Sunday, September 02, 2018

Follow up...

Relevant to my last post:

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

This post will not cut away...

Magic on TV/internet/etc has evolved a lot since... well since screens became a thing. Georges Méliès started with trick photography in films like "A Trip to the Moon".

 Over time we went from that to live performing with magicians like Mark Wilson. As time went on, magic being performed like it was onstage was the norm (nielsen). Doug Henning, David Copperfield, Harry Blackstone Jr, Paul Daniels and so on. In the mid 90s Gary Ouellet dominated the TV scene with shows like World's Greatest Magic and Champions of Magic. Eventually David Blaine and the street era would crash the party and companies like Elluionist and Theory 11 would glorify it to no end.

Now we are in the time of internet magic. TV specials have been replaced with netflix specials. Spectators are now voyeurs with shows like Carbonaro Effect (and pretty much any other show). Have you ever heard the phrase "it all comes back around"? well we started with tricky editing and we have come back full circle to it... or have we?

There was a time when every magic show was prefaced and even INSISTED there were no camera tricks. Many of those shows were live which would have prevented that from happening anyway. When taped recordings started to be a thing, it was stressed EVEN further. Eventually that warning tag fell away when it started to become a lie for certain performers (you know who you are).

Having said all of that, let me ask you a question. Where do we draw the line on what is a "camera trick"? It used to mean altering the footage somehow or using technology to "enhance" something. In a lot of modern magic shows the magical effect is made in the edit. They change the order of things and get "pickup shots" to enhance the magic. There has been editing and camera cuts to make the magic appear better in past shows for sure, however it was liberally sprinkled around. Like a spice girl.

There are now magic shows where every trick, every shot, every other minute has been altered in some form or fashion through quick cuts and time remapping. You could pretty much hire an actor with NO magical skill and the outcome would be about the same. (I'm not saying they should. If any TV execs are reading this forget you read that last line)

So where do we take a stand as a magical community? Well, we don't. We never have and likely never will. There will just be a group of us standing in a corner muttering to ourselves. If any of you younger magicians are reading this, try to be better. Don't let the asshattery of the current social media magicians affect you or your ethics or devotion to magic as an art form. You can... and SHOULD be better.

And now a word from your sponsor...

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Deep like a hole in the ground...

I was having a conversation with a younger magician today about helping him flesh out some of his routines. At one point he said this - "I just want to be great" to which I replied:

"You gotta be bad first, then move to ok, slowly get to good and let others decide you're great."

I was pretty proud of that so now you get to see it too.

Saturday, July 14, 2018


And once again we send American competitors into an international competition unprepared...

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Accidents happen...

Today I was driving and thinking about how some of the best art is not usually intentional. Those who set out to create something that is marketable and interesting usually comes off forced. A lot of brilliance just kind of... happens.

Totally intentional I am sure...
Of course one man's art is another man's dismissal but that is the beauty of it all. It's subjective. Mind you there is a lot of universally accepted great things that have been created but NOTHING has 100% mass appeal.

This applies to magic as well. You can set out to make a new routine or magic piece but by the end it has likely become something else than how it started. It evolves through performance and practice (or at the very least should). This is where sticking to a script someone else wrote can be the death of a magical effect. It needs to evolve naturally. If you do it like everyone else, it stagnates. You are quite literally killing it and yourself by not feeding it new random life. It's like a tamagotchi. It needs nourishment.

Clearly it was fed too many cups and balls

So remember that a lot of great art is unintentional and unplanned. Inspiration comes from everywhere and you never know when or where it will strike.

It's like being mugged by a muse.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Clearly Improbable..

Dear Magicians,

Slapping the word "Omni" on something clear is not clever nor does it make the idea good. (also I doubt you have permission or give proper credit to the originator of that term/ idea)

Please be more creative.


The Mngmnt.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Too much, too soon...

Today I was having a conversation about magic and why there is so much turmoil and infighting in the magic community at large. Be it the internet, conventions, or even your local magic club there is always people butting heads over this or that. The reason is an interesting one.

You see, the best thing about magic might also be the worst thing about magic... it's diversity.

There are so many options, so many ways to look at and perform magic. There are so many  branches magic can take and that means that many more opinions about it. Couple that with the damaged personalities that magic attracts and you end up with a lot of beef.

It's usually on the Magic Cafe

Vernon vs. Marlo, gimmicks vs. pure sleight of hand, stage vs parlour... it never ends. Add to that the fact that humans feel the need to have a winner in an argument and you get turmoil. Sometimes everyone just has an opinion and there is no winner. The problem is there are a lot of "experts" who would gladly tell you otherwise.

In the end we should celebrate our differences and diversity not punch down on it. Will it happen? Hell no. However, you can try to help not fan the flames if you can help it. Help others where you can but leave your bias and agenda at the door.

Good luck.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Let's talk about death shall we?

Magic has been hit hard the last few years. We lost a slew of people in the industry including Tom Mullica, Eugene Burger, and today Harry Anderson (Spoiler Alert).

Here is my thoughts on today's news. For those wondering, I did not start wearing a fedora because of Harry. I was doing it before I even knew he wore one. My introduction to him was from Night Court. I never saw him do much magic til' later. (aside from what he did on TV)

When I was in 7th grade I bought his version of needle through arm and performed it. (My parents were hippies and pretty open minded) Flash forward MANY years later, I got to meet and hang out with him at his magic shop in New Orleans. He was pleasant and put up with us just hovering around when not street performing. I have heard various stories from he was great to he was terrible and a bit in between. One thing I know for sure is he was a sharp guy who had some great ideas, was an excellent performer, and had the fucking WORK on magic square. (I hate magic square but I can admit when it's good)

Do yourself a favor and get his Penguin Magic lecture and watch it. It's a lot of stories and some good thoughts on tricks.

There was no one else like him was there?

Now in a more general sense, we are losing our legends and no one is stepping up to take their place. Magic as a performance art is slowly taking it in the neck from all of these youtube kids. They can do great tricks, but can't entertain an audience and i wonder what will become of the art form when those guys fall away to get real jobs. The world does not embrace the unique or talented like it used to so it's not being fostered. What are we going to say in 20 years? "Man remember that one guy who had all of those Youtube hits? Wasn't he great?"

The answer is no... no we won't.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Door to the mind...

This should be app lied to more magic efefcts on the market...

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Oh bugger...

When I watch a video like this all I see is a bunch of kids who are gonna have to get real jobs one day...