Monthly Archives: October 2013

Where Are The Women In Magic

A while back I wrote about the women in magic, who had their own act and but I only included those who attended Magie Montreal.  For some reason I became interested in that subject again. Why do so few women go into magic? There is so much talk about equality of the sexes. I’ve heard it said that there are now more women doctors than male doctors. The same goes for lawyers. Will the tables turn for magicians too?

October  7-13, 2013 was Women in Magic Week at the famous Magic Castle in Hollywood. Last year was the first time the Magic Castle had a Woman’s Week in Magic.

If you are seriously interested in this topic and its history you might want to read a Thesis on the subject, Conjuring the Modern Woman: Women and their Representation in Magic’s Golden Age  by Angela Marie Sanchez. If you know anything about the history of magic you will be familiar with many of the names and it will provide great insight into the topic.

I’m sure some young lads will go dressed as magicians tomorrow evening, for Halloween, but will there be any young girls? Go out and buy your daughters a magic set for Christmas. Besides fun and new learning experiences it will give her self-confidence and who knows, one day she may star at the magic castle, besides being a doctor. The two are not mutually exclusive.

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Sheer Magic with Chris Barillaro (and Company)

We went to see Ain’t Misbehavin’ at the Segal Centre in Montreal. If you are a “Fats” Waller enthusiast or not, it was exceptional. We’ve see it before in  years gone by, once in B.C., once in New York, and enjoyed them all but this was by far, the best.

Why am I talking about a musical when magic and magicians are what you want to hear about? Because Chris Barillaro, fellow magician, who we’ve known since he was a kid, happens to be the musical director of this fabulous production. Not only is he the musical director, but he played piano for the full 90 minutes of the show, jazz, ragtime, stride, and Phil will tell you…it ain’t easy!

Which brings me to another topic and also the same topic. In our 37 years of being in the magic business, we find that many magicians are also musicians, writers,  artists, and actors, comedians. Many are multi-talented and they bring this talent with them when they perform. Rhythm, timing, vision, imagination all go into making magic great. We sell stuff in packages and with your talent, you turn it into miracles. We take our hats off to you. Keep it up! And I hope you got to see the show Ain’t Misbehavin, which as I said was sheer magic! Congratulations, Chris! It was supposed to end on Oct. 20th but was held over until the 23 which is tonight.

This is not to say that people are born with these multi-talents. If you love magic and you want to perform there are books and DVDs to help you. Like Magic and Showmanship by Henning Nelms,  Showmanship for Magicians  by Dariel Fitzkee, Exploring Magical Presentations DVD by Eugene Burger to name a few. You’ll be a better magician if you explore these avenues.

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Making Magic More Magical

With the constant inundation of new magic tricks on the market, one is hard pressed to know what to choose. And I’m speaking as a magic dealer. I can only imagine what my customers must go through.

There are the classics, where one cannot go wrong. The Svengali Deck, Invisible Deck, Mental Photo Deck, Cardtoon Deck, Stripper Deck, Rising Card are some of the trick decks that I would endorse as fabulous ( depending on the magician, of course). Linking rings, Cups and Balls, Sponge Balls, Chinese Sticks…you can’t go wrong with those either.

But what about all these new things and gadgets that come out. How good are they? If you read the write ups – each effect is the best ever in the whole world!  I must confess we do not know every single item intimately on our site. There are literally thousands of effects available. We get the clue that something is excellent when a pro buys it and his best friends come in a few days later and order it, too. That happened with Ring Flight Revolution, and Nest of Wallets, Tool DVD, Tarantula, Get Sharky, etc. The word gets out. These are not cheap tricks, but they are good.

John Kennedy’s Mystery Box was a huge hit, whereby a little wooden box with a cover on it sat on the table in full view all the time. A spectator selected a card, signed it and put it in the deck. When asked to find their card in the deck, the spectator is unable to. The magician or spectator removes the cover of the box, and sees a folded card inside. It turns out to be the selected signed card. David Regal just upped the ante. He came out with an acrylic clear box with a folded card in it from the beginning, which turns out to be the signed and selected card. It’s another hit. Its called Clarity Box. Check it out! How much more magical can you get than that?!

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Magic of Bottles and Bottles of Magic

It’s a good thing that once, a long time ago, someone invented the bottle. According to Yahoo, glass bottles date back to 1500 B.C. I bet there was some magician figuring out how he could develop a trick with it, way back then. The Bologna Bottle is an interesting bottle. It was not made for magic but a magician found a use for it and it is called The Devil’s Flask according to Wikipedia. But you really don’t have to go to Google or Wikipedia for tricks with bottles. Just go to the Perfect Magic site.  I was amazed when I decided to look into it. I found

  • Bottle Thru Body
  • Premium Vanishing and Appearing Bottle, which is self-expanatory
  • The Anything is Possible Bottle, whereby a deck of cards – still in its box and  wrapper – is found in an unaltered milk bottle I (if you remember milk  bottles) Now we have to get Shawn Farquhar to get Ellen Degeneris’ signed card in that sealed deck in that glass milk bottle. That would be a trick!
  • The Multiplying Bottles, which Phil always used as his closer
  • Romhany’s Comedy Multiplying Bottles ( although Phil’s routine was funny enough when he forgot to put a shot glass in its place, so to an audience of several hundred, he had to explain that it was an invisible glass)
  • Of course there is Coin in Bottle, and don’t forget the Cap in Bottle.
  • Tricky Bottles a classic comedy routine
  • Splash Bottle, whereby a bottle of wine appears miraculously
  • the One Dream Bottle,
  • the No Way Production Bottles,
  • The 20 oz Production
  • Norm Neilson’s Vanishing Bottles
  • The Model Bottle, which I am patiently waiting for as I write this,
  • Bottle through the Table,
  • Comedy Passe Passe Bottles
  • Glastion by Nefesch, a signed card through sealed bottle
  • Atlantis
  • Airborne with the Greatest of Ease or Floating Glass plus
  • Passing Thru DVD
  • Labelled DVD
  • Rattled DVD
  • New Silkola

…and the list goes on.

So after Phil read this to check it out,  I asked him if he had a favourite bottle effect, and he said, “Sure, I can make the contents of a bottle of Grey Goose Vodka vanish in no time.” He’s also a comedian.

Do any of you have a bottle effect that you particularly like or get a great reaction from? How about sharing?

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Magic and the Ambitious Card

Why is the Ambitious Card called the Ambitious Card? Because it always goes to the top. I never thought about it until I was doing the banner and  write-up for Ambitio. Is there a magician that does not have a routine for the Ambitious Card?  When I googled our site for it , 10 pages of lists came up of DVDs, Books, and routines all containing the Ambitious Card. There are gimmicks, non gimmicks, special endings etc, etc.

The creator of the trick was none other than Dai Vernon, and it was known as the Trick That Fooled Houdini and it was Dai Vernon who fooled him. Those were the days, but it was even before my time.  I suppose a university course could consist just on that one subject. Who gave it their own special twist? Magicians such as Frank Garcia, Daryl, Alan Ackerman, Michael Ammar, Joshua Jay, Paul Wilson, Harry Lorayne, Bill Malone, Ascanio, Darwin ortiz, Tommy Wonder, Michael  Vincent, Bob White, Shawn Farquar,  just to name a few. Houdini made Dai Vernon do the trick for him 10 times and he still couldn’t figure it out.

So if you are not doing an ambitious card routine, maybe its time you looked into it. Some are hard, some are easy, but all these guys can’t be wrong!

Here’s a sample of it with Michael Ammar.

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