Always Learning…

When I was on vacation in Australia in November, we visited Sydney’s Chinatown. There was a guy there cutting silhouette portraits, and I had mine done. In the past and still occasionally I’ve cut portraits at gigs, it’s a great little skill to have, but to be totally honest, I have no idea how to sell it.

OK, back to the guy in Sydney, unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of his sign, but it was $2 Australian dollars for a portrait, or just about $1.10 US.

He cut it quick, and his display looked nice and he did it really quick.

The silhouette doesn’t really look like me, but it was fun to get it done and totally worth about a dollar!

I’ve always said you can learn a lot from simply watching people who do what do, no matter their skill level or what you view as their skill level. Here’s what I learned from him:

1: He had a great display that clearly said what he did, how much it cost and how long it would take.

2: He cut on a vinyl with and adhesive back and stuck it to the card at the end.

The adhesive backed vinyl is very smart, it eliminates the need for glue, which then eliminates the need for a table. It also saves times. If I ever try to sell the silhouette portraits again, I’ll probably experiment with using something with an adhesive back.


Trick Roping…

Years ago I used to do lasso in the show, but it’s been a long time. Since we’ve moved, I now have access to an indoor half court gym and I’ve been using it to practice lasso again. For me, relearning it is not like riding a bike, it’s definitely taking some work!

Here’s what I can do:

Right now it doesn’t look very elegant, or remotely skillful. I think I look like I’m working hard doing it, that’s because I am. I need to get to where I have a lot more muscle memory so that I can talk while I do it. The other thing I need to do is figure out what my left hand should do when I jump into the loop at the end, it looks funny right now.

The nice thing about working at fairs all summer is that I can practice this as part of my preshow and actually do it in front of people. For me, that’s a huge advantage when learning, when I’m learning in front of people, it makes it easier to introduce into the show when it’s finally ready.

The plus side to the lasso is that it’s has no set up and plays big. The downside to the lasso is that it’s a high practice, low payout skill. What I mean by that is people think it’s easy to do (it’s not). The other downside is that it’s a low trick, so it wouldn’t play well at a show where you don’t have a stage, as it’d be hard to see for anyone in the 3rd row or further back.

When it’s finished, I’m hoping to get 3 – 5 minutes out of the lasso. That primarily will talking with a 60-90 second routine.

Support the Variety Arts!

In Seattle we have the legendary Moisture Festival, which is the largest and longest running variety arts festival in the world. You may see the posts about the podcast that I cohost on this blog as well. Previously you had to attend the festival in person, but his year they are doing a virtual festival.

The festival runs April 1-4 and you can get tickets at:

Each show is different and it’ll be a ton of fun! Here’s the line up:

April 1st: Ron W. Bailey, Manuela Horn, Georgetown Orbits, Roxana Küwen, Mathieu Bolillo, Charly Castors, Christine Lavin, Alex Feldman, Della Moustachella, Leah V. Jones, Avner the Eccentric, Frank Olivier, Bill Robison, Paul Morocco & Olé

April 2nd: Kevin Joyce, Doc Sprinsock & the SANCApators, Pam Severns, Hilary Chaplain, Gazzo, Carla Ulbrich, Benedikt Negro, Al Simmons, Circus Luminescence, Jody Poth, TAQUEET$!, Tempo Turn, Tom Noddy, Mik Kuhlman, Esther de Monteflores

April 3rd: Lindsay Benner, Naked Truth, Jack and Jeri Kalvan, Kenny Raskin, Junior Cesar, Steve Owens, Stevie Coyle, Martin Mall, Miss Ekaterina, Al Simmons, PJ Perry

April 4th: Caela Bailey, Fremont Philharmonic Orchestra, Wang Hong, Unique Derique, Ropeworks Interactive Jump Rope, Mr P.P., Amy G, Sylvia Rose, Mat Plendl, Uncle Bonsai, Michael Paul, Duo Rose, Godfrey Daniels

Go See Shows!

One thing that’s important to me is to support magic, and variety performers.  Whether it’s a local or  nationally touring show, I always try to go out and watch.  I do this for a couple of reasons, first of all when I was a kid it was a pain to go see shows.  I had … Continue reading “Go See Shows!”

One thing that’s important to me is to support magic, and variety performers.  Whether it’s a local or  nationally touring show, I always try to go out and watch.  I do this for a couple of reasons, first of all when I was a kid it was a pain to go see shows.  I had to hop a bus and travel all day to see a show at a library, or sneak into a casino to see an act. Now it’s much easier, but that struggle to see shows when I was younger placed value on these shows.


Another reason is to support the performing scene.  When I go to shows it does it in several ways.  First my ticket helps support the performer.  Secondly and more importantly the other performers (especially newer performers) see me at these and we can chat and it builds some community.


It can be hard when you are a newer magician to get into the “circles” of people that have more experience.  When I go to these shows I get to chat with them one on one.  Now I’m not saying chatting with me is a big deal (it’s not, trust me), but for someone just starting out it give me a chance to get to know them.

Penn & Teller

The other  night Penn & Teller were in town performing.  My family went out and we hung out with a lot of the local performers, it was a great night and a lot of fun. Not just the show, but the fellowship with the other performers.