An online magic journal for things I find interesting. You'll find reviews of magic books, tricks and DVD's and I'll occasionally teach how to do a unique magic effect. In short: this is my web sandbox: I hope you find it useful.
"It's only the unwilling suspension of disbelief that is fascinating"
Think about that... and then watch the interview below to enter the minds of Penn & Teller.
"Magic can be an intellectual art form because it has built-in irony"(Teller)
While watching some YouTube today, I ran across an amazing interview with P&T... a great discussion that gets real juicy at the 9:30 mark. Some of the best theory crafting I've given my time to contemplate.
I'll be re-reviewing this for sure.
I could listen to Penn speak his mind ad-nausem on just about any subject
(and he has some interesting views on MANY topics) better than that... TELLER speaks!
This is a very interesting discussion from TAM 2012
I started to bookmark the site for my (never-ending) favorites list and as I contemplated that, I contemplated the lack of good magic I've seen reviewed lately. **I have seen magic get good reviews... but that doesn't mean it's good. It only means it's selling.
There's little I enjoy more in life than researching magic. From the first day I cracked a magic book (30+ years ago) to watching the latest Wizard Product review (last Wed.) I have enjoyed many many long days and late nights in pursuit of the elusive miracle.
I can confidently state: If you're looking for a new effect or routine, I'm confident in stating the best bang for your buck will usually come from a book. Not only will book study provide the most value, it will inspire you to interpret the magic on your own. Unlike a DVD (or watching someone else perform an effect in a lecture or show) YOU get to choose what the magic will convey.
I digress... I'm not preaching the perfect way to learn magic. That's not the purpose of this post. So, why are we here today? Well....
After watching the recent episodes of the aforementioned Wizard Product Review , I reflected on the insane amount of magiCRAP that is being released these days. I thought it was getting bad 10 years ago when I owned a shop and the flood gates were wide open. For the most part, the last few decades have provided an amazing selection of valuable products for the magi-community. But now that all the great performers have released their material, we're left with teenagers and non-professionals pumping out products as fast as paypal can launder the money. I've heard rumors of the amount of new magic that major distributors carry. No less than 5-7 NEW products added EVERY week. Its unfathomable that any company can deal with this output (much less profit from it.) But... they do... and someone is supporting them (and by someone, I mean 1000's of magi-marks.) I understand what its like when the magibug bites: it's grip is fast and wide. It seems the desire to learn anything and everything is satiated only by the size of your wallet.
I'm guilty as anyone. Rarely does a week go by that I don't wish for the latest trick or doohickey. But I recently realized that was no longer the case. I don't think it has anything to do with my interest in our art, I think it's just a lack of good products. Sure, There's a gazillion things I'd like to have: I never did get a (Pure) smoke device & I'd still like to test drive "Soundz Amazing" (both from my wishlist last year) but nope: nothing lately.
Oh, btw, speaking of Soundz Amazing, here's the in depth review from Akirafist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67_801SsbkE I'll be spending a good portion of my day, reviewing his reviews.
That's the bright-side of the current magic-meta. There are PLENTY of opinions to be heard. Turn on YouTube, check the Magi-cafe, ask Facebook, etc. Do yourself a favor: Weed out the chaff.
Alright, this post needs to end somewhere. I guess we'll wrap up here
#1: Buy More Books #2: Buy Carefully #3: Review the Reviews
and remember one of the golden rules: The amateur magician does 100 tricks poorly. The professional does 10 tricks well. *& the best magi do 5 tricks perfectly (my addendum)
Last night I re-watched “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” (on HBO...)
With all due respect to any alumni involved in his forgettable movie, it is only (sleightly) saved by
acceptable performances from Steve Carell and Jim Carrey.
There are some fun cameos and the occasional reference will keep fast company attentive (“your Zarrow shuffle is sloppy”) IMO: Overall, this flick was a disappointment.
So, why am I mentioning it?
Well, it provided the incentive to reflect on a reflection that has stayed fast in my theory closet (say what?)
These thoughts deserve more than the brief mention I’ll be delivering here. Perhaps some day I’ll spend the time to record a full mental dump, but for now a few sentences will have to suffice.
To make a long story short:
One of the ‘Wonderful’ things about our craft is that there are so many ways to do things right.
Whether its a full fledged sensory attack (Ala David Copperfield) or a few mumbled words (Ala David Blaine) at the end of the day, time has proven there is no ‘right’ answer when it comes to presenting the conjuring arts.
You can be fun-funny or stern-serious, amazing or skillful, suave or sloppy, it all works. From Mac King to Max Maven, Darwin Ortiz to Lennart Green, ( or even obtain cult icon status with unique approaches of Criss Angel or David Blaine)
One need only briefly consider the differences of these performers & then wonder how they all have reached a pinnacle of their chosen perspective. I could make a dozen different references to make my point, but a look at your personal favorite magi should provide all the mindset you need.
While many magi are constantly in search of the right way to approach performing, they really need look no further than in front of their eyes..
Who really decides what is the correct approach to performing magic?
I’ll tell you who: your audience.
& its an endgame that begins with a vision of what you want to share.
Yes, everything and more has a home in our Wonderful artform, all you really need are two things:
#1 A Point of View
#2 The desire and drive to deliver #1
Or you can be an inferior imitation of someone else...
First step: the important thing is to think about it at all.
(if you'd like to see a great magic movie: I recommend the Prestige (a wonderul Chis Nolan flick) or The Illusionist (starring Edward Nortan in a fantastic role.... in fact, I think I'll watch that later today ;)
wow, the full movie is here;
As far as Magi-Comedies go, if you're a magician, you're likely to enjoy the english comedy "The Magicians" (availble on Netflix at the time of this post) you'll find much more real magic , cameos and the like... I'm not really recommending it, but if you're choosing between this and the average sitcom, 'the magicians' is nearly equal in entertainment value (also currently on Netflix is the outstanding Ricky Jay Documentary: Deceptive Practices.)
Last but not least (and only last because I'm sick of typing)
I've taken a bit of a hiatus from this blog (and as I type this, I wonder who is reading these words?) When I started this, I never really intended for it to be much more than an online reference for the magi-stuffs that were of interest to me. I did figure that my findings may interest others and as part of the "pay it forward" mindset, I figured that it couldn't hurt to share my interests online.
So, today I ran across a website that lists various magic-blogs and my online notebook was noted / linked, etc. I'm honored and humbled that someone (anyone) would find my poorly penned ramblings would be of intermittent interest and as I considered these thoughts, I felt bad that I haven't been writing more lately.
It's not for lack of caring. I truly enjoy the pursuit of the illusive miracle and other related matters ... and I've always yearned to improve my writing skills (and figured that doing more writing was a step towards achieving that goal.) < a small smirk crosses my lips as I realize: I must have broken a dozen basic writing concepts by the time I reached the previous sentance... but I digress (and I'm leaving the word "sentance" misspelled so I know at least one error exists;)
Anyway, the point of this post is to let ya know, my temporary absence is just that: Temporary. I've been going through allot of personal stuff lately and had no inclination to be artistic and or productive. Fortunately time does heal wounds and slowly but surely I'm seeing through the fog (that of a momentary lapse of reason is pretending it does.)
I've always felt fortunate to have something like magic in my life & Can't imagine what it's like to wake up and not have the drive to peruse an art... Hmmm. Perhaps ignorance is bliss?
Today I had a nice / nostalgic reflection as I re-reviewed and rehearsed the first sleight of hand effect I ever learned (Daley's Last Trick.) Another one of the wonderful things about our art is that every second (and the microseconds inbetween) can be analyzed and perfected / directed or misdirected as the case may be. I think this never ending brain candy is one of the wonderful things that keeps me interested in conjuring (and I suggest if you're not of a similar mindset that perhaps your magic is lacking some luster?)
As I type these words, my trusty pack of pasteboards, those 52 lovers... the devils playbook, rest in my pocket. Never more than a reach away for an ease of the mind. Be it later tonight or early tomorrow, I know they'll be there for me. If you're reading this, chances are you're one of a similar ilk: one of the lucky ones.
Alright, well, I ony intended this post to be a brief blurb to mention I'll be back sooner than later (hopefully more towards the former.) In the interim... Whomever your messiah (be it bob of the chosen one himself) I suggest saying a little thanks to the powers that be for providing us some real MAGIC in our lives.
I'm sure I've posted clips / info of this fantastic performer in the past.
I had the pleasure of seeing this act live back in the late 90's... it's a great example of what a strong 12 minutes can get ya: from what I can see, only the smallest details have changed between what I saw then (and now)
Don't get me wrong: those small details make ALL the difference and one of the wonderful things about our magical art is: you can spend a lifetime perfecting EVERY second (EVERY SECOND) of an act.
This latest clip from Norbert shows his opening card sequence I suggest a look at some of the other clips you can find on youtube to get a full understanding of his charecter (suave & debonair, intersperesed with Jerry Lewis'esque comedy... it's fun / funny , amusing and AMAZING) His billiard ball work is as good (Better?) than the cards.
The whole act is worth a look... don't take my word for it... go LOOK!
Here's a start: this was posted four months ago (I was wondering when he'd show up on this french variety show (as he is a natvie of theat land))
Sidenote: I hope you'll excuse my sparse posting lately, I'm going through some perosnal stuff and not always in the mood (nor at home near the internet) I'm sure things will get back to 'normal' eventually... In the interim; have the faith... everything is temporary
Happy to announce Flush Brush (my simplified / direct handling of Chris Kenner's wonderful effect "Paint By Numbers") is now available through TRCKY.com This has been a long standing favorite routine that never fails to garner an outstanding reaction. The handling is simple and the presentation flows like butter... check it out:
IMO: $8 is a very reasonable asking price, especially considering the extras you receive (two different methods and my touches on Dai Vernon's "Triumph" shuffle: Triumph Tools.) those who purchase the download and are interested in upgrading to the full "Built to Last" dvd set, can do so with the $8 asking price discounted from the purchase (which makes the download virtually free)
Whether you're looking for the 'real work' on the Triumph shuffle or if you're in search of a powerhouse card-closer, I guarantee you'll be happy with this info-packed download.