In 2014 we bought a new refrigerator and shortly after it was out of warranty our ice maker stopped working. I checked all of the water supply lines, followed the troubleshooting from the owner’s manual, nothing worked. We called a repair guy and he couldn’t fix it. For the last 4 or 5 years we’ve been buying bagged ice at the store. Not a huge deal, kind of inconvenient and not that expensive at a couple bucks a week.
This weeks I’ve been working on some home projects and one of them ended up looking at the ice maker. It turns out there’s an unmarked, tiny square of plastic on the bottom of it that looks it doesn’t move, well that’s is actually a reset button! I pushed it and we’re back in the ice business!
OK, what does this have to do with magic?
How often do you got back and revisit magic tricks you were working on and hit an wall you were unable to get through, so you stopped practicing the magic trick?
I’m not saying you should schedule a weekly revisit, but you should every now and then flip though old notebooks, or watch old videos of yourself. I can’t tell you how often I’ll watch an old video of mine and see me do a trick a think, “why did I stop doing that?” Usually there’s a good reason, but that doesn’t me I can’t revisit now it to try to fix that reason.
One of the effects in magic that I don’t do in my show is a levitation. It doesn’t fit with my character, or at least I haven’t found a way to make it fit. I’ve create a couple different levitation tricks, but they aren’t things that I would do. However this one is my favorite:
Method wise it’s pretty solid, it’s self contained and there’s a redundant system in case the gimmick breaks during the trick. It’s also casually examinable before and after the trick. It solves a lot of the reasons why I don’t from a technical standpoint do any tricks that use this method and that’s that they are fragile.
My method is loosely based on a Ben Harris card trick. The gimmick is very different from Ben’s, if you took his card and swapped it for a bill, the trick wouldn’t work. For me, this floating bill trick is a good example of creating some sort of art that’s pretty much for the sake of creating.
A couple of years ago while in New Orleans I got to sit down with Aye Jaye and chat about his book, The Golden Rule of Schmoozing. We talked about giving people things, and initially I didn’t know I was doing it, but I was. I always have a trick or gag ready. I never force it on people, but if the situation is right, I do it.
That brings me to this gag that I thought up not too long ago:
I was at the store and got carded because I was buying some alcohol. I remembered a gag that was taught to me by Tom Mullica where you glue a clown nose on your ID. I thought it’d be a topical gag and found some paper and cut one out and stuck it to my ID. Now I’m giving away a laugh, and expecting zero in return.
Just giving out a smile. That’s all. It’s a great feeling, and something that I think people need right now. Also I think it’s one of the better COVID gags out there right now, because the laugh is on the situation, not on the virus.
One of the silver linings to the entertainment industry being closed due to COVID is that I can go to different magic conventions. I’ve always been curious about KIDabra, which is for family entertainers. This year they are having a virtual convention, and I’m lecturing at it!
I’ve got some fun stuff to share with the group, including the full version of my Spoon Stunt which has never been taught before!
One thing that I like about the Three Card Monte is that it automatically engages the entire audience. It’s a game they all can play with being the person playing it. That’s why I think things like the 3 Card Monte or the Three Shell Game are perfect for virtual shows. The level of engagement is great!
Here’s a video from a practice session:
I’m working out the sequence, right now it’s:
Mix and the money card is in a different position
Set aside a non-money card, do the mix and the money card is now the one set aside
cards change so the two non-money cards are now the money card and the money card is now the non-money card
all cards change into jokers
There’s a lot of magic that happens in that sequence. It’s a pretty amazing sequence, and basically using the three card monte premise as a presentation hook for card color changes.
A couple of days ago I posted a video of a coin production and vanish I had played with a little while ago. Then a day later I posted a video of a short routine idea with that coin production. Those videos were works in progress, and it’s still a work in progress, however I’m working on solving one of the problems, which is probably one of the biggest problems. That is triggering the coin appearance or vanish.
Essentially I needed to design a triggering system for the coin. Here’s what I came up with:
I designed it and it’s 3d printing right now. I’ll assemble it later today and hopefully it will work without any major redesigns!
We’re staying in Portland for this episode where we invite MC Shoehorn into the travelling studio. Shoehorn opens up about his past in New Orleans and learning to tap dance from the kids on the street!
He also tells us how he developed his unique act of tap dancing and playing the saxophone.
After playing with the coin trick from yesterday’s blog post, it hit me that I could do something similar to Bob Kline’s Copentrotrick. If you’re not familiar with the trick you can see it here:
Essentially the difference is that Copentro has a base for the cup and then typically a stand the holds the coins to allow them to vanish. Using the coin vanish / production from yesterday (plus something else), I can now do the Copentro trick eliminating the base and stand.
Here’s a proof of concept video (nowhere near a final version):
The routine and the moves still need some practice, but I think it has the potential to be a solid little routine.
A couple years ago I was playing with using black 2.0 paint to make a coin appear. The problem with it was that it really didn’t work in an in-person context for the show. Well, in the current world of virtual shows, I can control performing conditions in the room I’m in, so I’ve started playing with it before.
Here’s a test video:
Personally I like the production more than the vanish. I like how there’s a “pop” to the coin when it appears. Now I need to figure out what to do with it and how it will be used.
There’s a genre of magic tricks that I’m not really into and those are what are frequently called magician foolers. The main reason for this is that I don’t perform for audiences of just magicians very often. When I do perform for just magicians, I do my real world stuff. One thing to keep in mind is that just because it’s a trick for general audiences, doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t fool magicians.
What I’m writing about today are tricks that are specifically designed for audiences of magicians. Recently I’ve discovered an interesting principle, for doing a reverse three card monte type effect, where the audience mixes the cards and you always find the money card. I thought it was a interesting little thing and that’d be that, until I did it for a couple of magicians and it floored them! We spend the afternoon jamming with it and we added a second phase, but we’re still at it being a trick for magicians.
I think the important thing was for me to recognize what this probably is, it’s a trick for 2 am in the lobby of a magic convention. I’m going to keep playing with it and hopefully figure out something more mainstream to do it with.