I’ve been playing with adding remote controls to things recently. The company that I get the remote controls for my Remote Control Chattering Teeth had send me the wrong ones a while ago, and instead of sending them back, I decided to keep them in case I needed them for another project.
Here’s the most recent thing that I’ve made:
The idea is that the bell is rung by the corded button. However I can also secretly ring the bell via the remote control.
Some ideas for routines to use this to add comedy to are:
Having someone ring it when a trick happens. This would probably be better for a juggling style trick.
When doing a timed trick, like an escape.
When someone does something. For example, you need a kid to stay standing on a spot, and you if they move someone is supposed to ring the bell.
Those are all routines that you could very easily add the bell into. It’s the sort of thing that can turn a 2 minute trick into a 5 minute trick. For an example of this style of trick, look into my Order Up routine from Vanish Magazine #43. It’s the Cube Libre magic trick, but I added a bell and I used a sound effect on my PA to make the ring, but it played really well.
When I’m out performing, I try to be aware of ways that I can help solve problems. Last week at the fair I was at, as I was walking across the fairgrounds before the fair opened, I noticed they had huge lines of kids outside the gate waiting to get in. There were just standing there, so I grabbed some props and went over and did a quick show for them.
This was simply me noticing a place where I could use my skills to help out. Doing this wasn’t in my contract and no one would have noticed if I didn’t do it, and I don’t know (or care) if anyone in administration noticed that I did do it. It was simply a way for me to use my skills to make some people smile. That’s why I got into performing, and it’s also how I know I still love what I do! -Louie
What’s wrong with some people. This was posted in a magicians group on Facebook:
I hope that the guy was just trolling and not serious. It’s insanely unethical, it’s like busking for tips in a hotel lobby or inside the gate at Disneyland.
Here’s my replies:
As for consequences, the cruise line can absolutely ask you to stop. If you don’t, they can disembark you any port. The bigger picture is that at the end of the every cruise passengers fill out comment cards and rate things like the entertainment. There could be some confusion as to whether or not the magician who decides to busk works for the cruise line, in which case they may mark the magician down or leave negative comments about the magician hustling tips. This isn’t good for the guy who got hired to work there.
If you’ve ever thought of doing this…don’t. -Louie
Sometimes I end up watching magic videos on the internet and I’m not quite sure how I ended up on a video. I found of video of someone dressed as Elmo doing a magic show at a school:
I’m not sure who thought this was a good idea. Was it the school that wanted Elmo or the performer that pitched it? You get the initial reaction when Elmo walks in, but then it quickly turns into kids crying. Just because a booker wants something, it doesn’t mean you need to give it to them.
Based on the props set up in the video, it looks like they were doing a show, not just a short bit. I’m very curious how the perform kept any sort of control?
Also besides what looks like some copyright infringement, the Elmo character has a “character” associated with it, and I don’t think it’s pulling chickens out of a bag. Once again, just because there’s a paycheck, it doesn’t mean you need to do the gig! -Louie
P.S. the video posted above is something that is publicly available on YouTube with sharing enabled. It’s being used to promote a show, so it’s fair game for me to comment on. I didn’t secretly record this, someone thought it was a good way to show what they do for potential buyers.
One of the things that a lot of magicians use are magic tricks that use electronics. They are fun and you can do a lot of really impossible things with them, but the hard part is finding an “out” if the electronics fail. And they will fail at some point if you are out there working.
In my show I use a Rubik’s Cube that a special something inside and if that ever fails, in most routines you’re really screwed. Awhile ago I 3D printed a box for it, so if it does fail, I can use the box like the old color vision box. The color vision trick is a pretty good trick on it’s own, so having that as my back up method isn’t the worst out in the world.
I’ve been using the 3d printed box for a little over a year and wore it out!
I think a combination of me working outside a lot in the heat and it just getting banged around during travel shortened the box’s life. Luckily with 3d printing, it’s a very quick and easy fix. I just hit a couple of buttons and I had a new one with virtually no effort on my part!
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!