Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Price of Magic

Should magic be made available to those with money only? Of course not. But magic needs a price. Magic secrets need to be earned in order to be appreciated.

It used to be hard to get magic knowledge. The public libraries were a good start, but those resources were limited. Where did you go then? There was no internet, you didn't even know about magic dealers. In fact you had to get a phone book and go through the lists. And then you planned your trip to the big city. You went there with anticipation. You went into a magic store for the first time in your life. And there it was. Magic secrets. Each so close but often enough not attainable because of the price tag. The price tag actually protected the secret. But that visit got you connected to the magic scene. Magicians usually were hanging out in the store. You talked to them, they showed you a card trick that went over your head, because they were not using the key card principle and you got all exited.

And in order to get this trick you had to pay a price. It was either buying him a drink, become friend, or to beg the hell out of the man. And finally he would let you take part in the secret. A short card. Who could have thought of that? And with that you went home and explored all the possibilities of that principle. You didn't rush it. There was no pressure. No next secret that you had to learn with a simple mouse click. But along with the great card trick, the sponge balls and the svengali deck you bought was a piece of paper. The catalog. You read for hours in there. And your choice was valuable because you paid a price of that. Time.

A few days later that magician from the magic shop would call you. Asking how you progress is. And if you have time tomorrow. As there will be a club meeting. You are invited. So this is it. The great magic club. Surely there would be no more secrets.

So you went back to the big city, you met the guy a few hours before the club meeting. You proudly would show him the tricks that you made up with the short card principle. He would smile. And then he would show you another card trick. And that would totally blow you away. You would beg, but this time he wouldn't tell you.

It was such a weird feeling to enter the magic club. It was a cool, new and indeed full of secrets. But nobody shared anything with you. They talked in a language you didn't understand. "Oh it's simple, you run to the injog, get a break, pass them and dl the top card to show and indifferent card." Little did you know that they were sharing secrets. You just didn't understand them. You didn't pay the price. Experience and time.

When you went home, that magician you met at the magic store would bring you to the bus. And there he would tell you the secret of the card trick he did earlier that evening. You paid for the secret. With patience. It was the key card principle that made the trick work.

You couldn't believe that. How could he have fooled you with a method you already knew? Because you didn't explore it enough. Because it was free to begin with.

You went home having learnt an important lesson. There is always a price you need to pay for magic. Time, patience, experience, humiliation, social interaction and over all even money.

Now we got the internet. Now it's fuck you to all of that. Here are the secrets. They are for free. Swallow them quickly, the next one is coming up right away. No time, no patience, no experience, no humiliation, no social interaction and no money. What a great world we live in.

Fuck the secret. It's not worth anything anymore. Not even money.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Angry Man of Magic - Self-workers : an apology

When I was starting in magic, I did a lot of self-working tricks. Unfortunately, most of the self-working tricks I did were the same ones that everyone else did. And 50 years previously. So there's no buggering Uncle, PEdo teacher, or big brother, that didn't know how it was done. Yes, I probably did the 21 card trick, I don't remember. And I probably did some spelling deals. But I also did others with stacks that I thought no one else had heard of.

But they had.

So for the first few years I equated self-working to bad.

Later on, I discovered a lot of other (truly wondrous) effects, like OOTW and Gemini Twins. These are tricks that I still perform regularly. They are masterpieces of our art, and I feel should be studied and performed by everyone wanting to progress. In fact, I'd like every snotty-nosed XCM worker to be forced into presenting (i.e. not showing off) these effects in a way that doesn't involve the phrase "check this move - totally sick, blud". To my mind, no longer is self-working equated to bad.

But when I hear some magicians talking about them, why is the comment "self-worker" always preceded with the words "it's ONLY a"? And always followed with the emphasized rendition of "BUT".

Whisky Tango Foxtrot?

Self-working is not an apology! So stop apologizing for it!

By saying it's self-working isn't like saying "I ran over your dog, BUT he's no longer in pain". Self-worker is the method, not the presentation. The effect on the audience is same regardless. Have some respect for the art and what it can do. Even I managed to do it...

Monday, February 27, 2012

WMF The Encyclopedia of Magic

Another week, another failure. One thing I feel the need to address. The weekly schedule doesn't mean that it needs to be current. As you can see with those guys. Vinh, Jeffrey and Lenny run the encyclopedia of magic website for a while now.

If you don't know what that is, it is quite an ambitious project. They say it "is dedicated to helping people all over the world improve themselves and their magic." I would claim otherwise. Straight from the website:
Magic is a unique ability that has the power to change lives. Not only providing amazing entertainment for everyone around you, magic is a valuable asset that can greatly benefit the performer themselves. With magic, you can really stand out and command the attention of countless people. At the same time, this greatly increases confidence and gives you the ability to really make and leave a lasting impression upon anyone. These are all traits that we believe anyone can benefit from, and it is our mission to make this available for anyone wanting to take themselves to the next level.
There we have it again the time honored tradition of the "NEXT LEVEL" and "BRINGING PEACE". I heard that all before. So let's see what this ambition leads to...

Exposure of course. They teach magic. And by teaching it for free they dismiss the value of the secrets and the importance of the secret towards magic. I'll give you a sneak peek of them explaining the thumb palm.

The production quality is really good and the teaching is not bad. The problem: This will get people to watch more. So they will stumble into more videos exposing the basics of magic. All sorts of palms, the french drop, the Herman pass and the usual suspects. Here is what they should do. Slap that stuff on a DVD and sell it. You can make it really cheap if you want to. But somehow the existence of a price on that thing would make the merely curious go away. That would indeed be a great step to treating the magic secrets and thereby the magic with respect.

So far it looks like this: "Hey guys I have something we can teach. It's called the thumb palm. No, I didn't come up with this. Come on, how else are we gonna teach stuff. Make up our own? Haha you're funny. Well we can still credit the original guy. That will make us seem legit. What are you saying? You're saying that giving out the guys name will make us seem even more hypocritical, as knowing the source material and still not respecting magic by giving it out for free? Haha you're funny."

The sad thing: I really think they believe their own words. I think that they really think they help people by teaching them magic. And while this could be true, it mistreats magic. And I love magic more than those guys.

Shame on you Vinh, Jeffrey and Lenny. Teaching magic may be your thing. But giving it out for free and thereby treating magic with contempt should not be your thing.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Haters gonna hate!

You gotta love Google cache. So a friend of mine sends me a message: "Dude you got haters!" And links me to Somebody actually made a website using my name. That sort of behavior seems familiar. I think Bob Cassidy had a similar problem once. There seems to be no content, but thanks to Google cache... here it is in all it's glory:

Stay away from Roland Henning. He’s the biggest magic failure ever, which is why he attacks others. He has never written any books. He’s never had his own television show. He’s never had a big theater show. He has no products on the market that are worth anything. He’s a hack commentator with nothing but negative things to say about others who are more successful than himself.

Roland Henning at the Weekly Magic Failure has said mean and nasty things about everyone in magic that remotely crosses his path. And yet, he has never offered the magic world anything at all himself. Nothing.

Just another moron in magic hiding behind a blog.

Because I'm a failure I attack others? There is a really big lack of causality here. True, I never wrote any books. True, I never had a television show. Also true, no big theater show (just small ones) and no products on the market. But going all absolute saying that I have nothing but negative things to say is simply wrong. What about my winner's month in April? I praise more successful magicians like shit. So that statement is just wrong.
Also I do contribute to the magic world. I got a whole blog devoted to magic. My own creations and all for free. But I choose who can read my Super Secret Magic Blog!

It goes on:

Roland Henning is nothing. He’s a bit of a waste of human flesh. He’s a douche bag. An ass hat. A fat, slovenly, unhappy wannabe who lashes out at the rest of the world on the internet because he has nothing to show for his own life. He thinks he’s important. He sees himself as talented. He considers himself marvelous. But he is arrogant. Loud mouthed. And lonely. He’s the last person you would want to hire to entertain at your party. If you read around, he spends more time talking about other people than simply trying to better his own life. He’s a sad, sad, man. Keep him away from your children!

Actually I don't think I'm important, but obviously important enough so some people go through the effort creating a website using my name spreading half baked rumors. Also I'm not talented. However I'm fucking creative. That's my thing.
I spend more time talking about other people than to better my own life? Are you stalking me or something to know that?

The website has been registered by Magisch Revolutie B.V. c/o Dynadot Privacy.

Hmm Magic Revolution? Where have I heard this before.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Fred Change

So there is this new magic seller. As always they don't care about making you a better magician, but about getting your money. But I gotta admit the Mystic Factory has a nice look going for it. And by that I mean it looks like all of the other usual suspects.

And one of the first items is the Fred Change by Andrew Csirmaz, a technical variant of a color change by Salvador Sufrate. Needless addition... well actually it's a subtraction. By changing the angle back to the normal mode the method becomes way too apparent. This is a typical case of a step backwards. Not unlike Dirk Losander who took the idea of Tommy Wonder's Floating Birdcage and when back to the ball design.

Monday, February 20, 2012


There are a few things in life that are for free. Taxes, trouble and a never ending supply of people who fail in almost every facet of life.

My initial post about this man was all about the many things he called himself on his website... No let's add another. Identity thief.

May I humbly direct your gaze to this blog: Bob Cassidy Mentalism. The author is CENSORED. We are dealing with a case of implied identity theft. It seems like it is all about Bob Cassidy. No not really.  CENSORED  is riding the coattail of Bob Cassidy to sell his stuff. The blog posts on the blog are nothing but SEO texts, which means they are optimized to get lots of hits via Google search. So the name of  CENSORED gets connected to Bob Cassidy. So when people look for Bob Cassidy instead  CENSORED comes crawling up.

This is not a good way to make a business. It may be effective, but not good. I'm pretty sure that Bob Cassidy has not given his permission to have his names used in such an exploitative way.  CENSORED tries to sell his book entitled: " CENSORED "


I bet none of the stuff in there is by  CENSORED , nor has he done any work to make it his own. This needs to be known. This is the sort of behavior that harms our beloved magic. Do "these people" feel attracted to magic or does magic turn them into "these people"? I really want to know. There are base motifs for almost all that we are doing and every act of charity can be interpreted as some sort of selfish atrocity. But going all the way out, stealing (though it is implied) someones identity is really, really low. That is why  CENSORED  is WMF again. He cannot stop failing. And that's free.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Waving the Red Flag

I guess still being a reading member of the Magic Cafe has some merit. So there is this growing private message that Steve Brooks spammed to all the users, endorsing the "Real Secrets Team". Naturally the question about who the hell is behind Real Secrets came up.

The reason that we are not telling exactly who is involved with Real Secrets is that this is more about the many people involved as opposed to a person/persons/entity.

Rest assured that top names that you trust are involved and there is nothing underhanded. Real Secrets is about the material, the artists, and about secrets - it is not about one person, a few people, or a company - it is you and the best people in magic.

So if it doesn't matter, then who is behind Real Secrets? This should be a fucking big red flag. You are asked to pay before knowing what you will get exactly. You get offered two kinds of membership, platinum and gold. That is a nice psychological touch to make you think you are missing something big if you don't get the more expensive version. Also you won't be able to get older issues if you sign up later. We'll no pressure here! Also auto-recurring subscription... combined with the rumor that the contact box seems to be not working properly. On the TOS page they say "You agree not to describe, share, or post videos of any of the effects or methods shared in the Real Secrets community." In other words you would break their terms of service if you say anything about how it sucks and they kick you out. All of that just screams  STAY AWAY... THOSE ARE SCAMMERS! 

Unless of course they would reveal content and identity...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

How vague is that?

So there is this Real Secrets thing that makes its round. Monthly tricks will be send to your address. That is a subscription costing 36 dollars per three months if you are from the US and 40 if you are not from the US.

Apparently you get "incredible, innovative, and exciting NEW magic, thinking, and surprises by creators like Gaetan Bloom, Cyril, Michael Weber, Robert Neale, Max Maven, John Kennedy, and an ever-growing team of the best minds in magic. We’ve even included an unpublished Paul Curry effect."

Dude that vague... tell me more. Way more. I'm past the point of paying for something in magic not knowing exactly what I will get.

Steve Brooks is pimping this over at the Magic Café:
I know some of the folks involved with this project and much about what is coming during the next twelve months. Based on that information alone I immediately signed up for 1 year of their Exclusive Platinum membership and would ecourage anyone who is serious about their magic to consider doing the same.
Sounds like he gets a lot of money for this. Your thoughts?

Monday, February 13, 2012

WMF Joe Monti

So let's assume you work for a magician. You do consulting work. You help him create and to maintain the show that he does. Let's further assume that you are a magician yourself and you get paid by the more successful magician to be in his "think tank".

Joe Safuto was such a magician before he got fired by Christopher Sarantakos.

Why is he not working for Christopher anymore? Simply because he was an unreliable piece of ass. A little bit more nicely worded by Luke Dancy over the the green monster.
[...] he's made my job very difficult by not showing up for work and feeling a certain form of entitlement here in the office by doing whatever he wanted.[...]

Even if it is all blown out of proportion the fact remains that there were difficulties and that eventually Joe had to leave the production. And this was obvious for everybody. So Joe came up with a plan. If he had to go, how about going with a bang. So he got himself a little audio recorder and pissed of Christopher enough so the big magician committed an assault. Christopher is know for that kind of abuse and his childish comebacks. So triggering "pointing the finger" was rather easy. Personally I wouldn't call touching someone with a finger in an argument an assault but just a lack of basic politeness, but it got the media all fired up.

The audio was released and a minor shit storm happened. I was all like... meh. But as more and more information surfaced it made Joe look really like a teenager trying to accuse the parents of some misdeed that they in turn accuse the teen of. All very immature.

So I struggled a bit to make him WMF, but then I realized that Joe is no newbie in life and that basic social skills should be expected. He failed in that regard and proved to be a valuable member of the magic loser community.

Btw: Joe Safuto has a pretty good silk routine:

And if you really wanna have a laugh, type in "Joe Monti" in Google image search, set the image search for large size and have the search filter turned off. Then hit enter.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Secret Art of Magic

Haven't done a serious book review in a while. So here I offer you a book on magic theory which is way underrated in my humble opinion. The Secret Art of Magic by Eric Evans and Nowlin Craver. It's been originally published by "Magic To Laugh By" in 2003. Reprints are still available for 45 dollars.

The book is basically separated into two parts. Each part stands on it's own. Both are about approaching the classic work "The Art of War" by Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu and applying it's principles to magic. What may sound a little weird actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Magic is a bit of a war. You are fighting for a certain goal. That goal is deception. War is all about deception and its time honored strategies are all about dispersion.

The first part, "Street Magic and The Art of War" written by Eric Evans probably is the more accessible part. Eric wrote:
I am not much of a fighter. I prefer to think of street performance, or for that matter any performance of magic, as a tactical war. A war only won by identifying and executing sound principles. As the magician, I become the general, and to some degree, the sovereign; the tricks are my weapons; and the audience is, at different times, the land to be conquered, my opponent, and my allies. Thus, tactics and strategies are my primary concern for a successful campaign.

Pretty esoteric one would think at first glance. But Eric takes the subject and shows that the principles of war do in fact apply to magic. The whole first part is about how the strategies can be used to improve street magic. The terms Laying Plans, Terrain, Offensive Strategy, Espionage and Attack by Fire sure sound like military terms, but they do have magic counter parts. (Trick Selection, Pitch, Stopping People, Hecklers and Festivals in case you wondered).

It's a great book if you want to become a really, really good busker. You can learn it slowly the hard way by making your own experiences, or you can drastically shorten the time by adding the knowledge of the book with your own experiences.

The second part of the book, written by Nowlin Craver probably is where most of you would raise an eyebrow. In order to understand it you need to know about "The Thirty-Six Stratagems" a compilation of 36 military ruses. Fist one: Lure the Tiger from the Mountain, second one: Conceal a Dagger Behind Smile and so on. These strategies are applied to magic. Nowlin Craver really tried to put it all into focus. His main epiphany was that those strategies don't describe war tactics, but more or less tactics of dispersion. We magicians use misdirection all the time. Think about it. Misdirection is much more than looking to the left and doing something with the right hand. Having a spectator examine the cups prior to the performance of the cups and balls is important, as you don't want the audience to think that the cups have something to do with the routine. How is that misdirection. Well, misdirection has two functions. First making you look away from the secret and second, to make you look at the effect. If the cups are not examined before the lemons appear, the effect has less impact. In order to make the effect (the military strike) have as much impact as possible you need to know that no lemons where there before. The more surprised the enemy is, the quicker the battle ends. Or to use magic terms: The more surprised the audience, the stronger the effect. Sounds simple! Well it is!

The Secret Art Of Magic is a great little book. I have not met many people who have read it. If you are serious about magic, if you wanna become good in the proper routine construction for your sleight of hand routines, you better read that book. More than once!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Weekly Failure my ass.... Daily is the way to go!

The Daily Deception.... have you heard of it. It's a rather new thing on the magic horizon. And by thing I mean Daily Online Journal. I discovered it while browsing the darkness of the green monster. And somehow this beacon of light came through. And right next to it was The Daily Deception. I read some of the articles. Mostly about who is jamming with who. Clearly filler material... poor bastards.

But still check them out. The guys in charge Chris Williams, Chad Rees and Xavior Spade are actual magicians unlike editors of other news sites.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


So Jeff McBride and Wayne Dobson have released a joint statement.

"We have read both David Penn and Craig Petty’s ‘apologies’ and sadly see that each has chosen to carefully avoid the one situation that made this so serious and morally contemptible. The secret telephone recordings made by David Penn, without Wayne Dobson’s knowledge.
We now know that this is not the first time that David Penn has employed such tactics, as others have come forward and confirmed. That is reprehensible, but to then actually play them to third parties is beyond the pale, as well as being illegal. We also confirm that others have now come forward and told us of similar intimidation and bullying techniques. Wayne’s was not an isolated incident.
We would suggest that avoidance of a mention to this in their apologies shows that they are not heartfelt, but rather a cynical attempt to gain some sympathy.
On the forums at least, this whole sad story is over but we fear that David Penn and Craig Petty’s names and reputations in our fraternity will forever be tarnished by their actions (or lack of).
Wayne Dobson and Jeff Mc Bride – 7th February 2012"

So I guess it is the end of the Wizards Products review. Who will fill the gap and make us laugh? Who will be the one totally misunderstanding magic? Who will praise gimmicky stuff, but shun real workers?

So I guess WPR is WMF. It's demise it a clear indicator both guys are not up to the task. Furthermore, if the accusations of the joint statement of Dobson and McBride are just the light upon both of them dims itself even more. Let's leave them in the shadows.

I already miss Blammo. You will be dearly missed.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Being humble and great!

So there is this article over at the magic cafe. Someone asked for the most underrated card men and asked to list some. John Bannon was among the mentions and I would agree. But also statements like "I'm underrated". I humbly beg for your opinion... is it just me, or is humbleness not a positive character trait anymore? Is it considered weakness or what?

This of course extends to advertisement. I cannot believe how many #1 magicians are out there. And I truly believe that most of them doing it, actually believe their tooting of their own horn. To think of oneself as the best thing since sliced bread really is a bad character trait! At least in my humble opinion.

It worries me. From a psychological point of view. So I'm asking you: Do you know a magician, who is very self centered and doesn't take any criticism without fighting like a mad man? Who suffers from a lack of empathy or remorse, false emotions, selfishness, grandiosity or deceptiveness, which results in a pervasive pattern of disregard for, or violation of, the rights of others? If so I suggest you read all about this.

I understand that if you don't advertise yourself nobody else does... Well this is not true. You can pay someone to do this. I can tell when the text of a website is written by the magician himself. And most choose the "third person" to do that. And of course they do. It's much easier to write something good about yourself and not come across as a selfish prick. Try this: change your website's text from third person to first person. If it comes across like you are an egocentric dick, you should change your advertisement.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

BANNED!!!! (but unrepentant)

Well, Roland, why was I banned from the Magic Cafe Forum?


No, it was a little known but highly aggressive impersonator, who goes by the name of Harry Lorayne...

... this schmuck did for me on that forum. If he had played it cool, not risen to the bait and lived to tell the tale, then maybe he'd be up there yet....

But don't sweat it, folks, he isn't even frickin' real!!!!


Saturday, February 4, 2012

WMF David Penn

David Penn, the even lesser half of The Wizard Product review is not the brightest of all lights. I've mentioned that before. But here is what happened. 20 days ago the Wizard Product Review was published and David Penn tore apart the new Jeff McBride DVD, as it apparently contained part of Wayne Dobson's act. When I saw that I seriously doubted that Jeff McBride would do that, unless he secured the rights or made massive modifications so he could call it his own.

David Penn even informed Wayne Dobson of this before the actual show. And Wayne Dobson even believed the man.

So what does Wayne Dobson do? He confronted Jeff McBride, who in turn showed him the "clip in question". Of course is was unlike what Wayne Dobson does. So Wayne Dobson does the next correct thing and calls David Penn asking them to take down the episode, as it wasn't true.

David Penn did so, but started their next review with an introduction, that they took it down because Wayne and Jeff came to an agreement.

NOT true you dickhead! You were wrong, but your fucking pride in finding a possible piece of sensational journalism made you blind for the obvious. That you were simply wrong about things.

David Penn even went so far asking Wayne Dobson to post something on the green monster thanking David Penn to have helped resolving that situation. A situation you cause you idiot!

Wayne Dobson released a lengthy statement about this but the last few lines need to be posted:
I think David Penn should be ashamed and I hope that our community takes the correct action to show that this type of behaviour is unacceptable. I hope the magiccafe and its members show their displeasure in ways that will make him realise that intimidation, coercion and bullying are not acceptable in our world.

Friday, February 3, 2012

So He's Banned

Harry Lorayne on the MC

I LOVE critical views from those who know what the h*ll they're talking about, houtjes, certainly not from you. And, listen closely, if you can - I "plug" (I call it "mention") my magic books WHEN I FEEL (in many cases, KNOW) that they can help. Just as the poster above admitted he didn't know about an item under discussion of mine, that has been around for decades. Hey, who knows? I may have - or may not - have helped him. Immaterial; I tried.

I frankly doubt that you understand that. Or, that magic is, has been for over six decades, a labor of love for me. Yes, my magic books sell more than most - but NOWHERE NEAR THE BOOKS I WRITE FOR THE PUBLIC (differences of hundreds of thousands, if you can "grasp" that).

Yes, it must be a cultural difference - it makes me feel good to help people. I realize that YOU (I don't know about your "WE")don't realize, understand, that - because I don't know or see how you help anyone. (Certainly not in magic - how long have you been into magic, I'd be curious to know.) And, you really have given me the laugh of the day - you come in with your un-called-for RUDE silliness, and when I respond YOU can't seem to "take" my critical view of you.

As I said, I don't know about your "we" - I've spent time in Holland, lectured, spent time with individuals - please don't drop them down into your class. So, if you want to come in where no-one asked you, where you know nothing of the situation, with a "low blow" directly at me don't expect me to lie back and enjoy it. Not the nature of this beast. (PS: I do appreciate your "true master" remark!)

later he added this

I'm sorry, houtjes, do you mean like the way you judged me here: "A bit more modesty wouldn't harm you Mister Lorayne..." - your "fair remark"? Is that what you mean? Like your original un-called "flaming" at me? My posts are not "un-called" for - they're in response to your bullcr*p. You're a joke!! And - I take you VERY SERIOUSLY. Believe me. Seriously enough that I won't sit back and allow your egotistical b*******t to go unanswered.

Dude, just because you censor your own profanities doesn't mean you didn't fucking mean it.

According to Genii this got HL banned from the MC. Too bad, reading his stuff was a riot.