Hey, everyone! I’m having a blast here at MAGIC Live! You know how cool and charismatic one magician is, right? Well, now imagine 1600 of them in one place! Talk about a party!
The dealer’s room is always a highlight. This year’s crop of pom pom sticks is really something to behold. But I think my favorite thing so far has been Dan Harlan’s newest version of Cardtoon. Instead of just a card reveal, you now flip through the deck and it tells the heartbreaking story of a young man’s struggle with his sexuality and coming out to his father (a decorated military veteran) and their subsequent 20 year estrangement. Not to spoil it, but they do reconnect when the father is diagnosed with cancer. And in the goosebump-inducing finale, the father—in his final days of life—joins the son to march in the gay pride parade. And together they raise a sign that says “3 ♧” (Or whatever card your spectator named.)
It seems every year this convention redefines the art of magic. I’m very excited because I’ve negotiated exclusive rights to broadcast the main stage on a webcam below. So even people who are unable to attend can still see the incredible artistry on display.
Let’s take a look…
I came across an effect recently called Unsolved by Francis Girola. It’s a deck with information on cold cases printed on the cards.
If that sounds like an odd pairing to you, it does have a precedent. There have been decks of cards printed up in the past with information on murders and missing people on them. They’re given out, usually to prisoners, as a way to hopefully get people talking and maybe elicit some new information in regards to these cases that have gone cold.
In Unsolved, the cards are apparently marked in a way so that you can know details about the crime/victim on the face of the card.
With the amount of friends I have who are interested in true crime, this would be a no-brainer for me to pick up. And then I saw the face of the cards….
Check out the phone number. They went to the effort of making these cards mimic something that exists in reality, and then they put a “555” phone number on the cards.
Now, maybe this isn’t well known around the world… maybe they see American TV and someone gives out a 555 number and they assume that what a real phone number looks like. It’s not. The 555 is used in TV and movies because it’s not real. This number is particularly fake. It’s Jim Rockford’s phone number from the Rockford Files and has been used in a bunch of different tv shows.
Why they went this route, I have no clue. They could have just got a Google Voice number and printed that on the cards, and even had a recorded message when you called saying “leave your tip” blah, blah. Or they could have left off a phone number and had it say, “Please contact a prison official to report your tip,” since these were meant to be given out to prisoners.
Oh, Andy, no one will look at the phone number.
It’s the biggest thing in the boldest font on the card! A card you’re asking them to invest their attention in. A big 555 is pretty obvious, even if you’re not really focused on the phone number. It’s as obviously fake as if it said, “Please submit tips to: Santa Claus, 123 Main St., Anytown, USA.”
I’m going to guess that they didn’t print a ton of these, in which case it hopefully won’t be too much of a financial hit to set these on fire and print up a new batch with a proper phone number. I’ll be here with my grubby little fingers ready to click “buy” when that happens.
Cut for Time: F.U.2.
Here’s a section that was cut from my post on FU2 from last Friday.
It was inspired by a line in the Ellusionist ad copy which said the trick is the perfect heckler stopper. Now, I don’t know shit about “heckler stoppers.” I perform for people I like and who like me. Either no one ever seriously screws with me, or perhaps I just don’t ever interpret anything as that. So I can’t speak from experience. But I’m going to guess pulling out a specially-made card with a printed middle finger on it isn’t going to stop any hecklers. More than likely they’re just going to upgrade you from a regular wedgie to an atomic wedgie for your cornball trick.
Instead of suggesting to an asocial 14-year-old that they’re going to be stopping hecklers with this trick, I wanted to give them a more realistic expectation of how things will go down….
“Hey everyone, look at my special, funny joke card. Now I’m the life of the party! Hey, Kaitlyn, did you see? Did you see the funny card I had? Kaitlyn! Did you see it? It has a middle finger on it and it says ‘fuck you.’ And I totally made a fool of the school bully with my specially printed funny card from ellusionist.com. And now I’m the hero of the school! Kaitlyn, stop trying to kiss me! I’m sorry if my trick turned you on so much, but I have to go do some more magic. The whole party is really buzzing about me and my incredible tricks. Can’t you hear th—” buzzz, buzzz, buzzz. Huh? Bed? Sheets? Pillow? It was just a dream? But it felt so real! Aw, fudge… I jizzed my underpants. “Honey, time to get up. Do you want me to make you a soft-boiled egg?” “Mom! Get out of my room, you stupid B!” Ugh! I can’t believe it was just a dream. But soon it will be true. I’ll show them all. Mom, Kaitlyn, Trevor the bully. When I get that special card from Ellusionist, then they’ll show me the proper respect! Things are bound to turn around for me.
One week later the card arrives in the mail. One week after that he’s googling ways to build a bomb to blow up the school.
I think one of the more powerful moments of synchronicity in the existence of the known universe that very few people ever talk about is the fact that if you were on Lance Burton’s Young Magician’s Showcase in 2001, and you thought wearing a red jacket was a strong sartorial choice, then there is a 100% chance you went on to start a company called Vanishing Inc.