Virtual Magic Lectures!

One thing that I’ve been doing are virtual lectures for magic clubs. It’s really a good medium for what I do as I can show video clips of how things actually play, versus how things play for a room of magicians out of context from a real show. The vibe of a lecture is something that’s very different from a show, and when doing the tricks, it’s hard to capture the same energy, so showing the video clips really helps me out!

One of the advantages to doing the lecture from home is that I have soo much stuff within an arm’s reach. If someone asks a question about a trick/prop/routine that I wasn’t planning on talking about, usually I can quickly grab it. With an in person lecture, I’m limited to what I brought with me.

Here’s some feedback from last week’s lecture:

Currently I’m doing these to raise money for the IBM Endowment Fund. The magic club that hosts the lecture makes a donation to the fund in place of my fee.

If your magic club is looking for a lecture…shoot me a note!

The Moisture Festival Podcast – Tina Lenert

In today’s episode of the Moisture Festival Podcast we record from Rabbit Moon Ranch with Tina Lenert on the dial. In this episode, Tina tells us about her rise from surf rock to creating one of the most famous magic routines in the world, the importance of following your passions in life, and how taking notes from David Copperfield helped shape her routines.

We also hear about Tina’s childhood in Venezuela and her role in the first magic festival in Cuba. Oh, and we even discuss Goat Yoga!  A fascinating conversation with an amazing person and performer. 

Gig Requirements…

It was only a matter of time before I got an inquiry for a gig that required me to be fully vaccinated.

Personally I have no objection to getting the COVID vaccine and knew that not having it may affect my ability to work. I got my vaccine the first chance I was eligible to get it. The big thing to consider is time…if you get the two shot version, you’ve got five weeks until you are fully vaccinated. The waiting period could cost you some work if you wait until the last minute to get it.

I’m not a doctor and don’t take this as medical advice, but for me getting the vaccine at the first chance I had was a good business decision!

Ching Ling Foo’s Bowl…

Ching Ling Foo

Right now I’m reading the book Ching Ling Foo – America’s First Chinese Superstar. Honestly I didn’t know much about him, other than he did a bowl production. I’m about a third of the way through it and am really enjoying it. The author does a great job of describing the challenges of being a Chinese performer in a time that was very anti-Chinese.

It’s just now getting into the feud with Chung Ling Soo who was an American who pretended to be Chinese. In the book, they frequently talk about the bowl production, duck production and the production of Chee Toy (Foo’s daughter).

Apparently at some point there was film of Foo performing, but I haven’t found any online. I did find someone that tried to replicate the three productions that Foo did:

What’s I’m wondering is how big was the bowl that Foo produced?
The one in the above video is probably bigger as the title is “outdone”.

Secret Cabaret….

When I was a kid someone let me borrow a VHS tape of a recording of Simon Drake’s Secret Cabaret. This was a TV series from the UK in the early 1990’s (I think) and it was soo far ahead of it’s time. It’s the show that got me into being a David Berglas fan before I knew anything about him.

Here’s one of his routines:

He had two main characters, one was dressed in a top had and tails and the other was dressed in a “mad max” style. Everything that he did on the show was done in a very unique way.

One trick he did was he had two tables and a box on each table. How I remember it was he put something into the box on one table and one the other table, a hand came out of the box holding the item. It was a really cool visual!

It’s something that’s been in my head for a long time. I like the idea of the “instant” transposition. I’ve been kicking around an idea of having two paperbags and thing that go into one, pop out of the second bag. I was thinking of somehow anchoring the second bag upside down, so when I put things into the first (right side up) they fall out of the second bag and onto the floor or table.

The final one would be a coke bottle, and when it goes into your bag you crush it up (latex bottle) and it comes out of the second one and clunks down on the table or shatters on the floor.

Logistically, there’s a lot that would need to be figured out for the trick to work. It’s a “back burner” project for me, but one that I would really like to eventually do!

Take Up Reel – FAQ

The last week I’ve had a lot of people ask me if my Take Up Reel that I use for the vanishing birdcage trick works with an Abbott’s / Blackstone style vanishing birdcage. The answer is yes it does, I made a quick video that I’ve been sending to people who ask, here it is:

The cool thing about the Take Up Reel is that it can be used for more than just the vanishing birdcage, it can be used for any trick where you would use a wrist to wrist pull. If you want it to go up your sleeve and stay there, then it will work for that!

Friends of Magic (The Society of American Magicians)…

There are somethings in magic that confuse me and somethings that don’t. The big one that makes total sense is the decline of membership in magic clubs. There are several reasons why, but the main one is the internet. You can get you gossip, see new tricks, etc online. The second, closely behind the first is most clubs are d*cks to younger people. Old people telling kids who are into flourishes that what they are doing is wrong. It doesn’t matter how you get into magic or what you like, welcome them into the club.

Last night I saw this ad from the Society of American Magicians for the SAM Friends of Magic:

I’m trying to figure out why think selling this is a good idea. It’s all stuff that should be included in your membership! This is like a “light” version of full membership, but being sold as an separate product. Is this trying to generate revenue or increase the Society of American Magician’s membership numbers?

I think it’s ultimately going to do neither.

Working On It…

A couple of weeks ago I got to do my Polaroid Trick for an in person audience. I did it using video projection and it played well. Here’s what it looked like:

Here’s my notes:

  • The lighting needs to be better. It cuts off my face.
  • Some light background music would help it.
  • 0:26 mark: hold for the laugh a little bit longer
  • 1:27 mark: freeze and stop moving during the applause
  • 1:47 mark: pause another beat or two between the vanish and reproduction of the picture
  • 1:52 mark: applause is starting and I step on it by going to my next line

So what I need to work on is mostly timing things, and letting effects and the reactions “marinade” a bit longer with the audience.

Releasing New Magic…

take up reel

Recently I released my Take Up Reel through Hocus Pocus and the response has been amazing. Honestly, I thought they would sell two of them, but they are selling as quickly as I can make them!

I just want to say “thank you” to everyone that has supported this magic release. It’s been several years in the making. From the initial development of it to me road testing and tweaking it…to having other people road test it and doing some more tweaking.

Here’s the next batch of Take Up Reels that are going out.

I wish these reels were easier to make, they take about a week from start to finish to make…and I can only do them in small batches.

Here’s some advice if you are thinking of putting out a magic product, actually put in the time to work it out. Don’t rush ideas out to the market. There’s soo much that’s put out that you can tell wasn’t really tested out on audiences in the real world…whether that’s an in person or virtual show.

Spreading Stuart Gordon…

In yesterday’s blog post I mentioned the Stuart Gordon Double Turnover and that you should learn it, even if you never do it in a show. I think knowing different double lifts is handy so that when you do need one you can vary your technique or choose the right one for the situation. That goes with most sleight of hand, knowing different ways to accomplish the same action makes you a much better artist.

Recently I’ve been playing with the action of the Stuart Gordon Double Turnover, but not as a double turnover, but as a display of two cards. In the action of displaying and fanning the cards I’m able to hide a card. Technically it’s a three as two display in a fan.

The problem I had with it was besides it being very “knacky” it really didn’t provide an advantage over existing moves. I was jamming with Jonathan Friedman and Chris Beason and showed them the move. We really couldn’t come up with much besides using it to switch one or two cards. There are a lot of better ways to switch a card or two.

I kept playing with it and worked out a sequence for the move. Here’s a rough version of it, it’s pretty clunky and I’ve cleaned up the final get ready since I made this video.

Here’s the routine:

I’m not sure that a two card simultaneous ambitious card is better than with a single card, but it gives the move a purpose.