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.