Sunday, December 30, 2012

It's the audience's fault

Here a pro tip that some pros don't want to hear. Sometimes the spectators are the ones to blame for killing your show. I give you an example. Let's assume you do your rope routine. You have done that routine hundreds of times. And there is that one part where you always get applause. But this time you don't. What's wrong? Did you go away from your usual patter? Was you intonation wrong? Is you fly open? Do you wear a dirty costume?

Sometimes the answer is to be found with the spectators. Some are just to darn tired to clap or to laugh or whatever. Sometimes it is not your fault. Most pros will tell you that the spectator must never be made the guy responsible for killing the show. Well, most often you can get around the issue by waiting. In our case people don't applaud after you made ends end and middle of the rope switch places. Usually they do. But now they don't. LET THE AWKWARD SILENCE SINK IN. They will applaud because they feel uncomfortable with the silence and need to fill it themselves because you don't do it.

And that might actually loosen up the audience so the rest of the show runs smoothly. If it happens again, you can start filling the gap with a corny joke: "Looks like you see this sort of thing every day." Now they should get the message.

Maybe, just maybe they are just tired. Or maybe they don't like you or magic. And here is why! People gather in groups of shared interest. Those are called friends. A party usually has a lot of friends in one place. They are friends not just because they share the same interests, but also because they think about stuff in similar fashion.

So if you have bad luck, you run into a group which doesn't like going crazy mad every time you make a card come to the top of the deck. Maybe they don't like your look. Maybe you look like those Ellusionist magicians. Maybe they wan't you to get a hair cut and a real job.

It's their fault your show is ruined, but them must never be called out on that. But know that deep inside your show was a good as always. Don't let a bad experience let you down. Sometimes it's the audience's fault.

So I wanna wish you a Merry New Year. (or whatever you say in order to be politically correct)

Have fun with your gig tomorrow!

What? You don't have one tomorrow.... then you're not a pro! ;)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Three Realities

What book would you recommend for a beginning magician? "Magic for Dummies" by David Pogue? "Close-up Magic" by Nicholas Einhorn? "Magic Tricks for Grownups" by Jon Tremaine? Or even "Magic: The Complete Course" by Joshua Jay?

Think back when you first learned magic. Did you really get a book first? Only a few of us have been so lucky? Before we got a book we had a trick.

In my case it was the Ball and Vase that my grandpa used to own. It was a plastic version. It was dark green and the ball was black. Like a black pearl. He used to fool the hell out of me. And one day I stole the darn thing.

So that was my serious introduction to magic. A criminal act. Next Christmas I got my first magic kit... yeah who's been naughty or nice? My first book on magic was years later. I was in third grade and my reading skill finally has come to a degree that I had fun doing the reading.

But before I read the book I had tinkered with magic stuff many times. And if I hadn't done so I probably would have had a hard time to comprehend even half of what the book was talking about. I was 8 years old. I had a hard time to differentiate between the reality the spectators where perceiving and the reality I had. And that I had to pretend to have the same sort of fake reality that my spectators had. And rather difficult concept really! Now imagine the enlightenment the following trick had on me:

A bowl of rice. You place a wooden ball on the surface of the rice. Then you lift the bowl above every ones head. And then you shook the bowl slightly. And when you brought the bowl down the ball had become golden. I knew what was going on, but realizing to pretend to be amazed myself got me a greater reaction I slowly understood the meaning of magic. Because I didn't see the ball change my reality was the same as the spectators reality. Now I only had to deny the absolute reality of it being a trick and physics and all.

That knowledge really helped me to "pretend". Now when I change the color of a ball I see it. But I can pretend not to see it. Therefore I don't send any signals of guilt or that of a different reality apart from the spectator's reality.

And that is something that those books do not teach you. At all. I made this little drawing I should have seen many, many years ago:

WishCraft..... uhhhhhhh

Monday, December 24, 2012

Review Shows Suck

I need to get that of my chest. There are a few people dedicating time and effort in creating review shows for magic effects. And almost all of them suck. Expect the Magic Friday one. Most know of course would be the Wizard Product Review by the greatest host the magic scene deserves. Craig Petty and David Penn.

Granted, the two have some understanding of magic. But whatever goes beyond their level of expertise and their level of experience as real world performers will be oblivious to them. So it feels like a possible train wreck is coming with each new episode. I'm happy that lately they have focused on just their level of magic. Reviewing Tenyo.

Is it that hard to be honest about a product? Well they are selling products so naturally they are not allowed to be honest.

So here's my idea: To all the manufacturers of magic. If you want an honest review of your magic send it to me. I tell you how much you suck or I will praise you into heaven if you really have something good to offer. I got real world experience. I perform casual and formal. For kids, adults and corporate entities. I perform a lot. I do think I have a commercial sense when it comes to magic products. So what I will give you is the opinion of a working pro who performs for all but magicians.

There is a bit of a catch. I'll review everything I get. If you send me any crap or any gold I will review it. With video and all. And there is nothing you can do about it.

So who has the balls to spend money to send me some stuff? Write me an email so we can work out the details!

PS: Do the reviewers get to keep the stuff or do they send it back?

PPS: Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Magic Pirates Exposed

This has totally gone under my radar. But I love it. Apparently some guy created a fake website called and people were able to sign up for free pirated magic.

Then he published all the names and email addresses of the people who joined. Unfortunately he removed the list of the people who joined fearing legal consequences. But here is a nice copy: have fun recognizing certain names. ;)

Friday, December 21, 2012

You have no right

It's weird that some people assume that when a magician releases some of his material he has become a sellout and all of his material should be released. Even the magician in question seems to believe that. "I have released parts of my act and people liked it. Now I gotta release everything, while it's running so well."
I have actually talked to a magician on Facebook who told me that he likes to get a copy of the entirety of Luke Jermay's act. To him he feels that he has all the right to know about the routines mentioned but not explained in the "3510" book.
This is very disrespectful to the creative guy who released some of his ideas. Stop it!

Stuff from Stuff

Producing objects don't need a lot of justification. The simple fact that you can make something appear from thin air already is a great deal. Think about it. From nothing you make something by sheer will and it will be whatever you want it to be. These are enormous implications. God is supposed to have that sort of power. But of course any production can benefit from some sort of justification or logical or emotional reasoning.

Here is a bad example: Silk and Ball routines. They are pretty, yes but what is the relationship between silk and ball? Do they come together naturally? No! Yet all the production strike us as beautiful when done right. The intrinsic aesthetics are enough to make us not question the purpose of the choice of props. Is there a way to add to the routine by giving it a better justification aside from the "pretty"-aspect? Yes! Here is how:

Basically you talk about your childhood and all those things you encountered during that time. And that all those things might be responsible for your later outcome of your personality.
Of course a fitting music should go along that. Something nostalgic. Something that reminds us of childhood.
Then you grab a piece of silk and from it you produce a baby's rattle. Then a toy block, a mechanical tin toy, a toy car, a marble, a yo-yo, a Game Boy, a pager, a cell phone.
In between you show the silk to be empty. All the standard ball to silk moves come to mind when thinking about methods to accomplish this.
The aim is, that people will recognize those props. Either referring to their own childhood or the childhood of their own children. Along with the music it will lead to an emotional reaction, hopefully. And you end in the "here" and "now". Returning from memory lane.

This is an example of an emotional reasoning that make up the choice of props to be produced. You still have the God like power of creating stuff, but less random and with much more focus on a given subject.

Here is a cool little bit of wisdom. If people can choose what you produce the production will be stronger. Here is an example: Three imaginary coins are floating in the air. A 2 Euro coin, a 1 Euro coin and a 50 cents coin. The magician claims to hold a real coin in his closed fist. The spectator is asked to pick one of the imaginary coins. Then the hand is opened and the named coin is the only one in there. In terms of method: (C/S two times out of three or Shuttle pass, one time out of three.) Technically it's just a 1/3 chance that you are correct. But the fact that your audience could choose elevates it to a much more appreciative realm.

Let's give you an example for a logical production. This was created from the basic "bottle from a bunch of silks"-effect. It is designed to fit in a kids show.

Effect: Explain that you can Different pieces of clothing are shown. Warm socks, a scarf, gloves, a stupid hat. The kids realize, that all of that is needed in the winter. And from this whole bunch of clothing a thermos bottle is produced. The hot chocolate for later.

Method: A chair is standing around. Behind the backrest on a hook a sock is hanging. Inside the sock the thermos bottle. The clothing is shown and put on the backrest to show the next one. Near the end everything is picked up the loaded sock goes along for the ride. The bundle can be seen from all sides. Push down on the sock and the rest of the clothing and the thermos bottle will seemingly pop up.

You introduced the theme of winter. Coming up with stuff that keeps you warm. What could warm you more than hot chocolate? Right! Nothing.

A what the hell, one more: You may be familiar with the effect, that a rope is shown and a knot is tied. Then as the knot is tightened a colorful piece of silk appears in the knot. (Flash Silk on Rope by Doug Edwards Vol. 15 Issue 12 of the Apocalypse, read it, it's cool!)

Problem: There is absolutely no reason for the silk to appear aside from the surprise.
Solution: I put it at the beginning of my knot routine, by explaining that there are three basic simple knots. The first one; The real knot. I do a real knot to demonstrate. I open the knot again. The second one; The knot that is not. I do a false knot. And third; The magic knot. I do the knot and the piece of silk appears in the knot.
It is not the best solution, but it gives it a bit more reason and time... Yes time to see, that the rope is indeed normal.

And as an afterthought I might add a fourth knot. The knot that comes off. To do that, the piece of silk is twirled together like a rope and a false knot made. In your palm should be a removable knot, or it might by tied to the silk to begin with. That way you can pretend to take off the knot which would come as a real surprise and would justify the piece of silk in a strange way. And if you would open the piece of silk and it would have a hole in the center, it would even further explain why a cloth was used and not a rope. Aside from being funny.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Stuff becomes Stuff

In close up magic most often coins are changed for other coins. It's so common that we have a word for that particular effect: Spellbound. But the minds of the magicians don't seem to stray very far from it. Sometimes the coins change into rings and keys. Sometimes little balls change color....

So just to make you brain consider more possibilities I'm offering a few things here.

Nuts: Are great for magic. They have the right size to do all sorts of manipulations. You can change certain kind of nuts into any other kind of nuts. Like changing a peanut into a hazelnut. "I'm allergic!"

Stones: Come in all sizes and colors. Think about changing a coin several times. It becomes older and older. Finally you turn it into a stone. "Too far we're in the stone age!"

Hardware: Bolts, nuts and Gears... all could be added to a Steampunk themed act. You could have a wire and roll it around the finger. Then change it into a gear. One of those smoke producing gimmicks could visualize the technical change.

Office Stuff: Paperclips could change color. Priority labels could be "downgraded". I imagine a routine where the magician writes something with a pencil, looks at his writing, shakes his head and then visually changes the pencil into an eraser and rubs away his writing. A stamp could become a more valuable stamp.

Food: In fact I remember posting my little idea about gummy bears. Which was motivated and nobody paid attention to. But what if you use the switch for something more layered. Effect: A steel ball bearing is eaten. Many actually. No tricky moves, they really go into the mouth and are swallowed.
Method: You will need ONE real steel ball and the other ones are cocktail tomatoes treated with silver edible spray paint. That way all you need to do is to show how real the real steel ball is, switch it for a tomato and eat it.

Mentalism: Think about mentalism when it comes to spellbound. A regular key can be visually changed into a bent key. A fresh leaf could become an old, dry leave, which in presentation could be a "changing season" thing or in mentalism could be a "sucking out the aura" thing. Two magnets; if you switch one from something that looks similar both will no longer attract each other. Ergo "sucking out magnetism" could be the effect. (Where does the magnetism go? Maybe a demonstration of PK-effects is in order. The falling block of wood makes sense now!)

Changing the Effect: A broken monocle could repair itself.... you see stuff has not to become other stuff. The effect could be perceived differently. In this case a restoration. Now think even further. Some that gets repaired could also just go back in time to a point where it wasn't broken. Now if you think about changing an old toy into a working, shiny version of the toy... you are on the road to create a memorable, emotional effect. As it refers to so many aspects of any body's childhood. When wonders where still acceptable!

Go bold with the plot: What if it is not just the objects that changes, but the whole universe? What if a pack of salt in this universe is a pack of sugar in the other universe? What other changes might occur? I hope you can see where I'm going with this. I swear if I hear the King Midas story again I will leave the room. Changing stuff to gold is a great trick, but don't go back to plots that have seen better days.

Changing parts of nothing: Have you ever done the Spellbound Move with "nothing"? You could see something in the air and catch it. Show the "nothing" between your fingers and then mention the fact that the audience probably won't see it. The simple reason. They are seeing the wrong side. "It's a hole, but you are looking from the inside out. That's why you don't see the edge. Let's me twist it around a bit!" Then add the palmed steel ring to the picture in a twisting motion, as if you have turned a hole inside out.
This is a stupid premise and will not believed by the audience, but they will play along as long as they are entertained. And I think that this premise is a bit of a mind twister. One that is entertaining. (Of course you could continue with the steel ring. It's a portable hole after all. But what's one the other side of the hole? I hope you can see that this flies off in many directions!)

So you close up guys. I hope you put your coins and balls to rest for a while and experiment with other little objects that have the right size for manipulation. Such as: finger rings,
screws, billets,
bunched up silks,
blocks of wood,
dry beans,
sugar cubes,
pocket knives,
poker chips,
nail clippers
safety pins,
small candles,
small light bulbs,
keyboard keys,
blocks of glass,
ice cubes,
chess pieces,
monopoly houses,
sea shells,
pencil sharpeners
and matches.

One more effect that is easy and cool.

Effect: "Have you ever seen MacGyver? I love this guy. He can build the most complicated stuff from simple stuff." You get out a box of matches "All he needed was a box of matches. He would take just a few of them." A few matches are taken and the box is put away. "And a rubberband. He would wrap the rubberband around the matches and then add a paperclip."

Method: A rubberband is taken and wrapped tightly around the matches, so they become -sleight of hand-able. Then a paperclip is taken as well as a palmed minibomb (basically just a small black ball with a piece of flash string attached) the paperclip is slipped under the ruberband as well, and then a Boboswitch is made. One hand assumingly holds the match-rubberband-paperclip bundle, but in fact that hand holds the bomb. The other hand goes in the pocket getting a lighter and ditching the bundle.

"That is how you make a small bomb which can take out two, may three blocks."

Then the fuse is lit. "Damn, a dud!"

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Stuff based on Stuff

Let me give you two plots in magic that have not been explored to the full extent.

Here is a nice card plot. The survivor plot. "Imagine there is zombie apocalypse. Hordes of zombies roam the land and only a few people are in shelters desperately trying to make the next day. One of those shelters has run out of food. Food needs to be organized. So a group of three people is set up and goes outside." The deck is separated into reds and black. "The red cards representing the survivors and the black cards the zombies." The red pile is in a sheltered, that means a spectator holds on to them. "Three of the red cards go out and look for food. Unfortunately they run into a group of zombies and are surrounded." The three red cards are sandwiched into four black cards... "suddenly the zombies leave, leaving the survivors alone. Why? Well turns out they have evolved... and have a plan. In fact one of the group is infected." One of the three cards has become black... "but nobody knows... on the way back to the shelter the other two become infected as well." All three black cards are then pushed into half the deck the spectator is holding... "can you imagine the horror?" When the spectator turns over the cards in his hands, they all have become black.

I'm not gonna talk you through a possible handling. Check out Walton for that.

And here is a nice plot that can be taken from close up to stage. The phantom hands. "Imagine a set of invisible hands, right next to my own hands. They do whatever my real hands do." You show a cup and a stamp. You let the stamp fall into the cup. Then both hands mime taking out the stamp, claiming that the phantom hands actually take out the stamp. You mime tearing the stamp into fours pieces and then dropping them back in the cup. When the cup is turned over the stamp in there is torn into four pieces. Method: There is a torn stamp in the cup to begin with. You show a regular stamp and false transfer it to the other hand which pretends to put it in the cup. You ditch the real stamp and the rest is just presentation. There is not much to this... but let's elevate this into a creepy stage piece....

"You know the sensation of being stared at? Well think about being touched with nobody around." Think PK Touches with just one person. Suddenly everything gets a theatrical veil, the veil of mystery.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Stuff in Stuff

So we got this cool little gimmicked wallet. What do we do with it? Card to wallet... yeah how boring. Here is an idea to spice it up, possibly being a prelude to the card to wallet.

Have the wallet in you left inside jacket pocket. Borrow a finger ring and remark it's beauty. Do not make cheap jokes about it. People might chuckle, but they won't like you! The vanish the ring. Anything by Gregory Wilson is nice. Show your hands empty and then get out the wallet. Open the wallet and reach through the zipper compartment to the outside and pull in and then out the ring.

If you do card to wallet anyways here is my little addition, even though a few bits need to be figured out. Open the wallet and show a face down card in one compartment. It's one of those wallets where a transparent window let's you see what is there. Usually for drivers licences and shit. But in this case you see the back of a card. Leave the wallet open as you have a card selected and signed. Free choice of course. Then the usual shenanigans and finally the card is vanished. You claim it's the card they've been staring at the whole time. Cleanly you pull out the card with no funny moves and it really is the card. The method is nothing but a combination of two gimmicks. One is the wallet and the other one is the transparent window in the wallet. It's basically the face down version of the Wow 2.0 gimmick by Masuda. So before any card is in the wallet the gimmick poses as a card. And once the card is in the wallet the gimmick becomes transparent. Now you got a miracle.

Do not load one card, load more than one. It is much stronger.

Borrow the business card of a spectator... look at it, wondering, then saying, "have we ever met?" Then reach for your wallet and inside there will be the same business card. Looking back at the first business card is has now become your own business card which you hand to the spectator. Do I need to tell you how commercial that is?

Have you ever played around with the option of stealing stuff from the wallet as well. That opens up room for transpositions and all of that fun stuff.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Stuff under Stuff

Is it really that hard to come up with creative magic on your own? I cannot be the only one that has no problem whatsoever to be creative. In fact I got the opposite problem. I have so may ideas that I cannot use. Some routines that I come up with do not support my character, some go over my budget and some are too close to other routines that I do.

Example: I got like 5 routines floating in my head where stuff ends up under other stuff. I got this coin routine where three coins one by one end up under the purse. I love the purse as it is a completely motivated prop having around coins. Cards need one hell of a motivation. Also with cards there is "floating" going on the purse doesn't float. My purse has a metal frame so it will naturally create a sound when put down on a hard surface. That sound will completely camouflage any secret placing of a coin. So using a purse makes it possible to do the routine on a hard surface. At the end you can put the coins into the purse and so on. I've been using that idea for a few years now. Darn practical I tell ya!

Another routine would be an ungimmicked Chop Cup routine. So a ball would go through the cup in a variety of ways. Through the table, through to bottom, the side, from the pocket and so on. The main premise was that I have a little assistant who helps me doing all the magic. And that would turn out to be my final load, a stuffed mouse. The main creative point would be the premise. I do that routine for kids and they love it.

The third thing would be the heavily gimmicked version of the Chop Cup by Alex Hecklau. His premise is about how gamblers cheat and so on. I changed it so I explain that magic works by being one step ahead. I show the die and have it roll a few times, so people see that the die rolls all numbers. Then I cover the die asking the audience if they remember what number was up. Whatever they say I lift the cup to reveal the die gone. Then I take the die from my pocket saying "You thought it was about the numbers... it was about stealing the die. You couldn't catch me because you mind was occupied with the other task... let's continue" Then I somehow explain how I steal the die. After having it openly placed in my pocket I reveal that it is back under the cup. The patter continues: "You see, you thought it was about me stealing the die... and again you couldn't catch me putting it back, only because I was one step ahead" Than I seemingly explain how the die comes back only to set up the next phase... you see where I'm going with this. The premise is about how magic works... the creative point again is the premise.

The fourth idea is a take on the Benson Bowl. Mainly the last ball. The audience has seen two of the balls go from the table under the bowl. The last ball would seem pretty anticlimactic if it went under the bowl the same way. So I change the structure by offering a solution, a funny solution. Here it is for your pleasure:

The magician says that he will explain how it works with the last ball. He picks up the ball with his right hand and false transfers it to the left hand. He picks up the wand with the right hand and says that the ball "travels" along the left arm, (wand points along the way) up to the shoulder, behind the neck. To prove this ridiculous claim, the left hand is opened and seen empty. The left hand takes the wand and the right hand goes up behind the neck, producing the ball from there.

The wand is put on the table, as the ball is shown, then false transferred to the left hand. The left hand pretends to put it behind the neck, is shown empty afterwards and then picks up the wand again.
The claim continues. The ball "travels" from the neck down the right arm (again wand point out the supposed path) into the right hand. The right hand opens to prove the statement.
The wand is put on the table again, as the right hand shows the ball and transfers it to the left hand. The right hand goes to the pocket and picks up an extra ball as you claim that there is a hole in the pocket. To prove it the right hand comes out (ball hidden) and the left hand does a shuttle pass to the right hand. "Just watch" the magician claims as he visually puts the ball in his pocket and the ball is plucked right from the outside of the trousers' pocket with the left hand.
"It goes even further" the magicians says, as the right hand comes out of the pocket empty. The ball is false transferred from the left to the right and again the right hand goes in the right pocket.
The wand is picked up with the left hand. And the motion of the ball travelling is pointed out. All the way down the right leg. The right hand comes out of the pocket and is casually shown empty.
The wand is tossed in the right hand and the ball produced with the left hand form the foot area.
The wand is placed in the right pocket (sticking out) and the ball transferred to the right hand. "And now comes the most difficult part of that trick" (looking at the bowl)
The ball is false transferred from the right to the left hand, the left hand goes down to put it back in the "foot area" as the right hand goes for the wand in the right pocket ditching the ball in the pocket for good.

The left hand is shown empty, the right hand is shown empty (aside from the wand of course) and again the pointing out of the assumed path of the ball is shown with the wand. This time from the foot area across the floor (hilarious I think) to the table, up the table's leg through the table's surface, finally pointing at the bowl and lifting it, to show it has arrived.

And there is a fifth idea... but I spare you this one.

You can see that I cannot put those in one show. No way too darn similar, even though they are different. Take those ideas if you need to. But let's make a deal. If you take one of those ideas you must promise to never ever use stock patter again. Never do a trick right out the box and never ever use the suggested handling. Always add your own.

PS: Using a blue silk instead of a red silk to vanish is not creativity.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Is this a revolution in the Cups and Balls?

So Peter Loughran has something new. A table which does all the work for you.

Is there seriously a need for that? Are those too lazy to actually practice the Cups and Balls so desperate to perform this, so they have to resort to this? Was the chop cup too damn hard?

Aside from those questions... This is like the very first method a layperson thinks of. The little miniskirt the table is wearing screams "load". I don't know why Peter Loughran keeps fucking up when it comes to creating props.

The best thing Peter ever released was "Seep". And that wasn't even something new.... wait, now that I think about it, the table is not a new idea either. I remember seeing a table like that years ago in a magic store. It was in the corner and collected dust. It was mechanical and needed to be operated by foot. But it was silent and if I recall correctly the masking on the table surface was way less obvious.

1250 dollars is the price for that little piece of apparatus? Does it work? I think so. I really believe that Peter is able to create working props. I had the "Entity" in my hands a few year ago. A huge ass brick of a gimmick, but it worked.

I got an idea though... Imagine having such a table. Only applying some principles from the illusion section of our craft. So the table looks way thinner. So you do your normal cups and balls, and then you offer to explain how the lemon got under the cup. You put all the cups aside and get out a glass. You put the glass at the sweet spot and move away. Do something that makes sure that everybody is looking at you. At that time the lemon loads itself under the glass. When people look back the glass has the load. That would strengthen the prior routine and give the usual cups and ball routine an extra twist that people will talk about.

If you do just one load with that technology the table needs to only have one gimmicked spot. Ergo the needed apparatus could be hidden in one of the legs or other supporting structure of the table. That would make it possible to have an extra thin table. But I cannot build anything. So fuck that idea.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

So Justin Miller was in jail

Normally I wouldn't write about personal information such as this, but Justin Miller himself talks about it rather openly. In a bragging kind of way.
"As you all know, I was the unlucky surviver of the american "justice" system recently when I was placed into a most luxurious jail in ohio for 30 days. Suffice to say the nightmare that it was is indesrcibable."
And Justin uses this to get him some sales. In his newsletter he writes:
"Recently I was placed in jail for 30 days for something that is ridiculous..child support! And I actually pay my ex. Anyway's, I am now 30 days behind on everything and now you guys get to actually benefit."
And he uses this to generate him sales. I don't know if it works for him and I don't care, but I somehow get this vibe that he is actually proud of having been to jail. This should not be the case.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Black Club

So what fucking happened the last few days? Nothing much. Nobody got burned, nobody made public exposure and nobody is an asshole. But Ellusionist has a a Black Club that you can be a member of. It's like the top of marketing brand awareness genius. I sincerely applaud Ellusionist for doing such a school book business.

So you can be a member of a unique club. How? Not by skill or connections... no by paying money. 147 dollars is the price. And you will get SWAG along with it.

You will get one Artifice Black Club Playing Cards Deck, Apex Edition which is black... you know, like real cards. One Black Club Playing Card Storage Box With Magnetic Closure to hold 15 prized decks which are not part of the offer. One HALO Fiber Optic Accessory, and you know what I think of those. Also the Black Club Membership Card with hidden reveals. The later thing is really something to behold. Let me add the picture:

Look at this. The reveal is Seven of Clubs. So let me get this straight. You get out those black cards and do some card tricks as you have a glowing wrist band around your wrist. You force the Seven of Clubs and then cleverly tell people that you are part of a secret Black Club. I assume the first thing that you need to address is the fact that it is not the opposite of the KKK, but a magic club. To prove that you get out your membership card. And low and behold... It says Seven of Clubs. This is so organic.

What else do you get? Three downloads of your choice from a bunch of selected videos. A download with each DVD of the same product, and more. But the cake would be the access to the exclusive Black Club Store, where only members can purchase rare items.

What are those items? A ring for 60 dollars, a case for an iPhone for 23 dollars, a luggage tag for 15 dollars and an emblem for your skate board for 75 dollars. All with the unique Black Club logo.

This is really is text book marketing. Bravo Ellusionist. In terms of marketing you really make no mistakes!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Quote of the Week

"Jugglers suck! Look at them, they throw burning clubs at each other. They toss, and toss and catch and catch and all the time you have to listen to "Adiemus" by Enya. And the throwing usually goes on forever. Well, it could be worse. It could be a magician doing card tricks."


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

WMF Peter Valance

Exposure and all.... well I won't go on a rant here that exposure is bad and in no way is doing a service to magic. Nope not this time. But let's talk about a few different kinds of exposure.

Exposure by default: Is done if you have to expose the modus operandi of something in order to make a point that otherwise wouldn't be understood. A magic example would be a second deal demo. The point that is to be made is that how skillful gamblers cheat. If you tell them without showing it would be unsatisfying.

Necessary exposure: If the method of the trick is actually far more entertaining than the effect. That it is necessary to expose the method. This usually preludes a sucker effect.

Good intent exposure: Is the exposure of a secret in order to teach the secret. Usually a compensation is in order. Like money, fame or a blowjob.

Exposure to create an even bigger illusion: A nice example is the showing of the key ring in a linking rings routine and to throw it away saying: "I don't need this crook!"

And finally the good old mean spirited exposure. This is where we meet Peter Valance. A German magician who is slowly crawling up the ranks. In fact he seems like a nice guy with skill and all the razzle dazzle that one would need to be up there. So what happened?

Well he was basically explaining the good old balloon trick on national television. You know the trick that is currently sold as "Pressure". That in itself is not too much of a horrible, horrible thing to do, but the way Peter Valance did it, was below anything that a man of his caliber would do. He basically performed the effect which got good reactions. Then the host asked him how he did that. So he explained it. But the explanation wasn't funny, nor entertaining in any way. It was just "oh, simple, just do that."

The exposure left the magician with no dignity. Suddenly the skill/magic was reduced to something that wasn't skill or magic. It left the magician with a classic "oh, that's how... how pathetic" reaction by his audience. The whole exposure did a huge disservice to magicians all around. Even those who do not actually do that trick. (those are fucked the most of course) Basically Peter Valance openly told everyone via subtext, that being a magician needs no effort, no skill and no magic. Thank you Peter Valance for thinking it was a good idea to expose the trick....

Here is what you should have done, according to my little list. You could have either done the necessary exposure route or the exposure to create an even bigger illusion. Both would start with the performance of the balloon trick, then the exposure and then you would throw away the balloon saying "I don't need this crook" and then blow up a new balloon and really put the cell phone in the balloon. Suddenly you would have combined a sucker effect with an entertaining premise and you would have created a greater illusion. As a nice side note you would have left all the magicians with dignity a hint of mystery and an aura of the awesome.

Unless of course it was you plan to tear down the image of the magician and show them as what they really are. In that case no problem.... save one: That's my job!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

advocate diablo

Sometimes I love to be the devils advocate, but I love what Wayne Houchin does. So this terrible incident happened and Wayne does the right thing by milking it to the extreme. First the FB-message... then a few hours later the first three photos and a day later the video. On the Genii forum he posted a lengthy statement what exactly happened BUT no mention of his medical condition. How bad is it really? I'm wondering.

But I do applaud him for milking the incident. Shouldn't have happened but at least he is making the most of it gaining him talk. And maybe even some sales.

The advocate has spoken.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

This is a requested post

But I will oblige. Xavior Spades of The Daily Deception asked me to write an article linking to his website. The Daily Deception is currently collecting all the well wishes and prayers that are going out to Wayne Houchin.

Here is the link

If you are not a bastard or an ignorant person, at least leave a comment in the comment section, which will be forwarded to Wayne Houchin.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Damn, Damn... just damn!

 So this is fresh from Wayne Houchin's Facebook page:
WAYNE HOUCHIN SEVERELY BURNED IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC. A statement from Wayne: Monday while appearing on a TV show in the Dominican Republic, the TV host took a handful of Aqua De Florida, ignited it and intentionally dropped it on my head, setting me on fire. I was not aware he was going to do this. This was not a stunt or part of an act - this was a criminal attack. The fast actions of the rest of our Curiosidades team saved my life. The fire was put out and I was rushed to the emergency room. I have bad burns on my head, face, neck and right hand. I am in pain, but am recovering. I will update you on the situation when I can.
Wish you the best.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Quote of the Week

"Beginner TipHow do you get audiences to like you?Easy— start by liking THEM."

Chad Long

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Quote of the Week

"It has been said that "practice makes perfect." This is a misnomer unless the methods practiced are basically correct and are adaptable to the end sought. Always make certain that the methods you are about to encompass are the best ones available before seriously commencing to practice, or you may find often to your sorrow that a great deal of time has been lost and many hours are necessary for the undoing."

Arthur Buckley

Monday, November 19, 2012

Magic Cosplay

Creating brand awareness and fan boys is a major marketing strategy of T11 and Ellusionist.

I wonder if there will be rivalry. Like Horde and Alliance, Beatles and Stones, Pokemon and Digimon. That could turn into such a popcorn fest.

I imagine a magic convention and the magic nerds will cosplay their favorite idol magicians. I picture a 15-year-old all dressed in Dalton Wayne outfits with the latest in magic gear. The older guys will dress like Eric Johnson and show off their artifact coins.

Then a podcaster or maybe even some serious reporter will approach an old dude asking what he is supposed to be wearing that shabby Colombini outfit. And then the old dude will say: "But, but, but.. I am Aldo Colombini."

Great Times!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Is this for real?

Is Ellusionist so run out of ideas that they sell glowing wristbands? Seriously?

On their website Daniel Madison is the poster child for those. Not only is the Ellusionist logo part of the design, not the advertisement strongly points out that the wristband comes in a "Super-cool distressed container".

So we are getting something else to wear than those fucking rubber bands. We get fucking glowing wristbands.

Having the logo be part of the design is rather bad from a magic point of view. You don't want to make your audience realize that you can buy all of your magic. That kind of takes away credit. But from a marketing point of view I applaud Ellusionist for creating yet another thing that creates brand awareness. And your target audience will buy those like a cat going for valerian. The target audience is the 15-year-old. How do I know? Because the advertisement says the wristband comes in three sizes. The small one fitting the average 15-year-old.

Why the container needs any advertisement I don't know. I can only assume because they couldn't think of anything else to say.

Here is my question: Why isn't there any video of people going crazy over those wristbands? Why no street bum saying stuff like: "He's the devil man, all the tricks are nothing compared to that crazy wristband."? Then a fade to black, then the word Halo glowing in the back.

How about putting out a book for a change? Harder to sell I know, but people feel less ripped off in most cases.

Hat tip to Bob for letting me know about those things.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Markus Bender, remember him?

Probably not. Two years ago I awarded him my imaginary WMF title. Now he's done something better.

Basically he ripped of Celebrity Smart Ass by Bill Abbott. The whole thing. Of course he sells this in Germany. And the German magic community discussing this on various forums. He sells it as the "Ultimate Baby Gag" There is nothing wrong if you sell a routine that you have made changes to. Changes that matter, that are relevant and make this a better product. This is not the case. Markus Bender has changed nothing. He has not even adopted the "Madonna" gag into a German gag. ("Heino" would work. And by all means, don't google it. It's one of the things we Germans talk about less than WW2) He directly lifted Bill Abbotts effort and made it a German product. Shame.

Here is the ad for the routine in case you don't know what this is all about:

Bill Abbott was informed about this and contacted the dealer (Stemaro --- also a former WMF)

I have received numerous emails from customers of mine about Markus Benders Ultimate Baby Gag.

I have contacted Markus directly and am informing you that this product is in direct violation of a copyright I hold.

The script, gags and structure of the entire routine is directly taken from the original Celebrity Smart Ass routine, and I will be alerting the German and international magic community that you are selling this lifted material.

My hope is that ethical dealers and consumers would support the original creators when copies arise, and immediately stop selling and purchasing them.
That is your choice to make.

Bill Abbott
So there is a copyright. Now that's interesting, as the usual moral discussion could be elevated to a legal discussion. Let's see what comes of this!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dear Illusionist who do the Vanishing Radio

Please stop it. Nobody nowadays owns a radio of that caliber. And the few who do are seriously outdated. Don't be outdated. If you have to do the trick, a vanishing iPod Docking Station makes way more sense and is way more modern.

In case you do a period piece, then all of the above does not apply to you. Sorry!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Growing ring, growing awareness!

Paper Crane Magic is selling "Growing Ring" by Dan Hauss. The effect... well a growing ring. Just that! Here is the trailer:

Now when I saw this my mind was reacting with a bit of a "Wait am moment, I've seen this before". A little bit of research and voila German magician Jorgos Katsaros has a very, very similar little trick, that he's been doing since 1998. In fact it looks better when he does it. Here it is. At 4:20

Paper Crane claims that this is Dan Hauss' creation. Independent? Perhaps. But awfully close. I maybe wrong and the creator is actually Dan Hauss and Jorgos Katsaros uses it with Dan's kind permission. Nope I know that is not. I contacted Jorgos Katsaros and he wasn't even aware of Paper Crane's release.

Jorgos Katsaros has performed at the Magic Castle three times. Maybe, just maybe someone sitting in the audience told Dan Hauss. No crediting due to poor research?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Coterie of Prestidigitation Artists

Coterie of Prestidigitation Artists that sounds like a mouthful. But what is that?

"Coterie of Prestidigitation Artists is a society of 110 years history with a distinctive attitude on magical arts."

What? 110 years. Did I miss something? Who is the president of the Coterie?

"E.S. Andrews, President"

You gotta be shitting me right?

So what is the Coterie for real? Well just another magic store that disguises itself as a magic club. And what overpriced stuff they sell. A deck of custom printed Bee cards for 13 dollars. Hey, exclusivity has its price I guess. The card case has a part on it where you can sign your name on. On the Facebook page it says:

"The Coterie Bee doesn't only look elegant, it helps you to sell that image. On the back of the tuck case, an area is provided for the owner to sign his/her name. This little detail enhances performer's presence tremendously: Coterie of Prestidigitation Artists is a SECRETIVE, PRESTIGIOUS and MEMBERS ONLY magic society with 110 years of history. 

Signing your name there will make you looks like a member of this magic society. You are no longer a performer, but a member of an elite magician's society! Imagine how much presentation edge and point of interest this gives you for your performance! "

So they are kinda saying it's fake. But here's the thing if you really wanna come across as ultra elite, simpy use Tally Ho Circle Backs. I can sort of picture it in my head. You have a suit, you talk all slick and do the Ambitious Card, on the street. Sad.

There's nothing wrong about a secret club. But keep it a secret then. Make it "ungoogleable". Don't mention it. The first rule about a secret magic club is that you don't talk about the secret magic club. I heard this rule applies to fight clubs as well.

But this is no magic club. It's a magic store. One starts with bullshit and a long dead president. That can only lead to a good outcome. Right?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sadly this happened!

M: How do I get the spectators card that is inside the deck, which is inside the card case, secretly into my inside jacket pocket?
R: Really simple. First you control the card to the top of the deck.
M: Okay!
R: And then palming.
M: What do you mean, paaaaalming?
R: Well you palm the card from the top of the deck, use the hand that is holding the deck to open the jacket slightly, get into your inside pocket with the other hand ditching the card as you take out the empty box from the card. You then put the deck inside the card case and....
M: Wait!
R: Yeah?
M: You mean real palming? Like in the hand and so?
R: Yeah, that is the most efficient way.
M: You serious?
R: What's you problem?
M: Nobody palms. Not in the real world. People see that. I'm a real world magician. Remember!
R: uhm.... yeah... I forgot. Let me think!
M: Also it needs to be angle proof. Palming has bad angle issues.
R: What about this: You secretly control the card to the top. You use the half moon principle to separate the selection as you put the cards into the card case. Then you drop the card case into your inner pocket. As you release the case, simply hold on to the selection. Then ditch the selection next to the case and take the case out again handing it to a spectator. The main problem with this is that...
M: That bloody brilliant!
R: Excuse me?
M: Yeah you go into the pocket with the case and then take it out again. But you can cover that with a line. Like "Oh no, best you be watching this. I'm too sneaky!" You see I cover it with a joke.
R: What joke?
M: "sneaky" I'm being sneaky as I kinda make sure that I cannot be sneaky.
R: That's only funny to you.
M: But it's a good convincer!
R: You might.... err... well... how about motivating it with taking out the pen?
M: What pen?
R: The one that you used to have the card signed.
M: Oh the card isn't signed.
R: Well then you could simply cut out all the BS and just force the card and have a duplicate in you pocket.
M: No it needs to be a free selection.
R: Well, a good force seem like a free selection. The audience won't know the difference!
M: I'm a real world magician. Peoples choices need to be real. They need to matter!
R: Wait, what?
M: Okay, so the half moon principle is what again?
R: Sorry, but I gotta go now. Need to prepare a show.
M: Yeah me too, got two shows tonight. It's so real!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Dave Vaught's Dilemma

So let's go into the great world of proper crediting. Crediting is like the holy rule in magic. You need to credit every single thing you do if you didn't come up with it. It seems to be a unique thing among magicians. I cannot recall an instance within the juggling world. But it's a good habit. It shows how creative processes work and is a really good tool for research.

Let's assume the following scenario: You create an effect. All by yourself. A card trick. A gimmicked version of Twisting the Aces ending with a color change of the back of the cards. Let's further assume you decide that this is so good that you want to market this. Wouldn't this be the point of doing serious research. Show it to knowledgeable friends who could tell you what this tricks reminds them of.

This is where Dave Vaught comes in. A professional entertainer from Bristol. he owns a magic shop and has released a packet trick called Dave's Dilemma. Here is a video:

Does this remind of of something? Who hasn't seen ALL of Michael Ammar? An effect by John Cornelius perhaps?

So have we got a case of independent creation? Probably not! Here's why. When creating it is very, very likely that I take existing ideas and push them further. I combine old stuff to create new stuff. That's how the creative process works. So throwing a double backer into a packet of four cards could indeed be come up with again. Imagine writing a short story. Unbeknownst to your consciousness you worked in a structure or a plot twist you have read years ago. So not knowing about it you bunch together a whole lot of stuff that came from DIFFERENT sources. The overall story could still be called your own. (Hell, every single element in the Harry Potter books is lifted from other books)

However if the whole story is a 100% copy of the original source. With no change, this is no longer an independent creation. This is called a rip off.

I give Dave Vaught the benefit of a doubt by saying that for some reason he is unaware of his blatant copy. I even go so far that I believe that he believes this is truly his own... until I read a thread on the green monster about this very issue.

The fact was made aware to Dave Vaught. Yet he continues selling the trick as "Dave's Dilemma". All he did was adding "credit"....

....Excuse me!....

... adding "credit". What the fuck? It is not yours to sell. Have you got permission by John Cornelius? I think not. Again this is not a legal issue. Again this is a moral one.

And moral and magicians.... that's like environmental issues and politics. Whenever we feel like it. I guess!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Quote of the Week

"Hey guys, I've been doing card magic for around a year now and I have started making my own tricks"

Hey as long as you don't get the stupid idea of selling them you're welcome!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Jay Sankey's Third Eye Learning System

I was about to rant a little about Jay Sankey's micro camera that he is selling to spy on people. I was about to tell you how much I think that Jay has run out of magic to sell, so he is selling a system to learn instead. I was about to tell you how much I dislike the idea of secretly recording your audience. How much of a misuse of trust this is and all of that.

I won't! Not after watching the video where he praises this thing into heaven! Instead I will rant about another little habit of Jay.

STOP GETTING SO DAMN CLOSE TO THE CAMERA! Your face is way too close. I only get this close to people when I decide to have some happy time. And hell no, I don't want to have happy time with Jay Sankey. So go away! Like 3 or 4 feet. Gee!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Justin Miller's Light Speed

I can't get over this... You take a ring and string routine and apply it to a rubber band. The ability to stretch a rubber band allows for unique phases... But a borrowed finger ring going into the performers mouth? Really? This is not for the professional. Even though it doesn't happen, it seems like it's happening.

Peter Mckinnon endorsed the product by saying: "Light speed completely fooled me. And then it fooled me again. Finally a multiple phase ring and rubber band routine that I'll actually use. Well done!"

Who is Peter Mckinnon? I assume the guy from the Black Mail DVD with Bobby Motta. Really? Did that fool you?... have I become so much of a magician, that I cannot see what a layman sees. Lemme check! Let's do an experiment.

Me: "Hey layperson get over here, and watch this video!"
LP: " 'kay"
Me: "How does he do it?"
LP: "Hmm not sure, but he sure fiddles a lot."
Me: "Would you like him to do that with your finger ring?"
LP: "No way, gross!"

Experiment over: Alright, apparently the routine does fool laypeople. Who would have thought! Adam Wilber who also endorses the product says it much more eloquently: "Wait! What? dude WTF just happened?"

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dear Moderators of the Magic Cafe

Is there anyway to get in touch with you? Or is there anybody out there willing to get in touch with me? I'm planning a serious interview with one of you guys. It will be about the "deleting of threads" on the Magic Cafe. It will be a chance to have your side of the story be heard.

Anybody up to the task?

I'll be fair!

If you want me to your name will be changed!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hey Stupid

Dear street magicians. It's called guerrilla style. Not gorilla style! Look it up you morons.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Quote of the Week!

"I can't believe this board. Twice a review of a Halloween effect by a certain someone that rhymes with cranky was deleted from this board. They just don't want anyone to know it sucked. It's sad when you try to offer an honest opinion about a product to warn others about it and the powers that be on this board delete it to protect someone that pays for advertising on the board.
I've purposely left off the name of the product this time and the magicians name so hopefully this post will live a little longer.
There were no personal attacks and a simple explanation of the contents. I would have at least expected a private message or something explaining the deletion. 
I'm really disappointed in the magic Café."


So I guess the sold out BOOYAH-kits by Jay Sankey have found the wrong customers.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A very slow W T F

What the fuck is that? Repeat after me...What the fuck is that?... Seriously... repeat: WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

10 Rules to market magic!

1. The main item needs to fool magicians.
I cannot stress the point hard enough. Magicians will not buy what's practical, but what fools them. If they are fooled, they assume it must be good. 

2. Make sure the main item uses a very obscure method.
Instead of using a Double Lift, use Sticky Tape to achieve the result. Magicians love methods. Even though the audience will not be aware of that. 

3. Add filler material, preferably card tricks.
Card tricks are very easy to create. It's very simple to create a new twist on a tried and true plot. So naturally they are great filler. Magic fluff is the industry term. But of course you don't call it filler. You call it a "bonus".

4. Create a video to demonstrate the effect.
Then edit it so the method cannot be backtracked. Even if you follow rule #1, not 100% of the magicians will be fooled, because some of you are smarter or more knowledgeable than you. Some have even read the whole of the Tarbell Course. So to fool those few you need to cut the video. Otherwise you cannot sell it.

5. Start hyping the product months in advance.
By having your "friends" ask about it at the Magic Cafe. The Magic Cafe is a horrible, horrible place, but just like in a sleazy part of town magic rumor spreads like the plague. Also free snippets will work. Release them for free, if they join your newsletter. That way you have a big base of subscribers that you can market to. For free. But in order to do that make sure you have plenty of material. Not just one trick.

6. If you have more than one item, make sure you spread them out over "Volumes".
No matter if books or DVD the main principle is the same. If you have three great tricks, you need to release a 3 DVD set. If you have have two great tricks, you need to release two books. The rest of the book/DVD will be filled with magic fluff.

7. Publish a release date and offer subscribers an early bird discount.
This is crucial. You need to establish a fan base. And how do you get fans? By making them think they get something cheaper than the rest.

8. Don't sleep!
During the first days of the product's release you have to be awake 24/7. The forums will be all about your product. The better forums will be honest about it. Don't worry about it too much. But those "spoiler" forums will try to take it apart and reveal the method. You need to have a fake identity to post stuff like "Nope, that's not how it works. It uses a clever new principle." That way they buy it.

9. Have less items than the market demands.
The line "out of stock" is magical dynamite. The demand will be high. So about half a year later, you can release version 2.0.

10. Listen to critical responses...
...but forget their names. Use the suggestions how to improve on your routines and work all of that into the version 2.0. Swarm intelligence also applies to magicians. Be the collector of the goods stuff. Make the most of it. And by that I mean money.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Garrett Thomas stole my Idea

Catchy title ey? Well not really, but he released something similar to what I came up with years ago. Melting through a coin slowly with just a finger. This isn't a creative masterpiece, but much better than the karate coin I believe. It's a great finish for a longer coin routine.

I'm so fucking proud, that someone less lazy than me actually made this. I'm not biting my ass because I didn't release it. But I feel the need to add, that with a dollar sized coin the illusion would look better. So please make those in dollar sized coins, and I buy those. Actually make them in Eisenhower dollar pieces, because I use those.

But it really is a weird feeling to see something done that I have thought up (including destroying some coins in order to make a somewhat workable prototype). I don't really know what to feel. One side of my is proud  that this actually got made. One side is proud because it means that my ideas are actually good enough to hit the market. And one side feels the need to fucking claim "ownership" to the idea, even though I am 100% sure that Garrett Thomas came up with this independently. He is a creative guy and I praise most of his work anytime. And the later side makes me write these lines. Damn it! Have I become a smug bastard beyond the healthy amount? Why do I mention the fact that I came up with this too? Damn it!

Garrett, you have opened the lid of the Pandora's box that I wish didn't exist.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

It's so fucking sad...

...when the Bonus Effects that you get with specific tricks are much better than the big trick you bought.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Nobody likes Brian Tudor

A few days ago Brian started a thread over at the Green Monster. He was advertising his new website and his new project. He put it in a section of the cafe that most trolls don't go. Yet it got deleted.

I don't know what it is, but I like the man. I love it, how he commits a blunder with almost everything he does. May it be his misunderstanding of what magic is (See the Heckler DVD) or his funny inability to teach the flourishes he comes up with. There is some adorable cuteness to what he does. Like watching a kitten trying to makes his first big jump.

So please, some more love for the Tudor

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Quote of the Week!

"If you have anything, ANYTHING that is the slightest bit of a disagreement with a magician, they will quickly escalate it to the level that they will try to personally insult you, tear down your career, refuse to do business with you, and perhaps murder your family with a spoon."

Friday, October 5, 2012

Another shitty ad!

Is it so hard to do a decent advertisement video for a trick that could be interesting? Seriously... Just show the damn trick in it's full length. Otherwise I suspect some bull shit that makes the trick a piece of ass. "NO Sleight of Hand"... alright show me that! "NO Switching Decks"... alright show me that! "NO Forcing Card Selections NO Rough and Smooth, NO Misprinted Cards, NO Memorizing, NO Gimmicks of ANY kind and NOTHING is ever written down, Use ANY style deck."... alright alright SHOW me, DON'T TELL me!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Quote of the Week!

"Another thing I find interesting about bullies is that they seem to always go after someone in a group. Several against one. At least that has been my experience and in my opinion. That is why I enjoy writing a blog and I turned off the comment section. My blog is a no bully zone. "

Monday, October 1, 2012

About Fictional Characters

Coming up with a fictional character has different reasons. The most common example is this "friend" you have that has experienced something totally relevant about the current discussion. The friend is not real. He is a placeholder for a story that you heard somewhere that you want to tell, because it fits the discussion. But you need to justify the story. So this is when you friend comes in handy. This is the most common example.

But the Internet has made it possible to become that fictional character. And most often that fictional character is the worst side of you. The character becomes a shield. A shield for you to dish out what really boils inside you. Too bad if that shield fails and people learn who you really are. Jerry knows.

However there is a kind of fictional character where it wouldn't matter if people find out. Obvious fictional characters. Like Barry, or Larry. It's obviously not the real person's opinion. But an overblown view from a certain angle. And that most often is funny. I don't have to agree, most often I don't but I appreciate the comic nature of it. And it doesn't have to be comical. I remember the Juliet Letters. Where a college professor answered letters from students as "Juliet". Inspired from Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet. But there where tweaks to the character. His common day Juliet has served in the army and has had a rather rough life. And from that point of view he answered questions that his students where asking via letter. While this was not funny, at least the artistic value has merit.

And of course there are fictional characters where the character is actually a better person than the real person behind it. There are several reasons to do that. First: To differentiate the issues. One may be a total magic nerd, while the other one is pissed off and does a blog about bad magic. Second: to have laypeople who Google the real guy, not know that the real guy also shares his magic. Third: to protect his sanity. The real character cannot stand bad magic and will not be kind towards bad magic. However the fictional character will be much more pleasant. He can watch bad magic and make some excellent points helping others. His others side, the side grounded in reality could not do that. Imagine some sort of giant role play.

So how would other people treat this matter? They could be "in" on the joke, clearly saying that both guys are different (because in a way they are.) Or be like.... "Oh don't you get it. It's the same guy." as if to say, "Look how smart I am to have figured it all out!" I'd say that the former is the better way to go.

But you decide.

On a different note: click!

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Angry Man of Magic - Kids magic sets

Most magic is a rip-off. Either it's a one trick DVD that covers a routine from Tarbell that 'the kids' are too lazy to read, or a gimmick from some five and dime store they still want to charge $25 for, even as replacement when they've muttered some trite about 'charging for the secret'. But surely the biggest rip-off has to be kids magic sets. (Chad Valley - I'm looking at you!) Although the box proudly claims "100 tricks included" the reality is that only 55 tricks are included.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot

I can't even believe I went through every trick in the instruction book taking notes - 9 require invisible thread (not supplied), 13 need a silk (not supplied), 5 need rope (supplied in too small a quantity) and so on. Whereas they thought it worthwhile making a set of half-and-half cards to do a single transformation effect, whereas the money could have been spent on a nicely printed hanky.

And then there's tricks like the vanishing coin. What you need are a hanky (not supplied), some soap (not supplied) and a coin (not supplied.) Now granted these are usually available around the house, but there are better things that could have been included - especially since the makers thought it sensible to include multiplying billiard balls!

That's not to mentioned the 'vanishing wand trick'. The introduction to the trick reads "first make a wand." Seriously. Most kids are bought this stuff so the parents can avoid their care responsibilities for a few hours. Instead they're having to help build a simple prop that should have been included as standard.

Also included are the instructions for 'the fakir' where you cover your thumb with a hanky (not included), put a needle (not included) through it and your thumb is unharmed. Naturally, there's a piece of potato required (also not included). But if they're too scared of health and safety rules to include the needle in the package, why do they feel happy about including instructions telling you to use a needle in the first place? Or telling you to hide rope in your mouth in another trick?

Have I mentioned 'professors nightmare'? I'll leave you in peace to discuss the relative merits of using the 'professional' names in junior material, but the fact remains you need three pieces of rope to perform this. If you cut the included rope into three you have incredible short pieces of rope, which are unusable for the routine. If not, you have to buy more rope. (I say 'buy' since only magicians are the only people who might have white rope as one of the 'common materials just lying around the house.'

I'm going to stop, without mentioned the 3 tricks requiring a secret assistant, the 6 that use no props, the 7 thimble moves masquerading as individual tricks, the effects requiring absent dice, keys, rule, purse, cards, and envelopes. Or the pull they supply (without elastic or safety pin),

But maybe when I see a promotion claiming '100 tricks included' on the box, I expect them to be included in the box.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mentalism made easy!

I always wonders when this sort of PSA would come up. I like it though. Sparks off many new ideas.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Tale

"What a shitty day! Can't wait for it to be over" said Charlie. It was a typical Tuesday. Typical fall. Leaves blowing in the wind, a storm front passing slowly through the suburbs. The sun has not been seen for days, hiding behind clouds, as if being ashamed of the world, refusing to shine.

Charlie looked away from the window. "Where are you goin'?" his wife asked. "Cigarettes," he replied "we're all out!" As he pulled the door shut he heard her saying something. Pretended not to hear anything.

The hallway to the elevator seemed longer than usual. The elevator doors opened just as he arrived. Standing inside was a small man in a fine black suit that was way too large for him. "Good Day Sir!" Charlie nodded and stood silently next to the little man. "I'm a magician!" the little man said as the elevator doors closed.

The hallway was as short as ever. Through the door of the apartment crying could be heard, if there had been someone to listen.

The elevator doors opened. Charlie had never worn a better fitting suit in his life. Whistling he walked out on the street. The small man pushed the button. In his hand a pack of cigarettes. The doors closed and the elevator went up again.

The hallway was a short as ever.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Back to the future!

Never, ever, ever watch your young self doing magic that you put on video years ago. It will be a mixture of: "I sucked!", "I was skinnier!", "How the hell did I do that?" Weird!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Quote of the Week

"If Erdnase was a deck of cards, he’d be the Artifice deck."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Name Change Anyone?

Sometimes I think that maybe people take my blog a little too serious. For heaven's sake. It's called WEEKLY Magic Failure. It was supposed to be a little mention on what went wrong in magic this week. Nothing more. But some of the winners carry the virtual award that I hand out a little too long. Just note that you won. Disagree with me and go on with your life. Some people don't get it.

Maybe the term failure is a little too much. So I'm seriously considering a name change of my blog. How about: "Flavor of the Week" or "Aftertaste of Magic" What do you guys think?

So vivid

I had this dream this night, that Roy Walton sent me an email asking me to stop doing his card magic. Boy, what does that mean?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I never posted stats. Never saw the reasons to post keywords and all of that. But in the light of recent events here are a few.

800 views per day. That's nothing! About 600 of them are looking at the post about Sathya Sai Baba. That means that only 200 are looking at something else. That's even less then nothing. So whenever you feel I destroyed your life, please note that I did not destroy it, unless of course all the 200 views would lead to 200 individual users, who would care about that particular post or worse agree with me. I'm sort of cynical here.

This is a magic blog. Do you actually know how much of a small role we play in the whole blogosphere? Or how many of all the people actually care about magic?

The keywords (of yesterday) in order are: "weekly magic failure", "sai baba", "magic fail", "piff the magic dragon", "pig face", "val valentino", "modesty", "Snap Illusions" and my personal favorite "stripper costumes for men".

Please note that certain words are NOT in there.

So whoever feels like I destroyed his life... man you had a small life to begin with.

Monday, September 17, 2012

And then there was this!

If you don't like long posts, here is the summary: "I think Steven Youell is a dick!"

Hi Steven, I'm sure you are reading this. So this is directed towards you. I'm sure you will read every last word of it. I think you are a dick. A bad person and an overall despicable human being. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

When it was obvious to me that you had to be Jerry Lukins, I knew that a shit storm would start once this surfaced. I knew that Andrew would get all mad. So I decided to do something civil. I decided to talk to you. I could have shut up and Andrew would have provided all the technical proof and you would have been in a more than awkward situation. You would have felt secure under your awesome "screen of anonymity" and it would have gone bad for you. But I decided to talk to you. Oh boy what a mistake that was.

Not only did I underestimate your malice, no I did something far worse. I abused Andrew's trust by sending you one of Andrews emails.

I don't know how to make it up to Andrew, I don't know if there is anything I can do to save the valued friendship that considered to have with Andrew. Only because I was dumb enough to decide to talk to you.

I thought you were a civil man, I honestly thought you overreacted. I honestly thought you were such an impulsive character that was lead by strong emotions that the creation of Jerry Lukins was a mistake. Nothing more than a simple mistake.

In that email I sent you I asked you not tell anybody of my attempt to mend the situation that YOU had created.

In your apology, that you would release later on, you claimed "I just didn't care if people eventually found out". I think otherwise. My little email suddenly made you aware that you are not secure under your "screen of anonymity". The Mule pointed it out very early on. And in my email I wrote: "I won't bore you with the technical details". And suddenly there was the sudden hint of ways to prove your identity by technical means. That must have ultimately led to the apology you released just a few hours later.

I pretty sure you decided to do that, because it was the ONLY way for your to get out of this with just some scratches. You are smart after all.

Here is another way you could have solved this: You could have just answered my email and not assume it was a ploy to get you to admit your are Jerry Lukins. You could have indeed trusted me, being a negotiator. I could have mended the situation. I'm actually good at that sort of shit. I've done it many time before. You don't hear of this of course. But no, your mistrust led your assumption that it was all a ploy. Then you wrote in my comments: "Roland: I never would have beaten been able to do that if you hadn't have forwarded me the email that you claim was from Andrew."

To which I replied: "Wtf is wrong with you? I asked you to not tell anybody. Now you did. I have tons of explaining to do, just because you saw it as a ploy? Great, your paranoia has led to the worst of all possible conclusions."

And then you had the balls to write me this: "I already forwarded a copy to Andrew and the Smiling Fool. Enjoy the situation you have created. This is for telling “Jerry Lukins” that I’m a dangerous psychotic. You didn’t even know who you were talking to and you told him that. SEY"


EDIT: I removed a part of the text here. I did that because someone requested it. And he had a good point.

Now let's talk about your apology. You claim that the blogs are "badmouthing" Well, I will not defend the other blogs, but I will defend mine. I'm not out to badmouth people. I'm badmouthing certain actions that I consider a failure as those actions either hurt magic or people by doing magic. Usually those actions are connected to people. That's normal. So I mention those people and what they did. It's about what they did, about the action, not about the person.

That is why a magician arrested for owning child pornography did not end up on my blog. That is why a magician arrested for killing another person did not end up on my blog. Their actions did not hurt magic, and did not hurt other people by doing magic. It's unfathomable what they did and to what dark side of being a human they go. But this is not what my blog is about. It's about magic. Bad magic.

And instead of apologizing you instead whine about my blog post ending up higher on Google leading to you lose "a few prospective clients". Oh come one. I know that you are butthurt about this, but this is not my fault. And it seems to be a unique problem of yours. I wrote far more and far worse stuff about Shawn, yet my blog does not show up. Somehow he knows how to deal with it. That is to ignore it. That is to go on. That is to not be butthurt. Not engaging in combat, thereby feeding the algorithm that Google's search engine is based off. You created this situation. And you know what. How come, that I have to tell you these things. You're a grown man for fucks sake. But you behave like a child.

And I thought so before I saw your signature.

Look at that. Does this look like the signature of a grown man? Hardly. First grade at best.

Okay, this wasn't very adult of me to make fun of such a small little detail. Nevermind. Pretend this didn't happen.

You know what... Steven, when you abused the trust I put in you, you thereby nullified any effort to mend the situation. That fact that you took down the apology means you don't stand behind it. The fact that your apology is just whining, the fact that you are in my humble opinion a psychopath means you are a dick.

Just a dick. And if this is our new status quo, then I'm fine with this. And if by any chance I ever write about you again, it will be about what you did. Not about you. If it would have been another person doing it, I would write about them.

No, wait, better. I'm gonna help you. Seriously. I will not mention your name from now on. That way it will not crawl up the Google rankings ruining your business with "a few prospective clients". I will only refer to you, if I have to, as "the dick".

PS. You actually are in a club, that you pay money for, so you can tell the world that you are smart? Man, that's not so smart. Smartness obviously doesn't lead to wisdom!

PPS. First post of this blog is online again. With all the comments.