Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
This past weekend things were still running (I look forward to the 3 day weekend) busy. Saturday for the first time in weeks I had the last session of the kids magic class. We will start back up for another 4 week set of sessions, Saturday June 9th. If you are a local kid magician and are interested please call the shop, 559-266-5150. Now last week I mention about the performing again at the Biker Event I did once before. Let me tell you if you have never gone to a Biker event its an eyeful. First off there were a large amount of finely made and incredible designed motorcycles. This is a serious competitive event for bike builders. Then there are the vendors with everything from biker clothing, helmets and so much biker stuff. Then the shows one stage featured dancers and a band. Another stage featured my magic show.
I just wanted to take the time to point out a few new product categories on the website. If you look to the left side of the website you see some 3 new categories. Axtell is Steve Axtell and his world of wonderful puppets and magic products. Clown will feature some great products for the working clown. Right now we are introducing ShoeBee's Clown shoes. Then we have a clearance section for those of, you looking get a great deal on some items that we have .
Tony Clark's In & Out Rope Escape
Tony Clark has been a main stage stable in the Reno/ Tahoe casino showrooms for many years. He is now sharing his take on the rope tie escape. This is a routine that he has worked night after night perfecting and now you can do it too! Here is a 5 minute comedy Packed routine that as we all look for packs small and plays big. Tony has done this act for TV spots for news programs as well as in live performances on stage. This routine and a piece of rope can create many magical moments and make you a name for your show.
Kikuchi Fire Phone
One of the most magical types of manipulation I think is simple with everyday objects. Even that most people don't sew much any more let alone use a thimble to protect their finger (I do when I have to). Thimbles rock! It's the fastest version of a billiard ball act one can do and carry everywhere. Now our friend Joe Mogar has spent over 50 years performing this style act and is tipping his knowledge and wisdom on a DVD. He shares get moves and vanishes that you may never have seen or heard of. Joe is the same man who has created some of the finest color changing knives so you know this man is all about closeup magic at its finest. I got my copy and am amazed to see how much is on this DVD that I only could read about and still never learned right. Here is an act that again plays big and packs small for sure.
Here is a well made prop that lends itself to so many great comedy routines for the family show or adult show. The comedy funnel has been a main stay in most magic shops but each time the funnel will have one or two draw backs. This version has a nice trigger that makes the magic work just fine for any running gag in a show. Warming endorsed by our friend Gaetan Bloom you know that a working pro enjoys a well made prop. Check this one out for all of you that consider yourself a working pro!!!
From the time I first saw Max Maven on the World's Greatest Magic say Boo! I knew that a new world of magic had been uncovered. The world of Bizarre magic is that of what legends and stories are made of. A good magician knows that sometimes it is the story that makes the effect. So now with the Bigger Boo of Boo comes magic and stories that will touch you audience in the most weird way. Finally, it's back and bigger. Over twenty years ago, Everett with input from a few good friends wrote a book. Within months The Big Book of BOO became a "must have" for performers that appreciated the new frontier known as Ghost Magic. Here in one concise volume was the off the wall thinking of Larry Baukin, Scott Davis, Linc Darklon, Adrian Devlyn, Joseph Fraher, Maskelyn Ye Mage, Jim Magus, Terry Tyson and tied together by Everett. Long out of print, it is now being re-published as part of a larger expanded work, so don't miss out on this amazing collection of magic and story effects.
This week I got an email from creative and inventive magician Mark Strivings. Mark is a full time pro working out of Denver, Colorado. He is best known in the trade as a mentalist but Mark does all kinds of magic shows ranging from daycares and schools to libraries and walk around. Over the years we have carried many of Mark's fine books and effects. He has just written a new book called "Magic That Matters". Here are a few tips he has found to be invaluable for decades now. He will now quote directly from his book. Thank you, Mark.
Magic That Matters"
Mini Tip #1
I know a top working pro who is absolutely top notch in every aspect of his work with the major exception of how he treats his props. To tell you the truth I have no idea how in the world he manages to keep his props looking good at all. When he’s done with a prop he throws it back into his case and I know for a fact that those props are being beaten to death. Some of them are virtually irreplaceable. The day is coming where his props will no longer be usable anymore and he is doing it to himself. How can anyone work this way?
As you well know, many times a prop comes along on the magic scene, is available for a while and then disappears forever. How can you replace a prop if it’s no longer available? Well more often than not you simply can’t, which is why the scenario above really bothers me. It is an absolutely true story and it gives me nightmares, as it should you. I know most guys try to take good care of their props and that’s a very good thing. The problem comes in when you are actually trooping those props from venue to venue and performing with them often. I found a way to protect those somewhat fragile cardboard and wooden props and keep them looking good through hundreds and thousands of performances. Try the following idea out and you will increase the life of your flat props many times over.
Go to your local well-stocked office supply store and get a box of large Tyvek envelopes. These envelopes come in a variety of sizes and can be had in boxes numbering up to 100 or even 500 envelopes to a box. At the very least get a box of 9 X 12 inch (or even better, get 10 X 13 inch envelopes) and a box of 6 x 9 inch envelopes. They are pricey, but they are worth their weight in gold.
Next week I hope to share more tips from my working pro friends. Thank you again Mark and we look forward to your new book. Thank to my sponsor for the biker event and his lovely models that helped me look good when they did so much to make the magic happen also.
A little Chair Magic
Biker Babes and Magic ala Zig-Zag Illusion
Its a kind'da Biker Babe Magic
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Last weekend it was down to LA area, this past weekend Lisa (my lady) and I traveled up the coast of California to Mendocino (Northern CA.). Now this was not the romantic get away weekend I wished, yet. Believe it or not I had a gig 5 hours out of Fresno it was a birthday party for a charming little girl whose home sat on top of a mountain overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The view was spectacular as was the weather and the folks at the party. A tent was set up for this grand little gal's event. Lisa and I actually left Fresno at 4 am and got there about 9:30, earlier then the 12:00 call (that I use) for a 2:00 performance. I was told that it was 4 hours above San Francisco and it would have been if we got caught in traffic coming up the mountain. So getting there early enough I set the show and we went into the town of Mendocino and played tourist. For your knowledge Mendocino has been the home to many movies and television shows, most famous as the village shots for "Murder She Wrote" and the town of Cabot Cove. So after a quick visit we headed back to the home for my show. Just a wonderful view and the kids were great too.
Once done with the show, Lisa and I were going to head home to Fresno but on the way back pulled into the town of Santa Rosa for a hotel and dinner. Looking in the lobby at the tourist cards (always look for them) was one card for the Charles M. Schultz museum. Yea, Charles Schultz of Peanuts fame. I found out Santa Rosa was his hometown and he did so many great things for this cool little city. We got up early (not as early as the day before) and spent the morning visiting the museum, his ice rink, and of course the gift shop. As I was a big Peanuts fan as a kid, there were a few touching moments as I viewed his original artwork. "Sparky" (as Schultz was known) had been drawing Peanuts cartoons for over 50 years. There is so much to see and enjoy, if your in the Santa Rosa area take the time to visit this amazing place for the history of the legendary art of Charles M. Schultz and the world of Peanuts (http://www.schulzmuseum.org/) .
Sometimes you never know what magic you find when your travel.
Trilogy DVD Johnny Ace Palmer
Now on DVD from Johnny Ace Palmer was voted Best Close-Up Magician at the Magic Castle in Hollywood two years in a row. He is the only magician to have received both the International Brotherhood of Magician’s Gold Cups Award of Excellence and the Society of American Magicians’ Gold Medal Award of Honor. And, at the triennial International Federation of Magic Societies’ Convention (FISM), magicians from 47 countries around the world witnessed, for the only time in the history of magic, the GRAND PRIX, magic’s highest honor, being awarded to a close-up magician - Johnny Ace Palmer. Johnny shares with you his top material that has made him a world champion many times over. this is also magic for the real world as in working restaurants and parlor magic. There is over 4 hours of material on these 2 DVDs from one of magic's clever performers. Check out all the effects he shares on the website.
First off what is an Ambry? I looked it up online and it is an enclosure with wooden doors that can be pushed back found in a medieval church for storing goods. Later on it developed into cupboard with doors and fitted shelves for storage. So here you have an effect that begins with a platform which contains 9 different knobs from the cupboards around grandma's house. Over the years knobs would be changed and grandma started a collection of what she used to have. Now comes the bizarre magic point of this charming effect. She was a mischievous lady who always hid a surprise in one of the drawers when you would visit and then give you just one chance to choose the correct drawer and claim your surprise. You never missed.
A small paper bag which has been in full view, is turned around by a member of the audience. You never touch it. On the bag is written the word “Photographs.” You tell the audience that your grandmother kept her photographs in one of the drawers, the drawer with the knob that the spectator choose. You name the selected knob. Inside the bag, the spectator finds an old photograph and a cookie. The photograph shows your grandmother. The cookie is for the spectator who correctly selected the appropriate knob. That’s a wonderful trick. But there is more.
You tell the audience that you’d like to explain how you always knew which drawer held the surprise. But you can’t. It only worked when your grandmother was there. It was her, not you, who made the magic happen. You turn the table around so that everyone can see a tag hanging from a string. The tag—one of the labels that came from the ambry — says “Photographs” on it. You pull the skirt away from the table, exposing it. The tag has a hole punched in it that fits over the head of the bolt attached to the knob selected by the spectator. And that is how you knew. Because you never could duplicate what your grandmother did — until now. It wasn’t you who selected the drawer with the surprise. It was your grandmother who always predicted which drawer you were going to choose. You predicted that a member of the audience would choose that particular knob. You pull it up and the audience sees the “Photographs” tag fall once again.
Finally, you show the bottom of the table. There is only one tag there. The only way that the tag could have fallen like it did is if the spectator selected the knob you predicted. You ask the spectator with the paper bag to look inside and remove the items left. Eight different paper tags from your Grandmother’s antique ambry and each one has a different word on the label. The beautiful props and the nostalgic script deliver a wonderful effect and an unforgettable piece of theater. Comes complete with everything you need to perform: script, table, skirt, drawer knobs, paper bag, gimmick, photograph and tags. There are no forces or any kind used. You may choose to us other object instead of a photo. It is all up to you to keep grandmother's magic alive.
The Lecture Network
Imagine being able to have some of the best working pros from around the world on your computer teaching you. This is basic idea behind Jeff Hobson and Loren Christopher Michael's Lecture Network. If you the kind of magician that is working all the time. Maybe you live in a area that magicians don't come to your town to lecture, this is your chance to see and hear 40 lectures a year. So check out the link on the front page that my friend Jeff Hobson has given use to hear the wisdom of the best of the working Vegas entertainers give to all of you worker. I encourage all of you to sign up for this great idea to learn from working pros, maybe Jeff will ask me too to chat with all of you also.....lol. Honestly this is going to be a real big deal and I highly recommend you join his network to learn and grow from the years of pros like Lance, Jeff, Loren, Losander, Luna, James, and so many more of my Vegas friends.
Best Magical Wishes
Kids getting rewarded for coming on stage
A wonderful view of magic and the coast of California
The Worlds largest rabbit I have ever seen in town in Mendocino
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Once again it has been like that "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" line from the movie. "Life moves really fast if you don't stop to look around you might miss it". So lets start last Friday I spent the day with over 1000 kids at an event called "Kid's Day". This was a 4 hour walk around day for me with disable children, some not able to walk or some with mental disabilities. It was one of those events that anything you do for the children will be a gift of love and magic. About a thousand students attended the event. All of Fresno's best turned out to help give a special memory to these kids. Police & Fire departments with many action packed things to see. Forest rangers with Smokey the Bear off course. My friend folksinger Oklin Bloodworth singing and dancing up a storm with the kids. Myself, well it was a combo of juggling and magic. Keeping it as visual as possible, for attention spans are short but still entertained.
Then Saturday morning finds my picture in the paper from the event (that is the photo above) as I prepare to pick up Mike in our rental van with lots of Hocus Pocus goodies. We are off to the Hollywood and the Magic Castle. After a 3 hour drive, we arrive in the land of movies & magic at the Magic Castle Hotel. Our trip to the Castle was because of an invite from the great Mark Wilson to be part of Dealers Day on Sunday.
Still back to Saturday, Paul has arranged lunch for all of us at Musso and Frank, Hollywood's oldest bar/dinning place to be seen. Then we all did the tourist thing and of course visited a magic shop, Hollywood magic. Then Mike and I wandered Hollywood Blvd and found the perfect gift for Paul a poster from the movie the "Sunshine Boys" his favorite movie. That night we had a wonderful dinner at the Castle and toasted Paul's daughter Aimee's 21'st birthday. Sunday morning finds us setting up what must have been the largest rows of tables to display the wonderful wares that we sell. Lots of folks came by and it was great to met some of you in person for the first time. The dealers day went off like clock work in both set up and tear down to head back to Fresno.
Last night the Fresno magic community was treated to a great lecture by our friend Danny Archer. Danny is a creative thinking performer who knows how to entertain as well as teach. His newest lecture "Danny Archer on Target" is full of great ideas for the working pro. Most of his routines that are in his lecture notes are easy to make yourself. His ideas all pack flat and play big. This is great for all of us who travel and want to get the most bang for the punch when performing. So don't miss out if Danny comes to your town to lecture. Also don't miss out on his Las Vegas Magic Invitational being held where else Las Vegas, June 10-12. You can actually sign up for the convention thru Hocus Pocus at 1-800-407-4040. So that's why this weekend feels like it just didn't end, but it was all fun. Hope you had as much fun too.
World's Greatest Magic Stand Up Magic DVD
From the folks at L & L another in the series of some of the greatest magicians teaching a special skill. The World's Greatest Magic DVDs have covered topics such a coins across, Card warp, Cigarette through Quarter, Sponge balls, Rope routines, and much more. This new series off 3 DVD covers Stand Up Magic. These DVDs always feature some of the best magicians that have appeared on a L & L series of videos (now DVDs). So now World Greatest Magic (kinda the best of L&L I like to say) topic is Stand Up magic and features the likes of Richard Osterlind, Johnny Thompson, Bill Malone, Terry Seabrook and that's just Volume 1! This series is designed for you if you perform platform, stage or even in the parlour. It is a great series of DVDs so don't miss out.
David Stone Real Secrets of Magic
Now here at Hocus Pocus we are on the pulse of what's happening in magic. So it is amazing when some of our customers ask about an item before we have it on the website. Such is the Case with Real Secrets of Magic by David Stone. Here is a DVD Volume 1 that takes you past just doing the magic but how to have a life long career as a magician going. Some of David's tips are on capturing and entertaining an audience. Effects that are easy to perform and have commercial appeal. David takes the time teach you new ways of learning magic. As well as working in those tough conditions that come up from time to time. Included on this DVD are fantastic effects with cards, coins, rope, bottles glass, roses all real world objects in real world situations. This DVD is well over 2 hours of footage, plus many extras. Check it out!!!
Kandu's Rootin' Tootin' Root Beer
One of the classics's of magic is the Multiplying Bottles. In the hand of folks like Fred Kaps, Tommy Wonder, Nick Lewin, Lance Burton this is a wonder to behold. The only problem was that this effect involved bottles that either look like wine or booze. Now our friend Jeff Eaton aka Kandu has created a fantastic family friendly version of the multiplying bottle routine. The routine is great and comes with a great warm up effect also. The labels look so cool with the Rootin' Tootin' Root Beer logo created by Jeff. So this is it the first time professional ready family friendly version. The bottles are well made out of spun metal. Don't miss out on a great family effect. I have already gotten my set for my medicine show so should you.
Party Animal DVD set by Matthew J. Dowden
Matthew is a professional close-up magician and on his debut DVD you will experience some of his LIVE work. There is NO audience setup and NO fake reactions, just the real work in a real world setting. All the routines explained on this DVD have been audience tested over hundreds of performances. The handling of each effect has been honed to perfection and each one has been geared for maximum entertainment value and quick, visual impact! Learn all of this and more on this incredible two-disc set! Also includes much more including a bonus section featuring Matthew’s routines & technique for stealing watches. Not to be missed DVD!!!!
Shoebee's Professional Clown Shoes
These are the best looking clown shoes I have seen. Remember that I have been a working clown also and trained by Ringling Bros Clown College. My first pair of shoes were custom and cost me over $400. These shoes are so impressed with these, the quality of these European clown shoes, that I am glad that we need to offer them to our Hocus Pocus customers! All leather construction for long life and durably, vibrant colors and unique patterns and design. One size fits all. Perfect for clowns, children entertainers, MCs, circus entertainers, etc. Imported from England, one size fits all! Spice up your act today with a pair of these cool clown shoes! Please take a look in the "clown supplies" section for more styles and colors. Many color and styles to choose from.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
From the wonderful workmanship of Colin Rose comes Bish Bash Bosh his take on the Russian Roulette crazy in magic. This version is so family friendly. No Knives or Spikes but the funny possibility of smashing the wrong cup that has a egg in it. Colin has crafted the finest of woods to make his effect so wonderful looking yet also very normal looking to the eyes of spectators as just simple wooden stands he calls plinths (platforms). One of these has a wonderful hand turned egg cup and the other 3 are just the plinths covered by poly foam coffee cups. Colin also includes a matching wooden mallet hand turned of matching wood. Its comedy and magic and safe and again family friendly.
From creative closeup master Gregory Wilson comes Freakey. This is his take on the copper/silver change this time using Keys. There is a street style performance of this act on the website to see all of the magic that Greg has come up with. Its a clever version and worth the price to be able to look like its a simple act, which it really is. There are no hard sleights to learn its magic fast and amazing. So don't miss out on this effect. See the video!
Here is one for those movie magic buffs effects from the talents of Jason Palter and Ari Sorokas. Everyone loves hearing about their favorite movie star now comes a mentalist challenge. Showing a sketchbook filled with over 40 great looking drawing of movie stars you are going to try to predict which star your spectator chooses. You then cover your head with a red bag as your spectator picks a star from the book. You try a couple of times to name the star, both times failing. When you remove the bag a big surprise awaits your audience. All fine made props, the sketch book alone would cost you at least a thousand bucks to have had professionally drawn. This is a pack small plays big type of effect! Don't miss out on this one.
From our friend Bruce Kalver, the genius behind many magic effects, DVDs, and books comes Restaurant Portfolio. Here is a no holds back book to getting and working and keeping a restaurant gig. Working a restaurant be you magician, balloon artist or face painter can be a very money making venture. Bruce has built a life long business from entertaining in the some of the more popular food chains. In this book everything is covered from tips to making the magic moment when only a magician can save the day. This type of work opens the door for you to get outside gigs as well and that to is talked about in this great book. Bruce shared a story with me when he recently visited Hocus Pocus about giving a lecture from this book in a restaurants private room with a room full of magicians. He made a very fancy balloon and gave it to the waitress, a few moments later the manager wanted to book him for the place. The power of a balloon. Who knew? Don't miss this out on this book which is so fill with knowledge and updated from the last time it was printed.
Well as I said last night was a last minute call to run to a private company party. Being Ready, Set, Go means having things ready at the drop of the hat. My clothing gets cleaned after the weekend on Monday. Suits are always pressed and rehung in the same spot. Magic props and tricks I carry are always placed back in their proper magic bag or Ziploc bag or container.
Never leave anything to chance. Lately alot of my gigs are not like in Las Vegas, those are planned out in advance. Sometimes with a year contract to let you know way in advance what you will need. This time around here in Fresno, the calls come in for the day before or even that day. It is a whole other world, but you can get more money for a gig by some one's lack of planning. So you better always be prepared!
I hope to see some of you this weekend at the Magic Castle on Sunday. Paul, Mike and I will be on hand to sell, take photos and sign photos. Please make a point to mention Hocus Pocus to get to visit us on "Dealer's Day" presented by our good friend Mark Wilson
Best Magical Wishes,