Saturday, December 31, 2011

Congratulations Andrew

You made it. Writing daily about a topic that has limits is a task I can only honor with highest regards. I hope it was worth the effort and serves as an excellent portfolio and reference for future work. Having a journalist background myself I know the value of such an online resource. About your plans to go with a weekly schedule, well don't... Twice a weeks seems optimal. And it's easy. You got your main article done rather early in the week and additional notes, which will come up eventually to be added later that week. Also if you keep your articles a bit shorter, not only is it faster to do, you also leave yourself the chance to elaborate further on any given subject to "make your point more clear". Less text also is less shocking to a new reader.

Add more pictures. People love pictures. Also commenting on current news and debates could be a nice lead in to theory. Don't be afraid to have an opinion, you are not a obliged to objectivity.

I could write all of that as an email of course, but then I wouldn't have anything to fill my second post this week. (See what I did there?)

So Happy New Year to you and your 52 (at least) wonderful figments of your mind. 

PS: Fix your blogroll, still on default!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

WMF The Avant-gardist

Andrew over at Ye Olde Magick Blogge had such a nice run with the archetypes of magic. That inspired me (great term of ripping off an idea) to post my most disliked types of characters that magicians portray worthy of failure. Let's continue with the Avant-gardist:

A basic writing class will tell you, that when writing a fictional story the readers need a character that relates to them. Same goes for movies. An audience needs an "Everyman", an ordinary individual to identify with. A magic show is a bit like a movie. An audience is watching the magician. Usually magic shows are one man shows, ergo the magician needs to be the Everyman. He cannot be too far out. He still needs to be relatable. A bit weird is okay, but once the weirdness goes to a point where the general audience cannot follow anymore, I see a problem.

A typical example of this type of performer is Dan Sperry. He might be the nicest guy, but I cannot relate to his act. His motivation why he does magic remains unclear and way too much is left for the audience.

While it might be nice that the audience needs to make up their own damn mind, I still think that the main purpose of magic is entertainment. Making me think is not my idea of entertainment. Don't confuse that with stupefying the act. The movie "Inception" is a nice example on how to do it right. You have characters you can relate to. Their motifs are clear, yet the implications of the plot are far from being stupid or simple. (Besides, that is why the first Matrix movie was great and the other two failed aside from the pretty pictures)

Back to magic: I see why certain magicians want to be a character that is far out. Differentiating yourself from others is a way to be unique. But not at the cost of not being understood. If the magic show has no "Everyman" it better be so darn amazing that the audience can look past the fact that the "why" deprives itself from the show. Some manage that fine line. Most don't.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Holiday Rant

Starts at 3:10

A Zach Mueller you are young, therefore death is funny. But don't let it hang out that you simply don't care about people dying with grinning through the entire sales pitch you did. A little more maturity... it'll come with age. Right now you have to fake it.

Also, why a deck of card. If you want to spend money for a cause, do so. Don't buy a deck of cards. The cards cost 10 dollars the deck. 100% of proceeds derived from sale of this deck will go directly to charity: water operations. That means the 10 bucks minus the production costs. I have no clue how much these decks really cost. But I got told that in the magic business a sales margin of 900% is normal. I don't know if that applies to playing cards, but let's assume that of the 10 bucks you would spend 8 dollars got to charity water operations. The rest is for the cards and shipping and handling.

So if you wanna help and spend 10 bucks. Go directly to the source:

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The B Magic Shop, an experience!

Wanna know how not to run a brick and mortar store? Then check out the B Magic Shop in Arlington Texas. They are open since the first of December and the shop itself in the not so nice part of town. When you drive there is is pretty much the first glimpse:

A magic friend called the store before going there.

On December 1st (Opening Day), I called the B Magic Shop. Here's how that conversation went:

Store: Hello?
Friend: Is this the B Magic Shop?
Store: Who is calling?
Friend: (I repeat) Is this the B Magic Shop?
Store: (He repeats) Who is calling?
Friend: A potential customer...did I reach the B Magic Shop?
Store: (awkward pause) Yes
Friend: What time do you close today?
Store: When you want to come?
Friend: I don't know...what are your hours?
Store: When you want to come?
Friend: I don't know...maybe today...when do you close?
Store: I'm probably leaving at 4pm today (10 minutes from then).
Friend: Oh, ok, thank you.
Store: WAIT! When you wanna come?
Friend: No idea, I'll swing out there sometime soon.
Store: WHEN?
Friend: I don't know? Maybe next week sometime.
Store: (CLICK) Hangs up.

But still being curious about this mysterious new shop he went there.

I decided that TODAY was the day and I would head out to visit the B Magic Shop for myself. GPS starts to lead me thru Arlington and I begin to get that "not so great feeling" in the pit of my stomach as I'm leaving the nice part of town, and I begin to drive thru the "not so great part" of town. Very depressed area, buildings falling apart and in some need of some repair. But I venture forward and arrived at the shop at 12pm (noon). They were closed. I found it mildly humorous they were closed because they had a larger banner on the window that read "WE ARE OPEN!"

I peaked inside the windows and the showroom was a mess. It was dirty, the industrial carpet was old and coming up from the floor in places. The back wall was lined with shelves of DVDs. They appeared to be very old and worn and not in "new/pristine" condition. Since I couldn't get my hands on them, I couldn't tell if they were pirated copies or not, but the appearance of them leads me to believe so. There was a long display case that had B Magic Shop spray painted on the front with some small gadget stuff inside (cards, ball vases, etc.). Couldn't make out much of what was in there. The props I saw on the other shelving all looked to be either "home made" props with poor paint jobs, or old dirty and broken things in major need of repair. Not the kinds of stuff you would expect to see in a NEW Magic Shop Showroom. Pretty bad secondimpression since they've been open now for 19 days. If I didn't know better, I would assume that the tenants in the space got evicted and just abandoned their product in the store.

If you check out their website you will find obvious rip offs of Losander's Tables as low as $70, Neilson Bottles for $8 and the Dean's Box for $69.00.

The shop was suggested as a WMF but I cannot do that. I got this strict rule: If they don't ridicule themselves on the internet I leave them alone. But because of the obvious sale of rip offs via their website they get an honorable mention from me. So if you wanna buy stuff from them, I suggest not to.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

How to create new effects!

I was thinking about methods, structure, effects and value... Yes, every effect has some sort of value. And value can measured. Here are the points by which magic value is measured... (the list is far from being complete yet an indicator for my thinking)
  • having a practical use outside of the "entertainment/mystery/magic"-realm
  • being extremly impossible or dangerous
  • looks (sounds) beautiful
Let's look at those points: If something makes sense it does have a value. Meaning there is much more reason to perform it. A candy production in the end, for all the kids really has a lot of value. There is a reason to do it.
If something is extremely impossible it also has value. Pushing coins through a table feels more impossible than having them go from hand to hand (aka coins across) Because the more impossible or dangerous something is the more people feel drawn towards this stuff.
Also, if something looks good it has value. What else is the purpose of dance and music? That is why a slow linking rings routine is not that bad.

I think of these as some sort of options. An effect can have 3 points in each of those three categories, adding up to 9 points. Here is an example: Coins Through Table

It really has no purpose outside the magic realm (just one point) unless the patter justifies it somehow (which is rarely done.) But it is really impossible? Well some sneaky business seems possible but is not seen. (so I give it 2 points) Does it look good? Well it can! (adding 2 points)

That gives the effect a value of 5 points out of 9, which is not that bad.

Now... what can be done to make the score even higher?

Substituting the coins for something that we wish we could push through a table... or substituting the table for something we wish we could push coins through for example.
How many times did we wish to take out the coins for a piggy bank without breaking the piggy. That would give the effect a solid 3 points in the practical use category and another point in the impossible category, because it feels even harder to accomplish than the table version. (So it would be 8 out of 9 points.... which is much more valuable)

From that thinking here is the new effect:

Effect: An empty piggy bank is shown and examined.  Three or more coins are put into the piggy bank via the slit on the top. The pig gets shaked and the audience hears the rattling inside. One coin at a time gets removed from the piggy bank.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

WMF The Clown

Andrew over at Ye Olde Magick Blogge has such a nice run with the archetypes of magic. That inspired me (great term of ripping off an idea) to post my most disliked types of characters that magicians portray worthy of failure. Let's continue with the Clown:

We all have met them. Performers who wear silly costumes in bright colors and a huge bow tie. Sometimes they openly say they are clowns, but most often they just behave like clowns. It doesn't mean that they are bad magicians, but most often that is the case. Somehow they seem to miss that it is not the clown's outfit that makes him funny or tragic. There is nothing wrong with a clown doing magic tricks, but I think that a magician should not be a clown. Or if he chooses to look like one at least not to call yourself a magician. The following performer fits that category. Again I am making no judgement about his personality, his skill or his likability. It's just the character that he chose to be while performing that I cannot stand. It's personal I know, but it's my blog:

How can an adult man dress like that? And expect to be taken seriously? Have you ever been to a magic convention. Some of these guys even dare to wear that stuff there. Do ventriloquists bring their puppets? I think not. Sometimes they wear nice attire, but something almost always shows through. Like the tie with card symbols and the little golden rabbit pin. Where do they get that stuff? Where do you get a purple suit, a black shit and a yellow tie? Wait... hold on. Not far from where I live... shit.

The ususal response is: "Come on, it's for kids!" Do Kids deserve this?

Edit: The prototype for this is Ali Bongo. As much as I like the guy, the act was horrific. So hard to bear.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Look at my toy!

I just love it, when a toy is sold as magic trick. This flow toy doesn't hide the fact, but magicians will still buy it. That's why it has an add banner over at the Green Monster. That reminds me of Jeff McBride's techno attempt.

Friday, December 16, 2011


I rarely look at the stats page of my little blog. But this made me smile a bit. One of the more frequent Google search terms that brings people here is "Modesty". Interesting.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Angry Man of Magic - Magicians are Stupid

I, like several people, receive the Learned Pig ezine. Also, like several people, I forgot there was a Learned Pig ezine. I must have subscribed to it when I originally signed up for the site but, since there's been so little traffic, I forgot about it.

That is, until someone posted a junk email to the whole list.

And someone hit "reply to all".

And the server was configured to allow posts from subscribers.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot?

If this is intended to be an announcement list - i.e. we write, you read - then don't allow posts from subscribers. Simples.

If this is intended to be an email list, then go die in a fire! Email lists are the most intrusive form of communication of the digital age. Heck people - it's 2011 - use a broadcast medium (Twitter/Facebook/Bebo), use a web forum (Cafe/Bunny/Talk), use a personal blog with comments turned on, but don't use personal email for mass human-to-human messages.

But this is only a minor problem, caused by the failure of a single person. We all make mistakes, and I can forgive most. The biggest problem is the 92 emails I got spamming my account this morning, each saying "Please quit sending these messages". Followed by the other 91 saying "I agree". And the next 90 saying, "Stop it now". And so on. And so on.

I can not forgive stupid people. Especially those who, after 92 emails, are still thinking that "reply-to-all" is a good idea.

On the plus side, I now have the email addresses of 92 stupid learned pig users who can't use email.

Now - what porn sites shall I sign them up to..?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

On Piracy

There is this piracy debate that involving myself in I can only lose. Here is what I personally used to do. I didn't actively look for illegal material. But once in a while a magician buddy offered me stuff on a hard drive. I usually said: "Sure I'll make a copy."

Then I took a look. And here is what what I did. If I really liked the material... I bought it. If it was not that great, but still okay, I would stop reading. (Usually after the first chapter you can make that decision.) If it was downright awful, as most is... I did some more research. If the rest of this stuff was as bad (*cough* Devin Knight *cough*) I was glad I never even considered buying it.
And then I deleted the stuff. And that thing had something good too. I learned to appreciate many really cool magicians. (David Williamson's book for example. I would have never bought the book, if I had not had the chance reading it first.)

Now is not much different. Only difference I decline illegal magic offerings. Don't wanna be part of that anymore. But any magic product goes through the same process. First I ask my magic friends and I even contact the dealer how an item works. I have been disappointed many, many times. I wanna know exactly how stuff works before I buy it. And when I dealer refuses to tell me "how practical" an item is, or if it needs sleeves then I can be pretty sure that it's not going on my list because it's crap.

I got a question. If I see a trick and I really like it, and without knowing about any of the moves, gimmicks and such... and I make up my own method, that works. Is that already piracy? If it turns out along the way that the method is identical (happens more often than you think) is that piracy? If my method is actually more practical, is that piracy? Is doing the same effect piracy already?

Is taking an idea piracy? I always thought booty is real stuff. Loot has weight and matter. And idea lacks that. If a book is out of print, yet I got the illegal copy, and I wish I could buy it with the money I have, yet I can't get it would that be piracy?

Arrrrr! There are so many questions that come out of this.

Monday, December 12, 2011

WMF The Janitor

Andrew over at Ye Olde Magick Blogge has such a nice run with the archetypes of magic. That inspired me (great term of ripping off an idea) to post my most disliked types of characters that magicians portray worthy of failure. Let's start with the Janitor:

It might be a typical German thing, but very often a performer needs to think up a character that he performs at. And every once in a while "the Janitor" comes up. So that magician decides to pretend he is a Janitor, often openly preparing the act of the magician that is coming any second. Then he starts toying around with the stuff that is already on stage. Usually he wears a grey work coat, a hat and thick glasses. Sometimes he even interrupts the show by needing to clean the stage loudly complaining about the state of things. It's not the act that I don't like it's the character the magician chose to be. The following video is German and I think that the performer is decent, yet I feel that the act is something I can hardly bear to endure because of the choice of character.

What makes me groan is the transparency of the "lie". It is clear from the very first second that this is an act. So if that is clear from the second it started, why keep up the lie? And this is not just for magicians. Even jugglers fall into the "janitor hole" seemingly in lack of better ideas. There is this act a a comedy waiter. Basically the audience is unaware that one of the waiters in the restaurant is not a real waiter. He behaves like a real waiter and slowly transforms into the performer he is. That process is done slowly over a long time period. There is a punchline to this. Realizing that the waiter is not real.

The Janitor is like a joke with no punchline that needs to go away.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Angry Man of Magic - What I want for Christmas

No magic.

End of.

Christmas is a time for having the family to stay. But other than that, it's quite nice! I don't want to ruin it with the regular disappointment of opening a new trick and getting yet another piece of IT, shoddy instructions, and an ill-fitting thumb tip. I certainly don't want to fake my disappointment in front of you, my gift-buying famdamily, as you try and work out why you spent $30 on me to get a kids novelty.

Nor, do I want to be a performing monkey for the family. Or have the "we've bought you a trick - now show it to us, then tell us how it's done" look thrust in my direction.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot?

Do you think I have such little respect for my art that:

1. I can learn, practice, routine, a perfect a trick while we're all sat together in the living room on Christmas day, stoked on cheap brandy, and gas station end-of-line chocolates?
2. I want to spend Christmas working on such a routine?
3. I would tell you the method, anyway?

Seriously - those that ask for tricks at Christmas have a 30 second attention span, lasting from the time the shining paper is witness, and ending around the realization that the box is, in fact, socks. Again. Plus, I know your grabbing hands will tear the instructions from my hands before I can devour them.

Anyway, who's the present for? Is it for me to consume at my leisure, at a time of my choosing? Of course not. You bought it for your selfish self, to get a little cheap (!?!) entertainment before the James Bond film comes on the telly. The only time it's accepted to buy someone else a present, that you get enjoyment from, is when it's a sexy nurse outfit, and I'm buying it. For your girlfriend!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Act #3

Premise: What if methods don't matter, because you can do real magic, yet you do have to make it look like a magic trick. The first act broke laws of moral, ethics and spiritualism. The second act broke the laws of physics. Now the third act is all about obeying the rules. Save one!

3. The Kill
The curtain is down, the magician stands before it and says, that tonight a murder will take place. One person will be the murderer, one will be the victim. As for the method of murder... that has been taken care of. The curtain rises.

A big guillotine is revealed. The magician pulls the blade up and in usual fashion let's it drop on a melon. Then he pulls up the blade again. "I will be the murderer" the magician says "but because I can expect nobody to take the place down there, I will also be the victim." The magician lifts the wooden board that secures the neck. Then kneels down. "This will be my last trick". The magician bends down. his left hand secures the neck and after a short while he releases the rope with his right hand. The blade falls, the beheading finds it's bloody end by the head dropping into the bucket.

Seemingly an eternity seem to pass... but then movement is seen. The headless body rises. As if there is still a head attached controlling the body it moves around, the hand reaching into the bucket grabbing the head. The head is raised towards the audience and then placed on the shoulders. Some adjusting, applause pose and the curtain falls.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Act #2

Same premise: what if methods don't matter, because you can do real magic, yet you do have to make it look like a magic trick. This second act would fill almost the entire time of the whole show.

2. The Box
The magician enters the stage and tells the audience of the strange way he has acquired "the box" It has been passed down from generation to generation. Unfortunately you were not part of the family that it originally belonged to. And all of that wouldn't have mattered if the magician hadn't learned what the box can do. But once he did, it became an odyssey to get it. There are consequences if you mess around with the laws of nature. But no more stalling. The magician leaves and reenters with a box. Its a big box, with a lid on top and decorative patterns. The magicians addresses the spectator in the first row to the very left as he begins to speak.

"I can take out any object from the box. Anyone you think of. And I will if it fits within the five conditions. First: I can only take out objects that would naturally fit inside the box. So no real submarine, yet a toy model would be fine. Second: I can only take out objects that don't exist. I can reach in and take out a wallet, but it won't be your wallet. Third: No things that are alive. Fourth: No body parts. And finally: Whatever comes out, must go back in. So what do you want me to take out?"
The spectator is given some time to make up his mind. Finally he says "a glass of tea". The magician opens the lid, reaches inside and a glass of tea is produced. Then it is placed back.
The spectator next to the first one is asked to think of an object and then to name it. In fact, everyone in the audience is think of an object. As everyone will get a shot. The second spectator names an object, it is taken from the box, shown and then placed back inside.
That is continued until every one in the room, save one had a chance. Each time the magician is able to take out the object, as long as it fits within the five conditions.
In the end the magician wants to demonstrate what will happen if you break all of the rules at once. The last spectator is asked to join the magician on stage. She may sit down on a chair. A curtain is placed on her. Then the magicians goes to the box, opens the lid, reaches in and pulls out an arm, pulls some more and attached to the arm is the rest of a person. The spectator. At the same time the spectator is pulled out from the box the cloth falls, revealing just the outline of the chair. The spectator is finally out of the box, completely puzzled by what has happened. "There are consequences if you mess around with the laws of nature." the magician says. Attention is brought back to the box. Which just started falling apart, ending the second act.

The last act will follow.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Act #1

I don't even know why I'm writing this now... but once in while a thought occurs. What if I had real magic powers. Just me... Nobody else. Would I make that know? I assume there would be limits to the magic powers. So my life wouldn't be save if I openly announced that. I know how crazy power hungry human being are. So I guess I would keep that a secret.

But still I wouldn't wanna be totally quite about that. After all I have this gift, I need to show the people. So I assume the best way to deal with such a dilemma would be to pretend to be a magician using tricks to achieve the wonders. Little work, lot's of money.

So what would my act be like? I can't be too extreme, or people might think I got real magic powers. But I couldn't be too dull either, as I would get no shows. My thought was: How about just three tricks for the whole show. Three really good ones. Tricks that might be achieved via trickery (but would be very hard to pull off) yet are unique enough to gain me "fame and fortune and everything that goes with it." Here is the first one:

1. The Homunculus
On stage there is a table. On the table there is a big glass jar. But that is covered with a cloth. The magicians enters. Talks about the how the alchemists tried to make gold. But also tried to create life. You managed such a feat. The spotlight is moved to the cloth which is dragged away revealing the jar. In the jar there is a small harlequin with a tiny little mask. It's not moving. The magician opens the jar, puts on some gloves and takes out the small human shaped doll and sets it on the table in front of the jar.
Then the magician starts reciting some incantation and after that the arm of the little man starts moving. Then the other arm. Finally it does some steps, jumps down the table and takes a bow.
Then in typical fashion of a magician rings are used to prove there are no threads nor wires. The humunculus is then placed back on the table and does some dancing. Following that mindreading is demonstrated. A spectator is asked to think of a number between 5 and 15. The little man claps his hands 9 times. The spectator verifies that he was thinking of the number 9.
And to finish this act the magician announces to explain the feat and how this little man is moving. It's a deal you have to make with unknown entities, that are vaguely mentioned in some fairy tales. Most often this back fires. But you have it all under control. Then the harlequin turns towards the audience and takes off it's little mask. Underneath there is an imp face with evil eyes. The magician then quickly grabs it by the neck and tosses the creature back into the jar. Just as he closes the lid the creature starts to burst into flames. Smoke fills the jar a strange noises arise. Whispers that fade out. Finally the lid is opened and the jar is tipped over. Heavy smoke rolls out over the table. But the jar is empty.

The other two acts will follow.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Got time for some theory?

I often see the word "teleportation" and "transposition" being used for the same thing. Well it's not....

Let me explain by starting from the very beginning. The first two basic effects are "vanish" and "production". Basically something fades out of existence and then comes back. If you want to be all nit picky than you might see, that it is actually just one effect. One of them is just the reverse of the other. But keep in mind that those two effects are the two basic effects that the following will build on.

Transformation: So an object changes into another object. Think about it. When seeing this our brain could interpret this as two different events. The first one is, that two objects are in play. The first object faded out of existence while the other one appeared from thing air. All at the same place in space creating the effect. Now the second way to see this is the following: Just one object, which changes it's attributes. We just haven't see the actual change. And because our brain cannot easily decide which scenario is the actual case it makes up this third effect. Simply called "transformation".

Teleportation: Very similar to the transformation again we have two possible events taking place. The first one again is about two objects. At place A object A could vanish, while at place B object B could appear. Or the second was out brain could see this is, that the object becomes invisible and moves to the new location unseen to become visible again. In most cases both scenarios are thinkable and again our brain cannot decide which on to pick. So "teleportation" becomes the fourth effect in magic.

So if we call the first two effects in magic basic effects, then the next two, the transformation and the teleportation become effects of a higher level, as at least both of the basic effects are needed to explain them.

An even higher level of effects would be the Transposition: When two objects swap places, two possible events could take place. Both objects could simply be still where they are, they just transformed into one another, or the two objects teleported to the other ones location. Both cases are valid, our brain cannot decide which one, so the "transposition" becomes the fifth effect.

So you see that teleportation and transposition are not the same thing. Thank you for reading and sorry to have bothered you being a bitcher about a problem that apparently only I am seeing.

Bravo Andrew, Bravo!

Andrew, I can't think of anything to add to your wonderful post on the Splice issue. All I can do is link towards it... hopefully getting you more traffic.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

WMF Chris Burton

It is interesting how a certain type of magician always comes up doing the same thing over and over again. Treating magic and it's secrets badly by disrespecting the value of it. Chris Burton is such a guy. His website Secrets of Card Magic is such a case.

Basically 25 years old Chris Burton is a sell out, offering magic secrets that are not his own under the pretext of teaching. Here is the simple rule about teaching: Teach your own material. If you teach other's material you need to get permission by the creator. If the creator is dead you have to wait for the copyright to wear off. Any book published prior 1923 is public domain. Also if the author is dead for 70 years the book tends to be public domain.

The stuff taught by Chris Burton is not his own for the most part. How do I know? Well I certainly didn't pay for the "8 phases of access" each costing 25 bucks to unlock it. But I had somebody tell me what's in it. What do you expect? Of course the standard stuff like the Snap Change and other shit that sells well to the uninformed audience. And I gotta give Chris Burton some credits, as it took a lot of work to put all of this together.

Selling out magic is too common nowadays. I give you an example: The key card principle is usually one of the first "cool" things we learn. Very soon the "cool" wears of and it is old and simple and even pathetic. So it is easy to dismiss the value that the key card holds. Chris Burton seems to dismiss a lot of value. So he feels eligible to both teach and getting paid for secrets that aren't his. Weekly Magic Failure for me.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Angry Man of Magic - The middle lane magician

I got into magic seriously when I was in my 20's. That quite late by most accounts, but I don't care. I feel it has added a maturity to my character, and a depth to my understanding of the art. I'm happy to talk with the youngsters about the latest and greatest gimmicks; although I'm old enough to realize they're only adaptations of older principles... and their latest 1-trick DVD was a throw-away routine in a book from 30 years ago. However, the conversation doesn't always last very long, since they think I'm too long in the tooth because I haven't bought the latest XYZ on pre-release from Jay Sankey. Alas, I am spurned.

I'm also happy to talk with the elder statesmen of our art; those who worked alongside Canasta and have shunned technology since Gutenberg. Each day they pray for the death of the internet, and still haven't learned to work their DVD player. However, the conversation doesn't last very long, since I'm too young to have the original 1954 edition of a tome so dusty that it falls foul of health and safety, or that I learned a sleight from a DVD, instead of the original in the (now out of print) hyper-expensive collectors edition lecture notes that exist in a singularity within another universes time-space continuum. Alas, I am spurned.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot?

Am I such an objectionable person that no one wants to talk to me? Er no - because it's not just the conversation.

The youngsters haven't learned enough manners to wait in the queue without pushing, barging, or giving frat-boy aggravation. The oldsters haven't learned that age doesn't grant you the right to push to the front of the queue. Although maybe it should, perhaps they're so old they might die in the next 12 seconds if they don't get to the front. They have, after, got to pass comment on how Slydini did it. And better. And that they taught him.

The youngsters haven't learned that - I not knowing the name of a new sleight - doesn't mean I'm stupid. The oldsters haven't learned that I not knowing the name of an old sleight doesn't mean I'm stupid. They're probably the same sleight, anyway. And the only way I'll know this is if magicians gave proper crediting throughout (which they often don't), and I have read the exact same set of books that they have (which I almost never have.)

The youngsters haven't learned that the magical inheritance isn't theirs yet; they haven't earned it, there's lots of people in the bequeathal queue before them; particularly if it's not a self-working card trick from Ellusionist. The oldsters haven't learned their magical legacy is out of their sleight-weary, wrinkled, old hands. Magic moves on. They no longer own it. It's time they realized.

I'm beginning to come to terms with this. I am a "middle lane magician". It's just like driving a car where everyone on the road seems like an idiot - those going faster than you are un-safe idiots. Those going slowly are retarded, plodding, idiots. Except in this case, I'm not sure which are the youngsters, and which are the oldsters.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Splice you Opinion

Shin Lim may be a bright new light on the magic horizon. Maybe too bright... One of his products: Splice. With a nifty demo video:

In case it is deleted: A signed Eight of Diamonds is shown, twirled on the right hand middle finger to prove it's a single card. Then it is placed on the deck, and then placed in the middle. Magic gesture, and it's back on top. Near the end of the video this is repeated from a different angle. The only difference: The card is not placed on top, and then placed in the middle. But placed on top and cut into the middle via Charlier Cut.

Here is the caviar: The video is faked. A duplicate is used.

This issue was brought up on the Magic Café. Shin Lim replied:
Hey guys, Shin Lim here. This has been a move I've been working on for a while now, and I felt that it was a sleight worth putting out into the magic community. It's a move that can be done perfectly if practice is put in to it. So the answer is NO I didn't use two duplicates. All it took for dendrake to do was to crop my playing card a couple of milimeters up to make the signature look different. If you notice the end result of the second 8 was that the 8 on top looked faded on the edges, because of the "cropping". Guys, I would never do such a thing as to use 2 duplicates when the move doesn't ask for it(and because I would rather take the time to do a couple of "takes" and get the move right on camera, than to painstakingly forge a signature and make them look identical). It's an extremely clean sleight, and if you ever see me at a convention, I'll be more than happy to show you a live demonstration, including you, Dendrake.

Shin Lim

What a liar.

This is not new. I remember the time when Craig Petty faked a sleeving demonstration during the Wizard Product review. But that's a different story.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

He has come a long way

Mr. Mayoral has certainly come along way in magic. The act you are about to see from FISM 1994. A very, very lonely piece of magic. Full to the brim with symbolism. I don't think I get all of them (or even one for that matter).

The act is clearly nerdy in all ways. Even a bit creepy. Good? Well see for yourself:

What makes the ending even more tragic is realizing that this is a one person act.

Monday, November 21, 2011

WMF Keith Raleigh

Remember the time when stereotypes were funny?

Times have changed a bit and magicians need to adopt to the changing times. Some have not gotten the message. Keith Raleigh is such a case. Here... watch this:

There are more clips just like this one. The magic is decent, but the presentation is an absolute no nowadays. My childhood was full of racial stereotypes. We used the N-word made fun of Asians and gays. Today is different. That's part of an evolving culture. There will be times, when today's standard is in no way acceptable. But right now Keith Raleigh's alter ego The Great Ching Chang is in no way okay. So he will be this week's failure.

Friday, November 18, 2011

All you Open Travelers

Here is pro tip for you, if you do any Open Travelers (aka Invisible Palm).

DO NOT show your hand empty on the first card. Keep it palm down. Spread the fingers... leave the people wondering how exactly you palm the card. Even make a fist... then go down and conclude the first effect. On the second time you can show your hand empty. But only very, very briefly. On the third time you can be all "open" about it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Don't knock the creator of "From Nothing", Roland!

Whatever you may think of his revolutionary coin vanish, which I taught him BY THE WAY. The creator of 'From Nothing' deserves much praise. Much, much, much, much, much, much praise. But not as much as me.

Whenever I haven't got the C.U.N.T.O.M.A.T.I.C. strapped on, I always carry a spare plastic carrier bag, and a piece of fruit. Or a vegetable. 

Now that's what I call magic, folks.


Hydrophobic Fabric

I'm seeing a serious way to include this in an illusion show. Like emerging from a water tank with dry clothing.

Click this link to the main page.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Angry Man of Magic - Stop Thief!

My colleague has recently had a problem with theft. Of material. But not in the way you might instantly think. This is theft of props... at a gig... by the punters... punters who are expecting to be entertained with a few pieces of laminated cardboard and a rubber band, but will now suffer another card trick because one of their klepto klunt friends has walked off with the props.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot?

What exactly did this reincarnation of Forrest Gump's more stupid brother think he was stealing? This isn't the 'piece of cardboard to million dollar pot of gold' transformation that we've all thought suitable to bring to the working mans club. Nor is it something that can be resold on ebay for beer money. It's worthless to you, and everyone else.

Can you imagine the advert?

“Plez l@@k - mega magick trick!!! no idea how it works becuz I didnt' steel the instructions but sure YOU can work it out yourselfs. LOL. thanx for lucking” (all spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors are likely to be real, since he's the sort of person who puts the 'retard' into 'illiterate.')

In fact, to anyone other than a magician his haul is pointless. So why do it? Would you hang around the back doors at a rock gig, and nick Robert Plant's guitar if he turned his back to talk with another fan? (Actually, don't answer that - it was meant to be a proverbial question, but I realize I've just given you another business plan in your next 24-hour day release.)

We don't even have any money to pay a ransom. Was that your plan, Mr. Thief? Instead of pirating material from teh interwebs, are you on an exchange program from Somali and though that magic was the game to be in?

What Rainman doesn't even realize is that it isn't just the cost of the props. Sometimes it'll have a sentimental value (our personal prototype, or a gifted trick); or represent a great deal of time in manufacture or easing the product in until it's usable; or that we have to make rush purchases to get a replacement for tomorrows gig which is a 50 km drive north... while the only magic shop is 50 km drive south.

Hate. Hate them all.

Monday, November 14, 2011

WMF Stemaro

Stemaro Magic is a German magic dealer. One of many... there is nothing spectacular about them. But recently they started a Magic Wiki... and it goes right into exposure territory. Among the stuff they explain in the name of "teaching and resource": The Spider Pen (pictures included), what Rubber Cement is good for and various card techniques. While this is not totally hurting magic it still is very, very unrespectful towards the magic secret. It is German, so I see little harm overall, yet having popular trends (like having a wiki for everything, iphone apps) applied to magic is wrong.

Please Stemaro... take that away, make it so, that it is no more.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Me sad! Me ranting!

Every single magic store / online shop that sells Kevin Parker's Revolution Coin Vanish should be avoided... Every single one. How can those seller look at themselves in the mirror? How?

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Magic cannot stand on it's own. It needs to borrow from other arts.

I read a scientific study on the paddle move. Turns out that in this case a large action does not cover the small action. The "cover" comes from the speed.

After loading 25 sponge balls into a spectators hand you can basically stop the show for a few minutes.

Magic gimmicks make me feels like James Bond.

I'm addicted to the smell of sharpies.

Who knew that yellow rope is more visible from afar that white rope... I sure didn't.

I saw a magician once who still owned and used the first set of sponge balls he ever got. Outbreak alert!

When presenting a jumbo coin say this: "The coin is not bigger, the whole universe around it just shrunk." Funnier that way.

Wearing glasses and adjusting those once in a while gives you so much more cover when palming coins.

Does anybody know a way to force a butterfly, making it look like I just asked for an animal? No pre show!

I love my mini cards, when I hold them I feel like Larry Jennings.

"The Naked & The Dead" by Barry Solayme - LATE!

Just a brief message to all those who pre-ordered my new book, "The Naked & The Dead", an original title by yours truly. Unfortunately, there was a mix up at the print shop, who failed to reduce their print time to accomodate a late delivery of the manuscript. Talk about bungling amateurs, Jesus!

But to reassure all of you: as soon as it is ready it will be mailed directly to your homes, SIGNED to those who paid me extra, at NO EXTRA COST! That's right, folks, I'm not going to charge you for the delay, as I have a genuine respect for all my customers. I know, it makes the $89.97 you paid seem like a STEAL for a 54 page book with exclusive late deliveries!!!

And thanks to all who expressed concern for me during my sojourn in the Netherworld. I'm back safe and well, and you can read about it on my blog. I'll be writing it up into a eye-witness account, "Barry's Divina Commedia", by Barry Solayme. It's available for pre-order now!!! (PayPal the usual address)


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Is this a precedent?

So Hans Klok got sued by his former sidekick Rafael van Herck for copyright infringement. The court decided that the claim was just and Hans Klok needs to pay the sum of 16.000 US dollars. The routine involves Hans Klok reaching through his sidekicks body to grab a glass of water off a tray, then smacking off van Herck's head momentarily. Here is a link to a Washington Post article.

Keywords of the article are:
Klok argued the tricks are no secret in Las Vegas — one was even used by Siegfried & Roy. But the court ruled Van Herck’s combination is unique.

Here you see a version of that at 2:53. (Not actual routine, but the whole setup.)

So does that mean it is possible that we finally have a precedent, that we can sue fellow magicians if they use just two things in the same order that we do? If so... is that a good thing?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Talk about bad

Here is the effect in a nutshell. You recharge a battery with your bare hands. in order to prove this you have a little battery tester that is used before and after the effect to verify the magic.

So here is the thing. If you need a tool, that is both uncommon and hardly understood by anybody not using those on a daily basis to make the magic noticeable, then something is wrong with the effect. The effect needs to be understood effortlessly. This is not the case here, making Recharger by Stefan Schroetter a crappy effect.

This should have never seen the light of day and been released.

The Worldmagicshop knows this, yet they dared to put this piece of trash in their shop. Why did they do it anyway? I am giving them the benefit of a doubt to assume that they are not stupid. But doing that makes their actions seem even more shady.

Greed can not be the sole reason...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

iTricks down?

Explain this!

YSM Round Up

Here are my thoughts on this: I just love what they are doing. Seriously. Here we have a whole bunch of Filipinos, no older than 16, totally being into magic. Are they good? Of course not. Do they hurt magic? No!

In fact this is what I would call a phenomenon that not new. But YouTube and stuff made us aware of that. A room filled with nerdy geeks, cutting cards like crazy exchanging thoughts and ideas and filming themselves. Sounds familiar?

I bet if the whole gang around Ed Marlo had today's technology similar videos would be floating around.

So what the Youth Society Magicians (what a dumb name) are doing is just kids playing around. Let them have their Super Kewl Club. They are not exposing magic, they are embracing it. In fact one or two of them might actually stay with this and become good magicians eventually.

Do you know the feeling when a kid comes up to you telling you all about dinosaurs and Pokemon? You may be bored and find it all stupid, but deep down you are happy for the kid, that he gets so exited about stuff. And this is why I just love what they are doing.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

YSM Day 5

Pasteboard Jerald is the last guy... and what a treat:

Spreading, Turning them over, cutting them like crazy. Then another spread and turnover. Then a fan, a riffle and another fan. Hey, another fan and finally a card is picked. It might feel like boring stuff, but it's called suspense. An ancient tool to make a show more cool.
Then another fan and the card is replaced. Riffle, Hindu, riffle shuffle. Then face up are shuffled into face down. Jerald is a mad man I tells ya... a mad man.

But then, then all the cards are face down again with one card being face up. The selection... Dude this is a triumph in card magic.

Friday, November 4, 2011

YSM Day 4

Longing Stare Dhongz is next... with some rope magic.

This dude dares to be different. He's so kewl he doesn't even need cards. Just rope stuff. And he even thought about the music. Some Indian sounding tune. Nice thinking Bro. I heard the trick is actually by a guy called Pavel. But that sounds like a fake name. Dhongz is much kewler anywayz.

And how does he do that. Making a knot like that. When I try this, I my knot actually is not a knot. Fakery some would say. But those are just dissing, lackin' respect.

Next dude tomorrow needs to top this. I bet he cannot do this.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

YSM Day 3

Extreme Arafat is next:

You can tell he's extreme... what am I talking about, he's xtreme and 1337. All those fancy productions are so hardcore that one would almost miss the nice display of cards in front to the close up mat. And watch that smirk smile he does sometimes towards the camera. That is true passion and skillz.

But Extreme Arafat is greater than the sum of his parts. Watch him dance before he goes into his greatest trick. Making himself vanish, without cover. In your face Criss Blaine, you can't explain that.

His video rightfully got 167 view... and he deserves much more, much, much more. Like twenty more or so. I just "liked" the video. I expect you to do the same. Word.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

YSM Day 2

Time for Trebor Z, formerly known as Crazy Robert. Here is his famous 4 Ace Trick:

Dude he's got serious chops. And he uses black cards. That's cool. Right bro? Teach those aces some respect. Show them who's boss. And the last ace... always misbehavin. Needs some manners. But Crazy Robert got it all under control. Just one invocation towards the ghost of Erdnase and everything is cool again.

Right on!

Now I gotta get me some changing rainbow pants.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

YSM Day 1

Let's start with Sexy Carlos.

Just marvel at his skillz. Whatever he might be missing, he makes up for it with attitude. That's how he rolls. First I was all like dude, he is an extreme beginnerz, then I was all like, no, he is and xtreme beginner, cutting the cards like shit.

Then he produces the aces. Man how did he know they were there? He's a witch or sumthin...

Also him loosing the aces was pretty convincing. You can tell that he's put effort in his work. Totally unique and all of that. All I can say is... Exxxxxit Liiiiiiight... We're off to never never-land.

Monday, October 31, 2011

It's YSM week

There are thing the world needs to see. This is one of them:

Hilarious. Like watching a really bad movie. The kind of bad that is so freaking great that it is good. Like "Troll 2" or "The Howling 4". So clap your hands for the Young Society Magicians and their members. Sexy Carlo, Mark the Fingers, Bad Hairday Al, Afro Dondee, Ninja P-Boy, Posing McPose Jhong, NoFancyName Kim, Crazy Robert, Madskillz Jhonelle, Nikko the Dwarf, Longing Stare Dhongz, Pasteboard Jerald, Extreme Arafat and Sheena.

This whole week will be YSM week... you're in for a treat. Let the train wreck begin.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Well look at this! 01

Wow, talk about bad advertisement video...

It basically gives away the method. I don't have to mention that this is supposed to be a self worker! Obviously too hard for some.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Angry Man of Magic - Bill of goods

One of my magical pipe dreams is to receive a bill of goods with my purchases. Not just a scrappy compliments slip with the cost of each trick I've bought, but a breakdown showing where the money goes within each trick. For example:

Zip-lock bag : $0.05
Booklet : $1.20
Gimmick : $3
Secret : $27
Tax,P&P,random markup : $5.75
Total: $40

It seems reasonable. My monosyllabic mechanic does it, even, separately listing the cost of labor and parts - such as indicator fluid, long weight, and diesel spark plugs - so I know I haven't been ripped off. So why can't my magic emporium? Oh, that's right, I remember - it's so they can charge me FULL PRICE for replacing a $3 gimmick.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot?

First off, I'm not buying a secret - I'm buying a product. If part of the product involves a secret, then it's fair enough to pay for it. Once. You can not justify charging me $27 for something I already have. It's knowledge. Half the word 'knowledge' is 'know'; and since I already know it, why are you trying to re-sell it to me?

Tell you what - let me buy the gimmick on its own, and I'll even send you a couple of bucks for postage. I'll even pay $1.20 for the mis-aligned photocopy you have the cheek to call instructions, and a quarter to pay for the land-fill un-friendly non-biodegradable plastic bag, that I also have no need for. At least then you can send me exactly the same physical product, and won't feel compelled to charge me another $10 for handling a special order.

You see, I'm not an unreasonable man. I will pay for something I already have (like instructions and gimmicks) because I understand that the physical cost of the materials needs to be met. But paying again for a chimera is wrong.

Oh, and the next time I hear the "the trick is sold when the secret is told" you will have proven my point, and put a monetary value on the secret component of the trick. At which point I will non-proverbially bitch slap you, and expect replacement gimmicks at a reasonable cost.

Plus $2 P&P.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Quote To Guide You Through Magic, Life and the Rest!

Here is a nice little piece of advise by Bugs Bunny you may find of use:

"Don't take life too seriously, nobody ever makes it out alive anyway."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

WMF The Magic Café Again

I sound like a broken record, repeating myself... I have a serious case of a deja vu.

In case you haven't noticed and you are not a member of the green monster. Everyone got an email by Mr. Brooks:
As most of you know, I consider the Magic Café a work in progress. Always adding some new things while often removing some of the old.

Working with my buddy Acar Altinsel and the gang over at Penguin Magic (who are now official supporters of the Café ), during the next twelve months we will be engaging in a little experiment of sorts.

Penguin Magic will now be assisting Café members in helping them to better understand many of the new offerings which become available to the magic community on almost a daily basis.

Let me explain.

Begining today, any Café member who browses thru the topics of following forums: Latest & Greatest, Tricks & Effects, Books, Pamphlets & Lecture Notes, Dvd, Video tape, Audio tape & Compact discs, Ebooks, PDF's or Downloads, Stage Illusions or Magical Accessories will now notice a little message in the lower right-hand corner of their screen.

The message says; "LIVE PRODUCT HELP: 8-4PM M-F"

Basically, anytime during normal business hours (Monday thru Friday) you need only CLICK the little box and you will be chatting LIVE with a spokesperson from Penguin Magic!

So, say you are reading a discussion on the latest card trick but have a few questions in the back of your mind which have yet to be answered on the Café - give that box a CLICK and chances are you'll quickly have answers to those questions by a very knowledgeable Penguin Magic associate.

How cool is that?

Well hold-on to your seats folks because we have plenty more new features coming to the Café over the next few months and I want to thank all of you for your continued support of my little website which has helped to make features like this one possible.

Summarized: The Cafe is working with Penguin!

Frank Starsini posted a comment quite fitting and I'm gonna post it here as there is no way to know how long this thread will be up.
So now that Penguin will be "assisting magicians" Live does this mean when someone wants to know a GREAT spongeball routine...
Is penguin actually going to help or are they going to promote something horrible like Jay Nozbleda's spongeball DVD (produced by penguin) ??

Who are these helpers? Daryl? John Carney? Penn and Teller? Or some Kewl teenagers that like triks and will work for free dvds???

If someone wants the a great shell game DVD... Is penguin going to promote Bob Kohler's fantastic offering or the SFS DVDs or are they going to promote Jay Noblzlelda's awful awful Shell Game DVD (again, produced by penguin).

It's unfortunate that Jay was the magician in both of these that I find so low quality. I don't mean to be hammering on him personally.
But those 2 DVDs (there must be others) are truly awful compared to the best media on the market. Yet jay/penguin had the effrontery to call the spongeball DVD "The Last Word on Spongeballs". Seriously???!!! Hardly a responsible DVD title for something so ... bad.

I'm hoping this doesn't turn this website from "magicians helping magicians" to "penguin helping themselves at the expense of newbie magicians".

I'm concerned for the newer magicians.

But this doesn't worry me. What I think is weird is that The Magic Café does that but can't get their search function fixed. Seriously... their priorities are fucked up. Well Mr. Brooks promised more features coming up in the next months. Maybe fixing the bugs will be a feature.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

They just wanna have fun!

Quick busking story... I was doing my little act when I got to the sponge balls. The presentation involves a spectator jumping and some other bits. So there I was about to do the trick. I was looking for a suitable spectator. My eyes aren't that good, so it was obvious that I was looking for an assistant. Some raised their arm. So did a guy in a wheelchair. And I was all like: "Nope, sorry, can't use you." after which the man in the wheelchair with no legs got an angry face and asked me loud: "WHY NOT!"

Gee I though.... damn I went too far now I look like a discriminating bastard. "The act needs someone to jump, you got no legs" I muttered.

He looked down on his body and replied: "Shit, where are my legs... they were here a second ago."

We all had a laugh. But I wonder how often he pulls somebody's leg (pun intended) with that joke.

So and now I'm off to go at it again!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Flawless Victory!

I got an email a few days ago:

There's an effect by Shin Lim called "Flawless" which is an ACR technique.
Here it is:

The email continued:
Not a bad idea, per se, but one of the main problems with it is that the double doesn't work well unless the cards are brand new. And even then, it's risky. The bottom side of the double (where you're not gripping) can open, causing a mini-tent effect. Very easy to flash.

What my gripe is, this flaw is IN the demo, in both takes that Shin uses.

So what does Shin do? He momentarily BLURS the video image so the viewer can't see the double is exposed at the bottom! He clearly flashes in both takes, but the blur covers this flash at the obvious point.

I found it rather amusing that Shin couldn't come up with even ONE decent take that has a convincing double in his effect.

Hehe I agree.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

WMF Geryn Childress Again!

Hey remember that kid?

Right... that's him:

He is a child of Geryn Childress. (I'm not making up shit here)

That means, Geryn was well aware of the illegal content of his website and was supporting it. Which makes all his claims fucking bull shit. I don't believe that man anymore.

There is a lengthy tread about him over at Genii. Read that to know all about the other side projects of Mr. Childress.

I've been told that the Childress family owns about 10 websites. So claiming to be new at this online stuff is a lie by Mr Childress.

So I am putting him back on the list as a WMF.

And before anybody does any claim about protecting the identity of his child... Geryn Childress himself makes those pictures and videos available. I'm just linking to them.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Just A Sunday Post #99

Don't you just love the choice of music that is used in front of all the Chinese officials. Starts at 4:34.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Daily Card Trick needs your help!

Email address:

Here are the details: Make a video of you doing card magic. It needs to be published card magic. It can even be your own creations. Upload the video to a free fileserver like megaupload or yousendit. Then send me the link to the video and I will download it. Be sure to add a source and your personal comment to the email. Also make it very clear if you want your name attached to that.

I will upload the video to my YouTube account and set it to "unlisted".

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Angry Man of Magic - Spulling mistooks

“Their coming too sea if its reel.”

See what I did there?

Did you? Are you sure? If so, you're probably in the minority of magicians. And you know when you're in the minority when, as a magician, you've performed for an audience that isn't a web-cam, wondered how 'blue bikes' could be used as a means of transport, or have ever kissed a girl!

If you're scratching your head like a client in a cut-price Turkish harem scratches his bits, I'll tell you the secret - I used lots of correctly spelled words, in the wrong context, to make a completely nonsensical sentence. Unfortunately, it still reads better than most lecture notes, booklets, instructions, and even several “professionally” edited books that seem to find their way across my grubby little desk!

Whisky Tango Foxtrot?

You see, in days of old, us magicians were so paranoid about letting out magic secrets, we'd write them up ourselves. Alone. Our secrets were locked tighter than the Fritzl's cellar; suitable for us and the purchaser only. We'd even destroy the typewriter ribbon, and hand-duplicate the books, to stop the sweat-laden printer taking time out from his 18-hour day to learn such life-changing secrets as how to turn over two cards as one. So naturally, errors would occur. But we knew the pains the magi writer had gone through, so we were forgiving.

Nowadays, however, every magician has access to a word processor, a spell checker, and a grammar checker. The software is free, dammit! So there is really no excuse for spelling mistakes, or for using grammar that would embarrass Yoda after drinking a train of Jägerbombs.

And the Internet has provided us with enough connectivity that we can even ask a human (shock! horror!) to give our writing the once over. You don't even need to be in the same country, continent, or time zone. There are no excuses.

Know moore spulling mistooks!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Holy Shit I think I made a horrible mistake!

About that Geryn Childress issue. I claimed, when I wrote that article a few months ago, that he has a sponge ball video out, exposing sponge ball magic. I claimed it got 3 million hits on YouTube.

As you can see in the comments one post earlier, a user named "rocboy315" has removed his comment. Naturally I still get a message (I get that automatically, when a comment is made). "rocboy315" wrote:
I've never even made a sponge ball video so I'm not sure how you ever got the idea that I've received over 3,000,000 hit on youtube for anything, it would be nice...but that's not me dude. As I mentioned before you take down all the false or out of context information about me and my site and I'll make sure my students do the same for you.

That got my brain spinning. First: "rocboy315" is Geryn Childress. Second: I could have sworn I saw that video. Then I found it. But it turns out it is NOT Geryn Childress.

its a guy named Cartess Ross. He also has a online school for magic. (​)

What the hell happened?

I tried putting two and two together: As insensitive as it may sound. I guess I confused both guys simply because they are black. In fact I was looking for pictures for Geryn Childress, so I googled him via image search. What came up was always the same guy. And he looks a lot like Cartess Ross. I guess the "fusion" of both guys was made then. And it certainly didn't help that the video above is also posted on Geryn Childress' website.

Gee, what a dick move of me not to double check that. Now I look like an idiot.

Alright... wouldn't be the first time I am wrong. And wouldn't be the first time I try to fix the mess I created. Here is what I do, i will reedit my original post, adding what I know now. That should put things in perspective.

Friday, September 30, 2011

So Geryn Childress is a really weird fellow!

He used to be a WMF (read for yourself)

Then he wrote me an email:
Hello this is Geryn Childress, the guy you blogged about as the owner of, you have your information all wrong, I purchased the magic site off ebay from some kid who was selling it, I'm new to the whole online business thing and it took me awhile to learn all the outs and ins of running a business online and once I realized the material wasn't authorized to be on the site I took it off, I thought all the material that came with the site was okay to be there, once I found out it was so I'm just informing you that you have so much stuff wrong on your blog, that's not even my picture dude, Lol! so please update your information. Look forward to your response.


When I was writing the article on Mr. Childress, it clearly said you would get all the illegal content. He has changed that since then, although I have no proof, as I'm not paying 25 dollars a year.

Now he fights back like a little schoolboy: Take a look at this!

He actually claims that I have been arrested for having child pornography. Man that's a new low. I have been called a Nazi, an anti-semite, an asshole and a horrible human being, but this is way too low. There is personal opinion and there is hate speech.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

About Theory and how it "feels"

Man I love it if any craft is pressed into theory. It's our never stopping desire to find patterns and to us those patterns to better ourselves in our craft. I read a book some years ago about poi swinging. The book was for beginners and it basically gave most of the common poi swing tricks some names. There was the "car going forward", the "car going backwards", the "sun", the "butterfly" and a few more of those. These names helped to understand the movement and the rhythm of the many tricks. It was a good beginners book. And I can say that I learned from the book the basics of poi swinging.

Later I went to a jugglers forum and they ripped apart the book. This guy (the author) dared to put theory into poi swinging. According to the jugglers, poi swinging needs to be an emotional experience. You gotta "feel" the moves. You can't describe them. (Of course you can.) You have to figure it out by "becoming the ball on the string."

It was very esoteric. And that seems to be true for most jugglers so it seems. You gotta get the right "feel" and very little theory seems to be in use. And those who do get shunned and spit on by the juggling community. Unless of course you are a big name. Then you get praised.

Anyways: I am here to argue FOR the side of the theory haters in the juggling community. I have no doubt that those guys can juggle. I have no doubt that they "felt" the learning process. And I have no doubt that some magicians are better left off not having to deal with theory.

According to science there are many different ways we learn. Modular learning is what most of us do. We watch others and then we can do it ourselves. This has nothing to do with understanding why it works. Somehow I think that by watching countless performances of others you might actually end up being a pretty good magician yourself, without stealing the acts. This doesn't mean you understand what makes up a good act. But you end up having a pretty good "feel" about it.

The Modular learning was the main way to go in the very early days of magic. If you wanted to be a magician you had to get a master. And if the master thought you are worth the training he would teach you by imitation. Not by teaching about theory. Most often the master themselves had very little theory on their own. They just had a pretty good "feel" about it.

Naturally this approach is not for everyone, and it should not. Some just feel better about their act when they know why it work. Or most often why it should work!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Steve Miller Band

And I wanted to forget all about that period of time:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Skype Chat Log

[00:37:58] Friend: hey
[00:38:34] Friend: how is the wire different from the previous T11 format where they had artists sell tricks? Isn't this the same? "artists" selling stuff?
[00:38:49] Roland Henning: well the difference is this...
[00:39:01] Roland Henning: you produce the trailer, you pay all the cost making the video
[00:39:05] Roland Henning: you have all the work
[00:39:11] Roland Henning: and theory 11 cashes in
[00:39:18] Roland Henning: that's the difference
[00:39:32] Roland Henning: T11 has no work
[00:39:48] Friend: ok. Makes sense. Yeah that's a difference.
[00:40:07] Roland Henning: except offering a platform, (which they have anyway) and paying the servers (which they do anyway)
[00:40:18] Friend: smart
[00:40:21] Roland Henning: and getting 40%
[00:40:28] Roland Henning: of each sale
[00:40:28] Friend: not bad
[00:40:35] Roland Henning: yeah great business idea
[00:42:22] Friend: i might have an idea or 2 lol
[00:42:40] Friend: just need some really nifty camera and music...
[00:43:10] Roland Henning: and editing, don't forget editing
[00:43:22] Roland Henning: if people can see how it works they will not buy it
[00:43:51] Friend: yep
[00:47:00] Roland Henning: do you mind, if I post parts of our little chat over at WMF (your name taken out of course)
[00:47:08] Roland Henning: because it#s funny
[00:47:38] Friend: sure
[00:47:44] Roland Henning: thanks

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Oh my, this can't be misunderstood at all. This picture must be magic related. Yes it is: Click Here!

Well let's see what this leads up to. At least Alexander de Cova is know for releasing outstanding magic. Kudos where kudos is due.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Get Gigs & Keep Clients

One side of a professional magician is the business side of things. And one of the smartest business decision I ever made was to admit to myself that I suck at doing business. So I outsourced my business and got me a manager. And by that I mean my gf took over and does all the scheduling and pricing.
But not everyone is so smart. And some might actually have business skills and even like doing that. Learning about how to get gig and how to talk to clients and how to get higher fees for your work is information that doesn't fall from the sky. You can get books on how to create promotion material and how to cold call businesses offering your magic service. But you still need to find out how to apply all this available knowledge to magic.
This work has been done before so one would be stupid not to benefit from it.

A few weeks ago Theory 11 started "The Wire" a marketplace where magic creators can sell their stuff. Theory 11 takes 40% of the sales. Which is a huge amount. But that shall be discussed later. In the General Magic section an eBook is sold. "Get Gigs & Keep Clients" The author: William Draven. He is no stranger to this blog. In fact he used to be a Weekly Magic Failure for exposure. Since then he has evolved a lot. To a point where he actually knows what he is talking about.

A few weeks ago he approached me, asking me if I review books. I told him that yes I would, if I can be totally honest about it. So he send me the eBook that is now sold for 24.95 dollars via "The Wire".

I read it. I read the whole darn thing. And I hate it. I totally hate it, yet I ask you to get this!

Here is why. Basically this book tells me all the things I am doing wrong on the business side of things. Now I need to change my business cards, because they contain my address and all of that shit.

Also the book tells you in a very unflattering way to become a telemarketer and to cold call businesses to offer your service. It tells you how to avoid talking to the wrong people and how to get and talk to the right people.

The book is very upfront that way and gets to the point quickly. The whole book is constantly telling you not to think like a magician, but like a business man. And I hate that. But I see the necessity in that. If you wanna be a professional magician, that means making money with what you like doing most, you gotta do something that your probably won't like doing at all.

It sucks all the fun out of the magic in a way. But I have no doubt that the techniques offered in this book (85 whooping pages) will make you a more successful magician in the long run.

Sadly very few will actually buy the book. Hell, if I hadn't got the book for free I wouldn't have got it. And sadly "The Wire" is probably be the worst place for this valuable information. For a few reasons. First: It's a book. "The Wire" consumers don't read books. They want it all in nice video chunks. Second: It's theory. There is no new gimmick offered. No magicians fooler. Not even pretty pictures (OK, a few) Third: It's not about magic. It's about magic business. Now think about it. Who in the right mind will want that...

Well only who is "in the right mind". So I do something that I rarely do here on my blog. I am telling you to get this book. I am telling you to read it and to apply this to your professional business.

I don't get paid and yet I am endorsing this product. I am actively telling you to get this book from a guy whom I introduced to you with the following lines: "Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck you. Really, Fuck you Wayne Phelps, aka William Draven. Fuck you and your greasy hairdo."

The book is that good.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Angry Man of Magic - “By your favourite method”

These four words fill me with more dread than the equivalently enumerated phrases 'George Bush is President', and 'Gary Glitter Revival Tour', put together. At any point I see these words in the instructions for a trick, or within the pages of a book, I instantly know I've been short changed. The demo video looked like a convincingly free choice, but when I read the half page of cheaply printed waffle from a emotionally-diseased bubblejet printer and see the phrase “by your favourite method” my heart sinks as low as Granny Mildred's tits!

They then have the audacity to print, "such as the cross-cut force”.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot?

Don't get me wrong, I like the “cross-cut force” as much as the next socially retarded, sleightly inept (geddit?), magician - but I bought this trick to learn something new. Whether it's a new sleight, new method, or new presentation. I didn't pay to be told that the sleight you used was someone elses that you can't discuss.. “but here's another that's just as good”. Why? Because the sleight you're telling me about isn't as good as the one you used in your advertising. If you don't have the rights for the clever sleight, ask for them. If you can't get them, show the promo video with the force you're explaining so myself (and other prospective purchasers) know exactly what we're buying, and not something else. Magicians should be tricking their audience, not their customers.

Oh, and if you're excluding the force instructions because you can't arsed to type them up, then you're a lazy bugger, and you should probably be releasing it on DVD only, through Ellusionist, instead.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Now this is pathetic!

And for just 20 dollars this can be yours.

Is there no quality control? You know... a dude... sayin' like it is! Saying: "Dude this is shit!" Let's hope the quality control with "The Wire" that Theory 11 has put into place is much better. I heard some good things about it. (Also some bad stuff, but I'll save that for another time.)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

WMF Otvos Alexandru

My Romanian sucks, so it could be that I got the wrong dude. But I'm pretty sure I'm right. But I am prepared to rewind this whole thing. Enough disclaimer.
Last week a Brazilian magician from Argentina got the weekly title. Now it's a guy from Romania. His name: Otvos Alexandru. The reason: The same as past week.

Technically this is out of my usual MO, yet this is magic related due to the methods employed. Otvos Alexandru is a man who runs some sort of agency. He does perform too. One of his performances:

Seen that before? Having a Deja vu? Need I add more?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

About Old Sleight Of Old Hands

Today was weird. I just returned from a gig. Lot's of people and one old lady in particular came up to me telling me that she used to be a magic assistant. I was interested and talked to her a little longer. It is so weird to hear an old lady (she is in her 80's) talking about a magic era long past. How she was levitating and how that darn thing never seemed to work properly. She use the proper terminology and then she showed me a retention of vision vanish with a coin that she worked on for many years.

It was an interesting move. Basically she was clipping the dollar sized coin between her index finger and middle finger. Then she twisted the finger, so the middle finger would be on top of the index finger. That put the coin into a very exposed and stylistic position. Then she placed the coin into the other hand which she was holding above the finger clipped coin, somehow managing to thumb palm that coin in the process. Basically, what was so bold about the move was, that she released the coin the second it went into the other hand... and gravity made the coin fall into the thumb palm. I have never seen that sort of a coin vanish. She claims she come up with this. And I have no reason to doubt that.

It was done so beautifully and gracefully that I was in awe. Her really old finger, barely able to carry the stuff she bought that day could still do that sort of finger flicking action.

I asked her if she ever did that on stage. She told me that the guy she worked for would not have appreciated that sort of work from his assistant.

What a weird day.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

About that Pervert Magician

I got quite a lot of emails suggesting magician Shane Wright to be a Weekly Magic Failure, for having had sex with a twelve-year-old girl. HERE IS THE STORY. I will not do so.

He is not a magic failure... but a human failure. There is a line I need to draw somewhere.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I Wonder

Was it difficult for the animators to take a five finger flourish and to apply it to just four fingers?

come to think of it: The Simpsons are always kind towards "sleight of handers"

Monday, September 5, 2011

WMF Raimini

I found out about this guy a few hours ago. Since then I have been browsing and researching. A face palm is not enough. Yesterday I posted this video by the French pantomime Jérôme Murat. A unique living statue act.

Raimini ripped him off:

And that was what I wanted to post initially. But then I found out about his great website: He actually has a online magic story integrated in his promotional website. On that store he's got stuff to sell. On of the items: The Thumb Tip. A nice big picture of it, and a description of a trick that can be done with it. So not only is Raimini ripping off, but also exposing.

But if that doesn't convince you that he deserves the title Weekly Magic Failure... this will. His promotional video. I won't say anymore words.