Monday, November 26, 2007

 

Its beginning to look like alot like.....

So I hope your beginning to feel that holiday magical spirit and that you had a nice Thanksgiving. Now the madness begins in my life, the time of the year when doing things normally takes a back seat. To travel anywhere and to deal with the shopping crazed folks in stores and on the highway. So if you need to go shopping I highly recommend as early in the day that you can. I have also noticed a good time to go shopping is also at dinner time. Less lines and folks in the store can help you. Here is another idea to think about, make a list of what you need and where you want to get them. This way you can make a grid map of travel and shopping. The less time you are in stores during the holiday rush the better you will be able to enjoy the holidays. Here in Fresno, dollar stores and Big Lot type stores actually have stuff that you would find in the Pier One type stores. Remember first impressions are important when a gift is opened. Here is wishing you a safe and hopefully some fun when you begin your holiday shopping. What tips have you learned about shopping?



Hocus Pocus Lecture Series Continues
We are now just a few weeks away from the last lecture of the series here at Hocus Pocus this year. 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 the week before. 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 now it is time to start making your reservations for December 10th 2007 for an Evening with John Calvert at 7:00 $10.00 in advance and $15.00 at the door the night of the lecture. Call me at 1-800-407-4040 if you wish to reserve a seat.





Tony's Picks


Business Card-iographic

From the world of Magickraft studios comes Business Card-iographic by Brian Curry. You show an image of a deck, drawn on your business card. Slowly, and in full view, a drawing of a selected card rises from it. You then give it away as a souvenir. Business Card-iographic is a stunning promotional giveaway, that your customer will keep for years. The instructional DVD comes with Brian’s routine, which incorporates ideas from Joel Givens, Bob Sheets and David Oliver. Plus a bonus you also get Martin Lewis teaching his “Wino-graphic”routine, in which a drawing of a wineglass magically fills with the spectators choice of beverage. On the disc you will find all the necessary artwork for you to create your own custom Business Card-iographic. Using these files requires a computer running current Windows or Mac OSX and a color printer. Check out the online video and you judge how amazing this really looks! So if you have ever wanted to do Cardiographic close-up now here is your chance with Business Card-iographic!




Kidding Around 2 Volume DVD Chris Capehart

Last year was when about this time I saw Chris Capehart's Miser's Dream DVD. Here is a entertainer that just did pure magic and fun with kids. He has an amazing way of teaching you this classic routine which he has turned into again another classic the way he performs it. Well now a year later comes his Kidding Around 2 Volume DVD. On this two DVD set you will see Chris in action before a live audience of kids and adults. You will learn his way of getting kids to really be excited about magic and be part of the show. Chris shares so much knowledge and wisdom about being a performer for kids. Then comes the explanations for the effects you just saw in the show some of which include, Cards for Kids, Misers Dream (performance only),Coloring Book, Matilda and the Lota Bowl, Sponge Balls. Don't fool yourself reading the items he performs with, these are not your granddads magic props when Chris uses them. You can see that here is a man that enjoys what he does. His way of performing magic for children is a bit in your face but he does get the gigs and kids love him. On the second DVD is more of the logic of how Chris creates his magic. Last year I called the Miser's Dream DVD the best of the year. Well here is another best DVD of the year to Chris Capehart again this year!


iVanish
So now in this world of "Street Magic" people want to see weird magic. What makes a trick weird or a classic of magic? It takes several components: First, you must have an incredible method that fools everyone. Second, you need an emotional hook that insures that your audience cares about watching your performance. But the one thing that really makes a trick a classic is that it gets an incredible reaction from the spectators. iVanish meets and exceeds all three components. First let’s talk about the methods: There are three methods included in iVanish and each method is totally different from the others. In fact the solutions are so different that each method absolutely cancels out the other two! This is great for repeat performances. Each method is incredibly clean. You hands are completely empty immediately after each vanish. All three methods are done standing. Of course you can use iVanish while seated because there is no lapping. Each vanish actually looks like trick photography! One of the best features of iVanish is that all three methods are really easy to perform, in fact anybody can do it! Many magicians are afraid of visual coin magic but iVanish does not require years of knuckle busting practice. You’ll be up to speed in no time at all! Second, the emotional hook that iVanish creates will guarantee your audience will be riveted to your performance. It’s simple. When we’re all kids we’ve had it drilled into our heads to never, ever put anything into your eye. Using the iVanish techniques you’ll be able to rub or shove a coin directly into your eye! People are forced to watch. Some squirm, some will wince, many will cringe but they’ll all watch. It’s like a car wreck. Everybody slows down to see what’s going on. iVanish is part geek, part magic but 100% a showstopper. Read the full write up on our website and you decide if this is not the weirdest magic effect that you have been looking for.


Magic Land of Allakazam DVD Set



As a kid watching magic on TV there was only one name I knew. Actually two but they were said as one big name in my young mind it was always... Mark Wilson and the lovely Nani Darrnell. This began my world of magic each week which was the history making Magic Land of Allakazam which was the first network television magic series. Allakazam debuted October 1, 1960 on the CBS Network and aired every Saturday morning on CBS for two years, then switched to the ABC Network. Now all 24 shows of this legendary television venture can now be yours to own. If you order your set be sure to check out the free bonus gift offer that comes with all 6 DVD's. This is a special while supplies last. Each DVD includes a full color inserts with your favorite photos and original run-downs. Each Saturday morning, Allakazam aired until December 26, 1964. Starring Master Magician Mark Wilson, beautiful Nani Darnell, the incomparable Bev Bergeron as Rebo the Clown, Allakazam features a sparkling supporting cast of Basil the Baffling Bunny, Charles the Charming Chicken, Doris the Daring Dove, Gertrude the Glamorous Guinea Pig and Bernard the Biggest Bunny in the Business! The half-hour shows include fast-paced openings ... magic with the children in the studio audience ... comedy magic and clown gags with Rebo ... sleight of hand sequences ... audience participation ... magical commercials ... and major illusions. The shows were shot "live" and recorded on the CBS Television Recording System (35 mm black and white film) for later broadcast. Soon, all of the ninety-eight different Allakazam shows will be professionally transferred to DVD. The first 24 are ready and are being made available to magic collectors for the very first time on DVD. The cartoons have been eliminated, but all the magic is there.For the first time on DVD, see the "magic" that made The Magic Land of Allakazam a 5-year network television hit. Don't miss your chance to own these DVD's magic moments of time that were Mark and Nani.





Tony's Tips

Well to my surprise I just got this email from Paul Romhany and its for all you readers of this blog. Enjoy Paul's tales of working the cruise ship market. Paul is one of the nicest guys in the biz and is always busy. This is an honor that he spent time to write this article for all of us. Here is Paul, and your
Never too old to Learn New Tricks

For the past few months my wife and I have been busy working in Europe on cruise ships and no matter how many years I've been a full time magician or been working on cruise ships the one thing I have discovered is that you never stop learning or experiencing something new. This is what keeps you on your toes and makes for such an interesting life.

These past few months have certainly been interesting and full of surprises, some wonderful and some I could have done without.
One of the greatest thrills about working on cruise ships are the wonderful places you get to visit. A few weeks back we were fortunate enough to be on a ship that went to Israel and we took a trip to Jerusalem and Nazareth. It is times like these that make me realize why I am so lucky to be doing what I do and visit these breathtaking places. I have lost count of the all the countries we have now visited, I always have to ask my wife if we’ve been here or there, she has a great memory for that sort of thing. We are both history and culture buffs so when we get the chance to visit ancient ruins or as we did last week Malta and Egypt we make the most of it. To us this is what cruising is all about.

I get many emails from people the world over asking how I go about creating my ideas and routines. One of the great things about working on ships is that you are exposed to a lot of different cultures and ideas, these in turn spark off some pretty crazy ideas, most of which never see the light of day but are in my notebooks I take with me. Working on ships enables me to regularly work on some of those ideas, film them and watch and study each performance. I am fortunate that my wife travels with me and films every show I do. This is the best advice I can offer to anybody wanting to work on a routine. Film it as often as you can, watch it and be VERY subjective. If you have somebody who can give you honest feedback, both good and bad, then ask their advice. Don’t be scared to ask people you respect in the business for advice, but be prepared to ‘take’ it. I know most of us only want to hear the ‘good’ but if you want to rise to the top then listen and take in what others tell you. Because of our travels we are able to immerse ourselves in other forms of entertainment and ‘life’ such as theatre, music and other production shows. These all help the creative juices flow.

I mentioned at the top of this article about a few surprises. Just when I thought I’d seen it all things like this happen. I write this just to let those magicians out there know that working on cruise ships is not all about glitz and glamour and drinking Long Island Ice Teas.

Three weeks ago my wife and I got off one of the largest ships sailing, it is a lovely ship and great cabins and the theatre is state of the art. I had six people working on lights, sound, stage manager and so on. We then flew to Rhodes where we joined a ship that was by far the WORST we have ever sailed. Actually it was over 40 years old and at one time was a car ferry!! My agent did warn me but he didn’t go in to detail, it came as a real shock to the system when we saw it, especially from where we had come.

The stage was actually a dance floor with people directly above me, behind and to the sides. There was no way I could perform my full act. They also wanted me to perform four different 20 minute show. I only had my full 50 minute show with me so ended up doing routines I hadn’t done for years. About 1/3 of my full show had to be cut because I couldn’t perform it under those conditions. To cap it off our cabin was only 5 foot by 10 foot. It was so small we could not put our bags in there!! We were on there for two weeks and it felt like I had gone back in time 30 years. My agent, like all good agents, told me I was a real professional and would be able to handle it. By the end of the contract my wife and I were ready to jump ship! The agent is getting a phone call this week.
While on that ship we received an email asking us to fly back to the big ship we had got off as they had a charter cruise and my Chaplin act would be ideal. We would only be on the ship for two days but the money was great so we decided to take the gig. We flew through the night (leaving at 9am and arriving at 6am the next day to join the ship), arriving at the ship exhausted and wanting to sleep. I then find out I am working that night, PLUS all the passengers on this cruise are from Thailand and NOBODY speaks English. One third of my Chaplin act is in English as I do some comedy and put on my make-up. I ended up spending the rest of the day working on 15 minutes of new material with new music to come p with a FULL 45 minute non-talking act. I am pleased to report it went over very well and everyone was happy but what an adventure. I had not slept for two days and the day after the show just crashed.

As I said, you are never too old to learn new tricks and no matter how many years you’re in show business you will always find life is full of surprises. I always like to look at the positive side of things and certainly these experiences turned out for the best as I realized I have enough material to do a full evening show as Charlie Chaplin without speaking, opening up a lot of new doors around the world for me to work. It also has enabled me to invent a few new routines that will no doubt eventually end up on the market for magicians.

For those interested in seeing some of my work then be sure to check out youtube. Just type in my name: Paul Romhany and you’ll find me performances.

All the best
Paul Romhany

Paul, Thank you so much for sharing with all of us told you he was a cool guy.
Well I hope to hear from you (reading this) when you get a chance, and you would be featured on this blog. Be Safe and be happy this season.
Best Magical Wishes,
Tony Blanco
tony@hocus-pocus.com

Monday, November 19, 2007

 



The Magic of the Holidays, ARE YOU READY!




Seems like this year has just gone by so fast. I wonder if as you get older you tend to say that more? Hmm. Anyway last night one of this year's highlights was to see Billy Joel perform live here in Fresno. Now here is a performer that I have know of since I was 11 years old. Now I find out that is exactly our age difference he is 11 years older then me. Billy Joel is 58, and still rocks the house along with a catalog of music that is the soundtrack of my life and many folks. Lisa and I actually won tickets from a local radio station which meant we had noise bleed seats...lol. Actually between the tron screen which is used during basketball games and our seats we had a great time. One highlight for me was watching the tron screen and a camera set-up right next to his keyboards. Just watch his fingers run the ivories was like watching the best sleight of hand magician showing off. As for songs to see and hear Root Beer Rag performed was just fantastic. I actually used to do a 3 Ball juggling routine to that song.


Well this week we all look forward (or not) Thanksgiving Day. If your not the one cooking all day here is a time after the Macy*s Thanksgiving day Parade to begin to get ready for the next month of madness. First up, shopping the day after Thanksgiving. I cannot believe some stores are now opening at 4 AM to get you to shop early on Friday. I actually look forward to those last minute gigs and crazy weather...hmm it just says Happy Holidays to me. Let me now what you have been up to for this Holiday season and we can feature it in the blog. Send me pictures or a little write up. It was nice to hear from a magic Santa that is actually going to use the "Santa Knows" routine I came up with. If you missed it, the routine was featured in my October 16th blog. Check it out for your Holiday show.


Hocus Pocus Lecture Series Continues

We are now less then 1 month away from the last lecture of the series here at Hocus Pocus this year. 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 the week before. 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 now it is time to start making your reservations for Decemeber 10th 2007 for an Evening with John Calvert at 7:00 $10.00 in advance and $15.00 at the door the night of the lecture. Call me at 1-800-407-4040 if you wish to reserve a seat.









Tony's Picks


Pop-Card

This sweet sign card to impossible location effect will have your audience salivating for more! An audience member is asked to select ANY card and sign their name on the front of the card. The card is then lost into the deck. The card magically vanishes from the deck.
After various comical attempts to find the audience members signed card in the deck the magician finally gives up. The magicians hands a Pop-Tart® to the audience member as a sign of good will for helping out. As the magician bites into his Pop-Tart®, a surprised look comes over his face like he just bit into a rock.
He pulls the Pop-Tart® away from his mouth to reveal a card inside the fruit filling in the middle of the Pop-Tart® (yes, it is ACTUALLY INSIDE of the Pop-Tart®). The beauty of POP-CARD is in its simplicity, as very little preparation and skill is needed to perfect this amazing effect. POP-CARD is one of the most unique "card to impossible location" effects on the market. On this DVD you will see POP-CARD performed in a restaurant and then you will learn how this amazing visual effect works. POP-CARD is perfect for stage magicians, street magicians, restaurant workers and strolling magicians. The instructional DVD supplies everything you need to know to get started to perform POP-CARD. Alternate handling and ending included, No difficult sleight of hand required. POP-CARD can be learned in minutes, Packs small, plays big and provides a shocking climax. Any card may be selected (a true free choice) Easy reset, and may be repeated with a different card.







Neat and Tidy

A jumbled mass of rubber bands instantly snap together to build a neat and tidy rubber band ball that can be dropped on the table or handed out to your spectators. Neat & Tidy is perfect for any rubber band routine. It creates a stunning effect out of the 'down time' moment when you introduce your rubber bands to the audience. As well as providing 'magic along the way' Neat & Tidy can act as both an opener or closer for your routine! Neat & Tidy is visually stunning, a great way to end any rubber band routine. Is this easy to perform? Yes! Neat & Tidy comes with a special device that does all the hard work for you. If you can hold a mess of rubber bands in your hand, you can perform Neat & Tidy. Wayne Fox teaches you in detail, walking you through the method and presentations, then concentrates on the little details, tips and variations, that can raise your presentation of this effect to the best it can be. Will I need to buy or make anything else? Nope, Neat & Tidy comes complete with everything you need. Not only do you get the special high quality device and a mass of rubber bands that do all the work, we also include the handmade rubber band ball, saving you HOURS of work putting your own one together. The angles are perfect, it's an instant reset, the rubber ball is examinable, no pre-show set-up is required, and its been tried and tested 'in the trenches'. The ball also makes a perfect chop cup load.





Mental Frisbee

At last, a mentalism opener that fits in your pocket and can play to hundreds of people. This is the perfect tool for magicians and mentalists who sincerely want to add some comedy and strong mind reading to their act. Over the past few years whenever Nathan Kranzo shared this routine with a fellow performer they would immediately ask if the effect was available. You see, the laughter and visual color this routine creates makes it so unique and commercial that you would be silly to not want to perform it. Here are a few reasons why it might be of value and interest to you. It’s the perfect opener, which is PRICELESS to the professional performer. It packs flat. VERY flat. The routine involves a ton of audience participation. You fill up the stage WITHOUT an expensive illusion. The routine plays just as well for 30 people as it does for 3000. The effect is funny AND strong mentalism. The use of Frisbees gives the routine unique appeal. The routine includes a full professional script for you to follow. The routine is full of comedy to put the audience at ease.
And that’s just the beginning of the knowledge that is shared in this routine. The BIG SECRET about Mental Frisbee is how Nathan used it to set up other classics of mentalism. He even includes the exact routine he follows up with including great ideas from David Hoy, Ron Wilson, and David Ben. MENTAL FRISBEE contains important timing and performance techniques that will help you command the stage, develop a rapport with the audience, and make you look like an amazing entertainer.
Five frisbees are tossed out into the audience. Whoever catches a Frisbee is asked to join the performer on stage. The performer explains that the people who caught the Frisbees may seem random, but are in fact not. Adding to that he explains that certain people “attract” particular colors. The “law of attraction” if you will. As each person approaches the stage the performer gives a hilarious comedy reading to them regarding their color. As a finale the performer explains he will test an audience member to see if they can read the performer’s mind. A sixth volunteer is asked to try and read the performer’s mind and “receive” the thought of color the performer is trying to send him mentally. After a little humorous banter the volunteer finally announces the color that has popped into his mind. To the complete astonishment of the audience the performer proceeds to show that indeed the volunteer is correct in his “hunch”. As proof the performer reveals his prediction to be 100% accurate!!! You will receive the complete Mental Frisbee manuscript detailing the VERY CLEVER SECRET TO THE EFFECT, the detailed handling, presentation and framing of the effect, plus additional thoughts and ideas that can be added to the routine. Within this manuscript is also the complete script which is packed full with all the comedy lines and audience management. You will also get Nathan’s follow up routine that he performs after Mental Frisbee with ideas from David Hoy, David Ben, and Ron Wilson. This manuscript is signed and numbered. A certificate giving you full performance rights and TV rights. The FIVE special soft frisbees. These frisbees are made from special material that enables them to fold up and fit in your pocket. Each frisbee comes with it’s own very small nylon pouch.




Art of Levitation Part 3
At last, the Master of Levitation, Losander, brings you the Art of Levitation Part 3. Losander has created several new thread systems using elastic thread. With this DVD you will learn how to float and animate light objects. Some of the effects you will learn are: Floating bill based on a new thread system, Perfect Balance teaches you how to animate a business card, Dancing Wand, Losander also shows you how to build your own Wand, Genii in the Bottle, Shoot over a banknote, Self contained Dancing Handkerchief Routine, New Levitation system for Bubbles. Special features include Losander's famous version of The Zombie, based on a new designed gimmick. This DVD includes elastic thread so you can begin your lessons right away! You will not believe how much knowledge and information is packed in on the Art of Levitation Part 3. This is a must have DVD for your magic collection.





Jester's Gambit




The magician brings out a container and removes a small pewter jester statute. He explains that the jester has made a prediction. Three cards are then placed directly in front of the spectator. The magician asks the spectator to choose a card with colored dot on it. The spectator picks a card. The magician shows the jester's prediction and it matches the card. Comes complete with special cards, small jester, and detailed instructions. A very simple and yet clever idea that could lend itself to any number of bizarre magic stories. It also can be a straight performance of the Jester's prediction, but once you learn the method you will come up with more routines.











Tony's Tips: Some ideas to Grow on

We are you going in your magic career? Don't know? This is that time of the year I like so that I can sit back and get a little reflective. If you have a good core of friends or family that believe in what you do, maybe a little Q & A with them to find out what they like about you, your shows and maybe even hear from them in what they envision you as you perform. It is so great that even after watching Billy Joel and seeing a 58 old rock musician perform, I can still see the rock and roller he was 30 years ago. He still has that spark that inspires and the motivation to make his own kind of magic! What is the motivation that inspires you to create a new show or learn a new effect.
Here are a few ideas that might help you to keep "the little grey cells" always working to come up with new magic.
Each day try to learn a new trick. Simply said when folks are always busy but even if you watch one trick a day from a DVD by the end of the week you will have learned 7 new tricks.

To practice them is another story. Break down the trick to its basic core. If it is a trick with lots of patter see if you can learn the patter on the way to work driving and getting stuck in traffic. Make a recording of the patter and listen to it on your car radio or ipod. This way your still practicing and learning.

Take a topic or a idea and enter it into Google. I call this "traveling down the rabbit hole" others call it "surfing the net". Either way by doing this you can learn alot on a subject that you have an interest in then open more knowledge from one idea to an other. I look at Google like the new encyclopedias of the online world. When you do this "Google search" don't forget to also click on Google images also. Some recent searches have included Medicine Show, different movie stars, a movie title this way I get the information for most of everything I want to know ASAP on the subject on hand.

Coming up with ideas is as simple as knowing the basics of what ever your interested in. Make sure that if magic is your career you know the proper sleights and terms. This way coming up with a new routine from an old ideal is much easier. Make sure you know what the magician's force is, know how to also force a card in a few ways. Make sure you know all your counts so that you can come up with a new packet trick. Learn and remember the basics


I have mention my collection book of ideas before but I always like to remind folks about it. Here you get a loose leaf book (larger the better) and then get a box of those plastic pages. Put the pages in the loose leaf book. So when your surfing the web and printing out ideas or tricks now start saving new information. See something in a magazine (copy the picture) or tear it out save them in your book of ideas. Building a library of books like this can also give you a source for future shows. Also it is not a bad idea of having one of these books as a keeper of the instructions that come with new magic you purchase. This way you are organized and if you ever sell your old magic you still have the instructions to sell with the trick.

Ready Set Go about your props and clothing. Once your done with your show reset and clean props that need to be cleaned as soon possible. This way your set for your next show. Organize your case and always empty your pockets of tricks after shows. Cleaning costumes and clothing after your shows also means your ready for those last minute gigs. Also if you are someone that works at a regular job and your show is at home and you get a call for that night. Make sure members of your family know where everything is so perhaps they could bring your props and meet you at the gig, if time does not allow you to go home in time.
Setting up a regular schedule for learning, repairing, cleaning and promoting your show and yourself will be the way to make more shows come your way. Again I think having a good video camera and a good core of family or friends that can be honest and tell you when something works or doesn't is also important when you can't afford a director to watch your show.

Any suggestions from you? What have you learned that might help all of us be the best magicians we can be. Let me know for a future blog. Well from all of us at Hocus Pocus I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. Stop a moment and think about all that you have to be Thankful for write it down and then think what else would I like to achieve in my career

Best Magical Wishes
Tony Blanco



































Monday, November 12, 2007

 
The Show Must Go on!

Last week I gave you a tease about me doing another Biker event. Well the weather has finally changed here in the central valley of California. Sunday morning we wake to see a rainy day, this on the day of the Rally in the Valley Biker Show. With some new magic and a new sound system I began to wonder how much of a show I would be able to do that day in the rain. Upon arriving to the stage area I find everyone setting up as if nothing was happening. Very cool the show does go on. Rain was actually starting to stop but the day still looked overcast. This event I had the pleasure of working with two new talented dancer/models, Kristen and Kelly (photos to follow). We did notice the turn out was a bit thinner then last time in May but that was the weather and could not be helped. Show must go on! During the day the ladies and I did 3 shows. Since last time the zig-zag had a new paint job. Also I used a new small production box to produce Kelly from, I was actually surprised by the great reaction from the audience.

Then yours truly was the MC for (get this) a Tattoo Contest. There were different class levels of the Tattoos i.e. Best Arm, Best Leg, Best Harley-Davidson Logo etc. It was my job to bring the folks to the stage introduce them to the judges and then get the scores to the folks adding up the scores. It was a sight to see and to believe me where some of the tattoos were on folks body's was not always a pretty sight. Overall between the weather and the wacky folks in the contest it was truly a fun day. Lots of great custom made motorcycles to see and the show must go on! Check out the pictures below of the event. So what did you do this weekend? Let me hear about your shows for this blog!


Hocus Pocus Lecture Series Continues

We are now less then 1 month away from the last lecture of the series here at Hocus Pocus this year. 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 the week before. 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 now it is time to start making your reservations for Decemeber 10th 2007 for an Evening with John Calvert at 7:00 $10.00 in advance and $15.00 at the door the night of the lecture. Call me at 1-800-407-4040 if you wish to reserve a seat.







Tony's Picks



Ultra Visual NightShades by Paul Harris


You borrow a dollar and draw a tiny pair of ink sunglasses over George's eyes. You cleanly showed both hands to be absolutely empty, then hold the bill by its extreme edge. There's a moment of silence...then suddenly the shades come to life! The drawing of the glasses visibly leap off George's eyes and up to his forehead!

The astonishing animation of the cartoon shades happens in full view...with absolutely no cover of any kind! The borrowed bill is immediately handed back for examination...the shades are indeed permanently inked onto George's furrowed brow.


  • Easier, cleaner and 100% more visual than the original Improv Nightshades
  • Use any borrowed bill
  • No Plaming
  • No switches
  • Instant reset
  • Perform surrounded
  • Works with most foreign currencies that have a face
  • Draw a head with shades on a piece of paper or business card and do the exact same effect

Paintball Prediction

This effect was recently featured on television and was a huge sensation for the live studio audience. A spectator is invited on stage to participate in a demonstration of psychic power. The magician dons a protective vest, jacket, mask, and gloves. He hands the participant a paintball gun and instructs him/her to fire 2 to 6 paintballs at him, hitting him wherever she wants. After she has finished shooting the magician, he picks up a sealed envelope from the table, opens it up, and reveals a target that correctly predicted where on his body the balls would hit! For magicians who do not wish to use a paintball gun, there are other versions included, using different props. Paintball Prediction is set to go with target, envelope, and special gimmick. To keep the price low you supply your own Paintball Gun.






Big Bag O' Blitzen

Just in time for those holiday show comes Mike Bent's Big Bag O' Blitzen (well Rudloph actually). Big Bag of Bliltzen is in stock ready to ship. You can begin your routine by having a spectator come to the stage and perhaps get the audience to sing Rudloph the Red Nose Raindeer. In doing so reach into a small bag and pull out a big red sponge nose and plush reindeer antlers. Place these on your helper. Magically, the bag turns into a beautiful 36" reindeer silk with your helper now becoming the reindeer. Mike Bent's Big Bag of Blitzen is supplied with reindeer silk, Blendo bag, sponge nose, plush reindeer antlers, and Mike's full routine








Andy Comic Cups and Balls
BACK FOR A LIMITED RUN! WE SECURED SOME MORE!
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



Letter to Santa


Here is another effect in time for all of your holiday shows. Letter To Santa has all the right stuff and it gives the audience the warm fuzzies to boot. A special mailbox adapted for magical use is introduced. On one side the sign reads "North Pole" and on the other side it reads "S. Claus." You can tell the audience that Santa himself is letting you help him gather cards and letters. Open Santa's mailbox and remove a list or letters that you read to the audience. Then produce a rabbit OR other items from inside. After the mailbox is shown empty you can produce a rabbit for the kids. The letters in the box could be the holiday bonuses that the boss wants handed out. First you produce a trophy for the best employee then hand out the bonus envelopes. Get the idea? Then produce the P.T.O.s awards from inside and pass them to the winners. Hey! Sometimes a customer wants you to produce a puppy at a birthday party. If he is the size of a rabbit, you're in business. Start with one rabbit up front. Make it disappear then reproduce a second matching rabbit from inside. Tell them that Elves up to their old tricks. You can produce a spring rabbit then put it in your Duck Bucket and it magically turned into a real rabbit. Lots of presentations are possible. Letter To Santa is made using a steel bodied mailbox. It also features special vinyl graphics on both sides. The gimmick and interior of the box is flocked black, making a perfect Black Art illusion. A wood base is added. Attach your own flange and mount everything directly to a table base instead of using an entire table.



Tony's Tips


I recently mention about booking shows and some things, ideas that have worked for me. Here is a view from one of my readers and Hocus Pocus customers King Chapman (pictured to the right). As there are always two sides to a story here is what King says about booking parties for 1 year olds. Thank you King for sending your views in for all of us to make the choice to book or not to book these type of shows.



Dear Tony,


Congrats to you and your lovely bride.
We should all be so blessed to find the love of our
life. As always I enjoy your blog. I think that when a professional shares many get into the
right or wrong mode. That is to say they take each nugget and place it into the category of "this is right" and "that is wrong". I think it is more of perspective. Which leads me to the thoughts you shared on one year old parties.

I regularly do them. In fact where I live there is a very large population of folks from a certain foreign country that is known to celebrate one year old birthdays at restaurants with a banquet. Further most magicians find dealing with this particular situation difficult. I have another subset of wealthy folks who have parties for one year olds as well.
Mostly babies, a few toddlers and a smattering of pre schoolers. So I play to the adults and make sure the kids enjoy. By way of perspective they might have a cake that costs $750 to $1000!

So I formulated a way to sell, perform and succeed at these shows. Like you said ask all the questions first. Then charge knowing what all the haggles are. Some of these parties have huge built in haggles. So I charge accordingly and have a show that works for this crew.
First I make sure the hosts understands that my entertainment is a celebration of the one year olds life-not a party for the little one like when they are 7 years old. Further I tell them I will entertain everyone from the children through the adults. Most of these shows have 20-40 kids and 50-150 adults.

Lastly I charge them like I would for an adult show-not a kids show. Period. There is no negotiation of price available-and these groups love to negotiate. (Please understand I have custom shows including ethnic music, flag tricks from the country of origin and am the house banquet magician at many of their favorite restaurants.) I know I charge more than others they will contact. In fact I tell them they are welcome to call others. If I have down an adequate job the gig is booked. I regularly do these gigs and am well known for it.

Are they a lot more work than other gigs? You betcha. So charge and schedule accordingly.
I never begrudge others who prefer no to do these gigs. In fact I am glad they don't!
However I would prefer they not tell clients that magic is not appropriate for these gigs.
It is simply that their magic is not and therein is a huge difference. I know of a fairly high profile kid show performer who says he doesn't use animals because it is cruel to the rabbit or the birds to use them in an act. Privately he admits it his way of avoiding the hassle while looking politically correct.

My view is that he is spreading misinformation that those of us who use animals are somehow abusive. Something a fellow pro and brother magician ought not to do.
Please understand I am not slamming your thoughts or your blog. It is great!
You were very clear that you qualify your clients and tell them what you do.
I am simply weary of the calls where they start out telling me that some other magician said that magic is not appropriate at such and such an event.
Again-great blog.
Congratulations.
May this love between you two grow and blossom and be ever refreshing for you both.
Pax.

King Chapman
Magic At The Speed Of Life!
http://www.kingofmagic.com/


Once again King, thank you for sharing with all of us. Now we go from performing for babies to working with Biker Babes. Here are some of the photos from this weekends gig.




To see more photos go to myspace at and click the photo section: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=40572549

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

 

Fall Magic in the Air



Again its that time of the year for leaves to fall, pumpkins in the door way and time to shop for a big turkey on sale. This time of the year can be most magical as it is also the change of times and seasons which create an effect on the planet to hopefully be a lot nicer this time of the year towards each other. This weekend saw your humble writer with two interesting gigs. One of which I recommend you check out in your area. This was a gig for the Children and Family Services of Fresno, the folks that place kids for adoption. This was a giant picnic with musicians, bounce houses, food and of course magic. Here is an event that truly reaches to the child in all of us and how much you can give to a child who has no family. During the day 30 children were placed with parents and now have a place to call home. So I would contact your local group and they just maybe having such events for the services of magicians and clowns. The next day after all that carnival like atmosphere found me in the home of folks just celebrating a combined day of birthdays in the family. Imagine almost the same carnival atmosphere from the day before only now for about 15 people (4 or 5 were kids) this made for such a nice magical storytelling/comedy magic show in what was a truly wonderful forest type setting in this home. This weekend coming up its all about the Bikers and my magic show again. Tune in for those pictures next week.



Hocus Pocus Lecture Series Continues


We are now just about 1 month away from the last lecture of the series here at Hocus Pocus. 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 the week before. 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 now it is time to start making your reservations for Decemeber 10th 2007 for an Evening with John Calvert at 7:00 $10.00 in advance and $15.00 at the door the night of the lecture. Call me at 1-800-407-4040 if you wish to reserve a seat.






Tony's Picks
Insta-Cube


There are many variations of this effect, but with the Insta-Cube, you can give the puzzle out at the end of the trick for complete examination! The "Enchanted Cube" created by Craig Nichols in 1980 and marketed by Daryl in 1998 has been vastly improved! Effect: You explain to your audience that the Rubik's cube is a very difficult puzzle. You can solve it without the rules! However, the best you can do is only one white line of the puzzle. You show it to your audience. But remember -- you are a magician!You throw it in the air where it visually solves itself! You show that it's completely solved and you immediately hand it out to your audience for examination! Insta-Cube is visual magic at it's best! Perfect for parlor, stage or closeup performance. Don't pass this one up, order yours today!












Brian Geer's Knife Thru Coat



For years, the Knife Through Coat effect has been a classic of comedy featured in many magicians' acts. Many versions have been marketed: some good, some not-so-good. The handling issue was always a concern with many performers. Now, professional entertainer Brian Geer has come up with what we feel is the finest, most practical Knife Through Coat we have seen in years! The effect is simple and straightforward: The performer displays a matted paper frame and hands it out for examination to the spectators. An "X" is marked on the paper, and the magician then borrows a coat from the audience. It is held outstretched by the volunteer and the magician proceeds to puncture the material of the coat as the blade of the knife is seen poking through the paper, however, completely out of range of the "X." No problem. The magician then proceeds to saw and cut his way down to meet the "X." The look on the spectator's face as this is done is priceless. Have no fear, though; the knife is pulled through the paper (and it is completely whole -- there is only one knife used), the paper is removed, and the coat is seen to be completely unharmed! With Brian's method, everything happens smoothly and without any awkward movements. Everything is logical, and it makes for a comedic routine from start to finish! And the best part is the price! You get all this magic and audience involvement for the low, low price listed below! Supplied complete with matted frame, knife, detailed instructions, and DVD explanation and all this at an incredible low price for such a powerful effect .






Make it Magic Christmas

From the creative folks that gave us "Make it Spooky", Arthur and Leslie Stead present MAKE IT MAGIC CHRISTMAS CD. This CD will give your shows that professional dazzle and set you way ahead of your competition. Imagine over one hour of wonderful holiday music in a variety of different styles for your Holiday shows. Perfect for warm-up music to feature music for your show. "Make It Magic Christmas" includes well-known Christmas songs and catchy new Arthur and Leslie Stead originals which have been arranged in the Christmas Spirit to charm and entertain your audiences. Some of the pieces of music on this CD are Santa Says So, Merry Mambo, Joy To The World, A Precious Gift, Candy Canes, Sing, O Sing, Jingle Bells plus 11 more tunes.








Aldo Colombini Magic


Hocus Pocus is proud to carry the newest line from Aldo Colombini. He is a F.I.S.M. prizewinner, one of the most prestigious awards in the world of magic. He performed often on Italian television (RAI 1) and has also appeared on television shows in Portugal, Spain, Japan, Colombia and Sweden. Now Aldo and Rachel Colombini has released a new series of magic effects and booklets all within the price range of 10.00. Aldo is one of magic's creative guys and now with effects like Dig-it, Not-Gone, Sorcerer's Stone, Zodiac Code, Stage Presence, The Adder Potter's Pentagram you can get great magic for stage and close-up at a great price. Aldo also has new booklets some titles include: "Your Host for Tonight", " Cut above the Rest", "Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere" and "A Set-up with Aldo book". Just type in the name Aldo in product search to see some of these many new and great effects from Aldo and Rachel Colombini.





Influence 2

From the creative team of Larry Becker & Lee Earle comes Influence 2 which is an anytime, anywhere, any card miracle. Spread a shuffled deck face up on the table. Someone thinks of a random playing card - value, color, and suit - and writes those thoughts on the back of a business card you hand him (for example he writes 7, black, Spades). You square the deck and leave it face down on the table. Next, he is asked to dial the toll-free number printed on the card (any phone can be used) to connect with a friend - a corporate executive, who moonlights as a numerologist. When he reaches her voicemail (she always seems to be out of the office) after the standard "Leave your name and number," she adds, "The destiny card and lucky number for today are: the 7 of Spades and 35 That's when you ask your participant to deal down to the 35th card - it's the 7 of Spades! You get a supply of professionally designed full-color business cards, illustrated instructions, and (although it's not required) a bonus of a Demon Deck which is a $35.00 value.









Santa Rudolph Story


Displaying a silk depicting Santa by himself on his sleigh, the performer begin this tale "It was a very dark night. In fact, Santa was glad when he finally made it back to the North Pole. But Mrs. Claus quickly pointed out to him that he had forgotten to take some presents with him. When he looked over in the corner he knew at once that they were Bobby's presents. 'Oh, my,' said Santa. 'I have to deliver these presents at once. He called for his elves to load the presents into his sleigh and then quickly got into the sleigh himself only to realize that the reindeer had been put into their reindeer stalls. "'This will never do. But I don't need all the reindeer," Santa says. Placing the silk inside the change bag, you say the magic words, and pull it out again. This time the silk displays Santa along with his pal, Dasher. "I'm afraid,' said Santa, 'that it's a little too dark for you and I to do this run together. You can go back into your stall and finish your dinner." Place the silk back into the change bag, and when it is pulled out once more, Santa is depicted in his sleigh along with his red-nosed pal, Rudolph. "We only have one stop to make,' said Santa with a big smile on his face as he saw Rudolph's nose lit up. It took no time for Rudolph and Santa to reach Bobby's house. Down the chimney he went with his bag full of presents and then back into his sleigh and Rudolph took him safely home." Three silks which come with the effect. Then you need to use either a change bag or Tote Bag or Xmas Stocking Change Bag and let the holiday magic begin.




Tony's Tips



Booking Shows "The Telephone Call"


I find it amazing that over the years the way a phone conversations start when someone wants to book a show. It could start very sweet by someone asking if you entertain children to HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE? Either way you always have to be ready for the tone of the voice and not answer right away but ask questions back first! In the case of How Much do you charge? Never give a price right away, ask questions like "Where is the show going to be held"? Travel will add into the price of your show. Never get stuck not charging enough. Also when asking about the location of the show, this would also determine the clients location in regards to income and what you can charge for the show or if you even want to take the show if it is dangerous part of town. One perform I knew used to have a map of his area on the wall and would have number of $ signs in the different towns on the map knowing which were the rich folks lived. It actually not a bad idea to have a map in the room in which you do your bookings so that you can determine mileage while on the phone with the client. Remember by asking questions first you get all the information to give the client a proper price for them and no surprises for you.

Another thing to remember before answering what your price is to ask the size of the audience before giving a price. This can also help set the length of your time at an event. Example when a customer says they are having an open house party and want you there for 4 hours and only expect 100 people or less. It is my job to say that maybe 1 hour and a half would be more then enough. Nothing more boring then to be somewhere when you have 40 people to entertain and you still have 3 more hours to be there.

The minute you pick up the phone it is your job to sell your talents but not bore the person with everything you have ever done. Time to time folks ask who you are or what you have done or where they can see you perform. Be ready to answer them by naming 3-4 top clients that the customer would know, if possible having a website with a video of you in action is also a plus. I have both ready and now a third, a restaurant where I can be seen doing my magic and stuff, 2 nights a week. This again gives you props in the eyes of the spectator that you are a working professional when they are calling you cold out of a phone book.


Also before giving a price, if it is for a kid show ask the ages of the children. Here in Fresno I get alot of calls for folks that want to have a birthday party for a 1 year old. Well that is just to young for me unless I know the rest of the kids will be older or if the party is really going to be for the adults. Then and only then would I book the show. Nothing sillier then doing a cut and restore rope with a baby...kidding.


A booking sheet by the phone is always a plus to help remind you of questions to ask. One important question to ask is how the customer heard of you. This will help let you know if you are running a ad somewhere like the phone book or a children's magazine if you are getting the proper pay back from the ad. The most important lesson in booking a show is to listen to what the client is looking for in entertainment. If they don't know be ready to help and suggest the right services that you may provide. If you don't think your the type of entertainment they are looking for then be able to suggest a clown or puppet show or bounce house. This way they will still remember you when they really will need you.


Just a few telephone tips from years of booking shows but I still have a lesson or two to still learn every time I pick up the phone. Beacuse you just never know what or who will call and what they need.



Thanks for reading,


Best Wishes,


Tony Blanco

tony@hocus-pocus.com






























































































































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