I want to tell you about a new resource I've created, well, for myself, really, but you can use it too.
You see, for a while now I've been getting into effects by talking about "something I read" or "something I saw online." This is a pretty natural way to get into discussing anything unusual or interesting that might provide the premise for a trick.
But, I thought, it would be so much better if I could actually be reading a site and say, "Oh, this is interesting," or if I could pull up a page online so I could reference the article I read about some breathing technique that increases intuition three-fold, or whatever.
In the past I've used a site called Pen.Io which allows you to create quick one-page websites when I wanted to reference something online that wasn't actually something that was online. But it doesn't hold up to much scrutiny. It looks like something that was just thrown together.
So I knew I should probably make a website. One that looked just like some random person's blog. One that covered "interesting" stuff, so I could put pretty much anything on there and it wouldn't seem out of place. One that would seem legit if someone were to take a look at my iPad and scroll around, or even if they remembered the site's name and went so far as to check it out later on.
So I created a blog for this guy named Danny who likes to write about interesting things. You can find it here. I'm not going to have too many links to that site on this one, just to keep the sites fairly separated from anyone doing a search online (not that I expect anyone to start trying to track this stuff down, but there's no need to make the connection too obvious. When I reference the site in the future, it will go to this post and you can follow from this post to the site itself.)
Here's an example of how I'll use the site. One of the tricks I've had a lot of fun performing that's buried in this blog is called Tiki and Ronde. You can read it here. Now, instead of just bringing up the subject out of the blue, I can act like I'm reading about it in real time while hanging out with someone. Or I can say, "I read about this thing the other day... wait... let me see if I can find it again." Then I bring it up on my phone, kind of scan through it real quickly, showing it briefly to my friend, then transitioning into the trick. In this case I'd show them the article about these shortwave radio stations that were broadcasting playing card values in the 60s and 70s. Then I'd say I looked a little bit further into it and there's this thing I want to try. (The post on DMB that goes with Tiki and Ronde is the first post on 9/11/17).
It may not seem like much of a big deal that, instead of saying, "I heard about this thing I want to try," I can say, "I heard about this thing... give me a sec...let me bring it up... oh yeah, here it is. I want to try it with you." But I've found that when I can reference something that seems to exist outside of me and the person I'm performing for, I can generate a different level of interest, and it just seems more natural. This is how people actually introduce weird ideas and intriguing concepts to people in the real world. They say, "Check out this thing I read." They don't usually just start spouting out, "In 1852 the government of Paraguay was dealing with a thorny issue. How to get rid of a weasel epidemic. One man stepped forward with an interesting solution. He'll be represented by this king of spades...."
I'm not suggesting you make someone read what's posted there (unless that's part of the effect), but even if it's just something you have up on your laptop and you only acknowledge in passing ("hey, I want to see if this thing works," nodding towards the screen), I find it can add a different layer to the interaction. And it makes it super easy to transition into an effect if you have something in the environment (like this site) to build off of, rather than just introducing something out of nowhere.
It might seem like I'm putting too much effort into this. Why not just do the trick? Certainly you don't need to invest the energy to give the trick a context. No. You don't. You also don't have to do a good double lift. You can do a shitty one. What I've found is that giving short shrift to either of these sorts of things weakens the experience. Context gives an effect some roots.
Now, the nice thing about the blog is that it's not going to be a bunch of posts about made-up shit. Those posts are going to be dispersed amongst a bunch of posts about actual weird or interesting concepts. That part of the blog is being handled by friend of the site, Joe Mckay. He has a natural interest in those sorts of things and I knew he'd be able to pump that stuff out rather easily. So if someone were to give the site a closer look it would seem pretty genuine, because, for the most part, it is. You may find value in those legit posts as well, as far as food for thought presentationally, or just in the general sense of being somewhat interesting. Thanks to Joe for handling the day-to-day running of that site.
I'll let you know when I add something to that site that you might find useful. And if you're a supporter of the Jerx and there's something you'd like to have added to the site, let me know and I'll incorporate it. (But it has to be something that could capture someone's imagination as being potentially possible. I'm not going to add a post like, "Did you know playing cards have personalities?!")