Are magicians to blame for 2016?

Social media is flooded with posts bashing 2016. It was not a popular year.

Maybe I’m to blame. Perhaps you are too?

Looking back, I produced far less art than I usually do in an average twelve-month period (there’s a list at the end of this article). Several of my closest friends and colleagues have said they also wrote fewer books, created less magic, drew fewer pictures, etc.

A trend such as this nationwide could explain the angst of the old year.

After all, if a magician performs less often, there is less magic in the world to give hope and wonder. If an illustrator draws less, there are fewer pictures to explore. If an author writes less, there are fewer stories to experience.

The little things in life make for good years.

People love art. They enjoy talent. You have an open invitation from the void to create. Whether that means magic, illustration, sculpture, music, acting, whatever. Your audiences will reward you. If not financially, emotionally.

Even though I didn’t create much, I am still a far better artist today. I developed new talents, and honed old skills. I spent a lot of [quality] time dreaming, and now I am ready to produce.

Artists make things, yes? Then I am going to make 2017 magical. This year won’t have me to blame.

How about you? I would love to read your thoughts on this in the comments.

TRANSITION FROM CLOSEUP TO STAGE

One of the ways you can potentially create more and better art in the New Year is by expanding your venue options. As a performer, another venue is another revenue stream—a new market.

There are a number of excellent effects on the market perfect for a closeup magician moving to the stage, such as Linking Rings, Egg Bag, $100 Billet Catch, and Suit Up!

But if you want to add a signature trick to your local performances, consider Victory Cubes.

Victory Cubes are an instantly recognizable prop for your brand. Plus, they play HUGE, and they are a ton of fun for you and your audience. Not only does a large prop like this provide more venue options, you have a better chance of earning a clients’ attention when your promo pictures feature a signature illusion—a signature value.

STICKING TO CLOSEUP? PERFORM ANYWHERABLE!

It was about this time two years ago, I introduced a sample of my Old World Siberian Chain Escape. The sample was so successful that it became its own product, including custom routines. Today, it is called The Old World Chain Escape MINI.

FREE TRICK: DOLLAR SHOTPOSSIBLE!

Back in 2015, I started the New Year with a trick I gave away free, “Dollar Shotpossible.” A signed dollar vanishes from under a clear glass. Very easy to do, and still free!

MY 2016 YEAR IN REVIEW

The year wasn’t a total artistic wash for me. I published Chain Game, which is itself a commentary on art in magic (part of the DVD), Easy Blood From Anything, Mental Marker FX Spray, and I produced Sutterbee’s Fine Magicians Rope.

I began theSTUDY: A Magical Place to Better Your Craft, my spring-summer podcast.

With my friend, Phillip Shamblin, I directed Eat Your Heart Out, and The Shadow Box, I also appeared in the latter, and we just began production on To Kill A Mockingbird (we blocked 42 pages in the first four hours). I was stage manager for Oklahoma! and A Christmas Story.

I founded a comic book company, and began the first two titles.

Between those projects, I answered your emails and phone calls, followed a close election with bated breath, and I worked long, difficult days and nights in the workshop.

This year, I plan to double, maybe even triple all of the above. I hope you come along for my adventure, and include me where you can in yours.

 

Will this liquid revolutionize your closeup magic?

black_liquidThis innovative liquid transforms one of magic’s most popular tools into an even more versatile method.

When the liquid is applied and allowed to dry, it removes the gimmick’s telltale shine and replaces it with a light-absorbing, flat-black invisibility. And unlike other methods for “cloaking,” this liquid works its magic with only a slight reduction to the gimmick’s strength.

Visibility is one of the two major reasons cited by magicians for not using this gimmick as part of their regular closeup repertoire.

The second reason is frustration.

But today, both problems are easily solved.

The black liquid in the picture—formula SR9—is a very special mixture of synthetic and natural ingredients compounded together for the exclusive purpose of removing shine and providing camouflage for polyurethane-polyurea copolymers and aliphatic polyamides: Invisible Elastic Thread and Nylon/Kevlar Invisible Threads.

For years, individual magicians and independent manufacturers have used repurposed dyes and pigments, even black markers, to color their Invisible Thread to reduce visibility under performance conditions.

Since the surface of Invisible Thread is slippery like plastic, the only colorants that will stick contain a solvent, which destroys the thread wall and weakens it dramatically.

With a basic understanding of how these polymers bond together, one will immediately recognize the damage that can be done by removing even a nanoscale layer of the thread wall—a variable of great importance for static fibers, multiplied exponentially for the delicate structure of elastic threads.

Some magicians have given up entirely and have chosen a black Invisible Elastic Thread for closeup applications. But the color is not what the audience glimpses from the corner of their eye. It is the hint of shine reflected from ambient light. Black Invisible Thread is often just as shiny as its white/clear counterpart.

Magicians have balanced a tradeoff: alter the molecular structure of the thread, reducing its strength, or run the risk of flashing under ambient light.

SR9 is phobic to common IT and IET polymers. It wraps around the structure of the thread, concealing it without altering the structure of the thread itself. Does it still reduce strength? Yes, to a small degree. The particles are so fine they can embed in microscopic cracks and imperfections in the thread, adding weight and causing friction. Compared to harsh solvents, however, this reduction in strength is trivial.

SR9 solves the visibility problem, but it still leaves the second issue: Invisible Thread is a huge hassle.

Here is the truth about Invisible Thread…

Almost everything you want to perform with “regular” Invisible Thread—Nylon and Kevlar—can be performed with Invisible Elastic Thread, bypassing much of the frustration.

With Invisible Elastic Thread, 1) there is no stripping of a single thread from a bundle of other strands; 2) its elasticity absorbs minor shock loads that will snap regular IT; 3) it acts as its own reel.

The last example is the “reel” reason you should pay attention.

A thread reel adjusts the length of Invisible Thread during performance.

Anchored Invisible Elastic Thread performs similarly without a reel.

The elasticity of a high-quality Invisible Elastic Thread mimics the performance of a static thread in a thread reel, but with much less bother—providing you have the proper setup.

cylinderTypically, Invisible Elastic Thread is supplied wound on a spool or bobbin. Performing with IET while it is still attached to the spool causes the loose end of the thread to dig in under the rest of the supply. When the thread breaks, the end is lost. The spool is useless.

The secret is to wind about ten feet of the thread onto another cylinder. Unwind the amount you want to use—one foot will get you three-to-five feet depending on the brand—and then slip the thread into a double notch to hold tight the thread not in use at the time. Put the cylinder in your shirt pocket and you are ready to go.

When the working end of the thread is stretched, the burden is at the notches, leaving the balance of the thread untouched. When the thread snaps, the loose end is right there at the notch, ready to be WaxTaqed. You are setup for the next performance.

With this technique, you might get fifty performances out of ten feet of thread, instead of [barely] one performance from a hundred-foot spool. PK magic at your fingertips!

Click HERE to try SR9 Cloaking Fluid in an easy-to-use applicator pen.

Something More Convenient than Mentalism…

Magicians are drawn to mentalism for two key reasons…

human-20424_640First, a great deal of the material can be performed impromptu or with very little setup. Second, mentalism is scalable from an intimate one-on-one setting with a single spectator to a powerful connection with an audience of thousands in a large theatre.

A mentalist can perform anywhere, even on stage, with little or no props. Mentalism is one of the most convenient and versatile types of magic on the planet. Plus it’s amazing! Read someone’s mind and they are baffled in a way unique to the craft.

Unless, of course, your audience cannot hear you over the ambient sound of an outside performance, the rowdy nature of a club environment, the honks and hollers of a busy street, or the clattering of glasses and small-talk echoing through the air of a corporate party.

476px-Mind-reading-Russell-MorganIn those situations, mentalism is a billet never burned, a secret never revealed, a thought transmitted into a blaring divide never to be enjoyed. Luckily, early on I learned a type of “fringe magic” that allowed me to elude those nuisances, draw a huge crowd and perform with zero props—silent if necessary.

Impromptu and scalable, convenient and impressive—just like mentalism—yet unemployed by most magicians. And looking back, I probably booked more gigs demonstrating a trick from this one category than from any other type of magic—including mentalism!

So what is this miracle that is more convenient than mentalism and plays bigger than a rainstorm?

Theft.

Honest theft. Watches, wallets, and keys typically. If your spectator wasn’t born with it or it hasn’t been surgically attached, the item is fair game. And people LOVE it! Especially the “victims.”

Every summer as a teenager, I would find small towns without busking laws—if they said, “What’s busking?” I was usually good to go. I walked around their festivals performing magic where and when I could. As I built my crowds, I nabbed their valuables for magical reveals throughout the show.

My hat filled faster than a pig’s belly! (I worked fairs too)

Like a number of magicians, I was introduced to mindreading from the legendary 13 Steps to Mentalism—it changed my life. But what you may not know is that there is an equivalent for pickpocketing, called The Complete Course in Pickpocketing.

It’s the “13 Steps” of thievery—for entertainment purposes.

The Complete Course in Pickpocketing converts the common magician’s repertoire into an exciting audience interactive where anything can happen. Now those everyday [missed] opportunities become magical events, which to a pro means more venues.

The Complete Course was $60 when I first read it, but today you can get this book for a steal! Making the first step obvious…

Read it Now: The Complete Course in Pickpocketing!

 

Featured Mentalism: 13 Steps to Mentalism, GhostIt Notes, I know What You’re Thinking, Poor Boy Billet Knife, Poor Boy Billet Knife Full-Size, Mental Marker Special FX Pen, Mental Marker FX Juice