E-mail me at

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Identity Crap

While I try to withhold my identity on this blog, I'm well aware that many magicians in this community know exactly who I really am. I've told many of my magic friends about the blog; I have no problem admitting who I am at a show, convention, or jam session if I'm asked by people I like and respect. Using a nom de plume not only gives me a little security but helps separate this magic stuff from my career (I would prefer my clients not be able to Google my name and stumble on to this, as they may not understand much of the magic humor or enjoy the dirtier humor). I stand by my opinions; I believe that, in the instances I was excessively harsh (the "Protocols" incident comes to mind) I have issued my own personal apologies. I really do love and respect the art form and I hope that those who do know me personally see that, too.

As such, my policy about my identity is this: if you'd like to know who I am and I know who you are, send me an e-mail and I may just tell you everything you'd like to know about me. Please don't be offended if I don't reveal my identity to you right away; doing so is a matter of trust and it takes time to build real trust.

I really appreciate everyone who reads my blog (and those who don't) and respect your freedom as a magician. It is my sincerest hope that you feel the same way about me.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Fake Crap

Part II of "GoldmaGIC":

From this...

to this...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Smelly Crap

What do you get when you cross Todd Goldman's controversial, subversive, and darkly humorous work:

with Pagliacci's magic-related wit and skill at Photoshop?

You get this:

Logically, if most magicians are boys (according to one article, women comprise only 7.5% of the Society of American Magicians) and boys are smelly, then magicians must be smelly. If you're a male magician reading this (and you probably are unless you're Ticklish Girl from High on Magic or Sue-Anne Webster from Magic Unlimited), give your armpits a good sniff. Just doing my part to make sure magicians the world over shower.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Thumb Crap

I'm pretty sure that 50 Tricks with a Thumb Tip doesn't have any mention of using a thumb tip as a life-saving device, but, thanks to Bill Bixby, the star of the television series, The Magician (which did not rely on camera tricks but Bixby's skill as a magician), we can add a 51st trick that just may save your life one day:

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Crap-tastic Tale of the Shirt

Chris Britt, the blogger behind Magic Interviews (a blog I strongly encourage you to visit, as it contains some amazing interviews with the top names in magic), e-mailed me an excerpt from 1939’s “Patter and Rhyme” book. (For my previous entry on political correctness and old magic books, click here.) It's an entry for the torn-and-restored Chinese Laundry Ticket and is pretty un-PC by today's standards. Enjoy.

When your secretary engaged me for the programme here tonight
To look my best was my desire, I aimed to be just right;
So to the Chinese Laundry with my shirts I did retreat
And in Exchange for shirtee, Charlie Chink gave me receipt.

I took the laundry ticket home as fast as I was able
But should have had more sense than leave it lying on the table,
For Junior got a hold of it and had a ripping time—
He tore it in a hundred bits, or perhaps ‘twas ninety-nine.

I guessed my shirt was gone for good, but hurried round to see,
And sure enough old Charlie said “No ticket, No Shirtee”;
I said “Well, here’s the pieces, can’t I claim my shirt with these?”
And Charlie said “Me show you just how smart are we Chinese”.

He took the pieces in his hands and squeezed them for a while—
“Now watch me very closely” said old Charlie with a smile;
He spoke some funny Chinese words that were all Greek to me,
But when he spread his hands apart, all I could say was GEE.

I said “Boy, that’s a dandy trick, that’s one I’d like to do”,
But Charlie said “Me no explain, me give Shirt back to you”.

Magic Works Crap

Would you like to download .pdfs with the secret instructions for many of Tenyo's most classic effects? Before I tell you how to do it, let me fill you in on a little history (from Tenyo World):

Milton Bradley, a leading American toy maker, began in 1993 licensed sales of Tenyo products under the "Magic Works" brandname. Advertised nationwide on television, these products soon became bestsellers in the U.S. market. Soon thereafter, Milton Bradley's parent company, Hasbro, undertook to market the line throughout the world. Mark Setteducati created the idea of Magic Works.

As it turns out, Hasbro upload the instructions to all of its products, including Magic Works. Therefore, using the list on the Tenyo World page to get the name of the Magic Works trick from the Tenyo trick, you can visit here (scroll down to "Magic Works") and download the corresponding .pdfs and learn how the tricks are done.

It's unfortunate that these secrets are publically available (I assume that the instructions to Mac King's tricks most probably will be, too, as the Fundex Games, Inc. site has a similar page and philosophy), but we might as well take advantage of it. You probably can't build any of these tricks with materials you currently own, so being able to see how these tricks works should make you a more educated consumer of classic Tenyo magic.

Friday, February 10, 2006


I'm feeling really shitty, so allow me to rant.

I'm in a horribe magic rut and I'm trying to figure out why.

It could be oversaturation. Magic has taken over much of my life - it's my hobby, my passion, my profession. Many things I do outside of magic inevitably lead back to it. I want to step away for a while, but I can't: I have professional obligations and there's too much magic information in my head to not make the connections between my non-magic activities and my magic activities.

It could frustration. I've seen so many inspired magic acts recently that I become angry I'm not further along in my magic than I think I should be. I want to do stage magic so badly, but I fear I have neither the finances, resources, or space to even begin working on an act.

It could be other magicians. I'm getting more and more depressed by the current state of magic each day. There is so much shit out there that it's hard to justify the small amounts of treasure scattered among it.

I love the art of magic. I really, really do. But sometimes I get so frustrated, angry, depressed by it that it really hurts.

There's a point where I wonder about the reasons to perform magic in the first place.

I refuse to take part in an art who's only object is to inflate the artist's ego. That's not what real magic is about, but that's what a lot of magic out there is.

I also refuse to take part in an art in which the art itself is only a means to acheive a goal and not the goal itself. I'm finding that magic is becoming more of a vehicle for me than an end; I'm using it to get a laugh, for example, which makes the magic secondary to the jokes it allows me to perform. That's not what art is; that's not what magic should be.

In sum, the magic of magic is slipping away from me. I can't see it any more. Why the fuck do we do it? Clearly, we can't do what we give the illusion we are doing, so why do we even pretend? Our audiences aren't stupid; they know they're being tricked. What does creating the question of "How did he/she do that?" help anybody? Paul Harris talks about our role as "astonishment guides," but on what basis does he draw these conclusions? His reasoning stems from a basic conception of how our mind works, one that clearly isn't founded on any psychological proof.

What does fooling somebody really do? Why do I, as an audience member, get out of being stumped?

"That's so amazing. I can't believe that just happened. I didn't think that it was possible, but you just performed something rather cool." Am I supposed to now think, "So now I know that thhings that seem impossible aren't always, so I'll keep that in mind in my life"? No! You think, "That's a clever magician. I'm really fooled. He/She did a great job outthinking me."

Actors create worlds upon the stage; magicians tend to be irrevocably tied to our own. Where's the vision, the message, the great expressiveness of magic?


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Video: David Copperfield

Let's start out with a nice montage of many of the startling illusions and escapes David has done in the past:

Now, let's take a closer look at one trick David has tried many times in many ways, Sawing in Half. The staple of many an illusionist's show, David has taken the effect to a whole other level. Twice.

First, when he performed Death Saw. In addition to a unique method (have to love the angle of the table on the stand, which makes the trick seem that much more impossible), the dramatic moments of the trick have been revised. The girl isn't being tortured and cut through; rather, David is in an escape gone horribly wrong. The added touch of the time reversing itself to fix the error is awesome - finally, a magician makes good use of his powers.

Second, when he performed the Laser Cutting. Updating the effect yet again, David streamlined his entire presentation. There are less boxes and less props. The final walk down the ramp looks like trick photography, but it is most assuredly not. Also, check out the little touches David has added to Fearson's routine: the laser "accidentally" striking the pole is one example. Finally, pay careful attention to the music cues and lighting cues, which are absolutely perfect.