Monday, December 31, 2007

 
Happy New Year


I hope you are enjoying the day off today and spending time with your family and friends. Today is a nice day to catch up on what happened last year. At this point I am watching lots of classics movies and just wanted to take time to wish you all a Happy New Year. Now time is closing in and just around the corner for this year's Hocus Pocus Swap Meet. Read more about it below and give me a call to set up your place for the Lectures, Workshop or a table to perhaps you'll want to sell some of your old magic stuff.

Hope to see you soon in Fresno!


Hocus Pocus Swap Meet January 19th and 20th 2008


It's almost here! Where will you be on Saturday, January 19th and Sunday, 20th? We hope to see you here in Fresno, California for the 2nd Annual Hocus Pocus Swap Meet & Get-
Together!
Starting at 9:00 AM on Saturday the 19th, the doors will open and the second annual Hocus Pocus Swap Meet & Get-Together will officially begin! Be a part of magic history where, in addition to a fantastic swap meet, there will be a fun-filled 2 days of lectures and guests, free gifts, and more!
Our lectures for this year include Suds, Jay Leslie, David Regal, Shoot Ogawa, Daryl, Losander.
*Lecture fee for all 6 lectures is only $40.00
*Individual lectures may be purchased for $15.00.*The Swap Meet is free to attend, however if you wish to sell your magic wares, tables are
$20.00 each.*Special optional Workshop with Daryl is being offered on Sunday at an additional charge of
$30.00 per person (seating is limited, so make sure you register early to reserve your spot).
Since Fresno is centrally located in the San Joaquin Valley, California, between San Francisco and Los Angeles, we're so close, why not join us for our Swap Meet & Get-Together? We've even reserved special hotel rates for your convenience if you are planning on staying the night. The hotel information is listed below: Best Western Water Tree Inn 4141 N. Blackstone Avenue Fresno, California 559-222-4445 To get these special rates, just mention the Hocus Pocus Swap Meet when phoning the hotel.
The Water Tree Inn is only a few minutes away from Hocus Pocus and has been host to many of our past guests, friends, and lecturers. This promises to be a fantastic, fun-filled 2-day event. If you wish to participate or attend (or both), contact us toll-free at 800-407-4040 to reserve your spot!
Reserve January 19th and 20th on your calendar and be sure to show up at: Hocus Pocus 1492 N. Clark, # 104 Fresno, CA. 93703.
Remember, to attend the Swap Meet is absolutely free and won't cost you a dime! To purchase tickets for the entire lecture package or individual lectures, call now at 800-407-4040. Remember, to sell your magic items, you must reserve a table. To reserve your table, call now at 800-407-4040.
Best Magical Wishes
Tony Blanco
























Tony's Tips




Well readers we have made it through another year. Did it turn out to be what you wanted as a year? How many new doors did you open

Monday, December 24, 2007

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Hope to be chatting with all of you and I hope to hear from all of you in 2008.
Best of the Holidays to you and your family,
Tony Blanco

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

 
Less then one week and counting

So I hope you have been surviving the Holiday Season so far. This past week has seen me doing a few Holiday Parties and really having good audiences. Some parties can turn out like in those in the movies when workers get drunk for Christmas, so no amount of magic would work for these parties. This year it has been nice with one company event and one family event. The company event was held at a brand new restaurant. I find out that the area that I am to perform in has no electrical outlet near by. There was a bottom up light to light up the side wall in this corner. So here is a story of going the extra mile. The owner of the restaurant ran to Home Depot not once but twice to get the proper screw in outlet fixture to change the light socket to a plug outlet. That was pretty amazing that he did this to make the party work. Then it was about setting up my new sound system and looking like a pro thanks to the owner of the restaurant and the company that hired me set up a great backdrop also. It was a fun evening of folks. Two days later off to an apartment complex club house for a party of Hospital folks. Now if anyone knows stress its Hospital workers. This was a sweet little room looking very Christmas like with a big fireplace. Lots of adults with kids so it was like one big family gathered around the fireplace to watch a magic show. Very nice and very touching evening. Got a party story to share let me know tony@hocus-pocus.com


Hocus Pocus Swap Meet January 19th and 20th 2008


It's almost here! Where will you be on Saturday, January 19th and Sunday, 20th? We hope to see you here in Fresno, California for the 2nd Annual Hocus Pocus Swap Meet & Get-Together! Starting at 9:00 AM on Saturday the 19th, the doors will open and the second annual Hocus Pocus Swap Meet & Get-Together will officially begin! Be a part of magic history where, in addition to a fantastic swap meet, there will be a fun-filled 2 days of lectures and guests, free gifts, and more!
Our lectures for this year include Suds, Jay Leslie, David Regal, Shoot Ogawa, Daryl, Losander.
*Lecture fee for all 6 lectures is only $40.00
*Individual lectures may be purchased for $15.00.
*The Swap Meet is free to attend, however if you wish to sell your magic wares, tables are
$20.00 each.
*Special optional Workshop with Daryl is being offered on Sunday at an additional charge of
$30.00 per person (seating is limited, so make sure you register early to reserve your spot).

Since Fresno is centrally located in the San Joaquin Valley, California, between San Francisco and Los Angeles, we're so close, why not join us for our Swap Meet & Get-Together? We've even reserved special hotel rates for your convenience if you are planning on staying the night. The hotel information is listed below: Best Western Water Tree Inn 4141 N. Blackstone Avenue Fresno, California559-222-4445
To get these special rates, just mention the Hocus Pocus Swap Meet when phoning the hotel. The Water Tree Inn is only a few minutes away from Hocus Pocus and has been host to many of our past guests, friends, and lecturers.
This promises to be a fantastic, fun-filled 2-day event. If you wish to participate or attend (or both), contact us toll-free at 800-407-4040 to reserve your spot!

Reserve January 19th and 20th on your calendar and be sure to show up at: Hocus Pocus 1492 N. Clark, # 104 Fresno, CA. 93703.

Remember, to attend the Swap Meet is absolutely free and won't cost you a dime! To purchase tickets for the entire lecture package or individual lectures, call now at 800-407-4040. Remember, to sell your magic items, you must reserve a table. To reserve your table, call now at 800-407-4040.


Tony's Picks

Inner Change
When a spectator's marked coin vanishes without a trace, only to reappear in a nest of envelopes they were holding, they will have experienced an Inner Change. With this unique and diabolical method, you will leave them stunned! The spectator's marked coin is put at risk... but they have insurance! The valuable contents of a small envelope they hold from the start. They mark the coin, assuring the use of no duplicates. The envelope is waved over their coin, and the coin immediately vanishes. The hands are shown empty and the envelope is shown to be unprepared as it is opened, only to reveal another smaller envelope inside. This envelope has an even smaller one within. A nest of five envelopes are opened in this way until the smallest inner envelope is opened by the spectator and inside is "THE SPECTATOR'S MARKED COIN"! Absolutely amazing, it must be real magic This effect is stunning, easy, and self-contained. Simple reset means instant magic. The method is a diabolical million-dollar secret with no difficult palming, pocket work, or fake appendages. Use any borrowed, marked coin - penny, nickel, dime or quarter. You will have at your fingertips a daily miracle pulling you center stage! I know you like to perform every time someone asks to see a trick. Here's a comfortable solution for an ever-ready killer. Inner Change is a self-contained device, featuring amazing and efficient durable construction.



DMP

The future of magic is digital! DMP (Digital Magic Portal) opens up a brand new world of close-up magic to your repertoire! Imagine being able to perform predictions, color changes, transpositions, appearances, wishes, and much more with a high tech gimmick that you can take with you anywhere and fits right in the palm of your hand! Imagine what it would be like if one gimmick could add a totally new life and dimension to existing magic tricks that you may already own! Well imagine no more; the future is here! The DMP is a hi-tech, miniature, portable digital screen but what makes it unique is its size and shape. It is small enough to conceal a thumb-tip which allows you to perform several effects such as the salt pour, etc. The main gimmick is however the included CDs for both Mac and PCs. These CDs contain pictures shot or modified specifically for this effect and this size screen on this gimmick. You receive two CDs, one of which is the software for the DMP that allows you to upload your personal pics as well as the trick pics which are on the other CD. Some of the effects can be done with just the DMP but the majority will require a few props such as sponge balls, Scotch & Soda, or a thumb tip. The DMP was created specifically for magicians who may have these props in a drawer somewhere because they got bored of performing these kinds of effects. The DMP will give those tricks new life and a more modern cutting edge of technology approach to their presentation. So dust off those old magic tricks and get ready because the future of magic is here! Package includes PC & Mac compatible software, internal rechargeable battery that charges via USB cable (included), and detailed instructions and ideas on how to perform over 10 different effects! Check out the online video to see the future of Digital Magic.




Bottle Cap Levitation
From the creative mind of Wizard Wands comes the Bottle Cap Levitation! The art of levitation has been a closely guarded secret for centuries. Now you hold the secret power of levitation, in your hands! On the included DVD, you will learn how to levitate a bottle cap right off the bottle! Then spin it in mid air and watch it float up, down, to the left, and to the right. It’s up to you!!! You control its every move! When you know the secret of levitation, you can float it through a hoop you create with your hands, and then, even around your body! Amaze your friends and astound your family! The kit includes all the “secret stuff” you need to make the magic happen and this DVD shows you how to do it! Just follow the DVD along with your kit, and you will be floating small objects in virtually no time. With this kit you can float anything that weighs about ½ oz, like: coins, poker chips, candy, soda caps, water caps, finger rings, foam balls, aluminum foil, and even a $20 dollar bill.




Past Midnight DVD Set

Here is one DVD set that is burning up the magic internet chat rooms.This is the debut material by one of the best underground card magicians in the world Benjamin Earl. For years, Ben has been one of Europe's top professional performers and innovative creators. Like many of these quiet achievers, he has previously avoided magicians, conventions and all attempts to get him to share his original material. This new DVD set has three volumes of startling, original material that will surely find its way into the repertoires of hobbyists and professionals alike.


Disc One features Ben's imaginative handlings for several of card magic's classic plots. Do we need new versions of Collectors, Hofzinser's Aces and Triumph? We do when they are this eye-popping! As well as these fantastic new approaches to traditional plots, this disc also contains many original flourishes and sleights as well as all the work on Ben's 'Stroke Change', which looks like trick-photography even when you know how it's done. Best of all, this incredible change, like almost all the material on this disc, is easily within the reach of any intermediate card handler.

Disc Two focuses on gambling and card table material. As a true student of the art, Ben has been refining and advancing card table artifice for many years. The finessed handlings and methodological advances that he demonstrates and teaches on this disc comprise some of the most important contributions to this branch of card magic by a new voice for many years. Fans of 'the real work' will be delighted by Ben's decision to share these prized techniques.
Disc Three contains a wealth of Ben's mental card magic, a style which he prefers to perform these days. There are several fantastic and totally practical handlings for Think-A-Card as well as versions of Mental Poker and Brainwave that break entirely new ground. Impossible Locations and Thought Card To Pocket handlings which fool absolutely everyone ensure that the only problem you'll have with Ben's material is which tricks to leave out of your performance! Once you watch this set you will never look at a deck of cards the same way ever again.



Box of Destiny
Revealed for the first time at Magic Live 2007 in Las Vegas, an antique looking box is displayed. On each side of the box displays each of the 4 aces beautifully carved into the box. A spectator is given the option to pick a side of the box of destiny (one of the four aces representing on the box) an a symbolic area of their life). They are also given the opportunity to choose a color. The box of destiny is now opened to reveal a single box of playing cards that matches the spectators chosen color. The cards are then removed from their box and fanned out to reveal one card faced down. The card is flipped over and reveals a perfect match to the spectator's destiny card (their chosen ace). But wait; there's more: The magician snaps his fingers and changes the entire deck of cards to another color. Leaving only one card with the original chosen color on it.... the spectator's chosen destiny card. This effect comes with Box, Cards, and instruction booklet with an amazing script. Check out the online video on the website.






Tony's Tips


Well another year has gone by and I think what happen this year? "What worked? What didn't work? This is the time to look back at your show sheets and wonder,"Did I charge enough for those shows?" After all the Christmas pudding has been eaten, and the last of the wrapping paper has been thrown away or burnt in the fireplace, take a moment away from the noise and look back on your year of shows and performances. What Needs to be Improved for 2008. Do you think you did as many gigs as you could? How can you improve set up and tear down when getting from gig to gig? Start making a list of the these questions and start to go thru your props and costumes and supplies.
First off before this year is over, this would be a good time to restock, repair, or replace items in your show. These receipts can be used for tax deductions for this year. Any little extra money that you may have should be invested back into the show. Example if you wear Tuxedo shirts and some are getting worn or if you notice year end clearances in your local Tux shop now is the time to buy! Stores are having they year end blow outs, so say its time to upgrade your computer for business now is the time to buy. As a matter of fact I hear the CompUSA is closing down so here is a chance to get a bargain....maybe. Anything that you notice that you use a lot of in your show, balloons , mouthcoils, flash paper, etc. time to buy more to restock. Chances are with a New Year comes new prices on many things. So stock up, save and get ready for the next year.
So where did you get the most work from Phone Ads, Website? Time to see which form of PR and marketing paid off this year for you and which did not. If you notice lots of calls and bookings from a small phone ad, maybe this year you might want to get a larger ad. On the other hand (like I learned) if you are not getting many or any calls from your phone ad, time to get rid of it and save the money for another form of PR. Always have business cards made or make them yourself on you computer, but never be with out them. This is still the best form of advertising. Also places like Officemax and Office Depot have peel and stick magnet business forms. This way you can just you business card on to a magnet to hand out. Any form of handouts again are tax deductions for your business and don't forget to write them off.
Costumes and Clothing for your show as I mention earlier needs to be repaired or replaced now is the time to get deals on fabric and clothing sales in the stores. This year has been a bad year for big name stores and sales. Last night I went to get my wife a gift which I know and was willing to buy at a high cost. This store had 20%-60% marked on lots of clothing and things. Just means one thing folks are not spending money this year. So time to reel in savings for your act or show. Check out all the stores that you do business with for after the holiday sales. If you have dollar stores near you get ready for lots of stock to come in after Christmas. Those of you that do tricks with wrapping paper (like making Martin Lewis's Chinese Sticks) get that gold wrapping paper for a $1.00 a roll. Giveaways for your show as the dollar store are clearing out toys that didn't sell from the big stores.
Now on to what needs to be improved in your show and the way you set up and travel. Can you do this show with less set up then you do now? What can you leave at home or just can't live without? Over the years if you read this column you know me and my love for cases. Well this is will be the last time I mention the importance of getting into the gig and out. If all can fit in one roadie case invest the money in a great case. This case becomes the table top and has the drawers to organize the tricks, sound system parts, and extra supplies for the next show. One case easy in easy out of the job!
Traveling to the Gig-Something also this coming year to think about has been the rising cost of gasoline. You need to figure in miles and travel to each and every show you do. As the gasoline price goes up and the little birthday party is now 30-45 minutes away from your home each way...its time to up your show price by 10-20.00 if not more. This is not something parents really want to hear about or deal with. So to cover the sound of a higher price, in the phone sale talk up the fact of free gifts for the kids or custom made gifts or something that looks like they are getting more for the money.
What suggest do you have or do at the end of each year? Let me know at tony@hocus-pocus.com Well since next Tuesday is Christmas, I will take the day off from writing a blog and enjoy my first married Christmas with my new bride. On behalf of all the folks here at Hocus Pocus, we all wish you the Merriest of Holidays and a Very Happy New Year!
Best Magical Wishes,
Tony Blanco





















































Tuesday, December 11, 2007

 


A Gift for the Holidays

Monday night we were honored to have John and Tammy Calvert here at Hocus Pocus for the last lecture of the year. John if you don't know has been performing for most of his 96 years. Yes! I said 96 years. It was a slice of the Golden age of magic having him and Tammy here. What was even cool was the fact that Paul asked me to call the local news channels. Out of 3 stations contacted 2 showed up. Both stations did an excellent telecast for the 10:00 and 11:00 news programs. Both featured an interview with John and highlights of his show. And what a show/lecture it was also. He performed cigarette manipulations (not lit but red tipped) with amazing style and grace as an opener. He then went on perform his Seance routine. Then the Lazy Magician, an act made famous by Dante and in John's version this evening he used one of the local reporters for one of the helpers. This was funny later when watching both news channels and she is filmed on the other channel's broadcast also. So as you can tell there was lots of audience participation also in the program. John used as many our lecture guests in his show which made the night even more special. John was also very clear in explaining these marvelous magical mysteries he still performs. He made everyone promise to practice before ever going out to perform any of them. One of the highlights (actually there were many) was to see his Casper routine. Here is an effect with which a borrowed handkerchief from the audience comes to life, dances and floats a bit. All and all a 2 hour event from one of the living legends of magic. All of us here in Fresno will not forget such a night as last night. I will have some photos at the end of the blog for all of you to see. Thank you John and Tammy




Tony's Picks


Spirit Card Box



A beautiful walnut box is opened and the magician removes a deck of cards. A member of your audience freely selects any card from the deck, signs the face of it and you shuffle the card back into the deck. The deck is placed back into the box and the lid is closed. The magician states that he will summon the spirits that live in the box to find the selected card. Slowly the lid opens on its own, and a single card slowly rises out of the box at which time the performer asks, "Is this your card?" The spectator replies, "No it's not." Looking shocked, the magician says, "Oh," as the card pops back down into the box quickly. "Spirits, you can do better than that. Come alive once more and make the correct card rise."Suddenly, all of the cards begin to fly out of the box in a huge fountain and as the cards are flying, the magician reaches into the stream and plucks the signed card from all the others, catching it between his thumb and fingers. "Here is your signed, selected card," he says to thunderous applause as he takes his bow. Made of the finest woods on Earth, and a limited edition which means when its gone its gone.






Shred of Evidence


Here is an effect that has to be one of the most unique and talked about routines. It is a pro's routine that has everything one looks for in an effect fun, comedy, audience participation, surprise after surprise. A volunteer is called upon to enter in a fun “game show” style game. He is told that he may win a $100.00 bill but he must be willing to loan the performer a 10 or 20 dollar bill to use in the game with the promise that he will get his money returned to him at the end. The game begins with his bill being mixed with a number of fake bills in sealed envelopes but then during the game the envelopes get shredded in a paper shredder until only one envelope remains. Uh oh! The volunteer’s bill is NOT found in the last envelope. A consolation prize is offered to the volunteer, and it is an elegant travel kit. But when it unzipped it is found to contain another bag but smaller than the first one. This is repeated over and over until a tiny zippered bag about the size of a small coin purse is produced from within. This bag is opened and the volunteer’s previously signed bill is found inside. This can be a real reputation maker for you and your show. You will not believe the impact on the audience. Comes with the nest of purses, special dice, complete easy to follow routine, a small paper shredder and regular envelopes.


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. I know I have posted this a few blogs back but I needed to add I learned this and it totally blew folks away! High ratings for a well made DVD to learn from without all the added "street magic images" when trying to watch a DVD. Well done Ben and Bob!


Lucky Shot

Three spectators each choose a card. By means of telepathy you try to discern which cards were chosen. Ask each participant to raise their hand as they hear the name of their card. You name three cards. But, no hands go up. Oops! No, problem. Point to an envelope on the table, which, you explain contains the three chosen cards. You remove a Jumbo Card from the envelope and show its face. All 52 cards are printed on the Jumbo Card, and you point out their cards. The spectators are less than impressed. But, you continue. Clearly you have failed to name the three chosen cards, so you tear up the Jumbo Card, then take a toy gun and shoot the card three times. Yikes! When you open the card, it has been magically restored. And, where the three selected cards were on the face of the card are now three bullet holes right through the card! Good shootin’, pardner! Contains enough material for 25 performances. Great for close-up or stage. Supply your own toy gun (or you can make a pretend gun with your fingers).

Umbrellas From Silks
The performer takes three silks from his table and then shows them one by one to be completely empty. He then proceeds to produce not one, not two, not three, but four umbrellas from the bundle of silks! After the four umbrellas are produced, a second production (of a smaller item) can be made. This version is improved from earlier models as the umbrellas can now be produced from the bottom of the silk bundle. Each set comes complete with a regular silk, a specially gimmicked silk, a regular silk (matching the gimmick silk in color) Special gimmick that does almost all the work for you. Four gorgeous and vibrantly colored self-opening umbrellas No body loads needed, everything is self-contained and the silks are fabricated from parachute Nylon as it is stronger and more durable than silk and thus able to carry more weight. They are also more smooth so the "silks" do not stick together as much as regular silks would. Here is a production number that would be great to do at any part of your show. Visual and will fill your stage with nice colors and bright look.


Tony's Tips
Being Prepared for the Big Show
As I mention earlier in the blog we had John and Tammy Calvert here last night. One of the lessons to have watched and learned from this man of magic is preparation. Traveling with such a big show (and for a lecture that says alot) you need to be reading to go. I got to be roadie, tech and soundman for his time here at Hocus Pocus. John arrived with a small trailer with all his cases and backdrops. Everything is labelled. Cases for one trick, suitcases for backdrop curtains. First thing first for his show, he needs to have his design and backdrop up. This meant being flexible to work with what space you have. Luckily the stage I built here at Hocus Pocus meant we could change the black backdrop for the one he had and actually go longer past the wings. This is important to be able to work with the space you have for the show. John mention that in Vegas for his lecture they had no way to hang his curtain so long tables were turned upwards and then the curtain hung across the top of the tables.

Traveling, you learn what I would call life lessons and Mr. Calvert had many to share. Mr. Calvert has traveled around the world with his big show and each performance has to be magical and perfect. For his 100 foot rope escape a simple large see thru file box container. This actaully adds to the performance when you see how much rope fits in that small box. It almost gets a laugh when more and more rope comes out. Tools are important as there are so many little things that need setting and repair. So having scissors and screwdrivers on hand as well as duct table are a must.
Custom cases that make packing a show a breeze, this is one thing I noticed John had for his props. Also extra packing, be it cloth or foam will make you props last longer and his props look well taken care of. So set up was rather quick and this way you have more time to tend to little things like making sure sightlines and music all go well to.

When you are working some place for the first time it is important to go over stage and music cues with the crew if one is on hand. This John took the time to tell me and teach me so his show would go over just right. We ran thru music cues which included knowing what he would say when a certain piece of music would begin or end. What was nice was Tammy wrote out the show routines and then John and I worked in the vocal to music cues.
So now we were up to about 6:00 and time for quick meal and soon the audience was going to arrive. 6:15 first reporter arrived and talk about a smooth talker. Mr. Calvert (at 96 years old) was just marvelous in chatting to the reporter. You can see her below wearing the feather boa in the show. 7:00 show time and the evening went off just well and everyone will have a great memory of seeing and meeting this legend of magic. Thank you John and Tammy for sharing with us a gift for the holidays by your apperance here.
Next up for Hocus Pocus will be our swap meet in January on two days this year, the 19th and 20th. Then in March we will have Joshua Jay here on the the 3rd. So lots already to happen for 2008 at Hocus Pocus.
Best of the Holiday season to you and your family
Tony Blanco
John Calvert Lecture December 10, 2007









Tuesday, December 04, 2007

 
Merry Holidays

Now it is December the month of Holidays for one and all. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and many more. Seems each year we discover more about how the world honors the winter season. This past Saturday I learned more about a local area here know as "Christmas Tree Lane". This is a long series of blocks here in Fresno that actually have tall pine trees and such and no city street lights at all. So when the sun sets here in Fresno these blocks are totally dark except for the front lights of the homes on this block. Well the first Saturday of December begins the "Christmas Tree Lane Walk". This is an event where all the folks on these blocks pull out all the stops stringing lights and doing decorations on their lawns. Then with a marching band and fire trucks the lane is open for all to walk up and down the lane to see the fronts of these homes and the magic of the Holidays in lights. As the parade of folks travel to see all the lights, some folks actually have outdoor parties on this first night. I was luckily to be hired to entertain at one of these homes and what a party it was! Warm food for the guest and plenty of spirits to keep one warm. So this was a interesting way to see how Fresno welcomes in the Holidays. What does your town do? Let me know!


Hocus Pocus Lecture Series Continues



We are now just a week 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


Umbrellas From Silks
Here is an act in itself and its all self contained. The performer takes three silks from his table and then shows them one by one to be completely empty. He then proceeds to produce not one, not two, not three, but four umbrellas from the bundle of silks! After the four umbrellas are produced, a second production (of a smaller item) can be made. This version is improved from earlier models as the umbrellas can now be produced from the bottom of the silk bundle. This comes complete with, a regular silk, a specially gimmicked silk, a regular silk (matching the gimmick silk in color) Special gimmick that does almost all the work for you. Four gorgeous and vibrantly colored self-opening umbrellas. No body loads needed, everything is self-contained and the silks are fabricated from parachute Nylon as it is stronger and more durable than silk and thus able to carry more weight. They are also more smooth so the "silks" do not stick together as much as regular silks would.




Knaves Gone Wild



From the magical mind of David Solomon comes Knaves Gone Wild. Knaves Gone Wild starts off like many other assembly tricks. That’s where the similarities end. Each Jack vanishes from its respective packet in a visual, impossible way. Spectators will rub their eyes, grasping for a solution and questioning what they’ve seen. Each vanish is different, surprising and easy-to-do. The trick’s plot is easy to follow, and in the end, the missing knaves arrive in the leader packet, safe and sound. On this DVD, you will learn David Solomon’s personal handling of Knaves Gone Wild, as well as his cleverly-constructed O’Henry Jazz Aces, an assembly with an unexpected sucker-punch ending which can be performed with a borrowed deck. A Visual effect with minimal sleights required. Knaves includes specially printed bicycle cards and a bonus effect on the DVD.


Sponges DVD


Sponge balls are simple. All we're talking about is a four-pack of 2 inch balls made of sponge. There is a reason top professionals use sponge balls when they're getting paid to perform. The entertainment potential is HUGE. When you're out on the streets. When you're working a party. When you're working a restaurant gig. If you've got sponge balls in your pocket, you've got five minutes of the most memorable and fun magic on earth. Sponge balls jump, appear, vanish, multiply. And they do it in your spectator's hands! But, your sponge balls won't do the work for you. You've got to entertain with them! That's where Noblezada comes in. Noblezada has put together a course that will take you from beginner to pro with sponge balls faster than ever before. You'll start with the basics and build toward complete routines you can do in professional walk-around situations. Along the way you'll improve your sleight-of-hand, misdirection, and all-around performance skills. Sponge balls are a classic of magic and for this reason, adding sponge balls to your repertoire is one of the best decisions in magic. You'll learn all the sleights needed to perform sponge ball routines. The teach in part fully covers all the moves. A special bonus on this DVD, go backstage to Gary Darwin's museum where Darwin teaches over a dozen techniques--retention vanishes, productions, steals, entire routines... Darwin is a legend, and this is your chance to learn from the man himself. His museum/home will knock you for a loop with his collection of magic! This package includes an instructional DVD + 4 Goshman Super Soft 2" Sponge Balls (RED).



Frog Prince


A magic gem from Dick Barry’s micro-magic series. A tiny frog, barely more than half-an-inch in length, is covered with the Joker from a deck of cards. After telling a funny fairy tale, the card is lifted to reveal that the little frog has completely vanished. To cap it all off, the once-shown Joker is turned over to reveal that the face of the Joker has magically turned into a picture of the FROG PRINCE! Baffling magic for any age group. Also included is a suggestion for an “adult only” routine. Comes with cute little frog, special gimmick, a funny frog prince card and Dick’s complete routine. You supply your own deck of cards. And as with most of Dick's routines, it is EASY TO DO!








Greater Magic Rope DVD

From the world of Great Magic comes the best of Rope magic from the Greater Magic Stars. Professional rope routines by professionals! Rope magic is one of the most fascinating magical effects in the art. Learn from the pros: Tony Binarelli, Aldo Colombini, Frances Tabaray, Joe Stevens, Shiego Takagi and Karrell Fox. These professional magicians offer beautiful, different rope routines. Binarelli, one of Italy's most famous performers, teaches two of his favorites. Aldo Colombini could make a living doing just rope magic - he is that versatile. Karrell Fox can take the most difficult routines and simplify them - as he does on this DVD with his own rope routine. Frances Tabaray is known world wide as an expert rope manipulator. Learn why on this DVD. Shiego Takagi was one of the most respected teachers of magic in Japan. His rope magic is revolutionary. Joe Stevens teaches his number one seller, the Ungimmicked Linking Ropes, on this DVD.




Tony's Tips

I figured this may have been written up too early this year for some of you to have noticed. So I am publishing it again and the story behind this Christmas (Holiday) effect I came up with this year. I hope to show you some photos from one reader who is a Santa and plans to use this effect. Enjoy again or for the first time Santa Knows!

Well here is another one of those ideas that came out of a call with a customer looking for an item. I was chatting with Doug Roberts "Potty the Pirate" from England who wanted to do a mentalism effect for kids. Now not to say kids are not smart but then again mentalism is the kind of thing where you have to understand whats real and what is not. Its not always visual magic and it tends to be more of in your head then in your face kind of magic. So I believe the magician's force is probably the best visual way to do something with mentalism for any age. Potty (Doug) had mention this was something he wanted to do a Christmas time. So with that in mind along with the magician's force here is something I came up with called:


Santa Knows!

You start out with Christmas Gift ( a box all wrapped and decorated) with a tag that says Merry Christmas from Santa. This gift is given to a child that you invite up on stage and told not to open it. Now you bring out some Holiday Items, let's say a Toy Christmas Tree, a Christmas stocking, a tree ornament, Toy Soldier, Teddy Bear what ever you like but lets stick to 5 items. Invite another child on stage and start with asking to pick two out of the five items. These are set aside. Then pick 2 more items. These are put aside. One is left. Ask the child with the gift to open the box. The child opens the box and pulls out a laminated sign. The sign reads "The child will pick the Toy Soldier because....Santa Knows! Please give them each a stocking full of goodies from me. Love, Santa". From inside the box remove two small stockings with gifts (or what ever goodies you wish to give away.
Seems pretty simple and I really think it would play big as well as it would be visual also. Now of course you need to know the magicians force for this effect. So preparation a box big enough to hold a sign (81/2 x 11 should do it) and some stockings with a gift or goodies. It would be smart to make this box one that you can use over and over again. Decorate the box and use a ribbon that you can just tie a big bow to keep the box closed. When the child opens the box all they would have to do is untie the bow. The sign you can make up on your computer, and I would make up different signs for each of the items you are going to use. This way if your doing the show in a place where you have repeat shows during the day (malls, schools, department store) the result will be different for each show. Now laminate the sign also. This way the sign will last and a clever line to use is "that the message is sealed in plastic so there is no way I can change what is written". This line has served me well in doing a trick by Max Maven. I even did a Max's trick from his Videomind series for him and he agreed that added a strong point (laminating and the line) to his effect. So I think any chance you use a card laminated this would be great.
Then when choosing objects make sure they are ones everyone knows and can relate to. The storyline is up to you but I would talk about how Santa knows the good boys and girls from the bad boys and girls. The rest I think is performance as already explained in the beginning of this routine. Now the cool thing with the idea behind this routine you can change it to Halloween and the objects can be five scary things such as Skull, Dracula doll, Frankenstein, Witch, Jack-O-Lantern. The box in this case could be a coffin with the note and wierd Halloween treats.
I just want to thank Doug Roberts for the inspiration on our phone chat to come up with this idea and using the magician's force for a fun bit of mentalism for kids. Let your mind wander how you can change this routine and let me hear what you come up with.
Thanks for reading.
Best Magical Wishes,
Tony Blanco


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