Monday, August 20, 2007


Summer Fun and those Wacky Shows

This past weekend finds your humble writer traveling all over Fresno. From the tops of a mountain bluff to the valley of the Fresno Zoo, then to the next major town Visalia to lecture for the area's clown group. Each of these events had what I would always call be ready for everything and getting ready for nothing. Best cases were performing on Unicycle on a boardwalk or getting ready to do a two hour walkaround show in a restaurant only to be told I want a show now.

This is why I carry too much stuff, I never want the customer to have the upper hand in changing my show and not be ready. I know what your saying getting it all in writing so nobody can change what is planned. Yea, that is going to happen. You just never know what you are going to walk into unless you have done the event before and even then. Like Saturday night in the middle of folksinger Oklin Bloodworth's set at the Zoo the outdoor lights go off. Guess who is next to juggle and do magic in the dark? Yup, me! Actually the Zoo got another power source and moved the lights so the show went on no problem. Ahh isn't live theatre fun.

The clown lecture was interesting. The group gets to use a senior center so the retire folks get to be part of the guest lecturing. Actually I could have entertained all night for the Seniors. I spent the evening after my show telling the clowns the real world of showbiz coming from Las Vegas and telling them more marketing ideas. Then we finished with me teaching juggling to those that did not know how. It was a long yet magical and comical night.

Hocus Pocus Lecture Series
Reminder to start getting your space reserved at our next lecture at Hocus Pocus. It will be Sept. 11 (a Tuesday this time) at 7:00 for Fielding West. He is one of Las Vegas' great working comedy magicians. Fielding West is not only a magician's magician, but he possesses that very rare and impeccable sense of comedic timing that has landed him the opening spot for some of the biggest names in show business. A winner in the prestigious Desert Magic Seminar's Comedy Magic competition, Fielding has opened the show for such A-list celebrities as Liza Minelli, Glen Campbell and dozens more.
His numerous network television appearances include spots on A & E's An Evening at the Improv, Caroline's Comedy Hour, and NBC's The World's Greatest Magic and World's Wildest Magic specials. Fielding is also in demand as a writer, magic consultant and technical director and has worked with Lance Burton, Siegfried & Roy and many others. Fielding West continues to headline in major resort destinations all over the world and for the first time, he shares the secrets of his tremendous success. So don't miss out on this one, $10.00 in advance and $15.00 at the door.

Tony's Picks

New 3 Kid Monte
Here is the deal at Hocus Pocus we love magic and we love our creative vendors. One such friend is Cody Fisher a nice guy who is creative and shares his talents just like Paul Romhany, Losander, Suds, Jay Leslie and Dick Barry. These are the vendors we bring to you with great ideas and great routines. Cody has been a guy the keeps growing and coming up with great ideas. When I first started at HP I got the 3 Kid Monte and it has been a winner in my show. As time goes by like famous film directors that go back and want to improve a winner, Cody has done this with his 3 Kid Monte. It is full of gags and gets the whole crowd involved. I am not going to tell you the routine, it is fully told on the website, leave it to say it will take you show and you to the next level of being a performer oh and an entertainer.

Black Fox Master Walnut Shells

Now I tell you what I pick each week and do I spend my hard earn money on everything I recommend....yea! Here from master craftsmen Black Fox are the shells that a rocking action built into the bottom, which helps facilitate the loading and stealing of the pea. This design was inspired by the "Jack Channin Shells", in which you put your own "Channin Dip". Black Fox Master Shells are perfectly balanced for undetectable steals and loads. The pea can be loaded and stolen from either end of the shell. There is no "traditional indent" in the back of the shell. These are absolutely the best shells for The Three Shell Game, and can be used on any surface with no "talk" from the shells. For the working professional or for those who just want the best on the market! Check the website for these colors, Natural, Copper Silver and Gold. Each Shell set comes complete with 3 Black Fox Master Walnut Shells, 5 Green Peas, velveteen bag and basic instructions. I also recommend checking out Bob Sheets routine as well as watching Harry Anderson in the video "Hello Sucker" to see the best of a 3 Shell act.

Paul Daniels

Again I chat up the Brits. Yea for the motherland! British stuff is funny and entertaining and Paul Daniels is England's Mark Wilson for those of you reading in the states. Paul made his career like almost the Johnny Carson of magic. He appeared on so much on TV in England that he is the Hallmark of British magic. He got the best tech guys for his shows and tonight I recommend not one but two DVD's of his talent. His talents along with the lovely Debbie Mc Gee made viewing magic that much more wonderful. Here I recommend his to latest DVD's "An Audience with Paul Daniels" and "The Magic of Max Malini". Both are a journey into a talent of a man that loves to entertain and tell you a little about himself as well as a historic journey of a famous European magic Max Malini. It is said a rock star wants to be actor and a actor wants to be a rock star. Paul is both and a storyteller, actor, and living legend in the world of magic. So check out these live performances from the Edinburgh Comedy Festive and on the stage of London's West End (England's Broadway) to see pure magic and great showmanship.

Rib Block II

From again a great friend and master craftsman Jay Leslie comes a rework of a great effect. Rib Block now in a collector's large size is now available as a very limited effect. Originally manufactured by John Synider, in the 50s, then James Swoger till the 80s. Jay Leslie, who holds the rights, is only the third person to make this item in 60 years. It is entirely of brightly colored, modern materials. The die is five inches square (194 cm). A regular magic wand from your collection is all that's required to perform Rib Block II collectors large size. Not only is the size much larger than the original, but the base has been expanded and improved upon as an added extra bonus. One of the "cleanest" most visual penetrations ever! A large five inch die is examined along with a corresponding red and black open-bodied box. A three foot length of ribbon is handed to a volunteer to pull on, proving it's solid. A magic wand is introduced. The ribbon is wrapped around the tip of the wand. The wand tip is used to push the ribbon clean through the die and out the second hole. The ribbon is pulled to its center with no tricky business and the wand is removed. The die is removed from the box apparently melting through the ribbon. The ribbon is seen passing through both holes in the box! The die can immediately be handed out for inspection. Only one piece of ribbon is used without any fakes. The box and die can be examined both before and after but WHY! Let me tell you that Jay has only a dozen available, and when they're gone, who knows when we'll ever see them again? s today!

That's Amaze-Ink

Now here is a trick that Mike clued me in on. The use of a special marker (which you get) makes this magic really cool. Priced right that you'll be glad to get more then one when you order. This is what I do even shopping today I purchase two of the thing I like. One for one case and one for the other . Working pro's which I hope you are that read this will understand. Dave Devin's Ultimate "Sno-Globe" is Dave's favorite "Amaze-ink" routine. Dean Dill says "Its perfect," and those who have seen it agree. The effect is simple: A card is selected and shuffled back into the deck. Five business cards are brought out. Four of them are double blank and one has a picture of a sno-globe drawn on it with the snow lying on the bottom. Again, the rest of the cards are shown blank on both sides. The sno-globe card is given a shake, and the snow now miraculously fills the entire globe. A lighter is brought into play as the magician explains that the only way to melt show is with heat. Magician runs flame under sno-globe and instructs spectator to think of the card they selected. Flame now melts all the snowflakes from within the globe except for the ones revealing the selected card. Everything can now be totally examined and the spectator keeps the globe. That's Amaze-ink! This is just one of the three routines included with That's Amaze-Ink from Dave Devin. So for the close-up worker its a killer and again a give away for the spectator to remember your magic.

Tony's Tips (or Rants)

What is being a professional? Time after time we are tested. Is it being taken to a gig in a limo and entering the theatre only to have everything ready for you? Then after the show partying with the likes of a Paris Hilton and other want to be's. Or is it showing up hours earlier and getting the crew and dancers and sponsor to be on the same page as your vision. Or is it showing up and no one is there and you need to set the chairs up and move things around to make your idea of a show work when people (who have hired you) to come in an expect the job done.

In my book it is the latter. Be the pro that sets the stage, adjust the lights and the sound. Now tonight I may be on a rant but I will tell you that no one knows your show and what you wish to do better then you. I am getting to old to not look good or put up with what Milton Berle would " "High School, High School". What the great entertainer ment was something that was run like a high school production. Really he was know to snap his finger at someone and yell "High School". This also meant fix the look of the show and get your stuff together. So do not let the birthday mom, the PTA lady, the promoter of a fund raiser tell you what show biz is when they hired you and on the phone did not know what they wanted or need. Then the day of the event they act like the famous director Cecil B. Demil and boss you around. Yes, they are paying the bill but in your heart or hearts they still have no clue and you do and will make the show great. Stand up for your show or you might just end up performing next to trash cans and have to deal with barking dogs or crying babies.

So yes this stuff should be in writing before you get to the gig. Understand I am writing this knowing that most of your will not work Las Vegas, hell I did and I still moved chairs and set my own sound system. Remember this and understand everyone works for a living and does not want to work harder then they have too. A true professional (which I may be so bold to call myself) need not rely on others EVER! It's your vision of your magic and show. Set the stage and space your way. If you get a few folks mad (too bad) they will see that you are right when your show goes the way you want and the audience loves your show. I just read my friends blog, Tim Ellis and Sue-Anne Webster and the last minute change they had to make in Hong Kong when everything was suppose to be to set for Mall shows. Changes were the name of the game for them. Did they blow they tops and walk off, no way! Like pros they put up with last minute changes and extra shows or TV spots with having to do stuff no arranged in advance.

So I say tonight don't pack light be ready for anything, be nice, Shine, and make sure they spell your name right in the paper. We have are set ways as we get old but show biz is about being flexible. The people you will deal with don't and won't care what you want. Just what is it what they want? So at all times if you want to come back to perform again if the money is good be a Pro and get the job done the best way you can on these last minute changes. OK Rant

Best always to you my fellow magi,

Tony Blanco

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