Monthly Archives: July 2014

Magic Camp and all that Jazz!

Most of the people I know have been to summer camp. I never went. When I was a kid my parents rented a cottage on a lake in the Laurentians and we’d spend a blissful summer there. My mother’s sister, who who is now 99, and her family either shared a house with us or rented near by. Always on a lake and with a boat. Always had fun but I wondered what it would be like to go to camp like my friends did.

Now in my 73rd year I finally get to go to camp. Not only a camp, but just in case there is not enough magic in my life, it turns out to be a  Magic Camp, Sorcerers Safari. You never know how friends you have as a child will affect you in life. How did we come to be invited to Scorcerers Safari, not to work, just to go and relax and have fun. This may have had something to do with it.

Mike Segal is the creator and owner of Scorcerer’s Safari. He lives in Toronto, but his family is from Montreal. As fate would have it, it turns out that Mike’s mother was was my husband’s (Phil Matlin of Perfect Magic) first girlfriend, when he was about 8 years old. Last time we were in Toronto, we arranged for Mike and his mother to be at Browser’s Den in Toronto so these childhood friends could reconnect. We all met. It is also noteworthy that at a birthday party at Mike’s mother’s house when she was little and Phil (also little) was a guest, someone brought a magic kit as a gift. Mike’s grandmother went into the kitchen, opened the kit, learned a few tricks and had a magic show for the kids. It was the first time Phil saw a magic trick.

I wrote about this in an earlier post  but I hadn’t been invited to the magic camp then. So when Phil called Mike and told him we would accept his gracious invitation, he also told him how excited I was to finally go to camp. Mike’s answer,”Be sure to tell Evy that it is not a hotel.”

We are leaving August 14th  and will be back Tuesday the 26th, so if you need anything let us know before that. We will not be spending the whole time in Camp. It is 2 and a half hours northeast of Toronto on a lake. Should be fun!

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Save When You Visit Perfect Magic

The good news is that we have about 6 thousand items on our on line catalog. The bad news is that we don’t have room for all of them in our shop. Yes, we have a magic shop. We keep about 1500 items in the shop, the tried and tested, coins cards, close-up, stage illusions, etc. So you might want something you see on line, but when you get here we may not have it in stock. Bad for you, bad for me.

The good news is, if you want something specific, we don’t want you to come for nothing. We suggest you call first. If you are coming in from out of town, and you know you want something phone on our 800 toll free number and we can usually have it in a day or two. If you call and we don’t have it, we’ll get it for you, if humanly possible, and you won’t come for nothing and we’ll call or email you you when it comes in.

To encourage you to do that we offer a 5% discount, just for calling, whether its for a product or to see if we’re open and whether we have the product or not. You still get the discount if you tell us who is calling. Good for you, good for me.

By the way, when you order something we don’t have, usually we don’t open it. We order it and send it on or let you know its in so you can pick it up. Being in Quebec, we have some customers who don’t speak English and don’t understand the instructions, so we open those, figure it out so we can explain it to them. It gives us a chance to see what’s good at the same time. Two tricks came in yesterday that really fooled Phil when I tried it out on him. Would have fooled me too had I not read the instructions first. Twin Towers by Joker Magic is one and the one I especially loved was Jewellery Box Prediction by IndoMagic. Both Mentalism. It great to see something clever and well made, considering all the junk you see on the market these days!

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Magic and Apps.

I confess, I’m not a techie, not even close. But somehow, that qualified me in part, to be a Grandmother  Judge at the International Startup Festival in Montreal last week at les Terrasses Bonsecours at the old Port .  This is my 4th year at it. Last Wednesday morning I got up at the ungodly hour of 5:00am as another grandmother and I were being interviewed on Daybreak at Radio Canada on the CBC to talk about why they have Grandmother Judges (6 this year) and why there is always such a line in front of our tent. I guess part of the reason is that the first year we chose  Guy Rosen of Onavo and he had an app that reduced the data on an iPhone thus reducing the consumers cost to a fraction of what it would normally be. Facebook bought his company a few months ago for more than  $150,000,000.00. We’re not the only Judges there of course, there are the investment capitalists with deep pockets, and other prizes as well.

Over the years various magicians have come into the shop and showed me tricks using their iPad or iPhone. There are apps out there that are amazing. We sell tricks that are iPhone oriented, like Apple 2 iPhone, iFoam, the Ultimate iPhone gimmick, iPhone for Fun, Phoney Magnet Version 2 -iPhone to name a few. There is one trick that is super great and involves an app, but check to see that the person you are doing it for does not have a weak heart, as it can be terrifying to those who are afraid of spiders…Magic Spider Pro Pack.  I confess again, I don’t even have an iPhone. I do have a cell phone though. I’m still having trouble learning to use the phone in the office! But I digress.

We heard so many pitches this year. (90 seconds is all they have to convince us) So many were amazing. We finally agreed on one, as it was not only amazing, but in our opinion, urgent. Dr. Ofer Avital of NeuroScan has an app for an iPhone whereby Autism can be detected in a baby 3 to 6 months old in a minute.  Not a cure of course, but if it is detected early enough, the child can be helped a great deal. He said it will be like a thermometer is to fever and like a sugar testing kit is to diabetics. He wants every doctor to have one in his office and every baby to be checked. It was all good. He had an excellent presentation and an excellent app. Good luck Dr. Avital.

 

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Magic and the Power of Patter: Part 3

So today I had a twelve year old boy and his dad in the shop buying magic. Their home is way up north. No magic shops there but the boy did and loved magic.  He was a smart kid. When I  showed him a trick, and when I came up with a line that made him laugh he would say to his dad. “Remember that, in case I forget it.” At that young age, he realized the importance of entertaining as well as doing a trick. Most kids, adults too, are just waiting to see the magic. Yes, they laugh at the jokes, listen to the story, etc. but never dream that it is an integral part of the trick. Rather than focus on what you are saying they are watching carefully, to try to catch you. They bought everything I showed them, went “sleightly” over budget but didn’t mind. It was all good.

In Patter: Part 2 I told you how patter can save a show. I may have told you this story in an earlier blog, and it has nothing to do with magic. Phil was playing piano at the Jazztime Ragtime Festival in 1000 Islands, He was up next and the person playing played one of the numbers he was going to play. It’s like someone does a dove act just before you are about to do yours. He said to me, “Maybe I’ll play something else instead.” I said, “No, your version is completely different than his and you took such pains to plan your program.” He agreed.

Now he was up at bat. He sat down and played a few numbers well, and then played the song before the one we were debating, and a song he knew inside out and backwards, he started thinking about his next number, while playing this one. Suddenly he found himself miserably lost, had no idea where he was in the song, tried a few times to get back to it and couldn’t and then realized if he could find a certain chord he could get back into it and he did and finished the song followed by a weak, pity applause at the end. Eugene Burger said in his lecture that I attended, “If you don’t prepare your words in advance, they will not pop into your head when  you need them.” I guess Phil was the exception that proved the rule. Of course he never planned to mess up like that but it happened.  After the applause “died” down, Phil leaned into the microphone and said, “In case you’re wondering, I learned that song from a broken record.” Everyone laughed and he got a thunderous applause and continued with his next piece with great success.  As I write this I realize that maybe half the people reading this don’t know what a record is, let alone a broken record, nor will I explain. You can look it up on your iPads, or whatever.

The thing is that people want you to succeed. When you don’t they feel bad for you. You don’t deserve an applause, but they applaud anyway, weakly though it many be. There is tension in the audience and they can’t help you. And you tell a joke and break the tension and they are so happy and relieved that they will applaud their hearts out! Actually some tricks are dependent on failing a few times and then succeeding. It’s something to think about and you can prepare in advance as to what to say if the outcome isn’t what you wanted. But you have to think about it.

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Magic and The Power of Patter: Part 2.

I was inspired to write thePart 1 on patter  because of an incident here in the shop, but I was carried away and did not want to make it too lengthy.

Someone came in and bought a Cardtoon Deck. One of my favorites. The effect is easy, but the instructions, for some reason, are complicated. A few years back a real pro  from out of town bought it and called me the next day and said,”When you did it, it was so simple and here I am working on it for 2 hours and I still can’t do it like you did! In two minutes I explained it to him over the phone and he said “That’s all there is to it?” That was it. He was miffed because they made it so complicated. Because of that I now always show the person how the trick is done so they don’t have to struggle. The last thing I want is for some one to put down a trick in frustration and never pick it up again. We want you to succeed.

Which brings me to the incident. After he bought a few tricks I told him I would explain one to him, Cardtoon. I explained it, he understood it. Then he said, Let me try. As a rule I would say no, you practice it at home, but for some reason, I said okay. He did it, using the patter I used, but not WHERE I used it. I take out the selected card and put “it” face up at the bottom of the deck, saying “I’ll put your card here”, (as I do that )”because it sometimes happens that the person forgets the card they chose.” By this time the card is already face up at the bottom of the deck. When the guy did it, he took out “the card” and said the whole sentence while holding “the card” in the air. When he finished talking, he placed the card at the bottom. I cannot tell you what a difference it makes in the effect, such a seemingly small difference. Anyone watching would have a chance to see that card for a long time, which would not be a good thing. So it’s not just the patter, its the timing and the patter.

So when you are performing, keep that in mind. If you have a move you want to make that you are not anxious for them to see, look them in the eye and start talking to them. They will look at you, maybe just for a second, but a second is all you might need. I keep the conversation related to the trick, or it could be a joke relating to it. It’s misdirection and it works, every time. Patter can save your show, but that’s another story!

 

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