Bonus Content for the January Issue...
Sixteen products are reviewed this month by Peter Duffie, Gabe Fajuri, Jared Kopf, Francis Menotti, Peter Pitchford, John Wilson: Cube FX
by Karl Hein and John George An Essay On Magic
by Robert E. Neale Pen or Pencil
by Mickael Chatelain Selenium Shift
by Chris Severson Rock, Paper, Lies
by Jay Di Biase Oh Snap!
by Jibrizy Taylor Labyrinth: A Journal of Close-up Magic
by Stephen Hobbs Shadows in the Moonlight
by T. Page Wright Blaze
by Tony & Jordan (Les French Twins) Flight
by Michael Afshin Paragon 3-D
by Jon Allen Big Four Poker
by Tom Dobrowolski Subterranean Deceptions
by Mike Pisciotta Cupid
by SansMinds Quick Change Secrets
by The World Record Holders Another World
by Rob Zabrecky
First Look: Kids Show Masterplan
Former elementary school teacher Danny Orleans is a performer, author, and lecturer on the art of performing magic for children. In Kids Show Masterplan, he discusses the necessary building blocks for creating your own successful kids magic show. In these excerpts, Danny discusses "The Magical Age of Eight," the importance of "schmooze time" after a show, and "The Most Important Schmooze of My Career."
First Look: Hands Off My Notes
A resident of Southern California, John Guastaferro is a performer, lecturer, author, and creator of magic. John says, "My goal with Hands Off My Notes was to put the power of the magic in the participants' hands - letting them play a key role in both the process and the outcome. It has been a stimulating journey of weaving original ideas and old principles, all in the name of creating magic that your audience can see and feel." In this effect, two participants thoroughly cut and shuffle the deck and, together, they find the four Aces.
Making Magic: The Wall
The title "Making Magic" says it all. This column will be all about making magic - starting with how to actually make the apparatus, and followed by an explanation of how the props are used in performance to really make magic. This and most future projects are meant for parlor shows and are designed to play to groups of fifty or more. In this first effect, "packs flat plays big" takes front row center with my stage-size version of a brilliant topological effect created by Robert Neale. A volunteer from the audience gets to "Walk Through a Wall," emulating the Houdini mystery. The nice thing about this presentation is that you don't need a bricklayer, just a simple homemade prop.
Loving Mentalism: Color Connection
This month, we focus on colors. A spectator stands in front of four pieces of folded, colored card. He chooses one, looks at it, and then places it back among the others. You can now read his mind and tell him which color he selected. There's no force, you never need to be anywhere near the spectator, and you never need to see anything - you could do this blindfolded or even over the phone! What's more, there's no technology involved. If you can get hold of a few pieces of colored card, you can make the simple props required. A beautiful, colorful mystery!
Bent on Deception: Magic Under the Influence
We are all the product of everyone we have met in our lives, and in comedy it's no different. Our "comedy universe" has been shaped by every comedian, comedy show, movie, book, and theatrical event we have experienced. Your influences can never fully leave you, and that's a good thing. The lessons learned from watching your heroes last a lifetime - lessons about timing, character development, audience interaction, act construction, stage presence, and more. Their examples make you a better performer. You also learn to develop your standards, the ethical compass that can guide your whole career. This becomes your own personal set of rules about what it means to be original, how you present yourself, how you treat an audience, how you work with rather than against other performers.
The Monk's Way: Wilder Pocket Interchange
It's time to turn two toys into two tools. Say that five times fast as you dig out last month's issue of MAGIC Magazine and refresh your memory of the techniques described there. They'll play a critical part in the following routine. In this effect, the four Twos and Queens are shown. The Queens are placed together into one pocket, and the Twos are retained. The Twos then sequentially change into the Queens. A pair of Twos is then removed from the right and left side pockets and added to the Queens. The Queens are caused to vanish and appear in four separate pockets.
Classic Correspondence: Dick Ricton to Gerald Heaney
Some years ago, I ran a letter that was written to the Heaney Magic Company by a disgruntled customer. With the publication of this letter, another blistering hatchet job, I could be accused of piling on poor old Mr. Heaney, but I just can't help myself. We've all excitedly torn open a package from a magic dealer, with visions of ourselves decked out in white tie and tails with a beautiful assistant by our side, only to have our dream dashed when a painted soup can and plastic drinking glass drop into our lap. "Twelve dollars for this?! I could have pulled this junk out of my trashcan!" One hundred years ago, a disgruntled customer had only one weapon with which to wage battle: the post office. And so, Dick Ricton sat down at his typewriter and hammered out a threatening letter of protest to Gerald Heaney.
For What It's Worth: I Love It When You Say Google
Magicians are aware of the power contained in "culturally relevant references." We all know how an audience spontaneously responds to a casual remark about Facebook or Kanye. It triggers fresh associations and speaks to a common denominator. It puts the pop in pop culture. These "association laughs" are easy because they emerge from a deep desire to be a part of the communal experience. This laugh is a disguised primal grunt acknowledging membership in the knowing crowd. Grunt laughs are easy to get, and they provide you with easy Performer Bonus Points.
Walkabout Soup: The Institute of Layman Studies Part 3 - The Thoughtful Recap
The point the Institute of Layman Studies (comedic title, but serious concept) is to create better magic performances by finding out how your audiences are experiencing your magic. Not just how they seem to be experiencing it or how you hope they're experiencing it, but how they are actually experiencing it. This month's technique works for any routine, and it's the one I use most frequently of all the tools in the ILS arsenal. The concept is simple: all you're doing is asking someone to tell you what they were thinking during the routine, but asking them to tell you in a much deeper and more detailed manner than you would normally expect.
Your Stories: Making Real Connections
Every summer, Toronto, Ontario, is home to Buskerfest, the largest street performers' festival on the planet. Talented street acts flock from around the globe so they might share their gift with enthusiastic audiences. On the afternoon we went, one performance stood out. I've never seen anything like it before and it's one of those instances when it makes you reflect on your own life. During Andrew Eland's performance, something terrible happened. Not bad like finding the wrong card, but honestly terrible and gut-wrenching in the kind of way that sends shivers down your spine. As a performer, I never want to face this. Ever. I watched it happen to Andrew.