Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Summertime and the living is OK
......... so far

So far the summer here in Fresno has not been as hot as it was last year. It has actually been nice to have gigs this year at night when it has been cooler. This way I have had sometime off during the weekends to get things done around the house and see a few of the latest DVD's for review. I have a few to recommend and talk about later in Tony's Tips. Coming up in August are a few gigs which will be interesting. I will be "The Mad Hatter" for a lovely tea house here in Clovis and do close-up magic. The afternoon is billed as Mad Hatter Tea Party so we will have all the characters from the Alice story there.

Coming up in Sept, Sept 11th to be exact Fielding West will be here to lecture. This time the lecture will be a Tuesday night and cost is still $10.00 in advance and $15.00 at the door with a 7:00 PM start. Call and get your seat reserved now. I have known and seen Fielding work now for over 18 years. He is a great performer as well as teacher.

News for next year here at Hocus Pocus is that we have chosen a date for the next Swap Meet. It will be the weekend of Jan 19, with a possible workshop on the 20th. So if you are in the California, Nevada areas lock that weekend down. Last year's event was the first one and a great success. We again will have lectures, dealers and of course folks buying tables to sell their used magic. If you wish a table to sell you stuff please start calling me to reserve a table. We have a few big names already lined up as lecturers as well as dealers. So if your interested in either of these events please call us to reserve your spot & have the time of your life.

Tony's Picks

Hobson Egg Bag

Speaking of comedy friends we are honored to present Hobson's Egg Bag. If you have ever seen Hobson work live or on his great teach in tape "Hobson Live" you know that his Egg Bag routine is pure entertainment. It is a rare thing when a performer of Jeff's status releases a routine that is still the corner stone of his act. You get specially made Hobson Egg bag, 2 special eggs, Instructional DVD, plus a interactive way to get more information from a password protected website of Jeff's for more tips and advice not covered on the DVD. This is a pre-order that will be ready after Sept 15th. Again it is a amazing, comedy filled routine that you really need to have to punch up any show. It also falls into the "packs small and plays big" file for your show.

Mini Remote Vision Color Cube
From Fresno's electronic magic wizard comes Mini Remote Vision Color Cube. The magician shows a 1 3/4 inch square wooden cube with different colored sides. While the magician’s back is turned the spectator places the wooden cube in a plain wooden box and covers the box with a lid making it impossible for anyone to see which side of the cube is up. The spectator concentrates on the chosen color and the magician uses his mysterious magical powers to remotely sense which color is facing up inside the little wooden box. The magician never touches or looks at the box containing the cube, yet correctly names the chosen color each and every time. The new Mini Color Cube measures a full 1 3/4" X 1 3/4" square and is just the perfect size for closeup and walkaround venues. Supplied complete with detailed instructions and performance hints by Tim himself. Tim also I am proud to say is the kind of guy that makes great props that will stand the test of time. The mini cube is perfect for the walkaround and restaurant magician. Choose from a card case or wrist receiver. Remember to let us know which you wish when ordering this clever little electronic wonder.

Top Secrets Book

From the magical world of Astor (Victor Jamnitzky) comes Top Secrets Book. Gathering some of his best friends routines ( Jahn Gallo, Joro, Bob Driebeek to name a few) are manuscripts that were only available in the German language. Some of the effects titles are: The Dancing Cork, Bill in safe, Telephone Shock, In a Nut shell, Gallo's Wonder Necktie, Ball Wonder. These a 6 of the greatest effects for Stage and Parlour by Europe's very creative and talent magicians. For the full read on each of these titles visit the website. We just have to say "Thank you to Astor for getting his talented friends to share they best effects. Check this 40 page book which has tons of great line drawings explaining each effect out.


Now here is another effect that will leave a lasting image! Refraction is the brain child of David Penn and again a signature effect that is being share on DVD. Imagine while holding a borrowed wine glass in both hands your spectator gets to witness the impossible as the stem bends visibly before their very eyes. The glass is then given to the spectator to keep as a souvenir that freezes the moment of magic perfectly. As a bonus you get David’s Cabaret handling presented by Rodney James Piper and a method to bend the spectator’s own key which can be used to enhance the Refraction effect. Now as I said this is a effect that folks will remember you by. David even says "I have received more repeat bookings due to this effect than any other in my repertoire. The effect is simple in plot, connects with the audience and freezes the moment of magic forever." Check out the online video.

Seven Basic Secrets of Illusions Designs Book

Those of you who are serious about classic illusions, this is the ultimate book. It contains over 170 pages explaining over 90 illusions It has been along time to see a collection like this in one book giving the secrets, dimensions and concepts behind all the basic illusions. Also included are building and performing tips. It's all covered from appearances, disappearances, mutilations and exchanges to several forms of levitations. This is not a book of our detailed illusion plans. Instead it's a compilation of the greatest illusions in the world. You will use this book to decide which illusions are best to build and which illusions best suit your performance style.

Tony's Tips: Watch and Learn!

Well tonight I wish to chat about videos and DVD's. When I started in magic you had to learn from books or a personal teacher for magical knowledge. Back in 1969 a company called the Children's Television Workshop want to teach children on TV. They studied the effects of TV and attention span on kids. Their findings was that attention span was good for 30-45 seconds, the same amount of time that a commercial runs. So Sesame Street was born with short skits about the number 3 or the letter H. Some 20 years later MTV was born with rock videos that lasted no longer then about 3 1/2 minutes. So whats my point tonight?
Today we are very lucky that the gods of magic are putting down on video or DVD secrets that may have been lost forever. Seeing some of our favorite magicians on film doing the act that has made them famous and then teaching us the knowledge that took them a life time to learn. Now this new wave of magicians can look like the stars they wish to be. Now here is the rub, when does knowledge out shine experience. Today's DVD's look like a rock video with so much over done effects the magician forgot that he is there to teach his pet effect.

Don't get me wrong this is not going to be a rant about street magic videos (which I could do...lol) but about getting to the heart of a lesson. This past weekend I caught up on watching a few DVDs. First the new Magic Quarterly by Paul Harris group, bravo well done. Now here is a Magic News Magazine DVD. Interviews, showing how effects are done, the usual review of products and a few commercials. It was like watching Entertainment Tonight for magicians and I hope that the concept of these DVDs hang around for awhile.

Next was catching up to some effects and products by Daryl. Here is a very talented and clever man to but a DVD with each trick, even if the trick cost only 20.00. Today no one wants to read or look at pictures or drawings and that is sad. Daryl is clever enough to understand this and goes to great work to produce a very informative DVD.

The really good DVDs go to all the work of laying out the information for you today. A word to the makers of DVDs just cut back on all the over produced productions of a movie. Just show the effect being performed to real (not studio) people and then go to a very clear explanation of the effect. Don't leave anything out. Its like when I first saw Jeff Hobson's video, he explained everything so much on the silk to apple that you knew you were getting real world knowledge. This is the same when you see Paul Romhany on DVD for any of the tricks he sells. It is packed filled with a working pros's experience so he really wants you to look good. So what is my point or tip tonight.

Look and pick the effects and DVDs that you know will interest not only you but your audience. The effect maybe good but if watching a clip and it looks to over done chances are its about editing and not the magic. Make sure you choose you DVD by a name of a great performer and one who's knowledge you can grow from not just a MTV edited street magic effect that you may never be able to perform. Seek out the top names as well as a top effect or routine that you can with practice honor the performer that created. Knowledge is power and wisdom use it to pick the right information for your shows. Got a favorite DVD or video you like? Email me you list of favorite ones and we will make a list of the top videos or DVDs for next week.

Here are a few of mine.

All the Greater Magic DVDs, All the World's Greatest Magic DVDs, Jeff Hobson Live,
Doc Eason Tower Bar Series, All the Eccentricks DVDs, Marks Wilsons DVDs, Bill Abbott,
Trevor Lewis, Wayne Dobson, Patrick Page, Jeff Mc Bride, Eugene Burger, Max Maven

Hope that inspires you to send you favorites or even check some of these out.

Best Wishes,

Tony Blanco

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