Next week is Summer Break here at the Jerx. There won’t be any posting as I’ll be too busy having beach fun, baby!
At the end of next week, the Summer 2019 issue of the X-Comm newsletter will be hitting supporters email boxes. If you think you should be receiving one and you don’t see it by Monday the 22nd, send me an email and we’ll sort it out.
I receive a number of requests to consult for people, including many people I respect in the magic industry. I generally turn them down because I’m not sure consulting for professional magicians is a great match for my skillset.
I tell people this and they say, “Oh, that doesn’t matter. I still want to hire you.”
I tell them that it won’t be cheap and they say, “That’s fine. I’ve worked with consultants before. I know they’re not cheap.”
I tell them my ideas tend to be a little idiosyncratic and probably won’t be useful to them. They say, “I understand, but let’s give it a shot.”
For the past few months I’ve been telling the people who asked me that I would soon be offering a short-term consulting service and would put details on the site. Well, I’m committing myself here to finally do that. When Summer Break ends there will be a post with the details of that service linking to a new page on the site where interested people can find out the details. (And I will probably try and continue to talk you out of the idea.)
I have a new policy in regards to using people’s names on this site. With professional magicians, I’ll generally use your full name. With non-pros, I’ll probably use your first name-last initial, or just initials (unless you tell me otherwise).
This isn’t to keep your identity secret from the readers. It’s to keep this site from showing up when someone googles your name. My friend Andrew, whose work I’ve featured here and in the books/magazine, was someone I used to refer to by his full name. But someone searched for his name and “magic” after seeing something he did and found this site. Of course, no one without an interest in magic would bother reading this site (most people with an interest in magic don’t bother reading the site), but I can understand not wanting your name and your performances coming back to a magic blog.
So that’s the policy going forward.
In Magic For Young Lovers there is a trick called CardLibs where you walk your spectator through a “fun new game” that you’ve created that turns out to be incredibly dull in a magical way.
Friend of the site, Max T. (Look guys, I’m using the new policy!) is a game developer and one of the creators of Cards Against Humanity. He went and printed the CardLibs prompts on official (official? whatever) Cards Against Humanity cards and sent me some.
So now I can introduce it as a CAH variant that I’ve been chosen to beta-test. “It’s aimed at a younger audience, and it’s a game you can play by yourself or with a partner. It’s not a competitive game, really. It’s just a way to have some good clean silly fun!” Then you play the game and it turns out to be no fun at all.
Not only does this add a different level of credibility to the start of the effect (if that’s what you want). But because the prompts are on cards, and not sheets of paper, you could change up the handling so the spectator can “mix” the prompts in some way, or match them up with the playing cards or something like that.
I have a few sets of these to give away. [UPDATE: All gone.]
Did the original Jumping Stool fail to get you the acclaim you expected? Well check out the Jumping Stool 2.0.
Can you imagine just how powerful a trick this must be?
Imagine bringing this out on stage.
“Here I have a completely ordinary stool.”
Then you step on it making it go flat and it jumps into your hand!
Standing ovation. People carrying you out on their shoulders. Panties being shotgunned into your face by aroused females.
Sorry, Christ! There’s a new miracle worker in town! And his name is… I don’t know his name…but it’s this guy with the little stool!
Audience reaction: “He took that perfectly normal, everyday stool—the one that’s too weak for anyone to sit on and too low for you to rest anything on—and he made it jump up in the air!”
Oh, Andy, quit with the snark. This isn’t supposed to be some AMAZING magic trick. It’s supposed to be a comedy prop.
Alright, let me revise my sarcasm then.
Can you imagine how fucking funny this must be?
“Hahahaha…. oh my god… you’ll never believe the funniest thing I saw! This guy came out on stage with a mini stool. Your standard, non-functional, obviously a prop, mini stool. Then he stepped on it and… you won’t believe this… it’s too funny… wait let me calm down so I can say it.”
14 minutes later.
“Okay… he stepped down on the stool and it jumped in the air!!! It was so funny! You know, like in the way a spring is funny? Well, this was a stool that was funny like springs are.”
“Everyone was laughing so hard and pissing their pants and gasping for air, all because of the great humor he brought to the event with his hilarious jumping stool. What’s that? Can I take you to see his show? Unfortunately no. He left town. Hollywood came calling. He signed a six-picture deal for him and the hilarious stool.”
This may be a standard tactic others have used, but I don’t think I’ve read it before. I wouldn’t want to do it with most people I perform for, because it’s somewhat confrontational, but maybe it would work with someone who’s being a bit of a dick.
The Dick: Hey, can you read my mind?
Dick: Prove it.
You: Okay. Think of something. LIke an object you can picture in your mind, I mean.
Dick: Okay. Got it.
You: Okay. This is something you’d find outdoors, isn’t it.
You: Uhm… think of it again. [Concentrating] I was right the first time. You’d find it outdoors. On a farm, yes?
Dick: Nope. Still wrong.
You: Look, I know what I’m seeing. If you’re not going to be honest about it, there’s no point.
Dick: Hahah. Whatever. You can’t do it.
You: You’re right. I can’t do it if you’re going to lie or change your mind. Obviously.
You: Here. Think of something else, but write it down this time, so we can prove whether I’m doing it or not.
That’s all it is. Just a way to justify the need for them to write something down when reading someone’s mind. I don’t actually think it’s an act that needs that much justification, although some people feel it does. In this instance, you only need to write it down because he’s apparently actively trying to sabotage you. And the fact you do get it right the second time suggests that maybe he was messing with you the first time.
Excited to see—assuming I’m interpreting this product artwork correctly—that Wayne Fox is releasing his version of that classic trick where you take a crap on one side of a scale and weigh it down with a feather, then squeal, “My magical feces are lighter than air!”
My favorite version is the one David Copperfield did on his final special where he followed up the first phase by floating his big dookie with a zombie gimmick to R. Kelly’s, “I Believe I Can Fly.” And people still say magic can’t be emotionally resonant? Well I guess they didn’t see The Magic of David Copperfield XVII: Vortex of Shit. Powerful stuff.
Okay, see you back here on the 22nd. I’m off for some summer fun.