We see a lot of custom-designed cards here at GeniiOnline, but decks built for cardistry aren’t always the right choice for illusionists, no matter how cool they look. Magician and graphic designer Patrick Kun took those design sensibilities and added some magical utility with his Mirage playing cards – and now they come in black.
The Eclipse variant of the Mirage deck features the same distinct swirl pattern and crosshatching background as the pink Dawn or gray-green Dusk cards, but comes in an elegant and striking black and white arrangement. They’re also printed on a different cardstock than the previous two editions of Eclipse, as Kun worked directly with Legends Playing Cards to print the cards on special “Cardistry” paper from Taiwan. You can take a look at the design and build for yourself in the unboxing video below.
While the spiral design makes these cards perfect for making your favorite cardistry maneuvers pop, they’ve also got a few secrets to help keep you one step ahead with your tricks. For one, they’re marked – no telling exactly how, but each deck comes with a secret link inside the box that reveals the method. They also come pre-shuffled in Juan Tamariz’s Mnemonica stack, so you can do sealed deck tricks right when your deck arrives.
If you’re interested in picking up your own deck, you can snag one from Art of Play or directly from Patrick Kun’s website for $10 (plus shipping). They’re limited to a run of just 5000 decks, so get your order in now because like the previous variants, they will sell out.
According a recent post on popular magic blog, The Jerx, the real distinction between the professional and amateur magician isn’t the money lining the former’s pockets, but the context of their work.
“Are your performing theatrical/presentational magic, or are you performing social magic?” it asks.
It’s a rhetorical question, so don’t answer that, and you probably shouldn’t be answering questions posed to you by magic blogs on the internet anyway, but if you are a budding trickster looking to get down and dirty with close up social magic, The Jerx does have some advice.
I can sum up the most basic elements in one easy to remember cliche: Be yourself.
Yeah, I know, you just sighed your pelvis out through your nostrils. Everyone breaks out that old chestnut at some point. I’ve lost track of the amount of people who’ve told me to be myself, only to ask me to stop being myself ten minutes later, but in this scenario it’s solid advice. The key to social magic, according to our mysterious tutor, is the illusion of spontaneity.
Social magic should resemble a normal, casual conversation right up until you draw the right card, pull a coin from somewhere a coin should not be, or saw someone’s wife in half. Keeping things natural isn’t just about execution, it’s also about context. Spontaneous patter and choice trick selection can be the difference between your audience talking about the magician they just met in a tweet or in a police report.
The key mistakes that budding social magicians make most often are:
Overly rehearsed patter: You want your presentation to flow like a conversation, not like a performance of Henry VIII. Keep it light. Take a cue from The Incredibles and don’t get caught monologuing.
Forced Jokes: Notice how reading this article makes you want to push me into a ravine? That’s all the forced jokes eating away at your patience. Same goes for magic patter. Funny people don’t need jokes to be funny. Unfunny people can’t use jokes to be funny. Cut them out.
Repetitive Tricks: The longer a trick goes, the less spontaneous it appears. Pulling someone’s card from their pocket is cute, exhuming their dead grandmother and finding their card clutched to her cold, skeletal breast is a bit much. Pushing a trick too far or having an obvious structure to your performance will leave close audiences uncomfortable rather than amazed.
And that’s just a surface level summary. The post goes into an impressive amount of detail about the structure and psychology of close performances. You can read the full thing here.
The roots of magic aren’t all elegant stage shows, top hats, and bunnies. Back in the day, magic was basically a way to swindle folks at carnivals. It’s generally good that the craft has gone legit, but the basic concepts that go into palming a coin are the same as those for palming a watch.
A Calgary Sun reporter found that out first hand. He interviewed a Cirque du Soleil performer who taught to him, kinesthetically and repeatedly, just how misdirection works. The reporter is an awfully good sport about the whole thing, so have yourself a little chuckle at this rapid-fire display.
Being an escape artist requires a ridiculous amount of physical training, especially when we’re talking about strapping on handcuffs and plunging into a tank full of water. But as Kristin Johnson (aka Lady Houdini) points out in the video above, there’s definitely a psychological aspect to performing the death-defying feats she does on a routine basis. The London Free Press spoke with Johnson at the Western Fair in Canada back in September and just recently posted their interview on YouTube. She talks about the amount of work that goes into performing an escape, and the importance of staying calm under extreme danger. Check out the interview above, and visit Johnson’s website for more information on when and where she’s performing next.
The televised talent show is having quite a moment in the sun, but that means magicians have yet another avenue for showcasing their skills. This week kicks off a new season of Showtime at the Apollo, the program that kickstarted the whole genre. The premiere episode is on Thursday, March 1, at 9 pm Eastern on FOX, and Steve Harvey will host.
The reboot is going to have at least a little bit of magic. Bedros Spidey Akkelian, a mentalist and hypnotist who performs under the stage name Spidey, shared to Facebook that the Apollo will be one of his televised performances this year. We’ll be staying tuned to see if any other prestidigitators manage to wow the crowds at the famed theater.
We may not have the ability to create potions or wands made with unicorn tail hairs, but the modern world does have some little hints of magic to it. For example, the British Library’s exhibit for Harry Potter: A History of Magic is now available as part of the Google Arts & Culture app. That means, wherever you are, you can explore the images, interviews, and articles behind the popular exhibit.
It’s not quite as good as waving a wand, but the interactive magic that lets viewers examine the Ripley Scroll with its philosopher’s stone recipe is a kind of magic in its own way. Other documentation includes work from master magician of the written word, J.K. Rowling. The online version includes an early sketch the author made of the Hogwarts grounds and her original pitch letter.
Other real-world magic includes the tiny computer that fits in your pocket but still allows you to immerse yourself in the Harry Potter world. (For you muggles, that’s the mobile game Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery.)
Dan & Dave’s Private Reserve is a simply beautiful and beautifully simple deck of cards. There’s no gimmick, no theme: just classic good looks, understated design and quality card stock with a splash of gold foil on the back. The cards are printed by the United States Playing Card Company and housed in a classy black and gold box that’s individually numbered and held closed with a wax seal for that “look how fancy my deck of cards is you filthy peasant,” feel.
If you’ve ever felt the urge to stalk the night streets in a mink coat, mercilessly throwing playing cards at homeless people, this is the deck you want.
But, as the name implies, the Private Reserve is difficult to get your hands on. The Buck brothers (the aforementioned Dan & Dave, themselves performers of no small renown) have stopped selling the deck directly and are instead using their supply to sweeten the pot in occasional promotional events. Every now and again a sealed specimen crops up on eBay, but sellers are looking for upwards of $100 for the deck.
A more sensible option might be to take part in Dan & Dave’s latest promotion. For a limited time they’ll be including a “free” Private Reserve deck in every order over $150 made on their online store. The brothers’ promotional material suggests a Magic Surface might fit the bill. At $325 a pop, that might seem like overkill, but considering how quickly the rest of their stock is selling out, it might be your best bet if you’ve already ordered the mink coat.
Every magician worth their loaded dice knows how important it is to set the scene for your act. Some performers do it with their wardrobe or with elaborately painted sets. Some do it with music. In the case of the renowned Penn and Teller, that music is all the work of Mike Jones. He first teamed up with the magic world’s top duo act when Penn Jillette was struck by Jones’ piano playing in a bar. He’s been with them for about 16 years.
Jones joined the Rick Keene Music Scene podcast for a lengthy conversation about his music and magic. The second of the three-part chat was recently published, and he’s got lots to say about the state of the music industry in particular. Jones shares his insights about the uphill battle to continue landing gigs, stability, and the future of jazz. It’s not easy to make it in any performance field, whether your passion is jazz piano or card magic. This interview is a reminder of both the challenges any full-time performer faces and the tenacity it takes to make it.
Listen to both posted parts here.
For a convention as massive as Blackpool, it would take months to document all of it on video, so it should be no surprise that we’re still finding new clips from the event. Here are two more highlight videos to indulge your FOMO.
First up, some highlights from Pete James. His compilation includes an act from Brendan Rodrigues (who also impressed Chris Ramsay), alongside some barroom blues, a few slick Rubik’s Cube tricks, and just a handful of pranks.
James Grossman Magic doesn’t have much on his YouTube channel, but he also shared some highlights from a visit to the convention. The tricks are great, as are the soundtrack choices. It’s particularly refreshing to see so many younger performers captured on film rather than just the seasoned veterans. The future of magic is looking very bright indeed.
Illusionist, comedian, three-time comedy magician of the year winner, and back flip enthusiast Reggie Rice is looking for female assistants in the Hollywood, MD area to perform in shows on March 24th and May 24th,
Specifically, he’s looking for women that are over 18-years-old, bubbly, outgoing, between 5’0 and 5’9, between 100 and 150 pounds and are comfortable playing a character in his eclectic stage shows which include traditional magic, stage gags, stand-up, offbeat cosplay and – and I cannot emphasize this enough – back flips.
Previous dance experience is a plus (and pay will scale based on experience as well as stage presence), but Rice stresses he’s looking for outgoing, entertaining performers that can connect with his audiences. Performers are expected to attend several unpaid practice sessions and will be paid after the show.
If you’re interested, you can call Rice at 240-298-6077 or 202-505-4FUN, or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org