Flag Magic Done Bad

One thing that drives me nuts is how performers use and treat the US flag in their show. I’m not the most patriotic person in the world, however one thing that stuck with me from school as a kid is when we learned about the US Flag Code. The Flag Code are rules that define the US flag, but also how to display and handle it. Once you learn it, you’ll see violations everywhere from flags hung backwards at the grocery store, to displayed on vehicles wrong (FYI, flying it from the middle of the tailgate of your pickup truck is incorrect).

Now let’s get to performers using flags. If you do the bag you put silks into and then that turns into the flag, technically you’re violating:

§ 8 (h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.

However using the flag as a receptacle isn’t seen to the audience, but does that make it right?

If you do mismade flag, its it neatly folded before you load it into the change bag, or do you stuff it in there? And then at the end of the trick, what do you do with the flag? If you put it in your case, do you make sure no other props get set on it?

A few months ago I worked with a band who had a flag hung from their singer’s mic stand.

band performing

Unfortunately the flag is hung upside down! This is a big NO NO for hanging the flag. There’s a very specific reason to hand a flag upside down and it is:
§ 8 (a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

If you use a US flag in your show, you should read and know the US Flag Code and follow it!


Learn About Your Props…

There are some amazing tricks in magic, one of them is the lottery prediction. It’s the answer to the question everyone gets (even if you aren’t a mentalist), which is “can you tell me the winning lottery numbers“.

There are a lot of solutions, and the best I think is Cesaral’s CUPP. The cool thing about that is at the end the audience is left with a physical lottery ticket they can keep. Right now I think there are several that use a picture of you holding the lottery ticket. Honestly I don’t think this has the impact of a physical ticket, because the easiest way for an audience to guess how it works is actually how it works.

This picture came across my facebook feed of someone doing a digital lottery prediction:

Here’s the problem with it. He’s using a prop (lottery ticket) that everyone is familiar with, but he’s using it wrong. Tons of people play the lottery, it’s a very popular game and because of that people know the rules. In Powerball you can only play numbers up to 69 for the first five numbers. That means that the 85 on that ticket would be impossible to play. Then the last number, the 99 is in the power ball position, which you can only play up to the number 26.

There have to be people who notice that. It’s a simple thing to fix by giving people a number range. I did the lottery prediction in my show for a couple of years, it’s not hard. That little bit of realism makes the trick soo much stronger.

That’s something that drives me nuts, when someone uses a prop to customize their show, but they know nothing of the prop. Look at how most people do the mismade flag…it’s very disrespectful to the flag.

If you use a prop that is something in real life, learn about it!