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Magically launching Duvel Beer Tripel Hop

I was hired to perform last night at the Beerhouse on Long Street in Cape Town where the Belgian Beer Company launched Duvel Beer Tripel Hop. I arrived a few minutes early and was encouraged by the organisers of the event and the owner of the Beerhouse to warm up with some of the customers before the guests started to arrive. The tables that I did perform at loved the magic and they were just so welcoming of my presence. As I have mentioned in the previous post ,the table belongs to the people sitting there and it is their private space that I need permission to enter.

The Beerhouse on Long

The Beerhouse on Long

6pm arrived and off I went in my suit and purple tie to perform, “schvitzing” (Yiddish for “sweating”) already! I had 3 sets planned to do that night and I just chopped and changed and mixed and matched depending on my mood and depending on the group of people whom I was performing for.

It was so interesting because my opening effect for a lot of the magic was just burning a little bit of flash paper and producing a sponge ball – those balls I tell you, what a great, classic effect (#ThanksAlGoshman), obviously with the crude lines in, such as: “I’m gifted”, “cough” and “don’t squeeze them too hard, I feel that”, it went down really well. One must never underestimate the power of potentially an intro to an effect. Normally flash paper is used to introduce an object like a coin, ball, or silk and those are then used in the next effect. But just a little bit of paper really goes along way.

What was also interesting to note was that out of the 2 hours of constant performing, only one guy chose not to see the magic. The rest were so forthcoming and even the guests who towards the end of the night got a little tipsy (I use that word lightly because some guys got INCREDIBLY tipsy) enjoyed the magic even more. I am always wary about performing for drunk people because they can get quite rowdy and can unintentionally ruin the magic for others. But I also think it depends on the performer’s personality. The type of magic that I do is really relaxed and non-threatening, and I have a really open and friendly personality, so actually performing for those guys was really enjoyable for me. They even called me back for more magic, which is such a compliment.

Some of the effects that I did really got incredible reactions: the flash paper to sponge and into my sponge ball routine (spongey balls multiply in the spectators hand), flash paper to coin and into my coins to glass routine (Coins travel one at a time invisibly to an empty glass), ambitious card with a finale of their signed card landing up on a tag, ring leader (borrowed ring magically hopping on and off an examined piece of cord); and my invisible deck (spectator takes invisible deck of cards, picks a card and reverses it in the invisible pack, then in a normal deck of cards is produced and their thought-of card is the only one reversed in the pack).

Before I knew it, 8pm came and I had to bid farewell. I had such a great time performing for the guests and was so grateful for them allowing me to entertain them. They could have easily decided to say no and continue with their chats, but they were open and willing to see some magic. As important as it is to be thanked by the host for coming, it is equally as important to thank them and the audience for allowing you the opportunity to perform. So thank you to all who were there and all involved in getting me to the Beerhouse.

I look forward to many more opportunities to share my  magic.

Duvel-Tripel Hop

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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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A tribute magic effect: Four Ace Assembly

People ask me on a constant basis if I went to the Cape Town College of Magic when I was younger. The plain answer is: No. I did not. “So how did you learn all your tricks?” (editor’s note: I hate it when people call my magic “tricks”). I learned from books and DVDs. BUT I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for the help of three people and I’m going to focus on one person in particular: Jared Lipsitz, Alan Cohen, and Darren Srot zt”l.

These three gentlemen took me under their wings when I was the mere age of fourteen to help me plan my first kids show, my first balloon modelling class and some magic effects that I still perform to this very day.

The effect below is called McDonald’s Aces/ McDonald’s $100 Routine, named after the song Ol McDonald… I’m kidding. It really is not. It is a four ace assembly where you place four aces in a diamond shape (North, East, South, West) and three indifferent cards are placed over each ace. Magically the aces disappear and reappear in an impossible location with the fourth ace. I have been doing this effect ever since I was sixteen years old. I usually do it to close a set of effects (much better word than “tricks” don’t you think?) or to close a show, because it is just THAT powerful. I hope you enjoy

 

This effect was first shown to me by a dear friend of mine, Darren Srot, in my room on my carpet floor. I remember like it was yesterday. Watching each ace disappear under seemingly impossible conditions led to a burning desire to learn this effect. I went to the college a few days later to the shop and bought the secret. R100. Best buy ever.

I showed the effect to Darren and I remember him saying that I did it better than him and I must keep practising. Imagine a mentor saying that to you – your face beams. My face beamed. Darren was a brilliant magician. He won the close up Junior championships at the College of Magic and could have won many more. But as they say: Man makes plans and God laughs – God had another plan for Darren and decided his mission in life was fulfilled and on 14 September 2008 he passed away suddenly leaving this world to join the Almighty in Heaven. I remember when I would go to shul, Darren and I would jam and we would teach each other sleight of hand and magic. We went to the same camp and often we would chill in the dining room and show magic to the girls, and then we would teach each other how the effects were done. He was a dear friend who shared with me so much. To this day there is a triumph routine that I do that he taught me and I always share with my spectators what a wonderful human being he was.

Magic is not just about the secret. It is the connection that you make with the person as they are trusting you to guard their secret and to do the effect justice. Darren trusted me with a lot of effects and I will forever treat them as sacred. ————————————–

Whoever you are, whatever you are doing, as you read this, stop for one minute, just ONE minute and think about a person who gave you so much and who is no longer with us.

Thank you Darren for everything and I wish you were here to jam again.

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The Different Types Of Magicians Out There

I believe there are three types of magicians. I believe you can’t be more than one type of magician at a time, but you can be all three at some point of your magic career. There is no type that is better than the other but I do believe in order to maximise your potential, you need to know under which category you fall into.

The first type is the magician who focuses more on the technical side to magic – they like to create more than performing. This magician will sit all day and design gadgets to use in show. For them the thought of creating is more important than performing.

Create! It all begins with a thought… Just don’t hurt yourself lol

The second type is the magician who sits and hones in on their skills. Practice practice practice. 24/7/365 “do not pass go do not collect $200”. This magician’s skill has the potential to be in the league of the professionals whose DVDs we own. Unfortunately because of the amount of time they spend practicing, they don’t go out there and a) perform and b) get the shows

Practice makes perfect!

The third type is the magician whose skill level is not at the highest level but this magician goes and performs and gets the shows. This magician knows they need to work on skill etc, but they are able to impress the crowds with the skill they have.

“Alright. But it better be good.”
Perform for anyone who is willing to watch! Even your boss! Maybe work on the timing though 😉

A magician will go through all three stages at some point of their magical career. Each type teaches valuable lessons and there is no time limit per type. Each magician is unique and however long they spend creating, practicing or performing is up to them.

However it is important for each magician to be able to have the maturity and look at themselves and say: “hang on, I need to get out and perform my magic” or “I actually need to sit with the information that I have and start creating my own effects, patter, props etc.”

Looking at it from this perspective shifts the responsibility on the magician as THEY are the only ones who can actually pull themselves out of any ruts or low-points. When I see a magician with amazing skill and I feel a bit depressed because I can’t do that, I look at my magic and say: “Where is my focus? Is it on creating? Is it on performing or is it on my skill?” Am I happy to be that type of magician or do I want to change? The choice is up to me. It is not up to another performer or person to say: “Greg, stop practicing and go and perform” They can inspire me to move into another category but that is it. The choice of when to change and which category to change into is up to me!

You are the driver of your magic carpet. Where are YOU going?

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It’s Time For Some Moyo Magic!

Hi guys!

I know I have been rather quiet the last 2 weeks. My wife and I went to Israel for her brother’s barmitzvah and we only just got back to South Africa. The trip was amazing albeit incredibly hot and humid (and I don’t handle well with either of the 2), but we ate amazing food AND I even performed for people, which was really a treat for me and for them 🙂

Last night we decided to meet up with some friends at the Waterfront for Haagen Dasz ice cream and then Moyos for cocktails. Haagen Dasz weren’t that busy so I took the opportunity to show the lady at the till some coin magic and she absolutely freaked out. Someone wanted to pay for their ice cream and she told them to hold on because she was in the middle of a freak-out session (luckily that customer was part of our crew so she understood what was going on). There should be a hashtag soon about this….. oh there it is: #FreakOut! (it’s the little things that amuse me) Anyways so I left her my card and onwards we went to Moyos where more victims awaited the Magic Of Greg Gelb… #Moowahahahaha (Lee-Ann would say now I am overusing the hashtag concept… #mmmm #DecisionsDecisions)

Moyos is this chilled restaurant, very africany with couches and bean bags outside and because it is winter we insisted on blankets and I wanted a pillow to nap with because it just seemed appropriate – okay so I never got my pillow but I did chill on a bean  bag! I had a mojito and I guess there are still remnants of it in my system as I type this post lol.

Every now and then I try my luck at putpocketing. I first learned about this concept from Apollo Robbins at the 2010 Essential Magic Conference, where one uses misdirection to put things in people’s pockets without them realising. It is the opposite of pick pocketing as I am sure you have figured out. So at Haagen Dasz I put a coin in my friend’s jacket (later to magically appear in his coat) and I put another coin into Franco’s apron pouch (he was our awesome waiter). Franco loved the magic. I made a coin become invisible and then visible and magically threw the coin in his pouch. He was…. wait for it…. #FreakOUT!!! I showed him my ACR and I decided to use a new ending with a mercury fold and a production from my mouth – do I need to do another hashtag freak out? Nah  you can imagine it.

I went inside to the barman, Chico and showed him some of my coins including an abridged version of my coins through table as well as a little romantic card effect with 2 hearts joining together and my ACR with mercury fold finish and he also hashtagged. So I was on quite a high from it all (one of the few legal ways to get high kids).

Photo: Moyo vibes on#Motsash

At Moyos, the waiters paint your face all african style.

Photo: Face-paint selfies.

a close-up of our painted faces

Lee-Ann has been wanting me to get into the restaurants to perform and I guess that is the whole reason for this blog post but I summoned the manager (not really – I politely asked a waiter to call him for me if he wasn’t busy), and 5 minutes later after my ACR routine (obviously Joshua joined the hashtag club and freaked out), I told him what I do and he agreed with me that Moyos customers need some entertaining whilst they wait for their food. Another waiter who was watching said that Moyos need someone like me. So I gave him my card and told him to chat it out with the other managers and if they feel this is something they believe will benefit Moyos then they must call me. It all seemed very positive.

So that was my night – great, fun and magical! I hope you all had/are having/will be having a fantastic weekend where ever you are.

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My Wish List

Being a self-taught magician I never had the essential magic goodies that other kids who go to the college had when growing up. When I was asked to do my first kids party I went to the Magic Shop and asked Jennifer to give me a show – so I got a dove pan, the colouring book, change bag, Professor’s nightmare, the feather rose and a silk. So I had a few things. I also had a deck of cards (check that: many MANY decks of cards thanks to my dad playing poker in our garage every Tuesday night and the guys would use the Bicycle cards only for two nights before using a new pack) and some sponge balls. But now it is time for my wish list. These are the magic props I would love if money was no option.

Yes I know it is better to know 10 tricks and perform those 10 tricks well… But IF I had all the money in the world – I would have the following things in no particular order:

Your wish is my command

 

  1. The Five Points in Magic by Juan Tamariz
  2. Books of Wonder by Tommy Wonder
  3. Easy To Mast Money Miracles Volumes 1 – 3 by Michael Ammar
  4. Omnideck
  5. Malini Egg Bag
  6. Malone Meets Marlo Set
  7. Golden cups (for the cups and balls)
  8. Toppit
  9. Beyond Secrets by Jay Sankey
  10. Ring Flight
  11. The Process by Andrew Gerard
  12. Shattering Illusions by Jamie Ian Swiss
  13. Devious Standards by Jamie Ian Swiss
  14. Unlimited supply of 3D sponge Rabbits
  15. Built to last by Doug Conn

These effects and books can be found at PenguinMagic.

So every month I will discuss one of these effects, maybe there will be a demonstration of some kind and who knows maybe my wishes will come true.

If anyone has any other points to add to the wish list then feel free to leave a comment below and I will add 🙂

The Ultimate gift!

 

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10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Living With a Magician

My wife Lee Lipman wrote such a fun and I suppose accurate blog post on what life is like living with a magician. After reading it, I’m rather grateful to have such a compassionate and understanding wife. She truly gives me the opportunity to do what I love best without giving me flack about it.

So Please read her post and send it on to all the spouses of magicians so they know that they are not alone in the struggle for attention ;P

Thanks my Leeg! I love you 🙂

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