Saturday, January 27, 2007

Back from the dead

That was a close one. Spent the better part of the last week in bed. Popping antibiotics, taking cough syrup and sounding like froggy from Our Gang. Think I might be well enough to try and work my 12-5PM at the City Walk. I hope so. Taking off the last 4 days has not made me happy for many reasons. Oh well, I'm feeling better now and need to play catch up.

My fever is gone, I've stopped shivering. It almost doesn't hurt to swallow and my aches are subsiding. Weird, It's been so fuzzy for the last few days in my head. Glad to be thinking more clearly.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Linking Rings • Friend or Foe?

Linking Rings

Oh that old trick? Everyone knows how that's done. It's cliche. THINK AGAIN!!!

OK, I'll admit; I'm old school, I like the classics. Always have been, it's how I was taught. I've always loved the rings, and never felt that people knew the secret. I know this, because I've performed it, thousands of times, in front of live audiences not to mention the countless hours of learning, practice and refinement. Even after all these years, I learn something new every time I do it.

I've seen a lot of ring routines and when it's performed properly, it can be a thing of beauty. I remember the first time Cellini showed me the Slydini routine. . . I was stoned. . . I mean stunned. Richard Ross was an early inspiration in showing that the rings were as artful as the performer. My dear friend, Shawn Greer has strong (Cellini influenced) ideas concerning the rings and does a beautiful job. It's a lifetime labor of love and dedication.

Do audiences know how it's done or not? I've heard, again and again from magicians who wouldn't be caught dead doing the linking rings. "Everyone knows how that old trick is done", they say. In my work on the street, my audiences are 5 to 25 feet away. If they see something or feel something they usually blurt it out. From where I stand, I see a lot of wheels turning. A lot of guessing and wondering. Husbands sharing with their wives their theory of a spring loaded trap door mechanisms on the side of the rings. Or some other cockamamy idea that all the rings are gimmicked. All while I am trying to do my best to connect with the audience, look them in the eyes, through tone and volume, pacing and pauses, create the flawless execution of the routine. Obviously it doesn't always go that way.

I don't know why I like them so much, but I do. A crash link is a hardcore visual, baby. Don't doubt it. To conclude, I'd just like to add that very few laymen have ever seen the linking rings. Some may have seen it on TV, but fewer have experienced it live. It's not as cliche as you think. It's mostly magicians saying, "Look he's going to do the rings. . . I know how that's done". Of course you do, that's the point. Watch the trick, get swept away in it's beauty and simplicity.

Long live the classics!

Pic du Jour

Magician Bank

Session with Aaron Fisher

Circles inside of circles like raindrops from a bleeding heart. Feeling under the weather, laying low and trying to save my energy to perform at the City Walk this evening.

I had a great night out with Aaron Fisher, Sunday night. We were going to see a Grateful Dead cover band in Santa Monica but it was not to be. We got there, the parking lot empty and the door locked. So we decided park near Ocean Blvd. and enjoy the sounds of the Pacific Ocean's waves and they crash the California coast. The Santa Monica Pier always looks beautiful, day or night.

I've only hung out with Aaron a few times but I must say that he's got it going on. It's always interesting to me how magicians/cardmen translate their vision and talent into a income that, in turn, becomes a career. We went to the Kings Head Pub where the patrons of that establishment were torturing each other with Karaoke. We bellied up to the bar, got our drinks and headed to the other room (the dining room), which was empty. Cards came out of their cases and the session began. Aaron was cracking the seal on a new deck and we talked briefly about "Breaking in a deck" rituals. I don't remember exactly what he did to break the spirit of the deck, but it was minimal and he was ready to go. I was honored to be the first person to see one of his latest creations. Mother fucker took me hook line and sinker and fooled me badly.

He told me of his plans to release this card effect commercially. This started a lengthy discussion about our art and the selling of secrets. Very interesting talk with a guy who has given it a lot of thought.

Aaron has great hands, great ideas and great execution. We finished our drinks and headed back to Aaron's Hollywood apartment near the Magic Castle and continued our session there. It was a real good time, laid back, informative and enjoyable. If you don't own Aaron's book "The Paper Engine", I recommend that you get it and study "Tension Focus and Design in Card Magic"

Monday, January 22, 2007

Pic du Jour


An evening with Chris Karney and the Rubber Boy

Chris Karney arrived at the house late Wednesday evening. He had just spent a few days digging an old 1962 Ford Galaxy out of the sand somewhere southeast of San Diego near the Mexican border. He bought the car for a pepper mill and got busy in the sand, as the car needed new brakes, motor mounts, a tune up and. . . pepper.

I've always maintained how lucky and blessed I was to have such such a bizarre set of friends. Chris is a whack job, If I've ever met one. Gifted as a comedian with the brash enthusiasm of youth, he makes me laugh. We were smoking in the back yard when he grabs the garden hose and launches into an improvised 20 minute set. I laughed at his "Is this an audience or a flower garden" he went on. . "Is this thing on? I'm not getting wet!"

We had a productive magic session and continued our ongoing dialog about the writing and delivery of comedy, especially as it applies to the performance of magic, till 4AM. Chris has been informally coaching me, trying to get me to drop the mask of my "Waka Waka" performing persona, remove the safety net of the material I've been doing for years and focus on becoming more real and vulnerable. More Pics • Click Here. Also View Chris on his online demo video • Click Here.

A buddy of his had just flown back into town, and Chris thought it would be a good idea to invite him over. Enter. . . "The Rubber Boy"! His name is Daniel and he is a 5 time Guinness World Record Holder for flexibility. Needless to say it was an entertaining evening. We went out for a late dinner, then back to the house for drinks and more show biz discussion. I'm learning a lot and making new friends and connections.

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Rubber Boy Video