Last week I had a “Treat Yo Self” day and picked up Gravity by Joao Miranda. This is an electric invisible thread reel and it’s pretty cool. I personally don’t use invisible thread in my in person shows, as there’s too many variables for me to use it reliably. However I do use it frequently for prerecorded videos as I can control the conditions and breaking the thread isn’t really an issue. The main reason I got it was there’s been many times where I needed a thread to be pulled for something and it was just me in the room and had to rig some janky pully system. This should solve that problem.
The Gravity reel has three modes
ITR: It handles like an old school ITR with constant tension on the reel.
Remote: It’s slack until you trigger the remove which will then put tension on the reel.
Programable: You program a series of retractions into the reel
It’s the programable mode that has me the most excited. It’s super easy to program. I’ve wanted to have the bird from my vanishing birdcage routine do a trick in my virtual shows for a long time. Here’s my first attempt at programing the reel:
It was a bit after I made the video that I realized I could probably make the bird and card move at the same time very easily with the Gravity reel. That’ll be something I work on later today. So far I’m loving the Gravity reel!!!
In my continuing quest to make things play bigger, I’ve finally altered a trick that I used close up to hopefully have it play for a bigger audience. The trick started as Huge Shelley’s iCube trick. The problem with his set up was that I found using my phone as a thumper was unreliable. The bluetooth would drop, or I wouldn’t necessarily be able to feel the vibrations.
I then got a ProMystic MD Mini, which is completely reliable. I just didn’t like the look of the cube, so I put the guts into the shell that came with icube and have a little prop that works great for close up!
The next challenge is how to make it play bigger. Right now the cube is about 3/4 of an each on each side. The obvious way it to scale it up to a bigger cube. For that I picked up a Meffert’s Oskar’s Treasure Cube with is a Rubik’s Cube that had a compartment inside.
I put the MD Mini that’s inside the iCube shell into the treasure cube and secured it with sponge. Now I that can be seen in a bigger venue. The next challenge is to figure out a way to show the selected side of the cube. This was a bit of a challenge because if it’s held up and show by someone in the audience, they won’t necessarily do a good job displaying it.
To solve this, I went with an obvious solution, and that’s to put the die is a box with a lid.
The box was a very quick and simple 3D print to design and it only displays one side. No I can simply ask the person to, “take off the lid and show it to the audience” and there’s no issue with displaying the selected color. As a bonus, if the trick ever fails me, I now have an out. I can use it like the old color block trick where you put the lid on the side!
One thing that I’ve been doing are virtual lectures for magic clubs. It’s really a good medium for what I do as I can show video clips of how things actually play, versus how things play for a room of magicians out of context from a real show. The vibe of a lecture is something that’s very different from a show, and when doing the tricks, it’s hard to capture the same energy, so showing the video clips really helps me out!
One of the advantages to doing the lecture from home is that I have soo much stuff within an arm’s reach. If someone asks a question about a trick/prop/routine that I wasn’t planning on talking about, usually I can quickly grab it. With an in person lecture, I’m limited to what I brought with me.
Here’s some feedback from last week’s lecture:
Currently I’m doing these to raise money for the IBM Endowment Fund. The magic club that hosts the lecture makes a donation to the fund in place of my fee.
If your magic club is looking for a lecture…shoot me a note!
In today’s episode of the Moisture Festival Podcast we record from Rabbit Moon Ranch with Tina Lenert on the dial. In this episode, Tina tells us about her rise from surf rock to creating one of the most famous magic routines in the world, the importance of following your passions in life, and how taking notes from David Copperfield helped shape her routines.
We also hear about Tina’s childhood in Venezuela and her role in the first magic festival in Cuba. Oh, and we even discuss Goat Yoga! A fascinating conversation with an amazing person and performer.
It was only a matter of time before I got an inquiry for a gig that required me to be fully vaccinated.
Personally I have no objection to getting the COVID vaccine and knew that not having it may affect my ability to work. I got my vaccine the first chance I was eligible to get it. The big thing to consider is time…if you get the two shot version, you’ve got five weeks until you are fully vaccinated. The waiting period could cost you some work if you wait until the last minute to get it.
I’m not a doctor and don’t take this as medical advice, but for me getting the vaccine at the first chance I had was a good business decision!
Right now I’m reading the book Ching Ling Foo – America’s First Chinese Superstar. Honestly I didn’t know much about him, other than he did a bowl production. I’m about a third of the way through it and am really enjoying it. The author does a great job of describing the challenges of being a Chinese performer in a time that was very anti-Chinese.
It’s just now getting into the feud with Chung Ling Soo who was an American who pretended to be Chinese. In the book, they frequently talk about the bowl production, duck production and the production of Chee Toy (Foo’s daughter).
Apparently at some point there was film of Foo performing, but I haven’t found any online. I did find someone that tried to replicate the three productions that Foo did:
What’s I’m wondering is how big was the bowl that Foo produced? The one in the above video is probably bigger as the title is “outdone”.
When I was a kid someone let me borrow a VHS tape of a recording of Simon Drake’s Secret Cabaret. This was a TV series from the UK in the early 1990’s (I think) and it was soo far ahead of it’s time. It’s the show that got me into being a David Berglas fan before I knew anything about him.
Here’s one of his routines:
He had two main characters, one was dressed in a top had and tails and the other was dressed in a “mad max” style. Everything that he did on the show was done in a very unique way.
One trick he did was he had two tables and a box on each table. How I remember it was he put something into the box on one table and one the other table, a hand came out of the box holding the item. It was a really cool visual!
It’s something that’s been in my head for a long time. I like the idea of the “instant” transposition. I’ve been kicking around an idea of having two paperbags and thing that go into one, pop out of the second bag. I was thinking of somehow anchoring the second bag upside down, so when I put things into the first (right side up) they fall out of the second bag and onto the floor or table.
The final one would be a coke bottle, and when it goes into your bag you crush it up (latex bottle) and it comes out of the second one and clunks down on the table or shatters on the floor.
Logistically, there’s a lot that would need to be figured out for the trick to work. It’s a “back burner” project for me, but one that I would really like to eventually do!
The last week I’ve had a lot of people ask me if my Take Up Reel that I use for the vanishing birdcage trick works with an Abbott’s / Blackstone style vanishing birdcage. The answer is yes it does, I made a quick video that I’ve been sending to people who ask, here it is:
The cool thing about the Take Up Reel is that it can be used for more than just the vanishing birdcage, it can be used for any trick where you would use a wrist to wrist pull. If you want it to go up your sleeve and stay there, then it will work for that!
There are somethings in magic that confuse me and somethings that don’t. The big one that makes total sense is the decline of membership in magic clubs. There are several reasons why, but the main one is the internet. You can get you gossip, see new tricks, etc online. The second, closely behind the first is most clubs are d*cks to younger people. Old people telling kids who are into flourishes that what they are doing is wrong. It doesn’t matter how you get into magic or what you like, welcome them into the club.
I’m trying to figure out why think selling this is a good idea. It’s all stuff that should be included in your membership! This is like a “light” version of full membership, but being sold as an separate product. Is this trying to generate revenue or increase the Society of American Magician’s membership numbers?