Who has a better time than seasoned magicians when they get together. I say seasoned rather than old, because its a nicer word and I don’t consider the 4 magicians who spent 3 hours here this morning old. One Phil had met before…Steve Beam, from Cary, North Carolina. The others were Devin Lushbaugh from Raleigh, North Carolina; Bob Macey from Lakeland, Florida; and Gary Morton form Leavittsburg, Ohio. They had come to Montreal for the Magic Collectors Week-End which took place this past week-end in downtown Montreal at the Delta Hotel in conjunction with the McCord Museum of McGill University.
Unfortunately Phil and I couldn’t make it to the week-end, but the guys came up to visit us at the shop. It was a blast. Sorry Julie, but they said their visit here was the highlight of the week-end.
What makes it so much fun is that when you’ve been around as long as we have you know a lot of people and they know the same people. It’s the stories that are told that kept us talking and laughing and they even found stuff to buy. My book shelf has considerably less stock. Everyone was happy!
Hans Zahn from Newfoundland was here Saturday afternoon. He lectured at the convention. Does anyone remember him? We went out for diner with him and his lovely girlfriend and he got his fix of Montreal smoked meat at Lester’s. (not to mention Phil’s fix). A good time was had by all!
What’s in a Magic Bottle? It’s not a Genie, as you may have thought. So what do magic bottles do? They Multiply. Anyone who has a set of Multiplying bottles will tell you what a great effect it is.
When Phil used to have a magic show, he used Multiplying Bottles as his closer. He always got a great response.
Two tubes, (his were cardboard, he thinks they were Mephisto Magic’s), lift up one tube, there’s a bottle of Champagne, put the tube back over the bottle and lift the other tube, there’s a shot glass. Repeat that action, and somehow the bottle and glass changed places, repeat it again, and now there are two bottles, cover the bottles with the tubes, takes one of the bottles and put it on the table, but the bottles keep on mulitplying until your table is covered with bottles. You pick up the two tubes. You are left with a bottle and a shot glass. You pour a drink from the bottle into the glass, take a drink and whew! It’s over. Always gets a good reaction.
Phil produced 8 bottles. Then they came up with nine and ten bottles. And now they came out with different coloured bottles, and also Multiplying Bottles Multi (with the Ketchup Bottle. Of course they range in price from from around $150.00 to $900.00 Canadian dollars.
Of course there are books and videos and downloads if you want them. They are easy to do. Packs small, plays big. What more could you want?
Everybody loves to laugh. I don’t know about you, but I can watch a comedy show, enjoy it thoroughly and not laugh. But sometimes something is said or done and I can’t help myself and burst out laughing hysterically. I love that feeling. I love whatever happened and I smile or laugh again just thinking about it.
Now a magic show is not a comedy show, but it can be funny. When people go to a magic show, they want to see magic. Will they be impressed when they see how well you handle a deck of cards, the amazing way you can cut them, shuffle them spring them? Yes, they will be. Will it make them feel wonderful and happy? Maybe not so much, maybe envious, maybe awed, surely impressed but not laughing unless you find a way to insert something funny into all those marvellous moves. Then the envy and awe goes away and they walk away saying, ” He or she was terrific!” It made them feel good. They laughed.
Even the most serious situation are enjoyed the most when laughter is involved. Serious and laughter don’t seem to go together but they do. When you call for a volunteer, and then wheel out your head or arm guillotine, that’s serious. But of course the whole thing is in the jokes that go with it, like putting on you blood stained doctor coat, and taking out the instruction book and asking if they have insurance, etc.
Even the serious business of mentalism can be funny. At a local family show 2 weeks ago, Jodi Mihaly did a mental routine. I believe it was Sean Farquar’s “Sheer Luck” and everyone in the audience knows how it’s done, but not the volunteer, and its funny, and in the end the audience is fooled too, so we had the fun and the moment of awe. So put some humour in your act! Keep ‘Em Laughing!
What would you do if you are about to start your performance, the hall is dark, the audience is seated and suddenly out of the corner of your eye, you see David Copperfield take a seat.
Well, it wasn’t David Copperfield who walked into the theatre on Sunday, when Phil was about to perform, but then again, Phil wasn’t performing magic, he was about to give his Ragtime Show for the Cote St. Luc Library on Sunday, the last of 4 as he had been playing once a month since January, when Chris Barillaro and his mom came in. You may be wondering, who is Chris Barillaro. We know Chris since he was a kid, coming in for magic. He’s not a kid anymore, but he’s still into magic, but not professionally. Professionally, he’s in the theatre… actor, music director, pianist, arranger, singer, and he’s the best at whatever he does. In the photo he is on the left in Forever Plaid. Click here to get an idea of what this guy is into. He is incredible. So when Phil saw him come in and sit down at the back of the theatre beside me it was the same as it you were performing and saw David Copperfield come in to see your show.
Phil was completely thrown off kilter. He was making mistakes in pieces he knew inside out and backwards. He was a complete wreck. I turned to Chris and said, “This is your fault, you know.” and he laughed and nodded. By the third song Phil had managed to calm himself and Chris and I smiled. You just never know what’s going to happen in a live performance. So how do you think you would act?
Many years ago, when we had Eugene Burger do a lecture here, he impressed upon me and everyone else at that marvellous evening, the importance of a script. Everything has to be thought out, and everything has to have a reason. It doesn’t have to sound contrived. It could sound spontaneous, it should sound spontaneous, but it shouldn’t be. You have to know what you’re going to say, why you’re saying it, how to say it and when to say it. As we say “Timing is everything.”
If you read my last post, you know my 11 year old grandson performed before the public for the first time. He fools around with magic, did a show for his class, but this show was for a paying public. I showed him the Colour Changing Wreath Trick. He liked it and said he would do it. I didn’t give him any advice, but did go to visit his family and his mother asked him to do the trick for Phil and me.
I never told him about a story. I had figured it was a trick that could stand by itself. He’s only 11, his first time on stage, just let him do the thing, bow and get off. You had one nervous grandmother here. But things don’t always happen the way you imagine they would. It didn’t make sense to Jacob, my grandson, that a bag should have a hole in the middle of it. When the earlier version of the trick “Color Symphony” was around, it made sense that the envelope holding the 45 records had whole in the middle because the records and envelope had holes in the middle, but those are a thing of the past. Kids don’t know what records are these days.
So Jacob was not comfortable with a hole in the bag so he thought about it and came up with a solution. Instead of calling white wreaths “wreaths” he called them his juggling rings, and even tossed one or two in the air and caught them to prove his point. And he put his rings in the bag and said a man came into his house one day and made a hole in his bag. Then he put a blue silk through the whole and took out one of his rings and it was blue and so on and so forth. He did the whole trick telling what the man did. I don’t know that anyone else would have thought it weird to have a hole in a bag, much less do anything about it, but he did and managed to get a plausible explanation for it. I think that’s part of what Eugene was talking about. By the way, he was asked to come back for the next show, June 11, which is on a Sunday afternoon at the Dollar Cinema at Decarie Square. ( May as well get a little advertising in!)