Fifty Dollar Banana!

Last week I did a little three city tour, in two states over three days. I performed at a casino in Redding, CA, a cabaret in Seattle, WA and a comedy club in Spokane, WA.

The first show in California was a logistical challenge and it really shouldn’t have been. I flew into the Redding airport, however my flight was over 2 hours late, so when I arrived the rental car desk was closed. They said they’d honor my reservation for the next day, unfortunately I was only in town for something like 20 hours and didn’t need a car the next day.

The casino was about a $20 Lyft ride from the airport. After I got checked into my room, I remembered that I needed to go to the store for a couple of props (this is why I rent a car). The casino isn’t really near anything, and the closest store was about a $23 Lyft ride each way. I needed a bottle of juice and two bananas, so a $3-$4 purchase, but $50+ if I figured in the Lyft prices.

I just happened to notice a poster in the casino for their comedy night and comedy night was that night. It had their headliners listed for the month and I knew all of them…except for the headliner that night. Then luck stuck, I happened to walk by the comics as they were checking into their room and I chatted them up. We knew all the same people, and I managed to convince one of them to give me a ride to the Walmart for my props!

This is why you make friends with other performers and put out good energy into the world. You never know when you’ll need to lean on a network of people!


Emergency Show to the Rescue!

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!


Emergency Show Props

When I did an overnight flight on Quantas Airline, they gave us little fabric cases with a couple of toiletry items. I thought the case might be useful as a holder for some prop, so I kept it. They measure about 6.5 x 4.5 inches, but about half an inch on the short side isn’t really usable due to where the snap closure is located.

emergency magic show case

The goal was to put together an emergency show that could be performed close up or for a stand up venue like a black box theater (up to 100 seats). Everything used in the show has to be contained within the fabric case, so you can’t borrow anything from the venue or audience like a cup or dollar bill. The reason for that is you can’t 100% guarantee someone will have a dollar bill for your to borrow, or that the venue will have a clear pint glass.

Another condition is you must be able to perform with a corded mic in a stand. If I needed to use a hands free mic holder, that will need to fit into the fabric case.

Any props you normally carry on your person are bonus, and don’t count towards this. For example, if you normally have a set of B’wave cards in your wallet, you would need to put another one in the fabric case if you wanted to do it in this show.

Here’s what I came up with:

magic show props

The props are:

  • Jumbo Linking Pins
  • Mismade Bill
  • Regular Bill
  • Throw Coil
  • Production Coil
  • Thumb Tip
  • 4 Sheets of Tissue Paper
  • Business Cards (that are blank on one side)
  • Sharpie
  • White 9 inch silk

And here’s the show list:

Everything on the list are tricks/routines that I currently do or have done in the past. There’s no learning curve for these, I can grab the prop and immediately do the trick. I chose to add the production coil and throw coil as things to add production value to the show, so it doesn’t feel like things were cobbled together. The also add texture to the show, it’s not all flat props.

When putting together the list I also had to factor in not duplicating effects. For example, if I did gypsy thread and torn and restored tissue paper, they are essentially the same trick.

The premise is that this is an emergency set up, so it’s a show I’m forced to do, not a show that I want to do. Artistically, this isn’t necessarily my current voice, but it’ll get me through the emergency situation.

This pack currently lives in the trunk of my car.



About a month ago I was part of an online presentation that Nick Lewin did called NOTHING. It had to do with what happens when your show doesn’t show up.

nick lewin nothing

In the past I’ve written about having a three trick set on me in my wallet all the time. In my part I talk about what’s always in my backpack (which I always have on me) that allows me to flesh out more of a show, with only two packs of cards and that will play on a stage!

In addition to me, you hear from other great magicians and at $9.95, it’s a hell of a deal!

To get the download visit Nick’s webiste at:


When Your Props Don’t Arrive…

I had a blast being a guest on Nick Lewin’s talk about what happens when you props don’t show up when you do when travelling. If you’re not on Nick’s mailing list where you can get notified of his talks, you need to be on his email list.

you can sign up on his website here:

Here’s my segment from the talk:

Hope you learn something from my experiences!


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 … 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:

-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:

Book Test
Rubik’s Cube
Coin Under Watch
Color Changing Handkerchief
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.

What’s Your Plan B?

Recently I worked with an act and the airline lost his luggage, and he had to perform for two days without gear. He’s a pro, and was really flustered, I think more at how the airline handled the situation than specifically about his missing gear. His shows were great, but it got me thinking about … Continue reading “What’s Your Plan B?”

Recently I worked with an act and the airline lost his luggage, and he had to perform for two days without gear. He’s a pro, and was really flustered, I think more at how the airline handled the situation than specifically about his missing gear. His shows were great, but it got me thinking about what my backup plan is.

Sure we all can go to the Walmart and put together a show, and I hear performers say that’s their back up plan all time. That’s all good, but whatever is in your “Walmart Show” is material you really need to practice. It should be your “B” show, meaning you do it every now and then. You have jokes and bits, not just do tricks.

This made me think of what I can carry onto a plane, that’s will play big. I’m putting together a list of things so I’m prepared for when this does happen. I also want to do it on my terms, meaning, I have a plan and I’m not scrounging.

The easy starting point is to figure out what card tricks would play big on stage.

2: Card to Pocket
3: Card Memorization

These are tricks that have already been in my stage show in the past, so I have good routines for them. These also are very different in texture, they don’t feel like the same trick. Those three tricks are about 12-15 mins. Right away I’m 1/3 of the way to a 45 mins show.

Now to build upon the card tricks to fill in the show. I could add some mentalism:

1: Blindfold drawing duplication
2: Impromptu Book Test
3: Cue Card Confabulation

These three tricks also have different textures and will bring the show to about 30 mins. I can make the the cue cards with the pad of paper from the drawing duplication and I will have the coins from the blindfold, I can use them for a coin trick:

1: Coin Under Watch

I’m going to have to be careful to space out coin under watch and card to pocket as they are both “transportation” tricks. This is not a big deal, I just need to be aware of it. This is going to bring the show to about 33 mins.

There will be room for some small gimmicks, so I can add these tricks:

1: Thumb Tip with mismade bill
2: Dye Tube

Now that I’ve added these two tricks, that puts my show length at about 39 mins. That’s almost a show. Let’s add a couple of small props to the carry on bag:

1: Rubik’s Cube trick
2: Torn and Restored Newspaper

That’s going to bring the whole show to 45 mins.

This show’s carry on list would be:
1: Jumbo deck of cards
2: Regular deck of cards
3: 2 pads of paper
4: Roll of duct tape
5: 2 Coins
6: Book
7: Thumb Tip
8: Mismade bill
9: Dye Tube
10: 2 handkerchiefs
11: Newspaper
12: 2 Rubik’s Cubes

The pack list isn’t very long, and all the props when put together don’t take up much space, and would play well on a stage. All of these are things that have been in my show in the past, so I know the material and have routines for them.

Is this my dream show to do? Nope, but it’ll work in a pinch, and I think it’s a better option than buying some junk at the hardware store and trying to figure out what to do with it!