Tuesday, September 26, 2006

 

The Magic of Fresno in Just One Week

Maybe I am now getting to know my new home town a bit better through things I know well. I have been lucky this past week to be part of two major tours that passed into Fresno. One was Cirque Du Soleil's new touring show "Delirium". Part Rock concert, Part Cirque, and the rest just magical. The next show in the same week was one I got to be part of was Disney Magic Live! The stuff of a Las Vegas magic show wrapped in the blanket of all the great Disney Icons. Both shows in just two days apart amazed and entertained the folks of Fresno. If all of you don't mind this week I will use "Tony's Tips as a review and tell you a tale of both. Either way if these shows come to your town it will be a magical night that will entertain, amaze, and inspire you.









Cirque Du Soleil's Delirium

Cast of Disney Live w/yours truly

Tony's Picks

Well after a week like last week here are the amazing items we have to offer at Hocus-Pocus.

Ghostvision

From one of my favorite creative folks Andrew Mayne comes Ghostvision. Paul was so excited to show this to me first thing this morning. The video says it all but I will write a few ones for you. First we start out with a spectators camera cell phone, weaving a tale of how that spirits are all around us. In telling this tale you actually see a image walking in front of the camera. Then a photograph of something taken when you can see no one is in the room. When looking at the pic on the cell phone there is a person. This truly is the most creepy thing one can image. See the online video to believe what I am saying. Andrew has done it again. Just in time for those Halloween walkaround parties.

Behold the Scarabaeus

Well since we are on a Cell phone kick tonight, let me tell you of Behold the Scarabaeus. This is actually a few routines in one. First one of the most amazing is that of a real spectators cell phone and the penatration of a plastic water bottle. That's right penatration and all can be borrowed. The cell phone can only be removed by the use of a knife to cut the bottle open. All the tools are given with this effect, plus a bonus VCD to teach you this and other effects such as Fort Know Coins and Dra-Cola. Kevin Cramer has come up with a winner and gives you so more of his creative ideas for such a low price too. This will truly be the hit for all you "Street Magic" Fans.

Hauntigues

Since its that kind'da spooky magic night why not set the scene with a tale or two from Christian Clelman. In this book he tells of tales of his bizarre collection of antiques that are part of his magical and spooky perfomances. Here is one of those books that will inspire the way you do magic This is one of those books that we are offering as a pre order because it will be that much in demand so free shipping is included if order now before October.

Ray Lum's Ultimate Champange Airborne

From Hocus-Pocus good friend and creative mind Ray Lum comes his version of the Champange Airborne. This is the effect that has made Lance Burton a Las Vegas magic legend. Ray crafts each of thse bottle sothat you are getting something only the pro's use. This is a high quality prop no cutting corners. Eight costs of Auto paint make this bottle a true long lasting prop. Each bottle carries Ray's engraved plate of his workmanship and identifying you as the owner. The same detail Ray put into his famous creation the Lumball machine can be found in this effect also. So don't miss you chance to own of a piece of magic history as well as a full time working pro's prop.

Warp One

This has become a favorite around the shop by our own Dexter. This has got to be the knock your socks off one card card warp routine ever. That's right I said one card. From the production company of Paul Harris presents comes David Jenkins amazing handing of card warp. First off the spectator can pick any card from the deck, its not prepared. Then with a series of moves the card is seen to reverse in half while fold many times over. Then the grand final as in the famous Roy Walton version you tear the card in half and hand it out to the spectator. Heck I think you can go as far as having the card signed from the begining but thats just my view on how strong a effect this is.

Tony's Tips

Well as I said in the beginning tonight more of a review of the two shows that graced the stages of Fresno last week first off Cirque Du Soleil's Delirium. About two weeks back one of our local entertainment reporters was looking for folks that were knowledgeable of the Cirque history. Having seen Cirque in Las Vegas grow from one show to the other and now have homes in 5 major casino's I figure to give him a call. Donald Munro interviewed me for about 15 minutes or so and that was that. The week Cirque came to town he did a big (front page even) article on them and I was mention a couple of times. That was that I thought. Then a phone call from one of the crew of the show, Dominic who was looking to buy some magic. As well as being a chief camera person for the show he is a working magician. We chatted and took his order and he asked who I was, told him my name and he said the guy in the paper talking about Cirque. I said yes! Well he called back with backstage passes and tickets from the managment for my kind words. Well now here are a few more...kind words.

This show is a wonderous sight to see! With hundreds of miles of cables, cameras, curtains, folks floating in air and a pounding rock beat its a touring show not to miss. Only second to the current Madonna tour in its scale of staging and setting up. If you have ever seen a Cirque show this again is diffferent from the rest. It has "theme" which sometimes I don't ever get but its the great performances that sell the show for me not the theme. Many incredible circus talents with amazing skills this time with a more rock and visual (projections on many screens) that make it another Cirque creative hit. Our host even introduced me to the company manager who gave us the tickets and Dominic had me do some magic while folks had their dinner. Once a close-up magician always one. Thank you Dominic for being such a great host.

Next up was Disney Live on Friday night. Even further back I got a call from a local ad agency to do a promo at a local Boy's and Girl's club to promote the tour of Disney Live. This was great as this group of kids kind'da lived in a tough part of town and besides my show that day, they were going to be guests of Disney Live. So we are off to the show, myself and family and Dexter and his. All of a sudden I am told everyone in the hot dog line is waving at me....I haven't a clue. Then I realize its the entire Boy's and Girl's Club, was that cool or what.

Earlier in the day the two live stars, Brad and Alex had spent the day chatting with Paul and beholding the wonder of his magical world of Hocus Pocus. Finds out Brad and I are from the East coast and have alot of the same friends. He was happy to hear that I did the advance work for the show so that again was way cool. Back to the Theatre, This is a show for those very young and young at heart. Its is a production like I grew with watching Disney on Ice but now with magic and on a stage. Brad and Alex are your host into the comedy world of Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and all love Disney characters. Each one has a special moment doing magic in the show. In between our two magicians make with comedy and great magic. The audience was filled with children of every age and when Mickey or Goofy came out the cheers were like that of a rock concert. It is a Las Vegas type show wrapped in the magical wonders that is Disney. All good clean family fun and an inspiration for any working magician to see and behold what magic truly is. If you couldn't tell by the show you can tell by smiles and energy from the kids in the theatre.

Thank you Brad, Alex and the entire cast for a wonderous, magical Disney night.

Like I said before try to catch one of these shows when they come to your town. Be inspired for the magical times you wish to give your audience.

Best wishes

Tony Blanco


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

 

Fall Magic is in the Air

The weather here in Fresno has gotten that crisp fall chill. There is already some mornings that the dew is on the windows of the cars. So much to look forward as the seasons change here in the central valley of California. This week, Fresno plays host to not one but two traveling shows. One is the new Cirque Du Soleil shows that is part circus and rock concert called "Delirium". Having lived in Las Vegas for 18 years and haven seen Cirque create 5 shows that rule the strip it's going to be fun to see them on tour. Then on Friday comes Disney Magic, a touring show where all the favorite Disney icons perform magic and illusion. I have been lucky to be part of both of these companies in one way or another so next blog I will give you some reviews. Right now I can tell you if either show comes to your town don't miss them.



Tony's Picks


Masuda's Wow

This is one of those effects that magicians have seen at or heard about at magic conventions. Folks have been calling wondering if we were going to carry this. Well thanks to our great network of friends Hocus Pocus is proud to bring you WOW! Imagine having a spectator sign a card and place it back in the deck. A different card is placed in a transparent holder and then begins to change while in the holder to their signed card. Words can't do it justice as this may just be the hottest close-up trick of the year. So go to the website and see the video of the performance. We are going to have a limited run so get yours now.






Fancy a Pot of Jam

As much as Wow may be the hottest trick of the year, James Brown from England may have the hottest DVD "Fancy a Pot of Jam. James is known for some of the most clever and well kept secret effects to himself. James has won the title of Closeup magician of the year for 2006 from the Magic Circle. His workings on the classic effect "The Travellers" which he calls "The Brainless Travellers" is worth the price of the DVD. There is so much more that this DVD offers by this full time, real world performer not to be missed. I have taken sooo many orders for this DVD so all of you know when something is hot and call us. Making this my pick of DVD's to get this week. Check out the website for the rest of Jame's killer effects.





Find The Way

Direct from the creative mind of Henry Evans and a complete sell out at this year's FISM convention comes "Find the Way". This has to be the most clever and cutest way to find a spectator's card. A card is choosen along with 2 different cards and a sheet of pper with circles is shown. The cards go into the circles and a toy vehicle is shown and let go on its merry way, circling around the paper till it stops on the choosen card. This method is different then most toy locations and comes with 4 more routines. You can really create more routines once you learn the method. Very limited supply at Hocus Pocus so don't miss your chance to own one.





Mummy Dearest


Mike Bent's take on a great comedy routine for your family fun shows for this coming Halloween season. Every magician at one time or another has owned a Temple Screen, not a great trick but a OK one for those small shows. Mike has created a legend and story for this lonely little prop. Mummy Dearest comes to you as a CD with PDF's to change your Temple Screen into a slice of the inside the ancient pyramids. Then the comedy begins as you are looking inside for the mummy and end up changing your helper into one.






Marmaduke the Wonder Mouse

Years ago having been a performer in Central Park I would see a pitchman do this little marvel. Then for the price of one dollar you to could own the mouse and the secret. Marmaduke is this same mouse all these years later with a complete treatment on how you to can make big bucks with this little wonder. Also in this book are explanations on other "Pitch" items such as the magic coin trick, Spooky pencil trick and the Fuzzy Wiggle Worm. This is something everyone should know about and if you have never seen a carnival pitch guy seeing any of these items you have miss some of the greatest salesmanship and close magic ever.








Greater Magic DVD Tom Mullica

What can one say of one of the funniest guys in magic. Taped before a live audience at the height of Tom's Tomfoolery days witness the best in comedy and bar magic. Tom does not hold back with anything on this now DVD of his comedy madness. Cards, Cigarettes, Egg Bag, Bill Tear and even the Gozinta Box. This is one high energy packed comedy DVD and yes Tom tips some of his pet secrets. Tom is now traveling doing a tribute to Red Skelton and I am not sure what magic he is doing now so don't miss his classic of the days from his performances that made him a legend in Atlanta, Ga.



Tony's Tips

As I said its going to be great this week to see some live performances here in Fresno. Not to say we don't get our share of headliners in the local Indian Casinos and concert halls here. It is just for me about fantasy and magic in a performance. Both shows that I have mention will let me watch the audience and see how the magic moves them and get inspired. Many folks always ask which comes first the trick or routine. Good question! I know magicians that to this day will perform a trick they just hate, but the audience loves. That is important to remember its for the audience and not always what you like. Now on the other hand we as magicians buy lots of stuff hoping to find the one trick that may make them a star.

This thought process can stop your calling to be a star. Knowing more of who or what your central magician is about will determine the effects you should do. I personally as I said go for the fantasy angle. I may perform some really cool sleight of hand but may just never talk or even do it to music. Its what the event calls for. The other night I was working that Zoo gig I did a few weeks back. This time it was as a closeup walkaround kind'da guy. Dressed in my "Willy Wonka" type look the families just came a running to see what I was about. They formed an image in their mind so did the kids and half my job was done. Now I could either depend on the trick and leave it at that or weave a magical story to the trick. I choose a kind'da wording as if they were hearing a Dr. Suess story. This made me different from the guy juggling and the guy singing songs for the kids. You see at one point we were all in a row on a path and each kid visited each entertainer. Now I am not saying I was better, just different and in the world of entertainment "different" gets you repeat bookings.

So think of how you either market your image to your audience. What makes you different? Special? This is a problem I have fought all my life in creating a unique show. I have learned from good friends that if you look the part and know your stuff and know yourself, your are different. Even if a child yells, "I know what your going to do"! He doesn't really know how your going to show him how your making this effect yours but the parents will and again that get repeat work. Work hard to create a unique you and the rest is just magical. Hope that inspires your week. Next week I will have pictures and reviews of the shows I have seen this. Hope to get to go back stage for both.


Best Magical Wishes

Tony Blanco

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

 



The Season is the Reason....for Gigs

Well, lets be smart fall is around the corner. Fall is the beginning of the most mystic season Halloween. This is the time for every magician to be working. Legends of Houdini's last performance on this planet. Ghost, Goblins, Vampires and the magic that is Halloween. This is only September but if you haven't been planning for those show and for supplies now is the time. I have already taken calls from our family of customers at Hocus Pocus who now know its time to stock up on Halloween effects. So now I tell you to plan ahead not only for Halloween, but for Christmas shows. This is my personal favorite time of the year even if I don't gig as much as I like, but I am telling all of you to be ready. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. There is your Halloween moment of Zen.





Tony's Tips

Forgetful Frankie

Lets start the Halloween Spirit with my favorite horror movie Frankenstein. From magical creator Mike Bent comes Forgetful Frankie. If you have been in magic enough you know the concept of Forgetful Freddie, well Mike has created Forgetful Frankie based on the look of the Frankenstein monster. This version includes all the goodies that makes this a funny yet magical horror effect. Watch winder and sparking gimmack include. Just imagine making the story come alive of the creation with a magic twist of the vanish and reappearance of his head.






Casper

From a true living legend of magic John Calvert comes Casper. Casper is his personal version of the of the Dancing Hank. Mr. Calvert shares with you his pet routine that he has performed for well over sixty years. He has been nice enough to release this only to our family of Hocus Pocus customers only!. This is a routine he still performs to this day and Mr. Calvert is now the grandfather of magic still touring and traveling the world. Include are all the gimmicks and music and a video to make your show truly look like magic is alive and well in a pocket hanky.









Spirit Cabinet

Again from Mr. Calvert comes the Spirit Cabinet. This is a full blown stage effect but can be done parlor style to envoke the spirits to play a little mischief for your audience. This is a routine that makes your name at the end or middle of you show. You the magi are bound with rope by members of the audience and no stooges are used! The a portable curtain is introduced as the serect chamber within the spirits will visit. While in this chamber objects placed around you (you being roped up) on the ground and the cirtian raise begin to fly out of the chamber. Then a memeber of the audience is seated next to you and you still roped up. Well after more stuff flies out of the curtain by the time the curtain drops his pants is rolled up, shirt off and a bucket on his head. I can't say more then having seen another living legend do Mr.Calvert's effect... Andre Cole, the audience did believe ghost do exist!!!!






Dracula Bites the Dust


OK if all of the effects I mention are to over the top for your programs let us go back to Mike Bent, creator of Dracula Bites the Dust. This is Mike's take on Terry Seabrook's Chatting Teeth Routine. As you know of my love of Brit stuff, Mike has made it more of a family routine with comedy and spoof of the legend of Dracula. Graphics and routine are included whether you use Doug Malloy's version of Chatting Teeth or not this the great effect for all of you storytelling magi's. Comedy and magic and a kicker final is what all you want in your show...Thanks Mike!




Haunted Illusions

From the Godfather of magic blueprints Paul Osbourne comes his Haunted Illusions. Paul has been printing his takes on classic illusions for many years in magic magazines. Now from his vast collections is "Haunted Illusions" his take on effects for theme parks and huanted house shows. Paul has served the magic community very well so you will know his ideas are the dreams that magic shows are made of. Don't miss your chance to add that special illusion and touch of magic as well as extra money for having a illusion when booking a show to your show!







Tony's Tips


As you can tell tonight I am asking you to plan ahead for your shows. This is the time of the year when time moves faster then you can think. So if you can stop and read this then you can plan for your hoilday shows. My staff at Hocus Pocus want each and everyone of your to look cool for your shows, so plan ahead and don't forget to rehearse to make it look like magic.

There are many more effects on the site that can help a simple magic show turn into a great spooky show or the most powerful illusion show, but planning is important. This week I have been in touch with magic vendors from around the world with magical ideas that create the most errie of effects and we have them on the site. It is a matter of you ordering in time to make your magic look like a ghostly or spirit like effect if you want to be precieved a real entertainer. Items like The Face, items from our newsest vendor Magicurios (on the left side of the website) have just some great weird and bizarre items. Some items are custom made so plan ahead.

Also like last week I mention local stores, that now are turning attention to Halloween. Paul has been visiting local Halloween stores for more ideas for items for all of you. He has found a number of Geni's in a dome, as well as Willy Wonka glasses for me...Thanks Paul! Either way now is the time to plan ahead not only for Halloween but then for Christmas and get the flyers or bookings before its to late. Check those catalogs of vedors that sell giveaway stuff too and order now! Don't forget music from movies as well as classic music for your shows to give that extra horror feeling and mystery to your show.

If you have any ideas of storytelling and bizarre magic as well as creating a magic moment for the audience this is the season to plan for. In years past I have done a show dressed as a vampire and did 4 shows nightly at Circus Circus' Adventure Dome , which became the Dome of Doom for Halloween. Seek out your local areas and talk them up for a special magic show, you never know what may happen. Our own Dexter is getting ready for a series of Seance shows and it looks pretty good both performance wise and $ wise. Don't miss your chance to upsell your simple magic show to a Halloween Spectacule!

Thanks for reading each week.
I do, honestly need some fed back from all of you who read each week as well as folks who want to add their 2 cents.

Anytime or day tony@hocus-pocus.com


Thanks again

Best Spooky dreams

Tony Blanco

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

 


To Every Season

Well gang the official weekend to end the summer has come gone. So now its time to be a smart planner for those great fall shows. Already today here at Hocus Pocus some smart Magi's are ordering Christmas props. Well before Christmas is Halloween, Magician's best time of the year for shows. I remember telling tales of ghost and the famous Harry Houdini and doing a Keller Rope Tie for my shows. So start planning your shows and get your orders in before the day before the gig. A wise man plans to fail and silly man fails to plan.


Tony's Picks

This week starts with a mix bag of Pick's and again all I would use and am happy to recommend.
Animated Shoelace

The time of the last David Blaine special we all expected to see much more magic then a guy floating in a bubble for two hours. On of the tricks that did make the special was the self tying showlace (a different trick from this one) and it was cute in front of the kids when he did it. As usual someone has to reinvent the wheel and now comes Animated Shoelace. In this version you can perform it in shorts. This one is even faster and clean in my humble view. Don't believe me check out the video on our website.






Moving Violations

From the creative mind of Jay Sankey comes Moving Violations. This is a mind blower and all of you know a good trick when you see it. How do I know? I just had to reorder more cause we just sold out of the first batch we ordered from Jay. Jay call's this a little Sci-Fi card effect using a hypno card to make the magic happen. Plue on this DVD which comes with all the gimmicks are extra card effects such as "One of Six" and "The Ultimate Business Card Giveaway". All this and a killer close-up effect make items by Jay Sankey a must in your close-up bag of tricks. Avideo is on the web. Check it out.





Trevor Lewis Uncut

What can one say of a British icon of magic. Those of you who read each week know I love Brit humor and ideas. Well Trevor has be coming up with more magic that is for real workers for a long time. This book with well over 200 pages covers over 20 years of the genius of Trevor. He has created many of my favorite effects that I do in my performances. So now this one book covers his writings of different party, school, library effects from his series of "Party Pieces" books. This book is a must for the real working pro that works for everyone! For a real in sight into what a real entertainer does to make a real living I highly recommend this book. Remember this when you know how to make folks laugh as well as do magic then and only then can you be called a "Entertainer" and Trevor Lewis truly is just that!


Free Lunch

Does Paul Romhany ever stop coming up with great ideas, hope not! Free Lunch is Pauls take on the way to get your business card into the hands of a spectator as well as getting their's for your mailing list. Everyone knows now a day restauants have a bowl to drop your card in for a "Free Lunch". Well Paul and TC Tahoe have worked out this mindreading piece of magic that can even be done as a work around effect. A bowl of business cards are shown and sepectator is asked to choose one. Then the Magi can tell the phone number and the zip code of the choosen card. So now everyone wants tadd their card for sure. You get cards for walkaround and a stage version, heck the fishbowl is included plus so much more to make this a killer effect. Thanks Paul and TC for a magical marketing effect.



JC Wagner Lecture DVD

JC Wagner is a living legend when it comes to Bar and Restauant magic. His knowledge and wisdom has given us some of todays most famous magicians that work the Bar and Restauant arena's. So now on this DVD learn the inner sercrets of the man that folks like Doc Eason, Bob Sheets and many more call the Master. JC tips some of the most clever moves in closeup when working the crowd. My favorite is a explaination on the card under the drink. This has been a killer effect that many would sell their soul to learn, now it yours on this DVD.
So much history and magic to learn on this one DVD dont miss out.


Tony 's Tips

So each week I hope I share ideas that help you as a entertianer get inspired. I search my files and find things to share. One thing I may have a bad habit is to repeat things I may have said before in my writings. I do this sometimes because I don't always hear from all of you and wonder if your getting it or not. Here are some quick flashes to refresh you noggin.

Dollar stores (or 99 cent stores) can be a magicians best friend. I am always finding supplies there. Getting gold wrapping paper for making Martin Lewis version of Tossed out Chinese Sticks (Making Magic DVD) or getting tissue paper for Torn and Restore Tissue Paper Routine (Bob White) . This type of store besides getting 8x10 frames for a buck and DVD's of Jack Benny, Marx Bros, Charlie Chaplin is today Woolworths. For those to young to remember Woolworths was know as the 5 and Dime store. This place had everything from Kitchen to hardware to clothing all surround by a great soda fountain. Many of todays legends of magic will tell you that this was the place to get those special comedy props. So check out your local dollar store!

Home Depot and Lowes and any other Home improvement stores are another way of bringing that touch of magic to your show. Watching so many magicians on DVD today one can't help to be inspired and build. Even if you don't have a full blown woodworks (like I do) you can still walk the isles of these home improvement stores and find so many magic gimmicks. Serects line each corner of the store even more then a old Tannen's catalog. I have found parts and pieces to repair and create stuff for my show. If your a fan of someone like Barry Mitchell you can bet he knows Home Depot real well if you have ever read or seen his books or DVD's.

Craft Stores like Michael's or Ben Franklin or JoAnn are another source for magical creations and inspiration. One thing I have learned to do is sew. Its not that hard guys! How many times did you need a bag for a prop and payed a little old lady on the block to do it. By the way if you don't have a bag for each prop then I hope your good on doing touch up painting. Well this is why I learned to sew, then from that point I have made my own card in wallet wallets from an idea by Patrick Page. Then later learned to make bow ties and even costumes. How can you create magic if you don't know the way the trick works. This is the same in sewing and expecting someone to understand your vision if you can't explaine how to sew it. These craft store also have so many idea down each turn you go. Paints, woodworking items, cool little trunks and cases, fabric and so much more.

Remember this each performers show is suppose to be of that performer. We all buy magic but we all need to make sure that we all don't look like we came off the shelf. Going to these type of stores is a way of making your show look personally yours. When it comes to parties craft stores can help your creat a great image for your show. A home improvement shop can give your that professional look using the right tools and lumber to build your look. Dollar stores can provide so many things that give you that comedy edge as well as giveways for your audience. Heck its just a buck give it away and make a memory.


Well, I hope that touches your creative outlet again this week. I would really like to hear from all off you. Ideas types and suggestions. I really would love to highlight our Hocus Pocus family so don't be shy email me: Tony@Hocus-Pocus.com


Thanks for reading each week

Tony Blanco

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