Gardyloo #50

Some final thoughts, for now, on the subject of exposure.

First, let's talk about two groups of losers.

The first group: When the World's Greatest Magic specials were airing, and Mac King was teaching beginner's tricks on either side of the commercial breaks, there were some losers who would write in to the magic magazines (or maybe on some early magic forums) to express their displeasure that Mac had the temerity to teach Alan Thicke how to float a knife against the palm of his hand.

The second group: If you go on youtube and do a little bit of searching you can find losers artlessly exposing the methods behind most every trick you can think of. 

Question: Which of these groups of losers is bigger?

Answer: It's a trick question. They're the same group. Ideologically, at least. They're both of the opinion that the secret is the most valuable part of magic. One group believes they're so valuable that we can't ever let any secrets into the hands of the "layperson." And the other group believes they're so valuable that merely exposing them should be all that's needed to get people to give them some attention.

The truth is, more magic has been ruined by poor performers than by people exposing tricks. Probably 100 times more. But it's kind of easier to say, "Let's boycott the advertisers of the Masked Magician show!" than it is to say, "I should get a lot better at performing and entertaining people with magic."

If you combine the thoughts in Wednesday's post with this post on how to make your magic un-Google-able, and the ideas I've written up in the past weeks on "meta" presentations (which make the nature of the methods a bit more murky) as well as the concept of shifting the magic away from you and your abilities (which goes a long way towards defusing their inclination to "bust" you) then you will be so far ahead of the game to the point where exposure is not really a factor.

And finally, keep this in mind... If you're an amateur, you choose who you'll perform for. Freeze people out if they're just trying to make everything a puzzle to be solved. Cultivate an audience that is more interested in enjoying the experience than trying to search out how things are done on youtube. Exposure is much less of an issue if the people you invite into your performances are comfortable living with the fantasy. 

Why I'll Be Posting Music on this Site in the Future

New content to this site is posted on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Occasionally, on off days (Tuesdays and Thursdays), I will be posting music on this site.

Why? Well, because it's my site and I can do what I like. The music posts won't be replacing the magic posts. They'll be there when there otherwise wouldn't be any post at all. 

Music is a gigantic part of my life. I buy a couple new albums each week (and I sample probably 15-20 more in that time). And I try and see as many live shows as I can. 

I was a consummate mix-tape maker back in the day and I like sharing music. I'm not great at writing about it, so I probably won't say much beyond "I like this." But that's okay. I'm not trying to impress you with my music knowledge, just share some stuff that I'm into. The odds that you will be into it to are... well... probably not great. I don't intentionally seek out obscure stuff, but my taste isn't really in line with what's popular.

I'm a big fan of indie pop, indie rock, garage rock, power pop, jangle pop, bubblegum, psychedelic, punk pop, folk, chamber pop, etc. I'll be posting newer music, mostly, but many of the bands I'm into are heavily influenced by the music of the 60s. I'm a big fan of catchy music with high energy. I like music that is sometimes wild and off the rails. And at the other end of the spectrum, I'm a sucker for intricate, beautiful harmonies and complicated arrangements. Oh, I can't wait to bore you with music talk! (Just skip those posts you whiny bitch.)

And it actually does have something to do with magic because my ideal style of performing is most similar to that of sharing music back in the day. I am perhaps of the last generation where you would invite someone over to listen to a new album. Does that still happen? Do people go over to someone's house and sit around and listen to a new record? Probably not too much. That's too bad because it's such a pleasant type of interaction.


And it's this dynamic that I want to emulate when I perform magic. That is, it's not me "performing" for you with my awesome talent. It's me saying, "Hey, come over. I have this thing I want to share with you," and then us experiencing it together. (Those of you who will be getting MFYL will find a routine that is almost 100% mapped onto the "come over and listen to a record" experience, but with magic instead of music.)

Here's a song by Pacific Radio that was one of my favorites of 2017. It's from their album Pretty, But Killing Me. The video is pretty clever. What do you do when you're a small band without a ton of money for a video? Well, go shoot it in West Hollywood on Halloween and now you've got a ton of costumed extras for no money at all.

My friend is putting together a seance style show and I was helping him research some different effects. He was looking at this effect by Tim Wisseman called Dead Rap.  It's a remote-controlled device to create rapping sounds. Not the Biz Markie kind, the "at my chamber door" kind.

We were curious what object the device was hidden in and then we came across this post from Paul Gross, the owner of Hocus-Pocus magic on the Magic Cafe.

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There has been some questions as to how the Dead Rap device is hidden. I'll give you a clue. It's hidden in something that you would find in a "library". 

We thought that was great. Hiding the device in a book is ideal camouflage. Books are fairly innocent objects that would not look out of place in almost any performance environment.

So we ordered it and got the package a couple weeks later and were surprised by the size of the box.

We opened it up and that's when we realized...

It's hidden in a goddamn microfiche machine!

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(But seriously, though, if you want to let us know something is hidden in a book, just say it's hidden in a book. Saying, "It's hidden in something that you would find in a library," is moronic. You're not being circumspect. It's not like you're concealing what you're saying from any non-magician that might stumble upon that post. "Something you would find in a library? Hmmm...what could that possibly mean?... A librarian?!?! Did they make some poor librarian keister their knocking gimmick?")

I like these combination shadow/illustrations. I think there's probably a magic trick to be found in here as well.