Magic at the cinema

Over the last few years there have been a number of magic themed films released in cinemas – The Prestige (2006), The Illusionist (2006) and Magicians (2007). There’s one I watched recently which some of you may not have seen as I think it received less press than the others – The Great Buck Howard (2008).

A comedy film loosley based on the career of mentaist The Amazing Kreskin it shows the ever failing attempts of a once famous performer to revive his career and regain the recognition he once had. Ricky Jay appears a couple of short times in the film but does not perform anything.  It’s great to see the desperation of Buck as he tries to go back to the way things were and it makes me think that in all likilhood some of stage magics past masters would have gone through the same feelings when magic on stage took a back seat to cinema.

Talk Show Magic…

Jamy Ian Swiss did a great job on the Craig Ferguson show recently. In fact it was his second appearance in a few months – and both shows were hits.

Anyway – I want to link to Michael Ammar’s performance on David Letterman from a few months ago instead. His performance went well also (although being a card guy I am always going to prefer Jamy Ian Swiss’s work). And the reason I am linking to his performance is because it allows me to include a video interview that Michael did just after the David Letterman show. It makes for a very interesting insight into what is involved in the planning and execution of a successful talk show appearance.

I recall as well that Jamy Ian Swiss had a very interesting article in a recent GENII as well discussing his performance on the Craig Ferguson show. Again – it is an interesting peek into an area most of us will never experience…

Jack Carpenter

Jack is a great guy. I don’t know him – but he seems like a really great guy when I see him on his DVDs. But – more importantly he is a genius when it comes to inventing card tricks. I mean seriously – the guy is nuts. He seems like one of those people who can invent 3/4 great card tricks a day. Insane levels of creativity. He has excellent sleight of hand skills as well – and a great voice! Sorry if that last compliment sounds gay. But I love his voice!

You should also know that he regularly posts video clips on YouTube under the name Snappyhands57. For me this is the best thing on YouTube. Often these videos are ideas that he is currently working on – as such it acts as a record of how creative he is. Anway – I want to link to one of my favourite clips. It was also featured on his latest DVD.

He currently has 60+ videos on his channel. So check em’ out…

PS I just found out he has a new book in the works from Stephen Minch. I can’t wait. In the meantime you guys should check out EXPERT’S PORTFOLIO. A really great book (it is in my personal top ten) and everyone I have heard talk about it agrees…

Not magic but…

…is this the world’s greatest anagram?

To be or not to be, that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune…

is, outrageously, an anagram of:

In one of the Bard’s best-thought-of tragedies, our insistent hero, Hamlet, queries on two fronts about how life turns rotten…

I always thought this piece of incidental trivia could be of use in a ‘mentalism’ type effect. Not sure how, but I can imagine Derren Brown making good use of it…

Practice – A Tip

What is the best way to practice? Well – I think I agree with something Steve Beam wrote in THE TRAPDOOR magazine.

Practice. Fast.

You see – it is only by performing a trick at a fast pace (in rehearsal) that the actions will be come automatic. And it is then you will be able to perform the trick without thinking. This is the approach you need in order that ‘muscle memory’ starts to kick in. Of course – this is just in order to master the ‘order of the sleights’ of an effect. Later rehearsals can be done at a slower (ie performance) speed in order to practice other aspects of the trick. But – it is important to aim for a state where you can perform the ‘method’ of an effect without any thinking. This is important since – when you throw in patter and the variables of a live audience – you need to be able to deal with the ‘method’ part of the trick with the ‘automatic/subconscious’ part of the mind…

And speaking of ‘fast’. I agree with Darwin Ortiz that too many amateurs perform at too slow a pace. Something else to watch out for…

Anway – I can’t find the Steve Beam article at the moment. So – apologies if I have screwed up an aspect of his thinking. I just wanted to throw this out so you guys can chew over the ‘gist’ of what Steve is saying…

Roy Walton Trick – Download

If you are looking to treat yourself to something nice (just in time for xmas) – you may want to check out a great Roy Walton trick which came out a year ago. It is in the DECEMBER 2009 issue of MYSTERY magazine and it can be purchased as a download for just £1 (which is about $1.50). It is a lovely little trick and I consider it to be one of his best…

Just click HERE.

Also – please use the COMMENTS box to let me know if any other Roy Walton tricks have appeared in MYSTERY magazine. On the website it isn’t possible to see what has appeared in previous issues.

Not Magic But…

…still very clever.

I came across this a few years ago and thought I’d mention it here. It is a method for carrying out surveys, where the question involved is an embarassing one (eg have you slept with a prostitue in the past month?). The procedure for ensuring anonymity is ingenious…

Click HERE.

[EDIT] – Here is another clever procedure. Click HERE.

Chris Mayhew

You should check out this download from THEORY11. It is a trick by Chris Mayhew called THE HOLE THING. I first came across it about a year ago in his A CLOCKWORK ORANGE booklet. It is the best thing I have seen in years – and I consider the method (as simple and as sneaky as it is) to be a new principle in card magic. You don’t come across them very often…

So – check out his booklet or buy the download. Click HERE to see what I am talking about.

More on magician foolers…

I have always had a soft spot for ‘magician foolers’. In the right circumstances they are just as valid as tricks aimed at laypeople. Anyway – reading IBIDEM the other day I came across a short article by Roy Walton which touches on this as well.

Thought it might be interesting to pass it along here…

CONJURERS, LAYMEN AND MIRRORS

“That’s a good trick for conjurers”

“It’s too complicated for a lay audience”

“That’s a good audience trick”

“I could never perform for conjurers”

The above four remarks are typical of those heard over and over again during one’s magical lifetime. There seems to be a distinct breakdown between tricks for conjurers and tricks for laymen. Some people would call these the bad tricks and the good tricks, and are of the opinion that the bad ones should be avoided at all costs.

Is there really any harm in “conjuring for conjurers,” and is it worthwhile?

What harm can there be in showing tricks that you think are more suitable for conjurers, to the audience for which they were designed. Surely, the only harm would be in inflicting these tricks on laymen who would not be able to appreciate them. As to whether it is worthwhile, the conjurers who show tricks to conjurers are normally amateurs whose purpose is not monetary gain, but enjoyment of their hobby.

Exactly the same reasoning can be applied to the normal, simple and direct tricks that are ideal for showing a lay audience but may be received with indifference by conjurers. To repeat myself, surely the only harm would be in inflicting these tricks on conjurers, who would not be able to appreciate them.

I realize there are many conjurers who are highly successful with both types of audience, Cardini and Channing Pollock come immediately to mind; but generally speaking, they are in the minority. There are also many conjurers who know the type of trick to show to fellow conjurers and the other type of trick to show to laymen; in the case of the stage acts of Cardini and Channing Pollock, the tricks are the same for both types of audience.

I believe that there is a place for all types of magic, the magic you only show laymen, the magic you only show to conjurers, the magic you show to the mirror, and even the magic that is so bad you will not even show it to the mirror.

The tricks that follow can be distributed into all four categories, but I would not be foolish enough to tell you into which one each falls, because my choice would probably be completely different from yours. There is a moral to be learned from this.