Alternatives to the T & R Newspaper

If you think the torn and restore newspaper involves too much preparation consider Richard Osterlind’s Torn and Restored Post-It note or the Torn and Restored Cigarette paper. There are many sources for the latter, but the work done by Martin Lewis is the best in my opinion.

Are we afraid to work?

Sweating I recently was involved in a discussion about the various versions of the torn and restored newspaper. I would imagine that most everyone reading this blog has a favorite. Personally, I prefer Gene Anderson’s classic method for normal situations and Osterlind’s Signed Torn and Restored for those very special occasions – if the venue is conducive. I have a friend that swears by the Elmsley version and, I must admit, it looks great.

We also discussed the various no tear versions and quick reset versions like the Bauer and Baxt variants. From my perspective, these are just poor imitations and you are better off not doing a newspaper tear than using these. I know, I know they reset so quickly and the Anderson tear is so much work. Yeah it takes some time in preparation and more practice than most realize, but don’t you want to give your audience your best?

I’ll bet the last time you were REALLY fooled, it was by someone like Tommy Wonder that never let difficult preparation get in the way of the final effect. Why were magicians paying $100 each to see a performance of the Hooker rising cards? Most people like to be fooled and, to extrapolate from Leipzig – they like to be fooled by a gentleman that made the effort to make sure it happened.

Good magic is hard work – there’s no way around it. If we’re going to be magicians, we’ve got to be willing to pay the price.

The alternative is bad magic or we can go to the joke store and load up on plastic poo, joy buzzers and whoopee cushions and be the life of the party. This is especially appealing if you wear humorous pants and do lame insult lines.

We’ve added the Dilbert…

We’ve added the Dilbert Widget, which will give you the daily comic strip. Just something for a little fun. Take care.

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AND…. My pants have disappeared

It’s certainly no surprise that Jim Coles at the Unexpected Wonders blog has written another insightful and intelligent post called Avoiding Confusion. NoPants Jim has hit on one of my favorite themes and one so frequently overlooked by magicians. You know the tricks I’m talking about – your card is the Jack of clubs – which now has a blue back AND now I’m wearing no pants! Huh?!?!

Think of the magicians that made it – especially among layman. Those that became popular because of their magic, generally did so because they practiced effect clarity. Never a doubt about what they did. As an example, take Michael Ammar. He made his reputation on the floating dollar bill, coins through silk, card on ceiling etc. Every effect easily described in a brief sentence or two.

Mike Skinner – what did you always hear about him? Every effect was clear and precise.

Go back to the Stars Of Magic and count the multiple ending effects – it won’t take long. Jim does a good job covering logic and how it can make a multi-climax effect work, but you must think and study.

Look at most of the Vernon effects. You can, again, describe them succinctly in a very few words. Of course, executing them like he did can’t hurt.

To me, this is why we’ve never seen a real improvement on Al Schneider’s wonderful Matrix. The original is so elegant – 4 coins covered by 4 cards all gather – one by one – to join the others. Don’t mess with it. You’re not going to improve it.

John Kennedy’s Translocation is another “perfect” effect. Want to argue that? Just watch Chris Korn do it. Four coins travel – one at a time – from under the left hand to the right hand. Beautiful magic.

Think through your repertoire. Can all of your tricks be quickly and easily described. If not, maybe you should remove certain phases that are nothing more than useless obfuscation.

Take care…….


Two down and 363 to…

Two down and 363 to go! Then we will finally be done with George F Bush. listen

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Bore me once – shame on you

Many years ago, there was a Dean Martin (or Friar’s Club)  roast of Johnny Carson. The details escape me, but I vividly recall one of Carson’s come backs at the end of the roast.

One of the Presenters was the great Don Rickles and he had killed Carson – he was at his best. Carson’s comeback was simple:

I’ve always enjoyed Don’s joke.

I feel that way every time I listen to Eugene Burger or watch one of his DVDs. I know it’s not MC (magically correct) to question Mr. Burger, as he has become an icon and the godfather of magic presentation, but I find most of the stuff he does mind numbingly dull.

Light some incense – light a candle – tell some relevant story….. Yawn!

I’ve read his book, seen his DVD and lecture. That’s enough for one lifetime.

Take care……… 


The really incredible…

The really incredible thing it is I’m dictating via voice and not text messaging. Really neat!. listen

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