Gibtown Fest About to Start

Inside Magic Image of Embarrassed ClownWhile not strictly magic, the annual International Independent Showmen’s Association Trade Show in Gibsontown (herein after “Gibtown”) is something to which we look forward every year.

We’ve been to Gibtown many times but never during the trade show.

Oh, how we long to be there during the show.

Our problem, though, is that we geek-out (as the kids say) about geeky things.  You show us a hall full of rides for sale, equipment to repair those rides, or even cotton candy machines of varying price points and features; and we’re not right.

We search out carnivals and circuses to search out people who work in both with the hope of talking to them for hours.  We imagine they have better things to do but we don’t, so it is kind of a balance.  We could listen (and have) to ride operators talk about set-up and tear-down of their rides.  We talk to people working midway games far too long and circus logistics — don’t get us started.

Oddly, we could care less about the engineering that goes into the creation of the track upon which a ride must travel safely over and over.  But let us shadow the person who sets up that track on a marshy ground with little or no spacing between the ride and the ticket kiosk, powered by big thick cables emanating from a junction box, in turn powered by thicker cables from a generator behind the backdrop of a nearby ride and we are in heaven.

In our very much younger days, we worked for essentially free at Clyde Beatty Cole Brothers’ Circus during its stop in south central Florida.  We say essentially free because we got free food, a Coke, and tickets to the show.

But we were in the milieu (as the avantgarde kids would say).  Back in those days, the elephants were responsible for pulling the rope to in turn pull up the canvas of the big top.  We were responsible for setting chairs on risers.  The big top would then come down at the end of the night, get rolled up and loaded for the trip to the next town.

Gibtown is to carnival and amusement folks as Colon is to magicians.  A mecca with homes, trailers, rides and people taking their winter hiatus, preparing for their next stretch, fixing equipment, meeting others and sharing stories of the road or plans for the next trip out.

At night, in Gibtown, the air is humid, thick and still.  There is the faint whiff of cigar smoke as one walks down the dirt roads coming off the main highway.  People set up outside their homes, trailers or vehicles and talk.

We have walked and driven by on such occasions but never had the audacity to stop and introduce ourself — we don’t know how that would go.  What could we say?

So the idea of attending the big yearly show is far more intimidating than driving or walking by friendly people enjoying the evening.  That intimidation is entirely self-generated.  It has nothing to do with the people, the surroundings, the culture or any action on their part.

It is all on us.

One day we’ll make it to Gibtown for the show.  We hope.

 

 

Meir Yedid Done Did It

Gamblers WaysWe have sung the praises of Magician and Proprietor of Magic Meir Yedid (@MeirYedid) for years on this august website.

He is to magic dealers what Tiger Woods is to golf.  Perfection is found on his pages delivered weekly to lucky mailboxes around the globe.  He provides magic effects not found on other dealers’ sites and usually has an interesting story to tell about how they came into his possession.

Today, Mr. Yedid sent an electronic mailing offering the usual great stuff at great prices and included within those two general categories was his own Gambler’s Ways video.  He describes it thusly:

This week’s video download is a routine I have been performing and refining since I was a teenager. It was one of the hits of my Gene Maze Tribute lecture that I debuted last year and was one of the main reasons I sold so many of the lecture videos. Today I am releasing it to you. But I must warn you that it is not easy to master. I got a big laugh during the explanation when I said, after doing all the sleights, “…and the rest is self-working.”  Watch the video performance and see if it is for you. The presentation I believe is original with me and allows for imperfect false deals since it is supposed to be a practice session.

We know what you’re thinking and specifically what you’re thinking about this offer by Mr. Yedid: “Mr. Inside Magic Man, are you getting a cut of the sales revenue by promoting this video offer?” “Mr. Inside Magic Man, how can I as a person who makes $X.00 amount of money a week afford such a video?”

First of all, nope.  We’re not making any money from the deal or any of the promotions or ads or mentions on InsideMagic.com.  That is why we keep our night job as a caddie at the mini-golf course in Pasadena.

Second of all, you can!  The price for this instructional video is not $100.00 (although that would be a reasonable amount); not $50.00 (which would still be reasonable  and do-able); or even $25.00 (an amount that most videos of this type sell for).

Nay, the price is $5.00 USD.  That is less than the price of a coffee from most any barista (except for the freelance barista who walks in the alley behind our apartment over top the bakery for dogs).  That is the same price as a five-dollar bill.  That is less than the cost of a gallon of premium gas in Los Angeles.

Please note though, this deal only lasts until February 4th so you best get going.

As the archery instructor once told us (we think he was an instructor) “you get the point.”

Check out Mr. Yedid’s site and enjoy our wonderful magic life celebrated in weekly emails by a great guy and fantastic magician.

Rainy Night and the Coat Check Girl

The Coat Check GirlIt doesn’t rain in southern California but it did that night.

I was late and it was raining as I drove the Black Beauty through the side streets to avoid the highways where people have never seen rain but aren’t deterred from driving like fools.

The club was just four miles away but it would likely take me another thirty minutes.  I turned on the AM radio and tried to find a channel playing peppy music for a rainy night.  I found nothing.  Just news, the latest loud music and preachers.

I turned off the radio and got a cigarette from my left overcoat pocket.

I learned to be careful about which pocket I stored my smokes in.  The right pocket had a tendency to flood with fluid with the slightest bump giving the unfiltered Camels a moist, cabernet taste.

I was resigned to being late for my first show of the evening.  Maybe the audience would be late too.

I drove along the Mulholland and down to the Top Hat Club just off of Hollywood Boulevard.

Being just off the boulevard of broken dreams, weirdos and prostitutes was the key to the Top Hat Club.  Only high class folks in the club.  The guest stars were the best in the business, the staff could not be topped and the audience came for one reason, to be amazed.

Victor parked and sheltered me from the unusual rain with his umbrella as I strolled from the Black Beauty to the club’s entrance.  Reggie was on duty and took the umbrella from me.

“How you doing, Sir?” Reggie asked.

I don’t know if he knew my name or was just being polite.  Probably the latter.

I took one last puff on my soggy cigarette and flicked the butt into the ashtray by the coat check booth.

“Hello, Mr. Quinlan,” the young lady purred as I handed her my overcoat.

“Be careful, it’s loaded,” I said.

She smiled as she patted the right pocket gently.

“Got another show tonight after here?”

I nodded, reached into the coat she held with well-manicured hands and a fixated stare on me.  I pulled out my pack of Camels and released my grip on the coat.

“Where’s the other show?  Maybe I could come see you perform.”

She turned her back to put up my coat and handed me the coat check tag.

“Private party in the Hills,” I said.

I lit another cig and turned to blow the smoke away from her.

“Sounds exotic,” she said.  “Need an assistant?  Don’t all magicians need an assistant to distract the eye from the magic?”

I nodded and took in the scene.

The coat check booth was the darkest part of the club.  There was velvet stretched across the counter, velvet along the columns that made up the sides and even velvet along the top.  I figured the velvet absorbed all the light in the space.  Might be a good thing to remember when making an illusion, I thought.  For some reason, though, she was clearly visible.  Like a spotlight was on her.

“Do you need an assistant?” she asked again as if my nod was not sufficient.

“Sure, do you know any that might fit the costume.  It’s pretty tight.”

She smiled but didn’t blush or even turn away.

“I am sure I could fit it.  I’ve been on a strict diet.  Gin and cigarettes.”  She smiled again but didn’t avert her gaze.

“I’ve got in the car,” I said.

“You drive around with an assistant’s costume?  Just driving up and down Hollywood looking for a gal with the right body to fit . . .”

“Nah, I just happened to pick it up at the cleaners this afternoon.  It had been there for a while and they were threatening to sell it if I didn’t.”

“What happened to the other gal?  She get fat or something?”

Another customer came by, handed in his coat, she hung it and handed him his token.

“So what happened,” she persisted.

“She blew the show.”

“Couldn’t take it? Did you cut her in that box of yours?”

I smiled, drew heavily and deeply on the Camel.

“Nope, she got pregnant.  Couldn’t fit in the box.”

“That’s a shame but now you need someone who can fit, right?”

She turned to the side as if she was a model on a runway showing her wares.

“I can fit,” she said with a smile that should have told me there was danger.  But it was the kind of smile that a guy sees and forgets everything else.

“How about this,” I started and she looked deeply into my eyes, “after my show tonight, I’ll get the costume, you can try it on and we’ll talk.”

“We’ll talk while I am wearing your costume? What kind of girl do you think I am?” She smiled as she asked what I took to be a rhetorical question.

“Sounds good to you?” I asked as I dropped my butt into the ashtray.

“Sounds real good,” she said with a radiant smile and deep blue eyes.

She had great teeth; I noticed that.

Really great teeth like she had work done on them.  Half of the women in Hollywood are waiting for their break into the world of movies and of that half, 90 percent have had work done.

I couldn’t tell if they were real or not but they looked great.  I felt like I was back at Santa Anita, evaluating horses.

I took my token and walked away.  I didn’t look back for fear she would be looking at me and that could mean something or nothing.  Maybe she just wanted a job.  Maybe something more.

I was distracted, to say the least, during my shows.  She wasn’t in the audience for any of them.  That made sense, she needed to mind the coats.  Still I had been hoping.

As I walked back toward the coat check booth to get my overcoat, I paused.  I took a puff and looked at the ceiling and then at my shoes.

What was I getting myself into?  I didn’t even know her name.  She knew mine.  That meant something.  Just what, I didn’t know.

The Magic Castle Appoints Executive Chef, Alejandro

Chef Alex ArrietaWe just heard some tasty news and thought we should share.  Something we would never do with our desserts.  To be clear: we’ll share news about desserts and meals but will not share desserts ever and meals only sometimes.  In many ways we are like a dog.  Kind and loveable and loyal but don’t mess with our food.

Especially now that the Magic Castle has a new Executive Chef, Alejandro (Alex) Arrieta,
who will begin Feb. 7.

Chef Arrieta comes to the Magic Castle from The Culver Hotel, Culver City, where he served as Executive Chef from July 2018 until accepting the position.

Joe Furlow, General Manager of the Academy of Magical Arts (AMA) and the Magic Castle said, “We are very excited to welcome Alex into the Academy family and look forward to sharing his spectacular culinary creations with our members and their guests.”

Chef Arrieta previously served as Executive Chef/Partner at The Hook and Plow, Hermosa Beach; Executive Chef of 208 Rodeo, Beverly Hills; Chef De Partie at The Bazaar by Jose Andres, Los Angeles; Chef De Partie at Bouchon Restaurant Thomas Keller, Los Angeles; Executive Sous Chef at Ocean Avenue Seafood, Santa Monica; and Sous Chef/Banquet Chef at Hotel Bel Air, Los Angeles. He has been working in Los Angeles since 2003.

Arrieta has been awarded a guest chef appearance at Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa; developed new food concepts for the Radisson Hotel in Cancun, Mexico; and catered for such renowned companies as Louis Vuitton, Channel and Cartier. He had extensive knowledge of vegan and vegetarian menus, as well as items that are gluten free.

Originally from Bogota, Columbia, Arrieta spent much of his youth in Miami, Florida, where his father worked in the hotel industry. He began working at a hotel in the kitchen and immediately fell in love.

Over the years, he rose through the ranks, eventually relocating to Southern California, where he earned a Bachelor of Science/Culinary Management from the Art Institute of California.

Naked Magicians Coming to Washington

Washington-Center-for-the-Performing-Arts-The-Naked-Magicians-Backstage.jpgWe have an AI controlled software system that evaluates each article posted here on the often-read InsideMagic.com.

It checks for relevance to magic or the variety arts.  It then looks to see if the story has been posted elsewhere by another magic blog.  And finally, it goes through a very sophisticated algorithm to determine the Joke Per Paragraph (“JPP”) factor.  The JPP rating is one of the more important data points.

The computer looks up all of the potential jokes that can be made about the article from our personal database and assigns a number.  JPPs over 13 are considered excellent.  JPPs under 4 are immediately rejected.

We received a very high JPP for this post but none of the jokes (and these were from our own collection — not randomly selected from the web) were too adult for our intended family audience.

Nonetheless, the article is newsworthy and certainly relevant to magic and those who crave magical news.  So, we’ll offer it without any of the jokes suggested by the computer.  Like a pilot flying without instruments, this one is on our own and we hope to land safely.

Two Australian magicians will be taking to the stage in Olympia, Washington on February 8th at the beautifully appointed Washington Center for the Performing Arts. They will demonstrate their absence of secret pockets or hold-outs by being naked.

Their name fits the act perfectly:  The Naked Magicians, Mike Tyler and Christopher Wayne.  They told the Thurston Talk that “good magicians don’t need sleeves, and great magicians don’t need pants.”

The two have been together since 2014 and originally performed with clothes.

That changed at some point when they hit upon an idea that has apparently worked well around the world.  “We designed The Naked Magicians together as a crazy idea – something we came up with to premier the Brisbane Comedy Festival,” says Mr. Tyler.

They have performed in 250 cities, including theaters in London’s West End and even at the MGM Grand.

We’ve stayed many times at the MGM Grand and could not have maintained our perfectly sculpted Dad Bod due to the buffet and our lack of exercise and genetics and desire to stay in the casino till all hours in the night watching people while appearing to gamble and drinking high caloric fruit drinks with ice cream.  So, their run at the MGM is impressive.  As impressive as our cholesterol count but in the reverse.

Mr. Wayne said the duo loved being in Vegas.  “That was amazing. We both grew up watching and loving Copperfield. That was for me, probably the coolest part – performing under the same roof as the greatest magician/entertainer of all time.”

The show is rated R but apparently they don’t begin naked — like all situations except for birth.  They are dressed and then strip to their performing images.  “In the USA, we generally aren’t allowed to show our ‘magic wands’ so there’s normally props cleverly placed or held in front,” says Mr. Tyler, “but at times there’s just us standing on stage covering up with our hands.”

You can see them perform at Washington Center for the Performing Arts’ Center Mainstage, at 512 Washington Street SE, Olympia, Washington.  We realize we used the word “Washington” often in this post and that was detected by our algorithm.  It suggested a joke about our nation’s first president baring nothing but his wooden teeth.  We need to work on the software — no joke intended.

The Naked Magicians
Saturday, February 8, 2020, 7:30 p.m.
18-years-old and older – Includes male nudity, sexual references and coarse language.

Criss Angel’s Numerology Profile

Inside Magic Image of Criss AngelMagician Criss Angel attracts a ton of attention.

He just celebrated one-year at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino and he got his numerology profile done by someone unrelated to Planet Hollywood or Las Vegas.

The Tallahassee Scene website picked out Mr. Angel for their Astrology Profile today.  We wrote that it was a Numerology Profile because we think it is.  There is very little talk about his stars or where he fits in the orb(s) that surround us and presumably have an irresistible effect on determining our fate.

To be fair, and why wouldn’t we want to be that, the author says this is not scientifically verified and not to be taken too seriously but it seems sensible to us.  Check out the essential formula using today’s date and some other number:

First, for the month, we take the current month of 01 and add the digits together: 0 + 1 = 1 (super simple). Then do the day: from 07 we do 0 + 7 = 7. Now finally, the year of 2020: 2 + 0 + 2 + 0 = 4. Now we have our three numbers, which we can add together: 1 + 7 + 4 = 12. This still isn’t a single-digit number, so we will add its digits together again: 1 + 2 = 3. Now we have a single-digit number: 3 is the path number for 01/07/2020.

The practitioner then works out a single digit number and uses it with a Destiny Chart:

DESTINY NUMBER FOR Criss Angel: The destiny number will consider the sum of all the letters in a name. Each letter is assigned a number per the below chart.

We haven’t posted the Destiny Chart because somethings should be kept secret or at least only available at the original author’s post on a website.

We also haven’t given the final results of the process because we don’t want to convey conclusions that are not scientifically-based.

True, long-time readers of this site will recall that we used to read the bumps on the heads of those who sent in pictures to determine their intelligence and ability to avoid common colds.

And yes, this is the same site that was at one time just an advertisement page for psychics and mind-readers who claimed to tell fortunes for money sent by PayPal.

And of course, we got our start by predicting the outcomes of horse and dog racing in Central America horse and dog racing establishments.

But those days are gone.  We are no longer dependent on income derived from splitting the pot with horse and dog racing winners or psychics or bump-reading patients.

You can read the full analysis here.

You can check out Mr. Angel’s website here.

You can see our latest page where we read the bumps on dogs’ heads to determine their fortune in upcoming races here.

Can You Spread Germs with Playing Cards?

Inside Magic Image of Ask Alexander LogoOur field is magic not medicine or community health.

That being said, we were asked by a volunteer whether she could get germs from the playing cards we were using to perform what all agreed was an incredible performance of the seven column trick last exhibited by everyone’s uncle at a family gathering.

Our response was one of shock.  First we don’t believe in the germ theory generally.  We’ve never seen a germ without use of a microscope and even then, we couldn’t be sure if it was a germ or something round with little hairs stuck to the lens.

If we assumed that everything that was round with little hairs was a germ, we would never speak with two members of our immediate family.  (We don’t anyway but this would be an added reason).

Secondly, we had never been asked such an impertinent question.  We began our miracle by removing a deck from a sealed pack.  The only thing that add germs to the pasteboards would be our hands and since we always perform with non-latex surgical gloves, it seemed unlikely that germs could have taken up residence on the cards.

But we did some research on the subject and even sent a note to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.  They haven’t responded yet but when they do, we’ll update this article to make it more click-baity — even though we don’t have advertisements on the site.

We found many resources on the web that seems to confirm that playing cards — like all paper — can be a home for germs.

We didn’t want that answer.

We wanted to find information that supported our conclusion that we were right and the volunteer was out of line to even question our sanitary approach to magic.  We drink hand sanitizer but that is only when we run out of cough medicine and only to silence the voices.

But, try as we might (and did), we found nary a single article supporting our theory.  It even knocked down our theory that paper cannot be anything but sterile.  Why else would Irish Fish-and-Chips sellers put their delicious meals in newspaper?  Why would ice cream cones have a paper wrapper around their base? Why would our submarine sandwiches be delivered in paper clearly touched and folded by human hands?

It turns out, paper is a possible home for germs but not a great home.  Our cards have a fine coating that we hope resists germs looking for a new abode.  We don’t know what germs like and perhaps plastic coating seems too “plastic” and artificial for them.  Maybe they would rather reside where the high class microbes live on things like raw chicken, out-dated cheese, or our eyebrows.  (The last location is bushy and unruly — ironically the name of our old partner act when we were on the dance hall circuit.  We were “Bushy” and our fellow performer was “Unruly.”   We cut-up with jokes about eyebrows and messed up hair generally.)

If you would like to do your own investigation into the question you can check out the following links.  But, if you choose to live in a blissful sense of ignorance, you can ignore the links, use new decks for each performance, wash your hands before every show, never put a card in your mouth for any reason — even a magical one, never lick a card to attach to your forehead, and certainly never cough or sneeze directly onto a card you want your spectator to select.  If you are not going to do a force, you probably should avoid coughing or sneezing on the deck itself.  If you are doing fans and productions, without a spectator’s selection, sneeze away.  It is rumored that some of the great card manipulators would sneeze directly on their decks before performing to give an extra “grip” to the deck.  That is a rumor we just started for the purposes of this post.

http://www.casinolifemagazine.com/article/gaming-health-germ-free-playing-cards

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning/tips/a2528/playing-cards-cleaning-may03/

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/journal-plague-year-180965222/

http://www.silversneakers.com/blog/10-surprisingly-simple-ways-to-avoid-the-flu/

http://www.nch.org/news/news-article/top-10-cold-and-flu-myths-debunked

http://www.lrsus.com/blog/antimicrobial-pagers-used-minimize-spread-germs-bacteria-casinos/

spy.com/articles/lifestyle/entertainment/game-night-deck-playing-cards-196930/

We can’t and wouldn’t anyway, vouch for any of these publications or their content.  They are all links outside of InsideMagic.com so you should click at your own risk.

We do believe in internet viruses and so be careful where you go as you search for information on the passing of viruses and germs.

Carisa Hendrix Featured

Carissa HendrixCarisa Hendrix is more than an accomplished magician and world-record fire-eater, she is also a Persuasive Calgarians according to a great profile in today’s Calgary Herald newspaper.  But magic was not her first choice.  She was “seduced by the ‘glamor of magic.'”

Like many of us, she watched David Copperfield on television with her family.  She was able to “think outside the box” and correctly guess how the illusions were being performed.

Her intended career was to be a teacher.  But the lure of fire-eating and card magic proved strong.

“It’s never had to be a career; just what I did to survive. “

“The 32-year-old Calgary-born wizard is at the top of her game today, performing in iconic clubs – in her sexy personality Lucy Darling – setting a Guinness World Record for Eating Fire, inviting Penn and the TV show Teller and co-hosting Shezam, a popular feminist podcast on magic.”

Her abilities have been noted not only by her peers in the magic community (a tough crowd) but also magic clubs.  She  no longer needs to send audition videos.

“I wouldn’t exist if not for the other magicians who encouraged me, paid me to be their assistant when I was 16 and 17. It was money between hunger and no.”

Three years later, “I did everything – fire, acrobatics, chair dance, magic – whatever he wanted. I was making money until it was no longer scary.”

Ms. Hendrix is looking forward to a possible Canadian television tour to her North American club appearances.

“The magic has to be proven directly,” she says. “It’s just so powerful.”

Check out the full article in the Calgary Herald here.

Check out her great website here.

Nature and Magic

InsideMagic.com has been a little quiet lately.  We believe that is mostly attributable to the writers and editors that staff our site and occupy our .0025 x .0015 room (in hectares) office here on Hollywood Boulevard.  They are taking vacation time in keeping with Hollywood tradition.

T. Nelson DownsThat tradition began with the studios back in the 1920s when Mary Pickford granted all of United Artists about two-weeks’ vacation at the end of the year.  Other studios adopted the tradition and soon all of Hollywood and the companies that served them observed the same policy.

It is now essentially law and if there is one thing readers of InsideMagic.com know, we follow the law without obvious or documented exception.

So, it is just us in this spacious office suite overlooking the street now festooned with holiday flags, banners, and things that are neither.  It is a glorious sight, despite the incessant rain.  It never rains in the greater Los Angeles area but this week is an exception.  So nature does not follow our policy in observing tradition or the law.  That is to be expected, we suppose.

Nature seems to follow its own course without regard for the lives of those affected by its vagaries.

We grow old, nature just changes with little care.  We make plans for events that are important in our lives, nature gives not even a nod.  Weddings are washed out, buildings are felled by earthquakes, skywriters are booked with a non-refundable reservation fee, and nature covers the sky with thick, opaque clouds to obscure the writing or ground the planes.

So what does this have to do with magic?

Our wonderful art is one that is thought to rise above nature, to be supernatural.  But the individuals that make the supernatural happen are human and ultimately subject to nature’s whims.

In the past six weeks we have learned of deaths and illnesses occurring to members and members’ families in our community.  More than a few Broken Wand ceremonies have been had.

We have also learned of births of children to magicians (and variety artists) and with the births come hope that our art will continue to grow and expand.  We’ve seen incredible development in the skills of young magicians around the world (even assuming camera positioning in the most perfect way).

The youth of our ranks will serve magic well.  Many (like us) will invent effects that have already been invented.

At the tender age of 13, we invented the Downs Palm and two sleights previously created by Cardini.  We were fortunate that our mentor did not ridicule us for such an audacious claim but used encouraging words to encourage us to read more to learn about those magicians who preceded our entry onto the scene.

Like nature, magic ebbs and flows.

We have seen dry times and, we suppose, wet times.  We couldn’t think of an appropriate match for “dry times.”

Doug Henning and David Copperfield reminded lay audience how exciting magic was; and encouraged thousands of young people to pursue it as a hobby or even a profession.

Now the excitement is created and driven not just by the big-time professionals but also the contributors to YouTube, Twitter and other avenues.  We’ve seen young magicians watching on-line videos over and over as they practiced or attempted to imitate the moves shown.  It always makes us smile.

Magic is an art with a great history.  It has survived claims of witchcraft, and devil worship.  It often led the variety shows that moved from town to town and was the fertile ground from which sprang Houdini, Thurston, and Blackstone.

Nature doesn’t acknowledge those who perform what seem supernatural acts.  It just bides its time.  Allows for births, relationships, deaths, and mourning.  After all of that it continues in its unpredictable but self-sure way.

We are merely here to accept its place in our lives and the lives of those we love and have learned from.  We can’t fight nature and its way but we can enjoy what it provides and hope to preserve its supportive, if always surprising manner.

Magic Lesson Learned

Inside Magic Library Cover Page for Happy Hollisters and the Perfect FarosLast week we did a short performance of our card artistry for a nice group of people.  They were so nice that we decided to add a new trick to our routine that has been developed over the years that have passed from when we were just 13-years-old.

It is the same routine.  Nothing has changed.  We used the same routine when we successfully auditioned for The Magic Castle to become a Magician Member (one of the highlights of our magic life).  We will add a new joke every once in a while and then it gets folded into the the ever stable dough of our routine.  The dough does not rise or fall.  It is the same dough we have been kneading since we had a corduroy three-piece suit and a fez.

The costume was our regular wear back in those days.  We were a huge Tommy Cooper fan — hence the fez — and we were very poor — hence the corduroy suit.  It was a bright brown with lapels wide enough to hide a deck of cards on one side and a thumb tip on the other.  The pockets were cut to allow access from the inside and outside.  The breast pocket was without a bottom so we could have things travel from it to our lower outside pocket.  It was an ugly suit on the outside but an incredibly functional suit on the inside.

The fez was perfect for the Sucker Sliding Die Box, that’s all.  Plus, none of our party audiences back then had ever heard of Tommy Cooper and there was no YouTube to which we could use as evidence that a magician could wear a fez.

But we got a new suit when we became a lawyer and we abandoned the fez (it no longer fit our now ego-inflated skull).  Our act was now stripped to the same five card tricks, neatly folded into a souffle of card magic.

Back to our point.  We sometimes wander far from the topic.  We don’t know why.  The path we take doesn’t usually end up at a bountiful country scene; replete with joyful animals and calm lakes.  We usually end up lost in a dark corner of a big city of conversation or discussion to which we have never been.  Those listening or reading feel helpless and not comforted.  Perhaps they worry that our train of thought has no tracks but is actually like a cartoon train that has jumped its track and is now running down cartoon animals and about to become submerged in the placid but deep lake.

Anyway, as we were saying.

We do the same five card effects each time.  We don’t change their order because each effect sets up the next part.  We don’t change our methods because they’ve worked well over the years, decades.

But last week we changed our routine and that led to our self-assessed downfall and failure.

The audience claimed to be delighted and that was nice, but we knew the truth.  The transition was unacceptable.  It seemed unpracticed compared to the first four effects and because we wanted it to fit the over all routine, it seemed forced.

Our routine is essentially second dealing and false shuffles and lucky forces.  To this routine we tried to include Lennart Green’s Stolen Cards.  We love the effect and love the simplicity.  By itself, it is a wonderful 12 minute routine.  We tried to make it a four minute routine and that is not possible.  In the midst of performing the four minute version of the routine, we knew it wouldn’t fit.  We had practiced it by itself many times and performed the 12 minute routine many times.  But now we were making it a component of a 15 minute routine.  It required a different deck and when it was done, it required a further deck change.

We wondered the whole weekend following the show, why we would try to change our act on the fly.  Was it pride?  Was it an homage to the great Lennart Green?  Was it a chance to make our life-long routine to something new?

All of those reasons do not justify what we tried to do.

Pride goeth before the fall.  Lennart Green doesn’t need our homage.  Changing our routine could not be for the benefit of the assembled audience — they had never seen our routine.

Our father, a great magician and fine teacher of great magic, had some great advice for us as we were starting in this wonderful art:  1) when you are not being chased, don’t run; 2) when there is nothing to do, do nothing; 3) stick with what works.

We broke all three rules.

The audience didn’t notice — we think — but we did.  We learned an important lesson.