Friday, November 21, 2014

Flabbergasted

I think once in a while we need to be reminded of the great magicians around us. The ones that make us feel dwarfed by their presence. Those who keep the art in an eternal process of improvement.

Case in point Dr. Gertes:

I want you to marvel at all the little things that you won't pick up right away. The long rubbing of the wand and the hands to prove the objects are the way they are. The poetic insinuating overtones of sexual anticipation, cleverly disguised by the symbol of light going into a blossom of a rose that came out of nowhere.

This is deep shit man.

The choice of music allures even the most rational guy to bow down to the magic impossibilites of three lit lamps appearing.

This is magic at it's finest. As long as there is such wonderful magic out there, there is no need to mention it on my blog.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Simple Design

Maybe this is something for certain magicians... I'm not judging. There was a time in my magic life where I would have loved that thing. What thing? This thing: The Gothic Chop Cup by the Big Bild Media

Do you see the design flaw? Since this is a Chop Cup, it means that the cup itself will be upside down most of the time. So why is the skull design on the cup not upside down as well?

Here, I used my mad photoshop skillz to fix this:

Doesn't it look better? How is this overlook in the design phase of a product?

The same hold true for most paddles which have an image on the paddle. Like this one!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Kinda sad!

There are two shelves in the background of the WPR. One is full of DVD's and the other one books. Really? Does anybody of the regular cast of the WPR read at all? This has got to be a decorative purpose only?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

You almost got me Brian Happie Foshee!

 Almost, but I don't fall for it. No way!

Brian has this cute little Kickstarter project. A busking table that is the ULTIMATE close-up and busking table, case, and stand. For a second I though he was being serious with this ugly, ugly piece of homemade prop slapped together with moderate skill, modified from a hardware store purchase. But then I read the description and it became obvious that this is an elaborate hoax on the magic community.

He writes: "I have found 3 kinds of tables and cases available on the market." Oh, I'm interested. What is the first kind of table: "#1: Unprofessional: Homemade with moderate skill, modified from a hardware store purchase, or the worst... a case for poker chips that has been dumped out.... ugg. Aren't you charging hundreds per hour? Do you really want to walk into that wedding, corporate gig, or even bar-mitzva with a case that a 13 year old says, 'Hey, I have one of those at home!'"


It gets better the third kind of table shows the utter brilliance of the scheme. "#3: Fantastic (looking). Yeah it's got a ton of fancy containers that pop out when you open it... then what? You can't carry it table to table and open it for all to see the contents! Where do you put it... on the ground? What do you perform on?" Great, he really suggests to table hop with a table. Carrying a table as you do serious table hopping is the greatest way to come across as totally unprofessional or at least not having done any table hopping at all.

So his solution solves all of it. You can carry his table from table to table. You can get to your props, as you get rid of some props first, which allows you to open the case, then place the previous props in first, taking out the next, then closing the case and continuing. This wouldn't totally destroy your pacing.

Of course it would and Brian know this. And he has decided to play a trick on all of us but even asking for 10.000 dollars. And his goal has been met.

Brian you are a genius. I applaud you! But I ain't falling for that. I gots the brains and I can sees it comin' from a mile away!

Btw: I have used two types of busking tables. This first one has an X base. You can see on the bottom right of the picture. The table stands really solid, the wind won't blow it away. But you have plenty of space to work with. And you can strap the top to your back and the base you can fold and carry like a grocery bag. It was quite practical.
The other type is the one I use right now. The base is three legs crossing in the middle so it is almost like a tripod. On top rests the foldable plate, which is secured to the legs with magnets. It has a servante which serves the openly displayed purpose of holding props. So the secret nature of possibly ditching props gets obscured.



As for holding props you can clearly see that in each case I wear bags. I always have my props with me. It's my bread and butter. No way I would leave my props in a case.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Something to look out for

Whenever a product is endorsed by the following people it tends to be shit:

Eric Jones
Shin Lim
Chris Wiehl

Feel free to add more!

Unsocial Interaction 101

I visited a magic club last night. It was a sad, sad experience. A member drove me there and I sat down. Other members arrived. And talking started. No magic. Just talking about all sorts of things dealing with the club itself. I was okay with that. During that talking a magician arrived that I knew. I nodded towards him and he sat next to me.

Further talking and still no magic.

After half an hour of me being silent and just drinking beer I leaned towards the magician I knew. I asked him when the magic starts. He told me that it is his first time here. I said it was my first time here at the club too. Then more talking and so on.

After an hour or so I got vocal, I couldn't bear it much longer. "I know I'm a guest, but when does the magic part of the magic club start?"

This led to a rather fruitless and poor discussion of the TT.

Oh well. Some had to go. Only 5 members were left. That new guy, the one who drove me, a young card obsessed magician, a senior member and me. It was then that we slowly got into some magic talking. It was about card magic but it was good.

As everyone got up to leave I asked the new magician if anyone had even asked him his name. He smiled at me and shook his head. So this new magician, that nobody knows of comes to the club and nobody even acknowledged his existence. Seems to be a common theme in magic. We both had a laugh at this social train wreck, but seriously this must not be.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Finally done!

I moved, it took a while now I'm back. Living in a house that is from 1566.

So what happend magicwise? There was this debacle over at Penguin. Bob Cassidy was doing one of those live lectures and did way less than what was advertised. The comment section of the page gives us golden quotes such as this
"Whilst I genuinely appreciate Bob Cassidy's contribution to mentalism, I feel aggrieved at paying for 4 hours of wild-eyed semi-inebriated rambling, regurgitated product and punctuated with toilet breaks."
"What a car wreck !"
"Bob Cassidy is a huge influence on Mentalism today but seeing him drunk was a heart breaker."
Also, what the fuck is Octopalm?

Monday, September 29, 2014

You cunts have no more excuse not to practice!

Check out Moritz Müller:




Let's hope his ego can handle this little bit of viral fame. And let's hope he credited everyone correctly. I can see bad blood brewing!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Any Monte Tosser out there...

To all of those who do a monte routine, but do not use cards, shells, those rubber discs or matchboxes.... how is that doing for you?

I'm talking about sponge squeeker monte, frog squeeker monte, LED color monte, that brass tube monte. Do audiences buy that shit? Is it even entertaining?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Only once in a life!

You wouldn't believe what happened...
I did my show today
busking style
the weather very cloudly
almost raining
a kid said
"can you make the sun come out"
I raised my hand to the sky and said: "Let me try!"
at that very moment the clouds opened up and a single beam of sunlight hit me....
"Is that enough for you?" I asked...
the audience was in awe
I was in awe

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hey, long time no see

I've been busy the last few weeks. And I will be busy some more. And this post almost wouldn't be here if not for the fact that I got a little time.

I was thinking. How come that every single week dozens of magic releases happen? Seriously! I was wondering. Magic routines has been released for ages now. But the really big ones were reserved for conventions. Now it's every single week. Fuck that.... learn a routine and polish it. Don't learn anything new until you mastered the repertoire you already have.

Here is are a few rules you can apply to most of your magic presentation:

Don't be creepy!
Don't be a dick!

If you think those rules don't apply to you, you are either in a way higher league (but that means you are smart enough not to read my blog) or you unable to see that these rule should apply to you.

Creepy people often don't know that they are creepy. How do you tell them? Does anypne want to tell them? I think somebody should.

You may notice that I just write what comes to my head. But you are reading it anyway.... Sucker!

Here is a video that I find hilarious.... A kid's magician. He is actually good. Has jokes, some strong tricks for kid's and then hell opens up, when the indoctrination starts.

It's a long video, the brainwashing starts about half way in:


Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Social Deck by Soma

I do not consider the "Social Deck" by Soma a fail, however I would consider this a misguided effort. But first to all of those who do not know what the "Social Deck" is, it is a set of printed gaffed cards, that revolve around Facebook. Here is the trailer:



When I heard of this a while ago, my intital thought was different from what is shown in the trailer. Since the main things about social networks are about following, sharing and making friends, I thought maybe the tricks that are offered with the project would be going in that direction.

Maybe a card trick that leads to people following you on Facebook, Twitter or whatever. Or a card trick that invites people to share this, by allowing them to record the performance on their phone, then uploading it to their Facebook account. Or card tricks that are so personal, that they are the perfect icebreaker to get to know more of you. Stuff like that.

But instead we get this! A gaffed deck that you can use, using a bunch of double lifts and some color changes. I guess it makes sense from a business point of view. To get suckers to believe they have the next great, up-to-date thing, while counting their money. However I still feel that in the long run magicians would be helped more by offering them a project that I have outlines above.

Here is an example, that is not even cards. Ask the guy to get out his mobile phone and to set it up to record a short video. Then do Paperballs over the head with the camera and the guy holding it. Then allow him to upload the video to any social media and then to link to your profile on said media.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Dunning-Kruger effect

It's amazing how well the Dunning-Kruger effect relates to magic.

Ask a fairly new member in our circle of nerds. Be prepared to be surprised and to be disappointed at the same time.

Wanna know if a manipulation act is good?

If so, what's wrong with you....

But if you still wanna know: Turn off the sound! If the act still holds your interest that means either the act is good or you're really a nerd.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Quickchanging

When I was a kid I saw a quick change artist. I don't know who. But I remember part of the act. He had some costume, then went behind a curtain and then had something different. I thought it was a real skill. Like a really skilled person, that is able to pull off his clothing and then get dressed. Part of the illusion was the speed. BECAUSE HE WAS NOT FAST AT ALL. It took 8-9 seconds.

I really believed the skill, because it took longer than an instant. Now compare that with today's way of doing it. Now it is obvious that it is a trick. No real skill involved.

Have you ever rated your material?

Have you?
There is A-material and B-material. Your tricks fall into either category. A-material is the stuff you do regularly, your bread and butter repertoire. And then there is the B-material. Stuff you do sometimes.
The problem is, that technically most of the A-material's filler is B-material as well. Most magicians just do it, to get the time filled. Everyone is guilty of that. And strangly in the B-material box there are some A-material gems, that are not done, because they are horrible to reset, to set up or do.

Fuck that. Put the stuff in it's proper place.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Social Interaction 101

Did I ever tell the story about my visit to the magic store in Brussels?

I've been there with a magic friend. We entered the store. The guy working there was talking to another customer. We stood there waiting... and we stood.... and stood... No reaction by the person working there.

Here is a rule about social behaviour... "If somebody comes in the room, acknowledge their existence!"

There are several ways to do that. Eye contact and a slight nod will do. This has not happened. What a sad experience.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

So some of you have Blogs!

But for what reason? Let me direct your attention to this: BLOG RIGHT HERE! You see the headline? "Magical Charity Event Blog by Carl Royle exceeding all expectations."

To me this looks like a google friendly headline. It has the name, the theme and the result. So if I google Carl Royle what do I get? So it seems the blog functions more like an advertisement.

I may be wrong, but the thought comes up.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Will it blend?

We didn't cover animal cruelty in quite a while. So here ya go:



And you see the French people applauding this. Damn frog eaters!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Craig Petty... again!

Why can't a month go by without a fucking screw up by Craig Petty.
RED was a dangerous move. But this is stepping right into the hypocrisy.

As you may know Craig Petty is part of a group called "Slightly Unusual - The Comedy Illusionists".
I fail to understand the unusual aspect of the groups work, but it's a name that creates interest. I'm not judging.

The group has found a way to make money. By exposing magic to laypeople. Craig Petty is an outspoken opponent of exposure of magic secrets so this seems like an odd move.

Of course they don't expose it for the sake of exposing it. They hide the fact a bit and call it "team building". Basically they sell the members of a company magic secrets and disguise it as a team building exercise.

You can't polish a turd, it's still a pig... or however the saying goes.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Fanboys are stange!

Within the last two days my little post, about Peter Turner tuned viral or something. Looking into the statistics, this post exploded. Basically Peter Turner fans coming out defending their precious artist. That is good. But the arguments couldn't be lamer. Basically ad hominem attacks towards me instead of the argument.

I love it when they claim that I don't perform while a little research would certainly prove them otherwise. But that would indeed cancel their lame argument.

And did I make any attacks on Peter Turner to begin with? I was asking a question. "What's up with him?" Was my basic question, as I felt this stench of a con artist about him. And the samples I found about Peter Turners work were not really strong.

But since then I have looked into some of Peter Turners work. I looked into that Jinxed DVD, which is way overpriced....

Here a little example from the DVD: his take on the Match Divination by Annemann is weird. His argument why he doesn't use matches, is because matchboxes are so hard to find nowadays. So what does he use instead? Cigarettes! That basically cancels his argument. A box of mints, toothpicks or chewing gum would have worked the same way and would be far more common.

I'm not saying he is a bad mentalist... I'm saying there are way better mentalists out there. Luke Jermay, Keith Barry, Richard Osterlind, Gary Kurtz, Max Maven, David Berglas and Derren Brown just from the top of my head.

Peter Turner is standing in their shadows.

I have seen his Penguin lecture; the effects were lame... I'm sorry to say so. It would pass off as an "okay" performance but not stick out as something wonderful as Derren Brown does.

You could argue in his defense that it is not the tricks that make Peter Turner. It's the meaning he puts into them. His endless talking to make the trick meaningful and personal. In my humble opinion the tricks should do that themselves.

One of the better arguments of fan boys is that I am not able to judge good mentalism, as I'm not a mentalist myself. I have a magic background. And that is true. The same way a person who is not a painter cannot judge good art. And a person who cannot play music cannot judge good music. Well I can say what I like. And I don't like Peter Turner's work so far.

So let me extend my initial question. What's up with Peter Turner and his fan base?

Friday, June 20, 2014

WMF John Harrower

Ever heard of magician John Harrower? He is from Tillicoultry which is a town in Scottland North East of Glasgow. He also advertises as John King. An interesting side note: if you compare the two websites you will see an interesting hair situation. But this is besides the point I'm trying to make.

John made a recent Facebook post on the group he runs. Worldmagicnetwork! The group has three basic rules. Rule number three: Don't be a dick! A rule that doesn't seem to apply to John.
Let me quote his post: "Hi guys, I've been thinking about updating my kids act. Trying to educate them on the realities of history as well as show them fantastic magic tricks and magic in history. Would love to hear your thoughts. In any case, the theme I've decided on is the holocaust.
I'll perform magic tricks with a story to them and at the same time, educate kids on some of the mysterious facts surrounding what we've been told about it. I'll use magic to illustrate that things that we know now and in history are not always what they seem to be. For example, when I produce something from nothing, I'll point out similarly there were only 5 and a half million jews in pre-war europe, millions survived yet 6 million of them were killed by Nazis. Where did those extra jews magically appear from?!
When I a vanish of a small object such as a card or a ball, I'll point out that whilst its easy to vanish small objects, somehow traces of the permanent Zycon B residue from mass gassings were not found in 2009 forensic testing of the supposed 'gas chambers'. And similarly other things disappeared for example no mass graves, piles of human ashes or documents linking the Germans to the mass extermination of the jews have ever been found either!
I'll also inform the kids of other impossibilities surrounding the holocaust such as it taking around 8 hours to fully cremate a body and the Germans only had 15 single-body crematorium ovens but somehow they manage to burned at least 2500+ bodies on a daily basis! Now that's real historical magic!"
I read and re-read that post. Over and over. Being a German I have a thing or two to say. Like the last bit he said. Claiming that the Germans only had 15 single-body crematoriums. I've been to concentration camps. I've seen the ovens in person. I've been in the rooms where thousands of people have been living. I've been in the corridors where they had been shot. I've seen the bullet holes in the walls. Far more than 15 ovens.

I've been to Berlin, where they collected tons of documents. Tons.... I've seen the orders... I can read them. They are in German. I've been confronted with a very dark time of German history. And not just indirectly. My great grand mother died a few years ago. At the age of 101. She never was a person to look up to. They way she talked about anybody but her family made it clear on what side she stood during those times. And even she confirmed the holocaust. There is no talking it away. There is no denying it. And denying it is among the worst things one can do. So bad in fact that here in Germany it is a crime to do so.

Naturally John's opinion met people who oppose it. So the usual "dickhead" post followed. So John backed away from his initial post:
"The thing is, on WMN, I deliberately act up to being a villain character all the time and I thought that my posts earlier were quite obviously said tongue-in-cheek that I thought that everyone would have picked up on that. Does anyone seriously think that I was being sincere when I said that I was going to do kids shows.. and kids shows dressed as hitler!? Come on!
As for the 'real me', I don't actually claim to know what did or didn't happen in the concentration camps as I wasn't there. Ive heard both the 'David Irving' argument and the 'Official' argument but I side with neither as I have no way to truly distinguish between historical fact and propaganda."

At first it seems like an appeal to ignorance, but this is not the case. John clearly knows the facts. He just heard different opinions and doesn't know what to make of it. This is not an argument from ignorance, it is an argument of bullshit.

Normally this sort of stuff is not what I would post on this blog. John clearly fails, but not as a magician, but as a human being. And those cases I try not bring up here. But his failing clearly is taking a shit on the already soiled image of magic.

Unless... he is a genius.

Of course he must be kidding. A sick and sad joke. He cannot be serious.

Nobody is that fucking stupid!
Nobody!

Teaser

What does kids magic and the holocaust have in common?

Stay Tuned!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Layman Mode Activated

I suggest you try it regularly, when seeing magic. Turn on your layman mode! What is that you ask? Well simply forget all you know about actual methods and magic. All you know about it comes from movies and what others tell you.

Then look at this:



and perhaps this:



Did you get it? If you are smart it means you got it. If you are a dumb retard let me spell it out for you.

IT'S IN THE SLEEVES!

Let's switch into magician mode. Of course it is not in the sleeves. The method is different in each case, but switching back to layman mode: Of course it is in the sleeves. Why else are they down. If he wouldn't put it in the sleeves, the sleeves would be all the way up to show that the sleeves are not used.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Episode 11 "Razor's Edge"



Click here for a more detailed review

As usual if you have something you want reviewed, then let me know. Are you a creator of a cool magic trick and you want and honest review? Do you have some weird prop lying around and you want people to know about it? Shoot me an email! I will review everything I get.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Who the hell is Peter Turner?

This is about mentalist Peter Turner, not about magician Pete Turner. Please keep that in mind when reading.


I somehow missed that guy. According to the Green Monster is the Messiahs of mentalism. So I checked him out via Youtube. What I found was a guy who is talking, and talking, and talking, and talking and doing fairly weak effects. What did I miss? Did I he do anything that is the new thing on the mental horizon?

There is this Question and Answer video out there, that has Peter Turner basically bullshitting for 90 minutes. I listened to all of it. It was long.... way too long. Peter Turner was repeating the same darn point over and over again and added nothing of value. He demonstrated an effect that I am like 95% sure was stooged all the way.

Also he has an ebook out for 500 bucks.... (AN EBOOK, no physical copy!)

So what is up with him?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Wanna see a sad, sad video?

Charlotte Pendragon doing the Metamorphosis in the Forever Alone version. Going through all the moves as if there was a second person. Sad! But somehow deservedly satisfying to watch!


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Be on time!

This is more of a general rant, but it applies to magicians as well. Why can't be people on time? Seriously. Always there is a delay.

Let's back up a bit. I've been to many appointments in my life. Some I set up, some have been set up by others. I tend to be punctual. Really punctual. It's kind of my thing. However it seems to be not the thing of the majority of people. In certain situation this is of little consequence. Like meeting up with friends. No big deal, you just wait 5 more minutes until the other one arrives. But in some situations arriving on time is crucial. Neither because everything would come to a grinding halt if one is not on time, nor because people are forced to wait. No it is because people think less of you and you come across as extremely unprofessional.

Magic related example. Two magicians were booked to this pretty big corporate gig. Walk around magic. I was one of the two. I was on time. I spoke to the manager who explained what he wanted and all of usual. My "co-worker" whom I've never met until that point wasn't there during the meeting. He was stuck in traffic, according to his story.

It made even me look unprofessional, as it made magicians look unprofessional.

Well stuck in traffic, that can happen to anyone I hear you say? Yes! That is why you take that into consideration when you make up your schedule and leave earlier.

He finally arrived, just in the nick of time, as the event was about to begin. So I briefed that magician. I watched him work (that little time that I had) and he was really good. Really good. He put me to shame. Yet the follow up gig - and there always is a follow up gig - I was booked instead of him. I wonder why! My fee wasn't lower than his.

I guess this constant struggle with time comes from the inability to assume the correct duration of any given action while planning.

Crossing the street, just to the next stop light, then passing the street and going into the bakery. I actually measured the time it takes me to do that. Amazing 60 seconds, what seems like a 10 second thing. I actually asked a few of my friends what they assume the time would be for the same thing. And they all said half a minute or so. They were off by 50%....

I sound like a freaking obsessive freak here. In a way I am. But if such a simple task as crossing the street is grossly misjudged, then how much of a discrepancy happens when planning a trip to a gig and arriving at an agreed upon time?

If you struggle with being on time I have a tip. Estimate how much time you need, then add 50%. If you think the trip will take an hour, then it will take 90 minutes.

Rant over.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Overblown

What is up with those trailers nowadays?



The music is way too much. Explain yourself!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

To all ye old folk who do ye olde Card Rise from the block!

Consider the idea a gift. Force anything, then pretend to draw. Turn over the wrong image and then add details to make a "smart phone" out of it. Then wipe a bit around to prove it is fully functional and then pull up the screen with the correct forced item.

And then rip off the sheet proving that it is just a drawing and let them keep the paper. Part of the result could also be your phone number!

Just saying!

No need to thank me!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Your own spin!

Maybe last post came across as me thinking that the failure lies with not crediting the creator of the magic trick. No! In a performance you don't credit the creators. The performance is about you.

However... if you do any TV work, or any work actually, I think you need to do your own material. It's okay to use classics but you better put your own spin on it. And making it your own doesn't mean it is your own thing, when you perform it.

And in that regard many fail. Here is my theory: If you see someones routine that is for sale. And you can imagine doing that routine yourself without any changes, then your character is either undefined or very, very bland.

Changes have to happen. Be it premise, plot, patter or method!

And just in case you have a problem figuring out what the four things mean:

  • A premise is an assumption that something is true. For example: Coins can be hung in the air invisibly on sky hooks.
  • A plot is what happens, within the premise that is set up. For example: one coin will be hung on the right, one on the left side. Then they are picked up again and become visible again.
  • Patter is what you say. Preferably it states why you are doing it. For example: "Hanging them there is the best way to protect yourself from thievery!"
  • Method is the thing that magicians are obsessed with.
So if you change the color of the handkerchief you vanish from red to blue, you are not changing any of the four points, ergo you change nothing of value. 

Changing the premise can often do great things about a routine. Maybe the cards are not switched, but change into one another. If that is the premise, an ambitious card becomes a totally different trick. As the card does not jump to the top, but the top card will turn into the spectators card. For whatever reasons.

Changing the plot does change everything up as well. Imagine the card not going to the top every time, but instead it sinks to the bottom and eventually even further down through the table. Just changing the direction of the effect logically dictated the climax. So it is no longer an ambitious card, but maybe a shy card....

That brings us to the change of patter. What if the card really is shy. And tries to get away. "You signed the card, that makes the card feel embarrassed a bit. The card tries to get away."

And finally changing the method is what magicians love to do most. So instead of a DL as the main modus operandi we use the glide.... wow, what an accomplishment!

Of course whatever element you change you change to fit your character. And that requires to have a defined character to begin with.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Deflect by Skulkor

Skulkor has releases Deflect. I saw the trailer. My initial thought: "What the hell is that thing? Bullshit!" and I thought I was done with it.



Turns out the WPR gives that a high rating. My second thought: "Well it's WPR, both guys are magicians who have no concept of good magic!" and I thought I was done with it.

At the Green Monster "This looks awesome.", "This has me curious."

Are you guys retarded or what? This is shit. Seriously! Try to follow my train of thought! So you have a card box and a marker. Alright, so write something on the box? Really? How the hell do these objects relate to one another? Not at all!

The effect (something written changes) is good in itself, as the effect could lend to meaningful magic. But no, it is yet another card thing. This has no reason to be. Why not write the gibberish on a business card and then change that to the correct prediction? Oh yeah, because of the method. That doesn't fucking matter. So let me give you the inner monologue the magician has to go through:

"So you picked a card, let me write down the name of your card. Let's see, what could I possibly use as a surface to write on? Oh yeah, this box of cards is great. How about writing it on the narrow side, so it is only visible for just a few people? Yeah that's great. It's not like I got the option of writing on the bigger side of the box, or on some cards, or business cards, or not at all."

Can you see it now? Probably not, because you are retarded. You got Skulkor-Syndrome. Let me explain. When you see a trick and you are fooled, you instantly think it is great and good and the second coming of Dai Vernon. If it uses props you already use you come instantly and spurt your magic sauce all over the Internet, by posting stuff like "I ordered it and it shipped". The cause for Skulkor-Syndrome is kinda unknown. Research suggests, that not being a worker will cause it.

Let me get serious for a moment: I don't see this going into the repertoire of working magicians. They can do stronger stuff and more logical stuff without even breaking a sweat. Since whatever the gibberish turns into is forced anyway, you can actually prepare some business cards and have them stacked in your stock of business cards.

So here is a possible trick, just to get this post a bit more on the constructive side. Draw animals on the back of some of your business cards. Common animals that are likely to be named. Have them in a known order on the bottom of the stock. The bottom card is a "general animal".

Get out business cards. Show the top few and don't make a big deal of it. Turn the stock around so the backside is towards yourself. Ask a few to think of an animal. Pretend to read their minds and pretend to draw. Put the business card with the "general animal" on the table or a spectators hand with the drawing side down. Have the animal named, and instantly cull the correct one to the bottom of the stack you are holding. Ask them to turn over the prediction. Let the gag play out and then take back the card "I'm not a great artist, but I am right, I swear!" place the card on the bottom of the stack and you are basically ready for any double lift based change. And you have a business card to hand out.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

How to actually get things done PART IX

So how do you run a close up magic theater? There are tons of little things. Like cleaning the rooms, the toilet, the outside. Keeping the window nice and clean, making sure to have enough drinks, toilet paper and tickets. Keeping the stock of take away flyers up to date and so on. Tons of things.... so where to start. First let's talk about Location.

I live in Kiel. A city in the very North of Germany. The theater however is in Lübeck, a city 80 kilometers more to the south. That is about 50 miles for those few readers who live in a country with no superior metric system. So whenever there is a "theater day" we drive down there and back. And the reason is simple. Kiel is ugly as Hell. Nope, Hell is actually much, much beautiful. Kiel has been a nice city in the past, but then WWII came and went and left a bomb crater. So they build all sorts of buildings after 1945. With no thinking about looks and design. The result is a mess.

Lübeck however was spared a bombing (for the most part) so it still looks old and cool. Walking along those narrow streets gives you a feeling of nostalgia and belonging. It's weird. The city's roots date back to 748. Yep that old. So there is history and somehow a magic vibe is in the air. Also lots of tourists and the fact that the old city center is on an island.

It is in close proximity to Hamburg and two federal subdivisions, enlarging the pool of possible guests. So we knew very early on that the city we wanted was Lübeck. We also knew we wanted a place in the old city center on the island. Best would be a prestigious street. And yeah we got that. Even if it means we have to drive more than 300 kilometers per week.

It took us over two years to get the location. Some where not on the main streets, some way too expensive, some way too small and some other... we would have had way too much to renovate.

The place we got used to be a gallery, before that a tailor, before that a shoemaker, before that a spinning works and everything before that is lost in history. The building itself is relatively young. About 300 years old. It has been rebuild 150 years ago. But the cellar is still in the original condition. The cellar is connected to some tunneling network, that has been used to smuggle stuff. Pretty cool. But those tunnels are now used for waste water disposal.

There is way more to tell about the place, but let's talk about the next big issue. The price of the tickets and all of the other stuff.

More in Part X

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

How to actually get things done PART VIII

After the Cups and Balls I do my trailer bit, which I wrote about earlier. After that follow the second part of the prediction. I get out a box, clearly labelled "end time generator" And from the box I dump out a few cards. Blank cards, but on each there is a scenario written and drawn on. "Zombies", "Godzilla", "Global Warming", "Nuclear Winter", "Kraken", "Robots", "The Grim Reaper", "Aliens", "Boredom", "Sun Exploding", "Mutation", "Comet", "Volcanic Eruption" and many more.... The spectator/prophet "chooses" one. The method of our demise is then noted.

Then it is time to open the envelope I gave to the spectator earlier. It is opened and two pieces of folded paper fall out. First one is picked up by the spectator and opened. It openly predicts the method. Then the other piece of paper is opened up and inside written with big marker the freely chosen date of the doomsday.

This gets a strong reaction. Especially compared to all the magic they have see. It connects the first part of the show with the second part and makes the whole thing tied together in a way that the audience perceives the show not as a bunch of tricks string together, but as a whole construct.

Earlier I told the audience about the stages of magic, claiming that mentalism is the highest stage. Now we are logically there. It feels like the show has been building up to that. Give the audience a nice round feel. I continue this by doing a little bit of even more mentalism, which is totally hands off. A great contrast to the previous stuff.

This contrast has a few reasons to be there. First: It is a contrast, therefore more memorable. Second: It enhances my character, makes the audience feel that there is more than all the finger flicking. Third: It varies the act, giving people who expected mentalism said mentalism.

Then follows the the book test which finishes the show. It's strong, it has great jokes and leaves the audience with a bit of real mystery, as it cannot be explained by "dexterity".

Then comes the encore piece with the finger and the rabbit, which I described earlier. It's a pure comedy piece, designed to tie up all the loose ends. It is great in the end, because I could not follow up the book test with an even stronger piece of magic/mentalism. Because if I did, why the hell is it not in the show?

So that is my main "comedy" show. It's full of magic and surprises. But let's not talk about that show anymore and focus more on the business aspect of running a small theater. How does the booking work, the calculation of the ticket prices, what about taxes, drinks, snacks, wardrobe and all of the other stuff that has very little to do with the magic?

More in Part IX

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Remember Mentalism Peyman?

Of course you do, being a faithful reader and such. If not, let me get you up to date:

Mentalism Peyman is a self proclaimed mentalist and illusionist, selling tricks and ripping off copyrighted material. Just follow the link and see the wonderful videos that back up my point.

I almost forgot about him, until I got a newsletter by a German magic dealer who advertises a product that features said wannabe performer with the charismatic aura and confused look of a guinea pig that has been thrown against a brick wall.

It's a levitation called Power Levitiation 1. And as expected it looks like shit, but that is just my personal opinion. But see for yourself! This is official demo video:

Think about it! This gem in levitation system costs more than 2000 dollars, but they cannot invest in a proper video? Hell, even HD? This gives you a little bit of a clue how much the costumer is valued. And btw. It looks hella uncomfortable for the person levitating. If I would be bending backwards like that I would be in pain. This version is even worse:



It always feels like magic is used for even less than base motifs.

Friday, May 2, 2014

How to actually get things done PART VII

The first part of the show had this running gag of a bill getting bigger and bigger. That was a trick that connected the tricks. In the second part of the show the running theme is the supposed selling of a new magic prop, called "The Thing".

The Thing is great. It can teleport, copy, transmogrify and all sorts of things. It is made up of a phoenix feather, parts of the true death star, was forged in Mount Doom and runs on three triple A batteries.

I tell the story of the four stages of magic. It starts with the magic kit stage. Then follows the library stage (nowadays substituted by the YouTube stage), then the actual practice stage, followed by the oh so esoteric mentalism stage. (thereby foreshadowing the end of the show) But now we can go back to the magic kit stage as The Thing does all the work. What work? let me show you!

Then I move into my sponge ball routine. Which is very basic actually. It ends in a classic way. A ball travels from one hand to the spectators hand. The only difference... the hand that the ball vanishes from is NOT my own hand. It's a spectator's hand. Yes, after I placed "ONE" ball in the spectators hand I pick up the remaining ball and fake placing it into another spectators hand, who is instant stooged to play along. That stooge still gets a magic moment as he/she has no idea how the ball ends up in the second spectators hand. I've never seen anybody do that and I claim ownership of that with the end of this sentence. *insertevillaughhere*

The actual magic phase is done using TheThing. Which is hilarious. The fart sounds bring down the level so low, that the actual magic hits so much harder in contrast. People dig that. This just highlights the before mentioned "teleportation" function. "And you can get that too, for just 24,95 €"

Next would be the "copy" function... which leads into the Ring in the box routine. It has all sorts of jokes, but the basic premise is, that I borrow a ring claiming I can make a copy of it. And it works, but in the process the original ring gets lost. The spectator gets to choose between the cheap copy or the box "that contains the wonders of the universe" Once they go for the box, the ring transforms into the key, that is needed to open the box. Inside they find the ring. It's a solid routine that I have done for many, many years. "Mind you that the copy function worked perfectly, it is that the original got lost. So you can get The Thing for just 24,95 € we sell then after the show!" That last line, aside from being serves a purpose, which will become clear in a moment.

Then the card trick. I won't go into detail, as it is not my routine, but here is premise. The Thing can actually prep a spectator to not being able to do a mistake. To proof that wondrous claim a card trick is done. Card is picked, then lost. The spectator himself find the card using dice. It is an extremely powerful routine and it is self working yeah.... after that trick I do that line "Now imagine we use The Thing in the context of getting lottery numbers.... Oh yeah we sell this.... for 24,95 €.... as well as gift certificates." Now you see what this has been leading up to. Some advertisement, reminding the audience that they could actually buy gift certificates for friends and family. It's a pretty cheesy reminder, but in a funny context. And why not? People are having fun at that point... and now they mentally connect the idea of a possible gift certificate with the fun they are having. As a matter of fact we do sell gift certificates after the show and we sell way more than the time I didn't use the line.

Following, the Cups and Balls, as a final proof of The Thing. This time teleportation, copying and transmogrification will be combined in one great demonstration. I do the entire routine, ending with four steel balls from two cups and close with the following line: "I told you in the beginning that this trick is old. And in the past it used to be done on the street. Right after the show the performer would go through the crowd selling all sorts of wondrous gadgets for the cheap, cheap price of 24,95!" which gets a laugh "Not today, you get a fifth ball" as I lift the cup again and reveal yet another load, but way to big to actually fit in the cup. This feels like whipping up the applause even more.

Now we are moving closer and closer to the end!

More in Part VIII

Thursday, May 1, 2014

How to actually get things done PART VI

The second part of the show is structured around a prop. I call it "The Thing"... no not the Bill Abbott product. Basically it's a gadget gun from a toy store. It makes fart sounds. But that is secondary.

Oh I forgot to mention. Part of the Doc Eason routine that ended the first part is patter that consists of all puns. And prior to that I say that there a three types of humor. Way up would be the intelligent situational humor, then way, way lower would be TV comedy and then even lower would be puns.... "And if you had to add an even lower one it would be fart humor."

Then follows the pun routine. Back to the second part of the show: As soon as the fart gun makes the fart sounds you can see the merry go round of themes. But how is the gun being used? Well like a magic wand. But first here are the tricks:

Warm Up
Sponge Balls
Ring to Box
Finding a Card using Dice
The Cups and Balls
ADVERTISEMENT
THE TRAILER
The second part of the Prediction about the End of the World
A little bit of Mentalism
A Book Test
Encore

As you can see two things are a little bit weird. Advertisement? A Trailer?

Yeah before I go on with the show itself let me explain both things. I never see any theater doing this, sometimes comedy clubs do this. I tell my audience, that if they like the show they can help us out by writing something in our guest book, liking us on Facebook and telling their friends about it. I do all of that with some funny patter, but with a sense of seriousness. This is direct marketing. And this usually is not part of an act. But I run a business here, so I do that bit. And it works well. Well all know that word of mouth is the best advertisement you can have. It's free and full of "testimonials". Think about it. At that point in the show people like me already, they would gladly help to let me continue. They are having fun, and they are about to have some more fun. And in the middle of that some advertisement. It's perfect timing.

And then the trailer. This I have not seen anybody do, but I think it solves so many issues at once. Let me tell you what it is first. The trailer is a trick from the other shows. First: it redeems me doing that advertisement. Second: it creates real interest about the other shows they are missing. Third: It feels like they are getting a bonus, more than they paid for, which is always good. Fourth: It makes the show longer without doing any actual work. Fifth: In theory it is bad to have duplicate tricks in different shows. But here I get to show a highlight from the other show, giving them a strong piece of magic that actually is a duplicate and there is a reason to do it. Sixth: It expands on my character. It tells the audience, that there is more to me than just this flavor of a show.

Back to the fart gun!

More in Part VII

Monday, April 28, 2014

Death is a Party Pooper

Yesterday I was doing a spring festival gig for a car company (don't ask). Lot's of entertainment stuff was booked. Among riding donkeys and live music there was a magician. Me! So I did my usual stuff, coins, cards, finishing with the Cups and Balls. Not big shows, but something quick for all the people strolling about.

So this old man is looking at me doing some coin magic. Then he wonders of. Five minutes later an announcement was heard that a doctor should come quick. Somebody has fallen down, it is serious. Turns out that old man fell over and hit his head on the ground. He was dead when they found him. Getting from the point of the accident to the place where the mike is took about two minutes. And from the place where I was doing my magic to the place the old man died took about one minute. So within that time frame he fell and died.

Every act that was to follow was cancelled. Still the festival went on. Most people were blissfully unaware of what had happened. To them an old man fell and then the ambulance arrived. Nobody knew who he was.

As I was driving back home I was thinking. Pretty much the last thing he saw was a magician doing coin magic. And I suddenly wished I made my magic more meaningful. It could be the last thing somebody sees. And if so, wouldn't it be much better if the act was really, really good?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

At least I had a laugh



Jack Moyer finally being searched for by something worse than police and law. The media!

The odd thing about this is the following: Aaron Harp does a trick near the end. With sharpies.
It looks a lot like the Color Match trick by Promystic. Exept that it is not. Make of that what you will.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How to actually get things done PART V

So I get the 20-Euro bill and then hand it to some other spectator. He has to do the magic now. I turn on the lighter "Before we do this, please remember that the flame of a lighter is as hot as a fire place. So don't burn yourself. And don't burn the bill either, otherwise you will get into trouble with him" pointing to the spectator who owns the bill.

The bill is passed through the fire twice, but nothing happens. No change to a 50. "That's odd?" as I unfold the bill and it turns out it is a mismade 20-Euro bill. "Oh my, that's a mess. But here, look, all the parts are there! here and here and over here. Check out the bill make sure it's legal tender in an illegal state." The bill is examined. "Let me go back a little, sorry about that!" I take back the bill and hold the lighter back under the bill. As it is unfolded it is now the original 5-Euro bill from the beginning. "This doesn't get better. I went back a little too far. But see it this way. You have as much money as you started with, but you feel a lot worse." I straighten the bill a bit and add: "If that was real magic, you could keep it" then hand it back.

This gets applause and laughs. "Buy yourself something nice during the break."

So you see the function of that magic running gag. It give the first part of the show some closure. Yet I've set up several threads that will lead into the very end of the show.

Then a 15 minute break takes place, where the people leave the room. This gives me enough time to reset the first part of the show, get some secret stuff done and to prep for part two. And to get a drink and to clean up the room a bit.

Then it is time for part two.

Which is follows in Part VI

Saturday, April 19, 2014

How to actually get things done PART IV

Right after the rabbit story I come back to the cards starting the second card block, which is the multiple card selection/ Truimph routine. After that I ask the spectator with the 10-Euro bill, if he/she wants to have a 20-Euro bill. People usually expect me to revert it back to the 5 that we started with. But it actually turns into the 20-Euro bill. "If that was real magic, you could keep it" that line gets repeated. 

Imagine the reaction. It feels like it is building up to something, but you are so unsure about it.

Now we are nearing the end of the first part. So I wondered if there is an element that can eventually carry over to the next part of the show after the break. It took me a while to figure it out. Mentalism seemed like the way to go. What if I handed a spectator an envelope with a prediction asking him to hold on to this until the very end of the show? I liked that. But what could be predicted?

The outcome of a trick, a prediction of the person's clothing? It all depended on the method. If I would switch out what's inside then anything could go, but then again there would would be a lot of heat on that. If I force whatever is inside it would weaken the impact, as the process of the selection would be a process... So I was thinking. And with the help of some friends we deceided on the best of both worlds. Part of it would be switched out and part of it would be forced in the second part of the show.

So this is a case of working out the trick starting from the method. So I needed a prediction that would have two things about it. I realized that most predictions in mentalism are incredibly mondane. So I finally decided to go all goofy. I decided to predict the end of the world.

I would declare the bearer of the envelope a prophet and would ask him when he thinks the world would end, taking all of us with it. And that is funny. Imagine the room. This guy giving us a year. So I would write down the year, openly and then the month and the day. I do a joke on each element. "A thousand years from now? So you are on the safe side. You don't wanna be one of those lunatics who are wrong in their life time.... good call!" "In September? Good, we can all go the beach at least." And so on. 

So the process of writing down the information would be a fun one. "Now here is the hardest part of being a prophet... you will be approached during the break. Everyone wants you to open the envelope. But you say no! Because you can. So what do you say?" "No!" "Right.... and if I approach you during the break with a suitcase full of money, what will you say?" You can see that there is comedy potential.

Yeah I almost forgot, it is a comedy show!

Then I end the first part of the show with Doc Eason's Opener with the nuts and bolts. It is a great little routine. Check it out.... However there is just one more bit before everybody leaves the room.

"Hey you with the 20.... Want a 50-Euro bill?"

More in Part V

Friday, April 18, 2014

How to actually get things done PART III

After having one 3rd of the 90 minutes show being cards I had to add way more non card material. For years I have done a certain rope routine that heavily borrows from Francis Tabary and George Sands. I also had this Ring and Rope routine. It was a nice match up. I knew both would be my opener. But I realized that it may got to the magic too quickly. This is strong stuff after all. I needed some luring in. And then I was reminded of my old days of me doing ball manipulation. A quick one ball routine would do it I guessed. So I got me some bounce no bounce balls and went for it. A ball bounces then doesn't. Then the ball gets tossed in the air a few times and then vanishes. A quick sequence of the ball being placed in the pocket and then coming back a few times followed by a color change. After that the rope act and then cards already?

It still felt too rushed to get to the cards. So was thinking.... this was the perfect time to include a running gag that may get resolved at the end of the first part of the show. Then it struck me. Money! If I would borrow a 5-Euro bill and then transform it into a 10-Euro bill and then give that 10-Euro bill back to the spectator that would keep things a bit unresolved. Why would the magician give out money? I liked that. As I could go back to that and then borrow the 10-Euro bill again and turn it into a 20, then a 50 perhaps.... and always giving it back to the spectator. That would indeed be a magical running gag. So that is what I went for.

And it plays great. "Does anybody have a 5-Euro bill for me. I'm gonna do a trick that makes sense for a change." then I would do the transformation "If that was real magic, you would be allowed to keep it" after a brief moment of hesitant wait I would give it to the spectator "Keep it, it's yours!" suddenly there was a emotional reaction that was worth exploring. "Yeah and all of you others... now you wish you had given me the 5-Euro bill I asked for!" That got such a great laugh so I kept it in the act.

And now I would transition into the card bit with the Chicago Opener and the kings.

Then coins! I have a rather lengthy 3 coin routine, that I split up and part of it made it into the act. It ends with the three coins going under the playing card that was remaining from the last bit. Then I would tear up the card and three quarters of the card would turn into three more coins. With the six coins I would do my coin thief routine, which ends in a transposition of a coin in the spectators hand.

So far the show has been non stop magic. I felt it was too much in a way. The audience needed a break. Then I turned back to my initial idea pool. The history of magic... Wouldn't a magic story give the audience some time to recover? I thought so, so I tell the story of Mary Toft and how she gave supposed birth to 17 rabbits, leading eventually to the rabbit from the hat trick. Then I would explain why I wouldn't do the trick, as rabbits are way too big to fit in a hat and that people believe anyway that magicians do that trick all the time. So there is no need to do it. As some sort of compensation I would do another little bit that deals with birth, death and animals, and the best part people can do this at home. What follows is the famous towel chicken. But mine would lay an egg in the end.

The story had one problem: People still expected me to produce a rabbit now. And then it struck me! What if I would keep that thread loose. And only tie it back together at the very end of the show. And then a few more ideas followed leading into the actual ending I have now.

It's a bit hard to explain. So hear me out. During the entire show I have some bits that feel unresolved and then I drop them. For instance: I tell the audience that there is one specific type of spectator that is the worst. The person not wanting to know how the trick works. No even in the slightest. For those spectators you could do the bit with the fingers jumping from hand to hand and they would enjoy that: "And doing finger magic is the lowest form of entertainment. Whoever enjoys that must really be out of his mind!" This line is important.

In the end, after the last trick I would announce the fact that the show has now come to the end. The scream for an encore always happens. Then I roll my eyes saying "Alright, we'll do it, we do the rabbit from the hat." You cannot believe how things fall into place after the line.

Then I do my routine with my fingers representing a rabbit that would do all sorts of tricks... It's not magic but it ties up all the loose ends. And "whoever enjoys that must really be out of his mind!"

So what about the money thing? Will the spectator get to keep it?

Feels unresolved doesn't it?

More in Part IV

Thursday, April 17, 2014

How to actually get things done PART II

Before I go on: Big thanks to my girlfriend as she is actually the one who pushed me into doing the theater thing. It was a long dream of mine and she forced me to do it. If there was one thing hindering me from doing it the most it would be the initial steps. Finding a location, planning, getting the inventory like tables and chairs, registering the business at the public authorities and so on. She did all of that, so I could concentrate on the magic shows itself. Otherwise it would have taken a lot longer. Back to the magic...

So I deceided to do a comedy magic show and the show about the perception and deception. I knew that the later would take way more effort to put together so I kept the first one very light.

The first show basically was my close up/stage set that I did for years. Rope, cups and balls, sponge balls some card tricks, some coin tricks, something with a finger ring and so one. The first thing I did was to put the stuff in order. From weakest to stongest. Then I ran into the first problem. I have been doing table hopping for so long, that I realized that even my card tricks were to darn strong. There was no proper build up. And that is totally great for table hopping where you don't have a lot of time to establish anything. But for a theater show.... The tricks got to the point to quickly. I needed to milk time. All the card tricks I had were FASDIU. Then it struck me. It doesn't have to be. It's a controlled situation. I could do an elaborated card set with deck switches and gimmicks and all of that.

And what a Pandora's box I opened with this. The card act now consists of 6 deck switches and is gimmicked to the max. Why? Because I can!

I was asking myself how many card tricks I could put in the 90 minutes show. And I think it was Tim Ellis telling me that 30 minutes split up into three 10 minute sets would be okay. That helped alot.

The first card act as follows: The deck is examined, Chicago Opener, a production of the four kings. A card is selected and turns into the four kings, then turn back into the selection. The selection is signed, and again turns into the four kings. The selection is pull from the inside pocket and then is lost in the pack. The four kings turn into the selection one by one, then revert back to being the kings. As I go for the pocket to reveal that the selection has gone back into the pocket the opposite happens and I pull the four kings from the pocket and in place of the kings in now the selection. Then I repeat the Chicago Opener but this time not the card changes color, but the deck.

It's a lot of stuff happening and keeps people alert.

The second card act: The deck is examined, then I do a slip slop shuffle to mix the cards face up and face down. I claim to righten the deck using the magic tool of misdirection. I pull out a jumbo card and ask a spectator to name any card. Basically I do the 52 card gag. Leaving the jumbo card on the table. Then I show that the deck is now all cards facing in one direction. What follows is a multiple card selection routine. 5 people each stop at a card and remember it. I claim to find all of the cards using different ways. Skill, Magic, Luck, Misdirection and Planning. The first one flies out of the deck, the same card then turns into the second spectator's card. The next one is found reversed in the deck and the next one is under the card case. But then the deck vanishes. I look confused and look at the fifth specator.... then I grab the jumbo card again asking him to tell me his card. The jumbo card is now his selection. The it is revealed where the deck has gone, in the card case of course. Then offer to do that trick again where I shuffled the cards face up and face down, this time without misdirection. And then it's the most clean Triumph I could find. And with clean I mean gimmicked to the max.

Again a lot of stuff happens. The third card set happens after the break. And is basically hands off. I won't go into detail here, as it is not my routine, except for the gags.

After I decided on those big blocks, the rest was just filling.

More in Part III

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How to actually get things done PART I



I run a little theater for well over a year now. A close up theater. I do 3-4 shows a week in addition to the regular bookings. When the project was still in making I knew I had to come up with new material. As the close up material that I had was about 40 minutes. 60 if you you really milked it for time. But I had to come up with two 90 minute shows, that are different from one another in both feel and choice of tricks. So I made a list of possible themes for a close up show. Here are some:

Magic from a Notions Box... tricks with needles, yarn, thimbles, buttons and so on. It was clear very early on that that would not fill 90 minutes.

The History of Magic... tales of magicians of the past and some of their tricks. While I liked the concept and I still do, I knew that this would be a show that is very little magic and a whole lot of talking. It might be interesting to some but a letdown for those expecting a magic show full of magic.

Just a magic comedy show... No running theme, just tricks after tricks and the only thing tying it together was my personality and some running gags. Eventually the show would lead up to a point that has been hinted at the whole time giving the audience a feeling of having seen a whole show instead of just bits strung together.

A show about the Perception and Deception... I would do a trick and then perhaps explain the principle behind it. Not the trick, but how our brain operates and gets fooled. Then in the end I would reveal that everything was a deception from the very beginning, and that people may have come to learn something, but they have not learned anything. It would be revealed that all explanations were fake but then I would have a closing trick to redeem myself for that lie where I would be honest all the way.

I decided on the last two show. That was in early fall of 2012.

More in PART II


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Is it just me,

or is Chris the guy from Magic Geek getting more and more mature? Becoming less and less of a goto reason why magic is bad and taking more and more steps towards being a fully functional human being?

If so: Congrats!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Heritage



So just in case you see this and don't get it:

Gamblers cop the missing Three of Club and then add them to the four other cards you showed to your audience. So it is on the bottom. An indifferent card is dealt by the spectator on the magicians hand. Then a bottom as the whole thing is wrist killed.

Then another bottom and the indifferent card is lost in the pack. Then the whole thing is repeated shouting SWITCH instead of magic.

Why am I spoiling this? BECAUSE DANIEL WANTS ME TO. HE DEMANDS IT!

"The intricacies of deception can only be fully appreciated through exposure."

Aside from that. Is that thing worth an entire 7 dollar download? If so, I got a nifty little trick that uses just one double lift. It's about a lie and a snitch. It uses a joker and has a nice two step reveal and a twist and a kicker. I think you can get more out of my routine, than this piece of lame shit that Madison decided to rehash. If I remember that thing has been out in 2010 already.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

No palming required!

"I was wondering if there was a few methods for doing a card to shoe without a palm."

Wow, why are magicians such pussies when it comes to palming? I get the uneasy feeling. I was afraid too. But like the fear of fire I eventually manage to overcome the fear and learned to respect it instead.

Palming, is not hard to do. But here is a three step program.

Just learn the proper grip and do it. Your hand is like a shield, covering the view. That is the first step. Now learn to control where people look. When they look at your shoe and see a card in there they are not watching your hand. That is the second step. And finally get rid of your guilt. The feeling of hiding something is like some foul smell that people pick up. If you don't feel it, they cannot smell it. And that was the third step.

There are finer point of course, but it will get you started.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Yeah I did it!

I went to a magic show, stood in line for half an hour, was seated far away from the act and did not, I repeat, I did not play with a deck of cards. Even though I had it in my pocket.

I deserve a god damn nobel price for that achievment. And I knew there were other magicians out there. As I heard the passes from across the room.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Kinda Sickening




Over the last few months I have bought several magic collections of magicians that have passed away. All the sets had one thing in common. A disturbing thing. Playing cards with nude images. Some much more explicit then others.

The set in the picture is harmless compared to what I got.

Explain!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Brain Bushwood is an Asshole!

"Okay, what's he done now" you're asking! Well Scam School of course. So he exposed the Grands "Million Dollar"-bill mystery from the Tarbell books. "So what?" I hear you saying. "We have come to accept that this little turd reveals magic principles that he didn't come up with." I tell you this:

HE REVEALS STUFF HE DIDN'T COME UP WITH!. He has no permission to reveal it to the masses. That fucktard didn't even change a bloody thing about it.

Look Mr. Brushwood. You are free to spoil any magic you created. If it builds of the the creativity and genuis of others so be it. But do not, DO NOT, reveal it for the sake of revealing it.
I really don't know how much pressure is really is to come up with new material for a regular show. But if it forces you to fuck magic in the ass. A craft you seem to love, then you have gone too far.
I really have no idea how you justify this! I really would like to know.

I'm going ape shit here, because I do have this particular trick in my act. And I think it is one of those cool little gems that is so great, because it is so great on going around the intuitive solution. This is good magic. And you fucked it all. In the ass. Anal rapist Brushwood.

The thing is. You have a likable personality. You may even be the nicest guy around. But you are not doing magic a favour by doing what you do.

I saw a long stage show of yours on frauds and fakes. That was good. You spoilt nothing, yet you managed to entertain. But this recent outburst of exposure of yours is no better than the Masked Magician.

Asshole!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Not that hard!

Magicians, man up!

Start making decision that make you look like a real man.
You are wearing a jacket, a shirt and a tie... you're half way there.

Now get rid of the Jeans and become an adult who wears trousers and not just pants!

Leave the boy with all the toys at home. Let the man with the magic become you!




Aside from that... a really good coin trick! I love the premise and the method. Straight forward and to the point. Strong and cool. I love that!

But the sleeves need to be up!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Why? Why Shin Lim, why?

Didn't we do this one already? Nope this is new.

Shin Lim, has a trick out called "The Switch". Here is a brief description from the horse's mouth:

From the creative mind of Shin Lim: THE SWITCH is the cleanest way to switch a folded card for a spectators signed card.
Imagine placing a Mystery card on a table, in someone's hand, in a clear box, well... anywhere. This is done in full view of the audience. You then have a another spectator select a random card and sign it. On your command you cause their sign car to vanish completely from the deck. The spectator is asked to open her hands, the mystery card that the spectators has been holding the entire time is opened. It is the signed selection!

THE SWITCH is the cleanest way to switch a card because there are no boxes, no envelopes, etc. Words cannot describe how clean the switch actually is.
And now the video:


I assume this gets deleted so here are the main bits: The folded mystery card is placed under a spectators hand and another spectator is handed the deck, so he can choose a card freely. That card is the Eight of Diamonds. Then the same spectator is given a pen to sign the card. Then a cut and we see the card being signed.... well not really, we see the pen moving, but not the actual signature. Only when the signature is finished the card is show bearing said signature. (this will become important) With no further cuts the card is placed in the pack in an outjogged position. What follows APPEARS to be the DB spread control, a bottom palm, a mercury fold, a palm and then the mystery card is unfolded to reveal to be the signed selection.

Appears is the word of choice here, as all these steps are faked. Let's compare the signed selection and the mystery card in the end:


They look very close to each other... Well just to make sure I put both images into Gimp and placed one image over the other, adjusted angle and size, then I changed the transparency of the top picture back and forth to compare the two cards.

Do you see that little bow? No, well here it is:
It is different. Ergo it is a different card. (also the end of the line and the cuve of the "J")

So if he uses a different card, that means the whole control, the palm and the fold are faked too. And that is hilarious. I took a look at the control in the video and there is no finger movement at all. And there should be some. Little, but some.

It also means the card was not signed in the shot. The signing was faked as well. Probably with a pen that doesn't write.

But here is the question: WHY? Seriously... Why. Only that the card on the table can be picked up more cleanly then it could be done in real life? Hardly, as the routine could be done for real and it wouldn't look much different.

WHY?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Did you ever notice...

...that there is no "rule" for laypeople how to applaud during a magic act? With songs it's easy. After each song there is applause. Same goes for speeches.

But magic? Sometimes it is clear when to applaud. But a multi phased rope routine?

Take a look at the following aspirant of magic. I'm not commenting on the act at all. Just listen to the audience. You can feel their desperation to have some indicator on when to clap and when not.



See the dilemma? Good! Now there are a few ways to get around this.

The first way would be not to care about applause. That way you don't need to indicate anything. But this let's the audience in a weird state. Like in a sitcom without the canned laughter. "The Office" is a good example. It forces people to make up their mind, if the scene is funny or not. In magic this would translate the same. The audience would be forced to think for themselves if the trick deserves applause or not. And therein lies a flaw. Most often the audience has no frame of reference to evaluate the seen magic.

The second way is the obvious applause cue. Usually spread arms and a slight indication to a bow. That works well in any stage setting. A good routine is constructed to end up in applause cue. However in a close up setting this is not advised. A mere "Thank You!" will suffice. However this could become tiresome after only a short while. So the audience needs to be conditioned. So by all means, tell your audience when to react in the beginning. Not with words. Maybe do a certain small gesture along with your initial "Thank You!". And then later you just do that gesture.

Hopefully, this has been a constructive post.

Monday, February 3, 2014

On Premises

Here is a constructive post (it's rehashed, but the other blog is no longer available)

Coming up with a premise for a trick can change the impact of a trick drastically. So I play this little game, simply called: "Same trick over and over again". The plot is a coin vanishing in the left hand and then being reproduced. The structure is that the coin is transferred from the right to the left hand three times (two times the condition the audience) and on the third one the coin is gone. Sticking to that plot and that structure there is only room left for premises. So playing that game means I need to make the same trick different each time without violating the plot or structure. Here is what I came up with:



1. Three ways to make a coin go form one hand to the other.
Here the conditioning is part of the premise. "Arc" and "Straight Line" are very easy to understand concepts. And offering a third version to make the distance even shorter has some real world implications. That is why it works well for a not so drunk crowd.

2. The doggy stick story.
This is just great for kids. I've done it many times. It has a "pretend" element, it refers to an outdoor activity and has a funny outcome. Poo jokes are funny for kids.

3. The shrinking coin.
This is my least favorite. But instead of doing this with a coin, do it with a bill. Rolling it up and press it into the fist. When you open it up it will look considerably smaller, because of the wrinkles. So on the third time vanishing the bill - sorry I meant shrinking the bill - so it cannot be seen anymore makes sense. Then reproducing the bill/coin by stretching it is a neat finish.

And some more:



4. The Camera Trick.
This works well with a single coin, but imagine the effect is has with stuff like Three Fly! It's a tongue in cheek presentation and should be presented as such.

5. The Sucker Bit.
This is pretty old school. But as you can see you can work in the old gag into the plot. Technically it's not a sucker trick, as the sucker element is missing, but it feels like a sucker trick, as the function of the gag is that people think no magic will occur, lowering their expectations. That makes the final "travel" so strong. Works great with drunk people.

6. The Invisible Coin.
Here the coin doesn't vanish, it doesn't shrink or hide. It's just invisible. Sometimes I prove this by tapping the invisible coin against a glass creating a sound. You need a relatively sober audience for that. Each time the same freaking trick seems different. And whenever I create some magic sequences that I like I try to get away with it again, without it being an obvious repeat. This is when a different premise comes in handy. So that makes the game that I play a valuable asset in my creative toolbox.

Hell, even more:



7. The Déjà Vu.
As you can see that changes the effect drastically. Suddenly the coin didn't vanish, but somehow reality seems to jump back. I think this is a good example how a changed premise (structure and plot remain the same) changes the overall perception of the effect.

8. The Wishing Well.
I like this one. You could even include fancy color changes. The wishing well routine by David Williamson is such a great trick. And wishing for money bit is actually a nice subtext justification why you the great magician do not do magic that is meaningful, like world peace.

9. The Toss.
Let's be honest this is just to milk time. But I like the covering the eyes part while at the same time hiding the coin in a motivated action.

I hope you see, that just changing the premise can really make a difference. 

And to clear up some words!

Premise: Why it happens.
Plot: What happens.
Structure: In what order it happens.