(My Little Tribute To The Art.)
Magic has been a great hobby for me over the years, and an occasional money-making one as well. I've watched and enjoyed a wide variety of performers,
from Harry Houdini to Harry Anderson. Performing magic is one of those out-of-the-ordinary abilities that
becomes a unique part of your personality. Impromptu magic can be done almost anywhere, and with just
a few coins, some rings, or a little gizmo, a person can seemingly break the laws of physics, make the
impossible possible, and put reality on hold, if just for a little while.
(Note: most information here is geared towards the amateur/hobbyist looking to improve and polish their own performance, and I've just purged most of the oudated content, so I'm collecting info to refill the page. Any suggestionson any magic-related topics, tricks, or links that should be added are always welcome. Thanks!)
Most of my own experience in performing magic involves Close-Up effects, as performed by greats like David Roth, Paul Harris, and Harry Anderson (as opposed to stage magic performed by David Copperfield or Penn and Teller). Being a performing musician too, I've enjoyed spending my between-set break time talking with friends or fans and and occasionally pulling out a little miracle. "Bar Bet" effects are always fun too.
Here are some of favorite close-up effects. These are all references to commercially-available tricks or published routines that I recommend (and no, I'm not giving out secrets here). In the next month, I plan to publish a couple of effects and routines I've created myself and make them available here. Stay tuned.
- D'Lite - Invented by Roger Mayfarth, the effect was made famous by Rocco, the award-winning magician and former regular at Mostly Magic (NY City) when the effect was developed. The magician reaches into the air (or from a glass of water, an empty box, whatever) and plucks a light between his fingertips. The light can be passed from hand to hand, in and through objects, and tossed into thin air. Many stores that carry the product also sell the video of Rocco demonstrating his stage rountine, a comedy routine by Justin Style, and some helpful tips on its use.
- Scotch and Soda - Even if you're not proficient in sleight of hand, you should have this one if you perform coin tricks. Two coins placed into a spectator's hands seem to change without the magician touching them. Coins are provided. Several books are also available, including The Scotch and Soda Book, by Hugh Turley, with many routines for S&S.
- Hopping Half - A shell trick that amazes people no matter how many times they see it. A pair of half dollars seem to leap in and out of closed fists and pockets multiple times.
- Color Monte - One of my first tricks, and still one of my favorites. Three cards (provided) seem to change color and positions and you perform three-card monte in your hands to a funny story with a great twist ending.
- Gum Drops, Hot Rod, or Color Changing Knives - 'Paddle' effects are always fun, portable, and easy to learn. These are three of the best. The Hot Rod/Gum Drops start with a multicolored bar which changes color on both sides when the spectator chooses a color. The Color-Changing Knives involves two pocketknives that seem to switch places when seperated. No setup involved, and ready to baffle just about anywhere.
- Misled - Close-up Magic made famous by David Copperfield on one of his TV specials. A borrowed bill is folded and an ordinary pencil is pushed THROUGH the bill, and torn through the side. The magician simply concentrates on the bill (as magicians are often subject to do), and unfolds it to show it is undamaged. Bill and pencil are freely examined afterwards, an improvement over other versions of the effect that use gimmicked penchils. (Personal Note: This particular trick contains fragile parts, so it can be difficult to pocket, as I do with most of my tricks.)
- Mark Wilson's Complete Course of Magic - A must for any beginner, Mark Wilson covers nearly every aspect of close-up magic: Coins, Cards, Ropes, Cups and Balls, Silks, "Betchas," Sponge Balls, and Homemade Magic. Detailed info on how to perform basic sleights and LOTS of effects to utilize them are included.
NEWS! For those who may not have seen it yet (I just discovered it myself), Mark Wilson's Cyclopedia of Magic is now out as a mirco-sized, 638-page book, priced $8.95 (less than half the oversized hardcover version). I just discovered a copy in Waldenbooks, so it shouldn't be too difficult to find. :)
- Modern Coin Magic by J.B. Bobo - This is essential for anyone working with coins. Over 500 pages, the book is a compilation of over 100 sleights, and 300 tricks by some of the most reknown magicians, and includes such classics as Miser's Dream, Copper/Silver Transpositions, Vanishes, and Coins Through Table.
- David Roth's Expert Coin Magic - Roth is absolutely my favorite coin magician (anyone who can palm a stack of half dollars and release them individually gets my respect!) and his book is filled with fantastic effects, such as Coins Across, Winged Silver, Flying Eagles (all personal favorites), among others. My personal suggestion is to "graduate" from the Bobo book first, since you'll need a little skill to be sucessful with the Roth book, but the tricks are well worth the effort.
- Inside Magic - New! Magic comes to the PC! Inside Magic is a CD-ROM with an interactive quicktime movie that demonstrates 50 tricks. 2x CD-ROM, SVGA, 8 Meg Memory, and Sound Card required.
Back to Dan's Wide World of Stuff!