What’s a Magician to Do?

Inside Magic Library Cover Page for Happy Hollisters and the Perfect FarosWe have no idea how our fellow magicians are doing during the shut-down, but we do have some awareness of how we are doing.

Again, you may be different, but we live for live audiences.  Without an audience fix at least weekly, we go through withdrawal symptoms.  Our mood suffers, our eyebrows are not timely trimmed (a hazard for Irish-blooded magicians (men and women)), our fingers loose their callouses that were developed over the years.

We have been practicing our sleights almost non-stop.  We do stop for sleep and regular washing of our hands and that only dries them out and makes some of the sleights more difficult to perform.  In that way, it is a good thing that we are forced to perform under more than severe conditions.

Our Second Deals (strike and push-off) are becoming honed to the point that we can fool us — and our  point of view is directly behind our hands.  Perhaps that dependent clause did not need to be written.  Where else would we be in relation to our own hands?

We have started doing Bottom Deals and are starting to get a handle on something that has eluded us for years.  We don’t fool us yet, but we are working on it.

Of course the ultimate would be to learn how to perform a half-pass without detection.  We’re sure there are people in the world can do it.  After all, it was written up in The Royal Road to Card Magic and taught on YouTube.  We’ve been working on the sleight since we were 14 and have only dared it when we have a cover or distraction or both.  We keep trying but like the Pressure Fan, we fail; yet we try.

But any success we enjoy learning or perfecting sleights pale in comparison to our deeply felt need to perform in front of a joyous (maybe also inebriated) crowd in the basement of The Magic Castle.  There is nothing that beats the feeling of working with a small crowd of people, entertaining them (we hope), and using our sleights under the close examination of people up-close.

When we receive applause or laughs, endorphins release their bonds and float smoothly to our little brain.  Our attitude improves and our eyes glisten.  Our eyebrows return to a smooth line without errant strands going off into strange patterns.

Perhaps it is a reflection on our own mental makeup that we need an audience.  If so, we think we share a similar psychological status with many magicians and other performers.

We will now open a new deck (Bee, of course), remove the jokers and advertising cards, practice our fans, Faros, Seconds, Bottoms, Charlier Passes, False Shuffles and, of course, the half-pass.  But our eyes don’t glisten and our eyebrows sit unruly above our unglistening eyes.

Passing of Magicians Due to the Virus

Inside Magic's First LogoWe are in a tough era of life and magic.  One of the benefits magicians offer to society is a respite from tragedy or daily anxiety caused by war, strife, natural disasters and economic troughs.  Unfortunately, there is remarkable difference in this time of world concern, the individuals looked to for entertainment and distraction are not immune to the virus and economic devastation.

This article started out as a focus on several magicians around the United States and the world who have passed away due to the virus.  These were men and women of ages from early thirties to the late seventies.  They lived in different sized towns, large and small.  They entertained different audiences in different venues of varying sizes.  But all of them had fans, if only their families and close friends.

We realized that we could not chronicle each magician’s passing.  The official publications of the Society of American Magicians and the International Brotherhood of Magicians have added extra space to cover their lives and too early deaths.

On top of the virus, we have social strife over something as basic as human rights and equality for all men and women.  Black lives matter.  This shouldn’t be a new concept.  It is one set forth in the 13th and 14th amendments to our constitution but wouldn’t be fulfilled through reconstruction, Jim Crow, the civil rights movement of the 1960s and even today.

Magic has had a good, not perfect, but good reputation of treating magicians of all races equally.  In some cases, the equality was seen only on the stage but behind the curtains, those very same performers were discriminated against in lodging, travel and basic human commerce.

We are the type who see the glass half-full always.  We have been proven wrong by those on the margin of our society who would like nothing more than to push back on the hard-fought progress made thus far but in no way complete.  Still we agree with Martin Luther King, Jr. that the arc of the moral universe will inevitably bend toward justice.  It may take time but we agree and find great hope in the inevitable endpoint of work and struggle.

We realize this post is unlike any post we have ever made in this modest web publication but we felt moved by the deaths and struggle we see on television, our love for our fellow man, our hope for a cure for both the medical issues surrounding the virus as well as the societal illness that would ever deny equality to any man or woman based on the color of their skin, their beliefs, their disabilities, their social standing, who they love, or where they were born.

As noted in the Broken Wand section of the International Brotherhood of Magicians’ publication, The Linking Ring, “any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”

Magician Richard Adler is a Genius

Magician Richard AdlerGenius we tell you.  Inside Magic Favorite Richard Adler is featured in The Palm Beach Post for his great idea to keep magic flowing to audiences even during the quarantine.

We’ve known Richard since the mid-seventies and have always been impressed by his creativity and drive.  When it comes to know how, he really knows how.  Check out his web site here.

“I just want to keep bringing joy into the world and making people smile,” Mr. Adler said. “This allows me to pursue my art and connect with people.”

What is he doing?  Well, we will tell you.

Through the magic of Zoom or other tools that are like Zoom but have a different name, he brings magic to parties and get-togethers.  “It’s kind of like having a celebrity at your party,” he told the Post. “I’m not sure how long social distancing will last, but I think this helps fill a void.”

The procedure to invite The Amazing Mr. A (Mr. Adler’s stage name) and his puppets into your home or office is straightforward.  Visit zoompuppets.com, pick a character and provide some information.  Mr. A and his puppet partners will join you at the time you set.  He says the service has worked for corporate businesses and family reunions to happy hours and birthday parties.

Mr. A is also starting a zoommagician service to bring magic to similar gatherings.

It’s genius, we tell you.

We’ve seen Mr. A perform perhaps a thousand times and are always entertained.  We hope this method of reaching audiences continues and spreads his good work further than just South Florida.

Check out the full story and great photos at The Palm Beach Post here.

Giant in World of Magic Passes

Inside Magic's Famous BunnyHe may not have been known in the Las Vegas cohab and he never performed for a crowd larger than family and friends, but Jim Quinlan was a giant in magic.

He passed away recently but his impact on magic was profound – to us.

Our father was kind, accompanied always with an easy smile and receptive spirit.  He made friends easily and was loyal to those friends to the end.

As a father, he was also a great teacher and inspiration to our magic career.  Our first effect we performed was acquired by him from a magic shop in our hometown of Oak Park, Illinois.  He brought us the Ball and Vase, performed it for us, amazed us, and taught us to perform it.

We brought it to our first grade class the following day and performed it perhaps ten times before our teacher took it and locked it securely in her desk drawer.

We were hooked.  We had drawn crowds of first graders with the trick and felt the special sensations that accompany performing magic.  If there is a magic bug, its sting was felt that day.

We got the trick back and spent hours on the playground after school performing the Ball and Vase for those unfortunate souls who were not in attendance at our morning show.

As we walked home, we performed it for strangers on the sidewalks, the construction workers on the main boulevard leading to our home street, and of course for our mother — it was not our first performance for her of the new trick.  She was instrumental in our beta testing of the effect the night before.

And when our father returned from work, we performed it again and told him of the day’s events.

In the days, weeks, months and years that followed, our father encouraged our pursuit of the art.  We learned that his mother had performed in vaudeville and we took pride in our theatrical lineage.

Our father would provide great insight on the performance of magic, the presentation of our magician personality, and essential rules for taking a stage and exiting gracefully.

A few years later, he purchased Stratospheres for us and launched our career (nascent still) on the real stage.

He was proud of our sleight of hand skills and would often ask us to perform for his friends and co-workers.  We were so proud and delighted that our father would ask us to perform.

As we matured in the art and in life, he was always supportive and interested in what and how we were performing.  He was big on rehearsing one’s act.  We were not.  But, we’ve learned, he was right.

Our father’s passing came quickly and with a devastating impact.  It is still difficult to think about or discuss.  We remember him as young, vibrant and out-going.  He would play basketball with us until there was insufficient light to see the ball being shot or passed.

Time passed so quickly and we knew the time would come that he would no longer be with us in a physical sense.  We miss him terribly.

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.