Tuesday, June 27, 2006

 

Moments of Magic and Memories

This week has been a lesson in working outdoors. To tell you that summer is here would be a under statement. Let's just say I am going to have to rethink my costume for entertaining outdoors here in Fresno. I did a great show for a very wonderful birthday child but towards the end I was a soaked towel. When making balloons for the kids it was like someone just kept pouring water on my head. So to all of you be careful and have lots of bottled water near by. Also if you can, make sure to arrange your show at a time of day that won't fry eggs in your dove pan. I might even start using a bottle to spray everyone with just as a cooling bit when its this hot.

As I begin tonights b
log it is with sad news to tell you of the passing of a gentle giant in magic Tommy Wonder. For years Tommy Wonder was what I would come to learn was a classic type of performer from Europe. His performances would teach the world of magicians what style was. If you ever got to see him perform his silent act you were given a gift of true movement and magic. Luckly his knowledge and performances have been saved on DVD as well as his great books "The Books of Wonder". So thank you Tommy for all of the magic and creative ideas you inspired in all of us.


Tony's Picks

Well just moments ago, Paul has sent out this email to all of you. And if you didn't get one then you better sign up as a member to get on our email sales list.

The 4th of July is only a few days away. To celebrate we want to start with a BANG!!! YOU HAVE 7 DAYS TO SAVE!

Starting the moment you receive this email and ending Wednesday, July 5th at midnight PDT, we're offering you our famous 25% Off And More Sale Event!

Wait -- there's more! For the first 75 orders placed, you're going to get a special free magic gift! Thats right...A free gift!

Hold On There's more! For the first 10 orders placed that total $100.00 or more were going to give you a free stainless steel Appearing Cane! That's a $60.00 value for FREE...WOW!

Wait -- there's still more! All orders placed will be automatically entered into a drawing to win one of three $500.00 Hocus Pocus Gift Certificates to spend any way they wish! YAHOO! So, the more orders you place, the greater chance you have of winning! The three Winners will be notified via email.

So don't miss out on the savings and Have a great 4th of July.

Dobson's Choice 3 TV Stuff

As one of England's hottest young talents in magic Wayne Dobson share his 3 collection from his TV series of magic. Over the year Wayne created and performed so much magic on TV only to rival as much as David Copperfield here in the states. On this DVD as well as the other 2 Wayne takes you back in time to show you his old shows, then tells you today what was going on behind the scenes. Very strange timing as I write tonight. This new DVD has a performance by Tommy Wonder. Plus Wayne's performance on her Majesty's Command Perfomance show.

Kennedy Power Reel

What has to be the most amazing and visual magic from the creative mind of John Kennedy, The Power Reel. Imagine being able to make silks and streamers fly around a room as if truly by magic. This amazing reel give you the power to pull in up to 100 feet of thread. So just watch that silk fly aross the room. Don't take my word, we have a video images to see this being done actually outdoors. See it on the website and get ready to be blown away!!

The Face

Those of you who like to entertain in the Bizarre way get ready for Borodin. Having created the Bizarre storytelling concept into an art form all over Europe. Borodin as well as writing to award winning books, Sheherazade, The Final Curtain now releases the effects that have made him a master of his craft. The Face begins as a tale of "I have seen that face before" and then journeys into a very errie final with the performer's face changing right before the audience. You get all the props and story to help your journey into the magical and bizarre world that is Borodin.

The Little Emperor and the Cricket

Again from Borodin this is a tale of ancient China which begins with the telling of a story involving a young emperor and one of his subjects...a small boy. The boy presents the emperor with a gift...a magical gift. It is a small carved ivory cage containing a cricket...but not just any cricket. This is a magical cricket which can speak. This routine is one which many performance styles can be applied. Comes with story, wonderfully crafted cricket holder and a very special gimmick. Storytellers and magicians alike will be charmed by this effect and so will you audience. This will be a very limited run so don't miss you chance to own one.

Original Koornwinder Kar

Back in a limited (very limited run) is the original Koornwinder Kar. This is the effect that Juan Tamariz considers one of his personal favorites. The effect is simple a spectator has a free choice of a card and it placed back in the deck. The deck is spread out and a cute little toy car carved from a block of wood is introduced. You the magi show the spectator how the car works and tells them to roll the car over the spread out deck. As he does the car comes to a stop, it really won't go any more. The card in which the car stopped on is the spectator's card. Simple but yet the most copied trick ever. This is the one and only Koornwinder Kar and we have just a few in stock.



Tony's Tips

So this week's tip has to jump around as my thoughts usually do. First as I started to say in the beginning do be careful this summer. Having lived in the desert for some 18 years (yes VEGAS is a dry heat) I have really not been aware of real heat fustration till moving to Fresno. Paul even recommend having a cooler in the car with Gatorade to cover the loss of minerals your body needs and loses during a show. Some sunscreen would not hurt either if your outdoors all day performing those company picnics.

Next idea happened two weekends ago. Make sure you have enough extension cords. I got to a gig outdoors and there was a outlet. Perfect! Only to find it was dead. So now to the van for the 100 foot cord to reach the nearest outlet. Always be prepared...Boy Scout training pays off. If you choose to use a sound system with batteries remember heat kill batteries fast so have plenty of backups.

Change of costumes and lots of deodorant is also a good idea on those hot days. Spray Fabreze is not a bad thing to have also to freshen up any clothes. Baby wipes or a ziplock bag with ice and a wash cloth to help keep cool.

Plenty of plastic bags in your case shows that you are a neat magician. After doing a show with mouthcoils, bananas, torn newspapers, etc. means your ready to clean your outdoor space up. If you can a small container of water to rinse off any possible messing props. So before packing them away in the heat only to find a smell or mold the next time you open your case.

Also having some babywipes is not a bad idea when working with kids at these outdoor events that may be covered in ice cream and watermelon and now want to help you on stage. Welcome them up and give them a quick wipe/ hand shake to help you in your show.

There are small fans that you can use (either with batteries or electric) set right next to you while performing. Heck if you really want to be a cool magician set a fan on stage or ground right behind you as you perform so that the audience gets a little breeze also. The audience will really love you then.

Some of these ideas may be common sense but we are magicians since when did we use common since. We choose magic over being a Doctor for a living....lol. Any other summer tips let me hear them.

Tony@hocus-pocus.com

Have a great summer, stay magical and cool

Tony Blanco




Tuesday, June 20, 2006

 


Celebrate Goodtimes

Good day friends! This is it 1 year of living in Fresno after leaving Las Vegas. It has been an amazing year! Much thanks to Paul, Betty and our great crew here at Hocus-Pocus and all of you. Words of praise from you my readers as well as my new friends the vendors that create the magic the we sell. I have had a magical year of meeting new friends that I honestly call my "new family" Thank you Bill A, Barry, Chris, Bill P, Bob K, Wolfgang, James, Losander & Luna, Lupe & Norm. These are some of the folks that help me make your magical performances a reality. Not to mention my new Fresno friends Mike, Dexter, Franco, Div & Ken, Jeremy, Lisa and many more. I do miss Las Vegas a bit but it is only a hour plane away. When I was lucky to be offered this job at Hocus Pocus the timing was perfect as one casino was taking over another, so a new chapter in my life was to begin that I really needed. Thank you all.

Tony's Picks

Well to start off this weeks picks, Paul has given me the power to give 10% to all of you who read each week for items that I recommend this week. That means even items that may be usually non-discounted. If you want one of these items mention this blog if you call in your order or if you order on-line mention it in the comment part of the order form. This is until Friday June 23 and does not apply to any current sale.

Those of you in the California area we are talking about holding magic classes. I will the one teaching and it will be a 2 nights a week event for a month. Cost will only be only $100 and supplies will be provide i.e. silks, cards, rope etc. Start to let me know if you would be interested in attending. Please email me at Tony@Hocus-Pocus.com

Bowling Pin Production by Michael Mode

The creative guy behind the Napkin Rose fame. This is the first of Hot new items that Paul has said "You recommended it, give our loyal shoppers 10% off if they mention your blog! I have recommended it a few blogs ago and think its a great hot item. Michael even includes a few paper rose samples in each Bowling Pin package. So this make it a even greater special for you.

New and Improved Stranded Book Test

Those of you who have heard of this amazing book test will be happy to know that it is actually coming back after a quick sell out New and Improved. Many have found a few new ideas and they have been added to this soon to be classic effect. Many have compared this to the Mother of All Book test. This is the finest book test on the market. There are many ways to tell you about it but first lets point out the yur can do this effect in 3 ways. Next no gaffs, hand it to the spectator, no cueing. Much more ideas so read the full write up on the website.

Emergency Cash

Steve Shufton (maker of the Floating Match ) has created a visual piece of magic that you must have. We are asked once someone knows that we are magicians to do something. So imagine borrowing a bill from a spectator after its been signed and folded and paper clipped. Then it vanishes right before their eyes only to appear not in one envelope but in a nest of five. Now this effect is great for walkarounds and resets fast without the use of a regular slide. Steve has worked out all the details to make you look like a hip street magic kind'da guy.

Colorful Rabbits

Is a kidshow delight for those of you workers. This prop is made so wonderfully made in both metal and wood & painted with black laquer . Image a cute top Hat that flips open and is shown empty. Then reach inside a produce a rabbit on a metal (painted black) in one color. Then show that same hat empty and produce 6 more rabbits, 7 in all. The the stand that holds the rabbits can be turned arounded to say a message, Like the birthday child's name or your name. This effect is so cool that it can be done as a running gag during your show. A creative performer can really get some mileage out of this effect.

Tossed Out Book

We at Hocus Pocus are always on the look out for the best new items. Vendors send us stuff in hopes of making a sale. We got a sample of this Tossed Out Book from Tri-City magic and put it on the web. An hour later we sold at least 10 of them. So that says you guys really know whats hot!! Based on a book test yet with ideas of a tossed out deck. Imagine one book and being able to have it tossed out to up to 10 spectators and being able to tell them what they are reading about. Clever in its ideas and workings.

Da Vinci Zone Book Test

Your going to have a hard time tonight choosing from all of the Book Test I have recommended. So lets make your choice even harder. From an idea of the master of mentalism Max Maven comes this ungimmicked book The Da Vinci Code made for book test performances. Yes I did say ungimmicked! The current trend of the book and the movie makes this book test right in style for the working pro. The gaff on this will blow your mind away. And I bet when the movie and book fame fade away you could use this gimmicks concept on another popular book if your clever enough. This comes with the real book by Dan Brown and a copy of Max Maven's "Exploring the Zone" and the real clever gimmick. So how can you go wrong with that.

Here is a sneak peak into something not yet on the HP website. In keeping up with the summer movies, look this week for a hot new item with a theme to the new summer hit Superman. A great effect for the family entertainer. This item is in stock now and yes it gets the same 10% off if you mention this blog when order. More details on the website this week

Tony's Tip

So much comes to mind each week to share with all of you. Be it for the working pro or the weekend performer. I honestly say that I travel in many circles of the performing spectrum. I can be on stage or be at a table for 4 people. You must think of yourself like a old doctor that covers all the patients needs. When you pick one type of performing I have always felt you miss out on the other fields. I have spent many hours on learning how to do magic as well as juggle, unicycle, eat fire, build my props, sew, and much more. My tip concept tonight is just that learn as much of the fields of entertainment that you can. When living in Las Vegas it amazed me how many folks were able to be what ever the gig called for.

Many musicians I knew ended up becoming entertainment directors because of the years of booking themselves. They knew the way of contacts, staging, and arranging a event. Being in this career you have choosen, stop and look at all the other ways you can produce a event and make money. Many of todays top magicians have careers as speakers that motivate a room full of sales people. Many magicians I know are called on as party arrangers. Providing everthing from the photographers, the food, the flowers. In this way you get to be the director of the event and still work as a magician. To be able to be a full service person when someone is booking a event means extra cash and return bookings even if you never do one card trick all night. You may find that you might even make more money hiring all the folks and just playing a host.

So Celebrate each event and offer as much as you can to your clients. Believe it or not some folks may not like magicians, but if you can make their event magical then you are a real magician. Find and contact your local florist, wedding photograpers, video companies, to get your name out there and promise them the same in return for their services. Commissions are a good inspiration are both parts. "You recommend me and I will give you a % of wht I book the show for and vice a vice. This way your name is getting out there with out you doing the selling. Never leave a stone unturned when working a event give your card to the cook, the waitresses, the bartender for these are the folks working each special event.

Thanks for reading each week and don't miss out on that 10% offer on my Picks this week from Paul

Let me hear from all of you. My offer still stands to make anyone that asks for a guest tippster blog spot.

Be Magical and Happy,

Tony Blanco


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

 

Here Today, Gone tomorrow

Well Hi! Hopefully tonight I can finish what I started last night. Due to a revision in our system I couldnt get photos to finish my Tony's Picks. Lets try again.

So each week I choose a title of something to relate both my opening and then lead into Tony's Tips. So it is now a year away from Las Vegas, Here Today, gone tomorrow. This was what I had seen for 18 years of watching the scene and the city change. Change is always good, but some stable things that ground you are important. I can never stress how important is to be able to be flexable both in your performing and your life. As time goes on you have a act or routine to follow. If it grows and you know it well then you can create from it. If you just do the same tricks, jokes and the world around you changes you become a classic or maybe a old joke.

This amongst many reasons you should always explore new ideas in magic, music, fashion, TV & Movies. The world is your magical playground but it is also set with trends. Make sure whatever type of act you do you have a equal balance of who you are and what is currently in fashion. Remember to look hip but not square. Do the stuff that is you and you will be remember today and tommorrow.



Tony's Picks
Let me take a moment my friends to point out that after some tech problems the RoyBenson Book is in stock. I have read it, own it (which I payed for it) and will tell you that this its the most honest tribute to a perfomer I have ever read!!!
My New York friend Levent has paid more then a homage to a performer...it is a tribute and a well researched book. No matter what we a asking for it sale or not this is a book for your collection of wisdom and knowledge must have!!! I am proud to own a copy of this book and you should think the same and get one!!!





Parasols Any Where

My goodnees, can we just give your act a lift or make you look like a magical performer for the lowest price ever. From Japan comes the magic of Joker Lam and a act he has worked on so long and is tipping for all of us. I want to do this after seeing the on line video. I spend a day listerning to folks asking for "Hot New Magic", well it does not get more impressive then this. Watch the video my friends. You get a bunch of Parasols in different colors that just magical appear. There is a DVD by the same performer on the website (sold on its own) but none the less its a kicker of a routine so don't miss out one this low price knowledge and wisdom to make you a star.

Steve Dacri No Filler

He is a guy I grew up with in the world of close-up magic and have admired for along time. A working Pro who has done everything and worked everywhere around the world. Now Steve is tipping the stuff that has made him a living legend in the world of close-up magic for well over 30 years in the biz. In this 3 DVD set he shares ideas that contain ideas for the card, coin and close-up stars you want to be. Steve has made a life style from the hills of Hollywood to the Strip of Las Vegas and now tips his best to you so don't miss this working pro's best magical creations.

JOL Jerry O'Connell Leather

Hocus Pocus is proud to present some of the finest leather wallets for all your magical needs. Designed by Jerry O'Connell who truly has crafted leather to help your create classy looking magic. From Himber style wallets, to card cases, coin cases, hip wallets, packet trick holders and much more. Those of you who love to perform card in wallet type effects can choose from so many different style in this line. Then to just have the look of a working pro carry those decks of cards in a fine leather case. If your coins are worth their weight in silver and gold carry them in that fashionable leather case look. Just type JOL in the product search and see all of the marvlous items Mr. O'Connell has designed and crafted for you stylish magi's.

Silver Stainless Steel Appearing Cane

In his search to bring you great magic at great prices, Paul has found this. A Silver Stainless Steel Appearing Cane. The price (something I never put in the blog) $29.95, I haven't seen a cane at this price since I started out in 1975. It's a well made and easy to use Appearing Cane. This is a forsure Here today, Gone tomorow product. We have only so many, so if you need a cane ever now is the time to buy one or two for tomorrow. Stock up fast


Tony's Tip

Let me start with the reason for the title of this weeks blog. We all have things we enjoy but if never shared they can be gone tomorrow. A few weeks ago when I disappeared and didn't write a blogone night, well here is why. I came home one Tuesday night ready to have dinner and write the blog only to find my home was broken into windows were damaged and some loose change and pocket watches and a camera were taken. Much more could have been, so far everthing else has been fine. I had to get a alarm system in my home and now feel closer to my "Stuff" (as George Carlin would say a place for my stuff). Years of collecting magic books and tricks, computers and much more could have been gone and never have had a chance to be seen again.

So a little wiser in the knowledge of safety and security let me share these tips. If you home has sliding windows get a lock bar or just cut a dowel and widge it in as a lock.

Alarm systems are not as expensive as you might think. Full motion detectors, a horn alarm, and window hookups as well as a kicker of a LED panel which rules the home are a must.

Having the real goodies like money or watches, rings or credit cards in a lock box well hidden or a small heavy safe are also a good idea. Tagging or making a master book of your items serial numbers helps any law enforcement group find your stuff as most are in contact daily with Pawn Shops to catch the robbers.

As I said I was a bit lucky but dam frighten for it could have all been gone tomorrow so think of your family's safety, your career stuff and your treasures. Thanks for letting me share this with you. Now my next rant......

Each week I point out two things, this blog I do from my heart and two I have been honored to learn from many others. Which means I want to share with you with the hopes and ideas you will share with me and all of us wh read each week. Your knowledge and wisdom you have learned with others could easily be here today and gone tommorrow. Remember this way we are all a special group of folks. So to share will not mean someone will steal your gig. We are a family of folks doing the same thing MAGIC! To entertain, to make others feel better, so as I write now for a year, I wish to hear from those of you who read my blog. You read but yet I don't know who reads and I count you as my family and wish you to share ideas. I do each blog with hopes that you will help us all. In honest, I could stop doing this, but have hopes of a magical friendship like those of you who join clubs like the IBM or SAM. This is our space without paying a membership. All creative ideas are welcome and I will honor you with your own "Guest Blog Spot" picture and all. So you can email me at Tony@hocus-pocus.com and be part of our family of readers. So many have called and said you enjoy my blog but now its time to share your tips or picks also. Soap box done .....Please share and show your love of what we do.

Thanks for reading

Best Magical Ideas and hopes,

Tony Blanco


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

 


Wiser From Each Gig You Do

It is now one year since I made the move from Las Vegas to Fresno. I want to say thanks to all you, our Hocus-Pocus family for making me feel welcomed. Sure it sounds easy to type about but I can't begin to say how much has happen in one year. I am as the title say getting "wiser" ( I hope) each day from this change of life.
Point in case, a private Birthday gig the other Saturday. It was a bit of a drive to a town 40 minutes out of Fresno to what I had a feeling was a Posh gated community. I get there and start unloading, met the birthday child, and started setting up the show. I had a feeling he was going to be a great kid to entertain. Twenty minutes before the guest arrive, Dad comes in carry a brand new Black Labadour puppy for the birthday boy. Now I begin to realize what W.C. Fields would say about working with kids and animals. All his attention was on the new dog! Magic Show, yea, ok if I have to have one. Was now. the general feeling from him and the kids as they arrived. Oh great! So once they were all there I started music and magic and all. It was a tough struggle between his getting his attention vs. lets all play with the puppy. It all worked in the end but I really had to work hard to keep him focused.
So there is a new rule to add to the "Lists of Don'ts" for the parents to make my show go smooth. Save all the gifts till after the show....new puppies included.


Tony's Picks

One of the forth runners of saving magician's performances has been Greater Magic Videos (now DVD's) but now from England comes a series of DVD's of lectures filmed of some of the Greats of magic from International Magic. Now the likes of David Williamson, Albert Goshman, Jaun Tamariz, and Darren Brown are on DVD and Hocus Pocus has them. Many more I expect to appear in the future. So for those who have ever wanted to be as funny as David, Clever as Albert, or mystic as Darren, this group of DVD's are for you. What I have is a knowledge of things from European places here in the States we miss out on. I love stuff from across the pond as they say. So see some of the best share there best in England that now we can see in USA and around the world. Thank you McMillian family for saving these great talents on video. So check out the entire series that has that Blue and white look on our site.



Black Widow


As part of the Paul Harris presents for the street magic series of a water type guy comes Black Widow. This has to be the most interesting "Holdout" type gimmick around. Having spoken to Paul personal the other day he says the magic family will be impress with what you can do with this lovely lady called "Black Widow". So in about two weeks we will have them ready to ship for all of your magical performances.



Black Hole


There was a line in the movie Yellow Submarine that "I have hole in me pocket". Well with the Black Hole ever spot you choose is a hole in this deck. I t is very simple yet very amazing of all the moves you can do with very special dot and a pencil. As the old ad woud say Amaze your friends and family. This the Black hole does that and much more. If you in to visual magic of the street magic type this one is just for you.



Stars and Hexes

Tattoos and tattoo art are in fashion lately so why not a magic effect with them. Here is the concept of the effect. Draw a star on your arm, have a spectator cover the star, snap of the finger and it is gone. Then it appear on your other arm, then agin it disappears and appears on their arm. How cool is that ! You can do this bounce star effect on all the folks watching. Grap their arm and it leaves one and appears on an other. This effect crosses all veins (no bun sorry) of magic kid show to bizzare magic. So check out Reed McClintock's pet effect that he is tipping. It is a effect spectators will remember you by.



DMSB

One of the greatest signs of a true magic artist is a performance of Billiard Balls. Most of the times these were made from wood, well now check out these made out of Silicone. So smooth and have a more of a grip when using them. Since they are silicone and white they will read well from the stage against those black back drops every magician uses. This super set of balls comes with two gimmicks (shells) and DVD teaching you fantastic moves from beginning to advance. Great price and a prop that will last a life time.

Tony's Tip

Each week I do my best to share ideas from what I keep learning. Never stop learning is one thing I must always inspire you to remember. A friend of mine back in NY who was a puppeteer would book a show and then send out a contract along with a little letter. This letter or what I like to call "reading the riot act". Most of her shows were in homes, so there were "rules" that she would set up so the show ran smooth. Like the puppy thing I just wrote about her list included things like no food is to be served during the show for the kids. A space for the show should be ready so its not a last minute thing to move furniture around. Many things like this are written into contracts but having a worksheet for the sponser to go by is actually a better idea.

In showbiz terms this might be called a "Rider". Usually this would be the type of things that when a rock star comes to town and only wants green M & M's in the dressing room. Well this worksheet shouldn't be that silly, just point out your needs that will make the show run well. If you need a electrical outlet put that in, a extra table put that in, someone to help unload your car put that in. To make you look like a pro lay out all of the things you wil need before the show. The sponser of the event will have to many things on their mind that day. If you come in with more problems this will not sit well for a repeat booking. Getting it in writing ahead of the performance and even sending two copies for one they sign and send back with the contract will cover your needs.

When writing this agreement keep using the term "this will help your performance run smooth and give you the sponser your dollars worth". This will inspire them to get things right since everyone wants to get what they pay for in full. So create your own Reading the Riot act sheet and watch your shows go smoother.

Thanks for reading each week

Best Magic Wishes

Tony Blanco








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