A few nights ago I saw Amy Schumer perform at a theater in Seattle. She was great! Amy has a very defined character and point of view. That point of view may not be for everyone, but when you get to her level, “everyone” isn’t your audience. As a stand up, you need a point of view, and that’s to to eliminate some people who don’t agree with you.
Going into the theater, they had us lock our phones up in little pouches. This is becoming more and more common. I think that we as a culture have proven our inability to keep our phones in our pockets during a show, even after a no photo/recording announcement.
My first thought was that these pouches would be great to do a Key-R-Rect or 7 Keys to Baldplate style trick with. You’d just need to put grommets on both sides of the flap. Now you can borrow or use your phone and put it in and do the key trick with it.
The challenge would be getting one of these. It doesn’t look like they sell them direct to the public, so you’d need to find someone who goes to a school that uses them, buy theirs, and have them say they lost theirs.
I haven’t thought of a routine yet…but I think it’s a good prop for locking up a cellphone. -Louie
In this episode of the Moisture Festival Podcast we triangulate locations over zoom and welcome in Just Felice. We learn about how she got started in magic, how she wrote her thesis on street performing and how that inspired her to start doing street shows herself.
We also learn about how she uses her comedy to turn stereotypes on it’s head and what inspired her to take that approach. She also teaches us what an Ethnographer is and how to pronounce it. A great conversation with a great mind in the performing world.
In this episode we hit the road to the Rose City (Portland) and interview the super positive Nate “Scramble” James from Circus Luminescence. Scramble is one half of the group and discusses how the group started from a chance encounter and also the successes and failures of the group throughout the years. He also talks to us about why they decided doing glow in the dark juggling was the way to go. A fun interview with one of the more unique juggling acts you will see at the Moisture Festival.
A couple of days ago I was at a showcase and saw my buddy Jeff Martin showcase. Jeff is a working magician and hypnotist.
I first met him years ago when I was performing at an Oktoberfest near where he lives. He came out to see another act I was working with, but stuck around for my show. We had a good time chatting cups and balls after my show.
If you don’t know Jeff, he’s an amazing sleight of hand guy and he won the Magic Castle’s Roving Olympics. We had a good time jamming a few cards tricks.
Here’s Jeff doing some coin work:
If Jeff is ever performing in your area, check him out…and tell him I say hi! -Louie
A couple of days ago I had a Facebook memory pop up that had a video I made while I was on tour in Canada about four years ago. While I travelled I used to do a videos of magic tricks in my hotel room. It’s been a while since I’ve made one, however I think this was a very interesting video as it uses Canadian money. If you’ve never played with them, they are plastic bills, that don’t easily fold and hold a crease, and most Canadian magicians dislike them. Here’s a cool trick I came up with using them:
What I think is really cool about this trick is that it takes advantage of the hologram and clear spot that’s in the Canadian bill. I don’t know how well this would play in Canada as there’s a discrepancy in the trick that virtually no one outside of Canada would notice.
I think this is a fun social media trick, but really wouldn’t make it into an in person show.
One of the things I love it helping other performers make their visions of tricks become a reality. A couple of months ago my friend Todd Gardner called me with an idea. Todd is a strongman and there’s a stunt they do called levering (you’ll see it in the video below). He wanted a prop to punctuate the stunt and to add a laugh.
As far as a build, I sketched it out when we were on the phone. It’s not a really complex prop, it was just attached a bell to a headband. I 3D printed the connector and had it print around the headband.
one of the great things about building props for other people is that it helps me grow as a builder and creator!
Last night I was at a sports bar watching hockey and in between periods I popped into the social media and in a group for children’s performers I saw this post:
For fun I wrote 10 of them…I wasn’t doing anything, it was between periods of the hockey game. It wasn’t hard, you just needed to find things that have an “ah”sound or sound similar to that and you’re off!
You’ll notice that I put a little note at the end of my list. The reason I did was that I think one of the problems with magicians is that they try to get people to give them the answer to a problem before they try to solve it first. In my list I put in the work…so should you. It’s not hard, I literally spent 10 minutes coming up with my list.
“sure, it’s easy for you because you’re creative” would be someone’s excuse for not trying. I’m no more creative than anyone else. I just sat down and did the work. I actually farmed out most of the work to an online rhyming dictionary.
Do the work, then show your work when you ask for help. Seeing that people have put in some sort of effort makes a huge difference in the quality of help you get.
I’m still going through the book The Artist’s Way, which is a book about being more creative. It’s a 12 week program that has a lot of writing you need to do. I’m just starting week two, and I’ll say, I’m getting more than I expected to get out of it.
For me, the big thing is the morning writing you do each day. It’s just putting a pen to paper and writing for three pages. It’s a free writing scenario, you write whatever’s on your mind. I’ve had a couple of great ideas come out of the writing. It’s also giving me more depth as a person on and off stage as it’s making me explore some internal things that I might not really have looked at.
One of the ideas that came out of the daily writing is a trick with a jar of candy. The jar is full, then I produce candy and when you look back at the jar, it’s now half full. You then put the candy you just made appear back into the jar and it’s full again. The method is solid, and practical. I wouldn’t really have this trick it if it wasn’t for the daily morning writing. I still need to make the trick…but it wouldn’t exist on paper at least without the morning writing!
I’ve been working on this Silver Extraction coin trick style routine at the fair this week. I’ve learned a lot. First of all, I think the more complex method I’ve come up with to switch the coins, has some advantages over simply doing a shuttle pass. A shuttle pass is a solid method for doing the trick, however the advantage of my complex method is that I can hold the coin more openly after the switch.
One of the problems I’ve encountered working on this is getting the shell to stick to the magnet on the lighter. The solution was simple, I added a second magnet to the lighter and some more shim steel to the shell coin.
Having more magnets and more steel to grab solved the problem. The lighter really firmly attaches to the coin.
Another thing that I’ve learned about the trick is that I need to call attention to the three layer of the coin. Most people have noticed the layers, but never really thought about them. The trick has been getting great responses from the people at the fair this week. I really like how strange the trick is.
This week I’m performing as an act in the World of Wonders Sideshow. One of the challenges for me is keeping my acts short. They have the 10 act format and each act is in the ballpark of about 3 minutes. Normally when I perform, I try to get as much time as possible out of a routine That’s the key to being a solo act that does a full show.
I’m working on cutting down a lot of the personality bits, it’s hard to figure out what jokes/bits to cut to keep the routine in the 10 act format.
I’m fighting the urge to simply do the bits as I normally do them and have them run 5 minutes. There was a time when I was younger where I wouldn’t have cut down the bits. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized you have to be a team player, but more than that, this is taking me out of my comfort zone. Maybe I could learn that a 5 minute bit in my show, is really an amazing 3 minute bit and I’ve diluted it by stretching it to 5 or 6 minutes.
I’m enjoying stepping out of my normal box and taking some risks!