Monday, December 31, 2007

Here's to one more year closer to armageddon!! Let's hope the Mayan's are wrong and the sub-genius will eventually be right.

Magic isn't the only magic in the world.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry X-BOX!!!

So no one won the MuThErLoDe contest but FEAR NOT!! For I am a benevolent god and shall let everyone have one last shot at it. Later this week I will post a clue that shall lead you to the answer.. if you can figure it out of course.

However, Here is one of the answers I had gotten previously. It amused me, and normally that would do it, but since the stakes are so high.. so to speak, I am merely gonna give them name recognition for the holidays. Hope you kids get something you want... or get rid of something you DON'T want. If yer Jewish, forget I said anything.

hmmmm, common thread thru' out every post, hmmmm

Well the Asshat gets mentioned alot but he I think is an example and not the thing itself.

Railing on dipshits sitting in their rooms jerking off over their latest black fucking deck with pink bloody polka dots or some shit, and thinking being able to do a perfect fan with cum on their fingers is true magic, that's a fairly regular thread as well, but still perhaps a result and not the thing itself.

The advice you have proffered over the years has always been quite sound, hell "stop jerking off over your latest over hyped and expensive piece of marketed bullshit and get out there and perform" is pretty sound advice, right up there with "stop fucking imitating some old dickhead's shit and get out and come up with your own shit". Good advice it is, but perhaps a solution and not the thing itself.

I gave it more thought and came to a list of 3 things I thought you could be asking, 1) The obsession people have with doing the same old shit over and over again and not getting out there and creating unique acts, and 2) the ridiculous nature of magic today where everything is about how it's done and doing shit that looks cool and not about the fun, the entertainment, the fun and the magic ( did I mention the fun?) and 3) The way magic these days is so often over hyped and overpriced pieces of reinvented crap, but with slick market ting people buy this shit and think that having an exploding fucking mic stand is good entertainment because the blurb on the fucking web site told them so, and every thing is for sale and the whole fucking thing is all messed up because of cunts that just wanna screw the moronic masses of the magic world and take every last Penny from any dipshit that thinks you can become a magician by using a fucking online store, a deck of bullshit looking "magician" cards and a heap of fucking lube, the same guys who rate their success by knowing the fucking name of some fucking card move that no cunt really cares about anyway.

Well number 3 got a bit away from me, but I was pretty sure I had the answer some where in those 3, so I did some research and lo and behold I found this on your first ever post

" I wonder why magic has become the weird bastion of BS and capitilism that it has become."

So based on that I guess I have to stick with the rambling answer number 3 with a small sprinkling of answers 1 and 2 just to be sure.

* all quotes are my words and not direct quotes from your blog
** Thanks to MagicWhack for showing me the Mic stand
*** I really wanna win, I do blades already and would love to see your take on it and your advice with it.


So close... yet so far...


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Some of you might already know, but I was aksed (along with a handfull of others) to help judge itricks "Trick of the Year" contest. Basically, what effect in 2007 tripped our triggers. I threw Richards Sander's Interlace into the ring. I like the idea and effect behind it. Right now it us up to the public to be the tie breakers for the effects the judges nominated.

Can I have my Doritos back now?


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bizzaro.'s Guide to Picking up Chicks with Magic

No one has won the MUTHERLODE contest sooooooo... because I love you all so very much I will extend it till Friday the 21st. I have gotten some good guesses, but the answer is right in plain site. Now onto the actual meat of the potatoes...

There is talk online from time to time about picking up girls with magic or how to talk to them and blah blah blah. Magic should NEVER be a substitute for YOU. Here are some tips should you encounter someone or.. something yer attracted to in the great wide world in front of you.

1. Don't start off ANY conversation with a girl that starts with "Pick a card, any card." This is not sexy. Not even if Johnny Depp did it. You might as well just walk right up to her and say, "Nice fuck want some shoes?" It will get you about as far.

2. In the same vein, don't ask them if they want to see a magic trick. Strike up a conversation in some more subtle way. Then work the conversation around to talk of hobbies or work or whatnot and slip it in that you dabble in magical entertainment or some crap like that. Let them come to you. If they are interested in you or your magic they will BE interested in you or want to see a trick and ask thusly. It's less forced and let's face it: There are no such things as stalkers, just hopeless romantics with restraining orders.

3. As told to me by Eric Mead, learn to talk about something other than MAGIC. Whut? That's crazy talk you're speaking dood!! There is more to the world than magic? Hate to break it to you, but yes virginia, there is. People are most interested in people... and yes even girls are people. Ok.. well MOST of them are.

4. Spread it out. (No not like that you perv) Don't overwhelm them with magic. If you actually get to the point where you are dating and doing dinner and stuff it's ok to do floating rose or whatnot on your first date.. but don't over do it. Then it's not special. Always leave them wanting more.

Now of course these few tips are not gospel and everyone will work their "magic" in their own ways. However, the biggest problem with doing magic for a girl too quickly is you move immediately to the friend ladder and as we all know it's a long fall into the abyss. You have to find that fine line between sexy dood, (or doodette, but let's face it, do girls need magic to pick up guys. In one word: Duh?), and funny magical friend guy.

Also one more little tidbit. Staring into some girls eyes and trying to read her mind or tell her what her card is isn't sexy unless yer on TV.

Even if you are a washed up old 80's rocker.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sign here...

Still no winner on our contest yet, but you still have time. (Hell I lost a day somewhere. I thought it was Thursday. If I keep this up, you may have PLENTY of time.)

So... four years hunh? I think I am one of, if not the, oldest magic journal (I don't like the word blog. Hell even Blogger's spellchecker doesn't have blog in it's database. Go fig.) left since MCJ threw in the towel. He started a revolution I tells yah. We stepped forth from the green primordial ooze that is message boards and found a place where we can say what we want without the jeers of detractors and the cheers of sycophants.

With that in mind, here is another mind numbing line of thought by yours truly.

So I was sitting at Eric Buss' lecture the other day (Creativity and character. Good stuff.) and he talked about his "Signature Piece". In the past, many magicians have had a routine or two that was theirs and SOLELY theirs. I realized this was a common thing of well known magi early on and developed my infamous eyeball routine because of it. The likes of Jeff McBride and Rudy Coby showed me the light.

In today's world however, the stage is taking a beating and even a unique dove routine or card manip act can seem mundane as so much has come before it. Creativity and original material is the holy grail of magic, but yet so many... choose poorly. Even a guy producing CD's like doves seems commonplace in today's magical world.

I tend to find it's even worse in the close-up world. Too many people cull together three or four tricks that belong to others and call THAT their signature piece. Hell some even do someone else's trick verbatim and say that is what they are known for. Some might be content with that, but I say NAY!! Rise up against your former masters and find the stuff that's you.

I have had people read this thing and assume I might not like them cuz' they DO the stuff I bitch about. I don't judge anyone on what they do, it's who they are. So if yer a hobbyist who is trying to better yourself and maybe turn pro, congrats. It's a long hard road. If yer say... I dunno, I'll pull a name from the ether... mmmmyabe... John Lovick... well then you can eat a dick.

So go forth and look deep inside yourself. Be honest with who you are and what you do. Your strengths. Your weaknesses. It's an uphill battle all the way to stray from the heard.

And it's a long hard road to Taco Bell.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It all comes to a head...

And as well all know, head rules.

Anywho, first our Mudderload contest info. I won't make it easy on you however. I am going to ask you a question about this journal. You are the first one with the correct answer, then you geta cookie.. er.. wait.. no.. you get EVERYTHING we here at Fire Cat Studios has for sale. Helter Shelter DVD and book, and many e-books. The Marked Man Lecture notes, Cheat Damn You pdf, and even the hard to find Banned in Texas notes. (of course if you already have some of these you'll just get the stuff you don't already have.) There is even a little surprise gift as well that is not on the market as of yet. However you only have a week to answer so on Dec. 18th, if we have no proper answer, then all is lost. You can only answer once, so think about it very carefully.

So here it is: What common thread do most of the posts on this journal share?

Finally, the last Rant. Never before seen by the public. Un-edited for your amusement and mine.

Why am I stuck In Magician Hell? #5
Written by: Bizzaro. The Optical Illusionist
"Never Rub Another Man's Rhubarb."

Thaaaaaat's right kids, DJ Bizzaro here spinning all of your favorites! This next one is a special request you should all know and love. It's called, "Copyright law. What a fickle hooker that is." by.. well just about EVERYONE!!

As many people who have looked into it know, you can't copyright a magical device, merely the intellectual property of the script or routine. (With very few exceptions. Did you know that with the proper patent number you can look up the device Coppi the Sex Wizard uses to fly?) There are vocal Nazis when it comes to giving credit in magic about who created this or did that. A good example of this was the Shapeshifter change DeSouza released a while back. Many people were like, "That's Oscar Munoz's trick. You just blah blah blah grrr and stuff.." The Axis change comes to mind as well. They even said "Well this was someone else's, but they did it like this and I just moved my arms down here." (Mind you there was a reason it was done the original way. But hey who cares, it wasn't "street" enuff.)

"My name is Bambi and my pet peeves include smokers, people who talk during magic videos, and performers who don't respect who owns what." There is a Playboy interview you'll never see... and for good reason. Outside of magic, NO ONE CARES!! If you claim to have invented Ambitious Card, the mundanes will not remember nor care. Magicians might get bent out of shape about it (Even tho' 3/4's of them couldn't tell you where it originated anyway). You want to terrorize someone for a while? When they show you something new you've never seen, tell them it's a Vernon or Marlo effect from some obscure date. Nothing puts a knife in you faster than to hear these words, "It's in print".

So what happens when two independent sources produce the same effect, same method, etc. Do the two parties say, "Hey kool, congrats. Great minds think alike"? Not usually. It's more like "This was mine first! I'm gonna rip off yer head and..." You get the idea. As magicians, we are taught that our power lies in our secrets. Once those are gone we have nothing. When someone impedes upon this frayed touchy nerve, we go all guano on people. Some people do blatantly steal another person's ideas and get more notoriety for it. It happens (Now you know how Bruce Springstein felt about Roamer in the Dark).

Putting something in print however does not give anyone carte blanche to go all crazy ex-girlfriend on someone. If another magician comes up with something removed from your idea, there isn't much you can do about it. (Aside from getting a cadre of ass clowns on a message board somewhere to flame said perpetrator.) They say if you want to hide something, put it in print. Technically once it's published it's yours. Can't really prove it tho' as a card trick in a court of law will only cause them to laugh at you. Afterwards they'll sentence you to hanging by a noose made from a rice silk for wasting their time... but I digress.

Personally I think it's getting out of hand in some ways. There are fanatics in every religious cult, (You heard me. Look it up), and magic has no shortage of asshattery when it comes to ownership. Don't get me wrong. I think it's good to know where SOME things come from. Triumph is Vernon's. Gotcha. Healed and Sealed is Anders Moden's (that he foolishly let be performed on TV by the Asshat). Right on. We all know it. Does that mean we can't perform it if we don't buy the books or instructions they appeared in? That depends on your morals or lack thereof. (The same could be said for downloading torrents of magic videos and whatnot as well.) Where do we draw the line? Should I start berating people for not giving credit to who created the double lift or biddle grip in their videos or print? NO. That would be silly and I'm NEVER silly.

So it all boils down to which side of the line do you stand on? The uptight fanatic brigade who has nothing better to do than catalog everything in magic... or the sane free thinking world where real people don't care and if you don't want people doing your stuff don't put it in freeking PRINT!!! What's more important to you? Artistic integrity or recognition for your *koff* genius. Everything in moderation kids...

Including moderation.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Rant in WTF minor

And now I present one of the two rats you will probably never see, as this one was the fourth. It might get published next issue of SM but what do I know. They weren't paying for my opinions so everyone gets them for free.

Why am I stuck In Magician Hell? #4
Written by: Bizzaro. The Optical Illusionist
"A Mass Debate"

I once told another magician my philosophy on performing as a magician. "I don't care if they figure it out as long as they have a good time." To which he replied, "Why bother then?" After fighting off the urge to smack him it got me thinking... What exactly IS the point? Well that is today's expose'. (Kinda like when dateline goes after child molesters... except with more card tricks and no hope of anyone getting laid.)

Magic vs. Entertainment.. round one, FIGHT! Some performers go for a more low tech, high effect kind of magic. Sure you can look at it and see how it was or could be done, but you don't care because it's fun and entertaining. There is nothing wrong with this kind of magic... unless you ask the overly serious magi. They think trying to put the focus on entertainment and not magic (ie: fooling someone) is wrong. Like Rosanne Bar in a two piece wrong. In my opinion, those guys need to be beaten to death and then fed to the uptight bastahds at the Magic Castle.

They say not caring if someone figures it out as long as they are amused is a cheap cop out. I say they can take a flying leap. Most magic guys are just talking heads with no personality or fashion sense. You could swap most magicians heads onto other bodies and no one would notice. It's sad kids. Really.

Alright, so you say what's wrong with wanting to fool people and, as Paul Harris says, create astonishment. (Dirty hippie) You want to be revered as a god? Not content merely being one of the unwashed masses? Nay! You want all of the power and prestige that comes with being a guy with deck of cards and a soda can with a coin in it can afford. Explain this to me... what do you do if someone sees thru your smoke and mirrors? What then. What do you have to fall back on? That's right. NOTHING!! You know why? Cuz' you can't buy personality online you little weasels!! No one carries it. Can't be bootlegged or fabricated. Face it. Yer screwed!!

A lot of magicians think you HAVE to fool people. Problem is you can't fool everyone all of the time. Some can see right thru that little ruse of yours. Here is a way to protect yourself from such an occurrence. It's very easy. If they say "I saw how you did that" look them dead in the eye and with a smile on your face say, "Blow me." (Or an equivalent thereof) If you don't care, they won't care either. Some people love to bust magicians. They were probably home schooled. Those people have problems. Regardless, if your focus is more on amusement and not one of, "I'm goooona FOOL Yooooooo suuuckah!!", then they will like and remember YOU. I know it's a weird concept for someone to like you for who you are not what you can do. Try it. You'll find it works out well and your title as a magician will actually mean something finally. Let's face it, as a form of entertainment we rest somewhere below jugglers and right above some mimes.

I'm not saying don't practice. For gawd's sake PRACTICE. Practice yer little ass off. Make the magic you do as good as you can. Just remember, people are more interested in people than crappy card tricks. It's ok to be a human being and a magician. It's possible.... possibly not for you but...
Take a gander at the money makers in entertainment. They're making people laugh and think. They're not able to do a flawless tabled faro no... but who the hell cares!! A double backed card and a funny sticker makes for a better trick than ALL of the sleight of hand in the world. Trust me on this.

So Entertain or amaze; that is the question. Is it possible to do both? F*&K yah it is. First, don't be an ass-clown when you perform. If people think yer above them they will not be on yer side when you screw up. Enjoy what you're doing and others will too. Don't listen to anyone who sez' you HAVE to fool people ALL the time. (Especially If they sound like a car salesman when they perform) If they couldn't entertain a thought, let alone a crowd, do yourself and the rest of us a favor. Kill them....

In the face.


A dollar short...

Here is Rant Numbah THREE!!!

Why am I stuck In Magician Hell? #3
Written by: Bizzaro. The Optical Illusionist
"Oooh shiny!!"

What do you magicians and blondes have in common? They are easily distracted by shiny things. If it's new, hip, fresh, and all of them other yuppie-like words, then many magician hobbyists flock to it like a murder of crows. (Better than a flock of seagulls... same bad haircuts tho'.)

While working at some local magic stores, I have seen some of the most useless and overpriced crap being released into the magic world. Much like that retarded cousin your aunt keeps chained up in the basement, it was hard to get rid of and we usually kept it out of sight. Anyone remember Silver Shifter? In my opinion, it was 100% crap. 50$ for something that you could just as easily perform if you had any modicum of skill. As magicians, we release new magic into the world that is the newest sensation for a few months, capitalize on the ignorance of the teenage youth, and then regroup for our next onslaught. (I'm looking at YOU Jay Sankey and Henry Evans).

The internet is a breeding ground for misleading demos and flashy editing. In todays world the new stuff has NOT been audience tested for long enough. it just looks good on camera and that's all that matters. I personally never buy ANYTHING without seeing it performed first. Once bitten, twice pissed off. In a brick and mortar shop you know yer getting an honest fib. Camera's lie. Any person with a home computer, two brain cells, and no morals can make even a plastic bag and deck of cards look good. (And then charge you out the wazoo for it.)

On the upside we have online forums to get honest and un-biased opinions about the good, the bad, and the garbage. That is, if your definition of un-biased is a buncha kids and middle aged bachelors bickering at one another about who has the right to perform this and who came up with that. Used to be you had to go to a local magic shop or club meeting to get that kind of interaction. Now anonymity has made people brave and lazy. You know who you are.

Magicians create new effects and moves to fool OTHER magicians. How many new sleights are we bombarded by daily on magic sites that allow video uploading? Sometimes a gem comes along and it's all the rage. Anyone remember the Revolution Vanish? Looks great.. unless you like to dress nice or happen to be a skirt wearer. (Think of all those angry kilt wearing magicians). Then yer screwed and out a good chunk of change you could have saved for something important, like food... or a lap dance. If your personality and character is strong enough, you won't need the latest greatest fooler dooler. Real people in the world don't care how you do it as long as you CAN do it and do it well. Of course most of you would know nothing about that would you? Yer too busy kissing Daniel Garcia's ass for his products. Unplug from the intarweb, get out of the house, and go perform for some real people.

In the olden days you had to find the originator of a new move or prove you had some assemblance of skill to get taught the latest and greatest effects. Sure people sold their secrets and tricks in books and magic shops, but your worth as a performer was not judged solely on your parent's credit card number. We have become a soft capitalist group of consumers. A giant mass of un-informed sheep who would rather buy their art than create it themselves. It makes me want to line each of you up, get a running start, and slap each and every one of you in succession. Twice. Sure I sound bitter and perhaps a bit jaded...and I am. I know bitching about it isn't gonna change anything on a grand scale. However if I can open just ONE person's eyes... If I could get some of you to take the red pill and see what's in front of you, then this will not be a wasted effort. Don't be fooled by slick editing. Don't let the flashing lights and promises of greatness distract you. Learn to see through the BS, and you too can become a better magician. For those of you who choose to remain blind... I have my smackin' hand all warmed up.

Time to fall in line... which one are you gonna stand in?


(Stay tuned for another tomorrow in the evening and then the last one on the 11th with our anniversary contest!)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Rant Two... a day late. Looks like a trend.

Performed tonight with Eric Buss. Very funny and had some great magic. Regardless, here is Rant Two. More tomorrow.

Why am I stuck In Magician Hell? #2
Written by: Bizzaro. The Optical Illusionist
"Original Sin"

Welcome back. Since our last article caused a bit of stir, we decided to not only rock the boat but tip it over as well. Hope you can swim.

Some magicians will tell you there is nothing new out there. Everything is derivative. That MIGHT be true to a degree. There are those out there creating new magical ideas using pre-existing principles true.. but not so much magic principles, but science. There is a famous quote that crops up from time to time. It states, "Any Sufficiently Advanced Technology Is Indistinguishable From Magic". Take for instance Sylvester the Jester. He has created magic effects unlike anything done before using science and technology. The tools existed but not for their use in the medium of magic. If you want to nit pick that apart, fine. Regardless, in an art where you would figure there would be more open minded, unique individuals... there isn't. Why?

First off it's not the 80's anymore kids. We’re not encouraged to stand out from the crowd. (That and people aren't hopped up on cocaine like they once were.) The media and government has done a good job of SUCKING the imagination out of the general public just like that ugly girl you took to the prom. Look around at the crappy reality TV and inane contests as to what some TV exec thinks is talent and character. We are being spoon fed bland entertainment and we're taking it with no lube or reach around. We live in an instant gratification society, where any information that pre-exists is at our fingertips. From the internet to DVD's, we want it, we can get it. It's easier to steal than create isn't it? We no longer have to sit alone with our thoughts or read a book and interpret it for ourselves. Once somebody gets a good idea EVERYBODY wants one. It's capitalism kids. Money can't buy happiness, but it can sure create the illusion.

Any of this sound familiar to you? Many years ago the now MIA performer Rudy Coby released a set of lecture notes at a TAOM convention. No tricks were to be taught. It was about building character and creating unique magic. Now aside from the fact he has been accused of stealing other people's ideas over the years, many of his points were true to form. Put down those damn linking rings, use your fancy spun aluminum cups for the dinner table. Instead surround yourself with unique props and things YOU enjoy. Of course if you enjoy hip hop music and wearing your pants at your knees, you might just need something more... like a beating.

The problem with you kids today is.. GET OUT OF MY BEANS!!! Oh sorry. Woodstock flashback. The problem is no one wants to stand out anymore. They want to walk single file in a line holding their decks in their hands. They sit at home with their webcams and Tally Ho viper decks wanking off on their newest variation on a four ace assembly or some fancy flourish. Guess what? You make baby jeebus cry. We don't NEED another damned shadow coins or Matrix. If you are not Armando Lucero or Keeanu Reeves, then you have no reason to do the Matrix ever again, period.

I see people bitching left and right constantly online about someone stole this, someone did this before this person. I know magic is important to you. It's important to me as well, but get over yourselves. You get yourself mired down in the politics of the narrow minded fools you associate with, your magic will suffer. Want to be original? Don't listen to ANYBODY who is an amateur in the field. If they knew what they were talking about, they would be doing it instead of telling you how. No matter how dumb someone thinks an idea is, do it anyway. The only way to stand out in this world is to throw caution to the wind and tazer anyone who gets in your way. Find someone whose opinions and style you respect and get their take. Observe other performers who are professionals in their field. Dancers, comedians, puppeteers, etc. Magicians for the most part are close minded idiots who are about as helpful as a weed-wacker to the face. By wallowing in the depravity of un-originality you will not only suffer but so will magic.

So that was supposed to be the end of the article. Then the folks at street magic mag said "Hey do us 200 more words" and I said "Sure". Not knowing what to talk about I decided to write this little bit to eat up about forty two of those 200 words. In other news, I recently emailed Mac King about originality and what he thought about how it's appreciated in today's world. I don't know him personally or anything like that. It was on Myspace. (Where most of you hack bastards like to try and friend me without saying hi first like it says on my profile!!) That's not important tho'. His reply was. "If you have something to offer, people will pay attention". Now while I agree with this wholeheartedly, being TOO original can bite you right in the ass. You have to find a median somewhere... or an audience that will support you like rabid weasels. In todays world of mediocrity tho', finding an original magician with a large fan base NOT on TV is like trying to herd cats... nearly impossible.

Look at The Beatles. These guys wanted to make music for themselves and set it about it their own way. Fame followed. Take their lead and follow your own road.

Sometimes doing the right thing means you do it by yourself.


Friday, December 07, 2007

As promised...

Here it is the 6th (Shhhh I won't tell if you don't) and now for the little surprise I promised.

As some of you know, I was writing for Street Magic Magazine for about three issues. (Which equals 6 months. Math is hard.) I never actually saw one of the issues until number 3 and I was shocked to find that they were editing my rants and adding stuff to them I didn't say or wouldn't say in that particular form. So far a lot of people have been surprised that my ramblings had valid points. I suspect I was dropped from the latest issue (As they have not contacted me in ANY way) is because I wasn't doing what they wanted my writing to do... and that's piss people off. Apparently people just couldn't argue with what I was talking about.

Yes kids, my writing like a raving magical Hunter S. Thompson was intentional. (or Spider Jerusalem if yer hip like that) However since they changed my stuff, (Which is funny cuz' at the very top, it said it was un-edited. I found spelling mistakes in the stuff that THEY added. Go fig.), over the next 5 days I am going to post, one a day, of my orignal rants in their orignal widescreen format. These have not been modified to fit your TV, nor will they cater to your delicate sensibilities and there are NO special features. Just think of these like those 5$ DVD's you find at Wal-mart. The price you love, with nothing extra thrown in.

Why am I stuck In Magician Hell? #1
Written by: Bizzaro. The Optical Illusionist
"The true meaning of street magic - yes Virginia, there is an Asshat."

Greetings and Salavations bottom-feeders. Some of you are familiar with me either thru the internet and my online rant journal or have seen me perform. Perhaps a video or even live. I will never win a magic competition cuz' I refuse to traumatize avian life or wear rented formal wear. Doubtful you will see me in any OTHER magic magazines or magic conventions anytime soon. I'm what some have referred to as a rebel. The Gomez Addams of magic if you will. With over two decades in this business, more than half professionally, I have seen a good deal of great and terrible things. However this isn't about me. It's about you.. and if you are willing to listen to what i have to say here every month. I'll let you in on what this column is gonna be about. First it's not gonna kowtow to ANYONE or ANYTHING. Anything except my opinions. As you may have heard, opinions are like.. well you know.. everyone has one. I'm entitled to mine as you are yours. I'm not trying to piss off anyone.. but guaranteed I am going to do it. It's what I do. Now that we have all of the formalities out of the way, let's begin...

I am not going to sugar coat what I say. I will not take your feelings into consideration. I am going to lift up the shiny pyrite rock that is the magic community. I'm going to point out the seamy underbelly of what many people, not ingrained with magic's inner workings, think is a shiny little coin they might find in the street. Like some coins tho' this denomination has two faces. (like other denominations I will not mention here) On one side we have the professionals. People who make a good living at this by elevating magic to what some might call an artform. On the other side we have the armchair magus. You know the kind. Your Uncle Bob, the guy at your office, the local bartender, that fat annoying kid at school... YOU! Fully willing to dish out their "life experience" in an online forum. Of course the only thing making them an authority is they do birthday parties on their days off from their mundane normal jobs. Ah but if that were the only inhabitants on this flip-side. You also have the susceptible teenagers and pre-teens bombarded by modern TV specials with people who want you to believe they are a god. Sit down and prepare yourself. This is where our first rant will begin.

First I do want to preface this with that henceforth all references to David Blaine in all of my writing will be as "The Asshat". Deal with it.

Many of you are probably too young to remember magic on TV before the late 90's. From the 60's to mid 90's there was a glorious variety of stage magic on TV. Elegant and weird spectacles of all types were brought to you in broadcast colors every few months. From Coppi the sex wizard to The World's Greatest Magic, there was much to see. Even the close-up magicians were larger than life on grand sets and pretty lights. Then in 1998, that era was murdered and it's frail corpse raped right in front of a cadre of choir boys. The Asshat changed it all. Now we have... street magic.

Don't get me wrong. I like street magic... when performed as street theatre. (A term most true street performers prefer) Street magic is NOT walking up to total strangers with a deck of cards looking like an unemployed mental patient. At that point it's street hostage theater. Very difficult to make money doing that (For tips anyway). You want to see REAL street magic, get off the internet and go somewhere like San Francisco or New Orleans (Well maybe not so much anymore) or even parts of New York. Educate yourself before you place that Ellusionist order for their next overpriced DVD. Street magic has existed well before you or anyone else was on TV. Before even most of today's modern religious beliefs as well. Hell a lot of religions have been started by no less than a dove pan. (Isn't that how that Waco thing started?)

ANYONE who tries to sell you a magic product by using fad buzzwords like "Street", "Extreme", or "Tiger Deck" should be beaten to death with their own arm. The good one too. Not the one they hold their crotch with while doing their variation of the cobra cut. Nope you gotta get to the root of the problem. Go after the important appendage. Their spendin' hand. The one that causes them to purchase these overpriced DVD's or one trick ponies that flood the market everyday. Those little fingers, that by every click of the button, keep these soulless leaches in business. This isn't a new thing either. The same problem has existed since the magic catalog was invented. You know, those archaic drawings, the text promising you miracles, and radiating lines shooting from their huge heads? In today's world however, web-space has been traded for paper. HTML for print.Today it's all flashy editing, annoying rock or emo music, and your dumb ass willing to keep contributing to this barrage of cheap products released by people who have more money than morals.

Don't like someone calling you stupid do you? Well if you believe everything you see on TV or read on the internet without doing your homework, then you are. Just cuz' mommy and daddy don't hug you, no one understands you, and you have a ghost deck doesn't mean the world or ANYONE you harass on the street owes you ANYTHING. No one on TV is your friend. They don't understand you and if you happen to be a cripple or dying, they are helping you cuz' that's good PR. Just thought I would throw that out there.

It is true that here in the USA we are not encouraged or rewarded for showing creativity or original thought. Not like in Europe anyway. Street magic is a respected art form over in places like France. So much so, that if you are a citizen you only work three months of the year and they foot the bill the rest of the year to work and practice your art. A grant for being an individual if you will. Even Canada has largely attended busker festivals. You try to go there with your little stigmata tricks or king rising, you will come home wiser and poorer for you wasted efforts.

Magic has lost it's flair and style in the US. No panache. Oh sure, you are saying to yourself, "But I make people smile, I can read minds, I have had people cuss at me and call me the devil. I'm good!" Guess what? Anyone with twenty bucks, a self working deck of cards, and mental midgets as a crowd can do that. Want to impress me and do street magic the right way, put together a 20-30 minute show that will hold people's attention. Make it fun, engaging, and amazing. Not only will you be a better performer than 95% of the idiots that try to "represent" on those message boards you hang out on, but you will never have to work a real job EVER again. I know guys who do 3-4 shows a day and can pull down a grand easily. Can you say that about going out in plain clothes and putting a hole in your forehead with the sun? Do the world a favor and do that with a bullet instead. If you perform that in front of a crowd on the street, you'll be remembered forever guaranteed.

So what about those of you who just like to contribute to magic and only do it as a hobby? Good for you. Do you sell crappy products that look good on camera that you have only been doing for a week or so? Do you use words like "Street" and "Extreme" to sell your wares? If so, I will find you and I will beat you. You know with what too because we have already had this discussion earlier. I guess my point in all of this is: You can either part of the problem, or part of the solution to elevate magic beyond what it has become. I am reminded of a quote attributed to Dai Vernon. (if you don't know who that is, burn EVERY deck of cards you own and put your head thru your computer monitor NOW!) "If the best thing you can do for magic is get out of it, do so." I'm paraphrasing, but you get the idea.

I think that's all I have to say this time around. Are you mad yet? If so, good. Anger and disagreement make you think. Blind useless drivel you concur with does nothing but take up space on a page. You may now put back on your pants and go. Leave the KY here.

Was it good for you?


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A thinly veiled plot....

Today we will take a look at some of the more popular plot lines in card magic and why, I feel, they are good.. and why they are also not so good.

The most popular right now is Torn and Restored card... so I'll leave that for last.

Let's talk about a classic underground idea known as Resets. Made popular by magi's such as Paul Harris and Paul Wilson. Ricochet to this day is still a well known reset ploy. Ryan Swigert's Kickback is also a nice effect. (And there is a gimmicked and un-gimmicked version. I prefer the un-gimmicked version as there is no need to do a card force.) Upsides: The effect confuses people no end Downside: It confuses them no end. Dai vernon said confusion is not magic (or he has been quoted as saying it anyway) The moment of magic happens SO fast that it's hard to call it magic. More like a hallucination. Don't get me wrong, I have my own version of the idea. Just be sure your personality can sell it.

It has been said that many magicians have a great 10 minute act. However it takes them 45 minutes to do it. This is how I feel about Ambitious Card sometimes. If you can make a card come to the top of the deck once, why not 857 more times? (I feel the same way about card manip and linking rings, but that's another post) Card goes in, card comes to the top. Rinse, repeat. Pros: Easy to do and has TONS of methods for accomplishing it. Cons: Everyone does it. Sadly not many do it differently.

Only gonna cover two more for now. One of them is Inversion. Card goes into the deck and reverses itself inside magically. Of course there is the vice-versa of that as well. Someone who has done some good work on this is Dennis Friebre and has a DVD coming out on it. I learned about the routine back in 2003, and use it now and again when I feel the need arises. The good parts about inversion plots are that they are simple to follow and hard to backtrack thru. Sadly, the basics of the effect are taught in just about every damn beginners magic book so be careful of smart-assed kids with big mouths.

Ok ok now I will deal with Torn and Restored card. Who here remembers when that tall limey did his version of World's Greatest Magic? It was the talk of the.. well.. not internet so much as magic community. (When you actually had to go to shops and meetings to gossip. Also kept people civil to each other for fear of recompense.) Before that of Course David Copperfield did Chris Kenner's version on TV with a Baseball Card. Then came Daniel Garcia and Torn. That sparked a powder keg of headless net kids doing their own versions. Since then, variations that almost rival shadow coins and matrix routines have cropped up all over the place. The good news: It's impressive to watch and hard to explain. The bad news: It's impressive... to a point. It's a magicians trick. Plain and simple. It seems to be a race to see who can stump everyone else, then sell off the routine the fastest. Back on the upside, there is so much to pick and choose from, you can find a version that fits your style or make up your own!

That's all from me for now. What did we learn? Did we learn anything at all? Does anyone really care what I think?

All this and more later!!


Monday, December 03, 2007

First and foremost do NOT use for your web hosting. I have had nothing but problems with them all this year and finally my site crashed and burned on their server. They have done NOTHING to keep me updated or happy. So until further notice, is on a bit of downtime BUT we have a temp page explaining the problem and a link to the next best thing... myspace.

We have new business. In a few weeks, we will be upon the anniversary of this journal. The five days leading up to that date (Dec. 11th) I will be posting something everyday specially for the readers of this thing. Check back on the 6th for the start of that.

Now on to old business. As some of you may know.. or not.. I have no idea who reads this thing. I have spoken many times of paying attention to the world around you if you want to create original unique magic to you and your character or personality. However, I realized I have never told you WHY. Probably because I never really thought about it. Well it recently hit me on the toilet. (As many things often do)

I realized I can actually visualize physics and mechanics in my head.. to a workable degree anyway. I don't mean mathematically either. I suck at math. 2+2=fish ok. I have just watched and toyed with enuff things that I can reasonably see how something should or could work in my melon. This in effect is why you should take notice of the world around you and look into how things work. Visualizing is not something that comes easy to many. For some it's VERY hard, but it's never impossible. We have a brain, and that brain is the best super-computer ever created. Some people just happen to have Photoshop in their brain as opposed to paint from Windows 3.0.

So with this new found knowledge, may you now go forth and perhaps be able to see magic in your head instead of just your mirror.

It's all in the mind...