A Magic Sophie’s Choice…

Well I just had a realization that kinda sucks. It just hit me that the Coins to Glass that I’ve been working on and my CeeLo trick are essentially the same trick. Three objects disappear one at a time and reappear under a cup. Sure, both routines had different textures, one the objects visually appear and the other has the two jumbo loads, but they are the same trick.

Now here’s the choice I have to make. Do I try to separate them within the show, or use one as an “A” Show and the other as a “B” show routine.

I’m thinking about trying to put some time between them. If you think about it, I’ve seen several jugglers essentially do the same routine with different props. They do balls, then rings, then clubs, but it’s the same format. Three, then four, then five and maybe seven. It’s really the same trick with a different prop.

Honestly, if they are 10-15 mins apart in the show, I don’t think anyone will notice. However, it’s probably good for me to do one or the other and not both. I can replace one or them with something else I’m working on.

Holy Grail of Props…

For years I’ve wanted a Himber Pail. I think it’s one of the coolest props. If you don’t know what it is, here’s a video:

I’ve missed them at auctions due to internet or time issues on multiple occasions. The prop has been just out of my reach for years. Recently Stevens Magic Emporium had some made and I jumped at the chance to get one.

Here’s the problem, I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. How am I going to frame it from a presentation stand point. I could just play some music and do it, but I think it needs more than that. Once I figure out the hook, everything else gets easier.

Should You…

Not too long ago I was chatting with a magician who mentioned they were still doing in person shows. I’m not judging them on that, sometimes you’ve gotta do what you gotta do to pay the bills. They mentioned they were doing sponge balls at kids shows and the kids had no problems holding them in their hands, and this is what I have an issue with.

First of all, I’m betting they aren’t cleaning the sponge balls. That’s a problem, besides any COVID transmission, there’s tons of other germs on them…they’re sponge, germs love them.

Next, kids will hold anything you tell them to. You’re the adult, they’ll just do it in most instances. So kids being willing to hold them doesn’t really mean much.

Finally, just because you can…should you? Is the health risk worth it for a dopey magic trick?

Here’s how I see it, we’ve had over 10 months to figure out other magic we can do where people don’t hold a prop in their hands. Why are we still doing sponge balls? Don’t give me the, “they get a reaction“, because so does kicking someone in the nuts. Very few people have taken sponge balls beyond the effect and made it into something that moves the plot forward.

Let’s try to innovate and move forward and not live in the past.

Bottle Vanish…

Last night I was cleaning out my phone and found a video of an idea. It’s an interesting idea, however one that I’d probably never use, but might be good for an instagram video.

I’d have to play with it a little bit more to get the ditch cleaned up…but honestly it doesn’t really fascinate me enough to put the time in for a 20 second video.

Even More Table Work…

I feel like I’ve put a lot of work into the table I’m using for virtual shows. I think it’s really made a difference in the flow of the show. It’s soo much more efficient use of space than how I was previously doing it.

Here’s one view of the shelf:

And here’s the shelf rotated 180 degrees:

The nice thing with having holders is that I can look down and immediately know if something isn’t there as it’s holder will be empty. There are two wild cards as far as set up goes, the rest of the props can stay set up all the time. Those are the Gypsy Yarn and the silk in apple/peach. Both of those routines I set up on the day of the show.

You’ll also notice some redundancies, like each trick that uses a pen has it’s own pen. This is because I don’t want to be searching around for a pen, and it makes sure I have a back up pen if one dries out.

Coin To Glass…

About a month ago I make a blog post about how a version of Copentro that I’d been thinking about for while and was finally working out. It was more of a coins to glass than Copentro. What I mean by that is in Copentro the coin appears in side a glass that’s covered in a glass.

Also I should note that what I’m calling Copentro is Jack Hughes Visible Coins to Glass. I grew up calling it Copentro due to Bob Kline marketing it as that.

I like the coins to glass that I’ve been doing, but something inside me wanted to make a coin appear inside a glass that was covered by a glass. Luckily it really didn’t take much to make that happen. Here’s what I came up with:

I think it captured the spirit of the Jack Hughes / Bob Kline effect. Unfortunately I can only do it with one coin

Back to Back Trials…

Last week I did two virtual open mics, I did Tricks of the Trade on Tuesday and The Mostly Magicians Virtual Open Mic on Wednesday. I’m trying to hash out my torn and restored postcard. It’s been hit and miss and I’m trying to figure out why. Here’s a compilation video of the two tear and restore sequences from both shows back to back:

In the first clip I’m going a little bit faster than in the second clip. In both clips I’m in a hurry to ditch the pieces. At the Mostly Magicians open mic that was a piece of feedback I got was that the ditch that time was obvious. That’s great feedback! There’s no reason that I can’t hold out the pieces longer. In fact I can hold them out the whole time, either palming them or holding them behind the postcard.

I also still think it lacks a “tah dah” moment. I think by that I mean a magic moment. I think the unfolding of the card visually isn’t very triumphant. When I was a teenager I put together a jumbo torn and restored playing card for a friends act. The tearing sequence was JC Wangner’s, but the restoration was something I thought of. The four pieces just popped open quickly into a restored card. I had forgotten about that flash restoration until now. I’ll have to give it a try!

Using Space Wisely!

One of the things I’m always doing is trying to be more efficient. I’ve been having a difficult time streamlining my virtual show’s prop set up. Essentially what I had were two tables off screen and props would move from one to the other as they were used. This isn’t the worst system in the world, but it does take up a lot of space.

Last night I was playing with a different set up where I had a prop table in front of me but now in view of the camera. It was a much easier way to grab props. However I still have the challenge of having a working table in addition to the two prop tables. That’s when I got the idea of putting a shelf below my working table:

This shelf spins, so that I can rotate it to access different props easily. I’m going to cover it with felt and probably 3d print holders for my props to keep them upright, and in position. The shelf is also at a height where when my hand drops naturally, I could grab, or secretly steal something.

This shelf may be the key in eliminating both of my prop tables, and that will free up some physical performing space!

Brand New…From the Past

About five years ago I started contributing magic tricks and routines to Vanish Magazine. In that time I’ve published over 60 items in that magazine! Only once (that I’m aware of) that I recreated something that already had been done. The exception to this would be the new routines I published for standard magic tricks.

A new trick was just put out called Impress by Kevin Li and Hanson Chien which is very similar to something I published over a year ago (you can read a blog post about it here).
Here’s the trailer for it:

The trick referenced in that blog post from Feb 2019 ended up being published in the September 2019 issue of Vanish Magazine under the title of Second Impression. Here’s the write up of my trick as a .pdf:

I’m curious if they were aware of what I published and gave me a credit?

The idea of making a blister change isn’t a huge leap from making the blister appear. I honestly don’t think my idea was soo novel that no one else could possibly think of it. I do think I was the first person to actually make a working gimmick for it.

Am I upset if I’m not credited?

Nope.

If they legitimately were unaware of my trick, then it’s all good. However if there were aware, then a credit should be given. There are soo many outlets for people to publish magic, many behind a paywall (in something that you have to purchase like a book, membership to a website, etc) that it’s impossible to know everything that’s out there.

I will 100% say that moving the impression to the person’s palm versus the fingertip big step forward that I couldn’t do with a key. It allows you to hide the altered impression on their hand better than on the finger tip. So it is a step further than what I was doing.

The 5th Shuffle

A few weeks ago I posted about a Quad-Triumph routine. It’s a triumph style effect that used four shuffles. Then about a week later, I came up with a kicker where the deck starts and ends in red/black order. I liked the idea of this kicker, but didn’t like that to accomplish it I had to do a straight cut. My Goal was to only have shuffles.

After a bit more work, I “cracked the code” by adding a fifth shuffle. The fifth shuffle was the key to making this work without a cut. Here’s a quick practice video of the sequence.

I think I should restate that this isn’t as good as the standard triumph routine with one shuffle, cutting at the natural break and flipping that half over. That standard way is much more direct. This initially was a fun challenge as I was trying to get the deck into a specific order. I wanted the deck to go face down card, rest of deck face up with the selection face down within the face up deck. That was for a reveal that I wanted to do, but then this kinda grew out of that.

It was fun to figure out, but I’ll probably never do it in a performance.