It's A Major Award!

If you came up to me five years ago and said, "The Jerx, Volume One is going to win the Tarbell Award," I would have said, "Are you having a stroke? None of those words make any sense to me." 

"In the future you have a blog again," you'd say.


"And it's called The Jerx."

"The jerks?"

"No. The Jerx. With an X. (Don't ask how I know you just said it with a KS and not an X.) It's like a play on The Jinx."

"Oh, that's clever. That's much better than the name that was rattling around in my head for years that I thought I'd revive the site under."

"What was that?" you'd ask.

"Annemann's Oven," I'd say. "I heard he committed suicide by sticking his head in the oven. So I was going to call it Annemann's Oven. 'See what's cooking in Annemann's Oven.'"

"That's a little disrespectful."


"So, you have this site called The Jerx and you wrote a book called The Jerx, Volume One."

"Okay. What is it exactly? It's like my old blog? Like a book with a bunch of pictures of old magic manuscripts with dirty sounding names?"

"No," you'd say. "It's a book of routines and essays."

"Huh.... And it wins an award?"

"Yes. The Tarbell Award."

"What's that?"

"It's the Magic Cafe's award for the best magic book of the year."

"I win an award on the Magic Cafe?"


"I'm not following. Did Steve Brooks die or something? I always was worried about his cholesterol. So he dies and the Cafe is taken over by someone in magic who's friendly to my work? Does Tyler Wilson buy the Magic Cafe or something?"

"No," you'd say. "Steve is fine. And I do mean fine." Letting me know you're not only gay, but you have wildly questionable taste in men. "He just allows the voting and doesn't interfere with the results."

"Really.... So what happens? I write a post and get everyone to go to the Cafe and flood the voting thread with votes for me? Completely invalidating the thing?"

"Well," you'd say, "I won't say that's something you don't consider at some point. But in the end you just decide to let it play out organically."

"And I win? That's great. I must be incredibly popular."

"No. Not at all."

"Aw, rats." I'd say. "Well, at the very least this suggests I might get a cover story in MAGIC Magazine."


"Yes, MAGIC Magazine. That immortal institution. How nice it will be to get a cover story there. That way, in 100 years when people are still reading MAGIC Magazine, perhaps they'll stumble over my old article in some back issue. Yes, that's all I hope for. A MAGIC Magazine cover story. Maybe a speaking spot at that year's Essential Magic Conference. Some support for a brand new idea I have involving weekly live online magic lectures. An appearance on whatever insanely popular Criss Angel show is on TV (so happy to know his star will never fade). A shopping spree at Hank Lee's. And perhaps a celebratory dinner with some of my magic idols: Tom Mullica, Irene Larsen, Paul Daniels, Aldo Colombini, and Montecore, the tiger who bit Roy's head off. That's all I ask."

"Err... uhm..."

"What's the problem?"

"Nothing. It's just... nothing."

"Well, this is great news. Obviously once I win I'll sell a ton more books and make a nice little return on my investment of time."

"Yeah, about that. You only printed a very limited amount and they're almost gone by the time this happens."

"Aw, fuck me."


So, The Jerx, Volume One won the 2016 award for Best Magic Book over on the Cafe. Please preface my name with Tarbell Award Winner in all future dealings with me.

I wanted to thank the people who voted, although awards—or for that matter, recognition of any kind—aren't really my scene, I'm just glad people enjoyed the book. If I'm proud of anything it's that the book probably sold less copies than any other book in that thread, and yet it got the most votes by a wide margin. A small group of ardent fans has always been more what I want than a broad group of casual fans.

And congratulations to my friend and Jerx App creator, Marc Kerstein who won the Trick of the Year for his amazing Wikitest effect.

The Jerx extended family is taking over.

We run this town now.



A Word From Our Sponsor

[For those new readers, or those who read on their phone and don't see the sidebar. New posts are put up Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tuesday and Thursday are "sponsored" posts. You can expect that they'll be sponsored, for the most part, by me. I'll be telling you what's coming up in The JAMM and other ways for you to contribute to the site.]

A change of plans regarding the JAMM release schedule. Originally I had intended to have it come out the first Saturday of the month. I realize now that a shifting release date would be a pain to manage from a records keeping point of view. So now it will come out the 6th of every month. Subscriptions that are placed after the 6th will start with the following month's issue. 

I've been getting a lot of positive feedback regarding JAMM #1 and some of the ideas and suggestions you've sent in will appear in issue #2.

In the March JAMM I review a product that I consider the best thing I've purchased in years and it's under $15.

What is it? Is it Foot Roulette? I bet it's Foot Roulette.

No. No, it's not Foot Roulette. You'll read about it in the next issue.

I really appreciate those who have subscribed already. If interest and support continues to build, then this is something that will just get bigger and better. For just 33 cents a day... the price of the shittiest cup of coffee you've ever can assure this site sticks around and that you have access to the magazine and bonus content as well. You're not just tossing money at some monolith company that doesn't need it. You're helping a tiny new-media magic organization, that is essentially one guy with occasional assistance from a few friends, put out consistent content. Think of it like you're buying me a Wendy's Spicy Chicken combo once a month (that's most likely what I'm going to spend your money on anyway) to support what I'm doing here specifically for you. Because that's essentially how i see it. I know pretty much every subscriber's name. I interact with many of you over email. To me this is just an extension of the emails I would share with my magic buddies pre-blog. But it's just more consistent, time-consuming and with more production costs. So if you're inclined to subscribe, please do.

If you think, "Well, $10 a month isn't too bad... but do I really need another magic magazine?" I have a confession. It's not really a "magazine magazine." Think of it as a 300+ page ebook done in the style of a magazine that's released in 12 installments. 

And your $10/month makes it possible for another couple hundred posts on this site over the course of a year.

And you're getting The Jerx deck of cards that is so limited edition and will be so rare it will make Jerry's Nuggets look like this deck of Minnesota Timberwolves playing cards that sells for a penny.

And subscribers will be getting other bonuses along the way as well.

More on that to come!

The Whitman's Algorithm

Today I thought I would offer a little idea based on one of the most popular posts in the history of this site. That post is Variations on the Konami Code which features a trick by Tomas Blomberg and some ideas of how you could use it and how I had used it in the past.

The Konami Code takes a little time to wrap your head around, but basically it's just a way of forcing any position in a grid. And once you understand it, you'll find yourself looking for grids in everyday life that you can apply this concept to. 

With Valentine's Day coming up, I've decided to use the technique with a box of chocolates. 


You bring your friend or loved one a box of chocolates and ask if they've heard of this thing called The Whitman's Algorithm.

"I read about it on BoingBoing or somewhere. Apparently it's the series of moves that can... predict... or find... I don't even really know how to put it. But it can locate your favorite chocolate in a box of assorted chocolates. It just kind of narrows in on it somehow."

"I wanted to try it with you." You give your friend a bunch of paper squares or index cards cut in half with different directions on them and ask her to mix them up. "Those are the moves it gave me for you. They calibrate it based on your birthdate and it gives you a custom series of moves.  I'm not quite sure of the science behind it...." you trail off.

You then lay a little paper "map" on top of the box of chocolates. Similar to the one below. It should match up with the position of the chocolates in the box. You place a coin or some other marker where it says Start.

You then have her go through the moves in the random order she mixed the cards in. Going forward, backwards, left and right as the cards tell her to. If she can't make a move because it would take her off the map, have her place that card on the bottom of the unused stack, and you'll come back around to it later in the procedure.

Eventually she'll land on one space on the map. You push the papers aside and draw her attention to where she ended up. 

"Okay, your favorite kind is the pecan cluster, right? And you ended up right here... one up and one to the right of center. Open the box."

When she does, she finds that right in the location she landed on is her favorite piece.

"That wasn't a fluke. I'll show you," you say. "I'll move it to a different location." Behind the cover of the box you mix the chocolates around then cover them back up.

You tell her to pick up the direction slips up and mix them into a completely new order. This time you tell her to take one out at random, don't look at it, and put it in her pocket. She does. 

You go through the process again with the coin and the map, moving around based on the slips of paper. 

At the end of the procedure you have her remove the cover from the box and find out how close she was to her favorite piece. She's two pieces in front of it.

"But remember," you say, "You put one slip in your pocket without looking at it. Pull it out. What does it say?"

She pulls it out and it says, "Move 2 Spaces Backward," landing her right on her favorite piece.

The algorithm works!


This is a good introductory effect to familiarize yourself with the Konami Code. Tomas has more complicated ways to hide the method, but it's best if you first understand what is going on. 

Here's a PDF of the map, and here's a PDF of the move cards (to be cut out). You probably wouldn't use this exact layout, but you can practice with it and see how you can apply it to your own box of chocolates (or anything else in a grid). 

Print the move cards, cut them out, and set the last two aside for now (1 to the right & 3 backward). Now put a coin in the middle, shuffle up the moves, and then go through them and see how it plays out. You will always end up one forward and one to the right of where you started, unless you screw it up, which I wouldn't put past you.

So, assuming you know what your friend or girlfriend/boyfriend or spouse's favorite type of chocolate is, you just put it in that location to start and you're good to go. 

Before the next round you will place her target piece two to the right and two down from center. The diagram below indicates where the marker will wind up at the end of the first and second round.

But Andy, if the directions always bring you to the same spot regardless of the order, how do they end up in a new spot for the second round.

Well, remember, you have those two extra move cards. As she goes through the cards the first time, have her turn them over and set them aside. At some point get the two additional ones palmed in your hand. When she's done you will push the paper slips aside, dropping off the two other pieces. It's a completely invisible move. She thinks you're done with the pieces and you're just getting them out of the way. Now the moves in the pile will always lead to position #2 no matter the order.

The bit about hiding one of the slips in her pocket without looking at it doesn't change the workings of the trick at all. (Well, it does in one small way. You may have to move "off" the map temporarily in this 2nd go around, due to the fact that you're holding out one specific piece until the end. Just pay attention to where you are and move as if you're going into spaces that exist off the map. Of course if you have a bigger box of chocolate (and bigger map) you won't have that issue.) Essentially, that's just the last slip in the pile, except it's not in the pile, it's in her pocket. Well, that doesn't change anything. But it feels like it does. So she ends up two spaces ahead (or whatever) of her favorite piece of chocolate. But wait! There's one more direction to read... Go back two spaces! Well, that's the only direction that would have landed her on her piece and she just so happened to set it aside ahead of time. Crazy!

If you're still not following what's going on, just print out those pdfs and try it. 

There's no magic or even any math to coming up with these series of movies. If you want to come up with your own, just write down a list of moves and see where it lands you. That's position two. Now remove one horizontal move and one vertical move (those will be the ones you palm in) and see where that lands you. That's position one. 

You need a big square-ish box of chocolates. It doesn't have to be 5 by 5 like in the example above it can be bigger. You can make up a map for whatever size you find.

People will argue this trick is too procedural. "It would be a better trick if they just named any position and her favorite chocolate was there." And that's likely true. It might be a better trick. But as I said at the beginning of this year. I'm no longer thinking in terms of tricks, I'm thinking in terms of experience. And the experience of mixing up these cards and having this coin travel around at random, like a Plinko disk, and eventually landing on the location of her favorite chocolate is arguably better than: name a position, and there it is. It all depends, of course. I'll have more to say on this soon as I will be adding a couple of new broad performing styles into the Jerx lexicon, one of which would entail tricks like these.

You could do other tricks with this technique and the box of chocolates too. I'm not quite sure what, exactly. But it's a grid found in the real world, which makes it ripe for the Konami Code. Maybe you could have your girlfriend play the game and in the exact spot she lands, instead of a chocolate is an engagement ring. 

Or maybe you print up the move cards and you talk about a game called Chocolate Roulette. "Since everyone knows there are always a few gross pieces of candy in a box of chocolates, some guys created Chocolate Roulette. You play the cards in any order and whatever you end up on, you have to eat it, even if it's a flavor that sucks." And then you play a round and she ends up on the only piece of chocolate in a box filled with nuggets of dog shit.

Or the other way around. She lands on the only nugget of dog shit in a box of chocolates. When it comes to dog shit and chocolates, you're limited only by your imagination. Your sick, twisted imagination.

Get New Friends

One of the nicest things anyone can say about this site is when they ask if I really perform in the manner I suggest here. "Are these write-ups of actual things you've performed? Or are these, like, allegories or something?"

This is like doing a freestyle rap battle and afterwards someone says, "There's no way you made that up on the spot. You must have pre-written that." Or beating someone so bad at Trivial Pursuit they question whether you memorized the cards. 

If someone finds the effects and presentations I describe here to be unbelievable, I'm flattered by that. I take it as a compliment. No one reads a Cameron Francis ebook and says, "Hmmm... I wonder if he really performs this way." Because it seems perfectly reasonable that one might. 

As I wrote in the "So You're New Here" post:

Do you really do these grand, drawn-out presentations? Don't you ever just do a normal quick trick?

Yes, I really do the presentations I write up. And yes, I do a ton of normal tricks too. But I don't have much to say about those types of presentations so there's really no need for me write about them.

Unless I specifically say, "I haven't performed this," then I have performed it. I may combine multiple performances into one retelling, and I certainly clean up my presentation which is even more rambling and free-flowing than suggested here, but other than that, it's a pretty fair representation of what occurred.

Yes, I perform this way quite regularly. I would say once a week I perform something more involved than the typical trick, and I always like to have at least one little scam on the horizon. If I just had a wife and two close friends I performed for, then I agree, that would be a pretty overwhelming amount of intense effects to make them sit through. But I have a fairly broad social circle and travel a lot meeting new people. Even close friends who I see regularly will have, at most, a dozen "moments" with me throughout the year that involve magic. And only one or two will be long-form tantric magic.

Now, the only reason I'm getting into this is because if this site appeals to you, I don't want you to dismiss it as some sort of inspirational literature. These aren't intended to be thought experiments. I'm saying this is a genuine lifestyle choice you can make. To use magic in a more intimate way for the benefit of the people you spend time with. If you're a funny person then you know the experience of meeting up with someone and having them express gratitude that they get to be around someone who makes them laugh. I enjoy being one of the funny people in my friend's lives. And now, in recent years, I enjoy being someone who can bring a wholly different type of experience to people. 

I think most of the people who question this sort of style are really questioning their own ability to have someone engage with them one-on-one while a trick plays out over more than a few minutes. If all you're familiar with is performing heavily scripted tricks with hacky jokes for an indifferent audience, it's hard to believe that slowing things down and taking out the "bits of business" could make the experience richer and more interesting to people. But I've found it does, and I would not be surprised if there comes a point in the future where the notion of presenting magic in the "traditional" way in casual settings seems as bizarre as doing your stand-up comedy set in someone's living room. When you're interacting with people in real life, you're not an entertainer, this isn't show-biz, and it's alienating to have that dynamic when you perform. (Most of the mockery of magicians in pop-culture is directed at the off-putting "performer" attitude in non-performance situations.)

More traditional performance styles can feel like a lecture, or a demonstration. In an informal situation, presenting magic like that is like pulling out your dick and just talking about it. "This is the shaft. And these are my balls. I have two. As you can see, my dick is really long. But it's also very hard too. That's important. Now I'd like to measure its volume via a water displacement test." And you're just showing them how wonderful your dick is. And their feeling is, "I wish he would just fuck me with that thing." If you're not on stage (literally or figuratively) people don't want a show, they want an experience.

Over the December break I got an email from S.Q. that said, in part:

Since I essentially live with my friends all the time, I perform a lot, and for the same people. However one thing that tends to happen is, just through the fact that I tend to perform the same tricks after a week or so of cycling through different ones, my friends will start to catch on to how I do some of them, or start to watch super closely and try to mess up the effect(this happens somewhat often).  I can't really blame them too much, and I don't think I'm putting off an attitude of being smarter/better than everyone (maybe I am, who knows), I think its just my friends are trying to fuck with me because they know they can.  I end up in a situation where people ask to see a trick, so I show them one, but they either say "I've seen this one already" or try to bust me.  Maybe this happened to you at college.  Do you have any advice you could share that would help me?  Or should I just get less asshole-y friends?

I don't want to address the bulk of the question, which I did in my response to him, I just want to address his final sentence and say, yes, I think it may be time for you to get new friends. And by that I mean the lot of you, not just the letter writer.

If you're unhappy with the dynamic in your magic performances for your friends, and you feel you're struggling against their disinterest or a kind of adversarial relationship where their only interest is in figuring things out, then you need to find new friends to perform for. 

I will tell you what happened from my experience with a similar issue. When I decided I wanted to stretch the boundaries of my magic presentations, I received two different types of responses. Some people were immediately on board and made the transition right along with me and were engrossed in a new kind of interaction. But there were many other people who just weren't into it and didn't get what I was going for. They were too ingrained in our previous relationship where I would half-heartedly goof around and show them a trick and they'd play the part of "audience" and either consume what happened and be done with it or try and figure it out. So when I'd try to do something more involved, they weren't feeling it. So I just stopped performing for these people and I found new friends to perform for. 

And with those new friends I could kind of slowly build up the idea that yes, I do magic tricks, but the way I do them they're going to be little interactive moments between us that require their input. They're mini-happenings that you take part in (not just watch). And it's much easier to establish that concept with a new friend than try and change an existing relationship between you, an old friend, and your old style of performance.

What eventually happened with me is that a lot of my older friends, who I had stopped performing for, would end up hearing a story second-hand about some trick I had performed. And second-hand, from a non-magician, many of these tricks sound completely unreal. And some of them would ask me why I didn't show them stuff anymore and I would be honest and say that I was trying some different sorts of tricks and I didn't get the sense it was the type of thing they'd be into. 

I wasn't trying to be manipulative. I didn't mean it like, "Oh, well I have these new friends and we sort of have a thing going on that I don't think you'd be into." That wasn't my intention, but I see how it could come off that way. And, unsurprisingly, a number of them wanted to be included and became open to a different kind of experience than they had been previously. So that just broadened the population of people who got something out of the style that was slowly evolving in my work.

So if your interaction with friends and magic has grown stale, I definitely recommend finding some new friends to perform for.

Similarly, I recommend finding some new friends within magic if you find your current situation unrewarding.

There's the saying that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. They say this is true in regards to your physicality and health, in regards to your finances, and in regards to your mindset and outlook. Heavy people don't spend all their time with 5 fit people. Motivated people don't surround themselves with unmotivated people. And so on. 

I think this is true in magic too. If you're spending time with people who only care about sleights and the inner workings of magic, it's going to be hard for you to evolve in your presentations. Similarly, if you really want to be the world's greatest gambling cheat, or an expert in magic history, then spending time with someone like me wouldn't help you in either of those pursuits. So try and surround yourself with people who are working in the direction you want to go.

My closest friends in magic are mostly unknown to other magicians, but they're the people I want to spend time with because we have similar goals in how we want to utilize magic. To a greater or lesser extent, most of us appreciate effects that require a more significant investment of time or energy on the performer and spectator's part. For us we've found that these types of effects produce more profound reactions, or at least more interesting reactions. 

My friend Andrew, who does most of the videos for this site and photography for the JAMM, has a phrase that I stole and use all the time. He says he has a "patience fetish." He likes things that take a long time to come together and that idea has had a big influence on the evolution of my style. 

I could write a book of the effects my friends have done, but for now I will share this one. Andrew hired our other friend (and JV1 illustrator, Stasia) to produce a custom deck of tarot cards for him, which she did over the course of a year. Fast forward to a later point in time. Andrew would often meet the girl he was dating at a coffee shop. This coffee shop had a bunch of games and decks of cards for people to amuse themselves with while they consumed their drinks. Andrew had taken to bringing the tarot deck with him in his bag, and planting it somewhere so he could pick it up as if it was just something that happened to be there. He did this two or three times. Perhaps the first time he just spread through them with his girlfriend, looking at the artwork. The next week maybe he did a tarot layout or a trick with them. I don't really know, I haven't heard that part of the story much.

A week or two later, they're in the coffee shop and he picks up the tarot deck. "I want to try something. It's an old gypsy procedure that's supposed to be really powerful and uncannily accurate at identifying a particular card that represents you. And knowing that card can supposedly be very helpful when it comes to navigating certain situations in life. Should we try it?"

So they go through a procedure where she is shuffling, counting and dealing through the cards based on freely chosen numbers that have a personal significance to her. At the end of all these free and random choices she is left with one card, The High Priestess. "I think that's supposed to be a pretty good one," he says. Then he looks up on his phone some more information about it. "Yeah, this is perfect for you. It's representative of wisdom and serenity." He goes on to list the positive attributes of the card and how they relate to her. She agrees it's a good card to have as the card that represents her and her future.

"There's one more thing we need to do. It's a final step where you become imbued with the card's essence and vice versa. It creates a permanent link." He places the card on the table face down and she lays her hand on top of it. "Now close your eyes and wish for anything for your future that you think would be possible if you fully possessed the traits indicated by that card. Don't tell me what it is."

She closes her eyes and makes a wish. 

"Done," she says.

As she takes back the card she notices something. The card has changed. Not to a different card—it's still the High Priestess—but the image has changed. Now the picture... is her. She freaks out. "It's me!" she says.

"Don't be ridiculous. Isn't that what it looked like before? Hmmm... it does kind of look like you.  It's got to be a coincidence, right?" Andrew says.

"She's wearing my scarf!" she squeals.

Time and effort. Yes, he commissioned a custom deck of tarot cards so he could one day commission a separate custom illustration of the girl he was dating by the same artist and seamlessly interweave the two. This is the sort of thing I love. In reality it was a convoluted card force involving a lot of dealing followed by a top change. He turned it into a tarot ritual with a very strange, semi-inspiring Twilight Zone finish.

Once you do these sorts of effects you'll no longer wonder if anyone really performs like this. You'll immediately recognize the pull to want to create these experiences for people. It's not selfless. You'll find how enjoyable it is for you to be the watchmaker setting the gears in motion and watching it all come together. 

And if you're lucky, you'll find five friends like I have in magic (Andrew, Andrew, Mark, Ben and Lana) whose average pushes you in the direction you want to go.

Of course, the difficulty is how you find these friends if you don't currently have them in your life.

Now, I can only speak from my perspective. But if your interests and performance philosophy are similar to mine, my one tip for finding other people—both as spectators and collaborators—who might be interested in this style of performance is to search for creators and not consumers. My job and lifestyle have brought me in contact with a lot of creative, active people and I find them to be, generally, very receptive. (It's also true that a lot of self-proclaimed "artists" are a nightmare to be around, but that's a separate issue.) If you want to broaden your social circle, look to things like local theaters, comedy scenes, filmmakers, open-mic nights, even groups that go out hiking or something like that. People engaged in creative or physical action. You don't have to be an actor or comedian yourself. You can work backstage, or just become known in that community by being a fan or supporter. I've found much higher interest in those types of groups for my style of performing than I have in something like a book club or movie group. Which, don't get me wrong, are great places to meet people as well. But in my experience it takes a little more effort to bring those people into your world for something unusual. Whereas in some place like a local theater or an improv class if you say something like, "You want to check out something a little weird?" It's immediately a reaction of, "Yes! What is it? Let's do this. Let's go!" 

So make new friends. New people to perform for, and perform with. Here... let's start easy. I'll be your friend. Now build from here.

Daughters of Zeus

The JAMM cover models will collectively be known as the JAMM Muses.

Why did I settle on that? Well, for a few reasons. It's a positive association and label that I don't mind slapping on a group of people. It's literally true for some of these women. There is a magical/enchanting association to the name. The dictionary definition of a muse is "a goddess presiding over a particular art," so it's perfectly appropriate for this niche performing arts magazine.

Not only that, but JAMM Muse evokes the French phrase j'amuse, meaning "I amuse" or "I entertain."

And if you put that into google translate and go back and forth a few times you get this.

I amuse. I entertain. I have fun.

That's as close to a motto as this site has. It's the, "I Came-I Saw-I Conquered" of the casual magic scene. I'd translate it into latin to give it some extra gravitas, but everything I try just translates "I have fun" to "I have fun."

Which is kind of winningly stupid. I like to imagine a Roman general screaming to 1000s of soldiers.

"Ego ludere!" 

[Audience roars.]

"Ego concepi!"

[Audience roars.]

"I have fun! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!"

Much thanks to JM Beckers for the suggestion. [By the way, JM co-authored an unbelievable variation on the Kruskal effect called A Bumblebee's Flight where the deck is shuffled by the spectator. It's one of those methods that amazes you that it actually works. I specifically like the variation from a new deck that is demonstrated by Tomas Blomberg. I have a couple presentational variations for this style of effect. One of which will likely come out here or in the mag. However, it could be a while because it's a little complex and I want to have the opportunity to try it out a couple more times before I write it up.]

If you signed up to support year two and you haven't yet subscribed to the JAMM, and you intend to, it would be great if you could do so before this weekend. [Subscribe here.] This will just give me some idea of how many are on board and how many flaked. Plus, once an issue is released any new subscriptions will start with the next issue. 

Here is the first JAMM Muse (J'AMMuse? I don't know. I'll play around with it) Jessica Michelle, showing us the 21 card trick while on a break from shooting.

Gardyloo #17

Thanks to everyone who submitted suggestion for the JAMM model's group name. Most of the suggestions were terrible, but some were pretty good. There were too many for me to write back individually so consider this a group thanks. 

I did end up choosing someone's idea and I'll reveal it tomorrow in Thursday's mini-post. Mainly I just wanted to choose something that made sense and was pleasant. I'm friends with many of these women, or they're friends of other people who help out with the site. I don't want it to be like, "Hey, look, you're the JAMM Cum Dumpster for March!"

Yo. Why didn't anyone tell me about this movie? It's like everything I enjoy all rolled up into one thing: magic, genre movies, the backing of the WWE, black people. If you don't think I'll be seeing this opening weekend, you don't know me very well.

Imagine you walked out to your driveway and there were two new cars there. 

"I want you to picture one of those cars begins to float in the air," I tell you. "Which one is it?"

"The blue one," you say.

"Okay, that's the car you get to keep."

You would never think, "I chose to keep the blue car." You wouldn't actually know what to make of the whole "picture a floating car" thing. But, hey, free car, what the hell, you're not going to complain.

This is bad equivoque. And it's especially transparent when you're implying the spectator is making free choices that have some meaning

For equivoque to feel convincing, they have to feel like they know the outcome of their action before they make a choice. I've written more about this on this site and demonstrate it with a couple effects in JV1 in the Third Wave Equivoque section. But that was over a year ago and I want you to keep it in mind if you do any effects of this type. 

As a reminder, I've created this public service announcement. (Apologies to Chris Ramsay who does a lot of things well, but this technique isn't one of them. Think of it this way: If at the end of the selection procedure the spectator is holding one card, there is another "floating in the air," and then it turns out the "selection" is the one the magician is left with... that ain't good equivoque, baby-boo.)

A week or so ago I posted about the concept of pouring water on dry-erase marker to make what you've drawn release from the surface. As per this gif that was circulating...

While in an email conversation with James David I came up with an idea that might push you further towards a magical effect. Or at least something a little more layered than, "This is what happens when you pour water on dry-erase marker."

Let's say you're with your friend. You have a plastic folder or a small mirror or something else you can draw on in front of you. "Tell me if you know who this is," you say. And you draw a stick-man on the surface of the item you have with you. 

"Okay. Any idea?" you ask.

They stare at you blankly.

"Really? Uhmm... uh...." You kind of shake your head and stare at your drawing as if to say, How do I make this any more clear?

Struck with inspiration you pull the marker back out and draw a rectangle around the stick-man. 

"So...." you say, expectantly.

"What is... I don't know what you're want me to tell you who the stick-man is? I don't...," they blabber.

"You seriously don't know? The context clues aren't helping?" you ask, pointing to the box. "Wait... I know," you say, and you flip the drawing upside-down.

They shrug. 

"It's Houdini, you jackass! Oh my god. You're losing it," you say. "It's Houdini in his water torture cell." 

You hold up the marker. "This is Houdini's Sharpie," you say. "I bought it from a collector. He wanted 500 bucks for it, but I talked him down to $450. That sucker." You lovingly admire your obviously brand new Sharpie for a moment.

"I think it still has some of that old Houdini magic in it. The water torture cell was like a phone booth filled with water that Houdini would be placed in upside-down, and then he had to escape."

You take a little bit of water and pour it over what you drew. The stickman floats off the surface and you blow him out of the box or tip the surface so he slides out.

The method is, of course, that you draw the stick man with a dry-erase marker that looks similar to a Sharpie. You put the marker away as if you're done.  Then when you decide to draw the box you remove the Sharpie as if it was the same marker. And that's what you leave in play until the end

I haven't performed this for anyone other than myself. I realize it's not the most mystifying thing in the world and played straight it would be a little corny. But with the right attitude I think it would be a fun and charming little visual moment. The marker switch is motivated and shouldn't be an issue, it happens before the trick starts. Pouring on the water makes sense to the story. And you get to preen like a smug idiot when you talk about how you bought Houdini's Sharpie.  

Proposed Names for JAMM Covergirls

I like some of these, but don't love any. 

"JAMM Majokko"  has a nice sound/rhythm
Jean Marie B.
[It does sound nice, but too obscure.]

How about calling each of them a JAMM Miss? Then there's the obvious joke of putting them on you before you sleep.
Brandon T. 

I think something along the lines of the JAMM Janes or the JAMM Jenny's might be a fitting name for the cover models... Either one of the J names were somewhat popular in the 60s, 70s (which echoes the awesome retro vibe of the mag) It also makes them sound like they'd have Daddy issues and just need to get out of this God forsaken town... 
Justin G.

JAMM Muffins (same problem as tarts?)
JAMM Kittens. Everyone likes kittens.
Chris H.

I suppose if Tart is derogatory, then JAMMETTE would be way over the top: 
- Christopher C.

As for the monthly centerfolds, it's got to be 'JAMM Tarts' surely!  
- Jon S.

The JAMM Center-Tears

- Thomas J.
[If Center-Tears is a play on Centerfolds, that's pretty clever. If it's just a euphemism for a vagina, that's awful, and also pretty clever.]

In reference to the two cats in your artwork…
Which is of course a reference to The Jinx…
Without further ado…
Pussycats.  (Perhaps derogatory?)
Maybe this makes JAMM Tart a viable option.
Kerry D.

How about JAMM-Role Models.
This is terrible and barely a pun.
But in my defense they are models.
It conveys something of the inspirational role that JAMM plays.
I think you might call the same thing 'a jelly roll' - which makes it even worse.

- Dan R.
[Yeah, swing and a miss on that one.]

Right now "bunny" is still the leader in the clubhouse. It may be the most obvious, but that could be due to the fact that it's the perfect combination of magazine model and magician reference. Although I'm still taking suggestions.

If I had thought more about it, I would have only chosen women from the Iroquois Indian tribe. Then I could call them JAMM-Iroquois.