Escapes for the Circus

Next month my daughter graduates from College. She had an opportunity pop up to work in a circus this summer where she’ll be doing a 4-7 min act. She’s done solo stuff in my show and she has two different escape acts that she can do. The circus will be fairs and festivals, so she’ll be typically doing three shows a day. We’re working on adding a third escape act so that she can do a different act each show. That will solve the problem of repeating the same act all day. She can do that if she wants, but she’ll have options.

One of the important things is that all of the escapes feel different. They all have a different texture, it’s not just three comedy “in and out” escapes or first she escapes from rope, then the next show chain and the final show handcuffs.

I just finished up making all of the props that she didn’t have her own dedicated set for.

Now the next step is rehearsing it and writing some new jokes.

– Louie

Music Remote Holder

Once again my 3d printer saves me a big headache in getting something made! I need a holder for two Flic Buttons that someone from the audience will use to run a music cue for me during a comedy escape. I spent about 5 minutes designing a simple holder and then hit print!

3d printing a magic trick

Here’s what the finished prop looks like:

flic button for magic show

The piece on the left is the cover, however after putting the Flic Buttons into it, they pressure fit into it, so I don’t need the cover as they won’t fall out.

It’s really worth your time to learn to use basic 3d design software like TinkerCad even if you don’t have a 3d printer. You can design things and then email the file to someone else to print.

-Louie

Performing in Spanish!

One of my biggest regrets is not learning to speak Spanish when I was a teenager. I’m trying, I’m at day 500 on DuoLingo and I can communicate ideas, but not really conversational. I’m always looking for ways to speak it more, especially in the show to hopefully get more confident in speaking Spanish.

That’s where and Emerson and West packet trick comes in!

Gourmet Mouse by Emerson and West

The trick is Larry West’s Gourmet Mouse. The concept is really simple, it uses three cards and in the trick, one turns blank and one changes. What makes this fun for practicing my Spanish is the trick involves and mouse eating cheese. I know all of those words, and can do the trick in horrible Spanish!

What makes it a great trick is that it shows that I’m trying when I perform close up magic for a Spanish speaking family. It’s really easy to start learning a new language with things like DuoLingo, and there’s no reason for a performer to not know a little bit of another language.

-Louie

Making Spirit Hands!

I was procrastinating recently, so I made a couple of spirit hands!

spirit hand

I made a mold of a vintage spirit hand and make these out of resin.

These are ungimmicked, and if you’re interested in one and want to gimmick it yourself, or use it with an existing board you can get one at:
https://www.magicshow.tips/spirit-hand/

-Louie

Old Magician’s Notebooks

Someone was selling a stack of old magician’s hand written notebooks. These are things I’m fascinated by, I’m very curious what’s going through magicians heads. When the notebooks showed up, they weren’t what I was expecting, they weren’t really notebooks of ideas, but notes of the Abbott’s Magic Magic Get Togethers from the late 1960’s to the early 1980’s!

They have set list that are pretty cryptic, like what Don Alan performed in 1980:

Don Alan at the Abbott's Magic Get Together

Then there’s more detailed acts like this that’s simply labeled “best act” from 1977:

Another interesting find was a description of Al Schneider’s Matrix trick. This notebook was from 1982, and Al didn’t publish Matrix until 1983. Schneider wasn’t listed as a performer at any Abbott’s Magic Get Together, so I’m guessing he was just attending that year, or it could have been something that was moving around the “underground” and someone else showed it that year.

Al Schneider matrix

These notebooks are a really interesting look into what was performed 40+ years ago and I’m glad I got to read them!

-Louie

Walmart Sells Bricks of Bicycle Cards

I think the title of this post pretty much sums up the post.

Brick of bicycle playing cards at walmart

At $39.97 for a dozen, it’s not a huge savings over buying decks individually, however when I’m on the road and doing multiple shows, this is a good option to pick up when I’m in the area. I probably wouldn’t rely on them having them in stock, I’d order online and have them shipped to the store in the city that I’m going to.

-Louie

Working on the Half Circle Show

One of my goals this summer is to work on my half circle show. This a street performing style show where it’s more parlor or stage than it is close up magic. Last week was the first week I took out the current version of the show and it had some wins and some losses.

The things that I need to work on:

  • I need to lay out a larger perimeter. I’m putting my rope line too close to my performing area, leaving me with a very tight half circle.
  • I need to get out from behind the table. This is partially a symptom of laying out my perimeter too tight.
  • I need to do the three trick set that I had planned and do it as planned.

A few other mistakes that I made.

  • I tried a routine from a different show that’s a comedy escape, but there’s a blow off at the end where I don’t get out. It’s funny if you see the whole routine, but if you only catch the last 30 seconds, you don’t get it and it looks like I messed up.
  • I need to take my PA out of my cart. It doesn’t sound right with it in the cart. I blame laziness on my end for that.
  • If I continue to use music, I need to plan it out better than using my existing stage show music.

Ok, so things that I did right:

  • I tried to improve every day.
  • I did things outside of my comfort zone

Well, those are my general reflections on the week. Hopefully the show will continue to improve the more I do it an the more I start to figure it out!

-Louie

Working Out New Material!

Over the weekend I performed at a four day fair in California and I learned a lot! I’m working on my half circle show and it’s gotten better but still has a long way to go. I’ll write more about this in the next few days.

Here’s a highlight reel of some of the magic that I did:

@louiefoxx Magic at the Glenn County Fair! #countyfair #orland #glenncountyfair #magicshow #louiefoxx #escape #fairmagicshow #orlandca #magician #comedymagic #closeupmagic #haunteddeck #cardmagic ♬ original sound – Louie Foxx

When I perform at a fair I always put an odd prop or two into my pocket and do it throughout the day. These are usually things that I never intend to do in my standard act, but it breaks up the monotony of doing the same set all day.

The “new” tricks I took were Bob Ostin’s Auto Suggestion and Matchbox Mambo by Paul Richards. I used to sell the heck out of Matchbox Mambo in the early 2000’s when I was at Market Magic Shop in Seattle. Here’s the problem with Matchbox Mambo, it doesn’t work for kids. No matter the conditions you put on it, they can’t see why pushing one matchbox drawer in shouldn’t make the other come out. Handing it to them after doing it the first time and explaining why it doesn’t work the way they think it does is a waste to time. You end up spending more time explaining WHY it’s a magic trick than performing the magic. It was fun to play with last week, but Matchbox Mambo isn’t going to graduate into my main roving magic set.

I’ll write more about Bob Ostin’s Auto Suggestion later.

-Louie

What’s In Your Pockets?

I was setting up a school assembly show and was about to put all of the props that I have in my pockets or hidden on my person and decided to take a pic of it!

magic show props

Here’s the prop list:

  • Mic pack and microphone
  • Media Star Remote
  • Remote control for alarm clock
  • two sponge ball droppers
  • two sponge tennis balls
  • mic holder
  • silk parakeet
  • Take up reel

A lot of magicians are afriad of using their costumes for stealing or vanishing props. I use my costume for both! When you start to consider your costume a prop, it opens up a lot of things you can do!

-Louie

Vintage Magic Trick: Emerson and West Presents Gene Anthony’s Pentra-Bill

A while ago Matthew Johnson’s trick Melt got the modern card thru dollar trend going. It feels like since Melt came out or so there have been a lot of version of the trick. The plot is much older and here’s Gene Anthony’s Pentra-Bill trick from 1983!

The plot is very simple, a card is pushed thru a bill. No strange folds, it’s a very clean effect. Here’s what it looks like:

@louiefoxx Vintage Magic Trick: Penta-Bill by Gene Anthony #magictrick #magic #moneymagic #cardmagic #louiefoxx #emersonandwest #closeupmagic #vintagemagictrick #antiquemagictrick ♬ original sound – Louie Foxx

The cool thing about the trick is that the card can be examined before and after and the bill can be borrowed. There is a gimmick you’ll add to the card, and the instructions hint at how to do it with the card examined before the trick, but don’t go into details on it. It should be pretty obvious you simply stick the gimmick onto the card after it’s been examined and you’re folding the card in half.

I like the opening the flap of the dollar to show the card in the dollar before the penetration. It very much feels like Timothy Wenk’s Misled trick from the 1990’s. Here’s David Copperfield doing Misled:

Pentra-Bill is a great way to do Card Thru Bill and I think in many ways it’s superior to the modern ones. Also it’s fun to see an Emerson and West product that’s not a packet trick!

-Louie