Wednesday, January 26, 2022

365 Days of Magic Videos


Ok, that title is a bit misleading. The truth is, it's 365 magic videos in a year. They might sound the same, but the truth is, I know I won't be able to get one video per day done. But over the course of the year, there will be 365 videos, if not more. 

The next question is, why? LOL. That's a good question. There are multiple reasons. One is exposure. Another is it's a challenge. A third, and one that I wasn't expecting, it's improving my magical skill sets. But the main one is exposure. And I'm approaching this in a very unorthodox way. I'm putting the videos up on multiple social media sites: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and more. And I'm putting them up on international social media sites as well. I just did my first Russian video, and I'll follow that up with a Norwegian, Swedish, Italian, and French version of various videos. 

The magic videos are generally short. Though some of them have longer routines. Most of the material will be stuff that is no longer in my working repertoire, however, some of the material is finding a new place in my show. There are two things so far in the first 20 videos that really struck me. One was the Linking Hearts. I had this for years, and never used it. I pulled it out strictly for the video and was astonished by the number of views and comments it received. Clearly, it was an effect that people could relate to. As a friend of mine said, "it's so much better than stupid rings! People can identify with hearts and it opens a world of possibilities for stories and presentations."  Ok, I'm sold.

The next item was a rather astonishing Monte effect which has a whopper of an ending. I saw my friend Bob Sheets do this a few years back. He had a slightly different ending to his, but it was no less a fooler. I inherited the effect from a friend who passed away, so I decided to learn it for the video. It's just killer. I will post both of those videos below.

I'm going to try and create a 'magician's only' page about the Magic 365 videos. Which will have information on each of the various effects and where they can be found, whether they are commercial items, or in books, or original creations. I'll try and credit folks appropriately as well. I don't have that ready to go yet, it's coming.

If you are wondering what this has to do with 'magic history', well to be frank, lots. Over the course of the year, there will be plenty of historical pieces in the line-up. In a way, almost all the magic we do is steeped in magic history. Take the One Cup and One Ball mystery created by Al Wheatley. It's such a common piece today, we forget about it's history. And of course, it was a variation of the classic Cups and Balls, which is hundreds, if not thousands of years old. 

One thing that I haven't really yet pointed out is that I will eventually be posting 'variants' of the episodes. For example, the video that is on Facebook, may be different from the one on Twitter or TikTok. As I build an audience, I hope that people will search out the variants. Also, I'm hoping to open a dialog with viewers as well, even taking requests. This is part of the challenge really. If someone speaks up and says, "can you do something with a candy bar, or do something with tissue paper" or whatever, I'll see what I can come up with. Granted, there may be existing material to choose from, so in those cases, why re-invent the wheel? But in other cases, why not create something new, or some new variation of an older routine.

So my friends, please enjoy, Magic 365 this year and beyond!

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Unique Magic Poster Site


I stumbled upon this site by accident. I thought I'd share it with you all just the same, It's called Magic Posters Direct, or They produce magic poster reproductions on wood. They only have one size from what I can see, 24x36. 

I can't vouch for the quality or anything, I am just letting you know about them. I know some folks in the magic history world, don't care for reproductions and would rather have the real thing....wouldn't we all. But these look like they'd make for a nice display. They aren't super cheap, but not super expensive either. One great thing about them is they do not need to be framed, which is often as much or more than the poster!

They don't have the selection the selection that Nielsen Magic has however. But I like fact they are printed on wood. Now speaking of Nielson Magic, Lupe has a huge amount of poster reproductions in various sizes. She also has incredible magic for sale, most of which she builds herself. She's got a great selection of books for sale and other magic items. I always encourage folks to check out her site. 

Saturday, January 15, 2022

I Hate Tricks, Or At Least The Word

 There is a word in the magic lexicon, that I frankly despise. In fact, I think as each year passes I hate it more. That word is 'trick' or 'magic trick'. It makes what we do sound so cheap. The word trick has negative connotations. No one likes to be tricked. For example:

  •         A cunning or skillful act or scheme intended to deceive or outwit someone.   
  •         A mischievous practical joke
  •         An illusion. (again, not OUR type of trick)   ‘I thought I saw a flicker of emotion, but it        was probably a trick of the light’

  •   A skillful act performed for entertainment or amusement.
                 Worst yet
  •         A prostitute's client.
Looking over the list, OUR type of trick ranks 4th on the list. Only slightly above, "a prostitutes client." No wonder I hate the word trick.

Looking to the past, I discovered that Robert-Houdin referred to most of his magic as 'Experiments and or Inventions". Granted, many of his items were inventions, so it fit. But he also referred to card magic as tricks. No doubt because of the manual ability needed to present them. And the charming Johann Hofzinser has references to tricks, carnival tricks and more. So the word has a long history. But in Hofzinser's case the word is used sparingly and it's always joined with other words, like dexterity for example.

would surmise that the word began when we in the magical arts were known as jogglers, or jugglers. I suppose everything those jugglers did were tricks, tricks of skill. Then over time the term, conjurer and eventually magician, replaced jugglers...though juggler continued on, but it now had a more specific meaning, someone who played with his balls...or something like that. (just kidding, jugglers are skillfully incredible)

My point is, maybe it's time to rethink the word 'trick'. I am aware that there is a huge faction of the magic world that likes to downplay the whole idea of 'magic'. In fact, they put great emphasis on 'tricks'. Penn and Teller, are a fine example. But I also note that they don't only use the word trick, Penn has a large vocabulary. 

Think about this for a moment, the movie The Prestige came out and created three words, that I don't recall ever being part of the magic lexicon. Those three words were: The Pledge, The Turn, The Prestige. I love that, but those words seem a bit 19th century for todays world. I am leaning towards the word 'composition'.  It's definition: The action of putting things together; formation or construction.....
also:  A work of music, literature, or art..  BINGO!!! We present magical compositions. We could take other words from this area as well, a word like 'set' for example. Musicians use it to the describe their series of songs, thier set. Longer versions would be 'concert'. Of course, paired with magic, then you get magic set,,,,,,hmmmm?!  Perhaps, 'magical set'. 

Do mentalists use the word trick? No, they avoid it. Escape Artists too, avoid the word trick. Even illusionists refer to their next routine as their next illusion, or next piece of magic, etc.. But they rarely use the word 'trick'. 

The funny thing is, I don't really mind variations of the word, like trickster, or tricky. But the word trick itself, just bugs me. And maybe in the end, it's just me. Perhaps everyone else is fine with it. What do you think? Do you have an alternative you like? Please share, I'm quite curious to hear other opinions.