Gardyloo #82

The boys at Vanishing Inc. have done it again!

And by “it” I mean, they’ve made an awkward, incomprehensible gif.


Okay, let’s unpack this. We’ve got a Black Friday sale coming up. So why are they dressed in hippie clothes?

Here’s their rationale…

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Okay but… you know saying “Groovy Baby” and dressing like hippies is a 1960s thing, right? You’re off by a decade.

I guess their logic was, What would we be doing in 1976 if we were around then? Probably dressing and acting at least 10 years behind the culture like most magicians.

I’m surprised they weren’t doing a 69% off sale. I just know they would have loved to do the gif to go along with that promotion.

I was emailing a friend of the site recently about buying a product of his. He kindly offered to send me one and said, “it’s just a shame I couldn’t fool you with it first.”

This gave me an idea that some online magic shop should implement: Live Demos. I don’t just mean videos of live performances as demos. I mean they should have a subset of the products they have available where you could click a button and then schedule a time for a live demo of the product. You’d have to have some kind of fee for this service. Maybe $5. But if the person then decides to purchase the product, the fee is credited to the purchase price.

Not every trick needs to be demonstrated in this way, and not every trick could be demonstrated in this way. But there are some tricks where seeing it live-ish would, I think, be a big selling point. There’s something about going into a magic shop and being fooled by a trick knowing that you’ll have the opportunity to buy that trick and learn its secret. You might say, “That’s what video demos are for.” But those demos have become so artificial it’s not like really watching the trick. (This is why magic on tv isn’t edited like the magic in trick demos. If it was, no one would watch magic on tv because the demos are decidedly unmagical.)

I’ve never been one of those people who bemoaned the loss of physical magic stores. Most of the stores I got a chance to go to were pretty useless (with a couple exceptions) and I don’t really get the nostalgia for them. “Oh, it’s so sad. I miss the good old days when Hank Lee could steal my credit card number in person, not just online.”

But that service people long-for from a real magic store (that I rarely experienced in one) of someone demo’ing a trick for you and answering a few questions is something that I think the online experience could use.

Pete McCabe brought up a good point to me in regards to the Daniel Madison Erdnase mentioned in Monday’s post.

i think I may have been too quick to judge that book as a pointless exercise. Yes, on first assessment taking a book and only making one change to it (a change that actually makes it harder to learn from) might seem pretty pointless.

But note this…

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The original Erdnase is rated as an “intermediate” text by Murphy’s Magic.

However, the Daniel Madison Erdnase actually requires “no skill.”

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A version of Erdnase that—somehow—consists solely of self-working techniques and effects is actually a huge contribution to the art. I apologize to Daniel.

Extreme tipping tonight at a late-night diner, with some friends as we congregated in our hometown for some pre-Thanksgiving festivities.


A few people have asked in the past about a good dollar origami book. I like this one by Janessa Munt. Some easy stuff, some more challenging stuff, but nothing ridiculously crazy. Here’s a tutorial of her folding a dollar turkey if you want to drop a seasonal tip on your table tonight.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the US and i want to thank those of you who support the site. Your patronage gives me the time to create and test new ideas. And not just test them once or twice, but with a lot of people over the course of days and weeks. The best insights I’ve had into amateur/social magic have come from doing it every day, which is not something I would have the opportunity to do without your support. Those of you who contribute not only finance the creation of the site, the newsletter, and the book; you also allow me to pay people who help out with the site; and the focus group testing that we do two or three times a year is now completely funded by you. So thank you on my behalf and thank you on behalf of everyone who reads this site who is leeching off your generosity.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!