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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