Always Learning

Last week in the green room when Jeremy Schafer, who is a juggler and also an origami master asked me if I wanted to learn how to make an origami model. Of course I said yes, and I was already learning, I didn’t know that the origami you make is called “models”.

jeremy schafer origami

I was his test folder for an original origami model of his. Here’s his tutorial for how to make the Heptagonal Box with Lid and I make an appearance at the end

Whenever you have the opportunity to learn from someone who is an expert, do it!


Clean Your Gear!

One of the things about working a lot is you see your gear a lot and how dirty your stuff gets sneaks up on you. I try to give all of my gear a good cleaning at the end of every run. One thing that I missed was my microphone windscreen. It’s probably been a month or so since I replaced it.

It’s pretty gross!

Then there’s my shoes, I wipe them down every day. Here’s them at the end of a 6 day fair run:

They get a good cleaning at the end of the run. If I didn’t give them a quick clean everyday, they would get crazy gross and the deep clean a the end of the week gets them ready for the next contract!

…so the moral of the story is clean everything, not just the show props!


The Moisture Festival Podcast – Dr Owl

This week Matt takes the week off and Louie does a solo interview with Dr Owl Jester! They meet up in a dressing room at the Evergreen State fair where they both were performing.

In this podcast we learn about what kind of doctor Dr. Owl Jester is and the interesting places that the doctoring has taken him. We chat about how how he got into performing and doing just about ever job possible at the moisture festival from security, to lights to performing onstage!

Here’s a Joke For You…

One of the things I hate is when people tell me they “have a joke that I can use in my act“, then proceed to tell the me the lamest, street joke. I always let them tell it to me, and laugh to be polite, but it’s never a good or original joke.

I recently had a musician working the same event as I was “give” me this joke:
You show a beer and say, “I’m going to make this beer disappear” then you drink the beer. It’s a stupid joke because everyone gets to the punchline before you can deliver, that and the payoff isn’t that good. I’m sure some hack comedy magicians will tell me they kill with that gag, and if they actually do, good for them.

ever filling glass magic trick

One of the reasons I always let the person tell me the joke is you never know what it will spark in your brain. The joke made me think of the old Ever Filling Glass. If you’re not familiar with this, it’s a glass that you drink from and then it’s full again.

Here’s a demo video of it I found:

If you pared that trick with joke, you might have something that has a magical pay out.

You show the glass and a handkerchief. Say “the beer will disappear” and cover it with the handkerchief. Pretend to drink the beer from under the handkerchief and then show the cup almost empty. You then recover the glass, say, “it’s going to reappear…now!” and whisk the handkerchief away to show it’s now full again!

I think this would also work with Mago Murphy’s Appearing Beer Trick, you’d just have to work it slightly differently, starting with the full beer and stealing the gimmick while you pretend to drink it.

I don’t think I’ll ever do this, but it’s an idea…


Street Show Table…

Well, I think I’ve finally accepted that virtual shows aren’t really a part of my business any longer. Sure, I can see one or two occasionally popping up, but they are really in my rear view mirror. Before heading out on the road last week, I disassembled my virtual show table and it returned to its former life as my street show table.

street show buskers magic table

I still have all the parts and can easily rebuild it for virtual shows. One of the things that I really liked about the table was how high it was. The base was a speaker stand, and the table was about armpit height. The reason it was soo high was so that I could easily frame my face and the tabletop in the camera frame.

I’m a little sad to see the virtual show go, it was fun to do.


Magic Promo Video Question

In a facebook magic group someone asked this question:

magic promo video question

The problem the person has is really a non-issue. Who really cares if a video editor knows how a trick works? They are someone you have hired to help you. It’s like having a topit sewn into your jacket, if the person doing the sewing knows you have a secret pocket, does it matter?

No it doesn’t.

Another when hiring someone to work on a video for you or for when you work on TV, let them know what to not record or what to be aware of. I was lucky my first local TV show that I was on, the director worked on one of Siegfried and Roy‘s videos and he asked me if there were any bad angles or things he should be aware of to not show. That taught me it’s better to be proactive and tell them what not to show than try to figure it out in the moment when you know the camera is in the wrong spot.


Leo Smetser’s Shell Game Set

leo smetsers three shell game

A couple of weeks ago someone asked me what shell game set I used and why I preferred that set. My working set is Leo Smetser’s Three Shell Game Set.

There’s a lot that I like about his set, but the number on thing is that it’s so easy to carry in my pocket. The trick all fits into it’s metal case which doubles as the “shotglass” that’s used in most routines to double cover the pea.

Here’s a little video I made to tell you why I like this set:

For the pea, I don’t use Leo’s sponge peas. I use the Perfect Pea from School For Scoundrels. That’s by far my preferred pea to use with every set of shells.


Street Show Props…

A couple of weeks ago, I was loading my street show into the dressing/storage/green room at a fair and had all my gear laid out before packing it into it’s cart.

street magic show

That’s my street show. There’s not much to it. I have a shoebox with close up magic, but 90% of the time I don’t do any of that aside from the card trick that’s my initial crowd build. I’m not sure why I travel with the close up magic anymore, I think it’s my mental security blanket in case I can’t stop more than two people.


Roving and Stage Highlights…

Here’s the highlight reel of my shows at a fair last week!

You’ll notice the peeling off the center of a card trick in there. I’m really liking the trick and starting to think that I don’t necessarily need to custom print anything, and that I can use what currently exists to do the trick. One of the cool things about doing roving at a fair, you can do a trick hundreds of times in a short amount of time. You learn if something works or not very quickly!


Ring and Rope…

After a street show at a fair a guy asked if he could show me a trick. I always try to say “yes” when people ask me. This guy took a piece of rope that was leftover from my show, and his wife’s ring and made the ring end up in a knot in the middle of the rope!

ring and rope magic trick

I’m familiar with the trick, but it’s the first time that I’ve been shown it from someone in the audience! I know I’ve posted this before, but people’s magic trick that they show me have gotten much better the last couple of years!