Category Archives: Evelyn Matlin

Magic -The Whole Deck & Nothing but the Deck

Perfect Magic was born over 35 years ago. We started it when Phil was still in the wholesale fruit and vegetable business. So I was the one looking after the magic business to a great extent. I had to learn some tricks to demonstrate although I was not a magician. The card tricks I learned consist of the Svengali, Invisible, Wizard Stripper and Mental Photo decks. Also the Rising Card. The next deck to come along that I loved enough to learn was Cardtoon.  In all these years with all the hundreds of tricks that came out, the only other ones I learnt were Future Foretold and Bewildered.

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I was never interested in learning another trick. Not true. There is one other, The Ceremony of the Immortalsnot because I wanted to learn it, but because it was so amazing to me. None of the above are new tricks, but they are as great today as they always were. Richard Sanders still blames me for him getting him into magic when I did Mental Photo for him. Ask him. He’ll tell you.

So I was content in my world of 7 or 8  cards tricks that I could do. I had all the patter down and the tricks are easy and as they say, every demo was a sale. So why should I break my neck, especially these days. At one time, before VHS, yes, VHS a person would come into the shop and ask what’s new and what’s good. We don’t hear that question any more. Most new customers don’t even care. They come in and say, “I saw this on Youtube or I saw Luc Langevin do such and such. Can you get it for me?” Not all, but many. Half the things they ask for we know they could never do and will never do and we tell them that, but they want what they want and so we get it for them.

Sometimes  its unavailable, and I say “Let me show you something else.” I show them a Svengali deck. The look of amazement could not be greater  if I produced an elephant. 9 times out of 10 they’ll buy it. I know they’ll use it and come back for more.

Then  along came a deck that made me want to learn another card trick, The (W)hole Deck. There is one segment that is so magical it took my breath away. There are 3 magical things that happen, but the first one will leave your audience with their jaws dropped. Give yourself  a treat and look at the video and you’ll know what I’m talking about. I saw someone do it in person and was amazed all  over again.

Just thought I would share that with you. Enjoy!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Evelyn Matlin, Magic

Clowning Around With Magic

When I was a kid my parents always took us to the Circus. Unlike today’s circus, it was full of lions and tigers and bears and horses and elephants and dogs. It was usually at the old Forum in Montreal, famous for its Hockey Games with the Montreal Canadians in their heday. I’m going back to the days of Rocket Richard, Guy Lafleur, Floyd Currie and Dickie Moore to name a few, but I digress. The thing about the circus was there were two things that made me nervous, the guy being shot out a cannon and the clowns.

Funny thing is, one of my favorite tricks in the magic shop is Card-toon, especially Card-toon 2, whereby the spectator names any card which is then located face up and removed from the deck and placed on the table so that we remember the chosen card. Then the magician shows his audience the back of the cards, which has a cartoon drawing of a little stick man with  a deck of cards at the circus. The magician tells the audience that he didn’t mix the deck because each back has a slightly different picture and by his flipping the cards they will see an amination. As the magician flips though the deck the spectators see a little stick man climbing into a cannon, lighting the cannon, and then he goes flying into the air with his cards flying all over. He manages to grab one of them and turns it over and guess what! Its the same card as the one on the table that the spectator chose. I much prefer this delightful little effect than the terrifying one at the circus.

If I was nervous about the clowns, its because they weren’t like the two charming young ladies that were here today. I know I would not be afraid of them as they were so sweet and thoughtful. They bought a lot of magic stuff, but not before they figured exactly where it would fit into their shows. They were studying theatre arts. They are working clowns and do well, and I can see why. I guess clowns don’t have to be scary.

Many years ago Phil did a lecture for Clowns Canada in New Brunswick and it was a real hit. Many of the clowns had never thought of using magic in their act. He still  has some lecture notes on the subject, Clowning Around With Magic . It is informative and deals with stage clowns, birthday party clowns and walk around clowns and how and what is suitable for each one. Check it out! By the way, Clowns Canada is having a Clowns Canada Carnavale 2013, September 27 and 28th in Mississauga, Ontario.

And then there are the magicians that do a lot of clowning, but that’s another story!

2 Comments

Filed under Children's Magic, Comedy, Evelyn Matlin, Kid Show Magic, Performing, Show buisness

FINDING MAGIC AND MUSIC

If you think this is about finding music for your magic , it isn’t. This is more of a personal post. No commercials. Fifty-four years ago, last Friday, Phil and I were married. Phil says, “Yep, 54 years and some of them were good.” His sense of humour. Do something!  I would never have written a blog about it except that I wanted to share one of the sweetest things I ever heard and it didn’t come from Phil.

I spoke to my 4 year old granddaughter the day after our anniversary and I told her that yesterday was a very special day. It just so happened that Phil, who rarely gets sick, came down with a horrible sore throat, and stayed home. In the over 35 years we’ve had the magic shop, I can count on my fingers the times he hasn’t come in, but he stayed home Thursday and Friday.  I had to cancel our Friday night dinner with the family,  which happened to be our annivervsary  as I didn’t want them to get his germs.  I had made a cake with sparkles on it for the grandchildren but it will remain in my freezer for another day.

So to get back, my granddaughter, told me she knows it was a special day, that it was our anniversary. I was floored that she even knew the word and then she wished me a happy anniversary. And then she said  or I thought she said, “How do you find Grandpa?’  I didn’t quite understand the question. I know she knew he was sick, so I asked, “Do you mean his health?” (I should interject here that when you talk to her you could be talking to an adult. She is very mature in spite of her baby face)

“No”, she said. “How did you find him?’

Then I knew what she meant. How did I meet him.

I told her the story of how a mutual friend had phoned and said that hisPhil Matlin wanted to meet me, but I was studying for my high school matrics and didn’t have time just then. My friend didn’t care and came to my house with his girl friend and Phil  and after introducing him to me, my parents and 3 older brothers, my friend asked Phil to play the piano for us, which he did, way back then. So at that point my mother fell in love with him. And that little girl listened with such interest to every word. We didn’t even talk about magic. I don’t think I knew about his interest in magic until our eldest daughter age 6, at the time, came across his old suitcase and found the colouring book and asked what that was and we made him do magic for her birthday. That revived his interest.

But every time I think of her asking, “How did you find Grandpa” I have to smile. That is magic!

10 Comments

Filed under Evelyn Matlin, Phil Matlin

Children Make Marvellous Magic Audiences

Although I have been involved in the magic business for over 35 years I have never performed in front of a real audience, until last week. Last Friday happened to be grandparents’ day at my 4 year old grand daughter’s daycare and we were called to see if we could come and perhaps read a story. We said sure, and I said to Phil that I would bring a magic trick as well.

When we got there another grandfather was reading them nursery rhymes. My grand daughter ran straight to Phil. She always runs to him as she knows I have a bad back and won’t pick her up. When the grandfather finished his nursery rhymes we were introduced to the children and my grand daughter insisted on sitting on my lap as I read the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which she chose. After the story, I told her to sit on the mat with the other children as I had a surprise for the children.

This was my plan. I would do the Thumb Tip Blendo. If you are not familiar with it, it consists of four 2″ square silks, green, red, yellow and blue. I would have them call out the colour of each silk as I pushed it in my closed fist. They did this with much enthusiasm.  Then I was going to tell them that believe it or not, there was only one silk in my hand and they should all call out what colour they thought it would be. I expected them all to shout out a different colour and then I would tell them that they were all right. But if you’ve ever done a magic show, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that not everything always goes as planned. What could possible go wrong? It’s not as though I’m sawing someone in half.

So I ask my question waiting to hear them scream out the different colours. But at the top of their lungs they all shout “RED”! You can imagine my surprise. I said RED? You all think its red? And they all shouted YES. And I look at my hand and I see the tiniest bit of red sticking out at the top of my fist. And I had to laugh. I leaned over and had one of the children tug at the red piece sticking out. When she pulled it out all the little mouths dropped open when they saw one silk with the four colours on it.Their reaction had me thinking about a new career. Just kidding!

The moral of the story is that kids are great …and you always have to pay attention to every little detail…and there is a book on “OUTS” just in case!

2 Comments

Filed under Children's Magic, Evelyn Matlin

Self-Working Magic

Many of our customers are finger flicking card magicians, and many are professional show people doing only magic for a living…believe it or not… but there are also many who are natural entertainers and don’t want to kill themselves or spend too much time on  learning the real deal. The  phrase “evidence of a misspent youth” comes to mind as I write this. They want self working magic, not to be confused with beginner magic. Beginner magic, in my mind, is for someone who is interested in learning how to do magic and needs a place to start, and he may have been inspired by one of those finger flickers and was impressed. He starts on that road, with simple stuff and progresses. Mark Wilson’s Complete Course in Magic is wonderful for someone beginning in magic from age 12 and up. But some people don’t want to read. Furthermore they don’t want to practice. But they do want to do magic.

I’m not knocking this. Some people have excellent reasons for this. People giving speeches, or presenters for instance, may want to do something to wake the audience up. Do something dramatic at the beginning and they’ll pay attention to see what’s coming next. I , for one, once was called upon to do an after dinner speech for Hydro Ontario. When I got up on stage  I put my hand around the metal microphone  stand and using a funkin’ ring sparks went flying. I asked if there happened to be an electrician in the room and it nearly brought the house down. It was clear sailing after that. It wasn’t real magic but it did the trick, so to speak.

A chemist who was promoting a fertilizer at a conference came in one day to see what I had for him. The Growing Glove was perfect for him, when he explained to his audience that he got some fertilizer on the glove. And then there was the guy who needed something small for a conference and his  jaw dropped when I did the Bill Tube for him but said he didn’t want it. I couldn’t understand why. He said he was not a magician and he could never do anything like that. I showed him how it was done, which is something I normally don’t do, but I knew he could do it. As soon as he saw it he said “sold”. Then he chuckled and said, “It’s a conference for engineer’s and not one them will figure this out!” He was thrilled. Of course I told him he would still have to practice. There’s always “patter” and timing that must be considered to get the most out of it, as every good magician knows.

Why am I writing about this? I have customers who ask for my advice on what  is easy. There are so many tricks out there. I looked up our categories and we don’t have a self-working category. Hmmm. In case Phil thinks he is way behind in his work now, wait till I inform him that he has to create and list another category. In the meantime if you want a self-working trick just write “self-working magic” in our google search (located under our search box which will not do the trick) and you’ll get pages of self- working tricks or anything else you happen to be interested in.

A customer just came in and wanted ACAAN. He’s been through our site many times but never used the google search. It’s thanks to my son Mike  that I even know about it and I had it installed  immediately. It saves me so much time and frustration. I hope you use it too. I showed our customer what happens when I put the topic  in the google search and clicked on the magnifying glass on the right of it. He thanked me profusely.

So if you’re looking for Self Working Magic or anything else, just put it in our google search et voila!

Leave a comment

Filed under Evelyn Matlin, Magic

Illusion or Disillusion, That is the Question!

We had a hectic last week as  we had the pleasure of having our two younger  grandchildren in our charge as their parents were called out of town on business. The girl is 4 and the boy is 6. I say hectic because everything is sort of done under pressure. They are both good kids, but kids nonetheless. One is in kindergarden and the other in day care – till we pick them up after work which is five o’clock. We dash out of the shop  at 5 and rush to pick up the boy and then the girl, bring them home, get them changed into their soccer outfits and grab some snacks and rush to the park as his practice is from 6:00 to 7 :00 and hers is from 7-8 and then they want to play in the park after that but meany grandma says they have to go right home as they didn’t have supper yet. We go home, I make supper, we eat, Phil cleans up, I give her a bath and then pour a bath for the boy, who usually takes a shower himself, but decides he’d like a bath instead. At some point I do a laundry as that night was only the practice but they need their outfits for the next night which is game night for him, and Thursday is game night for her. Did I mention that during practice it poured the whole time, but the practice went on just the same. The kids were real troopers, but I was freezing and really wanted to be in the comfort of my home. This is the general pace of the few days.

So now at 10:00 o’clock they are both  fed, bathed, teeth brushed and he reads me a French book he has to read  every night. I don’t think I could read English at that time in my life but he is reading English and French. Then he needs a story and she needs a story.  Fine. They fall asleep by 10:30pm. I make the boy’s lunch for the next day and ours as well.

Phil and I normally have our breakfast, read the Gazzette and leave for the office near 10:00am as we live close by and it takes us 10 minutes. But the boy’s late bell rings at school at 8:10am.

Now is the challenging part. I get up at 6:30am when I’m usually just turning over, and I have to get them both up and dressed and they are in such a deep sleep that I don’t think they moved the whole night. They are extremely clever children, but somehow neither of them know the meaning of the words “rush” or “hurry”.  That seems to have been left out of their otherwise extensive vocabulary. So Phil had the job of waking them.  Division of labour here. Let me just say getting out of the house by 8:00am was no mean feat. We did not open the Gazette. We did not have coffee. We did not make the beds.

What does all this have to do with magic?

In the midst of this whirlwind affair, my lovely 6 year old grandson said to me, “Bubby, can I tell you something?” “Of course.”  “It’s secret” and he’s talking softly. “Sure.”  I should tell you he has been doing magic tricks since he was two.

“You know the magic we do?” he says.

“Yes”

“It’s not real magic.”

“Well, we know that. They are tricks. We do it for fun.”

“Yes, Bubby, I know, but I saw a magician that did real magic.”

“There is no such thing. No one can do real magic.” says the meany grandma.

” I saw it. He had 3 ropes, one little, one medium size and a long one…..”

“It’s a trick.”

” Bubby, I saw it.”

I smiled. Oh, how I hated doing this.

“Can you do it?” he asked.

Now I just happened to have a Professor’s Nightmare at home. A good set with Guy Camirand’s Elite Rope. I did the routine and watched that face light up and he laughed and I could feel the joy in his reaction.

“Your mommy could do that when she was 6.”  I said.

“Then I could do it too.” he said beaming. “Would you teach it to me?”

“Only if you promise not to tell anyone.”

“Well”, he said and I know he keeps his magic a secret, “there is one boy in my class who is also a magician and we share secrets. Could I tell him?”

“I don’t know about that. This is a special trick.”

Anyhow, we reached some sort of agreement and I said I would bring him home a smaller set which he could handle as this one was for stage and was much too big for those 6 year old hands.The next morning on the way to school he said, “Bubby, don’t forget the ropes!”

They are in my purse as I write.

3 Comments

Filed under Evelyn Matlin, Magic

Magicians and Fame

Being in the magic business for over 35 years I know there are excellent magicians here in Montreal, some are full time magicians and they make a good living at it. I would bet if I mentioned their names most of you would not know who they are, and furthermore, they probably don’t care. They are not out to make a name, they are out to make a living and may actually enjoy the anonymity and live ordinary lives and do the magic they love to do.

Yet some achieve fame. I was reading the Montreal Gazette on Saturday, and read Josh Freed’s column, whose humour I always enjoy, and his topic was the linguist divide amongst the strikers, here in Quebec between the English and French. For those of you who in far away lands a strike started  100 days ago by univeristy students who objected to a rise in tuition fees. The strike is still going on and has been violent at times.  Now there are other issues but I’m not going there.

Coincidently, just after my last blog,” Two Solitudes” Josh Freed used the same term in his article …”Why the two solitudes of strikers?”

By this time you must be wondering, “What has all this got to do with magic?”

Josh goes on to name the various English institutions that have disappeared from Montreal and he names Steinberg’s, Eaton’s, Ben’s,  Morgan’s, Dominion’s and Magic Tom. Magic Tom! Magic Tom passed away in 1990 and he is still making the newspaper! Anyone who knows what all the above institutions are, whether they were interested in magic or not still know who Magic  Tom is. Magic Tom Auburn achieved fame here in Quebec. He entertained children and then he entertained those children’s children and grandchildren. I remember once he came into the shop and a grandmother was buying some magic for her grandchild and she saw him and said, “I remember you from television. I used to watch you all the time when I was little.” She was thrilled to meet him in person. When she left Tom said, “I get that a lot. It keeps reminding me how old I am.” Everyone knew Magic Tom.

When I consider Magic household names here in  Quebec, I would have to include Alain Choquette and Luc Langevin. Television gave these three magicians exposure so that had much to do with it. But they had to have the talent and love of their audience to stay on TV to achieve that fame.

Comments anyone?

2 Comments

Filed under Evelyn Matlin, Magic, Perfect Magic, Performing

Two Solitudes

In 1945 a book by  Hugh MacLennan called Two Solitudes came out. I read it about 30 years ago and it left an impression on me. It was about the English and French in Quebec and how they could live in the same society together and yet not know anything of what was going on in the other culture. I don’t think much has changed. Yes, I have French friends but they speak to me in English. Perhaps its because I put them through torture when I speak French. I admit I don’t know any of the popular French singers or rock bands, I  also don’t know any of the English singers or rock bands in Quebec, so there we are even. I don’t watch French television, but I was a great fan of the Plouffe Family. I do watch sometimes when I feel I should improve my French, but if the talk is too fast or dubbed, forget it. My French speaking customers in the magic shop say I speak very well. They are kind. I did take a French literature course while at McGill, and my  professor spoke two languages, French and German. We studied the classics, Madame Bovary, Le Rouge et le Noir, Huis Clos, etc.  I do know something.

So the other night, maybe a few weeks ago or longer, while I was channel flipping I came across Luc Langevin, who I have known since he was a kid. After all he bought his first tricks here. I’m usually pretty good at figuring out how something is done. Even if I don’t figure out how it was actually done, I can figure a way it could have been done. I saw him do two effects. One was torn and restored card, and the other was a very complicated and long effect which involved 4 or 5 spectators. I understood every word, just about, but I could not figure out how he did either effect. He did a mentalist effect which involved a sub-trunk -like effect without a sub-trunk. He went back in time to when he was a 13 year old child. Then he came back to his present self. The point is, I was so absorbed in what he was doing, I didn’t realize I was listening to French. That was magic!

2 Comments

Filed under Evelyn Matlin

A Magic Show? Stand-Up Comedy? Just plain old entertainment!

So as I said on my Facebook earlier in the  week, we (Phil & I) went to the Comedy Nest at the old Montreal Forum to see Richard Sanders who was performing there last week-end. Plans to go there were conceived at our auction the other week, when we found out David Acer is now a co-owner of the Comedy Nest. Denise & Stan Teshser (also a  magician) who were at the auction ( not only were they at the auction, but Stan worked his butt off, bagging the items in the right place as people acquired them. NO mean task, I assure you, as I stood and watched!) and are our dear friends, (who else would work so hard for nothing except dear friends?), asked us if we would like to go. We set a date, they came into town, we went out for dinner and during the course of dinner we found out that neither Stan nor Denise has ever been to a comedy club. Stan doesn’t like stand-up comedians. Comedy clubs weren’t around when we were teen-agers. We used to go to night clubs and sometimes there was a comedian as a act but to have one after another was unheard of.

But being a magician and knowing Richard Sanders is a magician, he wanted to go. He figured, I suppose, that he would see a comedy magie act. There was a comedy M.C . and 2 acts before Richard. I will only talk about Richard because we are talking magic here, although we enjoyed them all but Richard was the Star! Let me tell you this. Stan and Denise did a whole lot of laughing, as did Phil and I. Richard did magic, which was impeccable, but so well disguised in his comedy that I’m sure people didn’t walk out and say we saw a magic show or even that we saw a magician. He sort of sneaked it in. His interaction with the audience was fabulous and funny. He didn’t put anyone down, or use foul language, that I can remember, and when it was over I had the distinct feeling that he could easily do that kind of show in Las Vegas. Phil felt the same way. And I don’t think that’s the last comedy show that Stan and Denise will go to. We just laughed ourselves silly!

We wish David every success. Keep on getting that calibre act and its a shoe in!

2 Comments

Filed under Auction, David Acer, Denise Tesher, Evelyn Matlin, Magic, Phil Matlin, Richard Sanders, Stan Tesher, Uncategorized

Clowns and Magicians Often Ask Me this Question.

How Much Should I Charge for A Magic Show? That’s the question I hear many times from up and coming magicians. I don’t have an answer because it depends on many things. What kind of show? How far away is it?  How many people? Etc.

But I have learned a few things after 35 years. If it’s for a birthday party or kids show you should have references. How do you get references? When you are first starting out, you can do volunteer work. There are hospitals, libraries, senior residences, clubs,  family get togethers, etc.  You have to start somewhere. Ask the activity coordinator for  a letter of recommendation. Have your recorder on to capture all the comments after the show. A web site helps. You know more about that end of it than  I do.

After you get your feet wet, go out there and ask what you think is fair. Don’t sell yourself short. Lets say you have been getting $125.00 for a show. You think its time for more. You ask for $175.00. Sure. No Problem. Then you start cursing  yourself for asking too little. But there is a wonderful thing in magic. It’s called add-0ns.

If you feel your client would have paid more, you can tell them for a additional fee you can make animal balloons and every child will get one. There are DVD’s and books to teach you how.

You can hire a face painter to work with you for after the show. It happens to be the in thing now and guess who just happens to have in stock in the shop now the best line of face painting supplies by Wolfe Face Art & FX.   There are books and DVD’s on the subject as well. Of course you’ll have to pay the face painter but you can work out a deal where you can both make something on it. You can do Hand Shadows  Do you do oragami, or paper cutting  or towel folding ?

What’s towel folding? With a plain white towel you can make all sorts of wonderful animals. What’s more if the parents are willing to spring for it you can bring a towel for each child and teach them how to make it. And they can keep it. That takes time, it keeps the kids busy and happy and that’s what the parents want.

There’s Chapeaugraphy  and even juggling, but whatever you do it has to be entertaining and appropriate for the occasion. You may have to learn a new skill or two, but the more you have in your arsenal, the better off you are. You pick and choose what you have to offer according to the age and size of the audience.

Now, what if your client says  $175.00 is too much. Ask them what their budget is. If its close, and you usually include balloon animals in your act, you can say, well you can do the show for that price but you’ll take out the animal balloons. They might agree. And by the time the party comes around they may decide on the balloons anyhow. People spend a lot of money on their children.

If you have any other ideas or suggestions feel free to share. Hope you had a great Halloween. Christmas is just around the corner.

4 Comments

Filed under entertaining, Evelyn Matlin, Performing