Years ago I started working on a trick that used a silk and coathanger. It’s never really found a place in my show. It’s missing something. Every now and then I play with it in my preshow and I did it in my evening show last week on the opening day of the fair I’m working at.
I got a bunch of emails from people I know that I was on one of The Carpetbagger‘s youtube videos.
What he showed was the first phase of a three phase routine. The routine is fun, but a pain to do outdoors due to the silk and wind. What I like and probably why he used that clip of my show is that it’s a short visual thing, that really doesn’t need any explanation. I think in a show you need some stuff like that. Things that are just eye candy. I like longer tricks with jokes, but if everything is 5-8 minute bits, you show is lacking a lot of texture.
One quote that soo many people like to say, which I dislike is
“A magician is an actor playing the part of a magician.”
Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin
The reason I don’t like the quote is usually who says it. It’s a lazy way to say you don’t like someone’s routine. Not all people who do magic tricks pretend to have magical powers. The people who quote the above are usually the same people that dislike card tricks.
Here’s fun Houdin quote I came across the other day:
Of all the marvels produced by Sleight-of-hand, card tricks are, beyond question, the most amusing, and the most generally appreciated.
Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin
You can’t have one quote and not the other. They came from the same person. I think I’m going to try to popularize this quote whenever people show their dislike for card tricks!
The Moisture Festival Podcast is on location in Berkeley California and is joined by the amazing Nancy Levidow. Those of you who know Nancy, know that she is such a cool, interesting and amazing person. For those of you who don’t, get ready to meet someone awesome.
Nancy tells us about how she got involved in the WELL which is the oldest online community in the world. She also tells us about how she worked as a private Investigator, how she became part of the famous Fighting Instruments of Karma Marching Band and her early performing days as a juggler. We had a great time getting to know Nancy and we know you will too.
The fair that I’m performing at has me staying at a rental house with a couple of other performers. There’s another magician and a couple of musicians. The magician asked about my Take Up Reel one night and I got it out and chatted with him about it. The musicians asked what it was, and I explained what it did. One them them wanted to me to show them the trick, so I grabbed a coat and did the vanishing bird cage.
This led to something very interesting. The musicians knew how the trick worked, but were blown away when I did the trick. They knew the cage went up my sleeve, but had not idea how that was possible. The had seen the gimmicks, and how they operated and they trick still fooled them.
So what’s the lesson?
You don’t need to be super protective of every little secret in things that you do. Some tricks will stand the test of still being a fooler when the audience knows how the trick works.
Day four began with me checking out Trino’s street show:
It was a fun show with some twists and turns in the effects. Then it was back to the high school to see Chad Long and David Williamson’s lecture:
David Williamson has a really cool stage size card trick he teaches in it!
After the lecture, there was a storm blowing in, so we went outside to pull canopies and things that shouldn’t be outside in a storm, just in time! As we were finishing, we had to pile into an RV and wait out the storm
We dried off in time to catch the evening show:
In the middle of the show, we could hear the rain pounding down on the roof of the gym. After the show I went out to check on my tent and the top of a garbage can had smashed it!
My tent poles were destroyed, so I decided to sleep in my car!
Today started with a walk down to Abbott’s shop where there was some vintage racist art on some props:
I think it’s time to pull these props off of display. I’m not necessarily saying to throw them away, but not having them on display for an asian family to see when they walk into the shop wouldn’t hurt.
That afternoon, I went on the graveyard tour which was hosted by Al The Only.
The tour was a lot of fun, and I highly recommend it!
We did the spaghetti dinner at the church:
The highlights of the dinner were Bill Cook playing the piano and Fielding West telling dirty jokes while Lance Burton scolded him for telling them in a church!
The evening show was great!
and then I finished the night at the American Legion hall with some late night jamming:
A couple of years ago I created a original (as far as I know) method for making a fork bend. The cool thing about it is I never touch the fork that bends. This came about when I was chatting with a mentalist about metal bending and asked a stupid question, “does anyone do a spoon straightening routine?” He said that a lot of the optical illusion parts of the method probably wouldn’t work as well with the bend going backwards.
That conversation put the thought in my head, and I ended up creating a method and publishing it in Vanish Magazine called The Perceptive Bend.
In the picture above you see the lady confirming the two forks are exactly the same before one of the forks bends in her hand. I think the method should be pretty obvious if you reread the first paragraph of this post, or you can track down Vanish Magazine issue 57 (I think it’s that issue).
I don’t normally do metal bending in my roving show, however I had a bunch of forks leftover from doing it virtual shows, I took them to the fair to use them up. After doing it live this week, I’m thinking of adding it to my roving at fairs. It gets a really good reaction, and I think I’ve finally figured out how it fits in with how I perform.
Today I start my run with World of Wonders side show in Minot, North Dakota! I’m performing with them from July 23rd to July 31st, 2021.
This is going to be a change from how I normally perform. Usually I am the fully show, where in this show, I’m doing two short bits that are separated (not back to back). This is a different style of performing than what I’m used to, there’s less time to get people to like you, it’s more about the trick than the person presenting the trick.
The two bits I’m doing are the Hoop and Cup balancing act and my Spoon Stunt. One thing I learned hosting a stage at a fair last week is that the spoon plays a lot better when it’s not the first thing you see me do. You need to like me a little bit and it will play a lot better.
I’m very excited to see how my two acts play over the next nine days!
It’s been a very unusual summer performing season for me. After having last year off, I’m only doing two library gigs, one was virtual that already happened and today I’m doing my only in person one. This one is booked through an agency instead of direct. I think in my career I’ve only done one other library that was through an agency.
When I was contacted the agent asked if I could do a show based on the library’s theme. I told the agent that I wasn’t doing a themed summer reading show this year as I’m not doing enough to make it worth it. I suggested I do my reading assembly show, the agent then countered with, just do your regular show and say themes slogan a couple of times. I told him to pitch the reading show, and the library booked that show.
The problem with people who come in and do their normal show and just say a slogan in it, they devalue all the people who put time into creating a custom show. The librarian will think that is what every magician does, when there are some people out there doing some really cool, custom shows for them.
I do understand that sometimes you gotta go in and take the cash, but that’s a one off thing. Don’t make a habit of doing it!