Monthly Archives: January 2012

Magicians and Their Wallets

Most people have a wallet. It’s what magicians would call an ordinary everyday object. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons they are so appealing to magicians. There are many DVD’s and books dealing with Magic with Everyday Objects. It makes the magic  more wondrous when achieved with a familiar object. I counted the wallets on our site and there are 36 different wallets which does not exhaust the supply as I’m sure there are others which we just don’t carry. This is besides the books and DVD’s on the subject. The question is “How many wallets does a magician actually need?” I can answer that, because before Phil was a Magic Dealer and owner of Perfect Magic he was a magician. Guess what he used to collect? You got it. Magic Wallets. Every one that came out was better or had a feature in it the previous ones didn’t have, so he had to have them all. Sound familiar? Believe it or not, that wasn’t the worst part of his collectibles. It was rather cheap in comparison. He’s a musician, remember. A piano player. Yes, at one time I believe we had 4 pianos. A grand in the living room,  an upright honky tonk with thumb tacks in the pads in the basement, an electric piano and a piano in the country house we used to rent when the kids were young. But I digress.

The most popular thing you can do with a wallet is make a signed card that has disappeared from a deck appear in the zipped compartment of a wallet. How did it get there without the spectator’s knowledge? I knew because Phil collected them. But then one day, we were at a convention in Chicago. We had a dealer’s both filled with all sorts of things. Next to me was Peter Scarlett from England. All he had was wallets and 2 other tricks, card tricks I think. The back table was stacked with wallets. Tons of them. I may have written about this in another blog, but couldn’t find it. I could not, for the life of me figure out how he did the trick. It looked like an ordinary hip pocket wallet. he never palmed a card. He called it the Pimpernel Notepad, but its a wallet. I guess because he is from England they call their dollar bills notes. Makes sense. I watched him over and over. Phil watched him. We had no idea how he did it. Nor did any of the magicians at that Chicago convention. He sold out. We have been selling them in the shop ever since. It must have been in the early 1990’s because he came to Magie Montreal in 1995, our 16th Annual Magic Convention.

Well, now there is something new on the market. You don’t even need a wallet. It’s called ANY Signed CARD to ANY Spectators WALLET by Michael Ammar and Jeff  Kaylor. It got an excellent write up in the Genii. I’m curious to know if any of my readers have it and what they think of it. I look forward to your feedback.

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Magicians! Do You Get MUM?

If you’re a member of the Society of American Magicians you automatically get MUM, their magazine with all the reports from the different chapters, as well advertising, tricks that are taught,  featured  artists (magicians), reviews on books, DVD’s and tricks on the market, and magician columnists with advice and stories etc, and all that jazz! Michael Close is the editor and writes a column as well. It carries a great deal of diversity and I’m sure the members look forward to it each month.

As I went through the January 2012 issue, I came across 2 things I would like to share, in case you are not a member of the organization.

George Schindler, an old friend, magician, and Dean of the American Society of Magicians, has a monthly column called the Dean’s Diary. His topic this month was rising cards, more specifically, the Devano Rising Cards.  In the last paragraph of his column he writes that in 1977 he was honored at the magic Circle in London and was chatting with a fellow there who was interested in rising cards. The fellow asked him which he preferred, and George said the Arne Rising Card, the person he was talking to preferred the Devano. They discussed the pros and cons of each, and each was left with their original opinion. As the guy turned to leave, George asked him his name. He laughed and said Mitch Devano.

The other article was about the audience you are performing for. Rod Danilewicz writes a column called Confessions of a Paid Amateur. While he agrees that the magic and presentation are important, the most important part of the equation is sometimes forgotten – the Audience.

He recommends 2 books. The first is In A Class By Himself (which is an older book, but is still available), Jon Racherbaumer’s book about Don Alan. The second is Al Schneider Magic. Rod says that many people get the books and only bother with the tricks contained in them. He says what’s more important is why, where and how he uses them. He says that information alone, without the tricks, is worth the price of the books. Something to think about! If you have those books, take another look. If not, they are still available and will surely improve your performance!

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Magicians, Beware!

If I asked someone what his profession or occupation was and they told me they were stunt men or sky divers or boxers, I could understand that they might encounter some rough days, some accidents, some bruises. But a magician doing walk around or close-up magic? It’s a stretch…

One of our customers, Vincent Pimpare, came into our magic shop last week to stock up on supplies. I told him I wouldn’t use his name, but I’d like to tell his story. He told me to go right ahead and use his name. He didn’t mind at all. We’ve known Vincent a long time; he’s polite, considerate and a good guy. I couldn’t help but notice he had some bruises under and around his eye. Black eye? Sort of. I didn’t want to embarrass him so I didn’t ask any questions, but somehow the subject of his black eye came up. He was at a party on New Years. It was at a bar. Everyone was partying and having fun, Vincent was doing magic and some guy was jealous that he was showing his girlfriend some tricks and she was really enjoying it and  perhaps this guy had a little too much to drink. Instead of telling him to stop, he punched him in the face. Phil asked if he punched him back. He said, No, I’m not like that… And he’s not.

While on the subject of punches in the eye… Phil and I were at a Ragtime Festival; much like a magic convention, only instead of watching magicians we listen to and watch musicians. Not only that, there is a booth and they sell their CD’s.  Everyone’s CD’s are at one booth and I used to help them out with the sales. It reminded me of all the Magic Conventions we used to go to. I had this tremendous urge to say, “Would you like to see a magic trick?” But I digress. Phil used to help then out too. He would MC, introducing the various musicians and bands. One evening all the musicians were in the dining room finishing their dinner, when Phil got up from the table, saying he had to prepare for the evening show. I stayed seated with the others people at the table, and then I decided to go with Phil and keep him company. But at the very moment that I turned around and stood up, Phil decided to take a cake or roll with him to the show room. So his closed fist came into contact with my left eye and everyone said they’d be my witness. I ended up in the hospital in 1000 Islands (where the Festival was) as I was seeing flashing lights. Luckily there was no damage and we were back at the festival within an hour.

I guess the short and long of it is….you never know, magician or musician where that rogue punch will come from. There’s danger everywhere!

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There’s No Business Like Show Business Part 2

Home sweet Home! We’re back at work and a shipment has already arrived from Murphy’s which I should unpack, but If I get involved in real work I won’t get back to the blog. Besides I may forget. It’s already becoming a blur. Last week I week I wrote part one, the trials and tribulations of Show Business, Phil’s first 3 out of 9 piano gigs that he had.  I will continue with the rest.

Before I do, in case you don’t read the comments or didn’t read the blog, I must relate one of my readers comments as I think it’s the epitome of the subject. In his younger days he was in a acting troupe and when the technical director was on the phone with the person in charge of the venue they were invited to perform at, he asked about lighting for the stage. The person on the other end said, Yes, there were ONE…TWO…  TWO WINDOWS! Don’t tell me you didn’t laugh at that!

Gig 4: They were expecting us. They had a real piano. It was the one Phil was to play. Everyone was already there ready to celebrate New Years with their hats on and blowing their horns. It was festive, indeed. Phil sat down to test the piano and played away. I could see he was happy. I went over to him and said, ” So you’re happy?” “Yes, he said, but it would be better if it was tuned, but hey, you can’t expect everything!”

Gig 5: No problem.

Gig 6: A problem. And I think it was Phil’s fault. They had a beautiful grand piano, a large hall pretty well filled. Phil was having a grand old time and so was the audience. He was playing and singing and his mike went dead. I went up to the stage and pushed the switch and it played, but when I took my finger off it stopped. NO WAY was I going to sit there thoughout the concert holding a switch. Phil has a back up in his car, but the thought of interrupting the show was not an option for me. Fortunately the activity director had a wireles mike which worked great! Whew! Phil had not recharged the battery, but he thinks their wireless sound system interfered with his wireless system.  I don’t think so.

Gig 7: Excellent all around

Gig 8: We had played here before. It’s a ritzy place with a grand piano on  a dance floor. Phil looks at the dance floor. No piano. “Where’s the piano?” asks Phil.

“You want a piano?” she asks.

I nearly fell over laughing. It was just too much. But all ended well, as they had only moved it to a different spot.

Gig 9: Perfection. You forget all the others when this happens! The Activity director thanked us over and over and sent an email the next morning, saying how everyone had such a wonderful time…blah …blah blah…!

Did you have any experiences you’s care to share? Just write it in the comments. We’d love to hear from you! As they say, Misery loves company!

Happy New Year everyone!

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