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Thursday, 28 February 2013

The Angry Man of Magic : Web Forums – A Modest Proposal

A little while back I saw a post on a magic forum. It's ok – no names, no pack drill. But it was in a thread where the social convention dictates that people express their regret at the passing of the threads titular magician. It wasn't a magician I had heard of particularly, but death is always sad occasion to someone. What we want are reminiscences, stories, and anecdotes. One post was essentially,

“Person X loved my Y trick, from my book Z. The Y trick floored X. It's in my book, Z.”

Whisky. Tango. Foxtrot.

Why didn't they just add an Amazon affiliate link while they're at it!?

Oh. I forgot. Their sig file had a link to their web site. Seriously. Maybe they work for LOCOG!

Now, since I'm not going to name and shame, or slag off people I've never met, it's worth pointing out that the details are unimportant. After all, maybe the person meant it in a genuine way. So I hereby propose a method to determine if they're genuine, or contain more evil than Bin Laden's suggestion box!

And as a bonus, this method also works for the humour-impaired, those with a failure in their sarcasm filter, and people insistent on using text-speak or acronyms. Plus it's not confined to magicians, this works on any web forum, on any topic.

The solution is:

All messages on public web forums must use voice recordings, and not written words.
End of.

Humans have had more years learning the nuance of speech than they have the written word. Heck – before the Internet, the longest piece of prose Joe Public read was the instructions on a microwave dinner for one. (Because it's always for one.) And let's not get started on the amount of reading done with the “new wave” of “visual learners”.

So, by being able to hear the person's voice we can tell if they're being sarcastic, attempting to be funny, ironic, amusing, intelligent, or abhorrently commercial.

And that includes the *******ing **** of a ******* who's writing this ****ing ******** of a ***** article.

A while ago

there was advertisement on this blog. Just in case you wondered how it worked out. I actually made 14 dollars. Who clicks on these add's ?

Quote of the Week

"Sometimes just being quite for a moment ... slowing down ... stimulates increased audience attention.
Expectations are generated.
Drama is born.
Woo-Woo. (An American Indian term referring to the cosmic, mind-shattering, and earth-shaking dimensions of the Unknown.)
Audiences love Woo-Woo.
Heavy breathing, a mystic pass, a deep gaze.
They want you to be a little 'farther out' than they are.
The dramatic pause.
One shouldn't talk too much about silence.
One should use it."


Long Time No See

Wow I've been to magic show... well not really. It was a bunch of magicians practicing magic... nope that's not right either. It was a bunch of young people, who have a serious interest in wanting to learn magic. The only problem they don't speak a lick of English so all the good books on that naturally are like a big big secret to them. So they got German books from the public library.

And they practiced the hell out of these and I saw something I have never seen before. They actually sat together thinking how this could be presented. They were fully aware that the trick is just a small part of the show.

 So they had this card trick, involving a key card. And here is what they had come up with.

Laypeople mind you! A card was selected and placed under the key card about center of the pack. The deck has then been spread out face up on the table. "As you can see, you see all the cards. Me too. The only difference: You know your card. I don't! But I'm gonna find your card by looking at you." Then the magicians took a deep look into the spectators eyes. "I want you to take a look at these cards. As you do that your pupils will eventually stick on one card a little longer then the others. I will be your card. There is nothing you can do about it. Now look!" The magician silently watches the spectator looking at the cards. Suddenly the magician wipes away half of the cards in a big swooping and dramatic action. "Your card is not among those" The rest of the cards are gathered up, shuffled and spread again. "Look again" the spectator does so. A long silence and wham again a few cards a brushed away "Not those either" only a few cards remain. The magician takes the remaining cards, shuffles them and lays them out in a row. "One of those is your's! Am I right?" the spectator agrees. "Alright, I want you to close your eyes. And give me your hand. Since you know where the card is you muscles will unconsciously tell me the way to your card. Don't look!" The spectators card is now second from the left. But as the magician is holding the spectators hand, the magician wipes away all of the remaining cards and sets the spectators card in the middle of the table. And slowly guides the spectators hand on the card, so the hand covers the whole card. "Alright your hand is on one card, one card only. Open your eyes. There is no more card left save one. Name your card!" The spectator does so and is to lift his hand. A miracle.

 Those young people came up with the presentation all by themselves. They did so many things right. They made it not about the cards, but the spectator. They involved the spectator. They added a big woo woo by whipping away the remaining cards. The silence. The fact that they have the card named before the reveal. The fact that the spectator does the reveal. I'm in awe. I saw magicians trying to create a presentation. And dude most fail so much. They get lost in the methods.

More of the Same

Here is another trick they did from that book. It was the good old saltshaker through the table. Even with the feint of pretending to put a coin through the table. So they sat around practicing stealing the saltshaker when suddenly it dawned on them how to turn this into a full fledged piece. Here is what happened:

"Hey, see this coin on the table? And see this saltshaker? I will try to put the coin into the saltshaker. And there are three ways of doing it. I could open the saltshaker and put it in, which is really dumb. Or I could use pure force to jam the coin through the glass. Or I use magic. I decided to use the last two at the same time." A napkin is taken and the saltshaker is covered with the napkin. "Just in case it doesn't work!" The saltshaker is hovered above the coin and slowly set down. "hear that clink.. that's the sound of it not working" the saltshaker is raised again and the coin is still there. The saltshaker is then placed on the coin again, very carefully. The hand hovers above ready to smack the saltshaker hopefully making the coin go in. The hand comes down, the saltshaker appears to penetrate the table the audience hears it hitting on the floor. (was a pretty though saltshaker and could withstand dropping it on the floor)
The napkin is pushed away the coin is gone. An audience member is asked to pick up the saltshaker and to open it up. Indeed the coin is found inside the saltshaker within the salt.
"Violence and Magic... can't beat them. If you do, they fight back!"

Lovely, I love how they thought of a different effect first, (coin going into the saltshaker) and using that as a ruse to get away with the pushing through the table. They also understood that when the saltshaker hit the floor they had enough misdirection to get rid of the coin. They even thought duplicate coin. They started with a promise, (coin goes into the shaker) and not only delivered on the actual promise, they surpassed it. The version in the book, which is the version that most magicians perform actually falls short on the promise of making that coin go through the table. These young people understood, that this small letdown, is a letdown nevertheless. So they got rid of that. By simply changing the presentation a bit. Bravo. Bravo.

Quote of the Week

"Material alone will never make you a star, but it is a most important ingredient in the recipes that make what we call acts. There have been a few instances where real genuine stars of the entertainment industry reached a stage where they thought that they no longer had to do anything. They just had to be there and everyone would applaud like mad as they had always done before. Sadly, their careers took a nose dive, and in some instances, perhaps, an early death."
Patrick Page

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Gala Shows

I heard the last of the FISM Gala show was the worst one. An "offence of magic" to quote a famous magician. So what acts did make up the last Gala show?

The Next Big Thing

If I could turn back time and had my heart ripped out.... I  assume I wouldn't want to be a magician. I would be a magic dealer. Seriously! Think about it! I could buy a product from the big supplier and resell it for about 1000% interest... and call it a discount, when it is 20% off. Of course all of that would make me money, but any business is out to make even more money in less time, so I would have to think of a way to generate money even faster. So I guess my next logical step would be "social networking" I would create some Facebook like trap "to give magicians all over the world the chance to communicate and share their ideas with one another."

Of course people all the magicians would come and do what they have done before, but now they do it at my site. Feeling familiarity and all of that. So whenever I want to sell a product I am right at the costumer base. Not only that. They would feel inclined to buy from me instead of some other dealer. You know... family and stuff.

Hmm, that still wouldn't generate me money fast enough, so I guess the next step is to appeal even more to the common magicians sense to get the latest thing. How about a marketplace where the community has to produce the content. They have to create the magic, make a video and then use your marketplace to sell it. Of course I would get part of the sell.

Not bad. What else? Since I don't care about magic at all (had my heart ripped out, remember) I could resell all the old secrets and "revalue" them. Giving the craving community a "course on the Double Lift." I would probably get a famous magician to do that 4 DVD set. And I do that for every move. Rehashing Tarbell perhaps? Or the whole of the Apocalypse. Yeah... that's it. The Apocalypse DVD set. You could get them monthly to recall the old times. You could probably even get the creators to demonstrate the effects. Yeah... I love it. Of course I would have to wait until Harry dies... but that's what... a couple of years.... who knows, meanwhile I make money with my next big project.

Yeah I will host a grand assembly with all the big names (even Shawn) to let them discuss magic. You know that thing they do for free on the forums, but I would get it on DVD and sell it. Yeah!

What else? Playing cards... those haven't seen a major update in like forever. Novelty playing cards. Including gimmicks. Those will sell like sliced bread. I would even make a fancy trailer with some guy doing flourishes. I will make it look like a movie trailer. (Note to self: Make sure there is at least one iPhone in the shot)

Oh, what about the forums. People share their thoughts there. Maybe I could hop in and hype a product that is about to be released. Offer an early bird discount.... get some big name (they too need money) to say something positive about it, and it will sell like crazy.

Hmm, about those who oppose me? Well I could round up my fans and have them work against me. Saying something like "Illusionistshop 12 has done more for magic than all the secrecy over the years."

I got it now. I would need a web show. I get some morons who love magic and have them review some of the stuff I sell. I put a cat in there too. People love the animal hook.

Yeah... too bad I'm a magician.

Quote of the Week

I watched Tom perform this - for me, and other magicians. Most were fooled by the "vanishes." I wasn't

Name Change Anyone?

Sometimes I think that maybe people take my blog a little too serious. For heaven's sake. It's called WEEKLY Magic Failure. It was supposed to be a little mention on what went wrong in magic this week. Nothing more. But some of the winners carry the virtual award that I hand out a little too long. Just note that you won. Disagree with me and go on with your life. Some people don't get it.

Maybe the term failure is a little too much. So I'm seriously considering a name change of my blog. How about: "Flavor of the Week" or "Aftertaste of Magic" What do you guys think?

Quote of the Week

"Jugglers suck! Look at them, they throw burning clubs at each other. They toss, and toss and catch and catch and all the time you have to listen to "Adiemus" by Enya. And the throwing usually goes on forever. Well, it could be worse. It could be a magician doing card tricks."


Quote of the Week

"If Erdnase was a deck of cards, he’d be the Artifice deck."

Tuesday, 26 February 2013


Edit: Crap the Bottom Palm was faster... what an idiot.

x - 1

The one behind principle is in my humble opinion a totally underestimated principle. Most magicians don't seem to understand the benefits the principle offers.

Quote of the Week

"Dis is vedy vedy vedy easy."


No table

Did you ever try to rework most of your closeup material so you are using no table at all? I suggest doing that. It gives you a whole new perspective on your repertoire. And a lot more freedom. Coins through table becomes coins through spectators cupped hands. Suddenly the trick has a new interactive level that invites communication instead of stock patter.

Certain card material becomes interesting. Ace assemblies are now seen as the convoluted card tricks they are. And reworking them forces you to get rid of the piles and straight to the point.

Of course there are limits but an exercise worth doing. It makes you aware of a lot of unnecessary stuff. And being aware is the first step to fixing it.

Jolly Times Ahead

It's really though to judge ones own material. Let's say you came up with some magic trick. You perform it for audiences and the audiences react really well to it. They love the trick. Most of the time that leads to the assumption that the trick is really good. But that doesn't have to be. It could also be that the reason the audience reacts so well is not the trick, but the performer.

Nevertheless the performer fails to see that and releases that magic trick and wonders oh so much that the rest of us fails to deliver that little performance uniqueness that makes the trick work in the originators hands. Naturally he will get some "honest" reviews that aren't nice. Looking at you Andrew Mayne.
Why do I care about that? Well I know of someone who doesn't want to fail. Crap it, I said too much.

Monday, 25 February 2013

This grosses me out!

Posted by "Gr8gorilla" on the Magic Cafe
"So today I washed my Goshman Color changing ball to jumbo square. I swear to you, each one of them doubled in size. The Square won't even fit in the box it came any longer without being compressed. Is that normal for super soft sponges? Do they always grow when wet or moist? It was so noticeable that I could almost imagine an effect where the ball was moistened and grows before your eyes...."
That's disgusting... Don't you wash you balls each time you use them? They get dirty when people touch them. Those sweaty balls... but that's not the point... Ball to jumbo square? Really?

"Quote of the Week"

"Show a trick to a child,
and you will make him happpy for one day.
Teach him a trick.....
and he will ruin the art of magic."


Did you ever notice that

most "Any Card to Any Number" are NOT "Any Card"
almost all flowers look different from the stuff magicians produce
a slip cut force makes a noise that can be heard from across the room
magicians when seated stand up from time to time; Elmsley Count time
so called pro tips from professionals most often are basic socials skills
there are always the same people in any L&L video. (I'm talking about the magicians, not the audience)
Daryl uses very preaching patter when performing
Jeff McBride has gone way past his prime and belt size
Dai Vernon died 20 years ago
some young magicians understand more about magic than you

Quote of the Week

"And what I mean by that specifically is name calling and insults. There is no need for it. He's called people morons, idiots, and a slew of epithets."

You got Sankeytized

Straight from Jay Sankey's website

A NOTE TO EXPERIENCED MAGICIANSIf you think you already know the secrets behind all these amazing effects, keep in mind that Jay's been teaching people the secrets to performing REAL MAGIC for over 30 years. So no matter how experienced a magician you may be, you are still going to learn something special from these free videos! 

Yes and remember: even an experienced magician who teaches magic for thirty years can still do the Twirl Change wrong!

Dear Barry

If you have a problem, dear magician, don't forget to address all your letters to "Dear Barry".

Remember, whatever your problem is, I'll never give a fuck about it.


Stuff that is Random

Imagine you had to work for your money. It took hard labor to get where you are now. Isn't your accomplishment much greater and more valuable compared to the guys getting their money from their parents?
Now substitute money with magic and parents with the internet?

So the WPR is back. And in my opinion they did the only right thing. Just go on, with an apology admitting their mistake. This is what they should have done in the first place. Instead of behaving like children with an empty couch and all of that.

Had a great idea for a trick. But I'm not gonna share. The secret is valuable.

Magic Dealers should have two videos out for any given trick. One can be the usual teaser and the second one should be a performance. From start to finish with no cuts. The camera may move, as the gaze of people shifts as well during a performance. If the performance exposes the method to the more knowledgeable, it is either because the method is weak or the performer bad.

If neither is the case, maybe this item should have appeared in print form.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Card Manipulators listen up!

Has it ever occurred to you that purposefully dropping a single card, stepping on it and producing a fan of cards from the sole of the shoe really doesn't make a lot of logical sense?

How about just one! The one you dropped!

Sankey Panky

I learn a new thing every day. Sankey Panky

Friday, 15 February 2013


There are a few things in life that are for free. Taxes, trouble and a never ending supply of people who fail in almost every facet of life.

My initial post about this man was all about the many things he called himself on his website... No let's add another. Identity thief.

May I humbly direct your gaze to this blog: Bob Cassidy Mentalism. The author is CENSORED. We are dealing with a case of implied identity theft. It seems like it is all about Bob Cassidy. No not really.  CENSORED  is riding the coattail of Bob Cassidy to sell his stuff. The blog posts on the blog are nothing but SEO texts, which means they are optimized to get lots of hits via Google search. So the name of  CENSORED gets connected to Bob Cassidy. So when people look for Bob Cassidy instead  CENSORED comes crawling up.

This is not a good way to make a business. It may be effective, but not good. I'm pretty sure that Bob Cassidy has not given his permission to have his names used in such an exploitative way.  CENSORED tries to sell his book entitled: " CENSORED "


I bet none of the stuff in there is by  CENSORED , nor has he done any work to make it his own. This needs to be known. This is the sort of behavior that harms our beloved magic. Do "these people" feel attracted to magic or does magic turn them into "these people"? I really want to know. There are base motifs for almost all that we are doing and every act of charity can be interpreted as some sort of selfish atrocity. But going all the way out, stealing (though it is implied) someones identity is really, really low. That is why  CENSORED  is WMF again. He cannot stop failing. And that's free.

Hey, just trying something!

Haters gonna hate!

You gotta love Google cache. So a friend of mine sends me a message: "Dude you got haters!" And links me to Somebody actually made a website using my name. That sort of behavior seems familiar. I think Bob Cassidy had a similar problem once. There seems to be no content, but thanks to Google cache... here it is in all it's glory:

Stay away from Roland Henning. He’s the biggest magic failure ever, which is why he attacks others. He has never written any books. He’s never had his own television show. He’s never had a big theater show. He has no products on the market that are worth anything. He’s a hack commentator with nothing but negative things to say about others who are more successful than himself.

Roland Henning at the Weekly Magic Failure has said mean and nasty things about everyone in magic that remotely crosses his path. And yet, he has never offered the magic world anything at all himself. Nothing.

Just another moron in magic hiding behind a blog.

Because I'm a failure I attack others? There is a really big lack of causality here. True, I never wrote any books. True, I never had a television show. Also true, no big theater show (just small ones) and no products on the market. But going all absolute saying that I have nothing but negative things to say is simply wrong. What about my winner's month in April? I praise more successful magicians like shit. So that statement is just wrong.
Also I do contribute to the magic world. I got a whole blog devoted to magic. My own creations and all for free. But I choose who can read my Super Secret Magic Blog!

It goes on:

Roland Henning is nothing. He’s a bit of a waste of human flesh. He’s a douche bag. An ass hat. A fat, slovenly, unhappy wannabe who lashes out at the rest of the world on the internet because he has nothing to show for his own life. He thinks he’s important. He sees himself as talented. He considers himself marvelous. But he is arrogant. Loud mouthed. And lonely. He’s the last person you would want to hire to entertain at your party. If you read around, he spends more time talking about other people than simply trying to better his own life. He’s a sad, sad, man. Keep him away from your children!

Actually I don't think I'm important, but obviously important enough so some people go through the effort creating a website using my name spreading half baked rumors. Also I'm not talented. However I'm fucking creative. That's my thing.
I spend more time talking about other people than to better my own life? Are you stalking me or something to know that?

The website has been registered by Magisch Revolutie B.V. c/o Dynadot Privacy.

Hmm Magic Revolution? Where have I heard this before.

WMF The Encyclopedia of Magic

Another week, another failure. One thing I feel the need to address. The weekly schedule doesn't mean that it needs to be current. As you can see with those guys. Vinh, Jeffrey and Lenny run the encyclopedia of magic website for a while now.

If you don't know what that is, it is quite an ambitious project. They say it "is dedicated to helping people all over the world improve themselves and their magic." I would claim otherwise. Straight from the website:
Magic is a unique ability that has the power to change lives. Not only providing amazing entertainment for everyone around you, magic is a valuable asset that can greatly benefit the performer themselves. With magic, you can really stand out and command the attention of countless people. At the same time, this greatly increases confidence and gives you the ability to really make and leave a lasting impression upon anyone. These are all traits that we believe anyone can benefit from, and it is our mission to make this available for anyone wanting to take themselves to the next level.
There we have it again the time honored tradition of the "NEXT LEVEL" and "BRINGING PEACE". I heard that all before. So let's see what this ambition leads to...

Exposure of course. They teach magic. And by teaching it for free they dismiss the value of the secrets and the importance of the secret towards magic. I'll give you a sneak peek of them explaining the thumb palm.

The production quality is really good and the teaching is not bad. The problem: This will get people to watch more. So they will stumble into more videos exposing the basics of magic. All sorts of palms, the french drop, the Herman pass and the usual suspects. Here is what they should do. Slap that stuff on a DVD and sell it. You can make it really cheap if you want to. But somehow the existence of a price on that thing would make the merely curious go away. That would indeed be a great step to treating the magic secrets and thereby the magic with respect.

So far it looks like this: "Hey guys I have something we can teach. It's called the thumb palm. No, I didn't come up with this. Come on, how else are we gonna teach stuff. Make up our own? Haha you're funny. Well we can still credit the original guy. That will make us seem legit. What are you saying? You're saying that giving out the guys name will make us seem even more hypocritical, as knowing the source material and still not respecting magic by giving it out for free? Haha you're funny."

The sad thing: I really think they believe their own words. I think that they really think they help people by teaching them magic. And while this could be true, it mistreats magic. And I love magic more than those guys.

Shame on you Vinh, Jeffrey and Lenny. Teaching magic may be your thing. But giving it out for free and thereby treating magic with contempt should not be your thing.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

The Price of Magic

Should magic be made available to those with money only? Of course not. But magic needs a price. Magic secrets need to be earned in order to be appreciated.

It used to be hard to get magic knowledge. The public libraries were a good start, but those resources were limited. Where did you go then? There was no internet, you didn't even know about magic dealers. In fact you had to get a phone book and go through the lists. And then you planned your trip to the big city. You went there with anticipation. You went into a magic store for the first time in your life. And there it was. Magic secrets. Each so close but often enough not attainable because of the price tag. The price tag actually protected the secret. But that visit got you connected to the magic scene. Magicians usually were hanging out in the store. You talked to them, they showed you a card trick that went over your head, because they were not using the key card principle and you got all exited.

And in order to get this trick you had to pay a price. It was either buying him a drink, become friend, or to beg the hell out of the man. And finally he would let you take part in the secret. A short card. Who could have thought of that? And with that you went home and explored all the possibilities of that principle. You didn't rush it. There was no pressure. No next secret that you had to learn with a simple mouse click. But along with the great card trick, the sponge balls and the svengali deck you bought was a piece of paper. The catalog. You read for hours in there. And your choice was valuable because you paid a price of that. Time.

A few days later that magician from the magic shop would call you. Asking how you progress is. And if you have time tomorrow. As there will be a club meeting. You are invited. So this is it. The great magic club. Surely there would be no more secrets.

So you went back to the big city, you met the guy a few hours before the club meeting. You proudly would show him the tricks that you made up with the short card principle. He would smile. And then he would show you another card trick. And that would totally blow you away. You would beg, but this time he wouldn't tell you.

It was such a weird feeling to enter the magic club. It was a cool, new and indeed full of secrets. But nobody shared anything with you. They talked in a language you didn't understand. "Oh it's simple, you run to the injog, get a break, pass them and dl the top card to show and indifferent card." Little did you know that they were sharing secrets. You just didn't understand them. You didn't pay the price. Experience and time.

When you went home, that magician you met at the magic store would bring you to the bus. And there he would tell you the secret of the card trick he did earlier that evening. You paid for the secret. With patience. It was the key card principle that made the trick work.

You couldn't believe that. How could he have fooled you with a method you already knew? Because you didn't explore it enough. Because it was free to begin with.

You went home having learnt an important lesson. There is always a price you need to pay for magic. Time, patience, experience, humiliation, social interaction and over all even money.

Now we got the internet. Now it's fuck you to all of that. Here are the secrets. They are for free. Swallow them quickly, the next one is coming up right away. No time, no patience, no experience, no humiliation, no social interaction and no money. What a great world we live in.

Fuck the secret. It's not worth anything anymore. Not even money.

The Angry Man of Magic - Self-workers : an apology

When I was starting in magic, I did a lot of self-working tricks. Unfortunately, most of the self-working tricks I did were the same ones that everyone else did. And 50 years previously. So there's no buggering Uncle, PEdo teacher, or big brother, that didn't know how it was done. Yes, I probably did the 21 card trick, I don't remember. And I probably did some spelling deals. But I also did others with stacks that I thought no one else had heard of.

But they had.

So for the first few years I equated self-working to bad.

Later on, I discovered a lot of other (truly wondrous) effects, like OOTW and Gemini Twins. These are tricks that I still perform regularly. They are masterpieces of our art, and I feel should be studied and performed by everyone wanting to progress. In fact, I'd like every snotty-nosed XCM worker to be forced into presenting (i.e. not showing off) these effects in a way that doesn't involve the phrase "check this move - totally sick, blud". To my mind, no longer is self-working equated to bad.

But when I hear some magicians talking about them, why is the comment "self-worker" always preceded with the words "it's ONLY a"? And always followed with the emphasized rendition of "BUT".

Whisky Tango Foxtrot?

Self-working is not an apology! So stop apologizing for it!

By saying it's self-working isn't like saying "I ran over your dog, BUT he's no longer in pain". Self-worker is the method, not the presentation. The effect on the audience is same regardless. Have some respect for the art and what it can do. Even I managed to do it...

The Internet Tarts


For those who punt their wares on the internet, willy nilly, like a bunch of cheap tarts, here's a message:

You fucking tarts! Get a frigging life already!!!

Whose "Haunted" is best? Whose "T & R" is best? Whose goddam ass-fucking ACAAN is best? 


Now get to fuck and don't come back, you stupid fucking fucks.


Public Child Abuse.... gotta love that!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Winner Rick Merrill

It is April. In celebration of this blogs three year existence, the whole month will be winner time. Only the coolest and best members of our elite circle of nerds will be featured.

Today: Rick Merrill

I love a good display of sleight of hand. And those who practice often seems to forget that having some sort of presentation also is a necessity in order to be entertaining. Rick Merrill has understood that. His magic is funny AND full of killer material. It's magicians like him with self-ironic twisted humor that leave a good impression on laypeople. It is people like Rick Merrill, who work constantly on the public image of magic.

He is a joy to watch, even as a magician. His act is littered with tiny references to the know-it-all. He will fool you most of the time. This is not a "must" in order to be appreciated among magicians, but it sure helps. Take a look as some pieces of his act. This is pretty old footage. His comedic timing is much better now, but it still gets the point across.

The constant misdirection is a great way to have a "magic theme" in your show. To real people, it shouts "skilled" which is exactly what I think he is going for. It's no magic, but it looks like magic if you are nerdy enough to practice and not have any friends. And because the image is prevalent in the public perception of magicians, tackling that issue is a welcome change to those who constantly refer to themselves as the best thing since bread came sliced. He acts humble in great contrast to his displayed skill. And that I love. He is a winner. In more than one way.

Winner Eric Mead

It is April. In celebration of this blogs three year existence, the whole month will be winner time. Only the coolest and best members of our elite circle of nerds will be featured.

Today: Eric Mead

It maybe that I completely miss the point here. But I think that Eric Mead had a perfect act when it comes to performing for scientists.

Basically he is brain fucking them into believing they see a lecture, when in reality they not only not learn anything, but he also misdirects them from the real solution. And all under the great contextual veil of bringing mystery back. Awesome! Watch the act and you will see what I'm talking about.

Eric manages to fill 15 minutes of time with 3Fly and and Invisible deck. He makes people think that the two phenomenons he describes prior have something to do with the effect. In fact he claims that the explanation of the phenomenon is the solution to the actual magic effects. What a load of bull crap right into the scientists faces. Great. Really great. The simple fact that he hides his trickery with the veil of science. Neuroscience! That seems to be an overshadowing theme that is going on. His other act is mainly mentalism. Of course he doesn't read minds, no he gives them "the convincing the illusion of psychic powers." And even though there is some truth in it, it is not true at all.

Eric Mead seems to live that lie and truly embraces it.

Winner FL!P

It is April. In celebration of this blogs three year existence, the whole month will be winner time. Only the coolest and best members of our elite circle of nerds will be featured.

Today: Flip Hallema

Flip's style takes some getting used to. But once you do it is quite enjoyable. An overgrown Dutch child doing some devastating and strong magic. Every now and then a sudden burst of joy. A calm demeanor most of the time and then without warning a really fast motion as he whips the rope around his body. Some funny business paired with deep philosophical implications. Most would be unable to pull this off in a convincing manner. Flip succeeds doing so and even surpasses the initial expectation of the audience who is told that an award winning magician will perform.

When you see him perform you don't go all out laughing. Flip is not the funny guy. But he is an entertainer and manages it to keep his audiences entertained.

His contributions to magic are numerous. My own rope routine has drawn many influences by Flips amazing rope work. Today rope routines seems to all makes use of the same gimmick. Flip is different. You need to check out his rope stuff. It's good. Even though some of his stuff is very personal and you see little use in that it will eventually get you on the right track to becoming a good rope magician without resorting to becoming a clone of Richard Sanders (which of course is George Sands' stuff rehashed.) Flip, I like you!

Winner The Inner Glow

It is April. In celebration of this blogs three year existence, the whole month will be winner time. Only the coolest and best members and things of our elite circle of nerds will be featured. 

Today: The Inner Glow

This is a request post. But I agree so much.

Here is a story of a father who did a magic show for his daughter. For her first birthday party ever. Years later she is going to get married. And the proud father does it again. Framing the life of his beloved daughter with a magic show.
The act he is doing consists of mediocre magic tricks. Yet it is one of the better magic performances out there, for he has the "inner glow".

 What is the "inner glow". Well it's that spark of enthusiasm for magic and for doing magic. It is a gift that not all possess. It's what makes a bearable performance to a memorable one. It is honesty, humility and the absolute positive joyous affirmation of life itself.

The inner glow is essential for a good performer. It turns a trick into a magic moment. An event into an experience. The inner glow transcends language barriers and turns reality into this one precious memory.
It also saves a card manipulation from being a bore fest.

Check out An Ha Lim I think he's got the inner glow.

Back to the father who does a cut and restored rope for his 29-year daughter. Him having the inner glow does more for the public perception of magic than any kid having thought of yet another card control, offering it as a download. That is what makes a winner.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Winner Roy Walton

It is April. In celebration of this blogs three year existence, the whole month will be winner time. Only the coolest and best members of our elite circle of nerds will be featured.

Today: Roy Walton

Do I have to write this? Isn't it clear that Roy Walton deserves a big spot among any magic winners?

When it comes to card magic and somebody is pressed to name the most influential card magicians of the last century, you can easily judge his knowledge and devotion to the subject by looking for Roy Walton's name. If he is among them you got somebody in front of you who knows card magic. If his name is not in the list you are standing in front of a hack. The numerous contributions to many, many different magazines and other magic related pamphlets stand as a statue of the man. If you are looking for solution to certain problems, check out Walton. If you look for interesting plots check out Walton. If you are looking for self workers, check out Walton. What about knuckle busters, memory demonstrations, practical and efficient sleights and principles? Well, check out Walton.

Here is a sketch of Roy Walton by John Helvin

Roy has been a mentor to many great magicians like Jerry Sadowitz or Peter Duffie. But if you count the one-sided experience of many young magicians reading Walton's tricks and thoughts, he has certainly mentored hundreds. I'm one of them. I couldn't be more thankful.

Winner Kevin James

It is April. In celebration of this blogs three year existence, the whole month will be winner time. Only the coolest and best members of our elite circle of nerds will be featured.

Today: Kevin James

When it comes to having strange imagery being the catalyst for strange magic routines Kevin James is just one of us. But being able to actually implement those brain children into actual working routines is a different beast. And this is where Kevin James shines the most. Over the years Kevin James has contributed to the magic community with a whole bunch of routines. Most notably the Floating Rose and the Bowling Ball trick. But let's talk about Kevin James' magic. It is comedy with a little bit of surreal gross out moments. There are jokes, and no so serious not so deceptive visual gags and of course really cool wtf moments that leave the audience speechless and feeling even somewhat uneasy. Watch his act:

Giving yourself an esophagogastroduodenoscopy to reveal a chosen card is pretty far a away from the traditional ways of doing magic. This is dangerous territory. The chance to alienate a big chunk of the the audience is there if you cannot back it up with a likable persona. But it's either this or the chance of being boring and like all of the others. So I applaud Kevin James for creating and living yet another weird facet of magic.

The only bit of caviar I feel to mention is this: What the hell is his character? Is he a magic doctor, or a magician who pretends to be a doctor. It really doesn't come across. Is there some sort of antagonistic force working or.... I am over thinking this! Am I? Ohhh, look at that... there's a guy with a hole in his body. What was my point again? Oh yeah, Kevin James is a magic winner.

Monday, 11 February 2013

This is wrong

On so many levels

Yeah! So refreshing!

Wanna have a down to earth experience. Try a trash festival. With carnival rides, can knock downs, cotton candy and all of that glory where soon to be daddies drink a lot.

If you're hired, you don't care about having a perfect pitch. Just do some magic for the kids, the parents, the drunk and even the pubescent teenagers who dress way too slutty. It really dumbs down your magic. Down to the basic level of communication. And what fun it is. No perfectly arranged patter. No subtle foreshadowing and very little words, because it's too fucking loud.

You repertoire gets through an instant casting. Losers go, winners stay. No more complex card routine. Triumph is reduced to the actual effect of the cards "rightening themselves" without bothering to have a selection. Show a card, then change it... then have a card picked, signed and immediately produce it from the impossible location. Attentions spans are a rare thing. Then move on to the coins quickly. Make them vanish and reappear and then go into the cups and balls. Did I say cups and balls? I meant: One Cup Routine. Yeah... ball gone, ball back, ball gone, ball back, ball gone, final load, final load, final load... that's what people want.

Wish them a happy fucking day and that they should party hard.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

So the Masked Magician gets a unique treatment

So the masked magician does a show in Fortaleza which is in Brazil. It's a magic revelation show. And what do people see. utter disappointment. The same kind of disappointment we magicians have when buying the latest magic trick. Naturally people complain and want their money back.

Have a look:

At 1:20 a woman says that the tricks are made for children. At 1:26 a child says that he liked the tricks. Cute.

Even the news report this: G1 says this (using google translate and some common sense.)
The magician's show Mister M U.S. ending squabble on Sunday (27), in Fortaleza. Spectators complained that the tricks were "weak", "made ​​for an audience of children," and said they walked out in the middle of the presentation. Some even ask the magician to take off the mask to prove it was him. A group demanded the money back and discussed this with the organizers at the box office. The tumult was videotaped by the student Isaac Pereira, who was watching the show with his father. The charge of the event said the presentation was correct.
The merchant Isaiah Pereira, 59, father of Isaac, left the theater one hour before closing and asked back the value of both the tickets. "The show was so bad that people got up in the middle to ask for money back. Totally weak. A deception. We expected the show we saw on television." he said, who paid $ 70 of entry and an additional $ 35 for his child.
Mingoni (owner of the theater) said that he was not present, but authorized the box office to give back the money to those who felt aggrieved. "We work with responsibility. The failure happened because I did not check. He presented a magic show that people thought would be the top notch. I also thought it would be. This show was the worst in the history of the theater," he said. In contact with the G1, the head of Sand Events, Reginald Achievement, ensured that the show presented in Fortaleza is the same spectacle presented elsewhere. He says it will do the compensation, but said it has sold the show properly. "The public said they did not like. We did not promise it, we promised the Mister M and he came," he said. "I think the public expects him to do a disappearing plane or a ship" he said. The G1 came in contact with the person responsible for the magician's shows in Brazil, but the phone was off. Achievement reported that people who purchased tickets for collective buying sites can be compensated by credit card. But the return by Sand events should take 30 days to 40 days, time needed for the company receiving the money held by the purchase card. The return will take place at the Teatro Via South.
According to Isaac, son of Isaiah, the public was disappointed because the show had not appeared with magical structure and simple, such as those made ​​for children. "We were disappointed. It was just magic with cards, with balloons, something for children. He had no structure." he complained. The teenager, who made the video at the moment of confusion, remembered that the show started 40 minutes late and many suspected that it was not Mister M. "People were suspecting that it was not him, it was a person wearing the mask. Hence the producer of the event asked Mister M, to take off the makeup and mask to show that he was himself," he says. Isaac said that the producer explained that he did not show the structure of which was improvised and it would be a simple show.
Isaac said that the translator was improvised. "It was someone from the audience," he said. There were two shows, one at 6pm and one at 8pm. "And I knew that the 6pm show, had a translator, but he was not good. Then someone from the audience did the translation,"

So we got another fail of Mr. Val Valentino. You can't even reveal magic anymore. Pathetic.

WMF Gurguren

Failing on national television is bad. But being mocked for that fail on national television is even worse. Case in point Brasilian magician Gurguren. He screwed up while performing an illusion.

And here I am to point out that I think that illusionists are the lowest kind of magicians out there. All the dancing, the music the spectacle. All trying to misdirect that most of them have little to no character, style or charisma. Also the lack of actual skill, visions of grandeur and a massive inferiority complex almost always makes up the common illusionst.

But lets first watch the act that won Gurguren 50.000 Brasilian reals. (That's a whole bunch of money) on a TV show in March last year. He is the first of four magic acts. And if you get a very distinct Hans Klok vibe, well, surprise it's a direct rip off.

Also, there is a midget dancing with a goat:

Oh boy, Brasil has such class acts. Please note that you can win 100.000 Reals in that show. Yes Gurguren had to share the price with the goat dancing dwarf. So Gurguren does the TV circuit and naturally fails at one point.

There is a show called "Custe o Que Custar", literally "whatever it takes" and they have a weekly "top 5" of the worst moments in national TV. In only Sao Paulo 300.000 people watch the show on average. The video of Gurguren failing went viral in just a few hours after it's release. So I guess you are hyped now to see this utter piece of trash. Well it's actually not that exciting, but it will give you a bit of a laugh. (starts a 6:35)

Now speaking of failing. On his website, Gurguren (Btw, that name is even weird for people living in Brasil) has a nice picture in his gallery tying last post and this nicely together.

It made me lol and rofl

Quoting Mr. Brooks in his latest Spam for Everybody:
On my recent trip to Las Vegas I was able to spend some time with my buddy Criss Angel who asked me if I could pass on some information regarding just one of his exciting projects, and here it is!
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha........ Buddy...... hahahaha. That sounds so wrong. Reminds me of this I found a while ago. Always wanted to use this.

On treating animals!

Just because you eat them doesn't mean you can treat them like shit.

A rabbit in a small tube with hardly any room to breathe, monkeys in small hold outs, cats and dog being janked. Weasels fiercely pulled by their skin after they get dropped on the stage. A cat being tossed in the air. Utter fear on the monkeys faces. Disoriented dogs, doves in obviously too tight dove holders. The claws of the cat obviously being trimmed so they cannot inflict any damage. Kittens dropped in a box. Ducklings being squeezed flat so they can be produced from the base of a transparent box. A small poodle in a drawer box that really isn't any bigger on the table in the background the whole time. The constant loud noise of the music, the idiot audience who clap like retards and the freaking pistol that is used. It's stress for the animals. Some are shaking, most are disorientated. And don't forget the hideous live stuffed animal in the second video near the end. The lady for the audience drops the monkey in a suit. This is fail... I hope Jack Takeda is no longer around.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Do You Know How To Do The Color Changing Deck?

If not check out this nifty Howcast video tutorial.

Actually I think this brilliant. The video promises a great trick. It seems legit, as lines like "Most magic stores have these" make it feel well researched by Howcast. Then the execution is so bloody awful with no convincers, no setup, no payoff... that all you feel is utter disappointment. Suddenly you don't wanna know anymore magic secrets. We need more of these.

clever post title

There is the good old bite coin. And there is a bite cookie out there. But seriously who bites off cookies like that?

Also, is there ANY good change bag routine out there? Only seeing shit so far. Any... I'm desperate.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Busy right now, here's a treat!

When I started with card magic this was one of the first things I learned. But I didn't need a gimmick. I was so 1337 back then. Times have changes.


Aside from that... put him in a lab coat and he can talk about medical problems. Power house medical problems. Rudy T. Hunter... If you magic career is fading here is an option:

As a side note!

Holy fuck something awesome has happened. How can I tell you without telling you? Let's say it this way. A certain someone has decided to have a website. That someone didn't even have Internet before. Not only that. That certain someone has decided to sell stuff. That makes me happy.

Is it magic related? You bet. I don't know if I can talk about it. So I'm being all fucking cryptic about it. So nothing to see here. Move along.

WMF Tim David

Tim David is a magician who somehow thinks he knows a lot about magic. Enough to teach it. And of course he is above moral debate and ethics. So he is free to spoil magic secrets and he makes it really easy to get them. Via video.

The sad part, he isn't alone. He is one of many, many lost souls. But I think he has not lost it yet. He may still turn the wheel around and drive the car back to the road.

On his website he has a section he calls Free Magic Tutorials.

Readers of my blog will know where this is going.

Magic exposure. He's teaching stuff he didn't come up with. Why? I don't know. This in fact is the question that drives me crazy. Why would anyone want to teach magic. If you are a creator and you want your creation out there to be appreciated by the magic community I would get it. But this is not the happening in Tim David's case. He is clearly not targeting the magic community, but luring in new wannabe magicians.

Don't we have enough losers among us? Just saying.

I know about the human need to communicate knowledge. And I also know that a certain type of human feels the need to teach. But with magic something is at stake. The secret. Giving out any secret means that you had to think about doing it. Otherwise you didn't see it as a secret. Teaching a magic secret for free means you regard it as being irrelevant in any moral debate.

It might be that Tim David has not stumbled upon the issue but no... on his website you'll find this:
Teaching magic is different than exposing magic because teaching magic is good and exposing magic is bad. Tim vehemently opposes unnecessary magic exposure. “Stop magic exposure.” – Tim David
A little too black and white for my taste.

A secret has professional value. You have to understand that. A lawyer (at least here in Germany) is not allowed to give out free advise. The same way that a guy working at the gas station is not allowed to give out free gas. Simply because the "advise" and the "gas" have a value. Doing so would hurt all of the other professional lawyers and professional gas station owners. That's why laws are in place to protect the value.

In magic that doesn't exist. If a guy like Tim David gives out free secrets he is hurting all of the other professional magicians.

A value is a construct in a very strict business sense; tossing out all moral and ethics here. If you are the only one owning something, no matter how much it is worth, you can set the price. (Monopoly)
If everyone has it (or has access to) the price is disparaged. The value is lowered.

So giving out secrets for nothing has the value of any idea nullified.

Tim David: Stop eroding your future income doing professional magic. You claim to be a long time, full-time pro magician. How about you act that way and recognize that the secret is best kept secret.

PS: Bullshit...

There are more effects. What about Transpositions? You seem not to have thought about it enough. Don't you read my little theory nuggets of wisdom?

Thursday, 7 February 2013

It's Kieler Woche Baby! Yet Again!

Today was a fun day at the Kieler Woche. Today I ran into "security". The first time in seven years. I was finishing my show and then I got approached by two really tall guys with big black vests telling me what to do.

Them: "You have to know that you are allowed to stay here... but you must not ask for money."
Me: "Wait what? I didn't ask for money, I told them if they want to they can pay me.
Them: "No mention of money, if they put you something in the hat, that would be okay."
Me: "Alright"

I have to mention that these guys really were nice about it. So I did my next show. Instead of mentioning money I just took off my hat and placed it on the table. Telling my audience if they want a business card they can come up and take on. By now there were five security guys.

Them: "Sorry you cannot hand out business cards either."
Me: "Really? Man you're breaking my balls. Can I at least mention my website."
Them: "Nope, nothing that is commercial."

So I asked them where exactly their "power" to tell me what to do ends. They said at the end of the ferris wheel. So I went there and the place was shit...

So I was thinking, who are those guys and how exactly are they allowed to tell me what to do. On the official Kieler Woche website they clearly state that no permission is needed, and that the only rule is not to gather too many people so the other people can still walk freely. No mention about money and all of that bullshit.

So I went back to my old pitch. Right in front of the police station. I recalled that the police had no problem with me being there. In fact if somebody wanted to do music there the police told them not be play here. Not so in my case. Last year the head of the police stepped outside of the station to ask me for a business card.

So I went into the police station asking about this year's regulation. Turns out that the area around the police station belongs to the police station. They can allow or forbid anybody they want to. The security working for the city has nothing to say on that particular patch of land.

Knowing that I set up my pitch again. As I was doing that the lady in charge of that part of the Kieler Woche walked by. I though damn it... I should talk to her. So we talked... and I got the official statement that I'm allowed to ask for money.

I did two more shows, clearly asking for donations. Then it started to rain.

I'm looking forward to a sunny day tomorrow.

Get help!

Today I'm gonna give you some real good advice. Seriously! I have come across so many magicians and I noticed one thing: They all wanna do everything by themselves. The have no skill programming a website, yet they tinker around until they got a website that looks like shit. They have no photoshop skills and end up with something like this:

Take a look at how others do some stuff that they cannot do. They get someone to do it for them. They hire some expert or ask a friend. The result most often is professional. Get a director if you need a good stage show. A choreographer to help you move. A speech trainer to help you patter correctly. A writer to write you monologue/dialogue. A professional photographer to make nice pictures in proper resolution. A guy who can paint or recreate your props, so they don't look store bought. Whatever it is you can't do, there is somebody out there who can. Get help!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

"Quote of the Week"

"As I show you these cards, I want you to think of a card and remember the number at which it lies. Now take the deck and deal it into two piles. Pick up one of the piles and perform a Down & Under Deal and then take the last remaining card and insert it down into the other packet at the number you remembered earlier. Take that packet and place it behind your back. Spell your name - one card at a time - and place the new top card reversed in the centre of the packet. Your mother is a whore."

T. W. talking about
Aldo Colombini's handlings and patter

Dear Magic Makers

Spell "Fred Kaps" correctly. If using that name is supposed to be a homage to the fanatastic Fred Kaps, at least make the effort of researching how to spell his name. Lame!

Gee that brings back memories!

I believe I saw this cartoon before I ever saw a magician. That clearly shaped my understanding of what commercial effects are. In fact I remember seeing the part with the endless silks tied to each other and I loved the method.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

WMF The Cactus Boi

The interesting thing about this young man is not that he is exposing or making a tutorial on a card flourish, no it's his serious laziness on research. First watch the video. The first 40 seconds should be enough:

So what do you see? A normal fan? Yes! There is nothing, I repeat nothing unusual about this fan. A regular standard two handed fan. This is pointed out to the young man in the comments.
"sorry but has i see it's a freaking thumb fan"
to which The Cactus Boy... sorry, Boi replied:
"*facepalm*. Do you actually know anything..? Like, at all?"
Cute isn't it?

So the next commentor asked:

"What's so fuckin' unusual at this "ordinary" fan?"
Our young magician replied:
"Well, the technique hasn't been used before (or not to my knowledge) and the fan itself looks like a pressure fan, you're just doing less work and not applying the full pressure to help the cards go around. I can do the pressure fan with ease now, so I don't use this move much at all anymore."
Dude! The technique hasn't been used before? To his knowledge.... well that means his knowledge is worth jack shit. Yet he goes out doing tutorials... how about reading books first.

Coin in Bottle

The great thing about the good old "coin in the bottle" effect is that there is no way to get the coin into the bottle, as the coin is bigger than the neck of the bottle. This is the actual effect, not so much the apparent penetration of the coin through the glass of the bottle.

So all these new versions seem to miss that fine point. It's about creating an impossible object.


Hey, I got a better idea than this. How about this. A small card is introduced. On it is a QR code. The spectator is asked to think of any object/animal/thing in the world. The the spectator is to use the own phone to scan the QR code. The code will link to this website. There they have to answer just 20 simple questions about the thing they are thinking of.

And instead of charging 31,50 dollars for it, I'd sell it for 30. It's a bargain. And not overly complicated at all,

Monday, 4 February 2013

"I never guess. It is a shocking habit — destructive to the logical faculty"

I'm fascinated by Indian street magicians. I have studied many videos of those guys doing magic. Mainly the Cups and Balls. They are all pretty good. Then I stumbled upon the following video, where the guy is speaking English:

It's a horrific magic act. The timing is way off, the magic moments are reduced to a mere challenge. It is repetitive as hell and there is no climax but the reveal of the main principle of being one ahead.

But here is what I like about it: The fact that the timing is way off, that the magic moments are reduced to a mere challenge. The repetitive nature and the actual reveal of the method.

And here is why! His timing is purposefully designed to create suspense. He fumbles around in his bag to get people interested in what he is doing. This gathers crowds. You gotta understand that he is not doing a magic show, but demonstrating sleight of hand. He tells the audience to "catch" him. Try that when doing the cups and balls. (I did, by showing one of the final loads and telling the audience that I will try to sneak the big ball under the cups near the end of the trick. That nicely foreshadows the final loads) Then he does this feint in the beginning and the audience catches him doing it right away, falling into his trap. That means that his audience is very, very bright and up for a challenge. To enter such a challenge and to get away with it... is not, as many magicians want to make you believe, making the audience look stupid. They like that. They want to get fooled... under the scrutiny of their own awareness. That is why the repetitive nature of the effect is actually an advantage instead of a drawback. This performer is so damn good, that he can not only live up to the challenge, no he can get away with spoiling the method, disguising it as an extra effect (the production of a fifth ball). That takes balls. Major props to this performer.

The audience kind of has to exclude sleight of hand, because they are convinced that they have been watching very carefully. The usual excuse of "He misdirected me!" doesn't apply here. And what else could it be if not tricky business? Quoting Sherlock Holmes not only as the post title:
"Eliminate all other factors, and the one which remains must be the truth."
So I guess it's magic then.

Talk about a White People Problem

I still wish something like that would happen for a magic show.

WMF Dynamo

Some of you may know him, some don't so here we go. Steven Frayne is a UK magician in his late 20's and has managed to get a deal with some big media companies that got him to produce TV magic specials. And as many that went before him he also chose to take the dark side.

I will now use the ugly F-word and the S-word.

Fake.... Stooge....

If you start to rely on those principle along side camera trickery and editing reactions into the shot that weren't there then you have moved from a respected magician into a territory known as the "whore-out-zone" of any major network.

But what the hell am I talking about. See this:

Do you see? Do you see? Maybe some kids need to point it out to you.

Hilarious isn't it. Suddenly all the reactions become fake (or taken from a different show) the method becomes way too obvious and the performer loses all his credits. Lame!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Buyers Remorse

I don't want to alarm you, but I feel the need to tell you. If you buy Serial by Tom Wright you probably get buyers remorse. The method to this tricks more than bold. The video cuts out a crucial part. A part you need to know. You need to turn you head. You gotta have good eyesight and you gotta use English bills. It will work with Euros too, but the method will be more than transparent.

The video tells you that this is not an opening item, and that you need to establish credit as a mind reader first. That's a nice way of saying that if the audience actually thinks about the method they will know it. And suddenly this trick will turn into a cheap bar bet.

Sorry Tom, you can do better. Right?

Wanna Have, Mechanical Cups and Balls

Illusions.... BORING

Video in general is not good for magic. But it is especially bad for illusionists. You can see the bad paint jobs the wiggles in the stair section of an illusion. And you can see the actual secret in big HD.

I didn't notice the bad stuff at 1:34... but rather how endlessly long the actual illusion is drawn out.

The Magic Industry

The term "Magic Industry" kind of invokes strange imagery. I always think of something Roald Dahl would have created. A weird, strange, twisted place. Some Oompa-Loompas working on a big card press, manufacturing the next crazy card deck. Next to that a big table with some more Oompa-Loompas sitting and drawing the next designs on a big canvas. Somehow this factory is located within a big industry complex near the North pole. Next door is a bunch of elves making square circles and painting them, "detting gizzy" from all the fumes.

Of course upstairs is a big conference room. And on a large table sits Santa Claus and across from him Rob Stiff, both arguing about what to produce next. After cards and coins and sponge balls... what's next to exploit. Both can't find a solution, but that is when Brad Christian comes in offering the following bit of advise: "Guys, you need not think think in props, but in gimmicks" And right he is. After the magnet and the smoke the mirror is next to explore. "Is there any magician out there specializing in mirrors?" Santa asks. "Yeah I just checked the forums... after all that's why we have them... there is a young man, no older than 17, he has uploaded two videos that fool people." "Are they any good?" "Dunno, they look good!" "Alright then you have yourself a deal, get that kid, promise him a reputation, they let's hype his name and publish 'mirrors deception'."

Rob is confused... "And what about me? Can I publish that too?" Santa just rolls his eyes. "You do what you do best. Get your drone working, Ben needs work. Knocking off is your gimmick... stick to that."

"Yes master!" Rob says bowing down crawling out of the room.

Downstairs the elves have finished with the square circles. The reindeer are ready for shipment.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

OMG How does he do that?

He must be a wizard or sumthin' Im sure the big ass sleeves have nothing to do with it. Let's watch the whole thing. Yeah I'm sure the sleeves will not be suspicious at all.

Let's be serious. His heart seems to be in the right place. His setup is professional, his looks, his manners all nice and harmless. But does this bring magic forward? Hardly. A layperson watching goes like this. "Oh sleeves, oh magnets, oh no actual effort" in a way this little video meets all the requirements of the common prejudices against magicians.

But maybe I'm underestimating the man. This might all be a great scheme to make people believe all the lies about magicians, so when he actually performs he rolls up his sleeves and does a French Drop.

Mad Props Dude

I have seen many XCM videos. This one is full of really cool ideas and unique displays. Pred, "a dimensional traveler" is pushing himself to the limits with cardistry!

I like it!

The old saying

There are a few saying in magic. "Never repeat a trick!" and "Don't announce what you are about to do!"

Honestly those are beginner's tips. The reasons why you should not repeat a trick is that people would know what to expect and be on the look out for things that would expose the method. Same goes for rule number two.

But what if the trick can withstand a repeat? Be it because of changing methods, or because the method is so darn good, that nobody will figure it out? After all, a good old ambitious card is nothing but repeating the trick. In fact repetition makes the effect stronger.

Not announcing what you are about to do also has the built in assumption that magic should come as a surprise. Well suspense is the exact opposite and it is darn good. Try combining the two for maximum impact. If you do the cups and balls, try showing one of the final loads before you start the trick. Even say, that you will try to sneak that lemon under one of the cups near the end of the trick.
That way you build up a lot of suspense. Yet the surprise will still be there after revealing that you had four final loads. You get the best of both worlds, if you announce what you are about to do.

Another saying in magic is the good old: "A large action covers a small action" and too many magician seem to believe that. A little too much. So that they rely on that fact and believe something they do is convincing. That being said...


I'm so fucking exited. Blake Vogt is about to release something awesome.

But I wonder if it will be better than REF4M.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Garrett Thomas stole my Idea

Catchy title ey? Well not really, but he released something similar to what I came up with years ago. Melting through a coin slowly with just a finger. This isn't a creative masterpiece, but much better than the karate coin I believe. It's a great finish for a longer coin routine.

I'm so fucking proud, that someone less lazy than me actually made this. I'm not biting my ass because I didn't release it. But I feel the need to add, that with a dollar sized coin the illusion would look better. So please make those in dollar sized coins, and I buy those. Actually make them in Eisenhower dollar pieces, because I use those.

But it really is a weird feeling to see something done that I have thought up (including destroying some coins in order to make a somewhat workable prototype). I don't really know what to feel. One side of my is proud  that this actually got made. One side is proud because it means that my ideas are actually good enough to hit the market. And one side feels the need to fucking claim "ownership" to the idea, even though I am 100% sure that Garrett Thomas came up with this independently. He is a creative guy and I praise most of his work anytime. And the later side makes me write these lines. Damn it! Have I become a smug bastard beyond the healthy amount? Why do I mention the fact that I came up with this too? Damn it!

Garrett, you have opened the lid of the Pandora's box that I wish didn't exist.

Stuff becomes Stuff

In close up magic most often coins are changed for other coins. It's so common that we have a word for that particular effect: Spellbound. But the minds of the magicians don't seem to stray very far from it. Sometimes the coins change into rings and keys. Sometimes little balls change color....

So just to make you brain consider more possibilities I'm offering a few things here.

Nuts: Are great for magic. They have the right size to do all sorts of manipulations. You can change certain kind of nuts into any other kind of nuts. Like changing a peanut into a hazelnut. "I'm allergic!"

Stones: Come in all sizes and colors. Think about changing a coin several times. It becomes older and older. Finally you turn it into a stone. "Too far we're in the stone age!"

Hardware: Bolts, nuts and Gears... all could be added to a Steampunk themed act. You could have a wire and roll it around the finger. Then change it into a gear. One of those smoke producing gimmicks could visualize the technical change.

Office Stuff: Paperclips could change color. Priority labels could be "downgraded". I imagine a routine where the magician writes something with a pencil, looks at his writing, shakes his head and then visually changes the pencil into an eraser and rubs away his writing. A stamp could become a more valuable stamp.

Food: In fact I remember posting my little idea about gummy bears. Which was motivated and nobody paid attention to. But what if you use the switch for something more layered. Effect: A steel ball bearing is eaten. Many actually. No tricky moves, they really go into the mouth and are swallowed.
Method: You will need ONE real steel ball and the other ones are cocktail tomatoes treated with silver edible spray paint. That way all you need to do is to show how real the real steel ball is, switch it for a tomato and eat it.

Mentalism: Think about mentalism when it comes to spellbound. A regular key can be visually changed into a bent key. A fresh leaf could become an old, dry leave, which in presentation could be a "changing season" thing or in mentalism could be a "sucking out the aura" thing. Two magnets; if you switch one from something that looks similar both will no longer attract each other. Ergo "sucking out magnetism" could be the effect. (Where does the magnetism go? Maybe a demonstration of PK-effects is in order. The falling block of wood makes sense now!)

Changing the Effect: A broken monocle could repair itself.... you see stuff has not to become other stuff. The effect could be perceived differently. In this case a restoration. Now think even further. Some that gets repaired could also just go back in time to a point where it wasn't broken. Now if you think about changing an old toy into a working, shiny version of the toy... you are on the road to create a memorable, emotional effect. As it refers to so many aspects of any body's childhood. When wonders where still acceptable!

Go bold with the plot: What if it is not just the objects that changes, but the whole universe? What if a pack of salt in this universe is a pack of sugar in the other universe? What other changes might occur? I hope you can see where I'm going with this. I swear if I hear the King Midas story again I will leave the room. Changing stuff to gold is a great trick, but don't go back to plots that have seen better days.

Changing parts of nothing: Have you ever done the Spellbound Move with "nothing"? You could see something in the air and catch it. Show the "nothing" between your fingers and then mention the fact that the audience probably won't see it. The simple reason. They are seeing the wrong side. "It's a hole, but you are looking from the inside out. That's why you don't see the edge. Let's me twist it around a bit!" Then add the palmed steel ring to the picture in a twisting motion, as if you have turned a hole inside out.
This is a stupid premise and will not believed by the audience, but they will play along as long as they are entertained. And I think that this premise is a bit of a mind twister. One that is entertaining. (Of course you could continue with the steel ring. It's a portable hole after all. But what's one the other side of the hole? I hope you can see that this flies off in many directions!)

So you close up guys. I hope you put your coins and balls to rest for a while and experiment with other little objects that have the right size for manipulation. Such as: finger rings,
screws, billets,
bunched up silks,
blocks of wood,
dry beans,
sugar cubes,
pocket knives,
poker chips,
nail clippers
safety pins,
small candles,
small light bulbs,
keyboard keys,
blocks of glass,
ice cubes,
chess pieces,
monopoly houses,
sea shells,
pencil sharpeners
and matches.

One more effect that is easy and cool.

Effect: "Have you ever seen MacGyver? I love this guy. He can build the most complicated stuff from simple stuff." You get out a box of matches "All he needed was a box of matches. He would take just a few of them." A few matches are taken and the box is put away. "And a rubberband. He would wrap the rubberband around the matches and then add a paperclip."

Method: A rubberband is taken and wrapped tightly around the matches, so they become -sleight of hand-able. Then a paperclip is taken as well as a palmed minibomb (basically just a small black ball with a piece of flash string attached) the paperclip is slipped under the ruberband as well, and then a Boboswitch is made. One hand assumingly holds the match-rubberband-paperclip bundle, but in fact that hand holds the bomb. The other hand goes in the pocket getting a lighter and ditching the bundle.

"That is how you make a small bomb which can take out two, may three blocks."

Then the fuse is lit. "Damn, a dud!"