Saturday, July 31, 2010

Impromptu Magic

This was supposed to be an Audio Rant, but technical difficulties.... ah whatever, here I go.

Impromptu Magic. Often the term is misunderstood. I have met many magicians who believe impromptu magic refers to doing magic with props that look like every day objects. This is not true. impromptu magic refers to doing magic that is improvised with borrowed items that are not your own and nothing else. Having a gimmick like a thumb tip means you are not doing impromptu magic.

OK, now that I got that out of the way... Should you do impromptu magic?

Yes and no. Yes in an impromptu setting like a party and definitely no at professional shows. Here is why. When you are hired to do a magic show. The client wants you to be professional. And professionals think of everything. They are on time, they are well dressed and they bring all of the props that are needed. So they don't borrow coins, unless the routine absolutely requires the coin to be borrowed so it is above suspicion, which has to be mentioned doing the routine. Otherwise the professional looks unprofessional.

We are talking about negative connotations here. If the magician has to borrow his props there actually is the risk of it appearing like show that isn't prepared well enough.

But experience has shown, that doing magic with borrowed items is stronger.

So here is how you can have the best of both worlds. Start your magic with your props and then force the question somehow, whether you can do your act with borrowed stuff too. Then act like you think about it for a second and then borrow your stuff.

The cool thing about this approach. You will look like a professional because you brought all your own stuff, and you will appear like an even better professional because you look like you are able to think on your feet and improvise.

None of that might be true and you would still be able to use most of your gimmicks.

Again. Should one do impromptu magic in a professional setting... be all means, NO!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

iTricks... please

This is hardly note worthy "Nic Cage News" He was not "Blindsided", he was not even surprised for a second. Unless you say his look of confusion is actually an expression of awe.

WMF Cris Labim

I just ate icecrem. Häagen-Dazs Cookies and Cream. Damn that really is good icecream. Creamy, not to sweet, yet sweet enough. Pieces of chocolate coockies that are oh so great and after eating it I feel great too. I wish Häagen-Dazs would sponsor this blog...

Where were we? Oh yeah! Magic!

Imagine you are a decent magician. I know that's difficult, but try anyway. Got it? Great!

Now imagine that you also look decent. Trust me, it is possible. Keyword: Delusion!
And now imagine that you got a good camera, a good studio, a drive to shoot a magic DVD and some nice looking female spectators. What would you do?

Well, you would not be as incredibly boring as Cris Labim, this week's magic failure.

Cris is a German magician. And he got it all, except charisma. He is so BOOOOOORING.
He has a hard time to enunciate the words he uses and has no expression save one. He is wasting so much infrastructure. It should rather go to another magician who will do something with it that is not so incredibly dull.

So if you are German and you thought about spending 20 Euros on that DVD... save your money.

Spend it on something useful, like a big bucket of Häagen-Dazs icecream.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Comic Time #49

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

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Emotional vs. Intellectual

The more I get to know magic the more I realize that a magic effect can have either an emotional impact or an intellectual impact. Very few magic effects have both. Let me explain.

If you show a six of clubs and a 4 of clubs and you change both to the seven of clubs and the 3 of clubs, you have created the following effect: A pip moved from on card to the other. Both duos still add up to ten. That is an effect that is registered mostly on an intellectual level.

Here is an emotional one. A random card changes into the four aces. This effect is registered more on a gut level. It makes no sense but obviously something has happened.

Both effects usually go on: The first one usually has the seven of clubs and the three of clubs transformed into the ten of clubs, which is again pretty intellectual. The second effect usually has the first card being produced from the pocket, or reversed in the deck.... Again this makes no sense, but still gets great reactions despite the fact that it has no inner logic.

Now here is my theory... because emotional effects register on a gut level it never gets challenged by the brain and the lack of any motivation is never revealed. Short: People feel entertained.

Intellectual effects however are perceived in the brain, ergo do get challenged therefore any logical inconsistency gets noted.

What exactly makes up an emotional effect and what an intellectual one?

Well I guess it is the visuals. When you pull a bunch of spring flowers from a piece of silk nobody asks why... It just happens. Because the visuals and the impossibility are so overwhelming it reaches far deeper than just the mind. it goes to your heart.

Which.... implies that an emotional effect is stronger than an intellectual one.

So what am I saying?... Well how about this:

You don't need to motivate your effects if they are strong. All you need to motivate over and over again are the sleights and moves.

What do you think?

Thursday, July 22, 2010


If Joshua Jay considers this guy a heckler I think he should lose the last piece of dignity he still has in my book. The reaction of this supposed heckler is just that of a guy who wants his food, and not see any magic. But I think Joshua Jay is smarter than this. There was clearly no heckling going on in this video. So I assume this is part of the gag, and the antagonist is the magician.

Nice ACR btw. Short and sweet.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

WMF Adonis

As I am writing this I am nude... ...I have to. Don't even try to picture this, it is not a pretty sight. But this week's failure is Adonis, a magician who is also a stripper. The forty something year old man from Augsburg, Germany is "Europe's official professional nude magician from Germany."

You may remember the Ursula Martinez, who also did magic while stripping, but I would not consider her a failure, simply because I would say she actually is an artist. If you check out her website you will see that the "vanishing hanky" trick is just one of her many facets, and most of them are neither pretty nor funny, but honest efforts to create some sort of artistic statement about family, relationships, friends and age, that might only be appreciated by a few.

Adonis however is none of that. So you might ask yourself, what does he do?

Well... he starts with a rose production, still fully clothed. (shiny glitter vest BTW.) Then he does a Bank-night effect with the three female volunteers winning not the money but small lipsticks in the shape of miniature penises. After that he takes off his vest. Then the next magic set: from his lace tanga he produces a banana followed by water in the newspaper, only the newspaper being an erotic magazine. After that he does finger ring to nest of boxes. Of course with destroying the borrowed ring before that using the old prop called "ring mill".

Adonis will then take off the next piece of clothing. His shirt. Following that is a routine by which the "erection" is demonstrated by a piece of rope. The rope becomes stiff then weak again, as man becomes older. After that endurance stunt the show is followed by three white feathers changing colour after being pushed through the sweaty legs of our protagonist. Then it is time for the head chopper. Using a spectator. Take a guess what the usual carrot is going to symbolise!

Then his pants are taken off with the aid of female spectators. Almost near the end of the show Adonis does the double colour changing silks between his legs, followed by wearing a cape taking off his tanga and then presenting his "magic wand" by getting rid of the cape.

There is a place for trash entertainment... But magic should not be part of this. Adonis I hate you. Seriously.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Comic Time #48

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

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Just A Sunday Post #53

My French sucks, but I lovel Bebel... Really strong effects and unique methods.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

WMF Dirk Arthur

Magicians seem to throw around words like "revolution" and "master" a lot. Meet Dirk Arthur does self proclaimed "Xtreme Magic". How extreme you ask. Take a look:


Dirk works at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas, or at least I think he does, On the Hotels Website I found no mention of him.

The title, "Xtreme Magic," seems to be at odds with the production. Arthur is not the embodiment of extremity. He comes across as a very nice, soft spoken individual that enjoys performing and enjoys working with and raising big cats. There is really nothing "extreme" about him, though, and when he advocates the "extreme," we just don’t buy into it. The music within the production is great, and it has a bit of a retro feel to it, and with that, the dancers perform light, happy, and fun does not foster that "Xtreme" feeling.

That is part of a review done in 2005. Is he still working? Is he still around, trying to imitate Siegfried and Roy?

Edit: Maybe I should read Wikipedia first:
Dirk Arthur is an American magician. He has starred in the Las Vegas show Xtreme Magic, at the Tropicana Resort & Casino. The show featured leopards, Bengali Tigers, and snow tigers. After a six year run, the show celebrated its final performance on March 12, 2010. Large objects such as a diesel locomotive and helicopter were made to magically appear during the show. Dirk Arthur himself appeared as a guest on the March 7, 2008 episode of the Late Show with David Letterman.

Dirk Arthur is dedicated to the preservation of endangered species.

I swear, I did a search for him, but his freaking website did not come up. Odd!
No here it is: WEBSITE Taking a look into the news section of the site tells me that there are no news available.

I wrote him an email:

"Hello Mr. Arthur
What are you doing right now? Seems like there is no life sign of you. Are you still doing shows? If so where?

Greetings from Germany
Roland Henning"

And yes I am aware that it is called "sign of life" but I wanted to sound very German.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Talk about EMC

The conference has been hyped for months now, so if you don't know what it is all about, go screw yourself aka read iTricks or The Magic Newswire. They've been drooling over this for a while now.

Here it is anyways:

So what will I be expecting... Nothing essential I guess. I am not growing fond of this weird trend in magic to link it to psychology and science. To have psychologist study magic in order to understand how humans perceive things. And it seems like we magicians are helping this. There is nothing wrong with scientists trying to understand psychology, but I do have a hard time believing that magic should be scrutinized that way.

It is true that magicians have a more intuitive knowledge of the human perception. We may not know why a certain combination of methods fool most of the people, but we simply know. And that is enough in order to do magic.

Don't support science, unless they are doing something for us! (Money or Bookings)

What else does the EMC promise? I guess it will be a lot of good magicians pimping themselves and discussing magic theory.... - that is what magic books are for.

I don't expect too much, but I will look into it.

I am making a prediction here: There will be a Top Change discussion.

PS. If I were you I would not watch. Wait, until the first rips of the DVD are out and real reviews of this event are out.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Comic Time #47

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

Friday, July 9, 2010


Lol, "Dai Vernon" seems to be the password to most secret parts of magic websites...

How creative!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Looking Out For You!

Again I am searching for authors who want to participate here at Weekly Magic Failure.

Here are the conditions:

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

So if you think you can do it and that you got something offer (theories, magic related jokes and such stuff) write me an email.

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

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

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

WMF Michael Maxwell

Self working card tricks can be entertaining. Sometimes even the structure and the off hands approach add to the impossibility of the effect. But most often it is a mind numbing experience and a torture to those who have to endure the whole process.

Let me introduce you to Michael Maxwell. A magician who is responsible for 6 (that is SIX) DVDs with self working card magic. Most of them are dull. And I know, I just finished watching them all.

Why am I interested in self working card tricks? Well I teach card magic to kids. And they are still too young to master complicated sleights... is that enough of an excuse?

Anyway, Michael Maxwell is one of those rare cases of a fashion disaster in magic. Did I say rare? I meant the exact opposite. A shiny shirt. Really? And of course it is joined by a cocky attitude and a sleazy look. It might be a wrong impression that I get, but his is what I get. And modest as I am, I assume that my impression is every one's impression.

I remember a time when Michael Maxwell still had a mustache... it was bad too, but it had way more class than his shirt. Here have a look:

Of course, as any magic fashion monster the sleeves are all the way down. But that is only a side note.

Does Magic make normal fellows wear stupid costumes or do weird fellows feel drawn to magic? I think I just answered my own question. Damn!

Michael, you obviously have no good taste when it comes to clothing. Get a fashion counsel! As long as you don't you are WMF.

I want something special

Sure JUST £16.99 for that shirt and I get a FREE DECK OF KARNIVAL CARDS worth £5! But I don't want that. I want to get a free Square Circle with an order of a Square Circle T-shirt.

Or a shirt with a black and white image of Dai Vernon (Chez Guevara style) that says: "Confusion is not Magic" in bold letter.

Or a shirt with lots of tiny pictures on the arms. The pictures are a series of sleights, just in case you forgot how ATFUS goes.

Or a shirt with the names of all the magicians that contributed to the magic world.

I want something special!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Comic Time #46

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

Just A Sunday Post #51

What a cheater, using the camera to his advantage. Doug Henning knew that one day his cameo on the Muppet Show would end up on YouTube. That is why the resolution is so bad... That way the threads won't be seen...

So after all Peter Loughran bad camera work is done on purpose. Who knew?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Peter Loughran please, please, please

Hi Peter, I got something for you. A few hints how to do better advertisement. This is what you do:

This is what Theory11 does:

Now see the difference? They use widescreen, they got a better camera (HD) and they know how to use lightning.

As much as I like your charming homestyle footage... please buy yourself a new camera. A modern cellphone has better resolution than your piece of trash.
Avoid backlighting. Use a better background than just nature, your living room or your show room. Involve spectators (or fake them like T11 or Ellu) with crazy reactions.

Also, fix your website... it is so damn slow (switch to higher bandwidth for little extra cost) and get a young webdesigner to fix the look of your awkward site, which is so 2005.

You are selling a product... please, put some money into the advertisement. Or simply show us an unedited demo reel, with no cuts and body posing.

PS. Cut down the length of the titel cards in your video to four seconds. You use 40 seconds, before I see anything.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

WMF John Louis

There are much more lessons on Gospel Magic on his YouTube channel.

Maybe I am way too one sided about this, but I think there was something in the Bible about magicians... How all of them should be stoned to death. Even the Fakers.
But since pick and choose is seemingly fair play when dealing with the Bible I assume this argument is null and void.

So I go with this one... John Louis is not a magician. He is a wannabe preacher and he is unable to present his message without falling back to some sort of gimmick. But why does it have to be magic? Or as John would call it: Gospel Illusions.

My educated guess would be, because he really likes self working magic. Yes I think, he is really into it. But he is much more into God which creates quit a dilemma.
John says that one should not use the term "magic" but he himself uses it.

Isn't that a lovely non confusing trick? And that seems to be the peek of John's magic.

John might be the nicest guy around, but he surly tears down the magic image by not taking it seriously. And I cannot stand that. I love magic too damn much as not to at least mention this sort of abuse of magic.

John, please go back to juggling, I have seen pictures of a much thinner version of you on your website. You are able to do that. And you may have all my blessings to take down those fellows.

And one last thing, from fat dude to fat dude.... wear black, that really helps.