Saturday, 15 December 2012

Balls and Beer

This came out of a session while brainstorming. The production of a liquid almost always is met with a sure fire awe of the audience. And one of the good old ways to close a open glass with a liquid used to be the rubber ball. So I've been playing around with both props for quite a while. I also have a silk and ball routine... never imagined putting both together.

In most bottle productions the bottle is loaded under a silk moments before the production. The beer can be underneath the for much longer, giving you more of the good old time misdirection. Cellini used to have a pretty sweet but ballsy wine glass vanish with the use of a cloth. It's called the T-Bar Glass Vanish and it's from "The Royal Touch" book. Reversing the process makes it a great production.

In terms of angles it is actually pretty good, if you have the beer inside a bag or something that you can drape the cloth over for a brief time. Once it is ready for production the whole routine is angle proof. Sponge balls are actually even better as you can hide them much better. If this was done for kids.... a production of cookies and milk would spring to mind immediately.

So if you need a practical production of a liquid.... there you go.

PS: if you go for a bottle instead of a glass, you can even hand everything out for examination at the end.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

The Thing

Bill Abbott released "The Thing" a few year ago. Technically a variation on the zombie ball. The levitation of "nothing" was something I liked, as it motivated the cloth. Without it there would be no effect. So I bought it. Then after experimenting with it became apparent to me that there needed to be "something" that that is levitated. The "nothing" was just not enough.

So I wondered what object could be "something" and "nothing" at the same time. So the soap bubble was the logical outcome of this. Soap bubbles float, which is a nice thematic link to the levitation.

So things fell together. And the presentation I used to do was way too kitschy for my character, so I changed it more and more and it became this script of our brain refusing magic. This version you hear in the video is much abbreviated and the original German version is a lot more fine tuned.

Also adding the glass ball enabled me to draw attention away from the cloth near the end. In fact I have a spectator take out the ball from the hat. The popping of the "Soap bubble" is a rather recent addition... I don't know why I didn't think of this before as it logically ends everything nicely.

let's talk about the handling of the thing. Most moves are taken straight from the DVD that Bill Abbott supplies with the routine. But two finesses are my own. First the twirl of the cloth. It may seem like a minor point, but it adds to the deception a little. Holding a cloth from the diagonal corners and twirling it like a rope sells the idea that the cloth is normal. The gimmick is unseen and even to those magicians knowing the secret this struck them as nice. The other thing is the starting position of the levitation. I don't hold on to two corners that are next to each other. I hold on to diagonal corners. And then I make the ball jump. Once. Somehow this really resonates with regular audiences. When the ball jumps, they jump. I like that. It's just a small touch, but I proud of it.

The music used in this video is by Darkmaster603 and is used by the Licensing Terms of That means Attribution: "You must give credit to the artist." Check! And Noncommercial: "You may not use this work for commercial purposes unless you make specific arrangements with the artist." Check!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Just A Cup

Axel Hecklau sells this commercial routine. This is my presentation and I made a few changes to the structure. My version is about how magicians lead you to wrong assumptions and use that to fool you. Which I demonstrate. It is a very satisfying premise and the structure resets. The Hecklau version is great but the reset is not instant and the bag that is being used caused me much trouble.

But the main thing was the reset issue. I use this while table hopping. And between tables I don't have the time to set up the neck breaker gimmick which is used in the Hecklau routine.

In terms of method I cannot say much, as Axel Hecklau is very secret about the gimmick. I respect his wish will say nothing further.

But it's darn practical and secure. Therefore the routine is fun to do.

Unlike most Chop Cup routines it allows for interesting phases. Like taking out the die from the bottom of the cup. The leather cup has the advantage of having a final load in there and holding the cup with the mouth side down. That means you can do one final load in the spectators hand. Just saying.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Easy Coin Production

The title gives away the main aim for this. "Easy"! And it really is easy to do. The cloth really takes any hard work. So this is a great little trick for beginners in the field of coin magic. And I love it. The main idea of simply turning the cloth over and over again arose from a misunderstanding of a fried of mine who studied a rather advanced technique for producing coins with aid of a cloth. He studied an English text with very little ability to understand English and no pictures were available to him. This is what he came up with. And it is great. So credit goes to Kay Herzig for this one. The addition of jumbo coins is inevitable if you think about it. The last coin is taken from the pouch, which you need to be wearing. But any method taken from the rich field of bottle production would work as well.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Ball, Wand and Coin

It's a weird routine I guess. But it is rather satisfying to do. Not that this matters to any audience, but the routine is short enough to be squeezed into any manipulation act. It's rather practical, the angles are not that bad and it has the potential to be enhanced drastically. The piece of silk in the end could be vanished transforming back into the coin. That coin could change into a jumbo coin, the wand could grow and all of that shit. In terms of move there is nothing new to add. The Flip Stick vanish by Flip Hallema, a Bobo Switch and Spell Bound moves. But the main thing is this new background. You like it? Was expensive as golden shit. Now I got it.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Simple Coins

This coin routine is really, really simple. Hence the name. Simple in both effect and method. Three coins vanish and then come back. The first vanish actually is the most simple vanish one can think of. It's a spin on the Bluff Vanish from Bobo's book. It's so much fun to do. The angles on the routine are very, very good. And the sounds are genuine and misleading. Just the way we like it. And you don't need a table. making this an anytime, anywhere routine.

Near the end one of the coins jumps back to the pocket. The one behind principle makes this a piece of cake. The method requires this little extra effect. But it also serves a function. The spectator could have chosen any number. Therefore it seems like a different outcome was possible. That creates the illusion that the magic happens at the moment it is perceived. And that would only be possible if really three coins were used. The routine is by Jim Abrahams and I know for a fact that this routine will be in his upcoming book that he is currently working on.

The main principle is a nice cancel for any coin routines that are one ahead. Mix the method and deception will follow. In fact the end, could be a great get ready for a one ahead routine. Or vice versa. Depending on which routine is stronger.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Simple Matrix

There is nothing unusual about this. The standard one ahead. But the ending might be of interest. As it is the only, I repeat, the only justification for using a playing card. Seriously, why a playing card. Always the same. I see magicians use the playing cards simply because they are there. You know what else is there? The purse. Using the purse is not only motivated and logical, it has so many advantages. Sound, and no "floating".

Back to the routine. Having one quarter of the card not changing in the end gives you a reason to openly ditch it. Along with other stuff. I used this ending many times and it was my perfect lead in to the six coin routine that I do.

The used sleights are standard and I don't think I need to point out the one true source. *cough* Bobo *cough*

The last coin vanish is bold but somehow it seems like an increased difficulty for you, but it makes you job much easier. Have fun.

Monday, 22 October 2012

The Button Story

Going on with this notions box theme here is something with buttons. The main "sleight" is the Bold Coin Vanish from Modern Coin Magic. A underused sleight I think. Although the term "sleight" doesn't really do it justice. It's just a bold thing you do. You can reverse the "sleight" of course. That way you get loaded instead getting rid of the coins. Must be pretty cryptic reading these lines I suppose. Watch the video! The buttons going back in the box sequence is the actual reversal of the bold vanish. Pick up two, put in one. So you can choose which buttons end up in the hand in the end.

A similar routine I have seen years ago by Jay Sankey. A whole punch of paper clips are picked up one by one and in the hand they link. Cute little trick.

But you can do more of course. What about a standard Spell Bound routine? The most simple one would be copper coins turning to gold coins, which are drop in a cup. Near the end the cup is turned over and all the gold coins have become copper again. You don't see that routine very often. And here is why: In most "warm" lighting conditions the difference between copper and gold is not great. The lack of visibility of the trick is it's downfall. The standard structure is flawless I think.

Long story shot: Have buttons change into coins one by one. Logical? Check! Visible? Check! Great scope? Check!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

There's a Poll to the Right

I'm trying to figure out what kind of magic you want to see me covering most.

Do you want Close Up Stuff with no cards, do you want cards, more on stand up magic or imprompu stuff you can do with little effort? Or are you more interested in variations on existing plots or premises? Either poll or comments.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Linking Safety Pins

I decided to include this for one reason: Nobody does it. It's a beautiful little impromptu jewel. The needed preparation can be done all in the open and the "soft pin" principle is being used here. The routine you see in the video is quite basic. Just two links and two un-links. Like the big brother - the linking rings - the actual realization of the links are delayed creating wonderful time misdirection from the dirty work. In the end everything indeed can be examined. There is a angle issue with this routine. The audience must be in front of you. When this trick is appropriate the conditions are mostly one on one. And safety pins are all around us. So don't forget this little one.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Coins Through Cork

I assume you are familiar with the god awful plastic version of this. Maybe even the brass version. But all of those scream gimmick. This version is by "Kreis Magic" and is called "Cork Stopper" and is a terrific piece of magic. The prop looks like an everyday item. And the very, very cool thing about this version is that Euros coins, work perfectly for this. I mean perfectly. Other coins have to be prepared with a small iron disc that is supplied with the instruction, but 1 Euro coins are the best thing. And being a "Euro Zone" we have plenty of supply of them.

This is one of those tricks that looks like a bar bet type of trick. And you can celebrate, in fact you have to celebrate, the rolling of the bill and all of that. All of that creates a wonderful impromptu feel. There should be no doubt that there is no way for the coin to go past the cork except through. If you have a notions box, put it in there. In fact my grandma used to stick needles into a cork to keep everything tidy. So having a cork in the box will not be questioned. So you can basically have a whole notions box full of magic. Safety Pins (coming next week), magic with needles, Hindu Thread, Thimbles... you name it.

Monday, 1 October 2012

International Matrix

Let's talk about something that only magicians seem to appreciate or care about. The matrix plot. A rather special case is the matrix using four different coins. That makes the whole thing a lot harder both in terms of difficulty and structure. But it is a unique problem. And what do magicians love? Problems! This is my take on it. Basically two ahead, I even included a backfire phase. Clear inspirations for that was the version by Michael Rubinstein. I use the term inspiration very carefully. Because his version sucked. I wanted to do better. Don't get me wrong. Rubinstein's material is top notch, but the style is so stiff and old fashioned. It bores me. But that's where my efforts to create my own little version came from. Do I do it for real people? Hell no. But for magicians, once in a while.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Ball And Vase

Talk about an overexposed trick. Almost ever magic set has this trick. So using the usual method will not work on an average audience. That's how this routine came into being. Does it play well... well... no! Magicians love it though.

Monday, 17 September 2012


This is by Richard Robinson. A quick and easy routine. It uses the familiar gimmicks and is fairly good on the angles, if you hold it by the seam (if you know hat I mean). Richard Robinson released this for free years ago on the allmagicguide website. This was my start in magic.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Close Up Linking Rings

I always had this love hate relationship with the linking rings. It has all what you expect a routine to have. It's big, loud, impossible shit to hand out, interaction and all that jazz. Yet there are drawbacks. Not all rings can be handed out. Certain displays are more than fishy. Doing it with a small set takes away the "size" of the routine, but it enables you to do something else. You can switch an entire set. or part of it. So this is how the routine plays out now. I have all rings handed out. Each one. four single ungimmicked rings. Then I do my business and when I'm at the point where I link all of them in a chain of four I let go with my other hand. This fools most magicians. You can still show the set close up. When the rings are hanging I even point this out to laypeople "When you see other magicians do that, they will always hold their hand somewhere on the rings. I don't. I want you to remember that little detail."

I know that this is extremely unfair towards other magicians, but I love it that way. Handing all rings out in the beginning is crucial. if not you waste the whole effect. The spectators have to know that there is no opening. Otherwise you lessen the effectiveness of the trick drastically. I'm very unforgiving towards magicians who don't do that. There not milking the Linking Rings for what it's worth.

Monday, 3 September 2012

The 9 Rules of Magic

I removed this routine from my repertoire. It was way too layered and nobody understood it as it required way too much inside baseball. That being said, I loved it. Magicians might get a kick out of it. But that's about it. In terms of handling. No gimmicks and all just sleight of hand.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The Ugly Prop

When thinking about how to present magic you inevitably run into the "when I walked into the magic store" story. Magic stores are a great cheese fest. So much ugly stuff. So much glitter. So this is my take on it. I was interested in the "tube changes". So I worked my ass off to come up with a logical sequence of the balls changing when passed through the tube. If I succeeded is more than debatable. But I always liked the routine, as it embodies my disdain for prop magic. So not producing the feather flower would have been futile. The routine has evolved of course. And the way it is now is not comparable. No I use a wand, a coin and a ball. No more tube or table. It's constant changes of the three objects into one another. In the end the coin changes into a silk. You see, completely different. But the above routine was the starting point.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Ball and Cookie

This is a the combination of a great Harry Riser routine leading into the classic "Repeated Balls from the Mouth" production aka the human chicken (as this used to be done with eggs) What Harry Riser has done is to make the Multiplying Balls angle proof. That way it can be done close up. You can find the fine points of his handling the "The Feints and Temps of Harry Riser", published by Ed Brown. It's a fine routine and strong magic. So I needed a break in order to continue with the human chicken bit. The cookie proved to be perfect. Well, almost perfect. When eating the cookie it left something in you mouth and that something could stick to the ball, creating a horrible situation. So I changed it. Now I use a big marsh mellow. Quicker to eat, doesn't break in your pocket, no mess. Here is a live version.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The Egg Routine

So here we have what's clearly taken from Thomas Hierlings "Vorsicht zerbrechlich" routine that he published in New Wave Close up. The original version didn't have a repeat and the big fried egg was not part of it. But it plays well with the audiences. I don't do that routine anymore, because the big fried egg's material hardened and then broke. So I substituted the big fried egg with a realistic looking fake pizza. Naturally the second part of the routine is done with a slice of salami. The appearance of the pizza led to a production of a bottle of beer. This routine you see above was the starting point. And here is a live version.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Let's go retro!

My camera is still broken. So I decided to give you a bunch of retro videos, that I made for the Magic Video Depot many years ago. The beard was much shorter back then.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Lack of updates!

You may have notices the lack of updates... I got a good reason: my camera is broken... I will work on that. Meanwhile. A crowd...

Friday, 27 July 2012

Ring and Rope #1

Rope magic is one of those fields that is hard to credit. So many moves are just so darn similar. It is refreshing to us the old "loop through the neck" in a new way. "Cord Through" is the name of the first part of the routine. It's by Shigeo Takagi and was published in the Apocalypse (Vol. 11 No. 10 p.1552). He uses a shoe lace and a bottle opener. But I needed a ring for the second phase, so I used that.

The first part of the second phase is reminiscent of David Williamsons great Ring and Rope routine, making use of a familiar rope gimmick. It doesn't hinder the first phase at all. The second part of the second phase is by me. I found this by accident. If you do what I did in the video and hold your right hand the way I was holding it in the video, you'll end up wit the same result. First the ring will move towards your thumb ten hit it and stop. Pulling some more will pivot the ring around the thumb releasing the rope, while the ring hangs on the thumb automatically.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

The Cannibal Coin

I'm a little late this week, sorry about that.

The good old Two in Hands One in the Pocket. As you can see that basic plot can be twisted quite a bit with the right premise. I opted for not going to my pockets. So it feels like a different trick. The main structure remains, the coins jumps back two times and on the third time the hand is empty. But instead on making it a vanish I decided that all the coins should be in the other hand. Technically this is no different from the usual handling but it makes sense within the established premise of one coin trying to eat the others.

I decided to use an odd coin to illustrate the premise, but that also means a tiny, minute change in the usual handling. But it makes a real difference. People get a kick out of the story. And using a coin with a hole really  makes sense when talking about eating other coins. As far out and dumb the premise I felt to go all the way. So I had the coin eat the others. And making them go back is a lot of fun.

The moves are rather simple and all of them can be found in Modern Coin Magic. Once again I'm thankful to J.B. Bobo for creating such a vast and rich compendium of coin knowledge. The cannibal plot and premise of course is by Lynn Searles.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Shrinking Coin

Basically just two Bobo Switches and a false transfer. But in terms of effect this is cute. Any regular size is boring. Growing and shrinking stuff makes it funny... or at least interesting. I've done this for normal people often enough to know that they love it. Why is that so? The premise. It is not just a vanish and a reappearance. The object is actually transformed. It is shrunken down and stays that way. Try it with different objects. Coins are great, but if you do this with SD cards... Starting with a big SD card, then a standard size one, then finally a micro SD card all of that becomes unique magic. You can talk about the fact that even though the technology gets smaller and smaller somehow the amount of stuff you can save on the card remain the same. Or even gets bigger.

The philosophical implication of the card being so small it is practically gone and what it means about the value of storage and data really should get an interesting plot going.

Or think toys. A toy car shrinking more and more. Suitable props should be cheap.

All I'm saying that the plot of an object shrinking really is intriguing as it flies off in so many directions.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Torn Napkin

I forgot where I got this from. All I do know that this is a perfect lead in to a regular torn and restored napkin trick. Seriously. You start with this one which has a cute sucker element to it and continue with the standard trick which also has a sucker element. If you go on doing the additional phase of the spectator being involved this, with the right jokes could end up a complete stage piece.

So any credits I will add, if you give me feedback on this.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Fusing Coins

Trying to come up with a routine that fools magicians is a futile task. Yet for some reasons magicians dabble into that sort of Sisyphean task. Me too. This little coin routine came out if it. Even though I think that most magicians are not fooled by this, it turned out to be a routine that is fun to do. The idea of not making coins appear, but splitting them is not new by any means. But fusing them back together... I hardly see that. (same goes for sponge balls)

In terms of method this takes from a variety of sources. There is sleight of hand involved. (palms, shuttle passes and a good old false transfer) but also gimmickery. Expended Shell and Super Coin. It's the combination of it that makes the routine very practical. The angles are indeed an issue, as that one coin, could appear as pretty thick. Even though briefly. Adding a super expanded shell would allow for a fifth coin to be there. Think about it. I guess I could put the gimmicks together and streamline the routine a little bit. Then do a video of me doing this on the street and sell the shit for 60 bucks. Of course I would go for quarter, as you can borrow them. Instantly the whole gimmick price would drop and the "flaws" would become less of an issue. Making me money. Hell I'm sure either one of those big magic companies would lick their fingers in the prospect of expected profit. Fuck those!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Ineffective Effect

Right now I am spending all my time busking, so I have little to add. But might enjoy this, as it plays around with the premise of the usual bill switch. Admitting not being able to do that is not only a terrific joke (I've done it many, many times and it really gets a good laugh) it also nicely explains why you don't just produce money and live a good life.

Technically speaking there is nothing to explain I think. Although... may be the ditch of the bill. I rarely see magicians using the collar as a hold out. As you can see the attention is on the other hand, so the dirty hand going up is much less suspicious than the hand going down into the lap or something.

Ending the supposed bill switch with a transformation to pennies is pretty unexpected and actually feels a little more impossible. To a layperson the thought of maybe hiding a second bill seems like a plausible thing to do. But hiding a whole bunch of coins. That must at least be difficult.

In my official sets I usually borrow a 10 Euro bill. And I got ten 1 Euro coins hidden. So basically the effect is changing the bill for coins. Combine that with the initial joke and you will see that the joke actually serves as a hide out for the method. People won't think that any magic will occur right after the joke. Therefore the hands must be empty.

In my official sets I also reach of a glass right after the false transfer ditching the bill in my case while emerging with the glass. That creates time misdirection and let's me end clean. But I also like the collar method.

So there you have the trick. Nothing is gained, nothing is lost (if you change ten for ten) and people will remember you fondly...

Let me add a bonus: Assuming you do change the 10 Euro bill into ten 1 Euro coins... don't do that... actually change the 10 Euro bill into NINE 1 Euro coins. And hand those back in the glass. Ask the guy you borrowed the bill from to count the coins making sure they add up to 10 Euros. When he finds out that those are just nine coins you have great comedy potential. "Well duh.... tax?" And you can promise to make up for that in the rest of the show. Somehow making the missing Euro come back. That is a nice hook that could tie together a show.

The missing Euro could actually appear very early on during the rest of the show. But suddenly vanish as you want to give it back. Lot's of possibilities. And it feels less intrusive than the usual approach of promising to give back the vanished bill. 

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Steamy Ring

There is a certain loveliness about dry ice. When it evaporates it goes into the realm that people think of when they think of magic. There is a problem handling it though. I found a freaking solution. A thermos bottle. Half full of that. Right before the show you take out a big piece with a pair of tweezers. And just put it on a piece of wood in your close up case. You can touch it. Briefly. The same way you can touch a hot cup of coffee. Of course people know about dry ice, so don't expect them to be all mystified. But it sure gets a great reaction. And if you use the smoke as an effect enhancer instead of an effect by itself, you will still get credit for the actual effect. Garret Thomas ' Ring Thing was the first thing I thought of. And it is alright.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Coins Across

Alright Coins Across. Aside from just vanishing a coin and producing it, there is hardly a coin trick that has more clarity of what is going on. Interestingly I still seen the effect butchered many many times. This version you see above is my try to create an in the hands version of the classic using a shell. I tried to get rid of the shell and had to substitute the stack of coins that is usually shown in the hand to a fan of coins. Naturally most Three Fly moves work nicely.

While technically the effect is not in the hands of the spectator, it sure feels like it. And the angles are pretty good. I tried to emulate the advantage of ending clean with the shell method by vanishing the last coin sooner than most routines would do it. I do this in a variety of ways. The above version is a simple ditch and the version below is the good old servante. Topit work also seems like a good way to go. However, most often I use my pouch. I wear that thing in real paid situations, and it allows for lapping while standing. Something that most pouch workers seem to miss.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Sorry about this week!

There will be no video this week. I got too much stuff going on. Couldn't learn a new thing and didn't feel like rehashing old stuff either.

Monday, 21 May 2012

The Cigarette Routine

Cigarette magic is obsolete. Dead. People with cigarettes get the lynching. However, done as a "perverted" magic routine this is great. To the uninitiated: Perverted magic is, when the cause of the magic is not the magician and the magic happens against the will of the performer. A good inner monologue actually makes it possible to convey the thought that the magic is unwanted to the audience. Generally people like that approach if it is used sparingly. Trying to light the cigarette but failing constantly because of the magic interfering. The roots of that routine comes from David Stones Quit Smoking routine, which is a good start if you are interested in basic manipulation with cigarettes. The routine as it is demonstrated here is not difficult at all and the setup is minimal. (big pockets help)

The cigarette is never lit and therefore any danger is excluded from the routine. I used to end the thing by not being able to light the lighter and then, when it finally happens the cigarette is broken. Here is the routine done for real people in 2006 on stage. (German performance)

And because it's still my birthday here you go with a little added bonus.

PS. I don't smoke!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The Simple Thimble Routine

Alright we got thimbles. That's a prop that is rarely seen today. I can see why. It seems a bit outdated and who want's to be outdated. But then again it's an unusual prop. And unusual props generate natural interest. So why not use it? So basically I start with explaining the premise of the first effect. And believe it or not it usually is not perceived as a trick right away. But as a genuine display of skill. And that is a good thing. The karate coin trick is a magic trick. Simply because it's not possible. With a thimble however it is. So naturally the interest curve peeks at the moment of the effect, creating a nice intro to the endless thimble production.

DUDE IT IS REALLY HARD TO SAY: "Fifth thimble", especially for a guy like me who's first language is German. Speaking "th" here equals speech impediment. We are trained from the very beginning not to have a lisp.

After that endless production there is the color changing sequence. It's not much of a sequence, but the change is so startling (the last one) that handing out the thimble is required at that very moment.

more later

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Growing Coin

Plucking a coin from an ear is one of those goodies, that is too underestimated. When I started that sequence of putting the coin in one ear and pulling it out the other it got me good reactions. Soon thereafter the mouth and nose bit followed. Having a beard the production from the beard was inevitable.

But how do you finish such a one coin routine? Well by the standard final load. Most often its a large coin. And that was the case for years. But when I got an even larger coin I was thinking about making big coin even bigger. The method I use actually works in the real world. It is very obvious in the video. But in real life your eyes would follow the coin in the air. The routine used to be much, much more complex. Here is a version from seven years ago:

Now the routine is much more streamlined and it is much better on the angles. The final appearance of the giant coin actually is a nice show stopper. Especially for kids who dog that sort of stuff. In fact doing this for kids I usually point out another weird connection. If I put the coin in my hand, it comes out somebody else's ear. And then I have a short sequence of plucking the coin from the kids head. Try it, it's killer material for the youngsters.

In term of method there is nothing special. Just stuff from Bobo.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Rope Routine #1

I've been doing ropes when it was still uncool. That means before the common Richard Sanders. So I can say with certain pride: "He has nothing to do with this routine". However the guys that Richard Sanders stole his stuff from are all present here. George Sands and Francis Tabary.

I owe so much to those guys. There is the book "The Award Winning Rope Magic of Francis Tabary" which is also a video lecture, that is worth checking out. The main routine has no real cuts, so you can use the same rope over and over again. So this is great for street work and any charity work that pays little. For real paid gigs I would do real cuts. There is nothing more "real" that scissors going the fibers. Something about that picture says "real", so the following restoration is much stronger.

Here is my preparation so you can see how darn practical this routine is. At home I take a long piece of rope and tie knots in the ends, so they don't fray. Prior to the performance I cut off the knots and put them in my right pocket. That's it. The gimmick is created during the first part of the routine.

The first restoration (wrapping the longer piece of rope around the shorter piece) is something I have seen David Stone doing. I don't know if that is original with him, but I liked the aesthetics of the move.

The next bit is the travelling ends. After both ends have traveled you are in a pretty dirty position. And you might feel very guilty. That leads to horrible creations. Daryl and Richard Sanders both have a weird handling when it comes to regripping the rope, just to makes sure that the hand palming the gimmick looks natural. Just palm the damn thing and move on. Tabary does it right!

Now putting the middle back on the rope is my own creation. And I'm not humble to claim this as my own.

Placing the ends in the pocket and then have a switch between ends and middle has been in my repertoire for a while now, but it got 10x the reactions as soon as I added the real cut through the supposed middle. Try it. It will leave you in a position with a tiny little piece. So the gag of no using the scissors to cut the rope becomes a no brainer.

In the video I failed to put the imaginary scissors away right away, so going to my pocket becomes awkward. But it is a nice motivation to get the next item you need. The fake knot bit.... well Tarbell, what else. The jumping knot bit Daryl.

The second knot could be a spare in your pocket, so don't have to search for long, or it can be another effect.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Silk Routine

Let's talk about the classic vanishing hankie trick. It feels like 80% of the people know about the TT. Ergo this is a potential problem. Even if you don't use the TT (black egg ect.) people might assume that a TT has been used and will either not appreciate the effect or even worse voice their thoughts in the show. So I decided that the best way to approach that issue is to confront the issue directly. By actually naming the method that is in use as a cancel.

Also: Not using the thumb helps a lot. The standard dye tube handling is a great substitute. Duval's Dyeing Handkerchiefs from Greater Magic at page 617 comes to mind. Also Al Baker's Dyeing Silk in the same book at page 609.

Reproducing the silk from the mouth has two reasons. First: It is a personal choice. But I don't do it straight away. I'm giving the spectator a choice here. If they don't want to see it they will choose fist. 99% of all performances the mouth is chosen. That says something about the spectators and what they are able to bear. The second reason is that I need to reproduce the silk. If I just ditch it in the pocket it would remain in the gimmick and therefore lose its shape and become ugly. Reproducing the silk leave both silks open near the end giving me instant reset.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Nuts and Bolt

Getting rid of a table has drawbacks but frees your mind to recreate routines you love in a new way. Doc Eason was a really early influence on my magic. On the third DVD on Bar magic the very first routine is called: "All Screwed Up". Technically a variant of Two in the Hands One in the Pocket. But instead of using sponges or coins he used nuts. Great thinking. And using those props the finish of the nuts screwed to the bolt it automatic.

I took away the table and suddenly a whole bunch of problems arise. So that is when Dan Sylvester came to the rescue. His Sylvester Pitch is such a great move and it works nearly surrounded. Naturally the structure changed a bit.

My patter sucks, simply because my German patter is not usable here. It consists of puns. You cannot translate them. So in the video I am basically just saying what comes to my mind. Who cares!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Coins to Pocket

I've been playing around with the idea of coins going to the pockets. And there seems only one way to do it correctly, by showing that all pockets are empty to begin with. Otherwise there is no point. So this is a trick that only a few magicians will ever do. Most of the time the pockets are not empty. Too bad. It's a nice premise.

This particular version works with almost all the tricks in the book. Two ahead, a feint, a ruse and a subtlety, but no extra coins. In terms of sleights there is nothing special. Shuttles, FT's and palms. This routine is all about construction. Picture it from a layman's point of view. Four coins are jumping invisibly from the hands to called out pockets. This is strong stuff.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Coins Through Table

Okay, let's get the basic out of the way. There are tons of ways to accomplish the effect. And it is hard to say which version is the best. Judging from a working performers point of view a few criteria must be met. No setup, reset, angles, anywhere, anytime, deceptive and the possibility to do a big finish.

The routine has no setup at all. You get out the little purse and everything needed is in there and ends up back in there. So there is no reset, as the reset is instant. The angles are great on this one. In fact it can be done surrounded. There is no need to lap or ditch in between. That rules out most version I have come across.

Having performed this hundreds of times, I KNOW that it is deceptive and the audience has no clue about the modus operandi.

The only problem might be the sound. But really? This is a no brainer! The background noise usually cancels out any possible "wrong" sound. And even if, the audience has nothing to compare it to.

The basic routine was developed by studying Milton Kort's Coins Through the Table (Modern Coin Magic page 276) His version uses a glass to substitute the hand in most phases. And as much as I liked it, it is done a little too often for my personal taste. So here we go into the before mentioned possibility to do a big finish. Oh, wait, let me leave it at that. I didn't include that in the video. For a good reason. I don't want it out there. I don't want others to do it, unless they earn the gift, by encrypting my vague ramblings here and make it their own. To those: You got a reputation maker on your hands. To the rest: You don't deserve it.

And to those who say: "What about the last coin? It's so weak!"
The first two coins should condition the audience that you really put the coin on the table. If you fail at that, this is not for you. I've done the routine for years. And dude, that last coin is almost the strongest, if I wouldn't go into the "big finish".

Oh, yeah. Happy Easter

Friday, 30 March 2012

Rubber Band Routine

This is my personal warm up routine to get started while busking. A fat man with rubber bands doing stuff. That stops people. It starts with the commonly known Jumping Rubber Band bit. It is over exposed, but I think that I added a little point that is worth mentioning. Instead of dipping all the fingers in, I just dip in the pinkie finger and the ring finger. The result is a much more relaxed hand, as the fingers can still go into the needed position. Also by referring to the position as "bunny position" people have no trouble remembering the initial situation.

In terms of crowd building the over exposure works as an advantage. Because they know this people will stop and "explain" it. While it is not good for magic it still makes them stop. Then the phase continues by adding the "trap". So far this is a commonplace. But then I have a spectator hold on to one rubber band. And still it works. Even those who know everything will at least note the simple fact that they have not thought of this. In their mind they see themselves doing this. Wondering what else they can "steal". This is the point where they are hooked. The fact that a small percentage of people know this effect makes it great as a crowd builder.

The next phase is the rubber band through the thumb. Less people are familiar with this one. And there are several ways to go about this. You could wrap it around the thumb for real explaining that the only way to get it off would be to tear the rubber band or to slip it over the thumb which you demonstrate. Then you fake wrapping it around asking someone to hold on to the thumb. I chose to offer the version I do in the video. One is wrapped for real the other one is not. The rest is magicians choice.

The next phase is the linking rubber bands. And while there is nothing noteworthy about the method I wanna at least point out that by holding one arm up and one arm down the visibility of the phase becomes much better. ALL of the magicians I see doing this hold their arms horizontal. And that is no problem when your audiences isn't standing all around you. But on the street they do. Ergo tilting the arms does wonders. Try it.

The last phase is Star Gazer. Which is a commercial item. The problem is this: People know about those shape rubber bands. Which is a shame. But here is my work around: "Hey you guys know those shape rubber bands right? Like a dinosaur? Yes? Good! You know how they are made?"

The whole point of the routine is to show two normal rubber bands the whole time. Which is not the case, but it sure seems like I showed each rubber band to begin with.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Impro Ring Stuff

Toying around with sleights and stuff always is worth doing. Aside from the practice you might end up creating something. This started out as a cheap gag. Any ring to any cup. If I simply drop any ring into any cup the premise would be fulfilled. From there the sequence of effects started happening all by itself. True improvisation. It starts with the ring jumping back on the index finger. If you recognize Garrett Thomas "Ring Thing" work here you are correct. This is of course a nice application of a pretty damn old thimble color change. The whole sequence has only one purpose, to establish the fact that a ring is being used. This makes the appearance of the coin so utterly "fanatastic" or at least a little bit bigger than it really is. The cheap gag is actually kinda important, as it completely misdirects from the actual effect, making it much more surprising. More later... tired

Monday, 19 March 2012

Impro Chop Cup

There is nothing special about the loading sequences or about the sleights in use. But more interesting stuff happens to the ball in this version. It was rather improvised, as I was sitting there and thinking about possible stuff happening to the ball. Usually the ball is placed into the pocket and reappears under the cup. Lame! So how about the ball going through the cup, from the top, the side and the bottom. That adds variety.

The little bit, where the ball is actually dropped inside the cup and comes out fall through the cup actually is by Tommy Cooper who used that in his Chop Cup routine. It become much easier using the standard Chop Cup with the gimmick and all, but you can see that without a gaffed cup/ball it also works.

Also the little bit of the ball going up the nose and later into the mouth really changes things a bit. Making the ball go up the nose, is a sure fire hit if children are there. They love it. (no matter what age).

Then we got the usual final load. Making an "assistant" appear under the cup is not only funny, the plush mouse actually makes women go all "Awwwwwww!" Creating a nice additional emotional reaction to the impossibility.

I got a new camera. HD. Expect better videos!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Three Coin Routine

So there is a whole bunch of stuff in there. Spliced together from various sources, which have already been freakish "frankensteinian" creatures on there own. We got the production of three coins. The first one from the elbow, the second one from behind the ear. Whenever I do that routine with children in the room I produce the coin from their ear. Depending on the angle I either use the production from back palm or the production from Downs palm. Both can be found in Modern Coin Magic. (page 3 and 5) The first vanish of the third coin is nothing but a clever bluff that works as the spectators make wrong assumptions about the amount of coins. (Bluff Vanish page 59) The whole reason for the vanish is the next phase, which is Three Fly.

Troy Hooser has reworked the classic Three Fly into a routine he calls Redirection Coins Across. You find that routine in Destroyers (page 37 et seq.) written by Joshua Jay. Basically it changes the "travel" of the coins from the side to side aspect to a front and back aspect. So the whole bit becomes much more three dimensional. Clever thinking by Troy Hooser. In the video it doesn't show up that well, therefore the hands seem awfully close to each other in the sequence. The last coin uses a subtlety by German magician/mentalist Marc Gettmann who is an awesome coin worker. The standard vanish of the last coin starts from French Drop position and ends up in Ramsay Subtlety position. Marc changed it, so don't have to turn your wrist. Leading into the third part is a simple repeated coins phase. That serves the purpose of getting rid of "extras" by adding more effects and length to the routine.

The starting point for this part was ExTROYdinary also by Troy Hooser. (page 29) But his version uses a shell. I got rid of that, not because it wasn't freaking brilliant, but because I'm so lazy to take care of my props, so I rather modify the routine, so I can be rough with my props or even lose them. It also makes use of the "Flying Shuttle Pass" which is a really, really good addition by Jay Sankey on the classic Shuttle Pass.

There are a few reasons I didn't do Three Fly as the last phase. First: It's not that strong, compared to three vanish and reproductions in a row. What, what, what I hear you say. Try it, and you know what I mean. Second: The thought of perhaps more than three coins in play will come up. So I wanted to end this by just using three coins allowing for maximum exposure of the empty hands. This would not be the case if I would do Three Fly to close the routine. Third: I end clean. Fourth: Reset.

Also the routine is modular, which almost always is a good thing. I can close it very quickly and if I want to I can even make it longer by adding a one coin routine, an exposé routine (you'll see what that is, when it comes up in my schedule) or a spell bound routine. (See last week.)

Monday, 5 March 2012

Poker Spellbound

A standard spellbound routine. Three poker chips in this case one by one change into a coin. David Roth's Wild Coin routine #1 and #2 come to mind when you see this. (Coin Magic by Richard Kaufman) That routine has the coin be dropped in a cup. This wouldn't be possible in this case as the sound it would make would totally take away the presumed illusion. So I decided to be all open about it. And then I got me thinking about premises. What if magic actually happened and I fail to see that. So this is what I ended up with.

Finger Tips Coins Across aka Three Fly was the main inspiration to use that particular handling. Not being restricted to tables and to do a coin trick at chest height is always a good thing. I drew influence from Troy Hoosers coin work. The book Destroyers should be anybody read if you wanna know about direction and coin magic.

The first change is simple, the second one automatic if you a standard ungimmicked Three Fly. Same with the next two changes. The third change is a classic Spellbound change, while the last one is merely the good ol' Bobo Switch.

Placing the coins up to my eyes is not only a personal thing, it's also darn practical and funny. That way you don't need a table nor any receptical at all. Here is a suggested continuation of the effect, if you own a coin holder. Change the three poker chips into three coins. A shuttle pass will do it and it would significantly broaden the effect. As the last change will be off beat it's execution should be not really a problem.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Three Balls in the Hat

So we gotta thank Slydini for the basic effect idea. He used to do it with paper balls that went into a box. And what a long sequence this was. Lot's of hand washing and all of that. So I changed it. I have this hat anyway, so I substituted the box for the hat. Slydinis version is one behind, mine one ahead.

A while ago I saw the great Dani DaOrtiz doing a similar routine using sponge balls. And it was a great routine if you work close up. A nice little convincer was the use of a different colored ball. It really makes it harder to follow the one ahead nature of the routine. So my mind started spinning of using three different colored balls. It doesn't make the routine any harder or less practical, yet it makes it harder to imagine the basic concept, ergo it make the routine more deceptive.

So what have we got? A simple vanish and a natural hold out. So the lapping or the need to sit was eliminated. Of course is makes the routine much less angle proof. So this is a routine for the stage. Hell yeah I just realized that the Slydini version actually is a close up routine. This version can be done, and should be done on stage. On the street I would substitute the hold out that is being used here for the pouch and I would use smaller balls... no wait I would use nuts and bolts. They're funnier.

Here is what I think makes the routine work. It is a nice combination of surprise and suspense. The audiences see the balls vanishing, but not arriving in the hat. This is merely implied. So there is this growing suspense if the balls really are in the hat. I like that.

Oh the music.... It's free to use, if I mention the creator. So credits go to "Panacea4" and you can find his Newgrounds profile right here.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Ball and Silk

I did that routine for years, in my humble days of busking. I can tell you at least one thing. It plays well. The fact that it is not a card trick may play a big part in this. The bit using the Gozinta Box, the Para Box, the Inner Outer Box or the Lubor Fiedler Box is not part of the original routine. I included this to offer yet another magic way to introduce the ball. The gag that nicely foreshadows the effect of the inner box becoming the outer box is by Tom Mullica.

The actual routine consists of three parts. The first one is the penetration of the ball through the silk, which ends with the vanish of the ball. There a tons of methods out there. The most practical I found was in Jochen Zmeck's Handbuch der Magie, the German magic bible. At page 173 it starts. Following that is a pretty classic repeated appearance of the ball. The basic handling for that you'll find in Frank Garcias sponge ball book. That phase finishes with the appearance of the mandarin. Fruit always plays well. In the past I used one of the lemons I would use anyway for the Cups and Ball. So I got less props and you have a nice little element that strings the show together.

The third phase is a reprise of the first one. But this time the premise is extended to the part where the penetration can be seen half way. This is what got people. And it is necessary to have a spectator take out the ball. The thought of MAGNET is just there. You must not ignore that and need to prove that magnets are not the modus operandi. The method here... well Tarbell what do you expect?

Friday, 17 February 2012

Copper Silver Transposition

I'm not a big fan of Copper/Silver Transpositions. Mainly because copper and silver is not a distinguishable as most magicians seem to think. Have a slightly yellowish light and both coins looks the same. Same goes for Copper/Silver Spellbound. One weakness of most spellbound routines is at the same time it's greatest strength. The fact that the actual switch of the coin happens exactly at the same time as the perceived effect. It is visual as hell. But naturally the thought of a switch during that brief covering action occurs. So my solution is to use the familiar gimmick. That way you disconnect the moment of the effect from the moment of the method, creating time misdirection and thereby creating a magic effect that is harder to figure out, while still maintaining the visual aspect of a spellbound routine.

But even when you do all those little things the elephant in the room remains. Of course you must have switched it for a different coin. And that is why I think that exposing the fact that there are two coins is good. As you are not insulting the spectator's intelligence by sending the subtext that you are hiding shit but won't admit it.

That puts you in a great position for a standard copper silver transposition. The thought that both coins are genuine has been established already so there is no need to prove the fact.

Let's go into the details here: The spellbound phase has only two moves. One is the standard spell bound move (ending in FP) which is particularly easy, as no magic happens. The second real move is the shuttle pass. I use the Danny Korem variation on this, which he called the "Jumping Shuttle Pass". You find this in issue #4 of the Looking Glass on page 141. In my opinion it is a real improvement over the more standard way of doing this.

The first two phases of the transposition are no-brainers. Everyone can come up with this. But the part of the coins switching while a spectator is holding on to one of them is of course the old Nate Leipzig version. You can find it in The Close-up Magic of Frank Garcia - Part I on page 34. Most version I have seen involve the magician digging into the tightly closed fist of the spectator. That is always a sad thing. Have them extent thumb and index finger. Makes work a lot easier for you.

If you are feeling super bold and you feel that you can actually get away with it, you can actually fuse the coins into one. One side would be copper the other one silver. Personally I would not use it. But it's nice for magicians, who see through the method anyway. It was a throw away idea of mine.

Again I'm not a big fan of Copper Silver in general so this is not part of my act. But I promised myself that I would also go through plots and ideas that don't interest me as much. So please excuse the lousy performance and the many flashes. I really didn't feel like doing another video.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Three Buttons in the Hand

So we all know the standard two in the hands one in the pocket routine. Usually it goes like this: Sponge balls are being used. Each sponge ball is picked up one by one and placed one by one into the other hand. Almost always the "tricky business" happens during the handling of the second ball. And while that allows for all sort of subtleties I tended to look for something else. Then I realized that one of the coin moves I've been doing for ages works great here. Surprisingly the routine becomes easier that way.

By picking up all of the "coins" at once and then dropping them in the hand and then tossing one out, the spectator is forced to make up his mind about the number of coins in the magicians hand. So if the spectator deduces the two are left the conviction is even stronger. At least that is what I think.

The moves seems to be consistent all three times which makes the vanish of the objects near the end a real surprise. I decided to use buttons, as coins and sponge balls are so common in magicians routines. Also it allows me for that rather nice ending which "kills" the audience for some iffy reason. I do have a stand up routine with "big" buttons that end the same way, so applying this to the 2H1P routine was a no-brainer. But I have never seen someone else doing that.

The final "vanish" in the cloth is a pretty old bold vanish. The first two are obvious and standard procedure, but the last one comes from the good old "Modern Coin Magic" by J.B. Bobo. (Honestly I think that the titel of the book is kind of outdated by now.) It's the Bluff Vanish at page 59. It's much more deceptive than most magicians give it credit for.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Elusive Silk and Ropes Through Neck

I can't find my copy of Abbott's Encyclopedia of Rope Tricks for Magicians (compiled by Steward James) and Self-Working Rope Magic (by Karl Fulves). So I cannot give you the exact sources. But it's in these books. The last bit of the ropes through the neck is a technical variation on the grandmother's necklace principle. You will find that in Tarbell Vol.1 page 321. (Rehashed many times after that and ever since.)

You can see me in the video wearing part of my medieval costume, because it is during those renaissance fairs when I do this. Seems to fit perfectly into that scenario. I have seen other magicians (Bizzaro) doing a similar thing dressed up as a pirate. So I guess this sort of effect lends itself well to costumes... The ropes through neck has the advantage of having no extra loop around the neck, which could be a dead give away of the method. Also it allows for a 360 degree view, making the entire routine angleproof.

Bonus: If you are familiar with the standard penetration of a piece of silk through a cane (reel method) you can turn this little bitty into a full fledged routine.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

One Coin One Pen

This is my opener for the small stand up show. If the crowd is larger I change the coin for a sponge ball. Works about the same. Let me go into the details here. The initial production of the coin is something I used to do a lot, but not as often today. It taken from "Wise Guy" published by Mike Caveney. The book is all about the magic of Harry Anderson. On page 22 you'll find the routine entitled "Sewing A Coin". But it has also been published under the name "As Ye Sew, So Shall Ye Reap" in "The New York Magic Symposium Collection Two". Briefly: it's a lovely little close up production of a coin. The first two phases of the coin and pen bit are almost directly inspired by Rick Merrill's 2006 FISM Routine and by Scandinavian Magician Run Klan. Love both guys to bits. The change overs of coin and pen are based on the Sylvester Pitch, but I modified it a bit, because the original technique doesn't seem to work for me. The rest is rather self explaining. Simple transposition stuff combined with Flip Sticking.... personally I think it is much more deceptive to do the Flip Stick Move not as a vanish, but as a transformation.

The very last bit with the setup of the premise (burns through and moves) nicely foreshadows the end. The Smoke Gimmick by Alan "the hobbit" Rorrison is such a nice way to enhance the effect of the coin coming out of the mouth.

All in all. It's a good way to start a show. The angles are fairly good, the effects are clear, it's faced paced... cool stuff.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

The Six Coin Routine

Before I get into all the sources for this routine let me point out what I think makes this a good routine. The first point would be the use of six coins instead of just three coins. If you really think about it, it is just three coins across. But the addition of three more coins makes it seem much bigger than it really is. The main reason is that the effect is perceived differently. It is not just three coins going into the other hand one by one, it is the whole balance changing. Form 3/3 to 2/4 to 1/5 to None/6. It somehow feels bigger, as the whole layout is bigger. A drawback to this of course is the amount table space that is used. So I be honest saying that I uses this in my street show. It's not that great for table hopping.

The second point is the finish in the spectators hand. Common it seems, but not really. Most magicians I met told me that they fear that sort of action. Well with 5(6) coins there is no excuse.

The third point would be the simple fact that you start very clean, with no extra coin hidden. That allows for ultra clean handling. You can even say "Make sure to notice that I got nothing in my hands." That is a great advantage to cancel the thought of extra coins in play. Of course the method is switched on the last coin allowing for the last coin to be seen before it vanishes, creating time misdirection to post-hide the method that was really employed.

Right after the "Across" part the routine continues with the "Bar Bet" style trick of taking out a coin from the spectators hand before the spectator closes it. This is a crowd-pleaser if you have the correct performing style with the right power claim. In this case it would be the "jester" and "trickery". The jester can actually challenge the audience without pissing them off, while trickey needs to be the obvious power claim, to make the routine believable.

Now most of the palms and click passes come straight from "Modern Coin Magic" by J.B. Bobo. But the routine itself draws heavy inspiration by Eddie Fechters 6-4-5 Coin trick, published in "Fechter - The Magic of Eddie Fechter" by Jerry Mentzer (page 153). I highly suggest checking out this one. Ending the "Across" part in the spectators hand is of course derived from sponge ball magic's most important book: "The Encyclopedia of Sponge Ball Magic" by Frank Garcia.
The entire last routine somehow remains a bit unclear. It is published in "Magic For Dummies" by David Pogue (page 68) with an in depth explanation why the trick works, but this is not where I got it from. When I was six or seven years old (still being in first grade) I was in Prague in former Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic) And there was a street performer there. An old man. And he did what I consider "magic failure worthy" nowadays. He explained the magic he performed for a few korunas. And that trick was part of his explanation. He used just five coins if I recall correctly but it stuck with me.
The cool part about this trick is the simple fact that you can actually repeat it. And it gets better each time.

Btw: if you wonder if this routine is actually doable in front of real spectators...

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Bachelor's Needle

This is my little update to the old classic published in the Tarbell Course in Magic - Volume 3 at page 102. You can also find it in "Abbott's Encyclopedia of Rope Tricks for Magicians" if you own that. A few years ago, Penguin Magic ripped off the effect calling it "Eye of the Tiger". Fuckers!

I made a few changes. First I added phases. Even though no actual increase of difficulty or drama happens, it sure feels like it. The first phase introduces the idea, nothing happens. The second time the actual effect happens with minimum conditions. On the third time the conditions seem increased with the addition of the knot. I didn't find it mentioned anywhere, but I think that the "pull back" right after the effect is necessary to underline the impossibility of the action. Nobody seems to do it. And the last phase is my little addition. Including a spectator helps so much elevating this little trick from gem to jewel.

This is one of the "warm up" tricks I do whenever I busk.

Additional idea: If you color just one end of the rope, it will help a lot to make the effect more visible to the masses. Basically the "needle and eye" could be white while the "thread" is red.

One more thing. A constant problem seems to be the fact that the loop seem bigger after the penetration. This is solved, by giving the loop a half turn counter clockwise twist right before pinching it. The literature I read on this is often very unclear about this. They say "turn it to the right", which depending on the viewing the whole assembly could mean either direction. Counter clockwise is the way to go!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Coin And String

This is a routine I strung together using the best methods I could find for this type of magic. Let's mention the basics first: There are two ways of doing this. One is using just one object, like most ring and string routines and the second way of doing this is using a dupe. The drawback to the first one is, that you have to go through rather goofy phases of linking and unlinking, while the later version has the drawback of being to obvious. The second problem can be solved by attacking the issue with "cleanliness". And what better way to hide the second coin, by not using a second coin, but a familiar and common coin gimmick.

So going from there I went through my pile of books and read. The basic routines that I took "phases" from are by Sol Stone, Troy Hooser and Jay Sankey.

If you check out Vol.1 No.3 of the Apocalypse at page 30 you'll find the routine called "Stung Coin" by Sol Stone. Which is a nice prototype but gets needlessly lost in methods in my humble opinion. But there is a nice way to use the Downs Palm to hide the second coin. This routine was my starting point to get to the routine you see in the video. The next influence and I'd say the major influence is the "Charming Chinese Challenge" by Troy Hooser. You can find the routine in the wonderful book Destroyers by Joshua Jay. It starts at page 21. My little video doesn't do it justice, but the "Spell Bound Unlink" looks a lot better if you use a felt ribbon instead of the big string I used in the video. The ribbon seems to fall right through the coin. Another phase I took from Hooser's routine is the "Mid-Air Link" which is hard to do on camera but is so great in real life. It seems like there is no way trickery could take place. Especially if you do it with a certain level of nonchalance. And finally Jay Sankey has a wonderful routine called Leaving Home. It is published on his "The Very Best of Jay Sankey" DVD (Volume 3) He uses the Strinking Vanish by David Williamson ("Williamson Wonder" by Richard Kaufman) in a nice offbeat way to create the illusion of a link. That is the last phase I did in the video. It is the most challenging move in my routine, but worth the effort of learning it. The very first link is mine, I have not found that in any books I own, but I like it.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

On Premises 03

More variations for you.

7. The Déjà Vu.
As you can see that changes the effect drastically. Suddenly the coin didn't vanish, but somehow reality seems to jump back. I think this is a good example how a changed premise (structure and plot remain the same) changes the overall perception of the effect.

8. The Wishing Well.
I like this one. You could even include fancy color changes. The wishing well routine by David Williamson is such a great trick. And wishing for money bit is actually a nice subtext justification why you the great magician do not do magic that is meaningful, like world peace.

9. The Toss.
Let's be honest this is just to milk time. But I like the covering the eyes part while at the same time hiding the coin in a motivated action.