Friday, December 25, 2009

Out of it...

I'm up early so my holiday present to all of you is the gift of knowledge. Sure it's cheap, but I made it myself.

I have met a few magicians in my life who actually don't care if they flash while performing. They do nothing to fix it nor do they change anything. At that point, they are just there for themselves and the self-gratification it gives them. Let me tell you why it's bad to flash people.

Not only does it show a lack of skill and proper practice on your part in their mind, but it pulls the audience right out of the moment. It's kinda like watching House of 1000 Corpses. Yer into, yer into it, WHAM!! music video sequence.... wtf?

When someone watches you they are focusing on you. They are (hopefully) with you all the way in your little world for those precious few minutes. However, the moment they get a glimpse of something they shouldn't their focus is broken and they are pulled right out of the moment and come hurtling back to reality. This is bad.

This is why having a manipulation act can be a treacherous mistress. If you mess up for magicians, we are more forgiving (sometimes) than a non-magi audience might be. We already know it's BS and skill. They don't. The same holds true for you close-up guys too. Those of you who rely too much on sleight of hand to accomplish your feats because you are so very proud of them and "Dammit I practiced this for 3 months straight to get it down most of the time so I am gonna do it and no one is gonna stop me". The problem is the same. You screw up and flash something, you are not only hurting yourself and the people watching, you are boning ALL of magic (to a degree).

So consider this when structuring your routines both on stage and off. You'll know if you're doing it right because you won't see anyone leaning over to whisper in their friend/spouse's ear and point at your "empty" left hand.

It's like grabbing someone by the shirt in the middle of a card trick and then licking their nose suddenly...

no one wants that do they?

Bizzaro.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hey kids, I didn't forget about you. I been busy getting ready for our trip back to TX for the holidays. I have some lectures planned whole I am oot and aboot so check my website schedule and you can come see me yammer live.

I have a list of things I want to talk about on here at some point (and I might even get around to some of it while I am in the state of gun nuts and cults). Until then, practice what you have and ask Krampus for something you don't...

like skill.

Bizzaro.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Someone very near and dear to me made an observation and everytime I watch an itricks live broadcast I can't help but agree.

Separated at birth?


Can't stop the signal Mal.

Bizzaro.

Monday, November 30, 2009

One of the most bad-ass routines I have seen in a while.


See? See what he did there? This is the difference between producing doves out of your ass and making art. (stolen from our fiends over at itricks.com)

Bizzaro.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Where's the cream filling?

Some days I like to go wander aimlessly around youtube and watch various magic videos. Many of them make me feel better about my act while others are just truly enjoyable to watch.

One of my fave is manipulation acts. However, one thing I can't stand is the ridiculous posing, posturing, and trying to eat up time while trying to keep in time with the music. How many times can someone flick a silk around or twirl a cane? It's silly.

"Yes we see it... and we still see it... aaaand yes, still seeing it OH IT CHANGED TO SOMETHING ELSE... and I can see that now too.. and still seeing it..."

It cracks me up and makes me want to donkey punch the performers right in their wumpus when they do that. I bet if you took all of that time doing nothing, you would have a shorter act OR have more magical effects in it. This malady commonly effects the younger crowd more than anything else and usually in competition acts. (Unfortunately, even the "pros" still fall prey to this affliction.)

So take a little look at your act and remove every unnecessary action that you have. If it's wasted movement that doesn't move the act or story further, ditch it. In plain english: GET TO THE POINT ALREADY!!! Do you really need filler in your act? Does anyone? No! The only thing that needs filler in this world are snack cakes.

You don't really want to be a Twinkie do you?

Bizzaro.

Friday, November 20, 2009

This sums up my feelings about the state of piracy in magic when people complain about it...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Role for initiative...

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine earlier about a bill switch Andrew Mayne put up for free. He didn't care for it and thusly fell prey to an all too common malady many magicians have. I don't like it therefore NO ONE will like it.

As magicians we tend to get so bogged down in the magic world we lose touch with the rest of the world. I know a certain CD manipulator who has won many magic awards, but yet his act can fall flat to some non-magicians. You have to be aware of the world around you and be educated about what plays for certain groups. I'm not saying be prepared to pander to everyone, but be aware of what people like and be conscious of it. Magic appeals to just about every person on the planet, (with the exception of religious nuts, skeptics, and people who got molested by birthday party magicians), but different themes and props will play better to certain kinds of people because they are familiar with them on various levels. Just because your magician buddies love your triumph routine because your Zarrow shuffle is undetectable, doesn't mean anyone else will care or notice.

And for the record, I know a convention hall full of people who would love that bill switch.

Bizzaro.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sound advice...

On a forum I frequent I was asked by a younger performer for some advice on a way to present an effect.

"I'm doing a card change, one where the card changes in their hand (well that's what it looks like..)

I can't think of any patter that i feel works well for the situation. I tried it on a family member, saying that if you believe in something strongly enough you can make it happen. He said it sounded odd, and that the trick was great but the patter was weird."


I responded to him my thoughts on the subject and decided to share them with you folks here. I wrote a song about. Like to hear it? Here it goes:

"Well two things come to mind. You don't have to have a patter. Silence seems to bug magicians. If we aren't talking, we feel we're not performing. Quite untrue. Sometimes just focusing all attention on what we are doing and then doing it is more powerful than anything we can ever say.

You also don't need a Paul Harris type hook line like "If you imagine hard enuff, etc" Me personally I say things that match my lackadaisical style of presentation. Such as, "Is this your card? No (Waves hands card changes) how about now?"

So maybe no patter is needed. A card change isn't a water to wine miracle so it doesn't need a big huge dramatic build up. It should be a part or the end of a larger routine anyway."


We do seem to want to fill up every moment of our magic with ourselves. This often leaves little room for the magic. Sometimes, you just have to push your trick out of the nest and let it try to fly for it self. Sometimes it soars, sometimes it falls, and sometimes it gets sucked into the jet engine of a nearby airplane and is shredded into tiny bite sized snowstorm pieces.

You never know unless you try.

Bizzaro.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

I had to post this....

New blog that pokes a wee bit of fun at the magicians. I had considered an idea like this a while back, I'm just glad someone else did it since I am far too lazy it seems.

I only know 5 of the people on that site...

so far.

Bizzaro.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Hackneyed sack?

What is hack?

(I'll give you a second to define it for yourself before we go on)

The is a term mostly associated with the stand up comedy genre. It pertains to an individual who uses someone else's jokes or material. However, this term does get bandied about in all circles of performance. In magic it gets a bit convoluted however as someone might get called a hack because they use another performer's material that has been written or published for mass consumption. Where do we draw the line exactly?

Personally I believe you should take an idea and make it fit who you are. Change the patter,props, cosmetics, etc so, while the idea may not be yours, the presentation is. I know many people who are great entertainers and make a faboo living by performing tricks they have purchased or read and altered a bit. Does this make them a hack? I suppose that's up to your definition of the word.

Personally, I think if you are doing the same stock lines/jokes and performing the same effects that 100 other people are throwing out there, then yes, you might just be hacking and wheezing your way thru life.

Whatever your stance on the matter is, take a good hard look at yourself. Make sure you are being who you are and not just taking the easy way and doing "what works". If everyone was jumping off a cliff...

I would be the one selling tickets to watch.

Bizzaro.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Honestly?

I was reading an article posted by our fun loving fiends over at iticks. It's about Carl Ballantine and there is a bit I feel every magician needs to read (or at least the ones who peruse this corner of the web)

He was performing straight magic with poker chips, playing cards and money in an act called the River Gambler in 1940 when he underwent a career reassessment.

"The act wasn't successful in nightclubs," he told Hyla M. Clark, author of the 1976 book "The World's Greatest Magic."

"I had to make a living, so I looked at myself in the mirror and said, 'You don't look much like a magician.' Then I put this other thing together."

The other thing, Clark wrote, "soon became one of the most successful of contemporary magic acts."


It's very hard to do what he did and that is Be Honest With Yourself. Some of us want to be the big star illusionist so we buy the boxes and women and whatnot. The problem is that's not what you're supposed to be. Don't fight your role in life folks. Some of us are destined for comedy, others for seriousness. The problem? How do we know?

We don't. That's what sucks. Pay attention to where your strengths are... or even your weaknesses, which can become your strengths. There is a happy medium to everything and you can find your balance if you just come to grips with your own reality.

Good luck.

Bizzaro.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

I always wondered what comes out when a magician slits his wrist...


Apparently that's where they get the stuff they put around the rim of margaritas.

Bizzaro.

(A real post soon I promise)

Monday, November 02, 2009

It explains everything away...

(Click to enlarge)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Days like this...

Sadly the audio and video are not on the same page, so just listen to it and do something else... like read some of my posts you might have missed.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It never ends!

I hope some of you have been keeping up with the 100 articles in 10 days event. I had fun doing it and there was good info on there other than my mindless drivel.

So apparently my guest week has seeped over into guest month. Some people just have shit to do. Luckily, they can find some free time to interject their thoughts into our lives. So grab some popcorn cuz' this one's long (that's what she said). Oh, if yer offended by naughty words.... what the hell are you doing reading this in the first place? I give to you the Pitbull of Magic - Christopher Lyle.
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A Double Standard

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm quite vocal about anything and everything on many of the magic forums...particularly the green monster. From time to time a discussion pops up concerning the appropriateness of certain effects in the realm of Children's Entertainment.

Now granted...I do not consider myself a "Kid Show Magician," but I can certainly perform for younglings. I love children. Not like your creepy Uncle who use to buy you lunch and then follow you into the men's room, but I think you know where I'm coming from.

I do not spend my advertising dollars on the kid show market. I have purposely priced myself out of that market because performing for children is not my target demographic. I'm not saying it's beneath me... it's just that in my life I have performed over 5000 kid shows (approximately give or take a few) and I'm done! Onto bigger and better things. New challenges. However... if a client calls me up and is willing to pay my fee for Little Johnny's 7th Birthday, then I'm there!

But back on point.

Why is that Magicians tend to invent problems that shouldn't even exist. As I said above, from time to time, the Kid Show Magicians will ask for advice on using certain props/routines in their shows. An example of this would be:

Does anyone use a head chopper in a school show. I have a nice one but I feel unsure about putting into my show if there are children present. I wouldn't want for anyone to become offended or for a child to try and imitate what I do in my show and become injured... blah blah, blah.

This post will then spawn 10 pages of complete bullshit from a bunch of fucktards who never actually perform for anyone but the man in the mirror and couldn't entertain a person high on nitrous oxide all saying that you should never perform something dangerous in front of children because what if after your show, they go home and blow their fucking brains out with a shotgun because they saw you do it during your show. (Wow...was that one sentence?)

Just recently over at the green monster, one of these fucktards brought up the fact that he has even stopped using eggs in his show out of fear that a broken egg on the floor may cause a hazard and a child could injure themselves.

WTF????

Has our society really gone so down hill, that we need to be concerned about performing with an egg out of fear that it could injure someone? That has to be the most ridiculous thing that I have ever heard in my entire life! The same could be said about Silks as well. Hell...why even do a show? You could invite someone on stage, they could trip on the staircase leading up to the stage, splitting their skull open and spilling their brains out onto the floor putting them into a coma. Jesus Christ!

Here's my take...

As long as you provide FULL DISCLOSURE to the client during the booking process as far as what your show is all about, then your off the hook! If someone get's hacked off over the material in your show, then you can direct them to the person who booked you.

To site the above example... you tell your potential client that your show has a Head Chopper in it. The caller thinks it's cool and decides to book you. You go out and perform your act. After your show, some uptight square (usually a women) comes to you yelling and screaming b/c you did a head chopper in front of children.

Your response can now be "I told Mr. or Mrs. So-and-So at the time of booking that I do a Head Chopper in my act and they gave me the green light. Go tell your story walking bitch...if you don't like it, then go yell at them!"

It's ALL about entertainment people. My Stand Up Cabaret Show is called Concentrated Insanity (a name that was provided to me by Bizzaro after he watched my act). I consider my show to be family friendly as I do not use any vulgarity nor any blue humor (at least not for a family audience).

However, the actual magic performed in my act would be exactly the same if I were performing for a child's birthday party, a corporate event, or a nightclub. The only thing that would be altered would be some of the humor used.

Concentrated Insanity has something for everyone. It has classical magic with a modern day spin along with elements of danger with a magical twist. I do not do a head chopper b/c they always scream "prop" to me and have never looked very menacing...which is the only way that I'd ever use one if my show.

But my act does involve Fire Eating/Manipulation, Tetanus (Randi Rain's Spike Roulette), Razor Blades, Knife thru Arm, the Balloon Swallow, a Straight Jacket Escape, etc. just to name a few.

I have performed all of those routines in schools before 100s of kids ranging in age from 6 to 12+ to great applause and I DO get called back to perform at those schools over and over again. Why? Because my show is DIFFERENT! It's not the same old Change Bags and Stratosphere bullshit that has been hacked over now for 100s of years.

Now don't get me wrong...my show is NOT danger after danger after danger. I do strike a balance. For me, a full hour show (depending on my mood) may consist of:

Linking Rings
Fire Eating/Manipulation
Rope Routine
Coke Bottle Vanish
Cardiograpic
Needle Thru Balloon
Razor Blades
Gypsy Thread
Snow

There is something in that show for EVERYONE! Mystery, Magic, and Mayhem. It's all about ENTERTAINMENT!

The natural argument usually goes something like this:

Fucktard: Children will try to duplicate what they see a magician do on stage. It's irresponsible to perform anything dangerous or even something that gives the illusion of danger in front of children.

I don't care how often you say "Don't try this at home", they will try it at home. I hope you never have to live with the knowledge that something you did caused a child harm when they tried it themselves.


I've been listening to that same tired argument for years now from other Magicians. I dismiss it and I'll tell you why.

First of all, I have found that no matter what you do, you will never be able to please 100% of your audience 100% of the time. It's just not going to happen! I would estimate that out of 100 shows, I may get one person (again...usually a women) that will come up to me complaining about some of my selections in the show. It's so very rare, but it does happen from time to time.

Truthfully, it seems to me that the majority of folks who take issue with this are overly sensitive magicians who are so concerned with being Politically Correct that they condemn themselves to Change Bags and Run Rabbit Run.

My answer to the above argument is quite simple. How can a child duplicate what they see me do during my show?

Let's chat first about RAZORS. Truth be told, double edged Razor Blades are not even that relevant anymore. Much like wearing a monocle in ones eye would seem out of place, so are double edged razors. But people can still identify with them as something sharp and potentially life threatening, especially when placed in ones cake hole! But that's another story for another time...

Back on topic. Where is a child going to get a double edged razor blade? That's not usually something that is kept in the home. A child would need to go out and buy them. What idiot would sell a child a packet of razor blades???

Also, (since I brought up how this item isn't very current in today's society) it's becoming harder and harder to find Double Edged Razor Blades in stores. The Wal-Mart out by me no longer sells them. The last time I was there, I was talking to the stock person who told me they no longer sell them, but he had about 4 packages in the back (which I bought up). Walgreens no longer sells them either (at least in my neck of the woods).

So these aren't' even easily obtainable by an adult let alone a child. So how would a child emulate me performing my razor blade routine? Hmmm...I think not!

Now let's chat about FIRE! Where is a child going to get the material to perform fire eating/manipulation? To do a basic fire eating act you need the following:

- A Lighter
- Fuel
- A Container to Hold the Fuel
- A Torch or Torches
- A Fire Extinguisher

Where is a child going to get all of this from? They would have to go out and buy it. Again...what idiot in their right mind would SELL THIS STUFF to a minor? Let's just say for the sake of saying it, that some idiot did sell a torch, lighter, and fuel to a child (which would NEVER happen). So now little Johnny is out in the back yard and he lights up a torch. Little Johnny assumes the fire eating stance and starts to bring the torch close to their face. They feel the heat and how hot it is...so they pull back!

NO KID IS EVER GOING TO PUT FIRE IN THEIR MOUTH!

Now let's talk about the BALLOON SWALLOW. Where is a child going to get a 260 balloon to swallow? Hmmmm... True... they could go to a store and buy 260s if they know what to look for. However, a 260 fully inflated is too wide to fit into a child's mouth. It won't fit! It's a physical impossibility. IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!

To use my previous example, the same could be said of a HEAD CHOPPER. Just insert HEAD CHOPPER above where I have said RAZOR BLADES or FIRE or BALLOONS.

The whole point of all this is If a child is able to gain access to any of the stuff I have mentioned above then seeing my show is the LEAST of their problems!

WHERE ARE THEIR PARENTS???? It's up to the parents to teach their children that they are not to do what they see the Magician do. If a child sees me or anyone performing something dangerous and doesn't have the common sense to talk to their child and exhibit a little bit of parenting, then if their child injures themselves while playing the Angry Magician game, as unfortunate as that would be, it's the parents fault, not mine!

There is MUCH MORE DANGER represented on your local news, on TV Shows, in the Movies, etc. Hell...you can go to YouTube and watch people setting themselves on fire and swallowing a sword and then shitting into a cup. It's crazy!

People should give the kids of today a tad more credit then they do. Kids are smart (far smarter than most adults I find). Most kids wouldn't be dumb enough to try this stuff. If they are that stupid, then their parents are to blame for not doing their job as parents.

Let me throw a different slant on this for a minute. I have been to Ringling Brothers Circus every year for the last 10 years. The circus (geared towards families and children) is LOADED WITH DANGEROUS STUFF. I have seen people juggle fire while on a 10 foot unicycle, perform fire eating and blowing, putting their heads in the mouths of lions and tigers, swinging from a trapeze, being shot a 1/2 mile out of a cannon, etc.

After the circus, if a child were to go home and try and stick his head in the family dogs mouth and gets injured or ties a rope between to houses and falls while attempting a High Wire Act, who should be held responsible? The circus? FUCK NO! The parents would be held responsible!

There seems to be a double standard. Why is ok for kids to watch danger in a Circus or on TV or on YouTube or in the Movies, but it's taboo outside of those arenas? It's pure rubbish!

It's this kind of mindless nonsense that gives magic such a bad rap. People don't really know how good magic can be. Why? Because their only experience with Magic is some guy doing 20th Century Silks at a Birthday Party and pulling a rabbit out of a hat. As a community of Magicians, I fear that many of us do more harm than good. We have gotten so PC when it comes to performing for kids that many of the shows lack ANY ENTERTAINMENT VALUE WHATSOEVER!

As of late, I have been doing quite a bit of soul searching about my magic and what it means to me. Tho' my show is riddled with humor, insanity, and zanyness, I do consider myself a serious performance artist. I enjoy performing for people who enjoy magic...however, it seems to me as the years go on, that finding "adults" who enjoy watching the fine art of magic are becoming fewer and fewer.

Why is this?

I believe that there is a negative perception that has been around for 1000s of years that magic is nothing more than entertainment for children. I think that most people, when they think of what magic is, will always remember a time when they attended a birthday party (either as a child or an adult) where they saw Grandpa Earl dressed up in his Lodge Jacket wearing his Benevolent Order of Antelope Fez hacking thru his exciting rendition of Hippy Hop Rabbits and Stratosphere with 50 yards of multicolored silks tied together coming out of his sleeve.

Sadly, there are MANY ACTS out there in the trenches today that are EXACTLY as I described above. So long as Magicians continue to perform this lame ass crap with stock presentations, the perception will never go away.

It's that reason that I feel I need my show to be different from the normal "kids show" that people are accustomed to watching. It's my hope that YOU feel the same way about YOUR SHOW!

The society that we live in today is far different from that of say 20+ years ago. The world is changing and if we as entertainers do not change with it, then I fear Magicians will become nothing more than a bad punch line... which technically, we already are.

To close, I will leave you with this final thought. Follow these three rules:

1. Do your act
2. Do it well
3. Be entertaining

If you follow those 3 simple steps, then your well on your way to success. Now go out there an ma-jish!

I'll be watching!

Christopher Lyle is one of hardest working table hoppers in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Area. We think he's had all of his shots. Want to praise or bitch? Go to his website and email him. www.lylemagic.com

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Don't say I didn't warn you...

Bizzaro.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A valid point...

I just wanted to share this. Found it on the Genii forum. It's a diatribe about the cons of zombie performance. (If you don't know what I am talking about, look in the back of your toilet.)

"If you're going to perform a Zombie, please leave out the move in which the ball seems to want to escape, but is gently pulled back by the mage, who used the cloth to reverse the ball's direction.

Physics dictates that the ball would continue along it's chosen path, while the mage's action would pull the cloth off."


It's so totally true. I Never really thought of it before. It's another Broom in the Corner.

And another brick in the wall.

Bizzaro.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Community theater..

Here is how I picture how some magicians go about their video production.

"Hey check it out I bought this awesome HD camera, wicked light kit, and great microphone."
"Nice. Where is the tripod?"
"...."
"You have a tripod don't you?"
"I ran out of money...."
"They're like TWELVE BUCKS at Radioshack!!"
"I know, I'll just hold it! It'll be fine!"
(Facepalm)


For the love of people, BUY A DAMN TRIPOD!! You're making some of us sea sick.

The magic is fine tho'.

Bizzaro.

Monday, October 12, 2009

High School Magic

I hope you folks are enjoying the articles I have been posting elsewhere. To fill the gaps over here we have a late entry into the guest week. It's ok, we won't hold it against him. Love him or hate em' folks, here's the nicest dead man I know - Todd Diamond.

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Lies, cheats, and thieves, that is what we are taught to do in the art of magic. This is our craft to misdirect and to deceive the audience. The reason for this memo, or article, or what ever you want to call it is to point out the truth in our business. We are trained to do all these things for entertainment purposes; however the majority of the people in our art choose to do it to each other. Look at all the Criss Angel and David Blaine haters in our business. Why is that the case? Simple, in one word jealousy! People work all their lives to be successful in their chosen careers and some don’t make it and a lucky few do.

High school was almost the same thing as getting involved in this fucked up business. All the backstabbing, lack of respect for others, only trying to make yourself look better, and who has the best and latest thing.

The reason for the High school reference is evident in the story I am about to share. A few days ago I visited a friend that I considered a good friend and he happens to be a magician. He is very creative and very good but his attitude has held him back for years. He has improved and really is becoming everything that he should become, however this situation is similar to high school, which really concerns me.

After breakfast we were talking about a new show that wasn’t even magic related and how he is in the pilot but didn’t get asked back. He was wondering who else might be on the show and I really did not know, however I believe that is something that should not be on his mind. I get a phone call from one of my best friends in the world (love you bitch) and we started talking and to make a long story short I mentioned an effect to him. I get off the phone and my other friend wanted to know about the effect, I tell him what the effect is and then he asked what the method was. It is not my effect to share and I was asked not to share the method. I said” sorry but I told them I would not share it since they asked me not to”. I then realized at that point how high school magicians really are. He thought because I wouldn’t share the secret that I wasn’t his friend, those may not be exact words however it was pretty much what was said.

So I am respecting the wishes of my friend and my other friend does not like that and does not see what a great quality it is to have honesty and be true to your word. This is not the first time in magic this has happened; in fact I could write a book about this subject. The normal person in the world does not wonder how the TV works, the computer works, or how sex works (trust me a lot don’t know this one), yet they still use and do those things daily. Why do magicians need to know methods of effects? The method really does not matter and does not make a good magician or entertainer. In fact some of the simplest magic is the best.

I challenge all those finger flicking bitches to entertain because that is the whole point of what we do! Don’t get me wrong I love finger flicking stuff, sleights and all that good stuff but the bottom line is that it doesn’t fucken matter to the audience. The method is a means to an end and that end should be about your audience not you! I will say this if you care more about method then entertaining you will be lost in the world of high school magic and will never graduate to the next level and that level can only be defined by you. Other magicians may have experience and know things, however they are not you. What works for me does not mean it will work for you and vice versa. I have a friend who is well known in this business and he will always say try something but if it doesn’t fit your character or you then don’t bother. If I show him something he will eventually ask me does it fit my personality and if not why am I wasting my time.

On the flip side of these writings, I really love the art of magic and feel that over the last several years magic is being ruined by people with the thought that methods are more important than being good entertainers. The only way to stop this is for me to stop hanging out with lying, cheating, thieving magicians. I am only limited to my imaginations and the two magicians I trust and care about as people that believe the way I do about being respectful to each other.

This is the only business that I have experienced that has this high school drama attached to it all the time. Sure it is normal to some extent but in our art that is all there is unless someone gets lucky enough to get off the magic cafĂ© (the new drug of choice for magicians that can’t entertain) and do a fucken show for a hundred bucks!

After 12 years in this business, I have decided to move on and do what I do but not surround myself around whining, negative, and high school bitches!

This is not directed to one individual; however it is directed to all you assholes that fucken think you are better than everyone and think that the method is more important. The bottom line is if you have any of these qualities and don’t care about respecting your peers... THEN FUCK OFF!

Todd Diamond
www.tpdmagic.com
www.magicfromthegrave.com

And 50 other domains I own that I might or might not use!

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Don't worry kids, he's had all his shots... I think.

Bizzaro.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

So as some of you saw, guest week was rather short. Too many people with better things to do.. like paint their lawn or something.

Regardless, I haven't forgotten about my little poptarts who read this silly little journal. However, I have been busy busy making sponge balls for you bastards. So if you are in dire need to get a fix of the ol' Bizzaro charm, I am involved in an interesting little gambit. Over at this guys blog, I am one of ten performers writing 100 article in 10 days.

I am the token magician and I am writing content exclusive to this event only. You might notice some reoccurring themes here and there from this journal to that one, but unless you have read all 5+ years worth, I doubt it.

Regardless, enjoy that and I will be chiming in from time to time on an incredibly unreliable schedule.

Between balls that is...

Bizzaro.

Friday, October 02, 2009

One singular sensation..

I just got done watching the first ten minutes or so of a video that teaches you to perform the invisible deck with a regular deck of cards. (If you don't know what an invisible deck is, stop reading this right now and smack yourself in the head with the keyboard)

I don't understand why anyone would EVER want to do the ID with a normal deck. I don't care how much you boast about how yours is clean or better or whatever. Read this next line slowly: YOU CAN'T IMPROVE ON A TRICK THAT DOES THE WORK FOR YOU! This is like someone saying, "Well the wheel works alright and all, but I bet I can make it better." Leave well enough alone you silly gits!!

If you really want to buy a video that teaches you to do the ID deck better, I mean if the urge really is that strong to spend money on something, find something that will teach you a good deck switch and go from there. If you really have to complain about carrying around two decks of cards on your person, then you are in the wrong business my friend. Maybe being a mime is more your speed.

So my tip to you is don't be fooled into thinking you need to improve upon something that doesn't need it. Chances are the thing that needs the most improvement in your magic career...

is you.

Bizzaro.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Guest Week 2: Electric Bugaboo

Today's entry comes from a good friend of mine from Texas. He's creative, funny, and skinny as a rail. The best trick he does is turn sideways and vanish. I shit you not!

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BY: Aaron Stone

I have started this article five times now, gotten distracted, and tried again. I'm sitting right now in a hospital waiting room... yay...

The last time I wrote for Bizzaro's blog, I was nearly held at gunpoint. Actually, it was more like this: I went to his house, was led to the laptop, and forced to do nothing else unless I filled the gap in his guest spot for the week, fed Michelina's frozen dinners, smacked by a Wii remote, beaten by Tigger Tails, even suffocated with a fedora... okay, not really, but it was completely unexpected.

Yet again I have the honor of being told there is an open invitation! That's almost a request! So, naturally, I've jumped on my girlfriend's laptop (shuddup) and started typing away.

I now get to rant about one thing that really pisses me off! PONIES.

That's right. Ponies.

Not like, “oh, I want a pony for my birthday,” that every girl (and some of you boys) want, but the one-trick ponies that claim to be magicians in our world today. The ones who claim to do “tricks” and feel like that's quality entertainment. That's a problem, and I've found an effective solution: Nerve gas.

The kids (well, grown people too) that learn a trick from YouTube or a drunk guy in a brothel and immediately go show everyone they can (poorly) and claim they are magicians need to be thrown into a room littered with sharp objects and instruments of destruction and force-fed good, high-quality magic footage. Why?

“Anyone can do a magic trick. Only a magician can do magic.” Even if someone knows thousands of tricks, they are not a magician. A magician is more than someone who has too much free-time and zero remaining social life. Much like a mortician, magicians need to know everything. Which is why we can be so cocky sometimes.

Magicians need to be well-versed in theatrical performance, stage lighting, set design, writing/scripting, timing, costuming, make-up, mechanics, construction, psychology, business management, current events and world news, study of competition, marketing, physical therapy, public relations, and various other technical skills. Show me one full-time professional who doesn't fit this, and I'll eat Bizzaro's hat. (Editor's note: The hell he will)

So what really, truly separates the pros from the soon-to-be-nuked populous of 21-cardtrickville? Entertainment. Whether it be funny, serious, dramatic, esoteric, satirical, or insipid... entertainment value is what draws the line. A professional magician can take the simplest trick (one that a metric ton of imbeciles would dismiss as “a lame trick”) and turn it into a masterpiece that will leave a lasting impression on the audience. (NOTE: Lasting impression, as compared to the depression left by a falling anvil, taken to the face).

A trick is just that: a trick. The effect accomplished is in the hands of the performer, and the more tools and subtleties used in proper moderation, the better. The amount of entertainment is dependent on the performer, how much practice he/she puts into it, and the receptiveness of the audience. (Yes, I left a window open for a cop-out later on. There is such a thing as a bad audience).

Where does that leave us? Ponies! Oh yea! Okay, so even if a one-trick pony knows a thousand tricks but treats them all the same and shows them all in the same way (in an unrehearsed, unpracticed and immature fashion... seemingly trying to fit into a music video that would obviously be edited later) it still only knows one trick: ambitious lame.

Let's stamp it into the brains of the one-trick youtube star-wannabe's: Knowing how to do a magic trick doesn't constitute calling yourself a magician. A paycheck for your labors of your craft that covers more than your gas to get there... that does. A kit that says, “Learn all the tricks in here to become a REAL magician” DOES NOT. Surviving, supporting your family, taking it seriously and not perpetuating the crap in the market DOES. Doing every trick you can possibly afford to buy off the shelves of your local magic store does NOT make you a magician. Being creative, original, and working hard to improve yourself and your act DOES.

Basically, take it seriously or don't call yourself a magician. Right now, most “magicians” only know enough to be dangerous.

Which is why I opt for nerve gas.

Aaron Stone is a full-time performer in the DFW area, currently hiding his car from the bank and has just been put on the Ramen Noodle diet. Shaving with a broken spoon and defending himself by watching “Walker: Texas Ranger” re-runs, he can be reached with a rope ladder and a peace offering of York™ Peppermint Patties, or by e-mail aaron@aaronthemagician.com.

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Hopefully we'll have more special guest goodness for you tomorrow.

Bizzaro.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Guest week: The search for Spock

I told you we were gonna have a guest week again. It seems no one was brave enough to want to do this on their own. This is why I have a file folder of blackmail information on many of the people I know. I can get them to write things for me. things like this...

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From: Justin Robert Young

I don't get message boards.

Of my main interests that I've spent most of my digital life hunting for information about (i.e. sports, magic, news, movies etc.) all have vibrant message board communities spread amongst many well-run sites. Yet, I've never spent more than a passing few moments needling about various threads and replies.

At this point I'm willing to concede that it's a "me problem." I understand why others find such value in them, however, personally the negatives far outweigh the positives.

- The information is decentralized. Someone might be making the best point on the planet and I won't know it unless I happen to stumble upon it.

- There is a burden for all who participate to contribute something of worth. Knowledge, insight, a silly photoshop. Invariably, many of those who post the most don't come through on their end of the bargain. I tend to resent it and therefore ONLY post when I have something truly original to say, which isn't very often.

And finally, the big kahuna:

- The community is insular to a fault. Every new or prospective poster is guilty until proven innocent by those who call the board home. Meanwhile, close quarters breed resentment, anger, hostility and general angst amongst a group of otherwise like-minded fellows. Sarcastic comments are read as hateful screeds, which leads to a return-fire volley of expletives, which leads to bans, which leads to appeals to bans, which leads to someone(s) being called Hitler(s).

The owner of this blog said on his last appearance on the Magic Week in Review that getting into fights on a message board, it's like racing at the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you're still retarded.

Is the comment mean? Sure.

Funny? Yup.

We even got a rare complaint email about it. Of note, the letter writer was decrying the tone of the statement and although they didn't specify I assume the inclusion of a vulnerable element of society like the mentally handicapped.

They, presumably, had no issue with the accuracy of the statement.

JRY can be found chained to his computer slaving away to bring you the best and most up to date news at itricks.com

-----------------------------------------------

There is still time to submit something as I have one or two slots left.

Bizzaro.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I hate to do this but...

Sometimes, I just have to share how I feel for others to read and possibly disagree with. This effect seems like one of those things magicians will go (radio) ga ga over and will fall flat when performed for real people.

It might be the slow tedious seriousness of the demo video, but it bores the hell out of me. The only way to sell this to real people would be to let them frisk you before and after the effect. How many of us don't have cards and fake limbs and jello in their pockets? Seems impractical to me.

Often I look at stuff like this and ask myself, "Do I have something just as strong, if not stronger in my repertoire already?

The answer is usually yes.

Bizzaro.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I have decided in my infinite wisdom, it is again time for another "Guest Week" here on WAISIMH. (Wow that Acronym kinda sucks....)

Anyway, if you want to volunteer to write some pretty words for me for next week, hit me up! I will also be asking some fiends and colleagues as well.

You have been warned!

Bizzaro.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Getting swept away...

A few years back I did a lecture at the Dallas, TX magic club. A good chunk of that lecture (and all of the ones I do) talk about creativity and character. Afterwords, a friend of mine (who incidentally was the one who taught me how to shove a nail into my face) came up to me and told me about a bit of theory that he and his wife subscribe to and are always checking themselves against it.

With his permission, I am going to give you that bit of information and expound upon it in my own little way. This one goes out to all my honkies in the sticks. It's called the Broom in the Corner theory and it goes a little something like this...

Suppose you are sweeping your kitchen or some such other surface and then your phone rings or someone knocks on your door. Since you're in the middle of what you are doing, you set the broom into a corner it doesn't go in. Time passes and you mean to get back to sweeping, but other shiny things keep distracting you. Eventually the broom stays in that spot so long, that's where it comes to live. That's not where it originally was stored, but now... it is.

We do that in magic quite a bit. We'll get complacent with a move or patter or theory or... whatever. We give it nary a second thought and just come to believe that's how it's always been. It's because of this we don't question our motivations or use of certain props. As youngins we start out using dove pans gaudy painted boxes and various card sleights. We use these items for so long we don't move away from them and if we do... it's not very far.

Next time you do a show, video tape it. Then watch it... a few times. Take a step back and ask yourself, "Why am I doing that exactly?" You might find you can open your eyes to new possibilities and find a better way to present or perform something and make it your own. You might even find a new place for that broom suspension...

like in the corner.

Bizzaro.

(Special thanx to Mica and Judy Calfee of Riot Acts Entertainment for letting me use this bit of amusement on my journal.)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Defining you space...

A lot of magic boards have a thread somewhere that invariably asks, "What makes a good magician?"

This is such a subjective question open to hours and hours of debate. Personally I don't have that kind of time what with all of the other important things I have to do... like playing Lego Indiana Jones. Moving on...

Tonight I was watching an old video of a fellow performer and friend, Chris Randall. His onstage persona has changed a bit from when he first started. In the video he did some stuff that a lot of magicians tend to do. With his newer material the magic just kind of... happens.

This raises my question to the lot of you: Are you a "magician" or can you simply do "magic"?

A magician will blow on something to make the magic happen. Things such as making linking rings separate or having an object vanish. A person who does magic will simply cause it to happen with a look or by just doing it. One reeks of cheese. I'll let you guess which one.

Take a look at your preexisting routines. We get so comfortable with some magical moments in our shows we continue to do them without questioning if they are relevant anymore. If you could really do magic would you have to waggle your fingers or open each finger one at a time to show something has vanished? I think not. Sometimes just causing something to happen is more magical than trying to "force" it to occur.

I know we need magical moments in our shows so those watching will understand what we are trying to convey. However, I think we can reach a higher plane of existence with what we are trying to present and what the audience perceives.

Think about it a bit and I'll get back to you.

Bizzaro.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Petered out?

I have had my differences with a few of the Loughran products over the years. Some of them had some deceptive advertising while others I just didn't care for. It happens. I'm a bitter jaded mofo. However, one of his newest products actually has bad-ass possibilities.

I see a LOT of illusions that I don't really care for. Mostly because they are all just variations on a theme or look like a magic prop. I think this new concept (I think it's new anyway. Could be an update to something old) opens up a lot of interesting possibilities for inventive presentation. Science shows, Halloween/ spook shows or hell, just a fun way to ring your magic props into play. It's high praise when I like a box trick.

As much as I like it tho', this is not something I would buy as A: I'm a broke ass nigga and II. I would want it in a smaller size and to look like less of a magic prop. I have no desire to produce a human being from a box. Much like the concept of the Shadow Box illusion, if you make shadows or objects appear at random, producing a person kinda gives away the method if you ask me.

Regardless, I thought this deserved a little look-see so heads up my box lovin' magi. This could be the next big thing you put in your act to replace those horrible cube-zags or knockoff interlude illusions you've been doing...

or gawd forbid, Bowl-a-rama.

Bizzaro.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Beware of what he sells...

"Theres a man going around town
Spreading lies
Hes the bad businessman
Does his business while he can
He just does his business bad."


I was talking to so someone the other day about a stunt they created that has since been lifted and used. Mind you the performer who got his stuff ganked found a way to crank it up to 11 well past what this other individual "borrowed". He kinda shrugged it off and said, "He's a businessman".

This oddly enough coincides with a conversation I read about a month ago on the big green monster about knowingly trying to snake a strolling magic job away from another performer. The consensus was that it's ok if you're a "businessman".

So what I have gathered over the last month is, in the entertainment realm, businessman means a cockbite who hides behind professionalism and profit so he can take what isn't his and be ok with it. Don't believe me? Look at companies like Magic Makers and Houdini's. They knowingly knock off products and sell them for cheap so the profits go away from the originator. They don't have to pay wholesale costs so that way the money can go directly into THEIR pockets.

Of course the quality of these products suffer. Magic Makers sponge balls are terrible. They bleed like a baby crawling on broken glass and have a shape resembling that of a retarded tribble. Places like Houdini's (who I am pretty sure didn't have HIS permission to use that name) will take anything that isn't nailed down and make a lackluster version of it. Patrick Page's easy money is just one recent example.

I know that dollar signs are the only thing in some people's eyes, but if that's what being a "businessman" is all about, I'm glad I kinda suck at it. There's nothing wrong with making money doing something you enjoy but where do we draw the line? If making money is SO important to you that you will step on anyone and anything to make that fat cash, perhaps you need to feel the sting of that kinda theft yourself. Maybe have your house robbed or your bank accounts hacked. Take something from you that YOU care about.

Feel the sting baby!!

Bizzaro.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009



Cake to whiskey: New from Ellusionist!

Bizzaro.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wanna have some fun and kill some time? Hell maybe a few brain cells to boot! Watch some Jay Sankey product demos, without the audio, and see if you can tell WTF is going on.

Lemme know how it goes....

Bizzaro.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Why resort to cheap skill?

What is it with magicians releasing gimmicks which promise you the sun, the moon and a handjob under the table that recreate magical effects that could easily by reproduced by a modicum of skillful practice?

Is it because we love the new and shiny? Perhaps we are just lazy bastards... or.. maybe.. just maybe... some evil fucktards are out there praying upon you like Cosmo magazine which likes to swoops down and pick at the remaining bits of many American females' self-esteem.

Could it be they KNOW you'll see this miracle of modern magical technology and you will then think to yourself, "Self, we need that so we too can be magical with no real sacrifice and perhaps we might just set ourselves up to get some nookie."

I don't know if this is the inner dialogue going on in the heads of either sides of the fence but it sure does make you wonder...

don't it?

Bizzaro.

Friday, August 21, 2009

If Hasbro taught me anything...

Remember when you were a kid? Ok well for some of you this was a few weeks ago maybe, but that's not the point... You got a new Transformer toy and before you even bothered to find let alone read the instructions, you were already trying to form that little plastic bastard into.. whatever it looked like on the box? Remember that? Hands? Anyone? I know it wasn't just me, c'mon now...

Regardless, you knew better. Sometimes this would lead to accomplishment.. sometimes it would lead to you looking at Jetfire and saying "How the hell does this thing work?" and then you snap his head off because you decided not to follow proper procedure. That sucks... but you knew better right? My gawd is this going anywhere? Yes... I think.

As magicians we buy something, look at the instructions, learn to do a ghost count (If you don't know what that is, slap yourself in the forehead for me) that is done awkwardly at the fingertips. How many people do you know, yourself included, still do the push me/pull me (hadadada) move in color monte because that's how it was written? Next to the double undercut and the glide, it is one of the most useless moves I happen to know how to do.

We don't question anything. Sure some of us do and we flock to their lectures and buy their videos to learn how they have jumped the shark as it were to create something we apparently couldn't achieve ourselves. We get handed a method or moves and told "this is how this goes" and we believe it. We don't question it. We just merrily roll along. Well friends I am here to tell you a little something....

QUESTION EVERYTHING!!!

Do not be content with what you are fed or handed. Look at it from different angles. Thru different eyes. Under a microscope. Hell try NOT looking at it. See what happens. Think to yourself, "Gee, I sure would like to accomplish X without having to do Y. I wonder if I can do that?" YES YOU CAN!! Don't be afraid to try and try again.. and fail and fail again. You will learn a LOT from your screw ups. However, if you don't practice properly, other people will have a lot to learn from yer screw ups as well.

If you just reject what you know.. or think you know... maybe you can create something that hadn't been thought of before.

Something with sponge balls maybe?

Bizzaro.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Your moment of WTF?



Bizzaro.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Greatness.... on a stiiiiick!



Bizzaro.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I swear I have seen This Act before...

probably at FISM.

Bizzaro.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Here's a few tips...

1. Doing jazz hands doesn't make you mysterious nor magical.

II. If your magic demo takes more than 30 seconds to get to the point, you've lost.

#. I like bubble wrap...

Bizzaro.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Because we have to...

I was just watching Garcia's video "Symphony". He does something that I like, that most videos leave out, but also I find it disconcerting that it needs to be done.

Most magic videos simply explain how something is done and that's it. However, in the era of Youtube crotch magic and "ooh ooh look at my new shiny toy!" it seems we have to hold their hands all the way through the process.

In the video DG not only explains how the effects are accomplished, but also when they should be performed. It kind of bothers me that there needs to be a prerequisite to tell these little puppy magicians who so eagerly pee on the carpet when they learn something new, to hold off and only do certain effects when the need arises.

I understand it's always been like this. When we are young, we want to show off for as long as we can to anyone who is foolish enough to watch. However, in the era of instant gratification magic, we can see ANYONE do it before we actually get it from the proper channels and then just... fugg it up.

Not everyone does this sure, but a lot of warm bodies don't seem to know how to go on the paper properly. I think it's time to whack these people on their collective noses with a rolled up piece of paper...

like a phone book.

Bizzaro.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Linux?

Ok so it's been a while since I reviewed anything on this journal. Those of you who know me also might remember I am a fan of contraption in magic. (I don't care what anyone says, Eric Buss' spring snake launcher is awesome!)

There is a new product that came out a bit back by David Stone called Window. This thing is like a Tenyo effect! The way it works just might be cooler than the effect, however the effects you can do with it are pretty nice. Watch the two trailers at the above link and you will see what I mean.

This is an effect I think would be killer on a TV special. Alas, I myself cannot use it as I only use jumbo index red backed bicycle cards. For those of you who are not so stubborn and picky, look into this.

The best part is, (for them), is the fact that even if you are lucky enough to find this as an illegal download, making the gaff might just be next to impossible. So buy the damn thing and save yourself a headache.

Maybe now we can start liking the French....

Bizzaro.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Unnecessary roughness...

If there is one thing I see a lot of the neo-magi doing on youtube videos nowadays, it's wasted movements.

Don't give me that RCA dog look. You know what I am talking about. Doing in three moves what one could accomplish. (I'm looking, nay glaring at you double undercut using mofos) Stop learning all of the new shiny stuff that comes down the pike and look at the pre-existing routines you already do. See if there is a way to trim away the excess fat from them. Just because YOU can't shed a few pounds doesn't mean your magic can't.

Maybe even take a look at routines you always wanted to do, but shied away because of their abundance of moves. Do what the rest of us lazy bastards do and re-work them to fit your style, handling, and accomplished in as few moves as possible.

Remember what Uncle Bizzaro always sez: "Peanut butter sticks to the roof of your dad's car"... er... I mean, "Magic doesn't have to be hard".

Always make the magic to you, not the other way around. Besides magic instructions aren't rules written in stone...

They're more like guidelines.

Bizzaro.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Your moment of zen...



Bizzaro.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Darkness, all around me...

I would like to take this moment to talk to my brethren who do Illusions.

I know you want to look cool. I know you want to make a flashy entrance or make something appear somehow or another. However, I would like to point out: Shooting bright lights at yer audience from a darkened stage then turning them on quickly to make something appear... ISN'T MAGIC!!

Maybe now that someone told you, cuz' obviously no one has yet, you can open yer eyes, save some cash, and do something interesting.

Thanx,

The Mngmnt.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What did you do Ray?

I was flipping thru the old Tarbell books, (full of hidden knowledge, everyone should own them, yadda yadda, etc etc), and in volume two there is a line I couldn't help but love.

"People judge their gods by the miracles they perform."

Man oh man. Let THAT ONE sink in a bit. When you see someone do the 21 card trick, are you impressed? Hell no. Is anyone? Maybe. Then you see someone levitate, turn 360 degrees in the air, explode and reappear elsewhere... well hell, let's start us a religion and go to Waco!

If you want to be perceived as a powerful figure, do powerful magic. If you want to be seen as Fondles the Clown or someone's creepy uncle, then do shitty pasteboard trickery.

Now I obviously don't mean to be taken a deity literally. (unless you want people to go for that) I just mean to be looked upon as someone who might be cooler than them in some way. It's not just your magic either. It's your personality, dress, character, the whole package. (not YOUR whole package. Save that for "private time")

A good example is a recent contestant on America's Got What the Producers Perceive as Talent. His choice of magic was lackluster. His persona was egotistical and uppity. His dress was alright, but a tad common. No one looked upon him as a higher power at all. His miracles... were all store bought.

So remember: When someone asks you if you are a god....

YOU SAY YES!

Bizzaro.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Death drop soup...

This Shit just irritates me like wet under wear.

When did the idea of "magical escapes" seem like a good idea. If you scroll down about halfway of that story above you will see an account of Steve Wyrick's supposed "Death Drop". Not only did he FAIL to do what he has been advertising for weeks, he pretty much just insulted the intelligence of an entire crowd of people. We don't live in the dark ages anymore. Most educated people (more than we think believe it or not) know that magic isn't real. They take it for what it is. Entertainment... more or less.

By appearing somewhere else TOTALLY out of congruency with your intended outcome, they KNOW you snookered them and will feel cheated. Not only have you made yourself look like a tool, but ALL magicians.

The sad part is most high profile magic guys have done this lame crap. Lance Burton did it. Criss Fishing Rod LOVES to do it. The only person who hasn't done some totally idiotic escape is David Copperfield. Don't get me wrong; David did do the Imploding building stunt, BUT he didn't just appear on the roof of another building after the building fell. He actually made his appearance magical and interesting. Does that make it necessarily right? No, but it does make it seem interesting and impressive. To make up for it he did an ACTUAL escape from a strait jacket over spikes. Despite how more or less safe it was, that did take some balls.

Appearing at the back of a theater from a flaming or exploding box is feasible. It's theatrics. However, when you come in from a helicopter or appear on a high up building yelling like an idiot, it falls under the too perfect theory and isn't magical at all. You are just showing off and you might as well give the entire audience the finger and yell, "HA HA I FOOLED YOU!! YER ALL IDIOTS!"

I think it's high time to stop these foolish magical escapes and focus on something else.. like I dunno.. MAKING BETTER MAGIC!! It's shake and bake...

and I helped.

Bizzaro.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Sorry I haven't been rant-tastic lately. Been busy working and stuff. So to amuse you, click Here.

Tis' Funny!

Bizzaro.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Just say no...

I know this might be kind of a "duh" moment for some of you, but I was thinking about it so you get to hear it.

I have spent a lot of time in the alternative sub-cultures. There are a lot of socially awkward, (And possibly mentally disturbed), young kids who get into magic and traipse around doing crappy card tricks they learned off ellusionist, or more likely youtube nowadays, and calling themselves a magician.

So far, nothing out of the ordinary. However, I feel it is my job, nay DUTY to inform some fo you out there that you cannot be a drug addict and do magic. If you are high on meth and trying to do "Street magic" for tips, you will FAIL. Just because you can hide it from your parents doesn't mean that the rest of the world can't tell yer high as a kite.

An 18 year old strung out teenage will NEVER have a promising career as an entertainer. It's that simple. So lay off the drugs, or lay off the magic. Actually, just stick to the drugs...

it's cheaper.

Bizzaro.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

bigger = better?

If you have or have ever thought of having a manipulation act, and decide the best way to end your act is to produce a GIANT version of something that makes NO sense... don't.

If it is a prop that doesn't exist in real life, it might be hard for the audience to come along with you in the believability department. Sure I used to produce giant eyeballs in an act at one time. I realize the irony of this post. However, something that abstract can work. Giant pipes or cell phones... not so much. Doing a CD act and then giant CD's is about where the line ends. After that it gets silly.

There are better ways to end any manip act. Sometimes with an emotional hook or maybe bring an everything back around full circle. However, as magicians we do tend to fall back on what we see. We only know what we see. We only know what we read. We really need to know more.

So in conclusion, I would just like to say: If you think ending your magic routine producing giant cock rings is a good idea...

think again.

Bizzaro.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A big deal....

Last night I was speaking with some folks at the local Wednesday night gathering and someone turned to our buddy, Scott Hitchcock and told him, with no amount of ego stroking, that he did the best Fizz Master presentation they had seen.

For those who might not know what Fizz Master is (like this young man) it is the transferring of agitated carbonation from one soda can to another. Scott does make quite a production out of it and it's great because of that fact.

I bring this up tonight because we went and saw the new show Freaks, which is a fun romp and if you like midgets and faux clown sex, this show is a MUST see. Most of the things presented are done very theatrically and silent. This not only makes the performers stand out but the effects as well. All are little vignettes that center around one stunt or another.

A lot of times magicians try to stuff as much as they can into one routine. I have been guilty of this in the past and learned to trim things down here and there where it might be necessary. By making a big production out of something simple, you can create an enjoyable theatrical experience for everyone.

Sometimes, a few tiny effects centralized around a certain theme can work well too. However, you have to be careful and not go too far out there so as people can follow you back from the trip you take them on. Otherwise, you end up with everyone getting lost.

Then you end up with a show called Believe.

Bizzaro.

Monday, June 15, 2009

That outta learn yah...

I have been chatting with a very exuberant young lady on a magic message board who says she has been kinda turned off looking for advice on many of the boards because it's full of "little boys and their toys" (more or less). I for one am all for someone, male or female, looking to better themselves artistically. However, in today's world there is a slight problem with that. The Internet.

The problem with the internet is it is NOT a place to learn from. Period. You cannot learn how to perform in front of a live crowd. You can't develop the best patter in social situations, and you SURE as fuck can't learn how to spell, nor use punctuation properly. (even tho' Firefox has this keen little function called a SPELL CHECKER BUILT RIGHT IN!!)

However, if you want to post unpolished material and shots of your crotch, or have your performances lambasted by armchair 12 year olds with mad l33t skills, then the internet is the perfect place for you to be. If this sounds like a good idea to you, please stop reading my journal and beat yourself unconscious with the keyboard or laptop you happen to have in front of you. This way, there will be one less asshat to deal with online and we can get down to a little online Darwinian pruning of the species.

Evolve.

Bizzaro.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Back from Atlantic City. Not in the mood to write anything... expect this.


Bizzaro.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Just a quick note to everyone that this week (5th-11th) I will be out in Atlantic City at Trick Zone in the Tropicana Casino performing.

I might even be doing a lecture. They are a lot like reading this journal... but with sound FX.

Bizzaro.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sorry for the weird poll question. I couldn't think of anything else. I have put up a new one as I have retired one of my old routines and am considering sharing my collected knowledge with the world.

I personally believe that the only time someone should sell their personal pet effects is when they are DONE with them or they are being ripped off left and right and should make it official. Kevin James knows the price of having your creativity siphoned off by bastards. The other option of course is to have yo' shit sold post-mortem. Like Dai Vernon or Tommy Wonder.

Magic.. from the graaaaave.

Bizzaro.

By the way: We have only had one entry for the CCSB contest (See below). Does no one else want to play with us?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Who wants a contest?

EVERYONE!!! (maybe)

So this is the logo we have devised for our color changing sponge ball effect.

Think you can do better? I challenge you to do so!! Send us a logo you think is better and you could win a color changing sponge ball of yer very own before anyone else!!

so crank up the ol' photoshoppe skillz and show me your balls!!

Bizzaro.

Wash yo' balls!!

I have had this post in mind for a while, but I keep getting distracted by more important things.

Anywho, ever seen a magician produce wrinkled silks or rope that USED to be white. What about sponge balls that look like they USED to be green? I think the only thing magicians try to keep pristine all the time are card decks. (Personally I use mine until the box lid falls off, then downgrade that pack to a waste deck and open a new one.)

Don't give me no shite excuses that you don't own an iron or don't have time. Here is a little quick ironing tip for those of you who are domestically challenged. Take your wrinkled ass silks and wet them in the sink, squeeze them out, and then press them flattened out on a mirror, tile wall, glass shower door, etc. Let them dry. The will fall flat and wrinkle free to the floor. The only downside to this is that over time, it can have an effect on the vibrance of the color. After that store your silks (for stage use and stuff) in a zip-lock bag with some air in it. This will keep them tumbling around and not smished flat.

Wash your damn rope. That's it really. It gets dirty no matter what color you use, but if your gray rope didn't START that way, wash that shit yo.

Our good friend (and avid reader) Christopher Lyle recently posted a YT video on ways to care for you sponge balls. If you do table magic, and don't know how to work a sink along with your iron, you need to watch this.

Take a good long look at your magic props. If they seem faded, tired, or just plain sad maybe it's time to invest some of that money you were saving up to drink away the pain on new toys.

Your tools can and will give you away.

Bizzaro.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

CRAP

I want to stab this guy in the eye socket with a hot french fry... but he's right.

Listen and listen good.

Bizzaro.

Flawless victory...

THIS is why Jugglers beat magicians like rock beats scissors.



Our friend Dave Johnson puts it like this, "A juggler will never put something on the stage that isn't ready... magicians will."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I believe This is how most of the world must feel about Criss Fishing Rod by now.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tipsy?

I have been holding off on this one for a while. Dunno why really. Guess I just had to be in the mood. That and I am listening to the new Green Day album (two songs I dig so far. Someone listened to a lot of The Beatles while writing this music).

I recently had the pleasure of reading a set of notes that are not only awesome and entertaining but also informative and thought provoking. I don't mean the typical thoughts one gets while reading magic notes. You know, stuff like, "I paid how much for these?" or "Someone needs to learn how to use a spell checker".

One of the things I had never heard a term for, but understood the concept immediately, was the mention of something called "The Tipping Factor". The basic concept (taken from the notes) is: "The point at which, be it for good or ill, the scales of change begin to tip. I have found that many magic effects have a Tipping Point. By changing a single preconceived notion of a trick, you can tip it from a standard effect into the realm of themed presentation".

I can trace a HUGE revelation into my own show by the addition of one prop that brought everything together. If you look at your own work, you might realize the same has happened to you and you just didn't know it. If this has not happened to you, just wait. It's like getting harassed by Los Angeles cops. It's gonna happen... and soon.

I highly recommend you take that money you have been saving for the next overly hyped Papercrane product and instead hop yer happy ass over to masterpaynemagic.com and email him and tell him you want to purchase his appropriately titled notes called "Sometimes the Jokes are Just for Me". They are full of musings, advice, and even color photos. Spared no expense... and you won't get eaten by a Velociraptor afterwards!

Don't forget to tip yer waitress... Over.

Bizzaro.

PS: I put "other" on my sponge ball poll over there, but what other colors did I leave out? Is someone using a plaid sponge ball or something weird like that?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Blow me!

I would like to make a request, nay a PLEA to some of you out there in the magic world. Could you, would you please stop blowing on cards after you draw or write something on it with a Sharpie marker? The ink dries before you even put the cap back on it. I don't care if you are trying to find an excuse for a get ready or do a move or some misdirection. It's silly and to me personally, it's fooking aggravating. I don't ask you for much. Just this one thing would be like an early birthday gift if you all knocked it off at once...

especially you Jay Sankey.

Bizzaro.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Balls to the wall...

Who here does sponge ball magic? Raise your hands. Yes even you there in Nebraska sitting naked browsing the cafe, raise yer hand... ok.. that's enuff put it back down. Eesh.

Where was I?

Ah yes. Sponge balls. So a lot of us do them and like most magic we don't question them. Every supplier of magical crack carries them. At some point we have used them to blow the mind of some random person... and why not? It's in the hands magic. Nothing more powerful. However, how do you justify spheres of squishy material in the mind of non-magicians? Do you even care to? If not, you should.

When I was a pirate character at Six Flags, I used green and said I found them on the bottom of my ship. If it's Halloween, grab some orange ones and say they are pumpkin balls. (Only found on boy pumpkins) I use trite red ones in my normal everyday wear and tear, but I tell people I got them by beating up some clowns. Give them a little bit of truth, they believe a HUGE amount of bullshit.

Let's talk subtlety now shall we? I see a lot of people death grip their balls. (Hey, no snickering) Mike Caveny taught something very interesting in a lecture I saw him do once. After the initial false transfer, press your hand flat against a table (or if you are sans table, lean over a bit and use your leg). This works because people think of a sphere in a 3-D space. However, since sponge can be squished down, it becomes a 2-D object in 3-D space and your hand now appears empty. (yay psychology!) I do this to great avail. It makes it almost impossible for them to re-construct in their mind.

Here is a little known idea told to me a few years back to add to this tirade. I am sure we are familiar with transferring a non-existent ball from one hand to the other before we reveal it to have jumped from hand to hand. However, next time yer oot and aboot, try this: After placing the balls into their hand, have them pass them from one hand to the other. They will keep a firm clamp on the objects in their grasp. When they open up, it is a true shock because they SWORE they only moments ago had (Insert incorrect number here).

How do you end a sponge ball routine? Is it just with four balls and that's it? A little anti-climactic don't yah think? Have them change to something else in their hand. Maybe even a different color. They make sponge words and other strange sponge props. You can even incorporate a weird little routine by good friend Jeb Sherrill where sponge balls are produced from a woman's hair.

With so many options, how can you not be compelled to play with your balls more often?!

More than you already do that is.

Bizzaro.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Levitation for fun and profit....



No wires, no magnets, no trapdoors, no midgets, no photoshop!

How does he do it?!

Bizzaro.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Magic in the time of cholera...

In today's world it is not uncommon to see hypochondriacs crawl out of the woodwork when the word "pandemic" is uttered. As magicians we need to be aware of these strange goings on and be able to adapt. So many people are afraid to touch ANYTHING that might have come in contact with your mouth or even your person in NORMAL times.

So when some crazy flu goes rampaging across the world, we need to maybe look at a few of our handlings of tricks and make sure we remove, what we might feel, is the simplest of things.

Putting a card in your teeth during an ambitious card routine, placing a borrowed object into a phone, licking a spectators forehead to stick a card to it. (I hope I am kidding about that last one by the way) These things and more need to be considered so those helping us out can get the full enjoyment without worrying we are going to give them the plague.

Of course if you want to have some real fun, remind them that we use the same glasses and silverware EVERYONE else uses in a restaurant and watch their eyes widen.

Ah good clean family fun.

Bizzaro.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I take it back...

Magicians are NOT the most closed minded people in the world....

See?

Bizzaro.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Just a quick thing.... for all of you guys who vanish stuff onstage in a manip act and then bring it back a few seconds later because you have no other way to get rid of it.... please stop.

I'll explain why later.

Bizzaro.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Falling up

In life, (some) people tend to learn more from their failures than their successes. If you always achieve your goals on the first try, then yer not trying hard enuff. A lot of magicians have this innate fear of going belly up during a trick on stage. While this is indeed a valid phobia, it's not always a bad thing. Many a screw up can illuminate a previously hidden avenue to improve a trick greatly.

I say the best way to learn... is do. Get out there and give it the old college try. (Hell I didn't even GO to college) Maybe not at a high profile or paying gig. Perhaps at an open mic or on a small stage for the helluvit. (If yer a stage person.) for you close-up kids, there is no scarcity of places to ply something new. This goes back to an old post of mine about "in the moment" creation. Some of the best things come at you from left and ONLY when yer performing and pulling RIGHT from yer ass.

Don't let something silly like practice hold you back all the time. ONLY if you are confident in your abilities to cover yo' ass and shrug in the face of failure and laugh at yourself will you succeed in failing. If a trick going wrong in front of other people is the end of the world for you, then it's time to get over yourself and leave your insecurities at the door. We're just people. All of us. No one is going to run you out of town on a rail if you screw up a card trick at a nightclub. Just make sure you have something tried and true to fall back on... just in case.

You do own an invisible deck right?

Bizzaro.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

On a crutch...

I have been thinking quite a bit about the material that magicians use. Sure we have seen effects like cups and balls, and clinking things, and egg bag used over and over again... but why? Is it because they are classics (or we have been TOLD they are)? Is it because we someone else do it and think, "Hey he got a good response from that, I bet I could too."? Perhaps they are just readily available from YFD. (if you don't know what that means, GTFO of magic.)

I think these are all contributing factors, but a big part of it is we know they are always there to fall back on. We know them, we know they work (Even if a metric fuckton of people have seen them), and they are readily available. The above tricks are just a smattering of the number of effects that have been flogged to death like 6 card repeat at a magic club meeting. I know a few of my readers do these tricks and do them well. Good for you. However, have you ever considered what you might create if you put these implements of ease down and tried to... create something new?

If you know that you will always have certain effects to "fill time", you will resort to them.

Just something to chew on...

Bizzaro.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Just replace American Idol with America's Got Talent....



You get the idea...

Bizzaro.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Grease is the word...

Or was that Hairspray? I haven't seen either one so what do I know?

I think there is a major lack of magicians in the US doing theme acts. The ones who are, tend to be going for competition and won't play terribly well in the real world.

Regardless, I love Asian TV for magic. They get so into it. This Act has some nice ideas to it. Perhaps a tad long and some superfluous stuff, but over all entertaining. It's probably a competition piece as well, but at least there is a definitive story arc going on... even if it's not totally clear at first.

Just thought I would share.

Bizzaro.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A den of thieves...

Sometimes magicians can reeeeallly bug me. The fact that I have heard non-stop that one day, while I am not looking, laying in a prone position, someone is going to sneak up, club me mercilessly about the head and shoulders (And the pert plus) and steal one of my personal pet effects.

I don't mind hearing it, it's more the fact I know it's true. Magicians are some of the most unethical performing types on the planet. They will sit in on someone's show and take notes on every trick, joke, and move. Then, just because it worked for someone else, they feel it is the right duty, nay their RIGHT to do it themselves.

For those of you who read my trite little ramblings, let me tell you something. There is no skill in taking someone else's ideas and using them for your own ill gotten gains. The person whose effect you are knocking off, or routine you are stealing or whatever, has (more than likely) put in some serious research and development into making what you have so callously absconded with. In many cases some big time monetary investments, just so you can come along all willy nilly and make off with their life's work.

Now chew on that for a second. If you are one of these people, I would like you to realize how big a scumbag you are. Why? Because if someone did it to you, you are likely the type to throw a girly hissy fit on some message board and try to get sympathy for your silly ass. Karma is a bitch my friends. (Don't "believe" me? Take a look at a little plummeting project out here in Vegas that shall remain nameless... sorta.)

I have made it very well known that I have NO qualms about physically hurting someone who steals from me and I have a few friends who know how to break fingers and end careers. Sure that sounds a bit harsh, but if someone is gonna take from you, I think it might be ok to take a little something back. The unethical need to get a good dose of manners laid down upon their heads... and knees.

So wise up. If you can't get by on your own ideas, maybe you need a better one. Like 9-5 and the local Taco Hut. You are not fit for human consumption, so you might was well do somewhere that reflects you as a person. Do I sound mad? Perhaps. Am I? Not really. I just want to make a point while it's on my mind. Don't like it? Start yer own blog.

Please drive thru...

Bizzaro.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Thank you Seattle!!

Today boys and girls, we're gonna look in the old Bizzaro mail bag and answer some questions from our friends at home. This first one comes from a young man named Troy out of Las Vegas. He writes:

"When can one call one's self a magician? Are you a magician when you can pull off a double lift? Or do one solid trick? Or have a solid 60 minute show?"

Well Troy that is a good question. Also a tough one. Magic is one of the few professions you can buy your job title. Sure you can buy some paints and brushes and CALL yourself and artist, but as soon as you try to paint, you are screwed. (Unless you call it avante garde or modern art. Then you can just defecate on a mailbox and put it in a gallery and be called a genius.... come to think of it magic is a lot like that too.) In magic you can get a trick deck of cards and effectively accomplish what people expect from a magician, to fool them.

I think the term magician is thrown around too loosely as it's a dated name that is too encompassing. Mind you, we can use that to our advantage. However, I think if you can reliably make ANY kinds of money performing magic then you can use the title. I want to narrow that down a bit tho'. I don't mean you have a real job and/or dress like a clown and do some crappy stock material. I mean you are actually attempting to perform and add something to the magical gene pool.

Problem with that is, people like Criss Angel do that, but the addendum to that is they are too self serving to really be doing magic any positives. See I have seen guys here in Vegas who have big illusions shows that by all definitions make them a magician. However, the crowbar separation is they STOP at magician, when the best kind of magic practitioner is first and foremost an entertainer.

To me the term magician has a negative connotation, so I might be a bit bitter and jaded. This is because I see it from the inside. All of the people who couldn't perform their way out of a change bag. However, they get indignant when someone who is a better performer beats them at a magic competition. People who use magic and the title of magician to make up for the fact they have no talent at ANYTHING else. They want to rock stars, but can't sing, play, or fuck to save their life.

So when can you call yourself a magician? That is up to you. I say look at those you admire and respect. If you TRULY think you can hold your own against them (or very close to it) then you have perchance arrived. However, by that point, you might have wised up and realized the moniker of magician isn't that brass ring you've been looking for.

Who says I don't do requests?

Bizzaro.