Not too long ago I was watching a virtual magic show, and the performer picked me as an assistant from the audience. It’s always awkward when someone picks me to help, as I never know how they want me to act. I usually err on the side of being more reserved when chosen as a helper from the audience.
One thing that I found interesting was how much I felt like a prop as a helper at this specific show. I was pretty much told to do things and make basic choices. It felt like I was talked at, not talked to. I know that a show is different from chatting with someone at dinner. It just felt really strange.
Now this has me thinking about how I interact with people within my show. I’m going to try to talk to people. What I mean by that is not having a deep conversation, but actually listen to them. Many times we ask people things like, “why did you say the number 7?” and they give us an answer, then we just move along. The answer they give us doesn’t always need a response, but frequently there’s something to say, even a sincere “thank you“.
About five years ago I started contributing magic tricks and routines to Vanish Magazine. In that time I’ve published over 60 items in that magazine! Only once (that I’m aware of) that I recreated something that already had been done. The exception to this would be the new routines I published for standard magic tricks.
A new trick was just put out called Impress by Kevin Li and Hanson Chien which is very similar to something I published over a year ago (you can read a blog post about it here). Here’s the trailer for it:
The trick referenced in that blog post from Feb 2019 ended up being published in the September 2019 issue of Vanish Magazine under the title of Second Impression. Here’s the write up of my trick as a .pdf:
I’m curious if they were aware of what I published and gave me a credit?
The idea of making a blister change isn’t a huge leap from making the blister appear. I honestly don’t think my idea was soo novel that no one else could possibly think of it. I do think I was the first person to actually make a working gimmick for it.
Am I upset if I’m not credited?
If they legitimately were unaware of my trick, then it’s all good. However if there were aware, then a credit should be given. There are soo many outlets for people to publish magic, many behind a paywall (in something that you have to purchase like a book, membership to a website, etc) that it’s impossible to know everything that’s out there.
I will 100% say that moving the impression to the person’s palm versus the fingertip big step forward that I couldn’t do with a key. It allows you to hide the altered impression on their hand better than on the finger tip. So it is a step further than what I was doing.
A few weeks ago I posted about a Quad-Triumph routine. It’s a triumph style effect that used four shuffles. Then about a week later, I came up with a kicker where the deck starts and ends in red/black order. I liked the idea of this kicker, but didn’t like that to accomplish it I had to do a straight cut. My Goal was to only have shuffles.
After a bit more work, I “cracked the code” by adding a fifth shuffle. The fifth shuffle was the key to making this work without a cut. Here’s a quick practice video of the sequence.
I think I should restate that this isn’t as good as the standard triumph routine with one shuffle, cutting at the natural break and flipping that half over. That standard way is much more direct. This initially was a fun challenge as I was trying to get the deck into a specific order. I wanted the deck to go face down card, rest of deck face up with the selection face down within the face up deck. That was for a reveal that I wanted to do, but then this kinda grew out of that.
It was fun to figure out, but I’ll probably never do it in a performance.
I made a cleaner video of the coin to cork trick, which I’m giving the title Corkage Fee. This is the title that was stuck in my head.
I cleaned up the handling’s timing a little bit and added some context to the switch of the cork. For a quick social media video, having the balance on the nose at the beginning is a better switch than a shuttle pass. An even better way would have been to start with a bottle of wine that I took the cork out of. I don’t really drink wine, so that’s not something I have kicking around.
Yesterday I wrote about a Cork To Coin effect (read it here) and I’ve taken it a bit further than a simple 2 second trick. It’s not gone much further, but here’s where it’s at:
I like the idea of a transposition between the cork and the coin. It adds a layer of less obviousness to how the trick works. I think I may flesh it out a bit more and rerecord it with better lighting and put it out as a social media video.
Sometimes you get an idea stuck in your head. For me it’s the title of a magic trick, and it’s not a good title either. The title is “Corkage Fee“. For me that just leads to something involving money and a cork. My original idea was a cork turning into dollar bills. The second idea was a cork that disappeared when rolled into a dollar bill. I came up with a barely working version of the second idea.
I started playing with a third idea for a trick using a cork and a coin:
While not the best idea, I think it may have some uses for Instagram type videos.
The Moisture Festival Podcast records from the Jupiter Hotel in Portland Oregon. In this episode, we interview Danish comedy juggler Henrik Bothe in room 219. Henrik talks about doing two command performances for Eddie Murphy, performing on the Gong Show, and the origins of his famous ‘Neon Man’ routine.
We also learn how Henrik came to be an animated gif for his plate spinning skills. A great talk with a multi-talented performer and one of the Moisture Festival favorites.
After yesterday’s post about the offensive magic routine, it made me wonder why magicians fight so hard for things that have aged out of being acceptable. Is it that they fear having to learn something new?
Honestly I don’t know.
Ray Franklyn continues to blow my mind with his defense of how he presents this magic trick. He asked me to tell him what I felt was offensive. Here’s a screenshot (Franklyn is his “stage last name”):
His casual use of “Chinaman” shows how out of touch he is. Is he intentionally being offensive or racist, or does he not know better?
Honestly, I do not think he is intentionally trying to be offensive or racist…HOWEVER I do think that he’s unwilling to learn that it’s no longer 1960 and what may have been acceptable to say then, is not now.
Change is hard.
I struggle with keeping up with the times in my show. I also push boundaries in my show, however in the last 20 years I’m very aware those boundaries have changed. I also push boundaries with a personal point of view, not simply rehashing an Ian Adair trick that’s been done before.
Yesterday in a Facebook group Ray Franklyn posted this trick, which I find the whole presentation hook of the name Fu Ling Yu to be demeaning to Asians (full disclosure, I’m asian). It’s a joke that may have worked in 1945, but not now.
The BIG issue I have is that it’s not an original joke and doesn’t have a point of view. He’s making fun of a group of people for the sole purpose of making fun of them. And he’s put zero thought into why he does it. The Fu Ling Yu joke is older than me. He’s doing it because he saw someone else do it. That’s not art, that’s being lazy. Just because it was socially acceptable to do it 60 years ago doesn’t make it OK now. If he used the Fu Ling Yu joke to illustrate some larger point of view, I probably wouldn’t have an issue with it.
Do I think Ray Franklyn is racist? No, I don’t think that was his intention. Do I think the trick that he choose to do was? Yes
As a creative exercise, I took the same routine and just changed the ethnicity of the magician.
Exact same routine. The only difference is that mine has a point of view and I had to delete my browser history after searching for those images.
Of the two videos on this post: -One is art and has a point of view -One is lazy, demeaning garbage
Please think about what you put out into the world, and if someone calls you on it, don’t just say, “I’ve been doing it that way for years…” Do a little soul searching and think about if what you’re doing hasn’t aged out.
Recently I got to try out the “Free Picture of Beer” gag on a couple of different people. It got the desired laugh, so that’s good.
I also got to try to follow up trick where the full pitcher of beer becomes empty. I’m using the Out to Lunch principle to do the switch. The first time, they didn’t really notice the change. I think this is because they looked at the card and it registered in their brain as just a pitcher of beer, not a FULL pitcher of beer. It’s like showing someone a two of spades, but the spades are red. The average person won’t notice it’s the wrong color until you point it out to them.
The second time I added a little line which made the trick work much better. Once I got the laugh, I asked them, “what kind of beer do you think that is?” This question makes their brain actually process what they are looking at. That made the change at the end a lot more amazing!
I’m glad I got to try out the trick, and glad that I noticed what I needed to change!