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.


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

Comic Time #66

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

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


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


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


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

Comic Time #64

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

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010


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.