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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Video: Cyril's Stunning Transfer Illusion

Holy crap - this has to be one of the most well done illusions I have ever seen on video. Watching this I felt like a laymen for a moment, which is a feeling I rarely get anymore.

Daily Video

Now that has enabled Pagliacci to post videos, I'll be posting about one magic video a day for you to enjoy! (Make sure to click on the little arrow in the bottom left hand corner to play each video. Clicking on the large "Play" button in the center takes you to YouTube to play the video, which is unnecessary, since you've can actually watch these videos WITHIN the blog!)

Here's your first THREE videos:

Cyril's magic with hamburgers has made its way around the magic blogging circuit, but his extraordinary routine with a coffee sign, a marker, and a few coins has rarely been seen:

Typical Cyril: taking a known trick (Dean Dill's explosion) and adding to it until it becomes an absolute miracle:

Again Cyril ups the ante on a known trick. This time it's Card Through Window...on a submarine:

Check back soon for some more magic videos!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Inspirational Crap

Japanese magician Shoot Ogawa has said that the way to make your magic more appealing is to "watch popular things, T.V., movies, music. They're popular because people like them, so, if your magic includes elements from them, people will like your magic, too." (I paraphrase a bit.) I have found a few videos on the 'Net, all of which have been are continue to be popular, that I think are particularly funny, poignant, or downright kooky. Enjoy these clips and see if you can learn some pointers about setting the mood with your magic.

- Ultimate Showdown - One of the most catchy tunes I've heard in a while, the video that accompanies it is well done and rather funny. Notice how random pop references can be funny if well-timed. While not everybody is going to know who everybody in that video is, those who do will laugh extra hard. Mike Bent, a great kid show and all-around magician, said that he will insert jokes that only 1 or 2 people may get. Eventually everyone will get "their" joke; these jokes are often the funniest and most memorable for the audience.

- "Hurt" by Johnny Cash - The most poignant and moving music video of all time. Director Mark Romanek has combined stark, revealing footage of an aging Cash, interior shots of a flood-destroyed tribute to Cash, and actual footage from Cash's career. Even more haunting, June, Cash's wife, makes an appearance at the end; she died soon after, followed by Cash. As MTV wrote in an article about Cash, "Many music videos tend to be about escape and illusion — the illusion of fame, wealth, sex, glamour and fantasy. The video for Johnny Cash's 'Hurt' isn't about any of those things. It deals with a theme not so common in music videos: reality."

- "Hooked on a Feeling" by David Hasselhoff - Holy shit. What happens when you combine David Hasselhoff, the worst green screening you've ever seen, and salmon? The most ridiculous, poorly produced, non-sensical music video. Ever. How do you take a normal person and make him into a surreal character? Just do everything this music video's director did.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Watch This

There's a new blog called Magic Watch, which seems really promising to me. The first post includes a mission statement that I really respect:
Magicians seem to have a knack for taking a good thing and making it bad. The magic blog is a case in point. From a very promising beginning, established by the fertile mind of "Andy" with his Magic Circle Jerk, the enterprise has degenerated nearly to the point of collapse. Magic blogs aren't much fun to read anymore, and they certainly aren't very informative, ironically enough, about magic.

That's why I've decided to throw my hat into the ring, so to speak. I'm not arrogant enough to believe I have all the answers, or even very many of them. I do believe I can offer an unbiased look at magic bloggers and what they're doing, and hopefully evaluations of what's good and bad in magic without the usual cut throat rancor.

I come to you with no pretensions concerning my abilities; I'm not the best magician in the world, and although I'm a serious student of the art and a semi-professional performer, I don't earn my living solely from magic. So many magic bloggers attempt to paint themselves as highly successful magicians that I think this distinction is important. I'm like many of you. I do the occasional show, but for now the dream of becoming a full time professional has had to take a back seat to the realities of earning a living. Maybe someday.

These will be my opinions for what they're worth. Maybe along the way we can learn a thing or two.
The second post, Girl Magic, addresses me, my e-book, and this blog. He's asked me to respond to his post, so here goes.

There are three major contentions he has, so I'll address each in turn.

I can't help but wonder why, if you have a name in magic and are filming a television special, you would choose to sell something anonymously instead of using your real name. I don't know about you, but name recognition plays a role in the magic I buy, and I'm much more likely to buy something authored by say David Regal than an unknown, let alone an anonymous author. The only justification I can imagine for authoring a work and selling it anonymously is that the work isn't something you would want to have your name associated with. That's hardly an incentive to buy it.

It's a point well taken. I choose to write anonymously to protect not only myself, but all of the wonderful and talented magicians I work with and work for. I know many of the horror stories associated with criticizing another magician or his/her product, so I decided that, in order to allow myself the freedom to be as brutally honest as possible, I had to remain anonymous. My first writings on magic and girls occured on this blog and my first mention of the project was on Pagliacci as well. Therefore, publishing my book under my name (which may have increased sales of the book) would have also revealed my identity, potentially threatening my reputation and the reputation of all the people I work with. Would I have been able to sell more e-books and sell them at a higher price? Possibly. But the upside of this is that the readers get a professional e-book for what "such a small sum," as you note. I see that as a tremendous positive.

Another problem is that he's claiming an unverified expertise. Supposedly Girl Magic will help you be more successful with the opposite sex. Well, I think it's only fair to offer some assurance to the buyer that the author is successful with the opposite sex. For all the consumer knows, in reality Mr. Pagliacci has never had a date, let alone is proficient at using magic to meet girls. Of course this problem would have been avoided had he published the work under his real name and he really has enjoyed great success with the opposite sex.

As I wrote in my response to the first point, it's important to me to protect my identity. The connection between my blog and a book on magic and girls would have eventually been made, so I was forced to publish the book under my anonymous moniker. I have, in fact, based the book on much of my experience (which I've had plenty) and the experience of close, trusted friends who I've known to be very sucessful with women. Also (although only people who have bought the book know), some of the points are backed up data from psychological studies on attraction, another good source for learning about how to pick up women. Would I like to share real stories about how these techniques have worked personally? Yes, but then again, I may be revealing enough to give away my identity. Let's just say I've been very fortunate.

Even more of a problem, in my opinion, is that by buying the work the consumer is admitting that he's a geek, so to speak. I don't think anyone wants to buy a product that makes him feel bad about himself.

I completely disagree. Both Steve Pellegrino and Tim Ellis addressed this concern of your in their reviews of Girl Magic when they noted that the advice found in this book could apply to any social situation. Even if you're 50, married with kids, and have no desire to pick up women with magic, the routines taught in this book should be enough to warrant purchasing it. $5 for four solid routines right out of a professional repertoire? That's a pretty awesome deal. Besides, this book is also for people who want to improve theie game - not just for people who don't think they have game at all. Buying this book only reveals that the magician purchasing it knows a great deal when he sees it.

So there you have it.

The e-book (as I said in my last post) is still only $5 and will remain at that price until Wednesday, January 18th, at 12 AM, so purchase today! (Click on the PayPal button on the menu on the right to buy a personalized copy of the book.)

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Review Crap

Steve Pellegrino was kind enough to review Girl Magic on MagiCentric, today:

He’s currently selling an ebook - Girl Magic which gives you over half a dozen very good close-up routines and some excellent advice about picking up girls with magic:

The fundamental rule of picking up girls with magic is this: you can’t pick up women with magic until you can pick up girls without magic.

That rule can be applied to other social situations as well. Too many magicians feel that magic is the solution to inadequate social and behavior skills. Magic can only enhance what is there naturally. It reminds me of a joke Bill Cosby tells about cocaine.

What’s the appeal of cocaine?

It intensifies your personality.

What if you’re an asshole?

Back to his ebook. It’s $5.00 and the routines are very good. My favorite is Getting Lucky
which is a prediction of a girl’s lucky number with some cold reading tips

…after reading this book you’ll have more than 7 solid routines in
your wallet, so you won’t need a deck of cards to be able to do magic at a
moment’s notice!

You can’t go wrong for the price and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at
the quality of the routines AND advice. Recommended!

The LIMITED TIME offer to get Girl Magic for only $5 expires today, so what are you waiting for?

Friday, January 13, 2006

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Backstage Crap

Joel Fenton is my new best friend. He sent me a link to Tom Frank's blog, Coming Through The Haze, where he pointed out Frank's post, Free Weekend Minutes, in which Frank writes:

I told Lee a few of stories about my days at the Magic Castle. Jim Patton used to call us the "Young Turks". It was Danny Sylvester, Paul Nathan and I who, on any given weekend in 1986 could be found at the Castle having the time of our life. I told Lee about fucking this chick right before I was was going to perform close up magic. I was surprised when they started seating before we were done. I had her bent over this cocktail table behind the curtain. It really is quite funny, I was introduced and came out with my hand REEKING of pussy (Here, pick a card). Ahhh those were the days. I shared a couple other stories with Lee, like the time I pulled the huge switchblade on Billy McComb for coming on to the girl I was with. Memories. . .

Frank definitely learned how to do that by reading Girl Magic, so that means I'll have to update my advertising slogan one more time: "BEWARE: Performing effects from Girl Magic may be so good that your hands will smell like pussy for weeks to come." Or "Buy the book and find new uses for that cocktail table you keep backstage for your props."

Crap, I Did It Again

From Joel Fenton (who's friggin' awesome for finding this and sending me such a funny e-mail):

Spiffy suit. Check.

Bow tie. Check.

Job at Houdini's in Las Vegas. Check.

Britney Spears buying magic from you. Check.

Clearly, that dude was using the techniques he learned in Girl Magic.

The new marketing slogan for Girl Magic? "Buy the book, impress a post-preggers pop-star-turned-white-trash." Much better than "Buy the book, impress your mom."