Tuesday, September 25, 2007

 

Just a bit of the Fall chill in the Air

As the seasons change I can tell you the work is still coming in. As a matter of fact this Saturday was one of those dates (usually 2-3 of them a year) that everyone wanted a party for they child. It was funny that I had a booking for this Saturday for a month now. Then during the week I kept getting calls for shows for the same time I was booked. I even got a call from one parent on Saturday at 10:30 in the morning to come to do a show at 1:00. It was nice to get calls but at that point here is the time you wished you were Twins or Triplets. Actually the gig I did was amazing how the parents had the arrival so well timed of the kids, that we started right on time. Now once that party was over back home and then out again for my Saturday night restaurant gig. This gig is actually picking up steam. I got the gig thru a local clown and now she will not be able to do her Tuesday night gig for them due to a medical problem. The restaurant made it a point to tell her to make sure then we have Tony here until you are well. Now that is the nicest comment one can get, knowing that you are like for what you do.


Hocus Pocus Lecture Series Continues



Hocus Pocus upcoming news is we thought we were done with lectures for the year until we got some amazing news. Hocus Pocus dear friend and magic legend John Calvert is going to be here December 10. It seems John is being honored in Las Vegas by his peers for his years of performing. John is a living legend not only as a magician, but as an actor John worked at a time when stars like Errol Flynn, Tyrone Power or Douglas Fairbanks ruled big screen. John also worked with most of these stars and did appear in over 40 movies during the Golden age of Hollywood. Along with his wife Tammy, John still performs and travels around the world. So I would mark your calendar for Decemeber 10th 2007 for an Evening with John Calvert at 7:00 $10.00 in advance and $15.00 at the daoor the night of the lecture.


Tony's Picks
Start getting ready for those Holiday shows. Lots of new items just in time for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. We will feature some of them in next weeks Tony's Picks.
Andy Comic Cups and Balls

From one of Australia's busiest performers, Andy Comic comes his Cups and Balls set. Andy has put together the ultimate Cups and Ball set up an incredible savings to you. If you ever wanted to perform the cups and balls, this is the best introduction to this classic of magic. The Andy Comic Cups and Balls Kit comes complete with a really nice set of jumbo copper cups (3.74" high and 3.82" wide ) large enough to hold a nice sized apple or orange. Also you get 4 balls (one is magnetic), 3 fake fruit final loads, Chop Wand (wand with a magnet inside) and a Special Floating Wand gimmick. Now if all this was not enough you also get a Cups and Balls performing pouch and Andy teaching all basic and advanced moves you on video. This is a once in a lifetime chance to get a complete act ready to go... well once you practice. Truly a marvelous set of Cups and everything you need to get started. Once we sell out thats it, so don't





Stop and Pop


From the creatively brilliant mind of Ton Onosaka comes another in his series of "packs small, plays big" effects. The Card in Balloon is a favorite among many magicians. Here's a version of card in balloon that packs flat, plays big. Have a card selected from an oversized deck which are cards that are hinged together. So no sleight of hand here as the performer deals them, one by one, until a card is selected. Then, a large pad of paper that has been in view since the beginning is used. On the front of the pad is a picture of a bright red balloon. The performer flips through the pages, and the successive pictures animate to show the balloon bursting, revealing... the chosen card. This is a great way of doing a card effect for either kids or adults. Visual and colorful is the key to keeping the audience's attention and as always Ton Onosaka come through with Stop and Pop







Instant magic Holiday Turkey

From our creative friends at Axtell just in time for the Holidays comes Instant Magic Holiday Turkey. Here is a production item is made from high quality latex with spring action foam inside for very fast pop up! It can compress down to 1/2" or more and instantly appear as a big 16 x 12 x 7" holiday turkey. Use it with a pizza box and produce Dominos' new pizza for the holidays. Add garnish like plastic apples and tomatoes around the edges and it looks like you just produced a full holiday feast. This realistic turkey has amazing detailed airbrushing on it. The turkey be used with your pizza box or produce it from any magical apparatus that it can fit in. Compresses down from 7 to 1.5 inches but yet is big on laughs when produced. Here is a grand finale for Thanksgiving Shows or Holiday Shows. Not to be missed as one of the cleverest and funny production items in a long time.










Cardshark Book



Darwin Ortiz is unquestionably of the top cardmen in the world today. As a expert's expert, Darwin has been called upon by many casinos for his knowledge of gambling and card work. In this book he offers you the chance to learn the routines that have earned him his living and his reputation, including all of the psychological insights, presentational angles and performing tips which could only have been gained from years of professional performance. Darwin's Cardshark book is divided into 3 parts, Impromptu Miracles, Presentational Showpieces, Gambling Routines and span some 187 pages in this hardcover book. Here is that time when a professional really shares not only effects but the thought process and insights into the mind of the spectator when you perform these great effects.






Masuda's Frozen in Time

From the creator of the most talked about card trick of this year WOW comes Masuda's Frozen in Time. Masuda's Frozen in Time allows you to predict a randomly selected time with nothing more complicated than a photograph. There are no electronic gimmicks to worry about, no complicated gimmicks, etc. There are two pieces of apparatus only; an ungimmicked plastic cover that is open on both ends and a photograph of a pocket watch sealed inside a block of Lucite. In the performance you explain to the spectators exactly what you have, a Lucite photo-block that holds a sealed picture of a pocket watch, inside a plastic cover. You point to it on the table. You then explain to the spectators that there are twelve hours represented on a watch and ask them to name any hour. When you remove the Lucite block from the cover, the spectator can see that when the watch was photographed, the time on the watch was the same as they predicted. The magician shows the block front and back and allows the spectator to feel the Lucite surface proving that it really is a photograph, frozen in time, stopped at their chosen time! This effect can be instantly repeated with a different outcome each time.





Tony's Tips

Whats in Your Wallet ?


That's the term we hear from that credit card commerical to make sure you carry the right credit card all the time. Well my, thought is what is the right magic you need carry to your show that you can't live without. Now I am talking about either your stage show or in your close-up shows. What would you consider the ammo that makes you blow people away with your magic. I know for me a set of sponge balls and a purse frame are in all my cases (Stage & Close-up). This is followed by both regular Bicycle cards and Casio cards (for signed card effects). Having a few sharpies in your close up bag is a good start. Four Half dollars, some quarters also Cocktail napkins both plain and the rose colored style. I have found that having a small balloon pump the hand held style is good to have, so much so that I have one in each of my cases ready to go.


Certain items are great to have with you. I have been teaching my weekend students knowledge is good also. Knowing moves like the Flip stick move means chop sticks, pencils, pens, drinking straws can be vanished at anytime. Having a knowledge of moves like the paddle move can turn any found object into a magic prop also. Keeping you mind and hands together as one can make you a "magical Mac Gyver" being able to do magic anytime with anything. Begin to store up a knowledge of effects that you can do using found objects when your performing in restaurants or in some one's home. One of my favorite "found" objects is the nice cloth napkins in fine restaurants or good dinner parties. So many effects can be done with a good dinner napkin.

So now what is in my stage show roadie case I can't live with out...hmm. Well having an extension cord is a must first for my sound system. You just never get that luckily having a outlet where and when you need one. Then it comes down to having extra hanks or spools of rope, extra decks of cards, sheets of newspapers and plastic shopping bags to clean up your mess after the show. So what's in your magic case?

Then we can think about the type of effects that you would carry if you had just a bag like a leather gym bag. Shows on the spot what would you carry? Again I would have a small sound system boom box CD player. Juggling Balls, Ropes, Silks, Scissors, cards and newspaper. One of the most interesting lines or sayings comes from my friend Jeff Mc Bride...."If you want to be a Master of Time and Space...You Need to get to the Space on Time". What does that mean, just show up on time? Get up Early? Honestly, its what you see and hear in it. For me its about Planning, Thinking Ahead and studying so you can being able to perform at the drop of a hat. Being able to do magic with anything. Wisdom is Knowledge. So gear up tricks that will be able to be done and work for all types of crowds.

As much as I do kid show/family shows with set routines and props, it is more amazing to do actual closeup magic to kids. Since performing in restaurants I have but a shorter time to perform so I dive right into coin and card magic, this for children of all ages. The response is much better sometimes then having to present a show in the formal way. Sometimes I feel as if I just really keep the magic visual and perhaps even silent you actual go over much larger.

Well, this week I seem to be rambling a bit, but since I have your attention. Let me start hearing more from all of you. I would love to feature our customers, even if its just a picture and a bio...send it. If you want to share a performing story, a funny thing happened to me at this one gig, send it to Tony@hocus-pocus.com

Thanks for reading,

Tony Blanco
















Friday, September 14, 2007

 

Magic That Makes a Difference
This past weekend of shows was rather interesting to say the least. First during the week a possible customer called to book me about 45 minutes from my home. Price does have to go up for the travel, makes sense. So I never really heard from her until Saturday afternoon. She tells me that she is bringing her group to the restaurant that I am working at to see "My Show". I had to explain its not a show as much as close-up magic at each table of the restaurant. So her request was to visit and spend more time at they table. This was not a problem and to really think about it that also is my job to bring in customers to see me and to order food. So that was my first set of customers that came just to see me and have a meal. This is what a restaurant wants to see!
Second event was Sunday, a birthday party for 2 ladies turning 30 years old. Now in the big picture it was a family show, lots of kids and grandma's, grandpa's etc. I performed it as if it was a birthday for young kids and did feature the two ladies in a couple of effects. The show was over and the two ladies made a speech to the crowd of friends and family. What surprised me is the history these two friends shared growing up and the possibilities that each of them were surprised to be alive by their 30th birthdays! Not sure what they meant but I noticed photos around of them growing up. One of the ladies did serve in the Army. So I guess both have been through a tough life so I was honor to be there with their children, husbands and the rest of the family. In their speech they took the time to include me in the happiness of life they both share. So sometimes magic can make a difference and touch lives. How were your gigs?
Reminder to start locking in Jan 19th and possible the 20th for the Second Annual Hocus Pocus Swap Meet and Magic Get-Together ! Last year was a great event, everyone had a super time! Don't miss out!

Tony's Picks
Just to let you know we have Freakey in stock. Get yours now.
Levent's Salt Pour
This legendary trick has been featured by such great magicians as Dai Vernon, Roy Benson and Fred Kaps now made by Levent. Levent is the author of “Roy Benson By Starlight” has taken Roy Benson’s original Salt Pour Gimmick and he has added many unique design features that make it by far the best gimmick ever produced. Custom molded out of durable and corrosion resistant flesh-colored plastic it will never require painting or touching up. Because of the lightweight material being slightly translucent so that under proper stage lighting conditions you can see exactly how much salt remains in the gimmick as the salt is reproduced. A concave base enabling the gimmick to sit upright and be ready to use in the prop case which also provides an indentation for your thumb making it easier to do the Benson “Turnover Move” as well as allow for better control during Vernon’s salt flow control technique. The gimmick includes a DVD, in which Levent teaches the various Salt Pour techniques from the past masters of magic such as Dai Vernon, Roy Benson, Ross Bertram and Fred Kaps. Levent covers the Salt Pour history of all the great performers of this act as well as teaches the entire Salt Pour routine that he currently performs in his comedy magic act. Plus, he includes multiple variations such as the production of the salt from both fists. Finally as a bonus he reveals the secret of his earlier routine in which a borrowed wrist watch is transformed into an hourglass, the sand from the hourglass is used for the Salt Pour trick and at the finale the sand magically transforms back to the borrowed watch. A classic of magic prop that will last you a life time with a DVD full of knowledge all for an amazing price.

A Weekend At the 4F
As a kid magician growing up in New York I heard of this legendary convention of invited only close-up workers getting together at the Forks Hotel. Names like Garcia, Loyrane, Dingle and Roth, fueled my imagination of what these great workers talked about and shared with each other. Perhaps later when they would return to NYC after coming off the mountain to impart the creations of the weekend to us young ones. Well now thanks to East Coast Magic Productions and long time event host Obie O' Brien you get to attend this very prestigious convention. On this the first volume of Magic at the 4F's you get on the DVD an interview by John Blake with Obie and Mike Gallo to learn about the history of the legendary 4F. Magic effects from Jim Klayder, Ali Bongo, Patrick Page, Hayashi, Richard Kaufman, David Regal, Vanni Bossi, Tom Craven and Scott Robinson. A once in a lifetime event on DVD and you have a front row seat.






Zupan's Professional Money Machine
Here is the grandest Money Machine you could ever own. Imported from overseas, each Zupan's Professional Money Machine is meticulously hand-crafted down to the finest detail. Utilizing the finest woods, hardware, and finish, this is sure to become one of the most talked-about pieces in your close-up and parlor acts as well as one heck of a collector's item! If the pros use it, you know it means quality through and through. Each unit comes complete with its own elegant wooden chest lined with special holders for all its pieces to be packed snug, detailed instructions, CD-ROM with performance and explanation video, various flags from different countries, two steel "performance keys," foreign bill gaffs and mis-prints. The full routine is well described on the website with all the comedy one could ask for as well as magic. Also on the website are 3 real time media clips of the routine that is sure to make you show stand out.






Slap
From the wacky and creative world of Anton Corradin comes a mini illusion just in time for Halloween. Image the magician standing on stage alongside a 3 legged table. He explains that he once saw what he believed to be a magician/butcher perform a pretty shocking trick. As he describes the tale, he places a dishtowel over his left hand and places it on the table. Picking up a large and very menacing butcher knife with a gleaming silver blade, the performer proceeds to cut off his very hand! Placing the knife down, the performer lifts off the cloth to reveal a severed hand on the table. Looking shocked, he immediately picks up the hand and promptly and magically reattaches his hand. Sounds pretty sick and wacky truly as i said from the mind of Anton Corradin. In this effect you get, Collapsible table nicely done up with gold fringe, Large butcher knife, Fake hand, Dish towel and a full performance/instructional DVD. In addition to the effect, the included gimmick table is perfect for other effects and ideas and Slap can be performed surrounded. The best yet is that only a few minutes after receiving it, you will be able to include it in your show. Get yours for that ghoulish magic Halloween show now.

Royal Random Time Pieces
A beautiful watch and an amazing magic trick all rolled into one that is the Royal Random Time Pieces which are made to the highest quality specifications. Display this ordinary watch and ask your spectator to name any time in the future. When you show the watch again, it's set to the selected time! The Royal Random Time Pieces, stop in a different way than previous models. And now there is a whole range of different styles to choose from. Choose from, The Majestic, Aristocratic Gold Face or Silver Face, Select Timepiece Black or Brown. Check the website for the look of each style that I have just mention. Paul has done nothing but rave about the look and the price of these great watches which are easy to perform. If you are into watch effects these are the best made and the best priced on the market right now!








Tony's Tips
To say tonight's guest blogger must never sleep would be an understatement. Whether traveling around the world performing or creating new magic routines Paul Romhany is a magical force like no other. Paul Romhany got his start in his native New Zealand, earning his degree in music from Auckland University. A piano certificate from London’s Royal College of Music followed, but Paul’s passion remained in theatre. Soon he was traveling the globe performing to universal acclaim and recognition with such awards as Entertainer of the Year in New Zealand. Paul travels the world performing his magic on cruise ships. One of the highlights of his performances is his tribute to Charlie Chaplin. We are happy to have Paul's friendship here at Hocus Pocus and tonight he shares a few tips with all of you.
Pack small and Play Big Magic
By Paul Romhany

During my early career on cruise ships I would take long contracts which would mean that I stay on the same ship from anywhere between three to six months. This made life much easier when traveling because I could ‘courier’ my show prior to leaving for the contract, and once it was over, ‘courier’ it back home, never having to worry about losing my luggage.
The past few years I decided to do shorter contracts so I would fly to a country, sometimes a 40 hour trip, get on a ship for five days, perform my night of entertainment then fly home. I am usually home for about four or five days before flying to another country. This has caused many problems with flight connections being missed, missing the ship and losing my luggage. My luggage has been lost by the airlines NINE times this year, which meant that I turn up to a ship without any clothes or my act.

What lesson have I learnt?
Be prepared! The biggest lesson I have learnt from this type of work and travel is to design an act that can pack small and play big and ALWAYS be prepared. My main act on cruise ships is my Charlie Chaplin Act, a 50 minute one man show which travels in one case along with my clothes I need for the week on a ship, this being the case that keeps getting lost or delayed by the airlines.
I am now ALWAYS prepared and have a ‘back’ up second show that packs even smaller in my backpack. This means that if my main act is lost, I can still perform a full evening show with props I have in my backpack and objects I find on a ship.
Here is a basic list of the magic I take in my back-up if my main show is lost or I’m asked to do another 45 minute show:-

Rope (I find this on the ship)
Comedy Five Card Repeat (released through Hocus-Pocus)
Big Ten – (released through Hocus-Pocus)
Multiplying Bottles (released through Hocus-Pocus)
Linking Coathangers
Dream Prediction (released through Hocus-Pocus)

Out of the above effects I am able to entertain for 45 minutes. Last week my act was lost again on my way to Iceland, and I had the entire ‘lost luggage’ show filmed. You can see a short 5 minute clip on youtube of me performing the above show at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QggROX0a6fo

I get many emails from magicians wanting to work on cruise ships and they always ask for advice. My main advice is to make sure you are ready and always BE PREPARED. Design an act that can pack small and play VERY BIG.
Thank you Paul for those well learned rules from the road and the school of hard knocks. I hope you now understand what it is like to hear from a real worker who is ready for any problem. I always tell folks to have backup props as well as by 2 of something just in case.
So if you have a story to share, idea, routine or just advice send it to: Tony@hocus-pocus.com
Thanks for reading each week,
Magically,
Tony Blanco























Thursday, September 13, 2007

 

Magical Lecture, Inspirational Ideas
Sorry for the delay in this weeks blog. The Hocus Pocus Lecture series usually happens on Mondays but this time we had it on Tuesday, blog writing night. So here we go 2 days later. Tuesday night we had the great fortune to have Fielding West here at Hocus Pocus. Now given the fact that we changed from a Monday night to a Tuesday night I was afraid of a low turn out.
Actually we had one of the largest turnouts, 50 people and a great evening.
Fielding West is the ideal of what a working pro is about. During his lecture Fielding shared his top secrets that have made him a top entertainer for over 32 years. Fielding has been seen on TV programs like the World's Greatest Magic, An Evening at the Improv, Caroline's Comedy and so many more to mention. This coming year we all will get to see more of Fielding on TV programs ranging from Criss Angel's show to his own 1 hour TV special produced by Lance Burton. While here, Fielding with Bob the Bird showed the folks attending the lecture the many professional ways to work with Doves. The knowledge Fielding shared about dove work has been handed down to him from folks like Johnny Thompson and Channing Pollack, and Fielding made sure everyone will know and continue these great theories of magic.
Fielding is best known as a wacky comedy magician but as with all comics a serious side is always there. A caring nature to share and make sure the next generation of magicians learn from his years of performing. We were all treated to great magic, but most of all were the ideas to learn to create magic and develop a character when performing. At lectures, magician's speak and come to sell items. Fielding is just the opposite he wanted everyone to be inspired by this art we call magic. His work with everyone attending the lecture, the way he was concerned that everyone learned something, to giving extra time to those who wanted to stay longer and learn more, to customizing a dove harness for someone, proves Fielding is a guy that loves what he does and wants everyone to look like a Pro!! We were all very lucky to have Fielding visit his hometown area (the first time in 40 years he says) for his lecture. From comedy, to staging an act, to dove work, close-up magic, to character development, Fielding does it all and is a true inspiration to learn from. So those who attended will agree and if Fielding is in your area don't miss his lecture. Check out the photos at the end of the Blog from the lecture. Thanks again Fielding!!
We are now making plans for our next swap meet. This again will be held in January on the weekend of the 19th 2008. Please make that date down and start cleaning your closets out to sell or trade your magic. We will again have tables for you to sell your items and of course the finest in magic lectures. Plan ahead now as I have just again made a deal with a great local hotel for rates also.

Tony's Picks
Amazing Mystical Vanishing Bandana
Magic Enhancer has released a brand new and completely updated and revamped version of the Vanishing Bandanna. This version contains an updated and fully produced CD with BOTH male and female voices, a longer and more comical script with better music and sound effects (a full 7-minute routine), and a custom-made Devil's Handkerchief which makes clean up so much easier! So, your saying "What another version of this trick"? Well once you perform something time after time, ideas and improvements do come to mind. So the folks at Magic Enhancer have created a totally new, practical re-worked script with much more comedy, but there are also two bonus effect scripts absolutely free. As if that weren't enough, also included are two free Magic Enhancer tracks that you can't get anywhere else. The most important improvement to this classic act that I close my show with is the Devil's hank, with removable pocket liners. No more mess. The Devil's hank is top quality created and designed by Sandra Sisti of Seams Like Magic. The Devil's hank uses a parachute lined removable pocket that makes clean up hassle-free. All you have to do, is take out the "dirty" pocket, slap in a replacement liner and you're all set to go. Since it is made of a parachute material, the banana doesn't stick to the lining which makes clean up very easy. The Devil's Hank is well made and will last a lifetime. For all the new additional comedy tracks (read the website for all of them), the new style Devil's hank and a great lesson in performing this effect by Bill Palmer, this truly is the "Ultimate" in the Vanishing Bandana set up" for your show and I should know I have been performing this for over 10 years sometimes 3-4 shows a day.

Big Bag o' Bunny



From kid show entertainer and magic creator Mike Bent comes Big Bag O' Bunny. Turn your audience helper into a bunny like magic. Reach into a small bag and pull out a pink sponge nose along with fuzzy bunny ears. Place these on your helper and the fun begins. Magically, the bag turns into a beautiful 36" bunny silk. Your helper becomes the bunny in this great visual act. Comes complete with bunny silk/Blendo bag, sponge nose, bunny ears, and Mike Bent's full routine! Now along the same routine and just in time for Christmas holiday shows is also Mike's Big Bag O' Blitzen this time you change your spectator into one of Santa's raindeer. Both are great for the working family show entertainer. Stock up now.



System 88
When you have a power or a system, it attracts money, women, prestige and fame. System 88 is not simple cold reading. It does not require an understanding of human nature. Within seconds of selecting a target subject, System 88 analyzes the subject, filters through 3,337,000 combinations of specific personality traits and reveals to you over 50 different singularities These are easily listed on the System 88 chart, a pocket-size card that each subject keeps and cherishes for years. System 88 is amazingly accurate. Developed by professional mind reader, Docc Hilford and clinical psychologist, Dr Lisa Chin, it analyzes and defines over 50 personal characteristics The target subject will be in shock at the unimpeachable information shown to her. There's nothing to memorize. Although System 88 can generate over 3,000,000 different factual readings, everything is designed into the chart. It works automatically. System 88 has been a real hot seller these past few weeks. So again when you guys tell me about something, I need to recommend it to all. So for all you mentalist/mind reading kinda guys this is another must have!


Gary the Goofy Ghost
Just in time for Halloween comes Mike Bent's Gary the Goofy Ghost. Gary the Goofy Ghost lives in a rickety old Haunted House illustrated on a beautiful, full color 18" silk. Hand the silk to a helper and ask if they can find Gary. They examine the silk, but find nothing. Explain that Gary lives inside the house and point to one of the windows. Reach into the window and pull out a small white silk with a goofy, grinning ghost face. Poke Gary into your fist and he vanishes. Now you tell the audience that "He flew back to the house, which room do you think he's hiding in?" They point to one of the 13 doors or windows. You reach in, and there's Gary! "Let's put him in the dungeon and see if he can escape." Poke Gary into the dungeon door and he vanishes right into the cloth. Where could Gary be? Reach inside the helper’s sleeve and discover that Gary has been hiding there all along. Finally, Gary vanishes one more time, but can't be found anywhere, until the audience finds him hanging on your helper's back! You get an 18" full color Haunted House silk, 2 Gary the Goofy Ghost silks, special gimmick, and Mike Bent's full routine complete with ghoulishly goofy gags. Like I said just in time for Halloween or for any spooky story you may want to tell during your act.

Comedy Five Card Repeat
From creative force in magic Paul Romhany straight from his cruise ship shows Comedy 5 Card Repeat. The premise is that the magician tells the audience that he will play a CD and together they will learn the famous $100 Three Card Trick. The magician then follows along with the voice over and that’s when the craziness starts. Things get out of hand as the magician keeps fooling the ‘voice-over’ with little ‘climaxes’ along the way until finally the trick works. This is 4 minutes of solid entertainment from a working professional’s act. One of the most commercial routines on the market today that packs small and plays big. Paul has taken the basic principle of five card repeat and re-designed gimmicked cards making it so easy to perform, including a few surprises that you can only do with his gimmicked cards. If you can hold playing cards in your hand then you can perform this version of FIVE CARD REPEAT. Here is a routine that makes you look like you have great sleight of hand skill as well as the talent to invoke loads of laughs from your audience. Here is one that really packs small and plays big. Check out the website for more information on this another Paul Romhany winner.

Tony's Tips
The Next Generation of Magicians
To say its has been a busy week would be a understatement. It was great to see Fielding again. He is a Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe staple when it comes to entertaining. The time he spent here will be an inspiration for all that attended. It reminded me of when I first started performing, and how everything was new and magical. After 32 years of performing (actually both Fielding and I) it was amazing to see his passion to teach and share. Recently I had a conversation with one of our customers that buys for his son just getting started in magic. They both attend a local magic club (I don't remember if its IBM or SAM) but I do remember what he said happens to the young guys who perform. Seems this club (and I have seen it in others) stands judgement with folded arms at the teenagers that get up to perform. For some reason it sounds like the older and wiser members are not being wiser or nice. They are standing judgement on these kids not as a lesson to grow and be better but I guess a feeling of jealous is what it sound like to me. Well if you are part of a magic club here is one rule that you all should live by...We all love magic so be here to INSPIRE! It almost blew me away that stories like this are still around about "old timers" getting nasty to kids who want to learn. It's like some weird child abuse story, "no one helped me, so I am not going to help some kid". Lose that kind of thinking magic clubs and create the next generation of magicians. OK rant over!

Restaurant Magic Part 2
Last week I was talking about starting working a new restaurant gig. This will be a little more of that again for this week. I have found that a good visual opening when starting you first trick is best. Don't talk, Do. This way you have made a visual impression that you are magical! Then you can begin slowly with a talking effect maybe. I still go for a second visual effect that cements my magic/sleight of hand skill. Then an inter-action effect making sure you learn most of the folks at the tables names.

I again say keep you time short at someones table. Have effects that are short, in case you have to rush to end of an effect because the food is now being served. This will always make you look good to stop performing and not continue when the food is served. Promise to come back if they want more and make sure you do. Unless you name is above the logo of the restaurant no one came to see magic, they came to eat. Also the management will be impressed to know that you know that the customer comes first and not the chop cup routine your doing.

Speaking of visual, your look should be one that as you walk around a restaurant folks should know your different from the waiters and waitresses. Not to say wear something goofy but clothing that looks different then the customers and staff. Make sure that a picture of you is if not on every table letting folks know when you appear, then at least one by the front door. This does not cost anybody but a space to hang a picture or a least on the counter by the register. Heck, I even came to them with the picture framed. I see it that the restaurant wants you to bring folks in, but I know they won't take or have the time to do the PR. Do it for them and you will be well like when customers say they are here to see the magician and management spent no money and time doing PR. In the long run this type of work will help build your name up in the area and outside gigs do come from this. You can also use this time as your own audition when folks want to see you before they hire you. Tell them where you perform and the restaurant makes money and later hopefully you will too from the gig.

Have as many different ways of giving your name and number to a spectator doing your time at their table. Never over look business card tricks as well as the 12 Easy to do magical trick brochure. Here is an idea that just came to me. Using your printer, make simple address labels with only your name, number and perhaps logo. If you make napkin roses, peel one of these labels off and stick it to the stem of the rose. I would fold it in half so it stick to itself and the stem is in the middle. Always be friendly and helpful to the customers and staff. Speaking of the staff, once in a while do a magic trick for them, but don't hang with them. Let them see you as someone special but not one of them. You need them to come to you when a customer wants to see magic so maybe if you get a tip from that table, tip them also. This kind of incentive will get them to work for you and again makes everyone happy. You get to perform, customer get treated well and wait staff gets tips also.
Hope that has inspired you. I hope to hear from those of you that read this blog.
Thanks for reading and thanks waiting for the blog.
Magically,
Tony Blanco


Pictures from Fielding West Lecture














































Tuesday, September 11, 2007

 

Fielding West Lecture Tonight


Tonight's the night I usually write this blog, but will have to skip 2 days till Thursday night. Fielding West is here tonight at Hocus Pocus for his lecture. Tune in Thursday for Tony's Tips and Picks plus photos of the lecture.


Thanks,

Tony

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

 




It's a Kind'da Close up magic
Hello after a nice long restful weekend. I hope your summer was a good one and the gigs were even better. This weekend saw your humble host doing just one gig, and then some rest and house work. Lots of things are coming up for Hocus Pocus. We are having our Swap Meet again in January 19th 2008 (where has the year gone) with great lectures and the friendship of all the folks up and down the California state. So lock that date in, it just maybe a 2 day event so


stay tune for more news. Also those wishing to come to see Fielding West next Tuesday lets get those reservations in for one of the funny guys of magic and comedy working today. If wish to come to the lecture it will be Tuesday Sept 11, at 7:00. Please call me at 1-800-407-4040 this week to get you spot for only $10.00, $15.00 at the door the night of the lecture.







Tony's Picks

The Other Side of Illusion Henry Evans


FISM award-winner Henry Evans is back to take you on a guided tour to the other side of illusion - where the impossible becomes possible and wonderful, surprising and often humorous things happen. If you enjoyed his last critically-acclaimed DVD offering, Something More Than An Illusion, you've already had a glimpse into the whimsical world of Henry Evans. If you haven't, you're in for a rare treat indeed. Here's what you'll see during your journey to the other side of illusion: IMPOSSIBLE CONTROL, IMPOSSIBLE CONTROL 2, MEMORIZED DECK , QUIT SMOKING, IMPOSSIBLE CARDS TRANSPOSITION, THE CARDS EXPERT, CHINESE ECONOMY, MATCHING COUPLES. This is just what's on Volume 1 of a 2 volume series from one of magic's creative minds. We had folks asking about this DVD before we started selling it. So again you guys know what's hot, don't miss your chance to get both copies of The Other Side of Illusion.







Second Storm John Guastaferro
Who says lightning doesn’t strike twice? Presenting John Guastaferro’s Second Storm, a follow-up to his popular Brainstorm DVDs released in 2003. Second Storm continues John’s brand of close-up magic; that is, strong, creative, practical and entertaining—ideal for strolling and formal close-up venues. John has earned the praise of magicians worldwide for his original ideas and effects. As Jon Racherbaumer puts it, “Second Storm demonstrates John’s unique ability to transform effects into ‘extraordinary moments.’” Second Storm includes never-before-seen card and non-card effects, as well as new twists from John’s 2005 lecture notes. Also on this series are John’s exclusive Brainstorm Breaks, where he shares additional ideas designed to spur your creativity.VOLUME 1: Quick Draw, Tricycle Cards, Teeter Totter Aces, Famous Aces Jokers To Go, Remote Possibilities, Fair Trade. Again like Henry Evans DVD this is also a 2 Volume DVD set. Both guys lay it on the line when it comes to amazing, clean and memorable close up magic Check out the full descriptions of the effects that are on these DVD's on our website and see what wild concepts of close up magic are being created.


Sam The Bellhop
Who has not seen this classic piece of magic by top professional Bill Malone? Here is an effect that has taken Bill around the world to perform. He has also performed this classic on the World's Greatest Magic special and in Magic of Monte Carlo on TV. Now this classic can be yours. In the book "The Final Word on Cards" by Rufus Steele there was an entry titled "Sam & Moe" (author unknown). This was a stunt in which the magician tells a story while turning over cards from the deck, the cards matching the words in the narrative. It was not really a trick but an amusing interlude. In other words, it was not supposed to fool anybody and it was not a new idea. In fact, other story routines such as "Jack goes to Town", as published in "Scarne on Card Tricks", were already in the literature. Bill learned the Sam the Bellhop story and stack as shown to him by Mike Pappas of Chicago and he immediately added expert blind shuffles and cuts to it, thereby making magic out of an amusing vignette. Bill uncovers original dynamics that make the effect flow. If you apply yourself, you can learn the most entertaining four minutes you will ever do! A bonus routine from Bill, is included "Radical Aces!"


Deep Rising Card
The performer spreads a deck of cards, displaying them and showing the spectator that there's nothing fishy about the deck. The deck is then offered to the spectator for shuffling. The performer then asks the spectator to pick a card (without any force) and memorize it. He can even sign it if he wishes. The chosen card is placed back to the middle of the deck by the spectator. The performer shows the outside and inside of the case, and immediately places the deck inside. Holding the card case, all the performer's fingers are seen and nothing is concealed. While the spectator is paying attention to the case, suddenly a single card is seen to rise right up slowly out of the deck -- it's indeed the chosen card after this is done, both sides of the case are shown and the deck is taken out of the case to spread. Still, nothing is found! You can even repeat this trick again and again! Both hands are free and no long sleeves are required! No threads, weights, magnets or thumbtips. Add nothing, take away nothing; just a deck and a card case. You control the speed of rising. This method is beautifully simple and easy to master for everyone. Comes complete with deck of cards, card case, and detailed instructions. Available in both red and blue-backed cards. Please specify color choice at time of order.

Magic Interview Series
From the folks of Radio Magic the first of magic interviews Jay Fortune talks to Wayne Dobson. Now you can have one of the world’s top magicians in your home, discussing their magical life, their favorite trick, perhaps the tricks that have made them successful. You hear about how they became bitten by the magic bug. How they made their dream of becoming a professional magician a reality. And then they tell you how you can do it. Introducing the world’s greatest magicians in a unique new series. Destined to grow into a magical classic, we are delighted to announce the first release in this exciting series for magicians. Part biographical, full of advice and always highly entertaining, this is your chance to hear Wayne’s story from childhood through to the world-famous magician he became. Honest, thought-provoking and highly charged, Wayne discusses his transition for a normal job in a sock factory to turning professional. We learn how he got the work, his big break, and the money, fame and tours that followed. Wayne takes us behind the scenes of his prime-time hit TV magic show ‘A Kind of Magic’. Wayne talks with brutal honesty of being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when he was at the peak of his incredible career and how he copes living with his disability. The running time is well over 80 minutes, this two disc set is vital listening for the serious magician.


Tony's Tips
Well, last week you may have read that I have finally gotten a restaurant to perform in here in Fresno. Its a nice place, kind of a smaller version of an Applebee's or a TGIF without all the noise. This makes a way for me to be the special part of the visit along with the food. Just this week also we got David Stone's Real Secrets of Magic DVD volume 2 in stock. I had a chance to watch this highly knowledgeable performer share his working advice on performing in the restaurant atmosphere. This is one well produced series of DVD's (yes again 2 Volumes) with action like a movie and then insight to a working pro's world. The major thing is timing when it comes to working in restaurants, timing to perform, timing to leave the table and timing to get tips. It was like a great refresher course to watch David Stone and also laugh at the "stuff" we have to put up with from the guests. This is a fantastic DVD set to have to teach you the beginnings of performing at restaurants. Plus David's magic is quick, fast and amazing. This is what you must always keep in mind when working around and in the Food and Beverage world with your magic.
So here are a few of my tips I have learned after 32 years of what I call Food and Beverage magic. What does that mean? Honestly from Casinos to Temples to Birthday parties that is where the magic always seems to end up for me. Its either around food or at an event with food. So the first friend you need to make is the manager of the restaurant and the master cook of the place your working. To time when you work the tables between courses, to do your show after dessert not while its being served or while dishes are being cleared. Yes the folks came to eat but at some point you better be seen by the folks that hired you or they think you did nothing all night but walkaround.
I teach the tables to clap from the very first trick I do. This way other tables begin to wonder "who is he and is he coming to our table next"! Make those impressions so that the hosts know that you're working the party or room. If your working in a restaurant make sure you have some effects that use business cards. So that you leave them you number for future work. Mark Wilson has a great DVD for these types of effects. Patrick Kuff, Max Maven, and many more have great ideas with cards also. Take a look in variations of the "Out to Lunch" principal for more business card effects.
We will continue next week with more of Food and Beverage magic. For those of you wanting to share ideas for next week write me at tony@hocus-pocus.com

Thanks for reading,
Tony Blanco

Summer Photos of our Hocus Pocus family.

Blake Maxam from Oakland, CA. as the Madhatter









































































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