Friday, December 10, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Monday, November 08, 2010
We saw your show last night. I am from Dallas and brought my niece and nephew who live in La Canada California. My nephew Grey loved the show and woke up at 4am to ask if we could come back today and see your show. I had enough for a tip last night but not enough to buy the cards and he is very anxious to buy the cards. Is there a way we could make contact with you today? Also, he may be interested in a lesson. Could you let me know when you get a chance. Unfortuneately I leave for Dallas tomorrow. Again, many thanks!
On Friday I stopped in to see Alfonso in the Peller, and Doc Eason behind the WC FIelds Bar. Two friends, two talented magicians and performers. They had the crowds going on a busy night. It was fun to see. The previous week I popped in to catch Danny Sylvester in the Close-Up Room. I don't think he had worked that room in over 20 years. It was nice to see him break out some vintage routines like his Tomato Trick and his Cod Trick. Good times w/ good friends!
Speaking of good friends, It's always a nice to see Billy Goodwin, Lisa Cousins and David Jockish. For a while I was attending their after Castle Friday Night Jam Session (At Billy & Lisa's place, walking distance from the Castle). Now that my season is officially over, perhaps I can make a few more of these rocking, finger flinging, booze swilling, card shuffling fun fests!
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
I got the cards at the City Walk last night.
There are regular cards, not the same one which i saw your show last night.
I don't think that there is any way that you got a regular deck, I sell off the top of the stack and try and give the customer the same deck that I just demonstrated with. Is your deck red or blue, the red decks tend to be a bit more pronounced. If your deck is blue it should say "Magic" right on the front of the box indicating that it is a trick/stripper deck.
Are you on Skype? Do you have a webcam. if so, I can give you some quick personal instruction and help answer any questions. My skype name is tfrank8176.
I want to make sure that you will be happy with your deck,
Feel free to call me at 323.683.5844, I'd be happy to try and help you over the phone.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
I've tried to call you, I've asked your mom and I've emailed you asking you what you might like for your birthday. You don't want a birthday present? You don't want anything to do with me, that's the feeling I get. I'm sorry you feel that way. I am always here for you.
PS Buster (John) lives in Seattle, he was down here for a visit and told me he misses his family.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
The timing of getting rid of my 1988 beater Volvo was good. After the wreck, my trunk wouldn't close right, now that the rainy season is here my shit would have got soaked. So after months of thinking about what kind of car to get; I end up the proud daddy of a Toyota Prius! Polly has enjoyed hers for the last 5 years or so and I have driven it often. It's a hybrid, half gas, half electric motor. Smooth ride and great gas milage. I can plan on confidently driving this vehicle for many years to come. Thinking about a cross country tour early next year. This car has plenty of pep and boasts 50 miles per gallon!
Life is good, just finished up a video project w/ my golfing buddy and magic friend Alfonso. Turned out pretty good for being done under the wire. Later today I"ll hang w/ Danny Sylvester helping him prepare for his week at the Castle in the Close-Up Room. He rarely has an opportunity in a formal situation to present his close-up act. So he's excited and I'm excited for him.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
We went to see a "Furthur" concert at the Greek Theater. With Bob Weir and Phil Lesh (original members of The Grateful Dead) celebrating the music of the Dead. It was great to share that night of music with Buster. The band was HOT and the set list off the hook. My heart so full of love and my son so tall and handsome. Life is complicated with it's twists and turns. Searching for answers and humbled by life's journey. It's all part of the experience. To revel in joy is to understand pain.
Sunday, October 03, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
4 years and change, short of fantastic
Bittersweet to see you go
Marine layer blows
You were my car
My cigar lounge
I spent a lot of time in you
a couple hours a day
I've owned a lot of cars in my life
and they were all used w/ miles
I loved them all
They all made me smile
You saved my life and for that I am thankful
That woman on the freeway smashed into us
totaling her car and somehow you drove away
a bit beat up, you gave me another 6 months
All the music we listened to all the cigars I smoked
all the freeways and surface streets
castles and moats
Golf clubs in the back seat, street rig in the trunk
side view mirror held on with blue masking tape
cigar ashes everywhere
I will miss your non functioning speedometer, odometer, and sunroof
and the door that wouldn't close completely
you had character and you kept me out of trouble
because you had no pick up
there was not hot dogging
In the heat of the valley, in the dead of summer
you never let me down
I will miss you and your family
I have driven Volvo's for almost 20 years
Time to move on
Goodbye old friend
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Blind and dirty, asked me for a dime, a dime for a cup of coffee.
I got no dime but I got some time to hear his story.
My name is August West, and I love my Pearly Baker best more than my wine.
More than my wine - more than my maker, though he's no friend of mine.
Everyone said, I'd come to no good, I knew I would Pearly, believe them.
Half of my life, I spent doin' time for some other fucker's crime,
The other half found me stumbling around drunk on Burgundy wine.
But I'll get back on my feet someday,
The good Lord willin', if He says I may.
I know that the life I'm livin's no good,
I'll get a new start, live the life I should.
I'll get up and fly away, I'll get up and fly away, fly away.
Pearly's been true, true to me, true to my dyin' day he said,
I said to him, I said to him, "I'm sure she's been."
I said to him, "I'm sure she's been true to you."
I got up and wandered, wandered downtown, nowhere to go but just to hang around.
I've got a girl, named Bonnie Lee, I know that girl's been true to me.
I know she's been, I'm sure she's been true to me.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Sunday, September 05, 2010
Saturday, September 04, 2010
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Shot this picture of Redondo Beach, 5 minutes from home. Not bad. Took the day off and didn’t do much. Used the morning the polish up a set of cups and ship them off, also had an order for a set of Tayade Style Balls. All nearly extinct. Also sent back Tim Flynn’s tapes that I failed to edit and give him a DVD of his show so that he can sell after his performances. I’ve had the tapes since March and finally gave up. I had a bunch of issues that I couldn’t deal with like, memory space, audio and color correction issues. Too much for my little brain and the capabilities of iMovie.
The summer was good. Pretty much rocked it out 7 nights week at the Universal CityWalk. Had a new spot for most of the summer. It was trade off spot, I could trade off the LOUD MUSIC for the cold and wind. I got used to working in a wind tunnel, but my audiences always seemed chilly. They came into the park when it was hot, now it’s not and they’re on their way to their car. Whatever, I made money and made people happy. It was good.
Need to set some goals, start watching what I eat and drink again. GET BACK TO THE GYM. Stop eating my feeling.
Show the world all the love in my heart
Monday, August 23, 2010
I wasn't till the early 80's that I switched to the Charlie Miller Cups from Magic Inc. By then, I had absorbed enough Cellini influence to start mutilating sets of cups and balls. I would go through a set a year. While studying under Cellini, I learned that by banging on the cups you excite an innate, primal force within people. The percussive sound might be compared to the beating of a drum, or the beating of your heart, and naturally draws an "audience" to it. It is a proven fact that once you start banging on the cups, people will cross a street or a crowded square to see what all the "commotion" is about.
After the extinction of the Charlie Miller cups, I endeavored to recreate them, with one modification, I made them MUCH stronger. Instead of just using copper, I had them combined with a metal alloy making them the strongest cups ever made.
A few years back I was contacted by RnT II. They were interested in reproducing the Phoenix Cups. I agreed, with several stipulations. I wanted them to fix every issue and complaint I ever got on the cups. They wobble, The lip isn't rolled all the way in etc. . . Funny, in all the years of using the Charlie Miller Cups I never thought of those as issues. They were just cups. These days a new breed of cup collector demands a higher level of quality.
Rings and Things II leads the pack when it comes to the manufacturing some of the best and widest selection of cups in the world! I wish I owed a set of each, someday I will. The first thing I noticed when handling the PHOENIX II CUPS • COPPER • ANTIQUE BRONZE FINISH was the heft! These cups got some freaking weight! I always said I like a cup you could kill a man with. They fit the hand perfectly and to be quite honest, they are a perfect set of cups in every regard. Striking to look at, a dream to work with and the blackened bronze interior, a striking contrast.
Donnie Buckley is the new owner of RnT II and operates out of the Cleveland area. Thanks Donnie for doing such a GREAT job on this (and every set of your cups) you lovingly and magically make appear before our widened eyes and big smiles. Keep up the fantastic work!
The Phoenix II cups are the newest generation of the original Ross Bertam style of cups. Charlie Miller made this cup style famous when he released his version of this cup decades ago thru Magic Inc. and called it "A Man's Cup". He called it that because the cups were hefty and fit well in the hand. That cup was recreated by RNT and resurrected as the "Phoenix Cup" and is still available from Tom Frank. This cup is an improvement on the Phoenix Cup and now holds a tennis ball size load and accomodates 3 1" balls on the saddle when the cups are nested. Durng the redesign we decided to build the cup from the ground up to be spun in heavy .064 copper and that modification tightened up the tolerances on the cup so there is absolutely no unnecessary wobbling when the cups are stacked - they nest firmly but don't stick. What was at one time "A Man's Cup", is today a very serious, heavy weight, masculine cup for the discriminating performer who wants a little piece of history AND all the modern advancements one has come to expect in a cup.
Each cup is hand spun from the original RNT II tooling in heavy .064 copper with a luxurious exterior Antique Bronze finish and hand highlighted. Each cup has a final clear coat applied to seal in and protect the Bronze finish. The interior of each cup is bronzed black.
Weight per cup: 7 oz average
Weight per set: 1 lb 5 oz average
Stack Height: 5 1/4"
Cup Height: 3"
Cup Inside Diameter: 2 13/16"
Cup Inside Height: 2 3/4"
Saddle Diameter: 2 1/8"
Dimple Diameter: 2"
Dimple Depth: 1/4"
All Purpose: 1" Balls
2 Ball Nest: 1" Balls
3 Ball Nest: 1" Balls
Load Size: 2 1/2" Balls (Tennis Ball).
3 Phoenix II cups
Deluxe Velvet Bag (XL)
List price: $399.99
RnT price: $349.99
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Where did the years go? I met Paul 34 years ago in 1976. I was 11 years old when I took magic lessons from him at Haines House of Cards in Norwood, OH. It was a troubled time in my life that only got worse, before it got better. My parents got divorced that year and we moved back to the States after living 6 years in Europe. My Dad moved to Atlanta to start a new family with his new wife and my mom, my brother and two sisters moved to Cincinnati. It was a tough time in my life.
It didn’t take me long to find the closest Magic Shop. Strangely it was a place that I had done some mail order business with when I lived in Paris. I would ride my bike to Haines House of Cards (then on Ross Avenue) in Norwood. The man behind the counter was Paul Roling. I had been doing magic for about 4 years at that point and took a magic class at ASP (American School of Paris) a couple years earlier. I was very happy to learn that Paul taught a magic class on Saturday mornings before the shop opened. I was a regular student for at least a couple of years. I loved magic then as much as I still do and Paul was one of the influential mentors in my formative years.
Paul was this big balding,teddy bear of a guy (to an 11 year old). He was friendly, snarkey and for whatever reason took me under his wing. He introduced me to close-up magic. My repertoire at the time consisted of tricks like the Temple Screen, the Candy Factory, Color Changing Rope etc. . . I remember him teaching me my first card force, The Riffle Force and introducing me to The Royal Road to Card Magic & Bobo’s Book on Coin Magic. I hung out at the Magic Shop all the time and became friends with everyone there. They became my family. Paul's’ generosity was not limited to the sharing of his knowledge. There were other perks, He took me to two magic shows that would change my life: Blackstone Jr. (full evening show w/ an orchestra), and Doug Henning. As I look back, I think, he didn’t have to take me to those shows. I’m not really sure why he did. Cause he was nice and liked me I guess. I was a lost child struggling to find a place in life. I had a found a home at Haines House of Cards. Paul taught me how to demo tricks behind the counter and I also helped the girls in the back room folding instructions and wrapping the trick decks that they manufactured and sold by the thousands. I would accompany them to the magic conventions at an early age and help set up the booth and pitch decks in exchange for my food, registration and a place on the hotel room floor to crash. Seems like just yesterday. . . . or a million years ago. . . I’m not sure which.
Paul used to hand cut belly strippers for Blackstone Jr., he knew all the guys and all the guys knew him. He introduced me to Ken Klosterman and really started my interest in collecting antique magic. Paul’s collection was humble but he put me on the path to understanding quality of a time gone by. He introduced me to Bob Little where he steered my purchase towards some old Carl Brema & Sons brass items. I still have all of those treasures.
Where did the time go. A few years later Shawn Greer and I would drive out to Max & Erma’s to see Paul work his regular weekend gig there. We would get a table, order a soda and stay there for hours watching him work. I loved the looks on people faces when he revealed the solid ball bering load from his chop cup. He would drop it on the table, from a foot or two up and it would make a wonderfully dramatic sound as it smacked the table.
Paul is gone now, but the many fond memories I have of him, will live in my heart forever. He was kind to me when I really needed it, and I’ll miss him. He taught me so many wonderful things. I remember him hand picking the Jay Terrell silk production for one of my early contest acts. I remember at one point some people would call me little Paul. I never knew how I felt about that, I do now. I’m honored to have known him and to have called him a friend.
Goodnight sweet magical prince of tricks and radio. Your legacy will not be forgot. I will miss you and treasure the time you lavished on me when no one else would.
In loving memory. . . . . .
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
Sept. 17, 2009 Brief Clip of me working the CityWalk
Sept. 21, 2009 Buster (John) Visit Universal Studios w/ my son! Water World Stunt Show,
Sept. 22, 2009 Buster & I Visit The Getty Center, Buster shoots my Fornier 605’s playing card commercial.
Sept. 23, 2009 Cruising downtown, w/ Buster & Aaron Fisher.
Sept. 24, 2009 Aaron Fisher & I discuss the Fornier 605’s on the beach in Malibu
Sept. 25, 2009 Buster & I at Denny’s on his way out of town. First time in 3 years that I had seen my boy.
Oct. 2, 2009 Kitties in the kitchen Morse Ave. (Talking to Polly on bluetooth while shooting.
Oct. 7, 2009 More Kitties in the kitchen
Oct. 8, 2009 More Kitties in the kitchen
Oct. 24, 2009 Moving into the Apartment in Redondo Beach
Nov. 2, 2009 mini tour of apt.
Nov. 7, 2009 Braised short ribs w/ Swiss Chard
Nov. 13, 2009 Cat
Nov. 26, 2009 Thanksgiving Preparations. Polly making apple crisp.Hot Chicken Pie
Nov. 29, 2009 Charlotte plays w/ big hand therapy ball. Polly & Charlotte. Charlotte slutting it up in Polly’s lap
Dec. 2, 2009 Rehearsal Footage for Seattle gig, Cups and Balls practice, using my Gazzo Cups, Coin Routine
Thursday, August 12, 2010
May 18, 2010 Phoenix Visit w/ Dad • Dinner at Rustlers Roast, Sunset w/ Gordy
May 19, 2010 Shawn Greer and Derek w/ his Geko, Shawn does magic for Gordy. Bob Kabota
May 21, 2010 Golfing w/ Bob, Shawn, and Denise 110 degrees in the dessert.
May 21, 2010 Back at condo w/ Dad smoking Cuban Cigars.
May 22, 2010 Heading home through Palm Springs, wind farms.
May 31, 2010 Deans Box Practice Footage
June 22, 2010 Laundry Room folding and dancing
June 24, 2010 More Practice Footage, Sol Stone’s One Handed Triple Change Spellbound.
July, 1, 2010 More Practice Footage: Gallo Coin Purse Routine w/ 10 coins, Swinford 4 Packet Triumph, Cups and Balls w/ Phoenix II in Antique Bronze
Sunday, August 08, 2010
I'd give it to you, long as you live
Would you let it fall
Or hold it all in your arms?
If I had a song to sing
I'd sing it to you, long as you live
Or maybe a plain serenade
Wouldn't you laugh, dance and cry or be afraid
At the change you made?
I may not have the world to give to you
But maybe I have a tune or two
Only if you let me be your world
Could I ever give this world to you
Could I ever give this world to you
But I will give what love I have to give
I will give what love I have to give
I will give what love I have to give
Long as I live
If I had a star to give
I'd give it to you, long as you live
Would you have the time
To watch it shine, watch it shine?
Or ask for the moon and heaven too?
I'd give it to you
Maybe I've got no star to spare
Or anything fine or even rare
Only if you let me be your world
Would I ever give this world to you
Would I ever give this world to you
My heart is like my car. Beat up and held together with duct tape, but gets me everywhere I need to go at 80 miles an hour. Life ain't pretty, but if you can find your purpose and make it work, well then . . . you're ahead of the game.
My purpose has always been the same, "To make the world a better place, one smile at a time"; Increasingly difficult in an age where people are beat down, jaded, done and seen it all. . . what the fuck happened to people where their attention span disappeared. This downfall of human interest has occurred in my life span.
I just keep on doing what I do. Card tricks, coin tricks, cups and balls and the linking rings. I sell trick decks and share the love in my heart.
Polly is my girl, we're good together. Twice divorced, 4 kids that don't talk to me; I got a lot a love to give. Polly gets most of it. Life can be so cruel and so beautiful, simultaneously. . . . . like laughing and crying at the same time.
Death lurks around the corner, unless you're me. . . . and as you all know. . . I am immortal.
You can't kill me
4 years now in LA
what can I say
Am I closer. . . or farther away
whose to say
stay. . . just a little bit longer
one of these days. . . . .
Monday, August 02, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
not for me to say but is
Phone call on a Sunday morning
out of the Norm.
Nikki, what the fuck happened!
this wasn't supposed to go down this way!
We talked two days ago for a half an hour or more
what would Gramsie think as you floated out the door!?
Conflicted emotions, I'm all broken up
I don't know what to say. . WTF!!
Life is so full of uncertain twists and turns
a young mother marries and a child is born
But the mother barley gets her foot out the door
before her life vanishes and she is no more
Nikki, why did you go?
Why did you leave us?
was it your disappointment
or a grievance?
Life is a strange game where the stakes are high
and so am I
why. . . do the innocent die so young
why. . do we go on. . .
why is life so cruel
Broken up and sad
we weren't that close
you were family
that mattered the most.
Friday, July 09, 2010
I go out every night, and I come home with money. I do magic tricks and entertain people. I live on my own terms and answer to nobody. It's just me and them, no agents, no bookers, no bureaucracy. They either like it or not. They pay or they don't. I try and feel a groove. Let me create an illusion. . . . let me sell a deck. Let me make the world a better place one smile at a time.
Saturday, July 03, 2010
Someone brought him a riser to stand on and it was placed before the stained glass window that shares a wall with the Library. Tom, a street performer, did a great set of magic and kept the crows entertained and buying drinks. When the Peller opened Tom stepped down from the riser and went over to the bar and performed at the bar itself. He was a working magic machine who understood the room and bar and used both at the appropriate time. He entertained and sold drinks.
But no this wasn't all that happened. The Piano Player was playing soft Jazz. Tom heard it and began to do his magic to the Jazz. The Piano player saw this magician using her music and timed the Jazz to coincide with his act. I don't know how to describe it except to say it was like a piano player at a silent movie providing back ground that was appropriate to what was going on in front of her. The two performed as one Magic hand in hand with Music.
I spoke with Tom afterwards and he told me it was his street performance skills that prompted him to use the music as his background and he went over and tipped the Piano Player. All in all the evening was a thing of beauty.
Tonight is his last night at the WC Fields bar. Please do yourself a favor and get down there to see how it can work.
Sometimes I go to watch friends perform, as an obligation or a way of showing respect. Last night was an experience I'm glad I got to see and enjoy in person. Do yourselves a favor, go see him and then let me know what you think.
And for those of you who are interested in a man who can draw a crowd, hold a crowd and perform some great magic, he has a lecture that he can do and has done for magic clubs in the past. So who ever has some sway in bookings for lectures it might be a great idea to get him to lecture to our magician members.
Have a great weekend and do come to see Tom Frank and the other magicians at our Club.
More than one of my magic co-horts had told me to keep an eye open for Tom Frank, knowing that I had spent my formative years performing street shows. So, I just sort of hovered around the Inner Circle for a while, waiting for the right moment to introduce myself. As I had been enlightened as to his years of experience on the pavement, I was not surprised to see how Tom flowed easily from bar to platform - from patter to music, from small crowd of peers to larger crowd of civilians. When I got to talking with him during a little lull, and happened to ask when he might next perform, he said, "For you, Phil, how about right this minute?" Well, there were three other magicians with me at the time. We got to see a 'private' show (?) on the dance floor that involved Sonyee improvising on the piano, and soon morphed into a much bigger experience as patrons slowly filtered into the room. Granted, I probably related to him because Tom is as addicted to performing as I, but it was also fun to see things just "flow" so effortlessly. I agree with Maurice. If you can come in tonight, I bet you'll be tickled to see this one!
Phil Van Tee
Why am I not surprised? Tom is a consummate performer with more flight time than (dare I say) a lot of the people who work the Castle. I am so glad to hear that he was able to work with the piano player. Tom's acumen for combining music and magic and having a pianist who 'gets' it, must have been sublime. She really is talented.
My feelings about the piano player are well known...I respect her talent and energy. I just feel that the presence of piano player (in general) is superfluous. But under these circumstances, I am thrilled to hear that all went so smoothly. Wish I was closer to experience Tom's performance. Knock em dead Tommy boy!
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Me and my twin boys were at Universal Studios on Thursday and Friday of last week 6/17 & 6/18 2010. On Thursday on the way out. around 7 PM we caught a glimpse of your performance (less then a minute of it).
We could not stay long as we had to meet some friends for dinner and were in a rush.
All my boys could keep asking was if we could come see you the next day since we were coming back. Well we saw your performance on Friday evening around the same time. 7 PM'ish.
You were awesome. A true performer and my boys really enjoyed your magic. They have been performing magic tricks themselves for 2 years now since they were 8. They are 10 now and still very much interested in Magic.
It was cold that night and you made a comment about getting wet in the water fountains. Well you probably did not notice it, but I was soaked to the bone after playing with the kids in Universal Studios in the water park. Good thing for them they brought a change of clothes, but since I did not I was freezing later that night as you were performing and doing business. I wanted to stay longer and so did the boys but we couldn't. We were just freezing your yatchez off.
All three of us wanted to thank you so much and let you know how awesome your magic is.
Keep up the good work and I have subscribed to your blog so we can stay in tune with what you are up to.
Thank you again,
Luke, Justin & Trevor.
P.S. We are from Vegas, but when we are in SO Cal Again in a few months, we might try to make it out to the Citywalk again.
What time do you usually show up and leave? Are you there 7 days a week?
Monday, June 21, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
I just wanted to take a moment to let you know how much I'm enjoying your "5 Mystic Rings".
Really, really nice work!
Since I'm studying everything I can get my hands on, I've seen (or read of) a number of the moves before - but - one move just dropped my jaw ... the 'Pinky Hang' floored me! What a sweet move!
Is that your move? I've read through the Miller Routine book and didn't see it there (or anywhere else for that matter) ... OMG !
I love that move .. hehe.
What rings are you using (probably Owen's) and what size are they? Look like 13's or maybe even 15's?
Anyway, thank you again for putting out such a fine product.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Looks like some kind of blueberry cake. Was as tasty as it looks. I try and keep my shit in check, but I'm convinced, she likes me fat and happy. For the most part, we try and eat healthy. However sometimes cravings win out. I've had a taste for ribs for at least a few months and finally gave in and tried a rib joint near our place. Was happy I did.
It's strange to think of the relationship that we have with food. It's not always healthy. How many times have I found myself eating my feelings. It's not right. Sometimes, I just want to do some damage on myself. . . . like nachos and cheese dip. Yum. I try and stay away from empty calories and processed sugars. That doesn't always work out. I have a weakness for the sour Jelly Belly's and just about any cookie Polly bakes.
There was a time, a year ago, when I had much better self discipline, I wasn't making any exceptions with regard to calories. Wasn't drinking hardly any alcohol and was on a strict NO COOKIE diet. I was going to the gym more regularly and simply, was in better shape. I've let things slide enough. Gonna get back with the program. . . . as soon as the blueberry cake is gone. . . I swear it. . . . no really. . .
Click Pics to enlarge and see their true deliciousness
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Over and out
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Advertised as the "Siradivarius" of Cups, these modern cups, designed and manufactured by American magician Brett Sherwood, were inspired by engraved cups once owned by the legendary 20th century magician Dai Vernon. Vernon's routine with the Cups and Balls set the modern standard and has strongly influenced nearly all contemporary handlings. These Sherwood cups were spun from sterling silver and then engraved with original designs. Finally, the cups were gold plated on the inside and given gold highlights on the outside. The accompanying balls have a solid core covered by a crocheted exterior.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I'm a lucky guy. I get to hang out with cream of the crop magicians whenever I want. In fact last night I went to a little going away party for Aaron Fisher. Also in attendance was Adam Grace and Billy Goodwin. Not bad company at all. Lucky and blessed am I.
Today at Dean's I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time Carl Williams. 87 year old illusion builder and designer (Has worked for ALL the greats for over half a century!). I've heard his name for years but never thought I'd meet him. We talked for over an hour about the process of restoring Robert Houdin's Light & Heavy Chest for my good friend Ken Klosterman. He also told me some of the work he had done on more than a few pieces in the Copperfield collection. Very cool.
Others in attendance were R Paul Wilson, Alphonso, Pete Biro, Vaclav, and a couple of other cats of obvious stature. I was fooled badly twice, once by R Paul Wilson with an card trick he named after his kids and one by Jim Krenz who did a signed card in box routine (which I wish he hadn't tipped). I love magic and I love magicians. These are my people.
Over the last few years I've gotten to know Mr. Wilson a bit. The more time I spend with him the more I like him. Beyond that, the more I respect his knowledge and talent. Today we talked about the elusive block transfer control in the context of riffle shuffle systems. Paul is BAD ASS. It's hard enough to find someone who can even do it, let alone be able to apply it. Paul did it artfully, without making it look like the chore that it is. Bravo.
Dean did a couple of his signature effects, "Triangle" and "Revelation" both beautifully constructed pieces of magic
One of the things that I love about Dean is that he's always looking for new things to play with. He did this very cool color changing sponge ball thing that messed me up.
Vaclav wowed the gang with a trick where he moves his head in an impossible way. Was fun to hear him and Carl Williams talk about construction.
I was surprised when Alphonso asked me to do my Stripper Deck Pitch. Here I am in a room full of heavy hitters doing a self working deck. BY the end of the session I would also do the Cups and Balls and the Linking Rings.
Lots of magic fun, wherever I go, wherever I am.
It's fun being me.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
I arrived in San Diego at 4:20PM. Shawn & Andy Greget arguing with their GPS and not quite having the easy navigation into the Hilton Bayfront Hotel as I did. We can do no wrong, I thought as I headed to the bar. There he was Tony Chang! He saw me and said loudly, “Tom mother fucking Frank!” I gave him a hug. Tony is the man. When he worked for me at Seattle Magic, he was a college kid at UDub, now he’s an underground legend in NYC. He flatters me to say that I had anything to do with his development.
I met a young man at the bar named Shane Cobalt (from Toronto). Obsessed with Steamboat Playing Cards and Erdnase, I immediately liked him. Within minutes we were discussing the SWE Shift (and I didn’t even bring it up); I knew I was at the right place.
The first night was low key. Night before cocktail party. Shawn and Andy finally arrived from Phoenix and we checked into our room. The party was a gas. Lots of familiar faces David Blaine, Steve Cohen, Juan Tamariz and a gaggle of teenage card jugglers, warmed my heart.
Shawn & I circulated while andy set up his book room.
Tricks, music, booze, cards and friends. Night one.
Juan Tamariz did an impromptu performance but I couldn’t see, so after 10 min. I retreated to refill my drink.
Time flew by, and around 3AM Shane, a fellow named Tony Cabral and I went out the front lobby to enjoy a cigar and continue our discussions on our fair art.
This was going to be quite a conference, I could tell.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Spent time at the beach yesterday and today. Yesterday to catch up on my tan and walk on the beach, today to meet a magician at an Irish Pub (on St. Patty's Day) and to talk card tricks. I showed up at Kilkenny's at 2:30PM. Fer Basteri, was in the process of wowing some chicks with a card trick when I arrived. We geeked out pretty good for a couple of hours. Fun to meet a new friend.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
The line up of talent is exceptional and they boast a "different" type of conference; more interactive, whatever that means. Check out this List of Presenters. I think I'm going to learn a lot. Haven't been to a magic convention in a few years. Always a hoot to see old friends from around the country. Shawn said our old friend Gary Plants will be there. Tony Chang in NYC these days, worked for me at Seattle Magic, he'll be there. Last Minute Special Guest, David Blaine, looking forward to meeting him for the first time. Should be a magical time.
Life is good. Celebrated Polly's birthday last week at Pizzeria Mozza. Here's a picture of the pizza she ordered. I got their meat lovers pizza with homemade Bacon, salami, fennel sausage, guanciale, tomato & mozzarella. It was nice to go to a romantic dimly lit restaurant, hold her hand and look lovingly into her beautiful blue eyes. I'm a lucky guy to have such a terrific woman love me. It's going on 4 years now and still not one argument. Wonderful on so many levels, Polly makes me happy. She puts up with me, no easy feat. Cigar smoking, card shuffling, coin dropping, shit that's 3 strikes right there for most women. For whatever weird reason, it just seems to work. What can I say, she rocks my world.
Magic, friends, food and love. What more could I really want. I'm simple guy looking for a simple life in a complicated world. Finding the balance between life's pain and pleasure is the trick that life forces you to navigate.
Saturday, March 06, 2010
I met Troy Hooser over 20 years ago back in Ohio (where we both are from). Those were the days, footloose and fancy free. One of the nice things about living in LA is that sooner or later, all of my pals come in to town to work the Castle. I've always been a fan of Troy's work. He's always had a soft touch with the coins an exceptional ability to put together commercial routines that are foolers; like his "Charming Chinese Challenge" and his variations of "3 Fly". He opened with coin routine for his Parlor Act, after that the rest was new to me. A sort of mental routine with socks and his trademark low key personality. I thought he did a great job.
I've really been enjoying visiting the Castle these days. When I moved here almost 4 years ago, sometimes I felt like the odd man out. But now, I feel a bit more like a member of the community. Got to meet a Facebook friend, Friday night as well. A fellow named Tony Blake. We had a nice chat upstairs. Also spent some a little time talking to Maurice Newman. Another person who has always made feel welcome at the Castle is Vanessa Lauren. Nice spending a few minutes finding out what she's been up to. Later jammed a bit at the Owl Bar w/ Billy Goodwin and David Jockish. We ended up closing the joint, then heading over to Billy's apartment, walking distance from the Castle. We did card tricks well into the night and I didn't end up going to bed till 4:30AM.
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons malted milk powder
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 3/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup malted milk balls (like Whoppers or Maltesers), coarsely chopped in a food processor
3/4 cup (9 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and malted milk powder together.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until completely combined. Scrape down the bowl, add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until combined.
Add the flour mixture in two batches until just combined. Add the malted milk balls, chocolate chips and walnuts and beat until just combined, about 10 seconds. The mixture will be thick. Turn the mixture out into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly.
Bake in the center of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the blondie comes out clean.
Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. These blondies taste delicious warm. Cut them into squares and serve with ice cream. They also taste great at room temperature. Once thoroughly cooled, cover tightly with plastic wrap and keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.