Shell Shocked by Giovanni Livera

A bit ago someone mentioned Giovanni Livera’s three shell game routine. I wasn’t aware of this routine, so I tracked down a his book Confessions of an Italian Magician where his Shell Shocked routine is written up.

His routine has an ending that’s unusual, it ends with three production items. The first two are dice and the third is a plastic P. I have all of the props except the plastic P, but that’s where my 3d printer came in handy.

Within about 15 minutes I had made a plastic letter P and had it printed and can now learn the routine!

I’ll get started working on it later today!

Walnuts to Glass Magic Routine: UPDATE

I’ve been working on a walnut to glass routine for a little while and there’s one challenge I keep hitting: Why walnuts?

Using balls with cups and balls makes sense as it looks like the shell game which people are aware of. Even though it’s cups and balls and the shell game visually are very different to people who do them, to the general public who have never seen them in real life, it’s appears to be the same.

The challenge with using nuts is basically I’m fighting the whole routine being a testicle joke. I can’t call them “nuts” in the routine, they have to be walnuts. However every time I handle them, I think I’m going to be fighting people in the audience making their own jokes. I really just don’t want that.

I’m switching over to using my Cee Lo dice and cup routine and doing the hat load of the giant metal nut. I’m also using a devils hank for a vanish of all three dice instead of doing a two in the one in the pocket sequence. The bits I have planned for the devil’s hank before the vanish will hopefully help the routine play larger!

I’m hitting the road in a few days and I’ll know if it plays or not soon!


Walnut Routine

One of my the routines that I’m working on is a Walnut to Glass routine. My starting point is Pete Biro’s Nutty Surprise. I’ve added a devils hank for one phase and a hat load for the finale.

Here’s a picture of the end of the routine on my normal table:

Walnut magic trick

Working the routine on that table is hard because there’s not a lot of workable space due to the trim on the table. After working on it a few times, I remembered I had a larger table that I could use. And here’s what the end looks like on that table:

Walnut magic trick

The second table is about the same width as the first one, but without the trim, it has more usable space. The second table is also deeper allowing more room once the hat is on the table.

The next challenge or decision I need to make for the routine is whether to use a bottomless glass for the routine, or just a regular glass. I like Mariano Goni‘s version of the bottomless glass in his trick Nut Waltz. I won’t be doing this close up with people on top of the cup, but still a little bit worried about people being able to see it. I guess it’s something I’m going to have to actually try for people and either have it pass or get busted.


Economy Of Motion

When I was at Tokyo Disneyland at the magic shop, one of the things that stood out to me was how the demonstrator moved his hands. There was no wasted motion, it was very efficient.

Tokyo Disneyland magic shop

One of the things with sleight of hand is Economy of Motion. You don’t want more motion than is necessary to do the sleight of hand, or you want to try to reduce motion. However that is with hidden motion, and it doesn’t necessarily apply to the visible motions that are made openly. Sometimes doing something like taking a card and putting it into the deck doesn’t need to look efficient or slick. It can look sloppy and that sloppiness can hide the sleight of hand, or enhance the effect.

A good example of where I try to be less efficient is when I do card to wallet. I used to be soo efficient with removing the card from the wallet that some of the effect was lost. Now I take my time opening the wallet and fumble while pulling out the card. That reinforces that the card doesn’t fit easily into the wallet, so I couldn’t have easily snuck it into it!

Take a peek at what you do and figure out when to have as few motions as possible and when you need more!


Cards for Color Changing Card Backs

When I was buying some props at a Walmart I came across the Nertz game that is put out by Bicycle. It’s got different colors of the rider back cards. These would be great for making color changing card tricks. The only downside is that these appear to only come in jumbo index.

and a funny little thing that I noticed is on the back it lists all the colors and which ones are new. It lists red as a new color?!

Cards for color changing backs magic trick

If you’re working on a color changing card effect, I think it’s worth it to pick up a pack of these!


Thumb Tie and the Linking Safety Pins

The last couple of days I’ve been working on using a giant set of safety pins onstage for a linking pin routine. Recently I started adding a thumb tie to it to add length. One thing I quickly learned is that there’s a ton of dead time at the end of the routine when I’m having the tape cut off of my thumbs.

My first attempt for fixing the dead time was to add a trick to the end. What I was doing was taking the tape and turning it into an animal balloon. That went over fine, but it’s not the right fix for the routine.

I think my second attempt is a reasonable solution to making the dead time of cutting the tape off my fingers worth it. I’m moving the thumb tie to the first half of the trick. After the thumb tie, the tape is cut off, then I move into the linking pins routine. This has been playing a lot better!

Now I need to keep adding meat to the routine to get it good.


Doing a Bar Gig

I don’t do a lot of bar gigs anymore, I’m not opposed to them, but they don’t normally make sense with my schedule. Last week I headlined a comedy show at a speakeasy. It was a fun gig!

One of the skills you need for these gigs is to be able to follow any act. The act before me was a comic that was fairly blue, and I do a “TV clean” show, so there’s contrast and the audience has to shift mental gears from his style to mine. There’s nothing wrong with what he was doing, that’s his art. When there’s contrast like that, you need to come onstage with confidence, you’re bringing the audience into your world.

Before the show I always try to do some close up magic, that will have people in the audience already on your side!

close up magic

The “green room” was in a back corner of the bar and the cool thing was I could watch the show on the TV!

comedy show

Also I don’t normally have merch to sell at bar gigs, but I took some of my faux children’s books C is for Conspiracy: The ABC’s of Conspiracy Theories and pitched them from the stage.

bar magic show

They sold well after the show, so that was a bonus!!

Bar gigs have a lot of challenges, like sight lines, rowdy crowds, challenging stages, however I find them very rewarding as a performer. Because they are typically smaller venues you can connect with people a lot more than in a larger venue.


The 10 Count

About a month ago I went to Disneyland with a bunch of entertainers after an event we were all at. While not everyone was specifically a magician, everyone there had a magic component in their show. Somehow the “10 Count” with sponge balls came up.

The 10 Count is a little thing where a sponge ball travels from one hand to the other while you count to ten. Each number has a physical action associated with it. It’s a great framing for a quick trick and isn’t limited to sponge balls. I first learned the 10 Count from a sponge ball book when I was a teenager, however it looks like it was probably created by Martin Gardner using matchsticks.

If you don’t know it, it’s worth looking up!


Card Production

A few nights ago I was dinking around with a deck of cards while watching a movie with my wife and came up with a production of the top card of a face down deck.

It’s not the greatest production, but it’s something. The action of the card reminds me of something in Ernest Earick‘s book By Forces Unseen.

I think the next step to making it better would be a way to have it come out of the center of the deck…but not sure if that’s possible!


Update For Nick Trost’s Mexican Monte

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about Nick Trost’s Mexican Monte packet trick (read it here). I was thinking about it and the end with the card with a different colored back is okay, but I think it needed something a little punchier.

Here’s what I came up with:

@louiefoxx Vintage Magic Trick – Updates for Nick Trost's Mexican Monte #magictrick #packettricks #cardtrick #sleightofhand #louiefoxx #nicktrost #vintagemagic ♬ original sound – Louie Foxx

The ending doesn’t play well on camera and from the straight down angle as well as in real life if the change is done by rubbing the card on your sleeve. The Tree of Hearts is think is a more visual ending and having the face change is more of a punctuation on the trick, than the original ending of simply turning the last card over.