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


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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


Friday, November 06, 2009


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.


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.


(A real post soon I promise)

Monday, November 02, 2009

It explains everything away...

(Click to enlarge)