The Moisture Festival Podcast records on location at Hale’s Ales and welcomes in magician and historian Jamy Ian Swiss. Jamy discusses how he made the switch from selling animal products to performing magic around the world.
Also, we discuss his contributions to the magic world that include the creation of Monday Night Magic in New York City and some of his literary contributions. We hear some great stories from a prolific career that has spanned 40 years. A great conversation that we know you are going to love.
I’m getting ready to head out for the beginning of my “Fair” season of 2022. My first one for this year is also the first one that I had cancel on me in 2020 and it also ended up cancelling in 2021. I recently did an interview with a reporter and did a quick search for the article. It doesn’t look like it’s been published yet, however I did find this one from right before the 2020 fair:
I like how the article does get a little bit of my “flavor” in there about going to ghost towns. It really doesn’t do a lot to put butts in seats, the show description lacks a lot of sizzle. I think it may not have been the writers fault, I may have not told them about the show in a super exciting way.
Reading this makes me remember how important it is for me to convey specific things and emotions from the show. Also, the line about me debuting a trick, I need to sell that a lot more. It’s lacking a ton of sizzle.
The season is just getting started, and I’ll have more chances to work on it! -Louie
This summer I’m planning on attending FISM. I bought my ticket in 2018, so been waiting four years for this to happen. I realized my FISM card had expired, so I renewed it.
The card is less than $15 if you belong to another magic organization like the International Brotherhood of Magicians…and it’s even cheaper if you just want a digital card. It’s an easy way to support a magic organization, and it’s a fun, unusual thing to keep in way wallet.
If you got a FISM card when they started selling registrations for FISM to get the cheaper rate, you should check your expiration date, it’s probably expired.
A while ago my friend Monty Reed mentioned he was working on some comedy magic, and I suggested we go to an open Mic. Our schedules finally worked out and we went to one last night:
This was Monty’s first comedy open mic, and there are some “rules” that people need to know. It’s always easier to go with someone who has done them before, they can kinda show you the ropes.
There’s nothing crazy you need to learn, however if the concept of “The Light” is new to you, it’s important to know. The light is usually a literal light of some sort, so a flashlight, or phone, but can be something as simple as a someone waving to you or sitting in a chair. It’s a signal that you’re running out of your allotted time onstage. Usually they “light” you when you have one minute left. When you’re new or working on new material, it’s hard to tell how much time you have done and the light is really helpful…if you know what it means!
Sometimes you find things you weren’t expecting when you are searching for other things on the internet. I ended up finding a video clip of me performing an early version of the final version of my “invisible deck routine“, which I call Choices
Here it is:
It’s not really an invisible deck, but that’s how I describe the routine to other magicians as that gives them an easy idea of what the effect is. Before I go further, yes I understand the trick would be stronger if I said, “Name a card” then it was reversed. HOWEVER, that’s not what I’m going for. First of all, I’m trying to get a little bit more time out of the routine.
The video above starts about 45 seconds into the routine, so that gives me a routine that’s about 4 minutes. It also allows me to involve more than a couple people from the audience. The trick also reveals some personal information about me (that’s at the beginning of the routine that’s not in the video). The routine is a lot more personal than, “I had a dream someone picked a card and when I work up I flipped it over“.
I’m happy with how this routine has progressed since that was recorded in October. -Louie
I just saw that World of Wonders is starting to take applications from performers to work with them this summer:
I had a blast performing with them last summer for 10 days. The people are cool and the show format is a lot of fun! You do a 3ish minute act twice in the show and you do the show three times a day.
For the 10 days I performed with World of Wonders I took a something I hadn’t done in a few years to relearn to do it and something from my current show. When doing just two acts instead of a whole show, I was really able to focus on making those two tricks better. I ended having a lot of callbacks from the first act in the second act.
If this sort of thing interests you, you should definitely email them! -Louie
I’m trying to get ahead of orders and have a few more things in stock. Yesterday I needed to make a new mold for my Russian Shell Game trick. I figured I show you what goes into it. I had already made the bottom part of the mold, so here’s how the second half was made.
I put left the shells in the mold and gave it a coat of mold release, otherwise the silicone would stick, and I’d just have a block of silicone with some shells inside that I couldn’t get out.
Then I measured out the silicone and mixed it up:
That gets poured into the existing mold:
Once it poured, I need to wait until it’s fully cured:
And violia! I’ve got the second part of my mold!
Now I take the resin, color it and mix it up, and that goes into the mold:
I put the top on the mold and let that cure until it’s finished hardening:
Once it’s done, I pop that out and I have the almost finished shells. They still need to be sanded. This is a quick way to produce the sets of these shells.
And here’s what the finished product does:
I hope this little walk through of what it takes to make some of my magic props will give you a little insight into the work that goes into prop building! -Louie
Yesterday was a building day over here. Just me with my headphones in listening to music and working on building props for other performers. I’m very thankful for days when I can spend the day just building props without any distractions.
It’s also nice to be able to get ahead and build some extra things so I have some things in stock. Today I managed to be able to get a couple of extra Take Up Reels finished, so now I have some in stock and can ship them out immediately.
Before 2020, I really didn’t keep anything in stock, and everything was made to order. At that point you could really only get my magic tricks from Hocus-Pocus.com. After the venues closed in 2020 I started offering my magic trick for sale here and have a lot more in stock, that’s ready to ship out than I did two years ago.
It’s been great to learn that making items in batches, even when I only need to ship out one of them is a HUGE timesaver. It’s like in sleight of hand, it comes down to the economy of motion. With magic manufacturing, making four of them is usually the same effort as making one.
Now look at what you do in performing. Do you do several different shows, that may share a prop? Would it be easier and ultimately save you a lot of time if you had two of that prop, so you didn’t need to move it case to case? Could you have more than one of your show costume to save time taking it to the cleaners? All of these things could potentially save you a lot of time when you add up all the wasted time over the months and years.
Lately I’ve been popping into virtual open mics and there’s something that drives me crazy. It’s when performers say, “If you were here I’d have you ____” and usually fill in the blank with something like, “shuffle the cards” or whatever. It’s been almost two years since we’ve moved to virtual, you don’t need to say that. If you haven’t figured out how to do the trick without someone in the room yet, virtual performing may not be for you.
HOWEVER, I do think there is a place to mention that “if it was an in person show, I’d have you _____” and that’s to cover a method. More specifically to rule out a method. A good example of this in an in person show is when Kreskin does the linking finger rings and he exposes the gimmick and says he doesn’t use that.
In a virtual show context, you could say, “If you were here I’d have you shuffle the cards, but you’re not, so I’ll shuffle them…” then you do a false shuffle. The key would be to put a little bit of distance between the false shuffle and a crazy revelation that would only be possible with a deck that was in a special order. Doing a false shuffle and then doing something like Any Card At Any Number would probably be fine without putting in any time misdirection.
To sum it up, don’t tell the audience how you would do things if conditions were different…they aren’t attending an in person show and they know that.
Well, it all turned out alright! Yesterday I had a virtual magic show for a group where initially I was told I wouldn’t be able to see or hear the audience and couldn’t use the chat function for the show…but they wanted and interactive show.
I was prepared to treat the show like a live, prerecorded virtual show. However, I was pleasantly surprised when the show started that I was able to do some limited video/audio interaction with the kids!
I went into the show thinking of the old saying, “hope for the best, but prepare for the worst”.
Being willing to take on a challenge helps me grow as a performer. Next time I’m offered a show with conditions like what I was told for this one, I’ll be more prepared as I’ve already thought about it and done a lot of the work!