Magic Garage Sale

A couple of days ago I hosted a Magic Garage Sale and it was a hit! The turn out was great and the amount of magic that was re-homed that was staggering!

This is a fun way to build some community within the magic scene. We all hung out for a few hours, and this is a way more intimate thing than a more formal magic swap meet or magic auction.

Then afterwards a few of us had some beers and jammed some magic!

I’m really glad I put this together, it was a lot of fun!

Magic Garage Sale…

I’m putting together a magic garage sale on July 11th! It’s a literal garage sale, so you have to show up in person for the deals. What’s left I may try to sell on facebook used magic groups, and a lot of it will probably just go to the dump.

There’s a lot of cool stuff, and I was just going through last night and putting prices on things. The garage sale prices are pretty cheap, there are a lot of deals to be had! If I end up listing stuff on the internet for sale, it will be more than the garage sale prices.

Here’s what I priced yesterday:

There’s a lot more! If you’re going to be in the Seattle area on 7/11/21, send me an email and I’ll give you the details!

Magic Collection…

Many years ago I used to buy magic collections of magicians who had passed. I would keep the books or props that I wanted and resell the rest. It’s been a while since I have done that for myself. Last year a did sell off a collection of magic that was a friend of mine who had passed and all the money went to his son.

The other day I was contacted about a magic collection and went out and picked it up. The person had one of my Evaporation tricks, and this was from the original run of 36 that I sold at a magic convention in Canada.

One thing that I think people don’t realize is that most of the stuff in a magic collection is worthless. Usually about half is unsellable because it’s damaged, counterfeit or shipping would cost more than the prop.

You should be realistic about what your collection is worth and to not really count things that have a used value of less than $20. Sure, they do add up, but they are hard as hell to sell!

Mask Magic…

Something that still bugs me are performers that are still using facemasks in their shows as if they are topical. They really aren’t, it’s lazy creativity. I’ve written about this before (you can read it here), and my thoughts haven’t changed.

Not too long ago I figured out what the problem with 99 % of the mask tricks are:

YOU HAVE TO TAKE THE MASK OFF TO DO THE TRICK

By simply doing the trick, you are defeating the purpose of the prop. That’s the flaw in all of these tricks. The rare exception is something like a color changing mask. If someone came up with a trick where you didn’t take the mask off for the trick, that would make it make sense.

Keeping the mask on really limits what you can do. That condition pretty much leaves you with a color change, with out doing some actual thinking. Here’s some ideas that I don’t have a method for:

  • Tongue thru mask
  • Eating / drinking thru the mask
  • shrinking / growing mask
  • things appearing on the ear loops: Kinda like the Ring Flite trick
  • Broken and restored ear loop
  • It moving by itself: Running gag: while you are talking it keeps moving up your face. You move it down, and it moves up again
  • Multiplying: you keep taking them off, and there’s always one on your face. You’d have to remove a large amount, so that it’s clear you didn’t just have four masks on.

All of the above tricks keep a mask on your face. However you still have a problem to face, it’s a used hygiene product you are using. Doing a trick with a tissue from the box uses a clean hygiene product. Doing a trick with a tissue you just blew your nose on is a used hygiene product. That’s something else to consider, technically once you touch or take it off with your bare hands, you are supposed to wash your hands.

How do you solve this?

I don’t know the answer, but then I also really don’t want to do a trick with a facemask, so you’ll have to figure that out for yourself if you want to do a trick with a face mask!

Finally Trying a Trick…

One of the best books on stand up magic as far as tricks go is Jim Steinmeyer’s The Conjuring Anthology. It’s full of mostly stand up style magic, there are other things in there as well, like stage illusions. This book is a tremendous resource.

The Conjuring Anthology by Jim Steinmeyer

Recently I was making a bunch of videos for a client and needed some inspiration. I was flipping through this book and there’a trick that uses confetti in it that’s caught my eye in the past. Essentially loose confetti turns into a full sheet of tissue paper.

I went out, got the stuff to build the prop and got two work on it.

The first thing that I noticed was that this trick is a great lead in to the torn and restored tissue. If you put the two tricks together you’ve got a 3-4 minute routine that takes up virtually no space in your case, or could easily be made in a hotel room.

I’m glad that the project I was working on had me go back and flip though that book. I also think that if I had played with that trick at another point in my life I may not have had the same results as I did.

Fixing the Fridge!

In 2014 we bought a new refrigerator and shortly after it was out of warranty our ice maker stopped working. I checked all of the water supply lines, followed the troubleshooting from the owner’s manual, nothing worked. We called a repair guy and he couldn’t fix it. For the last 4 or 5 years we’ve been buying bagged ice at the store. Not a huge deal, kind of inconvenient and not that expensive at a couple bucks a week.

This weeks I’ve been working on some home projects and one of them ended up looking at the ice maker. It turns out there’s an unmarked, tiny square of plastic on the bottom of it that looks it doesn’t move, well that’s is actually a reset button! I pushed it and we’re back in the ice business!

OK, what does this have to do with magic?

How often do you got back and revisit magic tricks you were working on and hit an wall you were unable to get through, so you stopped practicing the magic trick?

I’m not saying you should schedule a weekly revisit, but you should every now and then flip though old notebooks, or watch old videos of yourself. I can’t tell you how often I’ll watch an old video of mine and see me do a trick a think, “why did I stop doing that?” Usually there’s a good reason, but that doesn’t me I can’t revisit now it to try to fix that reason.

Online Instructions…

Each year more and more magic tricks are coming out that come with online instructions and that’s the only way to get the information. In theory everyone wins, you get video instructions, it drops the cost for the creator, and possibly the buyer as well. It also makes things cheaper to ship.


Now for the downside, not everyone will have access to the information. What I mean by that is that access won’t last forever like the instructions in some physical form. Sure you can download the instructions (usually), but that only is good for as long as the tricks producer has the video online.


A good example would be a trick that’s been out for several years, but you just bought it at a magic shop. You open the trick, find the download card and go to the site, but the site no longer exists. What do you do? If the company is out of business, you’re out of luck. I guess you could return it to the magic shop, however that’s doesn’t solve the problem of product being out there where producer of it got rid of content that was paid for.


Personally I don’t do online only instructions, every magic trick I sell comes with a DVD or print instructions. I do offer “bonus content” online for tricks I sell or for stuff in my lecture notes. The pain in the butt with these things is that I just changed my hosting on my website and I had to service all of those links, many are to products I haven’t sold in a few years. Unfortunately a lot of creators don’t do that.


The hard part now is that less and less computers have DVD players, how do I deliver video content without it being online? The current solution I’m considering is thumb drives. The downside is that they cost much more than DVD’s, but the upside is that they are small, and versatile. I could order 100 of them and use them for a variety of different products.


If you’re a magic producer, you need to think about what’s going to happen when someone buys your trick 5 years from now…unless you’re just in it for a quick money grab (but then you’re an a-hole).

First Attempt…

Yesterday I finished my first attempt at making a clear coin for the Silver Extraction magic trick. I made the mold in silicone and cast it in a clear resin. The clear coin ended up having a lot more air bubbles in it than I would like it to have. At the end of the … Continue reading “First Attempt…”

Yesterday I finished my first attempt at making a clear coin for the Silver Extraction magic trick. I made the mold in silicone and cast it in a clear resin. The clear coin ended up having a lot more air bubbles in it than I would like it to have. At the end of the day, it’s a clear coin and would work for the trick.

After doing some research on the causes of the air bubbles, what it will take to remove them from future castings is something I’m not really set up right now to handle. I learned a lot from making this, mostly that clear castings are going to be a pain in the butt!!


Closure…

Material cycles in and out of my show fairly frequently. One trick that has been out of the show for a while is my Applause Please trick. This is my version of milk in lightbulb that uses an applause sign instead of a lamp. I took this out of my show a bit after I … Continue reading “Closure…”

Material cycles in and out of my show fairly frequently. One trick that has been out of the show for a while is my Applause Please trick. This is my version of milk in lightbulb that uses an applause sign instead of a lamp. I took this out of my show a bit after I started selling it to magicians.


Currently I have a need for the trick in the show. In my color changing handkerchief routine at the end when the original handkerchief is gone, the audience is left missing some closure to the trick. What I’m doing is using the applause sign throughout the show, then when it comes to the end of the color changing handkerchief routine the silk reappears from the lightbulb.


I’m hoping the reappearance of the silk will be a better end of the routine for the audience. Always look at your show and try to find things that don’t feel right and try to fix them, don’t settle for just OK.

On my flight home yesterday I started reading an ebook called Building An Act by Tommy Wonder that you can get on Tom Stone’s Website. I had bought this ebook a long time ago and hadn’t read it. I’m only about a dozen pages into the book, but so far it’s great! One of the … Continue reading “”

On my flight home yesterday I started reading an ebook called Building An Act by Tommy Wonder that you can get on Tom Stone’s Website. I had bought this ebook a long time ago and hadn’t read it. I’m only about a dozen pages into the book, but so far it’s great!

Building an Act by Tommy Wonder

One of the things that he mentions, that you build up enthusiasm for what you are creating and that enthusiasm carries you, but also inspires others to help you. Thinking back on things that I’ve created, and the help I’ve gotten from essentially strangers. I’ve gone into industrial shops tell them what I’m trying to do and they go out of their way to help me or teach me how to make something, usually for free. I always offer to pay, it’s amazing how many are fine with just me buying the few bucks in materials.


Another thing he does is puts a time limit on it. This is something I don’t do, however when I’m creating something new that I’m passionate about, I tend to get in done within the time limit that Tommy Wonder mentions in the book. I really like the idea of imposing a time limit to get at least a basic, version of the trick done.


I fly again tomorrow, and I’ll finish up reading it on the plane.