Virtual Magic Lectures!

One thing that I’ve been doing are virtual lectures for magic clubs. It’s really a good medium for what I do as I can show video clips of how things actually play, versus how things play for a room of magicians out of context from a real show. The vibe of a lecture is something that’s very different from a show, and when doing the tricks, it’s hard to capture the same energy, so showing the video clips really helps me out!

One of the advantages to doing the lecture from home is that I have soo much stuff within an arm’s reach. If someone asks a question about a trick/prop/routine that I wasn’t planning on talking about, usually I can quickly grab it. With an in person lecture, I’m limited to what I brought with me.

Here’s some feedback from last week’s lecture:

Currently I’m doing these to raise money for the IBM Endowment Fund. The magic club that hosts the lecture makes a donation to the fund in place of my fee.

If your magic club is looking for a lecture…shoot me a note!

Spreading Stuart Gordon…

In yesterday’s blog post I mentioned the Stuart Gordon Double Turnover and that you should learn it, even if you never do it in a show. I think knowing different double lifts is handy so that when you do need one you can vary your technique or choose the right one for the situation. That goes with most sleight of hand, knowing different ways to accomplish the same action makes you a much better artist.

Recently I’ve been playing with the action of the Stuart Gordon Double Turnover, but not as a double turnover, but as a display of two cards. In the action of displaying and fanning the cards I’m able to hide a card. Technically it’s a three as two display in a fan.

The problem I had with it was besides it being very “knacky” it really didn’t provide an advantage over existing moves. I was jamming with Jonathan Friedman and Chris Beason and showed them the move. We really couldn’t come up with much besides using it to switch one or two cards. There are a lot of better ways to switch a card or two.

I kept playing with it and worked out a sequence for the move. Here’s a rough version of it, it’s pretty clunky and I’ve cleaned up the final get ready since I made this video.

Here’s the routine:

I’m not sure that a two card simultaneous ambitious card is better than with a single card, but it gives the move a purpose.

Virtual Chompers!

Over the summer I did a few shows that were socially distant, no contact, masked, outdoor shows for younger kids. One of the things that really helped carry the show was the Remote Control Chatting Teeth that I had made a few years ago. I’ve only used these in live, in person shows…until a few nights ago!

I added them as a gag during my Cee Lo cup and dice routine, here’s how it played:

It played really well! I was worried that it wouldn’t translate over video, but the kids reacted to it just like a live show! I’m not sure that the gag belongs in the cup and dice routine, it worked there, but there’s probably a better place. I think I’m going to keep them within arm’s reach for all of my virtual kid/family magic shows

I’ve added these to my online shop at:

Inner Thoughts…

One of the things I like about doing virtual shows is that I can do stuff in my show that I couldn’t possibly do in an in person magic show. I also think that’s one of the key things to doing a virtual show is having elements that separate it from your in person magic show.

I do a little bit with thought bubbles in my virtual show, that really wouldn’t play at an in person show with physical signs for the thought bubbles.

When I hopefully return to doing mostly in person shows, I’m going to miss some of things that I could do in virtual shows.

Moving Downstairs…

Last week I moved my show downstairs from the office to the living room. The main reason was I had daytime shows and I share an office with my wife. It turns out I prefer doing the show in the living room, it’s a lot less cramped than in the office. While I don’t use the extra space, it’s nice to not feel confined.

I’ve also been tweaking my set up and I added a formal holder for my ipad. It’s a holder that connects to camera tripod. Before I just taped it to the camera’s tripod. I really like this holder, it’s much easier to set up and take down, also it’s a lot more versatile with the placement in the room.

For me when creating a virtual show’s studio I acquire things as needed. Some people would find a list of things and buy the whole list. I don’t like that approach, as you’ll end up with things you don’t need. I wait till I have or forsee a need then fill it. This seems to work well for me, your results may vary.

My Side…

One thing that I’ve always enjoyed is seeing people’s set up inside their cases and tables. We all have fairly unique ways of solving logistical problems. A few days ago I posted about the shelf that I added to my table. Here’s my view of how my props are set up:

I’m really liking the shelf under the table. Today I’m going to look into adding some casters to the bottom of the table so it’s easier to move in and out of position. I’m not sure if that would make the table want to roll around during s something like the shell game. It looks like I can get a set of casters for about $10, so I’ll give it a try…

Is it Worth it?

After yesterday’s post about the offensive magic routine, it made me wonder why magicians fight so hard for things that have aged out of being acceptable.
Is it that they fear having to learn something new?

Honestly I don’t know.

Ray Franklyn continues to blow my mind with his defense of how he presents this magic trick. He asked me to tell him what I felt was offensive. Here’s a screenshot (Franklyn is his “stage last name”):

Ray Franklyn Magic show

His casual use of “Chinaman” shows how out of touch he is. Is he intentionally being offensive or racist, or does he not know better?

Honestly, I do not think he is intentionally trying to be offensive or racist…HOWEVER I do think that he’s unwilling to learn that it’s no longer 1960 and what may have been acceptable to say then, is not now.

Change is hard.

I struggle with keeping up with the times in my show. I also push boundaries in my show, however in the last 20 years I’m very aware those boundaries have changed. I also push boundaries with a personal point of view, not simply rehashing an Ian Adair trick that’s been done before.

Simple Virtual Set Up…

Sometimes I’m doing a quick virtual show spot and it doesn’t really need much set up. For this short spot, I did a simple set up:

It’s a light, camera, mic and an iPad that’s set up as a second screen for my laptop. Not much extra was needed for this gig, and I was just dealing with hand held props.

The softbox light was a great addition to my home studio. It’s super bright and does a great job lighting up my small space. I like it a lot more than the panel LED’s I had been using.

Doing the Full Act…

I got a last minute gig for today doing my full flea circus. I’ve done a greatest hits of the flea circus in some virtual shows, but not the full show. I haven’t really done it in almost exactly a year. A couple of days ago I pulled the props out of the shed and fixed what needed to be repaired. I was amazed that it was in pretty good shape. Normally I have two seasons I do it, summer and two weeks in December. It feels like I usually do a lot of work on it at the begging of each of those seasons.

Here’s it set up after a couple of glue applications:

I also recently picked up a new webcam and I set it up on a tripod that’s at the floor of the circus. I think it’s an interesting view of the flea circus.

Seeing the flea circus from the “ground level” is something that I can’t do in an in perons show. Here’s me playing with the fire breathing flea:

I’m a fan of the low camera. I’m going to use it for a couple of high flea tricks like the trapeze. I like the texture that using this gives me!

Keepin’ It Real…

Somehow I stumbled up a Hallmark movie that had some magic in it. It’s called the Christmas House. Magic is a big plot line in the movie, and there’s magic sprinkled throughout the movie.

Turns out the magic consultant was a someone I knew. Jason Verners did a great job with the magic tricks being actual magic tricks…or at least magic tricks that are possible. Soo many shows or movie simply make it up, and that’s fine, but I think it’s way more realistic when the tricks have some basis in reality.