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.