A-paw-colypse Meow

On Friday I’m performing in a cabaret show called Morbid Curiousitease. I don’t do a lot of these burlesque shows anymore, for several reasons, but the one I’m going to talk about to today is because they are usually themed. It makes sense, if you’re putting on a monthly show, you need to have people performing different acts. I think it’s easier for a dance based act that’s 3 mins to come up with a new routine every month that it is for a talking act. I’m not saying its EASY for a dance act, but I think it’s easier than for a talking act.

I took this gig because the producer is cool and I want to support them. They also said that I don’t need to follow the theme, however I’m looking at this as a challenge. The them this month is “cults”, so I need to either create something specific for this show, or figure out a way to make something I already do fit the theme.

In my morning writing, I’ve been jotting down ideas and I think I’ve figured out what I’m going to do. Here’s the routine:

“My wife and I love watching documentaries on cults. On these cards the names of five docs about cults that we’ve watched. Give me a number between one and five…”

Remove the number selected and show the other ones, then put all the unselected cards away.

“You picked Apocalypse Meow, which is a cat cult! Cats are really little furry cult leaders. I really think they missed the mark, it should have been called A-paw-colypse Meow! They’re charismatic, even after they’re A-holes to you, you still want their love and you gladly clean their toilet!”

Direct attention to an oversized envelope that’s on your table.

“I put a picture of my wife’s favorite cult leader in here, let’s see if it’s the same as the cult you picked…”

Open the envelope to show the picture of a cat!

“Who belongs to the feline cult? What’s your tiny cult leader’s name?”

That’s it, it’s an intro that then gets me into the routine I do about my cat. I’m only doing a 10 min spot and that routine is 7-8 mins. I think I’ll close with my rope routine that I can connect to the cat routine as “my cat’s favorite trick”.

There you go, it only took about three mornings of writing to figure that out!


Rope Magic Routine

One of the tricks that I’ve been working on this month is Four Nightmares, which is a rope trick.

louie foxx performs four nightmares dx rope trick

Here’s the rope routine that I’m doing:

-Show long and short rope
I have a long piece of rope and a….Albino worm. I’ll do four tricks, and I’ve given each a cool name.
-Ropes become the same size
I call this the equalizer! I had a lady tell me she didn’t like that because it made her feel stupid.
-tie the two equal ropes together
If you don’t know how a trick works, that means I’m doing my job. I don’t understand how an airplane flies, but when we land I clap for the pilot!
-move knot to one side of the rope, untie it to reveal the short rope
I call trick number two, the de-wormer!
-put away the small rope.
Trick number three…
-tie the double knot
a double knot…
-slide the knot off the rope to reveal the circle of rope
I call that OOhhh whaaat?!
-put the loop onto the rope
Trick number four, I call it…the end
-reveal the loop become part of the single rope

This particular trick is doing a trick for the sake of doing a magic trick. There’s not really anything about me, my life or a point of view in the trick. I think that sometimes you need that stuff in the show, just a fun trick.

This routine is still in its very early stages for me, so we’ll see what happens with it in the future.


Routine for Four Nightmares

Last week was the final fair of my summer season. This fair is also two weeks, so I try to work on as much stuff as possible while I’m at this one as it’s my last chance to do a lot of shows in a short period.

One of the things I was working on is Tenyo’s Four Nightmares rope trick.

This routine is good, but I think it has the same weak spot as most rope routines, and that’s the lack of an ending. There’s no definite punctuation at the end of the trick.

Oh, I took out one of the phases of the routine and that’s the 3rd effect where you tie a knot and it disappears. It’s the weakest part of the routine and removing it doesn’t hurt the routine.

For the routine, I’m presenting it as simply that I’m going to do four tricks with the rope. I then name each trick as I do them. The fourth and final trick I call it “the end” and that has helped me sell the end of the routine. I’m not 100% happy with framing the routine this way, but it’s a starting point.

Also, if I’m going to keep doing this routine, I need to learn to make the gimmicks. The white rope will get very dirty very quickly…especially out on the fairgrounds!


Four Nightmares DX – Rope Routine

One of the tricks that I’ve always wanted in my show is a rope trick but I’ve have trouble making them work in my show. I think part of why rope tricks don’t fit is partially my performing style and part trying to find the framework for the trick. I have trouble finding the “why” I’m sharing a rope trick with the audience.

Recently I was playing with Daryl’s Rope Routine and while it’s a great routine for Daryl, it really doesn’t fit me AND one it has a Professor’s Nightmare phase. While I think that Professor’s Nightmare is a good trick, it’s way too overdone and I don’t want visuals that are common in my show. Unfortunately not doing the Professor’s Nightmare phase in Daryl’s Rope Routine cuts the routine in half and the routine lacks something…which is a second half!

A couple of years ago I remember Ken Scott doing a rope routine called Four Nightmares DX at a virtual magic convention. There’s a video of Ken doing it on his website, and here’s the video of it that I could find on YouTube:

What I like about this routine is that it can be done solo onstage, so you don’t need to bring someone onstage to help you like in most cut and restored rope routines. It’s also has a lot of effects that are pretty visual and fairly different. Lots of effects using the knot, but they are different effects with the knots!

My fear with this trick is that its’ something that I will end up liking, but then it will become unavailable. Also keeping the rope clean and white. If I end up liking this routine, I’ll have to learn to make my own gimmicked rope.


Magic Prop Management

Looking into other performer’s cases to see how they set up their gear is always interesting to me. I’m always interested in other magician’s solutions to holding props. In that spirit, here’s a peek into my table top from a recent show:

All the smaller hand held props are in the table top, then the larger props and emergency/alternate tricks are in my prop case:

I also keep a set list taped to the inside of my case.


Lasso Card Trick

One of the tricks that I’m planning on doing for the school assembly tour next month is the lasso card trick. Traditionally this trick is done with a force card and a duplicate card, however I’m doing it with a picture that someone from the audience will draw on a jumbo blank card.

I’m also adding a gag to it. The first time I put the rope into the bag, it’s going to bring out a fish! I have one of the small production fish, and I’m not using it’s collapsible properties for this trick, it’s just being used as a fish.

I made a rope that wraps around the fish and will connect to the magnet in the longer rope by the end of the rope. The length of rope that’s around the card has the magnet in the knot. I want to be able to untie the rope from the fish, to hopefully sell that it’s a legit knot for the card.

production fish and lasso card trick

My seam where the two ropes meet isn’t the best, but when done from the stage it shouldn’t be seen.

production fish and lasso card trick

The next challenge was to be able to magnet the fish and not the card. My solution was to have the fish upright in the corner of the bag. I simply made a little holder by using the handles of the paper bag and taping them in place.

magic production fish and lasso card trick

So far this seems to work. We’ll see if it lasts for 75 shows. The good thing is that these loops will be easy to replace!


Ring and Rope…

After a street show at a fair a guy asked if he could show me a trick. I always try to say “yes” when people ask me. This guy took a piece of rope that was leftover from my show, and his wife’s ring and made the ring end up in a knot in the middle of the rope!

ring and rope magic trick

I’m familiar with the trick, but it’s the first time that I’ve been shown it from someone in the audience! I know I’ve posted this before, but people’s magic trick that they show me have gotten much better the last couple of years!


Cut and Restored Rope

Last week I bought some rope on a whim and started playing with cut and restored rope in my show. I used to do this a long time ago when I was starting out in comedy clubs. Technically my routine was a mix of Steve Bedwell‘s and Michael Finney‘s routines. It worked well at the time and served its purpose, but I really haven’t done cut and restored rope in the show in a 15+ years.

I’m having fun with the trick, and pretty much doing it how I used to do it. However, for me to do it in the show, I need to contribute something to the trick. One thing I did today was start to come up with conditions for the routine. The first condition is that I want all of the cuts to happen with the middle of the rope sticking out of the hand and the ends dangling:

cut and restored rope

I think this is a much more natural and fairer looking way to hold the rope than the standard method where you switch the end for the middle.

Then with further writing I hit on another idea (from the past!)

cut and restored rope

Using a circle of rope instead of an extra length of rope will allow me to get two cuts without having to add any rope and both cuts can be done from the desired hand position!

The next challenge is figuring out how to get rid of the circle of rope once it’s been cut twice and is two pieces of rope. Once I solve that, I need to start doing some writing on what to say!


PS. You’ll notice I have drawing in my notebook. I’m using drawing more and more. I highly recommend getting the book Sketch Notes, it really helped me learn to add drawings.