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Tuesday, May 31, 2005


I'm officially addicted to Penn and Teller's show, "Bullshit!". The show is extremely intelligent and extremely funny. From AA to Mother Theresa (yes, Penn and Teller even ripped her a new asshole on this show), Penn and Teller shed new perspectives on old, often talked about topics. There's even some magic thrown in for good measure on many of the episodes (check out the life coaching episode for a hilarious rendition of Penn coaching Teller in using the cups and the balls).

You can purchase the DVDs to Season 1 and 2 or can watch Season 3 unfold on Showtime. This is one show you should not miss - no bullshit.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Crap About Criss

Criss Angel, the goth magician who performed in the basement of the WWF Restaurant in Times Square for a few years and has had a special on ABC Family (I don’t know how that one happened) and the Sci-Fi Channel, will be airing his new series, MindFreak, on A&E. (Quick insider story: “Mindfreak” was the name of Criss’s stage show. He originally wanted to call the show “Mindfuck” because the show “fucked with your mind,” but the producers were wary of marketing a show with a built-in obscenity in its name.) There are 10 episodes planned so far; check out the website here. The most remarkable thing about this series is that it represents a complete make-over for Criss. He’s gone from the black goth look to a more mainstream “sexy model” look. Check out these "before and after" pictures:

I’m really impressed by Criss' evolution – this is a textbook example of how you can change your appearance and act to market yourself to a new, potentially more lucrative audience.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Super Crap

We have all been taught to consider all the places a trick can go wrong - and then prepare for each and everyone of them. This is the golden rule in escapes (where a mistake can cost the performer his or her life), but it also extends to ALL magic.

For example, did you consider this possibility for your version of the "Sucker Silk to Egg" trick:

Betcha didn't! But seriously, you should be thinking really far out of the box in considering what outs you need to device. In fact, as I have found, sometimes your outs are better than the tricks themselves and you end up with a completely new method to an old effect!

There's something else you should learn from this cartoon, too: if this is what Superman - the morally-pure superhero who is supposed to represent all of America's ideals - thinks of magicians, then what can we expect of everyone else? Our job is not that different from Superman's: we must protect the world from evil (the evil of shitty magicians, that is) and show people that the impossible is really possible. Keep that in mind when you go out into the world to perform.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Oh Crap (Update)

Good news and bad news. The bad news is that Magic Mafia is definitely defunct. The good news, however, is that "Professor Andster," one third of the Magic Mafia writing trifecta has returned to his old blog. Here's a copy of his message to me:

Sent: Sunday, May 22, 2005 4:00 PM
To: ""
Subject: Andster's Back

Hi there. Just a quick note to tell you that, although the Magic Mafia is now disbanded, I've returned to my old blog. I know I can't be everything that made the Magic Mafia so great, but I figure 1/3 of the Mafia is better than nothing at all. If you're interested, you can come visit at



Oh, the crazy world of magic blogging.

Oh Crap

Having been unable to access the main Magic Mafia site for the last two days, I swung over to the old site on a hunch. There I found a disconcerting message.

I then traveled over to my inbox and found this message:

From: Magic Mafia
Sent: Saturday, May 21, 2005 11:22 PM
Subject: A Sad Day for Anonymous Bloggers...


For immediate release:


This all means that it is my sad duty to inform you guys that the Magic Mafia is no longer. MM kept the community of magic blogging going after MCJ's long absence by showing how funny and original a magic blogger could be (Magic Rants was also blogging at the same time, but you can see why I'm not acknowledging him for perpetuating the idea that magic blogs could be funny and original). Most blogs sprung up after, and perhaps in part, because of MM. We'll miss you!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Bad Pun Crap, Part II

I just can't resist:

Here's one woman we know gives good head.

Bad Pun Crap

Today is "Bad Magic Pun Day" (as if every day for a magician isn't "Bad Magic Pun Day!).

Here goes...

(1) These are a bunch of Twisted Sisters

(2) I'll bet you jack off to this one!

(3) I guess some magic was D'Lite-ful in the time before there were electric lights!

[Think Anchorman's Ron Burgundy when you read the next two lines.]

Oh, puns - you tempting minxes! How can something be so hilarious in my mind and so unfunny on the lips?

[Back to Pagliacci.]

Now I remember the answer - because puns just don't cut it as the sole source of humor. Take that as a lesson guys. Seriously. If you don't, you may end up like all the other schmucks on the Magic Cafe.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Vintage Crap

I was trying to figure out a funny caption for this photograph but fuck it. Why don't you guys decide? Send me an e-mail with your caption by this Sunday ( The person with the funniest caption gets his or her caption published, a public shout-out, a chance to tell me what my next post will be about, and maybe a few other surprises.

NOTE: Any videos or photos of you whacking off to the picture like those freaks in Maria the Snakebabe's messageboard is grounds for disqualification... and psychiatric help.

Two MORE Lessons in Magic You Won't Learn Anywhere Else

Hey boys and girls! Look who's back! I've read some really great comments from some really nice people about my last post on "Lessons in Magic You Won't Learn Anywhere Else," so I've decided to add two more to the list:

(1a) If you're on a TV show, DON'T play to the spectators. I recently finished shooting two episodes worth of material for my upcoming TV special (yes, let's get this out of the way - I will be having a TV special) and only got to see the footage when we went into the editing room. I learned a hard lesson very quickly: no matter how many directions you give a cameraman (or camerawoman), they'll never be exactly where you'll need them. Furthermore, they tend to shoot wide and long because they usually try to include you, your props, and your spectators all in one shot (the production company only gave me one camera to work with and a crew of two) - this means that the viewers at home won't be able to see, for example, what the card is that you're holding. So, if you're doing a TV special or are being filmed doing magic, IGNORE the rule that most will tell you: "Play to the spectator. Try to get yourself and your spectators to forget that the cameras are even there." That rule is just flat out WRONG. Here's the REAL rule: Play to the cameras first, the spectators second. The underlying thinking behind this rule is this: Who gives a fuck about your spectators' reactions if the viewers at home (your REAL audience) can't fucking see or understand a thing?

(1b) If you're on TV, DON'T tell your director or cameraman everything that's going to happen in the effect. Now, you do need to tell them about the key moments in the trick and when they can't be filming you (i.e. the camera shouldn't be zoomed into your hands when you're doing a pass). However, if you only give them a rough sketch, you can treat the camera as another spectator. I found that my best shots happened with tricks my camerawoman knew little about because she was just as misdirected as my actual spectators. You already know how to control your spectators' attention during a trick (you do, right?), so controlling the camera becomes much easier when the camerawoman is as easily misdirected.

(2) Watch stand-up comedy and hang out with them after the show if you can. You'll notice that the world of stand-up comedy is very similar to the world of magic - except stand-up comedians aren't assholes. Stand-up comedians take HUGE risks on stage, whereas most magicians don't. You'll also realize this dirty little secret: most talking magicians are stand-up comedians with crutches. As a magician, if your joke bombs, you still have an effect to cover your ass; comedians don't have this safety net. That being said, bomb a joke as a comedian and you get another shot with the audience; fuck up a magic trick completely and it's a freakin' steep uphill battle to even save face. You'll also learn things like timing, audience interaction (watch a COMEDIAN handle hecklers - heck, some even make that part of their act), and how to be funny. If you remember the last two lessons from the last post, you'll recall that it's more important to entertain an audience than to fool them, so, if you learn how to make people laugh, you may be able to actually fight that uphill battle if anything goes wrong.

Good luck! Remember, ENJOY your magic. If you ENJOY, your audiences will ENJOY.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Research Crap

I'm doing a brief survey of the magic community. If you're a magician (and you probably are if you're reading this blog, right?), please answer the following question:

What is your religion?

Thanks - I'll post the reasons why I'm doing this in a few days!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Magic Café Crap (a.k.a. "Crap by Numbers")

Visit the Magic Café and check out the alleged hit counter (it's on the bottom of the page). Are we really supposed to believe that the Magic Café has gotten that much traffic (145,970,472 hits) in only four years?

Let's do the math: the Magic Café has 18,682 members listed (30 members per page * 622 pages, plus the 22 on the 623rd page), although even that number can be contested. The total traffic divided by the number of members is slightly more than 7,813 (7813.42854084... to be exact).

So, in order to accept that the Magic Café's traffic statistics are correct, you have to accept that the average Magic Café member has visited the site nearly 8,000 times! To take it a step further, the Magic Café was started in 2001, which means that the site has been up for 1,461 days (365 + 365 + 365 + 366, keeping in mind that one out of every four years is a leap year), the hit counter on the Magic Café shows that the average Magic Cafe member checks the Magic Cafe 5 (actually, 5.348...) times a day! Who the hell does Steve Brooks think he's fooling?

The craziest part about this is that if you believe that the membership numbers are inflated (as they probably are, because they include inactive members and count members with multiple accounts multiple times) and use a lower, more accurate estimate for the number of Magic Café members in these calculations, these two numbers - number of times the average Magic Café member has visited the site and the number of times the average member visits the site per day - become even higher and more ridiculous!

Steve Brooks, you're not fooling Pagliacci and you're not fooling any of his readers.

Crazy Picture Crap

So I guess the hand is quicker than the eye!

[Thanks to SG for sending me this picture! You're the best!]

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Two Lessons in Magic You Won't Learn Anywhere Else

You may have noticed that there's no "crap" in the title of this post. That's because this post is really serious and, I believe, really important. So if you're looking for some boobies, some jokes, or a combination of both, stop reading now.

This post is about the two lessons most magicians won't and don't teach you. I've had the pleasure to perform a whole lot this year and work with a great number of professional magicians, all of who offered great advice. But I've come away with two mains lessons - rules of magic even, if you will - that I haven't seen talked about enough on other blogs or on the magic forums. So here they are:

(1) Your magic doesn't matter. In fact, most professional magicians don't give a shit about what magic you are performing and neither does your audience. In other words, as long as your audience has a good time, you've done your job. You don't even need to necessarily fool your audience (hell, I've seen magicians screw up and be more enjoyable than magicians with perfect technique). Stop worrying about fooling other magicians, stop worrying about methods - just worry about what you are presenting to your audience. I've learned that it's really, really hard to fool other magicians - and it's not worth trying to. Magicians are more appreciative of a performer who can perform than who can do the latest sleights.

(2) Never bring yourself to an audience; let the audience bring themselves to you. I used to think that you were supposed to adapt your magic to every situation. Don't tell me you haven't done it before. "Oh, comedy club - I'll just cut out some magic and add some new jokes!" "Oh, mainstream venue - I'll remove any bizarre elements from my acts!" Simon Lovell said it best when he said that, "It's not your job to give the audience what the want - it's your job to give them what you think they need, regardless of what they think they want" (I'm paraphrasing a bit). Another good friend of mine was talking about the same thing when he said, "You have to let the audience come to you." This doesn't mean that you should be doing bizarre magic at a kid's show or R-rated comedy at the nursing center, but it does mean that your artistic integrity should come before what you think your audience is looking for. Let an audience like you for you and not for the you you think they will like.

Next post - The Superman and Batman Schools of Magic