday Post #71

This is actually a nice way to use that old shrinking finger gag and make it sort of deceptive.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

WMF Jay


I got no picture of the face of Jay... so here is another pig.

I seriously let this guy go at one time. Not so much anymore. His name is Jay... that is all I know about him. He now has a website And it is all about exposing magic. Teaching has very little to do with it.

The main problem: Right now he has 240 videos and 64.534 followers. That's a lot. Too much for my taste. Enough to make him a Magic Failure. At least for this week.

I could go off on a rant how his treatment of magic is hurting the image of magic, as it reduces the tricks to just the secret and therefore reducing magic. But I save that one this time.

Friday, November 19, 2010

There is so much more than there is!



Making up stuff like awards, claiming to have worked for clients you never had or simply lying about how successful you is not what I am ranting about now.

It's about embellishing the truth. I know a magician who regularly (every Monday) works at a school, teaching 10-year-olds some card tricks using a key card. He gets paid by the school and it's a fun activity for the kids. Yet this magician calls himself "lecturer at institution of education and recreation areas" (German: "Dozent an Bildungseinrichtungen und Freizeitstätten")

Sound much bigger! Right?

Well our young magicians is trying to paint himself in a way that he is not up to. His website even has an English section, although that young man doesn't even speak any of it.


Another one
calls himself a "Business Mentalist" (German "Wirtschaftmentalist") which is a made up term meaning what? According to his website he teaches businessmen reading minds so they are more successful to facilitate transactions. Sounds familiar? Yeah he is just a business coach. But business mentalist sounds much more colorful... it sounds so gay.

What is happening here? Is magician or mentalist not enough anymore? Often the term "Master Magician" is brought into play. Well I do understand the need to distinguish oneself from the other crappy magicians, but not like this.

If you need to make a difference, actually point out the differences. And most of the time there are no differences. They are just like all of the other crappy magicians. No matter how much they don't believe it themselves.

I talked to quite few magicians about this. To my surprise they saw now problem with it. It is just advertisement. Everybody does it and it is normal in unfettered capitalism. Really?

I am aware that there is a line between a lie and a sugar-coated truth. But if you do it not to cover up weaknesses but to create the impression of something that isn't there, isn't that "making up" or "lying"? Am I alone with this?

You can put lipstick on a pig…

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kinda Nice Read



Many hecklers, though certainly not all, are created as a result of the performer coming out and immediately letting his ego run rampant, challenging the audience, and the “heckler” is the one who eventually stands up for his own rights and accepts the challenge. The image of a strange ape swinging into a colony of apes and challenging one of them to come forward comes to mind. Both the challenger, and the one who accepts the challenge, slamming their fists against their chest and making a lot of noise while the rest of the spectators immediately take sides.


Jay Sankey

Read the whole thing here

Jay Sankey is an interesting fellow. No doubt he is creative. No doubt he rehashes his own material over and over again. He has golden and crappy moments. But most of the time he seems to have a flying shuttle pass moment.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Arcane Gaff Deck Out Now



LINK

Gaffs are unseen playing cards that let you manipulate truth.

You will move ink, reshape matter, pierce thoughts, dominate minds, camouflage reality... and trash ALL RULES.

A new era of gaffed card magic has come into view. It takes over where UltraGaff left off.


I got more for the creative minds of the Ellusionist advertisement department.

"Those cards let you warp time and space, open portals to new realities, make you conquer new dominions and will make you ruler of all existing things. Also you will have a little sleeping pet mouse named Malvin. The mouse is dreaming all the matter in the known universe. Shush! Don't wake Malvin..."

I wondered why Ellusionist didn't go for their core demographic.

"Those cards will get you laid."

Well at least they got Greg. He's cool. And I guess he needed money. Order situation ain't that good... with bad economics and all.

Comic Time #65



For more comics that will not appear on this blog visit: Dead Marlo

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hey Bizzaro, Wow, Woof Woof



Bizzaro did a nice rant today. Here are my two cents.

There is this notion among magic dealers that they can only sell a product via demo video if it fools the magician watching the demo video. And sadly they are right. Dealers are in the business to make money. They are not in the business to create wonderful magic, but to sell any crap. And if there is a cheap way to create a seemingly impossible to reconstruct effect with simple video editing or downright lies, they will do it.

Who is to blame? The dealers for wanting to make money? The magicians who try to save money by not buying, but simply taking the magic items?

I think neither. There simply is so damn much demand for good magic and there isn't enough out there that covers the main categories of interest.

Those are: Easy, visual, self working, cool, cheap, nobody else does it, and impossible to figure out. Each trick that fits all of those categories is a unique gem. And there simply aren't that much gems out there. So naturally fake gems are made.

Understanding to get rid of the desire to have a gem that covers every category will help. If you get rid of easy and self working will grant you much more access.

And even more into magic you will understand, that even visual is not a "must have requirement"

And when you get to the very end you will add another category, the one that has been missing the whole time. "magical"

Just A Sunday Post #70

Looks like a convention dealers demo.


I personally think it is cute how Hans Klok still tries to do magic gestures even in between all the striking of poses.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Crowd Test



When ever you read minds, go into a deep trance, then say: "Quaid, Start the Reactor. Free Mars."

If your audience laughs, you got a good crowd. If they give you the funny look you better quit magic.

WMF Jack Moyer

PICTURE IS DOWN DUE TO A CHEAP APPROACH BY JACK MOYER. HE HAD ME TAKE DOWN THE PICTURE USING THE DMCA.... HE COULD HAVE JUST ASKED.


Interesting! Every single company that does legit business has some sort of poster guy. Some person who uses his name and appears on the respected website. Not so in the case of Snap Illusions. Not even the "About Us" section has a name.

But that is just a side note. A while ago I did a little post. That little post got me quite a bit of feedback. Obviously a lot of you are happy with Snap Illusions. Those who are not... well they got treated badly. If you read the Kaufman Forum you might already know. Those few didn't get their illusions even though they paid for it.

And it usually goes like this: They order the illusion. Snap Illusions is quick to answer and very nice. Sometimes they even call you, telling you that the illusion is being built and ready to be shipped next week. The week goes by. Then a second call from Snap Illusions: Might take a little longer... And then the conversation stops. Naturally the costumers try to call Snap Illusions. Nobody answers. One guy even went so far to order another illusion, using a different name. He got into contact with Snap Illusions right away. When he mentioned who he really is, they hung up.

Legit business practise? I think not. Let me quote one email I got.

Jack Moyer with snap has scammed myself and two other close friends, as well as a slew of other people. Check out the Genii forums from a couple of years back -- even Richard Kaufman had some colorful words for Jack. Jack responded like a rude, immature child -- and the Genii forums don't remove it like Magic Café does EVERY time something negative about Snap is posted.

My boss has $9,500 paid in full to Jack, and it took over a month of constant phone calls and e-mails before he finally responded to us. It should be noted he also only responded when we were threatening legal action.

Funny, how during the same time we couldn't get ANYONE to answer about our order, they responded constantly (usually within 20 minutes) to e-mails I sent from a fake account asking about their products. They were more than happy to reply to someone who could give them money, but only responded to a paid client when threatened with legal action.

Here's some more specifics about this particular situation.

We paid 50% deposit (normal business practice) and they were staying in constant contact. Illusions were "on schedule." After about a month (pretty fast, we were happy) they said they needed to go ahead and collect the other 50% of our money so the illusions could be painted (not normal to pay in full before a product is completed, but no red flags went up at the time).
They said they'd be painted and then ready to be shipped in a couple of weeks. We were going to be passing near their area on tour, so we asked if we could just pick them up (not like they were charging for the shipping anyway).
They said that's fine, they'll be ready when we got there (June 30th).
Starting on June 27th, we started calling to confirm the address so we could pick up props. We tried all week (past our pickup date, so we had to just drive straight through town to our shows) and finally got an e-mail the next week from Vicki saying they weren't ready.

We e-mailed Jack, and only after threatening did we get the response, "They're all ready but we're waiting on special cases to be delivered."

We let the issue sit a week, and tried again. After finally having to threaten him, AND call the police to his door, he responded, "I've been busy with family matters in Kentucky, but one of your illusions is finished."

That's when things got serious.
First he says they're all ready, then they're not, then they are but waiting on something else, and then ONE is ready?

We went to every address we could find for Snap Illusions, LLC., reported the case to the police and his bank and credit agency. None of his addresses are legitimate. The address on his website is a UPS postal box in a strip mall.

On our way back, we got a call from a friend who gave us his home address -- we're saving that.

Finally, after another friend of ours (who had items waiting, too) had been making similar threats finally got Jack on the phone. We listened in on that conversation and then he called us. We have the entire conversation on MP3., where Jack PROMISES we'll have our items no later than November 1st, and GUARANTEED we'd have at least one this Friday (yesterday) as a gesture of good faith.
He we are again with no contact all week, and no items still.

But this is just our story. Do a google search for "Snap Illusions Scam" and have fun with the results. 20 other people on a single forum with legit stories can't all be lying.

Snap may USED TO do good business, and may still do something legitimate with small cabaret props, but their illusion sales are a complete and utter one-ahead-rape scheme.


The email was also a comment earlier, so I guess it is OK for me to quote.
And I got eight very, very long emails about experiences with Snap Illusions. But to be fair, I got a few good ones too.

Head of Snap Illusions is Jack Moyer So I guess he is our poster guy for Snap Illusions and also poster guy for a Weekly Magic Failure.

Again, if I am wrong, tell me and I will fix it.

Follow Up right here

Thursday, November 11, 2010

About Hollywood



Saturday is the great day. In Baywater, Australia (near Melbourne) there is a big fundraiser for blind people, hosted by the "Seeing Eye Dogs Australia" and "Vision Australia". Matt Hollywood, Australia’s Best Magician, is booked as a headliner.

Well guess what, he pulled out. 600$ weren't enough I guess. Of course no replacement was offered from his side. He just pulled out.

Is it not part of the usual business to have a contract in Australia? One that prevents that sort of thing? Well, what do I know!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wanna Know the Meaning of Smug





Derren Brown and Nicolai Friedrich would be proud. I guess this is not copy, but a tribute.

About Copycats



An interesting little thought came up. In a German magic forum the following video was posted.



The young magician with arguable taste and a Justin Bieber hairdo is directly ripping off the Copperfield's presentation for the Origami Illusion.



It is a school project. And aside from the fact that the illusion itself is a cheap knock off the discussion was about if it is okay to teach school kids magic, as one could get the impression, that "magic is no art, because kids can do it"

Here is my take. Magic is no art. Painting is no art either, nor is playing the piano. It is a craft. And you gotta learn the craft before you can become an artist in the field. So a piano player needs to play other people's music before writing his own. A painter needs to learn how to spread paint around on a canvas before he can approach to create his own system. (e.G. Bob Ross)

And a magician needs to do other people's acts before he can start to do his own. In the past a young man, wanting to learn magic needed a teacher. And usually the teacher would teach his apprentice all he can do. And he would insist that the apprentice would become an exact copy of the teacher. Simply because the act works. The lines would have to be copied, the moves, the structure and even the character. That way the apprentice would understand why an act worked. The apprentice was not allowed to do his own thing, even if the young man desired to do so. And finally, when the apprenticeship was over the young man was said good by by saying "Now, do your own thing!"

Usually the young man had no more interest to copy his master, yet he had all the tools to do his own thing. Cool isn't it.

So to assume that every beginner should have a unique approach to magic is stupid. One needs to go beyond the phase of copying others. But for a short while I think it's okay. The process is called "Learning the Craft".

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Monsters



There are a few monsters in terms of magic styles. The first one I discovered is The One Trick Monster. The One Trick Monster does only one trick. And the whole show is just build up to do that one trick. Most street shows work like that. Gazzo is a good example. It is all about the Cups and Balls. All the other tricks are just fluff and filler. The audience will go home and all they remember is the last trick and the funny guy. The One Trick Monster, doesn't do just one trick, but it sure seems like it. The filler material is usually as well thought out, but in the end almost all seem to neither notice nor appreciate.

Another one is The Clear as Day Monster. It is a very special type of performer, the one who does quite a few tricks during the show but he makes sure all of the tricks are remembered. Alexander deCova comes to mind as well as Jeff McBride. All the tricks are well thought out and all of the show is not merely a bunch of tricks strung together but are placed within an overarching storyline. Usually in the end there is a recap. Maybe a trick that repeats all of the tricks quickly, or maybe a speech will end the performance of The Clear as Day Monster.

Then there is The Blur Monster. Usually a fast working performer. Chad Long is a nice example of that. The audience will see basically a bunch of tricks all building on top of each other and will not remember any of them. All they do remember is that they had a good time. I personally favor that approach, as I don't want my audience to remember what they have seen. That way they wanna see it again and they cannot figure out how I have done it, as they don't even remember what was going on. It doesn't mean the the magic is confusing, it means that the sheer amount of tricks in very little time will be too much to remember. Here is one cool thing about it: It allows you to get away with bold methods. The audience simply has no time to think about it, as the next effect is already taking place.

Each Monster has advantages and disadvantages. The One Trick Monster only gets praise for the one trick and the rest is forgotten. The Clear as Day Monster gets the fame but has very little venues to work at, and The Blur Monster can get away with bold methods, but the audience only remembers the performer and none of the tricks.

What other monsters are out there?

Oh, there are a few:

The Won't Do Any Magic 'cause Can't Shut Up Monster
The Treat Me Like A God Monster
The Humiliation Is The Only Kind Of Humor Monster

But I like none of them, and like real monsters, those need to be feared.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Horror



Today it hit me. What if I lose one of my arms in a freak accident and my life goes all René Lavand on me? What tricks could I still do?

Not much I thought. Well... there still is mentalism. And then it hit me again.

Mentalism is for the handicapped magician.

And when I look around it makes perfect sense.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

WMF Markus Bender



Weird, really weird, I am sure Markus Bender is a really nice German guy. But how come that even nice guys screw up regularly?

He has an online magic school. That is what he calls it, I call it ripping others off. None of the material Mr. Bender "teaches" is his. I went through all the items on his website and none (that's nothing) was his'. Seriously, no creativity and no unique angle. And of course he charges for his teachings. Average price of a simple sleight: Three Euros. And among those are great gems like the Chris Cross Force. See where I am heading to?

Markus Bender teaches the 10 count (that sponge ball thing) for 5 Euros in the "advanced" section of his really nice looking website. Is it his to teach? I think not, as he is not the originator, nor has he put any new touches on that.

Interestingly he always seems to choose the worst possible structure/patter for his "presentations". Like writing down the prediction after the choice is made or having one of eight cards selected, openly discarding seven wrong ones and then slowly revealing that the last card is the selection, while it should be clear that it has to be the selection.

Look at that:

Now here is my take on the same freaking effect: Free Magic Stuff

At least I put the twist to it of NOT finding the card.

Also, he is not really that good. In terms of skill that is. This is just a theory, but if you gonna teach some sleights, I expect you to be able to do them. Don't be a Ben Salinas. Watch the following video.


Great coin work right? You can tell that a lot of work went into small details and natural motions. No wait, you can't.

So let me recap: Markus Bender takes the magic creations of more talented magicians and sells it. He adds nothing to them and he calls his marketing scheme a school. Naturally this makes him a teacher. Great guy!

And now some German words: Markus, falls du das liest: Geht's noch? Anderer Leute Effekte nehmen und verkaufen zur persönlichen Bereicherung. Klappt's nicht so gut mit Auftritten, dass man nun auch noch die Zauberkunst selbst verkaufen muss? Schade, wirklich schade! Verscheuer doch noch das Münzverschwinden mit dem Glas wo ein Stück Papier rangeklebt ist. Zwei Euro Fünfzig lassen sich da wohl noch rausholen. Oder wie wäre es gleich noch mit einem Zauberkasten?

Markus Bender is this weeks Magic Failure, unless he has a really, really good excuse.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I Would



I would wanna check out the box!
I would not understand why the card needs to be signed!
I would understand, that the signing was misdirecting me from the adding of the gimmick!
I would build it myself, if I would like the effect!
I would not buy this!

Oh Boy, Miller can't get it right.