Monthly Archives: October 2014

Experience: The Great Teacher In Magic and Life

People of different ages come into the shop that want to do Birthday Parties. Some don’t have a lot to spend. They don’t want to “waste” it on teaching books or video’s. They want the fast track. So they ask for my advice and I gladly give it to them. I know what works and I’m happy to share. The problem is they saw a trick on youtube that they want and it usually trumps the party stuff. Some have done magic before and perhaps didn’t get the reaction the guy got on youtube, but if he only had that trick, he could get that reaction too. It’s hard for them to understand that its not the magic, its the magician.
I also find that the older the person, the more they are willing to listen to the advice they themselves asked for. It’s harder for a younger person, because they know everything. In a way, that’s a good thing, because without that sense of self-confidence no one would do anything. They learn by trial and error; what works and what doesn’t work. Do they know how to treat the kids, the different age levels, etc. They learn. What we may think is silly, kids find hilarious.
There are books and DVDs on the subject that are really helpful. My favorite is Five Minutes With a Pocket Handkerchief. I’ve sold many to magicians who have other books and DVD’s on children’s magic and they all say this is the best. Just to see how he gets a reaction from the kids is worth it. By the way, if you decide to buy it, get the Watch Winder at the same time. Quentin gives a bonus routine using a Watch Winder and everyone comes back for it, so I’ll save you a second trip.
Seriously Silly is also supposed to be excellent and its available in book form or DVD. There are many others. Trevor Lewis Uncut, David Ginn, BoBo. Of course you are not going to do everything they do or even exactly how they do it, but you get to see what’s out there and what you could probably handle.
Oh, and for clowns, we got in a huge foam wand that is supposed to fit in a Pringle’s can. I don’t see how, but then again I didn’t try.

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Trick or Treat – A Movable Audience

image-3491Halloween is just around the corner. Decorations are going up. Candy is being bought. Dentists love Halloween. And the word at the door is “Trick or Treat.” Of course the meaning of that is “Give me a treat or I’ll play a trick on you!”  Do they still have Mat Night? How many still know what that is?

Back to trick or treat. For magician’s it could have a whole new meaning and the two are not mutually exclusive. I know I’m writing for magicians. You are used to going to people’s homes to do a birthday party or some other event but except for friends and family, you leave your home to perform. Here is the “Perfect” opportunity. These are all local kids coming to your house. Treat them to a good trick and a good treat and give them a business card while you’re at it. Who knows, you might pick up a gig or two.

How can we help for the occasion? (I’m smiling now). Well, Perfect Magic  has black sponge balls, orange sponge balls, silks, The Haunted Key, The Voodoo Doll, and we even have orange and black mouth coils. A Rising Card is kind of ghostly, too.  Just don’t keep them there a long time as they have a lot of candy to collect.

 

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A Celebration: Magical and Spritual For Father Cyprian

Father Cyprian

Father Cyprian

 

 

Phil and I were invited to Father Cyprian’s  celebration of his 50th Anniversary of his ordination into the Priesthood.We were at his 25th as well. We don’t know where the 25 years went. The trip didn’t start off well. I got the first clue when only a few blocks from our shop Phil said he wanted to be going in the other direction, but couldn’t make a left turn. Then he saw a street and made his left turn, and in horror I watch 3 lanes of cars coming towards us. “We’re on a one way street!” I said as calmly as possible. So as the cars approached he made a fast U-turn and now we were leading the pack, and we could go in the other direction. We get down to the Decarie Expressway, but our GPS is telling us that the exit we have to take to get to the Champlain Bridge is closed. Should she reroute us. Yes. We found ourself in the Ville Marie Tunnel, which I hate (falling cement,etc) but made it safely through only to find ourselves in another tunnel going the other way. Oh, I forgot to mention that traffic was horrendous and mitendrinen (Yiddish for in the middle of all this) the computer in our car informed us that one of tires was low. So when we got out of the second tunnel Phil looked for a Gas Station, almost doing the wrong way street trick again, but once again I came to the rescue.  Ever try to find a garage in downtown Montreal? We ended up on the bridge without finding a gas station and went straight on. On the American side (our destination was Connecticut) we found a tire place (a story in itself) and fixed the problem. After that it was clear sailing.

We met, as arranged, Nina and George Schindler at a motel where we were both staying, and had lunch with them Sunday. In the afternoon we went to the  Church for the 3:00 o’clock Mass. It’s a large church and it was a gorgeous day and everyone was outside talking. It could have been a magic convention. Eric De Camps was the first person I saw that I knew. It was a joyous reunion. We haven’t seen each in 7 years.  Meir Yedid was there. Hadn’t seen him in ages either. Michael Douglass flew in from California for the occasion. There were others there from the magic community, Sister Carol Ann, Monseigneur Brennan as well as Craig Dickson, Robert Olsen, Steve Rodman and Paul Critelli.

At 3:00 we went inside for the mass. The sermon was excellent with the right blend of comedy and seriousness. Cyp spoke and I don’t know if there were any dry eyes in the place. He greeted us all as we left to go down for the reception. He was thrilled we came. He phoned a few days before just to make sure we we still coming. After the meal, Showtime, George Schindler was the M.C. He did a great job introducing the magic performers and the speakers. George also “taught” everyone the Color Changing Silk trick. Of course we more puzzled after the explanation. Sister Carol Ann did a great bit of a torn and restored effect ala “Fresh Fish” but with appropriate patter and writings. Eric DeCamps did a great Egg Bag  routine, and also cards Cards Up The Sleeve. Craig Dickson did a super bill trick whereby he rattled off the serial number of a randomly chosen bill. The only thing I’ll say about it is that it cost him $10.00 to do it! Paul Critelli did a superb fortune telling routine ala The Great Carnac routine with Eric DeCamps feeing him the envelopes. It has hilarious. Robert Olson did a great cut and restored ribbon that he uses in his Magic Of Richard Potter show. Steve Rodman did great stand up comedy set, he had us in stitches. The speakers were Monseigneur Brennan who spoke about some of experiences they had in their younger days. Chaplain Michael Douglass and his long association with Cyp.  Phil Matlin reminisced about his first meeting with Father Cyprian and  the time Father Cyprian was at our Passover Seder and other incidences. It was a wonderful experience and we all got to know each other, especially after when the magicians got together in one of the hotels and sat around and talked and joked for hours. Paul Critelli made some beautiful origami figures for me while sitting around talking. (He also supplied us with a huge bag filled with Caramel Candies. Insanely delicious)

Cyp said he never had a parish. He did a lot of travelling. He said he always considered the magic community his parish. He certainly strengthened the bonds of his parish last week-end. It was a phenomenal weekend, highly emotional at times, and then hilariously funny.

Many more happy, healthy Anniversaries Cyp! we promised each other to be present for the 75th anniversary.

,

 

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Are There Magicians Out There?

the_magician_by_verona7881-d6z51c2What I really enjoy being a magic dealer is the people I come in contact with all the time. It is such a cross section of humanity. When we first started out in the magic business I remember a fellow who was here from India, who sat crossed leg on our basement floor (before we had an actual shop, which gives me pause to reflect on the fact that now that is probably the way most magic dealers are doing business on line, from their basement). He took a coin and held his hands far apart and the coin vanished from one hand and went to the other. It was only one coin. He showed us what he was doing but when he did it as a performance, even though we knew we couldn’t catch him.

What makes everyone so interesting to me is that it is only part of their life. Most of magician’s have a day job. Magic is their passion…which brings me to the second night of the Lorne Trottier Symposium, ARE We ALONE?  organized by the Science and Society Department of McGill University which took place last night. Dr. Joe  Schwarcz, who is the director of the Department happens to be an accomplished magician and had a fascinating stage show “The Magic of Chemistry” a few years back.  Last night there were two excellent and fascinating speakers and one of them was Joe Nickell, Ph.D. He also happens to be a magician. When the Symposium was over, people from the audience went over to the speakers to autograph their programmes or to ask them questions, and to congratulate them on their informative and fascinating presentations. Joe Nickell could not contain himself. He was busy showing them magic tricks, vanishing and producing his famous wooden nickels and giving them away as souvenirs. The evening before, he and Phil were showing each other their favorite methods of the French drop. So in an auditorium full of chemists, physicists as well as lay people, magic was not left out! I wonder if there are magicians OUT THERE too!

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Part 2: Why Bother With A Magic Shop?

As many of you know, magic shops are closing all over the place. Many shut down in the U.S.A. and some in Canada as well.  There were not a whole lot to begin with. It’s so easy to look up  what you want on line, find the cheapest price and order.  I can’t say that I blame anyone for doing that. But there may be a cost to the saving of money, especially in magic.

A few weeks ago a guy came into the shop and asked if we had the Haunted Doll with the DVD (which by the way is an excellent effect for Halloween). I said yes. He said he bought one and didn’t know how to work it. Could we help him. Phil asked if he bought it here. He said no. Phil said, in a nice way, to ask the guy he bought it from. He said, “I bought it on line, and there is no phone number. There’s no one to speak to there.” Phil said if he would have bought it here, even if he didn’t know the trick he would find out and help him, but is it fair to ask me to spend time on something you bought somewhere else?”

People buy on line from us too, but they know if there is a problem, we are here for them. Whether there is a defect in the product, or if they want advice for a gift for someone, we ask how old the person is, if they have done magic before, how much they want to spend and then give them a few options and let them choose. We always had Gift Certificates and now we have Gift Cards to make life easier for all the people with magicians in their life. You just have to let them know we have them, in any denomination.

P.S. Starting October 18th Perfect Magic will be open on Saturdays from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM until December 20th.

 

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