For years I’ve had an idea of doing a chop cup style routine that doesn’t use a table. The big drawback of a chop cup onstage is the table, it cuts blocks the view of anyone who is sitting below the table top.
Probably 20 years ago I saw Charlie Chaplin’s daughter’s husband do the chop cup in their theater show. I saw it twice, once from the balcony and it was great, and the second time from the floor and couldn’t see much.
Seeing that show really changed how I perform, I don’t have any action that happens on the table top in my parlor or stage shows. If they can’t see it, they can’t enjoy it.
Now, back to the chop cup, I’ve always said creating with rule makes creating much easier. Here are the main conditions:
1: Plays big enough for parlor/stage no table
2: No one from the audience onstage IF their only purpose is to use their hands as a table/surface
3: Quick set up, ideally just grab the cup and go –I think this is the condition I may have to bend on as when there’s a final load, it’s usually not self contained.
The idea is that this will be something that could be used as an MC spot or a solo piece in a bigger show to break up things where you use people from the audience.
Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
Here’s what I don’t like about what I have:
1: The steal of the second ball from the sleeve. -I need to make a ball dropper/hold and steal it from the edge of my coat
2: Don’t like that my hand goes to the pocket. -It makes the final load production more impossible if you never put your hand in your pocket.
3: It really needs a second kicker after the pool ball appears. -Not sure how to make this happen…if you have any ideas let me know!
This is definitely something that I’m going to keep working on, I really like the idea. I don’t know if it’ll ever meet all of my conditions and desires for it, but you never know until you try!
Recently an aerialist that I’ve worked with posted a picture of themself working at a corporate gig.
It’s a great picture and she’s an amazing act.
However the picture also highlights what’s wrong with many corporate gigs. They pay a lot of money to the acts, then they just waste them. I cropped the picture above, below is the uncropped picture:
They have her performing while no one is watching. Everyone is chatting with other people at the table, virtually no one is facing her. Whoever booked it is really throwing away money on an amazing act.
YES, I do understand that it’s ambient entertainment. However, if she wasn’t there the event wouldn’t be diminished, or if they had he do a formal act it’d be much more memorable.
I’m writing this as we get into the corporate holiday party season where pretty much every magician has work. When you book that gig, are they booking your stage show during the meal? If so, then you’re ambient entertainment.
Personally, I won’t take these holiday parties if I’m performing when food is being served or there’s still food on the tables. This is because my show doesn’t work as ambient entertainment, the audience needs to pay attention to my show for it to work. Sure, I’ve taken shows where I’m performing during the meal, but usually not during December when there’s soo much work that I can decline them and something will fill the spot.
Think about what your show needs to succeed, and ask for it!
Earlier this week I was at a tradeshow and one of the tricks that I was doing in the tradeshow booth was my ending to ambitious card where I peel off the face of the card that they’ve marked and stick to to the person. I call this Full Face Peel.
The nice thing about this trick is that it’s a very different moment from most card tricks, but then the people walk around all day wearing my cards and people ask them about the cards and it brings traffic to the booth I’m at!
Magic Giveaways Should Tell a Story
Little visual things like this that people walk around with or things that they can keep and show people are things I love doing. Before you think that handing someone a card that’s simply signed, it’s not something they can show someone that tells an interesting story. With just a signed card they’d say, “I wrote my name on the card and he did a card trick with it“, which is OK, but with peeling off the face and sticking to them, it allows the to keep one of the magic moments. Or when I do mismade bill, I leave them with the bill and they can show people that (this gets me a ton of work!).
As I’ve been showing magicians the trick I’ve been doing where I peel the face off of a signed card, one of the comments that I’m frequently getting is that it must be a lot of work making the cards.
Honestly it is work, but not that much work. I’m frequently in hotels or AirBnB’s and have plenty of downtime. I can make big batches of them while I watch movies on Netflix.
Also, it’s worth mentioning how lazy and cheap many magicians are. Soo many magicians are amazed that I spend about $5 per show in things that get used up, or that I have to roll up balls of yarn for my show. That little bit of effort is what sets people apart from the pack!
One of the reasons that I’m not a fan of stock lines is that 99% of the people who use them only use them because they have heard other people use them. Not because they fit their performing persona or move their show forward, but simply because other people use them.
Recently I saw a magician and he asked where I was from, and I said “Seattle” and he replied “I’m sorry”. This is a very old gag and not a good one. I replied with several reasons why Seattle is an amazing city and he had no follow up. Was I “heckling” him? NO. He asked me a question and opened up a dialogue by putting down where I live. Had he had a joke set about why he dislikes Seattle that wasn’t connected to asking me question, then I would have been heckling. However he asked the question to me, which opened a dialogue…and he didn’t have the point of view or comedy skills to follow up. I wasn’t even funny, just factual with my response.
My point is that if you ask a question only to have your “comedy” response, you might want to rethink why you ask. Especially if your comedy response potentially insults someone. That brings me back to why I dislike how most stock lines are used, the performer doesn’t think about them. So if you use stock lines, think about them…what they are really saying beyond the laugh (if there is a laugh).
I frequently leave my show gear and other things in my car at airports around the country while I fly home on my days off between gigs. I lock up my gear inside my car with a bicycle cable to the car, to make it inconvenient for someone to steal, but that’s no guarantee.
I recently bought some Apple AirTag‘s and put one in my car, one in my suitcase and one in my show’s case. It gives me some peace of mind to be able to check in on them and to see that they are all still at the airport!
If you travel and leave your gear in your car, I really recommend having an Apple AirTag or something similar with your gear to keep an eye on them while you’re away!
Recently I picked up the Card To Wallet from TCC’s Magic Wallet Universe. For my close up magic shows, I use the Real Man’s Wallet and love it. I’m not trying to replace it, but looking for something that’s more of an everyday wallet for me to have in my pocket when I’m not performing.
Here’s the video for the wallet:
Ok, so I watched the video before I bought and am aware that it’s a no palm method. Personally I prefer a palming for card to wallet as I think the physical separation of the deck and wallet makes the trick stronger. Also with something like the Real Man’s Wallet the card is in a sealed spot of the wallet, there’s no way you could slip it in there. The TCC wallet lacks both of those points, the strength for me is that it’s a minimalist wallet and something that I would have on me at all times (outside of a paid show where I would have the Real Man’s Wallet).
Just a note, the card can be loaded into the wallet from a palm, but it’s kinda clunky, but possible.
Overall for $20, it’s a decent Card to Wallet, and it’s nice that I’ll have that option on my all the time.
I’m working on an idea for a card trick that would be done on the stage…or at least not in a close up context. It uses two banks of cards that are duplicates, however in the course of the trick, they could get mixed up a little bit and I’ll need to sort them for reset.
The cards don’t need to be in a specific order other than the two banks being separate, so the simple solution to sorting them after the trick is marking one half. With these cards being used onstage and never handled by the audience, I can get pretty bold with the marks.
In the picture above I just took a red pen and colored in the face of the birds on half of the cards. After the trick it only takes a few seconds to sort them using the Green Angle Separation move to get the top and bottom halves separated.