Sunday, June 27, 2004

Ever seen a root beer float?

With today's magic products you can. I remember the first time I saw a dollar bil float in front of me. I wigged the fuk out. I seriously had no idea. I bought the trick and learned of invisible thread. Totally new to me. (This is when the Sorcery Shoppe had released the ITR's that were about 6-8 inches long and had a strong resemblance to a crack pipe. That's where the real magic comes from kids.)

Before that we had thumbtips with suction cups on them. (Universal floating gimmick my ass) The only thing that is worth is showing it as a comedy bit. The idea is a good one tho'. So thus we have progressed from suction tips to ITR's to Thread Bosses to.. well add infinitum. Pocket Levitator (Sounds like a vibrator to me), Wild levitation, Zero Gravity, King Rising, Fearson's Floating, The Elevator, and the most recent I have seen: On Thin Air. (Which is thus far my fave personal levitation.)

When Peter Loughran came out with the Elevator to battle the over exposure of the Balducci that Blaine made oh so trendy, many people were split on the Elevator Gimmick. Some liked it, some hated it. For a price tag of 100$ it was a bit much for what you got. Some of them sold on Ebay, some became closet fodder. The idea had a few flaws in presentation, but even the flaws surpassed the flaws of others. Almost angle proof, height controllable more or less, and no weight limit. (Mind you none of them have ever had that but..) However the issue of clumsy people with no balance came to light as did the fact you were "kind of" restrained by wardrobe.

So as always evolution and necessity nursing invention, someone has taken this idea step further by eliminating many of the flaws the Elevator had. No more bending down to "Stretch", you can immediately turn around, and not be wearing a jacket or coat. I hear Loughran is working on an add on to the original Elevator to make it better. Sometimes inventors don't spend enuff flight time with their products to improve them before release. It's like a service pack for Windows. Shouldn't you have caught this ahead of time?

Maybe less drive for money and more drive for quality is needed aye?

Kinda an update: If you wanna see not only the amusement factor of how hobbyists and semi-pros get into it go over to the Den of Silly People to see info about some current levitations.

Monday, June 21, 2004

"I saw the sign and it opened up mah mind" - Ace of Base

Ok sorry couldna help it. I lost my electronic rating pen to that song. No that is not some weird metaphor for my virginity, I really left it in a car when that song came out. Besides I have way better metaphors for losing one's virginity... but this isn't sex talk with Bizzaro, it's magic rants. So let's rant about magic shall we?

When you perform, do you have your name visible anywhere? I don't mean so much for walk around, but for stage work. If you want to be remembered you first have to let them know who you are. Just telling them don't work. People today have the attention span of a horny hummingbird. Especially with the increased use of liquor and recreational drugs, people have a memory so full of holes you can drive PT Cruisers thru them. So you have to make sure some part of you stick with them for at LEAST 24 hours so it goes to long term memory.

To be remembered you have to be memorable. You have to do at least ONE thing that will blow them away in some way. Whether it is over the top, magical as hell, or scares them where they sit. You MUST make an impact. Find that one impact, and you will have them. A friend of ours was tired of the audience leaving saying, "That was so nice and great. Thank you". They are more looking for "That was bloody AWESOME!!". The only way to achieve that is to be bad ass. It's a cut throat world in magic. There is no need to stab people in the back or steal if you are good enuff to stand out from the rest of the magical world.

Remember.. BE the ball...

Saturday, June 19, 2004

"She seems to have an invisible touch" - Phil Collins

I am sure I have remarked about this before, but I am too lazy to go back and look. It amuses me that we spend so much time practicing moves that are meant to be totally invisible to the human eye. Mind you they are not invisible, just go under a persons radar cuz' shuffling is such a secondary action to most people. Hell some are even 4th and 5th actions. No one cares...

Hey that's good tho'. Mind you it's when you get flashy with it like a sybil cut that it starts to look odd, but that is a bit of an extreme example. Take for instance the Heinstein Shuffle. A great move recently released into the wild. (I say recently as in the last 10 years mind you.) It's a false shuffle in the air. Complete with a bridge and everything. (The move not an actual structure.) It is a great piece as it is an auditory illusion as much as it is visual. You hear those cards make the noise they should make when they are bridged. Even when done poorly, it fools people. It's called conditioning.

People don't question what they expect or are familiar with. This is why false shuffle, cuts, and controls go undetected usually. People expect to see cards shuffled and they have NO clue the intricacies that we go thru to hide the fact we are making cards move around that deck. Passes, cards steals, all of it. Invisible if done right or misdirected properly.

The worst part is, we work our butts off to perfect something that we feel so damn proud about getting down because it is so damn clever, and we can't show anyone but other magicians. I would love to tell people, "This is so cool!! Look I can pretend to shuffle a deck but not really like this!" and their response will be something like, "Thaz nice". Only we care and in some cases.. We don't. We're so proud of ourselves when we pull these moves off and get them right past someone else. Sounds like magical masturbation to me....

If it feels good, do it.


Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Flourisher vs. Magicians.. who will win?

Well it's not really even a contest. It's like comparing competitive cup stackers to dice stackers. Similar but totally different. Flourishes are showings of obvious skill and practice. Magicians practice m oves that are meant to be undetectable. (No matter how cool they are and how much we wanna show people.) Where is the proper place to use them?

Well if yer the Buck Twins, you will just do pretty much everything as a flourish even yer magic stuff. Same for most of the wanks on other websites that shall remain nameless. Not to say this is a bad thing, but after a while it just gets dull and distracts from proper performing protocol. Now when you are a good sleight of hand guy and a good flourisher should you combine the two? Well that depends...

If you were a whiny little twerp who wasn't hugged a lot you are prolly doing magic for the attention and prolly love the flourishy stuff cuz' someone will FINALLY pay some bloody attention to you. However, what if yer magic is not that good, but your flourishes are good. You are hurting yourself and magic, because people do not separate the two. Good with cards, bad with magic. Eh, cards = magic. So unless you don't suck don't do both. Also, if you show too much proclivity with a deck of cards they will obviously think you are just a really good sleight meister and while this is cool to you, it gives them an easy out for which to explain away the magic of what they have just experience.

If you are a bit more natural with the cards, it will come off as a more everyday thing that even they could do. Now I am not saying don't do ANY flourishy stuff, but try not to get CRAZY with it ok? I do one or two fancy shuffles but they take about 2 seconds. everytime I see a cut sequence that takes up 5+ seconds of my life I am already un-interested, but thaz just me. I know from experience many will just feel yer showing off, especially if you suck at the magic tricks or are a dull performer. Practice good performance technique before you send hours sitting alone in yer room playing with yerself.. and a deck of cards.

and watch out for them nasty paper cuts.. ouch!!