Sometimes I don’t take my own advice and I regret it. I tell people always use a mic when doing a show for a group. Yesterday I did a summer day camp show for a smallish group and it was indoors. I intentionally didn’t pack my sound system as I didn’t think it was necessary. When I got there, they were a group that was all masked, so I did the show masked.
When you’re masked you lose a lot of the power of your voice when speaking to a group. Also you spend a lot of energy pushing your voice through the mask to project it out to the audience.
Today I have another summer day camp and I’m packing my sound system in case they are also a facility that still requires masking. I should have packed the sound system yesterday anyway and left it in the car if not needed. I was being lazy and it ended up being a bad idea.
For some reason I’ve always wanted a Chair To Suitcase. This is simply a chair that folds up into suitcase and was popularized in the USA by Horace Goldin in the 1930’s. I’m not sure why I want one, or what they heck I’d do with it. Recently I had a chance to buy one and now I own one.
Here it is as a chair:
And here it is as a suitcase:
This particular one will hold my weight if I sit on it, but I really don’t think it necessary. I think if I used it, it’s be something that held my props, like a makeshift table. For something like a cabaret show or when doing a short set it may be useable. I have a feeling it’s something that will just kick around for a while and I’ll either figure out a use for it, or eventually sell it.
A couple of months ago I had a garage sale find of a lot of vintage magic. I sold most of the props a few weeks ago. I kinda regretted selling the spirit bell that was part of that find. Well, the magic gods led me to another spirit bell! This one belonged to John Pomeroy whose company was GEM magic.
This one is a little bit bigger than the previous one that I had, it’s also heavier. The nice thing is that I have an extra glass bell. This one doesn’t have a stand, but it does have the wand that makes it ring.
The wand on this one has a better design than on the other one. The previous one had a button you pressed, where this one has a button you slide. The sliding action is more ergonomic and makes your hand move less when the bell rings.
Life is funny sometimes, I’ve never seen a spirit bell in person, and in the span of four months, I’ve owned two different ones!
A long time ago I was chatting with Nick Lewin and we were talking about the Ambitious Card. He said it was the “greatest card trick ever” and I agree with him! With the base effect, you put a card in the middle and it’s instantly on top. Very easy to follow. I do think that most modern versions are really multiple revelations of a selected card, as it’s more than the card simply jumping to the top.
A couple of weeks ago I started doing the ambitious card from a spread. Here’s what it looks like:
When I do it there are two phases, the first I push the card in and in the second they do. That gives it a sense of build. I like getting to play a little bit with having them move their finger along the spread of cards.
I’m liking doing it this way when I have a table. It doesn’t play the same with the cards spread in my hand. I think it’s because with the cards in my hand, it feels less impossible.
Last week on Friday after I finished up performing I drove up to the Magic Garage with Dennis Forel. I always have a blast there, and Will is awesome for hosting this every week!
One of the fun things for me at the Magic Garage is meeting people I’ve only known online. It was great to hang out with Dan Chan! He’s the reason I sell my Russian Shell Game trick. He saw a video of it and asked me if I’d make him a set. Honestly, I was surprised that anyone would want a set, it’s something I’ve always wanted, so I made the first set for me. Dan was the person that made me realize that other people might be interested in that trick!
If you’re in the Bay Area on a Friday night and know someone who can get you an invite, I highly recommend going, it’s a BLAST!
The Moisture Festival Podcast records on location at Hale’s Ales and we get to talk with the amazing Leah Papernick. Leah gives us a glimpse into all the different roles people play to make the Moisture Festival successful.
We learn that she has worked as a performer, stage tech, greeter, covid tester and has done just about everything there is to do at the fest. We also discuss her work as an actor and learn about British Panto. A super awesome conversation with a fantastic human being.
A couple of days ago I wrote about there being two kinds of Nielson Latex Canaries and that I prefer the lighter color as it’s thinner. The reason is that it’s a thinner latex. If it happens to stick out of the cage during the vanish it doesn’t really hang up on your sleeve. Here’s what the cage looked like after I pulled it out of my sleeve yesterday:
When I noticed that I made a quick video to explain the difference:
While the difference in the firmness of the latex isn’t much, one thing I’ve learned about the cage is that a lot of small things that end up making a huge difference! -Louie
A while ago when I performed at the Moisture Festival I was in shows with Mike Caveney and Tina Lenert. Tina has an amazing act (read about it here) and so does Mike.
Backstage I was talking to Mike about how he got into writing magic books. He was asked to write a book by Bernard Bilis called French Pasteboards. There’s a really cool move in that book called the Bilis Spread. This is a one handed display of three cards, but you really have four cards.
When Mike mentioned that book, I told him I learned to do the Bilis Spread when I was a teenager and he commented that I’m probably the only other person that does the move (aside from Bernard Bilis).
Personally I love little booklets like this, they tend to be overlooked and usually have some fun little nuggets in them! -Louie
I’m just wrapping up run of 8 days of shows using the Riser/Summers Baby Lindy Vanishing Birdcage. This is the first long run of shows that I’ve done using the cage. First of all, this cage has really no break in time, it’s good to go right out of the box and for me it’s the perfect amount of rigidity.
I use a Nielsen rubber canary in my cage, and currently the Riser/Summers cage comes with one, which is nice. I’ve noticed that there are two types of the canaries that Nielsen has put out over the years. One of them is a lighter yellow and one is a brighter yellow. The lighter yellow one is a thinner latex than the brighter yellow one. I prefer the lighter one inside of my cage as it collapses much flatter and if any of it is sticking out of the cage, it doesn’t really provide any resistance if it catches on my sleeve.
This cage works perfectly with my Take Up Reel, so I’m able to close the show with it. The other thing that’s great about this cage’s size is that I’m able to bend my elbow with it all the way up my sleeve, making the motions of my arm much more natural feeling (at least to me) after the vanish.
I’m having a great time with this cage and if you’re in the market for a cage, I recommend the Riser/Summers Baby Lindy Vanishing Birdcage! -Louie
The Linking Safety Pins has been one of my favorite tricks for years. One of things that I do are two phases where the pins are totally out of my hands and someone from the audience links or unlinks them. However my favorite part is the final unlink where I pull the pin through the pin that they are holding.
What draws me to this trick is the simplicity of it. It uses two large safety pins. Everyone knows what they are, they can be examined before and after the trick. Also they take up virtually no space in my pocket.
The downside is that the good oversized linking pins haven’t been made for a long time, so they have to be found on the used magic market. There were soo many sold, they frequently pop up and I’m always buying them whenever I find them. If you’ve never done the linking pins, the trick Shrapnel which is currently available is a good routine and it uses more standard size safety pins and worth looking into.