Tuesday, March 27, 2007

 



A Little Spring Magic Cleaning

This past week has found me finally able to dig out boxes (still unpacking from the move) from Las Vegas. I am still setting up my workshops, one in the garage and one in the bedroom for sewing and paper magic. This past Friday night was a Sweet 16 party. The evening was wonderful for this outdoor event. It was held at the home of the promoter of the biker event I have done. This was his niece Sammy. The kids being 16 were hip, yet still were open to the magic and everyone found something for them in my show. Each kid pointed something different out that they liked so that was pretty cool. I have some photos to share on the end of this blog.

Just to remind all of you in the CA area that our next lecture is on April 16 with Mark Mason. We are so proud to have a performer and dealer/creator of magic visit us. So now is the time to give me a call and sign up for his lecture 1-800-407-4040. Those attending make sure you bring your funds as Mark will have some great effects for you to purchases. I say this in a modest way, you see I love English Magic and Mark will have effects that are not seen in the USA as well as humor that is different from ours. This will give you a new take on entertainment for your audiences.


Tony's Picks

Silk Thru Head


Here is one for all you guys and gals that are into " Street Magic", Silk Thru Head. I have noticed that those hip hop kinda guys that wear knit ski caps even in the middle of summer would love this magic effect. I would not be surprise if Blaine or Angel latch on to this one, and if they don't they have missed out on a truly visual effect. Wearing a ski cap you the magi introduce a silk with a ring on one end. You then start to actually push it thru the hat and your head, only to come out of the other side of the hat and your head. Yes it's that visual and yes that's "street magic" impressive. So, check out the on line video.











Shark Chopper

From the creative world of Wolf 's Magic, comes Shark Chopper. Chance has done it again with his wonderful craftsmanship and art work to take a finger chopper even further. His workmanship the use of fine materials makes this a collectors piece of magic. We are honored to have a limited, and I mean limited number of these Shark Choppers. It a finger chopper bottom line but its themed with a shape of a shark and will last you a life time and is worth collecting as it is "Wolf's Magic". Need I say more? Grab them up and add it to you collection.




Imperial Botania

The concept of producing a Botania of Flowers on stage goes way back in magic history by the likes of Houdini, Thurston, Kellar, Blackstone and many more. These are the finest feather flowers that have been made in a long time. We have purchase as many as we can get for this low price to share with the magic family of Hocus Pocus. Even Paul say "These are so wonderful for the price we could be charging so much more but we can pass the savings to everyone". If you are the type of magi that loves to hear your audiences go "ahhhhh" then this is for you. Well made and again will last a life time. If you love color and visual magic in your show this Botania is for you.








Alan Watson 7 Secrets

From Canada's creative magical talent Paul Romhany he shares with us all the creative talent of Alan Watson. Alan is a man that knows about marketing. Heck he has said that in one year he give out over 70,000 business cards and does not pay for any of them. That's marketing! Alan shares his tips on this DVD to get you work! He has been a regular performer in New Zealand for many years. On this DVD are the marketing types that have made him a star in his country. So why would you not want his ideas and passion to get work? We just have to thank Paul for interviewing Alan to share his knowledge and wisdom for the rest of the magic family.










CD Slicer

From our new young talent Jay Mattioli comes CD Slicer. This is Jay's take on the finger chopper done with a CD and the envelope that holds the CD. With a sticker placed on the CD that the spectator writes their name or initials on it. Then it is placed half way back in the envelope. The spectator sticks their finger in the center of the envelope and then the CD is placed in then pushed right thru the finger and the folder. That visual and same CD and no one is hurt with something everyone knows and can see it is the same CD .










Tony's Tip

Tonight I am honored to have a special guest for all of you. She is a close personal friend that is actually here as I write tonight's blog in my home. Her name is K.D. Younger, a known name if you read our HP chat room posts or even from the School of Scoundrels chat room. K.D. is from the Orange County area of California. She has been creating a show that takes the form of the old medicine shows. Now, of course you will say "that this is not what I do", but actually this is the magic and marketing that we actually strive for in our shows. It's the pitch and the selling of our act to get repeat work. So now my friend K.D Younger will chat with me about creating a show and persona tonight.

Tony: So K.D., What is it that you think of when creating a show or a persona?

K.D.: Well, for me it all starts with a persona. Once I decide on the persona I am portraying, I then build the act to fit role.

Tony: So if you're now doing a old fashion persona, what do you do or not do in your show? Where do you draw the line between certain magic effects?

K.D.: An effect has to be timeless. There can be lots of effects that seem to be trendy which would not fit the period of the character. I would not do an effect that currently you would deem as "Street magic" aka Blaine or Angel. I hold fast to the traditions of the barkers, and pitchmen before me. My show focus is on my character as a medicine show hustler. I pitch "Aunt Hattie's Miracle Magic Elixir". All of the magic I do is to prove the magic of the Elixir or the profits you save by purchasing it. That is the pitch and the con or comic entertainment in the show. In reality, all I am selling are empty bottles with a great looking period label from the era.

Tony: What is the type of audience you are working for? What are you going for in your show?

K.D. Well I work for the family crowd, "children of all ages" as in the famous pitch like one would hear a circus ringmaster say. In this way, I get to make (or hope to make) everyone like what I am going to perform. This pitch is not always to sell the Elixir or Snake Oil but to sell my performance style. This and this alone is what is the most important when any performer is on stage. Whether your Copperfield, Blaine, Angel, Wilson or Houdini. It is always about being a showman in that performer. The audience has to like the persona that you are creating in your show or style or presentation.

Tony: Thank you for all your insight . One last question, Do you think a show is driven by the trick or driven by the person? Do you create the show or the persona first?


K.D. It is always driven by the persona if not, you are then just a magician doing tricks. The way the audience relates to you, even if its not a persona you are, but it is a extension of who you are. This persona is not you 24 /7 but is a part of your creation of the magic you wish to show.

Well, K.D, thank you so much for sharing your insights and knowledge and talent with my readers. This among other reasons is why I call you my friend. I hope my readers will benefit from your wisdom.

Chat with you all next week
If you have something you wish to share and be apart of this blog email me at

Tony@hocus-pocus.com

till next time magically,
TonyBlanco
Here are the photos I promised


























Tuesday, March 20, 2007

 





A Magical First Day of Spring

Today is the first day of spring. Here in Fresno we have actually had temps in the 80's already. Today its pouring rain outside, so much for a sunny spring day. Spring reminds me of growth and rebirth. These past weekends I have been telling my students of an expression I use called "going back to the well". I have been searching thru the old magic books for new ideas.
One of which I will share with you later in "My Tips" tonight. The idea of teaching these young kids stuff that I first learned makes the magic new and fresh all over again. You tend to forget the stuff you first did when you started in magic for the hotter flasher stuff. Watching a DVD tonight of "old style" magic reminded me that this stuff is still great, if you can get past the dated jokes and stick. "There is gold in them there hills". Explore your past and create a new beginning.


Tony's Picks

Kovari Chinese Sticks


The name Kovari is one in magic that speaks of craftsmanship. His Chinese sticks are those things that magic legends are made of. Now our good friend and master craftsman Jay Leslie
with the rights of Kovari is making his Chinese Sticks. Jay has even made vast improvements to the fine work of Kovari. Jay has added a stop on the inside to prevent tangles of the string. He has found the finest string to make the sticks run even smoother. He has added the choice of colors to the outside as well as great looking tassels. All this makes these the finest Chinese stick you could use. To grab a copy of the Greater Magic Series DVD on Chinese Sticks would give you a great insight in what can be done with this classic magic prop. This will be a limited run so grab yourself a set real soon.




Off the Meter

From the masterful creative of mind of Steve Axtell, Axtell Puppets and Magic Drawing Board comes Off the Meter. How many times have you looked for the best way to warm up a kid show? What could you do to get kids to clap hand and scream and shout. Here now is simple in design but big in comedy comes "Off the Meter". You can begin the show showing a case that has a meter on the front and you have a microphone in hand to gauge the crowds reaction. Teaching the kids to clap hands moves the meter higher and higher. Scream and it moves more until it falls apart and springs come shooting out. We suggest even adding plastic gears and other funny thing like a spring snake or two. This is a super prop , made well , is very colorful and is going into my show ASAP.




UFG

From Hocus Pocus customer and inventor Jeremy Pei comes the Ultimate Flash Gimmick. Imagine showing your hands empty and then be able to produce a sparking flash. Jeremy has done just that with his new gimmick. This gimmick is made to be able to give you that extra bit of flash in the beginning, middle or end of a magic moment. Use it to produce an item with flash or vanish an object with a little flash. Either way this gimmick is the poof of magic that will make your act stand out. The uses are endless with such a powerful gimmick.


Magic Streetlight


Weeks ago, I was teaching my students the paddle move. This is such a useful move with everyday objects. Color changing knives have been a long favorite with this move. Cocktail sticks have always been cool to just pick up and do magic. One of my favorite moves is to remove the printing on a pen and the make the printing reappear. Paddles have always been magic. Now comes a really cool set of paddles "Magic Streetlight". With the colors jumping from one end to the other, then changing place and then even changing color. This is a nice set and small enough to always have ready to go. A video is on line to see part of the routine. You imagination can create even more.


Table Cloth Stunt

From a legend in the world of magic, David Ginn, comes the "Table Cloth Stunt". You know what I am talking about, the pulling off of a table cloth with a table full of dishes. You have seen it in many movies and it makes for such an amazing stunt. David Ginn the "Godfather of Family Entertainers" has perfected this stunt for over 20 years. He has created a DVD to show you all the proper moves to make this stunt work without ever breaking a single dish. To top this deal off even better, David includes just the right table cloth for the act that he has done in well over 100 live performances! So to be able to follow in the footsteps of Chaplin, Keaton, W.C. Fields and Laurel and Hardy we are so proud to be able to bring this DVD to you. To even sweeten the deal Paul says "Anyone ordering this DVD that mentions "Tony's Picks" when ordering this DVD either online or when calling an order in....Gets Free Shipping on this item". So don't forget to mention Tony's Picks if you wish free shipping on the DVD that will teach you a classic routine for your show. We also want to let you know to look for more of David's great magic soon to Hocus Pocus.


Tony's Picks

So as I mention the journey back to the well in the beginning of tonight's blog. This term I have gotten from the Irish folk group the Chieftains. A few years back they did a PBS special where they went back to Ireland and traveled to the city's and villages that they used to play. This was shown on this special with the help of some of today's musical talents that were inspired by the Chieftains when they first started out. Here on the show you see the Chieftains play along with many styles of musician yet still holding on to the core of the Irish folk music.

So my journey back to the "Well" comes in the same guise as teaching the new kids on Saturday and looking back on my travels and giving them the old with a new look. My travel started with watching Mark Wilson and owning his course in magic along with the Tarbell's and Bobo Coin magic. These were the bibles before videos and way before DVD's.

One such trick in its simple form is that of the lonely paper bag. My gosh the things I used to do with one little brown sack! From the Mark Wilson Course in Magic was the creation of the Double Walled bag. This is a device that is so over looked. The making of this bag is simple. Just cut the center of a brown paper bag so that you end up with a flap left and right, no bottom and the back. Glue this to the inside of another bag tabs to the left and right. Leave the back unglued. What you have made basically is a simple change bag that yet you can rip open and then toss away. So you can vanish stuff, produce stuff or even change stuff. Showing this to the kids here are a few ideas we all came up with.

1. A few colorful silks go in the secret pocket tear the bag open and produce one big multi color silk.
2. Same idea as above but now the final silk can either be Happy Birthday or a THE END silk.
3. Toss in ripped pieces of foil only to produce a streamer of silver
4. Same idea only silks to one long silk streamer.
5. Change a the wrong card to a jumbo card or to a Card silk
6. Produce a Rope, cut it up put the pieces in the bag only to become solid again.
7. Small objects can change or grow.

So that was a great round table of ideas from kids whose average age is around 10 -12. Just think back to something so simple that you may have forgotten how powerful a magical vision it was to the audience. Sometimes simple things are more magical then what you think.

Send me your favorite simple ideas and lets all share in the magic!

Best Magical Wishes

Tony Blanco
tony@hocus-pocus.com

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

 
Spring is in the Air, Time to plant New Ideas

So for the first time in a long time, Fresno has broken a weather record with temps in the 80's today. Normally its in the 50/60's so I guess with pushing the clocks up a hour earlier Spring is on its way early too. So now is the time if not to sooner to plan for those summer gigs as well as new birthday shows or school shows for the end of the season. This has been a great adventure for me, I am now for the first time in a long time getting repeat bookings. So after years of living in Vegas doing the same show day after day I need to up date my act. Luckly I have gathered so much stuff I could never use in Vegas that now I can. My career started first to combine magic and storytelling back in the mid '70s. So now to travel back down the path made me happy and got me where I am today and finally get to do what I wanted. Look at where you are. Are you really doing what you want? If not its time to plant new ideas for this Spring.

Tony' Picks


Whit Hayden's Teleportation Device

What can I say about a creative and great person like Whit. He has created so many routines, and shares his talents with the magic community. He has won awards from the magic castle for his talent and created the School for Scoundrels which lets magi's know of the great con men that have come before us. Whit has created a take on the Bill in Lemon that is chock full of comedy and magic. His routine is a 10 minute routine that has taken many years to develop. Please read the full write up for this limited effecet that has long been off the Hocus Pocus site and is sold only thru us. We still get calls for this effect and we are glad that Whit has started making it again. Trust me his ideas work for you who are and want to be workers!!







Bang On

Now here is an effect that is what it is, Bang On. Imagine just being able to bang the minds of a spectator with a simple question. Name a card any card!!! Then you just go into your suit and pull out a wallet then pull out a envelope from that wallet. This envelope then has one card and yes, it is the card that one person of the audience yelled out. That simple and yet that powerful of a magic effect. Is that what magic is about or what! Clever in its concept and powerful to boot!





Hatching

This one is for the bizzare magi or Street magic. Imagine having an egg either borrowed or on you. You then cause a coin to magically penetrate INSIDE the egg. A small hole is chipped in the egg, big enough to pour out some of the egg goo, but small enough that a coin, which will be found INSIDE the egg, cannot escape. Spectator can look inside the hole and verify they see the coin AND their mark. Spectator can reach through the hole and grab the coin with tongs or tweezers and pull it out THROUGH the shell themselves AND can immediately verify that it IS the same coin they marked earlier. No tricky sleights. Yes, there is a gimmick which you will have to create, but this takes less than 10 minutes once you have the knack, and many can be made at once and saved. You receive a manuscript giving you two versions of this effect, one totally impromptu, and another which thoroughly explains the gimmick. This is a nice 45 page instructional booklet, complete with over 50 illustrational photos.


Tipper Monkey

From our creative friend Bruce Kalver comes a standard by which all smart workers will see the reason to have Tipper. An ideal companion for restaurant magicians, clowns and balloon twisters. Tipper is great for street busking to collect your tips. When someone puts a tip in your hat, Tipper will say thank you and clap! Included with Tipper is the booklet "How A Monkey Made Me $75 in Tips in 45 Minutes" where Bruce Kalver explains all the routines with Tipper that he uses when he performs at restaurants. Tipper will instantly become the favorite part of your act. Tipper is also ideal for stage magic. He'll cue the audience when to clap and he'll yell at them when they don't! If you do ANY table hopping, don't do it without Tipper. You will get paid back for your investment in one week! THIS IS NOT A SOUND ACTIVATED DEVICE so a noisy restaurant is not a problem. Tipper is always under your control. Your hands are always free to twist balloons or do your magic. This precision piece of electronics is available in limited supply.




Bottoms Up

From our local good friend "Louie" who does alot of our electronical ideas such as Death Trap comes "Bottoms Up". Here is his take on the whole Russian Roulette fade. You know what I mean 3 bags and a Spike or a Nail and slamming your hand on the bags. Well, Louie has taken the fear of you showing up on YouTube messing up your show or a spectators hand. His version is even kid friendly for a birthday party. The workings are so simple that you can carry it all in your pocket. It is so safe that this is the one that I would do. A little acting is the key to bring it home but I know all of you can do it. Well crafted props and simple home spun DVD explains it all. Even the proper way to break a bottle to do this effect right in a bar or other venue so that it is as clever as it is on the spot with no set up!!








Tony's Tips

We as magicians (I say magi when I write) are as Willy Wonka would say are the "Dreamers of Dreams". It is simple to buy magic. I do, you do. I have spent a life time researching the gods that have come before me. I even say I can't do this because its so and so's trick. Well in the last year I find it funny to hear Rod Stewart singing songs of the 40's and 50's. Its not his act or his songs. He has made them his for this new generation. We know them and remember Bob Hope, Judy Garland singing them but now it's his song for a new crowd. He is still the Rocker Rod but seeks the new crowd of an older audience. Well tonight I give you as well as myself permission to do the magic of Max Maven, Bill Abbott, Jeff Hobson, Barry Mitchell and many more. Only and I repeat only if they have sold their routines on videos, DVD's and in package forms for the magic community. I have always had a problem to buy a tricks from a famous magician and then claim it as mine. Well these folks are selling them the same way Sammy Davis Jr. made the song Candy Man famous which was sung by a english actor in the first Wonka movie and never made as much money from it as Sammy did.

I am not saying that you should ever steal a person's act. Never should you!!! As the magic marketing world grows and our famous magi's are releasing DVD's everyday of the acts that they have spent a life time on should we forget these great routines either. Folks like Billy McComb set the standard for what is great and powerful magic. These, like great songs should never be lost. One of my favorite stories to tell is how I learned the Silk to Apple routine from a Jeff Hobson tape. I did it for 2 years at Excalibur Hotel Casino. Jeff was now coming into Excalibur with his own comedy magic show. I thought great, I need to stop doing it for Jeff will surely be doing it. I asked him about it. A few days he got back to me thru one of our cast and said "I have other things to do, you can still do it". What a classy guy!!! When I showed him what I had done with it he joked that I should put out a tape on how much more I have added to his basic routine that I learned. I heard the same type of story about Lance Burton doing the slow motion vanish bird cage which is Billy's main piece and they were both on the same show. Billy told him to "go ahead and do it your the star of the show, I have other things to perform". That again is pure class.

So my take tonight is that we not forget the great songs (routines) that our famous magicians create and preserve them before they are lost to the general public. So many books are full of great acts that most of todays magicians we will never use. This is why my home is so full of books and acts that we all should be using today. Never forget the creative minds that come before us. Please save the past in magic before you just perform a new version of the old and yet forget the classic version of a trick. It is the smart magician that updates old jokes and moves but don't forget the Well that we all come from. This is my current term ... It is time to go back to the Well to get new ideas. Reread your Tarbells, Mark Wilson Book of Magic, Royal Road to Card Magic, Bobo, Harry Loyarne and so many more.

Thanks for reading my rant...lol


I want your take and views

tony@hocus-pocus.com

Best Magical wishes and career

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

 
Time to Plant and Grow New Ideas


Here in the Fresno area if you don't know it is considered the heart of the California farming area. This is the area that gave the world the "California Raisins". Fresno is the capitol of Raisins as well as many types of nuts and of course Oranges. Years ago Carol Burnett even made a spoof of the TV show Dallas called "Fresno" about the raisin barons vs. the oil barons of Dallas. Try to find it sometime it was so funny and shows off local landmarks.

What is my point tonight. The kids I teach are the new crops of magicians. Thanks to one of my adult students Jennifer Ward who works for the Fresno Bee our local paper. She set up a video guy Will Albritton to interview my kids and show my class. Thank you to you both. Remember a few weeks back I mention that our local paper, The Fresno Bee was coming by to do a video story. It is now up on the web for you to see. Here is the link to see the video.
http://www.fresnobee.com/402/story/33468.html . The boys gave great sound bits when asked about magic. They looked like Pro's so check out Will's great video work.
Those in the CA area don't miss out to call in and reserve your chair for Mark Mason in April.
1-800-407-404



Tony's Tips


Electronic Card Fountain

Not since the great works of Marcelo Contento have we seen a great Card Fountain. Marcelo set the standard for what a card fountain should be. Introducing the Electronic Card Fountain, a modern miracle of magic and electronic wizardry. This incredible device works on a timer principle, enabling you to set the timer for 5, 10, 20, 40, 80, 160, and 320 seconds! What other card fountain allows you to do that? No more needing to worry about another remote control in your pocket; the Electronic Card Fountain is entirely self-contained and a bargain at the asking price. From our friends at Saio magic we are proud to continue the standard of Card Fountains.

Jay Sankey

A legend that sets the standard for creative ideas for the working pros. Any product or DVD that Jay puts out means that Jay has time tested it in the real world. No pipe dreams and no having to change it to make it work for your show. We are honored at Hocus Pocus to now carry the entire line of Jay Sankey. His creative ideas are ones that will make you look so way cool when performing. So now Jay has his own section to link to on the left side of the website. Check out his entire product line on our site.








Underground Jam DVD

In the spring of 2005 Jay sent out a world-wide request for audition videos featuring original material from unknown magicians. In response, performers from more than a dozen countries submitted more than 200 tapes and dvds! From this mountain of submissions Jay and his team unanimously selected Joe Diamond, Eric Leclerc and Jeff Stone. A few months later, Jay, Joe, Eric and Jeff met up in Toronto and over a couple of days taped an outstanding collection of close-up magic and mentalism including 20 effects with matchbooks, coins, playing cards, keys, film canisters, wrist watches, chewing gum, water bottles and magic markers.





Materialize DVD, Volume 1 by Ed Ellis

One of my jobs here at Hocus Pocus is to bring you the fresh new items. Now for over 25 years, Ed Ellis has performed close-up magic, sleight of hand illusions, and full time table side magic for Hollywood, TV, and sports celebrities. Ed has also performed his amazing close-up illusions at Las Vegas' Caesar's Palace, lectured at the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood, and in 2005 was the star of the Ed Ellis TV Show. The following effects here are straight from Ed's working repertoire and are for both the beginning and advanced card worker! As an added feature this DVD includes Magic Castle and TV footage from Ed's promo reel. So I am proud to introduce his DVD to you. Thank you Ed for sharing your talents with the magic family.

Deck to Cell Phone

This trick was a complete sell-out at the recent 2007 World Magic Seminar and Columbus Magi-Fest. Almost every demo of this item resulted in an immediate sale! Here's what happens The magician holds in his hand a deck of cards. He covers the deck for mere seconds with a jumbo card. The card is removed, the deck of cards has vanished and in its place is the performers cell-phone. The jumbo card by the way can be show on both sides immediately without any funny moves. It can also change a blue deck into a red color, become a packet of cigarettes, some candy or a bunch of business cards, an MP3 player, an iPod, or any other object of this size! This is so cleverly constructed that just by seeing it work is a joy. It is very easy to do and automatic! It's so simple to perform, you'll almost feel guilty when you do! Don't pass this one up; this is what all the buzz is about!



Chat with you soon with more magic and news
Tony










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