Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Stupid Americans...

Really.. we are. We might just be one of the only countries that don't support the variety arts. Ever wonder why people from other countries are so good and unique? It's encouraged, that's why!! It's usually a family thing. Hell, it's looked DOWN upon to try to NOT be a clown in some families.

A lot of parts of the US seems to have never grasped the idea that art doesn't just hang on a wall. You don't just stare at it in a gallery or in a living room over a fireplace. It's to be experienced and enjoyed.. sometimes in groups... it's like SEX!! Er.. skip that last bit there...

I doubt we'll ever get to the point in this country where what we do is appreciated, encouraged, and *gasp* even paid well for... but that's no reason to not try right?

Being a communist doesn't look so bad sometimes.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

How many times do I have to say this?

Even tho' a few of my photos might be a tad vague on the magic aspect of what I do, I try to make them vaguely interesting.

I want you to take a look at ANY of this dood's photos. If you were shown these images without knowing what he did, could you guess? None of them have a magic quality to them. Sure they are artistic and expensive looking. That doesn't mean anyone but you knows what the hell is going on.

Photos like this always make me wonder if the person can deliver the goods. Just because your promo material is slick, doesn't mean you are. In the world we live in, it's not as impressive to have an abundance of over-produced promo material as ANYONE with a computer and the right hardware can make themselves look good.

So the moral of this story is, if you are going to go thru the trouble, make sure people know who and what you are...

Which hopefully isn't huge tool.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

This about sums it all up...

Friday, December 26, 2008

An inconvenient truth...

I was having a chit-chat with a fiend on IM. It went a little something like this:

FBL: When magic is involved, people don't want pretty and fun, they want mind boggling. >.> Unfortunately
Me: well they want what they want with everything, familiarity.
Me: If they have to think outside their comfort zone, they don't get it
Me: They NEED it, but..
FBL: but they don't want to do it. Which is really lame.
Me: mm hmm
Me: If you appeal to everyone then you work more, but you say less.
FBL: Which is why I try to do a little bit of everything.

This is a pretty accurate description of the entertainment world at larger. No matter how "artsy" you are, people want something they are used to. Hell, this is true in any aspect of life. Does this mean you shouldn't stand out? Hell no! There is a market for everything. Being different means you just have to work harder to find it.

This is why to this day some people don't know who Penn and Teller is or like them. They like to challenge people and their little worlds. Some people don't jive with that. It's ok... there are plenty of others who "get it". So don't let the man get you down. There is plenty of work for all of us...

Except for you sucky people. Pack it up and go home.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I see a red door...

And I want to paint it CHARTREUSE!!

So tonight I finally sat down and devised my own handling for Andrew Mayne's Twisted. This is an effect I feel didna get much press when it came out and has great potential when used under the right circumstances. Most of the magicians who don't understand the concept of "right place, right time" for effects don't understand the definition of the word context.

An effect might be better off in a stand up situation, or work better as a close-up piece or even play better on a camera in a big auditorium. Shawn Farquhar ends his big show with a card trick and it kills. Remember: Just because it doesn't work for every situation doesn't mean it won't work for ANY situation.

Now to celebrate the holidays what better way to say I love you than FINISH HIM!!

Everything in it's place.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Just to get this out of the way now...

Before it's too late.


Damaged Goods...

Let's face it. Everyone who does not fall into the tiny niche' of "normal" society, (which is just about everybody), is where they are for a reason. Just about everyone in the entertainment business has issues. You look at almost any famous person deeply enuff and you will find some deep seated psychosis related to some shortcoming that may or may not exist anymore.

They are not all physical either. Sometimes it's some bizarre attraction to power they never had. Whether it's for money, control, admiration, or adoration it's there. Of course this does not hold true for everyone. There are those who have an honest to some deity calling to go against the grain and believe they are on a mission to further the art and expose themselves and others to something new.

Once you stop doing something for a reason and are just going thru the motions, it might be time to re-evaluate your priorities. It's like my theory why some bands music starts to suffer as their career goes on and on. They run out of things to say and are just taking up space to make a buck or fulfill some previous contractual obligation.

Be honest with yourself sometime. Really take a good deep look and figure out why you do what you do. Is it selfish or perhaps you weren't hugged enuff. Of course if you are well aware of yer issues, then you are one step ahead of the game. I will tell you who might very well be the most screwed up of all of us tho'....

Balloon twisters.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Into the unknown...

First, some funny...
The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?

So maybe some advice to counter-balance some of the bitching I been doing recently. I do a few effects that I would not call old, but definitely obscure. Some people *koff*ViToLuPo*koff* have made a living going thru books like Tarbell and making a career off magic effects no one remembers. They say if you want to hide something put it in print. I agree and would like to add that you can also release an effect into the market and it will eventually get overshadowed with the latest "I'm not ADD, OOH SHINY!!"

If you take an effect that got minimal press upon it's release and can spin gold from straw with it, then you will be revered as some kind of demi-god. (Which is WAY better than a Demi Moore god) Take this trick for example. Not very well known and not hard to figure it out if you know squat about magic. However, in the right hands, a whole routine could be worked out with this. (I got one in my head right now actually)

How about this little gem? I got the chance to play with one of these. It's a great visual and was fairly ignored in it's release. In the right hands...

Speaking of hands, I always liked the idea behind this trick and thought it would be great in the middle of a rubber band routine.

So there are some ideas to start you looking back in time to find the treasures that might have just gotten released at the wrong time. Like when The Adventures of Ford Fairlane got released the same week as the first Batman movie. Take a step back and see what you can find.

You don't even need a Delorean.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Guilding the Munster...

I was just watching the performance of Joshua Jay's effect The Big Deal. It's your usual gambling-ish premise with the usual kicker ending of some impossible to get hand of cards.

My main problem with this type of presentation is it's a gilding the lily with hints of the dreaded "Too Perfect Theory". In this demonstrations effect, you find a card thru impossible circumcisions.. er.. stances. Since the premise of odds is stressed, the conclusion of the selected card being found is impressive enough. However, in this case the magician mentality kicks in and he can't help almost thumbing his nose at the audience, which might lead some to question the fairness in which he had spent so much time building up.

A lot of the problem with many magic plots is that we feel EVERY routine has to have a HUGE ending. It has to have a magical ending even. This is not always the case. Once you have gone to the trouble of setting up the idea that the odds are against you and then kick the people watching in the balls with this impossible feat of stacking the deck, it almost cheapens it. By revealing you knew what was going to happen from the get go, it lessens the impact of the package as a whole.

A lot of us want to make sure we drive home the point we're magicians, MASTERS OF THE IMPOSSIBLE SARMOTI!! Er.. sorry.. However, there is a big difference between good magic and good theater... and if you eat your vegetables and get good grades, I might just tell you what it is someday.

Bow before Mr. Happy Pants.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Collecting dust...

That's what most magicians props do. Let's face it. A lot of artists are pack rats and today's generation are no different. How many unused magic props do YOU have in your domicile? Decorating your shelves and book cases? Lining your drawers. (Not the ones you have on you twits)

Some years ago, some ass klowns decided to release a few "Custom" decks of cards. The flourisher kiddies went batshit crazy for them.... that is until they realized that the black ink that covered those cards got a bit tacky after playing with them for a week.

Since then, the USPC has found that there is a market for different types of decks of cards and the magicians are in no short shortage of helping them along with that little project. We have become inundated with people clamoring for decks that only look good and serve no real function. The great debate of course is, "Real deck vs custom deck" because people will believe something they are not familiar with is a trick deck.

Like most debates, it's silly. However I personally believe in not giving people reason to be suspicious of ANY of your props... and do as few card tricks as possible. Don't get me wrong, I love cards.. I just happen to know a few tricks with OTHER props.

What is really happening is we are just feeding the collectors market. Mind you I don't really understand what army gear has to do with card decks or magic.. but maybe I am out of the loop. Maybe this is just some retro flashback to that fad of magicians wanting army issue card decks. Black and green backed cards that could be seen under red light. Maybe this is all some strange trend that will eventually stop and people will wake the hell up and start pushing magic back into an artistic direction...

But prolly not.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Youth is for exploding...

Or something like that.

Regardless, next time you think about putting out a magic product for them "Street" kids, just remember, This is who you are selling to.

Makes yah proud don't it?


Sunday, December 07, 2008

What's a moment of your time worth?

As some of you may have seen in my latest, non-80's music related poll, I posed the question, "Is the ridiculous set-up for modern close-up magic really worth it?". Many of you said no, it wasn't. Two of you said it was. Well I hate to tell you this, but you two guys are WRONG!!!

Kidding. Well sort of. There is a time and place for some set up. If you are doing a show for some high profile clientele and want to blow them away with something that takes a ton of prep time right before, or on a TV show where you know it will pay off... sure. Go ahead. However, for those who do walk-around or repetition magic where you have NO control over your surroundings, easy reset is king.

The trend in a LOT of magic over the last 5 years or so, is that of right place right time. I blame the Asshat and Criss Fishing Rod mostly for their TV magic shenanigans. Effects like Ladybug or the newly released Frost or Xile, where you have a window of opportunity to perform it just baffles me. I just assume they get played with for a while, then after realizing it's more trouble than it's worth ends up in the junk drawer or for the current generation, e-bay.

There is always a dialogue that should be brought to your attention when considering a new purchase. "Will this fit me?" Well I suppose if your style is that of homeless street urchin, then probably (or you could go from looking like Jon Armstrong to "random street magician #286" to sell your trick because the man said so). Usually what goes thru my head when I see this stuff is, "What the hell were they smoki.." er.. "Do I have something just as strong if not stronger in my repertoire."

The answer is usually a resounding, Hell Yes!

This kind of thinking is great for TV and great to sell to kids with their parents money, but in the real world that insect farm you had to order in the mail isn't going to hold a candle to a properly done sponge ball routine.

Besides, how much pocket space are you willing to dedicate to bleach pens and Tupperware?


Thursday, December 04, 2008

Multum in Parvo...

For those who don't know what that means, it has nothing to do with canine diseases.

Long gone are the days of books filled with arcane secrets as the only resource to find magic effects. Current trends have created a market for single effect DVD's for the same price as products with MANY effects. The magic youth market is now mostly composed of mindless little consumers who mindlessly follow certain performers or websites and merely turn up their nose at anything not "hip" or "cool".

Why is this? Why do some performers release one trick pony effects when they could EASILY put them on one DVD so you can save some room on your shelves? Simple. It's because the happy capitalists realized they can shear you out of more money by putting out lackluster magic on shoddy production values. YOU! YOU are enabling this! Everyone one of you misinformed little twats who mindlessly follow the herds are making this happen.

The only saving grace is when these effects are offered up as a download. Sure the price is the same cuz' yer paying for the secret, but that should make you realize something... they screw you because they can. Let me offer you up a story to illustrate what I mean.

I was working at the state fair and liked to partake of the occasional slush puppy. They had two sizes. small and... not as small. Well one day I got curious and kept my small glass and ordered the next size up. Guess what? The contents from the larger glass fit into the smaller one. So from then on I just got the cheaper one. What does this have to do with magic? Simple. There are others who prey upon your ignorance because they can. People don't ask questions. They don't challenge anything.

I think it's time we speak up and force these charlatans who call themselves "magicians" that we don't want their over-priced one at a time spoonfed BS anymore. I would rather wait for a WHOLE DVD of effects that cost the same as the simple effect ones. Maybe even, GASP, put it all down into the all too vanishing art of lecture notes. Remember those? Oh wait, I forgot, we live in a world where the internetz have created an army of kids who can't use punctuation or the spell checker function. We just ROTFLMAO our way thru life isn't that right?

You might think I am a little off the hook here, but look around you. It's true and you know it. Problem is it's the evolution, and the only way to stop evolution of anything is genocide. Since that's never gonna happen ,there will periodically be people like me who will stand and shout at the wind to no avail. Why bother? Someone has to do it....

And because the emperor has no clothes.


Monday, December 01, 2008

Can we talk?

So I did watch the world magic awards. I want to comment on a few of the things I saw on that show. First off, the editing needed some work. The canned obviouscanned laughter and applause, in my opinion, takes away from the authenticity of the performer and their act. (Much like changing their music, but I won't go into that) When you put in reactions that were obviously NOT there to begin with all too often it just gets annoying.

So hey, what about those performers hunh? Kirby Van Angel.. er.. Birch. Talk about selling out. I understand altering your look to keep up with the times but changing your look to look like someone else to jump on THEIR bandwagon... please. Get a better agent man. Speaking of stuff that made no sense, what was up with that Harrary thing? I think that "TV magic" like that have ceased to have the impact that they used to. It's a different world. Vanishing the statue of liberty has been done. Let's move on hunh?

I'd like to take a moment to talk about the shadow box illusion. Ok so you create a silhouette of some sorts. Hands, a person, etc. It appears and vanishes and alla that, then suddenly a woman appears from the box (Or cylinder.. thing). Gee I wnder who was making those shadows and stuff... hmmm... This is the inherent problem with magicians. They feel compelled to take your hand and walk you down the garden path. It's like in the Prestige. Who wants to be under the stage while someone else gets the applause? Certainly not your wife because let's face it, you marry your assistant, that's one less pay check right? So why not expose the method to those other perhaps more impressive magical moments for one really BIG ONE!!

I dunno. I'm biased I guess. Speaking of biased, Florian Zimmer's paintball bullet catch. I am wondering why no one has stepped up to him and said, "That thing with the neck? Knock it off!" It's dumb and makes no sense. Someone commented his outfit looked like he just got done fighting off some other magician backstage. (Also, why is it the audience is in all these nice suits and the magicians are dressed like homeless kids. When did THAT happen. I missed a memo apparently)

All in all I was not impressed. Choppy noticeable editing, poor directing, and the cavalcade of the same old crap we have been seeing for the last 5-10 years. I think the best part was Doogie actually improving a few lines and getting impaled at the end of Alonso's trick.

I miss Gary Oullet.