Here are some other things I'm sad to have missed talking about while I was gone.
Paul Brook getting called out for his sock-puppet accounts on The Magic Cafe. Sadly I think the threads or posts about this have been deleted, or I just couldn't find them. Or maybe I dreamed that he got called out? Either way, do yourself a favor and look through the posting history of Dr.J.Jamison and Mindseeker on the Cafe. These two hyper-enthusiastic Paul Brook fans sadly disappeared from The Cafe within days of each other after someone pointed out, "You know, it's really obvious you're both not real people and just Paul Brook, right?" Reading someone write about how great they are and impressive their work is in the third person would be hysterical if it wasn't so depressing. Honestly, it was hard to read.
During this time, Paul Brook claimed to have been in a car accident, had his identity stolen, and suffered a cancer scare. All that may be true, and if so I'm glad to hear he's come out the other side unscathed. But the problem with bullshitting in one area of your life is that it makes other areas so suspect. I guess it could be a coincidence that all the things that happened to him are the same things that the people behind the fake profiles in Catfish claim happen to them.
The best part about this though is where he got the profile pics for Dr.J and Mindseeker.
And here's Mindseeker
Paul Harris' True Astonishments set. The effects, like in all of Paul's work, ranged from the brilliant to the "wait...what?" But the set was worth $300 if just to watch Bro Gilbert perform. His low-key, engaged style worked very well in the context of this DVD set. But for me it was also a small piece of the puzzle in regards to the evolution of performing informal magic. But more on that another day. The genuine, delighted reactions you see in the trailer are a tonic for your weary soul.
Rus Andrews' "effect" The Changeling. I love when people lie on the Cafe. If Steve Brooks puts together a coffee table book composed of threads of people claiming to have created effects that they hadn't, I would be first in line to buy it. That's my favorite kind of horseshit. A couple years ago Rus Andrews made a post saying that he was a few days away from releasing his new effect, The Changeling. It smelled fishy immediately. In the effect a spectator would take a joker, examine it, and put it in their pocket, then they would think of a card, remove the joker from their pocket and it would have changed into that card. Rus didn't claim that that's what the spectator would remember, but in fact that that's what would happen. After further questioning Rus claimed that what you would get is a psychological force of a card that was 90+% accurate (and all it involved was asking the spectator to think of a number then think of a suit, if the demo he posted was to be believed) and a gimmicked card that he had created that could be examined by the spectator, placed in their pocket where it would change to another card, and then be removed and examined again.
I'm not sure what reaction he was hoping to receive from the announcement that he had created this effect, but I don't think it was the one he got which was, "No. No you didn't." After being called out by many, he had some of his friends come in to claim that they had seen the effect, knew how it worked, and it was legit. Unfortunately he didn't coach up his friends enough in regards to what to say so all their claims contradicted each other and the thread turned into a true clusterfuck. In the end the thread got deleted and Rus punished the non-believers by never releasing this effect that never existed in the first place.
Patrick Redford's cameo in the Max Maven Penguin Live Lecture. Look, it's not fun to make fun of dumb people. That's for bullies. But when an intelligent person does something dumb, that actually IS a ton of fun. I know Patrick Redford isn't an idiot because I've seen his work and I'm a fan of it. But in Max's Penguin lecture he exhibited a tremendous brain fart or blind spot in rational thinking. I don't know what was going on. Patrick was thinking of a rose, and Max was trying to guess what he was thinking of and asked, "Is it an animal, vegetable, or mineral?" The standard 20-questions question. Patrick not only didn't say "vegetable" the first time around. If I'm not mistaken, that wasn't even his second choice. To him a rose was more mineral or animal than vegetable. I wish I could have been in his head to watch his thought process play out. I'm sure it was amazing.
Nothing to Hide on Broadway with Derek DelGaudio and Helder Guimaraes. This show was praised so highly during it's run on both coasts that there's little point in me saying, "Oh yeah, I liked that too." But I did really like it. I only wish I hadn't read the long articles about the show in the magic magazines because I would have preferred to have been caught more off guard by what I saw. It is not the show I would write if I was writing a stage magic show (oh, and I will, mark my words). But it was about as great as a card magic stage show could be. It was just a perfect thing in its way. You know how some things are just perfect? Like the sound of Eugene Burger's voice calling you a "sassy little rascal." Or the sight of Steve Brooks so intently focused on gleefully licking a triple-scoop ice-cream cone that he's not paying attention as he walks down the sidewalk and he trips and falls into a row of parked motorcycles, knocking them down like dominos. Nothing to Hide was perfect like that.
Jim Callahan on Phenomenon.
Here's the video of it...
Oh wait, that's not the right video. I know it's not the right video because THE ACTING IS SO MUCH BETTER AND LESS EMBARASSING IN THAT VIDEO THAN IN THE ONE YOU'RE ABOUT TO SEE.
NOW do you share my fear of spooky ghosties???? They inhabit your body and turn you into the world's shittiest actor. It's a good thing no one watched or remembers this show or we'd still be trying to live this down.
Also, is a car a "rectangle"? Metal, rectangle, 4 wheels. That seems like a needlessly complicated way to describe a toy car. I would have said "Toy Car." Or "Car." Was the ghost playing Password? Or the $25,000 Pyramid? What I mean is, could he not say the word car? Is that what was going on? Like, he understood the concept of "metal" and "wheels," but not cars? Or was he just being super cautious because he didn't want to be wrong? Like, "Look, I see a metal rectangle with 4 wheels. That could be a zillion things. Like one of those... I don't know... like a fucking metal couch thing with wheels for moving it into different rooms or something? Who can say. Quit bothering me when I'm ghosting."
Wait... wait!!! I think the ghost is getting ready to speak through me! I'm losing control of my fingerdsasfgh----------
bɒɘʜɘlʞɔunʞ ɘlǫnɒƚɔɘɿ ʜƨɘlʇ
Aw, dammit. That's just a bunch of nonsense. Oh well. Wait! Let me get a mirror.
Okay, it says Flesh Rectangle. Well, that's obviously a person. Because that's what a person is. A flesh rectangle. Flesh Rectangle Knucklehead. Huh. Oh! The ghost is saying hi to Jim Callahan. Thoughtful lil' ghostie.
Actually I just re-watched this video and pretended he was on the toilet the whole time and it's much more entertaining. Can someone with some video editing skills put him on a toilet and add a bunch of fart sounds to this? You'd be doing the lord's work.