Magic Art Buttons!

The other day I ended up acquiring a button making machine from a friend who was getting rid of it. I’ve always loved the art in older magic books and I think they make cool buttons. Here’s a few that I made:

I went to a used bookstore and bought a couple of cheap magic books and cut these out of them. I’ll probably throw these in with orders of my magic products that I ship out. Also, if I ever end up as a dealer at a magic convention again, I’ll probably have a fishbowl of them and sell them for a few bucks.

If you want one, they’re $7 shipped in the USA for a random one, I’ll just grab one and put it in an envelope.

Up Your Game…

Ugh, there’s a reason that people think magicians are cheesy. Here’s a post from facebook magic group:

This style of shirt was big in late 1990’s, and are pretty much out of fashion now. Also just because something has playing card pips on it, that doesn’t mean it’s good for a magician to wear.

I’m going to say that I’m not the most stylish magician out there, but if you dress like it’s 1999, you’ll be treated like a magician from 1998. I’m not saying there aren’t reasons to wear shirts like this, but there are more reasons not to than there are to wear them!

The Great Carazini

The other day my friend and great magician Terry Godfrey shared a video of The Great Carazini on his social media. There’s a lot I really love about this, but first here’s the video:

The act is well done and ad clearly something he’s done before. It’s character driven and doesn’t use a lot big props. The props he uses would play in a big theater or smaller cabaret. If he was doing multiple cabaret shows in a night, he could easily be popping around down with it as the set up is pretty minimal. For thing that had more set up (like the silks from mouth) he could have multiples set up.

The big thing is that the entire act frames his face. The act is about him and how he reacts to the strange things that happen. The whole act is great, I love it!

Almost There…

We’re finally hitting the “light at the end of the COVID tunnel” and things are starting to reopen. I just updated the calendar on my main website that lists my public shows. Moving forward, I’m curious how much interaction in magic (especially close up) that people are willing to do.

Having spent the last 10 days helping out at a drive thru zoo that was operating when my state lifted its mask mandate (for vaccinated people), it was very interesting how people reacted to the interaction. Before the mandate was lifted about 60% of the cars were wearing masks, and after about 5% were wearing masks.

For close up magic, will people be willing to hold sponge balls? Personally I thought they were gross pre-COVID. If 95% of the people are willing to hold them, what do you do for the 5% that doesn’t? If it’s your main trick, then you need to have a strong backup. Thinking about this now will give you a huge advantage when the situation presents itself.

Learning Zoo…

Last week I helped out a friend out at a drive thru zoo. It’s a lot of fun, I end up writing a stand up comedy set for each animal that’s about 3 minutes. It also forces me to be creative and write jokes for something that I don’t normally do.

One day it hit me to treat it like a magic trick. I need to let them take in what they are seeing before I start talking. They see animal and I get them some time to process what they are seeing…then I start talking. It’s just like performing magic, you have to let the effect rattle around their brain for a little bit, then you can start talking.

Once I started giving people more time to experience the animal before I started telling them my dopy jokes, people laughed more as their brains weren’t torn between doing two things.

Himber Pail in Action!

A while ago when I bought a Himber Pail, I was worried that while I loved the trick, the audience wouldn’t. The routine is coming together and I’ve done it at two theaters and four school assemblies that were in person shows, and it’s playing well!

Himber pail magic trick

This is a trick that I’ve loved for a long time, and I think my enthusiasm helps carry the routine, but the trick is also good!

Himber pail magic trick

The thing with this trick is that I didn’t hope that the trick was strong enough on its own, I put in some time and work on the routine. That’s the secret to my success, if I buy a prop, I don’t use it as the directions say, I think about about and make the prop work for me!

The Moisture Festival Podcast – Bri Crabtree

In this episode of the Moisture Festival Podcast we are joined over the phone by the hilarious Bri Crabtree. She tells us about how she had to hide being a juggler in high school from her classmates and what it is like to live in an artist workspace in San Francisco.

She discusses her career, what it’s like being a woman at a juggling convention and her fascination with learning new skills. She’s a comedian, clown, artist and an all around awesome person. We hope you enjoy the conversation as much as we did. 

John Martin Book…

Several years ago when I started working on my Take Up Reel, someone told me to contact Granville Taylor as he knew a lot of about them. The person mentioned that Granville was pretty secretive about magic methods. I found his website and notice he had a book about John Martin who was a magic builder. I send him an email asking about the book, and also seeing if he wanted to chat reels.

I never heard back.

Then about a week ago a copy of his book John Martin: The Master Magical Mechanic – A Genius at Work popped up on ebay at and extremely high price. I messaged the seller and we agreed upon a much more reasonable price.

The book just showed up and I’m waiting to read it as I’ve got a few things ahead of it. Just flipping through it, it’s an interesting book. Starting with it looking like a home printed and bound book. All of the pages are printed on one side…I have a feeling it’s going to be an interesting read!

Here’s the blurb of the book:

JOHN MARTIN. The Master Magical Mechanic. A Genius at Work. Book written and published by Granville Taylor (Faust the Magician).

New. A limited edition of 250 copies, each one numbered and signed by the author. 105 pages, including 24 pages in full colour, with over 100 colour photographs, plus 10 detailed workshop plans of some of the Martin replicas made by Granville Taylor.

Preface by Peter Diamond. Introduction by Professor Edwin A.Dawes. The book, A4 size, is stapled and bound with red Rexine cardboard covers.

Chapters: Martin’s Early Days, Magical Equipment Made by Martin, My Introduction to Martin, My Turn to Shake Hands with a Legend, More Visits to Martin, Touring the World, Taylor-Made Magic & Martin Replicas, My Martin Equipment, Is it a Martin?, Granville Taylor assisted by Martin, Memories of Jan Martin Recalled by Prof.Guy Higgins, Leo Burns, Photographs of My Martin Equipment, Photographs of Taylor-Made Replicas of some of Martin’s Equipment, Photographs of Martin Equipment from the John & Anne Davenport Collection, Photographs of some Martin Equipment from the Peter Nicol Collection. Plus 10 Workshop Plans for Taylor-Made Martin Replicas: Poker size Rising Cards, The Coin Shooter, Release Clip for Lines for Coin Shooter and Holdout, Vanishing Birdcage Clip, The Martin “Butterfly” & Improvements, Small Butterfly Production, The Handkerchief Vanisher, Lit Cigarette Vanisher, Gadget for Cutting Rope Ends, The Cigarette Dropper.

Granville Taylor (Faust the Magician) knew Martin in the last few years of Martin’s life, watched him at work, and ordered several items for his show. He owned and presented the only illusion Martin ever built (The Aerial Suspension), and, over the years he has bought more rare Martin equipment, which he has used in his shows around the world. This book is a fitting tribute to The World’s Master Magical Mechanic.

Customize Your Props…

One thing I’ve written about a lot on this blog is that right now it’s easier than it’s ever been to get props exactly how you want them. You can 3d print things, custom diecut with a cricut machine, or follow a tutorial for just about anything on youtube.

For my polaroid trick I need an envelope that’s about the size of a postcard. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find one at a store, and going a bit low tech, I simply sketched on and cut it out.

I’ve finally worn that envelope out and made a new more formal template to cut them out with.

I do feel kinda funny cutting small envelopes out of a larger one! However I am a big fan of getting props that are what I want, not sorta what I want.

Coins To Glass Lecture…

Recently I did a virtual lecture for a magic club in Wisconsin and one of my favorite parts of the lectures is at the end when I do stuff that’s not normally in the lecture. One of the things I did was my Coins To Glass:

It is my great platform for me to talk about fixing tricks you like, but are broken. What I mean by that is the original Copentro trick. It’s a great trick, but that base doesn’t really work with modern standards of what magic props look like. Sure you could come up with a reason to justify the base, but it still looks strange. My method was used to completely eliminate the need for a the thick base, as the coins don’t move vertically.

What’s great about show and teaching this routine to magicians is it really illustrates how I think. How I won’t stop at the original idea (usually), and will keep pushing it until I figure it out. Also that I’m open to suggestions from other performers.