Magician vs Juggler…

Yesterday I was chatting with a couple of jugglers and it’s interesting how different magicians and jugglers think. We were talking about a specific trick one the jugglers used to do. I came up with an idea that built upon their idea. My idea was that you put a bottle of soda on the floor, and you stand on a rola bola while holding a Mentos candy in your mouth. You drop the mentos into the coke bottle while standing on the rola bola and it fizzes everywhere.

The jugglers mentioned how hard it would be, and I told them how I would gimmick it. I don’t know if it would work but I have a method. First I’d widen the mouth of the bottle a little bit. Then I’d cut a hole in the bottle and run a thread through it. If the thread was on a thread reel, so it kept the line tight, it would hopefully pull it into the mouth of the bottle.

That’s a method that should work…I don’t know if I’m going to spend the time to try to make it work It’d be a good social media video, now sure how good it’d be in a live show it’s messy as hell. Feel free to give it a try and send me the video!

-Louie

Spoon and Fork Transposition

Every now and then I end up with a trick that I like, but it doesn’t have a place in the show. These tricks end up in the preshow section of my show until I either come up with a routine for them, or give up on trying to figure out a way to fit them in show. The spoon and fork transposition is something that’s a great trick, but stayed in the preshow part of the show for years.

I finally fleshed out the routine a little bit, so it was more than a quick trick. It’ s a two phase routine, with an ending. Recently I tried it at a virtual magic open mic and it went well:

One thing I didn’t think about was the “hips gag”, I don’t think it played virtually. One of the problems was I was sitting, which I really should have realized before I started. Sometimes little things slip, that end up being a much larger problem that you’d think they would be. At least I now know for future gigs!

-Louie

Put the Bird in Birdcage…

It seems the Vanishing Birdcage is getting more and more popular right now, and I think it’s because there are some more cage options on the market right now than there were 5 years ago. I personally love the trick and have for years. The thing about the trick that I think easily gets forgotten is that you need to have a bird, or something in the cage.

That’s where Billy McComb‘s routine with the mouse really shines. It gives a purpose for the cage and puts focus on the cage. In the later Tommy Wonder videos of him doing the vanishing birdcage, it’s an empty cage that disappears. There is a video out there of an early version of Tommy doing it where he does it under a see through cloth, however the cage has a “mouse” in it.

In my routine it’s about the bird, here’s the very end of it:

When the bird is the focal point of the routine and not the cage, the take the audiences focus away from the funky looking cage. If all they have to look at is the cage, it’s easy for them to quickly realize it’s a trick cage.

I use a Nielsen Magic Latex Canary, and I’ve kinda been hoarding them. Whenever I see them at a magic swap meet, I buy them, or when I’m ordering some other trick from a place that sells them, I’ll add one into my order. The canaries are pretty cheap at $10, however, they won’t be around forever. I figure as long as I use them, might as well have them around.

-Louioe

Twisting the Aces…

A couple of weeks ago I posted a method for doing an Elmsley style false count that hid the second card from the top (you can learn this false count here) that I came up with on a long flight. Unfortunately, this count isn’t particularly useful and doesn’t have much of an advantage over a normal Elmsley Count.

Well, last week I was on another long flight from New York to Seattle and I was playing with the false count that hides the second card and I came up with a trick with it. It’s Twisting the Aces, but it has one advantage over the original Dai Vernon version and that’s that it all four counts look the same, so you don’t have to openly turn over the ace of clubs or do that weird strip out of one of the red aces and then flip over a few cards.


You start with the four aces (could be any order) face down in your left hand.

  1. Triple turn over to show the “top card”.
  2. Kill your wrist and turn just the top card over.
    -The position of the cards are: face down – face up – face up – face down
  3. Do the “Thru the Fist Flourish”, but don’t flip over the packet.
  4. Do the Second From the Top Elmsley and this will show the first face up ace.
  5. Do the “Thru the Fist Flourish”, but don’t flip over the packet.
  6. Do a regular Elmsley and this will show the second face up ace.
    -The position of the cards are: face down – face up – face down – face up
  7. Do the “Thru the Fist Flourish”, and secretly flip over the packet.
  8. Do the Second From the Top Elmsley and this will show the third face up ace.
  9. Do the “Thru the Fist Flourish”, but don’t flip over the packet.
  10. Do the Second From the Top Elmsley and this will show the fourth face up ace. As you do the count, leave the final ace out jogged.
  11. Strip out the final ace and put it on top of the packet face up
  12. Half pass the bottom card as you spread out the packet to show the three face down bottom cards (this is the Asher Twist move)

The main problem with the above version of Twisting the Aces is that it’s soo much harder than doing the Vernon version. Honestly, I don’t know if this is better than the original Twisting the Aces, maybe the variation in procedure makes that trick more watchable from the audience perspective?

-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

Vanishing Birdcage For Sale

Lately I’ve been on a downsizing kick, and cleaning out my office. Some of the things I’ve decided to sell are my duplicate Vanishing Birdcages. I’ve got a several of the same cages in various conditions. Here’s one that I’m selling:

lindhorst style vanishing birdcage

This cage had a bar broken and a previous owner had done a repair. You can see in in the bottom left of the picture below:

lindhorst style vanishing birdcage

This repair was probably in the best place it could possibly be. The lead edge contacts your sleeve a lot less than if it was done on any other corner.

I made a quick video showing the cage in action:

If you’re interested in this cage it’s currently on eBay:
UPDATE: it has sold


-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

Trying Take Out…

One of the cool things about virtual performing is that if you have something you want to try, there are a ton of opportunities to do it…and you don’t need to leave you house! Yesterday I popped into Kevin Peel’s Open Mic Magic Show on Zoom. The nice thing about this show is that it’s UK based, so showtime is noon in Seattle!

I was looking to try out the Take Out Production Box for an audience, here’s the first attempt at doing the trick:

I think it works, I do need to do some writing to come up with something to say, or some jokes. For a video I like the “travel hack” premise, however for a live show, I think it may need some more meat. I could be wrong…

-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