Last night I did a corporate gig, it was for managers of a chain restaurant. This group was younger and fairly rowdy. This isn’t a bad thing, I’ll take a rowdy audience over one that acts like they don’t want to be there any day. They kept trying to get me to go “dirty” in the show. In the past I’ve done a lot of comedy rooms and I have the ability to do that, however I don’t think it would have been appropriate for me to go there. This was still a corporate gig.
What I did was play along with them and I didn’t try to shut it down, I just wouldn’t go dirty. I did use a lot more innuendo than I normally would at a show, so it let them know I was playing, but had a line. It kept me present in the show and I really had to live in the moment, which is a good thing!
Most performers when they have an audience that wants to go dirty, they go along with them. Honestly, I think in 99% of these shows it’s a mistake. You can play, but you don’t have to get graphic or swear. You have to remember that while the loudest people in the audience are trying to guide you, not necessarily everyone wants to go that way. The two people who don’t want you to go dirty could be the owners of the company. That’s why I try to play it safe.
A while ago I order one of Daniel Summers’s Baby Lindy Vanishing Bird Cages. This is the Jim Riser Baby Lindy Vanishing Cage that’s built by Daniel. Jim Riser’s cages are sought after for magicians as he didn’t make a lot of them as he’s not currently making them, didn’t sell them to just anyone, you had to prove you could do the cage for him to sell you one. It’s great that Jim has authorized Summers to make them for him.
Mine showed up in the mail the other day:
It comes with a pull, canary and carrying bag.
When collapsed it will fit through my wedding ring:
I hooked it up to my Take Up Reel and in theory, I won’t need to change the pull length as it will take the corner to the same spot in my sleeve as the Owen Vanishing Bird Cage that I’m currently using.
After practicing with it, there’s a lot I like about it. It’s just the right amount of rigid, not too stiff and not too floppy. It’s smaller than I thought it would be, for some perspective, it’s slightly larger than a Milson Worth Silver Meteor Vanishing Cage. When the vanish is complete, the bottom goes past my elbow, so I have more use of my are than I do with the Owen cage.
As for what I don’t like about it, there’s really nothing I don’t like about it. If I had to come up with something, I guess it would be the price. I’m not complaining about the price, I understand what goes into making them, it’s just a big leap from the cost of an Owen cage. I do think the Summers/Riser cage is 100% worth it!
I really like this cage, and can’t wait to start to use it in my shows next week! -Louie
I don’t really do escapes in my show, except for my Straight Suit routine. Years ago I did a 100 foot chain escape, and I recently did it again at a street show at a fair.
This routine really builds a huge crowd. The nice thing about it is that it’s easy to understand what’s happening if you just walk up. You see someone being wrapped up in a lot of chain, you know they are going to get out.
My routine starts with a wrist restraint and ends with me getting out of it that restraint. The reason for that is I have a lot more control of how long the routine lasts and what the ending looks like than with just the chain. Also the starting position with my wrists secured and held out in front of my body allows me to more naturally hold the chain up, if gravity starts to loosen it too quickly before the escape starts.
It’s been probably 5 years since I’ve done the chain escape and I think I may be done with it. I might have aged out out it…or more realistically I’m too fat to do it. I can still escape from the chain, but it’s not believable when someone over weight does physical escapes. If I drop about 20 pounds, I think it would work better in the show and I’d reconsider doing it.
One thing I noticed at Magic Live was a trend of tricks that use a penis. That’s right, tricks then ended with the production of a penis…and not the old Goshman sponge ding dong trick. Most of them had a component of Bob Farmer’s Little Hand trick, however there were a couple that completely different.
Let me start by saying, I’m not a prude, and I’m not sure how I feel about these tricks. I dislike Goshman’s sponge ding dong, however I do like some of these new penis tricks more. At the end of the day the strength of the trick is in the shock value of the production of the penis, so no matter how good the trick is magically, it will be overshadowed by the penis.
I will say that every time I saw the trick, it was in an appropriate place (informally at the bar). My worry is that someone that’s a less “aware” magician would do it at the wrong place and give magicians a bad reputation. So if you do decide to do a trick with a plastic penis, make sure you pick the right situation! -Louie
My first night hanging out at Magic Live, there was a free show that I could attend. This show was technically not part of Magic Live. It was a show that was honoring the Amazing Jonathan. It was produced and hosted by The Shocker and it was a ton of fun!
The show was billed as an edgy show. Some of the people performing did their acts and other people did what felt like custom things for this show (I can’t imagine why they would do it anywhere else).
One of the highlights for me was Chris Korn. He did a strange thing where he “switched places” with someone from the audience. I’m not going to say what the trick was, you had to be there, but I will say the trick really fell flat, however I loved it. Chris took a risk, and big one and had to commit 100% to the bit. I admire and respect that!
The show makes me want to be more fearless onstage! -Louie
Earlier this week I decided to crash Magic Live with some friends and hang out at the bar of the hotel. Normally I wouldn’t do this, I would register, however the magic convention was sold out, so that wasn’t an option.
It was a blast running into everyone in the bar! It was a fun meeting a lot of people I know through social media, but have never met in real life. This is one of the really important things about magic conventions right now, is that are taking relationships that exist virtually and making them real life!
While I was performing last week in King City, CA, I drove a couple of hours to the Magic Garage and had a blast!
One of the highlights for me was chatting reels with Will Chandler! I showed him my silk thru coat hanger routine and he showed me the silk thru ring routine he does! There are very few magicians around that I can jam the silk thru ____ effect.
I love being near the Magic Garage, their weekly hang out is amazing!!! -Louie
Very frequently magicians will post in social media groups that they don’t understand why people want to show them magic tricks. I’ve got no problem with that, and unless it’s at a totally inappropriate time, like in the middle of a formal show, it let them.
I think the reason for this is that magicians have ego problems and they can’t let the spotlight on someone else. Usually it’s a trick like the 21 card trick and it won’t remotely step on anything you’re doing. You can get some great moments out of it, like immediately forcing the card they failed to find if the trick doesn’t work. The key to doing something like that, is acting like it just happened, so it doesn’t look like you’re one upping the person.
I’ve seen some crazy things that I never expecting, like a old guy that did a perfect tabled faro shuffle with my old beat up deck of cards! I then spent the next half an hour with him teaching me the basics of how to do it. Or this guy:
That guy also taught me the basics of ripping a deck of cards in half, and with the help of my friend Todd Gardner who is a strong man I can now rip a deck of cards in half!
Your job is to be an ambassador for the event you’re working, and with that in mind I almost always say YES when someone offers to do a trick!
I’ve been playing with adding remote controls to things recently. The company that I get the remote controls for my Remote Control Chattering Teeth had send me the wrong ones a while ago, and instead of sending them back, I decided to keep them in case I needed them for another project.
Here’s the most recent thing that I’ve made:
The idea is that the bell is rung by the corded button. However I can also secretly ring the bell via the remote control.
Some ideas for routines to use this to add comedy to are:
Having someone ring it when a trick happens. This would probably be better for a juggling style trick.
When doing a timed trick, like an escape.
When someone does something. For example, you need a kid to stay standing on a spot, and you if they move someone is supposed to ring the bell.
Those are all routines that you could very easily add the bell into. It’s the sort of thing that can turn a 2 minute trick into a 5 minute trick. For an example of this style of trick, look into my Order Up routine from Vanish Magazine #43. It’s the Cube Libre magic trick, but I added a bell and I used a sound effect on my PA to make the ring, but it played really well.
When I’m out performing, I try to be aware of ways that I can help solve problems. Last week at the fair I was at, as I was walking across the fairgrounds before the fair opened, I noticed they had huge lines of kids outside the gate waiting to get in. There were just standing there, so I grabbed some props and went over and did a quick show for them.
This was simply me noticing a place where I could use my skills to help out. Doing this wasn’t in my contract and no one would have noticed if I didn’t do it, and I don’t know (or care) if anyone in administration noticed that I did do it. It was simply a way for me to use my skills to make some people smile. That’s why I got into performing, and it’s also how I know I still love what I do! -Louie