Let Them Understand You!

duolingo spanish

One of the constant struggles I have with performing is audiences that don’t speak English. I never really learned a foreign language when I was in high school and it’s one of my biggest regrets in life. Since I perform a lot in Southern California and Arizona, being able to speak Spanish would really help me out.

The last year I’ve been working on my Spanish with Duolingo and I’ve gotten to the point where I can pretty much do my close up set in Spanish. It’s not conversational, but I’m able to communicate what I’m doing to an audience who primarily speaks Spanish. This is one of the best decisions I’ve made as far as learning a new skill goes!

If you’re a talking act that only speaks one language, starting learning another language. It will open a lot of doors!


Vitaly Beckman – An Evening of Wonders!

Last week my daughter and I drove two and half hours to see Vitaly Beckman’s show. I saw Vitaly’s show about eight years ago at a casino and I liked it then.

I think Vitaly’s show is one of the most original magic show’s I’ve seen in a while! The only thing that was really a an “old plot” was his card in bottle, and it’s still a great routine! He’s got great presentational hooks for his routines and lot of them are about art and photography.

He’s got a really fun way of picking people from the audience, and it’s something I wish I had thought of as it’s fun and confirms the randomness of the selection!

It was also great to see how he uses projection in his show. He had graphics that highlighted the effects he was doing to create a mood. Also the close up camera wasn’t overused and just about everything could be seen without projection if it wasn’t available.

One of the things I like is how he’s adapted playing card moves to other objects, like photographs or drivers licenses. That’s something that makes him stand out, he’s using objects that are way more relatable than cards! It’s super smart! In my virtual shows and a few live show I’ve used Polaroids in place of playing cards. It’s something I really should go back and explore more as it’s a great way to add relatable context to what would otherwise just be a card trick.

I should note that Vitaly’s ending is amazing! He asked to share what it is, but it’s super fun, and amazing!!!

If he’s performing in your area, buy a ticket! I left Vitaly’s show inspired to work harder on my show.

What an Entertainment Showcase Looks Like

Yesterday I mentioned that I liked booking shows through showcases. Here’s some of the other acts that I recently showcased with:

There were a couple of jugglers, a few magicians, some animal acts and some bands. It’s rough to stand out when you’re doing these and you need to bring your A game and have your showcase set TIGHT!

When I watch these showcases, I can always tell who took it seriously and showed up to get work. Their shows are tight and they have zero wasted moments.


The Art of the D*ck Joke

A few weeks ago when I was in Oaxaca, Mexico I saw a street show my a clown.

clown in mexico city

I was aware that Mexican and South American clowning is very different that in the USA or Canada. There’s a very “adult” style clowning in those areas that wouldn’t really play in the USA.

Mexican clown

The clown did a long bit using a balloon as a penis and didn’t hide it with double entendre, he did straight up d*ck jokes with the balloon!

The late night crowd was with him and were enjoying the show. I’m not going to say the show was offensive, it was just very different from what we see north of the border!

The cool thing about his show was there was no dead time, the show always pushed forward!


The Psychology of Magic

My recent airplane reading was that I started the book The Psychology of Magic. I originally heard of this book from my buddy Chris Beason, and I picked up this copy back in June at Misdirection Magic Shop in San Francisco.

The Psychology of magic from lab to stage

I’m not too far into the book, but so far it’s really interesting. In this book they’re using lab style testing for magic. The beginning of the book they’re using lab study type groups to learn more about card forces. It’s really interesting what results they came up with.

The other eye opening thing was a prediction that’s 1-4 or 1-100 has basically the same impact!

So far I recommend this book!


Routine for Four Nightmares

Last week was the final fair of my summer season. This fair is also two weeks, so I try to work on as much stuff as possible while I’m at this one as it’s my last chance to do a lot of shows in a short period.

One of the things I was working on is Tenyo’s Four Nightmares rope trick.

This routine is good, but I think it has the same weak spot as most rope routines, and that’s the lack of an ending. There’s no definite punctuation at the end of the trick.

Oh, I took out one of the phases of the routine and that’s the 3rd effect where you tie a knot and it disappears. It’s the weakest part of the routine and removing it doesn’t hurt the routine.

For the routine, I’m presenting it as simply that I’m going to do four tricks with the rope. I then name each trick as I do them. The fourth and final trick I call it “the end” and that has helped me sell the end of the routine. I’m not 100% happy with framing the routine this way, but it’s a starting point.

Also, if I’m going to keep doing this routine, I need to learn to make the gimmicks. The white rope will get very dirty very quickly…especially out on the fairgrounds!


Giant Dice Hat Load

A couple weeks ago when I was roving I threw a giant die into my bag. I was going to play with a hat load to produce it. I’ve done hat loads in the past and familiar with many techniques to get the giant die into my hat. I didn’t have a plan for the load, I just used the appropriate technique at the right time and if that opportunity didn’t present itself.

Here’s a highlight reel of some close up and the giant die production is in it:

I don’t know if this is something that I’ll actually add to my show, but it was fun to play with for a few days!


The Moisture Festival Podcast – Steve Langley

On this episode we welcome in the energetic Steve Langley. Over Zoom Steve tells us about his early beginnings as a chef and how that led to the creation of his juggling team the Fettucini Brothers. 

The moisture festival podcast

 He talks about his 30 year career, how paddle ball helped him along the way and  how he transitioned to a totally different style of performing. A treat to be able to get to chat with Steve and we hope you enjoy it. 

Using Time Wisely!

When I’m out performing at fairs in the summer, I can have a lot of down time in between shows. I try to be productive during those times. Last week I bought a ton of clocks and spent some time between shows gimmicking them!

magic trick with clocks

I ended up being a photo opp for all the other performers as it looked like I had a little sweat shop going!

Using that bonus time I have during the day frees me up later in the day to do other things!


The Moisture Festival Podcast – Kermet Apio

Today’s guest on the Moisture fest podcast is hilarious comedian Kermet Apio. We discuss how he got into comedy, what his kids think of his career and how he ended up winning one of the most prestigious, comedy competitions in all of North America.

We also discuss how a comedian might prepare for performing at the Moisture Festival and the differences between it and a comedy club audience. A great conversation with one of the great comedians in the northwest.