Tuesday, July 25, 2006

 


The Heat Is On

Well readers if it is not where you are, then your lucky. Fresno as well as the State of California is seeing record breaking temps. We have actually had blackouts during the days here. I am not used to that having lived in Las Vegas where each Casino has plenty of backup for such a emergency. Last Friday, doing shows for some great kids indoors, you could still feel the heat right in the building. Temps have been like in the 113's. Glad I made that list of things to have for the summer. Hope you got to check out Paul's Blog and the article done on Hocus Pocus in The Fresno Bee. If you didn't click on his Blog do so before this Friday's new one. My magic classes are starting soon so if you in the Fresno area sign up now. Dates are Aug 17-Sept 7th for the Adults and Aug 19-Sept 9 for the Kids. Call at the shop and ask for me if you wish to sign up.

Tony's Picks

So many hot new items have come in so be sure to always check out the first page of the website. Each week I pick 5 items that I would use or would like to own.

That Bottle Production

From Kozak the creator of the Superior Salt Pour comes "That Bottle Production. Koz (as he is called by friends) has been producing a full bottle of beverage from 3 empty silks in his show for over 25 years. Koz has worked out this no body load production to perfection. The production he is doing is not the old effect "This". Koz's production is all his, new and different from anything on the market. Remember that anytime during a show grab 3 large different color silks, show each empty and produce your favorite bottle of choice. Includes the special made silks and a DVD that shares those 25 years of a working pro.


Rubber Band Magic

Now over the years so many videos and DVD's have come out about Rubber Band tricks. I personally have never gotten any as there were to many to choose from. Here now comes Greg Moreland's Rubber Band Magic, possibly the one and only DVD you may ever need on the subject. Greg shares his wisdom on the subject featuring 22 amazing effects. Greg is one perform that can also teach very well, so that watching and learning each effect will be a pleasure. Watch live performacnes and then get up close with Greg to learn his Rubber Band Magic.


Rocky Mountain Magic

The "Godfather" of Bar Magic is Doc Eason. Having spent over 27 years (at one gig) at The Tower Bar in Snowmass, Colorado. Doc has entertained 100's of 1000's of folks. His bar magic performances are that of legend. This was first a video and now DVD of one such night at the Tower in 1990. Since then (and I recommend you get this too) Doc produced the only true set of DVD's on Bar Magic from L&L. This DVD is a performance only DVD, but none the less a life lesson in watching a real pro work the room. So thinking about working the Bars and restaurants then get this DVD to see the best in action. If you like what you see then also get Doc's Bar Magic DVD set which does tell how to perform his great routines.


Bazar De Magia Locking Spirit Slates

Ok all you Psychic performers check this one out. Made from the finest woods, measuring 6 1/2 by 8 1/2 inches large enough for any venue. Bazar De Magia now produces (might be for limited time) these fine locking slates.
The flap will fit on any of the 4 sides. These slates can be handed out. The magician has two chalkboard slates, blank on both sides. Placing a small piece of chalk between the wooden slates, he rubber bands them together. When you the magi open them up, the name of a selected card, name of a loved one or any prediction message is written in chalk.


A Girls Night Out

This is a effect I have carried in my bag of tricks for well over 20 years. Simple in concept and handling, yet always leaves them with laughter and jaws a dropping. Show 5 Bikini clad ladies (laminated cards about 3x5) asking the spectator "How would you choose from all these lovely ladies"? Well the magi shows his special way of choosing and gets a real cutie. Then its the spectators turn to do the same thing the Magi has done. When he turns it over he gets an "Old Hag" picture.
Now here is my first tip of the night. Buy this effect, learn the moves and you have so many more routines from it. I personally have created other versions using Movie Stars photos and a business card laminator. So for the ladies I have hunky stars and then the punch line is a picture of Pee Wee Herman. For the guys sexy movie stars and then the punch line a picture of Roseanne or Joan Rivers. You can get the stars photo's from Google and then click images and make up sets for your own use. I have created so many versions from this one great effect "Girls Night Out".

Tony's Tips

Hope you will look into re-thinking some of the packet tricks that you have, like I did for Girls Night Out for stage use. With the use of Goggle or Ask Jeeves you can get images that will make a standard trick personally your own. This is part of the creative process in performing. Many of the ideas from my shows start out from the regular look of a magic trick you can buy, then I go the extra mile to make it mine. Many different magicians are always saying this to young magicians and after 30 years it finally sunk in for me.

Sometimes jumbo cards are not always jumbo enough. So using a jumbo card and your favorite copy machine of choice, you can make really jumbo cards. I do this when making a stage version of The Princess Card trick from the Jim Steinmeyer's book the magic of Alan Waking.

Another favorite prop is the Devil's Hank, but most are made in a thick canvas. I have gone the extra mile and gotten a silky rayon fabric and made my own. This way when I vanish a banana or other objects and spin that silk that object has vanished.

Since I am doing so many shows lately clean up is important. So I carry alot of plastic bags from the supermarket. When the show is over bananas, apples, torn up newpapers and othe waste get thrown in one bag. Getting rid of it nicely twisted close so no one sees where the banana really goes.

Caring plenty of backup tricks, extra rope, extra hat tears is one way to be ready when loading your van up at 5 AM with out having to think do I have everthing I need. So many magicians (famous ones too) forget to keep stock on hand for those last minute or everyday perfomances. So stock up and plan ahead. Heck we have alot of sales at Hocus Pocus, this should be the time to buy 4 packs of mouthcoils or 4 packs of hat tears or bundles of rope and flash paper. Think of the stuff you use the most a stock up. As I tell my kids in my shows, all the time the Boy Scouts say "Be Prepared", well so should a working Pro!

Well a few common sense tips and a great idea for future routines hope you will learn from one of them if not all of them.
Again I offer any of you to be a guest on my blog and share your tips. It will be you way of saying Hey I am a working pro too! Let me know and write me at Tony@Hocus-Pocus.com


Best Magical and stay cool wishes

Tony Blanco






Wednesday, July 19, 2006

 

The Magical Hazy Days of Summer

Ok is it Hot enough yet! Lots of heat and believe it or lots of fun. I have been lucky this summer to be performing at a series of Day Care centers. I tell you the kids have been super nice, and manners too! It does help that they are in a school type area also. This seems to be I think the best way to entertain kids. They seem to understand that there are rules to follow when in a school situation. So during the show I mention I have something for everyone to take home, 12 Magic Trick booklets. Hey image getting paid to entertain about 100 kids that could possibly be more private shows, so why not give them a little gift with booking information. Three more Fridays to go, thats 2 shows a day with some of the nicest kids I have met in a long time. Oh I did mention that but its worth repeating.
This past Sunday the local paper did a amazing story on Hocus-Pocus. Paul and your humble magi. I was luckly to get a full color photo of myself and my rabbit"Benny" on the cover of the Life section. I know that this week (Friday) this is going to be Paul's Blog so don't miss it.

By the way space is closing fast on my magic classes if you in the Central Valley area. Starting Thur Aug. 17-Sept. 7 will be the Adult program 7-9 PM and Sat. Aug. 19-Sept. 9 for the kids (ages 8-16). Call now to get your place in the program. Props, lessons all for the price of $100.00 for the four weeks.


Tony's Picks

Diamond Twist
From my friend Alan Wong, the creator of Wonder Pet come his newest idea Diamond Twist. Here is a little twist on the old Ace trick. Sorry about the Twisting the Aces pun. Anyway what appears to be a twisting the ace routine with each ace turning face up. Then only one ace hasn't turned face up. When the spectator is asked which one has not turned up, they answer the diamond. At that point a large crystal diamond appears in they hands and when turned over the Diamond Pip is missing from the Ace. Alan is a clever guy, this effect is right to the point of entertainment and surprise .


Nicholas Einhorn's In-Flight

This is one of the most coolest self leveatation effects that one could own. Nicholas has created an effect that be performed anywhere and even surrounded. A couple years ago Paul Daniels performed this at the Midnight Cabaret at a Las Vegas magic convention and blew the room away. Image a cardboard box with holes in it and a hoop of fabric. Step into the box and pull the hoop up. As you do you begein to float. The audience can see right thru the box and see your feet ar gone. Float up and down a bit, come down, drop the cloth and fold the box up to walk away. Plays for cruises, cabarets, even kidshows. Did I mention this is a self contained effect. No wires or helpers needed. We are lucky at Hocus Pocus has been choosen to offer for a limited time this great effect. So once this short run of In-Flight is gone, we never know if Nicholas will make another batch. There is a on line video to watch.


Long Distance Card Trick

From the comedy mind of Chris Mitchell comes Long Distance Card Trick. Todays audiences need to be entertained as well as fooled and Chris is a master of both. Imagine a deck of Card rubber banded, put in a bucket at the end of a 4 foot pole. Then the pole extends to 15 feet over the audience. Four Spectators each peek at a card and then in a without looking at the cards, you name each one. This is done in a very comic way as only can be routined by Chris. All the props and Chris's own personal act. Paul told us he had seen Chris do this act and steal the show with how funny it was.


Professional Pickpocket Book

Ricki Dunn was know as the Funniest Pickpockt. He spent 50 years performing at every major nightclub and major city. From NY to Miami to Las Vegas, Ricki perfected a 20 minute act that made him a legend. Now his treasured secrets are shared in this 208 page hardcovered book, covering all the classic effects that make a Pickpocket act a rare thing to see. Watches, belts, Shirts, Wallets it's all here to learn from one of the masters. Included with the book is a DVD of the act the made Ricki famous. A must have collectors type book.


Fantasio Lecture at the Magic Castle DVD Volumes 1-3

The name Fantasio is linked to style, class, and most of all magic. Senior Fantasio has created sooo many wonderful magic props that today are still a mainstay in every magicians act. Who has not ever vanished a candle or made a cane appear? Well now in this 3 DVD set, the master of smooth moves shares his creations at the legendary Magic Castle. Everything is shared from his years of touring around the world. Magic with Candles. Canes, Silks, Lighters, Ropes all performed in that musical magic style that is Fantasio.


Tony's Tips

What's real and what's Illusion? These are the opening lines from Doug Henning performing the Anderson Paper Tear. Over the years I always ask myself that and have learn something by doing this. When I see something new (as we all do) I see the first impression of the magic. Once thats over we all have that bad habit of mentally tearing it apart to figure it out. Once we learn how its done the magic is over, right? No the real magic begins now for your to learn the effect and recreate that magic feeling your got when you were first amzed or fooled.

Today with the lastest "Street Magic" group of folks performing its about fooling and not always entertaining audiences. From the camera interviews after that "unrehearsed on the street on the spot effect is done" the spectator talks about being blown away. A lasting memory for sure, but really were they entertained? For this generation of spectators that just might be entertainment. As long as that Magi remembers one thing "Always Make it Magical".

Recently getting to see childrens eyes light up again for me is magical. In Las Vegas, folks see so much that is all a blur after awhile. That's why my tip is about rehearsing and creating. In buying some magic read the instructions, watch the DVD examine the prop. Then in a space away from the phone and other noises, its time to play. Put music on and work with the prop in ways that perhaps the trick wasn't ment to be used for. Find out every version of the prop or trick you wish to use. This is the way so many big time pros come up with new and one of a kind versions of a act. My favorite example is the Illusion Origami. To see how Greg Frewin took this Illusion even further the it was first designed to be performed by also turning it into a broken and restored mirror effect "blew me away". There was a reason to have the mirror on stage now and now instead of swords in the box, pieces of broken mirror were used. Then the mirror get restored. To bangs for the buck.

Make this time to challenge yourself to come up with newer versions of classic effects. Folks like Kevin James, Christopher Hart, Mike Micheals are on the cutting edge of magic for just that reason. Studing the classics and then rehearsing the old and turningit into something new and different.

Set your time (I know its hard to do) to really research, redo, and refine your show so that it will be entertining and create a lasting memory. This is how all the pro's finally choose which version of a signed card in wallet they do or in Jeff Hobson's case a signed card in mouth!

So what is real and what is Illusion? The amount of time you collect knowledge and wisdom. The amount of time you put into rehearsing. In this case when your on stage it will feel real and natural. In this way the Illusion will be perfect for the spectators. So Practice, Practice, Practice. Famous old joke, "How Do you get to Broadway? Practice my boy, Practice"

Hope I help you each week, any ideas you wish to share feel free to write me at

Tony@Hocus-Pocus.com

Making life as magical as I can

Your friend,

Tony




Tuesday, July 11, 2006

 

The Summer Magic Has Begun

Hey gang! I hope that your Holiday weekend (4th of July) was a good one. Thanks to Mike Guisti I got to perform his normal gig. Mike passed his gig to me this year at the Copper River Country Club. It was a site to see, rolling golf course green with hundreds of folks having an old fashion picnic waiting for the fireworks. At 7:15 that night I performed my show infront of at least 500 kids and parents. Greatest show in a long time! I even did a Chair Suspension almost in the round. Blew everyones mind. Hopefully next week I will have pictures to share. Then the Friday afterwards started a month of Fridays visiting day care centers in the Central Valley. Nice treat to work for so many nice kids. Reason #56 why I left Las Vegas....lol. Here's hoping your summer shows are just as much fun and rewarding. This coming weekend's newpaper here in Fresno, The Fresno Bee will be doing a story on Hocus Pocus, Paul and yours truly. This article is also about the magic classes that I will begin teaching at Hocus Pocus. If your in the central valley area and wish to be a part of the classes, call me at 1-800-407-4040.

Tony's Picks

Before I give this weeks Tony's Picks let me let you know of a great clearence sale we have going on. Magic tricks, DVD's, Books, that are on sale until Friday July 14 Midnight. To see the list click the banner on the opening page of our website. Items are going fast. First come first serve, some one of a kinds or just extra stock. Save now!!

Roaming Phone

From one of our newest magical inventors Jay Mattioli comes Roaming Phone. What is more common now a days then a cell phone. In real world magic you use everything to creat magic on the spot. So as usual a phone rings at the wrong time. Then imagine using your own cell phone in a asrah style levatation. Then like a asrah, vanish the phone. Clever idea and one of our finds for all of you. There is a video clip to see of this great new effect.



Cash On Call

The other item from Jay Mattioli also uses a cell phone and a two one dollar bills. Showing two single bills front and back give then given them a fold, BAM a cell phone appears. Dollars are gone and cell phone is shown inside and all. This piece of magic is so visual you would think it was like movie trick photography. I personally would do this bit first in a act, show the phone with pride and place it in my pocket. Moments later after or during your act the phone rings and then perform Jay's Roaming Phone. A young new talented guy I hope will share more of his inventions with us all soon.



Dai Vernon: A Biography

When one talks of the Gods of Close-up magic, Vernon is the name mention the most. His amazing is the stuff that makes a magician a legend. As a young kid his routines were the mainstay of my close-up magic and still are to this day.
How did he come up with so many routines? Who was this man that even fooled Houdini? Travel with Vernon from Canada to the streets of New York to the stages of London and Paris. This is a must for all magical historians seeking the knowledge of a creative force in magic. Hardbound book, 370 pages, 40 rare photos. I can't say more about learning about Vernon, the man that changed the face of close-up magic and inspired so many of todays talents.


Impossible Bill In Bottle

From Hocus Pocus good friend Gerald Kirchner comes in a series of his effects Impossible Bill in Bottle. For those of you in the hip world of street magic, this is one effect you should have in your bag of tricks. Imagine a borrowed bill, a torn off part vanishes only to appear in a small champagne bottle. Here is the kicker its a sealed bottle! This effect could also be done with cards, coins, messages or predictions. The sealed bottle is also great to give as a gift after the performance. No hard moves, resets quickly for the next performance. This is the type of stuff that makes you look like a real magi!



California Bar Tricks

From the hip bar scene of Los Angles to the fine dinning of Napa Valley comes Jim Rosenbaum, a full time working pro sharing his California Bar Tricks. Jim has made a great living making magic close-up and fun. This book contains 50 of Jim's personal magic tricks, mind stunts and challenges. Anyone working Bar's and Restauants will gain more cool things to have on hand to entertain with. This is the type of book that could turn a working bartender into a Magic Bartender and increase his tips. When anyone who is a working pro shares insider information you best listern and learn. Priced low and your first gig, heck your first tip will pay for the book. Got a call from one of our customers that just opened a bar and is giving one to each of his bartenders to learn from.

Here are a few other items that are flying off the self at Hocus Pocus. Get yours while they last.

Route 1
Entourage
Autobend Silverware
Rainmaker
Power reel
Saw DVD
Emergency Cash

Tony's Tips

A few weeks ago Blogger just acted wierd and my Tips came out too small to read. I could not fix it. So many of you called and asked to republish it. So here are my tips for you to stay healthy during those hot summer shows outdoors. Sorry about not being able to read it the first time. I have added some more ideas for those of you that did squeeze your eyes to read it the first time. One of my readers did manage to copy the tips, blow up the print and says "it's now my check list before I live for a outdoor gig". Thank you for those kind words

So this week's tip has to do with being cool. 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.

update Idea #1

Regular Towels are also a good idea to have on stage. One for you at all times. Then one for those messy kids. If you audience keeps seeing a towel around then at one point slip in the towel gag and that would take them by surprise seeing those messing printed hands.


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.

updated idea#2

Having enjoyed a Sunday bunch this past weekend, the outdoor patio had mist fans. You know when a fan has a very small stream of water that can be blown into the air from the fan. If you know ahead of time how the set up is for the show having this type of fan for you or the audiences comfort will really make the show a pleasure


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 cool as well as magical,

Tony Blanco








Tuesday, July 04, 2006

 

Happy 4th of July

As I will be performing all this evening, I need to say I will be writing all of you next week. Have a safe 4th of July.

Tony

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