Sunday, May 20, 2018

King of Farts

The next time you're at a funeral and things aren't as upbeat as you'd prefer, bust out this beauty.  Get a blank faced card, and use a sharpie to draw a king farting.  I can't draw well at all, so I drew a crown and some gas with the word fart in the gas to make sure everyone knew what they were looking at.  Place this card on top of the deck, face down.  Make sure the deck you're using has the same back as the blank faced card so you don't make a fool of yourself.  Turn to the widow who's paying for the shindig, fan the deck and have her just touch a card without looking at the face.  Pull the card out of the fan without showing it and hold it face down in your other hand.  Ask the puffy-eyed widow if she'd like to guess what card she picked, and execute a top change.  Regardless of what she says, tell her you can determine the card by the smell.  Take a big whiff of the card and pretend you've just smelled something terribly foul.  (It helps if you can squeak out a silent but deadly to add to the illusion.)  Announce that the card she picked stinks, and show it's the King of Farts.  If you've got one of those smoke gimmicks, now's the time to shine.  Refuse to leave until you're paid.  You don't work funerals for free.  People are dying to get you to perform their funeral.  Haha. 

The card that started it all.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Internet and Magic

     I'm going to jump off the deep end right at the start and talk about something that will probably ruffle more than a few feathers.  At least it would if anyone read this.  Folks, the internet is here to stay.  Like many of you, I too thought it would be a fad, but I guess it's time to admit we were wrong.  Now that the internet is here, we as magicians need to accept that magic exposure on the internet exists.  We don't have to like it, but it's there regardless.  There are magicians (and others) making money teaching magic on YouTube, Twitch, Patreon, and other websites.  We can either boycott the whole idea while grumbling on The Magic Cafe about how these youngsters are ruining magic, or we can take a good hard look at ourselves and understand that times have changed.  The truth of the matter is this: the family at Applebee's you just did your 7th Four-Ace-Production in a row for isn't going to go home and start googling how you did it.  While there may be an occasional person who tries to figure out the secret by googling it, the vast majority of a magic video's views are other magicians.  The magicians that continue to ignore the issue or yell that the entire idea is bad and will ruin magic because laymen can see how it's done are only preaching to their own choir.  Everyone else isn't listening.  They are too busy forming internet communities.

     This is why it is so important that we step up to the plate, embrace the change, and even get on board with it.  If the elders of the community are involved, the elders can help shape the internet magic culture, rather than letting it be formed by the 14 year-olds that are currently running things. We need to learn to pick our battles. While we can't prevent exposure, we can at least guide the ethics so that the teachings are basic sleights and effects, the types of effects and sleights that are old enough or common enough that anyone can put them in a book or DvD without the need to get another magician's permission.  This is where the picking our battles comes into play.  Basically, it's not a big deal for someone to be teaching a double lift or double undercut, but what we don't want is someone teaching a marketed effect.  

     Another issue is the forums of old are outdated and full of bitter old men who snap at anyone daring to ask a question.  Go on the magic cafe and try to ask a question.  There's a 85% chance the whole thread will turn into an argument unrelated to the original topic.  There's a 60% chance your question will be answered in the most pretentious way possible.  And there's a 90% chance you'll be berated for not using the outdated search feature, because we all know searching for something specific on a 15 year old forum about a single topic will yield useful results.  It's no wonder magicians are going to other places to learn and have a sense of community.  

     The short version of all this is simply that younger magicians are going to find a sense of community on the internet and we can either choose to be a part of it, or lock ourselves up like hermits.  If we do the latter, we have no right to bitch about what the community does.  It's the easy way out.  Step up to the plate and show some guidance rather than being cranky about everything.  Even if we did used to have to walk up hill both ways in the snow just to have a card selected, that doesn't make us emperor of the magic community.  Like everything else in life, it changes, it evolves, and it adapts.

Who the heck am I?

     I figure I may as well start this blog by telling you who I am.  Or at least who I imagine myself to be, since I'm sure my description of myself will greatly vary from anyone else's.  I'm a magician from West Virginia, USA.  I have a fantastic beard, a wife, a dog, and a bird.  I've been doing magic for over 20 years, and for the last five years or so I've been doing good magic.  I've created a lot of routines during this time, and I'll probably share quite a few of them here, since I seem to be the only magician in the entire state who's interested in knowing other magicians, and this is basically the only way to communicate to anyone else.  That reminds me, I'm also a bit of a cynic.  Why should you read my blog?  I'll tell you soon as I figure that out.