Adding a Line…

Recently I got to try out the “Free Picture of Beer” gag on a couple of different people. It got the desired laugh, so that’s good.

I also got to try to follow up trick where the full pitcher of beer becomes empty. I’m using the Out to Lunch principle to do the switch. The first time, they didn’t really notice the change. I think this is because they looked at the card and it registered in their brain as just a pitcher of beer, not a FULL pitcher of beer. It’s like showing someone a two of spades, but the spades are red. The average person won’t notice it’s the wrong color until you point it out to them.

The second time I added a little line which made the trick work much better. Once I got the laugh, I asked them, “what kind of beer do you think that is?” This question makes their brain actually process what they are looking at. That made the change at the end a lot more amazing!

I’m glad I got to try out the trick, and glad that I noticed what I needed to change!

Test Pickle Matrix

Yesterday I wrote about an idea of doing a matrix with pickles on the bun of a hamburger. I made some mock up bun shapes out of cardboard and gimmicked some pickles and worked out the trick.

Here’s it in its proof concept video:

Obviously it’s still got a long way to go. Figuring out a way to make the bun rigid will be my next challenge. I also need to buy or make some fake pickles that are all uniform in shape. Those are the next two challenges (that I’m aware of).

Routining The Writing…

The last couple of days I’ve been writing about putting together a script for the Ring on Rubber Band trick that I’ve been working on. Yesterday I wrote a bunch of jokes, and today I’m going to try to put them together in some sort of a logical way.

“This is the most expensive trick I do. The rubber band cost me 37 cents, but the ring cost me half of everything I own. The ring represents the 18 years I’ve been married and the a rubber band which memorializes the one time I bought broccoli

Show ring and rubber band. The rubber band is around your left index and thumb. Point to the sides of the rubber band as you say:

“This rubber band has two sides, just like congress…a left side and tea party”

“I will push the ring through each side of the rubber band defying the restraining order from the laws of physics.”

Push the ring through the first side of the rubber band

“Through one side…that’s the easy side. It’s the bunny slope of the rubber band. The second side is the double black diamond. Three men have died trying this next part, but they all had preexisting conditions… and latex allergies.”

Push the ring through the second side of the rubber band.

Pull the ring off the rubber band one side at a time.

“and that’s how I wrote my wedding off on my taxes!”

Alright the routine looks like more of a routine now, and not a bunch of random jokes. The routine now runs about a minute. That’s way better than the 12-15 seconds before I started writing for it.

The jokes still need some tweaking. The congress joke needs a better punchline, and the double black diamond needs a better word/name in its place. I also need something in between the the two penetration phases, where the ring is over both sides of the rubber band, but before I pull it off.

Cocktail Demo…

On Monday night I was a guest on the IBM’s facebook live where I played some online games with Billy Hsueh and Amy Nichols. Before the game, I did a cocktail demo. You can watch it here:

There’s a couple of magic tricks in the demo. I like using a loaded cloth to produce a bottle that’s not loaded in the cloth, then producing the bottle in the cloth and finally producing a third bottle, that’s not in the cloth. All three bottles use different methods, and it’s a fun little sequence.

After having done a few of these demos I’m starting to have little tricks that I like and keep falling back on. I think it’s good to have my “go to” tricks, but I still need to be creating new stuff for them.

Magic Wheel…

Way back in the early summer when my state had first started to reopen after the initial pandemic shutdown, and friend texted me this picture of a game wheel at a thrift store for $2.99.

I drove up and bought it. It needed some work, the whole from was stained, and have some sort of glue residue in it. What I found interested was that it was heavier duty that most of the game wheels that I’d seen before. The wheel is two feet in diameter, and made of thick wood, so it’s heavy. The pole it’s on looked like the top pole of a speaker stand. I took it home and it fit into the base of a speaker stand, that would allow me to use it without a table. I threw away the plastic base in the picture above.

Wheel of Mind mentalism

This then ended up sitting in my shed for months, as I didn’t want to deal with cleaning up the wheel. I didn’t have an idea of exactly what I was going to do with it. Then I remembered reading about trick called Wheel of Mind by Amir Lustig and Hiam Goldenberg. I wasn’t exactly sure of the what it did, aside from that it was a force. Hiam puts out some pretty clever stuff, and for $15, I figured why not check it out.

Wheel of Mind uses twelve spaces and my game wheel has 20 spaces. Luckily the trick still works with more spaces. The other challenge is that Wheel of Mind uses both sides of the wheel. It turns out it’s really easy to remove the game wheel I have from the stand and turn it over. Now that I have what I’m going to use the game wheel for, it’s time to clean it up.

Wheel of Mind mentalism

The first step was scraping all of the glue off of it. However the actual wheel was stained by whatever pen had been used on it previously. The next step was to remove the pins, and peel off the graphic from the front.

Wheel of Mind mentalism

I recovered it with white contact paper on the front and back. Then using electrical tape, I made some lines and wrote the numbers in.

For less than $30 (that’s including buying Wheel of Mind) I now have a fun looking prop that will force something. I probably wouldn’t travel with this, unless I was doing a run of shows. It’s mostly for virtual shows, it’s also a cool set piece to have behind me.

Work in Progress…

One of the current projects that I’m working on is a video from my kitchen. It’s a magical video, and I needed to do a trick with a lime. I had written up a bunch of ideas like:

  • Lime that moves out of the way when I try to cut it
  • Lime that cuts itself
  • Bouncing lime
  • Finding something needed later inside the lime

While driving to the store to buy some limes, I hit upon this idea:

That’s just a quick snipped taken out of context, but it’s a lemon that turns into a lime. I originally read this in a book years ago that turned a red apple into a green apple as you ate it. I think the method works better with a lemon / lime due to the texture. Also, in theory it’s changing to a different fruit, not just changing color which may make it a better trick from an effect standpoint.

Ultimately the video above didn’t make it into the final project, an expanded version of the trick did that used two lemons and two limes. I’ll probably post it in the future, once it’s used by the group I’m creating it for.

Interactive Coin Force…

Yesterday I wrote about working on an interactive coin trick (read it here). This is the style of trick where the person (or group) follows your instructions and you predict where they end. My version has a physical trick kicker that ends with a vanish of all the coins that the audience isn’t holding.

Today I’m going to talk about the procedure that I’m using to force the coins. I came up with my own force sequence for this routine. If you’ve just read Jim Steinmeyer’s Impuzziblities books, they don’t really teach you how to create your own sequence. That’s OK as that’s not the purpose of those books.

The book Body Mentalism by Juan Pablo Ibanez really does a good job of laying out principle that will allow you to create your own sequences. Right now with these “do as I do” interactive style tricks being very popular, I really recommend you get the book to understand the principle. I think knowing why the forces work is good knowledge to have in your head…even if you don’t intend on creating your own sequences.

Okay, let’s get to the sequence I came up with for the trick. You lay out four coins in a row, two pennies and two nickels. They are in this order:

Penny – Nickel – PennyNickel

You have them touch any coin, then explain the “rules”. These are you will give them two things to spell, and they move one coin per letter. The first thing they spell is the name of the coin they are not touching. If they are touching a penny, they will spell N-I-C-K-E-L and if they are touching a nickel they will spell P-E-N-N-Y.

Now you have them spell the name of the coin that they are now touching. For example, if they are now touching the penny, they spell P-E-N-N-Y. The coin they are touching is now their new selected coin.

If they followed your instructions they will now be touching a nickel.

This sequence by itself isn’t very strong, but when you add the vanish of all the other coins, it becomes a pretty decent trick.

Wild Card…

The Wild Card Kit

One of the ways to create new methods or routines for magic tricks is to take an existing trick and remove what you don’t like about it. We’ll start with a trick that I don’t like, and that’s Peter Kane’s Wild Card. There’s a lot I don’t like, it mostly is how redundant the trick is, and it lacks an ending. It goes, and the ending is all the cards have changed to the same card, but there’s not punctuation on it.

In Jon Racherbaumer‘s book, The Wild Card Kit, there are a couple of interesting premises. More importantly there are a couple of interesting moves and sequences that take the trick past it’s most basic level.

One notable exception is Eric DeCamp’s version of Wild Card called Jokers are Wild Are Wild. In this version the cards values end up being a blackjack hand and for a finish the cards turn into money. This puts a theme on the trick and a finish that punctuates the routine.

So…what am I going to bring Wild Card?

I’m not sure.

What I don’t like about wild card is:

  • How redundant the sequence is
  • How it uses a packet of all the same card
  • How it doesn’t have an ending

The first two things I don’t like are an easy fix, however the third one will take some work. For the first two, I’ll vary the moves a little bit and for the second I can make a packet of the gimmicks that use different cards, not all the same values. However an ending that makes sense might be harder…

Tooth Trick!

When I had gotten my wisdom teeth pulled a while ago, I kept the teeth that were removed. For years they’ve sat on my shelf doing nothing. Well I did donate one of them to a friend’s oddity museum, but other than that they just sit there.

While not the greatest trick, here’s something I did yesterday:

I had some black paper on my desk, then saw the teeth and decided that would be a good trick to do. I think I may reshoot it and put it out on social media at some point.

It’s just a silly little thing.

More Nut and Bolt Action…

When I posted the nut and bolt trick the other day I mentioned that what I posted wasn’t quite what I had envisioned the trick to look like. Ideally it would be a penetration type effect, with the nut penetrating through the thread of the bolt.

I just recorded a quick video of sort of what I’d like it to look like:

That video isn’t exactly what I’d like it to look like, but it’s pretty close. I think that makes for a more interesting effect than a visual animation of the nut unscrewing itself. Moving the nut while it’s covered by your fingers allows the spectators mind to fill in the whats happening may make it more magical.

The important thing is that if you have a gimmick, you should play with it. Figure out what else you can do with it besides simply what the instructions say.