Saturday, August 30, 2008

Busker du Jour • Name this freak. . .

IMG_5850, originally uploaded by monayomo.

Buck Twins

Friday, August 29, 2008


Hot sun beats down
feral cats seek shade
like under a car
or a bush

Roses bloom year round
in the winter
and in the hottest part of the summer

Camp paradise AC hits the spot
smoke fills the chamber
the magician appears
maybe that’s what I need to wake’em up
a little flash paper

reminds me of a finger tip coin
production from Downs Palm
I used to do with a small piece of flash paper

Homer and Brett had some nice ideas about such things

Where has my passion gone
what am I looking for?

Nothing. . . apparently. . . I seem perfectly content
Is there something wrong with that?

Going on a little adventure this afternoon

I’m going over to a Miss Annabel Gray’s place to photograph the Billy McComb Legacy. It’s up for auction online and there was a last minute issue with pics, so I volunteered. Should be interesting to see the sum collection of an esteemed member of our fraternity.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser

Hofzinser, originally uploaded by Dai Vernon.

Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser (June 19, 1806 – March 11, 1875) was a minor employee at the financial department of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy He was never a doctor of philosophy; there is no such title in his working descriptions. He used the name Dr. Hofzinser as a stage name after retiring in 1865. As a magician he was best known for his clever conjuring inventions and refined sleight of hand skills.

Hofzinser is called the Father of Card-Magic by the most prominent representatives of modern card-artistry; magician Dai Vernon often mentioned Hofzinser in his books. In his day, Hofzinser's talents were famous throughout Europe. From 1857 on, under the name of his wife Wilhemine, Hofzinser presented illusions in their apartment (Salon) for an elite audience of invited guests three or four times a week. They called these gatherings Eine Stunde der Täuschung or "An Hour of Deception" and charged a relatively high price for admission. 1865 he went on tour with his show and was seen in Berlin, Munich and in most of the bigger cities in the Austrian Monarchy.

Hofzinser is famous for his minimalistic approach to performing his illusions. Rather than presenting large-scale effects to impress his audience, Hofzinser focused on a simple setting using small props to demonstrate his skills. Playing cards were one of Hofzinser's specialties and he was one of the earliest performers to demonstrate card tricks. He invented many card manipulations, some of which continue to be used by magicians today.

FISCHER spread the story that his death in 1875, Hofzinser's wife destroyed many of his manuscripts to honor her husband's instructions though there is some dispute about this. Even so, many of his mechanical plans and card-handling methods may forever remain a secret. Several of Hofzinser's pupils preserved portions of their teacher's notes and instructions. There are still about 270 manuscripts and letters of his own and of his pupils in various collections.

What ws known about Hofzinser was mostly based on the work of Otokar Fischer (1873-1940) who published his findings in his books, Kartenkünste (1910) and Zauberkünste (1942) though many of Fischer's findings turned out to incorrect. In recent years, Austrian magician Magic Christian has discovered many new facts about the life and magic of Hofzinser, publishing them in his books Non Plus Ultra, currently available only in German


Waiting to go to work. Excited, yes. Enthusiastic, yes! Ask me when I'm done how excited I am. I fear the season is over. This week I saw the slowest numbers in recent months. As I've commented in the past, peak season was not what it should or could have been. I play the cards I'm dealt, do the best job I can and if that's not good enough; I go to the gym after work and sweat out my frustration.

Guess, as we shift into another gear at the CityWalk I'll have to slowly add my act back into my act. Through the busiest part of the season, I pitch the decks harder and do things like the cups and rings less.

Yesterday I went to the UCLA Dental College to deal with a broken temporary crown. I have three appointments this week. I've had a mouth full of problems for years and over the last year or so been dealing with it. It's a work in progress, were about halfway through all of the mental anguish and anxiety.

Visited Polly on one of sets of Merry Christmas Josh & Drake yesterday. Strange building in Santa Monica that had been converted into a little studio with a sound stage and a mini back lot. Timing was good, I had just come from the dentist in Westwood. Not too bad getting to Santa Monica in rush hour traffic. Polly had just been wrapped when I showed up, so we went out for Japanese Food. Nice dinner with one of my favorite people. She went to bed early as she had a 6:12AM call in Malibu.

Me, I just do my thing. . . whatever that is. I love my life.

In my "In Box"

I was a little sad to see the sidewalk torn up. The paper boxes are still there so some student of your's I'm sure will be standing on it again soon...

You are missed.


The Magician, originally uploaded by claylindo.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Latta Love

Its gonna take a latta love
To change the way things are.
Its gonna take a latta love
Or we wont get too far.

So if you look in my direction
And we dont see eye to eye,
My heart needs protection
And so do I.

Its gonna take a latta love
To get us thru the night.
Its gonna take a latta love
To make things work out right.

So if you are out there waitin
I hope you show up soon,
cause my heart needs relatin
Not solitude.

Gotta latta love
Gotta latta love.

Its gonna take a latta love
To change the way things are.
Its gonna take a latta love
Or we wont get too far.

Lotta Love by Neil Young

, originally uploaded by Dai Vernon.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

This and that

Lots going on in LA these days. Everyday an adventure in paradise. Talked to a couple of my kids over the weekend! I wished my youngest son Liam, Happy Birthday as he's turning 7 years old. It was great hearing his voice. I can finally understand everything he says. Growing into a little boy. Of my four kids, he was always the happiest as a baby. Always smiling, always happy. I also talked to Hope who sounded good. I miss my kids and want to see them during their holiday break. Gonna try and make that happen, or at a minimum get something juicy going on my blog. Nothing like some old fashioned conflict to make a story interesting.

Went back to the Hollywood Bowl Wednesday night to see Jamie Cullum perform. Another romantic evening with my sweetie, lips locked. Backed up by the Count Basie Orchestra he delivered a power packed set. He's one of my favorite "new artists", at 29, he's put out four albums that range stylistically from Jazz Standards to a unique blend of jazz, pop, blues and a smidgen of this and that. All I can say is I dig it BIG TIME.

E Pluribus Unum, originally uploaded by bushn.

Geoff Latta • Dead at 51 • Nice knowing you

I met Geoff 25 years ago in Manhattan. The year 1983, the place Ruben's Deli. I had dropped out of high school & moved to NYC to street perform.

I took the pic to the left during one of those famous Ruben's Deli Sessions. Great memories of a great time in my life. What I remember most about hanging with Geoff back in those days was his evolved sense of palming coins. He had these great shows, where you would swear his hand was empty. I also remember this wicked cool false explanation he used to give for Copper, Silver, Brass. He would ask the audience if they wanted to know how it was done. When they said yes, he would explain that he just juggled the coins very quickly to change which hands the coins were in. The he would proceed to perform 3 very quick muscle passes (two of them simultaneously) causing the two copper coins in his left hand to end up in his right, and the silver in his right to end up in his left hand. Back then he was a proof reader and was never without his trusty walkman blaring heavy metal music.

Our paths didn't cross again for another couple of decades. I saw him again at one of the Las Vegas Magic Invitationals, a few years back. We saw each other again at a World Magic Seminar a year or two later and spent a lot of time hanging, drinking and doing tricks at the bar at the Orleans Casino.

It was a tough time for us both. Both of us were being denied any visitation with our kids. It was hell on us both. We drowned our sorrows and discussed out situations. Not good.

Geoff was a good guy and a good magician. I'm sorry to see things end this way for him. I just hope to hell that he's having one hell of a session with Dingle, Vernon, T. Nelson Downs and Erdnase somewhere in the wild blue yonder. We'll all miss you Mr. Latta.