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Topic: Who Will Stand With Me?
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Oct 4, 2009 04:45PM)
OK- I am way better with resolve in the fall and winter. Who knows why...

Many of us simply DO NOT practice enough! And while I thank Steve for the Café, it is up to US to use it for the betterment of ourselves and magic. So, I propose the following:

1, Anyone who wants can add their name and goal to the list I am about to create.

2. Anyone can change their goals at any time.

3. We meet back here to discuss progress and help each other stay on target.

4. No fibs, do it or admit it, but no fibs.

5. Entry fee for a post on this thread is 30 minutes of REAL practice, No matter if for an audience, a real show, in your basement all alone... it is ALL better than just reading about it...

6. Perhaps video will be in order later...


Your name or identifier

Your goal (the effect or sleight or routine you want to master - ONLY one.

How much time devoted to it each session

Sessions per week

Projected Date of Competency

NO CRITICS - only encouragement and help here

This is a self-help group, and I think it could be a lot of fun. Care to Join?

Posted: Oct 4, 2009 5:49pm
Hey- GREAT IDEA - I am in!!!

1. Jim Rogers

2. Harbottle's 4 coin vanish

3. 30 minutes

4. 5

5. June 1st

My thumbs hurt already...
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Oct 5, 2009 08:47AM)
This is a nice idea, Jim. I've been doing more book-reading than practicing lately, but am beginning work on a new act. I'll be back with details next week. :)

Posted: Oct 12, 2009 10:00am
1. magicalaurie
2. David Roth's "The Purse and Glass"
3. 1-2 hours/session
4. 4-6 sessions/week
5. February.

I will be working on "mastering" several others as well during this period, so I've given myself a bit of range here. I start tomorrow.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Oct 13, 2009 02:16PM)

A-OK! Thanks for joining me, I hate to work alone, and hopefully more will join. You have inspired me to devote 45 min a day and commit to the February goal- I hope you meant the end of February!

I begin with you, and will keep you informed of my progress and pains...


p.s. The Roth routine looks dy-no-mite!
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Oct 14, 2009 11:22AM)
On 2009-10-13 15:16, mandarin wrote:

Just a quick point, Jim- there's an "a" in there- ie. magicalaurie- not to worry- happens all the time. ;)

I actually need a "good" draft of the routine by December 31st, and yes, need to refine it as well as I can by the [i]end[/i] of February. I've been working on this routine off and on for a little while already, and put in a good hour last night, during which I made a couple of valuable discoveries, so on track so far...
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Oct 14, 2009 08:38PM)
My apologies, magicalaurie- I have no excuse since I recently switched to a Mac Pro with the expanding screen resolution. Well, for once I am getting in some good practice. I purchased The Ostrich Factor a few weeks ago, and I am trying the idea of breaking the routine down into it's smallest individual parts, practicing each part until I can do it acceptably before moving to the next.

This will be a little hard for me, as I tend to goof off a bit when practicing by doing the things I like rather than the things I need. At least I am putting a lot of coins on the floor. Time to get some washers and string them to my belt...

Have fun!

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Oct 15, 2009 10:47AM)
Hi Jim,

There's a little irony in it, but you know you're working when the coins are hitting the floor. ;)
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Oct 17, 2009 08:27AM)
Well, must admit I missed my Friday session. Had tickets to "Magic of the Night" which turned out to be a reasonable halloween magic show by Stephen Knight. A nice dinner out, couple of glasses of wine, good show, arrive home late, convince myself better not to practice when tired and loopy...

I thought about it though...

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Oct 19, 2009 11:29AM)
I wasn't feeling well on Friday, so didn't practice that day, myself. Did get 5 sessions in on it this past week, though, and making good progress...

magicalaurie :)
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Oct 19, 2009 06:54PM)

I'm back on track too. One thing I know is important for me, is to NOT practice if I am not focused and into it, or not feeling tip-top. It is so easy to practice wrong- better to take a break, don't you think?

This weekend I did a short show which felt really good. I also played around with an effect I just received called "Guru". This is a great effect, or at least will be for about a month until the youtubers destroy it. It's the kind of thing that they can easily expose.

The "Ostrich" concept is going really well for me.

Hope you are feeling better. With what is going around, it can be rather frightening to not feel good...


Posted: Oct 21, 2009 8:13am
Well, now I am having some trouble getting in the practice time, as I am gearing up for a halloween gig. Just got Butcher's Blade, which I find perhaps too dark and creepy to use...

Posted: Nov 1, 2009 8:34am
Butcher's Blade is a great scary effect and went over well. I also got Freakey Body Illusions from Hocus Pocus, which was a great package of neat halloween effects. Guru plays very well, and I already had Torturrette to round out the show.

OK, halloween was great fun, but now back to my practice. I have decided to work on Tenkai Pennies as my first "master this before you move on" effect. It is such a clean effect and, done right, is hard to figure out. Think I will use at least quarters, though...

Picked up the Roth DVD's last week, and am also very interested in the Hanging Coins, which is the same vanish as Harbottle's. May start to work on that a little.

Hey, Laurie, are you out there practicing? Do you have that routine?

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Nov 1, 2009 08:40AM)
Hi Jim,

I'm practicing, yes. On schedule. The purse and glass is coming along very well, so I set it aside a bit, and have been working on a couple of other things for my act, all progressing nicely...
Message: Posted by: JamesTong (Nov 1, 2009 10:44AM)
Great to see that both of you are progressing and on track. Congratulations!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 1, 2009 04:09PM)
Thanks, James. Join us!

Laurie- very smart. I need to do that too, from time to time. My halloween gig provided a nice break. Appreciate your reply, I am always way better when I have a compatriot to spur me on...


Message: Posted by: JamesTong (Nov 2, 2009 08:06AM)
I would be back soon to join in the fun.
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Nov 2, 2009 10:34AM)
Got some coins in from ebay today. They're a little bigger than ideal for me- they're about dollar size. I've been substituting with twoonies while waiting for these- 3 more still to come. I'll start subbing with my silver dollars now til the rest come in. These will be a challenge at this size, but they are BEAUTIFUL coins and I definitely intend to use them...

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 2, 2009 01:47PM)
Wow- those are gorgeous! What are they? Do they have milled edges? I am actually looking for some palming coins, as I am "classic palm challenged". Also heard that violin rosin, etc., works well to help hold the coins, so I will be giving that a try...
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Nov 2, 2009 03:50PM)
Jim, they're Chinese zodiac 24K gold and silver plated coins- year of the sheep- about $8.00 total (including shipping) each. They ship from China. I was glad to find the edges [i]are[/i] milled, so I'll have that in my favour.

David Roth sells a prepackaged rosin that I was lucky enough to receive FREE at New York Coin Magic Seminar 5, that works very, very well. I've heard it's a little more expensive than some, but it's convenient and easy to use, and I'd definitely recommend it highly. Shop around if necessary, but keep it in mind if you can't find a less costly one you like. It's helped me alot.

My new act is a close-up "animal act" ;) so I really want to put these lovely sheep to work...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 3, 2009 01:06PM)
I find cross training helpful.

I practice more often and better with several projects in the works, preferably at different stages (like research, finding props, 1 or 2 hand practice projects and something big and juggly ). All the projects seem to inform the others as they progress. When I'm blocked on one, working on something else helps ease through the block.

I like the projects close-at-hand around where I sit most (Tom and I live alone and are both Magicians so secrets and magic clutter are not a problem). I have a Magic toy box near my chair.

So while I don't meet your criteria to join I applaud your project.

I like to practice in general and chose practice intensive hobbies pre-Magic. Why have a hobby you don't enjoy doing? I admit finding time is hard.

Have Fun! - Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 3, 2009 04:27PM)

Well, the criteria are flexible. I imagine you are speaking of "only one". That is just for focus on the goal and to have some way to qualify progress. It certainly does not mean you can not be working on many different things at different stages.

Many magicians, especially hobbyists, seem to skip around so much that they never really master any effect. To commit to one, not to the exclusion of others, but just to be the focus for awhile, can be very freeing.

At any rate, I would love to have you join us, and see if we all get to the "mastered" level soon. I know from my perspective, I am doing way better in my progress with my one current project. Feel free to change any of the criteria except 2- (a) regular practice toward a goal, and (b) honest assessment of progress.

Have to go now, I only allow myself one minute on the Café for each one minute I have practiced...


Posted: Nov 4, 2009 8:48am

Just bought a Case Logic flash-card holder at Walmart in the camera section for $4 that holds at least 6 silver dollar size coins in fine style and safety. Would be good for your spiffy new coins...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 4, 2009 12:56PM)
OK mandarin and magicalaurie I'm in. Hope to see JamesTong take the plunge as well.

1. Mary Mowder

2. Flying Knots into Ring and Rope

3. 30 min a day

4. 5 per week

5. Jan. 1, 2010

I already do this routine so the time frame to polish it isn't over optimistic. I know the times aren't long but like I said I've got other irons in the fire.

Jim I know what you mean about Magic Café time. I bribe myself to get things done with Magic Café time.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 4, 2009 05:50PM)

I am so excited that you are joining us! Hope James does also. I do a lot of rope stuff, but am not familiar with this effect. I will try to find it somewhere- it sounds like fun! Good laugh about the "rewards" program we seem to have established... Regards, Jim
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 4, 2009 08:21PM)
Dear Jim,

Flying Knots is my own rope routine. It is a series of single rope "tricks" knot on, knot off, sort of things.
Since I swing the rope and throw the rope around a lot during the routine my partner, Tom Allen, named it Flying Knots. On stage it's a musical routine that often goes into my Ring and Rope routine.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Nov 5, 2009 06:22PM)
On 2009-11-04 08:48, mandarin wrote:

Just bought a Case Logic flash-card holder at Walmart in the camera section for $4 that holds at least 6 silver dollar size coins in fine style and safety. Would be good for your spiffy new coins...


Thanks for the tip, Jim. That might be something I'll keep my eyes open for.

Doing some intensive ;) coin roll work today, will probably keep working on that a couple more days before going back to the sheep and others...
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Nov 6, 2009 11:05AM)

These guys arrived today... I look forward to working with them...
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 6, 2009 12:50PM)
Be sure to feed them first! I couldn't tell from the pic whether it is a mouse pad, magician's pad or what- but they are cute!
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Nov 9, 2009 08:41PM)
Hi Jim,

Well, my new act has an animal theme, as you know, and that just happens to be a "mouse" pad. ;)

Working on my new business card today. Will likely focus a fair bit on prop preparation, and my thimbles this week. I've been getting 6 sessions in per week consistently. Putting the act together piece by piece, making good progress, I think...

[url=http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=9768376&l=4ddc408aa7&id=518255547]new card[/url]

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 10, 2009 02:55AM)
So far, so good. The extra work is showing but I'm mostly working on weak spots in the routine.

I had a 4 hour walk-around Saturday but I was able to do the ropes in a more interactive style which goes over very well with kids. (My normal Close-Up performances are usually shorter and adults only.)

Hey magicalaurie I saw your videos of coin rolls and Toss a Knot. I work with shorter more supple rope so what you're doing looks really hard. Your coin rolls look great!

Coins from Australia have some fun animals.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 10, 2009 07:55PM)
Mary that is great to hear! I am very pleased with the progress I have made also- I am really getting into this! My very favorite rope trick for kids is a Sandsational routine- the only drawback being that it eats up rope pretty fast.

Magicalaurie- You got me on the card back... now I am trying to fathom what it will look like- no fair! If you need some animals, let me know, my current crop:
6 horses
3 burros
4 pigs
about 25 cats
7 dogs
4 brand new beagle puppies
8 turkeys
about a dozen or so guinea fowl
fish, pheasant, grouse, Lady Gouldian finches
I think that's about it...

My "greatest discovery" this week has been rosin. I stopped at a music store, and for about $1.85 have seemingly solved my issues with the classic palm. If you haven't tried this, you must do so- go rosin!

Regards, ladies...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 11, 2009 12:44AM)
Dear Mandarin,

Glad to hear all is going well.

Can't believe you have time left for Magic.

Let me know how well your deck lasts and if you can do thumb fans.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 11, 2009 11:08AM)
Hi, Mary!

Actually, the animals require less time than one would think- but I do have a ranch hand who handles a lot of the work. We 'free range" our horses, burros, and pigs, so don't have "stall" issues. However, it would be nice to have more time for the magic...

Not sure I understand the first part of your question, but yes, I can do thumb fans. I prefer the two handed because, due to some thumb issues, doing a one-hand fan really can hurt at times and probably doesn't do my thumbs any good.

One of the reasons I have gotten to heavily into rope magic is that rope is so much easier on the hands than cards or coins. Oddly, I am back into coins now, determined to find those sleights that work without thumb-crunching. I just deep sixed the original version of Tenkai Pennies, because I have trouble with the back clip and found a Roth routine that doesn't use it.

Let me know what you mean by how long my deck lasts... sometimes I am just dense...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 11, 2009 01:18PM)
Dear Mandarin,

My brain skipped a groove. When you said classic palm I pictured a card instead of a coin. Duh.
Once I was on the wrong track I never read the sentence right. So I thought cards and rosin wouldn't mix.

I have joint issues too. It keeps me from doing the boomerang scaling cards and several other things.

I avoided most rope for years(I've always done some) because I'm dyslexic and lots of rope stuff just looked like spaghetti to me.
When our friend Dennis Loomis started showing us some of the things he was going to put on his Rope DVD some interest in my brain just sparked and I really got into it. I mostly enjoy the fast juggley sort of effects.

Sorry about the mixup. You're not dense, I'm mental.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 12, 2009 09:28PM)
No worries, Mary.

Yes, I love the way Dennis works the ropes- it has inspired me as well. Regarding the rosin, of course the bright idea occurred to me to try it with cards. I couldn't see any improvement at all, so I will stick with my glycerine...

Posted: Nov 15, 2009 11:01am
Well, ladies, I am about to cease being a "Special user", a designation I have never really appreciated. I wanted to share this moment with you! OK, here I go... wish me luck!!! Jim

Posted: Nov 15, 2009 11:02am
Here I am, on the other side...
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 15, 2009 12:30PM)
Woo Hoo, YEA!

Message: Posted by: todsky (Nov 15, 2009 10:51PM)
Mandarin, this is a great idea!

Todd Shapiro
The Enchanted Cube and Sidewalk Shuffle
30 minutes
4 days/week

I plan to start this late January, because we're moving this week, and our baby still doesn't sleep thru the night, so presumably by January we'll be settled in and he'll be sleeping nights (I hope!)

Speaking of coins, Magicalaurie, how thin are those beautiful Chinese coins you received? I play around with US silver dollars, but I find them a little thick for ideal manipulation. If I could find something equally large in diameter but thinner that would be ideal.
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Nov 16, 2009 12:53PM)
On 2009-11-10 03:55, Mary Mowder wrote:

...Hey magicalaurie I saw your videos of coin rolls and Toss a Knot. I work with shorter more supple rope so what you're doing looks really hard. Your coin rolls look great!

Coins from Australia have some fun animals.
Thanks, Mary.

[quote] On 2009-11-10, 8:55, mandarin wrote:
Magicalaurie- You got me on the card back... now I am trying to fathom what it will look like- no fair![/quote]

[quote]... If you need some animals, let me know, my current crop:
6 horses
3 burros
4 pigs
about 25 cats
7 dogs
4 brand new beagle puppies
8 turkeys
about a dozen or so guinea fowl
fish, pheasant, grouse, Lady Gouldian finches
I think that's about it... [/quote]

nice collection you've got there. ;)


thickness: 3mm , diameter: 40mm.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 16, 2009 03:21PM)

Welcome! Glad to have you join us. January will be just fine, but if in the meantime you can get in some practice, go for it. Father of three knows what sleepless nights can do to parents. First things first. Anyway, we will look forward to you joining us- it has been good fun so far, and the improvement for me has been startling! It's a small (but mighty) group, but it seems always that way when there is work to be done...


Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 18, 2009 02:21AM)
Welcome Todsky,

Did you just change your photo?

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: todsky (Nov 18, 2009 07:57AM)
Thanks for the welcome, Jim. I guess I didn't read the instructions carefully, so this will be my last post until I actually put in my 30 minutes.

Laurie, those coins are actually a bit bigger and thicker than US silver dollars, so too big for me! Thanks for the info.

Hi Mary, I've had this photo up for several months now.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 18, 2009 02:50PM)

I hope this doesn't present a problem for you- all I was trying to do was get some of us (especially me) to actually DO magic as well as TALK magic. If that (or any of the "instructions", which I prefer to term "goals") seem unreasonable, we can change them!

Nothing says one can't "assemble" 30 minutes 5 at a time.

One of my interests is classical guitar. My first teacher demanded at least one hour of straight practice an evening. At each weekly lesson, I had to confess and then listen to the reprimands. Eventually it wasn't fun anymore, and I just stopped the lessons.

Some months later I found a new teacher, and very early on had to sheepishly admit that I had not practiced at all the week before. When asked why, I said that I could not put an hour together, so I just didn't practice. He told me if I even just picked up the guitar as I was passing through the room, it would count toward my time, and that I was to use whatever time I found available- so setting the 30 minute goal does NOT mean 5 minutes doesn't help. It all helps!

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Nov 18, 2009 03:01PM)
On 2009-11-18 15:50, mandarin wrote:
...sheepishly... [/quote]

! ;)
Message: Posted by: todsky (Nov 19, 2009 10:21PM)
It's all good! I was waiting today for the appliances to be delivered to the new house, and I had cleverly brought Martin Lewis' Sidewalk Shuffle with me, so I got in a very productive half hour practice. This trick you have to be careful with: one wrong move and it's curtains! It necessitates regular practice (and then regular performance) to get all the moves right.
Thanks for the encouragement!
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Nov 20, 2009 07:51AM)
Great, Todd!

I just found a wonderfully inspiring video...[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tCbMFp7eUo]sheep[/url]
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 20, 2009 09:34AM)

Good on ya', man! I am not familiar with Martin's version- I use John Luka's Michigan Monte, which I think is similar. Martin has good ideas- I use Cardiograph and it plays very well.

I have gotten in the habit of having 4 cards in my wallet at all times. Many has been the occasion when I got them out and had time for some good practice. I love non-gaff packet tricks, and there are a ton of them to practice.

Magicalaurie- Funny vid! One of the true pleasures of living in the country is watching the animals cavort. I have a dog who has a very confused idea of what herding should be, and gets it bass akwards most of time time, much to my grief...
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 21, 2009 10:03PM)
I loved the video and so did Tom.

I know what you mean about Sidewalk Shuffle. I never got comfortable with it, maybe its the jumbo cards. Good Luck though it's a great effect.

One advantage in being a woman is you can carry a whole Deck of cards and a Contact Juggling Ball in your purse.

My practice is uneven this week. I'm practicing a lot but my improvement is up and down. I will persevere.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 21, 2009 11:42PM)

Don't laugh!- but I FINALLY decided to start carrying a "purse"! It is a MAN purse, but I had to do something to keep my sanity...

Posted: Nov 25, 2009 3:56pm
If anybody is still around, here is practice inspiration... courtesy of Mb217...


Enjoy- then practice!!

Have a nice Holiday!!


Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 25, 2009 08:55PM)
Still here.

Enjoyed the video and also ! in pasteboard frolics. A sore shoulder is slowing down my practice and most of the practice is needed on that side. I'm switching sides and practicing it the other way for a while.

Man purse, right... LOL

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 25, 2009 10:39PM)
Wait just a New York minute- Mary- you are laughing at a "man purse"? :)
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 26, 2009 12:55AM)
Considering my daily purse is a fanny sack carried like a purse I'm hardly in a position to laugh at your "man purse" but um... Yes.

Honestly, if I were a man I'd be sporting the man purse or a sporran if I had the legs for the outfit. You gotta do what you gotta do.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Nov 26, 2009 11:28AM)
[url=http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=349872&id=518255547&l=c0669b6441]new sheep[/url]

I've got some new sheep- the others are too big for me to get comfortable with right now. Should be able to put them to work in a different effect down the line. These new ones are nickel- size, so I won't have a size obstacle to overcome with them. The coins are actually silvertone, I didn't have great lighting to work with when I shot these photos last night...

Happy Thanksgiving from Canada. :)

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 27, 2009 08:45AM)
Nice coins, Laurie!

Had a laugh at your "Happy Thanksgiving From Canada" and how self-absorbed we Yanks can be. Reminded me of a very funny routine by Bob Newhart, where he is "on the phone" with Sir Walter Raleigh, who had come to America to find salable goods to ship back home. Something like:

"Yeah, Walt, we got that ship load of birds all right. What are they called, Walt? Turkeys? Yeah, as a matter of fact they are fine, Walt. They're walking all over London as a matter of fact. See, that's an AMERICAN holiday, Walt..."

Had some great practice yesterday, and did a show with my grandson. We made it an all-card show which was perfect for the after-dinner group. I used a story poem for Skinner's Monte and a great routine from the Card-Shark on the Gypsy Curse.

Another card effect I really love is a freebie thanks to Hocus-Pocus called "Brainwave" I believe. It is on their site under free downloads, and really fun to do. Takes a little time to prepare the first time, but well worth it. Now, I shall put the decks back in my purse, and resume with the coins...

Sorry to hear about your shoulder, Mary. Hope it gets better fast. Meanwhile, check out Nick Kranzo's "Drink", a neat mentalism idea that you can practice in your head...



Posted: Dec 4, 2009 11:31pm
... pretty lonely here...
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Dec 4, 2009 11:41PM)
Yea but no news is boring news.

My shoulder is better.

I found a new trick to add to my routine. My routine does not need a new trick.

Seems like every time I get close to the finish line the line moves. This is not the first time this has come up.

I can't tell if it's a quest for excellence or a self sabotaging tactic. Nothing ever seems finished.

I'll keep the move in for practice and see how it works out by Jan. 1st (my finish date).

I guess I'm seeing the advantage of a finish date.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 6, 2009 11:10AM)
Glad to hear about the shoulder improvement, Mary.

As a "new trick junkie" I can't help you much other than to say "wanna buy some neat stuff?"

I have heard it said that many people who go into psychology, as an example, do so to find out what is wrong with themselves. Likewise, I think, some of us get into magic because we are fooled by it and find it truly magical. So, I, for one, am one of the biggest "marks" for new tricks.

Plus, I don't want to ever have things "finished". Too scary of a concept.

Some time back I started adding a "daily dozen" to my practice time- a run-thru of the effects I want to have "under my thumb", just once with each. I was called upon to perform at a recent gathering, and was amazed at how that daily practice allowed me to perform with ease and confidence. It happened I was asked to do card effects, and it felt really good to be prepared. I even was able to recite a poem I use when doing Skinner's Monte!

I've just added Extreme Burn to my "play" list and having a ball with it...

Good to hear from you...


Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Dec 7, 2009 06:54PM)
On 2009-12-06 12:10, mandarin wrote:
...Some time back I started adding a "daily dozen" to my practice time- a run-thru of the effects I want to have "under my thumb", just once with each. I was called upon to perform at a recent gathering, and was amazed at how that daily practice allowed me to perform with ease and confidence. It happened I was asked to do card effects, and it felt really good to be prepared. I even was able to recite a poem I use when doing Skinner's Monte!...

Excellent, Jim!

I've been working with my sheep and wolves today. The routine I'm performing is just delightful with the smaller coins. And it's lovely the way the coins seem to have a wonderful knack of landing sheep and wolf side up!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Dec 11, 2009 07:12PM)
Well it's Friday so I'm checking in.

Did my practice faithfully but did not achieve great results. I'm wondering if some of my newer moves are just too problematic for me to do consistently. I'm still in there pitching though because I want it very badly (actually, I want it very good).

Your 'Daily Dozen" sounds good. I do maybe a Daily 5. Don't you feel great when opportunity meets preparation to your good advantage.

I've seen your new coins, beautiful, and I look forward to seeing your finished performance. I know what you mean about the animals landing up. Sometimes the universe is singing to you or at least winking at you.

We await your reports at the end of January. Hope all is well with the baby boy and the new house.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 13, 2009 10:01AM)
Good to hear from both of you!

I am fairly well on schedule, except a bit sidetracked by Extreme Burn. Got it to the performable stage now. It is definitely a great effect, real magic. Sanders is coming out with EB2, so will have to wait to see if it has any advantages.

Laurie, I hope to see your routine some day. I agree those coins look fantastic. So does your Phant. Did you pick a name yet? I gave some time and thought to a name but the best I came up with was "Phant-Astic" but the phonetics just don't work. Then I tried "Phant-Asia" but unless it's a Chinese elephant...

I hear you do a coin roll- I want to learn that!

Mary, been there. One day it will break free and seem like the easiest thing to do. I would recommend "The Ostrich Factor" as a book on how to practice for the best results. It has helped me.

Any gigs for the Holidays? I am doing New Year's Eve, so getting out my flash wand...

Hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday Season. By the way, I have a modest Gift posted on Secret Sessions under "An even humbler offering... " Hope you like it!

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Dec 19, 2009 11:36AM)
On 2009-12-13 11:01, mandarin wrote:

Laurie, I hope to see your routine some day. I agree those coins look fantastic. So does your Phant. Did you pick a name yet? I gave some time and thought to a name but the best I came up with was "Phant-Astic" but the phonetics just don't work. Then I tried "Phant-Asia" but unless it's a Chinese elephant...

I hear you do a coin roll- I want to learn that!

Thanks, Jim. Yes, we have a winner! But you'll have to wait til December 24 for the announcement. ;)

I love the coinroll, much fun.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 23, 2009 08:10PM)
Well, in the event that I am unavailable to hear Laurie's winner, or to express my thoughts for a wonderful holiday for my fellow practicers, may I wish to each of you a very pleasant Holiday, and a New Year filled with opportunity and magic! All ya' gotta' do is believe... and practice...


Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Dec 24, 2009 11:31AM)

Click photo. :happyxmas:
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Dec 24, 2009 07:16PM)
Excellent choice magicalaurie.

Hope everyone had a great solstice.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 31, 2009 12:35PM)
"The darkest evening of the year..."

Had a great solstice, just as you hoped, Mary! Now getting ready to ring in the new year, which term I believe comes from the fact that my ears will be ringing for a day or two to start 2010!

Hope you all have a great celebration, and wonderful New Year!

To good friends, great magic and fun times...

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 5, 2010 07:23PM)
Made a great breakthrough with the Sheep and Wolves this evening- looks like a rather minor adjustment will make a powerful difference. Also, hoping to get a good video take of my presentation for David Roth's "The Purse and Glass" on Friday!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 7, 2010 06:58PM)
Great to hear, Magicalaurie! Is it not fun to fun to find "minor" changes that make a big difference? You inspire me to work harder...

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 8, 2010 01:59PM)
Thank you very much, Jim. That means a lot to me.


[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VURLGOyVwg]Bag and Chamber (David Roth's "The Purse and Glass" with Magicash ;) )[/url]
Message: Posted by: Jaz (Jan 9, 2010 09:48AM)
Your Purse & Glass is rough but a start Laurie.
A bit too much fidgeting at start.
The cat...LOL.
Keep at it.
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 9, 2010 10:50AM)
Thanks, Jaz. It's a work in progress. I didn't post in the "You Oughta Be in Pictures" with it because I realize it's not quite there yet. I appreciate your honesty.
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 9, 2010 12:03PM)
Here's a closer look at the coins I'm using, just for your information. In a close-up situation, the spectators would be able to view them. The camera I'm using doesn't really allow for fancy close-up shots. Still, big thanks to Tracey for shooting my performance vids, allowing me to be seen with my head on my shoulders. :)

The lynxes and ladies:

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 9, 2010 03:27PM)
I'm back again. :) I've set next Sunday as another filming date. Tracey will take another shot at it then. ;)
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 10, 2010 03:42PM)

First, Tracey did a great job!

Next, I really enjoyed your performance. I don't want to disagree with Jaz, but it wasn't that "rough" in my opinion, and certainly a GOOD start.

To me, the positives are 1) you have "presence", meaning that you connect and have the qualities of presentation that are necessary, 2) your hand action is very pretty and artful- I like the way you reveal the coins, and 3) your physical and verbal scripting was great - you did not hesitate with what you did or said, and every action had a purpose ( you even made the cat look good).

My only negative comment was it was a bit hard for me to follow. However, it is a complicated piece of magic, not suited for those with short attention spans, and I have had a wine or two...l

Very nice, lady... thanks for posting your routine-

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 14, 2010 04:30PM)
You're welcome, Jim. Working on it... thanks for your comments. :)


Posted: Jan 17, 2010 11:08pm

The sound quality's better, though the camera seems to have a problem with my "s"s. What to do? I'm gonna ...

Posted: Jan 18, 2010 3:36pm
Someone gave me 5 stars last night, and it wasn't Tracey! Could be a good sign.

I think it needs a little more emphasis on the darkness of the copper coins- lighting can be a detriment here- would give the change stronger visual impact, which I feel it's still needing.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 25, 2010 12:31PM)
Getting better with each vid Laurie, a cool routine...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 3, 2010 02:05PM)
Just thought I'd check in.

I did complete my compact to practice 5 days a week 30 min a day on my Rope/ Ring and Rope Routine.

Since I started early Nov. and ended Jan. 1st that makes at least 20 hours of practice.

I can say unequivocally that it did greatly improve the routine. Is it as good as I'd hoped? No.

I'm pleased with the experiment and will continue to work on it. 20 hours is, after all not that long to see such an improvement.

I wish I were as computer savvy as Laurie and able to put my routine on the web.

I'll check in occasionally 'till I commit to a new project.

Thank You Jim and Laurie.

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 13, 2010 10:15AM)

So good to hear from you and find you are doing so well!

As for me, I am on track and have been noticing some really good improvement also. It is amazing how much more competent I feel (and am) in the areas of practice. I can't say I LOVE to practice, like Vernon, but it is necessary if I am ever going to be a really good magician, so it must be done.

My biggest problem is detours. For example, just came back from Magi Fest, where Dan Garcia performed "Torn", an effect I feel can be real magic but takes some practice. So, for the last week I have switched to working on that to the detriment of my coin practice.

Ropes are my "goto" magic, but I need to refresh myself on some of that also. Fortunately, the weather is helping me, a foot or two of snow, too cold to be out, sit by the fire with a glass of wine and my magic...ah!

Hope Laurie shows up and says hello. I have been watching her coin stuff on Magicians.com and it is really getting great. I think she is practicing...

Keep it up, Mary, I think we are on to something!


Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Feb 13, 2010 02:54PM)
Hi Mary, Jim,

Good to hear things are on track for you both. I'm practicing my act for the WMS Close-Up Competition. Running the act 10-20 times a day, getting as familiar and comfortable as I can with it. Enjoying it very much. :)


Posted: Feb 15, 2010 9:30pm
Here's the latest:

Message: Posted by: todsky (Feb 17, 2010 02:23PM)
Good to hear you're all progressing, Jim, Laurie and Mary.

Finally got back to practice, after busyness with the new house, baby, and many shows in January. Playing around with the ONE levitation by Peter Loughram and Ray Noble, if I can get this in gear it would be great because I can use it at kids parties as well as adult gatherings. Now I've gotta prepare some of the technical thingies, and I'll see if I can get a rise out of it. Will report back, hopefully soon. And I haven't forgotten Sidewalk Shuffle, it was just displaced by ONE for a while.

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 19, 2010 07:21AM)

Thanks for dropping by. Sounds like you have been very busy. I have the "displaced" syndrome also- came back from MagiFest a couple of weeks ago with all new "goodies". Of course, I have to work on those for awhile, but am back on track now. Nothing worse than an ADD magician, perhaps... :)


Posted: Mar 11, 2010 9:34pm
Awfully quiet here, have you all stopped practicing? I simply can not believe what 30 minutes a day has given me in the way of ability and confidence! Am I alone again?

Message: Posted by: todsky (Mar 15, 2010 10:21AM)
Well, I organized some of my magic, and I spent a few hours doing that, so I will cheat by counting that as pre-practice. As it is, I am progressing in my practice like a turtle. A very slow turtle. A very very very slow turtle. I should get there eventually. Before the sun goes supernova, I think.
Message: Posted by: BlueOwl (Mar 15, 2010 02:52PM)
I love the concept of this topic! Thank you for your wonderful idea Jim. I found the fact that the practice forum was the last one listed on Magic Café, quite humorous. Practice makes permanent after all.

Here is my info:

1. Nathan

2a. Overhand Shuffle / Overhand Run
2b. Read "Magic and Showmanship" by Henning Nelms

3. 40min

4. 4

5. April, 24, 2010

I'm excited to have a group to learn and grow with. Good luck with your practice Jim, Laurie, Mary and Todd.

~ Nathan
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Mar 15, 2010 06:18PM)
Welcome BlueOwl,

Mandarin is right. Practice gives me a lot more confidence which can mean the difference between going for a tricky bit and really impressing everyone or playing it safe because I'm not sure of my skills.

I just got News Flash so that's what I'll be on for a while.

30 min a day (probably more)

every day till I like the result.

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Mar 15, 2010 06:29PM)
Very good to have you aboard, Nathan! Sounds like you have a good plan and a sensible schedule. When I get home from a ruff day at work, I always seem to have that 30 minutes to devote and enough energy to make it count. When I can't (or don't) I settle for whatever I have, as long as it is SOMETHING! Keep checking in, and keep us posted.

Hey, Mary, let me know what you think of News Flash. I do a couple of newspaper tears, mostly from "World's Greatest" but am intrigued by News Flash. Will be fun to hear how it goes for you.

Good luck to both of you!


Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Mar 15, 2010 09:16PM)
Dear Jim,

News Flash is excellent. The first times you fold the du*****te isn't easy but I got through it.

It would have helped if Axel had included the dimensions of the original newspapers he calls large format and small format but I guessed and it works great.

My biggest problems (as usual) are deciding how to perform it, i.e. patter line and such and the third tear which is hard for me as the paper is very thick. I've heard using a hair dryer or the oven can make paper easier to tear and I may have to try it if Axel's alternate handling doesn't work out.

I checked out the World's Greatest (looking for Pat Pages 30 sec miracle paper tear which was not there) and I really liked Alex Elmsley's slow, piece by piece restoration but the speed and cleanliness of News Flash is amazing. (I'm hoping no one else ever does it.)

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: BlueOwl (Mar 15, 2010 10:20PM)
Thank you for the kind words Jim. I'll definitely keep everyone posted on my progress. Accountability and practicing within a group can make a huge difference.

I did a quick search for "News Flash" Mary, and the effect is quite breathtaking. The restoration is so smooth! Good luck as you create your performance and practice the effect.

~ Nathan
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Mar 16, 2010 03:59PM)

If it will still play, here is one of my favs for patter...


Robert Harbin. Enjoy!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Mar 20, 2010 12:43AM)
Dear Jim,

I really enjoyed the Harbin's performance but I'm looking to create my own. I've got a list of reasons to tear but I never thought of that one. It really shows how original thinking can brighten up an effect, even one you already like.

Thanks for the link.

Just made up the whole trick (which is involved but can be used several times) without checking to see if the grain of the paper ran in the right direction for the workings (it did not). DOU! I'll never make that mistake again.

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Mar 20, 2010 07:43AM)
Sorry to chuckle, Mary, but that one made me laugh. Mostly, 'cause it is so "me"...
Message: Posted by: BlueOwl (Mar 21, 2010 11:13PM)
Good evening,

Did everyone have a relaxing weekend?

My first week of practice didn't go quite as planned, but I did complete two 40 minute sessions practicing the overhand shuffle, and overhand shuffle run (in the context of Lew Brooks' Bughouse Poker). I'm going to perform the effect for my wife tomorrow evening.

Oddly enough, I'm going to need quite a bit of practice to make my overhand shuffle look natural. The riffle shuffle was the first and only shuffle I learned as a child.

My main point of focus for the run is making my thumb position appear similar to my normal overhand shuffle. When I perform a normal overhand my thumb contacts the upper right edge of the deck. For the run, my thumb contacts the middle of the top of the deck. I've been trying to start my thumb at upper right edge and proceed down to the middle before performing the run to give my run the same feel as my normal overhand shuffle.

I decided to finish "The Toyota Way", before starting on Nelms' book. Basically I don't want to leave a book half-read, and I believe a lot of the principles can be applied to the creation and organization of effects.

How is everyone else faring in their sessions?

Have a great start to your week!

~ Nathan
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Mar 22, 2010 04:16PM)
BlueOwl- great name, Nathan! :)

Okito box and something with the Cups and Balls for me, right now.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Mar 22, 2010 08:15PM)
For Ohio, last weekend was a keeper! Yes, spring, yes.

My sessions are going fairly well. I just need to quit buying stuff. Just got TKO and am hot to try this puppy out. So, keeping focus is the key for me. But, then, I just HAD to get EB2, and can't wait to see the improvement in what I considered an almost perfect illusion. Focus, focus...

Over the weekend I finally had time to hear the Joanie Spina interview on Magic Wire. A ton of really good performance info on that session- well worth the listen, I think.

Nathan, a couple of 40 minute sessions ain't bad at all- every session helps! I do a good bit of shuffling practice, and would say inserting a run into a normal overhand is hard. Sounds like you are going about it just the right way. I have also learned to listen as I practice such things. A good ear can hear the run unless you work on eliminated the snap of the cards. The other thing I work on is the cadence- I see so many who speed up on the run, a dead tell. Some things to think about...

Good to hear we are generally on track...

Regards, all...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Mar 23, 2010 08:26PM)
Hello all, just checking in.

Working on the News Flash. Having trouble with hand strength on the third tear but I'm exercising my fingers.

I could use a tool or alternate handling but the original handling looks so clean I want to do it that way.

I'm putting in the time but as with all T&R there's a lot of prep. time so not much actual practice. Oh well.

Best wishes to all.

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Gerald (Mar 29, 2010 05:55AM)
On 2010-03-22 21:15, mandarin wrote:
. . . My sessions are going fairly well. I just need to quit buying stuff. Just got TKO and am hot to try this puppy out. So, keeping focus is the key for me. But, then, I just HAD to get EB2, and can't wait to see the improvement in what I considered an almost perfect illusion. Focus, focus...
Sounds like you folks are really dedicated to practice and rehearsal time. I applaud your convictions!

If you feel “guilty” about just fooling around and not really doing anything constructive, allow yourself a set amount of “playtime.” Limit yourself to only that amount of time to “play” and then back get to work. This helps to focus on the task at hand, avoid “wanderitis” and elevate guilt feelings about not really working.

Sometimes, great ideas result from “playtime”, so don’t think it is a complete waste of time.

Again, I admire your efforts. Keep up the good work!

Message: Posted by: BlueOwl (Mar 29, 2010 01:06PM)
Good afternoon everyone,

I'll be honest, I only put in 10 minutes of practice on my overhand shuffle. However I did perform a version of Bughouse Poker, and my audience enjoyed the story and effect. While I did not practice much, I have made some progress in my book the Toyota Way. This is an excellent book with a lot of principles that will apply to magic and being a teacher! Too bad Toyota didn't follow their own principles...

I plenty of practice time alotted this past week, but spent most of it browsing new effects. This wandering has cost me quite a bit of practice time over the past two months. To eliminate this destraction, I created a two year budget with my wishlist items, that I am now locked into. Hopefully this will ward off the tempation to look for and review new items to buy.

Jim - Thank you for the tips. Both the "snap" and cadence are causing me some trouble. I definitely tense up and speed up a bit when performing the run. I'm going to work on relaxing and feeling more natural while performing the sleight.

Before I imposed my budget and effect browsing/spending freeze, I purchased Sanders' Fibre Optics and EB2 for a party I want to perform at this October. EB2 is awesome, but I've put it aside until I get a better grasp of some card basics. Also, I recently stumbled upon the Magic Newswire, and wow, what a treasure trove of advice and information. I downloaded all of the podcasts available on iTunes, but probably won't make it to the Spina interview for some time (I'm looking forward to it though).

Mary - Good luck as you work through the third tear. I'm not familiar with the method, but I've always been a fan a fitting a routine to your style. With some brainstorming you may be able to create an alternate handling to suite your finger/grip strength while still looking just as clean.

Have a great week everyone!

~ Nathan
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Mar 29, 2010 02:33PM)

Good to have you look in on us! I consider your "The Ostrich Factor" a treasure-trove of great info on practicing and rehearsing. I use it all the time for my practice sessions, especially for more complex routines. Hope you will continue to stop by and give us some tidbits. I agree that "all work and no play" just doesn't work, at least not for me.

Nathan, nice to hear from you! Nothing wrong with 10 minutes- it all counts. I like your budget idea. What I need to budget most is time, although I am starting to realize it is more a prioritization challenge than anything else. Especially if I am tired, it is too easy to just sit and cruise the forum. Need to turn that around and get that half hour in first, while I still have a little energy...

Good luck to all with your practice sessions...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Apr 2, 2010 03:29PM)
Not much regular practice but occasional long sessions. That actually seems to work better for News Flash.

Still working on the Rope and Ring and Rope routine.

Laurie- I love Okito routines and you don't see them often anymore. Good luck.

Thanks to all for the encouragement.

Message: Posted by: BlueOwl (Apr 8, 2010 01:05PM)
Hi everyone,

I had two full sessions last week which focused on the overhand shuffle and run. Even though I haven't put in a full 4 sessions per week, I am noticing quite an improvement. The shuffle feels much more comfortable, and cards fly out only rarely now. I did consult Card College and adjusted my grip slightly. The run is also improving, but am still working on matching the rhythm to the normal overhand.

Jim - How is practice going? Is EB2 stealing some time away (it is a fun effect)?

Mary - Hope your longer sessions for News Flash are going well, as well as your progress on the Rope & Ring & Rope.

Laurie - An Okito box routine sounds cool, and I've always love watching a good cups & balls routine. How are your sessions going?

Good luck to everyone! Have a fun end of the week.

~ Nathan
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Apr 10, 2010 11:57AM)
Thankyou, all.

I've been waiting while trying to acquire some black and white balls to use with the cups. Got hold of some pom poms yesterday and gave them a try. Ended up playing with those for a few hours and had much fun, indeed. Will be doing a routine with just two cups, a little something different, I hope. Will be a new piece for the animals. The okito routine is an old one I found on David Roth's excellent video on the okito box. One I practiced for awhile before starting to work on the animal act. Picking it up again. No animals in this one, but there is a lovely bell, and I'll be working with my 1949 Franklin halves. Doing a little reading as well, got a line-up of books waiting for me to pick them up. Just got a copy of Peter Samelson's Theatrical Close-Up, which I think might be right up my alley. Have only read a little of the intro, so far, though. Almost done reading The Art of Close-Up Magic vol.1 by Ganson, took a look at vol.2 the other day. And want to get back to Greater Magic, as well- I've left it at about page 100... will be picking it up again very soon, I hope. :)

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Apr 12, 2010 07:57AM)
Talk about frustration- sitting on a plane for 3 hours with cards, coins and ropes when I realized there was no way I could practice without some serious exposure. I was able to work on a couple of card things, mostly shuffles, the mongrel pass and clocking. So, not a total loss.

Hey, Nathan. Unbelievably, I have not been able to get to EB2 yet, other than looking at the gimmick. Other than that, practice has been going well. I have started going thru Bobo's book from page one, and it is amazing the coin stuff that can be found in that book- lots of which is being re-painted and sold as new in many DVD's around today. Of course, that is not limited to Bobo.

Just signed for the Columbus Arts Fest this June, and it should be interesting. Generation Gap will be performing at the Museum of Art, where the exhibit this year is Chihuly. So, we are trying to come up with glass-type effects. In addition, we will be doing a busking-type booth at the Fest proper, so we need to have 2 different types of performance to performance level by early June.

Good to hear from all of you... keep up the practice, if you only have a little time, use it! I am feeling it all adds up!

Good wishes, I am off to catch the fishes...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Apr 12, 2010 07:14PM)
I'm off the daily regular practice with the News Flash for a while.

I've got to work on my Library Show so I need to spread my practice out among effects (which I like much better).

Jim, I feel your pain. Your plane trip sounds like doing jury duty.

Blue owl, There is a great false shuffle that uses overhand shuffle position so your work can do double duty when you're ready to move on. Keep up the good work.

Laurie, I'm also picking up a couple of books waiting at the Library. MMMMM new books.

Anyone know how todsky's doing?

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Ade2010 (Apr 14, 2010 04:10PM)
Excellent thread, I'm in.

Name: Adrian Hague

Routine: Appointment in Samarra (Darwin Ortiz)

Time Spent: In total I'd say 1 hour (the routine itself takes 5-7 mins to perform.)

Sessions per week: Two: Saturday morning, Sunday morning, every weekend I'm home.

Projected Date of Competency: Hmmm, I'd say around about now (sorry, I'm late joining the thread!)

Current status: I have the moves down pat except one small 'kink' (there always seems to be at least one kink in any routine I try...) which I'm currently working on with full dress rehersal (some of the misdirection requires certian things in certian places, which is only achievable with a jacket).

I have 90% of the routines' patter comitted to memory, although most of it is verbatim from the book. I have still yet to adopt it to my own performing style.

The routine is integrated ino my act, in what I believe is the correct position with respect to the dramatic curve of the act.

I have so far performed the effect for laypeople twice. The first time was 50/50. The one area of the routine I thought I was weak on flew by unoticed. Unfortunately, my nerves lead to some gratuitous (and unnecessary) handling of the deck, leading to some heat at exactly the wrong moment!

The second performance went a lot smoother. I think I may have lost the specs a little with the introduction to the routine (a very short story), but it was late, and the booze had been flowing a bit.

Basically what I need now is more performance experience in order to be able to work on my delivery of the piece, and to make sure it is in the correct place in my act.

Fortunately, I have a been invited to a couple of weddings lately, so I'll reprt back here after those performances.

Keep up the good work everyone,

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Apr 14, 2010 07:40PM)

Welcome! I am enjoying a little R&R at the moment, but wanted to extend to you a very heartfelt and sincere invitation into our small group of doers. Your practice schedule sounds great, and one I have used before. Look forward to hearing of your improvement and ideas as we move (hopefully) upward...

Thanks for joining us...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Apr 14, 2010 08:39PM)
Welcome in Ade2010,

Sounds like you've already been practicing so keep up the good work.

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Apr 24, 2010 09:48AM)
Just checking in to see how everyone is coming with their practice sessions. My coin work is really improving, and it feels good to be able to pull a few coins from your pocket and do some good magic at anytime. I am also working on Steve Youell's Mongrel Pass, and tho a long way from performance I am surprised how much it is improving. How's things with each of you?


Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Apr 26, 2010 03:11PM)
I've been thinking this thread might benefit from a sidekick in the Secret Sessions.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Apr 26, 2010 07:07PM)
Hi, Laurie!

I have no objection, having always felt about half of the topics belong there anyway. How would one go about doing that? Certainly, unless the Café establishes categories within Secret Session it will be much harder to find the thread...

Good to hear from you.

Message: Posted by: Ade2010 (Apr 29, 2010 10:48AM)
On 2010-04-24 10:48, mandarin wrote:
Just checking in to see how everyone is coming with their practice sessions.

My next performance is in a couple of weeks (family wedding) I'll report back then.

In the mean-time I've just started work on 'Do As I Did' (Ortiz, at The Card Table).
Technically, a very simple routine, but does require a (partial) deck-switch that I'm looking to do in the previous trick ('Ace In Pocket')
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (May 1, 2010 10:57AM)
On 2010-04-26 20:07, mandarin wrote:
Certainly, unless the Café establishes categories within Secret Session it will be much harder to find the thread...

Hi Jim,

Possibly, but worth a shot to put it up there, I think. Would allow a more specific discussion that I think might be more substantially beneficial to all parties.


P.S.- we could refer others to a sidekick thread with a link from here, maybe.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (May 2, 2010 12:21AM)
Dear Laurie,

What is a sidekick (other than the trick and Tonto).

Love the new picture.

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (May 3, 2010 08:41AM)
It would be a companion thread, Mary.
Glad you like the new pic, thanks!

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (May 3, 2010 06:18PM)

They can't move the thread because we have posters with less than 50 posts. They said we could link to a new thread in SS and then they would lock this one. I think I would like to keep this open for those with less than 50 posts who are trying to get in the practice habit.

Perhaps we need to start a new SS topic but keep this one active as well. What do you think?

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (May 3, 2010 06:46PM)
That's what I was thinking, Jim. I didn't intend for anyone to shut this thread down. I just thought it might be beneficial to add an associated thread in the Secret Sessions where discussion could be a little more specific.

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (May 6, 2010 09:14PM)
Great minds and all, Laurie! OK, I have a thread in SS with a similar name that will allow us to delve deeper into our magic thoughts. Have at it!

For those of you without the required 50 posts, we will wait eagerly for you. Meanwhile, I will check this thread regularly and post as usual.

Keep up the practice!!!!!

Hey, Mary-

Just saw the curse was off! Wish I had seen that sooner, I have had a really bad couple of weeks - tax audit, root canal, best friend stole my girl, skunk died, lost my topit... hope it will all get better now... thanks!

With good thoughts and magic dreams...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (May 9, 2010 05:42AM)

"Don't know my own strength"


- Mary
Message: Posted by: BlueOwl (May 13, 2010 01:44PM)
Hi everyone!

Sorry I haven't checked in for a few weeks. I took some time off to finish up my research projects and study for finals. Then my wife and I took a trip to D.C.

But I did get five solid practice sessions in this past week. Probably, motivated by the time off. My overhand shuffle and fun is much smoother. Rhythmically and audibly both are quite similar. But I still have a slight hitch when switching from one to the other, during a shuffle. I have a ways to to go, but the focused practice is paying off.

I've also been working on Cameron Francis' Convergence in between overhand shuffle practice.

How is everyone else doing? When the weather gets nice, it is much harder to stay inside and practice. Maybe some outdoor practice sessions are in order.

Once I have 50 posts under my belt, I'll definitely be taking a look at the companion thread in SS.

Have a great weekend everyone!

~ Nathan
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (May 14, 2010 08:20AM)
Thanks for checking in, BlueOwl.

Not familiar with Convergence, but good to hear of your progress. Although I am busy working on a stage and busking show next month, I keep a deck around to practice. Currently, I am working on Steve Youell's Mongrel Pass, which while not yet "ready" is getting really good. Also working on a snap double lift, top change and Harry Lorayne's Halo Cut.

I am actually practicing outside when I can, as my shows next month will be al fresco. I have learned it is really important to practice as close to the type of situation you will perform in as possible. As I get closer, I will actually go to the spots where I will perform, at the appropriate time of day, just to see about sun and shade, noise, wind, etc. Things like D'Lites, cards, sponge balls, balloons, can be impossible to work with outside.

Nothing happening on the other thread yet...


Yes, you are par-full lady, par-fulll...



Posted: May 23, 2010 2:05pm
... everyone leave town?
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (May 23, 2010 05:17PM)
This is an awesome thread you started! I'm so glad to run across it in my exploration of The Magic Café. I'm in!

Sponge Ball routine
15 minutes per session (I have a short attention span!)
4 sessions per week
June 23 -- going on vacation with my sister & brother-in-law and want to be ready to use it then!

I've been practicing for the last two weeks or so, but this will put some structure into it.


Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (May 23, 2010 08:22PM)

Welcome! We have had some great success with our efforts, and hope you will as well. I am not the only one here, or at least wasn't until a short while ago, but the others should check in sometime soon.

The 15 minutes is a GREAT limit for practice sessions. So many set goals that they just can not keep up with, and then fall to the side due to their own schedule. I am a firm believer in not going beyond that neat period when you are fully engaged. If you can do that for 2 hours, you will progress at an amazing pace. However most, including your's truly, just can not do that. My NP is about 20 minutes per effect- and I find if go beyond that "neat period" I practice wrong and go backward.

On sponge balls, If you don't already have it, Reel magic has an issue with Bill Malone that has a really unique sponge ball transfer that I just love to do. I can find out the issue if you are interested.

Thanks for joining our little group, and good practice to you, Hudson!


Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (May 23, 2010 08:55PM)
Thanks Jim!

I've read a number of the posts and see you, Mary and Magicalaurie from early on and now BlueOwl. I'm amazed at how long this has been going, so must be working.

For me, I've been inspired to start a log of my practice time. I've estimated that I spend about 4 hours per week over the past two years, but haven't keep a good log and seem to jump from one effect to another. Keeping a log will help me focus. There's just so much to learn it is easy to get distracted.

I'm not familiar with Reel Magic. I have joined SAM and IBM and just started going to Ring 19 in Saint Paul. I did get the World's Greatest Magic, Sponge Balls DVD and was planning to get the Sponge Ball Tool Box DVD. Any other suggestions?

Looking forward to reporting regularly on progress and hearing how others are doing.

Thanks for the welcome!

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (May 25, 2010 07:35PM)
Hi guys. I've got three 15 minute practice sessions in this week so far and feel great about it. Even better, I've got my log up and running so I can track how many times I run through the routine. I've also started adding notes to my log on how I feel my skill is progressing.

How are you all doing?

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (May 26, 2010 10:46AM)
Hello, Hudson.

As I mentioned before, I have been amazed at how much progress you can make at 15 minutes at a time. I am convinced that, for me at least, it is better to do more frequent short sessions than fewer long ones.

I really like your tracking idea, and think I will try it out. Human nature is to work on the easy stuff first, which is exactly opposite of what I find works best. Tracking will help me see what I am neglecting.

On the weekend, usually Saturday, I will do a "show" usually just for myself but with full patter, of my "daily dozen", the things I want under my thumbs on short notice. It's lots of fun, and brings together the week's work.

I am preparing for an upcoming show, so for now have had to turn most of my attention to that. Could use more time but, other than that, doing well!

Good to hear from you...

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (May 29, 2010 08:53AM)
Thanks Jim. I am finding that small practice sessions, focused on a specific technique is starting to pay off. The sponge ball routine is not complicated and I'm rinning through the patter and sequence at least once per practice session. Then I focus on a specific technique - which requires me to move one fingure without moving the one next to it for a clean presentation. I've been standing in front of a mirror and just repeating the technique until I have satisfactorly completed 10 times. Not a lot of excitement here, but I Am seeing the improvement and trust that after a while, muscle memory will take over.

I gues if this were easy, then anyone could do it!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (May 29, 2010 09:27PM)
Sorry it's been so long since I checked in.

I checked out on practice for a while.

I've been avoiding thinking about my upcoming library shows. Fortunately my mental block is broken but I'll probably be working on my show rather than practice (other than the Library Show ) for a while.

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: idomagic (May 30, 2010 10:49AM)
OK, I am breaking the rules with two but the second includes my assistant.

Chad Wonder
Dances with Ropes
30 minutes
5 per week
June 26th

Chad Wonder and Assistant Katie Z
2 to 3 hours (or until our arms and legs get tired)
2 per week
June 18th
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (May 30, 2010 02:31PM)
Welcome Chad,

I like the mix of easy to practice in the living room and hard to coordinate practice.

You really will get results. Good Luck!

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (May 30, 2010 07:52PM)
Just logged another 15 minutes working on my sponge balls. This past week I've completed 6 sessions for a total of 95 minutes. Really starting to like these little guys! I am also starting to get confidence in the techniques and the overall routine.

Message: Posted by: BlueOwl (May 31, 2010 08:53PM)
Welcome the group Hudson and Chad!

Hudson, sounds like you have an excellent system with the training log and clear goal in mind. Glad to hear you are making steady and visible progress. I actually use a training log for my workouts (running, swimming, etc.) and it makes a huge difference. I'm not sure why I haven't created a log for magic as well.

Chad, hope you were able to have some productive sessions over the holiday weekend.

Mary, good luck getting back into the swing of things and good luck with the library show prep.

Jim, how is your outdoor prep practice coming along. I can only imagine the differences when working in an outdoor setting. Hopefully the humidity won't be too bad. Are you performing in a Columbus festival? How are the new sleights coming along?

Laurie, hopefully all is going well.

I've had some trouble focusing on practice due to the intense summer session. Every time I practice, I feel a bit guilty that I should be working on my group Ready School journal article or 21st Century Schools presentation. Luckily the past week, I began working on the overhand shuffle techniques while watching TV and when hanging out with my wife and friends. This has killed two birds with one stone. I don't feel guilty and I am working on performing the techniques while my attention is elsewhere. I still was able to put in 3 10 minute practice sessions where I focusd on the finer points. I've also performed some Convergence run throughs and am starting to feel comfortable with the effect.

Hope everyone enjoyed their Memorial Day weekend!

~ Nathan
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jun 1, 2010 07:26PM)
Thanks Blue Owl. Funny you should mention work out logs -- that's what I started with! I've kept a workout log for the past 5 years; with this thread I thought it would make sense to create a practice log for magic. It does keep me focused -- and if you are used to logging your workouts, might be a benefit for you too!

Good luck with the practice,

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 9, 2010 04:31PM)

Thanks for asking! The CAF was this past weekend, so I am now in relaxation mode for awhile to recuperate.

The weather was challenging. Rained so much Saturday that we had to move to a new location. Then all the electricity went out. Threatened and stormed all day long. Sunday was sunny, but with gusts to 40 mph. So, had to really load up the finger flasher 'cause the wind literally blew the flash away. Also had to dump the Mona Lisa picture illusion as it cost too much to lose to the wind.

Had nice crowds, really huge for the Sunday PM show, and really enjoyed the specs. All in all, great fun, and I would take this over sweltering any day.

Now what? Back to some serious coin work. Also, attended a Kosmo lecture, man is that guy good! He has me all jacked up about busking, and I learned some really important busking tips from him. I have always been intrigued by the busking side of magic as I feel it has some serious benefits. Anyone who does scheduled gigs knows exactly what I mean...

Hey Mary, how's it going?

Chad, welcome to our group! Wow, Metamorphosis is some serious exercise- good on ya', you must be in great shape!

Hudson, I am ON the log idea also!

Keep punchin' folks, it works wonders...


Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 10, 2010 03:04AM)
Howdy all,

I performed News Flash for the first time at a show on Sunday. GREAT response for a so-so performance.

I just did it silently to music. The effect is so strong that way that it'll be hard to move on to a pattered performance but that is the eventual plan. Gotta say I love the Trick.

The third tear is still hard but thanks to lots of finger strengthening exercises I did do it without a knife or scissors (or too much of a grimace).

I also performed PN for the first time in a show on Saturday and it also went over very well. I know it seems odd that I've never done it before but since my partner Tom does it and we used to work together more I just never took it up. I have very good patter for that one (Tom's for now).

The Library Shows start in about a week so I'm still working on that. News Flash and PN are both a part of the new show.

Hope all is well with everyone. I'll catch up more after the next couple of weeks.

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 18, 2010 10:36PM)
Hello all,

I did my first Library Show. The Magic itself went well. My next spate of practice will be with my sound system.

I have a Happie Amp and the Sound Cue system but I'm not conversant in checking sound levels or smoothly going from one thing to the next. So, blocking and Sound work for a while. NOT as much fun as Magic but that's what the video tape says is needed.

How is practice going for you all?

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 19, 2010 02:52PM)
Hi, Mary!

I had a real tome for you but, as happens on the green monster, I hit a wrong key and it is all gone- GONE! And it was world-class stuff...

I have an Anchor amp I got cheap on the sale thread, and I love it. I use it now for anything more that 5 specs. Hope you find the same with Happie!

A device to hold back water, ain't it fun to perform? I just love it. I just attended a Kozmo lecture, so am off to the streets! Just gotta try this.

How's practice going? Really well! It is getting to be habit now, and I am finding I enjoy it a lot more than I thought I would. The other thing I am noticing, is that now I can work on timing- the real secret to magic vs. trick.

So good to hear from you, and good on ya' for your performances!

Rock on, lady! Hey, just for you... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXvdxO6XYP0


Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jun 19, 2010 03:26PM)
Hey, thanks for posting that clip, Jim!

I've got a few festival performances I'm getting ready for. So practicing with the animals and some others. Also working on sorting out a restaurant repertoire. Doing much reading. Got another book this week and one's in the mail on its way to me: The Annotated Magic of Slydini!!! Been trying to find a copy of that one for a bit. Will be in my hands shortly. :) Rereading Siegfried and Roy's: Mastering the Impossible right now. Still working on the okito and the cups... the okito might be ready to film...

Message: Posted by: BlueOwl (Jun 20, 2010 09:57AM)
Hi everyone,

Slydini is amazing to watch, thank you for the clip Jim. Let me know how the Annotated Magic of Slydini is Laurie.

Glad to hear your shows are going well Mary, and hopefully you are able to fine tune the sound system in short order.

Jim, sounds like you really got bit by the busking bug. Where do you plan on hitting the streets at?

My practice is going well. I now have the overhand shuffle and run comfortable enough to practice during free time (watching TV, relaxing, etc.). I'm currently working on Convergence and CAANDY.

Have fun practicing everyone!

~ Nathan
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 20, 2010 03:03PM)
I enjoyed the clip Jim.
I never work the streets (my mother told me not to). I have done walk-around at fairs (with a large pouch of magic and small juggling stuff) and it was wonderful fun (and I didn't have to "pass the hat").

Laurie, are you doing all Close-Up at the festival? I really enjoyed the Siegfried and Roy book. I also recommend King of the Conjurers by Robert Houdin, great read.

Blue Owl, if your overhand is good you are ready for the jog shuffle which is super useful.

55hudson, some of the repetitious practice can take on a zen feeling which makes it easier to fall into the details. It also makes it harder to insert the move back into a real routine so be sure to incorporate whole effect practice.

Ade, how did the wedding go?

Chad, I'll bet you're seeing the difference in your rope work. My last project was with ropes and boy did it help me.

Happy practice,

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jun 21, 2010 09:21PM)
Thank for the advice Mary. My practice session typically includes running through the entire routine twice and then practicing a two key moves 10 times each. I'm feeling pretty confident now and ran through the routine with a couple of magician colleagues the other day. Comments on skills were positive, with some structural suggestions (e.g., start with holding out one in each hand rather than both in one). Overall I'm happy with the progress made over the last month. Later this week I take off on vacation with my sister and brother-in-law -- tough audience (she's my older sister!) and I feel comfortable and ready to share. WIll let you all know how it goes. And then off to a new effect to master!

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jun 28, 2010 03:28PM)
On 2010-06-20 16:03, Mary Mowder wrote:

Laurie, are you doing all Close-Up at the festival?

All close-up at the festivals, Mary, yes.

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 29, 2010 02:23PM)

Posted: Jul 3, 2010 9:17pm
Working on PN counts and Misers Dream. Also working with the sound system. All is well.

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jul 8, 2010 10:20PM)
Happy to report that my sponge ball routine went over very well with family & friends on our vacation. Practice paid off and I'm now very comfortable performing the routine. Thanks for all the encouragement!

Now what next to work on ...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jul 9, 2010 10:19PM)
Congratulations 55Hudson,

Not even 2 whole months and you've got a piece of Magic that will last a lifetime!

Think of the places you'll go!

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jul 11, 2010 05:38PM)
Thanks Mary. Two months doesn't seem like a long time ... but the repeated 20 minute sessions really grinds the routine into your mind and body. Still need to keep practicing and sharing -- love the expression on the faces when two balls turn into many!

How are you coming with your practice?

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jul 13, 2010 01:30PM)
Hi, folks! How is the practice going? Keep checking in because I find inspiration in your accounts of practice and success!

Hey, Mary, you may (or not) like this...



If you don't already have it, look into issue #4 of Reel Magic. Bill Malone shows one sponge ball sleight that is a MUST for your routine- you will not be disappointed, this I guarantee...

Regards to all,

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jul 13, 2010 10:51PM)
Hi 55Hudson,
Other than a set back with my Ring and Rope (my Ring broke) all is well. I'm making friends with the Happie Amp and my Sound Control system.

I loved the clip. I can see I have a long way to go with the Miser's Dream.

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jul 16, 2010 09:19PM)
Loved the video of Al -- all of us have a lot of work to do! I will check out Bill Malone in Reel magic -- love those sponge balls!

Mary, Sorry to hear about your Ring ... oh well, it happens!

Message: Posted by: BlueOwl (Jul 23, 2010 11:43AM)
Hi everyone,

I have to admit, I basically stopped practicing during the Summer Session II at UD. I got a few solid card sessions in, but nothing consistent. I would like to say I was so focused on my projects that I didn't have time, but the truth is I didn't use my time effectively. To combat this I've decided to schedule practice sessions. I thought taking advantage of free stretches throughout my day would work, but I need to be more purposeful with practice. Also I've purchased a small notebook to use as my "training" log.

Jim - Thank you for the video. I love watching artists express themselves through their craft. How is your coin work coming along? You mentioned you loved your Kozmo lecture, so I searched out an interview he did with Dodd Vickers. It was insightful and fun to listen to. Also, I've now decided my birthday wish to my wife will be, a subscription to Reel Magic Magazine.

Mary - Sorry to hear about your ring breaking. Are your library shows still going well?

Hudson - Your sponge routine practice has really paid off! If want to continue to add some moves and nuances, in addition to the Bill Malone move, you might want to check out Scott Guinn's "Peanut, Butter, & Jelly," as well as the Gary Darwin portion of Penguin's "Sponge" DVD.

Laurie - How are your routines coming along?

Chad - I know you haven't checked in in a while, but I curious how your illusions turned out.

Hope everyone has a fun weekend!

~ Nathan
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jul 24, 2010 10:52AM)

I think summer brings out a certain indolence in all of us. Certainly Ohio has had a very hot time of it, yes?

Using time effectively- yes that is part of the secret. I feel we all need "goof off" time, I know I would go nuts trying to make each moment count. What I am finding works is early morning. I get up before usual, make some stong java and enjoy the birds and "sweet summer sweat" as I practice for about 30 minutes. Nice...

Had a laugh with your Reel magic comment, as I misread it (was tired late at night) to be "I've now decided my birthday PRESENT to my wife will be, a subscription to Reel Magic Magazine." Was about to tell you don't try- 'cause I have and it was not a good idea... :)

Hope you get your wish!

Slow but steady with the coins. Struggling with the concept that I should switch to quarters, since halves are almost non-existent anymore. How does that work, anyway? You would think inflation would move everyone up a notch with coins.

Hello all! Hope you are doing well-


Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jul 25, 2010 08:51PM)
Hi guys. I've slacked off for the past couple of weeks and now time to get started again. I've been fooling around with a chop cup and have decided that's the next one for me. A short chop cup routine -- 15 to 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week. Target date to be ready for first show of Labor Day. That's six weeks away...not sure if I'm too ambitious, but I already have a C&B routine, so there isn't much skill building required, mostly presentation/routine and the right 'touch' necessary for the chop cup moves.

Jim -- I'm with you 100% on the half dollars. I don't do much coin work, but when I do it is with the good old half.

Nathan -- welcome back! Thanks for the sponge ball advice, I do love them, so simple, but so fun! Glad to hear you have started a training log. That's made all the difference for me. In addition to logging my practice, I also make notes on things I've learned that aren't in my reference books. My notebook is sitting on the bookshelf where I keep my magic supplies, DVD's and books. Just seeing it there reminds me I need to practice ... a sort of forcing mechanism.

Wish me luck!

Message: Posted by: BlueOwl (Aug 5, 2010 07:14AM)
Hi everyone! I had three solid practice sessions last week, and I snuck in some practice with cards or sponge balls while watching some TV. Two of the practice sessions were in the morning and that worked out quite well Jim. Unfortunately I have to choose between magic or working out in the morning (at least during the summer) because it is usually too hot to go run after work. Also, I officially started the training log. I spend the rest of my "magic time" watching sessions from the Essential Magic Conference.

My wife's aunt is having a Las Vegas themed birthday party in mid-October and I volunteered to do some strolling magic. In preparation I decided to focus on five effects that should play well with that particular crowd (and that I have wanted to learn/perform). A sandwich effect (Aaron Fischer's Search & Destroy), a version of the Biddle Trick, Extreme Burn 2.0, a simple sponge ball routine, and the Haunted Deck.

Jim - Funny enough, my wife's birthday was yesterday. You are right, she may not have truly appreciated the subscription, haha. In regards to the coin work, did you want to switch to quarters because you use a lot of borrowed coins for your effects?

Hudson - How is the Chop Cup routine coming along? Six weeks should be enough time due to your dedication. Good luck!

How is everyone else's practice going?

Have a fun Thursday!

~ Nathan
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Aug 5, 2010 02:17PM)
Hi Nathan,

Let me suggest Lee Asher's "Three Stylin'" it's a poker chip "Three Fly" so you'd have to have your back to a wall but most rooms have walls.

I've been practicing lately but not the concentrated practice on one project that can be so helpful. I've been sort of trouble shooting some sticky points on several effects, hopping around.

I'm finding that my practice is relating directly to my next big upcoming Show or Show type that I'm trying to develop.

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: BlueOwl (Aug 10, 2010 10:36PM)
Hi Everyone!

My practice is coming along much better now that I have something specific I am "training" for. I've completed five practice sessions in a row, including sponge ball sleights and the Biddle Trick. Also, last Friday I took a trip to my "local" (the one in Dayton closed, so I drove to Cincinnati) magic shop and picked up a fun poker themed packet trick from Bill Pryor called "Doomed." I finished up a script for it and am practicing the handling.

Mary - I took your "Three Stylin" advice and picked up the aforementioned "Doomed." I am a fan of Lee Asher's material, but my magic budget is mostly tapped out until the end of August, haha. But, I did want to use your suggestion of performing a gambling related routine. When is your next big show? Good luck with all of the refining and prep work.

I hope everyone else is having fun and productive practice sessions.

~ Nathan
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Aug 12, 2010 12:06AM)
Hi Nathan et al,

My next big Show is a public Show our Magic Club puts on once a year. I like it because it is a larger venue than I normally work and it gives me a chance to break in some newish material on a large audience.

It can be a pain because there are a lot of other Magicians on the bill (too many for a well balanced show) and it can be hard to find material that I or my partner did not do last year AND avoid the Magic that the others are doing this year. I can't always say I'm successful but I usually opt to repeat some of last years material if I know what others have planned. Mostly I try to get my list in first.

I find practice with a specific project in mind more motivating myself.

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Aug 21, 2010 09:36PM)
I totally agree, Mary. Kind of like when I was into Kung Fu. If I had a match coming up, it was all the inspiration I needed to train really hard. I knew if I didn't, I would get my head handed to me in a rice bowl.

As for me, my grandson has discovered girls, and so our magical interlude has come to an end for now. Pretty sad for me, but at least I have many avenues for my mind and body to explore. Think I will use ropes as my connection to the magic world, as ropes have always been my " thing".

Keep practicing and checking in, mates, and you WILL prevail! Good thoughts...

Message: Posted by: BlueOwl (Aug 28, 2010 08:46AM)
Good morning everyone!

My practice sessions are going strong. I've adjusted the effects I'm going to perform, but the knowledge of the upcoming event is keeping me focused. Oddly enough the practice is also a lot more fun when I have a definite purpose.

Mary ~ How is your set for the big show coming along? When is the show scheduled?

Jim ~ Were you introducing your grandson to the art of magic? I too succumbed to the seduction of girls and all things high school and college. But I eventually found my way back to the art, and this time the bond is much stronger (sort of like the difference between infatuation and love). Hopefully one day you and grandson can share magic again on an even deeper level. I enjoyed your Kung Fu analogy.

Hopefully everyone else is having some fun and productive practice sessions.

~ Nathan
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Aug 31, 2010 03:54PM)


Message: Posted by: BlueOwl (Sep 4, 2010 11:38AM)
Hi Everyone,

My week of practice went very well (6 out of 7 days). I spent time on Search & Destroy, some Biddle variations (found some good advice from John Bannon) and I spent a few sessions working with IT. I'm surprised at how quickly I can go from complete frustration with a sleight or move, to at least a level comfort by going just past the wanting to quit moment. I'm looking forward to another week of practice and improvement.

Laurie ~ Thank you for sharing the pics. What event did you perform at? I love the reaction of the child in the orange shirt to the sponge bunnies!

Hope everyone has a fun and safe holiday weekend ;)

~ Nathan
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Sep 4, 2010 01:39PM)
"I'm surprised at how quickly I can go from complete frustration with a sleight or move, to at least a level comfort by going just past the wanting to quit moment.

Now you have hit upon a great truth, Blue!

When I was young and into racing bicycles, our mentor was a former world champion racer who was rather stern and unbending with us. One day I asked him (which took great courage) what was the best way to train.

Across the street was a park with a one mile paved track around it. He said "every day, go over to that track and ride at an uncomfortably fast pace until you get sweaty and winded and bored."

"Is that it?", I asked. "No, when you get to that point, then sprint around as many laps as you can, until you feel that you will die if you pedal even one more turn of the wheels".

"Is that it?", I asked again. "No, when you get to the point where you can't even imagine one more turn of the wheels, then go around the track one more time. That, will be it"...

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Sep 6, 2010 12:16PM)

Mike Close's Renaldo the Great

30-60 minutes


November 6, 2010


I did my 30 minutes plus today and got frustrated because the rope I bought to replace the rope that came with the bottle isn't working. So I have to find a better rope. Jim, I will take your cycling story to heart once I find the decent rope. Thanks though, it was definitely a great reminder to what you have to do to get where you want to be!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Sep 6, 2010 02:49PM)
Laurie, It's nice to see you back.

Keep up the good work Blue owl.

Jim, I thought about taking up bicycling once. It made me two tired.

Welcome Peter.

Starting daily walk throughs of a whole ten minute set. I'm just glad it's a short set. Found out I left a card stand at a show. This is why you shouldn't talk to friends while packing up after a show.

Happy practice.

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Sep 7, 2010 04:23PM)
Hey thanks, Mary.

And you're welcome, Nathan- the first photo was taken at Dairy Queen's [url=http://www.miracletreatday.com/]Miracle Treat Day[/url]. The other two were at a local festival. The Rabbits, I've found, garner very positive responses from all ages. The German box and cups has pretty good range, as well.

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Sep 11, 2010 10:46AM)
Well I was on business in Minnesota, so my practice on Renaldo The Great was tabled until the plane trip home. I was sitting alone and dropped the table tray down and ran through the effect. Until the point where the fact that I still haven't found the right rope put my efforts on hold. So I kept running through the first 3/4 of the routine and have the basic handling down. If anyone is familiar with Mike Close's routine I would love some suggestions on a type of rope that will suit my needs. Regardless it was pretty cool practicing on the plane. I did get my 1/2 hour in. I also practiced some sleights. Going to a Shawn Farquarr(sp)lecture tomorrow, hoping for some good inspiration off of that!

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Sep 11, 2010 04:35PM)
Mary- Just THINKING about it made you tired? Just DO it, lady! (Too late advice. yes?).

Pete- Wish I could help you with the rope, but I don't know the effect. Can you explain what the "right rope" needs to be? Meanwhile, enjoy Shawn, he is a very personable and great magician. If he does, Shape of My Heart, don't miss it!

As for me, have been asked to do 2 busking shows at a street fair next week. Thinking of ropes, PePe LePe (my spring skunk), Miser's Dream and a few large-card effects. Should be fun, and it is for a good cause...
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Sep 11, 2010 09:14PM)
Thanks Jim! I got it figured out. I needed a stiffer rope thick enough to hold its shape when weight is put on it. I found a great piece of all purpose poly rope that's bright yellow at Home Depot. I did three sessions today to make up for the time I missed this week. Two were running through the handling and one was two 15 minute mini-sessions of memorizing patter as I picked up dinner for my family. I will probably run another session tomorrow now that things are starting to come together. I'm hoping to try a rehearsal on September 27 at my club meeting, then I will continue to practice until my debut table hopping event for my club's annual Hocus Pocus Party.

By the way, it is a wonderful effect with the Royal Chinese Prayer Vase. The rope it usally comes with is pathetic. You need the right rope to do the final clean-up at the end making you totally . . . clean! I saw him do it in 1998 at a lecture. Bought his books and later bought the Vase separately with plans on doing it someday. Ta-da! I'm doing it. It should be a lot of fun once I get it down. It's very clever.

Good Luck with the Busking Jim!
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Sep 12, 2010 09:48AM)
Is that an acorn, Peter? I like it!
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Sep 13, 2010 07:00PM)
Yes! My friend picked up two of them at Hobby Lobby. I pull various nuts out of mine like a black walnut, which is actually a lug nut painted black attached to a wood sample from the hardware store - See! A Black Wall Nut! I have several other types of nuts jammed in there. Then he says but you do know what comes from a nut? Then proceeds to pull out an oak sapling out of the Acorn. It's for a Nature Magic show we call the Woodland Wizards. :)
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Sep 14, 2010 12:26AM)
Hi mandarin,

Perhaps I should have said "two tyred". SQ (smirking quietly).

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Sep 14, 2010 07:07AM)

Is that a smirk in your avatar? I thought it was your "Mona Lisa" smile...


ps- funny "tyre" joke- sorry I didn't think of it!
Message: Posted by: BlueOwl (Sep 17, 2010 04:40PM)
Good evening everyone,

My practice sessions are going well. Outside of last Saturday and Sunday I have practiced at least once every day since my last post. The anticipation of performing at the birthday party is really pumping up my practice sessions. After reflecting on the environment, I have changed a few of the effects. I will now be performing some strolling fractal magic and sponge bunnies. Then I will do a quick mini-show as part of the family entertainment portion of the party (sort of a mini talent show where each family has to do something Vegasy). Currently I am focusing my practice sessions on Search & Destroy (Fisher) and Entourage (Bean), plus I warm up by continuing to sharpen my overhand shuffle techniques.

Pete - Welcome to the thread! I am unfamiliar with Close's "Renaldo the Great" but I read that he developed the routine as part of a personal challenge to find an effect and make it better. How is the routine coming along?

Jim - Good luck busking this weekend! I hope the weather will cooperate and be nice but comfortable. Speaking of PePe LePe, I remember loving (and dying of laughter) Williamson's Rocky Raccoon appearances on TV. Spring animals can bring a smile to anyone's face.

Mary - How are your 10 minute run throughs developing? Did your card stand find its way home?

Laurie - The sponge bunnies do seem to be another effect that makes everyone smile.

Have a fun weekend everyone!

~ Nathan
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Sep 18, 2010 02:51PM)
Thanks Nathan! Yes, that is true. He does that with several effects and challenges people to do the same. I have the "routine" of it down, now the practice will polish it up. It's been tough to get the sessions in this week. Been very busy at work, so I am hoping to catch up on my sessions this weekend. I have three to go for this week. I want to start doing it in front of a mirror and see how that goes. I started sitting down and then realized that I will be doing this in November at my first table hopping venue. So I better learn it standing up! That has been a slight adjustment. Talk to you all soon!


Posted: Sep 18, 2010 11:14pm
So I had a great session tonight! I feel the progress. However, and this is has always been my hang up with practice, it never feels as good as it does in front of a live audience. I always learn so much from that. Call it a Catch 22, I guess. So I will keep forging ahead until I get to try it out on my club in two weeks! I have identified the spots in the routine where I need more emphasis on practicing to get the bumps smoothed out. Any comments are appreciated! This has already helped me so much just from a discipline perspective.

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Sep 19, 2010 08:54AM)
Hello all!

Thanks for the good wishes, Nathan, I think they helped! I finally came up with a presentation idea that I feel will change my performance routine in a good way. Also, the weather was excellent on the first day, and very stormy on the second, which allowed me to do a large indoor parlor show on day 2.

Still working on getting Pepe a magic effect to perform, but he is such a hit without such an effect that I love to put him in shows with lots of kids and fammilies. I borrow heavily from Dave W., but having a skunk instead of a raccoon makes it easy to branch off and be more original. I close with Pepe, because the kids all want to come up and pet him. Makes a nice ending.

My Miser's Dream is sort of Chris Capehart, and I almost decided not to use it because of the event being for "Head Start", an Ohio program for poor children and their families. My problem, of course, was pulling half dollars out of these kids, and filling MY pail.

Then it dawned on me that there was a way to do it (it is one of my most popular effects with the kids, so I was looking for a way). At the end, I told them it wasn't very fair for me to keep money it literally took from them, so I "gave it back" and each kid got a half dollar. They were thrilled, and of course I told them to be careful how they spent it because obviously it was a magic coin. To see those families laugh and have such a good time- lord it is fun to be a magician!

Glad to hear of such good progress, Pete. A thought: remember we are asking our audience to "make believe" so use that same thing for rehearsal. If you can "create" an audience in your mind, you can actually get to the point where YOU believe it is a real performance. It occurred to me that must be the challenge TV performers have if not using a live audience. How do you get it in your head that a million people are watching, when there is just that camera? BTW, I find when I video my rehearsal it is far easier to "get in the groove" and treat the rehearsal as if it were a real performance in front of a large audience...

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Sep 19, 2010 01:41PM)

God Bless you and Miser's dream! What a fantastic solution! Thanks for the pointers. I just love feeding off the energy of a real audience, but until then I will keep my favorite quote from Albert Einstein in mind, "Imagination is more important then knowledge!"

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Sep 19, 2010 03:36PM)
Thanks, Pete, I appreciate the back pat... Nice quote, I always have liked Mr. E....

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Sep 19, 2010 03:52PM)
Hello all,

I found my card stand (at home).

My run throughs have been hit and miss but really good on the hit days. I'm seeing a lot of awkward places in the act though (I'm apt but not graceful). This is always an uncomfortable phase of practice but really improves the act a lot from the spectator's standpoint..

I also imagine a supportive audience when I practice. It really works well. I knew I had a problem when they started quipping with me and I was becoming impatient with how long some of them would take to pick a card. Are all my spectators wearing white coats now or am I just imagining it? These sleeves are making it hard to shuffle. I don't suppose I'll be able to do that shoelace trick either.

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Sep 19, 2010 08:09PM)

You are a girl after my own heart!!!


Posted: Sep 27, 2010 10:50am
HEY, any of my buddies still out there?

What's anybody working up for halloween? I am itching to do a show, even if it is a freebie...

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Sep 28, 2010 07:01PM)
I went to my first official Club meeting last night. The subject was Halloween. So I presented Renaldo the Great for my first live audience. It went very well and I received several atta boys. I feel better having one under my belt. So I will keep up the regiment to prepare for my first ever Table Hopping venue November 6th for the club. I have to work on a few more items to complete my set.

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Sep 29, 2010 01:15PM)

If you are just building your Close-Up repertoire try to get one Rubber band, Dollar Bill, Pencil, Finger Ring or what ever effect for each card trick you acquire.

If you start that early, you will really stand out among most Close-Up Magicians. In fact, I've often come off very well in the company of better Magicians than myself following this advice. Real people like variety.

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Sep 29, 2010 09:38PM)

Thanks for the advice! Believe it or not, I have shied away from cards. I have a few that I eventually would like to pursue and add to my repertoire, however, I have always liked doing other magic, much for the reasons you have suggested. Still this is good advide and I will keep it in mind. Thank you!

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Oct 3, 2010 11:24AM)
Hello all!

I've been missing for a while ... sorry about that. Took a new job and my life has gotten crazy! Not much time to practice, but I did get to do the Chop Cup routine I was working on when we had a few people over to the house. It went well, but I did get a surprise (and a great lesson!) when one of the guest reached over and picked up the cup! I immediately went into the final loads (2) and recovered nicely ... but it was a lesson on being ready for anything!

Nothing on tap to work on now except to keep my existing routines in practice... too much travel, too much new stuff to learn on the job...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Oct 4, 2010 09:48PM)
Our Club's Public Show was last Saturday. Tom's act came off very well and mine went well other than a few annoying glitches (nothing un-magical just annoying). I think it was a pretty good Show all around.

I closed- this Show for the first time which was fun. They usually have a small illusion to end but no one who did that kind if thing was available this year. I ended with some beautiful Silks and a Long Streamer.

I really wish I could work on Stage more often. It was really fun. I think I'll do some practice to that end for a while. Maybe I'll work out some of the glitches.

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Oct 7, 2010 08:10PM)
Hey, Folks-

How goes it? Keep up the good practice and it comes together. Even 10 minutes a day makes so much of a difference. So, I am getting together a Halloween spook out for Oct. 30th. Got some bizarre effects and just trying to decide the age range of the audience, since there WILL be blood! YOU ARE INVITED if you can get to central Ohio!

My news: I have changed my stage name from "Mandarin" to "Mr. Mystoffelees (actually Mistoffelees to keep with Elliot). Looking forward to lots of fun with this... Hey, whatcha think???????

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Oct 7, 2010 10:33PM)
Dear Jim,

I think Mistoffelees sounds hard to spell and find on the internet. Very few will know the reference and those who do won't spell it that way. Is this just for Halloween? If so it's no big deal and the demonic tie in won't hurt business, otherwise "I think you better think it out again".

My stage name is hard to spell and I'm seriously thinking of changing it to Magic Mary for the Birthday Market.

I know it's plain (that's why I didn't go with that originally) but now I think the more simple the better.

Just trying to help.

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Oct 8, 2010 10:42AM)
Thanks for the thoughts, Mary. I have been struggling with this, as most people don't get the Mandarin reference either. Sometimes I use "Diamond Jim" but there are a few of those already around. Have also thought of "The Catahoula Kid". If Mr. Mystoffelees seems to offer confusion, I will ditch it. Was listening to an Andrew Lloyd Webber DVD and just got captivated by the thought. My plan is to use it mainly for family shows, and to use the explanation and poem as part of the act...

I share your interest in stage work. There are so many advantages, and I like being a bit more in control of the audience. I am also, though, very enthused about busking- wow are those two different, or what?

Thanks again!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Oct 8, 2010 02:33PM)
Hey Jim,

I have to admit I was thinking Faust and not Andrew Lloyd Webber, so I guess there is a more contemporary reference.

How close is the nearest Diamond Jim? How about Jim Mystic or Mr Ham-tastic LOL?

Oddly, I'm recently interested in busking as well. The Café makes it sound so fun (and occasionally miserable).

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: BlueOwl (Oct 8, 2010 09:51PM)
Good evening everyone!

Sorry for the absence, but I have had multiple out of town weddings. Luckily, this did not deter my practice sessions. Although, the beach wedding wasn't conducive to individual practice, I did use the opportunity to perform some of the effects for people. I am now even more pumped to perform at my aunt-in-law's Halloween birthday party.

I am starting to see real progress from my practice. I am becoming comfortable with the effects to the extent that I can really focus on the participants and performance without "thinking" about the moves. And my overhand shuffling is really improving. Once the show is over I am going to start working on DL's. Also, class is canceled on Tuesday so I am dropping by the local magic club meeting for some extra practice and conversation.

Jim - Did the Kozmo lecture spark your interest in busking, or have you always had the bug? Once I raise my level and become more comfortable, busking sounds quite intriguing. The new name is interesting, unfortunately I do not know the reference (I will have to do some research). Let us know how your clients receive your new persona.

Mary - Congratulations on your successful show. What do you have lined up next? Is there any particular effect you are currently working on?

Hudson - Whose inspiration do you use for your Chop Cup routine? Travel can definitely put a damper on practicing. I usually try to pack only one effect and carve out 10~15 minutes when I get to the hotel to get some practice in.

I hope everyone else is having productive practice sessions. Have a wonderful weekend ;)

~ Nathan
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Oct 9, 2010 12:29PM)
I've been working on Danny Tong's routine from World's Greatest Magic Chop Cup DVD. It is a very short routine, but great impact. I do travel with cards and sponge balls, but chop cup is a little much to bring. By the way, hotel lobby and bar are great places to practice -- every one is hanging out with nothing to do, great to for real practice!
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Oct 10, 2010 04:43PM)
Hi BlueOwl,

I'm working on Martin Lewis' Technicolor Prediction and Miser's Dream (ongoing).

Currently enjoying the Halloween upswing in business, YAY!

By the way NewsFlash is going over great. I have two new patter lines and although they are not shaken down to their final form, both are working fine.

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Oct 22, 2010 08:50AM)
Hello, all - hope you are ready for halloween! I have Tim Wisseman's Butcher's Blade warmed up and ready to go- can't wait~

Blue Owl- I have done busking magic for a few years, but the Kozmo lecture (actually included his entire street act) was very inspirational! Heading for the Circleville Pumpkin Show which should be great fun.

Mr. Mistoffelees is from a T.S. Elliot book of poetry about Cats, from which Andrew LLoyd Webber took the idea for his great musical. The song in the musical is practically verbatim and just perfect, an excerpt being:

He is quiet, and small, he is black,
From his ears to the tip of his tail.
He can creep through the tiniest crack,
He can walk on the narrowest rail.
He can pick any card from a pack.
He is equally cunning with dice.
He is always deceiving you
into believing
He is only looking for mice...

I love the poem, the music, the name and implication. Unfortunately, I am beginning to think Mary's advice was spot on. Going to run it down the road a little, but it may prove a bit too esoteric...

Maybe I have an identity crisis coming on...

Keep up the practice, it just gets better and better!


Message: Posted by: BlueOwl (Oct 23, 2010 06:56PM)
Good evening everyone!

I just returned home from the Las Vegas themed birthday party. I performed some strolling effects and a short show. During strolling, Entourage was a hit but nothing beat the reactions from B'Wave. The short show also went well. I started off with Bannon's "Play it Straight Triumph," then moved to a combination of a quick sandwich effect and Aaron Fisher's "Search & Destroy" which included the birthday girl as the guest magician. I flubbed up my injog (I was simply moving too fast) during the sandwich effect, but was able to play the miss off well. Also, I did not take into account table height, so a good majority of the audience had a poor view of the action. Then for an encore I brought one of the kids up front and performed sponge bunnies. Thanks to the reaction from the child, sponge bunnies ended up being the hit of the party.

I thoroughly enjoyed performing, but loved the focused practice that resulted from having something to practice for. I instantly volunteered to provide some Thanksgiving Day entertainment, so I have another goal.

Hudson - What are some unique aspects of Tong's chop cup routine?

Mary - What type of shows are involved in your Halloween upswing? I love Miser's Dream, but have never heard of Technicolor Prediction. I'll have to do some research. Congratulations on further honing your performance of NewsFlash.

Jim - Thank you for the background info on your new name. By the way, I love the Circleville Pumpkin festival. One of my best friends hails from Williamsport and introduced me to the event. I'm sure you are having a blast.

Have a good night and productive practice everyone.

~ Nathan
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Oct 24, 2010 08:52PM)
Hey BlueOwl,

Glad your Show turned out well. I know what you mean about table height. I was once doing a fill in of Walk-Around at a Red Robin. I'd never tried performing at one of those really tall tables in the bar area. I 'bout broke my wrists doing an Elmsley at chest height. I had not practiced the effect with the Elmsley facing out at chest height. Truth be told, I didn't know I had a problem 'till it was time to do the count. Very awkward but a lesson learned.

All my Halloween Parties are Kid Parties so far. I'm glad of the business but I look forward to a Close-Up Strolling Gig for Adults at a Costume Party all year. There's still a chance on a last minute Gig but hope is dwindling.

Technicolor Prediction is a Martin Lewis Color Prediction Effect in a light vein. It's funny and Magical and packs flat (three envelopes). He used to have a similar effect but this has less apparatus than the old method.

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Oct 25, 2010 08:16AM)
It was a dark and stormy night...

and I pulled the tattered overcoat tight around by neck as I heard a dead branch scuttle across the cemetery...

sorry, just getting in the mood...


I bet you could find a venue, take out some ads, charge for admission and create your own strolling costume party... people would love it!!

Just a thought...

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Oct 30, 2010 12:04PM)
Blue Owl,

I don't think that Tong's routine has many unique elements -- pretty standard really. What I like about it very much is that it is very short. He's taken all the elements of a good chop cup (or C&B) routine and compressed them so there isn't any fluff. Gets a great reaction and one of those that when you walk away the audience is asking themselves, "how the heck did he do that?"

I love the C&B with three cups -- such a classic -- but worry that the audience gets a little lost. A lot going on, three balls, three cups, keeping track of where the balls are supposed to be and then where the show up can get lost on them if there are distractions. Tong's routine has inspired me to think about developing a two cup routine just to shorten it up. I've found that the shorter the routine, the greater the impact for me. I'm sure a good bit of this is my limited time performing, but it's real and so I've got to work within my bounds (something my grey hair has taught me over the years!).

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 2, 2010 09:49PM)
Some good points, Hudson. I love the 3 cup, but also enjoy the chop cup. An alternative to both, of course, is a two cup ala Wonder. I think this eliminates what I agree is too much to think about for today's audiences, and gives more action than one cup. At any rate, I also love Tong's straight forward routine.

I had a great show for Halloween! Did a Rick Mau prediction effect, a burning wallet card find, Higley's 3 No Evil and closed with Wisseman's Butcher's Blade. In between used Marvin's Freaky Body Illusions which, I think, is a great set of illusions for such an event.

Getting ready for thanksgiving and want to do one really special effect for the family meal. I have chosen Gypsy Thread, aka Hindu Thread. A great effect- here is the version I would use, by a really neat young man I met at Magi Fest. I think you will like it...


Any suggestions or ideas on this effect would be appreciated!

Happy times, friends...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 4, 2010 03:18PM)
Hi Jim,

Glad you Halloween went well.

Lately I've been thinking about a Theme of Families going their separate ways and going about their business but coming together for the Holidays or that we really are "One Big Happy Family" in the end. I love Gypsy thread and have several performances that I do in different environments.

All in all it was beautiful. If you go with Sterling's patter ideas I'd speed it up a lot and practice till you didn't have to watch so carefully to know when to first break the thread. Most Families would be very uncomfortable watching such a protracted performance even if they agree with the message. Make sure the thread you choose doesn't make an unpleasant smell when burned.

Good luck,

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Nov 6, 2010 09:18AM)
Hello all! I hope you are doing well. Sorry for my absence, but I fell off the practicing band wagon in Ocotber. Work got really busy and life happens! So I got back to it and realized at that moment the importance of practice! I was way out of wack. Well I am back in the flow and it is a good thing, because my deadline is tonight at our Club's Annual Fundraiser - the Hocus Pocus Party! I will have about 4 minutes for each table along with about 25 other club members rotating. Renaldo takes about 4 minutes to perform, so I have planned a second set including some effects with the advice given by Mary in mind. So I am planning on rotating as I approach the table. I didn't feel comfortable not being prepared by having all my eggs in one basket so to speak. With Mary's suggestion of different effects with a variety of objects, what are all of your recommendations on books or other sources on good rubberband magic? Thank you for your support, now I am going to practice a few more times.

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 6, 2010 06:22PM)

Good to hear from you!

Hope you wowed them at the Hocus Pocus party!

I have never had a book on rubber band magic, but I would recommend Harlan's stuff. I think this guy is the real deal.

Man, I find myself listening to Mary a lot too. She is just so cute!!! Not to mention that her advise is usually solid. I think, if she will let me, I am going to call her "mother Mary" cause I think we all need her wisdom.

I ask you all, who has more fun than magicians???

Take care, friend...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 6, 2010 10:55PM)
You can't go wrong with Crazy Mans Handcuffs.

Dear Mr. Mystoffelees,
Don't you dare, Mary the Mother is likewise, right out.
No one who knows me in person ever thinks I'm cute (or wise).

I do agree, Magic and other Magicians are fun.

- Mary
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 7, 2010 07:37AM)
Well, it seemed like a good idea last night with my scotch... :)

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Nov 7, 2010 07:49AM)
Last night was Great fun! Once I worked out the nerves to get through the first one things kind of clicked. Renaldo was recieved well and I did well with the other things I mixed in here and there. There was about 300 people and approx. 10 at each table. I visited 5-7 tables and they were incredibly nice. I really enjoyred fellow club members who came to my table while I was eating with my family. The stage show was grea to see other club members in action including Randy VanderWal, Gil Scott, and Rick Merrill. Ken Schultz, a Juggler from Chicago was a wonderful performer and just so happend to choose my 15 year old daughter to "volunteer" with him as he juggled swords on a unicycle. She still loves me. Great experience, lots of fun and I will have much more confidence the next time. The practice regiment definitely helped. So now I have to figure out what I need ot work on next! Thank you for your support! Mary is Crazy Mans Handcuffs an effect or book? Jim, Dan or Tarbell?

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 7, 2010 08:13PM)
Dear Peter,

"Crazy Man's Hand Cuffs" is an effect also called CMH here on the Café. I know Mike Ammar teaches it in his book The Magic of Mike Ammar but there is probably an easier video source for this from Ammar as well. If you go to Table Hoppers and Party Strollers and ask for a video source for this I'm sure someone could direct you (try P.M.ing Al Angelo). You might also look for Dan Harlan's Linking Rubber bands and Alan Wong's "Star Gazer". All three are excellent effects. It might seem that the rage for "Silly Bands" among the kids would reduce the effect if "Star Gazer" (the final revelation is a star shaped rubber band) but the Silly Bands don't really look like rubber bands and I have not found "Star Gazer" to be passe as yet.

- Good Luck

- Mary Mowder

Posted: Nov 15, 2010 9:04pm
All I can say is I had a Great time Sunday, here is a link to a report on Tom's Night Magic II event.


I noticed just before the event that I had totally forgotten a part of Bruce Cervon's Warp II handling, so I guess it's important to practice the whole repertoire occasionally. It came back to me after about 45 min. of fumbling with it. Oh well, "all's well that ends well."

- Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 16, 2010 02:37PM)

I am proceeding with my plans for using Gypsy/Hindu Thread for a Thanksgiving event, having taken your advice into serious account. Thanks for your thoughts! I have PM'd you with a draft script, and if you get the chance to comment I would appreciate it.


Message: Posted by: BlueOwl (Nov 22, 2010 05:37PM)
Good evening everyone,

Sorry I haven't checked in for a while.

I've still been practicing, but have also had a drifting sensation. I've been making progress, but after reading through Magic and Showmanship, felt that my practicing was not headed in the right direction. After some research, I decided to purchase "The Ostrich Effect," to help focus my practice.

Currently, I am still honing my overhand shuffle and working on my DL's. I have been practicing Lonnie Chevrie's Clean Thru/Clear Thru because want to add some money effects to my toolbox. Plus, I have been tinkering with some moving hole effects from David Forrest that look quite magical.

Jim - Good luck with your Gypsy Thread performance at the Thanksgiving event. Gypsy Thread is a powerful piece of magic. Mary's idea certainly has a lot of potential to resonate with the family. I have read Eugene Burger's handling, Cosmic Thread, but that presentation is quite serious.

Mary - After reading your post about Tom's Magic Night II, I got a little sad I don't live out west. Sounds like everyone had a blast. What is next on your plate?

Pete - Congratulations on performing well at the Hocus Pocus Party! I have seen some rubber band magic for Daniel Garcia that looks slick. I believe they can be found on his Daniel Garcia Project DVD's.

Hudson - You mentioned that you enjoyed a more direct chop cup routine. John Bannon has a very direct and enjoyable routine called Chop2 (Chop Squared), which is found in his Impossibilia book. The routine involves only cup and the participants do not have to guess where the ball is.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!

~ Nathan
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 26, 2010 09:46AM)
Hi, All!

Hope everyone had a great thanksgiving!

Hindu Thread was a big hit at the family gathering- about 45 in attendance. I performed it to a poem my mother wrote many years ago, and it was a perfect fit. Anyone who has not done this effect would do well to look it up- truly magical, fingertip and clean. Thanks to Mary for some good advise!

Interesting post, Nathan. I love the Ostrich Effect- some really great ideas for getting the most from your practice. I also get periods where I feel like I am "drifting" but as long as you are practicing you will stay connected. Usually what brings me back to serious practice is a gig. Sometimes I go looking for one just to have a reason to focus. That is one of the things I like about busking- you can do it on your own schedule and without needing to wait for someone to ask. Obviously, I also foist myself off at family gatherings. The Hindu Thread took some concentrated practice with a definite goal- a worthy endeavor.

Did anyone else do some magic for the family meal? Let's hear about it...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 27, 2010 02:02AM)
Dear Jim,
Glad Gypsy Thread was a hit. For the record I liked your Mother's poem.
Tom and I had a quiet Thanksgiving for two talked Magic and practiced Rings and ropes back and forth w/discussion. It was a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Blue Owl,
Magic Night II was great fun, I'm sorry you couldn't be there as well.
I'm getting ready for Christmas Parties and I want to get together a strong parlor to small Banquet sized 20 min Adult Stand-Up set. Up till recently I've done mostly Close-Up for adult only events.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Nov 27, 2010 07:25AM)
Am I too late to the party? I just now discovered this thread. I think it's a fantastic idea.
Andrew Zuber
3 Ball Transposition
One hour sessions
5 days a week
February 1st

Off I go :)
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 27, 2010 07:39AM)
Not at all Andrew- we would be honored! Welcome to the group!

I worked really hard on Hindu/Gypsy Thread, and now feel I have it "in my hands". I love the magic in the effect. The hard part for me was leaving a new project I have purchased in the box until after my thanksgiving show so as not to distract my practice time.

Now, on to my Shells Boot Camp DVD! I think this will be great fun and fit right in with the concept of our practice commitment- they "guarantee" that 15 minutes twice a day will result in total training needed to be conversant with the shells. You get the DVD, 3 bottle caps, about a half dozen peas and a daily practice routine.

I should be able to rake in the dough at the New Year's Eve parties!

Andrew, could you briefly explain which 3 ball transposition- I am thinking of John Luka's routine but not sure that is it.

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Nov 27, 2010 10:32AM)
It appears in the Dai Vernon Book of Magic, as well as Stars of Magic. It's kind of like Coins Across except with balls, and then goes into a 2 in the had, 1 in the pocket sequence.
Here's Johnny Thompson's routine (which I'm using as the foundation for my own):

I even managed to come up with a move last night, which I immediately filmed and sent to Pete Biro to see if he recognized it, though he didn't and said he liked it, so that made my evening!

I first saw John Carney do it at the castle about a year ago, and now I've started working on it (with a few tips from John as well.)

I'd love to see your gypsy thread routine, Jim! I saw Ron Saylor do it in the Palace of Mystery awhile back with a glow in the dark thread, set to a poem called The Canvas of Love.
You may have seen this clip as well, but if not...
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 28, 2010 12:52AM)
Welcome Andrewzuber,

The more the Merrier!

-The Mowder Maryer
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Nov 28, 2010 08:23AM)
Day One of rehearsing went well. I'm gonna start scratching my progress into the wall in the form of tick marks, like a prisoner awaiting his release date.
My landlord won't be thrilled, but I'll be out of the country and back in the states by the time they discover it.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 28, 2010 01:01PM)
Dear Andrewzuber,

Why not use paper instead? You're just starting so the conversion would be easy.

-Mary Mowder, former Property Manager
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Nov 28, 2010 01:36PM)
Mary - I figured that the landlord would be able to rent the place for a lot more money one day, pointing the wall and saying "see those tick marks? The world famous magician, Andrew Zuber, is the one who made those."

-Andrew Zuber, delusional/careless tenant
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Nov 28, 2010 09:15PM)
Love it Andrew! I can see the advert to rent the flat now...

Blue Owl - I will check into John Bannon's Chop2. I've used some of his card work and liked it very much - easy to understand and good base script to start with.

Had a great Thanksgiving with lots of cousins that I only see once a year, so I had a lot of new material since last year. Did the Danny Tong chop cup and the sponge ball routines that I've been practicing with the support of this group. Also did Design for Laughter - I've been practicing that routine for only a couple of weeks, but had all the skills before, so wasn't too difficult to get it up to snuff. Amazing impact!

Did everyone else have a good weekend?

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 29, 2010 07:27AM)
For me, a great weekend, Hudson, thanks for asking! My Shell Boot Camp has started, and I am finding it great fun, as well as a wonderful lesson in how to construct a practice schedule that is easy to keep up with.

Andrew, I am flattered you would like to see my routine, and you have inspired me to try to video the thread routine to post. Will let you know how that goes. Enjoyed the Thompson vid. It is similar to the Luka approach, except John uses different colored balls. He calls his "Chroma Balls" I believe. Good luck with your practice - I really like effects that can be carried in your pocket or "satchel" and yet leave the specs wide-eyed. This one is on my list to learn also...



p.s. Andrew- forgot to mention the Ron Saylor vid- a very nice approach. It is fun to see the different "takes" on this classic of magic...
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Nov 29, 2010 06:19PM)
Jim, glad you enjoyed that! I too like to see different approaches to routines and see what other people are coming up with.

The three ball trick does pack small, though I'm working on a version that uses an oversized (as in, hilariously oversized) brandy snifter, which John Carney told me was an idea of Vernon's. In that sense it packs huge and plays fragile, but I've seen Carney do it and the effect is wonderful.

In other news, I've spent the last month working on a 3 coin routine and a rope bit for a show this evening. Eight hours before show time and the gig was cancelled due to snow. Crazy English weather :)
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 29, 2010 08:30PM)

Major ouch! Hope they re-schedule soon. Almost makes one want to hit the street looking for a traffic jam or something where people are stuck and you can do your show! Hey, the airports could be the perfect venue!

Regarding different approaches, I have become a bit of an L&L "World's Greatest" junkie for this very reason. The one on Gypsy Thread, for example, had Cellini with a really unusual approach and a couple of other interesting ideas. It is fun to see the way some of the top names approach an effect.

Hey, Everyone!!!

On the subject of Hindu Thread, Gypsy Thread, whatever: never, I repeat, NEVER wash your good black magic performance shirt with a spool of white thread left in the pocket! This is good advice!

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Nov 30, 2010 05:35AM)
Never wash a tuxedo with your towels either.
Not that I have, I'm just saying I wouldn't recommend it.
I'll try this out in the airport, Jim - that's a good idea! I fly to Paris on the 10th, am in London on the 19th and New York on the 20th, then Seattle, then L.A. on the 6th of January. I would say that's more than enough time in airports to find bored people in long lines to perform to.
I would agree, "World's Greatest" has some good material (no pun intended.)
Message: Posted by: BlueOwl (Dec 5, 2010 08:43PM)
Good evening everyone,

First off, welcome Andrew!

I am glad that everyone had a fun and successful Thanksgiving! I definitely took advantage of the holiday and gorged myself. I planned to perform at my wife's family's Thanksgiving dinner, but we couldn't make it because it ended up conflicting with one of our other Thanksgivings... ah blessings and burdens of having large families ;) So I rescheduled for their party on Christmas Eve.

Practice has been going well, and I am starting to feel very comfortable with my overhand shuffles and am picking up the knack for Bro. Hamman's instant double turnover. As Jim mentioned, my practice feels more focused when I have a performance, or goal, to work towards. So, I have set-up a weekly show for my wife and any interested friends and family. Next week's performance will include a sandwich effect for the overhand shuffle, Dancy's Misprint for the DT, and Chevrie's Clean-thru. Also, I am planning to crack open "The Ostrich Effect" after I finish this post!

Jim - How is your boot camp coming along? What a wonderful idea for Bob Sheets to structure a practice schedule into the package. Sorry to hear about your performance shirt...

Mary - Good luck as you prepare for your Christmas parties and parlor performance. Have you narrowed down your set for the parlor/banquet show?

Andrew - How is your routine developing? What event do you have on Feb 1st? Your idea to perform routine with an oversized brandy snifter is quite intriguing, keep us updated. I wish you safe travels later this week.

Hudson - Congratulations your successful Thanksgiving! Sounds like you might have a large family too. I'll have to check out Design for Laughter?

Hope everyone has a fun week!

~ Nathan
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Dec 6, 2010 03:52AM)
Nathan - I wish I could take credit for the brandy snifter! I actually first saw John Carney do it, and when I started talking with him through email about it, he said that (surprise surprise) it was Dai Vernon's idea. It made for a really nice opening moment to the trick when John brought it out.
I don't think I have anything booked for February 1st! I just set an arbitrary date to have a good presentation ready for it. I'll be working on it with a friend of mine when I'm in L.A. next month - he does a few magic tricks here and there but is good at helping me come up with ideas to make a presentation really shine, so I just sent him video of the work in progress this weekend to get him thinking.

I too work better when I know I have a performance coming. I work comedy clubs during the holidays so prepping for those kinds of things keeps me busy. I try and incorporate some new stuff every year as I tend to get a lot of repeat business and I don't want to be the Christmas song of magicians (the one you get sick of hearing every single year.) I like your idea of putting something together each week! When I was in the states I would do that - set up dinner parties and have friends come over (typically the same group that I would take with me to the castle) and we'd eat and chat, and then settle in for an evening of magic. It was always quite fun, and a great way to test drive material on an audience! I'm currently putting an act together to do once I'm back home that we'll set up and properly film (L&L style) to use on my website and for promotions and such.

Have a great week and thanks for the well wishes!

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 11, 2010 05:08PM)
"Jim - How is your boot camp coming along? What a wonderful idea for Bob Sheets to structure a practice schedule into the package. Sorry to hear about your performance shirt... "

Blue Owl -(I started to abbreviate, but it just didn't look right)...

I am amazed, simply amazed, at how much thread they can put on one of those spools!

Boot Camp is a blast- 'bout half way through and going very well. The hardest part is not making changes because you think you have come up with a good idea- Bob warns you not to do that until you have completed camp. For what it is worth, I am thinking of how to make this part of a magic routine as it is well suited to move in that direction. I feel the one-minute workout looks more like magic than just a con. I have two Christmas gigs, though, and need to take a LOA from BC till after the holidays so I can work up some other stuff and ... party.

I have put together a neat "soul/jazz/smooth Christmas" mp3 disk of about 40 tunes. If anyone is interested, PM me with your address and I will send one your way...

Hope everyone is gettin' in the Holiday spirit!!!

Message: Posted by: BlueOwl (Dec 12, 2010 01:59PM)
Good afternoon everyone!

I was definitely in the holiday spirit this weekend. Yesterday my wife and I traveled to Groveport and spent all day baking and decorating delicious Christmas cookies ;) Then to wrap-up the evening I put on a quick show for everyone. I performed B'wave, Alice's Revenge (with a personalized card for the hostess), and sponge bunnies. All of the effects went over well, and the hostess loved the bunnies so much she ended up playing with them for about 5 minutes after the show. I am eager to apply the principles in the Ostrich Factor to these and other effects. This will help me focus on a few specific effects, but I am still scheduling in "fun" time to practice and experiment with a variety of methods and effects.

Andrew - Hope you are enjoying your time in Paris. You mentioned incorporating new material into your Christmas performances each year. What new material are you planning on utilizing this year? Please let us know when you have your act recorded and uploaded to your website next year.

Jim - Glad to hear you are enjoying your time with the shells. I have always been fascinated with routines where hustles are turned into magic and entertainment. Good luck with personalizing your shell routine once the camp is complete. But enjoy your holiday furlough ;) Also, I love the holiday spirit in your new picture!

Hope everyone has a great week and productive practice sessions.

~ Nathan
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Dec 12, 2010 03:24PM)
Hello all,

Lately I've been doing more full show practice sessions due to the unusual seasonal material (and music). I do more one of a kind shows this time of year. I'll use most of the same material but there are more requests for short Stand-Up shows this time of year. The unusual material needs more blocking and property management work.

I did get a 20 min Stand-Up set for adults together but I won't perform it till Dec. 15 so, we'll see how it goes. I'm much more confident with Close-Up for adults. I know I have good material so now it's a matter of performing it well.

Happy Holidays.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Dec 13, 2010 12:24PM)
Nathan - Paris was indeed fantastic! I had dinner with Etienne, who shared all kinds of good things with me (magical and otherwise.)

I'm working on some new rope pieces and some coin stuff (though coins aren't great for comedy clubs - too small.) I'll let you know once I've posted something!
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Dec 17, 2010 06:25AM)
I performed my new 20 minute Stand-Up Adult act and it went over great. The room was a little bigger than I had envisioned but my Happie Amp did fine.

So I'm very pleased and hoping I'll get more chances to perform that act in the New Year.

I plan to do more writing for my shows this year, particularly comedy and segue lines.

Are you all making any resolutions?

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 17, 2010 09:59AM)
Nathan- thanks for your comments on the pic!

Andrew- You lead a charmed and interesting life!

Mary- Glad your show was a hit! Yes, I am working on resolutions, but not finished purging the list yet. Will let you know. In the meantime, I took your comments to heart, and what follows is my Hindu Thread patter for the holidays. I have used it several times to really good effect.

Anyone is free to use this and change it to suit your style, circumstances, etc...

Curious how a year plays out in unexpected ways; (begin unwinding thread)
A connected strand of 365 days (slowly continue. (showing entire spool)
Perhaps that's why we feel a little thrill of fear, (finish unwinding)
At yet another New Year (break entire strand)

Somehow the holidays stand alone, (break matrix section - show it)
from a year that has known: (show larger strand)
concern, (break)
remorse, (break)
disappointment, (break)
worry, (break)
even loss. (show final piece)

Now along that trail of daily woes, (make ball)
December comes, and this (show ball) all goes. (transfer ball)
Outmatched by a joy so clear, (show thread with ball)
We welcome the bright New Year! (denouement).

Have a great Holiday season, everyone!

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Dec 17, 2010 11:02AM)
Jim - Fantastic patter! I've got to say, I've never been a fan of the Hindu Thread routine, but THAT one gets me interested. I love it!

I'm sure my life sounds far more interesting on the Internet than it is in real life, but I try to live for the moment and experience everything I can. I'd rather look back with a little less money in my pocket and recall all of the incredible experiences I've had, than look back with a pocket full of cash and no memories.

I'm working on quite a bit of close up at the moment (including a few parlor routines, like the 3 ball transposition.) My goal is to have a solid show put together so that when I return to L.A. I can put an evening together with friends in a formal setting, serve dinner, and then settle in for an hour or so. I want to film the event (kind of L&L style) and put a good demo together. So that's my big goal for this year!

Well, that and finishing my Master's dissertation. Just attended my last class today for my MBA. Now the writing begins!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 17, 2010 01:04PM)
On 2010-12-17 12:02, Andrewzuber wrote:

... I try to live for the moment and experience everything I can. I'd rather look back with a little less money in my pocket and recall all of the incredible experiences I've had, than look back with a pocket full of cash and no memories.

I'm working on quite a bit of close up at the moment (including a few parlor routines, like the 3 ball transposition.) My goal is to have a solid show put together so that when I return to L.A. I can put an evening together with friends in a formal setting, serve dinner, and then settle in for an hour or so. I want to film the event (kind of L&L style) and put a good demo together. So that's my big goal for this year!

Well, that and finishing my Master's dissertation. Just attended my last class today for my MBA. Now the writing begins!

Andrew- great philosophy! Here's hoping you get to look back with the memories AND the cash!!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Dec 17, 2010 02:45PM)
Hey Jim,

I really like the new patter and I'm not surprised it's going over well.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Dec 17, 2010 03:38PM)
Thanks Jim!
When do we get to see a performance of the Hindu Thread? I'd love to take a peek!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 18, 2010 07:46AM)

I will be working on it during the Christmas time off- hope to get it accomplished. Thanks for asking!

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Dec 18, 2010 09:45AM)
Looking forward to it!

I've asked for a Flip camera for Christmas because the camera on my computer isn't the best for shooting my routines - it works but the lighting isn't very good and they come out grainy. Anyway I used the Flip when a friend and I shot a few of our flights in L.A. and Seattle, and the quality is great. Hopefully I'll have one of my own come Christmas day, and then I'll post a routine or two to prove I'm actually making progress :)
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 24, 2010 07:27AM)
To All:

It has been fun sharing magic with everyone this year! I, for one, have really improved my actual performance ability thanks to a commitment to practice a little each day. Thanks for your words of encouragement and positive feedback! You each have my best wishes for a wonderful holiday!

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Dec 24, 2010 10:15AM)
Same to you and everyone else here! I definitely can see that I've improved and advanced as a performer, thanks in no small part to the folks here on the Café.

Happy holidays!

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Dec 27, 2010 08:30AM)
Dear Magic Friends,

This blog has been so important to my magic I have to throw out a big Thank You to everyone here. I started following last May working on sponge ball and in that short eight months, I've made more progress in really good magic than in the past 30 years! The inspiration I've gotten here caused me to sign up for magic lessons, focus on a few routines working them to perfection, and generally raising my game, rather than collecting lots of "weak effects".

All the best to each of you for a happy and successful 2011!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Dec 27, 2010 02:22PM)
Hey Jim,

I may not check in regularly (although I always read this thread) but I do practice more often because of it. I'm still more into practicing several things in parallel but I am more mindful about it. This is a Great thread for me, Thanks for starting it.

To everyone else here now and in the past. You help me to remember that we are all on a journey and it's one with great scenery and fun along the way. Your efforts and growth inspire me (and prod me).

May all your practice be fruitful.

I always enjoy this period of grace between Christmas and New Year it's a great time to ruminate.

Happy New Year!

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 28, 2010 11:37AM)
Mary, you are very kind.

I am about to head south for vacation, and the one thing I really wanted to get done was my Hindu Thread vid. Alas and alac, I just can not get it done in time. I really don't know what to say, as I doubt it will be good enough to apologize to anyone for NOT seeing it, but I am committed to getting it done when I return mid January. I will, Andrew, honest!

Taking my thread, ropes, shells, cards, with me, as I plan to do some busking on the docks. That should be good for a few stories...

Meanwhile everyone keep up the practice- I intend to get in a lot of work on routines, as well as my busking act.

Whadja' all get for Christmas? I got Extractor, and almost cry to leave it at home, but that is the only thing that makes sense. That one is a great utility... really!

Happy New Year!

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Dec 29, 2010 04:53PM)
Hello all,

Sorry for my absence. I have not had anything to target of recent so I have been practicing with some sleights and a few items suggested to me from my childhood mentor of magic. However, I wanted to wish you all a magical New Year and hope to have something to focus on worth sharing in the near future. I have appreciated all your kind and professional suggestions. Actually I have taken on a current project of sharing a small routine with a youth from my church who wishes to perform in a talent / variety show at an upcoming Youth Retreat. That has been fun. Happy New Year everyone!

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 1, 2011 01:59PM)
Thankyou, all. Going to do some dress rehearsals- have a show tomorrow! Best wishes for the New Year! :)

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jan 1, 2011 02:13PM)
Hi Laurie,

Glad to see you back!

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 3, 2011 03:31PM)
Thank you, Mary! :)

Posted: Jan 6, 2011 11:02pm
[url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=396954&forum=217&0]Franklin Takes Flight...[/url]
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jan 6, 2011 10:53PM)
Very nice, Magicalaurie! Well done.

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 13, 2011 10:16AM)
Thankyou, Hudson! :)
Message: Posted by: rainbowrangers (Jan 13, 2011 11:38AM)
Patick Pages rope moves for a new street routine. Every day for at least 15 inutes. Till it shines.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 14, 2011 07:38PM)
Welcome, Raiinbowrangers! Good luck with your practice and please check in from time to time to tell us of your results.

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Jan 21, 2011 04:20PM)
I picked up an oversized brandy snifter at Michael's while I was in the states for Christmas...however, I wasn't about to bring it all the way back to the UK with me where it would most likely get broken in transit, so while I'll keep working on the 3 ball trick (I picked up some nice wooden ones to work with at home) I'm going to focus on my cups and balls at the moment. It's definitely a work in progress, and actually comes from the work of someone else, but once I've learned this routine and am performing it to the best of my ability, I'll start working on my own version. I'm not usually into performing someone else's stuff but I just enjoy this one too much. Hoping to have a video ready to share in the next couple of weeks!

Happy new year to everyone :)
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 23, 2011 09:43AM)
'Scuse the double folks- posted from Puerto Vallarta and have no idea what happened. Hope everyone is following thru with the short practice sessions. I got in some good practice in PV as well as one performance. I am tentatively booked for next year for some shows in the schools. Need to really work on my Mexican language skills as well as my routines.

I think one could make a good living busking in PV. I plan to try it next year, provided it is legal. Got to look into that...

Be well and warm...


p.s. Dang, I can't believe MagiFest is next week! Anyone going to be there??
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 25, 2011 10:15AM)
On 2010-01-09 13:03, magicalaurie wrote:
...Still, big thanks to Tracey for shooting my performance vids, allowing me to be seen with my head on my shoulders. :)

The lynxes and ladies:


Here's a follow up on the Lynxes and Ladies :)...

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Jan 26, 2011 02:54PM)
I hear that, Jim! I don't wanna brag but I was trapped at Heathrow in the snow for about 12 hours, so I had a few opportunities to do some performing in a gorgeous climate myself.
Hoping for some nasty weather again next year. Strolling isn't necessary - in fact it isn't even possible. We were crammed in there like sardines.
Made for an interesting "Sawing a Stewardess in Half" routine.
Message: Posted by: whiteoakcanyon (Jan 29, 2011 05:09PM)
I'm in: Troy Hooser's Charming Chinese Challenge 15 minutes per day and 5 days per week. I have been practicing it sporadically for several months and am making little progress. I have not even attempted the final vanish. I think with some consistent practice, I can achieve my goal of performing it with confidence.

Posted: Jan 30, 2011 7:21am
Small adjustment to my previous post. I have decided to focus on effect that I have done no work on learning yet. I will certainly continue to work with the Charming Chineses Challenge, but I wanted to see with 20 minutes five times per week how long a new effect would take to become proficient at performing. Thus I am going to focus on learning Simplex 3 Fly by Eric Jones.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 30, 2011 07:30AM)
Hello, whiteoakcanyon- Welcome to our group!

Being a big Eric Jones fan, I think you will love your choice. I would wish you good luck, but with your practice schedule predict you won't need it- prepare to be amazed at your progress!

Andrew- although I wouldn't wish 12 hours in an airport on anyone, what a way to get in some good performance practice! Just returned from MagiFest, and the magic was superb! My heaven, there are some great artists out there- and this year lots of names I had not heard of before. One name was Greg Wilson- the guy is the real deal, and has me psyched on impromptu magic- great for airports! Oddly, I was stuck in Dallas for 4 hours coming back from PV and didn't think of doing some magic- missed opportunity. 'Course, it would have been a bit of a risk, people where NOT in a good mood...

Take care all...

Message: Posted by: whiteoakcanyon (Jan 30, 2011 12:07PM)
Jim - thanks for the welcome. You have started a great thread on the forum. I look forward to being a part of it.
Message: Posted by: Redwulfe (Jan 30, 2011 12:47PM)
WOW! This is a really good idea. So in the spirit of things I'm in. My first goal is to finish the 4 scripts I am writing. I will work on them 30 minutes a day 5 days a week and want to have them all done by two weeks from now. At which time I will start practicing one of the scripts till it shines.

Will it be OK to share my scripts and get some feed back once I have finished them?
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Jan 30, 2011 01:19PM)
Jim - Greg is fantastic. We used to live just a few houses apart from each other in Newport Beach, and I had the chance to spend a little time with him when he was over here in the UK last year. The things he can do with cards...spectacular (and SUCH a nice guy!)
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 30, 2011 02:07PM)

For what it's worth, I'd certainly be interested in seeing your finished scripts. :)

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 30, 2011 04:24PM)

Me too, and Welcome!


I never thought of Greg as a card man, but he did some jaw-dropper stuff at the Fest. What a great guy he seems to be. You have certainly, thru luck or determination, rubbed shoulders with some great ones...

Message: Posted by: Redwulfe (Jan 31, 2011 09:31PM)
Thanks guys this really does mean a lot to me, I worked my first session today and I'm feeling good about my goal.

Message: Posted by: whiteoakcanyon (Feb 6, 2011 08:26PM)
Week one complete and I have definitely made some progress. I think I will keep the day job, but definitely improving. Not having worked with coins previously I am really enjoying it a lot.
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 7, 2011 07:23AM)
I've got a house guest in town (when you live in Europe people seem to want to visit a lot) so my practice schedule has been a bit off. Hoping to get back on track once she leaves on Thursday.

Oh, and I need to go to the store first. She ate one of my final loads.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 7, 2011 07:54AM)
... those live chicks like Johnny Ace Palmer uses??? How rude...
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 7, 2011 08:49AM)
She didn't even cook it first, Jim. It was like watching an episode of Fear Factor.
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Feb 7, 2011 08:50PM)
You guys are just too funny!

Here we go- just ordered a set of knives from Joe Mogar, so will be starting on that later this week. Have set a weekly date with two magician friends to practice. Will work 20 minutes 3x per week on my own and then 1 night for feedback from the locals. No date set as a target yet.

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 7, 2011 09:07PM)
Definitely nice to have some buddies to rehearse with, Hudson!
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 8, 2011 02:07PM)
Welcome to:

Rainbowrangers, I have great respect for Pat Page but I've never seen any of his rope moves. I'm into ropes so I'm expecting it would be a treat to see that.

Redwulfe, what sort of scripts are they, Magic Effects?

whiteoakcanyon, I got the Set but not the routine (DOH!). The Charming Chinese Challenge is a very beautiful piece of Magic.

Lately I've fallen back on my old ways, lots of practice but all over the map. I'm writing the new Library Show which takes a lot of running through possible effects, plus a few social events that require material and exploratory practice.

I believe in the mission statement here but I'm having trouble living up to it.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 10, 2011 07:03AM)
I hear you, Mary. Always good to know we're not alone in our struggles, be it performance or otherwise!
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Feb 12, 2011 09:12PM)

I hope all is well. I have been tied up with work, but I did make it to our January Ring meeting. We each performed one of the first effects we learned. It was great fun. I haven't had much to practice on as far as a goal in mind. So I have been just working on this and that. I have come up with a couple ideas and once I finish getting all the pieces I need I am planning on devising a practice regiment for those. For our February Ring meeting we each are supposed to present something new that no one has seen before, so I am going to work on a sponge mushroom routine that I started last summer, I plan on starting to practice tomorrow! For March, we are suppose to present something we have newly acquired since January. This will be one of the two aforementioned ideas once I have all the materials. So that practice will be happening soon as well. Once I have a half hour in I will report. Take care, and stay on track, it just makes us better!

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 13, 2011 07:32AM)
Finally gave in at 1am and fired off a video of my progress on the cups and balls to the originator (of this routine...I couldn't find an email address for the guy that invented the cups and balls.) He was pleased and gave me some good feedback, so it seems as though I'm making some progress anyway! I think I'm too hard on myself...anyone else find that to be true? That the routine is never quite good enough to perform?
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 14, 2011 11:51PM)
Peter, you sound like a fun gi. Sorry, I just had to say it.

Andrew, you're very brave. I know what you mean about being too hard on your self. In a couple of cases I'm sure I have been (I had a good DL for a couple of years before it saw the light of day) but in general it pays to be careful because once you add nerves to a new routine you really want to be sure you've done extra homework.

I saw a photo of Robert Neale's Impossi-bill in Magic Magazine a while back and had to figure it out which I did. Lately I've been going for speed. I'm down to 1 min 26 seconds fold, cut, and weave included. I believe I could go faster but I'd have to change my order of operations . It's hard to give up on a method that is working to pursue a method that may or may not work out.

I think this fear or laziness keeps me from doing a lot of things that might (or Might not) improve my show. Just an observation this project has brought up.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 15, 2011 05:11PM)
I finally had the chance last night to sit down and watch David Stone's Real Secrets of Magic DVD (this first disc) and it was quite good. Out of everything I saw, the thing that stuck with me the most was his method of doing something 100 times without messing it up. Be it a DL, a mercury fold, or a full routine, he stated (if you haven't seen the DVD) that even if he got to 85 and messed it up, he'd have to start over from the very beginning. While it may seem intense, I think that's a great way of looking at rehearsal (at least for me - I like to have all the insurance I can get.) If I can do something 100 times in a row without screwing it up, I'll feel like I'm in great shape.

I think I'll start with that tonight using a Joshua Jay card trick I've been working on. It's a straight forward routine which feels like a good way to start...slowly. I don't think I'll shoot for 100 (it's 11pm here in the UK) but I'll see what I can get to and report back :)

Posted: Feb 15, 2011 9:00pm
Update: Made good progress with the card trick this evening.
Also realized that if I choose to do this "100 times" thing with my cups and balls routine, it will take me seven hours. That's assuming a 30 second reset and no errors. Maybe I should break it down into small chunks. I like the cups and balls but gimme a break.
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Feb 15, 2011 09:59PM)
Hi everyone!

Recieved the Mogar knives over the weekend along with his DVD and Merrill's Knife Book. so much material to absorb! Just working on skills now, need to develop a routine and then start working on it. Will probably start with a simple three knife one - suggestions?


Andrew - will stop well short of 100 reps!
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 16, 2011 01:37AM)
Did Impossi-Bill in 1 min 18 sec. fold cut and weave included.

I'm really going through the bills. Now I have to Magic tape the ones that are too old to use and spend them. One wouldn't bother me but if a cashier notices that they feel different it's hard to explain the numbers of taped dollars I'm using. Oh well...

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 16, 2011 08:11AM)
Hudson - Good luck! Unfortunately I don't know of any knife routines as I've never worked with them. I suppose you could juggle them? That seems to take a special skill set though.... ;)

Mary - Just tell them you accidentally dumped your wallet into a food processor or something.
Message: Posted by: silent shadow (Feb 17, 2011 06:45PM)
Can you sign up for this Mr. Mystoffelees I enjoyed reading through many posts what you are all doing here. It's a great idea.

I'm going to set myself two goals, one is to practice performing Torn (torn and restored card) I have a lot of old decks to use up so I'm going to perform it 52 times starting with the Ace of spades. I really want to perform this well, the other is to be able to perform one coin production and two vanishes, I tried to vanish a coin once a few years ago for around 5 minutes! that's all the experience I have with coins! I only have one Dvd from which to learn from which is Micheal Ammar 'Amaze everyone with coins in your pocket'. I've been tipped some books like Bobo maybe I'll invest in those later on.

1. Torn 52 times
2. Learn and perform well a production and 2 different vanishes with coins
Target 5th of Jul(for now)
I shall be recording the whole time just for discipline and scrutiny purposes.

Happy days

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 17, 2011 07:03PM)

You're in, and welcome! Sounds like you have a really good plan- good luck with it!

I love Torn, so here is a hint that helped me. I found the cards a bit too slippery considering how accurate you have to be. I sprayed a light layer of Dull Cote on the surfaces that were giving me trouble and "voil" it worked like... well, magic. Just an idea...

Andrew, the food processor is brilliant! Actually, I have a beagle that will do a good job...

Mary- that's got to be a world record! I have the effect, just can't get up the energy to really work on it. How do you present it? And, fun-gi????

Good to hear everyone is working on some great stuff! I am starting to work toward spring and getting out on the street. Got a really good DVD at MagiFest called "Relentless Rlng and String". What I like is that it is a full routine with about 7-10 ring and string moves that are great. Perfect for the 30 minutes a day schedule, and I think it will get people up to the table once you stop them with some larger effects.

Take care all and, enjoy the practice!

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Feb 17, 2011 07:58PM)
Thanks Mary! You are a good Spore! I use the Fun - Guy a lot. I'm going to apply 1/2 hour/day through the 2/27 to my sponge mushroom routine before presenting it at my Ring meeting on 2/28. Jim I hope that clears up your question to Mary about fun-gi??? because I don't have mush-room for any more on that right now! I couldn't help myself, I take delight in the PUN-ishment of others.

Message: Posted by: silent shadow (Feb 17, 2011 08:06PM)
Thanks Jim, I Just started on the Ammar Coin Dvd and I've already got a production down well from the Thumb palm and Downs palm it's probably the easiest one you can do, you coin guys will know what I mean and why I got it so fast. I know everything else is going to be slow going from here :P .One problem I have already is all the coins in the UK are so small and light compared to the U.S this is a bit of a sucky detail I didn't think about I really want to work with my currency, some or our coins are even made from copper! way too light to work with, Ill get me a 2 pound coin from the corner shop tomorrow thank goodness for those!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 17, 2011 09:32PM)
Down to 1 min 15 sec. Got a stack of brand new bills yesterday, horrible for speed, too crispy, look great folded though.
I don't have any idea how to perform impossi-bill yet. The puzzle intrigued me, then the speed thing. I'll ruminate on the performance for a while but probably a switch, without folding it in front of the spectator at all.

Pete, I've had it to the gills with these bad fungus puns. I give, sorry for my sillya ways.

Silent Shadow, I know you don't want light coins but 2 pounds seems a bit excessive. Although we have old 50 cent pieces and old Eisenhower silver dollars in the U.S. most young adults would not even recognize them as US currency. I believe that Magicians are the only ones using them.

Andrewzuber, you can, and should, spread the practice over time. Do you have a deadline?

-Mary Mowder

Posted: Feb 18, 2011 1:37am
Hey Peter,

Is that you in the Linking Ring?

Feb. 2011, Linking Ring, page 32, 2nd left, top row.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 18, 2011 08:00AM)
NO PUN RULE: Section 143.48(B)(iii) Para 23, line 14 (UMS code)

No puns are allowed that make anyone's skin crawl. (I.E. "fun-guy")

Really we should all be concentrating on our practice. I am practicing a new effect wherein I produce, out of mid-air, a working AM-FM radio. The ad for the trick guarantees I will love performing it, and that I can always count on a good reception...
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 18, 2011 11:07AM)
Mary - No specific deadline. I just thought I should start solidly working on a piece every day for a certain period of time before I have it down. This is a very simple card trick...the only really issue being that it happens from a shuffled deck, so depending on the placement of some cards, I need to have a few "outs" ready to get me in the right position. I've made up an Excel spreadsheet and put an "X" down for every performance I do, and will make a note if I had to use one of the outs. This way I can judge approximately what percentage of the time that will happen in real performance. It's more out of curiosity, anyway. Then at the end of each session, I put in a few notes...what to work on next time, what patter I was using that worked well, the workings of one of my particular outs...things of that nature. Then I stamp the date on each practice session, and tada! I have a full record of my history with that effect, including how many times I've performed it. Am I going overboard? Probably. But I like statistics (sometimes.)

Jim - Just keep that beagle away from my headshot. I coat each one in chocolate before I send it out. Gives it that extra special kick to grab attention. I know, I'm a marketing genius.
Message: Posted by: silent shadow (Feb 18, 2011 05:00PM)
Andrew which Joshua Jay card trick are you working on, is this the effect you need outs from?


Posted: Feb 18, 2011 6:08pm
Well I waved a couple of times at the wife with an open palm and fooled her with an air coin production at the finger tips, that's part one of two completed. I'm feeling a bit of a bug coming on here.

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 18, 2011 05:45PM)
It's his version of the elevator plot...cards put on the bottom wind up on the top, etc. Nothing fancy but you need to do a little extra work if going into it from a shuffled deck, depending on where certain cards are as you pull them out. It was an online thing through Penguin...I wish more places had material like that available. I bought a few things from them YEARS ago and can still log in to watch the explanations anytime I want to. "Outs" may not be the exact word to describe this, but you do have to handle them differently under certain conditions.
Message: Posted by: silent shadow (Feb 18, 2011 06:48PM)
I'm a member of Penguin too I bought a few of Oz pearlmans effect years ago and they are still there I checked the other day after 3 years away, they have great prices there on dvd's and packet tricks too.
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Feb 18, 2011 08:45PM)
Jason - welcome aboard! Sounds like you have a good plan and are off to a good start. Ever consider beer caps instead of coins? They are light and small, but ridges make them easy to work with. Also common so not a 'magic prop'

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 19, 2011 03:15AM)

You seem to have broken your own rule. Leave us hope this doesn't happen with any frequency.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 19, 2011 07:55AM)
Wel, thank the Lord that someone got it!

And, you are so right, Mary, I apologize. That comment was really below my station...

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 19, 2011 09:00AM)
I got it. I was just afraid to acknowledge it for fear there might be more coming ;)
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Feb 19, 2011 01:44PM)

I have not received my first copy yet! I await in great anticipation! I will let you know once I see it!


It really hertz me when you start quoting regulations! I think we all better get back to practicing!

Pete :) (The Fun Guy!)
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 19, 2011 02:01PM)
Bet I K-NOW Watts coming next (more bad puns).

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 19, 2011 04:11PM)
Yeah, I hear they are making the circuit...
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 19, 2011 06:21PM)
Ohm my gosh, will you stop?

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 20, 2011 07:50AM)
OK- I certainly don't want to start a revolt...
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 20, 2011 08:06PM)
Despite my resistance, you continue. This is no way to conduct yourselves.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 21, 2011 09:20AM)
Your too fast for me, Mary! You come up with new ones before I am al set...
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 21, 2011 01:52PM)
I'm afraid I amp practicing the wrong skills. The current count is 10 posts with little talk of practice (and tenna is too much).

I think we should modulate the tone of this forum. I don't want to be negative, I'm positive we can do it.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Feb 21, 2011 02:01PM)
Okay! Enough with the Assault and Battery!


Posted: Feb 21, 2011 3:11pm

I checked the Linking Ring on-line and you are correct that is me. It's hard to tell from the photo, but I believe I am performing Renaldo the Great which was my first practice session on this strand! Thanks for pointing it out, that was a nice surprise!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 21, 2011 04:48PM)
I hoped you would get a charge out of it.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 21, 2011 09:05PM)
I'd ask you to stop, but you would just think I was giving you some static...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 21, 2011 10:04PM)
Just asking a gal to stop won't transform 'er.

I'll erg you to stop but if you do I'll be shocked, still, I think you con do it.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Feb 22, 2011 03:56PM)
Mary if you keep going the electric company will be over to check your meter!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 22, 2011 07:34PM)
Peter, no one needs to check my meter, I write in blank verse.

I can see we are poles apart but I'll give you a wave on this.

You may continue you little pun game with no further impedance from me.

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 22, 2011 08:15PM)

Wire you doing this? Are you on some kind of a power trip? Perhaps it is just a phase you are going through, but give us a breaker! As the author of this thread I must discharge my responsibility and ask you to switch the topic and find another outlet...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 22, 2011 09:20PM)
I'm sorry Mr Mystoffelees,

I'm sensing an element of dis cord. I felt I was well grounded and plugging away as usual but if you've had enough of me at this junction I'll go ahead an a log off.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Feb 23, 2011 07:20AM)
This thread is so helpful when I'm traveling - makes me think of ohm sweet ohm.

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 23, 2011 07:34AM)

No need to apologize, I know you are a joule.


Probably happens every time you come to a junction...

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Feb 23, 2011 01:18PM)
This is probably a good time to share a little nursery rhyme

Twinkle, twinkle little star
V is equal to I R


Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 23, 2011 01:23PM)
I'm going to unplug my computer to make the insanity stop.

It's not a pun, I just felt like protesting.
Carry on...I'll be in the corner rehearsing and on my way to making millions while you guys continue to use this silly game as an outlet for stress.

...ah crap.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 23, 2011 03:17PM)
Jim you're a real live wire with your two pronged approach , alternating between Hot and cold.

By the way I have been practicing sponge balls (I've never actually performed sponge balls in public) and writing the new Library Show. All the themed material has been chosen which is the big hurtle.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 23, 2011 03:34PM)
You were doing good for awhile, Andrew, then you blew it at the end of the line. Mary, hope the spon ge balls give your ac t Extra Class!

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 23, 2011 04:57PM)
Socket to me.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 23, 2011 06:56PM)
Don't know about the others, by I refuse!

Message: Posted by: whiteoakcanyon (Feb 23, 2011 09:30PM)
The practicing has been going great. I have been consistent most nights with at least one hour. I have found on some nights when I am just not motivated to practice, the commitment I made here causes me to go upstairs and put in my 20 minutes, which inevitably turns into an hour. Although it is not a formal routine I am working on, I have found Eric Jone's Simplex to be a good place to start in handling coins.
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Feb 24, 2011 07:16AM)

You will love sponge balls! Just yesterday, awaiting to disembark from a flight, a young girl next to me was on the verge of tears because her ears had not equalized yet. I did a simple 2-ball routine and she forgot all about the discomfort and was all smiles. I always carry sponge balls or bunnies when I travel and frequently find young families in need of a break. I keep them is a sandwich bag and they take up no space.

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 24, 2011 07:46AM)

Thanks for helping us break our addiction, for awhile I thought we would need to find a support group, like PA perhaps. Really glad to hear the practice has been going so well. Same here, no doubt because the weather in Ohio has been unreasonable, so a lot of time spent in front of a warm fireplace, such a great place to practice. I found what essentially is a bed tray for the rich to be served breakfast, I guess, and covered it with a faux leather. It works great for practicing sitting down or ever in bed. This makes me certifiably lazy I suppose, but it really works!

As I mentioned above, I have been enjoying the "full routine" approach, one a shell and pea and the other ring and string. For me, it helps to put together a full routine as soon as I have the moves down, so as to cement the moves into something I can actually use. I am starting to do the same with cards, putting together a full routine with perhaps 5 card effects that fit together and can follow a logical course of timing and patter.

I have also experienced the 20 minutes into an hour- ain't that great? Thing is, 20 minutes is so easy to commit to, and if you feel like more, then much the better. I know if I tried to commit to one hour, I would seldom even start. Odd, no?

I had forgotten just how much amazement sponge balls are capable of, Hudson, think I'll get back to carrying them. Good on 'ya with that girl!

How 'bout the rest of you? A little practice each day is good for you- don't sell it short!

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 24, 2011 09:21AM)
I too am doing the routine thing, working on ways to make one card trick flow into the next. It's a fun project, going through all of my material and looking at the various options.

I do wish I could find some more material on cards that doesn't involve a spectator choosing a card. I'd like to just exhibit some skills of some kind (what little I have) in addition to audience participation. Any ideas?
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 24, 2011 10:50AM)

The Charlier is a nice "gateway" flourish. Sybil is great and it never hurts to have a good one handed shuffle but not all at once or they might black out.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 24, 2011 12:37PM)
I work on card effects that are easy to practice a bit at a time, use a regular deck and look more like magic than pick a card. One of my favs is Garcia's Torn- once you have it down you can do it almost impromptu. Next I like Asher's Twist- again get it under your nails and it is ready anytime you have four cards.

For really messing with minds I do Jumping Gemini as taught by Ammar. If I can do Torn (ruin some cards) I will add Card Warp, another crowd shocker, although perhaps too exposed for now.

I am also working on a version of Ultimate Monte using regular cards.

Probably should confess to you magic friends that when I say a "regular deck" I usually mean a regular "stripper" deck. Those things can do miracles...

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Feb 24, 2011 02:52PM)

If you can borrow a deck and then do the simplest of tricks, they will walk away shaking their heads. For non pick a card trick, try Doc Daily's Last Trick, and Twisting the Aces.

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 24, 2011 04:27PM)
Thank you for the suggestions! Twisting the Aces was the first card trick I ever learned and Doc Daily's is one I need to go back and watch on the Ammar DVDs again.

I am NOT a card person...my fans look terrible, can't do a clean ribbon spread, my shuffles (legitimate shuffles) are sloppy and don't even get me started on a Zarrow. I can do a so-so double lift and my Jordan and Elmsley counts are fine, but that's about it. The Charlier is, unfortunately, still "out of my hands" so to speak. I have small hands so it's difficult to do some of the moves where bigger hands help. Monte may be something I start looking into but I would love a great poker routine or something along those lines. A lot of the routines without spectators seem to be packet type effects with only a few cards, and while I LOVE certain packet tricks, I want to do more where I'm playing with a full deck. Or where I'm using 52 cards. I think the latter is far more likely.

I worked on The Mystery of the 19th Card for quite awhile tonight, which I learned from John Mendoza. If you haven't seen it, check it out. It's self working...I Skyped with a friend at home and had her get a deck of cards, and did the routine along with her and when she got to the reveal she lost her ever lovin' mind. Then she did the trick again and had the same reaction. It's not as much a magic trick as it is some kind of weird principle; I sure don't understand how or why it works, but it does every time so I rehearsed the presentation for about an hour this evening.
Message: Posted by: silent shadow (Feb 25, 2011 02:26PM)
Andrew just wondering when was the last time you broke open a new deck? Sometimes they can get a bit clumpy after a while even though they still look straight and work on sleights ok, I know sometimes I open a new deck and look like a pro xcm'r for a while :P
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 25, 2011 02:53PM)
Just opened a new one yesterday in fact. I know what you're saying about older cards, but one of the first things I tried to do with this was a decent fan and it looked horrible. It's not the prop, it's me, I promise :P
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Feb 26, 2011 09:09AM)
I confess! I did not practice my mushroom routine as planned. I am reverting to another effect for the club on Monday and will pick up the practice of my sponge mushrooms at a later date. I have fiddled with some other things, but I promise to get back on track and set a new goal soon!

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 26, 2011 08:25PM)
I think it is good to go off track from time to time. I have had occasion for someone to ask if I could perform at a luncheon or such, and had to put my plans aside for a few days or more to get ready. Other times, I just get bored or frustrated with what I am working on and need a break. If you think of this as a normal occurrence, you won't beat yourself up over it and can return to your goal easily...

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 27, 2011 09:08AM)
I feel HORRIBLE. I spent 12 hours working on my dissertation yesterday; I wrote 4000 words, and yet I didn't practice a single routine. No moves, no pass, nothing. What a waste. At this rate I'll have my dissertation wrapped up by the end of next week and all I'll have to show for it is a crummy master's of business degree. :(

Though I did learn a Michael Vincent routine this morning and worked on my own variations. I guess that makes up for it. Is it weird that a dissertation was how I spent my BREAK from magic?
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Feb 27, 2011 11:49AM)

Don't discount the value of an MBA in supporting your magic career. I transitioned from the military to business via a full time MBA program a number of years ago. The business career has provided ample opportunity, and funds, to support my magical interests. I find that my full time magician friends worry about cost of magic supplies and how often they will be used in a show, I never worry about my ROI (thought you'd like that) - I have a budget for my hobby to spend as I see fit.

And should you decide to pursue magic full time, the skills you learn in business school will help you build a robust business plan that is realistic on both the upside and the downside. Most people who start a new venture are totally unrealistic and end up out of business in no time.

Good luck in school!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 27, 2011 01:30PM)
Hey, I just got back from an early morning appearance on a local TV Morning Show. It was a last minute thing and only had a day to plan my material. Morning is not my time of day but I think it went fine. It was the first time I've done that sort of thing.

I did CMH and Stargazer in the first segment

Eskimo Yo-yo rope and pulling a knot off the rope as a silent bumper to commercial

Tokyo Penetration and String of Luck (Gypsy Thread) in the last segment.

I can't say they really explained what would happen very well but I sort of expected that.

-Mary Mowder

Posted: Feb 27, 2011 3:40pm
Here is a link to video of Tokyo penetration and String of Luck:


I'm listed as The Magician

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 27, 2011 03:03PM)
Hudson - glad we agree! I should have added a winking face to my post somewhere as it was mostly written tongue-in-cheek. I actually think the MBA is one of the most valuable degrees you can get because it applies to everything - regardless of what career path you choose, business will be involved.
I have a buddy out here who works at the magic shop (he posts occasionally on the Café) and he actually wrote his master's dissertation on the magic business. Anything is possible!
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Feb 27, 2011 07:47PM)
Mary - nice job on the news! Well done, especially with no notice.

Andrew - curious about your buddy's thesis, what was the conclusion regarding magic shops? Do they have a future?

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 27, 2011 08:17PM)

So Cool! You should be very proud- a great presentation. Loved your patter for Gypsy Thread. ***, when is TV4 gonna call me...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 27, 2011 08:37PM)
Thanks guys. Were you able to see the knots pop off at the end of String of Luck?

Jim, I think you spelled *** wrong. Some of those morning shows will take you if you call them. You might check their website.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 28, 2011 08:35AM)
32 degrees in Sacramento?? Goodness Mary - hope they let you warm your hands first.
Great presentation!

Hudson - I'm not entirely sure what his conclusion was but I will have to ask him the next time I see him!
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Mar 1, 2011 07:23AM)

Thanks for the perspective! Mary I can't wait to see your spot.

Had a great club meeting last night and got the help I needed on handling my new Porper Dye tube.

My next practice regiment is getting the handling down so I can move onto a routine that has been in my head for some time.

1/2 hour sessions 5 days a week. Re-evaluate where to emphasize each week. Goal ready to perform proficiently at next club meeting March 28.

Off to get my eyes dialated. Should be plenty of time to practice!


Posted: Mar 1, 2011 1:34pm
Mary! Great job on the T.V. show. Very polished! You handled your audience well. I always find it amusing when the t.v.personality struggles with being upstaged and thinks they need to provide patter for you and try and get in their own jokes. The payment was when you pulled the dollar through, he shut-up and realized that youhad it going on! I did knot see th knots pop off but then again my left eye is dialated! Keep up the great work! As a side. I worked on my color changing knifes and a few of my dye tube moves in the waiting room and the Doctor's office while I was waiting!

Message: Posted by: silent shadow (Mar 3, 2011 02:15PM)
Nice job on the show Mary, That guy actually went quiet for a minute I bet his wife just took up a new hobby :P

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Mar 3, 2011 07:39PM)
Thank you all.

I'm sure you can tell the guy very nearly wrecked the Dollar effect (but didn't). I was gratified to see his reaction later.

Jim, I think I should have offered some guidance on getting a Close-Up shot for some of my effects. You might keep that in mind.

Peter, I practice card flourishes when I'm left alone in the dentist chair so I get that (I'm always packing a deck and to get me into the dentists office I covertly carry my favorite contact juggling ball as well). I get some practice and it calms the nerves.

Working on the Library Show effects but haven't chosen the order yet.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Mar 5, 2011 03:51PM)

For your library show are you doing the World Culture Theme?

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Mar 7, 2011 11:24AM)
Dear Peter,

One World, Many Stories.

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Mar 20, 2011 12:30PM)

Last night I did a short CC knives routine for a friend that has become my "test subject" for new effects. Went okay, but not ready for prime tme yet. Need a better finish - routine is too short without real punch. Probably have a good intro to a routine that should be a little longer leading to a strong finish.

I gotJoe Mogar's knife set and his DVD - long on skills, but hasn't inspired a solid routine for me. Will probably get WGM CC Knives DVD. Ive found the WGM series to be good for inspiring - a little from this one and a little from that. Any other good sources for inspiration?

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Mar 24, 2011 07:49PM)
Hi, Hudson!

I wish I could help, but the knives are something I have not used much. I could choke myself, because Joe is always at MagiFest and this year I had told myself that I was gonna get them and have him show me the ropes. Unfortunately, it was a new set-up and I just didn't get to it. I will be very interested to hear how you do and whether you think the WGM are as good or better.

I am just getting over some awful upper resp infection that has had me for about 3 weeks. Where the hell is spring????

Hope you all are well!

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Mar 25, 2011 06:27AM)
Spring has sprung in England, Jim! We only get eight days of partial sunshine a year and we seem to be using them all up at once.

(I'm back from my travels by the way - will dive into that card thing again when I get the chance. If you'd like to finish up my Master's dissertation I could get to it sooner...I'll email you the research parameters. 1" margins and 12 point font if you can.)
Message: Posted by: landmark (Mar 25, 2011 08:06PM)
Hey Mary--I was going through some old videos and saw your name on the credits on one of them. You've been at this for a long time! Congrats!
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Mar 25, 2011 08:41PM)

All is ell here, but we are still seeing snow in the Midwest - oh for the days when I lived in California!

Visiting family now in Boston and have had lots of impromptu opportunities. All cards and sponge balls - no knives on planes! Brought my chop cup, but not the right opportunity yet, perhaps Saturday night at a large family get together.

Hope you are feeling better soon.

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Mar 25, 2011 09:58PM)
Yea, I've been on a lot of videos, I've watched my self age picking cards. Sometimes I'm just in the crowd. I've seen many of the best Magicians in the world.

I have been very lucky to see them in person. There is a reason these people are considered world class.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Mar 25, 2011 10:19PM)
Hi, all!

Hey, I actually feel like I have some energy! This time I am going to try to be a little smarter, and not go out in the cold to try to "do some things".

Andrew, NO WAY I would undertake (a bad term considering how I have been feeling) to write your Master's thesis- although I do know a few good dirty jokes that you could "pepper" it with. Just a thought.

Hudson, thanks for the thought- I am feeling lots better. Finally starting to want to practice again. Today is the first day of the rest of my magic life...

Regards to all of you!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Mar 26, 2011 02:55AM)
Sorry to hear you've been sick Jim.

Consider this forced practice time (yea!) and take it easy.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Mar 27, 2011 10:02PM)
Saturday night turned into a nice show for me with lots of family I hadn't seen for several years. Started with sponge balls, then hopping halves and finished with Spin Doctor (variation on Twisting the Aces). Many of my relatives did not know I was a magician (business man by day!) and so they were doubly shocked. Was worth the effort put in over the past 2 1/2'years - when I got serious about developing professional-level skills and routines(not that I've arrived yet, but I am on the journey). Especially pleasing was Spin Doctor. For that I had to learn the Elmsley Count, which took many months.

As a nice surprise, I was able to visit Hank Lee's and pick up WGM Color Changing Knives and now have additional sources to develop a routine. Turns out HL moved to Medford - the very town I was visiting!

Jim - glad to hear you are feeling a little better. Hope to hear that you are up and about soon.

Mary - are ther good magic shows in the Sacramento area? I get out to Vacaville on business every now and then.

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Mar 28, 2011 06:38AM)
Hudson - which Medford are you referring to? If it's Oregon I'll be passing through there at the end of April.

As an aside, I'll also be spending about five hours in Minneapolis around the middle of the month (layover on the way to Seattle.) I'll be the guy in the Delta terminal doing a coin matrix on a suitcase if you happen to be wandering by!

Jim - dirty jokes are welcome. The English have a filthy sense of humor. Er...humour. It took me three days to find a suitable birthday card for my mother that wouldn't give her a heart attack. I think the more blue humor I add, the better marks I'll get.

Spent some time this weekend on Sam the Bellhop. It has a ways to go but I'm enjoying playing around with it anyway. I'd like to make the story my own but that will have to wait a few weeks. Maybe I'll put one together on the plane when I fly back home.

Posted: Mar 28, 2011 5:58pm
Medford, MA. I Googled it. Answered my own question.
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Mar 28, 2011 09:39PM)
Andrew - I'm traveling all month and won't be back to Minneapolis till 22nd or so - complicated life! But if you've got a 5 hour layover I might suggest you take the light rail out to Mall of America. It is about 10 or 15 min, the last stop is at the mall. If you want to get more adventurous, you might go to Twin Cities Costume and Magic in Saint Paul. Nice magic shop with an excellent in-house instructor, Tyler Erickson. I've taken lessons from him, making unbelievable progress unfortunately due to my schedule, I had to stop the lessons.

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Mar 29, 2011 06:37AM)
Thanks for the suggestions, Hudson! I've spent some time in Minneapolis...in fact the shoes I'm wearing at the moment came from the Mall of America. They've carried me well.
If I have the time, I'll try and check out the shop! This is the big move back to the states for me, so it all depends on how customs goes (considering I'm transporting my life back to the west coast.) Hopefully it'll be smooth sailing - er, flying.
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Mar 29, 2011 08:18PM)
Good luck with your move, Andrew!

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Mar 31, 2011 04:34AM)
Thanks, I need it! Two weeks to finish a dissertation, wrap up everything associated with my flat, pack and ship my stuff back home, spend a little quality time with my magic buddies...I don't think I'll get a ton of practice in for awhile (PLUS I have several gigs as soon as I get back to Seattle, and then the move back to Los Angeles just a few days later where I have another show, work-related stuff and have to find a place to live.) I may need to give up magic entirely. I'd probably give up my real job first though. ;)
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Mar 31, 2011 06:57AM)
Andrew, I am exhausted just reading your schedule! You are a wake-up call to society- keep chuggin' and a bright future awaits...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Mar 31, 2011 02:38PM)

Steve Johnson owner of Grand Illusions has a summer lecture series (none on schedule right now) but it wouldn't hurt to visit
his web site occasionally: http://www.grandillusions.com if you'll be in the area.

Axel Hecklau will be lecturing May 13 in Sacramento and Aldo and Rachel Colombini will be in Elk Grove (just south of Sacramento) May 18. P.M. me if you want further details.

A Magical Place in Galt has occasional Magic Shows (a little further south of Sacramento) http://www.amagicalplace.net so you can check there.

Sorry it took so long to respond.

Most of the Magic that happens in Sacramento is for private bookings. You can see some Magic at library Shows if you check the Library websites around Vacaville and surrounding areas.

Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Mar 31, 2011 03:40PM)
Mary - do you happen to know if Axel's lecture is part of a tour? I keep missing him but it sounds as though we'll actually be in the same state at the same time. I'd love to catch him but didn't see any info on his site!

Jim - I hope so! I haven't truly worked at a real job since January of 2009. Stinkin' economy. I can't wait to be back at it once again!
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Mar 31, 2011 07:54PM)
I'm not sure, I think he's trying to book other dates in the area but maybe he's just in the USA.

We took this date so close to a lecture we had already booked with Aldo and Rachel Colombini because that's when he was available.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Apr 1, 2011 06:18AM)

Thanks for the ideas! I will try to get to one of these lectures/shows when I'm in town.

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Apr 1, 2011 06:54AM)
I'll be back living in Los Angeles by the time he's there, so that's why I ask...might be worth the drive up north to catch his lecture!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Apr 2, 2011 06:28PM)
Yes, I would drive from Ohio... well, maybe as far as one tank of gas. Seriously, I would love to see this. Why is all the good stuff in CA?

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Apr 2, 2011 07:18PM)
As many good opportunities as there are in Los Angeles, I have to tell you that my favorite thing to do there, was leave it. I would give anything to have my industry located in another city. I despise L.A. I'd rather live anywhere else.
Well, except in Ohio. I wouldn't wish that upon anybody. ;)

Actually, I shot a segment in Cleveland a few years ago and ate at a very nice Olive Garden afterwards, so it wasn't ALL bad.

Posted: Apr 8, 2011 12:11pm
Just wanted to say that I finished and submitted my dissertation this morning - 72 pages, but far the most substantial thing I've ever written. Once it's all been approved, it goes off for publication, and I become a published author!

That said...I now have one less excuse for why I'm not practicing my routines. Any ideas?
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Apr 8, 2011 08:30PM)
Yup, schedule a gig for, oh about June or so, even if it is just a street busking date. This is called inspiration. Or, maybe gun to the head. At any rate, I find there is nothing more motivating than an upcoming performance...

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Apr 9, 2011 09:05AM)
As I tend to do, I have a gig at 7:30 on the 15th. I fly in at 11:30pm the night before. I did this in September too...flew into Seattle and drove straight to the show. There's no rush like performing for 400 people when you've been awake and traveling for 31 straight hours.

I too find upcoming shows to be the biggest motivator! Right now the goal is actually getting all of my stuff home in the first place.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Apr 15, 2011 06:07AM)
Good luck with your show tonite, Andrew!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Apr 15, 2011 02:37PM)
I'm going to try street busking for the first time ever May 6th at a monthly Street Festival in my neighborhood.

I've performed Strolling Magic at fairs and picnics many times but I've never worked for tips. I've always admired Magicians who were brave enough to busk.

I'm trying to choose material for this particular venue.

Starting to read more "Sidewalk Shuffle" threads but I'm in over my head. Luckily, I don't have a client to disappoint.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Apr 15, 2011 03:38PM)
Thanks Jim - I can barely walk! Turns out hauling your entire life in suitcases through train stations and airports is PAINFUL. I awarded myself with a first class ticket home thanks to my frequent flier miles, however that doesn't include someone to cart your stuff around for you. I hope they let me sit at this show tonight. Or lie down.

Mary - good luck! Really looking forward to hearing how it works out. Brave indeed!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Apr 24, 2011 06:38AM)

I am just getting my busking ideas dusted off for the season. You probably have this already, but here is a good blog:


Andrew- How'd the gig go?

Message: Posted by: jtong77 (Apr 25, 2011 06:49PM)
I heard about this thread from Mary awhile ago. I have finally finished reading the thread and have made up my mind on a few tricks.

Name: Joseph Tong
Goal: Paperclipped
Time: 15 minutes to 1 hour
Sessions: 7/week
Due: May 25.

Wish me luck.
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Apr 25, 2011 08:20PM)
Welcome to the group! I'm sure you will find the encouragement here a great aid in staying focused and making progress. You will be glad you joined!

Now for my update - I'd slacked off on the color changing knives routine I was working on and tried to share my progress last Thursday night with a few from the local SAM club -- disaster! so over the weekend I doubled down, watched every CCK DVD I had and a couple you tube demos. Then practice non stop, including while on along walk with my wife and our dog! now I'm ready to get back this Thursday and share the progress. Routine I've settled on is two knives, and a cross between Johnny Thompson and Daryl. not too difficult, but nice effect.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Apr 25, 2011 08:24PM)
Welcome, Joseph! Indeed we wish you luck and will enjoy hearing of your progress. Glad to have you here!

Message: Posted by: jtong77 (Apr 26, 2011 12:08PM)
Apr. 25, 2011

After destroying 2 decks of Bee cards practicing M***** F***, I decided to buy some cards from a Dollar store instead, at least until I am somewhat decent with it.

Destroyed 3 decks of $tore cards. Good thing they are 3/$1.

I can occasionally do the f*** without thinking about where fingers need to be now. I shall focus on keeping my hands relaxed through the whole process.

Thanks for the encouragements!
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Apr 28, 2011 02:54AM)
Thank you Jim, yes, I have been reading Jimmytalksalot's blog and several threads about getting started in busking.

Hudson, sorry to hear the performance of Color Changing Knives didn't go well but you took it the right way (the way that will fix the problem and not shove it in a drawer). I've failed in front of my local ring before. It wasn't fun but I lived. That is part of the purpose for a club. At least it wasn't in front of laymen.

Welcome jtong77. Paperclipped is a very strong effect. When you finish you'll have a real worker. I do Warp II which destroys a card every time and it still hurts every time I do it (even with trash cards). You're tougher than I am (or less cheap).

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Apr 30, 2011 10:44PM)
Thanks Mary. Happy to report that after rescripting my routine and a week of "two a days" I was able to do a nice two-knife routine with surprise ending thiat went over well with my magician colleagues. Then today I had an impromptu opportunity that went exceedingly well. Very happy with the routine and am now carrying the two knives around with me on a regular basis.


PS there are a couple of nice sets of CCKs on eBay right now ...
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (May 1, 2011 04:47PM)
I actually picked up a set of the knives right before I left England - I think they were about 7 quid, so not very expensive but a fun little prop. What makes a good set versus a bad set? I always assumed that they were about the same, except for the quality of the actual knife itself. Then again I've never really looked into them. It's a routine I hope to work on soon!

I've been working on David Williamson's 'Funner Color Stunner' and a four ace production as a "warm up" piece. It's been fun! My show when I got back went well but I decided I wanted to add a strong triumph/color changing deck routine into my repertoire, so I'm happy to have found one that's not too knuckle-busting.

Oh, and Mary - turns out Axel will be lecturing in the L.A. area so I'll be able to catch him down there. Thank you again for sending information along to me!
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (May 2, 2011 02:55AM)
Andrew, have fun at the Axel lecture, bring your credit card.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (May 2, 2011 12:19PM)
Mary - I'm already worried. I do own Newsflash which should take some of the sting out, but I know he's got some other great stuff on the market. Plus I'm going to IMX a few weeks later so I could be in even bigger trouble.
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (May 2, 2011 10:51PM)

I'm using Joe Mogar knives and like them very much. They are real knives of good shape, size and weight. They also have the bolster on one end which, when pointed toward the audience helps limit flashing. He also has what he calls, "perfect knives" that can be viewed from the side without flashing.

All that said, I think it is probably personal preference. If they look like normal pen knives and you handle them well, it probably doesn't matter what you use.

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (May 6, 2011 10:00PM)

I envy your Mogar knives. At the last MagiFest in Columbus, I walked right by Joe, who was ready and willing to show me his wares. I was too fatigued to engage, and can only hope I get another chance next year. Oh, for the things we let slip by...

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (May 7, 2011 02:10PM)
Thanks for the info, Hudson! I have too much on my magical plate as it is but I will certainly look into Joe's knives when I get the chance.

Continuing to work on my four ace production...there are too many options out there and I want to use all of them, so I think I may instead go down the road of Gregory Wilson's Revelation in Spades, which will give me 13 reveals instead of just four...more to play around with!
Message: Posted by: MrMajestic (May 10, 2011 12:41AM)
Name: Edwin Arce II

My Goal: I'm planning to head to Europe in about a month to try my hand at busking, so my broad goal is scripting a 10-15 min routine. More specifically, I have a new effect as my closer. A straitjacket escape...on a unicycle. So that's become my main focus.

Length of Sessions: 20 min

Sessions per Week: 5

Estimated Date of Competency: May 20
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (May 10, 2011 01:24PM)
Where in Europe do you plan to work, Edwin?
Message: Posted by: MrMajestic (May 10, 2011 07:39PM)
I'm landing in Southampton on June 17 (disembarking from the Queen Mary 2). I plan to spend a day or two there and then head to central London for a week or two to begin my European busking experience amongst the more familiar English speakers (though that may change...actually, all of this may change depending on how well, or how poorly I do). From London to Paris where I hope to spend much time performing and exploring. I've been there a few times before and I'd like to find success there. Then, I would love to find success in Nice, France. To live and perform there would be a dream.

Beyond that, I hope to travel to Barcelona, Italy (Rome, Venice, Pisa, Genoa, Naples), Norway (Oslo, Bergen, Tromso, and some small villages), Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Munich, Prague, Finland (Helsinki and a few small towns), Ireland, and back to England to explore.

But, mainly, I hope to make London and Paris my "European Hubs." The places from which I depart, and return.

But, as I said, all of this will be subservient to my success or lack thereof.
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (May 10, 2011 08:09PM)
Welcome aboard! Hope that you find this forum as helpful and motivating as I have. Good luck in Europe.
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (May 11, 2011 06:00PM)
London is a great city - I've just moved from England. Paris is my favorite city on earth, so I'm sure you'll love being there (as I'm sure you already know!) Las Ramblas in Barcelona is a great place for busking, and Covent Garden in London is the "it" spot, though I would talk with the workers there (if you haven't already) to find out more about how it works. Best of luck!
Message: Posted by: MrMajestic (May 14, 2011 03:34AM)
Yeah, London is excellent--the first city I'll be heading too, actually. But, after that, it's on to Paris. Do you know if permits are required around Paris?

As for my unicycle straitjacket work, the skill is coming along nicely. I went out to the local park to rehearse and had so many people coming up to me and asking me to do the trick over and over that it gave me great impetus to keep practicing. I've got all the angles down. Even practiced having a friend body check me off the unicycle to practice some uncontrolled falls while fully tied into the jacket. Now I just need to develop a patter routine... the hard part :-P
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (May 14, 2011 09:26AM)

Oh, how I wish I would have discovered that life many, many years ago! Welcome to our group, I hope you will have the opportunity to check in often and tell us of your progress.

And don't forget- you help us as well! Already, hearing your plans has me cranking up my practice schedule- thank you my friend and fellow "Mr". I love your stage name, by the way. Good luck (I would say "break a leg" but with what you are doing it might tempt fate).

I am committed to working hard (have an Arts Fest gig in a month) and hope, when I grow up, to live a life like Andrew's!

Regards to all, and believe the work pays off!

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (May 14, 2011 11:30AM)
Nice to see you here, MrMajestic! I believe I've seen a bit of your work before in You Oughta Be in Pictures. Hello to everyone else as well, been awhile since I've posted here, I've been tied up with my monkey fists ;) . I have been following the thread, though, and am ready to make a general submission.

I'm wanting to put together a farm animal segment for my animal act. The set will be able to stand alone for a weekly farmer's market we have coming up here. They're looking for entertainment and I'm hoping they'll give me some regular spots. One thing in particular I've been thinking about is attempting a ball/vase sort of routine with this goose. It got my attention near Easter- I found it in a thrift store, and I think it will work quite nicely. I didn't have time to get it ready for Easter but it would have worked wonderfully with chocolate eggs, I think.

I'm a little apprehensive about sharing it here, so maybe I'll finally dig up that secret session sidekick thread Jim started if I can find it buried down there. :)
I will give you a peek now, though:


She needs a name. :)

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (May 14, 2011 01:07PM)
shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh :)
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (May 14, 2011 01:46PM)
Laurie - looking forward to seeing how you pull this together. Can't wait for the video!

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (May 14, 2011 10:47PM)
Looking forward to seeing a routine, Laurie!

Jim - I may be heading to China for work in the next few months, so if that tickles your fancy, pack some granola bars and meet me at LAX. Or if you're feeling adventurous - DON'T pack some granola bars. It'll be a good time, though I don't know much about the magic scene there so we may need to explore. I've spent plenty of time in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong so I know the lay of the land - I assume you're fluent in Mandarin?

Edwin - Depending on what you're doing, the police in Paris can be on top of you. Obviously you want to be in populated areas - as do a lot of the street merchants who have no papers and routinely get busted. Etienne (LawrenceO is his screen name) on this board may know more about permits in Paris. If you're going to do Covent Garden in London I would definitely talk to the guys there, as that's one place where you really don't want to step on anyone's toes...or in your case roll over them ;) I know of at least one guy there who does a unicycle act right near the small magic stand. The guys running that can give you good info!
Message: Posted by: Mobius303 (May 15, 2011 03:47PM)
Interesting idea.
I have some ideas for ya.
Will post in the secret session section.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (May 17, 2011 02:26PM)

How about Pen Feather or Aura (an atmosphere of mystery incorporating the AU symbol for Gold)? There's always Lucy or Luz.
You talk about your Magical Props very much like I do, with respect and fondness.

I've been practicing for a Close-Up Contest on May 25th.

I've got a themed act that runs about 10 min. The limit is 10 min so it's a bit tight if I allow for natural interaction and applause. My act usually gets better when I start editing the things I say, so maybe that's a good thing.

I've been going through the whole act several times a day lately but I only got the act together a couple of days ago. That is not much time to get it right considering it is some new Magic and all new patter. Luckily, I'll get a chance to do the act for a few friends first.

This year I started with the theme because the subject really enthused me. Normally I start with the effects and see where they take me. (I don't want to go into my theme in an open forum). Any way I'll let you know how it turns out next Thursday the 26 of May. My fear is that, if I'm not careful, the fun subject matter may detract from the Strong Magic.

Lately our Club has been voting for a cute and talented kid and placing him way above where his skill level should have placed him. He's a great kid and this sets him up for a fall as he gets older, when he won't get that kind of attention for stronger Magic. It also makes it hard to want to compete in a contest where I don't believe my work or that of others will be judged fairly. I have a feeling that if they thought carefully about how to motivate this kid for the real world he would be winning contests fairly in a couple of years anyway. We'll see how it goes.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (May 17, 2011 07:46PM)
Good luck, Mary.

Here's a suggestion fir young kids with potential - try raising funds in the club to send to one of the magic schools. If the club paid for tuition and the youngster had to provide transportation (or some other suitable arrangement with skin in the game) then there will be a greater understanding of the requirements to be a good magician.

Just a thought.

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (May 19, 2011 12:55PM)
Thanks Hudson.

He's a little young for that now (9) and still has a lot to learn locally. Maybe in the future.

Sometimes I think the club should take on more of the mentoring and the student should earn the help with diligence. Maybe I'm old school but these schools seem like a big expense.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (May 19, 2011 11:20PM)
Mary - don't disagree at all. I'm a big believer that we we make our own destiny. At the end of the day, if someone wants to be a good magician they need to put in thousands of hours of practice -- quality practice. I don't believe there are any shortcuts. Some people learn quicker than others, but that is at the margin. At 9 I doubt he is a real magician, more of an apprentice.

For you, do the best you can and that's all there is to do. Whether you win an award is not why we become magicians - it is to entertain and thrill audiances. If you win, great, and if you don't, oh well ... Here's hoping you do win.

Best of luck!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (May 20, 2011 01:19PM)
Actually, I never go in "about winning" anymore. I use the Contest as a challenge to create new material, a commercial act, etc... This year the challenge is the themed act.

I do like to Win but occasionally my project precludes writing what I consider a "Winning Act" I.E. my strongest Magic with Magic on the technical side (that tends to get the votes).

I do Win fairly often though.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (May 21, 2011 10:01AM)
Hello all! Sorry I have been absent for some time. Since I don't perform regularily, I realized it is hard for me to commit to a set practice for specific effect or routine when I don't neccessarily know what my goal is. That being said I have benefited from the wonderful lectures that my club has provided. Since February, we have had Eric Jones, Aaron Fisher, Dick Oslund, William Houston, and Bill Wisch! I have got some wonderful ideas, philosophy and inspiration to figure out what I need to work on. So if I don; have a specific goal I either select a few sleights that I would like to improve upon or one or two effects that I would like to come up with a routine that I can eventually slip into a performance. Having done this, I now have several pocket effects that I carry with me so I can practice in real life when approached. I have also added a few effects into my full time job as an environmental educator, and that has been fun! My wife's Easter Egg Hunt was moved inside and she didn't have anything to take the place of the outdoor games she had planned. So at midnight the night before I tole her I would put a show together and I performed about 20 minutes for about 30 9 and under plus paretns and grandparents. I was asked to perform for our club this coming Monday so Tuesday I put my routines together and have been practicing each night. I wrote to scripts for two effects and the rest is ready to go. I found a great routine from Bill Severn called the Five Straw Trick which is like 6 card repeat, but with straws. I'm not a big card guy. So there you go, that's what I have been up to. I'll let you know how Monday goes! Laurie, your farm idea at the Farmers idea is brilliant! Excellent idea. I would like to know what you come up with. We just started a farm with a CSA at the Nature Center that I work for. I can totally see possibilities there in the future. Good Luck putting that together! Mary, I always love reading your input to this thread. Hello to Jim, Andrew, Hudson and welcome Edwin. Jim, did I miss something with the Secret Session SideKick Thread? Am I welcome to this? Please inform me. Keep practicing and don't forget to smile!

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (May 21, 2011 04:58PM)
You will need 50 posts before you can see the Secret Session area of the Café.

Welcome back!

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (May 22, 2011 08:11AM)
Thanks Hudson! Got a good practice session in yesterday afternoon, plus I rehearsed my patter while mowing the lawn!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (May 22, 2011 03:53PM)
Sometimes I put my patter on my I pod and listen while Mowing the lawn.

Great minds.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (May 22, 2011 04:30PM)
You are a cut above the rest!(Oops, did I start that again!)

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (May 24, 2011 01:21PM)
Hey Pete, how did it go Monday Night?

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (May 24, 2011 06:26PM)
Thanks for asking Mary. It actually went well. I got a lot of compliments. I know I was nervous and felt it could have definitely went better from a flow stand point. I will say this. I added a last minute opening effect, but my first effect the Five Straw Trick and my closer Gene Anderson's Son of Morning really felt smooth and those were the two items I practiced the most. You could say the Sandwich theory worked well. Strong beginning and end with some good stuff in the middle. My escape style effect needed more practice with live volunteers and more time to get my patter down. The program for next month is Stage magic so I may do some nature stuff if the bill isn't filled. I've been doing some stuff at work that I would like to tie together for a 6-8 minute routine.
The more practice the better we get.

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (May 26, 2011 03:24AM)
The Close-Up Contest took place tonight. I took 2nd place and I thought that was fair. I made a mistake and the 1st place winner didn't.

I wish I'd seen his performance clear through but we were having trouble with the video taping so I couldn't watch it live and I don't have it on tape. I do know that what I did watch live was good and I enjoyed it.

He was also on a theme (friendship) which I thought was very positive.

My theme went over very well (optimism and pessimism) and I was pleased for the most part.

We did have a big noise pollution problem. We had a meeting room with a room divider going partially through the center. There were two tables set up at opposite ends of the room with two sets of performers working each half and trading at the half way point. It was really hard for the spectators to hear over the sound bleed from the other half of the room and that made it hard on all the performers as well. I guess it was fair because we all had the same problem but I wish we had a better venue. If we perform for every one at once there is not a noise problem but it isn't really Close-Up unless they can be close.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (May 26, 2011 05:51AM)
Congratulations! I have never entered a contest for magic. Do you know the joke about the two boys who are an optimist and a pessimist and put in a room with the pile of horse manure?

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (May 26, 2011 01:16PM)
Sure do! I like that joke but I didn't use it in my act.

Contests are nerve-wracking and you can mess up something relatively easy if you aren't careful.

You should get in a contest, at least locally. My advice is, unless it is a high level contest, stick to the things you can do easily and well and concentrate on the presentation.

Often the ones trying to do things that are out of their comfort level get nervous and blow it.

I've done both and I've learned every time, 1st place or not.

Contests make you focus and focus on time as well. I believe participation in contests has really speeded my progress as a Magician. If you try it don't get hung up on placing, just think about entertaining and you'll give your best performance.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (May 26, 2011 07:50PM)

Thank you! That is good stuff! Monday night I was doing a lot of new stuff and it was liking trying to rub my belly and pat my head at the same time. Too much thinking and not enough flow. I can see how that would relate under the pressure of a contest. As I said the stuff that flowed the best was that which I practiced most even though I hadn't performed it much.

On that same regard, to everyone in this thread how do you go about practicing an effect/routine that requires a volunteer, but having a volunteer available really isn't an option until your performance?

Thank you,

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (May 27, 2011 12:30PM)
Depends on what you're trying to practice.

I'm embarrassed to say some of my fixes. It would help to be limber and young for some of these (which I'm not).

You'll never be able to practice a classic force alone but if it's a random card or number you need, cut the cards or roll the dice or open to a random page #. You can also open a book or let the TV come up with a word at random.

I've used a wedged in broom and (blush) my big toes for a spectator's thumb(s). Make sure you have a practice or washable loop for that one. I've used my own ankle for the wrist tie.

Clothes pins for pinching fingers, a Chair back to tie large version Grand Mothers Necklace. Doing things behind your back. Some times you've got to get creative.

For things like wrist ties Straight Jacket etc... you may have to trade favors with a spouse i.e. store trip for 10 tie ups or lock ups no more than 3 at a time. Tom and I are both Magicians so we trade being spectators with a limit of 5 tries.

If it's escapes you're trying to practice you might see if the folks in the "All Tied Up" forum have come up with some creative solutions.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (May 29, 2011 08:45AM)
Mary- Congrats, lady!

BTW, I practice the Classic Force alone all the time, and ALWAYS get it right...

Message: Posted by: MrMajestic (Jun 3, 2011 02:31AM)
Well, I spent a month practicing and, more or less, perfecting (as much as one can without putting it regularly in front of an audience) my unicycle straitjacket escape. Perfect technique, good showmanship, and the beginnings of a patter set.

Then the person who had given it to me demanded it returned to them.

So, just two weeks before I arrive in England I am left rearranging and adding to my street routine. For the first time ever I'm learning some simple silks tricks, and pushing my rope routine to the end as my finale.

So, my new practice schedule has become, by necessity, about an hour a day of practice/routining. Half an hour of that is devoted to perfecting my new silks effects, and the other half is devoted to keeping my other tricks fresh in my mind (I'm not performing regularly anymore until the trip). I'll do that through Sunday.

I'm back in NYC now, so I'm hoping to hit the streets early next week before I leave on the 10th (Queen Mary 2, woot!) to get in some practical street practice for two hours a day, doing my full show for real people, not specifically for money, but just as practice.

A lot more intense schedule to keep to now, but hopefully it'll pay off.
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Jun 17, 2011 11:13AM)
Everybody must be relentlessly practicing or Summer has begun! I am flying to Disney and Universal tomorrow. Two quick questions if youcan answer them prior to 10 am tomorrow.

1) What is okay to travel with on the plane so I can practice? I don't do cards. I would like to practice my professor's nightmare, but our ropes allowed?
I figure coins are okay. TT? Do I wear it through security or have it loosely in my carry-on or pack it with my check on. Rubber bands? Spongeballs? Any other ideas?

2) Any places Magic related I should not miss? We are heading to Harry Potter World at universal.

Thank you any words of wisdom is appreciated.

I hope you are all doing well!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 17, 2011 06:33PM)
I wouldn't physically practice on the plane. You should be able to carry rubber bands, thread, dollar bills, ring, ropes, but not the knives.

You can always work on mnemonic systems and such.

Are you talking about Disney in Southern California? Will you have time to go to the Magic Castle?

I'm on the last 4 days before my 1st Library Show, my IPOD just broke and I've been told that not all of the new IPODs work with my sound control system. DOU!
The Show seems good though so maybe I'll just work with the disk player and solve the IPOD problem later.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Jun 17, 2011 08:41PM)
Break a leg Mary! No I will be in Orlando!


Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jun 18, 2011 01:52AM)
Agree with Mary that the only issue on planes are knives. Plan for a little extra time to get through security - I did once get stopped and questioned about a two-piece wand. Got through, but just took a little longer.

The only practice I do on planes is with cards - not tricks, but card skills like false shuffles and controls.

Enjoy the trip!

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Jun 18, 2011 07:40AM)
Thanks Hudson! I don't do cards, but practicing palming coins is always on my itinerary!

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 18, 2011 11:47AM)
I generally avoid practice on planes, as the chance of exposure is too great. Doubt I need to say it, but avoiding anything liquid, pointy, smoke. fire, flash, or Randi Rain's dynamite sticks would be good...
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 22, 2011 08:16PM)
Hello all,

I did my first Library show yesterday. Pretty good for a first show. My CD player skipped a little (my Ipod just broke) and my rice suspension took more than one try (not obvious to the crowd) but terrifying to perform since my container is glass and it holds more than a quart of rice. One flash but I don't think more than two saw it. Other than that just fine.

I know it will get better with live work. I have a show tomorrow and two more next week. My saving grace is that I panic early enough to come through when I'm in over my head.

I know I need to get a new plastic rice jug pronto.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 23, 2011 07:18AM)
Hi, Mary. What is the theme of a rice suspension? Never heard of it...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 23, 2011 09:27AM)
I'll tell you in secret sessions this evening.

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Jun 23, 2011 04:08PM)
Thanks everybody! I had a great time. I got back today. I worked on some rubberband and ring routines, handling for Professor's Nightmare and did some reading on coins. Everyone around me was asleep and all was good.

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 23, 2011 05:08PM)
WOW Pete, you must be quite the entertainer LOL!

Glad you had fun.

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Jun 24, 2011 10:37AM)

NICE! I'm performing for my club on Monday. I am doing the Professor's Nightmare with a Goldilocks intervention patter I came up with. How did your show go yesterday?

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 24, 2011 12:54PM)
It went well, especially since it was an out door show and I decided to use my jet set back drop curtain ( a recipe for disaster a which did not occur). A train went by at least 3 times during the show but I guess they are used to it because they were attentive throughout. The order of the show needs some work though.

I still have not replaced my Ipod so I'm using a CD player for Music. I'm going to skip the remote control, it just doesn't work. I'd be better off to just go push the buttons.

I've hurt my back a bit so Tom came to load the Tables (which are quite heavy) and I enjoy having Tom come along.

I also had an indoor Close-Up show for the Teens. That went very well and especially well because a ten year old boy came to the show. He was not a particularly good child but a perfect foil, like demanding to see the knot just before I was going to "pop" it off the Rope. Then after I handed him the knot he threw it back at me hitting me (softly) on my cheek. I caught it on the rebound and said "Don't be knotty" and got a big laugh. Of corse the Teens were amazed by the Magic but I think having the younger (Dalyn) there took the pressure off of them to be cool in the face of Magic. They were a very friendly and reactive group.

Thanks for asking, Pete. Good luck on your show Monday. The patter line sounds fun!

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 24, 2011 06:48PM)
Hope you are OK with the back, Mary, be careful- I chopped wood after a back problem, and have been paying for that error ever since...

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Jun 24, 2011 09:15PM)

Quick wit with that child's PUNishment! I hope your back recovers soon. Glad things are going well with the show. Did your rice suspension hold up fo rthis one? The order will come. Keep producing smiles!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 24, 2011 11:26PM)
Yep, it suspended and I was in suspense.

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Jun 26, 2011 08:22PM)
Check out Nature's Magic under Little Darlings. Mary you may have some ideas for Silvertongue.

Message: Posted by: afinemesh (Jul 4, 2011 11:53PM)
Jim, I'm in. Can we go over the criteria again for us newbies?

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jul 5, 2011 12:41PM)
Here you go. The thread has not worked out quite like this but it is very supportive and inspiring.

On 2009-10-04 17:45, Mr. Mystoffelees wrote:
OK- I am way better with resolve in the fall and winter. Who knows why...

Many of us simply DO NOT practice enough! And while I thank Steve for the Café, it is up to US to use it for the betterment of ourselves and magic. So, I propose the following:

1, Anyone who wants can add their name and goal to the list I am about to create.

2. Anyone can change their goals at any time.

3. We meet back here to discuss progress and help each other stay on target.

4. No fibs, do it or admit it, but no fibs.

5. Entry fee for a post on this thread is 30 minutes of REAL practice, No matter if for an audience, a real show, in your basement all alone... it is ALL better than just reading about it...

6. Perhaps video will be in order later...


Your name or identifier

Your goal (the effect or sleight or routine you want to master - ONLY one.

How much time devoted to it each session

Sessions per week

Projected Date of Competency

NO CRITICS - only encouragement and help here

This is a self-help group, and I think it could be a lot of fun. Care to Join?

Posted: Oct 4, 2009 5:49pm
Hey- GREAT IDEA - I am in!!!

1. Jim Rogers

2. Harbottle's 4 coin vanish

3. 30 minutes

4. 5

5. June 1st

My thumbs hurt already...

I'd like to thank Jim for forming a great group.
Message: Posted by: afinemesh (Jul 5, 2011 10:28PM)

1. Jorey (afinemesh).

2. Brad Burt/John Scarne "roll" vanish (for chop cup or C&B's).

3. 30 mins.

4. 7

5. Not sure. I keep raising the bar.

I gotta go practice!
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jul 5, 2011 10:46PM)
Welcome Jorey! Look forward to hearing about your progress!

Message: Posted by: afinemesh (Jul 5, 2011 10:57PM)
Thanks, Hudson. My new favorite thread!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jul 6, 2011 08:38PM)
So, how is everyone doing? As for me, I am back in the groove, with another challenge for me as follows:

Your name or identifier: Jim

Your goal (the effect or sleight or routine you want to master) - ONLY one: Ring and String

How much time devoted to it each session: 30 minutes

Sessions per week: 5

Projected Date of Competency: Labor day

Welcome, Afinemesh! Glad to have you with us! You will find we are all committed to mastering some fine magic, one thing at a time. The common goal is, keep at it with some kind of regular schedule. Even 5 minutes a day works wonders in just a few weeks. It is rather amazing! Good luck to you with your practice, and keep us informed as to how you are doing. I, for one, get a lot of inspiration from hearing what others are doing. Many the time I hit the practice tee after reading how someone else would not give up!

Mary, thank you! You are a sweetheart, and truly my best inspiration!!!

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jul 7, 2011 09:05PM)
Here's a piece I've been working on for the last year, about:


Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jul 7, 2011 10:38PM)
Hi Laurie.

Looks great, I couldn't hear it too well but I got the gist.

I like your black cat in the monkey fist video.

Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: afinemesh (Jul 7, 2011 10:50PM)
Hi Laurie, I couldn't hear it very well, and I "didn't" get the gist. I'm sorry. I do however, REALLY like "Franklin takes flight"!

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jul 8, 2011 06:59PM)
Thanks for your comments. Cash, named after the Man in Black himself, is my monkey fist quality control supervisor. ;) I'll pass your comment along to him, Mary. He'll appreciate it. :)
Apologies for the muddy audio- the camera mic's not the greatest. I might get a chance to reshoot. Not to spell it out for you, Jorey, but I'll give you the script here:
"This fawn is protected by her pretty white spots... When she's left alone in the wild by her mother, and the sun shines between the trees, and the wind rustles the grass and leaves... to her predators... she becomes invisible..."

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jul 8, 2011 08:12PM)
Very nice. Well done Laurie.

Message: Posted by: afinemesh (Jul 8, 2011 08:27PM)
Now I get it. Thanks, Laurie. ' appreciate that.
Message: Posted by: afinemesh (Jul 9, 2011 10:48PM)
Hi all, The Burt/Scarne ball vanish is coming along rather nicely. I want to share about some subtleties I'm working on with this, but I assume this open forum is not the place.

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jul 10, 2011 04:56AM)

You can post about this in the "Secret Sessions" forum area in the "Who Will Stand (in Deep Stuff) with Me" thread.

Message: Posted by: afinemesh (Jul 10, 2011 03:31PM)
Thanks, Mary!

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Jul 10, 2011 08:34PM)

Nice! Definitely I can relate to in my work!

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jul 11, 2011 03:41PM)
You're welcome, Jorey. And thankyou Hudson, and Pete.
Hope to get some video of the rabbits next.
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Jul 12, 2011 06:35PM)
Hi all - just wanted to pop in and say I haven't forgotten about magic completely. As some of you know, I've been dealing with some family health issues here in Seattle. I had JUST relocated to Los Angeles when I had to fly back up here with just a few hours notice, and therefore left all of my coins, cups and balls and other goodies in L.A. as I had no time to pack them. I managed to bring Michael Skinner's 3 card monte (which I've been doing so long it really doesn't need the practice) and I picked up a deck of cards, and Rattled came a few days ago and I've already performed that and had good reactions with the very basic routine. Hoping I can get a few items sent up here to keep me busy while I play care taker...mom keeps referring to me as "Dr. Zuber" since I'm all about dispensing medication and medical advice these days.

Glad to see the thread is alive and people are continuing to rehearse!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jul 12, 2011 09:03PM)
Hi, Andrew-

Really sorry to hear your family is having some medical issues. All these other "pastimes" kinda slip to the back when real stuff rears its head. Hope all goes well for you. Want me so send you some stuff to work on? Likely your mother would appreciate it. Monte can get a little much after about 200 rounds...

Take care and keep in touch! Yes, I am serious about sending you some stuff!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jul 16, 2011 01:46AM)
I've been working on NewsFlash 2.0 maybe 20 min a day for a week. I had stopped practice for a while and my hands aren't really strong enough yet. The 2.0 is faster to set up and is better for US "thin" format papers.

I still have a couple of problems. 2 patter lines plus silent to music. I think silent to music is my favorite at this time. Trying to do 15 min a day till August 18.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Jul 16, 2011 02:13PM)
Mary - did you own the first version of Newsflash? I have it and would be interested in the comparison between the two to determine if 2.0 is worth the money at some point. Also, any thoughts on the quick setup (the two minute version?)

Back to stack memorization for me!
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jul 16, 2011 04:21PM)
Yes, I do own both. I love the new one. The set-up for the restore-al paper is faster and more flat. I was getting a great response from the first version and THE EFFECT IS THE SAME so it's really about your budget and if you're comfortable with the occasional harder process of making the restore-al paper.

There are some good variations in the 2.0 (A no tear poster version, a mis-made and no glue version as well as a tabloid version but I haven't tried them) and the instructions include a template for marking exactly where to fold US "thin" format papers although what makes the 2.0 the best is that the folding process is referenced to the paper itself, that is to say that once you know the fold you can do it quickly using only the paper itself as a measure.

All in all, I'm glad I was able to get the 2.0. It surely makes practice easier for me. My only problem with 2.0 is that it makes the effect more accessible to more Magicians. With the first version I felt assured that most would not go to the trouble of perfecting their performance. Now many more WILL.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Jul 17, 2011 07:08AM)

Thoughts and prayers go out to you!

I've been more in an exploratory phase. I've been going through lots of closeup options to put together my routine sets for Hocus Pocus Party in November for our Ring. Lots of rubberband, matchbox, ropes, and coin stuff. Once I have figured out my direction I will focus on the practice of these.

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jul 19, 2011 07:30PM)
I highly recommend "The Dennis Loomis Knot Routine Plus" DVD and not just because I have a cameo on it. The effects can be in a routine or done one at a time which makes it very versatile. I did a few rope effects before my friend Dennis started working up the Material (other than his routine) and how to teach it. His interest was so infectious that I got a renewed interest in Rope Magic. Now I'd say I have more Rope Magic than any other kind. There is lots to choose from here and easy to fit in Close-Up, MC, Stage, Birthday Parties etc... Well taught from the "performers view" as well.

Super fun to practice, alone or with Magic friends!


This site also has Dennis' Mem. Deck articles. I'd say Dennis is an authority on the Mem. Deck, esp. Aronson.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Jul 19, 2011 11:38PM)
Peter - thank you!

Mary - appreciate the thoughts on Newsflash! Once I have the money some day I'll certainly invest in it, as I got great reactions with the initial version but did find the setup to be rather intense. Definitely worth the reactions but still a fair amount of time and labor.

Stack memorization is more difficult than I thought! I need note cards :)
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jul 20, 2011 04:25AM)
Try searching the "Shuffled not Stirred" forum for free downloadable drills for Aronson Stack. I'm not sure which technology they work with but I know some are available.

There is always the tried and true tape it up in the bathroom. One of the suggestions was backwards behind the mirror so it is visible over your shoulder while shaving. I haven't tried that myself.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Jul 20, 2011 10:34PM)
Drills make perfect sense! That's how I rehearsed before taking my pilot exam and it worked wonders. Haven't crashed a plane yet! Thank you for the suggestion. I'll look into it.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jul 30, 2011 11:33AM)
I videotaped my contest act (in the kitchen) and the Magic was fine but the body language, posture and engagement were near zero. I hope the taping will help my performance rather than demoralize me. One of my better skills is that I panic in time to make a good fix. Time to panic!

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Jul 30, 2011 11:34AM)
I just wanted to extend a HUGE thank you to both Mary and Jim for sending me some stuff to work on while I've been here at home without any of my props or books. It was extremely kind and means a lot, so thank you both. I appreciate it more than I can say!
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jul 30, 2011 11:56PM)
You're most welcome.

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jul 31, 2011 11:50AM)

I think you'll find the taping will be helpful in the long term. We are our own worst critics, aren't we? I recall Siegfried Fischbacher discussing the making of- I believe it was- "The Magic Box". He had to review the footage of the shoot and found himself sliding down, down, down, and, nearly, under his chair ;) as he watched. He was quite uncomfortable. Be sure you're critiquing yourself fairly- consider all factors at play and why it doesn't look quite the way you want it. Awareness is key. I'm sure you'll progress quite well. :)

I'm working on stuff for the Farmer's Market. Got a lovely black sheep figurine at the Antique Store downtown yesterday, and this morning I awoke with the idea of using Baa Baa Black Sheep for a cups and balls routine. No sleeping after that, had to jump up and write some stuff down. :rolleyes: I don't know if it's been done with cups and balls before. I, myself, really cannot see why it wouldn't have been. ;) I think it will be a really nice one and much fun. Gotta get to work. All the best to everyone! :)

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jul 31, 2011 02:28PM)
Yes sir, yes sir three cup full!

Thanks for the pep talk Laurie, your timing was great, I'm off to the studio (kitchen) now.

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jul 31, 2011 04:27PM)
You're very welcome, Mary. Three cup full- that's brilliant! :light:

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jul 31, 2011 08:19PM)
Sorry, I meant to say cups. Thank you.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Aug 9, 2011 03:47PM)
Well, I got Second Place in the Local SAM/IBM Stand-Up Contest by a hair. That's the Second time this year that's happened. I guess I just have to try harder. I had a couple of problems, Music problems (as usual) and a knacky rope flub. Too bad about the Rope thing, it's smooth sailing at home and normal shows.

Good news, NewsFlash was great and I had no trouble tearing the paper (adrenaline is good).

Actually my act went very well, the other guy was just better. He came out of the blue, I guess he's a member of the other club and I'd only seen him do a couple of card effects prior to this. He had a very nice Billiard Ball Manipulation set. I enjoyed his act and several others at the Contest. That's a step up because some of our contests have been very poor. I would rather take 2nd Place in a good Contest than 1st place in a pitiful Contest.

I'll work harder next time because I'd rather take 1st in a good Contest. I really think Contests help improve my act and the others I see compete regularly.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Aug 9, 2011 09:59PM)
Mary - well done. Glad to hear News Flash went well. Sounds like you were generally pleased with your performance- that's great. Keep it up!

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Aug 11, 2011 07:31AM)
Ditto, Mary- good on ya'!

Message: Posted by: Leland (Aug 26, 2011 10:30AM)
I just came across this post, better late than never. I’m having a hard time getting into the grove lately so this is perfect timing for me.


Effect: I’ve always wanted to add a rope routine to my act. I came across a rope routine by Oscar Munoz, that got me going. I’m only now starting to play with ropes haven’t really decided which way to go.

Time devoted: 15 min (until I get a routine together)

Sessions: 3 times per week

Projected date: Ready for my Halloween shows (Oct)

Wish me luck!
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Aug 26, 2011 01:03PM)
Good Luck Leland,

Word of warning though, Rope is addictive and the practice is so fun you'll probably add several Rope Effects in short order.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Aug 28, 2011 10:20AM)
Hi, Leland!

Welcome to the group! I certainly agree with Mary, and rope is my favorite medium for my magic. Not only do I really enjoy the many things you can do with it, I appreciate the "packs small" aspect as well. For some reason, I get the best audience responses from my rope routines.

The 15 a session is wise. Some commit to too long a practice session and then don't have the energy to follow thru. One thing I know, even 5 minutes REGULAR is the best way to see real progress. Be sure to stop by and discuss your progress, ask questions, etc.!

Message: Posted by: Leland (Aug 30, 2011 06:18AM)
Ok 15 is to long. I will take your advice and cut back to 5 and work my way up to 15. So far so good. I just have to routine it. I dug out my James Stewart book of rope tricks. Makes for good reading.
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Sep 3, 2011 08:13PM)
Hey All!

Doin lots off stuff to get ready for Hocus Pocus in November. So for my practice session, I am starting to learn The Mint 5 days 15 minutes will probably expand to 30 in a few weeks once I get the basics down.

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Sep 9, 2011 07:12PM)
Hey I've been working on my shuttle pass for the Mint and it is getting there. Well time to do another session. I hope everyone has a great weekend!
Pete :magician:
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Sep 10, 2011 11:02PM)
Thanks, Pete. You, too.
I'm working on a very simple (relative term, that :rolleyes: ) and short piece with 2 cups, 2 balls, and a secret something else. ;) Working on this bit and hope to perform it at the [url=http://www.arnpriormarket.ca/Events.htm]Farmers' Market[/url] soon, want to get my sheep up and running, too, and continuing work with the goose, as well, among others. :juggle:

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Sep 11, 2011 01:56PM)
Hi Peter,

I was wondering if you could post a link to a performance of "The Mint" somewhere. I did a search and saw the pieces but I'd be interested in video of the effect if you've got a link.

Hi Laurie, et al.

I'm starting to gear up for the Holidays so no new Magic for a while. I will have to work on some Seasonal Magic that I don't do in other times of the year. I try to keep my show more Seasonally themed than Holiday oriented.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Leland (Sep 12, 2011 06:48AM)
I had an opportunity to do my rope magic at a local picnic where I was doing balloons. I know it needs work but I felt that I needed to see the reaction to it. So far so good but not ready for my show yet. Need to keep working it!
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Sep 12, 2011 01:46PM)

Congratulations on "getting out there" with the Rope

I looked for Oscar Munoz and Rope on youtube but only found Oscar doing what looked like an abbreviated Tabary Rope routine. Do you have a link to see Oscars routine?

By the way, a picnic can be a good place to tear apart your Rope Routine and do the effects as single effects, skipping the ones you are not so sure of. Picnics are casual and have a lot of human interaction so you might try that next time if you aren't up to doing the whole routine. This won't work for every Rope Routine but you might consider it.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Oct 1, 2011 05:09AM)
I've been Juggling a bit several times a day for about two weeks. Adds up to about 20 min a day. It has really improved my Juggling. I saw an old video of me and I noticed my work had slipped, I just wasn't going for the harder bits like I had in the past. I'm almost back to where I was 20 years ago.

I'll never be a great Juggler but I do enjoy it. I only know a few tricks and I didn't want to lose 'em

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Oct 1, 2011 01:10PM)
My mind has been going in sort of the same direction, Mary. I have noticed that while I am practicing on one particular thing for my 30 minutes a day, other effects that once were "under my thumb" kinda fall apart. Now I am dedicating my Friday sessions to a once-through of each of my favorite dozen effects. This is my response to having someone ask for an impromptu show and me launching into my version of the " relentless ring and string" routine, only to realize I had forgotten the order of some of the steps. I could have used some juggling talent right about then...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Oct 1, 2011 02:19PM)
I know what you mean Jim. If I don't do Bruce Cervon's Warp II occasionally I have to sit and dope it out for a while or dig through the old Video Cassettes.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Leland (Oct 4, 2011 06:07AM)
Mary that's the one that got me started. Nothing fancy about it, maybe that's why I liked it and thought I would give it a go!
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Oct 11, 2011 07:16PM)
On 2011-09-11 00:02, magicalaurie wrote:
Thanks, Pete. You, too.
I'm working on a very simple (relative term, that :rolleyes: ) and short piece with 2 cups, 2 balls, and a secret something else. ;) Working on this bit and hope to perform it at the [url=http://www.arnpriormarket.ca/Events.htm]Farmers' Market[/url] soon, want to get my sheep up and running, too, and continuing work with the goose, as well, among others. :juggle:


Hey, I'm posting a pic of the "secret something else" on the thread in Secret Sessions! ;)

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Oct 11, 2011 09:12PM)
Laurie - very cool pics. I'll bet kids love the cows and sheep.

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Oct 14, 2011 01:29AM)
Still with the Juggling.

Working on a book test pretty constantly. You know what it's like when you can't think of anything else. Too bad I have other things I should be doing.

Love the new Avatar Laurie.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Leland (Oct 24, 2011 08:40AM)
Busy month! Not much time for new stuff. After this weekend I will go back to the ropes. I promise.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Oct 24, 2011 07:34PM)
Been working on my Halloween shows. Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Butcher's Blade is about to make another appearance...
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Nov 5, 2011 01:05PM)
Working on my Castle audition act. Any suggestions? I'm sticking mostly with cards but would like to throw in one other simple trick with something else, perhaps to open. If you have thoughts, let me know! I'm being vague on purpose so I can get any and all ideas. Also I'm lazy.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 5, 2011 02:45PM)
I always suggest Gypsy Thread because it leaves room to express your personality and interests.

There are some good Dollar Bill effects around. Check out the "Paper Money Madness" Forum and see what sounds good. Follow up on youtube. Although people shouldn't use the real name of effects in performance, they do and you can often find an Effect by name. Don't trust that the name is always correct though.


You would never regret these additions.

Good to see you back in this thread Andrew.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 5, 2011 08:11PM)
Hi folks!

Andrew, I almost never deviate from cards if I am doing a card magic routine. When I do, I try to keep the connection, by doing something like a four-coin matrix with cards or Ammar's excellent queens routine.

The other thing I generally like to do is card "magic" such as Torn or Card Warp. My fav opener for a card session is John Kennedy's Amazing Shrinking Deck- it always catches people off guard.

Hope this helps. Anyway GOOD LUCK!

ps- I LOVE Gypsy Thread - that is a very good thought by Mary...

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Nov 5, 2011 08:18PM)
Good luck Andrew!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 6, 2011 04:33AM)
Jim is right, Card Warp is a good effect and different from most "Card Tricks". I love Bruce Cervon's Warp II and get a great response especially from Lawyers, Dr.s and Engineering types.

While I don't do it, Mike Close's Dr. Strange Trick (also a version of the Card Warp plot) is very strong and visual.

Check 'em out. I'd guess that nowadays Dr Strange Trick will be more easily found and I know Mike Close is a better teacher in general.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Nov 6, 2011 08:51PM)
Thanks for the input - I love Dean Dill's Tonight Show Matrix and will probably go over it with him in the next week or two. I've done it for quite awhile but never hurts to brush up!
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 9, 2011 02:06PM)

You know , there is something to be said for the tried and true. From the things you've said in the past I'd assume you have the Material and the Chops. You might want to choose from among your working repertoire for variety and leave it at that.

How rough is this Audition? Do you know anyone else with a comparable skill set who has passed the Audition process?

My partner Tom is holding his annual Night Magic event (III) this Sunday Nov. 13. There are two, two hour shows of almost non-stop performances in store for me. I'll have 20-ten min sets in a row with a one hour break in the middle.
I whine about all the work of setting this event up each year but I love the performance part.

I can do one, two or four different sets but I'll probably just do one or two to get maximum repetitive practice with real live people.

I'll be a better Magician on Monday. I sure wish I did more Table-to-Table or Cocktail Style Banquet work. Here's hoping the Holidays bring my wish.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Nov 11, 2011 08:17PM)
Mary - good points. I do have material but I want to be sure it's solid. I've talked with several folks in the know and they've helped me to narrow it down. This isn't exactly the place to be trying out new stuff for the first time anyway. I sessioned with Dean Dill until 10pm on Wednesday and I feel good about what I'm working on, thanks to his advice and input.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 13, 2011 05:39AM)
Wow, I would give a lot to session with Dean- even get a haircut! Good luck, Andrew! I am fortunate to be able to call myself an Academy member magician, however I had to do a taped audition since I live so far away. It is a great feeling to be a part of that wonderful group and the phenomenal Castle, and I wish to be back there soon...
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Nov 13, 2011 07:25PM)
Hope to see you out here, Jim! We can exchange witty remarks in the bar.

The best part of the session came at the end, after I'd helped him re-cover the table in his shop (it needed some serious TLC.) Being able to do the first coin matrix on it was EPIC.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 16, 2011 02:22AM)
Tom's Night Magic III Event took place on Sunday.

I had a blast! The only thing that would make it better would be if I could see the Show and be in it as well.

The move to another table every ten minutes schedule was a little hard for some of the Magicians to adhere to but it did allow everyone there to see every Magician.

This event is only possible because of the generous cooperation (the schedule is grueling) of the participating Magicians. This years performers were: Dennis Loomis, Kim Silverman, Steve Johnson, Ken Garr, Gary Berard, Rich Aylward, Roman Spinale, Tom Allen and me. Grand Illusions Magic Shop, I.E., Steve, Leora and Don Johnson were incredibly supportive as they have been every year.

Looking forward to next years performance (but not setting up the event).

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 17, 2011 07:06AM)

Is that not what Tom is for???
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 18, 2011 02:06AM)
Tom certainly does most of the set up. My part is living with Tom during that process, LOL.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Nov 18, 2011 07:24PM)
Mary- sounds like it was a lot of fun!
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 26, 2011 09:11PM)
I think my focus next year will be honing my best Magic till I do it justice.

I have a lot of Magic that I like and do often but I know that it could be better with a little house keeping. Cleaning up extraneous lines and handling, motivation and justification of moves or props, Writing and segues.

I want to get some video for my website as well. I hate being recorded.

What are your projects for the coming year?

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Nov 27, 2011 03:06PM)
It takes a little time to get comfortable with being recorded. You'll get there, Mary. Keep at it til you get a take you like.
Would you post a link to your website? I'd like to have a look.
As for me, I want to get cracking on that goose ball/vase routine, and the black sheep! I've been very busy with all kinds of things, need to get some solid practice in.

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 27, 2011 03:53PM)
Hi, all!

So, Mary, what do you consider your "best magic"?

For me, it is definitely rope magic, but I love to work on many things. My plans for next year include serious work on coin magic. Currently, I am working on Feher's "One Coin" and a couple of retention vanishes. Also want to get back to cups and balls.

I took up harmonica, of all things, so am splitting my free time a bit.

Hope you all had a great holiday. I did, and my waist line shows it!!

Take care...

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Nov 27, 2011 07:35PM)
Great question, Mary.

I have been working on card slights, but have been lax in my practice for the last several months. Over the next 12 months I'd like to work up a couple of sets where all the magic happens in the spectator's hands. I've got a couple now e.g., sponge balls, color changing knives, but haven't worked them into a smooth routine. Really just one-offs.

Hope everyone had a happy holiday!

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Nov 29, 2011 09:37PM)
On 2010-06-20 10:57, BlueOwl wrote:
Hi everyone,

... Let me know how the Annotated Magic of Slydini is Laurie...

~ Nathan


Please accept my apologies for the delay in getting back to you about this book. I did finish it awhile ago, and I would certainly recommend it to anyone interested in Slydini, or Close-Up Magic, or Magic generally. Many classic Slydini routines in here. Wonderful quantity and quality of information here. I'm hoping to get working on his Helicopter Card. I'm not much of a card girl, but that one got my attention. On a side note, another great card effect I recently stumbled upon- Eddie Fechter's "I've got a Surprise for You", which was covered in Scripting Magic by Pete McCabe. Seems many have tried to "fix" or "improve" it, including the writers in Scripting Magic. The description of Eddie Fechter's presentation written there right off the top was the only card effect in the book I liked right off. Might be the only one I liked at all. ;) Didn't need any fixin' far as I can see. Very clear, direct, straightforward, respectful of the spectator. ie. People have brains, I'm gonna let them use them. I'd like to get the Fechter books and have a closer look at his stuff. Of course, I've been aware of him for awhile and he's been on my list. A lot of books out there... I want these. :readingbook: :juggle:

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 30, 2011 02:27AM)
Laurie, I P.M.ed a link to my site.

Jim, I have a lot of good Magic that could use a once or twice over but Top of the list would be:

For Close-Up:
"String Theory," a Gypsy Thread effect that describes String Theory (very briefly but should be more brief).

"Warp II," Bruce Cervon's take on Card Warp.

"Leaving Home" a Jay Sankey effect that I've made into a ring and string effect, quite amazing but short. I want to add more ring and string bits to make a routine.

"Alchemy Queens" a version of Peter Kane's "Jazz Aces" with an Alchemy slant.

You can see that I do some of these to follow my own interests rather than to be commercial.

For Stand-Up:
"Daryl's Amazing Acrobatic Knot" which is working great but I'm not comfortable using his patter (almost).

"Snap-a-Silk" and "Silk through Glass," just a few handling problems.

A Large Three Ring Linking Ring Routine with comedy patter. I currently do "Ninja Rings" silently to music to great effect but for some shows I need an alternative.

Some new lines for my Juggling routine.

55 Hudson,
Keep in mind that while Magic in the Spectator's hands is good (I do some myself) never give them anything you can't wash or replace. A bent or sticky Card can make a two hour Close-Up gig a little challenging. On the other hand it could be an advantage, I.E., a crimp and easy disappearing card.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Dec 9, 2011 06:52PM)
Well, I suppose my rehearsal time paid off as I passed my audition this week and am finally a magician member of the Academy of Magical Arts! I only got three card tricks in when they said they'd seen enough, even though I had another ten minutes prepared. Better safe than sorry! I also felt surprisingly at ease - and in fact really enjoyed working for a room full of seasoned professionals. Not at all what I was expecting. I even managed to get a few laughs and an applause break, which I'm told is rare.

Very happy to finally add this to my list of accomplishments!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 9, 2011 07:23PM)

Congratulations! This is a serious accomplishment!! Working a room of experts has to be bone chilling- good on ya'!!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Dec 9, 2011 09:01PM)
Congratulations Andrew!

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Dec 9, 2011 09:17PM)
Well done Andrew! Congratulations.

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Dec 10, 2011 10:23AM)
Excellent, Andrew. Very good news! :)
Message: Posted by: S2000magician (Dec 11, 2011 11:24AM)
I knew you'd do it, Andrew!

(I'm a physic.)
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Dec 12, 2011 09:17AM)
And all this time I thought you were a physicist. ;) Or was it pharmacist? Something using your brain anyway.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 17, 2011 09:29AM)
On 2011-12-11 12:24, S2000magician wrote:

(I'm a physic.)

In the sense that, if one takes enough of you, then ... ??? :)

Forgive me, but my WV hillbilly past is "coming out" as they say...

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Dec 17, 2011 04:42PM)
Jim, are you from West Virginia originally?? I've spent a decent amount of time out there...I was just there in October actually. Hillbilly is putting it mildly....
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 18, 2011 09:52AM)
:) :) :)

Lots of family in the Clarksburg area, Andrew, but I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. Product of the "3 R's"- readin', rightin' and route 23...

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Dec 18, 2011 08:12PM)
Ahh...we visit Spencer about once a year (about an hour from Parkersburg in Roane County.) Lotta missing teeth out that way....
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Dec 23, 2011 04:12PM)
Hello all and Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and Happy Holidays, :xmastree:
What ever you celebrate enjoy yourself, love others and remember why you are celebrating what you are celebrating! :dancing:

Anyway, I have had a busy November and December with work and home life, so I haven't been on her in a while.

Congratulations Andrew! That is Awesome! :punkrocker:

Although I have not stuck with any regiment I have set forth I have always had something to practice within my grasp.

Since I perform mostly as a hobby, because that is what my life allows right now, most of what I do is for kids at church or for my Magic Ring. Recently, I took on the role of program chair for my Ring. So my focus this year will be organizing our members for out monthly programs. This is fun because I can somewhat orchestrate magic I would like to see.

A few things I want to tackle this New Year are:
A Definitive Sponge Ball Routine
Continue working on my table hopping repertoire
Miracle Bubbles
Reviewing some of the great stuff I got from all the 2011 lectures I attended snd glean what works for me.

Great idea Mary! I would love to see your website as well, if you can PM me.

Have a Happy New Year Everyone! :bubbly:

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 24, 2011 08:04AM)

Thanks for a good laugh! Reminds me of the joke:

What is 42 feet long and has 8 teeth?

The front row at a Willie Nelson concert!


Thanks for an even better laugh!!

"Anyway, I have had a busy November and December with work and home life, so I haven't been on her in a while." You get my award for "Best typo of the Year"!!!

My very best wishes to all of the Stand With Me crowd for a wonderful Holiday Season and New Year! I, for one, am looking forward to the extra time to be able to practice Stand Up Monte...

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Dec 24, 2011 01:09PM)
Same to you, Jim! I've been working on Stand Up Monte as well. How's your progress with it coming?

Happy holidays to everyone :)
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Dec 24, 2011 02:37PM)
OHHH,... A typo.

Thanks for explaining that Jim.

I thought Peter was being extra-specially candid.

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Dec 24, 2011 07:53PM)
Happy holidays to everyone! All the best to you and your families -and to a successful year in magic.

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 24, 2011 07:57PM)

I was just assuming, and you know what that can do. Perhaps you are correct...

Wishes of the Season to you also!!

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 26, 2011 02:47PM)
On 2011-12-24 14:09, Andrew Zuber wrote:
Same to you, Jim! I've been working on Stand Up Monte as well. How's your progress with it coming?

Happy holidays to everyone :)

Hi, Andrew!

Progress is good with Stand Up Monte- probably due to the fact that the sleights involved are ones I have used for a long time and can do reasonably well. The only hitch I am having is a bit of magician's guilt with the main move. Normally I prefer to do things in the open that "look" fair but this, as you know, has a move that is rather ... BOLD, shall we say.

Do you feel any of that with this routine??

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Dec 29, 2011 04:35PM)
I guess the move never really stood out to me until after watching the DVD and having Garrett explain it. Despite the master's degree I'm pretty easy to fool, apparently, so even though I knew what was going on when I first saw the routine, the move didn't bother me much. To be honest though I am still working on it and haven't done it in the real world yet, so I haven't been able to gauge the reactions.

Are you performing it as he does or have you added/removed phases?

Happy new year to all :)
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 30, 2011 11:53AM)

Performing it as Garrett shows. Although I truly love to add/subtract and otherwise modify things, I know it is best to wait until I fully understand it. I find SUM to be one of those routines where you have to be on your game and alert in order to avoid disaster.

Until the end, I feel it and Skinner's version are on par- I just love the wild card ending tho so I think eventually SUM will get the nod. I will always do UM however, as I have a nice poem that takes me through it like a script.

Yes, Happy Happy to you and yours, Andrew!
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Dec 30, 2011 09:15PM)
Thanks Jim! After getting slammed with food poisoning earlier this week, it was nice to have some color :blush: return to my cheeks from reading your quote from me. I usually am the funniest when I am not trying and don't know it!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Dec 30, 2011 10:16PM)
I'm with you, Jim...sticking to the current routine until I've got it down solid. I've done Skinner's for years so this is a departure from that, and I think I'll end up keeping them both in my repertoire. I like the Skinner version in slightly more formal situations as I use a himber wallet in order to cleanly pull out the Ace at the end, rather than just leaving it on the table. SUM is so fantastic in the hands that it will see a LOT of use from me, but it's taking some time to get it there. He makes it look so easy!
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Dec 31, 2011 10:43AM)

I just got a Himber as a gift and was planning to use it to introduce Bannon's Spin Doctor cards (a 4 ace trick with different color backs). My thought was to have the spectator cut to 4 aces, then put the aces in the Himber, "for later", do another trick and then retrieve the different aces to go into the Spin Dr routine. The appearance would be that the aces came from a regular deck and then transformed during another trick.

With your experience using the Himber to clean up, what are your comments on this? (comments from everyone are welcome)

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 31, 2011 11:19AM)
Pete- Fud piznin' ain't fun- glad you are feeling better. Hope I caused you no embarrassment with my comment - it was truly in good fun. And, yes, my best stuff comes as a total surprise.

Hudson- great gift to get! I think the time misdirection you will get from your idea should work fine. It is important, I think, that the wallet remain out in the open once you introduce it into the routine. For some of my card stuff, Ultimate Monte comes to mind, I generally use the deck to hide the switch. Not with different backs, tho, as I want to be able to spread the cards. Have fun!

Happy New Year everyone! I am using the Woody Guthrie NY resolutions from " Not very magical, still" (General Magic-above) AND adding "Practice regularly" for the next year. Any good resolutions out there to share??

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jan 4, 2012 12:54PM)
I've been practicing Juggling regularly for about a half hour a day (hard to tell because I do it really often but only for a short time). I'm seeing an improvement.

I used to do all the same throws occasionally in shows a long time ago but I let them go because I couldn't be sure of them. I'm hoping to make them a consistent and reliable skill set.
It feels good to be as good as I was 20 years ago for a start.

I'm doing under the chin, under the leg, on top of the head and over the shoulder in short order mixed with some fancy throws like columns, holding on to one, Crossing over in the middle etc...

I can go through thew whole routine often but not even half of the time perfectly. I guess that is the next step.

Juggling is great fun! You never have to guess if you are improving.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 8, 2012 02:53PM)
My God, Mary, when can we see this? A vid is in order!

I have worked off and on with my juggling, to little avail. I can do a pretty good job as long as I have, oh, say, about a 100' diameter circle of clear ground with no obstructions. Once I totally exited stage right chasing that elusive ball. My insurance said they would cancel unless I gave it up.

Now, I am wondering if ventriloquism would be a fun addition to my routine???? My SO threatens to leave me, but then I would have the dummy for company, no?

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jan 11, 2012 01:30AM)
Jim , one of my goals this year is to get some Video but I haven't done any yet.

I juggle with Square Bean Bags. They are easier on the hands (and face), don't roll as far or do as much damage.

I had a Vent act in the 5th Grade. It made me instantly popular throughout the School but I got creeped out by the Vent Figure and dropped the act. Now that soft puppets are popular I may try again someday. See how your SO feels about soft figures.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 12, 2012 12:47PM)
Creeped out? Spill...
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jan 12, 2012 02:18PM)
Seriously I was afraid of Dolls before I started so I don't know what I was thinking.

I don't understand "Spill..." .

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 12, 2012 04:53PM)
Ah, colloquial, means to "spill your guts" I.e. tell me the whole story...
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jan 12, 2012 08:53PM)

I don't know. I'm just uncomfortable with Dolls.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Jan 15, 2012 02:52PM)

I've tried to get back into juggling :juggle: but I always seem to drop the ball. :giggles:

I never got into ventriloquism, but I do use puppets for the Nature Center. I've never found the neccessity to vent. It is amazing the realism audiences receive when you focus all the attention on the puppet. I also know several staff who won't touch them because they creep them out also. I gave a girl puppet to one of my staff to take home and practice. I do admit that the puppet was kinda creepy looking. Well my staff was not real keen on working with people puppets specifically but she gave it the good old college try! However her son who was a 10th grader saw the puppet lying on the couch and picked up in front of his mom (My staff worker) In his best gravelly voice he said, "Hey little kid do you know where I can get a cigar?" She came to work and said she was done with puppets. That did her in. She would have to find another way to connect with the kids. We have has quite a few laughs about that. Some people just have a thing with clowns, puppets and mascots!

So tonight I am performing as 1 of 8 for our holiday party. We will be table hopping. I'm looking forward to this because it is another opportunity to perform. I also recently received Jay Sankey's Gimmicks Lab + a couple other items as part of the end of the year promo. Thursday we had Rick Merrill lecture :wow: and I picked up some other great ideas I want to work on as well. With all of this I have plenty of stuff to work on. I haven't set a regiment, but I am just practicing as often as I can with whatever feels like it needs my attention.

I have also been organizing the Ring's Programs for the upcoming year as program chair. So a lot of attention has been spent on that.

Good luck :goodluck: with your Juggling Mary and other projects everyone else is working on!

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Jan 16, 2012 07:20PM)
We had our holiday Party last night and I performed at the four tables and all went smooth. It is fun to perform for your club. The Highlight of my evening was when I was invited to perform on stage for our Annual Hocus Pocus Party in November 2012. This our Ring fundraiser that serves 300-400 people with food, table hopping and a stage show with 4 members and 1 headliner. I will be going through my list to put my show together and should have several practice regimes to work on over the next few months! It's nice to have something to focus on to help you practice. I will keep you all posted!

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 18, 2012 10:02AM)

Sounds like a lot of fun. I think it is always a good time performing for a party, and I certainly agree having a gig coming up is the very best practice motivator. I remember as a kid being scared to tears by a story or movie where the puppet was real...
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Jan 18, 2012 12:08PM)
I've been working on some material that Howard Hamburg showed me a couple of weeks ago, as well as a Michael Vincent routine and Dai Vernon's Cutting the Aces from Stars of Magic. I'm not crazy about the basic sleight used in the latter, and I'm terrible with slip cuts so I'm trying to figure out an alternative method for producing the cards. I'm going to the castle this week with some friends and would love to try out some new stuff :)
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Jan 19, 2012 10:52AM)

Anthony Hopkins - Magic, always creeped me out!:fuity:

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Jan 19, 2012 10:53AM)
Dang Typos! Tha was supposed to be, :fruity:
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Jan 26, 2012 09:42AM)
It's been far too quiet around here lately. What's everyone working on?
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 26, 2012 08:56PM)
[img]http://i1181.photobucket.com/albums/x436/magicalaurie/P1190089-1.jpg[/img] [img]http://i1181.photobucket.com/albums/x436/magicalaurie/P1190098-1.jpg[/img]
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Jan 26, 2012 11:04PM)
Well that answers that! Beautiful work Laurie :)
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 27, 2012 12:40PM)
:) Thankyou very much, Andrew.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jan 27, 2012 01:39PM)
Love your art Laurie. I especially like the shine on the cups.

I used to draw a lot when I was younger. Pencil was always my favorite medium.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 27, 2012 04:52PM)
Thankyou, Mary. :)
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Jan 28, 2012 06:51AM)
Beautiful illustrations Laurie! :) Are these for a book or manuscript? How did the goose work out?

Andrew and all,

I'm still going through the selction process for my Hocus Pocus performance in November. I tried Mike Close's Big Surprise at our Ring meeting the other night. It went over well for doing it for the first time, but I found out that I only have 10 minutes for my routine in November so the Big Surprise got axed. I continue my quest. :ridinghorse:

Cheers! :magicrabbit:
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jan 28, 2012 08:21AM)
Very nice Laurie! An order is coming soon for your chopped monkey fists.

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 28, 2012 08:39AM)
I have some, Hudson, and they are really nice...
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 29, 2012 02:09PM)
Thankyou for your comments- I value your opinions. The illustrations are 2 of 7 I'm doing to illustrate my chop monkey fist instructions. Magic illustration is something I'm interested in and since reading "Art of Deception" I've discovered I think I am qualified to do it. So the illustrated instructions are a start for me. Hopefully others will like them, too. Pete, the goose is still waiting on me. ;) Soon, been very busy with a lot of other things. Thankyou, Hudson! Jim, you didn't get yours from me, though, did you? I think I may recall you saying you had some of the ones Josh Riel has been making. If so, he certainly does very nice work. It was his artistry in monkey fist ball making, in fact, that inspired me to give them a try. For any who might be interested in further info on Magicalaurie's Monkey Fists, the satin chopped can be seen here: http://magicalaurie.media.officelive.com/chopballs.aspx

Thanks again for your complimentary comments. They're very encouraging and much appreciated.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 30, 2012 08:54AM)

Pretty sure they were yours, Laurie. This was some years back and I got them in several colors. Then again, I have very vivid dreams at times...
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 30, 2012 09:55AM)
I only started selling them last March, though, Jim.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 30, 2012 08:10PM)
Well, then, I was wrong. Sorry, Laurie... Hudson, you're on your own bud...
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 31, 2012 05:06PM)
That's o.k., Jim. :) Finally took some Ball and Vase notes today. Will be adjusting a little to work out a routine for the goose. No colour change here. Have the basic idea in mind- just need to put the technical details in place.
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Feb 1, 2012 02:13PM)

Back to work on a few things! :)
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Feb 6, 2012 08:09PM)
I was working on my stage routine, researching some ideas. As I was watching a comedy rope routine on an Aldo Colombini video he showed up very large on our 32" Flat Screen. I was startled when out of no where our male tabby cat, William jumped on the tv stand and attacked the TV. I was like, "What the . . .?" Then I realized he was going after the rope. It was pretty amusing!

Pete :rotf:
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 6, 2012 08:41PM)
I love Cats.

I once taught our cat to attack rustling paper while my Brother was going through an Origami phase.

Comedy ensued.

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 6, 2012 09:02PM)
My cat is really into my silk collection. He's not too crazy about Rocky however.
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 7, 2012 10:25AM)
By the way, I'd just like to point out that I've loved this thread because it feels like our own private room inside the Café. Just a select few participate, and that's okay with me. It's nice to find a place here without all of the controversy and arguing that seems to pervade the site at times.

That said, I hate sunshine and puppies. Discuss.
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Feb 7, 2012 11:59AM)
Amen Andrew!

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 7, 2012 04:05PM)
Of course, Mr, Mystoffelees LOVES cats...
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Feb 7, 2012 09:33PM)
Absolutely my favorite thread! Even if I don't post, I always check in and do feel like this is like a coffee club.

Thanks to all for being here!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 7, 2012 10:56PM)
I like the feeling of support in this thread.

When you say something or ask something you know it will be taken in a good light and someone is not waiting to pounce and argue.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 7, 2012 11:11PM)
So then we're in agreement - we all hate sunshine and puppies?
Message: Posted by: TheGreatNancini (Feb 8, 2012 12:59AM)
Hello, I have lurked the Café for years and for some reason never found this thread. I just spent the last hour and a half reading through the entire thread and am so inspired that there is actually a place on the Café where everyone is nice to each other and is willing to help instead of being so critical and mean. I see this started several years ago, but I would love to join you all if that is ok?

My name is Nanci Jones, and I have never really done much in the way of rope work and I really would like to devote some time to becoming proficient in some rope routines.

I am committing at least 15 minutes a day for this.

My goal is to be proficient in at least one really good rope routine by April 1.

I am currently trying to decide which rope routine would be a good place to start. Suggestions?

Thank You,

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 8, 2012 02:32AM)
Welcome Nanci,

I personally started with "Toss a knot" Hold one end of the rope and shake it just so it ties itself into a knot.

Professors Nightmare is a good start. A good family effect that can adjust to many themes. Daryl teaches it very well in his Rope series.

Many start with Cut and Restored Rope but I'm a little cheap for that. Great for Volunteer interaction.

Daryl's Amazing Acrobatic Knot. A solid Routine for any age. Very visual.

Dennis Loomis Knot Routine ... Plus, A collection of fun "one off" effects that can be used "A La Carte" plus other material.

Any of these will make a good start.

You are in for a very fun ride. I'll bet you find your practice sessions are one of your favorite parts of the day.

You may want to check in the "Knots and Loops" forum. There are some real Rope experts there.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Feb 8, 2012 06:12AM)
Welcome Nanci!

I'm sure you will enjoy the support on this thread. I started with Fibre Optics by Richard Sanders about 4 years ago. Boy it was not an easy place to start on with rope, but the DVD has some great material and I am very happy with my routine.

That said, I may take a look at the list Mary just gave you!

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 8, 2012 09:38AM)

It is never too late! Permit me to add my Welcome to those above. Times I have been tired, wanted to sit, but thought of Mary, Peter, Hudson and others committed to practice, and I got up off my ... chair... and got out my magic project. What a difference it has made!

Rope magic is my "thang", or at least my best magic, and I love to practice it. Best is, I can keep it in a pocket and take it anywhere to practice. Well, most anywhere!

Regarding where to start with rope, I would suggest Carrol Bakers DVD, Here is a link:


Don't let the cheap price fool you, it is good.

Have fun and good luck to you Nanci!

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 8, 2012 11:03AM)
Welcome Nanci,

I might suggest adding a ring to the routine as well, if that kind of thing suits you. I've had a lot of fun with ring and rope routines - L&L has a DVD that features some fun plots to try out.
Message: Posted by: TheGreatNancini (Feb 8, 2012 06:16PM)
Hello all, and thank you for the warm welcome!

Mary you always have the most interesting posts everywhere on the Café. You always have such a positive attitude and you truly are an inspiration to me! I really appreciate your list and am looking into all the possibilities for rope routines. I am definitely going to buy Daryl's dvd set as it looks like it has some really great stuff on it.

Hudson, I am also going to order Richard Sander's Fiber Optics dvd as well. Again it looks incredible, and even if I do not start there, it looks like something I may aspire to do!

Jim, being able to take it with me and practice almost anywhere is what attracted me so much to rope routines. It is also something I can keep in my purse and do impromptu if I want. My son is always with me since we perform together, and he has his cards, and rubber bands, with him and I wanted to do something different and I really love good rope routines. Carroll Baker is a good friend of Matthew's and mine as he was president of our local IBM ring when Matthew and I first got involved back in 2003. He has been so supportive of us and really mentored us when we decided to go full time. It is funny though that I thought we had all of his stuff, but do not have the rope dvd and I didn't even know he had one. I have emailed him and am ordering one now.

Andrew, I love the idea of adding a ring to a rope routine and I am sure that will happen at some point.

Right now, I am going to get the dvd's and check them out and find one routine that looks really good to me and make that my first goal to accomplish. I will check back and let you know what I chose and how it is going.
Thank you so much again for letting me join your little group here and I can't wait to get started with a routine that I want to learn just for me. As a two person act almost everything is a team effort, but I really want to do my own thing as well!

Thank you all again! :)
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 8, 2012 11:42PM)
Thank you Nanci.

Andrew is right about Ring and Rope.

It is very visual and easy to follow and allows physical interaction with the kids.

Plus you can build a routine one effect at a time.

Cap that with, totally fun to practice and you've got a winner.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Feb 11, 2012 09:59AM)
Welcome Nancy! :bigdance:

I was a Boy Scout for many years and I always loved working with rope. I actually learned a lot of rope magic while I was a scout. Since I am mostly a hobbyist and preform when the opportunity presents itself, a good piece of rope in my pocket always allows me to fall back on some old standards. If you have a copy of Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic, :lookingfortrick: there is some great starter material in there with ropes. I also recommend Abbott's Encyclopedia of Rope Tricks for Magicians by Stewart James and Karl Fulves Self-working Rope Magic. I am currently working on a stage performance for my IBM Ring and I am working on a routine with Impossible Rope Escape by Don Wayne found on page 263 in Mark Wilson's CCiM. This routine has wonderful comic potential and since you are working with your son, that fact alone could open the possiblities up even greater! Aldo & Rachel Colombini have a lot of good rope material as well and you can find it on their website at http://www.wildcolombini.com/ Everything is $10 on his website. He has effects for sale, but check out his DVD's. Good Luck and I know we all look forward of learning about your progress.

Pete :coolspot:
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Feb 11, 2012 10:14AM)
Hey gang!

So I am working on my stage act for our November Hocus Pocus Party for Ring 211. I have 10 minutes to perform. I am mapping out what effects to do and forming them into routines. So I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do and I decided to try storyboarding. If you are not familiar with this, imagine a comic strip. I am basically drawing my act out as if I was doing it as a stick figure. :dance: Since I am starting with Gene Anderson's Torn & Restored Newspaper I looked at his stick figure diagrams in Newspaper Magic and started there. I am starting to draw the diagrams for Routine # three the Impossible Rope Escape. So this is where my practice time is going currrently. I still have prop design, assembly and construction and then I will be able to focus on practicing each routine.

We have our Abracadabra Close-up show tomorrow with 6 magicians from our ring tomorrow. I am excited to see their performances!

Have a Great Weekend Everyone! :stuckinabag:

P.S. Sunshine & Puppies, Andrew, you are too funny! :giggles:
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Feb 11, 2012 10:16AM)
P.S. :lookingforatrick: and :stuckinabag: was suppose to look like this

:stuckinbag: Oops!

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 13, 2012 06:04PM)
Story boarding an act sounds interesting. How odd that even though I'm in the film/TV biz I never consider doing that. I'd be interested to see some of your sketches!

I'm doing a strolling gig on Saturday for the annual Heart Party at the Children's Hospital of Orange County - kids who have undergone heart transplants or other major heart surgery - so I'm working up some kid-friendly close up material that I haven't done in awhile. I'm not used to strolling so I'm having to adjust so that I can reset and be ready for the next table. I think that will be my biggest challenge.

Since it's for kids with heart defects I'm thinking I'll open with my Bengal Tiger From Fire production and then go into sword swallowing, and finish with a bullet catch. Thoughts?
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 13, 2012 08:18PM)
Um, ...Er... How about those sports teams?

I'm glad you're kidding Andrew.

If a Child looks really frail try not to ask them to touch the objects you'll be using. Impaired immune systems can be a part of the recovery for these Kids because of the anti rejection drugs. The staff should be able to guide you in this, just ask them.. I know it is hard to hold back in allowing examination of the objects but it is for their own good.

Ninja Rings are good.

Rope Tricks that can be done surrounded or nearly so.

Your Ring and Rope will be excellent for this gig.

Mouth coils (but not from the mouth).

Tokyo penetration

Rubber band effects.

Use your judgement on effects like Sponge Balls and Silk thru Arm that use personal contact.

Juggling and Contact juggling can add some nice color to the event as well.

Torn and restored tissue Heart (or tissue with hearts printed on them) might be a good accent effect for possible interviews to promote the event.

Have Fun!

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 13, 2012 09:37PM)
Thank you for the thoughts Mary! Though I was around my mother all summer with her illness, her immune system remained in tact for the most part so it wasn't an issue. I appreciate the tip as I wouldn't have considered that - especially since when I perform for kids, I tend to make them the magicians by giving them their own little wand to keep and handling things whenever possible. I'll talk to the staff about that.

I was booked through the Magic Castle community outreach committee for this show, and they were looking for a stand up show as well. Mine is a bit rusty so someone else is handling that duty, but I'm told that last year they had someone do the razor blades from mouth routine. Interesting choice....

I'm going to use Dean Dill's beads, my Mental Photography routine, a couple of easy to follow card tricks, and the chop cup. I have my ring and rope sitting out and my card set was running a little long it seemed, so I think I'll substitute the rope for one of the card tricks. I had considered doing my coin in bottle but I've never done that strolling, so I don't know how well the coin can stand up to repeated use (it's a Johnson I believe.) Because of the setup of the event, I'd like to have a longer set ready and just go with the flow depending on each group. Certainly don't want to wear them out!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 13, 2012 10:15PM)
What a great gig, Andrew! I have done some for the James Cancer Research Center at OSU, and it takes some emotional prep. I go straight for comedy in those situations. Oddly, the first one I did, I had not performed in years and kept flubbing the magic. I was getting pretty frustrated until I looked up and saw they were all laughing at me.

Well, laughing is laughing so I went with it. Where I was, they could not touch anything. In fact on the most compromised floor there was a 1" thick glass as they could not risk any contagion. So I had to flub up at a higher level so they could see it.

Probably too late for you to check it out, but one of my tried and true for making kids laugh is spring animals. I started with Rocky Raccoon but now have others. Rocky is very popular, as is my skunk, "Peppy L'Pew". I got into these after my rabbit broke jail, but that is another story.

Anyway, wishing you good luck...

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 14, 2012 01:47AM)
I actually have a Rocky routine but hadn't thought about using it. I'm waiting on the details of the gig - I wish I had a better idea of what the age range will be.

From what I understand this is more of a party atmosphere, similar to a strolling situation in a restaurant with about 300 people. After reading Mary's post I reworked my set to make sure the whole thing could be done without the kids touching anything. Just a few minor changes in handling fixed that :)

We have a cancer center here in LA - I've already got myself on the list to perform at their annual event as well. I wanted to be involved in that one for sure, considering it's a cause so close to my heart.

Thank you for all the input!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 14, 2012 08:40PM)
Good luck to you Andrew- I hope it all works out well...
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 15, 2012 01:52AM)
Thank you! :)
Message: Posted by: TheGreatNancini (Feb 16, 2012 05:05PM)
Hello everyone again. Sorry it has been a bit before I checked back in, but I have been really sick with a terrible sinus infection. The worst I have ever had in my life. I lost my voice completely and Matthew had to take the entire script for one of our shows. He did quite well with it and I was "Teller" of Shizzle Dizzle Magic for that performance.

I really took all of your suggestions and spent some time researching all of my options regarding rope routines. My son also checked out our options as well, and together we settled on Fiber Optics.

Hudson, I know that you said that it was a really hard place to start, but we really like the various moves and considering our creativity, we decided that once we got the moves down that we would customize the routine to fit us. Also, since Matthew now wants to learn as well, we are committing an hour each evening to practicing until we get it right.

Andrew, I will most definitely be adding a ring into my routine as well. I absolutely love the idea. It looks like there is a ring routine included in the Fiber Optics Dvd? I ordered it today along with some rope, so hopefully next week we wil get started.

Also Andrew, I am very anxious to hear about your gig for the heart party at Childrens Hospital, as this and the Cancer Center one are both causes that are very close to home for me and I know first hand how much it will mean to the patients and their families! Bringing amazement, laughter and smiles to lift the spirits of these folks will mean the world to them. I hope you have a great time with this!

Mary, you always have the most creative ideas! Love the torn and restored tissue heart idea!

Peter, thanks for the welcome. My son, Matthew always story boards our shows before he writes the scripts. Works wonderful for us!

Thanks again to all of you for letting me join you. I will let you know how the rope routine is going once I get the dvd and rope.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 16, 2012 08:46PM)
Glad you're feeling better Nanci - I look forward to hearing what you think of Fiber Optics! Richard Sanders is a great thinker.

I will certainly share my experience once I've done this gig - I was told today that it's similar to a wedding with table set up and 8-10 people at each one. It's really a celebration which will be nice.

I've already put my name on the list to perform for kids with cancer as well. Having lost my mother to it in August, it's a cause I too am passionate about and it will be a nice way of giving back :)
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Feb 16, 2012 11:50PM)

Hope you are feeling better soon. You will like the Fiber Optics material. My routine is just a fraction of Sanders' full three rope routine, but plays very well. I started with almost all of it and then cut down to a shorter routine. Always get a great reaction, but it was really difficult to get good enough to show the first time!

Based on Jim and Mary's comments, I did get the Daryl DVDs and the Baker DVD. Viewed Baker' already - about 30 minutes or so with basics. Got through almost all of Daryl vol 1 - a lot of material there! I can see how I would add additional material. Perhaps start with some knot or ring effects and then to the Fiber optic routine. I'm a little worried about building a cut and restored - I travel a lot and scissors don't fly so well any more.

Been crazy with work lately, so haven't settled on what I will add, but will sign up here when I'm ready!


PS ordered a set of monkey fists from Laurie and waiting for them now :).
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 17, 2012 09:40AM)
I do an almost exact version of Daryl's ring and rope routine from the L&L DVD I have. I've found it makes the most sense for what I like to do. I'm going to add a few bits to it at some point but for now it works pretty well for me :)

I'm with you Hudson - I love the cut and restored stuff as it's the first rope effect I ever did, but scissors can be an issue.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 17, 2012 02:27PM)

I think a less involved and slower routine would serve you better to start with.

Part of the challenge of Rope is to keep the audience with you and engaged with the perceived "now" condition of the Ropes.

The speed and length of the Sanders' routine makes it more likely that a Magician can just go though the Routine like a repetitive exercise because they are just trying to remember the routine (and because it is fun from a jugglery perspective). Watch a few youtube performances and you'll see what I mean. Some connect, some don't.


You need time to learn how to involve the people one effect at a time. A single Rope effect can have great charm if we connect.

Since I'm fairly sure I won't be able to dissuade you (I've had the fever for a specific effect before too) try to relate with the people one effect at a time within the routine to start and let the speed come as you see the people are with you. Consider 55Hudson's idea of a cut down version to start.

If the Sanders' is too daunting after a little practice, don't give up Rope, just scale back. You'll get there in the end.

Best of luck.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: TheGreatNancini (Feb 18, 2012 04:46PM)

Thank you for your input! I have a great deal of respect for you and take your advice very seriously. In that light, I went ahead and ordered Daryl's rope dvd's as well as Carroll Bakers, per your and Jims original advice.

I have always made sure that I performed things that were engaging and entertaining to my audience and not just a "Hey look how cool I am" act. Andrew also mentioned an L&L dvd, which I am wondering about.

I really think if I look at these and compile routines that fit me, that you are absolutely correct that I will be better off in the long run. I also know that learning and perfecting one thing at a time is much better than trying a whole lot of things and doing it badly!

Thank you for helping me step back and analyse my choices. I already am so thankful, for this thread and all of you that have been so gracious to me!

I do take advice to heart and think things through, because even though I have a lot of experience in some areas, I know that I have a lot to learn in others. Rope obviously falls in the latter. Since it is an area I know nothing about, I want to learn from all of you that do know.

Thank you again, and as soon as I get this figured out, hopefully I can get started! :)

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 18, 2012 08:59PM)
I like the L&L DVD because it gave me some options of shorter routines and I was able to put various pieces together to create my own. Well, that's the plan anyway :) I also do Dan Harlan's version of Professor's Nightmare (which is gaffed but looks SO cool!) so I'm working on ways to integrate both of them, along with a stiff rope which I sometimes use as a visual opener. It's a fair amount of rope to be pulling in and out though so I need to routine it so it flows well. I'll be interested to hear how it goes for you, Nanci!

I had a great time at the children's hospital gig today. I did several card routines, some ring and rope stuff, my chop cup and Dean's Beads. All went well until the last 15 minutes when a kid tugged on the beads so hard they came raining down around me in chunks. I tried to get them back together while asking the kid for another number, and when I looked down I realized I couldn't salvage the trick. I'd already done it for someone else at the table so they got the idea, so when the kid said "3" I just put the beads away and pulled the 3s out of the deck and did Twisting the Aces...with the 3s. Just an interesting audience management thing to work on.

Got some free Panda Express too. What a sweet deal!
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 18, 2012 09:21PM)
Brilliant save Andrew! Glad it went well.

Nanci, you'll have wiggly rope dreams for a while but you'll be smiling.

Did anyone see Pete Stobie in the February Linking Ring? Page 34, Row 3, 1st from left. We knew him before he was famous.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Feb 18, 2012 10:20PM)
Andrew - Glad to hear you children's hospital show went well. No better feeling than helping a sick child to smile.

I had a fun weekend with a short notice show. My wife gave me short notice (very short!) that I was doing a show for our friend's daughter and niece (ages5&6). Dd the kid classics - coloring book, sponge bunnies, etc., but the highlight was when I did The Lucky Coin (from Card College) for our friend. First time I've done this effect and from the reaction, it is a keeper!

Best to everyone!

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 19, 2012 10:38AM)
I'm not familiar with The Lucky Coin...what's the routine?

I love short notice shows...so long as I'm prepared :)
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Feb 19, 2012 01:34PM)
Andrew - Sounds like you were a hit! Brilliant save!

Thanks Mary! Believe it or not, although I am holding a card case :bikes: , there is no cards in it. I got this gag from Aldo Colombini. I act like I am going to do a card trick :question: but out of the box comes a rope which led me into ring rope and safety pin routine. You can put other stuff in box too! What ever works for you! I've enjoyed it.

Pete :stuckinbag:
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Feb 19, 2012 01:49PM)
Skills required for this effect are: force, control, and top change. I wanted a trick to learn/practice the top change and that's why I added it.
The premise is that the Spec finds their card using your "Lucky Coin" (the top change ensures they do find their card). . It is on the last DVD of Card College - don't recall if it is in the book or not.

If you don't have the Card College series, I strongly recommend it. I totally revamped my entire card skills after more than 20 years of magic once I got the CC series. You won't regret using this series as a reference for card magic.

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 19, 2012 04:24PM)
Peter - that's too funny as I do the same thing - pull a giant strand of rope from a card box. I wasn't aware that Aldo did the gag. So much for my forthcoming DVD, "Rope From Card Box." ;)

I've browsed through Card College but I haven't seen the DVDs yet. They're on my list!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 19, 2012 04:50PM)
"I love short notice shows...so long as I'm prepared"

That's one of the things this thread is about! It is AMAZING how prepared you are if you practice even 30 minutes a day. On the subject of taking a rope out of a card box, I have done a routine where you carefully peel an orange until you can squeeze a smaller apple into it. Once put back together, you can't tell. It is wild to start peeling the orange for specs, then start taking bites out of what can't be an orange. A great opener...

Good practicing, all...

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 19, 2012 05:40PM)
That's brilliant, Jim. Where did that piece of sheer genius come from?
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Feb 19, 2012 08:48PM)
Andrew - the lucky coin can be found in Card College Vol 1, page 241. It is bold, but very nice!

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 20, 2012 09:56AM)
On 2012-02-19 18:40, Andrew Zuber wrote:
That's brilliant, Jim. Where did that piece of sheer genius come from?

Andrew- My mates son is a really good actor and teaches the art at a private high school. He showed this to me as he knew I was into magic and it just fried my brain. He uses it in his classes and thought I could make use of it, especially since I billed myself as "Mandarin, the Orange Magician". I will have to ask him where he got it...
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Feb 20, 2012 11:08AM)

That is great! Have you seen Shyrock's Ring in Walnut routine? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofkJ-UgMNRg It's definitely worth looking into. It is on my list of things I may invest in. If anyone has this, please indulge in your opinion of it.

I will have to try the apple in the Orange.


When Aldo and Rachel came through for their Farewell tour I picked up Gag Busters. There is some great stuff on there, including some rope gags, since that has been a theme here as of late. He is working on the sequal. It was fun watching Rachel roll her eyes at Aldo's crazy entics during the lecture. Plus it is only $10 and I have already incorporated three or four of the gags in my performances.

Great stuff!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 20, 2012 04:15PM)

Lay off the "Tan in a Can" and you won't be known as the "Orange Magician". LOL

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 24, 2012 10:45AM)
Thanks for the references, everyone!
Message: Posted by: TheGreatNancini (Feb 24, 2012 10:54PM)
Hello everyone. I finally received my Carroll Baker, FO, and Daryl rope dvds.

We have been on the road all week, so I am looking forward to taking some time out over the next few days and looking through all of this info to pick out a good routine to start with. I decided to put the FO dvd on the shelf for now, and make a decision on it later.

I want to find routines that interact with my audience, and while I love a lot of cut rope routines I really want to avoid scissors for now. Maybe I will look at the cut rope routines later after I have mastered something solid without cutting. I am definitely interested in exploring a ring on rope routine along with a few others that was suggested in earlier posts.

Hopefully by Monday I will finally have a rope routine to begin my daily practice on.:)

I hope all of you on this thread have a wonderful weekend!

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Feb 24, 2012 10:55PM)
You too, Nanci- thankyou! :)
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 25, 2012 09:21AM)
On 2012-02-20 17:15, Mary Mowder wrote:

Lay off the "Tan in a Can" and you won't be known as the "Orange Magician". LOL

-Mary Mowder

Thanks for the belly-laugh Mary! Being from Ohio, I just thought it could rocket me into position for Speaker of the House... :)
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Mar 1, 2012 10:02AM)
I spent about six hours working on a cups and balls routine with Dean Dill last night that I'm going to do for a birthday event at Robert DeNiro's sushi restaurant here in LA later this month. I had specific final loads in mind to tie things together and he helped me design a great routine (using only three balls, by the way!) Good stuff. I've also been working a lot on Bill Malone's version of the 21 Card Trick from his Malone Meets Marlo series. I'm trying to incorporate more routines from a regular deck, as the folks at my internship discovered I'm affiliated with the Magic Castle, so they've started asking me to do a few routines during our lunch meetings every week, and my Appearing Helicopter illusion won't fit in the elevator.

Off to Phoenix for the weekend - I'm planning to bring my props and do a few things for some family :)
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Mar 1, 2012 03:21PM)
Andrew, The gig sounds like fun and the Tutorial with Dean sounds like fun as well. Let us know how it turns out.

Jim, please don't become a Boehner (it requires tear duct surgery).

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: TheGreatNancini (Mar 5, 2012 08:47PM)
I have finally received all of the books and dvds that all of you suggested and Matthew and I have been one by one going through them.

We have finally settled on a routine consisting of some Fiber Optics along with several of Daryl's routines.

We are working on a couple of knot tricks, along with a version of grandma's necklace, and a really cool ring on rope idea that we came up with while sifting through all of the material.

Daily practice starts tomorrow. Our goal is to have a really good entertaining rope routine completely ready by June. We think if we keep up with our daily 1 hour practice we might just pull it off. :)

Thank you again for all of the wonderful suggestions! Wow, we could do nothing but ropes for rest of our lives if we did everything !

I will keep you updated on our progress now. Hopefully we will stay on target with it! :)

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Mar 5, 2012 10:54PM)
Just a quick update on the monkey fists

I ordered a set from Laurie, which came in a timely manner and look great. The adjustable feature was exactly what I needed - my cup has a very strong feature and it was difficult to activate without drawing attention. Now it works like a charm - thanks Laurie!


PS - my wife thinks they look great too - and she is a very tough judge of magic props!
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Mar 9, 2012 01:29AM)
Looking forward to hearing what you come up with on the ropes, Nanci!

I had a magic-filled week. I met up with Brett (Saysold1 here on the Café) and we jammed for a bit during my trip out to Phoenix, and then performed for some of my family members there. My dad is still talking about the stuff that Brett did. Lots of fun out in the desert! Then tonight I did the gig at the sushi restaurant out here. I'm told the manager was asking the wait staff if they were expecting me to pull a rabbit out of a hat. Sadly, no. I did Dean's Box, some card stuff (including Anniversary Waltz which I haven't done in ages) and my cups and balls routine which got great reactions. It was fun seeing waiters and the sushi chefs look on at what I was doing - as soon as Dean's Box hit the table they were all watching. As it was a birthday event, I pulled it out wrapped in a beautiful velvet bag and presented it like a gift. In hindsight I should have had the birthday boy (well, man) open the bag but I'll keep that in mind for next time.

All in all, tons of fun!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Mar 15, 2012 12:34PM)
So jealous of your Dean's Box- I just can't seem to bring myself to buying another apparatus- trying to get more into a busking mode. Some day, thouigh...

Just now I am working up for a couple of perfs in early April with a Titanic theme. I have White Star and several other magic/mentalism effects, plus have always been a Titanic infatuant so have ton of data and interesting stories, facts, etc. Right after that I must be ready for the Columbus Arts Fest first weekend in June. Will be doing more of a busker/con guy complete with small table, smart aleck retorts etc.

Have expanded back to 30 min a day (was "resting" at 20) and will go to 45 then one hour as I get closer to the dates. Whatchalldoin?


P.S. Mary- EVERYONE in Ohio cries. There is a spirited debate as to whether it is the economy or acid rain...
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Mar 15, 2012 07:48PM)
Hey all,

I'm still in my stage show acquisition mode. I continue to acquire the props or materials to build the props for my 10 minute stage performance for November. I actually may have the opportunity to compete with an 8 minute version prior to it, but still waiting for details on this. I have drawn up an outline for the show, acquired a majority of the props/materials, and have begun storyboarding part of the show. My plan is to get all of the parts of each routine assembled and then start practicing to fine-tune the choreography of each effect. My opener is to music, but everything else is via microphone.Once I have the layout of everything and all the props I will start a practice regiment.

Here is what I have lined up:

Routine #1 Gene Anderson's Torn & Restored Newspaper performed to Simon & Grafunkel's 59th Street Bridge Song with NAthan Kranzo's Instant Everything Lollipop and Kit Kat Production. (Have all materials but need to make up, develop choregraphy and practice, practice, & Practice!)

Routine #2 Joshua Jay's Earth Shoe's (Acquired)(May get cut if I have too much for the time.)

Routine #3 Wayne Rodgers Pinnochio's Nose with the following gags leading up to surprise ending.
a) Tony's Road Kill Surprise(Acquired)
b) Stool Sample (mine)(Acquired)
c) Colombini's News Brief(Acquired)(Need to finalize jokes to be read)
d) Colombini's Boomarang (Acquired)
e) Routine Climax (Have all materials, but under Construction)

Routine #4
Impossible Rope Escape (still figuring out method and what gags I want to incorporate)

That's what I've been up to! Break a Leg Jim and make sure you are King of the WORLDDDDDDDDDDDD!

Pete :stuckinbag:
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Mar 16, 2012 09:09AM)
Thanks, Pete. Your routines sound great! I really enjoy the challenge of putting together a show and the Titanic shows are going to be great fun. Good luck with your practice!

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Mar 16, 2012 08:19PM)
I too am a big Titanic fan. I always have been...the whole thing fascinates me.

I ordered a set of mini cups from RNT2 because I'm financially irresponsible...looking forward to continuing work on my strolling routine with the cups and balls! I may post a private video link at some point if I feel confident with the whole thing.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Mar 21, 2012 11:24AM)

Then we can form a club of financially irresponsible cups folks. Last year, I sprung for a set of Sherwoods. Hard to believe one can finance buying a set of cups... :)
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Mar 21, 2012 08:04PM)
On 2012-03-16 21:19, Andrew Zuber wrote:
...looking forward to continuing work on my strolling routine with the cups and balls! I may post a private video link at some point if I feel confident with the whole thing.

I hope you will post a video link, Andrew!

I'm working on the Guernsey cow bit with 2 cups right now.
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Mar 25, 2012 01:37PM)
Working on the routine now! It's been a lot of fun.

Those cups are on my list, Jim. I have his nickel-plated ones but those engraved cups are beauties....
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Mar 26, 2012 09:00AM)
On 2012-03-25 14:37, Andrew Zuber wrote:
Working on the routine now! It's been a lot of fun.

Those cups are on my list, Jim. I have his nickel-plated ones but those engraved cups are beauties....

They are worth the wait, Andrew! 'Cept, I am afraid to use them. I totally busted a Sherwood cup a few years gone, and the trauma remains...
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Mar 27, 2012 01:42AM)
Yeah I do Kent Gunn's routine and I still can't manage to toss 'em in the air like he does. I'm not coordinated enough/employed enough to handle the consequences of dropping one.
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Mar 31, 2012 04:21PM)
[url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=460627&forum=217&0]Earth Tones[/url]
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Apr 9, 2012 05:58PM)
Very nice Laurie. What is everyone else up to?

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Apr 9, 2012 07:03PM)
I've been working some more on my cups and balls with the mini cups I picked up from RNT2. I'm fairly happy with my progress and overall hope to have it finished in the next week or two. I spent a good amount of time in the library at the castle yesterday (yeah that's right, I got ditched on Easter so decided to go to the castle) working on the routine and am having a lot of fun with it.

I've also been playing around with a Triumph routine that my good buddy Chris Piercy shared with me. It's a killer and I performed it last night, and ta-da, they loved it! Or were fooled anyway. I'm not very entertaining but as long as they go, "wait, how did you do that?" who cares. I'm only in it to make their eyeballs fall out of their heads.

Hudson - do you ever get out to see Suzanne perform? We hung out last week and she's such a blast to be around.
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Apr 9, 2012 07:41PM)
Andrew - I did not get to see Suzanne, but I will! I'm in Omaha most of the time now (job move) and only get back to Minneapolis about one weekend a month. I did get to New York this weekend and visited Tannen's - first time I've been there, so that was fun.

I've been working on coins - continuous production and copper/silver transposition. I'm okay on these, just need work to get very smooth. Next up is Amazing Jumoing Knot (Pavel) . It is on Daryl's DVD set and just amazing.

Quick question - is there a trick to uploading a photo? I tried but was not successful. Size limit?

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Apr 10, 2012 10:19AM)
Yes, there's a size limit if you're trying to attach a photo to your post. If you have the photo hosted at an external site that provides an url for the photo, you can embed it into your post without the size limit restriction. I find photobucket a good resource for this- they provide the IMG code you can copy/paste into your post here at the Café and the photo will appear somewhat magically. ;) It's free to sign up there, FWIW.
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Apr 10, 2012 10:30PM)
Thanks Laurie!

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Apr 11, 2012 11:10AM)
You're welcome!
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Apr 16, 2012 01:40PM)
Here are some of the rabbits I've been working with. :)

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Apr 22, 2012 10:16AM)
Well, finished my last Titanic gig, what a fun time to do such a thing! Sad to put everything away.

Next week I switch, as am doing a performance which will be essentially card magic. This will be the first time I have performed with just one type of magic. It will be quite mixed, no "pick a card" but rather an attempt to put some magic back into cards. Wish me well, friends...

Hey, get to practicing! Summer busking is just around the corner!!!!

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Apr 23, 2012 10:01AM)
What exactly was the Titanic thing, Jim? I've been meaning to ask you. I'm a huge Titanic buff - I read the books, see the movies and TV specials, go to the museum exhibits, and am building a submarine in my garage out of old packing crates so that I may visit the site of the wreckage.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Apr 24, 2012 11:18AM)

It was an extravaganza totally on the 100th anniversary of the sinking. The only magic was my version of "White Star" which was very well received.

We had many pictures, facts, little known stories, etc. Showed the vid of the Lost Movies of the Titanic, several photo albums of actual pics, much of Father Browne's remarkable photo album and much more.

Had a dinner from the April 14th 1912 first class dinner menu, including Punch Romaine and chicken lyonnaise. I baked "cabin biscuits" which were on the lifeboats and we had special chocolate eclairs and french vanilla ice cream as dessert.

We had 6 people who had roles as people on the ship, each telling the story from their perspective. Very moving. Also had renditions of what the orchestra played that evening.

It also gave me an excuse to buy a beautiful 32" model of the Titanic with all of the detail. I have been captured by the Titanic since my early years, and it has not abated much thru the years. Sometimes I feel I may have been on that ship... weird, no?

I am leaving for Mexico for about 10 days, but when I get back, if you are interested I can send you some pics...


Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (May 1, 2012 12:12AM)
I would love to see photos! And am jealous of the model. I would love to have one.

So what exactly is the White Star routine?
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (May 4, 2012 08:32PM)

The White Star is from Jim Critchlow, and is based upon Out Of This World. The magician deals out a dozen or so photo cards (face shots of men and women from the early 1900's) to spec #1, and they choose which images they want to keep, and which they want to discard. Then, a second spec is dealt the same. When they are turned up, each has chosen either all who perished on the Titanic or all who did not. I have some major changes if you ever decide to do this routine and would gladly share with you.

Good to hear from you, Andrew! KEEP WELL.

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (May 4, 2012 10:39PM)
Sounds interesting! That's a neat and horribly depressing concept :) I'd be interested to hear your presentation on it.

I'm flying to Seattle in a few hours to do a kids show which should be fun. Totally unprepared but let's be honest, kids never have a clue anyway. It'll be hilarious.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (May 5, 2012 10:31AM)
I've been thrown into situations like that and find them rather interesting to do. I always keep cards, coins, rope, etc. available and am myself amazed at how things just come to mind once you are "on". Occasionally, the hardest part is remembering to stop before the hook comes out.

Good luck on your show, Andrew!

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (May 5, 2012 12:39PM)
On 2012-05-04 23:39, Andrew Zuber wrote:
...but let's be honest, kids never have a clue anyway. It'll be hilarious...

Oh my, that is a glaringly inaccurate statement, Andrew. Good luck.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (May 5, 2012 01:42PM)
I have to agree with Laurie.

Kids are very perceptive and they'll tell you if they think something is off.

But, no worries Andrew. I'm sure everything will be fine...really... You'll be great.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (May 5, 2012 07:49PM)
Well, I was joking but perhaps that didn't come across. Kids can and WILL call you out every chance they've get. I would argue they're a far more difficult audience to work for because they haven't yet learned to keep quiet if they see something amiss. Gotta appreciate that as it makes you a better performer.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (May 5, 2012 09:09PM)
Well, I can't say that I ALWAYS appreciate it.

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (May 6, 2012 02:20PM)
O.k. Andrew, I thought later that might be the case. I dunno use a smiley maybe next time? :heckno: ;)
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (May 7, 2012 10:27AM)
The show went well, and as always I learned a few things. Simple audience management stuff to make the routines stronger. All in all they had a great time. I debuted my coins through table and my cups and balls routines and both got fantastic reactions, so I feel pleased about that! It's always fun when the kids AND the adults are amazed. Then I know I'm doing my job.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (May 7, 2012 02:14PM)
Good on ya', Andrew!
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (May 10, 2012 11:03PM)
Yea Andrew! Sorry for trying to mess with you.

Nice photo Jim.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (May 11, 2012 08:32AM)
Ya think? I never feel I look good in a hat, my akubra excepted... Or was this sort of "that picture has such a GREAT FRAME!"???


Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (May 11, 2012 11:17PM)
No Jim, if I meant that I would have only said, "Nice Hat".

Still fighting with my new website but my Nephew Raymond is going to help (he's aces at this). He was quite a promising Magician in his teens. No end to that boy's talents.

Here's hoping.

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (May 24, 2012 04:13PM)
Haven't had a lot of time for practice but I continue to fiddle with this and that. Went down to Abbott's Flea Market and Auction and picked up a few items. I also got to hang out with my mentor, Dick Oslund who loaned me the Dennis Loomis Knot DVD with our own Ms. Mary Mowder featured on it. Nice job Mary!

I organized our Ring's first ever Round Robin with Five Magi each performing 8 minutes at each of five tables. We had magic with ropes, balls, card revelations, silks and coins assigned to each of the five magi. It went as I had hoped and we plan on doing it again. It was a very enjoyable program!

I have plans to put a workshop together for an upcoming meeting in the future. I am thinking about doing one on developing a character and using elements of a character in your magic.

Well take care I have to go clean my closet which will be organizing all of the stuff I brought back from the auction bought and borrowed!

Just wanted to check in,

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (May 24, 2012 08:45PM)
Hey, Pete, Howzit?

Thanks for the update. The Round Robin sounds interesting. Tell us more about how it went. I understand how magic "stuff" pulls us in- just bought the barbed-wire version of rings from Stevens for an upcoming gig at the Columbus Arts Fest. Can not wait to get it, but I have about 400 other things I could do!

Mary - want to see my NEW hat, little girl??? :)

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (May 25, 2012 02:56PM)

Thanks! Five tables with about 4-6 people at each plus one performing magician. I hit the bell and each magician performed their set of Magic. We had Dr. Gary Laundre' performing ball magic - he did some clever closeup with small spongeballs using many props to spice it up and make it fun, Leo Peters performed silk magic and probably had the hardes time because repeating 8 minutes of silk magic 5 times has its challenges but he did a great job. We probably won't repeat the silk in a round robin in the future. P.J. Weber performed a nice set of coin magic and capped it off with Holy Moly. Randy Baker did some clever Card Revelations and David Storms Hammed it up with 8 minutes of Rope Magic. When the 8 minutes were done I sounded the bell and they rotated tables, I gave a double ding and this pattern was repeated until we finished all five tables. I had everyone recognized individually at the end of the final performance and it concluded a wonderful Ring meeting that begin with a 1/2 hour Workshop by Dr. Gary Laundre on how to make your magic entertaining and a short Business meeting. All and all it was Great!

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (May 26, 2012 09:32AM)
Great idea! Sounds like a very enjoyable evening. I have at times dreamt of being able to move around tables or rooms and do just one type of magic. On one hand it could get repetitious, but to be able to focus on just one thing would be the best practice in the world.

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (May 29, 2012 06:07PM)
Check out photos on http://www.ring211.org

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (May 29, 2012 06:56PM)
I agree, sounds like an interesting session. Thanks for the report, Pete.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (May 30, 2012 02:43AM)
Sounds fun but when our club has tried similar things as well as when Tom has his Night Magic event the sound of all the performers working at once can be a little off putting.

Did you have a big distance between tables?

This problem has ruined the video of these events.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (May 30, 2012 07:04PM)
It was about a 25 foot by 40 foot room. One 8 ft table in middle, other four - 8ft tables in each of the corners. Tables Were probably no more than 6 ft apart from each other. I tried to have performers betwwen end of table and wall, so nobody would behind them except for middle table. However, some performers switched ends at their own choice. No video, quite intimate, only hard thing to hear was my bell for switching tables. No one complained about the noise but we all kind of new that would be a minor factor. Definitely worth doing and we will do again, just not silks for this venue. Hw was excellent and knows his silks but the demand on the performer was a lot. Hindsight 20/20 as usual. If you have'nt checked out the photos on our rings website please do. Gary did a cool sponge ball routine with a clear glass bowl used for placing a ball or two that always multiplied when glass bowl was lifted. It gave transparency to one in my hand how many in yours. He pushes the envelope with his magic. Very inventive!

P.S. I haven't done a workshop for the club yet. I'm starting to piece together a workshop on adding character to one's act. If you are interested I can let you know more of what I have in mind. Not sure when I will do this. I want to make sure I know what I am doing before I commit.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 2, 2012 01:32AM)
I would love to have attended (or performed) at your Round Robin event Pete.

I've been working on the $ bill puzzle again because I was forgetting how to do it. I have to do a lot of remedial work to keep my skills.

Any way I can consistently get it in around 1 minute and 30 seconds.

Here-to-for my personal best was 1 min. 14 sec. but I got a 1min. 5 sec. one on my last session.

That includes z fold, cut and weave. Whoo Hoo! Now if I can think of a reason to do such a thing I'll be sitting pretty.

I spend a lot of time taping bills after they are too old for practice and unweaving and ironing cut bills that still have some useful training purpose.

If you try it, soft but neat bills are best for speed.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 2, 2012 08:07AM)

If you haven't done it, try your hand at busking. Give out a "free" folded bill with each "donation" of $5 or more... you will be amazed!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 2, 2012 01:22PM)
I'll give it a try if I do some busking this summer.

Have you done or seen something similar?

There are others who are weaving bills as this DVD is available to Magicians but I've never run into anyone doing it yet.

I'm self taught (saw the picture in Magic Magazine) so I didn't see the DVD.

Do you think having them pre-made is good or do you think building excitement by having the process timed (with a comfortably long base time) as they watch would be better?

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 2, 2012 05:15PM)
I think if you show it done and then have the completed ones for sale, it may work really well. I believe no one could watch one made and figure out how to do it, so the secret is safe.
Odd but true, though, how some will clamor after the finished product as a gift, trinket or memento. I learned long ago that in some circumstances, at least, people really are looking for something to get- check out the lobby for any broadway show and you will see what I mean.

I have done something similar, in that I have sold some magic items at shows with good success. It started at an event where they did not allow selling, but the audience could take a donation. So, I mentioned to my audiences that a donation would be nice, and anyone donating $5 or more could have a free magic item home as a special thank you.


Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 2, 2012 11:27PM)
Thanks Jim,

I may stick a label on the dollar with contact info. as well.

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 3, 2012 08:29AM)
THAT is a great idea, Mary! Think I will get to work on it, if I may...

Plus, gotta wonder if you could experiment with laser-printing the info right on the bill so that it always shows after the fold?? Just a thought, as I do the Garcia effect which uses that principle... and this way the spec couldn't separate your info from the bill.

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 3, 2012 01:20PM)
Since I've cut the bill, it might be better if my info (and culpability) could be removed.

Got it in 1 minute 1 second last night.

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Jun 3, 2012 01:46PM)
Mary and Jim,

My curiosity has been peaked! What is the $ Bill Puzzle?

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 3, 2012 03:29PM)
Here is one.
Message: Posted by: Vince Hancock (Jun 4, 2012 09:49AM)
On 2012-06-03 14:20, Mary Mowder wrote:
Since I've cut the bill, it might be better if my info (and culpability) could be removed.

According to Claflin and Sheridan's [i]Street Magic[/i], Herrmann the Great (Alexander) deliberately mixed himself up in awkward situations, sometimes ending with a visit to the police station. In one instance, he accused a streetcar conductor of robbing him, when the poor conductor was merely trying to collect the magician's fare. Herrmann reached into the conductor's pocket and pulled out a stack of bills and threw them in the air. The other passengers grabbed them up.

[quote]Where the portrait of a president should have been, there was instead a picture of a devilish looking character with a black goatee and the caption "Herrmann the Great." The bills also invited one and all to attend the magician's performance at Ford's Opera House that evening. As for the harassed conductor and the driver of the streetcar, both were given free passes to the show. (p.97) [i](Street Magic, 2nd Ed., Edward Claflin and Jeff Sheridan, Kaufman and Company, Washington, D.C., 1998)[/i][/quote]

Whad'ya say? One person's culpability is another person's calling card. I can start drawing up a legal defense fund for you, if you like.

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 4, 2012 02:24PM)
Thanks Vince,

Glad to see you joined the Café and found your way to this group.
I'm not really the type who could get away with that but it never hurts to have a Legal Defense Fund in reserve so feel free.

What Magic are you working on lately? Read Jim's intro at the start and skip to the end and join in. Don't worry, so far Jim has not kicked out any slackers (I.E., me) but it does help to have some support in your practice and to get some good ideas on how to proceed when you hit a rough patch.

I broke the minute mark on the $ weave last night. I got a 54, a 55, and a 56 second finish (not in a row). That's fold, cut and weave. If I could use those few seconds left in a min to do some straightening of the finished product and still be in the one minute consistently, I'd be happy.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Vince Hancock (Jun 4, 2012 02:53PM)
Hi Mary,

Sure thing.

1. Vince Hancock

2. My goal: this isn't nearly as specific as everyone else's. My head has been stuck in community theater for the past several years. We've had some hits, a few misses, and even some very gentle competition from other theater groups that showcase different material. This is all fine. But we're looking ahead, and seeing a time when some of the old warhorses may not appeal to the coming generations. Indeed, live theater itself may have some trouble appealing to the coming generations. I have given myself the goal of understanding, in concrete terms, how local, live performances (theater, magic, and related arts) can compete with the plethora of recordings of top-notch, national-level performances. And how can I make my little coin-through-the-piece-of-rubber trick finally make sense, within a larger narrative?

3. Time devoted each session: primarily reading. Half hour each day, occasionally 45 minutes if I'm lucky.

4. Sessions per day: 1-2 times daily.

5. Projected date of competency: I'd like to have a prototype of the effect together by the end of the year. Additional knowledge and revisions, in order to present it - a year from now, June 2013.


Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 4, 2012 03:15PM)
Good Start.

For the Coin through Rubber Sheet Effect I'd start with a premise, like:

Getting through adversity, finding your way, use two condoms, etc... This will give you a direction.

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 5, 2012 10:22PM)
Hi, Vince, and welcome! If you can stick to your plan, you won't believe the progress you will make. I just came off of a 3-day gig at the Columbus Arts Fest and am very psyched about the ability to create a good hat on the street. 'Course a large art fair is much easier that Tuesday morning in Butte, Montana, but still...

Nice to have you aboard. Many of the originals have kind of drifted off. Perhaps they practiced enough to make the big time and forgot about us. The ones who have stayed on, like Mary, have made a relaxing and fun group to get inspiration from...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 5, 2012 10:46PM)
Hey Jim,

Nice hat.

Message: Posted by: Vince Hancock (Jun 6, 2012 01:52AM)
Thanks very much, Jim!

I hope that I can stick to my plan, too. We'll see how it goes. I'm returning to the idea about 3 years after I sketched out some ideas and notes. Trying to keep the electricity on is a challenge, so now and then I have to set the magic pursuits aside. I've known Mary and her partner Tom since I was a kid; they're both very generous, kind and patient. It's great to see her here.

Mary, I'm shocked and startled by your final premise suggestion. Something along those lines would threaten to make my little demonstration relevant to a modern audience, which might provoke comparisons with about one-fifth of the theatrical productions staged every year.

Thanks all the same, but I'm going to stick with my bizarre contraptions and outdated metaphors.

(Jim, did I mention that Mary is a very generous, kind and patient person?)

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 6, 2012 03:22AM)
In which one endeavors to push the solid silver, coin of realm directly through a layer of India rubber.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 6, 2012 07:37AM)
"(Jim, did I mention that Mary is a very generous, kind and patient person?)"


I had come to that conclusion, but it is good to have it ratified. I have never met Mary, but she is my "E-sweetie" and Chapeau critic. So, Mary, do you like this one better than the black one or no??

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jun 6, 2012 12:03PM)

I'm working on my chink-a-chink presentations, getting the sheep ready for the farmer's market this Saturday, also the birds and the bears. You can see pics, etc. on the Café thread page linked to and the page following it. Filmed the sheep yesterday and looks promising for Saturday.

I need to think about setting a more concrete schedule for the black sheep C&B and the goose. I've worked on their technical development in a few sessions but want to get them on a consistent schedule and really get them going.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 6, 2012 03:01PM)
Actually I like the White one better.

More protection, cooler and more flattering to your silver hair and beard.

Do you wear the hat indoors when you are in character? Tom and I don't know what is polite nowadays and we are not going to hang his hat in a corner or carry it around.

Maybe this would be a good question for "The Clothes we Wear".

Best wishes for Saturday Laurie. It would be great if you could get a Dog coin in there to herd the sheep.


-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jun 7, 2012 10:36AM)
Thankyou, Mary! After viewing the [url=http://youtu.be/6tCbMFp7eUo]Sheep herding Dog[/url] video awhile back, and working a little in that direction with "Thieves Pitchin Sheep", incorporating a dog hadn't crossed my mind for some reason. ;) It's a very nice idea and there are some beautiful coins, there. It would work nicely with the regular chink-a-chink sequence I'm using with the boats. I've been using a different sequence with the sheep, but putting a dog in, will allow me to perform it in the regular sequence, too. Thankyou for the suggestion! I hope you don't mind if I use it! :)
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 7, 2012 01:15PM)
I was hoping you could.

You could introduce another character but it might make the routine a bit complicated.


Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jun 7, 2012 01:28PM)
If that's a link for Canadian Wolf Half Dollars -Silver 1967- I already use them for the aforementioned "Thieves Pitchin' Sheep" and they work very nice there.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 7, 2012 02:41PM)
Yep, it was.

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jun 7, 2012 04:58PM)
Something else I'm working on is eliminating use of my tv tray table, using my wooden case instead. Initially I bought the case (a silverware container) with that in mind, but got away from the idea for some reason. I practiced with it on my lap this afternoon and it actually felt more comfortable than using the table, so that's encouraging. I like to pack light, so eliminating the table will be a step further forward in containment and portability. :)
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jun 7, 2012 07:30PM)
Hi guys! I'm still here. Bit behind on my practice, but ivebeen working on a chop cup routine (based on Jim Swain's WGM routine) for our club's annual competition. I'm comfortable with the mechanics of the routine and now working on the patter. Have 11 more days to practice! Ugh!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 8, 2012 02:22AM)
We're pulling for you Hudson!

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jun 8, 2012 10:50AM)
Indeed. Best wishes. :)
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 8, 2012 10:14PM)
Good luck, Hudson, and the more you practice, the gooder your luck will be, methinks...

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jun 9, 2012 10:19AM)
Thanks guys. I need all the "luck" I can get!

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 9, 2012 05:43PM)
You will do great, Hudson...
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 10, 2012 12:35AM)

I've got some good advice.

Look at the audience and smile. Don't make the top of your head the star of the show. Actually plan your "looks around the room". Use your gaze to direct their attention and don't look at anything you don't want them to see.

Imagine people loving your act as you practice. Imagine you are Mr. Entertainment on a really good night. Take a deep breath and anchor in this wonderful feeling. Take a deep relaxing breath and remember that feeling as you are being introduced.

If you have a sticky spot a laugh will help cover it. If you aren't a writer a quote might help. Google quotes and subject. "They say" is all the annotation you need in this context but more is OK.

Don't apologize for anything or be self deprecating unless that is really your character.

Treat your volunteers like welcome guests.

If they like you, they will like your Magic.

Even in a competition I like to see my competitors do well (it's just more fun and relaxing that way) so go in knowing that EVERYONE wants you to do succeed.

It isn't about winning, it's about entertaining and improving.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jun 10, 2012 10:41AM)
Good reactions at the Farmers Market yesterday to the new material and I performed without the table, just had to carry the chair and my bag, so that's makes a wonderful difference. More streamlined portability, for sure. Looking forward to next weekend- Grand Opening for the Farmers Market, so should be a fair crowd and lots of fun. Looking into busking in town, too. There's a great prime location just put in a patio and benches. Would be a very opportune spot to perform.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 10, 2012 12:44PM)
I'm happy to hear when less (carrying) is more.

It is always great when new material is well received.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 10, 2012 06:21PM)
Go get 'em, Laurie! The more I busk, the more I understand how good it can be. I just need to carry less...

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jun 10, 2012 07:54PM)
Thankyou very much! :)
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jun 10, 2012 09:24PM)
Mary - thanks for the words of wisdom. Will keep them in mid as I practice and, hopefully, will be natural when I perform!

Laurie - glad to hear the fair went well.

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Jun 14, 2012 12:20AM)
Been crazy busy with work but we're heading into a lull as staffing season for television is basically finished and we can all breathe a sigh of relief. In the mean time I'm working the castle on June 25th, doing a "half Christmas" event. I need to break out some holiday-themed winter material. By break out, I mean come up with. Any ideas?
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 14, 2012 02:18PM)

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 15, 2012 07:44AM)
Hey, Andrew!

Let me give this some thought...

The first thing that comes to mind is Blizzard, I think by Dean Dill.

Are D'Lites possible? You could do a christmas lights thingy... I do them with Napkin Rose, which is not strictly magic, but is very magical and a crowd pleaser. I use the DLite with my thumb in the rose to light it up, and people really like it.

Chop cup with white "snow" balls??

I will keep thinkin'

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 15, 2012 02:44PM)
All adults or Saturday family crowd?

Red and Green paper coils.

There is a Christmas version of Deja Zoo called Presents of Mind. I skip the really Christian symbols for secular shows. There are still plenty of choices.

Music choices and Silk color choices. Add some plastic Holly to your table dressing (traditional Low Solstice decoration)

Daryl's Amazing Acrobatic Knot is Red and White (a great item any time).

Mental epic with favorite Carol, favorite present or keeper of Holiday spirt in your family as the non-card choices. Mention Christmas Cards in association with the final Card choice.

Production Items and colors like ornaments or Christmas candies or Chocolate coins (representing Hanukkah gelt).

What did one Snowman say to the other Snowman?... Do you smell carrots?

Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 15, 2012 11:29PM)
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 17, 2012 12:47PM)

How'd it go?

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jun 17, 2012 05:50PM)
Hi Mary - practicing as we speak. Okay, taking a break from practice! Sat with a magician friend/mentor last week and revamped my story and performance a bit. A little stressed since I changed the routine up just a week before the competition, but it is much better now and more personal. I also ordered and received olives from RNT2 to go with the story - from my Army days in the club. I may subject you all with a video ... If your aren't lucky! (of course I still haven't managed to get a picture loaded even with Laurie's instructions, so you are probably safe foe a while!)

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jun 17, 2012 06:17PM)
I would like to see a video. :nod:
All the best! :)
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jun 17, 2012 10:10PM)
Okay - here it is. My first YouTube video It is a little dark, not much practice at videos. Hope you enjoy ... I won't leave it up for too long (if I can figure out how to take it down!). I'm not happy with it yet, but it will have to do for now.


Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 18, 2012 08:19AM)

Kudos! That is a VERY interesting routine- I liked every part of it! I would put my version up, but don't know how to get it loaded... Keep up the good work!


Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jun 18, 2012 10:52AM)
Excellent work, Hudson! Thanks for the video!
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 18, 2012 02:32PM)

Good video, I really liked the story.

Is it true?

Nice routine as well.

Smile more, you're good looking, use it.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jun 18, 2012 03:28PM)
Mary - Is it true? Parts. Fort Knox, Ranger, Office Club - Red is fictional as is the Olive test - but the rest is all fact.

Jim, Laurie - thanks for your comments and support. Wish me luck!

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jun 18, 2012 10:21PM)
Jim, Laurie & Mary,

Thanks for your well wishes and advice. I tried to incorporate the comments I had ... Not enought practice and an equipment malfunction (ball failed to drop) that threw me off. Overwell did okay - didn't win, but I'm pretty close to a new routine that seems to be pretty good. I will practice some more and then repost a video when it is more polished.

Thanks for your support!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 19, 2012 01:20AM)
Glad you did well Hudson!

I've actually had more growth after competitions that I did not win (although I wish I had won).

After that much pressure your practice will be more relaxed and go to a new level. You've already experienced the most pressure you can be under and you not only survived, you did well.

Competitions can be more loser generators than winner generators (one winner, lots of losers) if we don't find our own personal victories.

One year I used the competition to develop a new act. It looks like you have a new performance piece under your belt.


-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jun 19, 2012 06:11AM)

The competition was a good forcing mechanism to learn a new routine. I have a personal objective this year to learn 4 new routines, with this one at the top of the list. It still needs some work, but once I get it nailed, believe it will be one of my favorites.

Now I've got to get back to working on the Jumping Knot!

Thanks again,

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jun 19, 2012 08:02AM)
Good for you, Hudson. :)
Message: Posted by: Vince Hancock (Jun 21, 2012 07:42PM)

I watched your video. This is on its way to being an excellent piece. It's already quite good.

A few thoughts that come to mind:

What does Red McGinty sound like? Is he gruff? Kind? Sarcastic? Mocking? Condescending? Does he have a touch of an Irish accent, or is he just a mean guy? Is he an old fossil? Or just middle-age? Since he's the dominant character, you get to have the fun of making him as broad or subtle a character as you like. Why is he administering the Olive Test? Is he truly concerned about the new officers that
are eager to chug the booze, or is he just out to make fun of them? Or a little of both? That could determine how he sounds.

In contrast, what does the young officer ("you") sound like? How old is he? How does he respond to the repeated variations of the test? He seems a little too calm to me. I'd get a little impatient. But maybe your young officer is cocky. Or is he anxious? Intimidated by this guy?

I like the "give me another shot" pairing with the display of the shot glass. It's clever. But how would McGinty react to that sort of cleverness?

I'm suspicious of that blue silk. That's no bar rag! Let me see a real bar rag, or something made from comparable material. I want to soak up the feeling of this officers' club. Give me an artifact from that world to look at (I've never spent time in the service - what's typical, what's not typical? Tell me a little more about that world). What's that other thing at the very end? A bag? What else could be used, or what reason could be invented for the bag being there?

As the repeated tests continue, do the two characters change at all? Does the pace change? Red's just badgering the young upstart, isn't he? C'mon, c'mon, what's Red really up to?

I really like the ending with the baseballs. Visually startling. Rawhide, sewn textures against machine-spun steel. But I'm not quite clear about what to make of the "one shot/two shots" language. Would there be a benefit to tossing these two "keepers" into the audience? Could the final red ball ("never a third shot") be thrown in an opposite direction (back in your case)? Why is it red? Red because it matches his name? Red as in no/stop sign symbolism? Even if you don't intend some of these things, I'm thinking about them as I'm watching (well, really only about 30 percent - the other 70 percent is occupied by the initial visual surprise).

These are only thoughts. I love the personal story you've written around this, based on your own experiences. Your audience will love you for this. Let them see you as you play. Keep up the good work.

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jun 21, 2012 10:59PM)
Thank you for your suggestions. I will continue to refine and incorporate your comments with the other comments I have received. I feel pretty good about this routine and believe I can make it my signature trick.

Thanks again!

Message: Posted by: daingerousmagic (Jun 24, 2012 03:53PM)
Just a quick thank you to Mary who brought this topic up to my attention. I will be posting and active in this topic area very soon. I can't wait to join you guys,
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 24, 2012 04:57PM)
You're welcome Dain.

I am hoping to receive a Picto-Transpo in the mail sometime next week.

I'll be working on that at least a half hour a day and also hit and run practice on the drawing.

I can't wait.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 25, 2012 04:51PM)
Hey Nancini,

How is the Rope Project going?

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Jun 27, 2012 11:42PM)
Hudson - nice routine! I would pick up the pacing a bit to keep it moving but I enjoyed the incorporation of all the different elements and the multiple final loads.

The Castle gig went great - thank you all for the suggestions! I didn't even consider Blizzard which is silly because I own it and LOVE it. I did Dean's Box though, producing it from a bowling ball briefcase and wrapped like a present. The whole theme was Christmas traditions - my dad setting down his briefcase after coming home from work and pulling one last wrapped present out of it (the box,) then memosas on Christmas morning (I produced a giant one from a spectator's sleeve,) opened the box and produced a dove from the wrapping paper, vanished the dove (zero turtle doves...) and then did the box routine. Followed that with talking about Christmas dinner and did the vanishing ketchup bottle, produced a glass of brandy from the bag at the end (an after dinner drink) and then talked about how my cousin and I would stay up late that night playing cards, and did a multiple card selection/revelation to close. John Carney told me afterward that I'd done a good job, so that was the Christmas present to myself. I did a 25-minute close up show later in the evening for a smaller group and that was that!

All together we raised over $1100 for the Los Angeles Mission, so the event really was a success!

What's everyone else working on these days? Sorry I'm not on much - things are nonstop down here but when I check in on the Café this is the only thread I check at the moment. Kudos to everyone in here for being awesome!
Message: Posted by: TheGreatNancini (Jun 28, 2012 10:57PM)
On 2012-06-25 17:51, Mary Mowder wrote:
Hey Nancini,

How is the Rope Project going?


Hi Mary and all,

I just happend to stop by on this thread tonight and saw your post. I apologize for just disappearing, but I felt really bad that after I joined you guys, all of my plans got derailed and fell apart.

We have increased our business considerably which takes a lot more of our time (This is a good thing and I am not complaining). We also have had some personal issues that have taken a lot of time to work through as well.

We had an opportunity to take part of our business yet another direction and we think it will help us in the long run, but in the interim, it only makes both my son's and my plate fuller.

To make a long story short, I have books, dvd's, lots of rope, and a strong desire to actually learn and be good at it, but by the time I have a moment to pick it up, I am too exhausted to even think about it.

Oh, and we added another show to our summer line up (a busking show) which actually has been going very well, and my son insists we be out on the pitch any spare moment we do have. (Needless to say, rope is not involved).

All that to say, that I am sorry for crashing your thread and then vanishing. I am embarrassed that my big rope plans turned out to be a pipe dream.

Thank you all for being so kind to me and helpful. Hopefully I will get to put it to good use some day.

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 29, 2012 09:53AM)
Hey, Nanci!

I predict you will LOVE rope for busking- well worth the practice.

It is good you are so busy, although I really missed working with both of you at the Columbus Arts Fest. It was a great 3 days, great hat, plus a sponsor paid the magicians as well! Maybe next year, unless you are in Vegas...

Please stop by often. We all get energy and resolve from each other!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 29, 2012 02:31PM)

Never apologize for success!

We all have time crunches that derail plans. This thread is to help get you back on track when things get a little more "normal".

Come back when you can. Jim is right, Rope is excellent for busking. Rope can be learned one little effect at a time. It is great for interaction with people one or two at a time to build a tip and it can play big as well.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jul 2, 2012 01:35PM)
I got my Picto-Transpo and I'm working with it.

I really love the effect and it seems very well made and does clean up as advertised. It is used but really nice.

I don't love the clean-up process of going through it a lot, the smell and mess (I'm working with the Permanent markers now) but my cat is really loving all my extra trips to the garage which inevitably end in a Kitty petting.

Good Magic and lots of Cat, what's not to like really?

Keep practicing.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jul 3, 2012 08:51AM)
Think a cat is great? Try a skunk!

Am getting ready to take Pepe, my pet spring skunk, to a 4th gig (actually the eve of the 3rd when all the fireworks are scheduled). It is going to be SO hot! Any of you have any ice effects that I can use to cool off???

Have a great holiday, all!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jul 3, 2012 01:01PM)
I used to do some costume work and we had a belt that would hold tubes of ice in it. We had to take a cooler to keep extra tubes for switch out. not very slimming in regular clothes.

I wonder if there is anything like that in an ankle bracelet. Perhaps something for sports medicine?

My Dad puts a really wet washcloth in a bag in his hat fits it to his head and carefully inverts it in the freezer till frozen before he mows the lawn.

I know these won't help tomorrow but I have to believe that there is some answer out there.

You're so cool you won't need it, Jim.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jul 4, 2012 08:07AM)
"You're so cool you won't need it, Jim."

This is the nicest thing anyone has said to me at the Café! Merci!

Lord was last night hot! Even Pepe, my pet skunk was sweaty. I need to work on a routine where I magically go swimming without leaving the stage. Of course, there would be a bit of stripping to make it look realistic... just a bit...

Happy Independence day, all!


Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jul 13, 2012 03:42AM)
I tried my new Book Test at a Teen and Tween (turned out to be all ages as usual) Close-Up Show today. This was at a Library so It is never really Close-Up but rather Close-Up that plays big plus a couple of Parlor effects that appeal more to Adults than to little kids. (Hence the Book Test).

This is the first time I've performed it since some major changes and I had only done it about 4 times prior to that.
I've been practicing a little daily for about a month plus a few hour long sessions and the mental drill really helped.
(I've been cross training with Picto Transpo).

I was amazed at how well it went over.
Not being too familiar with book tests I thought it might drag while the Spectator is reading the passage. Not really a problem, I had things to say.
The crowd really responded to the Volunteer's responses to my description of the passage the Volunteer had just read silently. I didn't expect this aspect to be that strong.

In a Show of tried and true material it got the Biggest response. It could be because it is new and exciting to me and that might show in my performance.
Anyway I was very pleased.

Now I'm wondering why the rest of the show wasn't quite as special. D'oh!

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jul 13, 2012 05:12AM)
Congrats Mary! Always nice when a new routine goes well.

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jul 13, 2012 08:05AM)

Was the rest of your show mentalism? I have never been able to mix magic and mentalism to good effect...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jul 13, 2012 03:00PM)
With the few "Mental" effects I have, they seem to integrate well.

I do have what could be called a Trick, trick , trick Stand-Up Show. I have a very strong set but not a strong theme.

My basic context for the show is "We're all here for a good time, I'm here to entertain you, lets go!".

I think the audience sees the "Mental Magic" as just another Magic Effect.

If I'm showing them physical mastery over matter and energy in time/space (not a claim I make in the show) it doesn't seem to far a stretch that I'm able to do Mental Magic as well.

Especially in the context that I'm there as an Entertainer.

I know many have a problem with this format but my audience seem just fine with it and have a good time.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Jul 13, 2012 05:38PM)
Congrats Mary! A good time is what it's all about :)

I went over to Pete Biro's house last night to pick up Joe Porper's linking finger rings, and holy smokes this thing is a work of art. Now to work on a presentation to really fry people. Pete and I had a nice chat about the history of the effect, and I can say that the first time I saw Pendragon do it at the castle I was moved beyond words. I am SO thrilled I saw it, as it was his last performance with Charlotte.

I'm meeting with Tony Clark on Sunday to go over some dove material. I'd like to up my game as far as working with the birds goes so I'm excited to see what he has in store for me.

In the close up arena, I'm working on bring the Okito box back into my close up sets at the castle, so I've been reviewing some David Roth footage. I have a routine I used to do but I'd like to spice it up. Phew! Maybe my plate is too full but I'm happy with how things are coming along :) Happy practicing, everyone!
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jul 13, 2012 06:35PM)
Sounds good, Mary! :)
I was very recently thinking about doing more with Okito box, myself, Andrew. Also picked up my copy of Ross Bertram's Magic and Methods this week to look for something else with coins. Already have something I should be able to incorporate. Want to get doing more with the coins I'm already using, get some routines going. And as always, the goose! Want to get working with her. The sheep C&Bs later, I think. Want to work on expanding C&Bs with the cow, etc. first. Got a lot of animal figurines I'd like to start putting in... menagerie, indeed! :)
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jul 13, 2012 07:52PM)
If you haven't already made the purchase check out a Boston box set.


More work in routining but more provers as well. Of course it would depend on whether you could use the coins you want with the set.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jul 13, 2012 07:57PM)
Hi, folks!

I would say "guys" but don't know if it is appropriate.

Hey, Laurie, how are you on giraffes? I just got animal cracker cookie cutters for a routine I am working up, but am wondering if permanent figures would work...

Andrew- you know everybody! Reminds me of a joke about the pope... I LOVE Tony's stuff, my fav being Slydini's 3 balls routine... Tony does it justice...

Speaking of Slydini, my latest practice schedule revolves around Slydini knotted silks. I am captured by how great this routine is- and STILL plays well! The guy was WAY out there!

Mary- You have inspired me to try the mix! I have a mentalism routine I have never tried, a book test that is stunning, and plan to merge it in with my other stuff.

You "guys" are all an inspiration to me, thank you all!!!

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jul 14, 2012 11:01AM)
Jim, I love giraffes! Haven't added any yet, but I might have to. ;) Just takes a little strategizing to decide how to handle the different figures.

Just FYI, I like Schleich animal figures and they can be found at reasonable prices with combined shipping on ebay. The TSC store here in town has stocked them, as well, and put them on sale sometimes, so I've picked some up there, including the goslings I've posted previously.

Here are some images of [url=http://www.google.ca/search?q=schleich+giraffe&hl=en&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=f5oBUNOKNebq6QGJ_fyLBw&ved=0CFEQsAQ&biw=1600&bih=697]Schleich's wonderful craft.[/url]
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jul 14, 2012 01:49PM)
Those are great, Laurie! I will look for some at my local TSC- Tractor Supply yes?

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jul 14, 2012 03:14PM)
I suppose that's right, Jim. I've only known it as TSC, til now. :)

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jul 14, 2012 05:21PM)
Yup, I'm a farm boy...
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Jul 17, 2012 07:24PM)
I worked on the Slydini silks a bit with Tony years ago, and then picked them back up when I saw Bill Malone doing them. I haven't done much with the routine in awhile and never really did perform it. Any thoughts/ideas, Jim?
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jul 19, 2012 05:33PM)
HI, Andrew!

I am just getting into them. I have had the L&L DVD for quite awhile, this after buying the Slydini silks written package and not being able to get them to work right. The L&L is very good- three very interesting routines with a lot of ideas- Draun, Cellini and Malone.

For some odd reason, Andrew, the more "new" stuff that comes out, the more I like the classics. I think the silks are a real winner. Close up, parlor or stage- and pack small - what more can one ask?

Taking some advice from Pop Haydn, who I respect, I likely will follow Slydini's routine, with just two additions from the DVD- Malone's false knot and Draun's. These are must-adds to me. I have a couple of things I do with a rope/silk routine, but will wait to put them in.

Here is a poor quality vid of Slydini doing most of the stuff...


Good to hear from you!

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jul 19, 2012 09:06PM)
Very nice! Thanks for sharing Jim.

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jul 24, 2012 09:08PM)
I've been working on my Red McGinty routine. Here it is with changes made based on comments from everyone and a bunch more practice. So far I've only shown to magicians - is it ready for a live audiance? I look forward to your comments



Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jul 26, 2012 11:02AM)

Wow, you make be commit to more practice! That was very nicely done! Smooth, easy and yet with a nice pace. I would say yes, this is ready for a live audience. Ya' done good, fellow!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jul 26, 2012 03:06PM)
I liked it before but I can see the improvement.

You have a lot more "eye contact" and somehow the story seems more direct as well. I like the 3 white ball ending.

I see a few more smiles but you could use some more. Your smile is like a (hidden) super power.

Every time you do the pensive look, smile instead.

Good work!

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jul 26, 2012 03:57PM)
Team - thanks for your comments and suggestions. Still more work to do, but I like this routine and will work to find opportunities to perform!

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Jul 29, 2012 02:49PM)

Very nice! I think your 3 B-ball ending is very strong! I like Mary's comment. If I can expand on this as a suggestion, you can see if it fits your style. When telling a story I love to separate the characters. Ponder the possibility of using your smile almost with a drunk-like quality when playing yourself in the story. See how it runs? You never know, but it can't hurt to see.

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jul 30, 2012 06:08AM)
Thanks Pete,
I've tried a couple of times to 'switch' my personality, one for Red and one for the lieutenant, and do the presentation in the first person, I just haven''t been able to pull it off where my voice/mannerisms are sufficiently different to make a clear difference. I will keep trying, I do believe that you are right and it will make a better presentation ....

Thanks again for the suggestions!

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Jul 30, 2012 08:32PM)
Good luck! Sometimes if you can find a certain character feature to trigger yourself when going into it. For example a light cough, a giggle, a smacking of the lips, a sigh, etc. I look forward to future viewings! Please keep us posted!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jul 31, 2012 12:15AM)
I did Picto-Transpo first time in public Sunday.

It was the hit of the show! Several people commented that they loved that one with the drawings.

That's two new effects that had a great launch (book test a couple weeks ago). I would have liked to have tried the book test again but it wasn't the right show for it.

It was a great crowd. Three birthday kids all in the same family. A 16 year old (she helped with the Picto Transpo) 11, (Down's syndrome boy, he had a great time with Sash through Arm) and 9 (she helped with Butterfly Blendo.) I'm not a fan of outdoor shows but this one was really great due to the family vibe, (Grand-Ma helped with invisible Deck). It was followed by 40 mins of Close-Up which I get very little opportunity to perform. I was in heaven.

A great meal sent home and a $20 tip didn't hurt either.

I had a session with my good friend Dennis Loomis the day after on Picto.. and got some tips to make the handling better. I can't wait to perform Picto-Transpo again.

It was well worth the practice. I'd like to thank you all for the encouragement. It helps to know I'll be checking in to say what I've been working on.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jul 31, 2012 05:41AM)
Congratulations Mary! Glad to hear your show went so well - really makes the hours of practice worth it.

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Aug 1, 2012 12:18AM)
Thanks Hudson.

I've left final choices for the upcoming Contest a bit long due to circumstance so I'm no better than I ought to be in that regard.

Here's hoping I get a little clarity soon.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Aug 2, 2012 12:47PM)
Hi, Mary-

I am not familiar with picto-transpo but will look it up as it sounds like a winner. I have somehow stumbled into Slydini's knots and am having a great time with that routine although I have not performed it yet. Although it is fairly easy, how you place your hands and arms is very important and I don't want to expose by doing it wrong, as it is right on the edge of being easy for the audience to suss out if it is not done just right.

The book test sounds interesting. I have one I have never used, although it is quite clever. Got to break it out. I recently realized that less than 90 days and we will be into Halloween season, bwa-ha-ha-ha. I usually wait until October to think of this, but I am going to start serious work on getting ready with some spine-tingling stuff. I just love doing magic/mentalism at that time of year!

Hope all of you are well, and continuing to devote SOME PERIOD OF TIME on a regular basis to your magic. I have finally gotten to the place where early morn with my coffee is a fun time to practice or rehearse. Have a little corner with mirror and my busking table (essentially a serving stand from restaurant supply) so I can get right into it. I have found that is important, because if I have to go hunt stuff up, I just read the news instead.


Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Aug 2, 2012 06:21PM)
On 2012-08-02 13:47, Mr. Mystoffelees wrote:
...Hope all of you are well, and continuing to devote SOME PERIOD OF TIME on a regular basis to your magic... Have a little corner with mirror and my busking table (essentially a serving stand from restaurant supply) so I can get right into it...[/quote]

Thankyou, Jim. Hope you are well, too. I do indeed continue to practice regularly. I, too, have a little corner with mirror and busking table, also have a chair and window. :) I'm performing at the Farmer's Market weekly, going to cut that down to their busiest hour 10- 11 a.m. and try to maximize impact. Fair coming up and White Pine Festival, too. :)
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Aug 5, 2012 04:50PM)
Check out this thread for Laurie's Photo contest. There are lots of beautiful photos but Laurie's Bee photo is my favorite. No log in needed.


I'm working on Martin Lewis' Technicolor Prediction. (A great package by the way, well presented and explained, with extras).

The handling could be a problem under pressure because that is when my dyslexia can be the worst but with practice, muscle memory is my friend.

Writing is a process because with some writers like Martin Lewis and say Daryl's Amazing Acrobatic Knot for instance it is hard to change their writing for your own which (certainly before a break in period and maybe always ) can seem inferior to their presentation which comes with the effect.

It is hard to want to be original when it is clearly a step down.

Oh well. For a contest I feel I must try.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Jason Johnson (Aug 5, 2012 05:25PM)
Mary, how do you do card magic being dislexic? You must be a real magician, lol. Seriously though, I love your fighting spirit, and you're so kind to new members. Your dedication to magic and your willingness to help others is awesome!
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Aug 5, 2012 06:32PM)
Thank you Jason. Not many people commend me on my fighting spirit (especially my Friends and Family).

I really do practice a lot but fortunately I enjoy most practice. Why get a Hobby/Career you don't enjoy?

Actually there are few times that my particular dyslexia bothers me. Like where handling or turning over a card in a certain way could give something away and such, being given directions or giving directions or public situations where I'm asked to do something Right or Left and get hit with the inevitable "Your other Left" (for the record, my least favorite quip).

Like most people, my habits control which hand I use for what most of the time. And since I'm somewhat ambidextrous I often have more choices (not always a good thing) than most.

I think there might be an advantage in dyslexia when it comes to thinking differently.

I 'll bet my spell check has more miles on it than anyone I know though. LOL

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Aug 5, 2012 10:26PM)
Mary - thanks for the heads up on Laurie's photo contest.

Is tha acrobatic knot the same as th jumping knot? I'm working in that now and was thinking of doing that for the competition next year too! That was was favorite bit from his DVDs. I still have a ways to go, stopped to work on my Red McGinty routine.

To all - thanks for your support on Red McGinty. Last night I did the routine for the first time for a real audiance and it went over great. I incorporated many of the suggestions I've received and it is getting pretty good. We (Omaha Magic Society) has an event at Boys Town in a couple weeks and I may do Red there if the setting is right.

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Stay well and keep practicing.

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Aug 5, 2012 10:30PM)

What is chell speck??

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Aug 5, 2012 11:00PM)
Glad you asked Jim. LOL

55Hudson, Yes it is Jumping knot but a little different (a little more). It is a wonderful effect. I still always write Jumping Knot on my show list but I try to remember to use the correct name in posting.

Happy Birthday Laurie!

Hey Jason Johnson, What are you practicing lately. Want to join the group? Read the first page for the rules and jump to the end to join.

Devious posted a link to The Mars landing tonight (here) tomorrow morning some places.


-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Aug 6, 2012 11:39AM)
Hey, Thankyou, Mary!!! :)
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Aug 7, 2012 09:25AM)

At her age, they are automatically happy. For me, it takes liquor...

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Aug 7, 2012 11:59AM)
I don't need alcohol, that's right! :)
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Aug 7, 2012 07:32PM)
I can imagine- Happy birthday, Lady!

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Aug 7, 2012 07:45PM)
Thankyou, Jim! :)
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Aug 7, 2012 08:34PM)
Happy birthday Laurie! Hope you had a great day

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Aug 8, 2012 11:45AM)
Thankyou! :)
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Aug 9, 2012 09:08AM)
Hey, Andrew!

Howzit? I just heard from Dean Dill that my Dean's Box is ready to ship- pretty excited...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Aug 10, 2012 05:46PM)
Showed a few my contest act with mixed results

Some loved it, Tom said the humor was braggy and grating and did not bring out my true personality.

Unfortunately, I trust Tom's instincts more. Time for a re-write.

The contest is Monday. I should have showed Tom sooner but he's always sooo... honest. LOL

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Aug 10, 2012 06:43PM)
Good luck Mary! You will certainly do well.

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Aug 11, 2012 09:34AM)
Ditto- go get 'em Mary!

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Aug 11, 2012 12:14PM)
Best wishes, Mary! Have FUN! :)
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Aug 11, 2012 12:19PM)
Thank you all.

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Aug 14, 2012 12:28AM)
Took 3rd place out of 8 in the competition. Lowest I've placed in quite a while.

That's how I would have called it as well, so I'm not feeling robbed.

No overt mistakes and the act went well but I had a slow talky start.

Picto-Transpo was a big hit but I only did 2 effects in the 10 min.

1st and 2nd did several effects each and had a strong showing and they are both likable guys as well (stupid charisma! LOL).

This competition was good in getting me to learn two good effects.
I'll probably have more regular use for the Picto-Transpo but Technicolor Prediction has real charm for adult groups and is easy to carry.
I'm sure it will play stronger when I'm not nervous.

All in all, I wish I'd placed higher but very I'm happy with the additions to my repertoire.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Aug 14, 2012 06:41AM)
Sorry to hear that you didn't do as well as you would have liked. But competitions do become a forcing mechanism with deadline yo learn new tricks - and that's always a good thing!

Next time you will do better!

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Aug 14, 2012 09:46AM)
Hey, I would take a 3rd place anytime- congratulations!

Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Aug 21, 2012 03:10PM)
Congrats, Mary. Competitions are highly subjective, I think. I'd say their main benefit is the focused motivation they provide. :)
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Aug 25, 2012 08:03AM)
Busking at the White Pine Festival today and tomorrow! Leaving for there in about 5 minutes. ;)
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Aug 25, 2012 02:30PM)
Best of luck and have fun Laurie.

I just re-painted my old Abbot's Case n table. I re-painted just so it would look nice to carry in as I don't bother with the cumbersome protective case cover and I use a table skirting in performance.
Here is what one looks like.

Years ago I'd taken off the taller wheel stands and just put wheels on the bottom because I'm short and I wanted the table top a bit lower.
That made it so when I'd get Magic from under the Top I'd have to sort of dive under (which looked awful) because losing the wheel stands made the whole thing shorter.
So I added a removable shelf that hangs @4" under and juts out @3" (on the back) from the Table top.
Now I can lay out many of my props in order at a very comfortable reach and out of sight.
I'd been planning this fix for years. It is not a beautiful design but it works like a dream. I wish I'd done it sooner.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Aug 25, 2012 08:24PM)
Good for you, Mary! Things like that make a wonderful difference! Had a lot of fun today- back out there tomorrow! :)
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Aug 26, 2012 06:21PM)
From yesterday:

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Aug 27, 2012 08:50PM)
Although I couldn't follow the Magic is looks like everyone is having fun. You have a great way of relating to Kids Laurie.

Quite a beautiful town in the background.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Sep 2, 2012 09:03AM)
I agree! Interestingly, I learned long ago to put myself closer to the level of my audience- especially children. Looks like you agree, Laurie, and being down on their level is very important, I think. I have even, when no chair was available, sat on my little mat (OK, some hang-over) on the ground. Makes a big improvement in relating...

Mary- can we see a pic of yours? Table, I mean... ;)

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Sep 6, 2012 03:41PM)
Here is the back of the table the shelf is 6" below the top nd extends about 4" toward the back.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Sep 6, 2012 03:43PM)
This is a 30 min Little Kids show set out in order (mostly) on the shelf.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Sep 6, 2012 03:44PM)
This is the same show left in the box but still easy to grab if you know the box arrangement.

For a Birthday Party it is faster to leave it in the box.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Sep 6, 2012 03:50PM)
Here are the grooves I made to accept the shelf. You can see my wood working skills and attention to detail are minimal but it gets the job done.

The leg in the back is one I added and it looks the same on the other side although all the legs are offset so they can fold in side by side.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Sep 6, 2012 03:59PM)
On 2012-09-06 16:44, Mary Mowder wrote:
This is the same show left in the box but still easy to grab if you know the box arrangement.

For a Birthday Party it is faster to leave it in the box.

This looks good, Mary! :)
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Sep 6, 2012 04:00PM)
How are the legs holding up? Looks like a fairly deep cut, that would be my only concern. If the table can withstand them, though, that's a great improvement you made- good for you! :)
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Sep 6, 2012 04:19PM)
Tom had the same concerns about the depth of the grooves. It seems fine. The addition of the back legs doubled the support and losing @ half that to the grooves makes it pretty much a wash. The least stable parts are the tiny hinges but so far so good. The table top and Magic are not heavy. Keeping the Kids from leaning on my table (which is on wheels) is a concern though.

I had to make the grooves that deep because I needed to accommodate a table top I had inherited. It pleases me to have items of loved ones incorporated into my show (and it was almost the perfect size).

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Sep 6, 2012 08:08PM)
Looks great, Mary! I envy your woodworking skills...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Sep 6, 2012 08:13PM)
Jim, you know I didn't make the table, right ?

I just cut some grooves and put on two hinges.

So if you ARE envious then I DON'T envy your wood working skills. LOL

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Sep 7, 2012 07:20PM)
I'm alive! Just working, strolling gigs on the weekends. A little too busy for my own good with some TV-related projects but it's better than having nothing to do! Glad everyone's practice seems to be going well :)
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Sep 10, 2012 10:05PM)
Hi, Lady Mary!

Yes, I realized you were working over a commercial table. Still, having done my share of carpentry, I am in awe of those who can work dremels or, more awe, routers. I do love to make my own props if I can. I can walk around a Michaels Flowers for hours just looking...

Nice work...

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Sep 24, 2012 09:11AM)
On one of the other threads, someone posted a web site that is a treasure trove of cups and balls info. I have included the url below for the videos section- a fantastic collection of great C&B routines! Now I am all jacked up about committing to a practice regimen to hone a really good routine, as I have neglected this practice for awhile. Just have to figure out how to work it into my halloween gigs... little skulls, perhaps, bwa-ha-ha...


Happy practice, y'all!

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Sep 24, 2012 08:49PM)
What a great set of videos! Thanks Jim!

I've been working on the Jumping Knot (Darly's DVD) and Anniversary Waltz. Did AW Saturday night for the first time (25th anniversary for some friends) and it went very well. Just need mor opportunities to practice and get this one down - need the right couple!

How is everyone else doing? What are you all working on?

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Sep 25, 2012 11:03AM)
If you watch nothing else, the Paul Gertner performance at a TED conference is excellent in so many ways and very inspirational...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Sep 30, 2012 02:50PM)
I'm back to my old ways of practicing several things at a time.

A wrist tie that Axel Hecklau teaches at his lecture. It is great, if done well, because It has the impact of the quick neck tie without putting a rope around your neck (which I am loath to do in front of Kids and it messes up my hair).

Rope Routine, because I have the rope in my hand and well...

A Silk from Newspaper effect because it is different and colorful and can be done to Music.

Miser's Dream. I had an easy version to start with and I loved the effect but the manipulation version is more versatile and (once learned) easier to deal with.

"Three Fly" and "Three Stylin'" because I'm not sure which way to go.

Significant family health issues are making me more stressed than usual and the practice really helps. Different practice for different moods.

I'm making good progress in three of the six and holding my own in the other three.

Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Oct 5, 2012 08:21AM)
Hi all!

Something about the shorter days and cooler nights, but I am getting a stronger urge to revisit some sleights and practice them up to performance status. My focus is now on halloween and the ways I can take routines into the bizarre realms.

Mary, what do you mean by "manipulation version" on MD? I do this often using essentially Capehart's techniques, but am always interested in new approaches.

Also trying to figure out how to find time to drive to NYC to see Blaine...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Oct 5, 2012 11:54AM)
By "manipulation version" I mean the regular method that most people doing MD use. Coin at finger tips, then clipped between middle fingers (hidden) and revealed at finger tips again.

The first method I used was simple and effective but was more work to get into and out of. I've P.M.ed the method I used before.

I'll PM anyone who wants to know. It is low tech and a great way to start with MD but apt to make you want to move on to the regular way.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Oct 7, 2012 05:46PM)
Hey all,:wavey:

As Andrew said, "I'm Alive!" I took a break from magic for about a month. Had a lot going on with work and family. I'm gonna be doing some stuff for some homeless families that my church is housing this week, also my first magic competition on October 20 hosted by my Ring, I will be doing a couple of effects to the theme of Houdini :handcuffs: for our monthly Ring Meeting and I am presenting the Workshop on putting some character into your act, then I will do two 1/2 hour shows for my church during a Trunk or Treat event on October 28 and then the act I am doing for the competition will be my practice for our Hocus Pocus fundraiser for our Ring on November 3. I also have to fit some time to practice my table hopping routines for Hocus Pocus in addition to my stage act.

Mary congrats on your 3rd place finish and your success with Picto Transpo, I assume this is Gene Anderson version?

Keep up the goos work everybody, sounds like you are having fun.

Have a Great week! :magicrabbit:

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Oct 7, 2012 05:47PM)

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Oct 22, 2012 09:23AM)
So I did my 1st Magic competition. I learned a lot and fun! I realize the importance of practice or lack there of! I cam in 2nd place of 4. My technical skill was the lowest, because I had two major flashes and I went way over time. 1st place went to a 16 year old who did a great job and has had his fair share of dissapointments in previous competitions. I am very proud of his stage presence and the job he did. All and all I did have fun and learned a lot. I am meeting with a club member today to go over some detailed improvements on one of my botched routines. Lots of practice ahead! Just finished my powerpoint for my workshop tonight, now I have to prpeare the other visual aides and rehearse my routines for tonights program on Houdini Magic. Hopw you are all doing well!

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Oct 22, 2012 06:19PM)

Way to go- and congrats! I love your attitude in making this fun and education. Hopefully, now that you have the first one under the belt you will continue. A second place finish should be all the inspiration you need.

Thanks for posting your good news- inspires me to practice!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Oct 24, 2012 03:16PM)
Pete, Congratulations on 2nd place in your first competition!

That should certainly encourage you to try again.

Kudos on follow-up for your problem areas. This is the smartest thing you can do.

Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Oct 30, 2012 03:08PM)
At the risk of violating one of the rules of the Café through ignorance, I post here an edited version of the OP. Let my excuse be that it is again fall, and I am waxing eager to jump into a not-too-strenuous but committed practice schedule. I have thanksgiving and christmas shows booked, and one new year's eve in Puerta Villarta. For some reason, I am in a minimalist phase, wanting all my props to be on my person, upcoming halloween stuff exempted. I feel Gypsy Thread coming on...

Posted: Oct 4, 2009 5:49pm

OK- I am way better with resolve in the fall and winter. Who knows why...

Many of us simply DO NOT practice enough! And while I thank Steve for the Café, it is up to US to use it for the betterment of ourselves and magic. So, I propose the following:

1, Anyone who wants can add their name and goal to the list below

2. Anyone can change their goals at any time.

3. We meet back here to discuss progress and help each other stay on target.

4. No fibs, do it or admit it, but no fibs.

5. Entry fee for a post on this thread is 20 minutes of REAL practice, No matter if for an audience, a real show, in your basement all alone... it is ALL better than just reading about it...


Your name or identifier

Your goal (the effect or sleight or routine you want to master - ONLY one).

How much time devoted to it each session

Sessions per week

Projected Date of Competency

NO CRITICS - only encouragement and help here

This is a self-help group, and I think it could be a lot of fun. Care to Join?

YES - GREAT IDEA - I am in!!!

1. Jim Rogers

2. Torn - Daniel Garcia

3.20 minutes

4. 3

5. December 1st

Anybody want to buy a box of card parts???

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Nov 1, 2012 02:37AM)
THanks for the kudos Jim and Mary. I found out at our board meeting that I was 4 minutes over. I am performing the same act for our Hocus Pocus Party(our Ring Fundraiser)this Saturday, so I have been working on cutting my routine down without compromising the integrity of the act! Anyway, I got major help with T&R Newspaper from a Ring Professional! So generous! Anyway on Sunday I did two 1/2 hour shoes and ended with a verbal version of T&R NP and it killed both times with the newly added assistance! The shows were great! It was outdoors and for our Trunk or Treat for our church. I had 30-40 people in each audience and even succeeded with my first two attempts at a Rubber Chicken load! It was so much fun!

The Workshop I did with my powerpoint on Character Magic was received very well! The Houdini night for program was also fantastic! Check out the photos at the Ring 211 Website: http://www.ring211.org

Okay so for this week!

Running my routine and cutting time for an hour each on Thursday and Friday.
Selecting my tablehopping sets, reviewing and rehearsing also for Saturday night. 1/2 hour each day.

Showtime Saturday night after teaching Girl Scouts all day at the Nature Center!

Peace, Love, & Magic!

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Nov 3, 2012 07:05AM)
The Big Night arrives! I have a full day of Girl Scouts then the Magic begins at 6:30p.m. Tablehopping and then I open the Cabaret Show at 9pm! I managed to cut my 14 minutes of Actual Performance to 8.5 Rehearsal, so hopefully that rounds out to under 10 tonight! Wish me luck and I thank the Lord for this opportunity!

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 3, 2012 02:07PM)
The very, very best of luck to you Pete, I know you will be great!!


Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 3, 2012 02:39PM)
I once had to cut a couple of my effects down for time and the reduction was much stronger.

Good luck Pete!

I'm going to work on writing show sets for a while.

I'm writing a "one off" for almost every show. While the magic is tailor made for the audience the show doesn't flow smoothly because I'm never familiar enough with the line-up, music or segues not to mention prop management.

So I'll be working on writing two shows, 1st and a follow-up in five categories:

* Birthday Party for all Kids / 30 min (with modular switch outs for age).

* Family Stand-Up / 30min

* Low functioning retirement home Stand-up/ 30 min

* High Functioning, assisted living Stand-Up/ 45min (too long I know but that is what they want, I can always cut it if they see reason). If you haven't worked for this audience you should give it a try. They may have hearing, vision or frailty problems but they are a fun group.

* Adult Standup / 20 min.

I'm getting a lot of repeat shows lately. I need to do the first show with that in mind or I'm doing all more cumbersome, less familiar effects in the 2nd show. That can make for a bear of a carry in and set up.

I'll report as I finish each set of shows.

If I give it an hour a day I should be able to do one set a week for sure (I sometimes run into stumbling blocks that require juggling or other practice to work through).

I've needed to do this for a while Jim, thanks for the nudge.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 4, 2012 08:05PM)

That is great! I can't keep up with you- you are my guiding light. I only hope we are not alone...


Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Nov 6, 2012 11:56AM)
You are certainly not alone. I'm working out a seasonal set- here come the polar bears! :)
Best wishes!

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Nov 6, 2012 06:28PM)
What inspiration! You guys rock! The show went great! Well, of course there is always something. But I learned and adjusted along th eway and the overall product was a success. Christian and Katalina headlined and were great! Then they lectured us the following day and that was good too! Loved their horror stories from the road. I get to breathe for a while. I will be cleaning up all the magic that has explded around my house and get ready for our Ring Auction later this month. I hope to have a new practice regime in th enext month. Right now need to focus on work and family. Thanks for all of the encouragement! Good luck with all your ventures. Can't wait to hear more about the Polar Bears!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 6, 2012 08:29PM)
Glad it went well Pete.

Were you in the 10 min time frame?

Did you feel your Magic went over better with more experience?

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Nov 7, 2012 06:41PM)

I believe so, Since it wasn't a contest and it was an actual show they didn't comment on it. We had problems in the beginning. Say, my music didn't start when they introduced me. I was about to go into verbal mode when they got it working but the song had jumped ten seconds into it and my timing was off. I had to think on my feet and make it work! Once that was done, I kind of relaxed and things went quite well, and yes they did see, to go better aside from the beginning. All in all it was a lot of fun and I go t good reactions and lots of hand shakes from the club!
Thank you,

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Nov 8, 2012 05:55PM)
Nice job, Pete! Glad to hear it! Makes all that rehearsal worth it.

I've been working hard on perfecting Dean Dill's Explosion, which I will be debuting for a group of TV directors at the Castle tomorrow night. It is NOT easy by any means but I'm feeling good about it!
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Nov 10, 2012 11:47AM)
Quick update - Explosion went quite well! They had no idea where the coins were coming from and it just got better with every appearance. I'm definitely pleased!
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 10, 2012 12:20PM)
Congratulations Andrew! It sounds amazing (and hard).

Are you working the Castle?

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Nov 11, 2012 10:40AM)
Not this week - I was there with a group of clients and they had asked specifically if I would perform so I led everyone to a far off corner and did a set for them. There's simply no better place that I've found to work than the Magic Castle.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 11, 2012 01:56PM)
Still, very impressive.

I can just imagine (having clients LOL).

Still working on the sets project.

I've separated out My Magic into 2 little kids and 2 big kids shows with no duplication in any of the 4.
Each show is packed with good Magic and enough Magic but because I'm trying to make them all fit the same format I'm having a little problem. I'd hoped to make the shows somewhat modular for easy memorization and switch-outs as needed but different Magic seems to mean a different format is needed.

My biggest problem is that I've grown very fond of a few effects and almost can't imagine doing a show without them. I read the magic list for each show and my head tells me "That is one strong show!" but my heart tells me "wouldn't his show be better with NewsFlash or Juggling and Jokes? etc...

So much for the pro-kvetch report.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 11, 2012 08:01PM)
So, Mary, these effects you have grown fond of... do tell! I would think it would be difficult to be fond of anything that had a negative reaction... so why any angst???? Women...
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 12, 2012 12:19AM)
I guess I want to do my favorite effects in every show.

If I want 4 different shows, that means 3 shows without each favorite.

I've been a professional Magician for over 30 years so I've collected a lot of favorites.

This makes me want to do an hour show in 30 min.

I think I've divided the shows equitably and I have 4 strong shows.

If only it weren't “a woman's prerogative to change her mind” I'd be done by now. LOL.

How is Torn going Jim?

The dithery Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Nov 16, 2012 07:48AM)

Thanks! Castle experience sounds awesome! Way to go!

Mary would you care to share your set lists with us? I like to see how people think and I am curious on your favorites!

Tonight at my church, we have a High School Lock-in with the theme of Harry Potter. We will be playing Quidditch, eating theme based food, and students will be attending classes. So a week ago, I said to the Head Mistress,my wife, I could teach Muggle Magic. So I have been puting together a 20 minute class to be repeated 3-4 times. That has been a lot of fun putting it together. AND MARY . . . I finally go the rice suspension lift to work and I am using my pseudo-Potter wand! Very cool, thanks for highly endorsing this and I am glad I finally figured out the tiny nuances to see what I was doing wrong! Any way I will report back with hopefully much success teaching young wizards and witches about the world of Muggle Magic!

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 16, 2012 05:20PM)

Hope you stay away from Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans- some of those are not edible! :)

Mary- Torn is FINALLY coming into the realm of "unconscious competence". I love this effect, mostly because my grandson nailed me with it SO BAD! Plus, I was able to see Dannie do it at MagiFest up close, close, and although a bit angly it is really magic when done right. About ready to trot it out. I have started re-working on Ring and String, another which I feel is superb up close. Put away my halloween scary stuff - that is one holiday that could use a couple more days, either that or I am getting weird (more than usual). Question: do any of the rest of you get something "under your thumb" and then let it drift? That makes me so mad at myself I could... could... just...

Hope y'all have a great Thanksgiving! I will be doing my "Gypsy Thread" entrée again this year- twice.


Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 21, 2012 03:29PM)
Hello all,

Pete I will give you the lists in a P.M. (and anyone else in this group who askes) probably after New Year's because I'm writing special shows for the season right now and mixing the projects is just too confusing.

I have a Harry Potter type wand and I'll give it a try with the rice. Yhanks for the suggestion.


It's great to get to do your favorites even if it is mostly seasonally. I've finally got some more Close-Up work booked, YEA!

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 21, 2012 03:47PM)
With all good wishes, permit me to share with you, my magical friends, our family's Thanksgiving Poem, written by my mother many years ago:


Gathered ‘round the table,
Hands folded, heads bowed,
Hearts meeting in prayer.

Vibrant tresses athirst for life,
Older heads touched by strife,
Unseen heads no longer there,
Shining heads free from care,
Gray heads wearing a silver crown,
Reverent feelings all around.

Invisible threads,
Bonding the past and the future,
Together In Thanksgiving.

Larraine G. Rogers
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Dec 4, 2012 01:28PM)
Very nice, Jim!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 5, 2012 05:42PM)
Thank you, Andrew, good to hear from you...

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Dec 16, 2012 07:01PM)
I'm having dinner with Jack Carpenter and a few other people up in Seattle in a couple of weeks and I've been told they want to see me do Kent Gunn's cups and balls routine, soooo I'm working overtime on making sure that looks good (and praying for a decent table at the restaurant so my angles aren't ruined.) Any other holiday plans for folks?
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Dec 17, 2012 03:46AM)
I got to do some Close-Up Magic at 4 different parties this Christmas season and I got a few for Halloween as well.

I don't get many opportunities to do Close-Up so I've really been enjoying myself.

Unfortunately, unless I book something for New Year's Eve the Close-Up streak is played out. Here's hoping!

Andrew, Good luck with the Cups and Balls. Jack can be an intimidating audience but he really loves Magic.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Dec 24, 2012 06:02PM)
I've been working maybe and hour a day on Rope through Wrist (an Effect that Axel Hecklau taught at one of his lectures) and a single ring and rope move to add to my routine.

Both are showing good progress but aren't ready for a show. If only I could count on my performance for people being as good as my work for the mirror!

Happy Practice!

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 25, 2012 04:16PM)
Merry Christmas to all my buddies on this thread! It has been a good year, and your encouragement has made a big improvement in my magic skills. I hope you each enjoy the thrills and joyous quiet time of the Season!

With very best wishes,

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Dec 27, 2012 03:38PM)
The New Year is a great time for new goals (or to renew old ones).

Care to give a bench mark on how you feel your goals have come along last year and set new or re-new others?

Jim, I always check this thread and I consider this my closest group of allies on the Café.
There is never any fighting and lots of support. Thank You.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Dec 28, 2012 05:05PM)
What Jim said :) I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday!
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Dec 28, 2012 08:01PM)
Andrew, have you met with Jack, Steves et al in Seattle?

If so, dish, how did the Cups go?

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Dec 29, 2012 12:59PM)
Hi guys! Happy New Year!

I agree with Mary, this is my favorite thread to check. Everyone is supportive and friendly - love it!

If fact, this thread inspired me to include annual magic goals with my normal goal-setting process. For 2012 my magic-related goals included learning Jim Swain's chop cup and 3 other routines - one per quarter (okay you can tell I'm a public-company business type, setting my goals by quarter! )

So how did I do? Well you will recognize my Red McGinty as based on Jim Swain's (and Larry Jennings') chop cup routine. I also performed Anniversary Waltz for my daughter and her new husband at their wedding, learned jumping knot (Daryl), and a copper silver transposition. My go-to impromptu tricks are now torn and restored signed card and Lucky Coin, both of which I believe I learned last year, but have perfected (okay, perfect for me!) this year. All-in-all a solid magic year for me. Get together almost weekly with a local pro (full time) who has been trying to convince me to start picking up gigs on a regular basis. I really feel that now my magic is at the professional level and am pleased with my progress.

For 2013 I will again target 4 new tricks. Two of which will be Coins in the Hat and Coins and Cylinder (Carney). Saw him in lecture and show in Minneapolis and am committed to working on these two routines. They require similar skills, so figure they are good to work on together. So far, I've started learning the Ramsey vanish and the 4-coin transfer that Carney does - very difficult, but one heck of a convincer! Look for video in a few months :).

Okay, that's my detailed update. Not totally following Jim's rules, clearly inspired by them!

Best wishes to all!

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 1, 2013 11:13AM)
Hello and Happy New Year to all my friends at the Café! I should say " felice anyo nuevo" as I am in Mexico! Will lay out my plans for the magic year when I return. Best wishes for a great year to each and all!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jan 29, 2013 11:20PM)
I've been practicing an over the shoulder bean bag juggling move.
I was just doing it to keep my shoulders mobil for a contact juggling move and never expected to do any 3 ball juggling with it.
To my surprise I've made several (like 20 today so far) good catches (meaning that I was able to recover and cascade after the toss) today.
I surprised myself. Now I'm wondering if I should try to go for proficiency and include it in my act or just play with it. I guess if I play with it I can always go from there if I want to. There is less pressure that way.

Great progress on the Rope Through Wrist effect. I added a couple of good touches and it's ready to go now.

The Ring and Rope move I was working on is working well but I'm disappointed that a sideline I was working on for quite a while did not pan out.
Can't win 'em all.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 31, 2013 03:00PM)
Hi, Mary! How's the new year treating you?

I started a whole new phase of practice over the holiday break, and it is working well for me. Briefly, I decided to go back to the original texts, audios or vids of things I use and want to get better with and read, listen or watch them beginning to end. Oddly, it started with a very old book Bill H. recommended, and in which was Gypsy thread. I started browsing thru and realized I had veered off considerable from how it was originally taught.

Now, certainly, we all find what we consider to be improvements from time to time, but in this case I had just dropped some important parts of a very important effect. I had not improved it, I had lost the magic of it. The great thing is, I find it very easy to pick up those lost threads (pun?) and get the real routine under my nails again. AND, it is fun!

Don't know what happened to all our buddies, but I trust they are still trying for that 20 minutes a day of practice...

Be well,

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jan 31, 2013 05:50PM)
Hi Jim, hi Mary,

I'm still here, actually in Brazil on a business trip, but still practicing. Working on cylinder and coins. I now have the technical moves and the routine (sequence) well in hand; next up are the misdirection cues - physical movement, patter, and timing of both. This routine is so bold, that the misdirection is crucial. Give me a few more weeks and I will have a video for your comments and suggestions.

Sounds like you two are keeping at it. I trust all is well.

Best regards,

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 1, 2013 05:21AM)

Hope you had a good vacation.

Good idea to go back to your original source.
Once you're doing an effect the instructions take on new meanings that you couldn't get before you were conversant.


I look forward to your video. If it's the same effect I'm thinking of it is really strong.
Have fun in Brazil, you know, where the nuts are. (Old quip, I just had to go for it).

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Feb 1, 2013 07:10PM)
Mary - you are too funny! The routine I am working on is John Carney's version of Ramsey's cylinder & coins. I will do my best to customize - already have a name picked out for my 'cousin' that my son and I visited in Scotland during Spring break - but this may be a routine that I cannot modify much. The misdirection is so strong that I am worried about weakening the performance with my own changes.
Work to do on it yet.

By the way, thanks again for all your comments on Red McGinty (the olive test). I've now done this a number of times as a stand alone routine and it leaves the audiance wih mouths wide open. Certainly the strongest routine I do - and one that I don't worry about hearing someone say, "I know that one, so-and-so does it".

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 2, 2013 05:54AM)
"I know that one, so-and-so does it".

Good point, Hudson. Don't ya' just love it when you know you are gonna fry those people? Can't wait for your vid, am intrigued by how you describe it...


Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 4, 2013 11:45AM)
Hi all,

I'm still alive, though it it what we refer to as "pilot season" in TV right now, so I'm pretty slammed between now and the end of April. Sticking to just my standard fare when it comes to performing and not really working on new material at the moment. Plus I'm training for the Los Angeles Marathon, which I will run on March 17th with a friend from Seattle. If I make it the whole 26.2 miles, that alone will be the most magical thing I accomplish all year ;)

Hudson - looking forward to seeing your version of cylinder and coins! It's a great routine - Dean Dill showed me his version on Saturday that I believe he hopes to release soon. Always fun to see what people do with that plot!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 9, 2013 08:48PM)
First time today I got 10 over the shoulder throws into a cascade in a row without dropping in between.

Next step in incorporating it into my practice routine.
I had to stop and make a new set of Bean cubes in the middle.

I'm working in a small (about 1") ring and ribbon routine as a break from the juggling. Not much usable progress there yet but laying a foundation for further work.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andy Tauber (Feb 13, 2013 07:47PM)
Wow great thread, so hear goes.

I'm working on the Coin Matrix
Practiceing for at least 30 minutes 5-7 times a week.
Aiming to be perfromance ready by the end of March.

I'll post a video in the near future.
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Feb 13, 2013 08:15PM)
Love the Matrix! One of my favorite routines. Looking forward to seeing your take on it!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 14, 2013 05:17PM)

Welcome! Hope you can benefit from our group, and give us each a much-needed pep talk when we get into that awful rut of talking magic but not practicing it. Your plan sounds very doable. Good luck, and please let us know how you are doing!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 14, 2013 06:09PM)
Welcome to the group altmagic,

The first Magic contest I ever won was with a coin Matrix with a giant coin kicker!
Fond old memories.

I thought I found a new move in Ring and Ribbon till Vinny posted a ring and rope move that is mostly just the same (different in scale). Nurtz!
I'm still loving the move though. I'm on that and the juggling back and forth but I seem to have hit a plateau. Onward and just about the same. LOL

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andy Tauber (Feb 14, 2013 10:22PM)
Thanks for the encouragement. In my eye executing the trick is only half of the battle. Is this an appropriate forum for also discussing performance of the routine?
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 14, 2013 11:03PM)
As long as secrets are not discussed. If we know the subject well enough we can help but in most cases this is a place to check in (to keep us honest) and get encouragement. I have to admit I haven't done Matrix in 20 years. I do most of my Magic "off the table" now.

Jim (Mr. Mystoffelees) started a sister thread to this in "Secret Sessions" (Congratulations on your 51st post so you can now go there) for situations where secrets could be revealed.

It is called " Who Will Stand (in deep stuff) With Me?"


There are many who would help you there that are not in our practice group as well.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andy Tauber (Feb 16, 2013 06:56PM)
Well I think my Coin Matrix is comming along. I have posted a video [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVJ-NdAMKDE&feature=player_detailpage]Here[/url] for those of you that care to review it.

I'm trying it two diffeternt ways and I haven't deceided on a routine for it yet. Patter, Music any suggestions welcome.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 18, 2013 08:50AM)

First, I think you are doing very well! Add a compelling story line and your routine will swing.

I like the first version better, although you might want to consider slowing it down a bit. Some verbal at each reveal, especially that fits the patter would be good.

The only thing I noticed was a lack of casual at the steals. Nothing most specs would catch, and it will get smoother and smoother with continual practice.

You are making me want to bring this back and practice it...



p.s. To music could be a great idea- the tune that comes to mind is "the stripper"...

Message: Posted by: Andy Tauber (Feb 18, 2013 09:28AM)

Thanks for the advice. I will be keeping at it.
Message: Posted by: Andy Tauber (Feb 18, 2013 05:33PM)
I'm going to move this duiscussion to Who Will Stand (in deep stuff) With Me? In Secret Sessions to further open the discussion.
Message: Posted by: MKoeppel (Feb 19, 2013 06:05AM)
Wonderful thread.

Here we go:
1. Markus Koeppel
2. A small card routine consisting of
- 5 Red and 5 Black (A. Ascanio)
- The Power of Dreaming (A. Ascanio)
- Triumph (D. Vernon)
As per the original rules, it should be one trick only, but I hope that a routine qualifies as well.
I have finished scripting the single pieces and can perform them o.k. (but without the script, i.e. silent). Still needs lots of polishing.
3. 40 to 60 minutes / day
4. 5 times a week
5. End of April

I hope this generates a bit of peer pressure on me, as my practice sessions tend to lack focus otherwise.

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Feb 19, 2013 06:41AM)
Welcom Marcus and Andy! Your will find plenty of support and encouragement here. Welcome to the thread.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 19, 2013 11:29AM)
That sounds great, Markus- good luck with your practice! Don't get discouraged if you can't get in a full hour- just remember to get in the habit of regular- that I believe is the secret! Keep us posted, and WELCOME!
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Feb 19, 2013 02:27PM)
I'm working on a little bit out of the Bertram book I mentioned several pages back. Something else to do with a grizzly bear. Uses the coin roll, which is one of my favorites, so glad to do something new with it, too. I'd like to get a routine built for the bears. There's another bit in the Bertram book I might use, as well, with the birds and bears. So I might end up with a set of 3 incorporated into a little routine, at least. Regular practice is key, I agree, Jim. Getting back to it, myself.
Message: Posted by: MKoeppel (Feb 20, 2013 01:53AM)
Thank you all for the warm welcome.

Regular practice is not the real issue, at least for me. Already now I put in 5-10 hours a week. My problem ist the lack of focus: I have quite a few sleights and tricks, but they are all just half baked and not ready to be shown to anybody. So for me the key will be to stick with a single trick or routine and practice/rehearse until it is polished and I'm confident to perform it to others. So far I've always jumped to the next item, once I got through a trick without too much fumbling. Sometimes I think the real reason for this behaviour is, that it gives me an excuse not to perform. I can always claim that the trick is just not yet ready.

Best, markus
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 20, 2013 03:48AM)
I agree with your prognosis Dr. MKoeppel.

I also agree with your prescription. Focus.

Make sure that some of your practice is more than just the moves, that is to say go through the whole routine start to finish.

Laurie, ,Jim, 55 Hudson, and altmagic are brave enough to video tape whole effects.

While I'm not so brave (I'm working up to it. In another decade I'm sure I'll get there.) I think that is a great way to check your progress.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andy Tauber (Feb 20, 2013 08:28PM)
Mary you can always tape yourself and not show it to anyone. I find it extremely helpful. Of course if you don’t share you lose the benefit of our wouderful suggestions :)
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 20, 2013 10:10PM)
Oh I've seen myself on video.

It was a little hard from under the bed ....and hard to hear over all my cursing at the TV... but I saw it.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andy Tauber (Feb 22, 2013 09:28AM)
On 2013-02-20 23:10, Mary Mowder wrote:
Oh I've seen myself on video.

It was a little hard from under the bed ....and hard to hear over all my cursing at the TV... but I saw it.

-Mary Mowder


Find any lost coins or cards under there?
Message: Posted by: MKoeppel (Feb 26, 2013 08:51AM)
Hi all

Just finished the first week with the new training regime. I managed three 60 minutes sessions - two short of my goal of 5 :=(
I went skiing over the weekend, so no practise on Sat/Sun. However, being on a mountain top and looking down on the sea of fog, is magic on its own.

Nevertheless I noticed some impact. Mostly on the scripts. Reading them out loud and acutally going through the words when doing a trick definitely helped me finding the rough spots.

As I will be skiing this weekend as well, it will be difficult to get to the 5 sessions this week also. As this will then end the season, I will have little excuses after that;=)

Best, markus
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 26, 2013 03:30PM)
Hi MKoeppel,

Keeping your routine in the back of your mind during daily activities is not a substitute for practice but it does inform your later practice.
Daily events have resonance in your thinking on a routine if you are mindful.

You have already practiced more in this week than 95 percent of Magicians (I made up my own data). Keep up the good work.
Glad to hear it is already paying off.

I'm starting to do my juggling throw over the other shoulder now with good success (it is the easier shoulder). Not too many repetitions in a row yet but progress all the same.

Ring and ribbon still on a plateau. Frankly, a little dis-heartening. Makes me want to juggle but I'm still giving it the time.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Mar 3, 2013 10:29AM)
Hi. folks!

Hope the practice is going well. I am working on a bill change- the steps are easy to understand and not complex or difficult. However, there is no room for error on the switch, and if you miss, you got two bills hanging out for the world to see. I want to get this down pat before the busking season starts in a couple of months here in Ohio. I can do this in my sleep now- just not well enough to perform for specs. Interesting how sometimes a fairly simple effect takes a ton of practice... giving it 15 minutes a day.

Message: Posted by: MKoeppel (Mar 5, 2013 11:15AM)
Dear All

I hope your projects are getting along nicely.

As predicted, I managed again only three sessions, instead of the planned five. Let's see what this week will bring.

Mary, sometimes it helps, if you let a piece rest for a couple of days. When you come back to it, you might be surprised by the improvements.

Jim, as they say: there are no easy tricks. Two of my set have a fairly easy handling. Heck - one is even self-working. Still I am far from happy with the way I perform them.

Best, markus
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Mar 5, 2013 07:33PM)
I've been working more on my tabled coin work. I took a few videos last week with my phone and lo and behold, I've made more progress than I thought I had. It's amazing how awesome you look when you tape something, then practice it for a year, then tape it again. You look like a miracle worker.

Jim - I plan to come see you busk in Ohio. I can heckle with the best of 'em.

Message: Posted by: Andy Tauber (Mar 9, 2013 11:02PM)
Here is the latest on my Matrix routine: [url]http://youtu.be/tYwbAe3sD4k[/url]
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Mar 10, 2013 11:35AM)
Very good work, Andy. Great progress- looking good, keep practicing and it will tighten up. I look forward to seeing your next update! :)
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Mar 10, 2013 02:41PM)
Lots more fun with the story Andy and I love the coins.

Keep up the good work.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: MKoeppel (Mar 12, 2013 09:09AM)
Andy, great progress! This just shows, what a regular practice scheme can do for you. BTW: I was never a friend of fancy coins. But I like these, as they fit nicely to the story.

Best, markus
Message: Posted by: MKoeppel (Mar 12, 2013 09:10AM)
Time for my weekly update:
Last week I managed actually four sessions - although yesterday I felt as if I´m just starting over again. I used an almost brand new deck of cards - all of a sudden, I could no longer cut the deck at the natural break you get when half of the deck is face-up and the other face-down. Actually it is rather obviously, but sometimes you need the physical experience to bring it home.
By now I'm getting comfortable with the script. It is sometimes a bit challenging, as I write in a different language (German) than I speak (Swiss). All in all slow but steady progress.

Best, markus
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Mar 12, 2013 04:19PM)
A new deck is very flat. A couple of bridged shuffles will fix it. It doesn't take much.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Jim Sparx (Mar 13, 2013 02:27PM)
My practice sessions consist of getting the hay from the barn to the feed tubs before my donkeys knock me down trying to get the hay I'm carrying. I am finding if I run a few steps and do a quick turn the donkeys will run past me. I say a little, "Ole" as I turn, and try to imagine a stadium full of people cheering as I do this. I live a sheltered life, but fun....

Message: Posted by: Andy Tauber (Mar 13, 2013 08:27PM)
So far this week I have spent the majority of my time (about 6 hours) practicing various false shuffles to help with the Kings production for my routine. Might be ready to film an update this weekend.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Mar 20, 2013 03:43AM)
I just got a Gaffed trick cowboy rope today (easier than a real lariat).
So far, it is fun to play with. I'm still on reduced practice time of course so I won't get a sore shoulder.

It really makes me want to get a real lariat, albeit a small one.

Tom is not too wild about this interest but I'm really thinking about it.

Here I go again.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Mar 25, 2013 12:37PM)
Actually, I find practicing in odd situations a good thing- magic practice that is. For example, sitting with a mustang colt just so he gets used to me. Plus, he never did criticize my technique! I understand how consuming animals can be- having my own menagerie...
Message: Posted by: MKoeppel (Mar 27, 2013 04:19AM)
Injured my hand the other week-end =:*( As I rely mostly on sleight of hand, this means that I did not really practice until mid-last week. Since then, I'm happy with the progress, especially Triumph is coming along nicely.

I noticed however, that once I get comfortable with a piece, I start modifying and adapting. As I'm still in practice-mode this bears the risk, that what I think is an improvement actually lessens the effect. In theory (I think) you should only start modifying, once you started performing. Otherwise you do not have a reference to compare the audience reaction with. But rejecting an "improvement" I came up with by my own seems almost impossible. Consequently I am now practicing 2 versions of Triumph :-( How do you deal with this situation?

On a brighter side, I got a chance to do some audience testing yesterday. My neighbour here in Frankfurt came over to pick up some chocolate I brought her from Switzerland. When she saw the cards on the table, she asked me to show her a trick. Isn't it nice, if for once you get asked to do a card trick? So I did Triumph for her. Blew her completely away. When I revealed that all cards had changed face-down, the selection was kind of hidden between the other cards and did not immediately show. When I directed her attention to the fact, that one card did not turn and started to remove it from the spread, I could hear her gasping "Oh no...".
And I always thought the revelation that the one card not turning is the selection is kind of an anti-climax compared to rightening the deck... Hey, isn't this something I could use to improve the piece?

While I was not able to practice I decided to purchase the Books of Wonder. Comparing prices showed that ordering directly from Hermetic Press would cost around 90$ while ordering locally would cost me close to 150$. So I decided to invest the money saved in another book - Maelstrom by Tom Stone. This brought me up to 140$. Still saving 10 bucks. However international shipment is free, when your order for USD 200 or more. So I added another two books. I guess, I'm just a sucker for books. As the parcel has cleared Swiss customs yesterday, I am positive, that the books will wait for me when I return to Switzerland tomorrow. This should keep me busy over the Easter week-end :)

Wishing you all a happy Easter, markus
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Mar 27, 2013 12:46PM)
I always say "A tap on the cards and they are all turned face up," and spread either in hand or on the table.

(They were backs up but I spread them face up because I like the reveal of "the card" to be face down so the climax is the final turnover revealing their card).

If "the card" shows face down in the spread I say, "except for one, What was your card?"

If the card doesn't show I gather them and tap again saying "Another tap (spread with a little more pressure) and now one card has turned face down, what was your card?".

This happen's more than it doesn't so it's an extra effect, especially if you're ready for it.

I'm very lucky, my partner Tom has amazing instincts for what makes an effect strong. If I have a choice I'll show him both and have him tell me which he thinks is stronger. If I have a strong negative reaction to his choice I'll go with the other version but he is usually right. Either way the choice is made.

It can be confusing to me to know two versions equally well and it makes me lose focus at the junctures where the differences occur. It does not seem as hard to know two versions but have one be my normal version and one different but less well known. Somehow it makes it easier to do either one on command if one is Alpha.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Mar 27, 2013 09:36PM)
Hi guys! I guess it is time for me to check back in with a status on cylinder and coins. It turns out that this is one heck of a difficult trick to do! That said, I have been practicing regularly - not frequently enough, but pretty regularly.

This past weekend I had an opportunity to perform twice for two sets of friends and this coming weekend I will be able to perform it for my in-laws. Last weekend didn't go perfectly, but an acceptable first performance. I'm practicing daily to make some minor adjustments. I will let you know how it goes with the in-laws!

A video will follow and I'll post as I did last time.

I trust everyone is well and looking forward to Spring. (Snowed here on Monday!)

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Mar 28, 2013 11:02AM)
Looking forward to a video, Hudson! I'm a big fan of the trick, though it isn't something I've ever really worked on myself. It has a lot of moving parts so I applaud you for taking it on!

I've been working more on Explosion lately and I'm happy with how smooth it's looking. I shot a couple of video versions last week for a contest where I had to do the whole routine in under 90 seconds. An interesting challenge but it forced me to work on my pacing. I won't always do it quite that quickly but it was a great lesson in removing some of the filler which I found to be unnecessary, and focusing on the actual routine.

I hope everyone is doing well!
Message: Posted by: Gerald (Mar 29, 2013 05:07AM)
On 2013-03-28 12:02, Andrew Zuber wrote:
. . . removing some of the filler which I found to be unnecessary, and focusing on the actual routine.
I believe Andrew is on the right track. We are all challenged when preparing to perform to eliminate extraneous movements and words which do not further the plot. We must balance between “too much” and “too little”. Not enough “bits of business”, the piece becomes boring. Too much patter, extraneous actions, etc. obscures and weakens the plot.

Maskelyne put it this way:

[i]“Let each magical act represent a complete, distinct, and separate entity; compromising of nothing beyond one continuous chain of essential details, leading to one definite effect.”[/i]

Maskelyne had a number of profound thoughts on this subject. Each thought in this quote has far reaching implications. The phrase “essential details” inspires the axioms: “When in doubt, leave it out.” And “Because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should do it.”

Message: Posted by: Andy Tauber (Mar 31, 2013 12:28PM)
The Matrix is coming along. I have re-written the script and am working to get comfortable with it.

Here is my latest practice session [url=http://youtu.be/B_WjcAoMWGM]Click Here[/url]
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Apr 4, 2013 12:52PM)
On 2013-03-29 06:07, Gerald wrote:
On 2013-03-28 12:02, Andrew Zuber wrote:
. . . removing some of the filler which I found to be unnecessary, and focusing on the actual routine.
I believe Andrew is on the right track. We are all challenged when preparing to perform to eliminate extraneous movements and words which do not further the plot. We must balance between “too much” and “too little”. Not enough “bits of business”, the piece becomes boring. Too much patter, extraneous actions, etc. obscures and weakens the plot.

Maskelyne put it this way:

[i]“Let each magical act represent a complete, distinct, and separate entity; compromising of nothing beyond one continuous chain of essential details, leading to one definite effect.”[/i]

Maskelyne had a number of profound thoughts on this subject. Each thought in this quote has far reaching implications. The phrase “essential details” inspires the axioms: “When in doubt, leave it out.” And “Because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should do it.”

Well said. I find myself going on tangents sometimes, causing me to lose the timing and dialogue I've worked to create. This exercise helped me to work on the physical act of performing the trick, and then adding the filler where necessary.

Doing a stand up gig next Tuesday so I shall spend the weekend perfecting my signed card to orange routine, which I haven't had the chance to do in awhile. Should be fun!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Apr 5, 2013 11:21AM)
I agree Andrew. Gerald has many good thoughts on making a real magical experience for an audience. Hudson and Andy have convinced me that I need to record my routines and review them for exactly the purpose of reducing what I say and do on only what furthers the routine. Going out to look for a good (cheap) video cam.

Speaking of Andy, the progress evident on the recent matrix vid is phenom, Andy! That routine is really good. Congrats!

And, Andrew, come to Columbus but don't just watch- help me PERFORM! First weekend in June...

Keep up the practice all, and record routines for critique and "Geraldizing"...


Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Apr 5, 2013 12:00PM)
Count me in, Jim!

I record my sessions on a Flip camera - do they still make those? If I'm in the mood to watch myself as I perform I'll use the camera on my iMac, so I have the video on my computer as soon as I'm done. I've even used my iPhone or iPad camera on occasion if I'm traveling but want to capture something while it's fresh in my mind.
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Apr 5, 2013 12:37PM)
Count me in, Jim!

I record my sessions on a Flip camera - do they still make those? If I'm in the mood to watch myself as I perform I'll use the camera on my iMac, so I have the video on my computer as soon as I'm done. I've even used my iPhone or iPad camera on occasion if I'm traveling but want to capture something while it's fresh in my mind.
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Apr 5, 2013 08:05PM)
Almost any camera today has adequate video capability for review of your routine. All I had to do was buy a tripod and attach my camera to it. I don't do enough of the video taping,; I am at the point where I will start taping my cylinder and coin routine. After a couple of runs will share and look for your comments.
Message: Posted by: Andy Tauber (Apr 6, 2013 03:07PM)

Thanks. I like the routine too. Vlad suggested a method for the King's production I am working on, and I am thinking of reversing the matrix at the end to have the dragonets run away again.
Message: Posted by: Andy Tauber (Apr 6, 2013 04:02PM)
I use a Panasonic on a tripod at home for my sessions. I have a flip camera I found on Amazon for $40.00 I use on my motorcycle. Great camera for the money.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Apr 7, 2013 06:36AM)
Thanks for the tips, guys. I will keep an eye out.

I had a reasonable cam that I used on some of my routines- matter of fact that is how I did my act for my Magic Castle try-out, since I live in Ohio. I am now most interested in seeing and hearing my presentations, as I am trying to add various accents to my speech.

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Apr 25, 2013 07:50PM)
I did Explosion at the Magic Castle on Sunday and decided I need to do this every chance I get...not because it went well but because it DIDN'T go well. I was told by a good friend later that he noticed a few problems, whereas the clients I was performing for said they were amazed. That said *I* know where the problems were, so this is one of those cases where I'm totally fine on my own with a routine, but I need to work this for real audiences more to be okay in that situation. I did about 20 minutes of material and the coins are the only thing that suffered, so I'll be spending a good portion of my time working on that in front of real people. Anyone else have similar experiences?
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Apr 26, 2013 12:41PM)
Yes, there is no real way to gauge an Effect with out real people because it has no real effect with out real people.

I certainly have had that experience. Lots of times, what I say suddenly sounds really canned (or there is too much of it) but sometimes it is the handling as well.

You've done all you can in a vacuum and now you're starting on the last and most important part.

The first (and probably worst) performance for real people is over so now you will start to relax and look for the fixes.

Personally I admire you for even attempting Explosion. In future I would look for some other proving ground than the Castle though. LOL Talk about pressure.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Apr 29, 2013 12:17PM)
Oddly enough I'm quite comfortable working at the Castle! Maybe I've become jaded by the amount of talent walking around there, which actually forces me to become a better performer. I'm less comfortable working in my living room, even though I'm with friends. I like being in a spot that really feels suited for magic, rather than a casual spot where people might only be half-watching.

I spent a lot of time this weekend going over the routine again, as well as talking with Dean about it. I think I've discovered where the flaws were.
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (May 7, 2013 11:40AM)
Currently working on my parlor act that I will do at the Magic Castle at the end of June. I've taken the plunge and will be doing the linking finger rings (I'm using Joe Porper's set.) I've always found this to be one of the most magical things I've ever seen when done right, so I guess I want my piece of the pie.

What's everyone else working on?
Message: Posted by: MKoeppel (May 8, 2013 05:23AM)

At the moment I am practising Eddie Fechters "I've got a surprise for you". I want to have it ready for presentation at a workshop at the end of May. I think it is a great opener for strolling.

Best, markus
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (May 8, 2013 11:56AM)
Hi Markus,

How did it go with 5 Red and 5 Black, The Power of Dreaming and Triumph?

I get great use out of an in hand Triumph.

I'm guessing that "I've got a surprise for you" is a card effect. What makes it appealing as an opener?

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (May 9, 2013 01:43PM)
I do an in the hands Triumph more than anything else. I could do that one in my sleep.
I need some more effects like that in my repertoire - I ordered an Kohler U3F which should be arriving today. I'm looking forward to working with that!
Message: Posted by: MKoeppel (May 12, 2013 08:27AM)
Hi Mary

I'm quite happy with "Triumph" and "5 Red and 5 Black". With "The Power of Dreaming" I have mixed feelings: I came up with the idea of combining the method with a mem-deck, which led to a completely different effect. I will need to experiment further with that.

You are right, "I've got a Surprise for You" is a card effect. I think it is a great opener for multiple reasons:
It is short, direct and powerful, indicating that the effects the spectators are about to witness are different from what they may have seen from their uncle Bob. On the other hand, it is not mind-blowing, leaving room for progressively stronger effects later on.
It allows for spectator interaction and reassures them that they will not end up as the butt of the jokes (o.k. the latter is not so much a quality of the effect, but of the magician performing the effect).
I also like like the dramatic structure: It is basically a "magician makes good" kind of effect. However, the magician rights his mistake in such a way, that the mistake never happend in the first place.
Finally, it leaves the spectator with an "not quite right" feeling. A feeling that there is something more to it. I believe that this can enhance the magic of an effect. (I hope this makes some sense).

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (May 14, 2013 12:16PM)
Wow! I am reading all these exciting things and feeling that what I am doing is rather pedestrian.

Currently, though, I have to turn my attention to the Columbus Arts Festival June 7, 8 & 9. Will be performing along with Mickey Figgs from 11 - 5 each day. This has morphed to become a very family-oriented gig, which we handle much like busking. I usually bring a lot of different effects, so that I can feed my mood. This year, however, I am trying to see how little I need in order to do a good show.

Growing up, I always had a "junk box" into which I put the widest variety of odd stuff you could imagine. I am going to try to recreate that using a metal pail, except that it will have rope, coins, cards, wand, etc. and will be pulling things out, much as I used to do with my buddies, and doing magical things with it. Ending, of course, with Miser's Dream. Might try a large coffee can if I can reduce my "stuff" sufficiently. Ideas?

This is going to be fun...


Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (May 20, 2013 07:58PM)
Nothing pedestrian about busking!! I mean, maybe it's pedestrian by its very nature since you're standing in the street and all...but aside from that. It's not that kind of thing I would succeed at so I definitely applaud you, Jim!

So you're basically wanting to do the Miser's Dream into the container that you carry your props in?
Message: Posted by: landmark (May 20, 2013 08:51PM)
I'm working on Paul Cummins's Tapalack. I screw it up about one out of every three times. I know the key to the mental part is relaxation, and not getting ahead of myself. I think having an out will allow me to feel even more relaxed. I need to plan my out when it goes wrong--even if the out is making "I screwed up" entertaining for the spectator. If you know the effect, I'm certainly open to suggestions.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (May 21, 2013 07:34AM)

Yes, that is my current plan. I will be working with a great magician who goes by the street name of Mickey Figgs. Last year we worked together, and I brought in a truck load of things, while he walked up with a cardboard box that doubled as his street table and held his props. A lot of buskers do that, as they can just walk away from the card box if the police come by. Will be doing a rope routine and thinking about egg bag. Finish with Miser's Dream using the galvanized pail it all came in. Very sparse for me, but I am interested in seeing if I can hold a crowd with so little,

I don't know Tapalack. Could you give a brief on what the spec sees?

Message: Posted by: landmark (May 21, 2013 11:13AM)
Tapalack is a wonderful card trick with a mentalism flavor.

A dual experiment in mindreading. Spectator looks at a card in the shuffled deck, performer also looks at a card in the deck. Spectator removes the card from the deck that s/he believes is the performer's; the performer removes the card s/he believes is the spectator's. The cards are turned over. They are both correct.

Without giving it away, there is some mental work that is easy to mess up under pressure. I've given it a lot of practice (as opposed to rehearsal), and I can pull off that part flawlessly when not under the pressure of performance. When push comes to shove however, in performance, I am not always as sharp and quick as I need to be.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (May 23, 2013 01:38PM)
I know exactly of what you speak. I have come to believe that practice helps some, rehearsal a lot more, but nothing is as good as performing. With each performance the butterflies and pressure abate a bit until one can enjoy a relaxed performance.

As to Tapalac, I may have been having a senior moment- I think I have this! Without being able (for a few days) to research, I thought it was called Diplopia. A simply great effect which was way more valuable than I thought, as it taught me the greatest breather I have known. Am I going crazy, or what??

Message: Posted by: landmark (May 23, 2013 04:35PM)
Diplopia is Paul Vigil's version of a Paul Cummins effect, Tapalack. Vigil has brought a lot to it, but after trying out both, I think the procedure in Tapalack is more effective. There are a few lines of script from Diplopia though that I now use for Tapalack.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (May 24, 2013 09:27AM)
Thanks, very interesting. May have to get Tapalac to see what it offers...

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 11, 2013 06:45AM)
Hi, folks! The Columbus Arts Festival gig was a great success, thanks to Mickey Figgs. Three long days, but the thrill of doing a busking-type act in front of literally thousands. Plan to make some major changes to my rope work-the idea of having an entire act with just a few pieces of rope fascinates me, and it is just so easy t o see on the street. How zit going with you?

Diamond Jim
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 12, 2013 02:07PM)
Hi Jim,

Glad you had fun.

An all rope show sounds a little one note to me unless it's a short busker show (and I'm big into Rope Magic).
Why not have some variety?

I've been working on my Library Show. I've done the first one (which went OK) so now I'm tinkering. I usually tinker till the end of the run, then never do it again.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 13, 2013 03:19PM)
Yeah, you are probably correct, Mary- guess I was in my minimalistic mode... either that or the Cardini of ropes. Hey, that's the ticket- Cordini!!!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 14, 2013 01:33AM)
How about Cordini, unplugged?

Message: Posted by: landmark (Jun 14, 2013 06:47AM)
I think I ironed out the mental problem with Tapalack thanks to some comments I read on this board. I've built in a "slowing down" process into the script so that I don't have to feel pressured about doing the mental work. That has given me a lot more confidence.

On another note, I've been working on Daivd Regal's Leap of Faith which requires a g.....r's c.p which is angle sensitive. I've never used one before, so it's taken me a while to get it to the point where it is presentable. However, I had been practicing it as a sit-down effect. As soon as I tried it standing up, however, the whole thing fell apart and I have to re-script it so that the timing works out. Has anyone else had that happen where you have to re-script based on the performing conditions?
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 14, 2013 01:56PM)
Yes, I used to do triumph as a tabled effect.

When I brought it up to an "in hands" effect it changed the patter a little but not too radically.

I wonder if a strong light(s) might help in the spectators position(s).
If the card in C.p position is in the shade you're good (as long as your body language isn't a giveaway).
I've never heard of this tool but it seems like it could be of some use. you might include a directed laser pointer for more accurate info.

You've got more nerve than I will ever have.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 16, 2013 12:12PM)
I have had a number of occasions where going from sitting to standing etc. made way more of a change than I thought. I have also noticed that it does not take very long to get comfortable with the new angles, etc. and for the change to start getting easy to do.

I noticed this in flying some years ago. My SO decided to learn to fly, and I moved to the right seat to help teach her. Only a few feet to the right seemed like I was starting all over from scratch- but it came together very quickly...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 16, 2013 01:15PM)
Very cool that you can fly Jim.

Even in a plane.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jun 16, 2013 09:51PM)
Hi everyone!

I'm sure you probably thought I fell off the edge of the Earth, but I have been practicing! Monday, 17 July, is our Omaha Magic Society annual competition. Below is a link to my routine. As always, I look forward to suggestions, but obviously won't implement them for this event.

In addition to John Ramsey and John Carney for the basic routine and the techniques,I must credit Joe Cole who worked with me on developing the story and wouldn't let me take any short cuts!



Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 18, 2013 10:35AM)

A very nice routine! The tin can gave me a great idea for a seemingly impossible load- I plan to work on that. Thanks!

Some posts above, I talked about a series of Festival performances in which I was using an old metal pail with handle in which I kept all of my props- it looks totally straight forward. You might give some thought to something like that so as to have a logical reason to get your props out after the lead-in explanation. This avoids the specs wondering what is going to happen with the can, etc. so your story gets their full attention. I think it could also give you a plausible reason for the wand, and an easy place from which to get it. For next time, perhaps...


Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 23, 2013 01:49PM)

Look through on mute with the scroll and stop at random places in the effect.

How do you like the look of the freeze frames? If you didn't know it was a Magic effect, what might you guess the man was talking about?

Try to make your "snap shots" convey the vacation fun and relaxation mood.

Have fun and smile.

Good Luck!

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jun 23, 2013 10:38PM)
Thanks Mary. I will take a look at it as you suggest.

The competition went well - a comedy act won, however a number of people in the club that I respect came up to me after and congratulated me on a good routine. I still need to work on it some more, but I am pleased with the base routine.

Thanks again!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 23, 2013 11:16PM)
Hi Hudson,

I thought the contest was in July.
Sorry for the useless advice.
I'm glad things went well.

I did one of my worst shows in a while yesterday.
Had a dyslexic problem during the temple screen and it had repercussions on the performance of the next couple of effects.
Even if I had a problem with the Temple screens I should have recovered faster.
I'm still shuddering inside.

I guess I can't fix the past but I can do better in the future.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jun 24, 2013 09:08PM)
Mary, shame on you for thinking your advice was useless! Your insights are highly valued. It was me that didn't get the routine into video shape until just before the competition -- which I use as a forcing mechanism and a deadline on a new routine. I will continue to improve. In fact, I am looking to incorporate one of Jim's ideas on my Red McGinty routine to improve it.

I've never been to a convention. Any one familiar with the MIdwest Magic Jubilee? Timing for SAM and IBM just don't work for me. Is Midwest worth going to?


Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jun 25, 2013 03:48AM)
I've never been to that convention but in general I love conventions.

Look for areas where you can sit around a table and show your stuff.

The people who attend a convention are often as much fun as the Starring Acts and much more accessible.

Be prepared to perform something you feel good about even if it's old hat to you. This isn't the place to try something you're iffy or nervous about.
Perform even if you think everyone else is better than you (they may feel the same about you).
People share more if you're willing to do something.

Person to person you can learn a lot at a Convention.
Don't try to retain any effects you don't love. Brain space is at a premium.

Bring your own cards and don't lend them to just anybody. Guys will borrow your deck and crimp the heck out of 'em or lick their fingers as they handle your cards. I bring a Horrible deck and write "loaner" on the side. They knew they were coming to a convention, you are not obligated to give them your deck.

On the other hand if Mike Close or Jeff McBride ask to borrow your deck, hand 'em over. LOL

Don't expect to sleep much. Ditch lectures that don't interest you to get some sleep or share in the coffee shop.

You will have a wonderful time.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jun 25, 2013 06:36AM)
Thanks Mary. I'm looking forward to it - sounds like a lot of fun and learning.

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 25, 2013 01:24PM)
Yeah, a good convention is way worth going to. I need to look around and find one. Great advice from Mary- wish I had that sooner. Have fun, Hudson!
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jul 2, 2013 03:25PM)
I have just been gifted a set of Japanese fans.

Ever since seeing "Confessions of a Geisha", I've wanted to play with fan work. I've tried some cheap paper fans, not so good.

About a week ago I decided to make up a mock fan out of foam board and a wand just to get a feel for it.
Two days later the fans came to me through a friend.
It really lets you know that when you are ready for something it will come your way.

I'll probably never do a real fan dancing act since I'm not a pretty little Asian Girl (lumbering might be a good descriptor of my physical style) but I'd like to incorporate some of those moves into some fan Magic. I'm having great fun playing with them anyway.

I'd like to thank Leroy Goodenough for his wonderful and generous gift.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jul 6, 2013 06:56AM)

If you think YOU are not suited for a fan dance, imagine how it would look on ME... :)

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jul 6, 2013 02:41PM)

But I'll try juggling lots of things privately.

I've done some contact juggling with coffee filters ( Tom tried it and got better than me and he barely contact juggles. Grrr). It takes a light touch.

You don't even have to be good at juggling to get a charge when it goes better.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jul 10, 2013 04:10PM)
I would love to learn to juggle and I know I just do not have the free time to do it...
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Jul 11, 2013 06:26PM)
Jim, I didn't know you were a fellow pilot! I fly Cessnas and Pipers. I definitely had the same feeling when I was sitting right seat, throttle on the wrong side, no six pack in front of me. Feels a bit foreign. I gate the same feeling when I sit in the passenger seat of a car.

I too wish I could juggle. I've done it with the scarves you can buy but anything heavier and I'm a mess. I wish I could juggle the final loads for my cups and balls routine but I can't so my ending line is always, "and if I could juggle them I would."
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jul 12, 2013 12:07AM)
No kidding 15 minutes a day and you'll be doing six throws in a row without dropping in a week. After that it is just a matter of keeping your hand in and you will improve.

I don't know if you watch TV but commercial breaks are a great amount of time to practice and come up fairly often. Computer waiting time is good too but step away from the keyboard.

Believe it or not bean bag juggling (best because they don't roll) is much less strenuous than scarf juggling. Throwing a small bean bag is easier than lifting your whole arm to the top of the arc.

As with most things you'll start using more energy than is needed and will spend most of your strength fighting your own muscles. I used the Juggling for the complete Klutz book myself. If you don't have it just start with one and toss it back and forth at about the same height. Once you feel comfortable move on to two, then three.

Just follow this simple rule: Three balls, in you two hands, one at a time,.. a lot. Simple... but not easy. (kind of like me).

Rice or beans tied up in a sock will work fine. Try to size them so you can hold two in one hand fairly easily.

I dare you all to try it for a week.
In a week you'll be a week older and you may or may not know how to juggle.
Personally I'd rather be a week older AND know how to juggle.

The only people who learn to juggle are the ones who are willing to pick up a lot of bean bags. That's not a very high thresh-hold.

Andrew, may I suggest a different ending line?, like TA DAH!

Mary the Proselytizer (read that carefully).
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jul 25, 2013 02:07PM)
"Ring and Ribbon" and Library Show work and practice lately.

Both seem very satisfying.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Aug 5, 2013 04:21PM)
Finished my last Library Show on Sunday. It was probably the best one and my nieces and nephews were there as well so, Great Fun!

Making progress with "Ring & Ribbon".

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Aug 6, 2013 07:03AM)
Mary -- glad to hear your show went well and you were able to share it with your family. Sounds like it was lots of fun.

Boy's Town show this weekend. This is an annual event that the Omaha club puts on. I will be doing Coins in the Hat (Ramsey/Carney). I've been working on this one since I attended John Carney's lecture last year. Simple, but at the same time very challenging. Lot's of acting required in this one! The basic slights are not difficult, but to carry them off in front of an audience seems like performing naked!

Then the following weekend I will be performing in the close up competition at the Midwest Magic Jubilee with Red McGinty. Haven't started getting nervous for that yet because I've been worried about Boy's Town! I'm sure next week I won't sleep at all! Anyone else going?

What is everyone else working on? Any new challenges?


Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Aug 8, 2013 08:49PM)
Been taking a bit of a hiatus myself while I work on some other stuff for work...just a few regular things at the Castle but no new material. I'll get started back up again in the fall. I miss conjuring!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Aug 11, 2013 11:27AM)
Just returned from a graduation gift trip with my grandson in NYC. I had planned to try some busking using just rope magic. As luck would have it, the one time I was at liberty to do so, and prepared to begin, it suddenly rained so hard I had to run for cover. Trying not to read too much into this... :)

OK, Mary, ONE week...

Good to read what is going on with y'all...

Message: Posted by: MKoeppel (Sep 10, 2013 03:36AM)
So I finally applied for membership at our local magic club and actually got accepted as a candidate.
For the next meeting in October I have to present some piece of magic and I think I will go for "1234 Ambitious" by Roy Walton.
So the plan is to rehearse this 5 times 30' / week.

Hope you are all progressing nicely with your projects.

Best, markus
Message: Posted by: MKoeppel (Sep 10, 2013 03:36AM)
So I finally applied for membership at our local magic club and actually got accepted as a candidate.
For the next meeting in October I have to present some piece of magic and I think I will go for "1234 Ambitious" by Roy Walton.
So the plan is to rehearse this 5 times 30' / week.

Hope you are all progressing nicely with your projects.

Best, markus
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Sep 10, 2013 03:49AM)
Hi Markus.

Congratulations on joining your local Magic Club.

I think there is an active thread on that very effect in "The Workers" right now.

Ring and Ribbon are progressing nicely but the more I learn, the more work I can see it needs.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Sep 10, 2013 06:50AM)
Hey, Markus- good on 'ya!

I am working on the "Stupid Bean Trick" but as yet have not performed it. Now I need to set it aside for awhile in order to get ready for Halloween. Time to get out "Butcher's Blade"- bwaa-ha-ha-ha....
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Oct 14, 2013 02:54PM)
I started working on Dean Dill's "Revelation" after spending Saturday with him at the Magic Castle swap meet and seeing him demo it about a dozen times. I've always loved seeing him do it, and the audience reactions are spectacular, but that was the last straw for me - I had to have it. Just working on the subtleties of it now. Very exciting!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Oct 21, 2013 12:37PM)
Can you share what the audience sees, Andrew?

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Nov 12, 2013 04:42PM)
Hey guys,

So I haven't been on in a long time, kind of had a rough year. Doing okwy now and thought I would check in. Dick Oslund is in the VA Hospital in Iron Mountain, MI. He has Cellulitis and he also suffered from blood Poisoning. He is doing better now but it will be acouple weeks of therapy before he is released. Prayers for Dick are welcome.

I hope you are all doing well and keep up the practice!

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Nov 13, 2013 09:14PM)

It's a shadow coins routine on the table...four coins traveling from one side to the other in a beautiful fashion. At the end, the coins begin to multiply until you're left with 16 coins in front of you. Really a stellar piece if you put the work into it.
As the holidays are approaching I've been sticking to my normal material since I'm performing more this time of year.
Glad you're doing well, Peter!
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 15, 2013 08:54PM)
Hey Pete,

Thanks for the heads up on Dick. I knew he was in the hospital but I was thinking he'd be home any day.

I got an answer to a PM I sent Dick few days ago today so apparently he has access to a computer.

Hope things are going better for you Pete.

I've been working on Ring and Ribbon and it keeps improving but the "finish line" keeps moving farther and farther for completion. Weird.

So, like Andrew I'll have to start concentrating on my working repertoire till the New Year (mostly).

Hope you all get lots of good gigs for the Holidays!

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Nov 23, 2013 06:12PM)
I'm still here, too. Have had a lot going on in the last 5 months. I'm working on my new website, using the old template. :) Did a lot of photography this summer, but haven't had the energy to work on magic. Feeling inspired now to get to work on polishing up some old stuff and starting on some new! Stuff in progress: fishing grizzly (coins), the GOOSE ;) , black sheep C&B. Photographing props and taking inventory- I've got quite a little menagerie and I think there are some individuals I've forgotten are housed within the lot. :) Time to get them out, make a list, and cast some new numbers.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 25, 2013 08:05AM)
Hi Folks!

Good to hear what is happenin'.

I had a good halloween season, and really enjoyed the dip into macabre and mentalism. I took a little break to get back into chess and enjoyed the Championship coverage. Now, I think I am going to follow Andrew's lead, and work on coins. The Dean Dill sounds really intriguing, but I need to get some of my other stuff back up to speed first. Oh no, that means more work on the classic palm!

Since I am usually out of town the week before New Year's I don't have any gigs that week, and just one Christmas party to do. Looking forward to having some days of free time to get back into the regular practice I need.

Hope you all have a GREAT Thanksgiving, and life is short, so go ahead- eat too much!


Message: Posted by: MKoeppel (Dec 23, 2013 03:20AM)
Dear All

So it is that time of the year again... the time when it comes to New Year resolutions.

Mine is to put some work into false shuffles and cuts. More specifically, I want to be able to do a in the hands false riffle shuffle.
As per topic guidelines:
Practice false in the hands riffle shuffle (currently I am looking at the one from Derek delGaudio) 5 times per week, at least 15 minutes.
This is a real knuckle buster so I do not expect to have this down before the middle of the year.

What are your goals for 2014?

Wishing you a merry Christmas and a happy new year - and a lot of success with your resolutions.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 29, 2013 10:29AM)
Happy Holidays, Markus!

Your mission sounds like a good one- good luck with it!

As for me, I am going to devote some solid practice to coin work, starting with another attempt at perfecting the classic palm. I can do one reasonably, but my hand is never quite as natural as some can make theirs, and I am still a bit insecure about dropping the coin. I would love to get proficient with my morgans, also. Now I generally opt for halves.

Also plan to start work on the "stupid bean trick". Gonna try for 30 minutes, five days a week.

Have a great NY eve!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Dec 29, 2013 02:19PM)
I might have a go at fulfilling some of my 2013 goals.

You know, Lose weight, get better at "The Biz", keep in better touch with family and friends, finish Ring and Ribbon, get good photos and video.

Good luck (and perseverance) to us all!

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Dec 30, 2013 12:46PM)
Planning to work the castle at least one weekend a month to really keep my live performances sharp. That's my goal.
Happy New Year to all!

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 3, 2014 06:53AM)
That is a great goal, Andrew- I envy you! Have a great year!!

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Jan 28, 2014 08:38PM)
So far, no good! I came down with pleurisy while I was in Seattle for the holidays, and a month later I'm still fighting it! I'm back at work but it's been a struggle, so unfortunately magic has taken a backseat to being able to breathe and walk up a flight of stairs. I'm only 32 for cryin' out loud!

Mary...I drove through your neck of the woods in December and again in January. I should have stopped and harassed you!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 1, 2014 08:31AM)
Very sorry to hear that, Andrew. I had a breathing scare not long ago, but evidently it was just a bit too much exposure to -15 degree weather from feeding our farm animals. Hope you recover soon and can get back to your magic. Harass Mary for me, will you? She hasn't been around to do it much here...

Hope you are all sticking with the regular practice!


Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 3, 2014 01:09PM)
I just worked in a Showcase of entertainers seeking work in the Library Systems in northern Cal.

What an eye opener! Last time I went a few years ago I was not too impressed.
I saw several time wasting Magicians (I. E. "Now this side say the magic word, oh not loud enough. How about this side of the room…?") Ugh!
I saw some great musicians both times I went.
I saw horrible story tellers both times I went.

This time The Magic was better but what surprised me most was the caliber of Tumbling and Juggling acts available. One of the guys had been on the Tonight show. Some of the Tumblers were Circus performers.

I'd say my audition went quite well and I was pleased with my standing among the Magicians I saw but clearly Librarians have a lot of choices other than Magic.

Did I mention the Story Tellers were horrible? I'm from Irish extraction and dinner table stories from kids were more fun than this drivel. They should pay people to listen to this stuff and they should not be able to use the name "Story Teller".

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 3, 2014 05:00PM)
I will keep my fingers crossed for you, Mary. I really like to tell a good story, but have never been in a competition or what not. What was it that made them bad? What those irish dinner stories good? I try to incorporate stories into my magic- it just feels like what I want to do. I would love to improve it all, however! Good to hear from you- take care... Jim
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Feb 3, 2014 05:35PM)
Bad singing and begging for audience participation were the main drawbacks. Big theatrical voices disassociated from the real meaning of the story were also distracting.
Most story tellers would be well of to leave out rhyming unless they are also able to feel the life of the story in the rhyme. Stopping to remember the exact words pulls the audience out of the fantasy.

I think coming from an Irish family (or a family that prides its self in their Irish ancestry no matter how small LOL) there is more interest and recognition in good story telling.

My Grandfather did not tell Irish stories, he told everyday stories in an interesting way. My Brothers and I told our everyday stories of school and such but drew each other in to the feelings and characters in our class. I will admit that in my family there was more emphasis on a good story than in the literal truth. That may have just been in my family. Why tell a boring story when it could be a better story?

I like it when a story teller tells the audience something about the character's feelings and then tells how that plays out I. E. Ben did not want to be out done so he…

Story tellers should give a short space for the listeners to catch the meaning and imagine themselves in that position. I.E. I felt the water and mud soak the to bottom as the sludge over topped my shoe.
I imagined a day of one shoe squishing with every step … and decided …to step in with both feet...
I came to regret my solution.

Choosing a story that is interesting in the first place would be nice.

There was an 8 min limit so perhaps it was hard to find something in their repertoire that fit the time. Mostly it seemed that people who wanted to be in show biz and wanted to make a few bucks thought Story telling was something anyone could do since it was "just for kids".

I don't claim to be a story teller but I know what I don't like.

The highly opinionated,

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Feb 7, 2014 06:58PM)
An interesting read, that. Thank you, Mary.

I feel many who think they can tell a good story need to hear a recording of it sometime. We all see ourselves in a unique way, as Robt Burns so well stated.

I guess I would admit that though I love to tell a good story, I am not sure I do. Carolyn, my SO, complains frequently that she can't follow my approach. I do not like the linear style, I like to put things out there that challenge the imagination and they draw it all together near the end. It is an art. It is harder than it looks. I love to do it, especially with a magic routine. One of my favs is Skinner's Ultimate Monte done to a story-poem. I just feel it gives life to the effect.

So good to "talk" with you-

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Mar 28, 2014 07:15AM)
Hi all-

Are any of you out there practicing regular-like? I am about to the end of my patience with what has been a sort-of rough winter season, and looking forward to hitting the bricks soon for the fun of busking at some spring events. What you-all got going???

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Mar 28, 2014 02:10PM)
My Ring and Ribbon is moving painfully slowly and yet is so rewarding.

I'm working nightly about 30 min each on Ring and Ribbon and 2 ring linking ring moves (it's going great in the "move" dept. but not so well in the routine dept.).

Same with Ring and Ribbon. Great moves and lots of them. Not a good routine yet (more of a long kata) and only a mental suggestion of a couple of directions for patter.

It holds great promise but the task keeps growing.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Mar 28, 2014 09:28PM)
I've been off and on since the New Year. I'm full time now looking for gigs, in between visiting grand kids in Pittsburgh. Working on getting a weekly restaurant gig, have a couple contacts and now need to go after them hard.

Have started working on a stage show. First up is cut and restored rope, combined with professors nightmare. Since most of my work is close up, working on routines that I can perfect one by one will building the show.

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Mar 29, 2014 02:15PM)
I really like your new website Hudson.

The photos of you smiling are very inviting and you have some great comments from past clients.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Mar 29, 2014 05:30PM)
Thanks Mary ... Now just have to wait till the gigs roll in :-)

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Apr 1, 2014 06:37PM)
Hey, guys! (Sorry Mary, I can tell full well you are not a guy)...

Good to hear from you! Hudson, I agree totally with Mary- great web site! Love the hat (I am a bit of a hat guy). Hope your site has the desired effect! I am adding the Stupid Bean Trick to my outdoor routine- have not field tested it yet (well, maybe in an empty field) but I think it will be a crowd stopper...

Take care, Jim
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Apr 1, 2014 06:37PM)
Hey, guys! (Sorry Mary, I can tell full well you are not a guy)...

Good to hear from you! Hudson, I agree totally with Mary- great web site! Love the hat (I am a bit of a hat guy). Hope your site has the desired effect! I am adding the Stupid Bean Trick to my outdoor routine- have not field tested it yet (well, maybe in an empty field) but I think it will be a crowd stopper...

Take care, Jim
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Apr 2, 2014 01:36PM)
Mr M - can stupid bean trick be used on stage? Also, how difficult to master?

I've thought about it, but worried I would use enough to justify investment.

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Apr 8, 2014 09:12PM)

The stupid bean trick is great for stage. It is not a difficult effect, but is a little pricey. It is my understanding that only a limited number of sets will be sold so as to keep it from being over-exposed. You can get a good idea of how it plays on YouTube. Hope that helps. Jim
Message: Posted by: VidarF (May 10, 2014 09:08AM)
Hi, I don't know if this is too late, but I think it will help me practice and reach my goal, so:

1. Vidar

2. A simple card sandwich routine followed by rise and swap

3. 30 minutes

4. 4 times per week

5. June 10th

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (May 10, 2014 02:11PM)
Welcome VidarF,

We could use some new energy.

I look forward to your reports.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: VidarF (May 10, 2014 04:11PM)
Thank you Mary!
Message: Posted by: VidarF (May 11, 2014 06:45AM)
OK, so this week I have done two practice sessions since I joined this group. I have made a little change in the routine and I will be working on that.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (May 11, 2014 12:49PM)
You'll be surprised how quickly a few practice sessions become a good habit once you incorporate time for it into your schedule.

I'm currently working on "Linking Rings" (Ninjas) and "Ring and Ribbon" (long term) and have started playing with "The Charming Chinese Challenge" because of some of the crossover with the "Ring and Ribbon". These have been very diverting and satisfying sessions.
It is great fun to have my amazing partner and mentor Tom chime in with suggestions and ideas as well. Its like a great workshop every night.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: VidarF (May 11, 2014 02:16PM)
That sounds fun Mary! I went on your website and watched your video, your shows look very fun. :) Yes, I try to practice as much as I can, but I have a lot to do right now, in school and etc.
I am a beginner, 1 year into card magic. I wish I could have a mentor haha, but I don't know any magician. There is a magic circle in my town, but I wouldn't dare trying to join it, sounds scary.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (May 11, 2014 07:40PM)
You'd be surprised at how welcoming Magic groups can be to a dedicated student.

Give it a try.

Live help can far surpass online help. Real people can tell you when you are flashing or doing a "windup" to a move.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: VidarF (May 12, 2014 08:01AM)
You're probably right. Having someone to practice with, rather than practice on, would be nice. I might try it. Now I'll begin my first practice session for this week.
Message: Posted by: VidarF (May 19, 2014 04:19AM)
Hi. Last week hase been no good. I cut my thumb with a knife while cooking and with the thumb wrapped in band aid and hurting, the practice hasn't been so good.

I hope for better practice this week.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (May 19, 2014 02:51PM)
That is the worst. And don't try to sneak in any card practice early because the little dry flange of skin will seek the edge of any card in the vicinity and send you back to square one in the healing process.

A fingernail file can help smooth the skin but it looks like time to explore Linking Rings or some other non snaggy Magic for a while.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jun 2, 2014 04:05PM)
Hello VidarF and welcome to our group! As you know, our goal is consistency. Your program sounds good and we will get positive vibes from your progress as well as our own. And remember, if you can't "find" 30 minutes on any given day, try to find a few, even if only 5. I was fiddling with Skinner's Monte a few weeks ago, literally doing the routine just once each evening. A chance came up to use it, and it went like clockwork! Good luck!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jul 8, 2014 08:36PM)
Hello all,

I've been performing my "Paws to Read" summer reading programs.
They are going very well and running exactly on time. (This almost never happens right from the start.)

Still working on Ring and Ribbon but I have done many of the single moves for the real public now as well as multiple showings to Magicians and friends (and some who are both).

I am very gratified at how well it is being received but had to pull a couple of the single effects from my "routine" (not yet set in stone) at a 5 hour gig July 1 (benefit for Ronald MacDonald House Charities).
It seems that some moves require very clean and dry hands, so I had to assess the situation before going for those.
Luckily there was a sink nearby and on such a long engagement I need to wash hands for best card work as well.

Ring and Ribbon also needs smooth hands as a snag can pull the ribbon in unexpected ways.

I'm not complaining. Each object has its own charms.

How are your efforts going?

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Jul 9, 2014 05:17PM)
Hi Mary,
Good to hear you are well! I've been making good progress with my standup show - added the Stupid Bean Trick (thanks to Jim's comments) and it has been very well received. Plays well for all ages/ audiences. I also added in Dan Tong's cut and restored rope routine that I follow immediately with a ring and rope that seems to flow well.

I've tried egg bag, but just can't seem to get that where I like it well enough to keep in my set. Next up for me to learn is Silk2Egg. I'm doing a volunteer show for the Susan G Komen for the Cure in Minneapolis in late Aug and would like to have it ready by then.

Just back from IBM/SAM in St Louis. Saw some amazing magic, but think I like the smaller conventions better.

What's up with everyone else? Anyone making trips to Minneapolis?

Message: Posted by: Peter Stobie (Jul 11, 2014 09:31AM)
Hey gang!
I know it's been a while. I have had some health issues in the last year and I am doing much better now, but focusing on my job and family has trumped logging into the computer. I have been working on stuff off and on up until May and then had to take a break from magic due to an increased workload after a staff member departed in April to pursue his Masters. This unexpected departure put me back into the libraries for the summer. So Mary I was intrigued as I was catching up on the posts to see your venture into the libraries. Although I am approaching this as a naturalist and not a Magician I have been very successful creating Natural history programs that fit the libraries summer theme over the last 18 years. I have been to several library showcases in the past and I know exactly what you are referring to. It is unfortunate the acts that some libraries choose. I have several thoughts on this if you want to have aside conversation on this.
So back to magic. I did my first paying birthday party in May and had a great time as did the children. I incorporated some of Keith fields antics that works well with my style. As I said I haven't been doing much lately, but we are doing bag magic at the end of the month for our ring's monthly meeting. I am starting to work on a Bill Severn effect with checkers and paper lunch bags. I am also looking at some possibilities with the Baby Bag.

Andrew, has everything cleared up with you are you back to health?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Message: Posted by: Mada257 (Sep 14, 2014 12:56PM)
Hello everyone!
As a lurker on this forum, this thread was a huge inspiration to me. I'm saddened to see that it's been a little while since it's been in active use. I'll throw my practice scheme into the ring, and I guess we'll see where that takes us.

1. Adam

2. Cohesiveness through running cards and pulling packets with the Overhand Shuffle

3. 15 minutes

4. 5 days a week

5. September 30

Hope everyone is doing well!
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Sep 14, 2014 11:40PM)
Welcome to our group Mada257,

I'm glad to hear that Jim's brainchild was inspiring you even before you joined.
May as well through a jog shuffle into your mix. It is very handy and you're in the right position for it.

Hudson, thanks for the feedback on "The Stupid Bean Trick," Tom has expressed an interest in that and that's good info. Don't you just love "Ring & Rope"?

Pete, glad you're feeling better.
Yea, I've been doing Library Shows in our system off and on since 1980. At first it was with Tom but in the last 20 on my own as well.
By the way, it turns out that I am getting more shows from the Showcase well after that year. It seems that many of the Library Systems have already booked their programs for the year before seeing the Showcase so they keep notes for the next year.

You will love Birthday Parties. I include a lot of things that entertain the whole family.
Dress cool. I did one with 30 people packed in the kitchen and entry area today (Game on in the living room, they all ended up watching by the end). It made the juggling more of a challenge LOL.
When your Magic draws a whole family together and leaves them with a shared feeling of wonder, you really do feel like a million bucks. (And you get paid, YEA!)
Ring & Ribbon is going gang busters although I am only doing a couple of effects per set. Any more would be wasted. The only problem is that when I have a mixed Stand-Up and Close-Up gig, I have to drop "Ring & Rope" from my Stand-Up set. Oh well.

Andrew, I am also wondering if your pleurisy has cleared up.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Sep 15, 2014 10:28AM)
Welcome Adam! I'm sure you will enjoy the interaction here as I have.

Mary - I now close with Stupid Bean and it always leaves them speechless. An amazing trick - I use Br Paul's scrip (what there is of it!) with a few minor changes. I do enjoy rig and rope. Suspicion is always on the ring, which I now always hand out before I start (didn't do that initially).

Susan G Komen show went well. It was for walkers and family of the 3-day. Nice show for nice people.

Hope all are well!

Message: Posted by: Mada257 (Sep 15, 2014 11:25AM)
Thank you for the welcome Mary and Hudson!

Mary- The goal is to throw in the jog shuffle as well. However, if the shuffle doesn't come along as quickly, I'm hoping that a continuous flow between running and packets will satisfy me for a little while longer.

To any of you- I am combining resources on the overhand shuffle to hopefully reach a level of mastery at some point. Currently, I have been comparing from Royal Road, Card College, Expert at the Card Table, and the first episode of Pathways to Mastery by Aaron Fisher. Do any of you have any more gems that I've overlooked? Even some personal lessons you've learned would be appreciated.

Hope all is well
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Sep 16, 2014 11:02PM)
Adam - I'm a big fan of Card College because it stays with the same system throughout. You never learn how to handle the cards early in the material and then have to unlearn later for more advanced skills. I have many resources for card magic and always go back to CC to work out the technique.
Message: Posted by: Mada257 (Sep 21, 2014 11:12AM)
Hudson-thanks very much for the affirmation on the resources that I have. Makes me sleep a little easier on what I'm learning.

Hope all is well with the rest of you. As for myself, the first week of practice has been up and down. I ended up practicing close to 45 minutes two days in a row which surprised me. However, the long trek up to Washington and all the surprises that have come with it have pushed cards to the side for the time being. Looking forward to getting back on the train.

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Sep 21, 2014 03:57PM)
Adam, At least you are more aware of the frequency and duration of your practice.

I had a Close-Up gig on Friday, it went really well (but tight quarters between tables). I love the few Close-Up shows I get.

I've been having some great session lately. Ring and Ribbon, Charming Chinese Challenge and Ninja Rings mostly.

I doubt I'll ever really use the Charming… because it is very similar to the Ring and Ribbon but it does give me insights into the Ring and Ribbon and it makes for an interesting change.

Starting tonight I'll be working on my 10 min presentation for our club's Public Show in October.

I think I'll be doing Professor's Nightmare, Juggling and Jokes, Cut and Restored Balloon and 20th Century Silks. I'll have to cut down my usual Juggling routine but It's needed an edit it for quite a while. This will force me to face it.

Happy practice all.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Oct 11, 2014 04:13PM)
Well, is this the place for apologizing for falling down on the job? Yes, or no, I am really red in the face over having drifted from this thread. No excuses.

Adam, thanks for finding this thread and joining our efforts. So many people do nothing, go nowhere, because they feel they don't have the time to practice, rehearse, study, etc. I have been amazed at what regular and consistent attention can do for almost any endeavor- even if it is not much time but often. Good luck!

Hudson- *** fine hat! And, I am a hat man myself...

Mary- good to hear from you. How is it going with Prof Nightmare? I used to do this a lot, but started to find specs who were familiar with it. Evidently, someone exposed it. I now have a routine that is about half Tabary and half Sanders, with some of my own thrown in. I may return to PN though, as I have always liked it.

Currently gearing up for Halloween, my fav time of the year for crazy magic...

Have fun all!

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Oct 12, 2014 01:35AM)
P,N. is going great.

I did it tonight in a 10 min set as part of our Club's annual Stage Show and it was great fun.

Nice to see you Jim.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 1, 2014 03:04PM)
I'm starting "The Cross of India" a 6 coin coins across that is good for a beginner in coins.

It is on the table which is not my favorite sort of Magic but since I have few coin effects and I like the effect I'm going to learn it. We'll see how much play it gets with the table constraints.
I used to do a coin Matrix (won my first contest with Matrix and JC wagner's Super Closer) They were both Table effects but I never do them now.
I'm thinking of building the effects for and "On the Table" Close-Up Show.

I'm going to learn it with quarters which seem common enough now-a-days.

15 min a day, 5 days a week. This is very conservative once I get going.
As usual, I expect that the handling will be much easier than performing it in an entertaining manner.

What have yinz been up to?

Prep. for Holiday Shows?

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Nov 1, 2014 05:13PM)
Have you lived in Pittsburgh? (Yinz!). We lived there for four years and couldn't understand the language for three!

Just back from a Halloween show - great fun. Introduced a few new routines that went over well - color change silk (Duane Laflin sucker) using 12" silks and a simplex. Tried using 18" and a palmo for a while and could just never get comfortable with the palmo. Always felt like it would fall off - love the simplex! Watching a young girl's mouth drop open and eyes practically explode tell me this is a keeper!

Closed with Banana Bandana. Know this is old news, but my first time. Now I will close kids shows with this one and adults with Stupid Bean (thanks Jim!).

Next up is continuous production of silver dollars. Played around with this a bit over the past few years, but have decided to focus on it. The other day, did a short 3 or 4 coin production on a neighbor and he about fell over. Now to perfect it! 10 minutes a day. 7 days a week till Thanksgiving .

Everyone else?

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 11, 2014 02:39PM)
Hi Hudson,

No, I never lived in Pittsburgh. I saw the word and it described my meaning. I could have said y'all or you'uns just as easily.

I have not been practicing the Cross of India as I'd hoped. A few weak sessions of just 15 mins but no inspiration.
Still working with Ring and Ribbon and loving it.

I'm really thinking about my Holiday show and how to book some more Strolling Close-Up.
I love Family Shows but I gotta get some Close-Up Gigs.
Companies are just not having a Christmas Party like they used to.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Nov 12, 2014 07:00PM)
Mary - we lived in Pittsburgh from 94-98 and both our kids went back for college and stayed. We visit often.... Funny story's about Yinz, best told over a drink, but summary is: my wife was looking forward to meeting Yinz, because s/he was doing so much work to make her job easier!

Continuing to work on my continuous production, but weather is a real problem in Minneapolis. Cold hands and palming don't go together well!

Have been working on my website (inspired by Mary's question over in Tricky Buisness). Got some great advice from a local contact on website optimizing. In execution mode now, and will continue to add to it over the next several months. Biggest need - quality video and photos!

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Nov 17, 2014 05:57PM)
Jim - I too have drifted, more so from the Café than from magic - so I get it!
Been working a ton on a new series for ABC Family but I'm performing somewhat frequently at the Castle, thought nothing new. I'm just enjoying using the material that I've polished!
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 17, 2014 11:38PM)
Nice to see you Andrew.

I never hurts to be working.
Let us know when your project comes out.

I don't seem to want "Cross of India" enough to work on it.
On the other hand, I have been working on the Charming Chinese Challenge as an adjunct to my Ring and Ribbon work. That is going great.

Sunday I'll get a crack at a real audience for Close-Up but I'll need the Ring and Rope for a Head of the Table effect so that precludes Ring and Ribbon. D'oh!

I better get a few more Close-Up gigs this Christmas or I may burst. LOL

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 18, 2014 03:29PM)
Hello all!

Great to hear from all of you-you have inspired me to get back in the practice mode. For awhile, I have devoted my practice time to music practice, which was fun, but I have decided that the music irritates people a lot more than magic practice. Plus, there is much more music competition than magic. I really think many people are more fascinated by good magic than music- probably because there seems to be music everywhere you turn.

So, I need to decide what to start working on. I have chosen the Relentless ring and string routine, coins across and torn. All use little in the way of apparatus and the props are easy to have with me most wherever I am. I am going for 30 min. a day, four days a week.

Hudson, I wonder if your continuous coins is anything like Bill Malone's continuous sponge balls. I have used that a lot and it really is very well received.

Andrew, I agree doing polished material is much fun. Plus, if you are polished on some things that use every day items or that you can carry in your pocket, you are always ready. Once was, I rather disdained impromptu magic, but it is noteworthy how often it is asked, and then I feel like I missed an opportunity when I have nothing ready. And I will not "try" anything I am not totally ready to perform.

Mary, I would love to see your PN routine. I got called out twice in one year with that and sort of put it away- but always loved it. I do a lot of rope but not PN anymore. Perhaps its time to bring it back out...

Hope Adam is still with us. Take care you guys!!

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Nov 19, 2014 08:20PM)
I believe my continuous production is similar to Malone's ( and others') sponge ball work. Three key skills - thumb pa@m, finger pa@m, and lots of acting! Timing and acting; I also escalate adding additional coins, ending with eight silver dollars - four in each hand. Challenge for me now is the weather. Minneapolis ... So cold it is difficult to do coin work in the winter. I also tend to get sloppy after even only a few minutes of practice, so I've been doing a lot more of the key slight three or four times, several times a day.

I also made a significant rewrite to Red McGinty. It is shorter now; story is much tighter / makes more sense; not sure if the close is as powerful. I will video it to share with you at some point.

Visiting kids, grand kids for Thanksgicing now. Will be performing some at a party this weekend, not a full show ( didn't bring everything with me) but will do a few things, including the continuous production. (If it's not too cold!)

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 20, 2014 08:15AM)

I gotta try coins instead of sponge balls. I can imagine how much harder it will be, but the continuous production is very strong and worth the try. Thanks for giving me a great idea! With the sponge balls, I do a switch to a different color which really works well. Not quite as spectacular as adding coins, but I decided I needed to make use of the fact that I was going to the pocket anyway.

Going to addd continuous production to my practice time- thanks!

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Nov 20, 2014 03:27PM)
Jim - PM on the way.

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 20, 2014 07:23PM)
Got it! Much thanks, for a number of reasons...
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Nov 20, 2014 10:34PM)
Jim - Glad to be of help. Your starting this thread has been great for me. Although I haven't posted as much as when the thread was newer, it has really changed the way I think about practice and expanding my performimg options. A big thank you!

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Nov 21, 2014 07:50PM)
You made my day, Hudson- and you are very welcome! It has helped me as well- we all can get "stuck in the mud" from time to time and need someone to set us straight. Here I am, getting exciting about mastering "continuous coins", which I had never thought of even though I was doing something similar with sponge balls! Coins makes a lot more sense than sponge balls. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving, which is what I plan to have...

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Nov 28, 2014 02:45PM)
Hi Jim,

I know you usually perform for your Thanksgiving crowd.

How did it go?

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 4, 2014 12:02PM)
Hi, Mary!

This year I booked a trip to Fort Myers for the week, and so missed Thanksgiving at home. A bit odd cracking a big lobster instead of a turkey, but we had a very pleasant, if quiet day. Oddly, we had to kill our two turkeys just before we left, but they were well received by some close friends. It was Carolyn's idea, not mine - she just needed to get away from some family responsibilities for awhile.

I took a John Scarne book on three-card monte, sponge balls, a bunch of rope and coins. It was fun working through some of the things in the warm, southern sun.

How 'bout you?

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Dec 4, 2014 12:42PM)
Tom and I had Thanksgiving alone (which I like) with plenty of food, Sci Fi and Magic practice to Tom's Guitar.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 5, 2014 05:20PM)
Sounds wonderful and romantic. I just started picking up my guitar after a number of years. Mostly because Carolyn's twin grand kids finally gave me the appreciative audience I had yearned for all those many lonely years... music can be magic...
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 18, 2014 07:00AM)
Here is wishing the very best of the Holiday season to my friends on this thread- and may you have a great 2015 filled with much magic and success!!

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Dec 22, 2014 10:52PM)
Happy holidays to everyone! I've been visiting grandkids and enjoying holiday season, so haven't been around for a while. Missed everyone here, but must say grandkids are pretty cool!

Have preformed continuous production a number of times since Thanksgiving, with good reaction. Amazes me how a simple set of slights can be so effective ...

Planning on competing at Minneapolis IBM in Jan with new version of Red McGinty. It is a little short on the time limit, so will have to add one other routine. Need to work the transition out - probably Lucky Coin then into Red. Will post link to video after Christmas (in Pittsburgh till 26th).

Hope everyone is having a fabulous holiday season!

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Dec 24, 2014 11:24AM)
A *somewhat* early Merry Christmas to everyone! I'm stuck in LA this year, unable to go home to Seattle due to work, but thankful to be doing a job I love!

I'm heading up to a cabin in the woods next week with a few friends and plan to bring the cups and balls and a few other goodies. I'm putting material together for Jack Goldfinger at the Magic Castle and I just renewed my membership - aiming to get up to the club more often this coming year.

I also assembled the gimmick for David Regal's There and Back - my first attempt at sewing and I didn't do half bad! I've had a lot of fun playing with the routine and working out a presentation.
In case you haven't seen it, check it out here:
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Dec 26, 2014 07:35AM)

Merry Christmas! Good to know you are doing well. LOVE the DR effect - think I will get it...

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Dec 29, 2014 02:18PM)
Merry Christmas!
It's a lot of fun...I realized I spent the same amount making it as I would had I bought it, but I feel more fulfilled for having done it myself! And it's fun to play around with.
Message: Posted by: somethingupmysleeve (Jan 3, 2015 06:19PM)
Hello everybody!

I'd love to join this group - I'm finding it hard to focus my practice, and am jumping around with all the tricks I have purchased, so hopefully this will help me.

I'm hoping to achieve the following:

- Learn three self-workers (Gemini Twins, Out Of This World, Jeopardy), ready to show my partner at the end of January
- Start moving through Mark Wilson's Complete Course, and Oz Pearlman's "Born to Perform Card Magic" DVD, picking sleights/tricks I will want to work on

I will be aiming to do an hour's practice every other day.

Please let me know your thoughts. I'll keep you updated on progress.

Thank you,

Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jan 5, 2015 11:57AM)
Hi s..u..s….,

Welcome to the group.

I've performed Gemini Twins and Out of this World with good success. They are no longer in my repertoire just because of the need for a table but both are very strong in the right surrounding.

I'm not familiar with Jeopardy but if it is as strong as the other two you will have done yourself a solid by adding these three.

I like to practice several effects as you do (although I often mix it up with rubber bands or ring and ribbon, etc... so it is not all the same type thing).

Congratulations on your focus for the new year. Magicians who practice regularly have a clear advantage on those who don't. (And so do their audiences. LOL)

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Jan 6, 2015 08:58AM)
Hi, Jon!

Great to have you aboard! Good luck on your schedule- just do not get discouraged if some days you can't find the hour. One of the best things I have learned is use whatever time is available for practice- even if it is only 5 minutes. I try for 30 minutes, 5 days a week, but if I can't do the 30, I will do 10- but always something. I do OOTW and find it always stuns the specs...

Message: Posted by: Andrew Zuber (Jan 13, 2015 12:29PM)
I'm doing some benefit shows through the Magic Castle next month so I'm working on my child-friendly material which is always fun/terrifying. Ropes, sponges, and I've always received great reactions from popping an 8 ball off a playing card. I haven't worked for kids in awhile but I'm kind of a kid myself so whatever appeals to me probably appeals to them. At least that's how it's worked in the past.

After years of talking about it, I finally have a Copper Silver Brass set coming in the mail. Any good recommendations for routines (aside from Doc Eason's, which I already own)? I hear Karl Heins has a DVD out but it sounds like his is better suited to dollar-sized coins and I went with the Walking Liberties, since that's what I normally work with.

Jon - you can't go wrong with Mark Wilson's stuff. I've been fortunate enough to spend quite a bit of time with him over the years and he continues to fry me with new stuff on almost a weekly basis.