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.


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

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