Women in Boxes is the first film ever made that about the unsung hero behind the Magician. The devoted, if not masochistic Magic Assistant who distorts her body into impossible positions while the magician cuts her in pieces, stabs her incessantly,
sets her on fire, crushes her, dismembers her, restores her to life with a dramatic "taa daa" and takes a bow for the credit.
Who is the woman who would subject
herself to such torture, not to mention the Magician\'s Ego?
I can still remember a previous entry I wrote (Their War, Our World) regarding the first Transformers movie. Now almost three years later the second movie Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen has hit the theatres grossing over 350 million dollars in 5 days...
I went to the premiere on 23/6/2009 at 20:00. A great action movie, lots of bots and Megan Fox. Nothing much you could wish for...
Today, I witnessed my cat toying with a mouse. After several attempts I managed to rescue the poor little thing. A friend of mine remarked: "It was natural selection. Apparantly this mouse wasn't strong or fit enough to escape capture and thus was ruled out by natural selection."
This got me thinking. What if the mouse just had a bad day? What if he just was a bit sleepy and did not see our "cute little kitten of death" coming?
Wouldn't that make (at least a part of) natural selection a random event? A flip of the coin, roll of the dice or turn of the river card?
The faro shuffle is performed by cutting the deck into two, preferably equal, packs in both hands as follows (right-handed): The cards are held from above in the right and from below in the left hand. Separation of the deck is done simply lifting up half the cards with the right hand thumb slightly and pushing the left hand's packet forward away from the right hand.
The two packets are often crossed and slammed into each other as to align them. They are then pushed together by the short sides and bent (either up or down). The cards will then alternately fall into each other, much like a zipper. A flourish can be added by springing the packets together by applying pressure and bending them from above. The faro is a controlled shuffle which does not randomize a deck.
A perfect faro shuffle, where the cards are perfectly alternated, is considered one of the most difficult sleights by card magicians, simply because it requires the shuffler to be able to cut the deck into two equal packets and apply just about the right pressure when pushing the cards into each other. If one does perform eight perfect faro shuffles in a row, the order of the deck will return to the original order, if there are 52 cards in the deck and if the original top and bottom cards remain in their positions (1st and 52nd) during the eight shuffles.
If the top and bottom cards get weaved in during each shuffle then it takes 52 shuffles to return a deck back into original order (26 shuffles to reverse the order of a deck containing 52 cards).
So why is it called a Faro shuffle? I recently read a small explanation on the Genii Forum posted by the magician Dben / David Ben:
"That put me on the trail of the rules of faro. The best description that I have found of the rules of Faro, how to deal it, record the plays, etc is in “The American Hoyle – Revised Edition” , 1883 edition by Dick and Fitzgerald.
Played by the rules, Faro was the most fair bank game. The dealer’s sole advantage was derived from splits. In Faro, two cards appear in each ‘turn’, one represents a card for the dealer, the other the players. Players place bets on sort of a roulette-style layout, putting bets on either individual values or in combinations.
A split is like a zero or double zero on a roulette wheel. If both cards in a ‘turn’ are of the same value, that is a ‘split’, and the dealer – depending on the house rules – gets half of all bets on the table – all bets, no payouts. That is the ‘house advantage’. The players know that a split will occur once, perhaps twice, naturally, in each game.
As a side note, that is the origin of the faro shuffle. The faro shuffle was designed to be perform just once prior to the deal in order to assure and actually demonstrate to other players that all previous ‘splits’ have been separated."
Born and raised in Chicago, Bill Malone visited his first magic shop when he was 17, and the magic bug bit hard. Soon after, he began performing at Little Bit of Magic, a comedy/magic club on Chicago's south side, where he learned the fine art of entertaining audiences. Here is where he honed his style and character, because while people loved the magic, Bill quickly realized they loved to laugh even more. After 5 years, Bill was ready to move onward and upward.
His next big move was to the New York Lounge, a famous magic club located on Chicago's north side. Bill worked eight hours a night, seven days a week for over five years entertaining people from around the world. While Little Bit of Magic afforded him the opportunity to learn how to perform and entertain, his experience at New York Lounge taught him the business side of show business.
In 1987, Bill relocated to sunny Fort Lauderdale where he owned and operated his own magic/comedy club called Houdini's Pub. While he was busy with this venture, he also found himself performing frequently outside Houdini's, quickly establishing himself as a premier entertainer in south Florida and across the country
Bill was in great demand and rapidly built an impressive client list, working corporate events everywhere. His career skyrocketed, though, when an NBC producer called to ask him to appear on their network television special, The World's Greatest Magic. This show led to many Prime time televisions appearances for Bill. Seeing his notoriety and talent, the Boca Resort Hotel & Club formed a partnership with Bill and together they created Malone's Magic Bar, the premier entertainment outlet at the resort. Malone's Magic Bar operated for over a decade, entertaining the elite.
More information can be found on his website (where this Bio was taken from):
So I am back from vacation and it was a very good one. Spent two weeks next to the lake Idro in the middle of the mountains.
Very serene and not touristic, so if you like the quiet (except for speeding motorcycles: nuts they are, nuts I tell you!) then its a very good place to go.
I also perform some magic and I was shocked to find out that one of my 'simplest' moves (the DL for insiders) failed/flashed during a performance for 3 young kids.
Consequently during the routine I got a reaction from one of the kids when I performed that particular move. :( Very not good, I finished off using some other moves but in essence I believe my performance was flawed...
So it is now back to basics and start building again from there...
Woah, 2 months since I last updated this page! I hadn't even realised it was this long...
Well a lot has happened since then, lots of non-magic related item so I won't bore you with that (besides the fact that I went to Transformers and it is trés cool!).
So what happened in the magical department (of mystification)? I had an anniversary party about 3 weeks ago. I performed a small main card act where the selected and signed cards are found face up in the deck right next to eachother. Then I did some walkaround magic doing various things like ambitious card, spongeballs and rope & string routine.
Got some very good reactions, so I was pleased with it. I do however feel I need some kind of nice coin routine to have a bit more variation.
Performed twice in the club competition, once with a routine where cards are randomly shuffled by the spectator, dealt out by a second spectator and we still end up with 8 piles: 4 with the kings and 4 with the aces. To top it off, all the other cards are shown to be blanc!
I also performed a routine where a blue backed prediction is signed and put away, a red card is selected, signed and shuffled into the deck. When we take the prediction back it is found to contain both the spectators signatures on the front and back of the selected card.
All in all, some nice experiences. I have something planned for the next meeting which is in August but it will require a lot of practice (no I won't share it here for now since some members of my club actually read here!).
Sorry for the recent lack in updates, it has been a very busy few weeks. Busy with a lot of things but one of them was definetely magic! I have bought some new material (mostly card magic) with which I am practicing and I'm very excited about it. I also performed one of the new effects at my magic club and they were very excited about it.
I have also recently started a new hobby: Collecting autographs. Not just any autographs but from my favourite tv-series. I primarily focus on Angel, Buffy and Babylon 5. I also started a small subsite which can be found here.
What does this have to do with magic I hear you thinking. Well, since I am meeting these stars in real life I decided to (if the situation permits) perform some magic for them!
Last weekend I had two parties, one was the 60th anniversary of my magic club, the other one was my parents-in-law 25th anniversary of their wedding.
For the magic club party, they had asked me to do some table hopping during dinner. There were about 5 tables with 8-10 people each. I stuffed my pockets with material but performing for an almost entire magician (or related to) audience wasn't an easy task. I had with me the following items:
- No Smoking
- Decks of cards (standard, blank)
- Small thin rope
- Fire wallet
- Rubber bands
I ended up performing mostly No Smoking with patter involving my grandfathers smoking habbits and ring leader (Gregory Wilson) with a borrowed ring. For the audience members who were not magic-related (all three of them) I performed an ACR routine and 2 CM. All in all a great evening with nice reactions from the spectators!
The next day my parents-in-law were celebrating their 25th anniversary. There were about 50 guests seated at two long tables. Although they didn't ask me to perform, I ofcourse did (with their consent, in case you were wondering).
I used the same items I had with me from the previous day. Since all these people were normal, aka "not-magic-related" I could do much more with the same materials. I performed various card routines, (borrowed) ring on rope and crazy man's handcuffs. The best experience was with one of her families close friends, she always wants me to perform because she just loves to see magic. The perfect 'victim' so to speak...
I performed an ACR (with a blank deck) and crazy mans's handcuffs, for the finale I performed a (modified) routine by Gregory Wilson (again, I love his style!) where you keep hiding a coin in your left or right hand and ask the spectator in which it is. Ofcourse they are allways wrong, so you ask the spectator to take the coin and bring both hands behind there back in order to switch the coin from hand to hand so that the magician cannot see it.
During this routine I succesfully removed her watch from her wrist (basically what the routine is built for) and put it in my right pocket. When I finished off, unsuccesfully naming in which hand the coin was, I remakred that she was so good that I would give her a prize. Upon revealing the watch from my pocket I got one of the best reactions I had ever had!
I performed some more for other people, but the adrenaline rush when I removed the wach and she didn't notice was fantastic!
All in all, a weekend full of experiences. Some good, some not so good, but all very helpful in building and expanding my routines...
Last week, I was finally able to go to the theatre and watch The Prestige. Here is what I think about the movie.
Award-winning actors Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Scarlett Johansson star in The Prestige, the twisting, turning story that, like all great magic tricks, stays with you.
Two young, passionate magicians, Robert Angier (Jackman), a charismatic showman, and Alfred Borden (Bale), a gifted illusionist, are friends and partners until one fateful night when their biggest trick goes terribly wrong.
Now the bitterest of enemies, they will stop at nothing to learn each other?s secrets. As their rivalry escalates into a total obsession full of deceit and sabotage, they risk everything to become the greatest magician of all time. But nothing is as it seems, so watch closely. And be prepared to watch it again.
The story was very well done, it is told in a typical 'Nolan' style. If you have seen the movie Memento you will now what I mean. Flashbacks and memories are used throughout the movie to tell the story. Twists and turns are littered through the movie providing a lot of entertainment. The only thing I didn't like was the "machine" Angier uses during the last part of the movie. You will see what I mean when you see this movie.
The ending was superbly done with a final twist that I think no one in the theatre (including me) saw coming!
The acting was pretty good from all the characters. I can't really say anthing negative about that.
Top notch! The costumes, the locations, the effects it was all good!
- Ricky Jay has a cameo
- Chung Ling Soo is named and seen in the movie
- Borden (Christian Bale)does a Gryphon roll with his wedding ring
(if you know any more, please let me know!)
A must see, even if you don't like magic!
To celebrate this fact, I've decided to do a 'contest / prize winning question' for our visitors here.
The question: Which Merlin award winner lives in the same city as me?
The one with the right answer receives the prize, in case of multiple good answers a selected representative will draw the winner out of a magical hat. In order for me to contact you if you win, please leave a valid email adres or a website link where I can contact you on.
The deadline for this question is 30/3/2007.
Update 26/3/2007: The first answers have come in via email!
Here is the highly anticipated interview with Dan LeFay.
Q: The obligatory question: How did you start in magic?
A: At age 19 I discovered a little magic shop in Fisherman's Warf San
Francisco while on vacation. Fond memories of my magic boxes came back and I bought a set of billiard balls plus shell and Bobo's coinmagic. That was in 1985. I never realized there was such a thing as a magic shop, so when returning to Holland I searched the Yellow pages and came upon a magic shop in Haarlem.
Since then I've spend a lot of time there. But it wasn't until I graduated in physical therapy, in 1992 that I joined a magic club. That was when I started meeting other magicians. A leep forward.
Q: What type of magic has your preference and why: Walk-around, working on tables, during presentations?
A: I like them all. There was a time I was very much into strolling. I
learned how to work out of my pockets and I have done it in every situation you can come up with. When I became a full-time professional in '99 I had to do more stand-up situations, so I had to learn that from scratch.
The last two years I've been enjoying more formal close-up situations a lot. I set up a nice little table with backdrop, music and chairs and now people come to me, instead of me going to them. It raises my status as a performer a little and makes it more intimate. Now I can do all those routines that need a table and a little more set up.
I prefer to create these situations, in spite of bookers who ask for "strolling". That is because that's all they know. I try to make the audience aware of the alternatives. This works especially good when do corporate parties where there are too many guests to meet up with. In this case those who are really interested will find me, those who don't care are being left. It is more efficient working.
Q: What was your last "oooooops" moment during a performance (if this still happens of course)?
A: Happens constantly, really! But I roll with the punch, and spectators
are seldom aware of any mistakes. Yesterday I was performing a party and after some coin work I noticed my shell got stuck on a coin. No panic, that happens sometimes because of little dust getting jammed between shell and coin. So I just treat the shell and coin as one and instead of a chinc-a-chinc effect I perform a matrix which does not need any extra's.
Worst situation is when you mess up in a final effect, on stage. Oh yes,
that also happens. Fortunately I have the experience to make a joke out
of it and do something that makes them think it was all a jest.
Q: The internet has had an enormous impact on the magical community in the past years. Do you see this as a positive or a negative development?
A: It is really a double-sided sword. The availability of all this
information, all the props etc. makes it very easy to get the best you
can afford. It is easy to meet other magic friends now. But it has very
little to do with magic, which is about performing. And if you take it as an art it is about creating things, expressing yourself. Internet has nothing to do with that. The sheer amount of material is tempting, but also dangerous. It may keep you from the really important things. It does so with me, I can say...
Q: Do you have people in magic that you look up to or that have
influenced you and your performances?
A: Of course. Early influences were David Williamson and Tommy Wonder. Later I learned much from Fred Kaps, Juan Tamariz, and Slydini. I love reading books from Darwin Ortiz, Mike Close, Roger Klause and John Carney.
And of course I met a lot of people with whom I've grown in magic; Herman Koster, Jur Luiten, Frank Neeling, George Parker, Ray Joel, Lodewijk de Widt. A person who really helped me when I started was Belgian magician Tonny van Rhee. The person I have the most respect for is Tommy Wonder. He was in a league of his own.
Q: Do you have any tips or advice to give other (beginning) magicians?
A: Try to put more time in reading books instead of watching dvd's. It
will help you a lot to develop your own style. Find ONE person where you can share things with. It doesn't have to be the same person for whole your life, but to have one person around is good. If he is just a little better than you, all the better!
There is nothing wrong with emulating other magicians... to begin with! But it is rewarding to transcend that phase. Find one thing that people (magicians and layaudiences) will remember you from. Make it so good other people will relate you to it. Join a club if you must. It's fun. But realize it does not help you with
becoming a better magician. It will help you getting to know people.
Know when to take some distance from the organized magic world. Sometimes it can be very frustrating. Do not use your partner as a test audience. She will NOT like it and will get a dislike in magic. Magicians audiences (unfortunately) are full of sour, elderly magician's spouses who are fed up with bad amateur magic. Leave them out, unless they ask for it!
Questions sent in by our visitors:
Q: If you could go back in time and be your own coach/trainer in
magic. What would you be learning yourself and what advice should you have given yourself? (Lodewijk de Widt)
A: I would learn what you are so good in Lodewijk. I would tell myself
to develop technical knowledge and skill. Math, physics, IT. I was more
into art and literature and music in my younger years. I would learn myself
how to translate certain techniques from different artforms to magic.
Q: Since I got interested in magic I saw a couple acts that really were magical and touched me on an emotional level. Those were the acts/moments I will remember always and can be defined as magical. One of those moments was when Herman Koster told me (a magic novice at that time)to think of a card in a fan and told me which one it was! Lance Burtons Candle act is another one. I'm sure you had these moments as well. Would you like to share some of these experiences? (Simon)
A: I answered that in the question section already.
Q: Hi Dan, I was wondering how often you practice a routine before
actually using it in a real performance?(Sara)
Q: I'm a big fan of your philosophical and psychological approach to the magical arts. It is my desire to always create a magical presentation and moment for my audiences. I've experienced though that a lot of times I'm not able to give my magic that kind of taste because of the enviroments I'm working in. I'm sure you're familair with this problem, and I was wondering how you deal with it? (Simon)
A: Most of us will have to work in the situations that are offered to us. I am no exception either. But if you have a more "pro-active" approach, you might be able to create a specific audience, and dare I say, a specific market for the things you really enjoy. For instance, I like tabled coin routines a lot (matrix etc.) but the situation is rarely right to perform them. Because lack of table space etc. So if I DO want to perform those routines waiting for the right situation in normal business could take forever. So I created the situation.
How? Simply offering a customer something "extra". OK, I will do 2 hours of strolling magic between your guests, but at the end of the evening, I will create my own little corner with a nice table, some candles, maybe some music... And for those who really like it I can do this special thing! Now when I'm doing my strolling work I'm almost "recruiting" audience members for later that evening. I'll do my best show possible and try to get some heavy reactions. I'll even ask a nice spectator to give me some good comment for this "formal close-up" to the host...You see?
Before you know this will lead a life on its own. Next time they book you they mention to "also do that little thing with the table and the candles and the music". Now you're in. "Why not do that in a different room?" you ask innocently... and before you know it you have "educated" your clientele in a complete different form of entertainment. But after all, if that is not possible, remember it is you and your presentation and approach that can make or break the ambiance.
Q: Another question: are you planning on publishing some of your
material in the future?(Simon)
A: I am very double in that. I'd like to keep my own pet routines a
little bit longer for myself. On the other hand my ego is not completely zero. I want to have some credit for what I've done. Who knows, in the future?
Q: Could you give an example about how one could take a simple trick of poor repute that you've described, and change it into something stronger? Can this be done with anything, all the way down to colour-changing knives or spongeballs? (Erlandish)
A: I said a couple of things in the questions already. Refer to that. I want to add that while you are performing and doing tricks, it is not about the tricks that you should talk. It is about how these tricks matter to you and me.
If you just say: "And now I put the coin..." that is ok, but then it is very hard to get into contact with your audience. Instead do your standard coin routine but talk about your problems to get a hold on your money, or your money having a tendency to go to the wrong destinations, or...whatever...That is something they can relate to.
Changing two cards in their hands is a phenomenon on itself. But framing this phenomenon with the notice that "most men have a hard time to concentrate on two things at the same time!" you'll have a conversation flowing. That's what pulls them in!
Q: "It is Dan's ultimate ambition to bring close-up magic the same esteem for the lay-audience as high end Vegas-style illusion shows. And he is convinced it can be done!" What do you think magicians need to do in order to make this happen?(Erlandish)
A: In addition to what I already wrote. Treat your magic as if it were a precious, delicate treasure that you want to share with others. Make them realize it may seem simple, but it takes a lifetime to make it look simple (the mark of a true virtuoso in my opinion is to make something look so simple that your audience thinks: hey, I want to do that too! And then if they try, they realize...)
Q: Where do you get your inspiration for the patter you use during your routines / effects? (Wolf By Night).
A: Mostly from things that matter to me. That might be something I read or saw in a movie. Sometimes a piece of music that evokes an emotion with me. A lot of times funny little memories from my youth or family. Of course I "re-write" these memories, but the fact that they are based on reality can be felt. (It can not be faked)
If some magician talks about his grandfather, most of the times it
doesn't seem sincere. Because most of the time it isn't! If I talk about my
grandfather, at least 50 percent what I tell is true. I communicate that by intensifying my voice or my stare or the way I treat a prop.
For instance my presentation of Dean's Box involves my grandmother. Of
course she did not have a Dean's Box, but she HAD a wooden box that was near her bed, and I DID inherit that box, and I WAS afraid for the dark as a child. That's what makes it personal. And that is why it is so utterly silly to copy my story (I've been asked a lot on forums to share the story. Why? Because Dean and some other persons said they liked it a lot. That is the power of internet. But how useful is my story to you?)
Q: Don't you think that we should shoot magicians who use an eggbag, as nnobody, except for the late Malini and Johnny thompson knows what an eggbag is? (Eric Eswin)
A: Hahaha, Mr. Eswin, always that darned eggbag! Let me tell you. I like
the eggbag, I like seeing it performed. Johnny Thompson and Tom Mullica come to mind with their great routines. I even have an eggbag and I tend to buy books where eggbag routines are included...PLEASE DON'T SHOOT ME.
It is the simplicity of the props and their aestethic appeal that I like. But I've never performed it. Don't ask me why. Some complain about the illogical props, but I don't care.
Magic is not logic. And I think there IS a place for intriguing prop-magic. But the premise of the trick is so pure! That's why I like it. One day I may come up with nice routine, which we do not see that much anymore, after all.
I know you have some interesting ideas to make the props more "logical"
when are you going to share that with us sir? (I'm being over polite here because my friend Eric Eswin is the president of the FISM. Not only is he a highly original magical thinker, he has introduced me, over the years, to many of the greatest names in magic. In this field we work alone a lot. But that does not mean we can do everything alone! Remember that.)
I think about an exercise that Eugene Burger once told me. "Open your
magic drawer (or garage) and take out one of those silly props nobody cares about. A tenyo trick, an old wooden card-stand or an old piece of slum-magic! Now put away your cards, coins and rubberbands and spend some intelligent time with this prop. Next time show me!" Maybe I'll do just that with the eggbag!
Allow me, as a final word to suggest some good reading. Some books may be known, others not.
- Strong Magic, D. Ortiz
- Books of Wonder, T. Wonder
- Mastering the Art of Magic, E. Burger
(These are my personal Big Three)
- In Concert, R. Klause
- Carneycopeia, J. Carney
- The Magic Way, J Tamariz
- Workers series, M. Close
- Art of Astonishment, P. Harris
- Dai Vernon book of Magic, L.Ganson
(These are truly extraordinary creators. Their work is legendary.)
- Maximum Entertainment, K. Weber
- Leading with your head, G. Kurtz
- Lateral thinking, E. de Bono
- Seven habits of highly efficient people, S. Covey (nothing to do with tricks, but must-reads for performing professionals)
- Alice in Wonderland, L. Carroll
- The Sandman series, N. Gaiman
- A boys life, R. MacGammon
- Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling
(To stimulate your sense of wonder!)
Thanks, Raenius for treating me like a special person. I don't feel I'm
special, but I do think I'm unique. So are all of you out there. The trick
is to communicate just that; your own uniqueness.
Dan LeFay, The Netherlands.
A big thank you to Dan LeFay for his time and sharing his experiences and views on our magical world. Also a word of thanks to all our visitors for adding their questions to this interview.
The 31st of march there will be an anniversary of the Magic club I am a member of. This will be a grand evening with dinner for family and friends including (what else?) magical performances from a lot of the members.
The organisation has asked me to perform during (the preparation) for dinner. Walking around doing close up performances or table hopping if you prefer that term.
This got me thinking. I know a multitude of effects with cards, lighters, rubberbands and coins but I don't really have a routine to string all the effects together. What exactly is a routine for that matter?
Here is an attempt to define what a routine is:
A routine is a constructed performance of magic where various effects, with various attributes, are weaved together to form one whole including the associated patter.
How can I apply that to my current list of effects?
I really don't know the correct answer to that. I think the best way is to work "theme-based". You select effects based on a predefined theme and work them together using your patter.
Does anyone have any thoughts regarding this?
Currently I am trying to build a routine around the theme "Changes". Does anyone know any effects that I could look into?
On a sidenote, the deadline for asking questions to Dan LeFay is coming sunday.
A magician based in the Netherlands but known throughout the world for his (corporate) close up performances, lectures and views on the magic community, Dan LeFay is kind enough to be our new special guest here on At The Card Table.
Some more information about Dan LeFay:
Dan LeFay started to do some ?serious? magic in the early nineties. He always considers his late arrival in the business as an advantage. Dan was never coached as a junior to do magic the way others wanted him to. He developed his own style and from the beginning tried to create presentations that would appeal to the corporate world.
As a twofold National Champion of close-up magic Dan became a fulltimer in 1999. He weaves magic, music, philosophy and psychology for corporate audiences allover the world. Dan?s intimate and poetic style has brought him from the Magic Castle to command performances for the Chinese government (with Armando Lucero and Lennart Green).
He is highly influenced by Dutch masters Fred Kaps and Tommy Wonder, and like these gentlemen, has a keen eye for pure effect and the will to turn a classic inside-out in order to make it a personalized performance-piece.
It is Dan?s ultimate ambition to bring close-up magic the same esteem for the lay-audience as high end Vegas-style illusion shows. And he is convinced it can be done!
If you have any questions for Dan, please add them to the comments!
Shoot Ogawa is lecturing in Belgium on the 19th of March. For those of you who have never heard of Shoot:
Shoot Ogawa was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. He began magic at the age of 10. Shoot has been featured on almost and every television channel in Japan and has performed his magic for talk shows, variety shows, and children's shows. He has produced more than ten videos featuring his original magic.
From 1993 to the present, Shoot has won first place in more than ten competitions. In 2002, he took first place in London's MacMillan International Magic Convention and amazed the magic world with his Doubled-Hand Matrix and Ninja Rings routines. In March 2003, Magic Magazine featured Shoot on the cover. In the same year, he was awarded "Magician of the Year" in the Close-up Category by the American Academy of Magical Arts. In August 2003, Shoot's biography was published in Japan.
Since moving to America, Shoot has been featured in many major events including the famous Rolling Stone Party. He has also been intimately involved in the Japanese community. In January 2004, "Lighthouse", one of the most popular Japanese publications named Shoot Ogawa as one of the three best Japanese entertainers in America.
Victor Dumonlaan, 6
Info en reservation:
+32 3 888 27 33
This is a small tutorial on how you can build your own personalised magic case in a fairly easy and cheap way.
Since poker is so much of a hype these days, aluminium poker chip cases can be found anywhere. I bought my case at the local supermarket/tool/etc store.
It's a cheap way of getting hold of a good case, and you can re-purpose it at will, whether you need a magic case, chip case or something to store your Party Poker netbook inside so it doesn't get damaged in transit.
It usually looks like this:
Choose your case carefully so you know it can hold all the 'equipment' you want to bring with you to perform.
When you've bought it strip its contents and also strip out the plastic / cardboard 'holder' as below:
Then go to your local DIY store and buy black soundproofing / isolation foam. Cut out two sections which will fit in the top and bottom half of the case. You will not need to glue it or anything if you cut it to the exact size.
You can then either cut out pieces of foam to hold your gear or just lay them on top en turn your top half of foam 180 degrees so that the pointy foam will be downwards. See the below picture.
Now put your gear inside and it will look something like the following picture:
And you're finished!
Good luck with building your magic case to your preferences. By using your own imagination you can make something really nice and professional looking!
After some delay due to Morgan Strebler's busy schedule, here is the interview!
Q: The obligatory question: How did you start in magic?
A: ?I started magic when I was a young kid. My first exposure to magic was a live Harry Blackstone Jr. show. Six (6) months later, I was fortunate enough to see David Copperfield perform. My parents bought me a magic kit and I was hooked! Shortly thereafter, I met a local magician named Jeannie Williams. She became my mentor and helped me more than she will ever know! Jeannie didn?t hold anything back, and we still do shows together when I?m back home in Missouri.?
Q: At what point did you feel comfortable (and why) to start releasing your own products?
A: ?Honestly, I never had any plans or intentions to release my own products. It just kind of happened. First and foremost, I will always be a performer, but I decided that I wanted to give back to an art that has given so much to me. I have tried to create products that generate new fans, performers, and more interest in magic.
As for being ?comfortable?, it?s a non-issue. We are all unique. No one can ever be me, just like I can never be someone else. If a performer has the creativity and desire, I encourage them to introduce new products, too. Let?s bring magic back to everyone!?
Q: What is your preference: Close-up or Stage magic?
A: ?That?s a tough question! I love the adrenaline rush of being on stage in front of thousands of people, but I also love the intimacy and personal connection associated with close-up magic. If I were to choose one, it would be stage illusions. That is my real passion!?
Q: What was your last "oooooops" moment during a performance (if this still happens of course?
A: ?I could write a book on this! I think one of my most embarrassing moments was during a sold-out performance in Seoul, Korea. As I was stepping up to get on a prop, I lost my footing and feel flat on my butt in front of 2500 people! During the laughter, I felt like crawling under the prop and hiding! But, I did what every professional does. I got up, acted like it never happened, and finished the show.?
Q: You are about to release "Taste Conditions", can you tell us something about it?
A: ?I have been working on this effect for about a decade. I believe that the essence of this exciting and unique product is captured in a description contained in the following ad copy:??the effect is actually simple, but the psychological impact is dramatic! As you begin, have a spectator open a new bottle of water and take a drink. Then, you transform the water to mouthwash INSIDE of their mouth! At the end of the routine, the spectator spits the mouthwash into a clear glass for all to see!.......?
Q: Do you have any tips or advice to give other (beginner) magicians?
A: ?Practice. Perform. Practice. Perform. Do as many shows as you can. Experience is priceless and the one thing no one can take away from you! I recommend videotaping performances and rehearsals. This allows a person that?s serious about improvement to review their ongoing progress with a critical eye.
I also suggest having someone watch your act and give constructive feedback on ways to improve your performance. And, I urge everyone to pick up a copy of Ken Weber?s book, Maximum Entertainment. It?s golden!!
Recently we featured your challenge to Criss Angel. This generated a lot of questions from the magical community.
Q: The most important being: Why this challenge and why now?
A: ?I love magic. I live, eat and breathe it. Before I announced this challenge, I gave it a lot of serious thought. I am very concerned about the credibility of magic. I want this challenge to generate world-wide excitement of magic as a true art form. I truly believe that Criss? ?Mind Freak? program delivers a product that is more Hollywood movie special effects than legitimate magic. I do not believe that outright deception has a place in magic.?
Q: A lot of people see this as a publicity stunt, what would you say to these people?
A: ?In sports, business, entertainment or magic, any high-profile challenge is going to generate publicity for everyone involved. So, there is no doubt that this event will create a huge level of public awareness for both Criss and I. However, my primary goal for the event is to elevate the popularity of magic and create a whole new generation of fans.?
Q: What other challenges do you have in mind before the grand finale of Chinese water torture?
A: ?Obviously, the details of the actual challenge will have to be worked out with Criss. Regardless, for the fans and in the spirit of fairness, I want this challenge to be head-to-head, pure magic, ?no-holds-barred? close-up, street and stage competition in front of a LIVE audience?...one camera, no cuts and no edits.?
Q: Did you get any response from Criss Angel or his management?
A: ?No, I haven?t heard anything from Criss or his camp. I find this very hypocritical, especially since he was so judgmental of David Blaine years ago when he ignored a challenge from Criss. I hope Criss? fame hasn?t clouded his appreciation for and obligation to the fans that put him where he is now. Why would Criss shy away from a healthy challenge??
We would like to thank Morgan Strebler for his time and wish him luck in all his future endeavours.
Recent news reports from Las Vegas indicated that Carmen Electra will appear and work together with Hans Klok in his new Las Vegas show.
Here is an excerpt of the report:
Carmen will be teamed with the self-proclaimed fastest magician in the world; a Dutch illusionist named Hans Klok. "He's on the on the scale of Copperfield with a full, night-long production show," a Vegas magic expert told me. "His performance style used to be very Pendragon-esque.
He's appeared a couple of times on American TV magic specials, but has never played here except for a few magic conventions. He specializes in extraordinary big-box illusions and is known as the fastest magician in the world for the speed of his transformations.
Saint Valentine's Day or Valentine's Day is on February 14. It is the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other; sending Valentine's cards or candy. It is very common to present flowers on Valentine's Day. The day became associated with romantic love in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.
The first recorded association of Valentine's Day with romantic love is in Parlement of Foules (1382) by Geoffrey Chaucer:
For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese [chose] his make [mate]. (thanks to Wiki)
I "created" a small card effect I use on weddings and other love-related happenings (like today!).
The effect is as follows:
A couple is invited to each select a card from the deck. They are told to only look at their own card and not eachothers. Both cards are signed and returned to the deck.
The magician notes that neither the top or bottom card is one of their cards. You then ask the couple to hold the deck and think of the love they share and the feelings they have for eachother.
The deck is then ribbon spread on a table or fanned out in the hands. Both cards are found next to eachother faceup in a facedown deck. The couple indeed has a very strong and deep love for eachother...
Note: Be absolutely sure to perform the effect correct or have a good "out" in the unlikely case the effect does not go as planned.
If you're interested in my handling of this effect just drop me a note!
To continue in line with the previous entry, here is some information regarding another one of the most wideknown swindles of all time, the three shell game.
The game requires three shells (thimbles, walnut shells, bottle caps, or match boxes), and a small, soft round ball, about the size of a pea, and often referred to as such. It can be played on almost any flat surface, like a mat or on a cardboard box.
The person acting as the operator (shell man) begins the game by placing the pea under one of the shells, then quickly shuffles the shells around. Once done shuffling, the operator takes bets from his audience on the location of the pea.
The audience is told that if a player bets and guesses correctly, the player will win back double his bet (that is, he will double his money); otherwise he/she loses the money. However, in the hands of a skilled operator, it is not possible for the game to be won, unless the operator wants the player to win.
The shell game has been played at least since the Middle Ages, as evidenced by several paintings of that time. A book published in England as early as 1670 mentions the thimblerig game (using thimbles). Later, walnut shells were used, and today the use of bottle caps is very common.
Magician's also use the three shell game in gambling demonstrations or workshops to educate the audience about the dangers of these con games.
Here is a great performance of the three shell game by Paul Wilson:
Three-card Monte, also known as the Three-card trick, Follow the lady or Find the lady, is a confidence game in which the victim, or mark, is tricked into betting a sum of money that he can find the money card, for example the queen of spades, among three face-down playing cards.
In its full form, the three-card Monte is an example of a classic short con in which the outside man pretends to conspire with the mark to cheat the inside man, while in fact conspiring with the inside man to cheat the mark.
I myself encountered a gang of con men doing a variation on the three shell game on The Ramblas in Barcelona. They used three match boxes and a ball of paper. Watching them for quite some time I saw that it was a gang of four people (3 male and 1 female) hustling tourists. Two on the lookout, one extra "player" and the operator doing the actual game.
I did see one tourist about to start the game but suddenly they all vanished when a police officer was walking towards them. You are warned, these games are still being played...
1. To observe carefully or critically; inspect: examined the room for clues.
2. To study or analyze: examine a tissue sample under a microscope; examine the structure of a novel; examine one's own motives.
3. To test or check the condition or health of: examine a patient.
4. To determine the qualifications, aptitude, or skills of by means of questions or exercises.
5.To question formally, as to elicit facts or information; interrogate: examine a witness under oath.
Examinable \Ex*am"i*na*ble\, a.
- Capable of being examined or inquired into.
Often magical props and routines are advertised as fully examinable. You would then expect the item to be just that, fully examinable...
Unfortunately this is not always the case. I recently visited a magic shop to buy an addition to my close-up routine (which is still in development), I finally found a small routine (pack small, play big) which fit nicely (I'll hopefully post a video of it in the near future) and most important: fully examinable!
Upon opening the box of the routine to view the props I immediately saw the 'gimmick' which made the routine (or phases of) possible.
Clearly it was not examinable as advertised. I ran through the booklet and found how you can still have everything examined at the end of the routine. How you ask? (see white space)
A switch with a non-gimmicked item!
I was somewhat dissapointed with this. It does make sense ofcourse...but if you advertise as "fully examinable" I would expect it to be just that, with no aditional things to be done...
Ricky Jay is widely considered one of the most knowledgeable and skilled sleight-of-hand experts in the United States. He is now well-known for his signature card tricks, card throwing, memory feats, and inimitable stage patter. Jay has also appeared in Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights and Magnolia, and season one of HBO's Deadwood as card sharp Eddie Sawyer.
Until recently, Ricky Jay was listed in the Guinness Book of Records for throwing a playing card 190 ft at 90 miles per hour (the current record is 216 ft, by Rick Smith, Jr.). Ricky Jay can throw a playing card into a watermelon rind (which he refers to as the "thick, pachydermatous outer melon layer" of "the most prodigious of household fruits") from ten paces.
Ricky Jay also played a small part in an X-Files episode (Season 7) as the great Maleeni:
Some heckler tips are also included in the video...
Recently we featured an entry regarding a challenge that Morgan Strebler made to Criss Angel. We approached Mr. Morgan to answer some questions that we (and probably you as well!) came up with after reading about this challenge.
Morgan Strebler is one of the world?s leading experts and performers in the field of PsychoKinetic magic, also known as PK. PK is the ability to affect the physical properties of various objects using only the power of the mind. He has performed worldwide and at various venues throughout the Las Vegas area such as Caramel Lounge at Bellagio, Pure at Ceasar?s, and Beacher ?s Mad House at the Hard Rock Hotel.
Mr. Strebler also has a full illusion show featuring a bullet catch, and a finale that involves walking through a sheet of solid metal. With his wife Mikala they have performed around the globe entertaining millions with their Las Vegas style stage act.
Mr. Strebler also created a few DVD's to learn PK magic. One of the most widelyknown is the Liquid Metal routine:
If you have question for Morgan, please add them to this entry as a comment or mail them to me via the contact page.
Some while ago (think Tuesday, July 5th 2005!) I mentioned the use of a small black book to assist you in your magical development. This is a small article expanding on that subject. To view the original entry where I mention this click here.
What is it?
The 'old fashioned' way: A small (or large) notepad that you carry with you at all times. Also a tool to write, be it a pen or pencil is required.
The 'modern' way: A PDA or Smartphone with built in notepad functionality. A stylus is optional. ;-)
Why would you want to do it?
Using a black book can help you collect, gather and use your experiences with presentation techniques, effect idea's and performance experiences. When you think of anything or hear something you could incorporate in a magic routine you write it down.
What do you write in it?
There are a lots of thing you can enter in your black book. A few examples:
- Which routines did you do?
- What went correctly / wrong?
- What reactions did you get using which patter?
- Was there a heckler and how did you respond to him/her?
- What can you do to improve your performance next time?
Thoughts and idea's:
- Wouldn't it be great if...?
- A signed card routine with a borrowed, shuffled deck ending in new deck order while changing color three times?
- Sleights or variations on existing routines...
- Quotes; "When sleight of hand becomes invisible, the magic begins." Raenius
*) For me it really helps that with each entry you also enter the time, date and place...
Does it really help?
Everyone is different, for me this really helped out a lot. As you may have read in one of my previous entries I had a Eureka! moment when driving back home from vacation. I noted my thoughts an idea's in my black book so that they were preserved. Now months later I glance back at what I wrote then and can expand from there. Using a black book prevents frustration about not being able to remember exactly what you thought of or how you would accomplish the effect you had in mind...
I hope that someone reading this article will give it a go and maybe use it to his or her adventage. If you do, keep me posted on your progress!
Think you could never be tricked into falling for a con or a scam? Think again...
We are all at risk, especially when we least expect it. Our only hope might just be to learn from the professionals how it's done, so we don't end up falling for it.
That's where the Hustlers come in. There's confidence trickster Alex Conran, scam artist Paul Wilson and sexy swindler Jessica-Jane Clement. Together, they carry out some of the most notorious scams on unsuspecting members of the public.
Fri 12 Jan at 19:00 on BBC Three
Sat 13 Jan at 20:10 on BBC Three
Sat 13 Jan at 20:40 on BBC Three
January 7, 2007 ? LAS VEGAS, NEVADA ? Let the games begin! Morgan Strebler, master illusionist and internationally renowned Psycho-Kinesis (PK) superstar, today issued a brash, ?no holds barred?, public challenge to ?Mindfreak? magician, Criss Angel, on WLIR?s ?Real Radio Show? with Frankie Dee in New York City.
Morgan boldly declared, ?Criss likes to issue challenges. Now, I?m bringing one directly to his doorstep! Criss looks good when he performs in a controlled environment with multiple camera angles and creative editing. And, he?s pretty good at making balloon animals for the kiddies. Let see how well he does in the real world! Let?s see how well he does with head-to-head magic on a live stage, in the street, and strapped to a table for 24/7 Chinese water torture until one of us breaks??..ONE camera, NO split screens and BOTH of us in full view at all times!
For the finale of their proposed challenge, Morgan said he chose Chinese water torture because, ???.it is the ultimate, centuries old torture technique used to break down the strongest of men. The slow dripping of water onto the forehead has driven many victims insane. The relentless cycle of apprehension, tension, shock and relief eventually leads to a total breakdown.?
Talking directly to Angel, Morgan ratcheted up the rhetoric by stating, ?Criss, you?re busy. I?m busy. So what?!? Call my management and let?s work out the details. You like to talk smack and issue challenges to others. Now, the shoe?s on the other foot! Don?t duck this challenge because I won?t stop until you answer. Remember, everyone?s watching, Criss! ?No!? is not an excuse. It?s your admission of defeat. And, to ignore my challenge is the ultimate insult to all magic fans around the world!?
In these interlocking tales of high stakes and low lifes, Mob boss Primo Sparazza has taken out a hefty contract on Buddy "Aces" Israel (Piven)--a sleazy magician who has agreed to turn state's evidence against the Vegas mob.
The FBI, sensing a chance to use this small-time con to bring down big-target Sparazza, places Aces into protective custody-under the supervision of two agents (Reynolds and Liotta) dispatched to Aces' Lake Tahoe hideout.
When word of the price on Aces' head spreads into the community of ex-cons and cons-to-be, it entices bounty hunters, thugs-for-hire, smokin' hot vixens and double-crossing mobsters to join in the hunt. With all eyes on Tahoe, this rogues' gallery collides in a comic race to hit the jackpot and rub out Aces.
Harry Houdini, born in Hungary as Ehrich Weiss, is the most famous magician and escape artist in the world. Although he died over 80 years ago, his legendary skills are just as widely known today as they were during his life...
His trademark performances/acts were:
- Hindu Needle Trick
- Water Torture Cell
- Milk Can Escape
- Buried Alive
Here you can see classic footage of one of the items that also made Harry Houdini famous: The Straightjacket Escape.
After receiving various questions via email, comments and other means I have put them together in an interview for Zenneth Kok. He was kind enough to answer all the questions asked, enjoy!
Q: How did you start in magic?
A: A magician once showed me a couple of simple card tricks, they immediately triggered my interest. After I completed my secondary school, I went to public library to borrow everything about magic, and the finest literatures about magic available in the public library happen to be Dover card magic books:
The Royal Road to Card Magic
More Card Manipulations
Expert Card Techniques
Encyclopedia of Card Tricks
That?s how I start in magic and that?s also the reason why I am so devoted in card magic.
Q: What kind of magic has your preference and why is that?
A: I doubt my current preference will soon change a little bit, but at this stage, I still prefer the worker school concepts for practical reasons:
- Paul Cummins?s FASDIU: ?from a shuffled deck in use
- Routines that require little or no set up
- Routines that require little or no working surface, ideally can be performed entirely in the hand
- Routines that is simple in the plot and visual/direct in the effect
Q: What was your last "oooooops" moment during a performance (if this still happens of course ;-) )?
A: My last big ?ooooooops? moment took place about a year ago, when I was performing a card fusion routine, god knows why I actually handed out the double facer for the spectator to sign, and she flipped over the double facer after she signed it. I can?t remember how I saved my day but I don?t use such a bold approach in card fusion routine ever since then.
Q: Do you have people in magic that you look up to?
A: Yes, my hero in magic is David Williamson, he is a rare combination, as a creator he is highly innovative, as a technician he is extremely skillful and as a performer he is impossible to top. Unfortunately, I still haven?t had a chance to see him in person, but from what I?ve read of his interviews and what I?ve heard about him from my friends, he is a real gentleman.
Q: Do you think there is a difference between Western magicians and Eastern magicians and their respective audiences?
A: There are some fundamental differences in the Western and Eastern world. First of all, let?s talk about the difference between Western and Eastern magicians. Generally speaking, I must say Western magicians are more creative, they make very good use of humor and place much more emphasis on the interaction between themselves and the spectator. Eastern magicians are more techniques and effect driven, they tend to concern more about the actual routines that they use in their performances.
The discrepancy is even bigger when it comes to performance character, to be honest, I rarely see any unique performance persona among Eastern magicians. Most of them interpret magic effects pretty much in the same way as described in books or performed in DVDs. Among of those I have seen, Western magicians will spend a considerable amount of time to vary the routine to suit their own style.
Western spectators are more polite in my opinion, or it?s just because I have a lot of experience of performing for Eastern spectators, especially Chinese spectators are quite skeptical, this is probably because many of us still do not recognize magic as a form of performing arts, and card magicians are often considered as card cheats.
Having that said, an advantage of facing a tougher group of spectators is that you are always being chased and therefore you always have to run, for this end, some of us will walk an extra mileage when creating routines and performing, that can be quite beneficial.
Q: What was your defining moment in magic?
A: The first time I watch Vernon?s Twisting the Aces.
Q: What was the best advice you ever received?
A: Over the years, I have been advised by quite a few magicians on various areas of magic, all of them are important to my development in magic, I can?t really tell which one is the best. However, in the Melbourne stop of my recent Australian Lecture Tour, I had the honour to get to know Charles Gauci, he is a very successful mentalist, and he generously shared his invaluable ?3S principle? on creation with me:
Strong [effect must be strong]
Simple [easy to do]
Small [packs small, plays big]
As a creator, I think very highly of this principle, that is also the reason why I replaced a long technically demanding routine with some easy to do items in my latest publication ? Cards You Softly
Q: How can I keep an audience entertained with "just a pack of cards"?
A: First of all, try give some variety to your working set. Do not just perform card tricks, but perform different basic "effects" with cards, by basic effects I refer to the 19 effects of magic as defined by Dariel Fitzkee in "The Trick Brain".
Secondly, always implement a good presentation to your effects. Whenever I create or learn a new routine, I will always spend sometime to work on the appropiate presentation and patter lines for the routine. In my opinion, a routine without a proper presentation is not a complete routine.
I guess a lot of people probably wouldn't like this approach, but sometimes, I do present magic as a game or a competition between myself and the spectator. The merit of this approach is that spectators tend not to preceive cards as a prop of the magician, but a means for entertainment or competition, that is, cards are actually no difference from coins or chess in this case.
A considerable amount of card effects in my working repertoire are also very similar to coin effects, they split and they multiply, the face of the cards doesn't matter at all, so these routines don't look like what people would normally think of card tricks.
We would like to thank Zenneth for his time and wish him all the best in his future performances and endeavors. Be sure to check out his latest publication: Cards You Softly
Every month we hope to have a special guest whom you can ask questions to regarding his or her views on our favourite subject, Magic.
Our first guest is Zenneth Kok, an internationally known magician hailing from Hong Kong.
Zenneth was born in the north of China, and emmigrated to Hong Kong when he was 11 years old. He speaks 4 languages: Mandarin, Cantonese, a dialect of north China and English. He has been learning magic for 6 years by now, and he is particularly interested in close up card magic.
Zenneth is one of the most innovative magicians in Hong Kong. He has created more than 200 original items in magic and the most prolific author of professional card magic publications in Chinese. He has published six sets of lecture notes in Chinese and two sets in English, he is also the chief editor of first ever Chinese Monthly Newsletter devoted to the art of close up magic -- Evocation.
In 2002, he decided to publish one of his effects, namely Impossible Twist. This fabulous routine immediately received rave reviews from magicians all over the world. Many magicians consider Impossible Twist as one of best 10 close up card magic effects ever. Zenneth features in many magic websites as the guest magician. At the age of 21, and only having been engaged in this art for less than 2 years, not only has Zenneth built up a reputation as one of the best sleight of hand card experts in the world, he has also become the first and only Hong Kong magicians who has ever published instructional magic video internationally.
In 2003, Zenneth became the first and only sponsored Chinese magician of world's largest playing card company--US playing card company.
Zenneth became the first Hong Kong magician who was invited to do a National Lecture Tour in China in 2005 and Australia in 2006.
Zenneth is currently studying Master of Laws at the University of Sydney, it is expected that his first english magic book-- Philosopher's Stone will be made internationally available in early 2007.
If you have question for Zenneth, please add them to this entry as a comment or mail them to me via the contact page.
As some of you have already seen, the comment section has undergone a big change. The former pop-up kind of comments have been replaced by a nicer, traditional and more direct way of placing comments.
Unfortunately this made the comment section more vulnerable to spam comments. To prevent this a small verification word is automatically generated when you go to the "Add a comment" page. The only thing you have to do is fill in the word generated in addition to your comment and you're done!
A small price to pay to prevent 60+ spam comments per day.
It looks like Hollywood finally found their way into our world of Magic. No less then two movies regarding our favourite hobby are coming out (are already out in the USA) in a theatre near you.
First up is The Prestige:
From acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan, comes a mysterious story of two magicians whose intense rivalry leads them on a life-long battle for supremacy full of obsession, deceit and jealousy with dangerous and deadly consequences.
From the time that they first met as young magicians on the rise, Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) were competitors. However, their friendly competition evolves into a bitter rivalry making them fierce enemies-for-life and consequently jeopardizing the lives of everyone around them.
Full of twists and turns, THE PRESTIGE is set against the backdrop of turn-of-the-century London, the exceptional cast includes two-time Oscar? winner Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson and David Bowie.
Director Neil Burger's screen adaptation of Steven Millhauser's short story 'Eisenheim the Illusionist'. Eisenheim (Edward Norton) is a magician in early 1900's Vienna, who falls in love with a woman well above his social standing.
When she becomes engaged to a Crown Prince, Eisenheim uses his powers to win her back and undermine the stability of the royal house of Vienna.
Tuesday evening we ('52' Schakels) had a meeting with another Magic Club from Haarlem, The Noord-Hollandse Bond van Goochelaars, the NBG. It was a nice 'meet & greet' with some members of their club, one of them being Carlijn, a female children's magician who won first prize on the last National Congres for children's Magic.
A small committee was present to promote next year's Congres, which they will be organising in Haarlem.
After the presentation each in turn showed us some effects and routines. All in all some nice magic was shown, the last show was from Carlijn who showed us part of her Magical Fairytale. A combination of music, animatronics and magic which allows you to sit back and enjoy the show.
After this it was our turn to perform for them, unfortunately since they had a long drive back to Haarlem we could not show them much of our magic. I think all of our members who were there (about 12) had something studied in. We did however get a invitation to go there, so maybe during the next meeting we will be able to show more.
All in all it was very nice to meet some fellow magicians from a different club and I hope they felt the same way!
I recently finished the Review & Archives section of this website. It is now easy to browse through the Archives and locate your desired entry. The Review section is also revamped, divided into three sections: Books, DVD & Video and Props. Per section you can see all associated reviews.
As you might have read in my previous entry I am working on something 'new' to the magic world. The word new is something which is ambiguous in magic to say the least.
Since magic dates back to the time of the Pharao's in Egypte it is hard to determine whether a specific method or concept is really new or unique.
No matter what, my concept is slowly progressing into a prototype which I hope to have ready within a few weeks. In addition to the prototype, I am thinking up routines and situations how to use this concept...
I recently got back from a nice summer holiday in Croatia. I really recommend Istria to anyone!
It's funny that you get inspiration for effects and methods at the strangest times.
I was driving back home at 04:30 AM and suddenly a idea came to mind what I wanted to with a signed coin. Ofcourse everyhing is still in design stages but I am very enthousiastic about the idea and its possibilities.
I received some nice feedback om my previous article (see below this entry). I would like to thank the people that assisted me to repolish the article after its first draft for their help and time!
Thats right, pressure...not anxiety (which is more often discussed). A lot of beginner performers experience this from time to time...
You're at a party and you start doing some effects. People enjoy your performance and request that you perform some more. Eventually you will be out of your "standard" repertoire you know through and through and will begin to venture into your effects you know "well".
This is were the problems start, due to the pressure building up of people wanting (expecting!) you to perform you want to oblige them and keep on going until you eventually slip up (and you will more or less) and ruin your entire performance. Yes I mean your entire performance. People will not (or little) remember that you pulled of the perfect ambitious card or bill in lemon but only that in the end they spotted you doing something and you messed up.
Types of Pressure
In my experience there are two types of events that can lead to pressure:
- People asking you to keep performing although you have done your entire repertoire
- People asking you to perform a specific trick multiple times (for different people)
I recently experienced the latter and I did not handle it as well as I could have, therefore in my opinion my performance was flawed.
How to prevent this?
Be honest, it is a thrill when people are asking you to keep performing right? Ofcourse it is... There is nothing wrong with this, it is something that makes you feel good about yourself and what you are doing. The problems only start when either you let your ego or your audience take over your performance.
When the ego takes over (also due to adrenalin) you get a false sense of certainty and security. This will make you think you can pull off the effects you do not know so well. In some cases you will pull them off but eventually you will expose something due to the lack of practice.
When the audience takes over, you are no longer in control of your performance. You will do effects not based on your presentation but "on request". You will get remarks like: "I saw this magician pull my selected card from his wallet", or "I saw this trick with two aces that David Blaine / Criss Angel / ? did, can you do that as well?". If you then proceed to do the requested things either correctly or flawed, this will severely hamper your entire performance.
The way to prevent this (the first type of pressure) is to make sure you:
- Build up your act completely with a beginning, middle and end to it.
- Announce when the act is finished, take the applause and put away your attributes (cards, coins, etc)
- Politely deny request from the same table, if another table request a performance you can ether indulge them or decline. You are in control of your performance...
Denying requests takes some effort (and practice) but in the end everone will be more pleased (you especially!) with your performance. Another thing ou can do instead of fully denying the request is to hand out you business card (if you have it) or remark that you are available as a professional entertainer and leave your contact details. Chances are, you will get a booking later on!
The second type of pressure (asking to perform the effect multiple times) usually occurs when you have left a very strong impact one 1 or more spectators. They want a friend or relative to experience the same thing (preffably when they are watching as well!). This poses a problem since the same (original) spectator will be watching two things. His friend's or relative's reaction and your hands. He will not be susceptive to your presentation (again) and therefore will be more likely to spot you doing something.
If you do not want to decline the request (which is the right thing to do in some occasions), you can say something along the lines of "Ofcourse I will show , but I will visit the person at his / her table and do my act there, thay way he/she will fully be able to enjoy the performance." This way, you minimize the chances of performing the same effect for the same people but still indulge the original spectator's request.
When someone requests to see a specific effect again, always politely decline and proceed to show him something else if possible or end the performance thanking everyone for their time.
This is the end of my article, I would like to thank you for your time if you made it this far and I hope you got something out of it which will help you next time.
Dreamworks Pictures together with director Michael Bay are bringing the Transformer franchise back to life. Based on the comics, cartoons and movie from the 1980's the 'robots in disguise' will make their debute in live-action form next year.
On the 4th of July 2007 Transformers: The Movie will come to a theater near you!
Yesterday, the 26th of June, late in the afternoon one of Netherlands finest in the Magic community passed away due to a malignant form of lung cancer.
Tommy Wonder was an internationally known and respected magician who not only made it to second place (twice!) in the World Championships but also received the Performer Fellowship Award from the Academy of Magical Arts in Hollywood. Only two other dutch magicians received that prestigious award, Richard Ross and Fred Kaps.
A tragic loss to the entire Magic Community, a man who less then 10 days ago received a standing ovation from everyone at the National Congress of Magic in Capelle aan den IJssel.
Past weekend was one of the most magical weekends of my entire life. An evening and two full days of lectures, contests and meeting old and new friends...
Everything was well organised and planned albeit a bit busy with events following eachother pretty quickly. There were some problems however with the audio during some contests, this was very onfortunate for performers.
The Card Magic contest was devided over the saturday and sunday and on saturday Ace performed his routine. It all went very well and received a very big applause from all spectators...
The gala on saturday evening was also very good. A lot of variety in acts and performances ranging from Juggling (Menno van Dyke) to fullblown Illusionism (Christian Farla). I had some problems with the seating since they gave us two tickets (for my girlfriend and me) but they were both in different parts of the theater! The strangest part was the tickets were still attached to eachother! Even the theather assistants were puzzled. Magical indeed...
At the end of the Congres the big winners were Rob Mollien and Emiel Lensen. They won first prize in the categories: Mental Magic, Card Magic, and Close-Up Magic. They also won the award for Best Comical Performance AND they won the Grand Prix, the National Championship for 2006! The Grand Prix gives them a 750 euro prize money IF they participate in the Magic World Championships at the FISM convention in Stockholm later this year (they are participating).
Ace won a second prize in the categorie Card Magic. A commendable achievement since the competition was of a really high level!
I would like to congratulate all the participants and winners of this year's congres and especially Ace and Rob & Emiel!
As you can see there is a (temporary) color scheme change in the light of the World Championships 2006. See it as my way if supporting the dutch team!
On a more magical note, coming weekend is THE weekend for Magic in the Netherlands. It's the National Congress 2006!
Hosted this year in Capelle aan den IJssel, close to Rotterdam, the entire dutch (and abroad) magic community will come together to discuss, learn and perform Magic. Dealers and suppliers from various countries will also be present for your shopping pleasure.
For more information on the National Congres, please click here.
One member of my Magic Club: Ace, will be participating in the contests in the category Card Magic. At the club meeting coming tuesday we will probably see (part of) his entire act.
The answer to the "Who's This? #2" has not been aswered yet, please check it out below!
A non-magic related entry for a change. Yesterday I was watching an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer called "Passion". For insiders its the one where Angelus kills Jenny Calendar and places the body in Giles' bed...
A pretty emotional moment when you see the look on Buffy / Willow's faces when they hear the news and ofcourse when Giles comes home and finds her...
So I thought of some more tv moments which were very emotional to watch:
- Sheridan's goodbye to Delenn in the episode "Sleeping in Light" from Babylon 5
- Chandler / Monica proposing to Monica / Chandler in Friends
As the tuesday magic clubnight came closer and closer I found myself not having a single routine worth showing that would earn me any points. I was browsing through my video's and dvd's, my books and the forums I regularly visit and nothing would come to mind.
Then suddenly I remembered a routine that I was practicing in Croatia, the Invisible Palm routine. By chance I also saw the preview video for the Art of Astonishment books on Ellusionist where Wayne Houchin performs this routine.
I instantly knew what to perform for the competition. I practiced the routine as the preview video since most techniques were the same as the version I practiced. The version that WH did was a lot more simplified so the practicing was easy. I based my patter along the lines of the poker / cheating cate gory and all went very good.
I had some gasping reaction so I will assume that it went down well. Had some small 'convincers' that I forgot to do which I will have to mind next time I perform this for someone. I explained the effect afterwards so that everyone knew how to perform it. I also did a small mentalism effect which I learned from my girlfriend(!) which brought a few laughs to everyone.
I closed off with a small tutorial on how to perform Lennart Green's Laser or Snap Deal, talking body movement, sound and the technique itself...
Ace (a fellow member) performed part of his Congres Act which he will perform at the National Magic Convention in the weekend of the 18th of June. It looked really spectaculair with an extreme kicker at the end. He also taught me how to do and perform Stigmata which I think is also a wonderful albeit somewhat freaky effect!
All in all it was a very good club night, educational and still a lot of fun!
On as side note, what did you all think about David Blaine's stunt "Drowned Alive"?
Yesterday evening I had a dinner at a Chinese restaurant because it was my uncle's birthday. Ofcourse I brought a pack of cards (and a few dice) so I would be able to perform some magic in between courses.
I started with a new effect I learned from Lodewijk de Widt where a (mentally) selected card is found at the total number of a roll with two dices. I followed up with a small ambitious card routine ending with the 'pop up' move.
I also did a small variation after this which left the selected card on the shoulder of the person who I was performing for (my grandfather), this got quite a good reaction so I am thinking of extending this routine...
At the last club meeting there was a special lecture guest: Lodewijk de Widt the Magic Grandprix winner of 2005.
He gave a lecture regarding his main business; restaurant magic. A very informative lecture and personal views on magic in restuarants and magic in general based on his own experiences in the field. Lodewijk is known amongst other magicians for his very advanced techniques especially with cards.
As a closure he performed his prize winning act: "Design4Change" with which he will be entering the World Chamionships at the FISM convention in Stockholm this year. The very same act he performed at the National Convention in Hoogeveen in 2005 (which I sadly missed because I was there only 1 day) and won the Grand Prix with.
All in all a very educational evening with a great magician who, although he won several great prizes, is still very approachable and ready to help anyone who has a question.
On Monday, February 13th, 2006 one of scifi's greatest members died after a period of illness. He was, amongst other things, remembered for his role in the movie "The Fugitive" as well as some episodes of Star Trek. His most memorable role was that of Ambassador G'Kar of the Narn Regime from the Emmy Award winning series, Babylon 5.
"I believe that when we leave a place part of it goes with us and part of us remains. Go any where in this station when it is quiet and just listen. After a while you will hear the echoes of all our conversations, every thought and word we've exchanged. Long after we are gone, our voices will linger in these walls for as long as this place remains. But I will admit that the part of me that is going, will very much miss the part of you that is staying."
Past friday there was a Ladies Night at my magic club. An entire evening where all members could bring partners (and additional relatives) for a nice night out with drinks, food and ofcourse Magic!
Members of the club had the option to perform their acts in front of an audience of at least 40 people. This also counted for the Club Competition and not only the magician were giving out grades but everybody in the adience!
A great chance to see everyone performing for a laymen audience instead of in front of a group of magicians. It was very nice and sometimes surprising to see the members perform their acts.
Ofcourse I was going to perform as well, I was placed somewhere past the middle of all acts. When I was onroute to the evening I had no nerves, when it was allmost time to perform I was totally freaking out. A big thank you to Sara for supporting me and believing in me! This was only my second public performance in all my magic career and then to do it in front of so many people!
Fortunately everything went very well, the jokes I incorporated in my routine (some thought out others impromptu) went down pretty good. So what did I do?
My act was based on three routines. One my "Yakuza" routine where I tell a story about the origin of the Yakuza and their rituals. One of them being Yubitsume (or the finger cutting ritual). A very nice and entertaining story to tell which ends (amongst other things) with someone performing the ritual on me and my little pinky falling off...(got great reactions from the woman helping me out
The second part was a card effect called "Impromptu card at any number" by Barry Richardson. A very simple effect sleightwise but very entertaining with the right patter. Got medium to good reactions from this one, I probably need to work more on my patter and including the audience in the full effect.
The third and final part was a coin matrix / assembly from Dean Dill. The Call Shot routine and as an extra ending with the Instant Assembly in the top left corner. My main worries were the sounds the coins make when performing the routine. Fortunately a fellow member (and secretary) Rene Laurant of the club started some very fitting music to go with my coin routine.
It fitted so perfectly that when I finished my final movements the music also stopped. A very big thank you to Rene! From the people who were close by I got pretty good reactions but the people who were further away I could not really find out what they thought of it...
My favourite of the evening was David, also one of the younger magicians of the club. He performed a variation on ambitious card with the card ending in his pocket and at the very end stuck to the roof. He also performed a very good bill switch with the signed bill ending within (!) a lemon. Finally he performed a Professor's Nightmare like rope routine. He got very good reactions from his audience...
All in all it was a very great night where I learned a lot about audience control en the various presentations you can give to your magic. Thanks to all members and their partners for a great night out!
After some hard work I am please to present you the new and improved At The Card Table!
Additions and changes will be made for the coming days but that will mainly be internal to the website and not visible. A video rating system is coming in the near future and the means of placing your own reviews of magical Video's, DVD's or other magic related items...
Some people believe that true Magic comes from the soul. To find out what kind of soul you have you can take a test. Here are my results:
You Are a Visionary Soul
You are a curious person, always in a state of awareness. Connected to all things spiritual, you are very connected to your soul. You are wise and bright: able to reason and be reasonable. Occasionally, you get quite depressed and have dark feelings.
You have great vision and can be very insightful. In fact, you are often profound in a way that surprises yourself. Visionary souls like you can be the best type of friend. You are intuitive, understanding, sympathetic, and a good healer.
Souls you are most compatible with: Old Soul and Peacemaker Soul
Since I joined my local magic club the drive to perform and to experiment with new material is increasing. I believe that this is also due to the competition element recently installed. (see my previous entry regarding this).
Currently I am working on a few different things. First the Fiber Optics routine by Richard Saunders, a great dvd which is easy to learn and very visual. Only the teacher is somewhat annoying like Ross in Friends ;) (with all due respect ofcourse!.
Secondly I am working on the Mercury effect by David Kong and Airtight by Jay Sankey. Both great effects which are relatively easy to do, currently I have only seen some reactions when I performed Mercury which were quite good. Airtight I have not performed yet since I am still practicing it towards a level I feel comfortable performing...
Bad news however is that I have strained my wrists (mainly due to ICT work) so that every 30 minutes or so I need to rest them. Tomorrow morning is my fysio appointment so lets hope on some good news (for a change)!
The magic club I joined '52 Schakels' resurrected an old custom: The Club Competition. An internal competition for magicians who can showcase their acts / presentations and skills against eachother in a friendly fashion. At the end of the year the winner is awarded the 'Fan Tze Oez' award which is a honorary award which will be available to the next winner in 2007.
I find this old custom very usefull in pushing me to discover new things in Magic in order to further my presentation, skills and knowledge!
On this note I recently ordered and received another Magic DVD which I am currently watching and learning. I hope to shoot a video of it in the coming weeks.
On a totally different note, I just got the news that one of my close friend's (Mikey!), wife (Gracey!) is pregnant! So head over to Snowflakes to congratulate them! I don't think there is anything more magical then this...
As some of you might now, the initation act has been postponed until December 8th. This on my request after some very busy (work related) weeks and weekends with allmost no time to practice.
So thanks for the support, but I'll need it again next month!
On the plus side, I have been to the 52 Schakels meeting again last tuesday where I enjoyed myself very much. I really felt at ease and comfortable and all the people are really opening up.
I also taught two rubberband "effects" and showed a new card effect had recently learned. All of them were received very well and it gave me a boost in confidence that I will also do well on my initiation act.
I have also borrowed a home made table with vilt covering so I can practice my coin routine on. This will be done on music when I perform this...
So in total a month to practice, which will (have to) be enough since I only require extensive practice on the second and third part of the act.
The second tuesday of November I will be performing my act at the '52 Schakels' magic club as part of my initiation into the club.
I have thought about this for a very long time and my act will consist of three items. A card routine, a coin routine and a mix of both.
For now I see the following routine in my head:
1. Card effect which requires a lot of patter
2. Coin effect which requires a lot pf practice (can't do any of it yet!)
3. An effect which uses both coins and cards (still need to practice it!)
At first I wanted to do something totally different for the 3 part of my act but I see that the coin effect will take so much practice that I will focus on this instead. I originally wanted to do a cups and balls routine, I have bought them but so far this has proven not to be my style..
So this weekend will be filled with practice and writing down my patter to make it as good as I can get it.
On another note, the Die Hard Team is going to Brussels coming sunday to see David Copperfield perform in the 'Vorst Nationaal' theater. We are all excited since non of us has seen him perform live. I will write a review of our visit here next week.
So, last night was my last introductory visit to magic club 52 Schakels. In my opinion the best night of all since this evening we sat down watched a DVD and all learned some new things...
I am allmost convinced to join, but I said I will email to one of the people to start my initation. There will be a discussion amongst the members next meeting if I will fit into the group, then a commitie will be formed who will evaluate my skills and do a house visit. Then I have to perform in front of that commitie a routine for about 12 minutes. Then they will evaluate this and after that a decision will be made if I am accepted or not...
Problem (for me) is that during your act you are not allowed to just do card magic or coin magic...you have to show that you posses (or want to posses) skills in multiple disciplnes. Speaking for myself this is an obstacle since I mainly train or perform with cards, that is where my passion lies and I believe I can build a solid card routine for about 12 minutes which is highly entertaining...
Is it a good idea to "force" people to explore more possiblities even though they may have done that already themselves?
Both routines are one of my favourite effects of all time. I have the invisible palm already on video but I will reshoot it so it will be better. As allways it will take some time, but trust me it will be worth it!
It took me a while to think of something to write here...not that nothing funny or important happened to me but I believe this is still more a magic weblog than a personal weblog...
Recently I started to work on a new effect from Larry Jennings, out of the book: The Classic Magic of Larry Jennings...the effect is called the Jennings opener. (mind you thats three times "Jennings" in one sentence!)
It is best described as follows, the magician cuts the deck into 4 face down piles. He then places both hands on two of the packets and suddenly the first ace appears. He then continues on to the other two packets and the second ace appears, and so on until all 4 aces appear on the top of the 4 piles. Although technically not really difficult, it is an effect which is very difficult to do smoothly and flawlessly...but if done properly looks really magical.
I think I have discovered a "new" method of continueing after this effect while switching the cards. This is all noted in my personal black (magic) book. This is very good advice for all you magicians out there: Make sure you always have a notebook or something alike with you so you can write down new ideas for effects, presentation or techniques. I think we all have experienced a feeling of Eureka! and then after an hour forgetting exactly what caused that feeling, turning the feeling into frustration...
If you have an idea (even though it may seem impossible at the time or even silly) always write it down...trust me you will take advantage of it later...
Last saturday I went to the National Congress of Magic in Hoogeveen. This was organised by Magic Club Aladdin from Zwolle. It was great! The Congres actually started friday evening and continued onto sunday but I decided to only visit on saturday because on that day there also was a gala at night...
There were about 10 Magic dealers coming from Holland, Germany, UK, Belgium and even Italy. I have bought the book "The classic Magic of Larry Jennings" which I think is really great and contains lots and lots of great routines and effects...
I attended the two lectures that were scheduled for that day, the first one starting at 10:30, Cyril Harvey well known for his manipulations with Jumbo Cards of which he gave a beautiful presentation. The lecture itself was also interesting with many effects or techniques which can be used in various situations.
After this it was the first part of the competition. In addition to the event being a convention it was also a competition in various categories such as General Magic, Street Magic, Manipulation, Stage Magic, etc. We saw various dutch acts, for example Dion (manipulation with card and doves, smooth and good), Magicus / Rinke Jacobs, Nick Nielsen (Plasma tv act..very nice!), Ramana (although starting quit spectacular with levitating it grew boring because Ramana just sat there "floating" for 5 minutes on stage without any movement except for his female assistant who managed to accidently knock over their oil lamp causing a small fire on stage. Magicians and laymen alike who were sitting in my row were not amused and questioned his presence on stage), some more which I can't remember at this time...
After this I went outside with friends to grab something to eat and watch the street performers. We watched an extremely entertaining street act of which a virtually endless supply of jokes and gags seem to eminate from the performer...it was no wonder that the crowd grew up to 50 people surrounding him...
After some fries and mayonaise we went back to check out some of the dealers present their. I bought the book "The Classic Magic of Larry Jennings" and some putty from Michael Ammar...at 16:30 the next lecture began this one from Dirk Losander also a very nice lecture allthough levation is not really my thing, but between the lines he gave valuable advice regarding performing, etc. The only negative thing that I can say is at the ending of the lecture, his commercial side took over and we got a lot of "informercials" about the dvd's and packages he was selling. I was however astonished with his floating table, it really looks like magic!
After that we had a meeting with some of the members from the Dutch Magic forum, Goochelaars.com which was very nice and some pictures were taken as well...when I have one of them I will place it online here...after that we all went to dinner which tasted very good!
After that we needed to change into our "suits" since it was ball / gala at night...we were treated on various acts from Christian Farla, Shoot Ogawa, Bob Sheets, Johan Johansen, Luna Shemada, Cyril Harvey and La Statue.
All in all great performances and a wonderfull evening. The afterparty directly followed was also very entertaining, we saw some other magicians performing close up and I spent allmost all night at the Black Jack table practicing and joking with other magicians like Peter Woerde...
Around three o'clock it was indeed time to go home, after an initial shock that someone kicked of my right mirror of my car, I started my journey back home. So after about 2.5 hours drive I was really, really happy to be in bed...
I am still practicing the Jumping Gemini routine everyday...when I feel I have it down good enough I will shoot a video so I can shot it here...
I am happy about the way the routine goes only 1 part still isn't smooth enough, so I continue to practice...and practice.. :-)
Thursday the Die Hards will have another meeting at my place, it has been a while since our last meeting so we are all looking forward to it...
Yesterday I was watching "The 50 greatest Magic Tricks" and I saw a routien by Michael Ammar which caught my attention.. He apparantly shuffles the four aces into the pack, keep shuffling and ends with an unfinished riffle shuffle. He then turns over the deck 4 times...each time leaving an ace with additional cards. When he spreads out the cards, the cards form a royal flush!
As I am working on my own Ace routine, this is very interesting to see if I can incorporate any other or new ideas into my act. Currently my act consists of an Ace Cutting routine (shuffled deck), Ace Revelation routine (shuffled deck) and after that a Poker Demonstration...
After a very nice Pinksterweekend with my family on the coast of Belgium (again) I went to the Physiotherapist this morning for my wrists.
According to him my wrists were "stuck", one or more of the many bones in the lower wrist area was dislocated causing stiffness, pain and los of flexibility. He then continued to 'relocate' the bones by grabbing my wrist one by one and creating a whiplash effect. The bones cracked and the flexibility returned, although it hurt I was relieved at his casual remarks like "I wish every patient was as simple to help as this one"....
He then taped my right wrist since it was hurting the most and made an appointment for next week. I hope to be rid of these problems soon now, so that this will be my last Magical Injuries entry.. ;-)
On a more brighter note I finally learned a card routine using 4 cards. First you show that for example the 5 of hearts continually jumps to the top. Then you show that this can't be because all the cards are 10 of spades, and then for the final climax you show that this also can't be possible because you are holding four kings!
Problem is that I do not know who the originator is or what the name of the effect is. Does anybody else know...?
[Edit: The effect is called Jumping Gemini and was created by Darwin Ortiz, a big thanks to Marc Woods for telling me!]
As you know from my previous blog, I was going to attend a meeting at the Magic Club '52 Schakels' on tuesday too see how I would enjoy the company of other magicians in a community fashion.
I had visited on other Magic Club called 'Goochelclub Rotterdam' but after a few attendances I felt I didn't really fit in. Maybe it was just my personality, maybe it was something else but it just didn't feel quite right.
So I went to '52 Schakels' to see if this was going to be different then my other visit. Fortunately it was, although it was not a standard club night since there was a lecture from another dutch magician called Rob Mollien.
A very good lecture regarding commercial magic, the keyword being "enthusiasm" (enthousiast), magical effects and your attitude towards your spectators, you employees and yourself. Add to that a good dose of funny anekdotes and you've got a very entertaining and educational lecture.
In the breaks between the lecture I got to know the other members of the club a bit better. Some shared my enthuisiasm for Card Magic and flourishes and I had a great time.
Around 23:30 allmost all the people left except 5, myself included. The president of the club was still there, together with 2 other people( the chairman and other guest), Rob Mollien and myself. We stayed for another our discussing magic and performances. Rob also showed me a "Western Poker Effect" and I showed him how to do the poker effect I did earlier that evening...
All in all I had a great time, next meeting will be the 14th of June which I will definitely attend to see how a "normal" club meeting is...
And I'm back again from vacation. I went with my girlfriend to a place called Altenahr which is about 3.5 hour drive from Rotterdam where I live.
It's a small village in Germany in the Ahr Tal, a valley with lots of nature and old buildings an even older buildings up to the point where they are called ruins...
Coming tuesday I am going to visit the '52 Schakels' Magic Club. I have already talked to the secretary on the phone and he invited my to come. As the conversation ended he remarked that I should 'study something in' which I could show to the other magicians there...
It is a common practice for Magic clubs to ask the visiting or joining member to perform for them as a sort of 'exam'. I personally do not fully agree with these kind of admission exams. Although it is a learning experience, it also puts a form of pressure and force on your entire performance...
For me the fun is in performing, doing magic when I want to without any pressure, with an exam like this it puts pressure in your performance and actions. Doesn't that remove the fun of performing?
It has been twelve days since my last entry and during that time I have only done card magic once. My wirst and fingers still hurt a lot making practice painfull so I have stayed away from practice of any kind except some little coin movements I mentioned in my previous entry...
Painfull as it maybe it still remains very difficult not to pick up a deck and start practicing again...I miss it very much but the longer I wait the better the healing process goes. According to the docter it is an over exertion of my wrists and fingers. The right one is the worst and hurts while I am typing this entry...
Yesterday afternoon at a barbeque party for my uncle's birthday I was asked to perform some magic for his neighbour. After some consideration and a warning glance from my girlfriend I decided to perform 2 or 3 effects with cards.
I started out with the effect Las Vegas Leaper which makes the spectator hold 10 cards, I take three additional cards of the deck and make them vanish...then they reappear in the hands of the spectator making his total 13 cards. The spectator then holds the cards again and I make three cards leap from the deck in the hands again bringing his total to 16. They liked this effect so much I performed it three times for different people... (I know I know don't perform it more than once but I had good cause!).
Second effect I performed was my favourite, the 2 Card Monte where 2 Queens mysteriously switch places with two aces in the specators hands, got great reactions from this one. (I always do with this one, thats why it is my favourite)
As a closer I performed the Ambitious Card Routine which I think needs to explanation (a chosen card continously rises to the top under increasingly impossible conditions)...
The reactions were nice although as I perform for family or their friends I never become a Magician. I am still just a acquintance or the nephew or other relative, never the Magician. This is a problem I can't seem to solve, I seriously doubt if there even is a solution to this...
If you have read my previous blog entry then you would know that I was really hyped upon doing some street magic for the first time on the boulevard on the beach at the appartments me and my family-in-law were staying...
Unfortunately this has not happenened. Mainly because of the weather, it rained for a long time everything was wet and few people were left on the boulevard. The people that were there only wanted to get in their appartment to dry up. So no place for Magic at that time.
The second reason is that I have developed an aching pain in my wrist and left ringvinger due to some long practice hours of the bottom deal (and getting it smooth) and other gambling sleights. This in combination with my work in the IT department makes this very painfull since I currently cannot even use my left hand to type, let alone practice my magic...
So currently no card practice time for me, although I might look at some Coin Magic to do with my right hand. For example Michael Ammar's / David Stone's "Wiped Clean" move I can do without pain, so I'll probably work on that...
Any one else have any suggestions on things I can do to eleviate the pain or moves I can try which doesn't require my left hand...? ;-)
This week my parents-in-law have rented an appartment on the coast of Belgium. The place is called "De Panne" and it is a typical Belgian coastal city with appartment complexes, the beach and ofcourse the boulevard.
I was there past weekend enjoying the sun and walks on the beach. Then it hit me, wouldn't this be the perfect time to entertain some people on the boulevard. A lot of people are sitting there with their drinks and relaxing in the sun, what more could a performer want?
I am not an experienced performer yet, but this could give me the experience I need on my way to become one. I know from myself that I can perform various effects fluently and without thinking about the sleight involved, the only thing that is lacking is the courage to actually step up to someone and perform. If it is the other way around (people asking me to perform) than I'm more than willing to oblige and my nerves go away when the first cards are shown...
So friday is the day I have set myself to go out and do some magic on the boulevard, I will ask my sister-in-law to film me as I perform and if I don't mess up to much, maybe I will post them here!
Some of you may hear a bell ringing when they hear the title "Phantom of the Card Table" other will probably have no idea what I am talking about...
For the latter (but also interesting for the first) I will explain who or what I mean with "The Phantom of the Card Table".
~ phan·tom also fan·tom ( P ) Pronunciation Key (fntm) n.
1. Something apparently seen, heard, or sensed, but having no physical reality; a ghost or an apparition.
2. Something elusive or delusive.
An image that appears only in the mind; an illusion.
3. Something dreaded or despised.
The phantom of the card table has always been for magicians the ultimate, unbeatable but also undetectable cheat, the epitome of sleight of hand perfection at the surroundings of the card table.
Currently I am reading a book by David Britland and Gazzo about the one and only "Phantom" who actually was Mr. Walter Irving Scott. An expert card man with the (according to some of the leading people in Magic) best second deal ever and amazed anyone by being able to give anyone 4 aces from a fully shuffled deck and being blindfolded.
I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to know a little bit more about the history of card cheating and its influence on Magic as well as an entertaining essay on the life of the Phantom himself. Next to this you even get an insight into the methods he has used and the book gives you an opportunity to learn these very same techniques!
I have just finished the book and found it very entertaining as well as informative. You can probably order it at your local magicshop or your favourite online store..
On another note, as you know together with a friend of mine I am working on the new version of this website...another teaser look is available here: Click!
In the four years I have been pursueing the Art of Magic I have seen a lot of different discussions on the subject of performing rights. What gives you the right to perform a certain effect?
This issue is directly related to the buying of a video or effect. As far as I can see there are two different views on the subject.
1)You have the right perform an effect if you have seen the effect or intention of the effect and then devise your own way of accomplishing the feat.
2) You can only perform (and expand or alter the effect if you want) the effect if you own the original effect by buying a video explaining the effect.
There are pros en cons to both views, if we look at the first one we can see that this stimulates creativity above all and that is needed for everyone who wants to be a good magician. Also this provides for more techniques or ideas to be generated therefore moving the entire Magic community forward.
The second view may also stimulate creativity but in a lesser way. Also people are prone to copy the presentation as well as the effect which a very bad development for any magician (unless the presentation totally fits in your style). This side does however give proper credit (money and popularity wise) to the originator of the effect which is an "unwritten" rule throughout the history of Magic, whereas the first side does not.
Personally I believe a combination of the two to be the best. If you buy an effect, do not copy it litterally but toy with it, add your own subtle variations to the effect and presentation. I attended a lecture recently of the Magic Club Conga where one of the lectures (Louis Baerts) who said: "If you buy an effect or gimmick, don't look at the description first but play with it and find your own way to emmploy it. Chances are that you will find a different way than in the original description!".
Creativity is one of the most important things you can use the progress the entire Magic community...
I will not bore you again with promises of website redesign plans etc...They are still coming but when you will just have to wait and see...
I will let the teaser hanging around for your viewing pleasure.
Currently I am working heavely on a solid card routine act, which will be all about cheating at cardgames such as poker or blackjack...therefore I am learning a lot of new things at the same time which is causing some serious headaches some times :-D
The toughest nut I still have to crack is the art of bottom dealing...currently I am using Erdnase grip from Expert at The Card Table which uses the ringvinger as the biggest tool. I have gotten the move down quite accurately but the real poblem is to have the same rythm in your deal as you normal / bottom or second deal...
I am also heavily influenced by Derren Brown's video "The Devil's Picturebook" which shows the expert card man behind the mentalist image of Derren nowadays...
All in all a lot of new stuff, which is pretty exciting although it takes some real hard work and practice hours to get everything up to an acceptible level and beyond!