Welcome to ZZZAUBER !

Hello, fellow magi, and willkommen to our personal change bag of 1,000 things magical!

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By establishing this English and German ZZZAUBER blog we have set ourselves on a multi-purpose magic mission to entertain and enlighten you:

  • to advance the art of magic by sharing valuable insights, fresh ideas, great magic and pieces of art related to conjuring and deception (hint: this is signified by our minimalistic, homemade logo, <<>>>)
  • to poke some good-natured fun at magic’s top brass and everything that may be wrong with amateur majishuns and the majic community today (at least according to our own questionable standards)
  • to share some pieces of interest from our own magic collection, like magic postage stamps, magic programs, magic in advertising, etc. (more to follow)
  • to showcase, and sometimes show-off, some of our own meager attempts in the arts, be they in written form or even rhymed, drawn or painted, photographed or photoshopped. (Note: Please respect the copyright on all our original material, even the cheap, risqué and shallow ones. Thank you!)

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Since this site is all about the friendly art of deception, you will encounter the occasional trick or misdirection being played on you. We hope you have some fun exploring these little hints and secrets.

As for your comments and opinions, frankly, we don’t care much. This is a blog, after all, and not another forum. And since most of our musings are purely based on personal opinions, tastes and observations, what would be the point in telling us your dissenting views here?

We deeply appreciate your occasional visit, read, link, nod, or smile, though.

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P.S. This blog is not apt for beginners in magic. You may find the link section helpful, but then move on, please. The same goes for secret-seeking dumbtwits. Thank you!


Is this an optical illusion?

I could use some help here, my dear fellow majishuns:

To me, the two pictures below are pure 3D. When I look at them, they give me a three-dimensional effect, without putting on any fancy glasses or else. In the top picture the lines just seem to jump from the floor towards me. In the bottom picture both the iron wheel and the cabins look clearly layered to me and are separated from the blue background. The 3D illusion disappears when I close one eye.

I have already sent these pictures to a few people, but they didn’t seem to see them the way I do.

So is it just me?

And if so, any diagnosis what’s wrong (or different) with my visual perception?

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Paging Mr. Ballinger!

Anyone knows what has become of Chris Ballinger, longtime Magic Geek, trick creator and self-deprecating demonstrator extraordinaire (oh, and of sister Rachel, the world’s best professional spectator)?

His kids and his other sister, Colleen (a.k.a. Miranda Sings), seem to have overtaken him in social media visibility and fame. That’s o.k., but they are not doing magic!

I dimly recall older statements which hinted at a possible collaboration with Joshua Jay‘s and Andi Gladwin‘s Vanishing Inc. Magic, but apparently that hasn’t come to fruition yet. Or has it? Any news?

Fun and geeky magic is losing fast to mindless, talentless and useless mess on YouBurp. Magic needs you back, Chris!

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Creativity in Magic (1)

I have always found it amazing how new tricks, ideas, or routines come into this world. Sheer luck and mere chance seem to play a far greater role in their conception and delivery than any logical thinker could ever imagine.

Take the following example about Joe Karson’s creation of the famous “Zombie”, a wonderful story (if true) which I have just come across in Frank Garcia‘s “New York News” in an old issue of Magic Manuscript (Vol. 4, Issue 4, p. 45):

Incredible as it may seem, the trick called “Zombie” was invented by the late Joe Karson quite by accident. He bought a house and everything was fine but the toilet commode didn’t function, so Joe started taking the commode apart. He removed the balance ball attached to the rod and dried it with a towel. He then came upon the idea of making it a floating ball. The rest is magical history!

I will be happy to share more examples in the future. Stay fresh and stay tuned!

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R.I.P. Jeremy Le Poidevin

Very saddened to hear and read about the sudden passing of Jeremy Le Poidevin, owner of Practical Magic in Ellesmere, UK!

Not that I have known him well; but I have bought some fabulous children’s magic tricks from him, have corresponded with him on a few trick ideas and tips, and have always immensely enjoyed both his fireside chats (with the inimitable, wacky John Kimmons, a.k.a. Kimmo) and his video demos.

The dog arm puppet I got from Jeremy is simply the cutest and best one I have ever seen, and his DVD with handlings tips (see below) is a great and fun product I took a lot of value from.

I think it’s kind and caring people like Jeremy who contribute so much to our everlasting joy of watching, talking, and shopping magic. With them leaving, it feels like magic’s age of innocence—the brick and mortar shops, the glitter boxes and feather flowers, the smalltown conventions, etc.—is inexorably fading away.

My condolescences to his wife and family. Rest in peace in Eternal Wonderland, Jeremy!

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Vanishing Julian Assange

Let’s not get too political here. Let’s simply state that WikiLeaks frontman Julian Assange has been living and hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for more than three and a half years now (!) in order to avoid being arrested by British authorities and, subsequently, turned over to Swedish or U.S. authorities. His future path is uncharted and most likely stony.

Now, if you were an illusionist like David Copperfield or Franz Harary and called in for help, how would you make him disappear from the embassy without his guardians, his persecutors, and the press bloodhounds noticing in due time?

Having just watched several old TV specials by Copperfield and the late great Paul Daniels, I would have an idea or two. (O.K., Jim Steinmeyer would probably come up with 27 solutions at once.)

If someone were to pull this off – can you imagine the hoot and the headlines?!

This is not your grandfather’s egg bag trick. This is not the latest poor poo-poo card move. This is truly magic with a meaning!

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Tricks & Ideas (9): Copper/Silver Sugar

Have you experienced this, too? Sometimes the magic seems to happen out of itself and to jump right into your face, just like that (to quote Tommy Cooper here).

I was sitting in an unfamiliar café somewhere down the road, absent-mindedly pouring sugar into my cappuccino, when I realized that all the sugar packets in the basket only seemed different but were in fact identical, each carrying one design on the front and another, distinctly different one on the back.

A minute later, I was able to perform an impromptu miracle on my unsuspecting family by making two different sugar packets transpose in my closed fists, and they were duly impressed (much more than with many of my well-rehearsed marvels, I hate to admit), at least for about five seconds.

Unsolicited advertising: You can order these Hellma sugar packets in 1,000s directly from the manufacturer here.


For more Tricks & Ideas, click here.


Another Word on Cohen

If you are a first-timer to Steve Cohen’s show, Chamber Magic, like I was only recently, here are three tips for an even better experience:

  1. The suite where the show is staged is not located directly at the Waldorf Astoria hotel, but at the adjoining Waldorf Towers. You may want to use their extra side entrance to get to the right registration desk. If you decide to take a walk around the famous hotel first (which I would highly recommend), simply turn left in the dark, sumptuous main lobby and take the elevator down to the ground floor. Later, you will be guided upstairs to the suite.
  2. If you are not a front row aficionado (like Dave of L&L video fame), you may want to save the extra bucks for a front row seat and stick with a general admission ticket (currently priced at 85$). Just make sure to enter the elevator with the first group of visitors. After entering the suite, you will likely find many empty seats with exellent sight lines to choose from.
  3. Get at least a souvenir booklet and have it kindly signed by Steve after the show. Choose your items from the online gift shop before ordering your tickets.

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Addendum: Here’s an older post of mine (in German) with links for magic things to see and do in NYC (and also in Las Vegas and London).


 

 

A Word on Cohen

Recently, I finally managed to see Steve Cohen’s long-running show, Chamber Magic, in an elegant suite (see picture below) at the legendary Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City.

Steve is a consummate pro, his show is charmingly traditional, yet fast-paced, interactive, very entertaining and highly deceptive, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Highly recommended!

From a magician’s perspective, I find three aspects of his program particularly worth mentioning:

  1. He opened and closed with card magic.
  2. He presented both his signature pieces, Brick from Hat and Any Drink Called For, rather early in the show.
  3. He did a lot of mentalism (and I mean a lot).

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