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.
One thing in magic we need to move beyond is the yellow face imagery. Recently in a magic collectors group someone posted they had gotten the prop below:
For some context, this isn’t an original prop, it’s a reproduction that was made sometime in about the last 20 years. They were reproduced by Magic Makers, and since then several other companies have put them out.
I mentioned the imagery was offensive to me and one magician told me to “get a life“. Clearly they don’t understand the history of this imagery. It was used in the late 1800’s to mid 1900’s to portray Asians as sub human. You can learn more about the history behind how the imagery was used here: http://j387mediahistory.weebly.com/anti-japanese-propaganda-in-wwii.html
If you look at whole design of the prop it’s not just the face, but that he’s in jail!
I will say that I have less of an issue with the original as a collectible prop, as while I’m not a fan of it, it was “socially acceptable” at the point it was made. That doesn’t make it right, and it has no place in a show and no place as a retail item that’s currently being made.
When I was at Disneyland a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that they are trying to get me to use my smartphone more and more. For example the old paper Fast Pass that would allow you to access a shorter line is now Genie Plus which is entirely on your smart phone. There were many food stands where you had to order and pay through your phone. I’m not a dinosaur when it comes to using technology, but here’s why I think this is not a good idea. If I’m at the park all day, will my phone still have power 12 hours later?
The bigger issue is what happens when I can’t get my phone to connect to the internet? I ran into this problem, I couldn’t access my Genie Plus while at the park due to a spot where there was no internet. I had to walk across the park to get it to connect.
OK, so how does this relate to magic?
Simple, do you use an magic app that’s based on the internet like Inject 2? Guess what, it wouldn’t work there and you may not know it until it fails and it’s not the apps fault.
Now let’s fast forward to my gig last weekend, the venue was soo packed that the internet was going at a snails pace. Any internet based magic app wouldn’t work. If you use internet based apps, what’s your out, if it looks like you have internet, but it fails? The rough things with those apps is that it’s hard to run a second method at the same time as a backup to seamlessly switch to. I’ve found that while I own a lot of magic apps, I only use ones that aren’t internet based. I’m at too many large events where internet isn’t reliable.
Last week I worked with Anthony Hernandez and Dawn in California. We instantly clicked and I had a blast chatting with them!
They do a great show, they are both very likable on stage. One of the huge advantages of being a duo act is how they run their music. Every act they do in the show is to music and it well chosen. As they hit the end of the trick and the magic happens, the music’s audio bumps up. It’s great!
Another great thing Anthony does is how he sells the effect. He really pauses, and stretches out the magic. It made me realize I still rush the end too much, and I go a lot slower than I used to!
They do a great show, and if you get a chance to see them, I recommend it. I learned a lot from the show and also enjoyed watching it!
I start with the spoon, knife and fork laid out in position for the force. On the back of the fork I secretly drew an X with a sharpie and I have a folded up piece of paper in my hand (but don’t call attention to it) and a second piece of paper hidden.
They touch one and if they touch the fork, the trick is over, have them flip the fork and you reveal the X. If they touch the knife or spoon, you do the procedure to force the fork. For the reveal you open the paper in your hand to show it predicts the first and second objects they picked as well as the third item they didn’t pick.
For the papers you need two, and simply switch the visible paper for the hidden one if necessary to have the correct reveal.
The first challenge I had when doing the force was getting people to move properly. There was too much going on, and people would get going really fast and do a double jump. What I started doing was having me call out the letters slowly and not doing the next letter until the jump was complete. It’s a simple solution to an unforeseen problem.
The last week I was at a coffee shop in Santa Maria and realized that if you lay out a fork, knife and spoon with the fork in the middle you can force the fork. While this isn’t the best stand alone trick as it’s a force of one object out of three and there is potentially some process involved, but it’s something that would be handy to have in your brain in case you ever need it.
Ask someone to touch one of them. If they touch the fork, you’re done. If they touch the knife or spoon, you have them spell that item, moving from one item to the next (forward/backwards) to an adjacent item for each letter. Due to the number of letters and how the math plays out it, they will always end on the fork (if they do it correctly).
You’ve now forced the fork, you can use that however you want.
When I’m doing close up magic, one thing that I don’t do is have people sign cards. There’s frequently a strange hesitancy when you ask people, like they aren’t sure exactly what you want them to do. Instead I have people draw a picture on the card.
I say, “Draw a picture on the card, it can be anything…Bigfoot fighting a ninja, so it’d just be a picture of a bigfoot. I won’t judge you…till later. I don’t care what you draw, I’m not your mom…wouldn’t be the first rocket ship I’ve seen today.” That has 2-3 laughs but it also gives them a moment to think about what to draw and I disarm them about worrying about the drawing being bad. It also takes away the incentive for a teenage boy (or drunk adult) to draw a penis as I’ve already gotten the laugh from that.
The other thing this does is gives me a real moment in the show that’s happening now that I can comment on. I can talk about the picture and everyone knows this is real and not preplanned.
Play around with using alternatives to signatures you might like it.
Over the weekend at the fair I was performing at I got to try out Shrapnel by Kim Anderson
It’s working great, however I’m not sure if I like it than the larger Andrus Key Pins. The nice thing about Kim’s set up with Shrapnel is the pocket management with how the pins are carried with you. I like size of the Andrus pins, they play a little bit larger, of course the downside of the Andrus Pins is that you need to find them used as they haven’t been made for a long time.
I’m glad I have Shrapnel and while I may not use it as much as the Andrus Pins, it’s great to have another option that’s still available!