The Principles of Magic and Mentalism

About a month ago I picked up two Richard Osterlind books. I got The Principles of Magic and The Principles of Mentalism. These books look like they’ve been out for a while, I think the magic one had a copyright date of 2005 and the mentalism one a few years newer.

These books are filled with short thoughts on different aspects of performing. Usually these little essays about about a page and a half to two pages. Richard gets the information across, but it’s a pretty much just the facts. He doesn’t go too deep into much of it, but it’s a starting point to get you thinking about different aspects of how you perform.

I’d say these books are targeted towards someone who is going from performing for family and friends to maybe trying to do a show, or just starting doing formal shows. If that’s you, pick up a copy of the one that’s appropriate to what you do.


To Lure With Spectacle…

To lure with spectacle by jimmy talksalot

A while ago I got the book To Lure With Spectacle by Jimmy Talksalot at the recommendation of my buddy Skip Banks. I was having an issue with my street show and he said the book might help me.

The issue I was having was mentally I was getting upset at people that would stick around for one trick and then leave. It’s a small percentage of the audience, and it really bugged me. In the book Jimmy writes about audiences “doing you a favor” by watching versus you doing the audience a favor by performing for them. This is a huge mental shift and really helped me out. I’m no stranger to performing for a transient audience, but sometimes you forget things and a refresher course is needed.

If you are thinking about street performing or want to make your street show better, I totally recommend this book. I don’t busk, I perform street style shows at fairs. The huge difference is at the end, I don’t ask for a tips. If you’re in the fair market, this book is also very worthwhile!


New Book Delivery Day!

It’s always a fun day when I get new books in the mail! I got The Bammo Flim Flam Conglomeration and The Comedy Helpline.

The Bammo Flim Flam Conglomeration and The Comedy Helpline.

I’ve been a fan of Bob Farmer’s ever since his Flim Flam articles in Magic Magazine. The other book was is comedy magic tips from many different magicians. I’ve started the Bammo Flim Flam book and I’ve already got a bar bet I’m going to try out!


Naypes by Roberto Mansilla

A couple of weeks Matt Disero mentioned the book Naypes by Roberto Mansilla on his Facebook page. His post got me curious about the book, so I picked up a copy of it. It’s a book of card magic for parlor or stage shows. I cracked it open on the plane yesterday.

In the beginning Roberto does a good job of defining what parlor and stage magic is and the difference between the two. He also talks about four techniques to make cards play to a larger audience.

I’ve read a few tricks into it and I like the approach to Out of This World, and the routine for Card in Envelope. I’ll probably finish reading it on the flight home in a few days. I’ll keep you posted with what I think…


Magic Inc!

I’ve wanted to visit Magic Inc for a long time, however every time I’ve been in Chicago it’s been closed. I finally made it to Chicago when it was open.

Inside I noticed they had my Evaporation trick in stock! It’s always fun to see my trick out there in magic shops.

While I was there I picked up a copy of Theseus by Nathan Colwell.

theseus by nathan colwell

It’s an interesting idea, it’s basically a book that’s just one trick, with a lot of methods for it. It sounds like it’s a bit of a journey through how the trick was created. I haven’t really had a chance to dig into it yet, but I’m excited to read it!

Tarbell System…

My day got exciting, through a unexpected exchange the other day, I ended up with and original Tarbell System (Tarbell Course in Magic)!

This is a first edition (5th printing) of the Tarbell System. The key about how I ended up with this is simply talking to people and being open to the wacky things that they ask!

I’m a HUGE fan of the Tarbell Course, I even had some shirts made a long time ago:

Ching Ling Foo’s Bowl…

Ching Ling Foo

Right now I’m reading the book Ching Ling Foo – America’s First Chinese Superstar. Honestly I didn’t know much about him, other than he did a bowl production. I’m about a third of the way through it and am really enjoying it. The author does a great job of describing the challenges of being a Chinese performer in a time that was very anti-Chinese.

It’s just now getting into the feud with Chung Ling Soo who was an American who pretended to be Chinese. In the book, they frequently talk about the bowl production, duck production and the production of Chee Toy (Foo’s daughter).

Apparently at some point there was film of Foo performing, but I haven’t found any online. I did find someone that tried to replicate the three productions that Foo did:

What’s I’m wondering is how big was the bowl that Foo produced?
The one in the above video is probably bigger as the title is “outdone”.

The Darkest Corner…

A few months ago Master Payne turned me onto a book called The Darkest Corner by Ben Hart. I wasn’t familiar with Ben, but Payne told me the book has some unusual magic trick and some unusual methods in it.

I ordered the book right way and have been doing one trick in it at my shows (virtual and in person) this summer. That trick is his Silk in Peach, where the effect is a signed silk reappears inside of a peach. It took some playing to come up with a fun routine, and I think it’s a perfect trick for in-person, no contact, socially distant magic shows.

My solution to having something signed when you can’t get 6 feet from someone and they can’t touch any props is that I ask them to name an animal. I then draw the animal on the silk and write their name. Pretty simple. The production from the peach is visually amazing and that quickly made this trick the “meat” of my summer show.

Look into the book, it’s great!

Scripting Magic…

A few days ago I finally finished volume one of the book Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe. I’ll admit it took me a lot longer to read it that a book normally takes, that’s because I had a lot of projects I was working on, not because it was a hard read. I was really glad I read this book and it’s something that I think more magicians should read.

For me the main take away was the importance of writing what you say down. You can learn a lot from writing it, but it also makes you review it. You can more easily spot places for jokes and just looking at the words makes it easier to write jokes.

I really liked the interviews and while the book goes a bit into the author’s process for writing scripts, I really wish it had more activities to do, more like a workbook. I get that that’s a hard thing to do because everyone has a different process and style. I would have liked a bit more “hands on” type activities.

Scripting Magic Book…

My current book that I’m reading is Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe. This book is interesting and I’m only about 145 pages into volume one and it’s pretty good. When I was younger I used to have a loose script, but nothing formally written down. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized the huge advantages to writing down what you say in your show.

For me writing out a script makes it a lot easier to see where jokes should be. It also makes it easier to work on them. One thing I don’t like very much is the script format that this book uses when it’s showing scripts. I find them hard to read, however I’m 99% sure it’s simply because I’m not used to that format. I think the more I use it the easier it will get to read.

I’m working on my Polaroids to Envelope trick that I wrote about a week or so ago. I decided to write out the script using the format in Scripting Magic. What I did was simply use a practice video and wrote down what I said and added the actions.

In the version in the document above it’s pretty basic and narrative. It’s got a rough presentation hook, and a chuckle in it, but it needs more work.