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?"