Coinistry!!!

The other day after the magic garage sale and we went out to jam at a local bar, we were talking about coin tricks. I brought up the Perpetual Motion Coin Myth from Paul Harris’s books. This is a coin flourish where you hold a coin sideways between two other coins and get the center coin to spin.

I’ve never seen or met anyone who could do it, but we started playing with it and now I’ve done it and seen it done!

That got me thinking, the next branch of magic is going to be COINISTRY! That would be fancy flourishes with coins! Start practicing now!

Back at the Home…

It’s been a while since I’ve performed a show at a retirement community. I just did one and they’ve been trying to get me in for a couple of years and our schedules finally lined up and then COVID happened. As restrictions in my state have been fluctuating, we’ve been trying to schedule and it finally happened!

When I did the show, there still was one COVID compliance thing I had to do, and that was wear a mask the whole show. That makes doing the show very challenging, but I managed to make my way through it. I always forget how much facial expression I use until I make the face and realized no one can see it under the mask!

June has been a month of learning how to do the show within remaining COVID restrictions and I’m hoping that with the west coast basically being reopened by the end of the month, I won’t need to use these skills I’ve been building anymore!

Also, if you’re interested in working for senior communities, check out my book, How To Perform For Seniors

Interactive Coin Magic

Yesterday’s post I wrote about someone looking for interactive coin magic. Seeing their post, I created an original trick that would fit their requirements. It’s a coin trick, it’s interactive, in that everyone could follow along from home and it has a magical payout. It’s a “touch the screen” type effect, but the magic ending takes it beyond a math puzzle.

here’s how the effect plays, you have three pieces of paper, one has coins written on it, one credit and the final bills:

Someone touches one of the pieces of paper. They spell the word on it, jumping one space per letter.

You tell the you know they aren’t on the word “Bills” so you eliminate that one and throw that piece of paper away.

Now they spell money (starting on the word they ended on), jumping one space per letter.

You tell them you know they aren’t on the Credit, that means they picked the Coins! You then pick up the paper with coins written on it, light it on fire and produce coins!

In my head this coin production would look like this Tommy Wonder picture:

There you go and original, interactive magic trick that had a magical payoff!

While I personally don’t like the the “touch the screen” type effects, I do think that knowing them and understanding how they work make you a more well rounded magician. It’s just another tool in your toolbox that will help you solve a problem.

Interactive Virtual Magic…

A few days ago this post came through my social media feed:

The huge thing is the original poster didn’t define what they meant by “interactive”, it leaves a lot up to interpretation. Do them mean that they interact with people verbally, or is it a Touch The Screen type effect?

The next poster tries to get clarification:

My assertion that any trick can be interactive with a bit of thought, seem a bit outlandish, so they gave me a challenge of a trick that based on how the instructions are written, you really shouldn’t be able to do it virtually.

However I immediately knew how to make it interactive:

I stand by my assertion that any trick can be “interactive” in a virtual show if you put some brain power on the problem, instead of blindly doing what everyone else is doing.

Best Levitation…

This came across my Facebook feed today, it’s probably the best stage levitation I’ve ever seen! Turn on the sound and watch the video:

There are several things that make this great. First of all it’s well performed. Next it starts with a very relatable premise, which isn’t floating, but flying and it does it in a very relatable way…fans. The fans give it “process” that’s missing in so many magic show levitations. Showing some sort of “process” is big in mentalism, but not soo much in magic. Also probably every at some point in time has floated something with a fan, or even been floated by a fan at one of the indoor skydiving place, so it gives people a point of reference.

One thing this doesn’t do is waste time with proving there are no wires. I’m aware that this isn’t performed in a magic show, so proving there are not wires isn’t the issue. It makes me wonder if the hoop is necessary in a magic show?

Working On It…

A couple of weeks ago I got to do my Polaroid Trick for an in person audience. I did it using video projection and it played well. Here’s what it looked like:

Here’s my notes:

  • The lighting needs to be better. It cuts off my face.
  • Some light background music would help it.
  • 0:26 mark: hold for the laugh a little bit longer
  • 1:27 mark: freeze and stop moving during the applause
  • 1:47 mark: pause another beat or two between the vanish and reproduction of the picture
  • 1:52 mark: applause is starting and I step on it by going to my next line

So what I need to work on is mostly timing things, and letting effects and the reactions “marinade” a bit longer with the audience.

Alexa’s Card Trick…

Recently I started doing a trick over Zoom where I trigger the Amazon Echo / Alexa at the spectator’s house. It’s got a fun feel, because the trick happens at everyone’s house how has an Alexa that can hear it respond.

It started out with me figuring out you could get Alexa to reveal a specific playing card by asking, “Alexa, what’s your favorite playing card?” and it will say “Ace of Spades“. Most magicians know you can get a random playing card by asking it to “pick a card“, but being able to get a consistent card is helpful for a reveal.

That going me thinking about what else might be Alexa’s favorites. I started asking all sorts of questions starting with “Alexa, what’s your favorite…” and have a little bit of a list going. There’s a list on Reddit from about 3 years ago, and some of the answers have changed since then, but it will give you an idea of some of the things to ask. Something to remember it to test your results on other people’s Alexa’s before you roll out the trick. There are somethings that have variables, like when I ask, “Alexa, what’s your favorite season?” I get one answer and other people get a different answer.

OK, now that I had the reveal for the trick, I needed to come up with the trick. I’ll write about that tomorrow…

Adding Twists…

In a few months I’ll be doing some bits for the Kids Entertainer Fest which is a virtual online convention for family performers

I was asked to create some “filler” material and will be popping on throughout the convention to show and teach some quick tricks and stunts. I didn’t want to rehash old things that already exist. My goal is to create new things or some interesting twists on old tricks.

One of the things I started playing with making a troublewit out of a dollar bill:

If you don’t know, a troublewit is traditionally a giant sheet of paper that’s folded up to and twisted to make different shapes. Here’s Jay Marshall doing it:

The challenge from scaling down something that big to something very tiny is that it limits what you can do with it. The advantage of it being soo small is that it will allow me to do the magical kicker that I’m planning on doing with it, which is at the end revealing the one dollar bill has changed to a one hundred dollar bill!

Don’t Crowd Source Your Show…

I’m beginning to become an old man yelling at the kids to get off my lawn, but instead I’m yelling at magicians to stop crowdsourcing content on a Facebook groups. The people who do it are usually pretty lazy, and rarely reveal their work first or at all.

This was recently posted:

First of all, anyone who has a remotely original line isn’t going to give it up. But also the original poster didn’t give any context, he’s just trying to build a Milton Berle joke book in the thread. Unfortunately when you ask a garbage question you get garbage answers:

The person who posted the two jokes (?) isn’t the person who wrote them. That person essentially stole two jokes they’ve heard a magician say, then offered the stolen jokes to other magicians. First of all, neither is very funny and the first thing is kind of an @sshole thing to say to someone. It’s a very late 1980’s to early 1990’s stereotypical type thing a magician would say. It’s not modern, but more so it really doesn’t move most magician’s characters forward and that’s the bigger problem, most magicians don’t know who they are on stage, and how using sh*tty lines lines like this doesn’t move the ball forward for them.

It’s also this thinking that’s the reason why people think all magicians all tell the same jokes and do the same tricks. It’s because soo many do the same regurgitated crap. Go out and actually work on your show. Don’t know how? I wrote a post about it recently and you can read it here

Comedy Magic

About a week ago I did a little chat with Nick Lewin and Fielding West about performing comedy magic. It was a live Zoom chat and it was a lot of fun and the feedback was very positive. A few people have asked if it would be available afterwards. It looks like Nick has it as a download on his website www.lewinenterprises.com

If you missed it, here’s a little video teaser

One of the key takeaways from this talk is that most magicians that call themselves comedy magicians don’t understand comedy. You need to go out and learn to write jokes, and create comedy. There’s a real interesting moment in the talk where we create a joke to fill a spot in the show that’s just expository patter. Not only do we create the joke to fill an slow spot, we tweak it and add a tag to it!!

I was honored to be part of this panel and it was a lot of fun!