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:

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.