Friday, August 22, 2008


Or as Ken Driscoll would say, Gaffs. The insertion (ew) of desktop publishing has allowed others to pursue that life long dream of making one's own gaffed cards. No longer does one have to shell out 20$ for a double face card of special design. Long gone are the days of fako sheets. Long live the revolution!!

There have been a handful of helpful guides that have popped up over the last few years. Each one contains different ideas and tricks that will help you achieve your lifelong goal... of getting lai.. er.. making yer own gaff cards.

One of the more well known is Marty "Martini" Grams. His DVD, The Art of Card Splitting, has everything you might need or WANT to know to get started. It's a visual guide to his book, Lickety Split. Despite the fact it's a Magic Maker's DVD, I rather enjoyed it. The material is easy to understand and very straight forward.

If you want a more guerrilla form of gaff making, then navigate to Ken Driscoll's Gaffed Again. It has a lot of the tips and ideas from the Martini DVD but in a cheaper and more brief format. Two things that stand out about this product is the unusual way to make a Hofzinser card (in which you can use an Ace or other similar card) and advice on how to sell gaffed cards if you are so inclined to head in that direction. For the price, it can't beat and the information is top notch.

Both of the methods used in the previous two mentionings just aren't enuff for some people. Good thing for those types there is someone out there who wants to share his knowledge of dry mount card making. That person is Craig Matsuoka and his e-book, "The Gaff Factory" has a thorough (not to be confused with Thoreau) look into alternative methods for card making including ink transfers from your printer (oooooohh aaaaah). It's worth a look see if you want to explore other possibilities.

In that same, I recently stumbled upon a website that has many ideas concerning this subject.

You may have noticed I didna put links to any of aforementioned products. I figure my readers are smart enuff to do a google search and make up their own damn minds. In today's market we have choices and damn near instant access to the technology needed to make those choices. There is nothing more satisfying that doing something for yourself....

Just ask any person with no arms.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Biggity Bamf!

So for those who remember my talk of releasing my effect BAMF! onto he market, you get your wish.. sorta. Magic From The Grave is now up for grabs. It contains three effects by Todd Diamond (who sadly was killed by his his first DVD F*ck Street Magic) BAMF! by myself (That sounds dirty), and a fairly honest never before seen interview with Amazing Johnathan.

So if you want to be some of the first to partake of this little slice of cake or death, then head to the website and have a look around.

More to follow...


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bizzaro.'s Review of Midwest Magic Jubilee 2008

So I got in Thursday and already got a chance to see old friends and start to meet new ones. I got settled in and walked around aimlessly casing the joint. Mainly for performance purposes. Also one can never be too sure when you will need to beat a hasty retreat. In the evening, I got to have lunch with the very pleasant Jay Scott Berry. In the past he has released some good magic utilities (of which he utilizes to the FULLEST). We discussed all sorts of stuff and in the end went off to get ready for the evening show. Oh the evening show... here is a bit of advice: Don't open your evening shows with a musical tribute act. if.. and I mean IF you do, make sure he can connect with the audience and can be brief. It wasn't the worst show at a magic con I have ever seen but it did drag. The saving grace was Mark Mason and his well honed act. The next day I had to be up at 8am to watch a young man perform in the close-up competition (as per his request. Nice kid. Met him and his madre at WMS). At 9am I also had a tech meeting for the evening show. Since I had to get up so early I of course went to bed at 5am. This would be a trend to follow.

So Friday rolls around. I get up early, go watch Travis do his deal, do the tech meeting (Which consisted of "You need a mic?", "no", "oh.. ok well that's it then". So I went my happy ass back to sleep until around 2-ish so I could get up and see the close-up show @ 3. One of the treats to see was Kozmo. I had a chance to meet him in NOLA many years ago. He is a street performer and is damn good at it. His act has only improved since last I saw it. We were both out of our element as it was our first time to appear at a magic convention. Kudos to him and his ability to edit on the fly. Justin Miller did some very strong magic and harassed the audience only the way he can. Carroll Baker was on hand as well as Tom Craven and Jay Scott Berry. Jay performs in what he calls his "minimalist phase". His hands always appear empty. He comes out with nothing, leaves with nothing, and amazes you to the hilt.

I make my way to the theater, (Finally getting food. Much thanx to Tim for all of his help over the weekend. I doubt he will see this, but regardless: You rock man!), and start to set up for my set that evening. I am opening the show and Jay is closing. In between is emcee Geoff Williams who is inherently a very funny man and a nice guy to boot. Also Joseph Young doing some talking bits and Jonathan Levitt, who you might remember as the host for the Celebracadabra show that aired a while back. The show was strong thruout and had a little something for everyone. I was very happy to be on the bill. (And glad Geoff didn't get around to singing those opera tunes)

Later in the evening, Steve Daly (otherwise known as Bonnie Bitch), Sean Michaels (not the wrestler OR the porn star), and Jason Andrews did a late night extra event called "Tricks" to raise money for charity and it was ADVERTISED pg-13 (However slipped silently into R while no one was looking). It was a good time and was well received.

Of course there was more staying up late talking shop with the folks and having a good time. Mind you the culprit for much of the late night goings on was Chris Kenner who made a surprise appearance (With his better half Katie of course) as he grew up in the area and decided to stone two birds with one hit and see his mother as well. The man is full of tinier men.. no wait.. he is full of stories and good magic and is not unapproachable by any means. Despite the fact it's his fault Three-fly exists, he is a remarkable humble dude.

On to Saturday (I swear I am trying to make this brief): I got sleep yay!! Got up around noon to ready myself for the close-up show. I was one of the first performers in one of three rooms. I was a bit nervous and it showed. My first room was lackluster and I was pissed. Not so much at myself, but at the fact the audience kinda got cheated of the full experience. Alas, life goes on and the next two rooms went over much better. It was a very new act and has only seen the light of day a handful of times and I walked away with a better understanding of it and how to tighten it up. Regardless, I was sharing the rotation with many good performers. Dan Fleshman, who is as nice a guy as he is um.. not tall. Geoff Williams, Jonathan Levitt, Michael Baker (Who also shared the stage with us the day before), and Jimmy Molinari. All in all it was a good time.

Killed some time (And finally got some food) until the final evening show. I donned my "SURPRISE!! I can clean up nice" suit and hit the impromptu tables set up outside to entertain the rabble before the doors opened. The show contained equal parts Joseph Young, Stoil and Ekaterina, Ken Domash (Who did an interesting money manip bit as a guitar slinging street performer.), and the aforementioned members of the Tricks show. Again, it was a good show and everyone was pleased... from what i could tell.

I have been to a smattering of magic conventions in my time, but I must say that MMJ was a lot of fun and it is run very well. They do things a bit differently and the people there are friendly. I will be glad to go back as long as they are glad to have me. Looking forward to the possibility of next year and here's to my magic convention cherry being popped with no goram dove acts ANYWHERE in sight.

One dove is a prop, more than that.. is an act.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Syntax error: Can't translate Jive...

Ok so the last observation in my series on video production (finally) is about software. Now unless you happen to have a lot of money, or yer like other magicians who just leech off their parents bank accounts, you probably won't be getting an Avid Suite anytime soon. (if you don't know what that is, it's best you not ask) For the rest of us mere mortals who have to eat Heroin.. er.. smack ramen, you probably have some form of *Koff*IlLeGaLlYdOwNlOaDeD*koff* video editing software running rampant on yer hard drive.

For those of us who think Mac is just a cumbersome ape with a shiny coat, you have programs such as Premiere (pro) to toy with and some lower end programs such as Vegas video. Mind you some of the more recent magic videos that have come out, they look like they were authored in MS paint or something. Your best bet will always be to get a non-linear program. This allows you to edit with complete freedom and layer your clips. Linear editing is a thing of the past, yet still exists on proprietary software. To give you an idea of what linear editing is.. think Windows Movie maker and you'll have it.

Ok so you Mac users.. don't think just because I think yer a bunch of commies doesn't mean I won't include you in the conversation. Many programs are cross compatible across OS's. (That means companies go out of their WAY to re-program something just so they don't have to listen to you BITCH.) The new CS3 Premiere Pro is available for Mac and PC. Why? See the above parentheses. Mind you with a mac most people go with Final Cut Pro. Allow me to say I have tried both and Final Cut is laid out like someone paid some MIT student to do it, but first hit me in the head with a brick a few times and gave him mild brain damage. It makes no sesne. Stuff is in places that is not convenient and the windows do straaaaaange things to me in the night.

Anywho, Macintosh computers will always be good for one thing and that is a boat anchor.. no.. wait.. the Mac can take on a big load. I don't mean the same kind of big load yer girlfriend takes on in those amateur webcam shows she does. I mean like 200+ Gig video and graphics files. It takes a licking and keeps on ticking. PC's tend to start choking and gasping like a fat guy trying to run about oh.. ten feet.

So anyway, moving on. It's also a good idea to learn After Effects. The best way to describe that program is that it is like Photoshop for video. AE is used in almost all major video productions for special effects and the like. That's all I have to say about that.

One last thing and I'm done. What's nice about these video editing programs is they not only give you a place to put your video clips but by golly a place for audio. You know all of them bifs bams and smapps you hear in movies? All fake. It's called Foley editing. (Not Mic Foley either) To have a professional looking AND sounding video production, you need sound effects to drop into your timelines. There are a myriad of places online to pick up sound effects for free or you could simply make your own.

That, in essence, is the last of my video production advice I choose to share with you. Tune in next time when I will offer up pie charts and graphs about how much pie and chart graphs do next to nothing and mean absolutely squat.


A quick update.

MMJ is over. Stage show went ok. (in an ironic twist of fate, my breifcase toppled forward off the stool, when I had gone to great lengths to prevent it from falling off the BACK. Luckily I was done with it by then) Today did the close-up set. The first room I did was lackluster to say the least. On my part and theirs.

I was fairly mad for the poor performance I gave as I was a tad too nervous and my routining decided to step out and have a sammich without me. The second and third rooms were much better. A few screw ups here and there but nothing to write home aboot. Flying back tomorrow and gonna relax before getting back into thr swing of thangs with our weekly variety show. Sometime this week I plan to A: Finish my video rant 2: Recap on the convention in more detail and III. Eat a sammich.

Mmm sammich.


Thursday, August 07, 2008

Some of you might be wondering where my last post about video editing stuff is. Well me too!! Sadly it will have to wait till next week for I am the fabulous Midwest Magic Jubilee in St. Louis. (Where I am getting might funny looks from people. Must be the trenchcoat in the unfriendly heat. Little do they know I am from Texas where we invented heat. The kind of heat that takes down your pants and sodomizes you right in front of your mothe... wait where was I? Why am I in these parenthases?)

Anywho, I might keep you updated.. I might not. Life is funny that way. If yer in the areola, come see me!

No really.. I mean it.


Saturday, August 02, 2008


Ok ok I'll get back on track with my previous lines of thinking, but first I want to point out a few things that bother me about some magic products put on the market.

First, spell check your ad copy. Always a good idea. Second, don't put boisterous info about yourself in the ad copy. No one cares and you're not trying to sell yourself. Your accolades aren't going to help your sales. Speaking of product, don't charge 20+ dollars for something that can be easily deciphered on a demo video and made at home for waaaaay less.

A product of mine was once reviewed as something that would be better off in lecture notes. This idea holds true for a LOT of magic today. I took this to heart and the effect now sits in my lecture notes and is no longer for sale. I think others need this verbal bitch slap as well so there is less crap on the market eating holes into our lives and pockets.

Anywho, you be the judge and sometime in the near future, I will finish my rants on video productions. Between getting distracted by shiny objects and getting ready for Midwest Magic Jubilee, I shall try to focus on what's important...

which of course is sammiches.