Welcome to ZZZAUBER !

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

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By establishing this English and German ZZZAUBER blog (meaning MMMagic) 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 and by connecting the past, present and future (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 magic’s vast history and from our own 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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Im Interview: Harry Keaton

HarryKeaton_picture_by_BahmanBörger
Harry Keaton (Bild: BahmanBörger)

Herzlichen Glückwunsch, Harry, zu deinem erfolgreichen Auftritt bei “Penn & Teller: Fool Us”! Hand aufs Herz: Hast du damit gerechnet, die beiden “foolen” zu können?

Harry Keaton: Die Chancen lagen aus meiner Sicht bei 50:50. Castingshows sind immer ein Tanz auf dem Drahtseil, und es spielen ja viele Faktoren mit: Wie läuft die Performance vor der Kamera? Wie spielt die Moderatorin Alyson Hannigan mit? Haben Penn & Teller die Fühlbox schon einmal gesehen? Auch Sympathie spielt eine Rolle. Die Reaktionen von Penn & Teller auf meinen Auftritt fand ich dann schon überwältigend – damit hatte ich nicht gerechnet, und natürlich war ich überglücklich!

Wie kam es denn zu deinem Auftritt? Hast du dich selber beworben, oder wurdest du empfohlen oder gar “gescouted”?

Simon Pierro hat mich empfohlen, das fand ich sehr nett. Er war bereits zweimal in dem Format zu sehen und hat jeweils starke Auftritte hingelegt.

Stand für dich von Anfang an fest, deine Version der Fühlbox zu zeigen?

Ja, das war von den Produzenten gewünscht.

Wie hast du dich speziell auf diesen Auftritt in englischer Sprache vorbereitet?

Ich trete zwar oft vor internationalem Publikum auf, aber ein Auftritt im  amerikanischen Fernsehen ist doch eine andere Hausnummer. Mit Freunden von mir, die native speaker sind, bin ich die Texte durchgegangen. Außerdem wollten die Produzenten ein Video auf Englisch. Sie haben einige Änderungen am Text vorgeschlagen. Auch vor Ort wurde nochmals am Text gefeilt.

Was musstest du an deiner Routine verändern?

Die gravierendste Änderung war die Beschränkung auf eine Zuschauerin – eben auf die wunderbare Alyson Hannigan. Normalerweise arbeite ich mit zwei Zuschauerinnen. Die Arbeit mit nur einer Person machte Änderungen in den Abläufen nötig. Außerdem nutze ich normalerweise für die Mitwirkenden ein Handmikrofon – das hilft bei der Misdirection. Das fiel aber weg, weil Alyson ein Lavalier-Mikro trug.

HarryKeaton_Bühnenszene
Harry Keaton mit seiner Version der Gefühlsbox (Bild: Keaton)

Und wie wurdest du vor Ort beraten?

Das Fernsehteam war natürlich hochprofessionell, sie haben vor allem in puncto Skript beraten.

Die Aufzeichnung der Sendung ist ja sicher schon einige Monate her. Wie schwer war es, nicht darüber sprechen zu dürfen?

Kein Problem – als Zauberer sind wir es doch gewohnt, Geheimnisse für uns zu behalten!

Wie geht es nun weiter? Willst du dich – wie viele Gewinner – nochmal der Herausforderung stellen?

Im August fliege ich erneut nach Las Vegas, um in der Penn & Teller Show aufzutreten. Allerdings mit einem anderen Act – die Frachtkosten wollten die Produzenten nicht erneut übernehmen… Und klar, wenn sie erneut fragen, bin ich wieder dabei. Am besten mit einem Effekt aus meiner neuen Show “BrainMagic”, die nächstes Jahr Vorpremiere hat.

Vielen Dank für das Gespräch, Harry, und weiterhin viel Erfolg!

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Zum Anschauen: Harrys Auftritt!

HarryK YT
YouTube Screenshot

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Zum Hintergrund der Gefühlsbox:
Die Gefühlsbox wurde von Erich Hammann-Boretti entwickelt und erstmals 1995 von ihm in seinem Manuskript “And so on” veröffentlicht, später dann auch produziert und vermarktet. Sie ist auch heute noch erhältlich.
Harry Keaton hat später mit Borettis Genehmigung zusammen mit Hakan Varol nach vielen Experimenten seine eigene Version der Box kreiert und dazu eine wunderbare Routine geschaffen, die meiner Meinung nach eine erhebliche Weiterentwicklung des Originals darstellt.
Diese Fühlbox wird nach wie vor von Varol vermarktet, was Boretti in seinem aktuellen Newsletter (Nr. 793) heftig kritisiert.
Eine aktuelle Diskussion hierzu findet sich auch im Genii Forum.
Für MZvDler: Im magie-Jahrgang 2013 hat Harry Keaton in einem zweiteiligen Artikel seine Gedanken zur Entwicklung und zur Vorführung der Box ausführlich beschrieben.

 

 

 

 

What Makes a Great Magician and Creates Greater Magic?

The Mysteries of Life as presented at the Louvre, Paris – (C) 2015 by ZZZauber

Almost four years ago, I published the following piece as my 50th blog post here. Since it was one of my more meaningful ones, I’ll repost it today for my growing number of readers. So if you are a latecomer to the party, don’t worry. I’ll rehash some good stuff from time to time before it decomposes at the gloomy bottom of the scrolling sea!

O.K., so what does it take to become a really good, well above average, if not great magician? (How would I know? I’m certainly not among them. But I have thought about this a lot.) Here’s my take on the BIG QUESTION in a mere 25 lines:

  • Buying more tricks doesn’t
  • Watching more videos doesn’t
  • Reading more books and magazines doesn’t
  • Talking more magic with other magicians doesn’t
  • Writing more posts and comments on magic forums or blogs doesn’t
  • Printing more fancy magic business cards doesn’t
  • Practicing the same moves over and over doesn’t
  • Performing the same three tricks over and over doesn’t
  • Fancying yourself a great magician sometime in the future doesn‘t.

But…

  • reading, studying and knowing what has been said and done – and why – by the best magicians before you
  • understanding it and applying it diligently and creatively to your own magic concept, persona, tricks, and act
  • practicing and rehearsing every nuance meticulously, thoughtfully and tirelessly
  • watching and studying every professional you can, embracing their advice and any other well-intended criticism and showing a persistent willingness to learn, improve, and refine
  • seeing the world with open eyes and growing your knowledge on all matters related to life in general and magic in particular, like drama, acting, language, psychology, fine arts, history and politics, science and technology
  • performing well-prepared and well-mannered in a mysterious, meaningful, personal, fresh and entertaining way
  • striving for the best show and greatest performance you can deliver and for uncovering the beauty and art hiding in magic every day of your life –

that does the greatest trick of all.

It is a lifelong journey full of discoveries and wonders. Enjoy the ride, and may it never end. I wish you the best of luck.

You are welcome.


Creativity in Magic (3)

Beni_4

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.

Here are two more examples from the Tenyo company, as told on their website in the “Development Stories” section.

This is how the principle of “Impossible Pen” was discovered by chance by its creator, the magic genius Lubor Fiedler:

When Lubor Fiedler was originally experimenting with the materials used to construct this trick, one of the items rolled along the tabletop and fell to the floor. He searched for the prop, but could not find it anywhere. When he finally located the item in an unexpected place, he hit upon the idea for a new trick.

It was also by chance that Shigeru Sugawara found the magic solution to the “Money Shredder” challenge, but no further details are given.


 

Siegfried & Roy nun im Kino?

Nach dem wahrscheinlichen Aus der geplanten sechsteiligen Serie über das Leben von Siegfried & Roy könnte das Drehbuch nun zumindest 2021 in einem Kinofilm münden und danach als Zweiteiler ins Fernsehen kommen. Laut unbestätigten Medienberichten ist auch Michael “Bully” Herbig mit in das Projekt eingestiegen, allerdings wohl nicht als Darsteller…

PXLRS_1_FSPXLRS_2_FS


 

Redefining Broadway with Boob Jokes

Criss Angel has just completed a six-day stint in New York City at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre as part of the “In Residence on Broadway” series. Magic’s super greatest GOAT’s show was titled “Criss Angel: Raw–The Mindfreak Unplugged.”

The New York Times has a fine and fun review of this earth-shattering event, and I am willing to believe every word of it.

If you don’t spare the time to read it, the key terms are “underdressed assistants”, “borderline charming”, and “boob jokes.”


Zabrecky’s Strange Cures

Rob Zabrecky is a mainstay of the Magic Castle and a fine magician with a well-defined stage persona that borders on the dark and bizarre. Before his magic career, he was a professional musician. Even though he has just turned 51, Zabrecky has recently published his autobiography, Strange Cures, subtitled “A memoir”. It’s available at Amazon now in a paperback edition for 19,95 Dollars.

From the blurb:

Strange Cures is a turbulent, against-all odds memoir of self-discovery, success, failure, and reinvention, told by one of LA’s most interesting natives. With an unflinching gaze, musician/magician/actor Zabrecky recounts his bizarre coming-of-age tale and his quest to find a place in the arts–and the world.

The author reveals a young life filled with both physical miracles and subversive role models, including an uncle who impersonated an FBI agent and, in a drunken delusion, shot and nearly killed him. He takes readers on a roller coaster ride through the nascent days of Silver Lake’s music and art community, as seen through the lens of his critically acclaimed band, Possum Dixon.

As Jim Steinmeyer, magic author, inventor and performer, comments:

Zabrecky’s memoirs are surprising, addictive, terrifying, magical. He careens through childhood, rock and roll, and popular entertainment by driving on the shoulder, passing on the right, and then playing bumper cars with the cold, hard truth. You’re in for a fantastic ride.

Here’s a nice review from the Los Angeles Times, and it ends with a great line:  The reader of Strange Cures is reminded “that life is what you make of it, and what you make of it is rarely what you dream it to be.”

Zabrecky


Addendum:

Here’s a free excerpt of the book from the LA Weekly. Enjoy!


 

Creativity in Magic (2)

LdT2

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.

Here’s another fine example, this time from the Tenyo company. This is how “Squeeze Play”, one of the most famous early Tenyo items, created by Shigeru Sugawara, came into being, as told on the Tenyo company’s website:

Years ago, Tenyo released a game product called “Mental Game.” This product included ring-shaped pieces that had been punched out of a plastic sheet, so in the factory, there were many plastic disks that had been punched out and discarded as waste. Sugawara thought that he might be able to use these disks for something, so he brought some back to the office where he placed them on his desk. He happened to have some dice on his desk, which led him to think that it might be possible to sandwich a die between two disks, and to make the die penetrate through them. He left two disks on his desk, with a die sandwiched between them. As he stood to get up from his desk, he happened to place his hand on top of the upper disk. When he did so, the die that had been inside was propelled out from between the two disks. This led to the idea that ultimately became “Squeeze Play.”