Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Magicians Guide to Tarot by Paul Voodini

So when I saw that Voodini was coming out with a book on how to read the Tarot with a pretty cheap early bird pricing I figured why not.

A bit of background I do have some experience with a Tarot deck, I tried learning the whole deck a few times in the past, and for a while I did a tarot horoscope blog as a way to familiarize my self with the cards. But now I really only use the Major Arcana and my style is based 100% on the Fools Journey. So I can't really say that I know the traditional meanings of the cards. 

So lets get into it, this book is 87 pages and most of those are taken up by the card meanings. I did not read them all, I got no use for the minor arcana. I mostly skimmed looking for bits where he was talking about something else. Now as I said I do not really know the traditional interpretations of the cards but I don't think these are them. I can say they are nothing like my interpretations. Especially as there are three pairs of major arcana cards Voodini treats as interchangeable. (I  checked and besides being reminded of why I avoid "shut eye" forums, I found that those aren't how a lot of people see those cards) Though I do not think this is an issue, I think it is more important that one is consistent with the meanings they choose than that they use specific meanings. The meanings were given in a way that does look like it would aid in the learning.

As this book is aimed at entertaining with readings Voodini does not get very deep into the reading styles. He only offers two ways, one card readings and three card readings. He only recommends doing the three when thing are slow like at the beginning before you've drummed up interest. As for what to say during the reading Paul's system has you repeating yourself often, for example with each new group there is a little spiel he goes over remind telling people that the death card is not bad news. And with the minor arcana meanings he usually references that cards equal from a regular deck of cards to give the sitter a point of reference.

Now there is a there is a section at the end about mixing the tarot on magic, and I can't say that there really anything fantastic there. It opens with Voodini saying he used to be anti-trick when it came to the tarot, and I'm not to sure it still isn't. Most of the effects seem more like thought exercises that tested material. Though a few of them do recommended forcing a card on someone as part of the reading/effect and that I'm a bit iffy on, seems like cheating. I think if you want to add magic to your reading then the best bet would be go get a copy of Magic Mirror by Robert Neale and David Parr. It has a wonderful way of turning the three card reading into a bit of precognition.

Over all its not a bad book, not really happy with the meanings and magic part but the bit on how to offer readings seemed good. And I'd mostly recommend this book to those who had no idea what the cards mean or what to do with them but would like the skill for their repertoire without too much work.

Monday, September 30, 2013

What I been up to magic wise.

Not a lot, I went on the original hiatus as I got a job at a call center. And some may think that means I have a lot of people to do magic for so lots of practice on. And it's true, there are a lot of people there. But for the most part it's not a good place to do magic. The layout of the seats makes for bad angles, and the worst part is that at in moment a call can come in and interrupt, so I don't do magic on the clock. But I do magic else-when and I'm reasonably good at what I do. And word gets around, so I do get asked to do it randomly as I'm walking across the floor. I've found that my refusal to just do a trick at everyone beck and call and the fact that I'm not bad, has lead to a solid reputation as a magician. People who have never seen me perform are telling people I'm a good magician.

Also even though I've never done a reading at all at work. Women keep stopping me say "I heard you can read palms." Which is weird as I've never even do a reading or mentalism effect.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

What I noticed.

So I've been going to see as many shows as I can to learn what I can. And here are some of the things I notice.

First why doesn't anyone advertise. Seriously finding shows to go require a rump load of investigations. It seems to me that most of the shows rely on the bars usual clientele. And the bars don't don't do more than put up the blurb on the website. That's how I found the last show I went to was I visited a bars webpage and there it was so I went to check the groups website and it was still advertising a show from a couple months ago and did not give an option to sign up for a newsletter and there is no fan page for the group or it members. That they group doesn't really seem to be doing any work to draw a crowd would make it kind of understandable that they don't really get much if any of the door. Which leads me to my second thing.

Hat-ing up the crowd. Every show so far has had a whip around for tips at least twice and  at one very poorly produced show they did it constantly and rudely. Going to some forums I've found this to be a rather common practice for burlesque shows here in the USA. One reply I got was that the groups cut of the door barely cover what they have to pay to use venue's "stage".  But as a audience member I don't want to tip after I've paid $10+ to get into the venue. But I will buy overpriced swag at a merchandise table.

Side note to the last thing of the last thing. The overpriced swag is almost always un-creative junk and pasties.

It seems to me a lot of troupes are missing out on the business side of show business.

So something I don't care for it the rudeness. Most talkies have a habit of swear at the audience and calling them names. Which is a double edged sword, if there is not a balance to it (usually through self depreciating humor) then it will turn the crowd on you quick fast and in a hurry.

As for the rudeness on stage by the talkies is nowhere near as bad as a performer being a bitchy drama queen mean mouthing the audience before her set. At the worst produces show I went to in the past month there was this woman just bitching like crazy before the show and at one point she called most of the audience a bunch of perverts. I didn't think much of it until later when she took the stage and I realized that it was that woman from earlier. I could not enjoy her sub-par act which probably had more to do with my attitude than her skills. After all they say if the audience likes you they will like what you do.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A post cause Roland Henning demands it.

When it comes to reviews for bizarre magic and mentalism, I'm getting a little tired of the phrase "I wish he would not have released this, it's too powerful" It appears on almost all the products I've I looked at recently. It's lazy plugging. Also there is no such thing as an effect that is too powerful. Unless theirs one that like kills a certain percentage of the audience that can't handle that level of power. That effect may be too powerful.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Lightning

Lightning blew up the electronics in my house, so the mini hiatus is now full hiatus until I can get a new computer and modem and all that jazz.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mini Hiatus

Expect a drop in posting as I have started a real job and getting into the swing of a 40hr work week is taking a bigger toll than expected.

Monday, May 13, 2013

It's built in.

One of my posts got a link in another blog and that got a link in another blog. And after reading those I got to thinking on all the ways companies are trying to stop online piracy. When it comes down to it I don't consider piracy to be all that damaging to any industry, really all that is lost is a sale. And that's working on the assumption that those doing the stealing would have bought it had they not been able to steal it and the assumption that if it's good that the thief won't buy a legit copy.

If I pirate a movie from FakemagicInc then FakemagicInc is out one sale and so theoretically they are out whatever they charge for that movie. A movie, I probably wouldn't have gotten had it not been free to pirate.

If I steal a DVD from BigboxstoreInc, then BigboxstoreInc is out what they paid for that DVD, the profit they would have made off the sale of the DVD, and the DVD meaning they can't sale it to the next person.

Do you know what shrinkage is? Well for companies like BigboxstoreInc 'shrinkage' is industry jargon for "stuff that will be stolen". Now most Big box stores do things to discourage people form shoplifting mostly in the form or visual security  And they do catch people, but the number they catch is far lower than those that get away. Less than one percent of thieves are caught. And still these companies are not taking crazy measures to try and stop the theft. They work around it, they figure shrinkage into their business models, and purchase orders, and profits. And I'd like to remind people that I'm talking about actual physical items being stolen. That is to say the actual loss of money not just a loss of theoretical business.

In light of the fact that all that is lost with piracy is a theoretical sale, I'd like to see the various industries just accept that as long as there will be items made there will be pirates, and spend more time making their product the best they can be.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dealing black jack

No one showed to play blackjack except one person whose husband decided to spend all their cash on Texas Hold'em. But I had fun hanging out so it's all good.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Gotta stop reading old threads.

I gotta stop reading old forum threads. I keep wanting to resurrect threads just to point out pointless things. Like earlier today I was looking for Reviews about Jeff McBrides Magic at the edge and one person posted "The whole "henna hands" thing just made me feel like she needed to go clean up before the shooting." And that really made me want to post how no amount of cleaning would have removed the henna from the hands. Henna stains the skin cells deeply and for some can take up to three weeks to fade. It's basically a real tattoo that fades faster.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Move by Gianni Vox from Ellusionist

As you may have read on other faster sources the effect can not be done as shown in the clip. I'm not too upset about that because it's a recreation of how it should appear to the spectator if you do it right, but lay spectators should not be viewing a trailer, magicians should be. Plus doing the effect for real in the video would have resulted in another moron kicking up sand because he saw through the effect in the trailer.

The idea I had when I saw the trailer turned out to be wrong (due to faked trailer). I don't know if I'm happy about that. The idea I had was that the signature that does the jumping was on a clear something that was ditched later.  The reason I might not be happy about being wrong about the method is because the complaint I have about this effect is the same as I had with Modulate and I'm not sharing it here for the same reason. And it really does keep me from doing either of the effects until I find a solution I'm happy with. Beyond that it requires a minimal amount of props, and is shown two ways one that uses the deck and one that starts free of the deck.

The video is under nine minutes and starts with the trailer, it's the same level of quality as the other recent downloads I've purchased. I can't really say any of them really felt scripted more like they were just making up what to say as they go along. But for five bucks I see no real reason to complain about that.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Well I too smart to actually pay for an effect.

{This spot reserved for a link} I remember reading an article on how whether or not you were fooled by a demo of an effect should not be you're prime consideration on if you buy and learn effect, but I can't remember where or by who so if you know of it let me know.

There's this moron kicking up sand on various forums because he feels that the price of an effect is too much because to him it is super obvious how the effect works. He claims to have reversed engineered it and has video of him doing the effect on his blog which he has not provided links to.

This annoys me cause I feel this is why magic producers feel the need to make misleading demo's or to out right fake the moves so they don't have to worry about reverse engineering. Which lead people to feeling ripped off, a real catch 22 for make producers.

Personally I feel that if you didn't buy the effect you have no right to bitch, and if you work out your own solution with out buying it then you are to blame if it falls flat.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Not quite a real gig but good experience.

I've volunteered to deal blackjack at a fundraising event at a local club the first Friday in May. Not quite a real gig but it will be good experience dealing with people in performance like setting. I'll post about it afterwards.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Caveat Emptor or Bad Business.

So Ellusionist recently released three effects with price tags under ten dollars (Modulate, Chaos Theory, and Revoke) and watching their forum it seem that each effect has something not really explained that purchasers would like explained. E will not allow discussion of an expose-y nature, and they will not create a private forum for it either. Their advice is to try and hook up with other users that have the effect (never worked for me) or in the case of revoke to contact customer service because the creator of the effect offered some extra tips and that's how to get them. I think the real problem is that E refuses to create forums for specific effects they release because "They just peter out and so arn't worth the expense" to which I call BS. Nothing I know about technology (I have a college degree in networking) leads me to believe adding forums to the site would be all that much of an expense. And in the few private forums I've been in on the site there was good info to be had, which I feel justifies them. Once those private forums peter out they should have someone go through (I'd bet there would be volunteers to be had so no cost there) and curate them. Single out the good and delete the rest. Then the it goes from a private forum to a private supplement.

But that's not the point, the point is that each of those three downloads left something out that buyers felt was needed. Was this just oversight on the content creators side or did it have to be edited for time or file size (to save E on bandwidth). I can overlook the creator leaving it out for most reasons more than I could stuff left out to save a buck. I mean maybe Danial Madison assumed all those watching his video would know how to get the named card and half the deck in position, not necessarily an unrealistic assumption. But on the other hand maybe E said this video has to be under X minutes so Madison did not have time to teach the control needed. Either way with another cheap instant download available, I wonder what will be missing.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Center tear issue

My issue with the center tear is "What do I do with all the confetti I just made?" I like the classic idea of burning them because it provides a justification for ripping up the paper, you ripped it because you're going to burn it. Problem is that it needs something to burn in and it's been a long time since I've seen an ashtray in a public place. Which is an extra problem because even if I did not burn it that is probably where I'd put the confetti.

I had though about sprinkling the confetti and staring at as it falls to divine the contents. I like the look and symbolism of it but it has a few issues the one pertinent to this discussion is that it still leaves me with a bunch of confetti to take care of that is now spread out on a table. Sweeping it up can not be good for the all powerful mage image I want to exude.

I don't want to dump it in my pocket because not only do I not like to put trash in my pocket but performing repeatedly would fill the pocket fast. Pocket space being limited as it is I doubt that the pocket would be confetti exclusive. I know the last thing I want to happen is for confetti to spill out of my pocket as I withdraw another item. I'd go from wizard to clown in a few seconds.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Useless sleights

A blog I dislike recently had an article about "useless slights", basically they felt that any slight that you don't have an effect for is a waste of time. Now I can see how for a beginner focusing on amassing slights over effects could be just as bad as trying to buy up all the secrets. I may be biased as I use slight of hand as physical therapy for my damaged hand but I think the more slights one can do the better. Sometimes content creators just expext you to know a certain type of slight, look at the effect I just reviewed from Danial Madison. They basically expected you to know how to locate a named card and pass it to the bottom of a deck. Or sometime you just can't do a certain sleight and you need to find a work around. As I just mentioned I have a damaged hand and part of that damage means I can't classic palm a coin. It's not a matter of practice there is scar tissue in key areas that makes it impossible and this is something I have to work around all the time in my coin practice and I get around it by knowing other slights or doing it left handed. Every sleight you can do gives you potential whether or not you have an effect that needs that slight.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Chaos Theory by Danial Madison from Ellusionist.

An in the hands Triumph effect for five bucks sounds good right. I'm not sure one could say that was delivered here. Really it's more of a false shuffle for five dollars. The download glosses over one of the most important bits, getting the selected/named card into position. Madison basically says that he knows the deck so well that finding the named card and getting it in position is no problem. Well that's well and good but what about those of us that lack Madison level skills with a deck? Without the selected card part most of the rest of the routine taught is useless, so it is a bit of hurdle. That said, the false shuffle taught seems easy but it does require getting one hands used to unfamiliar movements, and made my hands sore. Specifically my index fingers which are not used to riffling cards. It looks like a cross of two table shuffles I don't know the name of, but have seen the instructions two. Once I get it down it'll probably be my go to in the hands false shuffle.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Effects of poor character choice.

I recently attended a show that was Burlesque, Sideshow, and a one man band all in the same show. Now the performer who could be considered the headliner of the burlesque troop did her thing. And after I asked my buddy what he thought. A bit about my buddy, he won't hesitate to say somethings good but when it comes to the bad he'll usually say something good about a specific part of something instead of saying anything bad. When I asked him what he though, he took that middle ground bs and said that it was well choreographed. Which means that he also did not enjoy it. It was well choreographed and well performed but it just wasn't good. We discussed it and we came to the conclusion that the character the dancer was playing did not fit the body dancing it. The character was the virginal coquette but the body was tatted up like a sailor. It sucks but just because you want to play a character doesn't mean you can. Don't get me wrong I have no issues with tattoos but if she insists on playing the virgin then she needs to cover the ink up. If she wants to display the ink then she needs to re-evaluate the character she plays. The juxtaposition of the character expressed and the tattoo is not addressed and in the end is just too jarring to be enjoyed.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Modulate by Dee Christopher form Ellustionist

A nice little card transposition effect, simple and cost effective (to buy, actual use may not be as cost effective).  It's visual and happens free of the deck. It's so simple that I'm surprised it's not in some old book, and it's not a magician fooler. I think that when seeing the full unedited performance at the beginning of the video most will know what's what. The download only costs $5, and it's feel like a rather versatile idea. Dee Christopher shows three variations on it. And regardless of what the ad copy says (though reading it after watching the download I think they may be saying something other than what I think the ad copy implies) I don't think it translates away from cards very easily. All the things that make it work with cards may not be present in other mediums. If two things look the same how will someone know that they switched places until the reveal. And so if you're using something like two index cards a different transposition may be better. My biggest complaint is hard to air with out exposing more than I'd like. But basically I feel really limited in the ability to repeat the effect for multiple audiences and I would have like to have seen that addressed because if Dee Christopher uses this effect with any regularity it must be an issue he has run into.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Google alerts

So I turned on the Google alerts and one of the terms I get alerts for is "mentalism". I don't know if it is just me but it seem like most of the alerts I get are kind of skuzzy. It usually is things like "use mentalism to get a promotion" or "use mentalism to nail chicks." What is up with that?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Why everyone tore up over Brushwood and the ID are lazy F*#@s

I belong to a couple forums but I rarely check them so most of the magic news I hear is from various feeds and blogs. And for some bit of exposure to make it on there it needs to have kicked up some sand. Oh and it did with Brushwood and the Invisible deck. That made a few appearances and there was much of the usual back and forth over exposure. I'm not here to talk about exposure, I think I've said my piece on that. I think that all this sand kick had less to do with exposure and more to do with laziness.

I've seen every scam school episode, I've been following it for just about as long as I've been serious about magic so I've seen every thing he's ever "exposed" and three months before be he exposed the ID he exposed stripper decks (and he used the actual name of the gimmick in the title and description which he did not do for the ID) and I don't remember any sand kicking from that. So I got to thinking of what the difference was and I came to the conclusion that ID is an easier trick. It's practically self working and it is definitely one where even a poor performance gets a good response. Which is probably why just about every performance I've seen of it looked almost exactly the same. To me those upset are just angry that they may have to put some effort into their effects now.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Switchcraft suppliments

So I log in to my email account and I see that I have a new email from Elliot Bressler the Switchcraft guy, and it contains a new version of switchcraft with a new suppliment. My math puts it at thirty pages. Thirty pages for free. I've not read it, but I know it will be good. I am just caught up in the idea that he's giving it away to those who have bought the book. I mean in magic I've paid a lot more for a lot fewer pages.

Monday, March 18, 2013

be a pro

Before I get into this rant I'll just make two quick points, about the objections I know I'd see if I posted this to a forum. First off yes there is an exception to every rule. Are there performers than can successfully do what the rest are told to avoid, of course there are, but not many and you're probably not one of them. And I don't really care if you think you could be one or not. Secondly I'm talking about professionals in professional settings. So if you're an amateur or hobbyist then what I'm ranting may not apply to you. Also if you are a professional in truly impromptu or causal setting I might be willing to concede that you can have a pass as well.

You are a professional entertainer meaning someone is paying you to do what you do at a specific location at a specific time. Act like a professional, this isn't about dress and behavior, I'm talking about your actual performance, you shouldn't be making it all up on the spot. And even if you are a "jazz" performer it should not look like you're making it up on the spot. Everything you do should say "I am a professional, this is what I do, I have a plan, I am in control." Even if your character is a "magic happens despite my efforts" character,  you should still look like you know what your're doing and what you plan to do next. Nothing annoys me more than when I see patter that suggest one is just making it up as one goes along.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The problem between here and there.

One of the problem I have between where I'm at and where I want to go is that I don't see anywhere for the three shell game to fit in what I want to be performer wise. Sort of, I mean I want to basically be a bizarre pitchman. You know like the guy selling miracle medicine from the side of a wagon, but with arcane artifacts instead of medicine. So conman fits in. I see basically three sides to the character, a psychic reader, a MC, and the mage selling magical items. Setting aside all the time and money I've spent learning the shell, I just plain love doing it. I always have fun with it. But I can't risk the damaging the validity of my character with it. I could explain that I win cause my intuition lets me keep one move ahead of the mark, so I think my biggest worry is that the shell game may be too finger flickery,  a lot of people warn against that when presenting mentalism and bizarre magic. I really don't want people to start questioning the other things I claim to do because I also do the shells.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Business side of Show Business.

A thought occurred to me while browsing the forums, why don't we talk more about the business side of magic. Especially the marketing side, it rarely get much of a mention and the last two times I saw anything about it there were some rather disparaging comments. Saying that magicians who appear on TV contest shows were prostituting themselves is a bit much coming from some armchair philosophizer hiding behind the anonymity of the net. With as often as someone asks questions about how to get working in magic, I rarely see good suggestions for relevant books or sources.

Though I'm willing to bet it has more to do with human nature because it's a lack I've seen it elsewhere. I've seen the lack on a forum for Burlesque and most recently I'm watching a friend's business fail because she has not done her marketing homework and has shot down any sort of you need to work on marketing suggestion I've made. To be fair I'm one of those marketing weirdos that enjoys all the marketing stuff. I'd probably read about it even if I had nothing to sell.

I had an idea for a marketing approach for the mentalists and anyone with a close up effect that uses a business card. Instead of getting your info put on the card get an advertisement for an upcoming show printed. Of course this is for if you actually have a regular or upcoming show.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Cairo Cards


The Cairo Cards are a marking system for business cards from Mevproshop.com. As most books on billet work suggest marking at least one billet and I liked the idea of the impromptu zener card effects, I decided to give it a go. I did find one review (http://www.talkmagic.co.uk/sutra120489.php) for it, before buying it. I'm not quite the fan that guy is. For me I'd say that my final verdict is "Great idea, iffy execution". In full disclosure I don't have a copy of MS Office, being a Linux user at heart I use open office and have no desire to buy Office, so my first complaint is most likely a result of that. The base copy before changes had some alignment issues, that carried over to printing, I printed them without changing anything to see how they fit on the cards, not well. I know that not every thing has to be perfect but the alignment is noticeably off from card to card, to the point where some of the text left a couple of cards. The way they are put togther fixing the alignment isn't too much of an issue but it is potentially tedious. I'm not too upset about that because I knew pre-purchase I was going to change a lot of the textual design.

Now the first thing I did after I got my files was open the file and try to spot the marking system, I had an idea while looking at them that proved wrong, and I had to re-read the secret part of the manual twice to get it, but once I did it's a pretty easy system to read. Now about my wrong idea, there was a fuzzy bit on each palm that changed a bit from card to card. This turned out to be the word "PROSHOP", that they are marked with the creators mark is not an issue in and of itself. The problem is that it was obviously added to each hand image separately which results in minor variations in placement and the biggest problem is the font is completely different from that already on the hand. A difference that is even clearer when printed out, I can't help but feel that it would be even more evident on a higher resolution that would result if I got the cards printed by a printshop. It's not an issue performance wise but I can't help but feel that I just don't want that to appear so blatantly on something I hand out to people.

As for the actual marking system I feel it's pretty good, it's biggest limitation is distance. It's hard for me to tell which is which after the cards get about an arms length away or in poor light, though the book does off a suggestion on a way to improve the visibility at the cost of deceptiveness. When folded all the possible marks are in the same quarter so as long as you fold that to the outside it's pretty easy to see which you have at a glance. I've tried out the first two of the three routines on people and it went well.

All in all what I got could have been better, and to get all the use out of it I want is going to take a bit of effort on my part. That said I'm basically satisfied with what I got as I got exactly what I was promised.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Pack Rat

I'm a bit of a pack rat just like my father before me. I'd like to throw stuff out but for half of it I have half back plans and for the rest a little voice in my head says, as soon as it's gone you'll need it and have to buy one so may as well keep it. I'm not a full on hoarder except for magic stuff I hoard magic stuff. Any I have this problem with blogs I follow too, specifically one blog every time it post I think about unfollowing it, but what if it's next post is one of their uber-rare well written informative posts.  I'm sick of this crap they post that's little more than a badly executed advertisement for their online store. Obviously I don't mind ads on a blog and I don't mind links in the blog to products produced by the blog owners. But when the entire post can be summed up "Hold the deck buy the small ends when overhand shuffling and please buy our crap" I get fed up with it fast.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Exposure is a made up problem.

Exposure is a made up problem. Now exposure exists, not saying it doesn't but as an actual problem hindering magicians, I don't think so. It's a problem made up by magicians with too much time on their hands in order to have something to bitch about. Knowledge of a secret is in no way the sole ruination of an effect. A friend of mine wanted to learn some coin magic and so I obliged. While teaching her a very basic vanish, I learned that even when she knew what was going on she was still amazed and felt that she had seen magic every time I opened my empty hand. Now this wasn't someone who had seen an explanation on YouTube some time back. I had shown her the workings of the vanish and had her run through it a couple time and then showed her the vanish again. No distraction, no mis-direction, no doing it on an off beat. She knew exactly what I was doing and that I was about to do it, still she was taken in by the vanish. She knew better and yet everything else said the coin was where it wasn't. This was just a bs basic coin vanish with no presentation or context, every thing you shouldn't do with magic and it still worked. So if there is something hurting your performances, it's probably not the thirteen year old on YouTube showing everyone the "secret".


Whether or not exposure is a problem for magician financially is a different question entirely.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Cathy Shadow's Doing It For Real review.

Cathy Shadow's Doing It For Real, it's from Paul Voodini but while he may have wrote it down it's content is from another. Cathy Shadow is the pseudonym of a reader Voodini met a psychic fair. Which is important, as once you read the thing you may be tempted to balk at your purchase, but these are techniques used by a real worker as convencer of genuine power. She's someone with no magic or mentalism background and as such these demonstrations lack what some would call "the works" most of it boils down to real intuition. Which Voodini has long claimed a belief in. So if you're looking for the next big magic trick you won't find it here. While these pieces can definitely be use as part of a larger routine, I also like the suggestion that doing  these causally will help you better understand the thoughts, feelings, and emotions experienced by someone who is actually psychic. And remember that a fail now and then can make you seem more legit and you can always follow up with a sure fire hit.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Fragmented Thoughts by Reverend Tristan review

Three effects from a quality Bizarre thinker. 'Tsarology', 'Revelations', and lastly 'And your sins shall be forgiven'. While the eagle eyed of you may have noticed that these effects have been published before. I've definitely seen the first two in Mystic Menagerie. There is definitely more information here than found in the Menagerie. Can't really call them routines cause it's just a description of the effect and and "the works". Tristan says he does that because he wants you to make the presentation 100% yours. And I can't complain, even when a bizarre effect comes with a presentation supplied a huge re-write is usually in order, otherwise you'd be the descendant of every person to ever have a weird happening.

'Tsarology' is psychometry effect with tarot cards. Four spectators take tarot cards, you collect the mixed envelopes and then opening the envelopes one at a time give a reading on cards and identify three spectators and with the last you give the reading and name the card without seeing it. Besides the how to, there is also a little one line cold reading about who would pick that card for each major arcana card which I'm rather sure has plenty of use out side of this effect. I like this effect because it gives not only a reason for the cold reading but also the tarot cards act as a spring board.

'Revelations' is kind of like a biblical conspiracy theory, a page ripped from a bible and a tarot deck and you can show that armageddon is well underway. Not really my thing, and I don't have much to say for it.

'And your sins shall be forgiven' is a sin eater routine. You offer to remove some minor sins from a spectator, and after the flames consume spectators billet you reveal what the sin was. This is definitely right up my ally, I do like the idea of an effect that somehow enriches the lives of those involeved. Thematically it's very similar to Novus Healing, but very different methods and size. This one is a bit larger more of a stage/parlor routine where Novus was best for close up. I bought this tome for this effect it, one of it's moves was recommended to me and I am not disappointed.

Can be found:
http://unholybooks.weebly.com/fragmented-thoughts.html

Monday, February 18, 2013

3 coins 4 your thoughts by Paul Voodini review.

"3 coins 4 your thoughts" is a methodology for giving readings. The book is a little lite on general reading info but there are other sources for that. Most of the pages are taken up with the system. A simple system that use 3 coins and 4 phase. One of the things I saw mentioned most often about this work was the versatility and the robustness of it. And I found that to be true, you could give full length readings with this or pare it down for something supper quick, or use it with other systems. And it's not complicated at all, one read through and you should be ready to give it a go. Personally I'm going to drop the last phase, it's just not right for what I do reading wise. I take a bit of a hard line against future telling. But I could see a change I can make and probably use the makes a wish thing as my final phase. It's a good system for impromptu readings and probably easier than palm reading. Voodini writes in a strait forward no-nonsense sort of fashion, that I can appreciate.

Now I do have one complaint and this comes more from my magic performer side than anything. The coins used matter, in that the spectator needs to easily see a difference in value between them. Meaning you really need to use current coins of the realm. Which means that you can't carry around some aged foreign coins that you got from an elderly gypsy. I generally don't carry cash money around with me with the exception of the coins I use for magic. And those aren't really useful for this system. Of course it's not a problem if the one receiving the reading has coins on them. Though if there were a debate about coins kept just to do a reading versus the one the spec has, I'd go for the specially kept side. I don't think that change really spends enough time with one person to take up some of their energies. All in all I find it hard to slam a good metaphysical edge on this presentations but I supposed that if your sitter needs that sort of edge you can always go with palm reading.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Mystic Menagerie Issue #7


Jacks Victims By Joshua Johnson: A routine based around the victims of Jack the Ripper. At it's basic is an Anagram.

1:11 By Erick Machamer: A wonderfully creepy presentation for the haunted key effect.

Hypnocard by Alchemy Moon Review By Freddie Valentine: A very short review of a card designed to help put people into trances amongst other stuff.

Red Riding Hood By Holly Blue: Not so much a review of two Red Riding Hood adaptions but a focus on the more imagination invoking parts of each film.

Dr Todd interview: The problem with interviews is you have to have heard of the person interviewed to really care about reading it so I skip these.

Tales from the Séance Room By Freddie Valentine: I do enjoy these tales from the field. This one involves the ghost of a witch-finder and the body of a satanist.

The Tooth of Jeremiah Butts By Paul Prater: A heavy on the story telling routine centered around a tooth from a dead man.

Dear Readers by Dale Shrimpton: A few ideas for ways to change up the presentations of various effects.

Destiny... By Fantomas: I like this, a nice short opener that use the tarot and a minimum of sleight of hand.

A Haunted Riddle by TC Tahoe: An introduction to use for your haunted key routine. I don't know if it's because it's a Halloween issue or what but this is the third time presentaions for the haunted key effect has came up this issue.

Zoltar from Alchemy Moon review: Two alchemy moon reviews this issue, all I know is this review makes me want Zoltar.

Sympathetic Card By Vincent: A bizarre presentation for the invisible deck. As presented it's a pretty complicated affair but seems simple enough to make it fit a level of work your comfortable with.


Seance Seating plan By Martyn Hoult: "Chair predictions are a staple item of  a mentalist repertoire." I can honestly say I did not know about chair predictions until I started reading Mystic Menagerie. This article is about spicing  up a seance with a chair prediction.

The 13th Box A Tale of a Dybbuk Box. By Jez Star. I'll be honest I got bored reading the opening bit and ended up skipping the whole article.

The Devil and Beatrice By Roni Shachnaey: A routine about a deal with the devil. There's too much going on in this effect to nail it down to one underlying main effect but the main thrust is transformations.

Tracking the Beast By Jeremy Lefebure: Werewolf effect, great back story.

Bizarre Rants! By Freddie Valentine: This issue the target of Freddie's ire is performers that jump into the seance genre without learning anything about it first.

Lil Dolly By Mark Thorold: A way to turn a doll into a very creepy indicator of spirits present.









Switchcraft supplements.

Just finished the supplements. There is some very very good stuff in there.  The quality is just as good as the main book and for the most part my complaints and compliments remain unchanged. Every thing is simple, strait-forward, and well credited. The problem I have remains the same, in order to achieve simplicity something else has to go and I feel that in this work good choreography is what is given up most often. I feel that nowhere is this more clear than in the Annemann for Everyone supplement. In order to do the Annemann switch deceptively he decides to add blocking. Reaching across the body and doing the switch behind the arm. While this works well for card cheats, I think performers should avoid it. It's bad choreography, it looks bad. It requires you to have something to reach for and if you knew you were going to need it why not have it on the side it needs to be on from the start.

I also kind of feel that it not really Annemann's switch anymore, at the very least you can't use it in all the same ways. With the Annemann switch you should be able to pick up a billet and hand it to someone and somewhere between  those two steps the billets has changed. Besides the bad choreography the simplified moves require more justification for your actions than a more difficult switch.

Good choreography does more than improve the look of things, it makes it harder to deconstruct latter. You don't want your spectator saying to their friends latter "Well he did do _______ so I guess he could have done something then."

If I thought of this as more than a beginners tome the bad choreography would be a larger complaint, but when you're first starting out doable deceptive moves are more important than flawless choreography. When I started in magic like most my original sources were a bit on the random side and one of the results is that I learned the push off double before a regular one. I have a pretty good push off which is a strong double but I spent so much more time alone mastering it than I would have had to do for the regular. Looking I'd have rather been doing magic for people than mastering complicated moves alone because performance skills take just as much time if not more to get the hang of. My audience management skills sucks.

Near the end of the the book there a lot of stuff on the Acidicus Novus peek. Which was a bit of a surprise after all that talk about how good switches are. I would have liked to see more complicated switches but no such luck. Now I know one's entertainment value is not based off the complicatedness of one's moves. As you can learn from the works of Paul Voodini you don't need any moves to be entertaining. But to advance one's skills and avoid plateauing one needs to do deliberate practice and that means practicing at a level above where you're at and learning from your mistakes (so some intermediate moves near the end would have been nice). If you love magic and mentalism as an art shouldn't your goal be to progress your skills. Just doing enough to get by is what you do for work, not for your passion.

One last note there is a mentalist I talk to from time to time on Skype and just about every time we even mention billets he has to tell me about this lecture he attended of a switch master who performed a switch for him that completely floored him. How much more powerful a switch can you get, in front of a mentalist at lecture where all you're talking about is switches. Talk about test conditions, do you need a switch that strong, probably not but I feel you should at least aspire to it.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Extensive reading vs Intensive reading

There are two ways to read one is extensively which is reading as many book as possible as quick as possible and intensive which means reading slowly and fewer books but with more focus on the actual contents of the book. The problem with extensive reading is that it gives us less time to digest the material in each book. A few months ago I read a book, and all I can tell you now is that it was good and had a rather clever gimmick for envelopes in it. That's all I remember, can't even remember what the gimmick is. I'll never be a good magician just from read as many books as possible. I need to really take in what I'm reading. To that end I'm going to start writing stuff down as a read, and force my self to pay attention and re-read  parts that are important.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Mystic Menagerie Issue #6

Touched By Mark Thorold: Instructions to make a gimmick for PK touch routines.

The Great Magic Wand Shop Hoax by Paul Voodini: A rather enjoyable tale of marketing ploy turned hoax.

Bizarre Rants by Freddy Valentine: Here Valintine lets of some steam, the object of ire is other performer letting the cat out of the bag with their comments on social networks.

The Curious Wands of Crispin Mindebender: A short article on the best wands you never heard about from a maker you never heard of.

Tales from the Seance Room by Freddy Valentine: Tales from the trenches much like the "Tarot Telling Tales" from issue one these are stories of mischievous ghosts and other events from actual performances.

Erebus by Vincent: A vampire ritual and more blood drinking. And by ritual I mean ritual long eventful odd words and actions. I think under it all you would say the effect is a drawing duplication.

The Dwindling Balls by Jez Starr: A presentation for the picture flame gimmick.

Live Transmission ‘Lost’ by Jack Murphee: As far as I can tell this is a US variation of something that appeared issue four (which I don't have at this time)

Making Pendulums By Joshua Johnson: A brief article on how to make your own pendulums for use and for sale.

A Storm in a Teacup By Martyn Hoult: You have a pendulum no what, here we have a method for moving an isolated pendulum.

Review by Freddy Valentine of Speed Trance DVD: Review of a super fast Hypnosis Induction DVD

The Ring of Laetandar By Dan Baines: A lord of the rings presentation for the CSI effect from Lebanon Circle.

Bad Influence: It's looks like a do as I do effect but where the all cards except for the switched ones are the same. The them of the effect is that negative influences have more effect on us than good influences.

Pass me the cards and the routine on a plate by Bruce Graham: This was a little hard to read, near as I can tell its a post from a forum split up with commentary added in.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Mystic Menagerie Issue #5

Only a few issues after #2 and the quality is not even comparable to the previous issues I have. And even more information between covers. And the links in this one are click-able which I quite like.

Blood Test by Vincent: A very ghoulish version of a psychometry test that requires you to have your spectators bleed. You have an assistant collect a bit of blood with each envelope and then you either sniff or taste and then tell whose blood it is. Interesting but seems like more trouble than it's worth.

Review - The Oracle by Raven: A review of a rather interesting looking oracle system.

Dark Inspiration - Ghost in the Machine: This pretty much the selling point of this issue, plans for a spirit telegraph (from my googling it seems like it was a big deal at one point). It's a bit of a Saturday project but not too complicated. Though as I've said before I'd rather pay someone with the appropriate skills for one than attempt any crafts myself.

Resista’s Liquid Legacy: A light/heavy glass routine with a vaudeville/burlesque theme. This is what actually convinced me to get this issue instead of others and I'm glad I did.

Review - Paul Voodini’s Books: A strait forward review of four books by Paul Voodini. I don't think I've actually heard/read an untoward word about Voodini, which is weird all by itself.

Notes on Creating Routines by Paul Prater: This is an essay where Paul Prater walks you step by step through his creation of a routine that ends with the actual routine created.

Interview - Jon Thompson Subversive Circuits: I'm not really one who is interested in interviews, so I can't say I gave this section my full attention.

Paulo Priest and Scientist by Roni Shachnaey: A bizarre presentation of the magic square with a spanish inquisition theme.

Wizard of Gore by Madelon Hoedt: An essay on being scary, maybe I have the wrong definition of gore but I found the article lacking in gore department. Which I'm glad about, with the title I thought this was going to be about magicians who confuse the shock of seeing blood and guts with actually being scary. But this article was darn good an well worth a read, more like a research paper (with citations) than an article in a magazine.

The Chosen Table By Freddie Valentine: Not really bizarre, this effect is at it's base a prediction effect but it looks like a good one.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

So many billets

I have a drawer full of billets. Ever since I first started reading Practical Mental Magic (I'll finish it some day) I've been searching for the right billet for me and the techniques I'm trying. Different types of papers and folding methods, and they just keep piling up. I do mean to work more with them but it just never happens. The problem so far as I see it is that there is no one fit all solution, Business card stock is the current front runner and it's too thick for a smooth and easy center tear but it works for the switchcraft switches and the Acidus Novus peek. The runner up is index cards but the problem I'm having with them is no fold produces a good size billet. It's either a tiny almost square rectangle that is too small or a long skinny rectangle that is too big. While it's not a true center tear Switchcraft by Elliot Bresler has provided me with a center tear solution that will allow me to use business cards.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Switchcraft by Elliott J. Bresler Review

There is no shortage of praise for or suggestions to buy Swithcraft. That plus all the extras put this on my radar a while ago but I lacked the surplus funds to get it. I finally got the push to go ahead and get it and I can't say I'm disappointed. 625 pages for $20 is hard to beat. I won't be reviewing all 625 pages as most of that is supplements and extras. This work is the result of one man's attempt at finding what he considers to be the best switch. Now I do consider the switch to be a necessary part of a mentalist's toolbox but I do not think I'd go so far as to say that all mentalism can be done with a switch. To me that would imply that the switch is superior to other moves. Sometimes you need a switch and sometimes you need a peek.

After a brief introduction most of the first 80 pages of Switchcraft are devoted to 13 switching methods. There are a lot of excellent pictures, enough that you could practically learn just from those alone. The basic switch is simple and strait forward and I would be surprised if you hadn't mastered it in 10 minutes of practice. There is a down side or two that I feel I should mention. First is that it requires two hands and the passing the billet back and forth twice which means you have to find motivations for all that. The second downside which is probably mostly personal preference can be remedied by the variation which the author calls "cumbersome" is that it requires my hands to be in what I feel are odd positions. To start the switch you have to bring the hand with the billet up into the empty hand, which means at some point the empty hand has to be above the one holding the billet. Playing around with it I just could not find a starting position where the empty hand was above the one with the billet that felt right and bringing the empty hand up and over feels off. These two complaints remain for most of the switches in the book. Are either of these two things really that big an issue, not really the first would be a problem if the book didn't have any effects in it and left motivating all to you, and the second is solved with a variation or being less picky than me. All that aside I have to say that these switches will get you out there doing mentalism faster than any other switch I have read and you can always practice the harder ones like Annemann's in secret until you're ready to switch your switches. I also would like to say that you should try them all out, because even if you don't like it on the page you might like it in the hands. Which happened to me with the second technique in the book.

So you've learned some switches now what, page 80 bears the title "Presentation options and sample routines". Here the author assures us again that with the switch we can create any mentalism effect imaginable shy of the spoon bend. But I still have not seen anything that makes me want to replace the peek I use with a switch. First he covers the switch as an out and even has an idea for an out for use with a truly unpredictable spectator. He also touches briefly on psych-forces and Dual Reality. Next up is switching as forces, which when you think about has some advantages of a change bag full of similar billets. The sample effect for this section is aimed at children, I can't say I've seen many children's mentalists. But if you like it I don't think it would be hard to ramp up to the appropriate levels for adults, plus no matter how much you say no someone always wants you to perform for kids. Then we come to actually reading billets which I thought was the mainstay of billet work. After a couple sample one-on-one routines (and a heads up where to find more) a separate section actually covers how to read the billets in secret. He limits himself to read methods that he himself has used successfully. With that bit of ground work covered we get a couple multiple billet multiple spectator type effects. I'm most of the way through at this point and going item by item would just be redundant. The book continues to page 125, which means the next 500 pages are free extra content.

I have to say that Elliott Bresler seems to go out of his way to give credit where credit is due and even where he came up with and idea himself he has a humble if you know a source for it or similar I'll credit it properly attitude. I know I complained earlier about wanting to get all the secrets I paid for and Bresler tries so hard to ensure that all the relevant info possible is included that he can get a bit repetitive. This is a work by a man who is enamored with the subject matter and it shows.

My final verdict is that Switchcraft is the best billet switching book for beginners out there but nothing in it is really intermediate or advanced. But it's probably needed, like the author says you don't see a lot of stuff concerning switches coming out.

I may review the supplements later, they build as they go, so I'm trying to avoid moving forward in them before I'm sure I've got a good understanding of what I've already covered.

Update: Just felt I should add that navigating the 625 pages of Switchcraft is very easy thanks to all the bookmarks.

If you found this review to helpful or you thought it sucked let me know in the comments section.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I bought the secret right?

"You bought the secret." Is the reason I most often see as an objection to returning a magic product after you have bought it. The idea being that the information you may have got from it is trapped within your head for ever. But what if the secret is the gimmick then what. It's not like they send plans on how to make the gimmick yourself (I am aware that some do, usually those require you to make it yourself from scratch). But let's take an example from my own list of reviews, Blackmail by Bobby Motta. Blackmail for those that did not read the review, is a utility gimmick for mentalism. It's basically a new spin on an old classic and the secret lies 100% with the gimmick, there is a bit that may be all Bobby but without the gimmick that info is useless. Now several times they mention how much trouble they went through to find just the right materials, but they carefully avoid saying anything definitive which ones they used. At one point Peter McKinnon is about to say what weight the card stock is but he stops just before and switches his train of thought. Maybe he just forgot or maybe they want to keep it a secret. What this means is you either have to buy their replacements (which are always out of stock when I check and I'm willing to bet don't come with card-stock) or source all the parts yourself. Setting aside most of that BS I find that super annoying because as I said in my review they don't give you enough card-stock  I found the card-stock supplied to be totally un-reusable, by their own math you would need at least 120 pieces of card-stock to use up all six gimmicks supplied. They gave me five, not even enough to practice with. I ordered Blackmail the day it was released and by the time it got to me there was no refill option on the Ellusionist website yet. So I had to devise my own solution to the card-stock issue, it's a serviceable solution but not one I would want to use in a professional setting. I would have had an easier time if they had just told me what weight card-stock it was. Even if they told me exactly what type and where to get all the pieces I'd still prefer to just give my money to them in exchange for a well made gimmick.

So did I buy the secret (which is not much of one as it's almost right out of 13 steps) or did I buy some gimmicks and if it's the latter and I choose not to use them after I view the video is there a good reason for me not to return the whole thing. If the gimmick does all the heavy lifting in an effect and I choose not to use that gimmick I feel there is no reason not to return it. But beyond that when I purchase some effect I feel that the creator owes me all the secrets that go along with it that he has the right to share and sources of all the one's he's not so I can go after them. I don't think it's greedy, I bought it, I paid good money to be able to do that effect, and I need that info to properly utilized the effect. Anything less and I've not really bought the secret just an idea I have to figure out myself.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Is magic an art?

Found this video:
Here: http://magic.about.com/b/2013/01/13/is-magic-an-art.htm

A lot of good thought provoking answers in this video. To me there are two tricky parts to this question, the first is "What is magic?" and the second is "What is art?". There are so many different answers to both of those questions. So many answers that it muddles the question to the point where I felt some of the people in the video where actually answering the question "Are magicians artists?" It may sound like the same question but to me it's fundamentally different. I think think the difference in the question lies in the answer to another question "Can magic exist separately from the magician?" To this I answer yes it can, some magicians are simply a vehicle for their tricks. They may be doing the moves but the magic happens in a bubble at the end of their arms. I know I quote this a lot but here it is again “Magic is a powerful art that can support a weak performer.” – Ricky Jay


"Is magic art?" Here is my answer; No magic is a craft. The magician is a craftsman. You can take just about any craft put it in the hands of a master and the thing he turns out is a work of art to someone. Take a wooden table, to me it's just a table, but out there somewhere is a person that loves tables. Show them a table and they will talk about the wood selection, the placement of the grain, the color, the tone, the joints, and a hundred other things about tables that I don't give a flip about. To them the table is a work of art and the carpenter that made it is an artist. Magic can be an art, magicians can be artists, but they are not inherently so.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

EVERYTHING IS A REMIX

"EVERYTHING IS A REMIX" is a fascinating look at creativity the link can found same place I found it here at Bizzaro's Blog. I set me to thinking and the only reason I'm not posting it on all the forums I follow is that thinking is a rare skill and I can see how some would see it as an excuse to rip-off effects they like.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Mystic Menagerie Issue #2

I do believe issue two is the cheapest issue that you can buy. Also as a plus the text is a separate entity that can be selected, which means that you can copy paste URLs instead of trying to type them from memory.


Black Hart’s Bizarre Artefacts By Freddie Valentine: Reviews of several products from www.blackhart.
co.uk

The Mad Hatter Returns by Graham Yates: A seance effect centered around a hat box. Spirit writing and a spirit bell are the "magic" part.

The Corpse Candle Spook Lights for Seance By Dan Baines: This article takes up the lion share of the magazine but is also the main reason I bought it. I've always been enamored with the stories of floating balls of light and their causes and the ability to cause it to happen my self is a secret I had to have. Like most good methods this one is reasonably simple and unfortunately not for me in most cases but I will be looking to use it some time. Not just the method a few presentations are included as well.

DIXIE NIGHTMARES by Paul Prater: A civil war themed effect, a bizarre take on the cut and restored rope and on rope through neck.

Mystery A Human Curiosity by Freddie Valentine: An essay on the human fascination with the mystery and what you need to do as a performer to harness it.

Magic and Magick- some thoughts.... by Freddie Valentine: An essay on how Freddie Valentine became a "holder of dark secrets and collector of sinister objects" an interesting look about how even if you're doing something like sponge balls people still connect you to more mystical powers.

Then there is some closing remarks which is followed by;

The Bit in the Back By Bertoneski: I don't care for this part, especially as is it comes after the closing remarks makes it feel out of place. To me the closing remarks is the end of the magazine so this bit fells tacked on.





Monday, January 14, 2013

The Mystic Menagerie Issue #1

Issue one is a bit on the short side but it is free and you can't really expect there to be a lot of contributions to the first issue of anything. After a short introduction we get into the first article;

Hypno Knives by Freddy Valentine: This is is a rather creative routine for the colour changing knives effect, but I don't see why it could not be applied to similar effects for example the hot rod.

Revelations by Reverend Tristan: I'd hesitate to call this a routine or an effect, it's more some ideas arranged in a way that that could be something. Which is pretty much what it claims to be, an idea to stimulate your own thinking, that and a way to weird out the Mormons that come to your door.

Review - Doug Higly's Eye of the ripper: What's a magazine without a review of something, and this is a rather thorough one.

Psychic Cleudo by Paul Voodini: This routine seems like would be quite a bit of fun. Cleudo is apparently the Brit name for the game Clue. Basically you invite people to play a game of "Psychic Clue" where one person knows the who what where and every one else tries to pick up the psychic answers. And then you finish off by strait up reading their mind. I like that I could totally imagine people playing this game for real and it seems like it would be loads of fun even without the effect.

Illuminatus by Freddy Valentine: This is just a little heads up about a site where a man has managed to cram all sorts of things into bottles.

Tsarology by Reverend Tristan: A psychometry effect with tarot cards.

Tarot Telling Tales by Reverend Tristan: This is supposed to be anecdotes by Reverend Tristan from doing readings but judging from the jump I'd say a whole page is missing from the magazine. You pretty much miss out on the interesting part of his tales. But it does end with an extremely valuable piece of advice applicable to any reading system.

This is followed by some closing remarks from the editor and then some reviews of really old movies by the man that does the layout for the magazine.



Saturday, January 12, 2013

It's awesome to me.

I'm not gonna make this a normal post because it tiny and has no value. But I pay a lot of attention to the traffic sources page of my stats and it seems someone found their way to this blog by searching "thaumaturgist business card" which is just awesome to me.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

10 minutes.

How long does it take you to do an effect, how fast can you do it, how long can you drag it out. This is something I have never thought of before and now it looks kind of important. I got on to the idea after reading a challenge to give a ten minute interesting monologue. My response was ten minutes, there nothing that would take me ten minutes to talk about. I've always felt that most subjects could be summed up in a sentence or two, which is good for a conversation as it gives others a chance to ramble. But it's not so good when you have to entertain a room full of people with little more than the sound of one's voice. Now as a magician on stage various lengths of effect is a strength especially if you can use the time differences effectively to achieve a good pacing. But my goal is to be an MC and there may be times where I have to entertain the crowd for five minutes while the next performer is searching for a shoe. The advice I saw on this point was along the lines of "Get them to applaud the last performer, get them to applaud the stage kittens, get them to applaud the venue, remind them of the merchandise table and then do some entertaining for the next four and a half minutes." Now I'm thinking beyond the cups and balls I don't really know any effect that would take me more than a minute and a half if I drug it out as long as possible. Most of them being unsuitable for the situation anyway. Not only do I need an effect that can be drug out for a while but it needs to be able to be wrapped up quickly in case it only takes three minutes to find the shoe, can't put the whole show off by two minutes just so I can do some magic. Actually I think I own something that may be just right, it's been collecting dust because when I got it, I found that it was too far beyond my skill level to attempt, if I can fit it in with my MC character I think I may have to focus on those skills for a bit.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Magic doesn't belong on film

I'm coming to believe that Magic doesn't belong on film more and more, for several reasons. But for me the main reason would have to be it devalues magic in the eyes of the spectator. There's no spectator management all those people who treat it as a puzzle will just watch it over and over again looking for the smallest error or hint of and then if they have the slightest idea the crow about it like they're Albert Eisenstein reincarnated. Magic needs value to keep from being just tricks, it may be a silly catch phrase for a cereal but it's true "Trix are for kids". If as performers we want people to see magic as something other than silly amusements for children we need need to offer something of value.

Magic exists only in the connection between performer and audience and that can't be captured or reproduced with video.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Criss Angel Mindfreak Platinum Magic Kit.

I was given this as a Christmas present, and as far as magic kits go it's got some good points. And as it's been out awhile I figure there are plenty of reviews out and you can easily look up what it is that in this will be more  a rant about something that I've complained about before. Crappy instructions. There was a DVD and there was a quick thanks for buying clip with Angel but for the rest that I watch it was just a silent magician miming the the effects. There was also a book and I just flip to the section on the cups and and balls and seeing how little was there tossed it back in the box, the cups are nice and a reasonable size but the effect is still the stack the cup and cause one ball to fall through the cups a complete waste of have cups that size. I've often heard people say that what you're actually buying is the secret and for me that true enough so I feel that when I purchase something it's the sellers job to impart the secret as thoroughly as possible. Not just give an overview in an attempt to make a quick buck.