Make Up Day…

Somehow I’ve gone my whole career without every having had to learn to do make up…until now. I’ve got a TV appearance coming up and previously every other time I’ve been on TV they’ve had a make up person who applied it to me.

This time due to COVID rules they aren’t having someone for us. So I hired someone to give me some lessons. Honestly I assumed it was something that was specialized as that’s someone’s job. I don’t need much as I don’t do anything dramatic with my look, I just don’t want to look shiny.

I’m super glad I hired someone to help me, it made picking out the right colors easy as I had no idea what I was doing. That’s the thing, especially with the internet, it’s easy to do find someone who can help you learn to do things. I simply reached out to a friend of mine who is an actor who referred me to someone that does make up. It was very painless…and something I should have learned to do at least a decade ago!

Another In Person Gig…

We’re heading in the right direction for things opening back up for live, in person magic shows. Next week I’ve got my second bigger in person show. I’ll be performing in Lincoln City, OR as part of their Festival of Illusions on 3/23.

If you’re in the area that week you can get tickets at:

The bigger thing I’m having to figure out is that there’s not really one set of rules that everyone place has to follow. The regulations so far are varying everywhere as to what COVID restrictions you have to follow. Sure the only 100% sure fire way to plan is to assume you’ll be 25 feet from the audience (who is distanced) and you’ll be doing a no contact, no volunteer on stage, magic show while you are wearing a mask.

Most places don’t have requirements that strict. Since I don’t have a huge itinerary of big events, it’s easier to plan how I’m going to work the show on a case by case basis. I’m trying to work on things that use people from their seats in the audience and not relying too much on that.

What’s your plan for getting back to work?

Keep it Unique!

Oh man, so I’ve written about how crowd sourcing advice on Facebook is pretty much a bad idea as everyone has an equal position to give their opinion. Now everyone’s opinion and “taste” is different and yes their opinion is valid, but you also need to know their background. Especially when getting advice about your show or the marketing of your show.

The other day Katrina Kroetch posted a picture on Facebook asking if it was a good promo pic. She got many people telling her it didn’t “scream magic” and that should should have a top hat, cards, or rabbit in the picture. That’s horrible advice, but before I tell you why, here’s the picture:

This is a fantastic picture, there’s a lot going on in it. Now Let me tell you why:

  • There is a story happening: She is doing something with the string/rope, but the cat is attacking it without her knowing. If I saw this pic in a program I’d think, is she a cat trainer…I don’t know, but I want to know more.
  • It’s not a generic magician picture: People won’t be bringing a mindset of the stereotypical magic show when they see this. If I saw this pic in the program, I’d expect a light hearted, fun show.

Now let me tell you why everyone that is telling her she needs to have a top hat, doves, or that the pic doesn’t “say magic” are wrong. No one goes and sees a magic show based solely on a picture with no context. They days of a venue having a sign in the window that says “now appearing” and just a headshot taped below it with a showtime are long gone. You’re marketing or advertisement will always have context with it now, it’s not 1990 and hasn’t been for two decades.

Personally I think if I saw just a pic of a guy holding a top hat in the window of a venue, I’d think it’s a children’s magic show and keep on walking. If I saw just Katrina’s pic I’d probably want more information. However, I like I said before in 2021 you’ll rarely encounter just a headshot without context.

The more unique pictures you use, the harder it is for someone to put their “box” of preconceived ideas about your artform around you.

Complete Cheapo Copentro

I’ve written about my fascination with the coins to glass magic effect. One version that I’ve always likes is the Jack Hughes Visible Coins To Glass, or in the USA we tend to call it Bob Kline’s Copentro. That’s the version where the coins visually appear in a shot glass that’s covered by a larger glass.

There are other version of the trick where the glass held mouth up with your hand above the opening of the glass. The coins then “drop” into the glass from your hand. Here’s an example of this version of the trick:

The problem with the version with the handheld glass is that it’s pretty obvious to anyone that the coin came from your hand. The glass doesn’t really isolate where the coins are appearing. The glass does add a fun sound when the coin arrives and adds a prop which may make the trick play a little bit bigger. Both of those a great additions, but they are really aren’t additions to the magic effect. They don’t make it more amazing or really any different from a coins across that happens in the hands.

That’s why I think I really like the Hughes/Kline version where the cup is isolated. It is something more than an in the hands coins across.

Over the last 18ish months I’ve worked on several versions of the trick. One that I will probably never use is this one:

The video above is the more complete version of the one I posted back in January (see it here). I wanted to figure out not just how to get the coin into the shot glass, but how to make the whole thing work start to finish. I’m glad I did that and have that version of the trick out of my mind now…until I try to start to work on how to make multiple coins appear in the shotglass…

Follow Mario!

If you’re not following Mario the Maker Magician on the social media, you are missing out on seeing some amazing, fun and totally unique magic! He built a cardboard robot that does magic tricks, and it’s better than most magicians!

Hopefully something will pick him up and start using these. I can see that being a bit on Saturday Night Live, or a reoccurring bit on a family variety show. The robot would also crush it on America’s Got Talent!

He’s doing some interesting things from a method standpoint because he can’t use a lot of traditional methods. These videos remind me that I need to work harder!

Virtual Chompers!

Over the summer I did a few shows that were socially distant, no contact, masked, outdoor shows for younger kids. One of the things that really helped carry the show was the Remote Control Chatting Teeth that I had made a few years ago. I’ve only used these in live, in person shows…until a few nights ago!

I added them as a gag during my Cee Lo cup and dice routine, here’s how it played:

It played really well! I was worried that it wouldn’t translate over video, but the kids reacted to it just like a live show! I’m not sure that the gag belongs in the cup and dice routine, it worked there, but there’s probably a better place. I think I’m going to keep them within arm’s reach for all of my virtual kid/family magic shows

I’ve added these to my online shop at:

The Moisture Festival Podcast – Charly Castor

This week we welcome circus royalty to the Moisture Festival Podcast Studio, Charly Castor. Charly is not only legendary in the circus world, but he is also one of the brothers from the famous French Trio Les Castors. In this episode, Charly explains the unique art form of Risley and Icarian Games as we cover his unique 50 year career touring with circuses around the world.

Charly Castor

Charly tells us a number of stories including what it’s like to perform on the Ed Sullivan Show and in front of famous audiences such as Charlie Chaplin and the Queen of England. A great conversation with a ton of interesting stories from the golden age of circus

Moving To In Person…

On Thursday night I did a lecture for IBM Ring 252 in Tennessee. Over there they are mostly open for in person events and it sounded like they do their meetings both virtually and in person. This is a good sign that things are starting to move back to “normal”.

For this virtual magic club lecture I added a camera that I can move around to show views of thing that people ask about. Here’s an example of using it:

About a year ago when I started doing virtual lectures a lot of the questions I got were about the technical side of doing a virtual show and what sort of material worked virtually. The magic lecture I did on Thursday night they were more interested in material for in person shows. I think that we all can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

If your magic club is looking for a lecture, let me know!

Adding People…

When I do virtual shows the format I’ve been using is fairly similar to the structure of my in person shows. I usually alternate a trick where I’m solo on stage, followed by a trick where I use someone from the audience onstage, then repeat that. It’s a nice break from a constant stream of people coming up from the audience.

Last night at a virtual show I started using more people on screen than I normally would. In the solo tricks, I just talking to the people and joking with them.

It played out really well and it made the show a lot more fun for me. For a virtual show it really helped bring up the energy and forced me to be more present in the show during my solo tricks.

Take Up Reels are out there!

After about a year of me selling my Take Up Reel via word of mouth, I’ve finally made them available through a magic shop.

If you don’t k now what a take up reel is click here for more info!

take up reel

You can get them from People frequently ask me if I would prefer they ordered from me or them. The nice thing when you order from a magic shop is you are supporting a magic shop, and helping to pay their employees. Sure, I make more in my pocket when you buy direct, but when I agree to sell them a product to a magic shop I’m happy with the terms. The advantage is that they normally have them in stock and can ship quickly. If you order direct sometimes there will be a delay due to me travelling, or whatever.

I’m not saying “do not order from me“, but more trying to show you the advantages and disadvantages of ordering from a magic shop. You can’t complain about them disappearing, if you don’t support them.