Magician, illusionist and risk-taker extraordinaire, David Blaine was spotted in Porterville, California this morning. He was hanging on to a group of balloons — technically called a “lift” of balloons.
We are happy to report that according to other reporters who appeared to be happy to report as well, Mr. Blaine landed safely after his soaring above the California landscape.
He plans to hold onto a lift of balloons to fly over the skies of New York City.
We think he is either fearless and/or the stunt has been well planned in advance. We asked no one in particular whether we would ever do such a stunt. We answered in the negative with a shudder.
Some dedicated InsideMagic readers no doubt recall our failed attempt to float over Mystic Hollow, Michigan, by holding on to birds through a special harness set-up. We barely took off — official records kept by the arresting officers said we lifted one and a half inch from the ground but this may have been accomplished by our “hopping.”
Unlike our attempt, it is doubtful Mr. Blaine will be covered by the waste product of “excited and/or frightened birds,” to use words from the arrest record.
We wish Mr. Blaine the best of luck and we will watch with envy and fear.
We 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.
He 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.
We 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.
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.
Our 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.
You know the Ace Hotel New York even if you have never been there. Check out their website to see the iconic building with tons of history and literary connections. If we are not mistaken (and their is a very good chance we are), our very favorite short story writer, O. Henry lived in one of the rooms of the building way back in the day.
Zach Alexander, Michael Karas and RJ The Magician will be appearing in their show The New Face of Magic tomorrow, December 14th in Liberty Hall at Ace Hotel New York.
So there is a fine mixture of the past and future awaiting you. Once you are seated and watching the show, it will then be the past, present and future. We suppose that goes without saying and so . . .
The title of the show is fitting for performances by new magicians that push the art of the craft forward.
Mr. Alexander has been featured on ABC Morning News and is a member of our art’s very secret society, The International Brotherhood of Magicians.
Joining Mr. Alexander will be RJ the Magician. He truly is part of the coming generation of magicians. His objective is not only to entertain but also “prove that magic and civic engagement can help contribute to modern society.” He is a member of the International Association of Black Magical Artists; and was the winner of their 2018 “Rising Star” Award.
Mr. Karas is an international award-winning juggler. He has toured the world for more than a decade with his very unique and comedic juggling routine.
If we were in New York, we’d stay at the Ace Hotel if only for the history and O. Henry’s legacy (assuming we’re correct about his residence there) but if we had a choice of nights to stay, it would be tonight and tomorrow to catch The New Face of Magic show.
If you are anywhere in the vicinity of New York city, you should check out the show and see these three amazing performers.
You can read more about the show and the performers here.
A while back we had a regular feature where we would pose an idea for a trick and then ask readers for their ideas on how the trick could be accomplished.
It was a bad idea but a good idea at the same time. Bad because it exposed magic secrets and good because it started a conversation about the types of techniques to accomplish the effect.
The concept was inspired (stolen) from the ACAAN challenge that has puzzled and inspired magicians for years. We can’t claim that today’s challenge will cause such inspiration or education in the thinking and logistical planning needed to bring about such a revolution in card magic, but it couldn’t hurt.
The notion that something may have no positive effect for anyone “but couldn’t hurt,” is ridiculous. Many things don’t hurt but promote not a scintilla of social or even personal value. Plus, the term “couldn’t hurt” doesn’t seem to mean anything more than physical pain. What about the emotional impact or economic devastation suffered by the proponent of this philosophy? We throw this out for something to ponder. It isn’t essential to the post but it couldn’t hurt.
Here’s the concept. It will be non-changeable — just like the original ACAAN challenge.
Effect: A magician has a spectator (no stooges permitted) select a card from a deck of cards held in the magician’s hands. The spectator is asked if she is satisfied with the selection or if there was any other card in the whole world she could have selected, what would that card be. She names the alternative card. The magician hands her the deck and it is turned over revealing that every card in the remaining pack is the card she would have rather selected.
The deck from which the first card is selected must appear to be the same deck used throughout the effect (this allows for a deck switch but under seemingly impossible conditions).
The deck must not be gimmicked in any manner.
The card selected must be different in image from the other faces of the cards shown.
Non-Conditions (Not Required):
The trick does not need to be repeatable for the same audience.
The trick does not need to require knuckle-busting moves.
The trick must not be a currently available effect.
The trick does not need to have a cutesy or vulgar name.
To keep secrecy, please send your thoughts and solutions and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will announce in 30 days whether there has been progress on the solution. You, the inventor or innovator of the solution will get full credit and we claim no IP rights to any aspect of the effect. We will be happy to provide endorsements of the trick if you decide to market it.
Send your solutions or questions now to email@example.com. All submissions will be kept in the most confidential conditions.
Magician David Hirata has changed the name of his show, now playing in Berkeley, California, in response to objections from Japanese-Americans as reported on The Mercury website. The show was originally called “The J*p Box” and is now called “A Box Without a Bottom.”
Mr. Hirata is a Japanese-American whose mother’s family was interned in a “segregation camp” during World War II. He posted news of the new title on the theater’s website in an essay titled “A name change and an apology.”
“I deeply regret the pain that my choice has caused,” he wrote.
Mr. Hirata received complaints that his use of the term “normalized use of a slur” and was “harsh and degrading.”
His show will run through the first of December and features the story of the 19th-century Japanese magician, Namigoro Sumidagawa. The original title reflected the mocking the magician received. The new title references one of the magician’s effect, Soko-nashi Bako (the “bottomless box”). Mr. Hirata noted that American magic manufacturers appropriated the trick and sold it under the derogatory name.
Mr. Hirata said the show traces Japanese-American history, told through magic. “We start with Namigoro Sumidagawa and his story and his interaction with Wellington Tobias, which says something about attitudes towards race in America, and weave that with my own personal history as a magician and my interest in the magic of these men. And my own identity as a Japanese-American then weaves in the fact of the internment as part of my family history.”
Mr. Hirata said that he “was extremely nervous when I considered the title.” He discussed the title with friends in San Diego as he premiered the show before bringing it to Berkeley.
In his post on the theater’s website he wrote that“[t]he higher-profile run of the show here in the Bay Area exposed the show to a broader audience. Subsequent discussions with the Japanese-American community have led me to realize that I have simply underestimated the raw pain of the ‘J’ word. The title itself provides insufficient context to justify its use.
Though I have a real connection with the account of the Soko-nashi Bako, the raw pain of the ‘J word’ is not my story to tell.”
Read more about Mr. Hirata, his show and the decision he made on The Mercury’s website here.
Visit The Marsh Theater’s website and information about Mr. Hirata here.
Diane Neal, a former actress on “Law and Order: SVU” claims her magician ex-boyfriend physically and sexually abused her and her pets. She accuses magician JB Benn of being a con artist as well as a “manipulative and maniacal fraudster,” according to The Daily Mail.
The musician Moby posted his disbelief. “I’ve seen JB do magic at least 250 times and each time I’m just as stunned as the last. Some of his magic shouldn’t be possible, and it makes my brain hurt in the best possible ways.’
According to The Daily Mail, the magician allegedly “defrauded her of millions” and “violently inflicted emotional distress” in a “campaign of isolation, terror and (physical and sexual) assault, and destroyed her reputation by doing so.”
According to Page Six, on Wednesday, Mr. Benn pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct charge resulting in a $200.00 fine and a two-year protection plan for Ms. Neal.
As in any story of this ilk, there are terrible claims and accusations; including injury to their pet. Most of which we won’t print here because they turn our stomach and makes us sad.
If you want to read more, see pictures of the couple and their home, you can read The Daily Mail‘s coverage.