While I was performing last week in King City, CA, I drove a couple of hours to the Magic Garage and had a blast!
One of the highlights for me was chatting reels with Will Chandler! I showed him my silk thru coat hanger routine and he showed me the silk thru ring routine he does! There are very few magicians around that I can jam the silk thru ____ effect.
I love being near the Magic Garage, their weekly hang out is amazing!!! -Louie
Very frequently magicians will post in social media groups that they don’t understand why people want to show them magic tricks. I’ve got no problem with that, and unless it’s at a totally inappropriate time, like in the middle of a formal show, it let them.
I think the reason for this is that magicians have ego problems and they can’t let the spotlight on someone else. Usually it’s a trick like the 21 card trick and it won’t remotely step on anything you’re doing. You can get some great moments out of it, like immediately forcing the card they failed to find if the trick doesn’t work. The key to doing something like that, is acting like it just happened, so it doesn’t look like you’re one upping the person.
I’ve seen some crazy things that I never expecting, like a old guy that did a perfect tabled faro shuffle with my old beat up deck of cards! I then spent the next half an hour with him teaching me the basics of how to do it. Or this guy:
That guy also taught me the basics of ripping a deck of cards in half, and with the help of my friend Todd Gardner who is a strong man I can now rip a deck of cards in half!
Your job is to be an ambassador for the event you’re working, and with that in mind I almost always say YES when someone offers to do a trick!
I’ve been playing with adding remote controls to things recently. The company that I get the remote controls for my Remote Control Chattering Teeth had send me the wrong ones a while ago, and instead of sending them back, I decided to keep them in case I needed them for another project.
Here’s the most recent thing that I’ve made:
The idea is that the bell is rung by the corded button. However I can also secretly ring the bell via the remote control.
Some ideas for routines to use this to add comedy to are:
Having someone ring it when a trick happens. This would probably be better for a juggling style trick.
When doing a timed trick, like an escape.
When someone does something. For example, you need a kid to stay standing on a spot, and you if they move someone is supposed to ring the bell.
Those are all routines that you could very easily add the bell into. It’s the sort of thing that can turn a 2 minute trick into a 5 minute trick. For an example of this style of trick, look into my Order Up routine from Vanish Magazine #43. It’s the Cube Libre magic trick, but I added a bell and I used a sound effect on my PA to make the ring, but it played really well.
When I’m out performing, I try to be aware of ways that I can help solve problems. Last week at the fair I was at, as I was walking across the fairgrounds before the fair opened, I noticed they had huge lines of kids outside the gate waiting to get in. There were just standing there, so I grabbed some props and went over and did a quick show for them.
This was simply me noticing a place where I could use my skills to help out. Doing this wasn’t in my contract and no one would have noticed if I didn’t do it, and I don’t know (or care) if anyone in administration noticed that I did do it. It was simply a way for me to use my skills to make some people smile. That’s why I got into performing, and it’s also how I know I still love what I do! -Louie
What’s wrong with some people. This was posted in a magicians group on Facebook:
I hope that the guy was just trolling and not serious. It’s insanely unethical, it’s like busking for tips in a hotel lobby or inside the gate at Disneyland.
Here’s my replies:
As for consequences, the cruise line can absolutely ask you to stop. If you don’t, they can disembark you any port. The bigger picture is that at the end of the every cruise passengers fill out comment cards and rate things like the entertainment. There could be some confusion as to whether or not the magician who decides to busk works for the cruise line, in which case they may mark the magician down or leave negative comments about the magician hustling tips. This isn’t good for the guy who got hired to work there.
If you’ve ever thought of doing this…don’t. -Louie
Sometimes I end up watching magic videos on the internet and I’m not quite sure how I ended up on a video. I found of video of someone dressed as Elmo doing a magic show at a school:
I’m not sure who thought this was a good idea. Was it the school that wanted Elmo or the performer that pitched it? You get the initial reaction when Elmo walks in, but then it quickly turns into kids crying. Just because a booker wants something, it doesn’t mean you need to give it to them.
Based on the props set up in the video, it looks like they were doing a show, not just a short bit. I’m very curious how the perform kept any sort of control?
Also besides what looks like some copyright infringement, the Elmo character has a “character” associated with it, and I don’t think it’s pulling chickens out of a bag. Once again, just because there’s a paycheck, it doesn’t mean you need to do the gig! -Louie
P.S. the video posted above is something that is publicly available on YouTube with sharing enabled. It’s being used to promote a show, so it’s fair game for me to comment on. I didn’t secretly record this, someone thought it was a good way to show what they do for potential buyers.
One of the things that a lot of magicians use are magic tricks that use electronics. They are fun and you can do a lot of really impossible things with them, but the hard part is finding an “out” if the electronics fail. And they will fail at some point if you are out there working.
In my show I use a Rubik’s Cube that a special something inside and if that ever fails, in most routines you’re really screwed. Awhile ago I 3D printed a box for it, so if it does fail, I can use the box like the old color vision box. The color vision trick is a pretty good trick on it’s own, so having that as my back up method isn’t the worst out in the world.
I’ve been using the 3d printed box for a little over a year and wore it out!
I think a combination of me working outside a lot in the heat and it just getting banged around during travel shortened the box’s life. Luckily with 3d printing, it’s a very quick and easy fix. I just hit a couple of buttons and I had a new one with virtually no effort on my part!
The trick I’m working on today uses a spoon. Here’s the first proof of concept video of it:
I found the tiny spoon at a garage sale a few months ago, and have been trying to think of a use for it. Obviously it would be some sort of shrinking or growing effect. For the method, I think the first shrink is interesting, the final shrink is less interesting to me.
For the first shrink I really stumbled upon when I was working on a different trick with a spoon, and realized I could essentially make the first shrink self contained. That eliminated the need to have to steal anything or ditch anything initially. Ideally, if I could avoid sleeving the spoon for the second shrink, that would be the best, however I can’t think of a way to do that without ditching the spoon. The nice thing about sleeving (or using a topit) is that you end with nothing palmed.
A few days ago I performed in a variety show hosted by Snax. Snax is a rabbit who does stand up, here’s a video of them on The Gong Show:
Snax makes a good host, and it had a great mix of acts:
The only ones not picture are me and the burlesque act.
One of the things I love about performing in variety shows is all the different art forms and what every brings to the stage. I think seeing and working with all sorts of different acts helps make you more well rounded as a performer.
For example the two stand ups worked very slowly, where I attack the stage. I think that’s something I need to play with more, being a little more gentle. I’m getting older and attacking the stage may be something I’m aging out of.