Old School Road Act Tip…

Every year I spend most of the summer out on the road performing around the united states. Like most people I use my cell phone as my GPS (my car doesn’t have a built in GPS) and because of that, I keep 15 year old Garmin GPS unit in the glove compartment of my car.

It’s been years since I needed to use it, however it can be a life saver if you’re in the middle of nowhere and have no cell signal. Sometimes where the gig is has no cell service or sometimes you’ve accidently done something with your phone and reset your maps apps.

You can get these used for about $20 on eBay, and it’s a handy thing to keep in the car. The few times I’ve needed it, really helped me out! Stay safe out there!

-Louie

A Special Card Trick Moment…

magician terry godfrey

One thing I love is seeing people do unusual things. A couple days ago I got to see my friend Terry Godfrey do the Al Goshman’s Cards Thru Newspaper. It’s a great trick and it’s also a fun, special moment when he gets on the floor with the cards. It’s a break from what Terry normally does and when he does it, it feels like he’s showing you something special, and he is!

al goshman card thru newspaper magic trick by terry godfrey

Seeing him do that trick in early 2020 is what inspired me to come up with this trick:

My trick is essentially Cards Thru Newspaper, however it’s changed a lot. Goshman’s trick used a simple gimmick, mine is a little more complex and of course I eliminated the big sheet of newspaper and changed all of the props!

-Louie

Informal Virtual Performing…

I’m trying to be more proactive about performing when I don’t have shows on the schedule. The last couple of weeks I’ve popped into some virtual magic open mics. When I do these open mics my set up is a lot simpler than when I do a more formal show.

The nice thing about performing in my kitchen is that I can put Post It Notes on the fridge to remind me of lines or things to do.

When I do more formal shows with the virtual studio set up, I have notes taped to my lights and camera. This is a great way to remember new lines, or names of people to thank. For in-person shows I put notes behind monitor speakers or inside my case.

Trying new material is something I live for, so it’s nice to have little things I can do to make it easier!
-Louie

The Moisture Festival Podcast – Steve The Pretty Good

 In this episode we make our first house call and interview the hilarious Steve Hamilton.

We chat with Steve in his home and learn about how he went from saving lives as a paramedic to making people laugh with his comedy and magic at events all over the world. We hear how he quit his job to pursue his dreams and how his family responded to that decision. A fun interview with hilarious stories about bad gigs and we hear about how he has not only performed at the Moisture Festival, but volunteered also. A great glimpse into the hilarious career of Steve the Pretty Good. 

Coffee Messiah

When I was in my late 18-20 years old and living in Seattle there weren’t a lot of places to figure out how to perform outside of family shows. At the time the Washington State had very restrictive liquor laws which prohibited me from performing at a lot of venues that had open mics until I was 21 years old. One day I noticed an ad in Seattle’s alternative newspaper for open mic that was at 2:30am!

It was at a place called Coffee Messiah

I started going out to the open mic and had a blast. It was a drag show, strange performance art show and an anything goes show. I wasn’t a “regular” there, but did perform there a lot! This was probably the most supportive community of performers that I’ve ever encountered. This may have led to why I’m soo open, encouraging and helpful to other performers.

Coffee Messiah was a place for me to try to find my voice or style as a performer. It would be years before I started to figure out what my style was, but having a place to play around and do it was great.

One of my favorite memories was that at the time I had a Zig Zag illusion and one of the drag queens wanted to be cut up. They came over to my apartment and we practiced a bit. Then when it came to show time the next week, I put them into the box, and when I put the upper blade it, it wouldn’t got all the way through. Well, we had neglected to practice in costume and their fake boob got stuck in the way of the blade and we couldn’t get it out of the way! Eventually after a lot of wiggling we got the blade through and completed the illusion!

Sadly Coffee Messiah has been closed for years, but I stumbled upon a video the owner talking about the venue:

Having a place like this to create art was a blessing to me, and helped form who I am as an artist.

-Louie

Covering the Briefcase Show…

The briefcase show made a little bit of progress yesterday. One thing thing a while ago my ship agent mentioned to me is that he doesn’t like the look of a case onstage. That was reinforced the first year I did Masters of Illusion, are also opposed to the look to having a case sitting on the stage. One thing that both my agent and Masters of Illusion agreed on was that having the case draped is acceptable.

With that in mind, I looked at my case and noticed how beat up it is and decided it definitely needs a cover.

It’s a simple matter to take a bit of black cloth and sew some loops into it so that it can hang off the top of the briefcase.

It’s a very simple solution that only costs a few bucks, but it really does make it look much better. I’ve still got a lot that needs to be done before the briefcase show is ready.

-Louie

Pelican Briefcase Magic Show…

It’s taken forever, but I’m getting to work on assembling a briefcase magic show. I dug out of the shed an old Pelican 1525 case that I bought for a specific gig a while ago, then used for my outdoor kid shows in the summer of 2020.

This case had a flange on the bottom, and I took that off. It used to have a bunch of custom 3d printed holders in it, but I took them out when I started using the case for the kid shows. I did leave my Sharpie holder in the case. This is a pretty creative solution to keeping pens easily accessible. The yellow holder has magnets in it, and so do the pens. They will pretty securely in the holder, but are easy to reach in and remove.

I’m starting to play with the layout of things in the case:

I have to make some choices, like using poker size cards, or moving up to parlour or jumbo sized cards. I think that choice will end up being made for me by what props/routines end up in the show.
-Louie

Magic Club Holiday Party…

A couple of nights ago I went to the Tacoma Magic Club’s holiday party. I always try to support the magic clubs in my area whenever I can. It was a fun night and towards the end, people in the club can get up and do some magic. One of the magicians did one of my tricks!

It was a lot of fun to see John Villarreal do my Russian Shell Game! This is a shell game that end with 15 shells on the table. This routine is one of tricks that I wrote in a notebook years ago and have been wanting forever. Then a couple of years ago, I made a set and it took off!

If you do anything that I’ve created and I’m at a magic club meeting, please do it! I love seeing what I’ve created out there in the world being used!

-Louie

Small Steps to Take Out…

Magic production box

The idea of using a take out box from a Chinese restaurant for a production box is starting to make some progress…and hitting a wall. The progress that I’ve made is that the box now has a Asian looking logo on the outside. This makes it instantly identifiable from a distance as a Chinese take out box, not just a random box. It also helps make the clear when the box is opened up, that you are showing the inside of it.

Magic trick production box

Adding the graphic seems like a small thing and it may not have totally been necessary. I think that it makes the trick a little bit more deceptive and play a little bit bigger. It’s that small step further that makes me happy. In one of SH Sharpe’s books he wrote that when you perform with props you made, “the pride you have in making them comes through in your performance” and I do agree. I think using props that I made, I have a sense of pride performing with that I don’t have when using something that I simply bought. Internally, I know all of the work that went into it!

-Louie

Relatable Props…

Last week I was in New York City for Christmas. We went to check out some shows, one of them was Stomp NYC.

stomp nyc

If you don’t know what Stomp is, it’s a show that’s percussion based and they use “everyday objects” for their instruments and there is no talking or singing.

There’s a lot to learn about performing from this show. For me the huge thing was relatability. The characters were relatable, but the bigger thing was all of the props were relatable. They were things we all see and touch almost every day in our lives. From things like a recycle bin, to a plastic chip bag, everyone has a point of reference for all of the props. This makes the show soo much more relatable than if it used some strange percussion instrument that was invented for and only exists in this show.

When you look at the props in your show, looking at relatability for your props is important. Keep in mind you don’t need to use things that exist in real life, that’s an artistic choice you are making. However when you do, I think they should be things that actually are when they look like, versus things that pretend to be something in real life. Once again this is an artistic choice An example of something pretending to be something real would be an illusion that’s painted to resemble a cardboard box. Everyone knows it’s not a cardboard box, they know it’s a stage prop.

If you look at my two appearances on Masters of Illusion last season, both use “everyday objects” that people have seen or interacted with before.

The first used a paper bag and some toy animals:

And the second used a inflatable dinosaur costume

The props in those two routines were much more relatable than had I used props that were created just for magic tricks. It gives them a simpler feeling than fancy props and that’s the vibe I’m going for. I’m an everyday guy, not someone solves problems with money. In the end it all boils down to your artistic choice for your show. I’ve made some very intentional choices, and while I don’t expect you to make the same choices, I do hope in my heart that whatever you choose to do, it’s intentional.

-Louie