A couple of years ago I created a original (as far as I know) method for making a fork bend. The cool thing about it is I never touch the fork that bends. This came about when I was chatting with a mentalist about metal bending and asked a stupid question, “does anyone do a spoon straightening routine?” He said that a lot of the optical illusion parts of the method probably wouldn’t work as well with the bend going backwards.
That conversation put the thought in my head, and I ended up creating a method and publishing it in Vanish Magazine called The Perceptive Bend.
In the picture above you see the lady confirming the two forks are exactly the same before one of the forks bends in her hand. I think the method should be pretty obvious if you reread the first paragraph of this post, or you can track down Vanish Magazine issue 57 (I think it’s that issue).
I don’t normally do metal bending in my roving show, however I had a bunch of forks leftover from doing it virtual shows, I took them to the fair to use them up. After doing it live this week, I’m thinking of adding it to my roving at fairs. It gets a really good reaction, and I think I’ve finally figured out how it fits in with how I perform.
Today I was messing around with adding stinger music to trick that didn’t get the final reaction I wanted. Stinger music is a short, usually upbeat musical tag that’s used to punctuate the end of a trick. I was really surprised at the effect it had on the trick. It took the trick from a mild response (much less than I thought it deserved) to a good response.
The two places I put it, one in a magic trick and one in a mentalism trick worked out great. The mentalism trick was where I think it really needs it, the effect is there, but it lingers in the audience’s heads. I need something to snap it out of their heads, and this may be the way.
Now for me the trick is to make it make sense. I don’t want to just blast music at the end of the trick. I think there needs to be music leading up to the stinger. This isn’t much of a problem, I just need to find music with lyrics that I can talk over.
I’m hoping to add a little bit more theatrical / production elements to the show. I’m trying to “level up” my show a little bit.
I’m really trying to clean up the sloppiness that has crept into my show over the last 18 months of not really performing it much. That’s my main goal this week at the fair. However I am adding some newer stuff to the show and also trying to figure that out.
One thing I’m working on in my version of Luca Volpe’s Key of Fate. It’s playing alright, but it was missing some punch at the end. I was trying to figure out what to do, as the trick has a kicker ending, so I can’t really add another kicker on top of the first one.
What I ended up trying was adding some “stinger” music. Music that’s upbeat that I play right after the kicker is revealed, and it worked great! It got a much more applause at the end. Now I’m not sure this is how I want to do it, but it is a definite improvement!
Yesterday I wrote about some changes to the Luca Volpe’s Key of Fate routine that I’m making. I figured I should write out the effect:
I show lock that’s locked to a little case and four keys in a cup and only one will open the lock. There are also three colored notebooks and three matching colored spots on the floor.
Three people from the audience are invited onstage to play a game. Whoever’s key opens the lock will win one of the prizes written on one of the pages of one of the notebooks. Each person grabs one key and one notebook, leaving a single key on the table for me. They are to stand on the spot on the floor that matches their notebook’s color.
You flip the pages of the notebook for the first person to see what prize they are playing for. They end up picking 500 Pesos, but unfortunately their key doesn’t open the lock. The first person returns to their seat.
The second person selects the ice cream sundae from their notebook as a prize, but their key doesn’t open the lock. The second person returns to their seat.
The final person, who is standing on the blue spot selects a prize, which is a banana. When they try to open the lock, it opens! Inside the case is their prize, a banana!!! They can keep the banana and return to their seat in the audience.
For the kicker, you show underside of the two spots from the people that didn’t win and there’s nothing under them. The spot of the person that won, has some paper taped to the bottom of their spot. It says, “Congratulations on winning the banana, sorry the other two people didn’t wind the ice cream sundae and the 500 Pesos!”
Ok, so that’s how the routine plays. I’m a huge fan of being able to describe what happens in the trick in a sentence. If I take those six paragraphs of how the routine plays and condense it into one sentence it would be:
The magician predicts the outcome of a game played with the audience.
That’s the effect, it’s a prediction of the outcome of a game.
This week I’m heading down to California to perform for 8 days at a fair. It’s been over a year since I’ve done a fair gig, and that’s my core market. I’m working on something new, that’s a variation of Luca Volpe’s Key of Fate routine. I’ve made some major changes to stream line it for how I perform. The big change is that I can’t have the audience write their prizes. For me, that takes too much time, and logistically doesn’t really work out.
In lieu of this, I’m going to useSvenPadsto force the prizes. I bought three of notebook SvenPad‘s that look like this:
For the routine I needed three notebooks with different covers. I bought three notebooks and swapped out the covers.
The picture above shows the process of switching the cover. Below is the final product of the three covers:
I think that using these three notebooks to force the three prizes streamlines the process. We’ll see how it ends up playing…
Another day, another change to my wheel. This is a subtle change, but I added colors to the wheel.
There’s a very good reason for this, I’ve figured out a way to force a color on the front and an object on the back. I can now do a prediction that will have three reveals with the wheel, the only variable would be the number, which would be the first selection. Once the first number is made, I can pull the prediction from an index and I’m set! It’ll take a lot of the heat off of the switch, as it happens at the very beginning of the routine!
About a week ago I had a post about the game wheel that I bought at a thrift store. I’m going to be using it with Haim Goldenburg’s Wheel of Mind force. The picture on left is what it looked like in the thrift store and the picture on the right is after I cleaned it up.
The problem with the white wheel is that while it is dry erase, it’s still very hard to clean. Also the white isn’t the best on camera. Learning that, I resurfaced the wheel and coated it with chalk board paint. Here’s what the front and back look like now:
It plays on camera much better this way and it’s easier to change the items on the back. Now I just need to figure out what I’m going to force in the show!
Way back in the early summer when my state had first started to reopen after the initial pandemic shutdown, and friend texted me this picture of a game wheel at a thrift store for $2.99.
I drove up and bought it. It needed some work, the whole from was stained, and have some sort of glue residue in it. What I found interested was that it was heavier duty that most of the game wheels that I’d seen before. The wheel is two feet in diameter, and made of thick wood, so it’s heavy. The pole it’s on looked like the top pole of a speaker stand. I took it home and it fit into the base of a speaker stand, that would allow me to use it without a table. I threw away the plastic base in the picture above.
This then ended up sitting in my shed for months, as I didn’t want to deal with cleaning up the wheel. I didn’t have an idea of exactly what I was going to do with it. Then I remembered reading about trick called Wheel of Mind by Amir Lustig and Hiam Goldenberg. I wasn’t exactly sure of the what it did, aside from that it was a force. Hiam puts out some pretty clever stuff, and for $15, I figured why not check it out.
Wheel of Mind uses twelve spaces and my game wheel has 20 spaces. Luckily the trick still works with more spaces. The other challenge is that Wheel of Mind uses both sides of the wheel. It turns out it’s really easy to remove the game wheel I have from the stand and turn it over. Now that I have what I’m going to use the game wheel for, it’s time to clean it up.
The first step was scraping all of the glue off of it. However the actual wheel was stained by whatever pen had been used on it previously. The next step was to remove the pins, and peel off the graphic from the front.
I recovered it with white contact paper on the front and back. Then using electrical tape, I made some lines and wrote the numbers in.
For less than $30 (that’s including buying Wheel of Mind) I now have a fun looking prop that will force something. I probably wouldn’t travel with this, unless I was doing a run of shows. It’s mostly for virtual shows, it’s also a cool set piece to have behind me.
The other night I watched Manoj Kaushal’s online show Trapped. A friend recommended it to me, and it’s been generating some buzz with magicians. Here’s the trailer for it:
First I want to say that I bought the cheaper tickets on Stellar Tickets. That means I was just watching the show, not in the Zoom room, so please factor that in during this review.
The best way to describe it is that it’s like an interactive version of one of the Saw Movies. It was live with prerecorded video elements of the “hostages”, etc. Manoj plays the bad guy and the audience has to beat him at a 7 games. Each time we win, a hostage lives and if we lose one game, they all die.
It’s a very interesting premise for a magic / mentalism show, and something were a live stream is the perfect venue for it. I don’t think it would play well in person. Manoj is definitely trying something unique, very different from any online magic / mentalism show I’ve seen.
My biggest dislike was that a lot of the tricks were too magic-y. He does a card trick, and talks about magic. I will say that up front he does mention he’s “a magician…but also has a dark side”. I think the card trick pulls away from the idea of these being games.
Also the odds of the games fluctuate a lot. I think from a statistical stand point the 1 in 52 for the card trick in the middle of the show is the most unlikely to win, then he follows that with something that’s like a 1 in 12. I would have liked to see the odds build get more unlikely as the show progressed.
All of the tricks are good and solid and most rely on a simple principle that’s gained a lot of popularity with the switch to online shows. The way we viewed him on screen did the best and most justified job of using the principle that I’ve seen.
There were a couple of loose ends that didn’t really get tied up, like when someone from the zoom room got kidnapped. I really would have liked for us to play for that person’s life, instead of not really mentioning it again. It’s not just me, in the comments several people asked, “what about john?“.
I paid $15 for the show and for that much, I feel like I got my money’s worth. I also love supporting someone who is trying something different. The show is presented more like an interactive movie than a magic / mentalism show. I’m curious what the general public will think. In the show I watched, I recognized at least half of the people from zoom as magicians. I wonder how many real people are buying tickets?