New Years Eve

Well, 2021 is coming to an end tonight and it’s been an interesting year. Due to the COVID pandemic still doing it’s thing for most of the year I got to do some unusual shows, from no contact shows, to filming a TV show with no audience to performing for the Amish!

I’ve tried my best to really go with the flow, rather than try to fight the current. Instead of complaining about restrictions on how I could do my show, I looked at it as a challenge as to how to make my show and ultimately my personality work under the conditions I was given.

I’m very curious how 2022 is going to be…so far my summer schedule it looking pretty full and I’ve got some ideas and exciting projects in the works!


East Coast Gig…

Check me out tomorrow in Winchester, VA at First Night Winchester. I really love performing at these First Night arts festivals. The audience and shows are good. If you have a First Night near you, I highly recommend performing at them, they are soo much better than 99% of the normal NYE gigs!

This is a rare east coast appearance, I’m more of a west coast guy. If you’re in the area, send me a note and we’ll hang out!


Take Out Ideas…

With the Chinese Take Out Production Box, I probably should explore some ideas beyond my initial idea for a routine. While the original idea is good, maybe there’s a better idea.

  • Vanish: Item goes into the box and you open the box flat for the vanish.
  • Mentalism Reveal: Someone thinks of a object and then you make it appear from the box.
  • Multiple Mentalism Reveal: Produce first thought of item from the box, then show the box empty and then produce the second item.
  • Item and Price Reveal: Something thinks of a menu item and price. You open the box to reveal the price inside (also showing the box empty). You close the box and then produce the item.
  • Time Travel: You remove something from the box, and open the box flat to show it empty. It vanishes and reappears in the box.
  • Transformation: Something goes into the box (like hard dry noodles) and they come out as cooked noodles

There’s some ideas, I kinda like the idea of a transformation, maybe ingredients go in and out comes a finished food? Anyway, I’m glad I dug a little bit deeper than just my initial idea.


Chinese Take Out Production…

Yesterday I wrote about an idea of using a chinese take out box as a production box. I went out and bought some poster board and made a box using the real one as a template. It was pretty easy to make the box, and luckily it all worked out on the first try:

I won’t use cards as the production item as they don’t make sense coming out of the box. I think I’ll use chinese food like noodles, or possibly and oyster and then noodles.

I think this is superior to many production boxes that are on the magic market because it’s something that people actually see everyday. Also as a prop, it’s much easier to relate to than a mirror box!


Production Box

Last week we had Chinese food for dinner and I was looking at the take out box, which were originally called oyster pails and thought it would make a great production box.

I’m always surprised at how many people don’t know that these containers convert to plates:

This would be the method for hiding the load chamber and the presentation hook. It’s a “chinese take out hack” to turn the container to a plate. I made a quick mock up and it seems to work, but I need to try to make a better model of it.

I’m going to make a mock up later today out of poster board. I tried altering the existing box, but the wax/plastic coating inside makes taping anything to it really difficult. I’ve worked out the moves to hide the load chamber with what I have and I’m convinced it will work, I just need to build one with more tape friendly materials!


Nightmare Alley…

nightmare alley

Last night my wife and I went out to see the movie Nightmare Alley. It’s about a guy that ends up working in a sideshow and learns to be a mentalist, who ends up making it fairly big, but then gets involved in some shifty stuff and his success ends up crashing down.

It’s interesting what you focus on when you see things in your industry portrayed in movies. The little thing that drove me nuts was in the sideshow scenes, the banners weren’t tied right, or well. When I worked with the sideshow last summer, I would have had to retie them all if I did them! It’s a small detail, and hardly anyone would fixate on that.

The other thing was the mentalist’s name in the movie was Stanton Carlisle, who is a mentalist and I have a couple of his books. I did a little bit of research and it looks like he insists that’s his name, and he didn’t take it from the book Nightmare Alley. Stanton would have been about 20 when the book came out.

Oh, here’s the trailer for the movie:

We had a good time at the movie, check it out!


Triumph Clean Up…

I’ve been fascinated by the idea of using the old card production where you drop the deck of cards on the table and the top card flips over as a “clean up” for card trick triumph. By clean up, I mean the last thing you have to do in my sequences where you need to reverse one card…or half of the deck.

In the past I’ve published a fairly complex version of Triumph that used a stripped deck and had a kicker ending, but used the flip over production to clean up the deck for the reveal. About a month ago, I think I finally hit on a sequence that makes sense, and it’s pretty simple, I’m surprised I didn’t think of it earlier. Here it is:

  1. Card is selected and returned to the deck, but secretly controlled to the top.
  2. The bottom half is flipped face up and you are going to do a modified zarrow shuffle. You will shuffle all but the top card (selected card) of the face down half into the bottom half of the face up cards. Then run about a quarter of the face up cards, drop the final face down card, and run the remaining face up cards.
  3. You will now strip out the face up cards, but add the face down selection to the face up cards, so they to on top.
  4. Find the natural break between the face up and face down halves. Side jog the face up half and drop it on the table. They should flip over, giving you deck that’s all face down except for the face up selection!

That’s it. While the shuffle procedure reads fairly complex, it’s not. If you can do a Zarrow Shuffle, you can do this.

Double Cupped…

One thing that drives me nuts is when I go to coffee shops and they give me a to go cup that’s double cupped. To me it feels wasteful to give me two cups, when one will do the job. That inspired me to mess around with a way to make the second cup disappear.

The method that I came up with was pretty simple. It’s the top inch of a cup and only half of the “circle”, and this makes a sort of a shell for the top of the front of the outer cup. If I held the cup so that my hand covers the bottom of the shell, it looks like a coffee cup that’s double cupped. I can also lift the top cup up and it creates the illusion that the two cups are separate. For the vanish I simple need to steal this little shell for the vanish.

The hard thing is to figure out how to ditch the shell. My idea was to palm the shell as I take the lid off of the cup. That still leaves the actual ditch of the shell, I think if I put the lid into my table, then it’s out of sight out of mind.

So now the second cup has been stolen, and the audience doesn’t know that yet. How do I reveal it? Maybe I could produce a cup and then call attention to the original double cup is now a single cup?

Honestly, I don’t know how to end the trick. I will say that this is probably a trick I’ll never do, so I don’t know how much energy I’m going to put into figuring it out.