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 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 ( 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.