Diane, You Beautiful Asshole

Today's commercial message will be short because I'm a bit under the weather. And because I very rarely get sick, I'm a gigantic baby about it when I do.

Support the site by subscribing to The JAMM. I'm really excited about the next issue and I have no doubt getting an email saying I have a new subscriber will boost my immune system too. So if you don't subscribe and I end up dying, I hope you can live with that on your conscience.

I've been sitting around all day watching some of my favorite youtube videos. That's how I handle being sick. Here's a video some friends of mine made almost ten years ago. I was just recently reminded of it and it always makes me laugh. The language isn't work appropriate. But neither is this site for that matter. 

Gardyloo #20

In December 2015 I put most of my belongings in storage and left my apartment in Brooklyn and I've been living a somewhat vagabond lifestyle ever since. Well... vagabond... may not be the right word. I'm not exactly picking strawberries and living in a lean-to (I don't think I even know what that means), but I've been traveling for work and staying in short term rentals across mostly the northeast US, settling in upstate NY for large chunks of time because two of the people who help with this site are located there and that's where we operate the mailings from. Soon I will be making a semi-permanent move to a bed & breakfast somewhere near the US/Canadian border. After spending time these past 15 months in all sorts of different living situations (like cabins, houseboats, hotels, etc), I thought a bed & breakfast would make a good temporary situation because there is a constant influx of new people to perform for. Am I making my living decisions based on some dopey magic blog? Yeah, kind of. The thing is, I can do my normal day-job (writing/consulting) from anywhere, so I might as well optimize my living location for this site. 

My next plan, after the B&B? I want to get an artist residency on Amtrak trains. It's a legit program they have and it would be perfect for me (lots of new people all the time, many of whom are looking for ways to pass the time). Unfortunately I think the program might be suspended (Oh, and they'd never accept me.)

What was my point here? Right... so I've been traveling a lot and in some locations I find that I am completely incompetent with a deck of cards. An Erdnase color change seems damn near impossible. I just sit there rubbing the deck back and forth like some weird pervert. Then I'll try certain moves and the cards will just shoot out of my hands onto the floor.

It's all climate related, of course, and the way humidity or whatever affects your skin. In some places my skin is really dry and everything just seems impossible. And I was thinking that if I grew up in one of these environments and had never really left, I would just assume I was incapable of performing these sleights and I probably would have given up on them a long time ago and resigned myself to the fact that I "wasn't a sleight-guy."

So if you've always lived in the same place, and there's no natural tackiness to your hands, maybe you just think sleight of hand isn't in your skill set when, in reality, a little glycerin and you're good to go.

What I use in these situations is Vagisil moisturizing lotion. No, I'm not kidding. No, this whole post isn't a goof to get you to squirt Vagisil in your hands. And no, I didn't start this blog almost two years ago with the sole purpose of leading up to this post.

Seriously, you can see it recommended on the Cafe as well. And no, I didn't create all those accounts many years ago in anticipation of this post and getting you to douse yourself in Vagisil. (As far as you know.) I know it weirds some guys out... but it's just lotion guys. It's not made of dry vaginas. 

The only problem is, for some reason, it's selling for $62 for two ounces on Amazon when I use to get it for, like, $6. I'm not sure what's going on there. Apparently there's been an epidemic of feminine dryness sweeping the globe. (Is this tied to Joshua Jay's recent world travels? Seems possible.). So you may want to go with one of the different options in the Cafe threads linked above. Or you might find it cheaper in a drugstore. Just be sure you get the lotion. Don't be squirting anti-itch gel or douche all over yourself. (Unless that's your thing.)


Always good to see people representing the Jerx family in the wild. 

Here's our pal, Stasia in her GLOMM shirt. (And check out her soon-to-be-released full Tarot deck here.)

Proud, card-carrying member. #GLOMM #thejerx #thejerxvolumeone

A post shared by Stasia Burrington (@stasiaburrington) on

And here's friend of the site, Leja, in her self-made AATKT shirt.


Bad Equivoque Pt. 2

Because nothing says "choosing" one of two objects quite like touching the other object.


Hey, remember that resolution to recognize magic as an art form? Well, great news! It's really getting a lot of traction now!

Card Box

Here's an idea I'd like someone to work on and make a reality.

You have a small box on the table, the size of a deck of cards. It has, in fact, been painted to look like a deck of cards. It hinges open on one of the long sides.

(I can't draw.)

You open the box and remove two sponge balls and do a quick routine with them.

You shake the box and the spectator can hear change inside. You dump out three coins and do an effect with them.

You open the box again and show the spectator that it's empty.

(Seriously, dudes, I can't draw.)

"It may seem completely empty, but there's actually one other prop that I keep in here. My deck of cards."

With that you peel a layer of clear plastic tape off the hinged long-edge of the box, and it's clear those hinges were just a graphic under the tape. The tape also pulls off the top "layer" of the box, the painted card back on a thin piece of paper. You crumple it all up and toss it over your shoulder. What you're left with is a normal, examinable deck of cards.


This isn't really "my type" of idea that I would spend a lot of time working on and developing. This is more of something you'd see in someone's FISM act or some junk like that. But it is something I like, and I have a workable method for it. 

It's kind of has a reverse "Solid Deception" feel to it. Which I would say is a good thing. Instead of a deck of cards becoming a solid object for really no reason, a solid object disintegrates into a deck of cards. And there is a pleasing logic to it. "I keep all my magic props in this box." And the box transforms into your final prop.

The idea started one day when I had a deck in my hand, cracked open like a hinged box, and I was pretending to remove stuff from it that was actually finger-palmed in my right hand or hidden under the deck. It looked pretty good in a mirror.

Then I thought that if you had a card with the image of an empty box interior on its face, and another card with the image of an empty box interior on its back, then you could put them together in the deck and crack it open at that point and show people an empty box. (Likely only briefly. I don't know how real it would look.) And if the two images were treated with roughing spray or Science Friction, then you could flash an empty box and when it closed it would immediately transform into an examinable deck of cards. 

The clear plastic tape on the edge would keep the fake hinges in place and hold the deck together somewhat. You would also draw a straight black line along the tape which would pass as the break between the top and bottom of the box.

The image on top of the "box" could be stuck to the top card with repositionable glue. The purpose of that image is you don't want it looking too much like a deck of cards from the start. In fact, maybe it's not even a painted card back. Maybe it's some other image all together.

You could have some kind of rattle gimmick to produce the sound of the coins.

As I said, the items to be produced would be finger palmed. Or, in the case of the coins, perhaps held in the hand under the box and then apparently dumped out of it. Or you could maybe do some kind of Han Ping Chien type maneuver to dump them out. 

This idea supposes a couple things which might not be true:

1. On a brief glance a picture of the interior of a box could pass for the real thing. I think it would, but can't say for sure. I'm less concerned about the fake hinges, even though they're in view the whole time, because they would be very small. And, if nothing else, you could use actual tiny hinges stuck to the deck in some way, and then just pluck them off.

2. That the side of a deck of cards wouldn't immediately give away that it's a deck of cards. Maybe you could stain it or something? I don't know. 

Go work on it and let me know. I can't do everything here. I'm just the idea man.

What I like is that you get the transformation with no switching. But if you wanted to push it further (for your FISM act) the ideal ending would be to then switch the deck for an actual box with a normal Bicycle back graphic on top. You do your final trick, get your applause, then open the (switched in) box and place your props back inside. The crowd goes wild. You step to the microphone. "This act would not have been possible without the greatest mind in modern magic... Andy at The Jerx. So thank you, Andy. Or should I say... thank ME! That's right, I'm the Jerx!" you say, and put on a mask to hide your identity. Eugene Burger leans over to Jonathan Pendragon and says, "He knows we could see his face the whole time leading up to that, right?" And then you mysteriously vanish.

Dissonance

[This post is pretty long and sloppy. That's okay, you've got a few days before the next post. I didn't edit out some of the asides I normally would. I'm still attempting to formulate some of these ideas and there isn't really a common magic vocabulary I can use to do so, so I'm laying a lot of groundwork and rambling. Let me summarize the post up top. That may make it more understandable as you work your way through it.

The main ideas are these:

1. Magic inherently produces cognitive dissonance that isn't pleasant for people.

2. To allay this dissonance, often people will say, "It's just a trick." And that will be their explanation for what just happened, and their way to dismiss the experience. You: "I made your dime change to a penny." Them: "Yeah, well, it's just a trick." They abandon a feeling of wonder because that feeling is dissonant with their knowledge that magic doesn't exist. So they revert to "It's just a trick."

3. We can nudge them back towards a feeling of amazement by making the explanation "It's just a trick" itself feel dissonant to them. But we can't achieve that with more impossible tricks. We can only do it by hinting at more incredible methods.

As I said, these ideas are just coming together, but I thought I'd put them out there now so we can see how they evolve.]


I've been finding the introduction and manipulation of cognitive dissonance to be one of the more useful tools in creating affecting magic. (Hell, it's one of the more useful tools in life, for that matter. But that's a subject for another time.)

First, a definition. I know that cognitive dissonance is pretty well understood, but I also know I have a lot of readers for whom English isn't their first language and they translate this page and who know what Google will translate it into. Probably, "Thinking Cacophony" or some other garbage. 

[Bonjour à mes amis sur virtualmagie.com. Je n'ai aucune idée comment vous pouvez lire ce site et obtenir quelque chose hors de lui étant donné comment anglais-centrique il est. Même les anglophones natifs ont du mal à suivre les plaisanteries, le sarcasme, les références à la vie de banlieue des États-Unis en 1980 et la folie générale qui se passe ici. C'est le meilleur compliment que vous avez même peine à travailler à travers si l'anglais ne vient pas naturellement à vous.]

So, cognitive dissonance is when you hold two (or more) conflicting ideas at the same time. Trying to hold conflicting ideas creates a feeling of discomfort so you will then modify one of the ideas in order to reduce that discomfort and restore a sense of balance. The idea that people will stick with is the one that is the simplest, or strongest, or makes them happiest. And they'll modify or dismiss the other idea. Knowing this, you can introduce cognitive dissonance into certain situations to nudge people in the direction you want them to go .


Magic is one big source of cognitive dissonance. Especially magic as it has been traditionally performed. And that dissonance is this:

Spectator thinks: "That looked like real magic!"
Spectator also thinks: "Real magic doesn't exist." 

How do they reconcile these conflicting ideas? I'll get to that.


Magicians, clowns, and ventriloquists. Look at the representations of practitioners of these art forms (if you can call them that) in pop culture. At best you're a loser weirdo, but more likely you're an axe-murderer. Why? But more importantly, why not jugglers? Why do they get a break?

I think it's because the juggler causes the least amount of dissonance for the audience. The others are all trying to be someone they're not. They're acting, but not in a play or in a movie. They're acting in a real interaction with people. It's weird. It's something a loser or an axe-murderer might do.

Dissonance can be a barrier. And if you walk around suggesting you're an all-powerful wizard and the audience is thinking, "But you're an assistant manager at Dunkin Donuts," or you say you're a mind-reader and the audience is thinking, "You wouldn't possibly dress like that if you could tell what people were thinking," or you say you're a world class gambling cheat and the audience is thinking, "You consistently lose when we play Uno," then you are just going to increase that dissonance. So perhaps the answer is to take the focus off yourself and your supposed abilities.


Yes, intelligent readers will notice I've already solved this issue. I'm solving all magic's problems here but no one will listen to me! Why won't you listen? Please... somebody! You have to hear what I'm saying. To Serve Man... it's a cookbook!"

Where was I... okay, let's take a step back before we move forward. There's a statement that you'll see on magic message boards often, where someone will say something like, "Would a real magician ever do this?" "Counting cards into a pile... is that something a real magician would do." This is a moronic question because there is literally nothing in the history of magic that a real magician would do in the way we do it.

Hey, they might transport people around the world, like Copperfield does when he sends that guy to Hawaii. Yeah, but not with little curtain booths and not on a stage in Vegas. 

They would definitely change $1s into $100s. No they wouldn't. They'd just make 100s materialize and keep the ones for themselves. Actually they'd probably just manifest whatever they wanted to buy with that money in the first place.

That's not to say we shouldn't do magic that taps into people real wants and desires whenever possible, but there is plenty of great magic that doesn't. 

"Would a real magician do this?" This is a fruitless question. Whatever you do is always going to be dissonant from what a "real" magician would be doing.  The answer to the question isn't to do what a real magician would do (they would do none of this). The answer is to not pretend to be a real magician. Problem solved. 

This has the benefit of eliminating one source of dissonance for the amateur's audience. And that is this:

Spectator thinks: "This person must have some otherworldly abilities!"
Spectator also thinks: "This is my brother Pete. He's an idiot."

Instead you're just Pete the idiot, but you happen to collect mysterious objects, or procedures, or situations which you roll out for the amusement of your friends and family. 


I think taking steps to address the dissonance between, "This guy claims to be a magician," and "I don't believe in magic," goes a long way towards easing people's discomfort around magicians, and making you seem like a normal human.

But can we use cognitive dissonance to push people towards a greater sense of mystery? I think so.


Let's go back... how do spectator's reconcile this dissonance?

Spectator thinks: "What I just saw looked like real magic."
Spectator also thinks: "Real magic doesn't exist." 

I've found they do so in a profoundly unsatisfying way. Essentially they say something to themselves like, "Well, it was a trick. There must be a way to do what he did that I don't know of." It's a complete non-explanation, of course—in fact, we'll call it the Non-Explanation—but it's often what they'll say to dismiss the effect and move on with their lives.

Well, so what? What do you care? You're the one who's saying you don't want them to think it's real, so who cares if they say, "I guess it's a trick," and move on?

Well, I care because bailing on the "magic" feeling diminishes their experience and their enjoyment. And they're bailing because of dissonance.


Did you know there are over 43 quintillion ways to arrange a Rubik's Cube? If you've ever seen anyone perform a Rubik's cube effect you know that because everyone always says it.

Perform a 1 in 4 multiple out and gauge the reaction you get.

Now perform one of the Rubik's Cube matching tricks and gauge the reaction you get.

Is it one quintillion times stronger? Is it even twenty times stronger? Maybe, but I don't think so. The Rubik's Cube trick is certainly not an order of magnitude stronger than a 1 in 52 card matching effect. 

You can try as hard as you can to make your magic more impossible, but we've already done that. There is a 1 in 43 quintillion effect that we have many methods to perform. What do you think the answer is? Oh... a 1 in 44 quintillion effect will REALLY have the effect I'm looking for.

No. More impossible magic won't make it more affecting because that will just get them to that dissonance level sooner, causing them to bail into the Non-Explanation. This is the unfortunate reality of living in the 21st century when you can't get an intelligent adult to believe in "real magic."

That doesn't mean we can't perform stronger magic. But to do so, we need to strive for something beyond shear impossibility.

But what?

I have the answer!


Try this test. Go buy yourself a Raven. (The trick, not the bird. I mean... go ahead and buy the bird too, but that's not what I'm getting at.)

Now go vanish a coin off someone's hand. They'll say, "Cool." It's a visually impossible effect that will quickly push them into the Non-Explanation.

Now try this. Take out a quarter and ask your spectator, "Want to see something cool?" Place the coin on her hand and wave your hand over it slowly. Nothing happens. Do it again. Still nothing. Adjust their hand a little and try again. Still nothing. Say, "Shit. Give me a minute."

Go sit in a chair somewhere out of the way while your spectator continues on with whatever they were doing. Pull out your copy of The Jerx, Volume One. Furrow your brow. Read for a few minutes. Eventually close up the book and start waving your right hand slowly over your left hand. Back and forth. Look at it from every angle. After a few more minutes say, "Ahhhhhhh!! Okayyyyyyy...." 

"Let's try this again," you say. You place the coin on the back of your spectator's hand. Slowly wave your hand over her's and the coin disappears. 

Then tell me what captures your spectator's imagination more. Which they're more likely to ask about or talk about later on.

You don't have to. I've already done the same thing in a round of focus-group testing back in 2013. People were much more taken with the second way. (The actual data on this is lost to time, but it wasn't close.) 


As I proposed on Wednesday, when your magic comes off as easy, planned, and within your control, it also feels like a trick to people.

"This is amazing."
"But it's clearly some kind of a trick."
"So I guess he must have some way of doing what he just did that I don't know about."
The End

However, if you can make your magic seem difficult, unplanned and out of your control, you can affect people more significantly with the same trick. 

In the Raven example we create dissonance in two ways in order to nudge them away from the "it's clearly just a trick" explanation. The first is by adding elements that don't seem like they would exist if it was "just a trick." Mentalists have been doing this for ages by getting things slightly wrong. "If it was a trick... if he just somehow read the number I wrote down... why would he be off by two?" This is a good idea, but also a fairly rudimentary and uninspired use of this technique.

We're also creating dissonance by suggesting a method that is itself compelling and mysterious. The Non-Explanation is a way to run from the mystery. So the idea here is to ruin the safe zone they've erected for themselves by infusing their explanation ("it's a trick") with the same sort of mystery and uncertainty they're trying to avoid.

"This is amazing."
"But it must be some kind of trick."
"But wait... what difference would it make how he waved his hand over mine? What could be the process going on there?"
"It was
definitely a trick, though. He was reading up on it in a magic book."
"But seriously, what on earth could that book have
possibly said about the way in which he waves his hand over mine? What are the mechanics of how that could work? Could the way he waved his hand really make a difference somehow?"

It's like farting in the living room with your family and they all run to the kitchen to get away from it only to find you farted in the kitchen just a couple minutes ago.


Here's a very overt example of poisoning the "it's just a trick" explanation. 

Let's say you work in a hospital. In one of the rooms is someone who has been in a coma for 7 years.

You offer to show one of your fellow nurse's a trick while in that room. You tell her you're going to leave the room. While you're gone you want her to think of any word, write it down on a pad so you can verify it later, remove that sheet and fold it up and put it in her pocket, then whisper her word into the room. 

She does this and you come back a few moments later. Now you tell her to leave the room and come back in 20 seconds. You will be able to pick up on the faint echo of her whispered word and tell her what word she chose.

When she leaves you flip open the impression pad and figure out what word she wrote down. When she comes back she finds you leaning over the comatose patient with your ear to his lips. "Oh, hey," you say, "Uhm... okay. So I've been able to hear your word in the ever fading echo. It was 'pony," right?"

This is just a straight up misdirect, method-wise. You're subtly suggesting something that happened (that the comatose patient relayed the word to you) that is as unbelievable as the trick itself (that you heard the echo of a whispered word long after it had been whispered). 

That's a very blatant example of suggesting a completely separate, "accidentally exposed" false explanation. But it doesn't have to be like that. All you need to do is make the effect seem difficult, unplanned or out of your control and that alone implies a method that is somehow richer and more mysterious than the plain, dull method they had contemplated.


What other ways are there to make your magic seem difficult, unplanned and out of your control? Well, read this site. That's essentially what I've spent two years writing about.


The purpose of all this is not to get them to believe in magic. As I said, that's not a reasonable goal with a modern audience. But what we can do is blur the edges of what is real and what is not. Leaving them in a position where they have to live with the mystery a bit. Instead of having a trick that is easily dismissed as being separate from reality, give them an experience that bleeds into reality and doesn't offer any clean lines or easy answers. Create dissonance and make them live in uncertainty for a little bit.

Pixelated/Pixilated

Pixelated/Pixilated Coming in April to GLOMM Elites

If you're a GLOMM Elite member, I have a treat for you coming next month. It's called Pixelated/Pixilated.

This was an effect that David Blaine performed for me in a dream once. Then I woke up and came up with a method for it.

And then, a few months later, this happened...

That was about a year ago. And yes, that really happened. I came up with a method for an effect Blaine performed for me in a dream, and then he ended up actually performing that effect when he was shooting his last special. My life is a magic trick, people.

In the end, the effect didn't make the special, which I was strangely not bothered by. First, it was completely understandable because it's more of a cerebral trick than a visual trick (although there is a pretty interesting visual climax to it). And I was glad because it meant the GLOMM Elites would be getting a trick that has not really been seen anywhere. It was good enough for Blaine and you're getting it for free. (Well, you did pay for your membership kit, but you're getting it free on top of that, I mean.)

This is not an anytime/anywhere type of effect. It requires some preparation. About 15 minutes once you have the stuff you need. It will also require you to learn a skill if you don't already know it. It takes maybe 10-20 minutes to learn. And it will cost you about $8 per performance. 

But, in return for that you will have these benefits:

  1. A trick unlike any trick you do and unlike any trick your audience has seen. It doesn't even fit into one of Fitzkee's classifications. That idiot.
  2. It doesn't use cards or coins.
  3. No difficult moves.
  4. The version I've used the most makes people cry (in a good way).
  5. It's an ideal trick to commemorate special occasions.
  6. It leaves your spectators with the best souvenir in the history of magic. Well, that's a bold claim, Andy. F-you, ItalicsVoice! Thank you, BoldVoice. Here's the deal, feel free to nominate a better souvenir after you've read the effect. I'd be curious to find another magic souvenir that is intensely personal, is partly created by the spectator, and allows them to relive the magic moment coming together over and over for all eternity.

As mentioned, this will be a free ebook sent to all GLOMM Elites in April. If you've been thinking about joining, you may want to do so before then. You can join here. Membership kits ship out in a few days to a few weeks depending on shirt-size availability. As of now, there is a decent amount of everything except XXXL.

Speaking of that, the GLOMM Hyper-Elite shirt (the red one) is essentially sold out. There are just a few smalls and mediums left. That was a limited edition shirt and is not being reprinted. The normal Elite member shirt, the grey one, will continue to be printed as long as The GLOMM is around. There will likely be a completely different Secret Hyper-Elite Platinum shirt for 2017 as well, but that won't be until the summer. (There will be an upgrade package available at that time for current Elite members and Hyper-Elite members who want the 2017 edition.) 

Dear Jerxy: Again and Again

Dear Jerxy: How do you deal with spectators asking to see a trick again?

I'd like to hear your perspective for both types of tricks that you talk about performing: 

1) Quick five second tricks - in my experience these are the tricks most likely to solicit a request to see it again, since the effect is over so quickly that people may have felt like they missed something, or they just liked the effect and want to see it again.

2) The big spectacle type tricks that you're known for - I've never done this type of thing, so I don't know if people ask to "meet your evil twin" (or whatever) a second time, but I assume it must happen occasionally.

Obviously if a trick is repeatable, you can just repeat it. But for the other 70% or more, where repetition would at least be slightly dubious, what are your thoughts on dealing with this request?

Sincerely,
One Pump Chump

Dear OPC: The first thing to keep in mind is that someone asking to see it again is not wholly a bad thing. It means they were fooled and it means they're interested in what you've shown them.

At the same time, I think it's also a symptom of two problems. The first problem is that the audience is viewing the interaction too analytically. With the exception of children, when most people ask you to "do it again" it's because they think another go-around will help them get closer to figuring it out. Even if that's not true, even if they say "do it again" out of shear delight, I still think that's something of a problem, and I'll discuss why at the end of this post.

It is my belief that presentational styles are the cure for every issue in magic. They're the cure for dealing with difficult spectators, the cure for magic being seen as a needy power-trip performed by weirdos, and the cure for preventing or dealing with the "do it again" people.

First, with the larger "spectacle" effects, it's not really an issue. The events just feel too consequential to say "do it again." With the "Romantic Adventure" tricks the magic effect is so enmeshed with the patter/presentation that even if the effect is technically just a color change, you don't get "do it again" because they can't directly detach the effect from presentation. So to "do it again" might mean another 5 minute, 45 minute, or 5 day presentation, if they were to think of it that way.

Here is how I deal with the request in the other styles:

The Engagement Ceremony: This is used for process-heavy tricks which aren't generally the type of thing that people ask to see again. If you have a trick that does invite a repeat viewing done in this style, then just add a final line to the instructions that indicates the procedure should only be attempted once a year.

Peek Backstage: You will occasionally get requests to repeat an effect in this style, but because this style is based on the notion of magic as a craft that you are practicing and working on you will get it less than you expect.

If someone does ask you to repeat it, you have a built in excuse: the truth. The Peek Backstage is a very honest style of performance. With no layer of theater between the performer and the spectator (other than the meta-layer that you need their help), you can just be honest.

Spectator: Do it again.
You: No.
Spectator: Why not?
You: Well... you'd probably figure it out. I just wanted your pure, unadulterated opinion. The second time you'll know what to expect. I don't want you to see too much behind the scenes because I want to be able to continue to get your input as an intelligent, thoughtful non-magician. If you learn too much it will turn you from a really great sounding-board/spectator to a really crappy amateur magician.
Spectator: That makes sense.
You: Unless you really want to learn magic, then I'll help you get started. The first step is usually an 8-hour lesson on how to hold a deck of cards.
Spectator: Uh, yeah, no thanks. I've got a life to lead.

The Distracted Artist: See Monday's post for more info on this style. Basically this style is designed to make the moment seem unplanned so asking to "do it again" would be out of place. 


As I said, being asked to do it again is symptomatic of two problems as I see it. And the second problem is this: They are not seeing the magic moment as something special. "Do it again," suggests they see the magic as easy, planned, and within your control. Magicians often strive for their effects to come off this way. They think it's a good thing. And for the professional, maybe it is. But for the amateur performer, I've found that having your magic perceived that way often kills any sense of wonder or surprise you're trying to generate. For a spectator, those things aren't the hallmark of a powerful magician, they're the hallmark of something that's "just a trick."

On Friday I'm going to talk about how we can use this fact to create more affecting magic when I talk about positive and negative ways to use dissonance when performing. I know this week's posts have been theory-heavy, but that's the roll I'm on. You'll manage.