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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Smooth as silk » » Favorite Silk Trick/Resource (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

ClintonMagus
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Southwestern Southeast
3999 Posts

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I have always loved silk magic. It is a shame that fewer and fewer performers these days seem to have original silk routines in their acts. There are still a few bird productions from silks, some "gentleman" magicians that use them, and Duane Laflin does a good bit of silk magic, but the big, colorful silk magic of years past seems to have all but disappeared, at least in the performances I have attended. Is my perception off-base? If not, what is the reason for the demise of silk magic?

Although I don't perform much any more, my favorite routine with silks is the Kuma Tubes. They are large enough to allow me to produce my six foot silks, forty-foot P&A streamer, and lots of other stuff, including umbrellas, the required rice, and even my daughter from behind a P&A butterfly.

The last time I did this, I got that reaction we all strive for - an audible gasp from the audience as the butterfly was whisked away, and there stood my daughter, holding a silk that said "Thank You". When she stretched it out, it was backwards, but that made the reaction even better.

What is your favorite trick using only silks? How about using silks and some other object?

Who is/was your favorite magician known for using silks?

What is your favorite silk magic resource, and why?

Thanks,

Amos McCormick
Things are more like they are today than they've ever been before...
WizzBang
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124 Posts

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My favourite trick is TT Blendo. I use a small model sewing machine to join them together. Simple but effective. Jay Scott Berry inspired me to use silks, using his diamond cut silks you can produce amazing silk fountains and sneek in a couple of doves as well. Doves and Silks just go together.
Phred
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118 Posts

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Rice's Encyclopedia of Silk Magic is, I think, the definitive collection (but expensive for all the volumes.

Favourite trick is a tie between 20th cent. silks and Crystal Cylinder/Pavel's tube.
Darkwing
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Nashville Tn
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I do a bare handed silk production, produce a silk fountain, and then produce a very long silk streamer. I always get a very good audience response. As listed, Duane Laflin has some great info and videos on silk magic along with Pavel.
Natural Mystic
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Atlanta, GA
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All,
Canadian magician Matthew Johnson has an excellent set of lecture notes called “Smooth as Silk”. I purchased the notes from hocus pocus about month ago. Here’s the information from hocus pocus:

Direct from the working repertoire of Matthew Johnson, it's smooth as silk!

How to build your very own cost-effective case/table, how to make a terrific silk clip out everyday stuff, the real work on silk rolls, working with glitter, switching silks during your act, and more. There are even four complete routines ready to add to your act, including work with a change bag and the color-changing records. Also included in this booklet is a great four silk production finishing with a blendo. This effect alone is worth the price of the manuscript and is taken directly from Matthew's act.

This is real world silk work that you should not miss!

I’m constructing silk routine based on a combination of two routines in his notes. His case/table consists of tool case that can be purchased from Home Depot or Lowes and a Eureka table base. What makes his case/table so valuable is how it’s constructed to allow direct silk steals. I purchased a professional looking (22x16x6) black anodized aluminum case from cases by source, a company in New Jersey. If you want to see it here’s the link,http://www.casesbysource.com/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=CBS&Product_Code=BL22166

Overall, these lectures notes are well worth the purchase. Combine these notes, Geoffrey Buckingham’s book “It’s Easier Than You Think” part two and DVD by the same name with a Topit, you’ll have deadly weapons in your arsenal.


One Love!
"You never change the existing reality by
fighting it. Instead, create a new model that
makes the old one obsolete."
-- R. Buckminster Fuller
Bob Sanders
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Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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Amos,

I'm with you. I love to see good silk magic on stage. While most people think of me as a dove magician, I actually do more silk magic than dove magic.

There is not much else that packs so small and plays so big with audiences. Silks will also play to audiences too young or too old for cards, numbers, etc. Color is easy to follow in any language. The same is true of appearing, disappearing and transposing.

My favorite silk routine is one I bought in the Ozarks custom made from Stephon Johnston (a very fine but relatively unknown manipulator and artist) in 1979. It is a take off on soft soap. However, I start with three different colored silks from the trick before (Sympathetic Silks) and tell the audience that I am going to make them into a huge silk with all the same colors. They are put together and the audience "shoots" them for me with their (fingers) guns. When I unstack the silks, nothing has changed except that they have "bullet holes" all in them. Yes, the holes are very real. The audience just howls.

From there I go into the Soft Soap except that the boxes are custom made (Spot Out) because I can use 18" or 24" silks (based upon stage size and distances). The silks are placed into the box, shaken, and the box very obviously turned over. The bottom is opened and the silks have been made whole again without holes. After the usual byplay the audience requires me to tear open the empty box to show they are in fact gone. (I have known audience members who kept a piece of these boxes for years.)

Next I go into a blendo (What’s New?) effect I got from (Ted) Sudds (back when the world was flat). The silks are put into the bag and become a huge scarf with a picture on it and using the colors of the three silks. The scarf is shown on both sides. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that I have done the routine over a thousand times in the twenty-five years since Stephon made my first one. It is made up in six different color combinations so I can fit most occasions.

You know what a dove magician would have to do next! I’m standing there with this huge silk over my arm! It’s not a card trick.

Bob
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

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hugmagic
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Years ago, I did a 20th Century silk routine. I vanished the silk with gun shot and it reappearred with bullet holes. It's an old clown gag. But try to do that in schools today..not!

Marvin Roy ( who once worked under the name of the Silk Merchant) told me ten years ago I had beautiful stuff but guys are too lazy to do silk or production magic anymore. It does take a little work, a lot of planning and blocking but it is a great act.

Think about it. Name one really well known "flash" act. But yet most of the big touring shows always had a big production number or flash number. It packs small and plays very big to any type or size of group.

I use a big phantom tube opening with lot of silks in it. Then for laymen (when I need a talker and time), I do Soft Soap to tell them how I care for my silks on the road.
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
www.hughesmagic.com
email-hugmagic@raex.com
Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
Julie
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Favorite "Silk Magicicians" were Ade Duval and Julius Sundaman. Truly unique performers.
Bob Sanders
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Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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Richard,

Do you really think the guys are that lazy? They never say that to me. (Who would?)

But they give me excuses like "silks aren't everyday items", "I'm not doing magic with girls' clothing", and "everybody has already done that". Then they drag out a straight jacket (only magicians use those), have an assistant change outfits in a trunk (she always wears girls' clothes - well there's California), and put someone in a box and saw them in half (again)! You sure can't argue with logic. Besides, no one has ever seen linking rings in the 8 13/16 size. That's original! Right? Would the audience care?

I know setting up is work. But silks are cheap props. Buy enough to work all week and set up at home. I just bag every show ready to go and save clean up until we get back home. (They will keep better than my doves!)

This way each show has its own colors. If someone saw you last night, they are still in for a surprise tonight. Even they think the show changed. "Why last night he did butterfly tricks; tonight was about the flag." (Right lady!) Come back tomorrow. That is a special show where we'll make a big queen of hearts! (Is that bag #6 or #4?)

Silks take practice just like cards, but it is a standing up and moving practice rather than seated (and snacking) practice. It requires better routining. It may mean that you have to learn to work to music. You use your costume. And the real killer is that you must learn audience timing.

Card work can sneak by on that. Grand illusion allows you to escape a lot of that. But there is not much flexibility to either compared to silks for a working magician. Audience size, the room, seating, and other acts all limit card work and grand illusion. They rarely matter to a silk act.

I got a few degrees at the University of Alabama. That is also where a young artist named Harold Rice got a start at Woods Hall. Should ignore what he had to offer? It was before MTV and contrived reality shows!

Bob
The Amazed Wiz
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

AmazedWiz@Yahoo.com
hugmagic
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I'm not sure that people are lazy or not. They definitely have lost sight of what real people want to see.

The comedy club magician almost killed magic. Yes, there are some very good comedy magicians. Many that I am proud to call more than casual friends. But not all of us can be Jeff Hobson, Mac King or Terry Seabrooke.

Working a silk act and doing flowers does take a little work. I work quite few conventions and guys who basically do stand up just look at me when I am packing up. I just say "It's a dirty act but someone needs to do it". How many conventions have you gone to with an overabundance of comedy magic on it? The novelty act (vent or juggler) or a production act can score big.

Now once you have done the act and paid your dues, it does not take that much to set the act or to strike it. Jonathan Neal Brown used to do a huge silk act at the MGM. He told me he got to point where he could reset the whole act in 15 minutes or so while talking with people.

I think silks are more again becoming fashionable in normal life again. But your point about straight jackets and other goofy looking props is well taken.

I also set most of the silks before I leave home and then just strike them out and reset them later.

I think we are going to have a bunch to talk about at Fort Smith.
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
www.hughesmagic.com
email-hugmagic@raex.com
Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
EricHenning
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Laurel, Maryland
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One of the best "Soft Soap" type routines is "Magic Dye," found in the "John Mulholland Book of Magic," recently reprinted in a $10 Dover edition as "Mulholland's Book of Magic."

This is the classic "3 white silks dyed to 3 different colors" plot, but scripted as a "commercial" in the middle of your show. I have used it on and off for 25+ years and it never fails to get a huge response.
Vincz
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My favorite is Rainbow Eclipse by Jay Scott Berry.
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