One thing that drives me nuts is when a magician will post a picture to social media of a craft store and say something like, “I could make so many magic tricks here” but then they don’t say what they made. These are people who are lazy and want to appear creative without doing any of the actual work. It’s not hard, but something that’s visually interesting and figure out a trick with it.
When I was performing last month in Casa Grande, AZ I went to a few junk shops. I’m normally looking for things for my oddity collection, but sometimes I find props to use with magic. One of the shops had about a dozen vintage milk caps.
Milk caps were used in the early 1900’s to seal bottles of milk. These are made of cardboard and slightly larger than a silver dollar, but about one third as thick. These were stuffed into the neck of a glass milk bottle. They didn’t create an airtight seal, but they did keep out debris and bugs.
The size of milk bottle caps lend themselves to coin magic. I’m sure in the 1990’s during the POG game’s popularity, tons of magicians used them. I had the idea of using them for some platform style coin magic, and figured I’d give it a try at a virtual magic meeting the other night:
I think it went well for a first run, now I need to write a routine for it and some jokes and I’ll be up and running! -Louie
I’ll be doing hand shadow act and probably my bullwhip act during the shows this weekend. One of the things that the festival likes about what I do is that it doesn’t really conflict with things that other magicians do.
One huge thing that’s really helped me with my career is having a “novelty” act that I can do. It really helps out when you are in variety shows, or even in just plain ol’ magic shows with other magicians. It makes you a lot more versatile as an act. -Louie
The thumb tip began being used by magicians in the late 1800’s and it’s actual creator isn’t exactly know, there are two people that clam it’s use. Recently I was at a museum and they had some Egyptian finger and toe caps:
These are essentially thumb tips, but used for decoration, and not for magic. There’s a lot of stuff that exists in the real world, that magicians notice and start to use for magical purposes. I wonder if these could have been the inspiration for the thumb tip?
We’ll never know for sure, but they sure do look usable!
Last week while performing at the Moisture Festival, I hosted one show. One of your jobs as MC is to read their announcements, which is a pretty long list that has to happen up front before you introduce the first act. The announcements are things like fire exit instructions.
During my MC spot, I took those on right away and did those the first thing out. It really fell flat, and I had to dig out of a hole.
After the show Jamy Ian Swiss pulled me aside and reminded me of something I already knew, but didn’t do. He said, “Never start the show with announcements“. He’s right, and I’m glad he mentioned it to me. It’s something I know, put didn’t put into practice. I’m 1000% glad he mentioned that to me, otherwise this could have been the beginning of starting a bad habit while MCing.
In Seattle we just wrapped up the third week of the Moisture Festival. This is a four week variety arts festival and has tons of amazing acts!
One of the great things about performing in festivals like this is that you get to work with some of the top acts in the world! Plus the audiences at the festival are also some of the best audiences in the world!
On this blog on the 1st and 15th of the month I publish The Moisture Festival Podcast where Matt Baker and I interview all of the performers and people the make the festival happen. There are tons of great insights in the interviews on the podcast.
I started this weekend at the festival and will be performing in it next weekend as well. If you’re ever in Seattle during the festival, this is something you need to check out! -Louie
One of the trends in the county/state fair market is the fair putting the performers up in a house like an Air BnB instead of a hotel. Usually this is a great thing, I haven’t been housed with anyone I don’t get along with…yet.
The camaraderie that’s built hanging out at night BS’ing over a few beers around the table is one of my favorite things. In the carnival world that call it “cutting up jackpots“
This is also where a lot of networking and creative brainstorming happens. I know some performers like a space to themselves, but they are missing out one of my favorite parts of working on the road!
Yesterday I had a full day of driving around town performing at senior living facilities doing my show. They love booking in magic shows for April Fools Day, and you can do shows pretty much from 10 am to about 7 pm if you want to. The main limit is your set up, take down and travel time.
Doing a lot of shows in a short amount of time is a great chance to work on things. I’m working on my Briefcase Magic Show, so not a single piece, but how to get the stuff to gel together as a show.
Everything pictured above (included the applause sign) fits into the case and sets up and packs away in less than 10 mins.
I was able to get 45 minutes out of those props at every show today! I’m working on adding a joke between each trick, that’s adding a time to the show without adding props. The goal is to have 2 minutes of jokes between each trick, that ends up being 12 minutes of the show.
Today’s guest is the fantastic burlesque artist Lily Verlaine. We discuss her career arc which started as a child performing in a cabbage patch commercial and now has her touring around the world performing for delighted audiences.
We Learn about what goes into developing a burlesque act, all the people that can be involved, and a great conversation with one of the world’s best burlesque dancers