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.
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.


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 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
Needle Thru Balloon
Razor Blades
Gypsy Thread

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 they pull back!


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. 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.


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


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.


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!"

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

The magic is fine tho'.


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.


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

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


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


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...


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.