Monthly Archives: November 2013

New magic at PR-NET

Today I am performing for PR – Net and going to try some new effects. Some of them include Chastain Criswell’s TAG and Kevin Raelik’s Cannibal Cards. I’m excited to see how the audience will react and interested to see how I incorporate those effects into my working repertoire. Will keep you all updated and posted on how it goes! If anyone has used these effects and would like to share with me how you felt and how the audience reacted, please post a comment below and have a magical day!


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Building People Up and Tearing Them Down

Magic is very powerful. It can build spectators up and it can tear them down. It can also build magicians up and tear them down. What do I mean? Read on and find out!

Building spectators up

As magicians we hold a lot of power. We choose how we want to use that power. Either we can use it to empower the spectator, by letting them feel that the magic is happening because of them. We can also make spectators feel that they mean more to us than just a vehicle to show off our skills. We can create a rapport with them, learn their names. I mean actually learning their names, not just “Hi, I’m Greg, what’s your name? Oh hello Mary” then you walk away and think “Oh what a lovely spectator…umm….ummmm… she was” Taking time to remember their names, even if you only say their name once makes that experience for YOU as the magician more meaningful and it will rub off on the spectator(s) as well.

Another great way to show spectators they actually mean something to you, is to talk to them on a non-magic level. Ask information about them: What they do for a living etc. It really enhances the relationship.

Treating spectators with respect and really being a mensch (a well-rounded, well-mannered human being) not only makes your magic more enjoyable but it makes the time that you shared with the spectator more meaningful.

Tearing spectators down

All you have to do is the opposite of building spectators up. Be arrogant, egotistical, rude, and selfish and please if you are going to tear a spectator down, don’t forget to make them feel this tall:an inch tall

You don’t want to remember their name or treat them like they have any purpose other than to show how incredibly talented you are.

Building magicians up

Yes, it is important to perform magic where you are building yourself up. Perform effects that you are comfortable with performing. When you do magic well, people respect you. When you build them up and perform awesome magic properly, people will recognise your skill and will think you are incredible. That is important for a magician. It’s important for anyone really – if you have a skill and you do not get positive feedback from it, how long will you continue with that skill? Seriously? Probably not very long. It is important (and this was the beginning thought of this post) to practice your magic before performing.

Tearing the magician down

I thought about this as I bought a new effect and I wanted to perform it but I haven’t perfected it yet and I was imagining what would happen if I had to perform this incredible effect and mess it up – I would not get reactions such as: “Wow!” or “Incredible!” In fact I would have let my audience down because they are expected to be swept away to a place where the impossible seems possible. And that will lower my credibility as a magician. Messing up to an extent lowers your credibility as a magician.

Magicians are humans. They make mistakes but you don’t want to use that as an excuse to not practice your magic properly before performing.  You do not want to ruin your reputation on making a silly mistake. And making a mistake during an effect is embarrassing, regardless of how you clean-up or cover it up. But as they say: “shit happens” and so as a magician you are sometimes confronted with making a mistake – it all depends on how you handle it. Here are some tips I have learned over the years:

1. Own your errors.

Accept the fact that you made a mistake. If you can cover it up without the audience knowing then great, do it. But be sure to go over the effect and work on the error.

2. Honesty  

People don’t like to be lied to. So if you make a mistake and you can’t cover it up or side-step it, then be a man, admit it and move on. Don’t lie to your spectators. They will respect you more if you treated them like adults and just admitted it.

3. Don’t let it get to you

How you react to the fault, will ultimately determine how the spectators’ react. For example: If you drop a TT and the spectator sees it, looks at you and you display a look of loss because your bill change is now ruined; you can either act like a fool and lie to them “nope, I never dropped that. Na-uh” or you can keep going at the mistake “I’m so sorry, this never happens, please forgive me, I practiced hard, my mom loved this trick, pretend you never saw it, I really am a good magician” or you can say something funny like: “Boy who turned gravity on today? Or “Golly, even magicians lose their thumbs sometimes!” Pick it up, put it in your pocket and move onto another effect. If you chose the last option, the spectator will know you made a mistake, but you are confident and funny and so they will not let it ruin the effect.

2 personal stories:

  1. I was performing for some matrics in Israel in January of this year and I was doing my cups and balls. Now I have done the cups and balls for years and as it so happened I dropped the ball (magicians know which ball I am referring to), the matrics knew I had cheated them, I laughed at it, told them I’m continuing whether they like it or not; I resumed my performance and in the end when I revealed my final loads my audience completely forgot about the error and clapped their hands off!
  2. In 2004, I was at Bnei Akiva camp and I was participating in a talent show. I was going to an awesome effect where cards from two decks of different colours were going to swap places and there were signed cards… it’s beautiful. However when I called my spectators up they shuffled the decks without me knowing and when I got to the part where I needed to use the decks – my setups were ruined. I was seventeen years old, so embarrassed, apologised and walked off the stage. I had a spare pack of cards but I was so embarrassed I never even realised.

We learn from mistakes. Try not to react how I did in example two. Be confident, move forward and remember how you react will determine how your spectators react. Mistakes happen but try to avoid them, practice until you can do it blindfolded.

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Wish List #4 Marlone Meets Marlo DVD Set

Next up on my Wish List is the Malone Meets Marlo set of DVDs. I am a big, BIG fan of Bill Malone  and when he comes out with a set of DVDs I know I am guaranteed quality magic that I can use in my performances.

This DVD set is Bill Malone doing effects from a legend – Ed Marlo. But Bill adds his own presentations, tips and handlings to the effects. For this to be on any wish list – one needs to know about Ed Marlo.

Ed Marlo was born in 1913 in Chicago, and since the age of 13 he has had an interest in the art of magic and sleight of hand. Ed’s first publication at age 25 (1938) entitled Pasteboard Presto was the launching pad for Marlo’s success in magic. He was obsessed with card magic and is known to have coined the term “Cardician”.

Marlo was fixated on card magic and his book entitled The Cardician (written in 1953) can be found on bookshelves of giants in the magic world. Marlo focused a lot on creating magic and has contributed approximately 2000 effects to magic. He has made up tricks, sleights, flourishes, and has written over 60 books all on card magic. Marlo was recognised for his talents by winning many accolades including the “Creative Fellowship” award bestowed by the Academy of Magical Arts.

Malone Meets Marlo

This set of DVDs is full of card magic, but it’s not just card magic – it’s card magic with a ton of history attached to it. Effects from all over the 20th Century are compiled onto six DVDs. The set can be bought from Vanishing Inc for $210 or PenguinMagic for $157.26 (but you have to buy them separately).

Looking at the contents of these effects – if you love card magic (and you know I luurrrvvveee card magic) then this is a great set to get.



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Magical Conference with Eric Jones

It has been a long time since I last posted something. Apologies goes out to all my regular readers – I wrote some very tough exams but they are out of the way and now I can get back to what I love doing most – magic.

On Sunday 27 October (in the middle of my exam Week-O-Hell) I attended a conference hosted at the College of Magic, with the one-and-only Eric Jones! Now I was looking forward to this like a giddy kid the week before Christmas waiting to see what presents he got under the tree. I was so excited. I made sure I studied enough during the week so on Sunday I can enjoy the conference.

It started off with a breakfast in Groot Constantia, with beautiful mountains and grassy areas. It was a scorcher of a day and not a drop of wind. There were roughly 25 of us at the breakfast with Eric. Being Kosher I had breakfast at home and just snuck a yogurt in as my snack. Some of breakfast looked quite delicious: poached eggs on hash browns with salmon looked yum; I guess I have been brainwashed but bacon,beans, eggs and sausage does not appeal to my taste buds! Anyway I digress.

What I found so interesting was that at breakfast the majority of talk was not about magic. If you were a bystander having breakfast, you would not have thought that there were 25 magicians at the table. We were chatting about iPhones, safari (because Eric was going on Safari after the conference) and other random things. It was actually a pleasure. Not to mention that this conference not only attracted people from Cape Town, but in fact all over South Africa. It was lovely to meet new people from Durban (even Jewish!) and Johannesburg.

My friend’s Graeme Bunce and Kyle Grey were asked to lift Eric to the College after breakfast. They thought it would be better if Eric went with me because I missed yesterday’s sessions (due to it being Shabbat). It was such a humbling experience to just chat about magic with a legend. The drive was too quick! I should have taken the wrong route or gotten lost. Haha. I found in my first encounter with Eric that he is warm, caring, and humbling, a real gentleman. He is a big shot in the magic world, but I never got any inkling of an ego (link to post).

He gave a superb lecture. He discussed some nuances regarding certain effects and taught a variety of effects – from coins, to cards, gimmicks, no gimmicks, and at the end he had some merchandise that was for sale. I could have bought it all – a part of me wanted to, but in the end I bought a great utility device (Twizted – buy it from Eric here) that I will no doubt use all the time!

I find in magic conferences, the magician wants to get through as much material as possible because he wants his students to learn as much as possible – however there is just not enough time to go through everything adequately enough for everyone to have learned the routine properly. So I sit now and try and remember what I learned and I suppose that’s the fun of it.

Some of my highlights were learning The Passless Pass, Ishkabibble production, watching and learning Audio Coins (clip below), an incredible coins across routine, a beautiful colour-change and nifty more advanced two card transposition. But I must say sitting with Eric during lunch and talking about Jewish weddings and customs and just chilling was such a great highlight. I often wonder with movie actors what they must be like out of the movies, around friends and family, you know, living a normal life – and I guess I got to see that little side with Eric – in my car and during lunch.


I hope this will not be our last encounter and I look forward to more magic that Eric put out. Thanks College of Magic for organising this great event and to Eric for sharing in his knowledge!

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