Magic show set up!

My show last week had a pretty simple set up, but I’m still packing a lot more stuff than I need.

I’m trying to have less “emergency” material. Sure having a trick or two in the case is a good idea, but having an extra 20-30 minutes of material is overkill for a show where I’m not really expected to do that much extra time as there are other acts on the bill and I wouldn’t be asked to fill their time if something happened to them. I may be asked to do a show in someone else’s time slot, but that doesn’t require me to have new or different material than my show would normally have.

The lighter I can travel, or the less cluttered my stage set up is, the better!


Painting a Magic Prop…

One of the tricks I’m working on uses a fake lime slice. The one on the left is how I get them. It looks good, however the white rubs off fairly quickly and from a short distance it’s not obviously a lime.

magic trick with lime

For the one on the right I went to an art store and the lady there helped me pick out a paint to use that should be more permanent. So far the new white paint is holding up a lot better than the original paint.

Sometimes it’s the little things like white paint on a fake lime that makes a huge difference in the trick!


Packing The Right Size…

Here’s what loading in my 60 minute stage show looks like!

Travelling with a magic show

That’s actually not quite right, the doctor bag on top isn’t part of the stage show, and neither is the brown tabletop on the left side of the luggage cart. I just didn’t want to leave them in the car. So the actual props I’m moving is slightly smaller.

I’m not a believer in the “briefcase show” where you have 60 mins in a briefcase. There are a handful of people that can pull it off, however most look like every trick was selected because it’s flat and the show has no visual texture.

So my advice is to pack as small as your artistic vision allows!


Cleans Up Nice…

this is the beginning of my fair season and I was going through and fixing, cleaning and upgrading props. One of the props in my show is a bowl that holds a ball of yarn. I use a plastic bowl instead of glass because it travels better and is much lighter!

Over time the bowl has really gotten beaten up and it was time to replace it.

stage magic props

I probably hung onto the old bowl for too long, but I liked it because it’s half the height of any plastic bowl that I’ve been able to find. Sometimes you don’t realize how bad things look until you see them next to a new one!


Repairing Props…

As magic has more and more electronic tricks that are mass marketed a few problems are popping up. First one is customer support if they don’t work correctly. Usually the manufacturer doesn’t have incentive to repair the item. Sure they may replace it if you recently purchased it, but after that your main option would by buying a new one.

That’s why I like companies like ProMystic. They sell higher end products, and they will repair them. For example I’ve used their trick Inception for about four years and the screen went out on it. This is not their fault, I’ve used it in close to 1,000 shows across the USA (and North America) and over the years it’s been dropped, gotten wet, and still worked like a champ, even without the screen!

promystic inception

I finally had a gap in my schedule where I don’t need it and sent it in to them for repairs. For way cheaper than I thought it would cost for a screen replacement, they put a new one on it and it’ll be waiting for me when I get home in a few days.

For me having the option to have a four year old prop repaired instead of buying a new one is great! If you’ve been on the fence about getting anything from ProMystic, they are a great company and stand behind their products and help with support long after your purchase!


Props in Real Life!

There are some props that have always baffled me as they don’t look like anything I’ve ever seen with my own eyes. The props for the Rice, Orange and Checkers trick is one of them. Below is a Rings n’ Things set that I own:

rice orange and checkers magic trick

The middle container is the rice vase where you fill with rice, then rice turns into an orange. At the hotel I’m at, I found what I think it’s supposed to be in real life:

magic containers

I don’t think anyone has really used containers like that in my lifetime, but I found what they rice vase is supposed to look like! I now only slightly less dislike the Rice, Orange and Checkers trick.


First Outdoor Gig of 2022

stage magic show

I just wrapped up performing at my first fair of 2022 and this fair has reminded me that to be successful performing at a fair you need a lot more than a good act. You need to be flexible as there are soo many unexpected variables.

The fair I was at has soo many challenges. One of the biggest ones was that it way very windy. By windy, I mean it would blow my table over. I’ve had to deal with that before sometimes the solution is simply to unscrew the top off my table and set it on the floor.

The stage was mostly in the Arizona sun all day, which bakes your props. I do a trick with keys and by the time I got to that routine they were physically uncomfortable to touch. The solution was to put strings on the end of the keys, so people could hold them by the string.

Then there was the blowing dust. Unfortunately there really wasn’t a solution to that. All that really can be done is to either pause until it stops or power through it.

Having performed at many fairs in the past, I’m aware of the challenges and while I’d prefer to not have the wind blow over my table, I’m equipped to handle them. Fairs will make you a better performer because you’ll have to deal with pretty much everything from weather, to people, to venue challenges. If you can figure out how to adapt, you can figure out how to work your show virtually anywhere.


Filling the Stage…

I love how people can look at the COVID restrictions and figure things out. A while ago I did a birthday party magic show in a small theater. The thing about this is that at the time, the show would have been against COVID restrictions to do in the family’s backyard. But if they did it indoors, in a theater, we could do the show. It doesn’t really make sense why this was OK, but outdoors wasn’t. I’m not going to get into that debate. When COVID first hit, I said I was going to follow whatever the local health code said, and this was allowed.

One switch I’ve made is I’m trying to have more props onstage at the beginning of the show. Normally it’s just my prop case and table. In 2019 I added the bowl on a stand to hold a ball of yarn and now in 2021 I’ve brought back my Applause Please trick (applause sign).

Visually that puts some stuff on the stage. While my show is still primarily hand held magic props, having something onstage for the audience to look at before the show makes it feel like something more. David Hira talks about this in his penguin magic lecture, I and really agree with him. Having something for the audience to look at and wonder what it does helps build excitement (in most instances).

Finished Display

The holder I was printing out the other day is finished and works great! I designed this to display to hold an envelope, or jumbo card upright so that it’s more visible than laying flat on a table. I also put a magnet inside of it so that I can simply stick it to the front of my small case.

Here’s the finished holder:

Here it is holding a giant card:

It holds it very securely, the card won’t fall out under normal circumstances.

It also hit me that I could put a magnet behind my virtual backdrop and use it there.

If I end up using it for virtual shows, I’ll need to print out another one to keep with that show’s props. I really dislike moving props around from case to case. That’s a easy way to forget or lose things.