Linking Pins on Stage

In my close up set I do the linking safety pins and I love the trick. I’ve even gimmicked a larger set of about 5 inch pins to do the trick with. The 5 inch pins are good for about 30 people, there’s too small for a real stage show.

I found these giant safety pins and I think they’d be great for using on stage!

giant linking pins

The challenge now is figuring out context to do them and getting more than a couple of minutes out of them. In my close up routine I use someone from the audience. Since I’m bringing someone onstage I really need to get at least 4-5 minutes out of the routine to make it worth the time it takes to get someone onstage.

In my writing this morning I had the idea of combining the linking pins with the thumb tie. The idea is the beginning phases will be my normal linking pin routine, then I’ll have my thumbs tied to “eliminate sleight of hand” and then the pins will end up going on and off my arms. That’s the idea, we’ll see how it plays when I get a chance to try it out!


Performing For Seniors!

A couple of days ago someone asked in a Facebook group for more info on how to get gigs performing for seniors at things like retirement communities and my book was recommended!

I used to perform 1-2 senior shows A DAY on the weekdays when I was younger, and would go on road trips where I would perform up to 5 seniors a day for a few days in a row!

I still love performing for seniors, however my current performing markets make it hard to do very many of them anymore. But I have a blast when I get a chance to do them!

Here’s a taste of one of my shows for seniors from a few years ago:

You can get the directly from me at:

Or you can support a family owned magic shop by ordering from

Have fun out there!


Emergency Show Props

When I did an overnight flight on Quantas Airline, they gave us little fabric cases with a couple of toiletry items. I thought the case might be useful as a holder for some prop, so I kept it. They measure about 6.5 x 4.5 inches, but about half an inch on the short side isn’t really usable due to where the snap closure is located.

emergency magic show case

The goal was to put together an emergency show that could be performed close up or for a stand up venue like a black box theater (up to 100 seats). Everything used in the show has to be contained within the fabric case, so you can’t borrow anything from the venue or audience like a cup or dollar bill. The reason for that is you can’t 100% guarantee someone will have a dollar bill for your to borrow, or that the venue will have a clear pint glass.

Another condition is you must be able to perform with a corded mic in a stand. If I needed to use a hands free mic holder, that will need to fit into the fabric case.

Any props you normally carry on your person are bonus, and don’t count towards this. For example, if you normally have a set of B’wave cards in your wallet, you would need to put another one in the fabric case if you wanted to do it in this show.

Here’s what I came up with:

magic show props

The props are:

  • Jumbo Linking Pins
  • Mismade Bill
  • Regular Bill
  • Throw Coil
  • Production Coil
  • Thumb Tip
  • 4 Sheets of Tissue Paper
  • Business Cards (that are blank on one side)
  • Sharpie
  • White 9 inch silk

And here’s the show list:

Everything on the list are tricks/routines that I currently do or have done in the past. There’s no learning curve for these, I can grab the prop and immediately do the trick. I chose to add the production coil and throw coil as things to add production value to the show, so it doesn’t feel like things were cobbled together. The also add texture to the show, it’s not all flat props.

When putting together the list I also had to factor in not duplicating effects. For example, if I did gypsy thread and torn and restored tissue paper, they are essentially the same trick.

The premise is that this is an emergency set up, so it’s a show I’m forced to do, not a show that I want to do. Artistically, this isn’t necessarily my current voice, but it’ll get me through the emergency situation.

This pack currently lives in the trunk of my car.


Some Close Up Magic…

The fair I’m performing at this week has me doing street shows. On the mornings of the slower days I’m doing some more close up style magic for people. Here’s a sample of what I’m doing:

You can see part of the Horizontal Ambitious Card that I recently started doing. It currently has three phases, ending with the card inside the card box. I’m really having a lot of fun with the routine, as it gives me a lot more room to play with the audience within the trick.

This is why it’s important to keep playing with a trick, even when you it’s a solid trick and your “A” material. If you keep playing you can find new bits or ways to do it. I’m of the mindset that a trick is never finished!


Fair and Festival Roving…

I think I was scrolling through facebook and I came across this video on the props that another magician uses for strolling at a fair:

There’s a lot of stuff in this that I disagree with, but the first thing is what he says he wears. He says his costume (whatever you wear while performing is a costume) is a t shirt and cargo shorts. I’m someone who is pretty dressed down compared to most magicians, but I don’t think I would perform in a Tshirt and shorts.

The other thing that I don’t agree with is how much material the he’s taking. I should say that I don’t agree with it “for me”. You really don’t need that many props, you’re doing roving, not a formal 22 minute magic castle close up set.

Here’s the props for my roving set:

That’s a 20 minute set if I wanted to do it as a long chunk, however I normally wouldn’t do it that way. Normally I’d do it as a 5-10 minute set. There’s a lot of variety in what you see there. Obviously there’s a lot that I can do with the deck of cards, then there’s the linking pins and finally the wallet. The wallet is a card to wallet, but inside it I have my Splitting Image trick, and a bunch of business cards that I can do mentalism with.

That’s the core set, then if I’m working on something new, I will add that to my those props. The whole works will fit into my two front pockets. Just because you have a ton of pocket space, it doesn’t mean you need to fill them with tricks!


Trying the Pins…

Over the weekend at the fair I was performing at I got to try out Shrapnel by Kim Anderson

It’s working great, however I’m not sure if I like it than the larger Andrus Key Pins. The nice thing about Kim’s set up with Shrapnel is the pocket management with how the pins are carried with you. I like size of the Andrus pins, they play a little bit larger, of course the downside of the Andrus Pins is that you need to find them used as they haven’t been made for a long time.

I’m glad I have Shrapnel and while I may not use it as much as the Andrus Pins, it’s great to have another option that’s still available!


Magic Shops on the Road..

One of the things that I try to do when I travel is visit magic shops and support them. Last week when I was flying into to San Francisco and driving a couple hours north, I stopped by Misdirections Magic Shop!

misdirections magic shop in san francisco

While I was there I picked up Shrapnel by Kim Anderson.

shrapnel by kim anderson

This is a linking pin type routine that has a lot of phases that use a finger ring. I’ve been doing some stuff for a few years with a finger ring and an Andrus Key Pin, so this was similar something I was already doing.

I really like the smaller pins for the trick. That was the part I was unsure about, I didn’t think I would like using the smaller pins. Kim’s routine is great and the instructions are pretty clear and I had fun learning it. I haven’t tried it out yet, but heading back out on the road in a few days and will give it a whirl!

Jerry Andrus Gravesite

I was driving some Seattle to California the other day and on a whim wondered if Jerry Andrus’s grave was on the route. I pulled over and a quick google search showed that it was about 5 mins off the freeway in Jefferson, Oregon! I took the detour to visit it and left some safety pins.

Jerry andrus gravesite

If you don’t know who Jerry Andrus was, he was one of the most innovative magicians of my lifetime and that I’ve ever met! He was doing cardistry 50 years before it was a thing. His Zone Zero trick is still a standard stage magic trick. Jeki Yoo has a huge chunk of his lecture devoted to that trick.

Besides magic, Jerry Andrus was a genius with optical illusions!

I also swung by the Castle of Chaos where he lived

It’s now a historic place!

This was a fun little side trip and great way to break up a long drive!

Social Distance Magic

Well, in the span of two days the world has really changed, or at least the United States has. In a span of 48 hours we’ve have bans on events of over 100 people and entire states close their school districts for over a month! Many performers are complaining about this, instead moving forward and … Continue reading “Social Distance Magic”

Well, in the span of two days the world has really changed, or at least the United States has. In a span of 48 hours we’ve have bans on events of over 100 people and entire states close their school districts for over a month! Many performers are complaining about this, instead moving forward and innovating.

Right now as a performer you don’t have control over attendance caps on events or the venue being able to sanitize it, so let’s look at something we can control, close up magic. Right now no one wants to touch anything. Everything is getting wiped down and people are constantly sanitizing. It’s gotta be a hard time for a close up magician. One of the advantages is that people can touch the props and the magic happens in their hands.

Currently having someone hold sponge balls isn’t socially acceptable, I’d argue it hasn’t been for a while as they are full of germs. Even if you wash them every night, they are gross by the time the second person holds them. Sponge balls are crutch for lazy close up performers. It’s easy for a beginner to get a reaction with them, and I’ll admit it’s a good trick. If you took it out of your close up set, would people like your act the same?

I’m looking at my close up show and thinking about what I can do without people touching anything. I don’t do sponge balls, or sponge anything, so that’s no problem. My ambitious card routine (technically a multiple revelation) needs one bit cut out of it, which is the card to mouth phase. This is a bit I started to get uncomfortable with a few years ago, and this is what I need to force me to take it out. My linking pins routine has two in the hands phases, however those are newer additions to the routine, and I can revert to the old routine which is almost as strong as the current one. The shell game,and cup and dice routine all can be done without people touching anything.

Look at your close up show, can you do it in our current climate of “social distancing”?

Linking Pins…

One of my favorite close up tricks to do is the Linking Safety Pins. What I like about it is that is uses an common object and the magic is direct and visual. Those two things save me a lot of time with the expository phases of the trick. I don’t really need to explain … Continue reading “Linking Pins…”

One of my favorite close up tricks to do is the Linking Safety Pins. What I like about it is that is uses an common object and the magic is direct and visual. Those two things save me a lot of time with the expository phases of the trick. I don’t really need to explain what they are, but I do. I also don’t need to explain what going to happen, because it’s obvious.

The other thing about my routine for the Linking Pins trick is that all of the props are handled by the audience and all but the first effect in the routine happens in their hands. This makes a simple trick a bit more hard hitting.

Sometimes when I’m out doing my routine, after the pins go through each other the first time, someone will say they are trick pins. I tell them they can keep them after I’m done. I have a pocket full of pins so leaving a set is no big deal. This 100% removes the idea that they are trick pins.