Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Another Busy Yet Magical Weekend

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.

This time around the sponsor wanted me to use some of his models for the show, which meant he wanted some illusions in the show. I have always wanted to do an illusion show since I was a teen, but learned many other skills over the years so that I never had a chance to have boxes or showgirls in my shows even all those years in Las Vegas.

This time I got to have both. So (after all these years I could afford to have ) a zig-zag made for the show and my sponsors company did the painting. That really came down to the wire for the painting. We still didn't do the figure of the girl on the front. Next I got to meet with a charming gal who was the perfect size for the Illusion. Believe it or not after a few quick rehearsals and she got the routine down. I was also given two other girls to be my Ta-Da girls. Remember this was a Biker event and they didn't come to see my magic...lol, it's about bikes and babes. At the end of the blog I have shared a few pictures of this wild day. All and all it was a real learning experience and different from any event you would normally do, but hey isn't that why we all do this anyway to learn and grow!

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's Picks

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

The name Kikuchi stands for some of the best products that we have sold from the land of the rising sun this past year, Ghost Spoon and other Spoon effects. Well now you can have the power to magical produce fire from a cell phone. Here is a very real looking prop that will give the impression of a cell phone and yet do many magical fire effects. So open a cell phone and flames appear close it and the flames are out and all looks normal. A very clever idea for real world use and no one will thing twice when it all happens quick and simple.

Thimble Dexterity

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.

Comedy Funnel

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!!!

The Bigger Book of Boo

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.

Tony's Tips

Featuring Mark Strivings

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"

Mark Strivings

Mini Tip #1

In an earlier chapter I mentioned I was going drop in some nuggets from time to time throughout the book. These are little tips and tricks I have learned and used over the years and I’m going to start you off with one that will save you a ton of grief.

As a magician I am very fond of props that pack flat, as witnessed by the fact that a bunch of the ideas and tricks contained in this book use flat props. The reasons are two-fold. First they take very little room in your case, which is always a good thing. Second they invariably play much bigger than they actually are, also a very good thing. Many of these props are made of cardboard or even paper and, as such, are not the most rugged props in the world.

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.

In case you are not familiar with Tyvek, it is a material that is as thin as a piece of paper yet is tough as nails. It cannot tear yet you can easily cut it with a normal pair of scissors. It is virtually indestructible. These envelopes are what I now store my flat props in. I not only store them this way when I’m not using the prop, but I also keep the prop in the appropriate envelope in my case when I do perform the trick. I simply remove the prop when show time comes and put it right back into the envelope when I’m done. Basically the prop never leaves the envelope except to be performed.

An envelope takes literally no extra room in the case and the prop is protected from being scuffed and scratched by anything that surrounds it. Obviously the envelope will not protect a prop if it gets dropped, but it will keep it looking good for a whole lot longer than otherwise. I cut off the flap of most of my envelopes for this making it easy to get to the prop while it is in my case, as well as returning it when I’m done.

Another nice thing about Tyvek is that, as I mentioned, you can cut it easily. Suppose you have a flat prop that is too large for the envelope you have on hand. No problem! Make a new one. You can take two envelopes, remove the flap and cut down one side of each envelope. If you now ‘nest’ the two envelopes one inside the other and telescope them apart you can create a custom width envelope. Once the proper width has been achieved take a heavy packing tape and tape the new envelope right across the seam that has been formed. This new envelope will withstand just about everything you can throw at it and still protect your valuable prop. Virtually every flat prop you read about in this book has a Tyvek envelope that it calls home and has since the day I got it. It still looks good and works like a charm.

In my own opinion, if you are a worker you just got your money’s worth out of this entire book, even if you don’t do a single other thing from it. This one idea alone has saved me thousands of dollars and I’m quite certain that most if not all of my flat props will outlive me, while being used constantly, and still look pretty much good as new. Try this idea. You’ll be very glad you did.

Mini Tip #3

I learned this little tip many years ago when I was working for a company that had some fairly odd and inconsistent hours. As a performer this happens as well, so this has come in handy more than once.

This is for those times when the schedule gets so hectic that you haven’t had a chance to get everything done with your laundry that you should have. It’s also handy when there’s an accident of some sort that has taken a toll on your clothing and you don’t have sufficient time to do laundry. It’s a simple tip. Keep a plain white dress shirt, pressed and ready to wear, on a hanger and wrapped in plastic (like it came from the dry cleaners) at all times. This shirt is never to be worn except in case of an emergency.

Why a white shirt? Well it goes with everything for starters. Unless you perform in special clothes that have a particular look (in which case you had better have spares anyway), a white shirt will work in a pinch if you get caught out or have a mishap of some sort. When my schedule gets particularly hectic I actually keep one hanging in my car. This way I can be prepared anywhere I happen to be. What a Boy Scout, eh?

Trust me on this if you perform enough the day is coming when this little tip will be a lifesaver. You may go years and not need it, but when the day arrives, you’ll thank me.

Thank you Mark for your working tips and a sneak peek from your new book.

So I hope you have a great enjoyable long weekend. For me I hope to be able to clean house sense it has been so busy here the past few weekends. Spend sometime cleaning house and getting ready for some up and coming events. Spend some time with friends, and maybe build a few props if not just relax this coming 3 day weekend.

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.

Best Magical Wishes,



A little Chair Magic

Biker Babes and Magic ala Zig-Zag Illusion

Its a kind'da Biker Babe Magic

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