Sunday, June 26, 2011



I've rambled on elsewhere on-line about how the Golden Gate Gathering went this year. If'n you're into magic, please check my ramblings on the Genii Forum. It's where I do the least damage.

Spent yesterday hanging out with one of my favorite magic buddies, Steve Johnson. He and his parents run Grand Illusions. It's a magic shop just outside of Sacramento. Steve and I mostly just played guitar. Gotta have more than one hobby.

I've abandoned the idea of trying to bust in on the castle or compete at magic conventions. I think I'm supposed to run the GGG and do magic for those unfortunate enough to collide with me.

The dream hasn't died. I'm just sharpening my view.

Huge props to Paul Vigil, Bob White, Jared Kopf and Bradley Morgan. Paul graced the GGG with his full evening show. It was . . . it was magical! Steve Mayhew . . . gotta give that guy a hug, or get one.

Bob White stole the show on every level. He's a force for greatness in magic. His pal from Dallas, Jared Kopf became a fast friend of mine all so very quickly. Brad . . . dude, you've a friend for life.

I love magic. The Gathering allows me to meet others in magic. It allows my little circle of friends in magic grow a smidgen each year.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Show, I got to do a show!

After firming up Seventeen minutes and getting it on tape I just got a chance to actually perform a good-sized chunk of it for some real people.

Joe Caffal of the local magic club performs at the local VA hospital on occasion. I've been trying to hook up with him for awhile. Well . . . today he and I did a show for some veterans at the hospital. We followed a lady giving Tai Chi lessons. That added to the surreal nature of the day.

I drove down from Belmont to San Jose. I was nervous and a little giddy before going on. Joe was very professional and smooth. I could tell he'd done his act for a long time. He really is quite proficient. I really enjoyed watching his act.

I managed to bust out my Sam the Bellhop, Vernon's Cutting the Aces and the Fun Shop Cups and Balls. I went almost 14 minutes. The Card tricks were wearing thin, I could tell. The story trick probably went over the best of the three effects.

I was no where near smooth enough for the Magic Castle but it was a damned fine signpost along the way.

Thanks Joe! I really enjoyed watching you perform most of all!


Monday, April 25, 2011

Bright lights big city

Spent three nights under the lights. Probably have nothing useful to show for it.

My old Navy pal Rick Lakin drove up from San Diego with three cameras, tripods etc. We spent two nights in an industrial-looking room shooting instructional footage for the Fun Shop Cups and Balls.

I think the material is of value. I hope Rick can edit together some useful footage. My goddaughter Sarah, who is planning on attending film school at SFSU in the fall got some real-time experience running a camera and setting up lights. A Lowell light kit fell into our laps. It came in really handy.

I'd wanted to shoot some footage of my 17 minute act. We ran out of battery juju the second day, but fear not.

I was talking to Carl Willat of Carl's fine films. He's the guy behind the Hershey's Kisses ad where the kisses ring themselves like bells to a Christmas Carol. I told him what I was trying to do and he drove down from the city with a Saturn full of lights and cameras. These were the kind of lights you see on a movie set. One of our bedrooms was empty for an upcoming renovation, and we shot the 17 minute footage in there.

I've learned several things from the shoots.

1. I've gotten really fat the last couple of years. You guys should've said SOMETHING!
2. The magic is good, the presentation is not up to snuff.
3. I look at the props WAY too much.
4. There's hope.

Spoke to the mighty Howard Hamburg about all this today. He gave me some good advice and was enthusiastic and encouraging. He's a rockin' magician of Magic Castle fame. Thanks Howard.

Thanks also to Carl's Fine Film crew.

Thanks Uncle Rick, it was great just hanging out. We gotta hang way more often.

The adventure continues.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

The chase for a show so far in 2011.

Having recently bought Handcrafted Card Magic Volume 2 and worked up a couple tricks from it. Denis Behr's exhaustive references made me bust out a bunch of other magic books.

The research that crazy man goes through is awesome. I got to re-read Card Fictions by Pit Hartling.

All in all it's been a good magic year so far, for me. I've polished up the Sam the Bellhop story trick I do. I still don't have a name for it. I got to do it at all the local magic clubs. It actually gets a better reaction for lay-people. I've done it half a dozen times at work so far. (Real job) It is the longest magic trick I've ever done. It runs over five minutes. Without the core of that story I tend to ramble on. The structure is helping.

Having five full minutes of card trick the show sequence looks like this now:

Opener - Sam the Bellhop style trick


Pawnbroker's Syndrome

The Cups and Balls

A pal is coming up from San Diego to shoot some video for me. I'll get a good idea how close to 17 minutes I am, at this point. I suspect I'm one trick short.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Magic Lectures

Saw a lecture at the San Jose magic club last night. Wayne Houchin, a home-grown California magician dazzled the crowd.

I believe Wayne is far better known among the young magician set. He's released some very original effects on DVD. I'd seen the ads in the magic magazines, but I'd never seen his stuff. The material was excellent and his performance style was top-notch.

Polished and professional, funny and warm, this young man has it all.

He spoke about success in the second half of his lecture. It was warm-hearted and obviously very genuine. He also discussed Juan Tamariz' "Crossing the Gaze" concept with an application in a torn and restored card routine that fooled the snot out of me.

It was truly inspiring to see such a talented performer and lecturer. All the folks who decry the decline of magic need not worry. Wayne's looking after magic. Magic is just fine.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Getting the act together

I finally found/developed a card trick that will work as an opener. It's my version of Sam the Bellhop.

Growing up in San Francisco

For the stray non-magician that runs across this, "Sam the Bellhop" is the most popular story told as one pages through a deck. A great magician named; Bill Malone does a bang-up job of this trick.

With this long-winded effect, running at just over 5 minutes leaves me 12 minutes to fill up. I will close with the effect I call Pawnbrokers Syndrome that is just a precursor to the Cups and Balls. That gives me an opening and a strong closer. The three effects listed last for an aggregate eleven minutes. I've no idea what to put in between them.

For today I'm just happy to have half an act.

I spoke to Howard Hamburg who is a long-time denizen of the Magic Castle, via the phone. He gave me some great ideas on wrapping the show up in a theme. This weekend, (just before Valentine's day 2011), I've got another magic pal who's coming down to confer on all things magical.

You two who actually read this thing; go practice.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dan and Dave

One of my local magic club's claims to fame is.

They were the Ring for Dan and Dave Buck as kids.

The local IBM ring in San Jose California had two young men show up to a meeting about 16 years ago. There they ran into the evil, yet extremely talented Ricky Smith. And that has made all the difference.

Ricky was a real inspiration to the twins. He's an inspiration to many magicians. Dan and Dave actually did something with that inspiration. They've literally become the biggest thing in close-up magic.

Financially successful, self-effacing and talented, they are pretty well-behaved too.

Last night they came home and lectured to their old ring.

I had to go. I had the pleasure of meeting them and even hanging with them a bit at the Golden Gate Gathering. They lectured for us our first year. But this isn't about that.

Dan and Dave are really good lecturers. They can both do all the stuff they demonstrate so you sometimes get them both showing hand positions to different sides of the room. Their ability to effectively describe hand positions and walk even tyros through difficult stuff is wonderful.

They dealt more than amiably with questions from a relative tyro and a nine-year-old. There was no sense of superiority or dismissal from our lecturers. They just described the moves with more detail and what seemed to be infinite patience.

They will the audience to participate. They taught some quickly mastered flourishes in the first half of the lecture. Cards were gleefully flying all over the room as we worked on a great little launch of a single card. I can now cause a deck to spin 360 degrees in the palm of my hand. Sometimes the cards even stay in my hand!

After the lecture we went out for bad food and long talks. I was lucky enough to sit with Dave and one of my old pals, John Bodine. Sure I'm name dropping, for me, it was a great night though. Just hanging out . . . doin' card tricks and telling lies. (Dave did the card tricks . . .)