Friday, May 18, 2007

Shawn Greer to wed on edge of Grand Canyon

It’s 1AM, just got off the phone with Shawn Greer. We had a lengthy chat about life, magic and his upcoming wedding on the rim of the Grand Canyon, next month! Polly and I are both excited to attend the intimate celebration of love. My warmest and heartfelt wishes of never-ending love and companionship for you and your bride, my friend!

Shawn says getting married on the edge of the Grand Canyon is a metaphor for his life as he has lived his life on the edge.

It’s wonderful to be in love. To share each day with someone who loves you as much as you love them. It’s really quite disgusting I could just go on and on. Entire volumes of horrible poetry have been written on the subject. Polly and I have discovered how to conceal our total infatuation for each other while out in public or with friends. I haven’t, however, figured out how to stop staring at her tits.

All in due time. Enough for one day goodnight.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Polly had lunch plans with Kirsten (who just passed her Real Estate Appraiser test making her an official trainee! Congrats Kirsten!) I walked to Vic’s Thai Food and had lunch there. Polly hasn’t wanted to try their food because the place looks like a shack. Her friend Andrew told me to look for their posted restaurant rating (a state thing, I guess, that has to do with cleanliness. I was happy to see the “A” rating and asked for something with shrimp that was spicy.

The food was great. I ate in their shack patio area and enjoyed the cool breeze and my hot food.

Afterwards I took a dip, did some laps, got my heart rate up and enjoyed a nice cigar pool side beneath a tall palm tree in desperate need of a haircut.

I thought to myself how happy and relaxed I was. I filled my mind, heart and soul with only the most happy and positive thoughts. I saw the faces of my children smiling and laughing. I felt the warm air cooling my wet body.

Man, this is the life! Tonight I get to go out there and make people happy with my magic. . . again! I feel so loose from the yoga this morning. I tweaked a muscle near my thigh doing some nutty leg rolling out exercise, but worked it out in the pool.

God I love my life, everyone should feel this happy.

Reviewing Recent Video Footage

Reviewing video footage, I see my world again in bright, vivid, high definition images. Since the camera is new, I’ve been subjecting it to various light and color tests. I’m watching the footage of the band from the other night. Testing the camera’s low light capabilities with a long island iced tea, the footage looks good and the audio surprising for an on-board condenser mic.

My mind wanders and my body feels good. Yoga again this morning in the living room with the yoga dvd and my girl. I hope she wants to check this band out sometime and dance like a freak. Dancing to Grateful Dead is a long way from the swing dancing that we’ve done. Free form, letting your freak hang loose. With a cocktail and a buzz, the band meanders into the intro of “Eyes of the world”

Silly footage of Aaron Fisher singing outside of the club.

Footage of Sam Rapp performing/pitching on Hollywood and Highland. Met a guy named Daniel Davenport. Nice young man with lots of big plans and ideas. Student of magic and street performing. Shot him doing a little billiard ball manipulation and some card stuff. Both Sam & Daniel, working the Blvd. on a Tuesday afternoon. Better men than I. I was really there just to help Sam a bit and shoot some video. We were lucky to have a rare overcast day that created very even afternoon outdoor lighting with no shadows.

Hollywood Blvd. offers itself as a great location to shoot street acts. Rich in the history of Hollywood, Hollywood and Highland is a major tourist attraction.

I’m in the beginning stages of a dvd project. A dvd I can sell after my performances, that also teaches a little “Street Magic” Hell, I’ve been doing it for a quarter century, why not cash in on the current trend. Shit I might even lecture on the subject as I have in the past.

Taped a few of my shows at the City Walk last night. My chops are tight and the new stuff looked good. Not really that new, cups and balls to music, coin stuff to music. Working on a whole silent sequence to music, maybe a whole act.

Worked to some Michael Close Quartet music. He had given me a disc in Vegas. Upbeat jazz with an improvisational flair. That’s what I’m going for, with some of what I’m doing these days. Go with the music, let it direct me as to what I’m doing. But different music, different feels. Live, experimental, improvised yet refined to a fine point. I’m digging it. But to be confronted with it on the big screen in my living room, oy. Audible gasps and extended laughing upon the revelation of the final loads in the cup routine.

Mike Close plays Georgia on My Mind as I go into a 4 Ace Routine (poker deal into Dr. Daley’s Last Trick). Trying to make my card work look as pretty as possible. Framed tight on the hands for the shuffle work, the control holds up to my own tough standards. Liking that :-)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sunday Night • Groove On

Sunday night Aaron Fisher, his pal Adam and I went to see a Dead Cover Band in Venice. It was great time singing and dancing to the music of the Grateful Dead! Aaron used to see this band regularly when they played a club in Santa Monica every sunday night. That club closed and this was their first week at a new bar, "Club Good Hurt".

The band was particularly good and the lead guitarist mimicked Jerry's sound beautifully. Actually the whole band was tight. They've been playing together as a Dead Cover Band in LA for the last 20 years. They played some unlikely songs like a nice Brent song, the Jerry ballad, "So many Ways" and they finished with an OLD Dead tune called "Cream Puff War" (written in the late 60's). Smiles, Tye-Dye and spinning hippie chicks filled the room and my heart. These are my people.

During the band/smoke break we went outside and had a mini magic session. I busted out a few moves for adam at Aaron's request. Mr. Fisher paid me a nice compliment, he called me an old school card man. Coming from him, that meant a lot.

I showed him the oil and water / triumph trick of Krenzel's out of last month's Genii. I told him I needed some help with the half pass in that routine. I was very appreciative that he took the time, getting me right. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I find Aaron Fisher's understanding of card handling, potentially revolutionary. He is wise beyond his years and a very funny fellow. Glad were gonna try and make Sunday night in Venice a weekly activity. Too bad he's gonna be out of town when his favorite band, "Wide Spread Panic" is here. Guess Adam & I will have to hold down the fort for him.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Bad Busker Behavior

Ever do something you almost immediately regret? My list is a long one so I’ll just share the most recent incident.

I was working the City Walk, Saturday afternoon. It was hot and I had been baking in the sun for a couple of hours with little return on my investment of time and energy. The hats were lousy and my audiences unresponsive. It’s been hard to get used to changing over my performance for a show to a pitch. I make a lot less in the hat after the pitch but when I sell decks it all comes together. So, I’m out there, I’ve done three pitches in a row didn’t sell any decks and the hat’s were practically non existent. I do another set with some rambunctious teenagers, we all ahd some fun and I thought it went well enough. At the end a couple of people threw in one dollar bills. One of the kids thought it would be funny to put in a penny. I stopped the kid as he was leaving, took the penny out of the hat and said, “It’s one thing to stiff me. . . but you don’t have to be a dick.” Then I chucked the penny at him, and it hit him in the eye.

He wasn’t hurt and there was no incident. But I immediately thought, I wouldn’t want anyone throwing anything in Buster’s eye. I felt bad about how I handled the situation and wish I could have apologized to him. Well there you have it. I’m ashamed that I let that little mother fucker ruffle my feathers.

The next day I went out there with something to prove. It’s not about the money. . . it’s about making good art and people happy.

nuff said.

Grateful Dead - 6-26-94 - So Many Roads

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Scotty Walsh: The Harlequin Commercial

IMG_6875, originally uploaded by john.stone.

release 2, originally uploaded by C is for Casey.

Houdini: Unlocking The Mystery

Polly and I watched this History Channel Special tonight. Quite good. Well, written, shot produced, lit etc. A real class act. Here is a blip from their promo:

In one of magic history's rarest events, a private collector auctioned off the largest collection of personally owned Harry Houdini artefacts and memorabilia, providing an unprecedented peek behind the curtain at the world's great showman and magician.

In a 2-hour special, hosted by renowned magician Lance Burton, we explore the life and magic of the great escape artist through his most prized possessions: the Chinese Water Torture Cell, the Milkcan, his straitjackets and handcuffs, and lockpicks that were "key" to his handcuff escapes, revealed to the public for the first time.

We also unlock secrets of the man; brash showman, fierce competitor, loyal son and husband. With expert commentary, including a great-nephew and the last surviving member of his magic troop.

Examine the equipment that made Houdini's most famous tricks possible.

Hosted by magician Lance Burton.

See one of the most important collections of magical artifacts ever assembled.

To view a clip of the program Click Here


The day started with a bit of yoga. I’d never tried it but Polly has some experience with it. She has a dvd we popped in and got busy on these rubber mats. Everyone in LA is issued one of these mats upon moving here. It’s part of the welcome wagon gift pack. It felt good to stretch in new ways, focus on our breathing and find our centers in strange balance positions. I think were going to try and incorporate some daily yoga into our lives.

At noon I split for the Castle. Friday lunch at the Castle, dining with Aye Jaye always a hoot. Had a nice chat with John Lovick then headed downstairs to pay Mr. Goodwin a visit in the library. He was doing some research with John Armstrong. My pal Sam Rapp was also down there doing some research of his own on street performing. I guess I could call Sam one of my Busking/Pitching students. He’s been trying it out at Hollywood and Highland. I asked Billy what the trick of the week was and he busted out an interesting version of Copper/Silver/Brass. I introduced myself to Mr. Armstrong and told him that I had heard good things about him. I asked him if he wouldn’t do a trick for me. He kindly obliged with a nifty faro trick. More than the trick itself, I really liked how well he sold the routine. He didn’t just walk through the routine, he performed it. Afterwards we discussed the virtues of various techniques of dumping extra cards following the faro, as well as other options like taking a break after the shuffle at the base of the thumb and double undercutting or as Homer liked to do a pass at that point under just a few cards.

Along with Aye Jaye at lunch another fellow named Jerry Newton sat at the table. As we ate and discussed a variety of topics, I made the off hand comment that I was considering releasing a spanish version of 101 tricks with a stripper deck. Just one of the many things that I think about. I didn’t expect him to bring Rafael Benatar down to the library to meet me. Mr. Benatar as well as performing translates to Spanish. He gave me his card and told me to call him if I move forward with this idea.

Wanting to beat Friday rush hour on the 101, I left the Castle around 3PM. I was home in 10 minutes. It was hot, so I thought a dip in the pool sounded like a plan. Laps and sunbathing, more laps and more sun, cigar, palm trees and happiness.

Came home, spent some time with Polly, then went to work at the City Walk. Did my thing, came home with money slept good with my woman.

Not a bad day in paradise.