Friday, December 31, 2010

So as we enter into the year that is new, I want to share a sentiment with you that I have adopted since moving to Vegas. Just think of this as a little something to take with you into 2011....

Never Leave Them Wanting Less

That's right, all of our lives we have heard "always leave them wanting more". Well on the flips side you can do too much and have your audience casing the joint for a speedy exit the moment you put on a blindfold or turn your back or, Anubis forbid, do a blackout.

I have seen many a show that could be saved by 15 less minutes of dancing or whatnot. I have sat thru shows that were only an hour but felt more like 3 days. How do you fix this? Be honest with yourself. Take a long hard look at your material. If you can't, find a friend to do it for you. If you don't have any friends because you are some mental hideous CHUD, then pay someone with better eyes than you.

Don't wanna go that route? Put a video camera on your audience. That will tell you all you need to know. By listening to the crowd, you learn a lot.

All I am saying is pay attention folks. Go forth into this new year with your freshly accumulated knowledge and better yourselves... if not for you.. then for the rest of us.

Now get out of here you crazy kids.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thought I would share this weeks' itricks article with you.

Have at thee!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I wanna be blown away by a really good magic act again. I don't want to be fooled. I want to be entertained. Let me regale at the structure of a finely crafted bit of theater with magical overtones. Someone? Anyone?

Is that too much to ask?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Here's my cards...

Everytime I see a video like this:

That starts out with some potential, they have to bring fooking playings cards into the mix for no... damn.. reason. Guys listen, you do realize they are a crutch right? "Well I need some points for skill in my competition act... guess I'll use cards."

I almost turned the video off right then and there when they appeared. I decided to follow thru tho'. I think if the cards were justified like coasters possibly or just gotten rid of and find something unique to manipulate that would be much better. Better for who you ask? The public at large or a bunch of sweaty old fat guys at a magic convention?

You be the judge.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Duly noted...

I once had some ass clown magician review one of my early products and say that it should be in some lecture notes with other effects. I didn't disagree so that is now where the effect lies.

I worked in a magic shop at the time and saw many a one trick pony come across our shelves that were great ideas, but did indeed belong in a collected works or at the very least a linking ring one man parade. Some of these were clever, but rarely for the price tag charged. (23 dollars for a card box with a hole in it and some rubber bands? Really?)

Ah, but the internet and desktop publishing would soon herald in the apocalypse of 1 trick items that are clamored for and then forgotten like so much trendy refuse. I bring this up because I saw a clever trick that just got released. Seems a bit much for the price and I am sure could easily be a "Build it yo'self" kinda deal. (However, I know how lazy people are and they want it right here, and right now)

To be fair you have to start somewhere, and it is nice to see people releasing multiple effects onto one source every now again, regardless of how good the motivation is to perform them.

Cest' la vie

(Can you believe I've been doing this now for 7 years?)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dear aggravating youtube generation,

I am effin' sick of kids (and I say kids because they all seem to be) who teach magic videos who have the conviction of a sack of wet hammers.

Why don't you little bastards put down the cards and read some books on performing hunh?

Also, quit ending every other sentence with "ok".. ok?


ME and the rest of the world.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dear magicians,

I beg and plead of you please, PLEASE stop doing vanishing bottle stock presentations.

Rub two brain cells together and think of something unique to do with the damn thing! I know, I know yer saying, 'But the standard right out of the box presentation that everyone does works!"

While this may be true, it makes you look like a damn hack jag-off.



Wednesday, December 08, 2010

For fuck's sake...

I get a lot of my inspiration for rants from watching the new magic stuff that comes out on the market. Today is no exception.

This diatribe has been a long time coming. I keep coming back to it because I don't know how to attack it properly. However with the influx of crap I have seen people putting into my world, I have to say something.

The above link is an example of creating magic for the sake of magic. As someone who creates a lot of stuff I walk a fine line ranting about it. Usually when I make something, I do so out of necessity. I'm not saying the others who pump out trick after trick with no basis for true impact don't. It just seems that they are trying to create just for the sake of doing so... or to make money.

There are a myriad of tricks being put out in the last year that are just magical masturbation. It's magic for no reason other than, "Hey look what I can do!" This is not a premise for good magic. Ok, ok it CAN be, but not for EVERYTHING you present.

When I see some of this crap I ponder about how one would get into this kind of trick, make it entertaining, or if it would have an impact on anyone watching it. Personally I want every effect I do to be amazing across the board. I don't want "that was ok, that was good, that was great, that was meh". I think when you start trying to saturate your life with magic that holds no purpose other than to be magic, you will end up with a ton of mediocre effects in your repertoire.

However, I am not all doom and gloom on this subject. The upside to creating too much magic is you have a catalog of methods and concepts that could lead to the next big thing no one has ever seen.

So the moral of my story is magic for the sake of magic isn't good entertainment. However I can't condemn anyone who wants to create. I'm not saying don't do it, but how about stop selling or publishing this lackluster shit? Let people save their money for something they might actually do more than twice.

Back to you Bob...

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Dear magic producers,

Please stop advertising tricks with the tag line "From the mind of...."

It's passe, redundant, and annoying.

(Yes I have done it.. but like once... Before it was trendy. It won't happen again.)


Sunday, November 28, 2010

I don't normally condone exposure but...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fist off, I'd like to thank all of you who voiced yer opinion on my poll about magic demos. Maybe if we stand up to the people who are trying to screw us, the word will get around.

Regardless, on this TG eve, I find myself a little put out by an ad I saw on the back of a Linking Ring magazine. Here is the first line - "If you have not read and learned the magic contained in this book you have no business calling yourself a close-up magician."

I think this line of thinking is one of the MAJOR issues with magic. Elitist my-way-or-the-highway kind of thinking. There really are people who judge you on the books you have read, the material you do, or how good/bad your double lift is.

I know a lot of great close-up magicians (Notice I said magicians and not performers) who have probably never read nor owned this book. I myself have skimmed it, but couldn't tell you what's in it.

I am sure it's just ad copy meant to prey upon your insecurities much like most modern advertising, but come on... we're magicians. The concept of what you can or cannot label yourself based on what you have read or the material you, (and tons of other people do), is down right silly.

So there is something to talk about around the dinner table kids. From me to you, from you to the turkey, from the turkey to the bathroom.

Don't eat the yams.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Every time I see a bad performer on stage I want to jump up there and say this...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I was talking to a friend of mine who is in a touring illusions show right now.

While pulling into the parking lot of a Wal-Mart to look for glue, I stumbled upon the inherent problem with most illusions. It's pretty simple and the concept is usually applied to close-up magic. I have talked about it on here before a few times.

Illusions have no Magic Moment™!

When was the last time you saw anyone actually cause the magic to happen with a big box or basket? What causes the girl to not be sliced in two? Why don't those swords pierce her scaly hide? Putting them into that confined space is NOT a magical moment.

My friend says he yells "NOW" when he produces someone in a crystal casket in the show. I can't say I agree that it's a magic gesture or some such, but it's better than nothing.

So to all of you people with big gaudy boxes and badly painted furniture, the next time something happens that is not "prop"erly motivated (get it?), think of something to do that looks cool or furthers the effect.

boo yah!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Speaking of product demos that don't lead you astray... Non-Toxic is now available!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bow wow, woof woof....

Tonight I was having a conversation with a friend about the various perspectives one might take on magic demos that fake the method to sell the item.

This came up due to an effect released recently called Sleeve Star. I do a lot of sleeving and so when something new involving this technique hits, I like to research it... especially if it costs $150. I was hoping around from message board to message board and made my way over to the big green weenie where I found a post about how one of the demos is misleading.

So I watched the demo in question and I found it suspect as well. I talked with one of our local magic shops about the effect and how it works and have come to the conclusion that they are trying to hoodwink everyone and the demo is indeed faked with duplicate coins.

This pisses me off no end jack.

I believe that if a product you release cannot stand up on it's own merits in real time on camera then you need to not sell it or fix it so it does as advertised. I am against false advertising in the magic world. making a quick buck off the uninitiated is dirty pool and I will not stand for it.

Now there have been various product demos over the years that have omitted details to outright tricky editing to make their product look a certain way. I have heard all of the arguments as well. "It's representing what the spectator sees" or "If we showed them everything, they would figure it out and not buy it." How about this... fuck you. If you have to lie to yourself that much to sleep at night, fine. It's unethical, scummy, and downright underhanded. Just know that there is at least ONE person who is out there looking for you and your false BS. I will stand up and tell you the emperor has no clothes. What the rest of you choose to do with this information is up to you. I suggest speaking up and showing your displeasure at this kind of practice. Send a message to those who would subdue us.

I want to hear what YOU think. Look at the poll box on the right side of the screen. Let me know where you stand. Maybe we can send a small message out into the ether.

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

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

I seldom like demo videos like this with wonky video editing. It says to me that if the creator can't get it smooth in one full take, then what chance does someone who is buying have performing it in real situations?

Just sayin'.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Am I being lazy? Yes.

Am I going to post someone else's blog to read? you betcha.

Will I be back on anytime soon? Probably after this weekend performing at the Magic Castle.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Touch of DEATH!

Ok so everyone who sucks at the one handed top palm, raise your hand. Wow that many hunh? yah me too. Never was too good at it.

Well rejoice heathens because someone has worked long and hard to make our lives easier. Glenn Morphew has released a new method thru Vanishing Inc. For $10.00 there is no reason you should pass this up.

I have been playing with it off and on the last few days and it does work and works well.

Pimpin' ain't easy.


Monday, October 11, 2010

I haven't forgotten about you my friends. I have just been busy. So until I get back into rant mode, watch this:


Monday, September 27, 2010

Shake it baby...

I went to a burlesque show this weekend and observed something amusing. These gals have the exact opposite problem as magicians.

They have the moves and the look, but can't handle props very smoothly. Magicians can handle the props, but lack the moves or presence.

Of course this is not a blanket statement about everyone, but a good majority of what I have seen. I believe the reason lies in the fact that if you believe you have "mastered" one aspect of your performance, you think you can master the rest yourself. Many dancers I have spoken to about using a director have said, "I do all my own choreography". That's fine but let me tell you something, DANCING IS DIFFERENT THAN CREATING A ROUTINE WITH PROPS!! You need to consult someone who knows what they are doing when you have limited knowledge in that area. You can be the best dancer in the world, but if you don't know how to sit in a chair properly, it can look clumsy and awkward.

The same goes for magic. Just because you can do card manipulation doesn't mean you know how to put an act together. Don't be so damn stubborn that you won't look to someone else who has expertise in the area of structuring routines. It is an art in itself to create a pleasing flow that combines movement, prop management, and skill.

Art should learn from art.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Just a little tip for all of you up and coming magic instructional video makers out there: Putting pieces of production equipment in the background looks like crap.

Lighting trees, microphones, curtain rods, all of it, looks unprofessional. It's not artsy. It's stupid.

Thank you,

The mngmt.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

It cracks me up all of the people who honestly think anyone but a singer/ musical act has ANY chance of winning AGT. All of the magicians were getting a semi because guys were making it farther than anyone else ever has. I want to say this once and for all, and if any of you EVER doubt me again, I will stuff an Arby's roast beef sandwich in your nose... sideways.

America's Got Talent will NEVER be won by a variety act... EVER!! It is a glorified American Idol!!

Call me a naysayer or what have you, but not only does history show us what is to transpire, but the contracts the participants have to sign does as well. AGT is a corporation. An evil, faceless, money grubbing corporation. You THINK they are doing this show to help people? HA! They are trying to boost their ratings and make a fat buck off of middle of the road ma and pa six-pack. A musical act generates more revenue and product, therefore, they will always prevail where money is concerned.

So good for the guys who made it as they did. Hopefully they can make it into something more for themselves. That is what shows like that are for. To whore yourself out as much as possible.

Talents like juggling and singing will always win out over magic because very few people have ever tried to pursue magic as a full time career. They don't know the skill or dedication it takes to make it, so therefore they don't appreciate it. Our talents are to remain secretive to perpetrate the illusion of what we embrace. We are like actors creating a story, but because that story is not some "classic" known piece if thespian culture, it is often snubbed.

Is there a way to fix this? Probably not anytime soon. Not with shows like AGT making us look like idiots or not giving a proper chance to those who might actually deserve it.

"That's Life" - Frank Sinatra

Friday, September 03, 2010

Why do we do what we do?

I posed a question to a young magician the other day that I had never really asked anyone before, but afterward felt compelled to share it with the world.

This young man has a competition act and rarely performs for real audiences (non-magicians). I asked him if the act he performs is what he wants to do or what he thinks he HAS to do.

This is an important question to ask yourself. Are you doing the magic you truly want to do or are you merely performing effects you think you have to because of your title? Have you spent countless hours learning complicated sleights because deep down you marvel at the technical skill of it all or because it wins you points at magic competitions?

Take a good long look inside yourself and see what you truly love and find out if you are following that or if you are merely just being a magical cover band. Following your heart may not win you a shelf full of trophies but at least you'll be doing what you want with your magic. Life is full of choices and questions. Let me help point you in the right direction.

Are you creating the art that is you?


Friday, August 13, 2010

Happy Ending?

Alright guys, lemme set the record straight here, bigger is not better!

I see a number of magicians who think that the way to end a manip routine is to produce some big cartoony over-sized prop.

This makes you look like a children's magic show magician! Seriously. Using objects out of place with reality will not gel terribly well with a real world audience. They will more wonder where you got it from or who made it for you. Using objects people know and have handled and SEEN is usually the way to go. there are exceptions. If an object is fairly nondescript like a ball, then you are alright. Even jumbo playing cards are ok... in some instances.

You don't NEED that huge ending that everyone else does. There are other and usually better ways to finish. Don't rely on your props to get you thru an act, work on your personality and character and let THAT be your guide.

Put down the jumbo crack pipe folks, thaz all I ask.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chicken Dinners?

Today is a little business day. First a quote ganked from Danny Hustle.

"The magic business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side" - Hunter Thompson.

Second, the winner of the closet contest hath finally been decided. However I would like to know why everyone likes the monkey? Regardless, Closet 5 COME ON DOWN!! Yours amused me the most. It was a very tough decision actually. I enjoyed the eye in the ropes. I even dug the condoms in the magic drawer (we all know they HAD to be for magic, because magicians don't get laid). Regardless, closet 5 gets our vote here at Fire cat Studios. So email me your address yo and we'll send you out yer swag.

lastly, Dan Sperry kicked some major tuches last night on AGT. He's gonna be back on again tonight, so vote for him you silly gits!

More ranting and drooling later in the week.


Monday, August 09, 2010

I think when your product gets made fun of on national TV (And exposed might I add) it's time to NEVER DO IT AGAIN! Burn your D'fingers folks. They are no longer useful.



Sunday, August 08, 2010

Lap Banned...

Only a couple days left until the winner of the closet contest is announced. (The poll has nothing to do with the outcome by the way, I was just curious.)

It's been many years since I took umbrage with the asshats over at the Magic Cafe. I have sat "idly" by and watched people get their words hacked and slashed and removed because someone on a higher rung didn't agree with them. Now sure I understand outright being a douche online for no reason should get you smacked a little bit if you do it constantly, however I have seen helpful information get removed because someone "they didn't like" was writing it.

Well this time, I am going to point some big middle fingers at the green weenie once again because they have banned a friend of mine who was trying to HELP inform people about an illusion company who rips people off. Apparently ANYTIME this company is slandered, the posts get locked or magically vanish. No one knows why, but I suspect fellatio is involved.

Bad form to you soup kitchen. For shame... BOO THIS MAN!! BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

"America stands for freedom
But if you think you're free
Try walkin into a deli
And urinating on the cheese"


UPDATE: This just in!! Proof that the people over there do NOT care about you or what you think! The following is an exchange thru PM's and email. Enjoy!

Friend: After receiving a PM on the Café that my Snap Illusions thread had been deleted and it "was in my best interest" I didn't post it again and I shouldn't be making "ideal" threats, I replied with a brief:

"Dave (Scribner), you're an ass.

And it's spelled, "idle."

His reply? (My comments have been added for amusement in parentheses and non-italicized)

You're welcome to your opinion but the big difference here between me and you is I still have Cafe priviledges and you don't. (Apparently one of those privileges is not having a spell checker handy)

You obviously have no respect for the Cafe as you feel you can post whatever you want with no regard for the rules and you have no respect for Cafe staff, especially management. (There is no rule that prevents you from posting facts to warn others about fraudulent companies)

A simple PM, which was not required but sent as a courtesy, explaining why a topic was deleted, was received with antagonism, demands and idle (are you happy I spelled it correctly?) threats toward the Cafe. The Cafe is not, has not and never will be concerned with one person. (Read that line again!) You certainly aren't happy with our rules so you're probably better off visiting other forums. (Amen)

Are these the kind of people you want to help make money by visiting their site? They don't care about you and never have. Wake up and smell the hypocrisy!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Out of the closet!

So I finally have enough photos to call this a real contest. For those of you who might remember, I asked people to send me photos of their magical closets (Or drawers). Some of you did and good for you. We're gonna take a look at them here on the site and then I will let you tell me which ones YOU like in the poll section to the right. After that, I shall make my final decision and someone is gonna get a whole lotta crap in their mailbox. (Not literally, don't worry) So here we go, in no particular order...






Stay tuned for the winner!


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Commit changes? Press "Ok".

So today I was talking with my friend about a cups and balls routine I didn't hate. The moment of magic was very defined and justified. I then realized that a lot of us really do gloss over the magic moment. It's as if we don't truly believe in what we're doing.

Now I don't mean getting all pensive and serious or overly dramatic, but at least commit to it. I have seen a number of Cn'B routines that the person just nonchalantly taps the cups with a wand over and over again with no enthusiasm or poignant moment at all.

I think this is because the moment for us is different than it is for them. We consider the magic done when we do the move, flip the switch, PULL THE STRING or whatever. So we hurry to do the reveal just so we can feel justified about all that time we spent trying to be clever.

Think about the moment sin your magic that really matter and you want to have impact and draw in some focus. If your conviction to your magical gesture is deep enough, they will be that much more entranced by what just occurred.

I'm no just the president... I'm also a client.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Dancing with myself...

We got some more photos for the contest, I just want ooone more before I call it a contest. So if you haven't submitted a photo of yer magic closet/drawer then do so now and you might win a handful of swag. To sweeten the pot I have decided to add my newest effect Non-Toxic to the mix. So send em' in puny humans!!

Now onto new business: Inner Dialogue. Do you have one?

When you are performing a routine do you have any internal motivation or are you just pulling rabbits and voes out of your ass? A lot of magic routines or shows have an obvious storyline and that's fine. However, I have found that if you have some behind-the-scenes motivation going on in your brain, it can be fulfilling to you.

It doesn't have to be involved. Maybe you have been infected by some unknown force and you are purging it from your body. Maybe you are a benevolent god creating life for your own amusement? Having an inner dialogue can help you focus your magic and help you be more creative. It forces you to focus on what makes sense to your story line, both inside and out.

Think about it...


Friday, July 16, 2010

Do you own Helter Shelter: The Movie?

Michael Bublé does, so you should too.

Just sayin'.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dear card magicians,

Please stop doing Elmsley counts and putting that last card on the bottom of the stack. It makes no sense and if you can't figure out a way around it, then maybe you should try something like sponge balls or ball and vase instead.

Thank you,


(PS: We have only gotten two photos for the contest. I need at least 2-3 more to really make it a competition. Send me them photos people!!)

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Contest Time? How can this be!?

It's been a while since I have held any kind of contest like object on here so I think it's time for another one. (yay?)

Here is a photo of my magic closet (Hey, it's not the size that matters)

I've shown you mine now show me yours!

The best/funny/most insane closet (or drawer) full of magical goodness gets prizes! What kind you ask? Well I will tell you...

My Helter Shelter Razor Blade DVD
A Color Changing Sponge Ball
TWO brand new DVD's that have not hit the mainstream yet, Sugar High and Live at the Magic Castle both by Chris Randall

So hop to and get them cameras whipped out. (Try and supply something better than a crappy 20$ cell phone camera photo if you can)/ We'll post them on here for everyone to see and choose the one we love most. Send them to if you dare.

Back to you Chuck!


It's a tie!!

So this new product that is coming out got me to thinking about magicians' fashion sense... or non-sense if you will.

Save for our brethren who lean a bit more to the sly direction, most magicians dress themselves like they only have one costume catalog and it's from the late 70's early 80's. The ones that don't, dress like homeless guys. (Yes I do mean just guys. I haven't seen a female magi wearing ripped jeans and un-tucked shirts to do magic in... yet.)

However, this focus is going to be on ties. We have all seen those overplayed playing card neckties right? Let me clue those of you in who wear them: You're not the first one with that bright idea. Nothing screams "Sky Mall" more than one of those.

Personally I am a big fan of clip on ties. (Just because you sport one of those doesn't mean you can't tie a real tie by the way) These kinds of ties have great comedy moments. Try silk thru tie while someone holds your tie, then walk away to get the silk and leave the tie in their hand. Tell someone you need to loosen your tie and just hand it to them. Very unexpected and funny.

If you insist on wearing some sort of patterned tie, do some searching around for something truly unique. Cartoon characters scream creepy uncle so try and avoid those. There are so many strange tie designs out there that you have no EXCUSE to buy off the rack at Wally World.

Just remember: don't let yourself be tied down to a tacky wardrobe...

or bad magic tricks.


PS: If you want something really out there, visit my friends at Artwith Latex. They have some awesome ties and do custom orders.

Friday, June 25, 2010

And a bottle of....

So I was thinking to myself the other day, "I want to vanish a green bottle that's not some weird beer no one drinks." (I actually prefer to vanish a soda bottle as I don't drink, but when you work nightclubs and bars, beer gets a better reaction.)

So I thought of an idea I figured I would share with you my dear readers... you lucky buggers.

First off get yourself a Beck's Nielsen bottle and cut the top of it off... you know, the protruding lip part. Now go find yourself a Heineken bottle and set the two bottles next to each other. Trim down the neck of the Beck's till it's about the same size as the neck of the Heineken (without the lip part) Now glue the lip you cut off the Beck's bottle earlier and glue that sucker back on.

From here there are a few ways to get yourself a label. Peel off a real one from the a Heineken bottle. This label will need to be replaced a lot however as it will become decimated over time and use. If you are resourceful, you can make a label that bears close resemblance and have it done on vinyl OR print out one on the cloth sheets they sell that you can run thru your inkjet printer. However you so choose, slap that puppy onto the bottle and voila'! You can now vanish a bottle no one else has.

The moral of this story? Change the facade of a prop that uses the same function and people will think you are cooler than you really are.

Works on America's Got Talent....


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Better than who?

There is a weird elitist vibe in magic. If you don't do the right pass or know certain of tricks some people will actually look down on you. This to me is just silly. There is no, and I repeat NO formula for creativity nor success. Sure there are things you can do or avoid but for the most part it's just you and me against the world people.

Surround yourself with like minded people who share your vision. This is a sure fire way to keep yourself focused and help combat that homicidal urge that can creep into the back of your brain. You know the one. That little twinge in your skull that tells you to jam a magic wand thru the skull of the next armchair magi that says your cups and balls suck.

Don't let the man get you down kids.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Guys... for the love of all that is pot holey, please please PLEASE stop saying ok (or any derivative thereof) at the end of every sentence in an instructional DVD. I was just scrubbing thru a video and EVERY time I stopped all I heard was "M'kay".

If I wanted to be talked to like that I would move to South Park.



Thursday, June 17, 2010

Leveling up!

This was originally going to be this week's column for iTricks, but I glommed onto something else for them and decided to save this tidbit of wisdom for you. Who loves you baby?

Have you ever seen a magician with a prop that you may very well own and yet they get better reactions with it? Is it because you might very well suck as a performer? Could be, BUT it’s likely their presentation of the effect has different layers to it. It’s not just what you see on the surface, but the bits of business and tiny details that make it more appealing.

It’s a lot like creating a costume. If you are very faithful to the design and add on the little details that make the character who they are, it will seem like a whole and complete picture. If you choose to just go for the bare bones of what you see and is there, then something is off or it just looks... ok. It’s because when those little things are there you don’t notice because it blends so seamlessly. However, if they are indeed missing, you notice it. Maybe not consciously, but something is amiss.

This can be applied to magic in many ways. By applying something as simple as a quick aside or quick visual gag or pun, it seems like much more than it really is. Even something as mundane as professor's nightmare or linking rings. All it takes is a look or a wink. A good bit of music editing or just a voice-over. Take something and make it you. Then, when it's yours, no one can take it because you are the best version of yourself out there... or at least should be.

Until they perfect cloning that is.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Different is good...

I get into an argument with a friend here in Vegas about being different from time to time. He says that a magician producing steaming piles of poo would be different... but it wouldn't be good.

First off, how does he know? Second, anyone could make that argument for the standards too. I hate hypothetical situations for that very reason. You can make up ANY scenario to back up your point. Sure, different isn't always good, but on the other steaming pile, it can be GREAT!

A lot of times people will jeer you and try to tell you what you're doing is wrong or won't fly because no one else has done it. It's not proven and therefore is shite. Well, I'm here to tell you that trying to stand out tempered with some common sense can be highly gratifying. Maybe not for your pocket book, but when you hug a dollar bill, it doesn't hug you back.

So for those who get bombarded on all sides about you doing some classic of magic in a variant that fits who you are or your vision of the art you create, tell those naysayers to go take a flying leap into a meat grinder and then eat them up. In the end of it all, they will be the ones revering you for being able to do something they can't.

If everyone listened to the pessimists, we wouldn't have the awesome things we do today... or the really stupid things too.

It's a fair trade.


Monday, May 31, 2010

You ever get that... "I'm not really that original" feeling?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Light up my life!

No matter what, it's hard to remove yourself fully from your job/hobby/obsession/etc. You will always see it with tainted eyes. (Which is WAY better than having someone's taint ON your eyes.)

We will see method. We will know the secrets. We will have witnessed the same damn trick over and over again and be aware of it's existence. Once you take that first step, you are forever jaded... even if it's just a little bit.

Many magicians have made a reputation by doing effects that no one performs anymore. They have been lost to the ages or fallen from grace. Magic is a common thing in the mainstream of the world for the most part. However, that mainstream is corrupted by a landscape of intensely similar bullshit. It's not hard to stand out, if you just look around at the things that mire down our entertainment world and rise above it.

Just because YOU know the trick exists, doesn't mean everyone in the world has seen it. Merely because it's for sale on a popular magic site, doesn't mean ANYONE in your city or even your state is doing it. Sometimes it amazes me how far removed people are and how plugged in they can be all at the same time.

Do yourself a favor: Do some research into our rich history of bizarre and magnificent magical craziness. You could very well get inspired and be more bad ass to the general public than you could ever know.

and for the love of all that is swiss cheese... stop doing linking rings.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It has come to my attention that there are a lot of magicians online who just like to argue and be bitter and cause a rumpus. Well in an effort to do my part and create peace between warring factions., next time someone is all up in your grill about the way you do your pass or perhaps your style of dress, just how them this....

All will be well...


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Not magic but still....

It'll fool yah.


(PS: Watch the other one they do too!)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Let it go, let it go, let it go...

When the magic world is coming down on me, I let it go!

Too many magicians are so hung up on the concept of getting caught, they don't allow themselves any breathing room to care enough to entertain an audience.

Yah, I said it. Someone had to. You guys suck. Deal with it.

If you just let it all go, you might just discover something new about yourself. "Forget everything you know... or think you know" We worry so much about our sleights flashing or some complicated prop not working that we get lost in that chasm of helplessness.

Look at the pros and how comfortable they are. Most of them have streamlined their act down to the best moves, easiest to use props, and funniest lines. This is all so they no longer have to worry about the magic part and get right down to the nitty gritty of entertaining.

Eliminate superfluous moves and filler. All of that hand washing and BS tricks are not needed. Turn your 8 minute dove routine into a 4 minute powerhouse of personality and magic then no one will care how long it is or if you flub something here or there. They will be so drawn in by you and your nonchalant manner that they will like you no matter what.

If you care enough not to care your audience will appreciate you all the more.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Tommy Wonder aside...

It is not unusual for stage magicians to be wired up to the waistband with weird devices for accomplishing miracles. However, this line of thought has permeated into the "street" magic sect of our art and quite frankly, it's silly.

So many products over the last year or two have promised powers over the elements and even the occasional drinking receptacle. The sad fact is these are items that are being released to turn a quick buck for the impulse magic enthusiast only to end up in the "Buy and Sell" part of any magic forum you may wander onto.

Some of the devices are so silly or cumbersome that many will try in vain to use them and get their money's worth but then one of two things will occur. They will get distracted by the next shiny happy trick holding hands OR they will realize that they can get more out of less and curse the day they coughed up hard earned cash for something that cost a third of the price to produce.

There is an upside to this of course. There are those few diligent souls who will find a use for these products and be one of a small handful doing it and making a name for themselves. In some ways everyone wins. The people who release it make a shiny nickel or two. The buys learn a valuable lesson to watch out for shoddy product, and a small percentage will actually get a great new trick they can use and will love. Quoth the Raven...

"Dismantle me for parts!"


Thursday, April 29, 2010

In other news...

Well tomorrow I head off to the Magic Castle to perform for Rudy Coby's event that is going on this week, but I will not leave you empty headed!! Pop over to itricks and read the voices in my head!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Aural sects...

One of the questions I see time and time again on message boards is about royalty free music for use on stage. It's not hard to find, but it's hard to find stuff that doesn't sound like it was made on a computer or, at the very least, a midi keyboard from the 80's.

I got a lovely email today about a pretty cool deal for some stock music that isn't half bad and ranges a ton of genres. The best part? It's fooking cheap!

So tell your friends and some random strangers online that you have found some usable music for their magical routines.

They might burn you a copy.


Sunday, April 18, 2010


Ok so here are some tips that might sounds strange, but trust me on this. I'm your dentist.

I have recently gotten into the habit of doing two things before I go on stage. Both are ways to trick your body to be more "into" what you're doing.

Before I go on, I do want to touch on something... like my nipples. AHEM!! I realized there were some occasions where I was just going out and performing my sets... and that was it. I made the fatal mistake of sometimes not caring. You have to have both for a solid performance to occur. Sometimes it's nigh impossible to muster up giving enough of a damn, but those times should be rare. The rub of course is that you have to WANT to be there in the first place. If you are doing a free performance at a place because you want to, you should still give it your all (or as much of it as you can conjure up).

Now back to some ways to help that along!

1. Stretch: If you get in the habit of stretching before you perform ANY kind of magic. Stage, close-up, comedy, etc you will train your body and mind to get in a "zone" and get into what you are about to do. It's like dangling a leash in front of a dog. That Pavlovian response of HOLYCRAPSOMETHINGCOOLISGOINGONYAY!!

2. Tie your shoes: This sounds stupid, even in my head. However, I have noticed if my shoes are on tight, shit seems real. When your shoes are loose you're comfy. Now I don't mean tie them so tight that your feet hurt and you cut off circulation. Just firm enough to let your body know you mean business!

So that's it. You can rank this up there with those other popular abstract concepts I have thrown your way in the past. Just do me a favor every once in a while...

Try it.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

T-U-R-T-L-E Power!

Friday, April 09, 2010

You're not as cool as you think you are...

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Widen your gaze...

Tonight at dinner a few of us were discussing how we look at things thruout our life is like a camera or movie. When you are younger, your area of vision is very tight and narrow. However as you get older, you get a crane shot that allows you to see a lot more of big picture.

I bring this up because this happened to coincide with something I was thinking about the other day about age and how we perceive our art.

The things that make sense to you and are important to you change over time. What you start out trying to say, (if you indeed are trying to say anything with your art and not just show off how big a tool you are), might inevitably change into something else. Maybe by choice and all at once or gradually it will sneak up on you like a mugger in the night. One day you might just look at your performance, (which you should do often), and say, "You know... this no longer makes sense to me".

That's what it's all about isn't it? What makes sense to us at a certain time and place of our life. Sometimes there is compromise and sometimes there is utter annihilation. If you are serious about what you do, do not fear the reaper Ted. Be open to change and realizing you might not be in love with an idea that you once were.

You'd be surprised how far a little objective observation can go.


Friday, April 02, 2010

Did I mention a big surprise a few posts back? I did, didn't I? Well today I have TWO! MUHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

The reason I have been slacking off here, (aside from the making of sponge balls), is I have been working on articles for a new feature over at itricks! It's called voices and a group of renegades will be offering theirs every week to motivate, educate, and eradicate!

Don't worry, I'll still be posting stuff here as well.

In other news: Bizzaro By Design is officially live! Unique prop construction and creative direction by yours truly. Ever wanted that dove blender? Now you can have it! Want to tweak an existing routine so it makes sense? It is now within your grasp!

Please drive thru...


Monday, March 29, 2010

Why do some manip guys such a HUGE deal about vanishing one single tiny object like a coin or one card. They treat it like they just made the blind see.. and expect the same kind of reaction.



Sunday, March 28, 2010

A heart shaped box of springs and wires...

A friend and I were discussing an awesome effect he came up with where you steal the light from someone else's lamp and throw it back. The subject of using known technology to create magic came up and how amused we are that when you are known as a purveyor of the magical arts, people want to believe so badly in it and you, that the FURTHEST thing from their mind is technology.

I do an effect with my cell phone. People really trip out on it. Damn near everyone has a cell phone and all of the ones nowadays have a picture gallery. All of those galleries work relatively the same way. However, when they see a playing card plucked off the screen of a phone, all of the knowledge of how THEIR phone works goes right out of the window.

There are a handful of good iphone apps for magic, and despite the fact people KNOW that an iphone is an wholly advanced paperweight, they still don't go to it immediately as the reason behind the magic. It's baffling, but we can and will exploit this fact to our advantage. Cell phones, laptops, CD players, wireless this and that... it's all around us everyday. Some will use it to light their home or run their life. The rest of us evil bastards will use it to entertain others and make ourselves look like gods.

So the next time you sneer at something that is an obvious use of some known tech, think twice.

That wireless scanner might just have another use.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Yes I still love you...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

*Puts on angry music*

I can't help but be amused and a bit annoyed when someone calls some staple trick that a buttload of other people perform their "Signature Illusion"

I don't care how good your dollhouse illusion is. It's still NOT YOURS!! Someone else invented it and plenty of others have done it before you. You want to call something yours, then create something UNIQUE! It's like those people who hear a song on the radio and say "This is my song". Really? Did you write it? Is it about you? NO!!

So before you say linking rings is your signature effect, why don't you see how many people are forging your signature on stage.

*Turns off music*


Saturday, March 13, 2010

We interrupt your regularly scheduled nothing with an update about why there has been so much nothing.

February was a crazy month with gigs and the kicking and the oy vey...

I have many thoughts going thru my noggin right now, but I am holding off on them for something special I will announce very soon. Until then, amuse yourself by jumping up and down on my Facebook page. (Yes I have one. I'm not proud of it.)

Stay tuned.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Full of tubes...

As much as I bitch about the internet making magic (and the world for that matter) a kinda messed up place, it does have an upside.

Despite what the majority shows us, there are a number of creative people in magic. You might now know it, because these people work for a living. The net gives a number of people the freedom to share their ideas instantly. Magic has seen a hell of a revival in new ideas because the sharing of information is so quick. What used to take months if not years for an idea to get from one coast to another, now takes seconds.

In a way this forces us to step up our game to stay current. In other ways it can be a hindrance as you are so inundated with material, you don't get the necessary flight and practice time in to perfect something before you move on to the next shiny distraction. As the old saying goes, "It is better to know 4 things really well, than 100 things very badly"

So pace yourself folks. Dole out the information to yourself sparingly. Just because you can have it better, faster, now... doesn't mean you should take advantage of it. Everything in moderation...

including moderation.


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Give me a shove...

It does me heart good to know there are people out there still pushing the limits of people's imagination.

I got the meet this guy on a recent trip to CT. Some advice to you youngin's who might read my silly little words here on the internet - Pay attention to people like this. Learn from them. It goes to show that diversifying a bit and having other interests can help broaden not only your perspective, but your marketability as a performer. Learn from the best...

it just might save your life.


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Your magic will never be this cool.

Deal with it.


Monday, February 01, 2010

Caw, caw, BANG! Fuck I'm dead!

Watched a demo for a new effect that is oot and aboot.

I think my one gripe for this idea is no moment of magic. It looks TOO mechanical to me. Yes yes, "but this is what it would look like if we really had magical powers" you say. However, we don't and since NO ONE does, nobody knows what it might look like, (Even if movies have tried and tried) We should really try to stick to a little bit of reality so the audience has some sort of foothold to grab onto. (Did that make sense to anyone else but me?)

If you subscribe to the "Too Perfect Theory" then this is one of those effects that has only ONE explanation. Chicanery of some kind. Without a reason for it too happen, it seems silly. Sure it's visual and cool and a new shiny toy for you to play with and then realize you can just do some other card move just as easy and cheaper... but is it really worth it? Mind you, some religions have been started on less.

But Kool-aid and Waco should have taught us something.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

A real update eventually.. until then...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Oh by the way, for all of our readers on the east coast...

I will be lecturing for the Washington DC ring on Feb. 3rd and then the 4th-8th I will be in Mystic, CT performing AND lecturing at the Clown City convention. (I get to be the equivalent of the juggler at a magic convention yay!) \

If yer nearby come say jello!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tell us about it Janet...

This last week was spent helping my friend revamp his website. We had a few conversations about a great many things. One of them included something I know I do and I noticed he did a bit too. Dunno if this is a (back to) normal thing, but I figured I would talk about it as it seems like a good step towards creativity and hashing things out when you are working on new routines.

There are times I will have a new idea in mind and be describing it to friends (or anyone foolish enuff to stand near me for long periods of time) and I will add things that were never in the initial concept. By acting it out and trying to paint this visual picture that they can understand, little details and ideas just seem to flood forth.

So as an exercise, the next time you have some new shiny thought in your big smooth brain, why not tell a few people about it first and see what tumbles from your gaping maw. You might just work out a better method than you had in mind, or come up with some bit of business that adds to the routine as a whole. You'll be surprised what you can come up with when you just go with the flow.

Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Dear magicians of the world,

Stop doing that damned "hands together, thumbs up, arm twist" bit. It's played out. It's over... like disco and Monica Lewinsky.



PS: My girlfriend can do it better than you anyway.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

It's all same in the end?

Since I came to Vegas I have been working more and more in the world of stand-up comedy. It's a good time had by all and many of the traits of comedy are shared and/or mirrored in the magic world.

Take for instance theft. Jokes are lifted willy-nilly (or maybe it's willy-nelson?) without giving proper credit or any remorse for the crime. It's very similar to what some in the magic fraternity deal with... except a line is much easier to steal than a trick because jokes are take no money or practice to use. (Which isn't entirely true, but try telling THAT to a hack)

That however is not the focus of this post. Not by a long john silver shot. This is about the end... of your routine that is. All too often I have heard an audience member know the end of a joke before the joke slinger tells it. Why is this? Perhaps they have heard it before? Nay! It' because the punchline is too predictable.

The same goes for any magic act. If the audience gets to the conclusion of an effect before you do, the jig is up.. and gone! This means your material is trite, predictable, and easily forgettable. What's even worse is if they ste up a BETTER ending in their mind than what you actually do. At that point they are more clever and amazing than you.

There is an upside to this line of thought however.

You can use this idea to turn the tables on those smarmy bastards. Take something that is INTENTIONALLY predictable and turn it on it's side (and thereby putting them on their asses). Take what they and/or assume and use it against them! If they think something is going to vanish, make it transform. If it's supposed to appear, make it something they don't expect. Many magicians have used this to their advantage. It works especially well with other magi who KNOW the tricks. (If you have ever seen Fantasio perform his Funtasio routine, you know what I mean))

If your magic is 2+2=4 then change up the equation so they never see it coming.

I prefer 2+2=fish myself.


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Hand jive...

I dunno what it is, but almost every female magician trying to palm a ball or small object in their hand looks awkward and cramped.

This is not a dig at anyone's skill or performance, it's just something I have noticed. I have no idea why, but I have some theories.

What are your thoughts?


Monday, January 04, 2010

In the first place?

At a lecture I was doing, someone brought up a good point during my creativity/character portion

The first method you devise for an effect might not be the best.

His reasoning is that the first choice might work and be the most logical, but because of that it might also be the most logical for a non-magician. That can also be the problem with anyone who has a little bit of magical knowledge. Nothing serious, but they know a magic or have spent too much time snooping the internet and happen to know what a double lift is.

If you don't get the reaction you want from a routine, it might be time to take another look at the method you are employing.

Couldn't hurt.