Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Magical Seasons this way come

I hope your planning for one of the best parts of the year. With three major holiday times this should be the busiest time for entertainers. If you have not already started now would be a good time to do some PR or just good will etertainment. One such stunt is a salute to Houdini on Halloween. Doing a show paid or free to link your performance and the name of Houdini around Halloween is a great form of PR. If you choose and your town is small contact a local TV station or newspaper to maybe do a special performance or morning show to get work. The same could be said for Thanksgiving. Many times back in Las Vegas performers appeared at food shelters helping to serve the food to homeless and then do a show. Then comes the Christmas time when you can be part of breakfast with Santa's when Santa make his debut at the Local mall. So many ideas come to mind. Mean while check out some of the Holiday magic effects we have. Type in key words in the product search of the website such as Christmas, Santa, Halloween, Turkey, Ghost and Monster to find great effects.

Hocus Pocus Swap Meet 2008
News for those of you who were part of last years swap..we are doing it again and now for 2 days. First day Saturday January 19 will be like last year, dealers and lectures oh my! Then the next day Sunday will be a special hands on workshop with none other then Daryl! I just wanted to wet your appetite a little. We will have some of the folks who were dealers last year back again including Dick Barry, Suds and Mark and Nani Wilson. I will leave the the names of the new folks visiting the Swap Meet for Paul's Blog. I don't want to tip to much just yet, but do lock down the weekend of the January 19 and 20th.

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

From the creative and genuis mind of Jim Steinmeyer comes his new shortchange effect Bunko which is a remarkable close-up routine. Bunko is a perfect example of close up magic theater. An intriguing story draws the spectators in and then wallops them with magic. Twenty dollars in change (five singles, three fives) changes to $19, then $14, back to $20... And at the end, the sucker ends up with just thirteen dollars. The routine is ingeniously arranged without any sleight of hand at all. A beautiful set of instructions, written by Richard Kaufman and illustrated with 48 full color photos, explain the routine in detail. Just eight bills. No folding, palming, flaps, switches or false-count sleights. The colorful, specially printed bills enhance the effect... Or perform it with real bills, as the instructions explain. Bunko reminds of the great type of shortchange effects your would see by the likes of the vaudeville performers do. Again we thank Jim for sharing his latest creation with Hocus Pocus.

Make It Spooky
Fronm the musice talents of Arthur & Leslie Stead comes Make It Spooky which is a collection of original royalty-free songs just in time for Halloween. The bizarre melodies, wacky tunes and eerie atmospheres are perfect for Halloween and any mysterious performance venue. These unique songs vary from orchestral, latin, jazz and rock to thrillingly cinematic. Packed with hidden melodic counter-lines to intrigue and involve your audiences. This music is perfect for many other themes and educational programs, such as Egyptology, archaeology, science, wizardry, creepy crawly reptiles or insects. And of course, great fun for a regular magic show, any time of year. Each song can be used knowing that professional musicians laid down these tracks with magicians in mind. Lots of great full body tunes which will fill the venue with a spirit of errieness.

From the creative mind of Alan Wong, (who has created such modern day magical classics such as, "Stargazer" and "Wonder Pet") comes this delightfully spooky routine that can be presented as comedy, bizarre, or anywhere in between. Strawman is your own personal voodoo doll which you have total control over and he is ready to cast his spell over your audience. He will come to life and stands up on his own in the palm of your hand. When covered by a mysterious black cloth he will jump up from the table, by his own powers, untouched by human hands. Alan Wong along with Steve Marshall have created a great piece of close-up wierdness that will really give your audiences the chills. In stock and ready for shipping for all your Halloween gigs. Comes complete with Strawman, Magic Cloth and complete spooky instructions.

Happy Santa Blendo

From the Godfather of KidBiz magic David Ginn comes Happy Santa Blendo. What can we say about this effect? Only that its the finest made Holiday silk effect ever! Let alone the great low price for such great workmanship and design. Just in time for the holidays comes David Ginn's new Happy Santa Blendo. This one comes with three 12-inch silks (red, white, green) that blend into a 36-inch full color Santa Claus. David has designed this to look like a Coca-Cola Santa without copying theirs, and the finished product met David's expectations. Use it in Blendo fashion as David does, or with children change the silks to the Santa using a change bag. Either way, you have a winner for Christmas. Again let me point out that this is incredible value and worth far more than the asking price. If your looking for one Hoilday effect this year consider this one as the best!

Lee Grabel Archival Project DVD

Here now is a slice of magic history documented on a limited edition set of 4 DVDs which chronicle the life work of a master entertainer Lee Grabel. In the late 1800s, Alexander Herrmann, a leading magician in America, was the First magician of the dynasty. During the first decade of the 1900s, after Herrmann's death, Harry Kellar became America's leading magician. Kellar chose Howard Thurston to be his successor and had Thurston travel with him during his last tour to proclaim it publicly. Kellar held a special ceremony to honor Thurston and at this event he presented Thurston with a black cape. This tradition became known as the passing of the "mantle" and continues today. Thurston later passed the "mantle" on to Dante, who was initially known better internationally than in America. It was not until 1939 after Dante opened his show on Broadway that he became known in the United States. In 1954, Dante visited Lee Grabel and plans commenced for Dante to pass the succession of the "mantle" on to Lee Grabel. Although Dante died before the "mantle" was formally passed on to Lee Grabel, Dante's plans were documented in correspondence to do so. Thus, Lee Grabel carried on the uninterrupted line of thedynasty. Lee Grabel searched for his own successor for many years until finally naming Lance Burton as his proud heir by formerly passing the "mantle" to him on May 12, 1994. In this series of 4 DVD's it features "Do Not Believe All You See Or Hear Grand Illusions - The Royal Dynasty" "More History, The Big Show, Miscellaneous, Plus How-To-Routines. We Remember Lee Grabel 1 & 2 and Passing The Mantle, Cards and Walkoffs, 25th Anniversary, Q&A, Family Business, 2004 Honors History of the Royal Dynasty of Magic The "Royal Dynasty of Magic" consists of a special elite group of magicians who have been individually designated by a predecessor. So don't miss your chance to own Lee Grabel truly remarkable life and history of magic.

Tony's Tips

Special Guest Steve Marshall

This week we have a special guest Steve Marshall is a professional magician who currently lives in Japan where he performs his show in both English and Japanese. When he is not performing he enjoys practicing magic, reading about magic, writing about magic (including his monthly column “Asian Astonishments” for the M-U-M magazine), writing comedy songs to play on his guitar, painting and trying to figure out what to do with his spare time.

Creativity represents a miraculous coming together of the uninhibited energy of the child with its apparent opposite and enemy, the sense of order imposed on the disciplined adult intelligence.
Norman Podhoretz

Hi Tony,
I really love the quote above. Even though no one has ever accused me of having “the sense of order imposed on the disciplined adult intelligence” I understand what it means. Magic is such a great venue for creativity because the ability to think like a child can be one of our greatest assets. A child’s imagination is limitless, magic dust, fairies, Peter Pan, stuffed animals that seem to be real, space aliens and even monsters. It’s great to remember how “real” magic felt when we were kids. Some of these things can still cause special feelings in me, like snow on Christmas Eve or when the leaves appear back on the trees in spring. I try to remember this real sense of wonder when I’m creating a routine for a magic effect.
Now, most of the time, I perform my magic in the comedy style and, even though I’m trying to make people laugh, (which is another kind of magic in itself) I still want to create a sense of wonder. After all I do call myself a comedy MAGICIAN! I think it’s important to let our spectators experience that feeling of amazement because that’s really what it should be all about. We should strive, in our performances, to create a sense of wonder so that when people walk away from our show they are not trying to figure out how we did it but instead just saying, “that was cool”!

People often ask me where my ideas come from. My general answer is, “I don’t know”. That’s not entirely true since sometimes I will see something that will spark an idea in me. Although, a lot of times ideas seem to just fall out of the sky or a new line will just come out of my mouth in the middle of a performance. These are usually the “keepers”!

I have recently teamed up with Alan Wong from Hong Kong to write instructions, and come up with routines, for his new effects. Alan sends me a new effect and I get to play around with it to come up with handlings and routines that can be included in the instructions. I practice the mechanics of the effects at home and come up with a basic routine, then I take it to my restaurant gig in Tokyo where I get to do the effect a hundred times for live audiences. Each table is a show for a different crowd so I can really see what works and what doesn’t in a real world situation.

Thanks to Hocus Pocus for carrying Alan’s latest effect “Strawman”. It is the first effect that Alan and I have collaborated on and the booklet that is packaged with the great custom made props includes handlings and bits of business that I have personally tested in my own show so I know that they work. It’s a great effect for the Halloween season too! Thanks, Tony, for letting me put my two-yen’s worth in, here on your blog. Happy Halloween to you, Paul, Mike, everyone at Hocus Pocus and everyone who is still reading this to the end!
Sayonara for now! Steve Marshall
Thanks Steve, we look forward to hearing from you and Alan with new magical creations. I know next time Steve will share some more stories of life in Japan. Hopefully since Steve is there in the heart of so much new and creative magic maybe I can see if he would share a trick or bit of business with all of you.
Thanks for reading. Maybe you would want to join in and share something with all of us.
Send any ideas, photos suggestions, etc. to Tony@hocus-pocus.com

Thank you

Best Wishes,

Tony Blanco

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