Impromptu show

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.

hoop and glass juggling trick

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

Repairing Props…

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.

color vision box magic mentalism trick

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!

Free Snax!

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.

-Louie

Get with the times…

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.

Get with the times…

-Louie

Anthony Hernandez and Dawn!

Last week I worked with Anthony Hernandez and Dawn in California. We instantly clicked and I had a blast chatting with them!

anthony hernandez and dawn magic show

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!

-Louie

Cinco De Mayo Trick…

Yesterday I posted about a way to force a fork that used spelling to work the force. Today being Cinco De Mayo, here’s a spelling force that uses that.

cinco de mayo magic trick

Honestly, I’ll probably never do this, so feel free to do what you want with it.
-Louie

Impromptu Magic Idea…

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.

-Louie

Unsigned Cards…

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.

-Louie

In a Puff of Smoke…

If you read this blog, you’ve noticed I reference Gary Oulette every now and then. His Fulminations column in Genii Magazine when I was a teenager had many things that stuck with me, like always producing the card a second time from your wallet.

in a puff of smoke by gary oulette

He put out a manuscript called In a Puff of Smoke which had his system for creating smoke from the hands. This was supposedly used by David Copperfield in the 1990’s in this torn and restored baseball card.

I finally came across the one of the manuscripts at a reasonable price. It’s not a trick I’ll ever do, especially in the over 30 years since he put it out the technology for making smoke has greatly improved.

What I do find interesting is his thought process for putting the gimmick together and making it work. Especially using 1991 (or earlier) technology. I sometimes wonder what crazy stuff Gary Oulette would be putting out now if he was still alive? He was definitely someone who figured out how to make an idea happen!

-Louie

Playing With Others…

Working on the road at fairs allows me two work with all sorts of acts. Last week I worked with Scotty and Rich and Orion. They are all variety acts and with very different styles!

One of the great things is chatting ideas with these different acts. Everyone comes at it with a different background and preferences as to how a show should be done. Talking to other acts and getting feedback often will show you things in your show you didn’t see or thing of.

If you work with other acts, talk to them and use them to help you grow!
-Louie