Mike Miller Lecture – A Humble Review

“What’s Left?”

The first thing you notice about Mike Miller is that he is normal. He looks like someone you’d meet either in a magic shop, at a convention, in the mall, or at any get-together. The second thing you notice, is that he is a funny, charming guy. His wit is sometimes subtle, never degrading or blue. He seems genuinely interested in entertaining and even more interested in entertaining with novel and commercial effects.The theme of the lecture was basically, “Giving the Old Tricks New Life.” He began with his version of Tenyo’s “What’s Next?” entitled “What’s Left?” If you are familiar with the Tenyo trick (also marketed by Fun, Inc. under the title “Dubious Dominos”), you know that the punch ending is when you show that the card has gone from having one spot on the first side, four on the other, three on the first side, six on the other and finally a pay-off with eight spots on the second side. Mike takes that one step further. He turns the card over one more time and the three spots on the first side are gone and then slowly turns to the back side of the card to demonstrate that all of the spots are gone and he is left with just a white card.

Mike and “Al the Only”

It is clear this is not some theoretical trick assembled to fool magicians. This is a commercial effect designed for real, working performers. Mike took the time to explain how to make the effect and then demonstrated it again. This was when I realized we were in for a great lecture. I was one-for-one on material I could actually use. Often I attend lectures and watch the beautiful moves but realize that even after I buy the $50.00 of lecture notes, gimmicks and effects, none will crawl from my magic drawer to my suitcase table. (That doesn’t keep me from buying them though. I’m seeing a professional counselor about this).He followed with a close-up card trick where a spectator correctly stops the magician at the location of all four aces. This trick passed the ultimate test. I performed it for my wife after I returned home. She watched carefully and at the end said with a smile, “hey, that’s a pretty good trick!” My poor wife has selected so many cards in her life that for her to even comment on the effect, indicates it has risen to the level of near miracle. Mike then gave us a very entertaining method of introducing the linking ropes. The style sort of reminded me of something Billy McComb would use. He produced a single piece of rope, and said that if he were to cut it in the center, it would be essentially two halves. He put the rope back into his pocket and pulled two pieces from his other pocket. He then explained that if he was magic, he could make the two pieces join with a magic knot. He put the rope away into another pocket and from a third pocket, he produced a piece of rope with a false knot attached. He didn’t act as if this was a trick but at the same time, he did give the impression that…

“What’s Left?”

The first thing you notice about Mike Miller is that he is normal. He looks like someone you’d meet either in a magic shop, at a convention, in the mall, or at any get-together. The second thing you notice, is that he is a funny, charming guy. His wit is sometimes subtle, never degrading or blue. He seems genuinely interested in entertaining and even more interested in entertaining with novel and commercial effects.The theme of the lecture was basically, “Giving the Old Tricks New Life.” He began with his version of Tenyo’s “What’s Next?” entitled “What’s Left?” If you are familiar with the Tenyo trick (also marketed by Fun, Inc. under the title “Dubious Dominos”), you know that the punch ending is when you show that the card has gone from having one spot on the first side, four on the other, three on the first side, six on the other and finally a pay-off with eight spots on the second side. Mike takes that one step further. He turns the card over one more time and the three spots on the first side are gone and then slowly turns to the back side of the card to demonstrate that all of the spots are gone and he is left with just a white card.

Mike and “Al the Only”

It is clear this is not some theoretical trick assembled to fool magicians. This is a commercial effect designed for real, working performers. Mike took the time to explain how to make the effect and then demonstrated it again. This was when I realized we were in for a great lecture. I was one-for-one on material I could actually use. Often I attend lectures and watch the beautiful moves but realize that even after I buy the $50.00 of lecture notes, gimmicks and effects, none will crawl from my magic drawer to my suitcase table. (That doesn’t keep me from buying them though. I’m seeing a professional counselor about this).He followed with a close-up card trick where a spectator correctly stops the magician at the location of all four aces. This trick passed the ultimate test. I performed it for my wife after I returned home. She watched carefully and at the end said with a smile, “hey, that’s a pretty good trick!” My poor wife has selected so many cards in her life that for her to even comment on the effect, indicates it has risen to the level of near miracle. Mike then gave us a very entertaining method of introducing the linking ropes. The style sort of reminded me of something Billy McComb would use. He produced a single piece of rope, and said that if he were to cut it in the center, it would be essentially two halves. He put the rope back into his pocket and pulled two pieces from his other pocket. He then explained that if he was magic, he could make the two pieces join with a magic knot. He put the rope away into another pocket and from a third pocket, he produced a piece of rope with a false knot attached. He didn’t act as if this was a trick but at the same time, he did give the impression that we should be amazed. It was very subtle. I almost felt sorry for him. But like Billy, he had much more planned. He continued on to show how this could be used as the intro to Linking Ropes. His best effect, though, was the Six Card Repeat. He had a wonderful patter and great reasons for discarding the three cards. No gimmicks, no tough crimps, and a very entertaining routine. We were all practicing it while we watched the remainder of the lecture. I won’t cover all of the tricks he demonstrated and then taught, but one stood out as something I have to share. I’ve never seen it before and it’s not really a trick but it was great. He set a 1-1/2 lb animal trap on the floor, set it with the help of his foot to hold the jaws apart and then explained how he would have a female volunteer examine the trap and find a $100 bill sitting on the trigger. All the innocent volunteer would have to do, is get the bill off the trigger and the money would be hers. As he explained this, his hand came closer and closer to the trap. Finally, it struck the trigger and the jaws of the trap slammed on his fingers.

Mike in Pain — Bear Trap Trick

It was very strange, scary, and funny. He explains how to handle the real trap ? it is not gimmicked ? to minimize permanent injury. Mike told us — and I guess I have to trust him on this — that in practicing the trick, the first time is the hardest. There is something in the human psyche that resists putting one’s hand into a bear trap. If you can overcome thousands of years of well-intended instinct, you can do this stunt. Bottom line: Mike Miller has tremendous talent in both lecturing and in magic. His lecture brought the considerable crowd trick after trick of commercial stuff we could use immediately. If you ever have a chance to see the lecture or book his lecture, you should jump at that chance immediately.INSIDE MAGIC RATING: Four out of Four

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