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 dumbwits. Thank you!


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A Silent Treatment for Tricks

Georges Méliès

Ever noticed?

If you turn off the sound when watching a magic video you can focus much better on the handling and flow of a performance and on the clarity of the effect(s). Let’s call this the Méliès Method, in honor of that great pioneer of movies and magic, Georges Méliès.

As a spectator, it will become abundantly clear to you that too many magicians fumble and gesture far too much, particularly with a deck of cards in their hands, which magically seems to keep them twisting and turning, tapping and pointing, riffling and ruffling.

As a performer, watching yourself in a silent performance mode can help you tremendously in streamlining your presentation and in cutting out loads of unnecessary and unpleasant hectic or distracting gestures and movements. Give it a try!

On the other hand, if you want to improve your script (and who doesn’t or shouldn’t?), you may want to focus only on the sound of a taped performance and refrain from watching it at the same time.


 

Rising Stars: Hauptsache „stylish“!

10 wertvolle Tipps zur eigenen DVD-Produktion

Die digitale Film- und Computertechnik erlaubt es heute jedem Zauberer, kostengünstig eigene Trick-DVDs zu produzieren und weltweit zu vertreiben. Für einen kommerziellen Erfolg ist jedoch die Beachtung einiger wichtiger Spielregeln aus Marketing und Design unerlässlich.

  1. Geben Sie Ihrem Effekt unbedingt einen englischen Titel, am besten noch inklusive eines Wortspiels. Das weist Sie als souveränen Zauber-Titan mit Wortwitz und internationalem Flair aus. Versäumen Sie es möglichst nicht, in dem Tricknamen einen Superlativ wie „Ultimate“ oder „Extreme“ zu platzieren. Schließlich wollen Sie die definitive Variante dieses Effektes auf dem Markt bringen und alle Vorgänger in Grund und Boden rammen!
  2. Beschränken Sie sich pro DVD auf nur ein Kunststück. Zu viele Tricks und Varianten auf einer Scheibe würden nur das Produkt verwässern und so den potenziellen Käufer unnötig verwirren. Heben Sie sich alles andere einfach für weitere DVDs auf, dann geht Ihnen auch nicht so schnell das Material aus!
  3. Tragen Sie bei den Filmaufnahmen unbedingt eine coole Sonnenbrille und eine Wollmütze. Staffieren Sie sich zusätzlich mit schwerem Modeschmuck aus und lassen Sie sich noch kurzfristig ein paar bedrohliche Tätowierungen stechen, um Ihrer biederen Reihenmittelhaus-Herkunft die nötige „Street Credibility“ in der Szene zu verleihen.
  4. Verwenden Sie alle Stilmittel, die der moderne Film und die digitale Schnitt-Technik am heimischen Computer hergeben, also insbesondere wackelige Handkamera-Bilder, Sequenzen in Schwarzweiß und Superzeitlupen-Effekte, die von flimmernden Wortfetzen durchzogen werden. Filmen Sie möglichst in Industrie-Ruinen, Katakomben oder Parkhäusern, unterlegt mit pathetischem Klaviergeklimper oder jaulendem Hardrock. Dazwischen gibt es nur ästhetisch faule Kompromisse!
  5. Verschwenden Sie nicht zuviel Zeit auf die technische Entwicklung, die Gimmick-Produktion oder die Zusammenstellung einer sauberen Routine. Schließlich werden die meisten gekauften Tricks ohnehin nie vorgeführt!
  6. Fügen Sie Ihrer DVD mindestens eine Doppelrückenkarte, ein Stück Bindfaden oder einen Aufkleber bei. So können Sie mit dem wichtigen Hinweis „DVD inklusive aller benötigten Gimmicks“ werben und einen zusätzlichen Kaufanreiz schaffen!
  7. Besorgen Sie sich für die Bewerbung Ihrer DVD ein paar enthusiastische Zitate von guten Freunden oder halbwegs bekannten Zauberern, die für ein Gratisexemplar oder ein paar Schnäpse alles tun würden. Notfalls schreiben Sie einfach anderswo einige gut geeignete Zitate ab und beziehen diese auf sich selbst – das ist schließlich seit Frank Garcia gängige Zauberpraxis. Loben Sie zudem Ihr eigenes Produkt unter Verwendung falscher Namen in den wichtigsten Internetforen in den Himmel, um den Verkauf ordentlich anzukurbeln.
  8. Wenn Sie begleitend zu Ihrer DVD-Veröffentlichung eine Internetseite bauen, verwenden Sie ein freakig-düsteres Design und möglichst viele verschiedene Schriften, die Sie klein in weiß auf schwarzem Hintergrund setzen. Das kann zwar kein Mensch lesen, sieht aber wahnsinnig stylish aus und weist sie als echten Cutting-Edge-Performer aus!
  9. Wischen Sie mutig Ihre letzten Selbstzweifel beiseite und bringen Sie endlich Ihre minimal personalisierte, gimmickgeladene und effektüberfrachtete Version der „Ultimate Collectors Sandwich Ambitious Card through Window Matrix“ in den Handel – die Zauberwelt wartet schon gierig auf Sie!
  10. Setzen Sie den Preis nicht unnötig niedrig an. Wenn Sie sich schon die ganze Mühe machen, sollte Ihr DVD-Erstlingswerk mitsamt den beiden Gummibändern und dem 17-minütigen Lehrvideo nicht unter 29,95 Euro über die Ladentheke gehen. Sie wollen ja schließlich noch was werden!

(Zuerst erschienen in ALADIN 03-2010)


 

Elmsley doesn’t, Goldin does it

Today I am convinced: You can’t fool kids with an Elmsley Count (at least I can’t). And I had to learn it the hard way. If they watch closely, they will inevitably catch you (or me) false-counting or at least “doing something while counting.“ To present any face-up card twice within the count also does not fly by them. Is it just me? Anyway, I have come to accept this and refrain from having good old Count Elmsley haunt my packet tricks or even myself!

On the other hand, I have never been caught or questioned on the Goldin Force, not even by those little rugrats. This one does fly by! I take it as another proof that this force is not only quick, elegant and surefire, but also brutally underrated and underused among majishuns. Go look it up in Roberto Giobbi’s Card College Vol. 1 in case you are interested!

Do you agree? What are your experiences?


 

10 Good Reasons Why This Man Was Erdnase

(…and one or two why probably not.)

Foollowing the lines of, uhmm, “special thinking” and wild inductive reasoning often displayed in the Erdnase thread over at the Genii Forum,  minutes and hours of my own dedicated research and uninformed opinining have unearthed that the author of “Expert” had, in fact, always been around, hiding in plain sight before us and even among us, as he was no outsider to our community. On the contrary, he was and is one of our most respected practitioners and innovators!

This man…

  • like few others had the expertise to perform all the sleights described in the book with unflinching audacity
  • was interested and well-versed both in gambling and magic
  • was a true artist but also a logical, almost scientific thinker
  • could write well and did so elsewhere
  • preached to be natural and to handle the deck lightly
  • loved a good secret and fooling the boys (and he did keep many secrets over decades)
  • was almost always in need of money
  • became, in fact, the biggest promoter of his own book
  • had a special reason for using the anagram “Erdnase”: At one point in time, in New York, a Dr. S. Weenas (sic!) was his optometrician
    • hid and displayed his name very prominently on the famous title page of TEATCT, centered within the inverted pyramid text:  DetAIl eVERy kNOwN

Finally, Erdnase has been found. There can be no doubt that DAI VERNON is the man.

Yes, yes, I know what you’re saying… Officially, Dai Vernon was only born in 1894 and the book appeared in 1902. What a boy wonder! Or maybe he just cheated about his real age. Was he probably about 15 years older than he claimed? Considering his early proficiency with cards, this must be true! Or maybe it was a father and son ploy, elaborately planned and executed over decades. (Just like some U.S. White House takeovers.) And yes, he didn’t choose to be called Dai Vernon until much later on, but, hey, maybe the guy was just planning ahead! All part of the ploy.

Vernon’s the man. Case closed. Thread closed. Now let’s move on to other secrets, please:

  1. Who was the mysterious Frenchman (?) “Mr Charlier”?
  2. Who invented the legendary Horse Drop?
  3. And who is “R.G.”, the German (?) author of the early card book Ein Spiel Karten (A Deck of Cards) from 1853?

Go, Geniis!


A Magic Mount Rushmore

Imagine a millionaire would donate a mountain and pay a sculptor to chisel some famous faces of past masters out of the stone for a magicians’ version of Mount Rushmore.

I guess my top list would carry the names of  Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser, Harry Houdini, Dai Vernon, and Fred Kaps.

Which four or five heads of the stellar exponents of our art would you like to see up there preserved in stone?

 


1,800+ Pages of Killer Magic? Where???

Zauberbühne

I know a man who most likely knows more about magic than all regular readers of this blog together. Who has arguably created, adapted or refined and published more magic tricks than Jay Sankey and David Regal together, in equal quality (which is no mean feat). A man who obviously lives, thinks, and breathes magic in every minute of his life, no matter whether he is performing, teaching, creating, tinkering at his kitchen table, or writing.

Alexander de Cova‘s magnificent German BURNERS project is nearing completion with the publication of its sixth volume within just a few years. Yep, that’s already a total of 1,800+ pages of great, innovative, easy, practical, well thought-out magic, spanning 30+ years and almost all genres of magic plus loads of tips and practical advice. And there may still be a lot more to come.

The first volumes have garnered a lot of appraisal among German-speaking magicians. They have also brought Alexander for the second time the prestigious “Writer of the Year Award” which is granted by the Magic Circle of Germany (MZvD).

Besides, he has conceived and handled two lecture tours, has produced and put out a number of new tricks and has published “work books” on misdirection, the thumb-tip and his famous clothes-peg switch (all in German). Plus, there is a great blog which Alexander occasionally writes in English, German and Spanish (!).

If you are not familiar with any of Alexander’s work yet, you will find some of his English publications over at Lybrary. But the Big Book of de Cova’s Masterful Magic in English has yet to be published. Fortunately, he has recently announced a first volume of his magic in English under the title Notas (Spanish for “notes”).

Plus, Alexander has just started his own bi-monthly series of tricks in “Genii Magazine” (April 2018 issue, featuring his excellent “Forte-X” multiple prediction card routine), this time under the title “Notizen” (German for “notes”).

Check out Alexander’s work! There’s is a lot to learn from one of the most knowledgeable, most creative and most skilled magicians of his generation.


 

 

Alles was man sammeln kann: Zauberbriefmarken

Houdini USA 2002

“Sammler sind glückliche Menschen”, soll Johann Wolfgang von Goethe einmal gesagt haben. Aber so richtig gilt das ja erst, wenn eine Sammlung komplettiert ist oder wenn man einen besonderen Fang gemacht hat, womöglich noch ganz unverhofft und zum Schnäppchenpreis!

Mein “glücklichstes” Sammelgebiet sind seit einigen Jahren Briefmarken mit magischen Motiven, und das aus mindestens drei Gründen:

  1. Die absolute Anzahl der Sammelobjekte ist überschaubar.
  2. Die Sammlung passt platzsparend in wenige Alben und Mappen.
  3. Die allermeisten Marken, Blöcke oder Ersttagsbriefe lassen sich mit etwas Geduld und Kreativität in den Weiten des Internet aufspüren und für Preise zwischen 1 und 20 Euro erwerben.

So sind bei mir bislang bereits über 300 Marken (inklusive doppelten und ungestempelten/gestempelten Varianten sowie Blöcken und Ersttagsbriefen) zusammengekommen.

Einige Beispiele und weitere Informationen habe ich hier zusammengestellt.