There’s a term going around magic which is called “every day carry” and it refers to what you always have in your pockets. Typically this means whenever you leave the house, it’s in your pockets or on your person. This refers to props that you would use for spontaneous performances. I’m intentionally not using the word impromptu because that usually refers to magic using things you find around you at that moment.
When I host shows, have planned material for known stage delays, like when an act has props or rigging that needs to be set up and I’m aware that I’ll need to kill time.
Then there are unplanned stage delays. These are when a performer isn’t ready, rigging is taking longer than expected, or whatever. For these situations, on my person I always have a a bunch of material on me that I can instantly perform. this is my MC EDC:
I have material of varying lengths and most of the longer routines, like the color changing silks can be broken up into two shorter routines if needed.
If you are thinking of doing any stage hosting, you really should consider having at least a couple of tricks in your pocket that you can use for unplanned stage delays!
Week two of the school assembly tour starts today, I was off on Monday due to the holiday. This show was written for elementary school audiences and is a language and literacy themed show.
On Friday of last week, at my second show of the day was for a small school, so they invited all grades, kindergarten through 12th grade! That’s a huge swing of kids. When I learned of the age range, I went to my car and grabbed my emergency show prop bag.
I took out the deck of cards and did ACAAN as the warm up and won over the high school kids.
One cool thing that I noticed was that elementary school aged kids were who the show was written for, it mostly works for high school aged kids. There’s some silly stuff that wouldn’t get laughs if I was doing it just the high school kids, but the every trick got a good reaction from the older kids. That means the magic in the show is strong!
This is something I’ve always said that a lot of kid shows are missing…strong magic!
Every show that I do, I write out a set list. This helps me with packing, set up and general planning, like not having similar effects back to back in the show.
Here’s a recent set list for a 60 min corporate holiday show:
I also have notes as to who to thank during the show. By the end of the show, I’ll probably won’t remember the names of anyone helping me out without a note.
I’m always amazed when I work with people that don’t use set lists. But those are usually people who don’t really have a set show and just go up and “wing it” every time. Personally I know my show, but the are many different configurations of the show, I’m not always doing 60 mins for adults, the show length and audience make up changes.
One trend in magic that I’ve noticed lately is that whenever someone puts out a new gimmick, or principle one of the routines they come up for it is an Any Card At Any Number. The problem with this is that none of these are truly an ACAAN. as there’s a limitation at some point. … Continue reading “ACAAN???”
One trend in magic that I’ve noticed lately is that whenever someone puts out a new gimmick, or principle one of the routines they come up for it is an Any Card At Any Number. The problem with this is that none of these are truly an ACAAN. as there’s a limitation at some point.
A good example is the Mental Dice that just came out. You are using the dice to get information, but unfortunately with 3 dice you can’t make any number between one and fifty two. You could use one die for the tens place and the other for the ones place, but that still won’t get you all the numbers from one to fifty two.
In the book Body Mentalism, which teaches a really cool technique for forcing a person, one of the effects is an ACAAN. Unfortunately it’s really an Any Card at Number, there’s not a free choice of number. It’s very limited, in this method. I’m all for brainstorming ideas and including them, but people need to stop passing off a Card at a Position as an Any Card At Any Number.
I may be a bit biased as I’m a fan of the ACAAN trick, and have done it on TV, my live show and published several variation of the trick. It’s one of those things that in my opinion have a very specific set of rules for it to be an ACAAN.
Yesterday’s blog post had a back up show set list that I would easily fit in my carry on luggage on an airplane. The next step is going to be to put those tricks into a set list for the show. There are a couple of tricks that are similar in effect, so I’ll have … Continue reading “Plan B Set List…”
Yesterday’s blog post had a back up show set list that I would easily fit in my carry on luggage on an airplane. The next step is going to be to put those tricks into a set list for the show. There are a couple of tricks that are similar in effect, so I’ll have to make sure I don’t put those back to back.
Here’s the list of the tricks from yesterday:
-ACAAN -Card to Pocket -Card Memorization -Blindfold drawing duplication -Book Test -Cue Card Confabulation -Coin Under Watch -Mismade bill -Color Changing Hank -Rubik’s Cube trick -Torn and Restored Newspaper
Right now I know by looking at this list, I’m going to open with ACAAN and close with Torn and Restored Newspaper. ACAAN is an amazing trick, and there’s a decent amount of action right out of the gate, and it uses person, but they don’t have to be on stage…they could be, but don’t have to. I’ve used the Torn and Restored Newspaper as a closer in the past, so I know it will work there.
Right after ACAAN I’m going to do the Book Test, followed by the Rubik’s Cube Trick. These are both tricks I’ve done in that order in the past as warm up for my show at Fairs, and they are a great combo back to back.
Next I’m going to do Coin Under Watch. It uses a person from the audience, and while I coin trick, I can make it play big. After that I’ll do a solo piece, which will be the Color Changing Hank. This has a lot of action, and a lot of jokes.
Now we’re going to get into a mentalism block. I’m going to do the Blindfold followed by my Cue Card Confabulation. The Blindfold routine I do let’s me play with the person from the audience and it’s a longer piece that hits hard! The Cue Card Confabulation is my own creation and it’s just me on stage talking to people in the audience, and it’s joke will build off the strength of the Blindfold routine. The confabulation routine ends with a great surprise!
Next up I’ll do Card to Pocket, the set up to the Card Memorization, the Mismade Bill and then the final part of the Card Memorization. I’m going to use the time during the Mismade Bill for the two people who will help me with the Card Memorization to sort the cards. That will eliminate some dead time.
I’ll play the Card Memorization as the end of the show, and do the Torn and Restored Newspaper as the forced encore with a, “you want to see one more” line. Here’s the set list:
ACAAN Book Test Rubik’s Cube Coin Under Watch Color Changing Handkerchief Blindfold Cue Card Confabulation Card To Pocket Card Memorization part 1 Mismade Bill Card Memorization part 2 Torn and Restored Newspaper
It’s a decent show, not the show I want to do, but it does look solid for an emergency show.
A couple weeks I performed at Wonderground in Las Vegas. This is a monthly magic/variety show put on by Jeff McBride. It’s a very fun show and if you get the chance, I highly recommend doing it! The one thing that stresses me out about this show is the close up, I’m fine with … Continue reading “Ambitious Card…”
A couple weeks I performed at Wonderground in Las Vegas. This is a monthly magic/variety show put on by Jeff McBride. It’s a very fun show and if you get the chance, I highly recommend doing it!
The one thing that stresses me out about this show is the close up, I’m fine with the stage show. It stresses me out because there aren’t a lot of original plots in my close up set, sure I have my own twists on things, but at it’s core it’s Ambitious Card.
About a week before I performed at Wondgeround I was visiting with Nick Lewin and we chatted about the close up stressing me out.
My concern was that the Ambitious Card was too common of a trick for the audience there. Not all of the audience there are magicians, however they are magic fans, so they’ve seen it. Nick commented that it’s the “greatest card trick” and I agree…that’s why it’s so common. The plot is simple and when done right it’s impossible!
I ended up doing a trick where someone feeds me marshmallows. It played well!
Personally I think there is one trick when done correctly that might be better than the Ambitious Card, and that is Any Card at Any Number. It’s got a simple plot:
Name a card, name a number, count down to that number and the card is there.
The problem with ACAAN is that is gets mucked up when people try to make it easier. They limit selections or use convoluted processes to make the trick work. Also what I think most of people who do this for a non-magician audience misses is repeating it. You need to do it twice.
So that’s my thoughts on the best and close second for card tricks.
When I’m out performing mingling magic (aka roving close up) I frequently throw something into my pocket that’s not part of my normal set. It could be a full trick, gimmick, prop, or whatever. A couple of nights ago I put a pair of blank dice in my pocket. Years ago I published a … Continue reading “Play Around…”
When I’m out performing mingling magic (aka roving close up) I frequently throw something into my pocket that’s not part of my normal set. It could be a full trick, gimmick, prop, or whatever.
A couple of nights ago I put a pair of blank dice in my pocket. Years ago I published a trick with blank dice in the Linking Ring Magazine. Basically the gist of it was someone selected a card. They rolled the blank dice, told you the number they rolled, and you dealt down the number they rolled. The selected card was at the number. This is based on an Eddie Fields trick that uses a name.
Here’s video from the first table I did it at the other night…it’s been years since I did the trick:
After I did the trick in the video above, I realized it needed another phase. For the next phase I added this trick that’s part of my normal card set, but using the “rolled” numbers instead of any number:
Now I’ve got a little routine…but it needed an ending. So I’m ending it with a third phase where they shuffle the cards, roll again and deal down to that number. This time the card is not there. It’s folded up in my wallet.
I like that in this routine, each time the card is found it’s in a different state. First it’s face down, next it’s face up and finally it’s folded up. By the end of the night it went from OK to pretty good!
So the moral of the story is don’t be afraid to play around!
I’ve been fascinated by the Any Card at Any Number trick since I was a teenager. I’ve developed and published several methods of doing it. I was going through an old notebook and found this version that I was doing in the early 2000’s This version has a few interesting things going for it, … Continue reading “Dusting Off Tricks”
I’ve been fascinated by the Any Card at Any Number trick since I was a teenager. I’ve developed and published several methods of doing it. I was going through an old notebook and found this version that I was doing in the early 2000’s
This version has a few interesting things going for it, like the imaginary deck premise and that’s it’s pretty easy to do. It also have a few things not going for it, like having to use the “magician’s choice” force for the suit selection, the deck can’t be handled by the spectator and it’s uses for another trick and very limited (but not impossible).
This version I call the Imaginary Card at Any Number and will be published in an upcoming issue of Vanish Magazine. Hopefully someone will use the trick as a jumping off point for their version of the trick. For me the method for this trick had me work to eliminate the weaknesses and come up with a better versions. My current version doesn’t have the weaknesses of this trick.