Mr Smiley gets a hat

With COVID restrictions loosening up, we were able to get in a little magic jam session!

One of the things that we were playing with was some little hats that I found that are being sold as novelty thumb warmers. We combined it with Jonathan Friedman’s Mr Smiley Face trick and here’s the result:

It’s a fun little trick. It’s not the best trick in the world, but a fun little thing.

Three Coin Con…

My whole life I’ve been fascinated by monte type effects. When I was a teenager I had a trick called Three Coin Con by Eddie Gibson. It was a shell game style routine that used three coins (one was a different color than the other two) and three identical covers. Here’s Paul Daniels doing it:

The trick is a bit of a fooler, it’s got some great magical moments along with the “monte” presentational hook.

The set I had as a kid has long been lost, and recently I’ve been searching for a set. Up until about a week ago, I could only find them in European coins, but I just found a set on ebay and very excited to start doing it again! I’ve got a 8 day run at a fair in about a week, hopefully with a bit of dedicated practice I can start doing it there!

Mixed Feelings…

Sometimes I see a magic trick and I don’t know how I feel about it. The routine below is one of them, I’ll let you watch it first:

First of all, let me say that I am not the demographic he’s going for, so factor that into my opinion of it.

Here’s what it has going for it, it’s 100% on message. All of the props are themed and it doesn’t veer away from the message. If I was booking for a large religious event, I would definitely consider this. It’s big and fills the stage.

What I personally don’t like is his almost animatronic performance of it. The clip may be taken out of context, so there may be a reason why he’s doing it like that. In my opinion there’s nothing real happening, he’s not trying to connect with me. It could be a movie on a screen, not a live performance. Once again, it’s out of context and maybe that’s what it’s for.

I love seeing things that make me think about what I like or don’t like in a performance. It makes me look at my show with a more critical eye.

Reverse Three Card Monte

About six month ago I came across a principle that would allow me to do a reverse three card monte, or I guess it’s technically a divination effect. I rip off three corners of a playing card, so two have indexes and one doesn’t. They are mixed up by a spectator with my back turned and I always know where the odd one is (non index corner). It’s a good puzzle, but not a good trick. It’s missing a lot, mostly an ending. I think it’s a good 3 am magic trick at a magician’s convention.

Here’s me doing it for another magician:

I’m not sure what I want to do with this. I’ve put some energy into trying to make it more than “you mix them and I tell you which one it is“, however I’m thinking that might be what it’s destined to be.

The Great Carazini

The other day my friend and great magician Terry Godfrey shared a video of The Great Carazini on his social media. There’s a lot I really love about this, but first here’s the video:

The act is well done and ad clearly something he’s done before. It’s character driven and doesn’t use a lot big props. The props he uses would play in a big theater or smaller cabaret. If he was doing multiple cabaret shows in a night, he could easily be popping around down with it as the set up is pretty minimal. For thing that had more set up (like the silks from mouth) he could have multiples set up.

The big thing is that the entire act frames his face. The act is about him and how he reacts to the strange things that happen. The whole act is great, I love it!

Coins To Glass Lecture…

Recently I did a virtual lecture for a magic club in Wisconsin and one of my favorite parts of the lectures is at the end when I do stuff that’s not normally in the lecture. One of the things I did was my Coins To Glass:

It is my great platform for me to talk about fixing tricks you like, but are broken. What I mean by that is the original Copentro trick. It’s a great trick, but that base doesn’t really work with modern standards of what magic props look like. Sure you could come up with a reason to justify the base, but it still looks strange. My method was used to completely eliminate the need for a the thick base, as the coins don’t move vertically.

What’s great about show and teaching this routine to magicians is it really illustrates how I think. How I won’t stop at the original idea (usually), and will keep pushing it until I figure it out. Also that I’m open to suggestions from other performers.

Magical Mixology – Mint Julep

Last week I was hired to do a magical mixology video for a Kentucky Derby themed event. They wanted to have me make Mint Julep, here’s what I ended up sending them:

The hardest thing was making the mint jump at the end. By the time I finally nailed that, it was later in the day and the mint was super wilty. Sometimes good enough has to be good enough!

Max and Salli Hapner…

Last week I bought a vanishing birdcage on ebay (apparently I collect cages now?) from a seller that wasn’t a magician. I’ll talk a bit more about the cage in another post when I get a chance to do some research on it, but it’s a less common one. The seller included this Doug Henning autographed Playbill in the box that came with the cage:

I’m assuming the Max and Salli it’s signed to are Max and Salli Hapner. I’m not very familiar with their work, but remember seeing them on the cover of a couple of magic magazines, or mentioned in them. From my research this week, Max had a collection of Vanishing Birdcages, so it would make sense that the autograph coming with the cage would reinforce the idea that the autograph was to the Hapners.

It appears Max passed about 10 years ago, and I only found one video of him online, which is him doing The Multiplying Bottles for Stevens Magic Emporium:

One of the fun things about knowing some magic history is that I was immediately able to connect the name on the program to the magic act. One the cover of the Genii Magazine above they are doing their bubble appearance, which according some of the people I’ve talked to the last week was a really amazing trick!

Empty Theaters…

Next week I’m performing at the Auburn Ave Theater and the other day I found out on the news there’s some changes about the show:

It’s kinda surreal to get texts about changes to my show from friends who saw a news article about it that used my picture!

Personally I don’t care if I’m performing for 25% or 50% capacity, I’m going to give the best show that I can under the conditions that I’m given. Sure it will be strange performing to a nearly empty venue with everyone spaced out, but we’ll have some fun regardless!

Ideas Anytime…

Whenever I get an idea for a magic trick, I try to take some sort of action immediately. Sometimes this is simply writing down the idea, sometimes this is trying to actually work out the idea. Yesterday I was making breakfast for the family and was cracking an egg and had an idea for this:

It started with me thinking, “I wonder if you could do spellbound with an egg…” which is better than a coin for a couple of reasons. One, it’s a natural thing that people have seen (white and brown egg), most people have not seen a copper coin that’s the size of a half dollar or silver dollar…also most younger people haven’t really see or handles a half dollar or silver dollar. While those two coins are real objects, they are still unfamiliar objects, where an egg very commonplace. The second reason is that there’s a perception of eggs being fragile, thus harder to manipulate (or gimmick).

I’ll need to tweak it a little bit, but after trying it once, I think it’ll be a good trick!