A couple of weeks ago I was on an airplane and messing around with some cards. I was thinking that there wasn’t (that I was aware of) a false count like an Elmsley Count or Jordan Count that hid the second from the top card of a face down pile. After playing around a little bit I came up with a count to do hide the second from the top:
Count 1: Push off a double
Count 2: push off a single with the left hand. The right hand buckles the bottom card and when the card from the left hand covers the right hands cards, the the left hand steals the top card of the right hand’s pile.
Count 3: deal one card
Count 4: deal one card
That’s it, pretty simple. There’s not much to it. I think the reason not many people have explored a count that hides the second from the top card is that you have pretty much have to start with a double push off. This isn’t the easiest thing to do…it’s not crazy hard, but hard enough to scare away people.
I will say there are probably better ways to hide the card second from the top of the deck. I will also say it was a fun way to spend some time on a plane!
The amount of magicians that complain when people want to show them a magic trick is staggering. I don’t get it, why not let the person show you? The person will be the star for a minute, and I think that’s where the problem is, most magicians have a ego that won’t let them step away and let someone else into the spotlight.
At a gig the other night a someone wanted to show me a trick and I say “yes”.
They did the trick with the glide where at the end the slap the cards out of your hand and one card is left in your hand and it’s the selected card. When I let her do it, she nailed it! That’s going to be one of the memories from the party for the dozen people that say it, and something they’ll talk about longer than my roving set.
I’m not saying you should 100% always let the person show you the trick. There are times when it’s inappropriate, like in the middle of a ticketed formal show. but if you’re roving or after a show, why not? It’s not going to hurt anything.
There’s an old piece of advice that (usually older) magicians give newer magicians. That is, “you only need to know 8 tricks” and that you should know those tricks inside and out. While that advice may have be relevant over 100 years ago when it was originally given. I think the story was a kid said to Thurston that he knew over 100 tricks and Thurston replied, “I only know seven” or something like that.
Here’s the problem with that advice, look at every modern successful magician, they all know and do more than seven or eight tricks.
Now let’s apply that to the average magician. Yesterday I performed at a company party for people in healthcare. I was hired for an hour of roving magic, and normally I’ll do the same 5ish minute set over and over for the hour. However, this party spanned several hours and the worker came to it when they were free. When I was there the first 30 mins was busy, but the final 30 mins was just about 8 people (who had seen my set in the first 30 minutes of the party). If I only knew seven or eight tricks, I’d be screwed. However, I have a big toolbox of sleights and tricks, I was able to pull out some things I don’t normally do and to improvise.
In the picture above I’m doing Jack Carpenter’s Mysterious from the book Modus Operandi. This is a trick I’ve done since I was a teenager, but it’s not in my roving set because it uses a table, and some specific cards. When I do roving magic, my deck loses cards very quickly, so I can’t always guarantee that I have the needed cards.
The moral of the story is to fill your tool box, if all you have is a 3/8 inch wrench and a hammer in it, you’re in trouble if you need a phillips screwdriver!
The amount of magician’s promo pics that are cheezy, hack, or just plain bad is staggering. The goal of a promo pic is to get your personality out. I think a lot old school logic is that they need to know you’re a magician. You wouldn’t know that from David Copperfield’s pic on his billboard.
I know what you’re thinking…it’s David Copperfield, he doesn’t need that. You’re right, the billboard has some context, like his name.
Guess what? Your promo will also have some context, like your name and what you do.
You don’t have to be holding a fan of cards in your pic, they goal it to get a little bit of your personality out. Look at the headshots of the headliner’s on any comedy club’s website, you’ll see a lot of personality coming out in those pics.
Recently I had some pics taken and I was goofing around and this pic came out of the photo sesssion:
Is it the best pic to promote a magic show? Probably not. Does it show much more personality than a me holding a fan of cards or having an ace in my sleeve? YES!
Once again last night I was back in the office getting ready for some virtual shows. Everyone thought virtual magic shows would go away once in person shows started up again, however they are still here.
One thing I don’t like about how I do my shows is that it’s not very mobile. What I mean by that is that it wouldn’t be easy to travel with my current virtual show and set up if I wanted to do one while I was on the road.
That should be something that I work on, essentially a “briefcase show” but for virtual. The trick part shouldn’t be a problem, it’s the lights and stands that will be tricky to figure out how to pack small and light.
I’ve now finished the 12 weeks of the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. This book was suggested to me by a performer friend over the summer. The book is laid out by week and while it’s a bit “hippie” for me, I stuck through it and I’m glad I did.
Let me start by saying, that I don’t think I’m this book’s target demographic. A lot of it feels like it’s trying to get people to step away from negative people who say you can’t do art for a job. I did that years ago, however it did encourage me to deal less with negative people and I’m a happier person because of that!
Did the book make me more creative?
Sort of. It’s given me some tools to get my ideas out a little bit faster, and while I play a lot, it’s encouraged me to play a lot more…and write a lot more.
I think anyone who commits to the book will get something out of it.
This episode is part 2 of our two part conversation with the maestro of bubbles Tom Noddy. If you have not heard the first part, go back and check out the beginning of our conversation.
In part #2 we pick up right where we left off with some amazing stories from Tom’s 50 plus years of performing. If you love vaudeville, you are going to love one of the people who is responsible for keeping it alive. A great conversation with a truly amazing performer!
A few weeks ago I ordered a custom designed wallet that had playing cards on it (you can read about my card wallet here). I had totally forgotten about it, until it arrived yesterday. It was a fun surprise!
Here’s the wallet:
This wallet is essentially Harry Anderson’s MishMash card design, but set up like John Kennedy’s Mind Power Deck! I’m happy with how it turned out, however if I was going to make another one, there are a few small changes. Right now it’s a way to force one of 8 cards, then a fishing procedure to know the card.
I’ve got an idea to then have the card appear in your wallet, with no sleight of hand! I’m going to play with this idea later this week!
As I’ve gotten older and deeper into my career, I’m learning to take more days off…more days when I could be earning a lot of money. A friend of mine who is a magician invited me to his company’s Christmas party and there was a magician there. It was James Donahue, who I know from the social media, and I’ve made a prop for him in the past, but never met in person.
It was great to see him work for actual people.
Something I always say is that if you want to really work an industry you need to be a consumer of that industry. What I mean by that is it really helps if you can see what your show looks like form the attendee’s perspective.
Every now and then, taking a night off and seeing someone else do what you would normally be paid to do is a great chance to learn a lot!
Back at the end of October I had won some of Al Koran‘s ashes from the Ken Klosterman auction that Potter and Potter did. About a month ago they arrived,. I got a display, a sealed deck of Al Koran cards and a vial with some of his ashes.
Recently I got a shipping notice from Potter and Potter and I had to wait a few days for the mysterious package to arrive. It was documentation from Ted Lesley about him giving Ken some of the ashes and a little bit about the story behind it!
This letter wasn’t part of auction’s listing, but it was very cool of Potter and Potter to send it to me when the letter turned up!