Tuesday, October 24, 2006

 


Tis the Season to Party On...Dude

So the Fall season of parties are in full force. I do hope that you are finding all those great bookings for Halloween. The time magicians can really shine. Our Dexter is the master of the Seance Room out at Hobb's Grove. Each year the folks have a rather spooky event each night and this year have added Dexter to the mix with his Seance House. A recent guest was so truly scared that he took the time to tell Dex after the Seance. It was the actor that played Leatherface in Texas Chain Saw III passing thru Fresno for a Halloween promo. Kudos to our own master of the bizarre, Dexter. Remeber if your planning a spooky fest or a story event make those bookings a lasting memory.




Tony's Picks

Capstone's Torn and Restore Pirate Treasure Map

Just in time for the season of Halloween and the pirtate craze from recent movies comes Torn and Restore Pirate Treasure Map. Capstone (the inventor) has said Why tear up a newspaper? When you can entertain much more with tales of the high seas and a Pirate Treasure Map." What starts out as a folded up Pirate hat of paper becomes a tale of a map and the 9 pirates that want a piece of the map. The funny continues with great story and gags and jokes. Each set comes with 8 mapes that are ready to go. 10 full pages of instructions for the routine and patter make this a must have for the storyteller magician or just allaround entertainer. One effect that I know you will want in your show.


Exploding Lightbulb

From the cute to the bizarre. Its Halloween and here is one effect that will cause the goose bumps. Borrow a lightbulb (if folks actually have them) or have one ready and let it be examined. Seems ok nothing fake about it. Then while holding the lightbulb and focusing your energy or powers the bulb shatters. This is one creepy effect! You have seen "Street Magic" shows where magicians do this effect and now you can too! This gimmick is so well made for our overseas friends that it will last you a life time. This is a effect that will make a lasting impression of your talents.




Fearless Fred

From our friend Mike Bent comes Fearless Fred. Here is a routine that takes the silk in the Apple routine to a new whole comedy level. A tale of Fearless Fred (a worm) who in his contract gets a apple before each performance but must have no seeds in the apple. The apple is cored and wrapped in foil. Now his daredevil stunt must begin to land inside a net after being shot from a cannon. To tell you the whole act I won't do it, please read the act on the website. To tell you this was the hit of all Mike's summer shows is true and can be the hit for your programs. Comedy, helpers from the audience, visual props, great sound effects and much more. This is the type of stuff that makes for great family entertainment and Mike Bent has done this so well. So much is included in this routine.





Royal Family Portrait

From the master of visual artistic grapic work Ton Onasaka. These jumbo cards are so well made as allof Ton's effects are. It begins with a joker on a easel. The a Jack of Hearts, which changes to a Queen of Spades. Back and forth. This time for the Queen changes into the King of Spades then into the joker. But wait what of the Joker that was on the easel from the begining? This gets turned around to show the entire Royal Family Portrait! The card that does it all is so well made that there is no way that it looks like this could happen. All is included with this great Ton effect even Ton performing the routine on DVD for you to learn. What more can you want for such a cool jumbo, visual card effect.




Ultimate Snake Basket

From our cool creative friend Dick Barry comes the Ultimate Snake Basket. Recently Paul went to the magic castle for the famous swap meet and saw good friend Dick Barry. Dick showed Paul his new and improved version of his already hit Ulitmate Snake Basket. In this version at no time do your hands go into the basket. You control the action from out side with little buttons. The effect is a comedy runaway of the snake trying to find the spectators selected card. Twice the snake misses (in funny ways) only to find the choosen card with fanfare and flags a waving.
We have 12 in stock and when they are gone that is that. So don't miss your chance at one of these.



Tony's Tips

Parties Part Duex " House Parties"

As I started chatting about working a party last week let's chat some more. House parties are a great way to just be the host as well as the entertainer. Thanksgiving and Christmas are the time for these great types of events. Drinks and food abound and a magical hot can really make the party. Here many times working hand and hand with the host or the caterer will make you as important as the party. I have always looked at this type event like what if this was my own home and I had the money to spend that these folks have.

Then I would make sure everyone is having a good time. Mingling in and out of each room I spend a few moments at each group of folks chatting and drinking. Then I even check if anyone needs anything well I am the one standing up. This is a time to work with the caterer's staff to bring them over to get more drinks or food. Then move on to the next area of the house. At some point offer the host a little "Standup Magic show". This I arrange to be around the time after I have done almost two hours of walkaround magic. after my show I am done and leave.

A rule of thumb or should I say a cardinal rule is....when your done your done! It is not time to join the party as a guest! You have shined for the night let them remember your perfomance and leave. If you stay you end up working off the clock with no pay. Some of you might say "hey that a way to drum up more work". Actually it makes you look like a poor straving actor now eating the food and drink that is meant for the guest. What most entertainers forget is that we don't get hired to eat, we get hired to work. It's not our party! Sure I said play the host but also know your place in the world of classes. At a house party your are still seen as a Hired hand to make the event not relax at it. This is just one way that I keep working. I have been offered so much food and drink at events, but trust me it makes you look less then if your eating and then entertain. OK off my soap box. Just be classy when in someone's home.

We will chat more next week and if any of you have ideas please share your Do's and Don'ts to me.

tony@hocus-pocus.com


Best Magical Holiday wishes,

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

 

Tis the Season to.......Party!!!!

Hey Gang! Last month as well as this month is the slide right into the Holiday Seasons. If your a working pro or not now is the time to plan the promotions for getting Holiday work. I have been rather lucky to have been part of some great events that I know I would have never done in Las Vegas. So as much as you all read about magic in Las Vegas, some of the most magical moments happen in the most special events. This year seems to be big on 50th surprise parties for the husband. I have done a few of them. Fast getting near 50 myself. This type of event is cool because you just hang in the background and perform close-up magic and then before your leave do a 15 minute stand up magic show for the Birthday Boy. Well I will chat later in the Tip section tonight about seasonal parties. Either way get your name out and stay busy these next 3 months and relaxe in January.


Tony's Picks


Houdini's Last Escape

From the clever mind of Brian Thomas Moore comes what could be the funniest version of the Straight Jacket Escape. I have seen many comedy magicians do the straight jacket routine have a spectator lock the magi in place and the bit of the strap up the middle...ho hum. Brian has taken the clever point of using the magical lesson on CD to learn to escape to a high comedy level. This is not your regular funny escape. This is a very clever way of adding both magic and visual comedy to this type of performance. The concept is that your going to beat Houdini's record from his last escape at the same time your learning to do the challenge at the same time. This is a must for a real working pro that knows the meaning of getting laughs from the crowd. Yes the price is a bit higher and so will your dollars when you book a show. Many things come with this routine so don't miss your chance to be the first to be able to bring down the house with laughter.



Whispers Four Times Three

From the mind of our creative friend John Mendoza comes Whispers Four Times Three. This is in Mr. Mendoza's words "magic that must be simple". I agree! So many times when you magi's forget its about getting in and getting out . You mus tremember your magic must be powerful , visual and make a lasting impression! So imagine have a spectator pick four face cards , because only face cards can Whisper! The four cards are placed on top (one by one) on top of 3 choosen cards and tell you the magic what they are. Then for the kicker (say your four face cards were Kings) they change to Aces for the final. No gimmicks! Use any deck any time and this routine includes a DVD. Perfect for the working pro who knows visual magic makes for a perfect close up show.



Nothing DVD

What can one say of the creative mind of Max Maven, only one word.... scary. Max is some one that lives outside of the box and in a world of his own. For years he has produced magic effect that have both entertained us and made many a magician look cool on TV. Remember touching your TV set....that's Max's Routine. His wonderful series of videos called VideoMind showed all the possible ways mentalism can be done. Well now is the ultimate test performing with nothing!Thats right no magic props only stuff you could pick up in a supermarket. Now this is not a let makeup a show routine when you lose your props. This is a solid 50 minute show with creative ideas fro Max, Eugene Burger, Stephen Minch and Michael Webber. This DVD includes Para-Sight a routine that has been out of print for over 25 years and copies sold for over $400.00.So for the price we list this for, for the fact its "Max Maven", and for the fact it truly is a simple in simple out set up show your will have a show that is a mentalism masterpiece to perform. Yes I know that I recomend this last week but for all of you that were thinking about it, let me tell you that it has been another fast seller and for that I have choosen to tell you about it again!!!!
Get your copy now and learn the ways of what a great performer like Max can teach you!!


Vanishing and Appearing Glass

One of the nicest and clever made props this year is the first impression I can say. Yes it can hold water or any other beverage. This glass is not glass it is made from what I believe is silcone and imagine the possiblities. It can crush like your favorite vanishing coke bottle as well as be produced. Many routines come to mind. This glass as Paul called it "Is very nicely made and looks like the real thing". Those working pro's doing the restauant type shows will find many uses for them. There is a book "The New Bottle Book" by our good friend Norm Nielsen that I highly recommend that would give you more ideas for this glass. It is a great prop to have in your magic bag of tricks.



Musical Chairs

Our good friend and master craftman Jay Leslie has gone Hollywood. Add Director to his many talents as he is now a producer of DVD's. Jay has been on the fore front of presevering many great magic effects and rebuilding them is his style. Now he is doing the same by saving great magic routines on DVD. Now Jay has saved a routine by Bob Hummer on DVD. This is a concept in mentalism that many have payed magic dealers hundreds of dollars for in the past. Now Jay explains to you this secret and supplies the props to make you look like a mind reading master. All is explained including covering angles and everyone will be fooled even fellow magi's. We thank Jay for saving this great routine on DVD.




Straight Jacket Escape

Now for those of you that don't do the comedy version of Straight Jacket Escape here is a no holds bar DVD. Again our friend Jay Leslie has done it again, sharing everything you will ever want to know about this famous act. This DVD is for those who know a good thing when they hear about it. With well over a hour of infor that the working pros would never want you to know. Jay covers ever great detail for use of the jacket to promote a show or as a feature in your act. I highly recommend the use of a real jacket vs. a gimmick one for Jay shows all in this DVD. Ideas abound in this DVD so if you have ever thought of adding a jacket to your act this would be the DVD to learn from.





Tony's Tips


Party Season is here! Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and everything else!!
This is one of the reasons I left Las Vegas. When I lived back East this would be the busiest time of the year. In Las Vegas around Christmas time the showrooms actually turn over the stages to the National Finals Rodeo. So the town becomes all about the cowboys and country acts. How Christmas is that. Last year I got to perform on what Fresno calls "Christmas Tree Lane". Marching bands, news crews, kids and thousands of lights. That's Magic! So now as the season is coming I recommend you giving thought to making all the bookings you can and take January off !

Props and routines

Think how you can custom your props to each party. Now I am not saying go out an buy lots of new props but, work with what you have. Going to a craft store, which has lots of decorations to help enhance your show. A hot glue gun and decorating foam can change that Chinese looking magic box into one of Santa's Chimmney's he visits. Even the old geni tube could be gift wrapped and a story of a child opening a present early finds nothing only to have the magic of Christmas be able to produce many things from it. We have a book at HP call Christmas Routines. We also have a book by Paul Osbourne called Haunted Illusions for Halloween. Ideas abound, be creative and seek out every idea to make your holiday show great. I love to do a few effects that tell of Houdini and Halloween. Last week I think I came up with a great one and will be using it this weekend at a show.

Parties run in such a wierd way. So one thing I have learn over these past 33 years is to be flexable yet know when to take charge. The average party planner has no real sense of timing. Really! The guy serving the food does, the band does, so make sure you introduce yourself to them and work with them to make the event run smooth. Don't be afraid to do things that are not always "magical" but helpful to the host. This will endear you for future work. As I said know when to be on and when not to be. You are really the person the guest will see first and may turn to you for directions to bathrooms or when is the main course coming out. Working with a band or a DJ will only show your a pro to the buyer. They hired you so they can party so don't bother them once the party starts. Another thought is to get the payment for your services in the begining rather then the end of the party when the host is saying good-bye to family and your done and have to wait another half to hour to get paid. Just a few tips for now more to follow.

Plan ahead and look festive, magical and in charge.


Best Magical Holiday wishes,

Tony Blanco

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

 
Magic for Mind, Body and Soul

As we all journey as performers, we have to always keep in mind why we picked this career as magicians. Over the past few months I have had an awaking for what makes me happy. I hope you never lose sight of that. It is the moment you see the smile on a birthday child when all this is for her. When you work an event and see folks looking lost until they see you all decked out to give them what they never expected was to be a magical night. As Doug Henning would say " that sense of wonder". Never forget we know the secerets, but the audience has no clue what is in store for them. Live that moment every time you get on stage and make someone a memory that last a life time.







Tony's Picks

Half Dyed Hank


If you don't already know Billy McComb is one of my idols. I was blessed to spend time here and there with him at a few magic conventions. One of my favorite acts of Billy's was the Half Dyed Hank act. I have made my own set, made my own Dye Tube which I shown Billy and he gave me his own to get the right size. The one I had made was to small by his standard. Now we have the complete act for sale. His routine, the silks, and the right size dye tubes. Even our own Mike Guisti could not believe the size of the tubes. Now thru one of our vendors with permission of his estate you to can perform this magical miracle. Price really low for an act that served Billy his life time and now can serve you. I would also recommend getting the Greater Magic Billy McComb Tape / DVD to learn it. On the website we have Billy doing the act. So get your piece of classic magic.







Chameleon Change Tuxedo Shirt

Our friends from Chameleon Magic have made what I think is the finest "Quick Change" costume prop for your show. These folks have worked out every detail to make a clever prop. Imagine during the course of your show that you take quick turn around or bow behind your table only to change from a tuxedo shirt into a other shirt. These are well made and can be used with ease. A visual magical delight for your audience. This is the kind of thing that makes your show that much more a memory of your performance. The same company also makes a suit type shirt costume change. Well done to our friends at Chameleon Costume .









Renaissance FX

One of magic's newest talents Jay Mattioli has done it again. First he came up with a vanishing cell phone now he has Renaissance FX. this is a device (actually 2) that lets you create all sorts of visual "Street Type" magic. The package comes with special gimmicks that let you do all sorts of cool stuff. Work with productions, Changes, Levatations and much more. With these gimmicks you can make a IPod Float, a hank dance, objects change, flash restored rope, ideas for fast dove productions, and so much more. Jay is a young creative genius in magic and his ideas are real world visual. Watch the online video of what you can do with Renaissance FX. Its like owning your Special FX company when you get this package. The ideas are endless.



Nothing

What can one say of the creative mind of Max Maven, only one word.... scary. Max is some one that lives outside of the box and in a world of his own. For years he has produced magic effect that have both entertained us and made many a magician look cool on TV. Remember touching your TV set....that's Max's Routine. His wonderful series of videos called VideoMind showed all the possible ways mentalism can be done. Well now is the ultimate test performing with nothing!
Thats right no magic props only stuff you could pick up in a supermarket. Now this is not a let makeup a show routine when you lose your props. This is a solid 50 minute show with creative ideas fro Max, Eugene Burger, Stephen Minch and Michael Webber. This DVD includes Para-Sight a routine that has been out of print for over 25 years and copies sold for over $400.00.
So for the price we list this for, for the fact its "Max Maven", and for the fact it truly is a simple in simple out set up show your will have a show that is a mentalism masterpiece to perform.





Magic Under Fire

Over my 32 years performing I have done all types of events and parties. The title of this new DVD says it all "Magic Under Fire". Imagine every rough event you have ever done, well that is the idea behind Harry Robson's magic. You know what I am talking about. Getting hired and folks that don't want to see magic, folks drinking , noisey DJ's we face it all the time and yet the show must go on. Harry tips his favorite routines for this tough kind of crowd as well as tells of his funniest stories working the room. This is real world knowledge if you are just starting out or have done it for many years. I can relate to this DVD very well, as was just this weekend working a gig were if I didn't take some action the host would have thought I was not working. A real pro's advice on this DVD so live and learn before your next gig.





Tony's Tips

Well I hope you enjoyed last week's Houdini Does a Card Trick routine. I have heard from a few of you and it seems it was well liked. I hope to hear from more of you and hope you will send me a picture of your version. I will post them on this blog if you do send me them. I a wait your version AJ, Bill, Tom and those that did call in to the shop.

So this week what to share....mmmm. I have it! Magic for the body and the Soul. What is that you say. Well today I shared with one of our customers my Professor's Nightmare routine (I wrote a while back on this blog) about 3 different size kids but we are all the same on the inside. His problem was to create a show about bullies and how you have to be nice to your fellow man.
the ideas with magic just came out. So I tossed out some ideas to him and he is now on his way thinking in a more creative way.

This is the thing now a days. It is not about just getting hired to do a show at a school with magic. Schools want a educational slant. This can raise your worth in a busy market of magicians trying to get schools gigs. My friend Barry Mitchell has been a creative force in this market. So have other magicians. You may need to rethink your shows. Find a friendly theme that gets you the gigs. Topics can range from Recycle to Reading to Just Say No. It would be smat to even call your local schools to find what is needed and custom your program. You will be amazed how much is needed that the teachers just can't teach that a magician could. It is our power as entertainers that can make a differance in our shows.

Now understand a theme is not cause to lecture on the evils of something but, to do it it in away that the audience walks away with a good feeling. No one likes to be lectured at! Hell, how many times do we get turned off by a movie star asking for money for a cause. If that movie star moves us in a movie with a message we can feel it much better then someone saying give money. So that is your power as a magician do it magically and the message about the "problem" is a bitter pill that can be swallowed easier. Give inspriration with a message, give a magical moment in your performace. This is a way the message and the problem may get solved. Then you will look better then just a guy doing silly magic for a school school. Remember that someone inspired us, your job as a entertainer is to inspire the next generataion.


Best Magical Wishes
Tony Blanco

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

 

The Time for Creating and Sharing Ideas

Good day my friends. It appears its just a few weekends away from the time we change the clocks again (Fall back) and gain an hour. This is the great time of the season to have that one extra hour to be creative. If your a late night person (like I used to be) or a earlier riser, time to figure in that extra hour for productive ideas for your show. Spend the time to find a quiet time to create and even share your ideas. One of the great ways might be to join our newly improved and the return of the Hocus Pocus Roundtable. This is our version of the magic chat board but unlike other chat sights it's meant for the brotherhood of magic to grow and share as compared to ones that seem to want to do magic a bad service. Please join us and the Hocus Pocus Family of creators, performers and customers to further better the craft that we honor and work hard to be a part of ...Magic .
To sign up just start right here:
http://com5.runboard.com/broundtable



Tony's Tips


Superior Chinese Sticks

Searching the world over for the best products Paul has found what we are calling Superior Chinese Sticks. Now most magicians even very famous ones like Blackstone, Roy Benson, Fred Kaps have featured them in their act. Chinese sticks have been around a long time and they can be performed may ways. Heck Greater Magic put out a DVD just on this one prop alone. A Silent act or a talking act, Chinese sticks still to this day leave folks amazed and confused. So whats so great about these sticks? Ease of working and the perfomance inside is silent. Professionally made. Can be performed in almost any situation. Now the kicker, Paul has purchased up the entire line from this maker and is so impressed that if your not impressed with them, a full money back refund if your not impressed. No questions asked. So that truly makes them "Superior".


Jeff Hobson's Pro Lecture Series

Our good friend and comedy's Mr. Las Vegas, Jeff Hobson has done something amazing. First if you have ever seen Jeff Hobson Live video know how funny and how much he tipped of his comedy secrets. Well now Jeff has done it again, opening his bag of tricks for you in his Pro Series Lecture Series. Long ago Jeff produced a book which had so much information on the comedy business which had a limited run that it became a collectors item. Well now its back in a CD-Rom form with much much more "Hobservations" of show biz. As they say on TV but wait there is more as this is a 2 for the price of 1. This series includes his award winning One Man Parade from Linking Ring. At the time it only had a few black and white drawings, this time it has full color photos to teach you each of the effects. This is a must have lecture from one of magic's full time, funny all the time, working pros. Don't miss out.







Perfect Choice

From one of magic's greatest legends Mike Caldwell comes Perfect Choice. Recreating this routine that made Mike's reputation are our friends at Malloy Modern Magic and Kerry Ross. This effect is being released for the first time from the late Mike Caldwell. I ask that you read the full description of the effect on the website. Leave it to say that many spectators are choosen and deck of cards is in plan sight all the time and random choices are given by each spectator and when that deck is opened....you have one truly amazed audience. Again read the full decription and get blown away by this power magic miracle.







Vanishing Dove Carousel


Each of us at Hocus Pocus tend to have a favorite type of magic. Mike likes wacky comedy stuff. Dexter is our mentalism master of the strange. I tend towards close-up and fun family stuff. Paul is the guy that spent his early magic career as a Dove magician. When he saw this new Vanishing Dove Carousel he said 'This is the type he wished he had when performing". The construction of this prop is very well made and sets up very easy. This being a major plus for a real working pro, easy in the theatre easy out. Imported from Europe so that of course means we have a limited amount of them in stock, so add this wonderous prop to your show soon.








Art of Astonishment

From one of magic's closeup masters and creative forces Paul Harris is his new DVD "The Art of Astonishment". Paul has gained a reputation for looking at things jst a little different then you and I would. Because of this, for well over 20 years he is ever producing books, effects, videos and now DVD's. This DVD takes your into a "Strange" world of Astonishment. The effects on this DVD will blow away the minds of your audience as well as impress them with your talents to say the least. Effects include items with cards, coins, dollars and even the carbonation of a soda can. So take a ride in the world of Paul Harris and maybe you too will start looking at things a little different from now on.




Tony's Tip


It feels like its been a while since I gave you all a "real trick" in my tip part of this blog so I guess your due for one. This past weekend in my Saturday Kid Magic Workshop I had them learn how to force a card. To be exact a slip cut force, and learn these young magi's did. Then the question came up where or how do you need to force a card. I pointed out that effects like Insurance Policy when you end up with a banner of say the King of Diamonds is on the inside and now the policy is void cause you did find the choosen card. Just then I came up with a idea since we have so many magic posters in the workshop room, thanks Paul! One such poster is the Houdini King of Cards poster.
So here now is

"Houdini Does a Card Trick "

"One of the most famous, if not thee most famous magicians was Harry Houdini. Harry was know as the King of Escapes. His legend was famous for being either tired up in ropes, chains and locks only to escape. Legend has it that on Halloween the only escape that Harry could not escape from was Death.


All that time you are removing a photo from a bag first of Harry Houdini handcuffed. Then a small version of the King of Cards poster. Picture of Harry goes back in the bag/envelope.

"Now before Harry was known as the King of Escapes, he was know as the King of Cards. It is for this reason today that magicians still perform card tricks in his honor".

Bring out a deck of cards, riffle thru and ask the spectator to say stop, cut the deck and have them take the top card. You close the cut of the deck and then take the card back. Show the card back to everyone. Do a top change. Place the deck down and pick up the envelope/bag and rub the card against the bag with the photo in it. Turn the card over and show that it is now a blank card!!

Tear open the envelope (or tear apart bag) to show the photo Harry still in Handcuffs yet holding the choosen card.

"Once the King of Cards, always the King of Cards! Ladies and Gentleman, Harry Houdini".

Not bad huh. All that is needed is either a double envelope or large (8x10 size) tear apart bag, a copy of the King of Cards poster and two photos of Harry Houdini. Make these pictures about 8x10 so that can read from parlour to stage well. The photos are easy to get of the web from Google images. This is the photo I found the I liked and imposed a card right next to Harry's thumb on the left side of the photo. The real work is to scan a card and load it on to a photo of Harry. This you can do on the computer with a program like Microsoft Home Publishing or something like that.

Print the two photos and laminate them as well as the King of Cards poster, this makes for a longer lasting prop. The rest of the routine is really in the text and patter is up to you. I came up with most it that day for the kids. I have been using the line "this is why magicians perform card tricks in honor of Harry" actually for about 4 years. So I guess the rest of the effect really just fell into place the other day. I hope you also know that the one picture of Harry without the card on it goes into the secret double pocket of the envelope/bag after showing it in the beginning. The 2nd photo of Harry with the choosen card will be the one the audience sees when the bag/envelope is ripped open.

Give it a shot, make a set up just in time for your Halloween shows. Remember this could also be a close up effect with a smaller picture of Harry or a really large picture for stage. Hope you enjoy this from me and my group of great young magicians.



Don't forget to join the Hocus Pocus Round Table and share your views, knowledge and wisdom.

Best Magical Wishes
Tony Blanco

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