One of the things I love to do is pick up something that's been around for years and breathe new life into it. It's a fun exercise in creativity and innovation, sometimes all it takes is a little inspiration. During one of our estate purchases I obtained a large number of vintage magic magazines. They're filled with articles, reviews, effects and ads - all of which can act as a catalyst to get those creative juices jumping. Not to mention they're just plain fun to thumb through!
So a few weeks ago we ran a special promotion for our email subscribers that included a “Pack of Inspiration” with our orders. The pack included a few of these vintage magazines as well as some guidance for how to get your own creative juices flowing. I realize that many of you out there may have your own stash of of magic magazines lying around and perhaps you will find this particular list from the “Pack of Inspiration” useful....
Ten Ways to Use Vintage Magic Magazines To Spark Your Creativity, Grow Your Repertoire, and Solve Magic’s Most Pressing Problems!
- Learn a new trick from the teaching columns. Try applying the technique to something other than its intended props. If it’s a card trick—could it be something else? Can it be applied to photos, books, postcards, trading cards, currency, letters, etc.
- Read an article that addresses a problem in magic. What can be done to resolve the issue? Is it really a problem that needs solving? Has the problem been addressed in other fields? If so, what can we adapt to our community?
- Find an intriguing ad. Can you recreate the effect without knowing the actual method? Can you develop it further? Can you create a meaningful presentation for it?
- Look at a photograph. Does it show an image of magic that still persists today? Is that good or bad? How can we update the image for a modern audience?
- Read “Ring Reports”. Do you see common threads, complaints, or comments? Have you addressed those issues with you magic and your approach to the magic community? Can you?
- Analyze a magic product review. What can be done to address the criticisms of a product? Can you create a similar effect that solves those criticisms?
- Absorb an article about magic history. Discover where we’ve been and where we’re heading. Does the direction need to change? How can you help?
- Study a convention review. What kind of acts and events seem to generate the most enthusiastic responses? Can you build a better convention? What features would it have and how would you address the issues in the review?
- Find an article about act promotion. Can you apply the ideas to modern show marketing? If the idea is dated, what about it is a truism that still applies today? Does the vehicle of promotion still exist, is there a current equivalent? Can it be brought back as an offbeat and nostalgic marketing tool?
- What else? To be creative you will often need to self inspire! What other paths do you find or doors do you open by paging through those pages? Don’t focus only on your own interests within our field, broaden your perspective and get input from as many sources as possible.
I’ve always loved Anniversary Waltz, the fusion card effect created by Chris Carter and fine tuned / popularized by Doc Eason. I can tell you from personal experience that when used at the right time, it is mighty powerful stuff. Anniversary Waltz has inspired a plethora of different handlings and effects, some great and some - not so much. This is the first one that has really struck a chord with me and I think AW fans all over will agree. The effect is VERY different from Anniversary Waltz but it certainly has a similar feel and audience impact.
If you haven’t seen One performed yet, then click here.
As you can, see you’ll be leaving the spectator with a pretty astonishing souvenir of your time with them. The routine uses only basic card moves and should easily be in the range of most magicians. The DVD features Matthew Underhill and Tom Wright performing and teaching the effect in a clear, easy to follow manner. It also includes an alternate handling that allows the card to be examined not only after the effect, but before as well. That routine requires an additional gaff, which is included with the product. I also really liked Tom Wright’s idea with the torn card. It’s very clean looking and leaves you with a real topological mystery. There are some angle concerns in all the handlings but they are fairly easy to manage, so I can’t imagine that will be deal breaker for anyone.
The gaff cards have been produced in Mandolin back design - but I honestly think this could be placed in a standard Bicycle deck without setting off any alarms. If it’s a real concern for you then DEFINITLY pick up a matching Mandolin deck as well. The gimmick card has even had a little something added to insure that the cards are aligned properly at a crucial moment in the trick. A nice touch. You will need to pick up one item for the preparation but it’s available inexpensively at most office supply or art shops. Matthew explains the prep in great detail and even shows a convenient and practical way to carry the gaffs with your deck of cards. Much like Anniversary Waltz, I think you’ll be using this for special moments when performing so you won’t be going through large batches of cards each show.
So is it better than Anniversary Waltz? That’s hard to say. But it will make a powerful alternative to the effect in your repertoire, which makes it great for repeat performances. In fact, I think it could be a real mind blower to use when someone comes over with the “fused card” from Anniversary Waltz and says, “Can you do this again?” Now you can smile and say, “Sure, but let’s try something a little different...”
Get the full details on Matthew Underhill’s One by clicking here.
The wait is finally over and this long awaited wonder has finally hit the shelves. In short, I’m impressed. This is a modern and stylish looking pen with powers that make me feel like it came from the desk of Q at Her Majesty’s Secret Service!
The motor for this model is much stronger than the original unit and it operates with a standard AAA battery. The battery is not included - but this is commonly available and far easier to obtain then the small button cell batteries used previously. The upgrade to the AAA battery insures a longer life and a consistent, unyielding motor tension.
The DVD covers every aspect of the prop including history and a detailed breakdown of the product. It also includes a very informative section on how to correctly attach wax to the line as well as how to deal with the standard “care & feeding” of your Spider Pen Pro.
The effects covered are VERY strong, including an excellent Floating Straw and Floating Finger Ring Routine, which includes an amazing handling by Terry Lunceford. My personal favorite is the Zero Gravity Bill, which is a floating bill that takes place in a flat and horizontal position. It looks like a bill would float if you could really do magic!
On a side note, we’ve had a few a couple customers say that the Pen would not work when they put the battery in. In EVERY case, it was simply a contact issue. Meaning that the battery was not coming into full contact with the necessary points on the pen to make it function. If this occurs you may want to simply make sure that you’ve pushed the unit together completely. In the worst case scenario, you may need to take a small pair of tweezers and gently stretch the battery spring a bit. This will help insure a sound contact with the battery and the pen will begin working instantly.
As a dealer, there are certain items I’m always hesitant to send out the door. Products that contain reels, thread, and electronics hold high spots on that list. It’s not that these items are necessarily bad – to the contrary they can be wonderful. But experience has shown that sending such potentially sensitive items to the eager hands of magicians who may be too excited to pay close attention (or any attention) to instructions can often have disastrous results. So you can imagine my immediate concern when a device comes through the door that combines all three! So here is my final verdict...
As I say with many items, this is NOT a replacement for skill and practice. If you were not a thread master prior to opening this package, then you will not be one the moment you take out the pen. It will make life easier and open the door to greater thread possibilities but it’s NOT going to do all the work for you. You’ll still need to put in the time and I think those that do will fall in love with this device. If that sounds like you, then click buy now and I suspect you’ll be very happy.
Get the full details on Yigal Mesika’s Spider Pen Pro by clicking here.
Wayne Dobson needs little introduction to most of my readers. He is a working pro with countless television and stage credits to his name. He had his own television series on the BBC that, at its high point, had an audience of 11 million people! When a performer of that caliber releases a product - pay attention.
Finding stand up material is no easy task, especially material suited for an adult audience. This alone makes this item worthy of your attention but as an added bonus, it’s an absolute steal too! For less then $50 you’re getting a great routine, filled with laughs and a surprising magical moment. On the DVD you’ll learn every nuance of this routine - a great “card” force that takes place completely in the spectator’s hands, audience management tips, subtleties on delivery, as well insights to building this routine to peak laughter and knowing when to make the revelation. The DVD also includes a PDF file covering the script and gags, along with some bonus jokes that you can easily add to the presentation. There’s even a close up version that leaves the spectator with your business card!
That’s one of the beauties of this routine, it can be used close up or platform with equal success. This makes it the perfect item to keep in your close up case for those times when you are called on to do “one for everyone”.
Obviously this is a routine for ADULT audiences. It’s not really blue and it’s important to note that all of the jokes are in the MINDS of the audiences. You never really say anything that could be considered off color and you need only take it as far as you are comfortable. You simply set up the jokes and the audience makes the connection. There’s no doubt that this routine will not be for everyone, but for those that work adult crowds I think this could be gold.
One final note, Wayne and the producer (Alakazam Magic) have been kind enough to share the routine in full in their video demo. I think that’s an incredibly honorable thing to do and I applaud them for this approach. If you choose to add this routine to you act, please support them by purchasing the routine. It’s only fair that they get compensated for the work they’ve created and there’s no arguing that it’s EASILY worth every penny. Enough said...
Get the full details on Wayne's Exchange by clicking here.