A Free Ebook on Science Magic

I have mentioned fellow magician, science educator and “Curator of Wonder” Dr. Matt Pritchard here before. Featuring more than 130 interviews (as of this writing) with fascinating professionals from different fields, his Words on Wonder website remains a constant source of inspiration. But now he is also generously sharing a free ebook, Sparking Wonder, which is full of clever DIY science tricks for teachers and magicians alike, plus some notes on presenting them. It has 94 pages, and I enjoyed it a lot! Incidentally, the book contains a selfmade version of the optical arrow illusion I recently described here. The wonders of wonder…

The ebook and other free resources are available here.

Thank you for sharing these, Matt!

<<>>>

Mirror Magic

I’m a sucker for optical illusions and visual fodder. Recently, I came across the intriguing objects created by Prof. Kokichi Sugihara of Japan. He seems to be a leading expert, specializing on impossible 3-D objects. Miraculously, their reflections in a mirror create quite a different image.

1 Pfeil Sugihara (2)

As you can see, the mirror image of the arrow points in the opposite direction. In addition, once you turn the arrow 180 degrees on its pole, the tip of the arrow seems to jump back right into its original direction of pointing. Absolutely stunning!

1 Kartensymbole Sugahira (2)

This second illusion even lends itself to a little card trick. Show the object with the four card symbols as a “secret prediction.” Then force the Four of Hearts on your spectator and offer “a backstage view” on the illusion. In the mirror, your helper will discover the correct prediction of his chosen card!

Unpaid and unsolicited advertising: I bought these objects at Magic Center Harri, one of Germany’s big, respected, and trustworthy magic dealers. These are simple plastic props, others are made of cardboard. Prices are low, starting around 10 Dollars, and one of them may be a perfect addition to your online magic show!


When Magic Meets Pinocchio

Lie-Tie: Recent magic dealer ad

There are manifold relations between magic and politics, yet they are not always blatantly obvious. There’s an interesting book (in German) by our dear magic friend, Dr. Harry Keaton (of “Fool Us!” fame), who has thoroughly researched the principles of deception employed by politicians. Yet there are rather few tricks that lend themselves to “political” presentations. But a few days ago, I came across the one above in a dealer’s mailing: a tongue-in-cheek product of Magic Castle veteran Milt Larsen. To reflect reality, I’d say the tie should stretch to four to five yards, at least!


The Tenyo Tricks for 2021 are Out

Tenyo has recently announced their set of new tricks for 2021. Here we go:

  • T-294 Magical Honeycomb (by So Sato), a double transposition of two cardboard hexagons
  • T-295 The Blur (by Mathieu Bich), a card effect with a gimmicked deck where all cards turn blurred, except for the chosen one
  • T-296 Magic Tweezers (by Kenichi Komiya, original idea by Mario Lopez), a fine visual appearance of coins out of a mystery card with a small hole in it, and
  • T-297 Cheek to Cheek, a gimmicked version of “Triumph”.

Judging from the videos, the “Magic Tweezers” trick is my favorite from the 2021 line-up (but I will probably use an old credit card with a punched hole it its center)!

The tricks should ship from magic dealers within the next two or three weeks.


Zaubern, bis der Moderator kommt

PUR+, das beliebte TV-Wissensmagazin für Kinder von ca. 8 bis 12 Jahren, das beim KIKA und im ZDF läuft, hat sich in den letzten Jahren auch in der Zauberszene einen guten Ruf erarbeitet, dank flotter, respektvoller und kindgerechter Sendungen, etwa mit den Ehrlich Brothers, Topas und Thomas Fraps oder zum Thema Optische Täuschungen. Moderator Eric Mayer hat dabei stets die Aufgabe, als “Stuntman des Wissens” selbst etwas zu erlernen, und er stellt auch Nachwuchszauberer vor.

Von PUR+, das gerade seinen 20. Geburtstag feiert, sind derzeit einige der letzten Sendungen und Beiträge rund um Zaubern und Täuschung in der ZDFtivi Mediathek abrufbar.

Screenshot ZDFtivi/PUR+

Craig Petty is Back with Rants, Reviews, and Tricks

CraigPetty

YouTube Screenshot

Craig Petty, magic performer, inventor and co-host of the original “Wizard Product Review” is back on the magic scene. After a few years doing one thing or the other, he has started a YouTube channel called “Slightly Unusual” and is back with a daily dose of tricks, reviews, rants, Q&As, and more, slightly matured, but still with explicit lyrics guaranteed.

Here’s his latest rant on the ridiculous flooding of the magic market with daily truckloads of download trash:

He has also produced a very funny, self-deprecating video about the trick RED (not his trick at all, as it turned out) “that literally killed his career.” Kudos for that!

Magic certaily needs much more honest trailers like this one!

What I rather dislike is how Craig shoves his little boy into the poisonous world of YouBurp. I don’t feel that little kids belong there and that they should be protected from all the jeer and filth and hatred until they are old enough to decide for themselves.

But then, I’m old-fashioned and also believe that political leaders should have a bright, honest mind, respect for the Law and some love and understanding for the people and their needs and concerns… What do I know?


Is This the Perfect Paddle Pen?

PaddlePen

My artist wife got these nice drawing pens called “Design Twin Marker” a while ago in Copenhagen, Denmark. (As we found out later, it’s easy to order them on this internet thing as well, so don’t worry!)

When I played around with these I noticed that their shape and thickness are about as perfect as it gets for a magical paddle pen! Furthermore, the four rounded sides of the pen can be used for more than one transformation, like blank to brand name / to name of chosen card / to “Vanished!” message, at least when playing to a camera.

Just another idea. Give it a try if you are also a pompous, petty paddle peddler!


On the Concept of Time in Magic

Karussell

“We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.”
– John F. Kennedy

The concept of time is a wonderful invention (or discovery?). In short, time is both momentary and eternal, flying and stretching, a constant blending of then, now and soon, irretrievable and virtually inescapable. Except for magicians, of course, be they on stage, in books or in movies.

Incidentally, I believe that time traveling is one of the most fascinating phenomena for people, besides resurrection and floating, as they know bloody well from daily experience that time cannot be stopped, replayed or altered in retrospect. Time wasted is time lost forever. That’s why it’s a strong premise for any trick if it seemingly allows people or objects to travel through time and space.

This got me thinking about various concepts of time in magic, beyond the time-traveling theme. Here are a dozen other aspects:

  • the time and age of magic, way back when and today, with fashions always shifting and sometimes coming back in circles (and magicians sometimes “falling out of time” with their props, patter, or demeanor)
  • tricks with clocks, watches, etc. or about time as an overarching theme
  • the right time (and place) you choose to perform (or not)
  • the specific, measurable time and duration of a trick or performance
  • time wasted during tricks or endless patter (see JFK quote above!)
  • the perception of time passing quickly or slowly during a show from a magician’s perspective vs. the audience’s (and boy, that gap may be huge!)
  • time as a benchmark tool as in Silly Billy‘s laughs-per-minute ratio
  • the right “timing” of doing something, secret or not
  • time as in time misdirection
  • time used as a dramatic countdown towards the climax of a trick (cf. David Copperfield‘s death saw illusion)
  • time as a presentational choice to do tricks either in slow motion or in high speed/fast forward mode, or part of a trick as a replay
  • time as the crucial factor between trigger and effect that determines whether a transposition is actually perceived as a trick in the mind of the audience – a slow sub trunk illusion would not qualify as magic, neither a slow quick change.
  • …?

That’s my list so far, but I guess there’s at least another dozen more out there.

Time will tell…


Addendum:

There is a nice discussion on this topic over at the Genii Forum now!


Fröhliche Becher-Tage?!

Der Corona-Virus gibt uns immerhin gerade reichlich Gelegenheit, viele unserer alltäglichen Routinen zu hinterfragen und alternative Wege auszuprobieren. Warum zukünftig nicht auch mal beim Thema Zauberkongresse und -seminare?

Ich habe mich gefragt, ob zwischen diesen etablierten Formaten mit all ihren Vor- und Nachteilen noch Luft ist für ein “Zwischending”. Meine Idee: Statt bunt-beliebigen Verkaufskongressen – oder ergänzend dazu – monothematische Ein-Tages-Workshops mit begrenztem Teilnehmerkreis.

Am Beispiel “Becherspiel” könnte ein solcher Workshop etwa so ablaufen:

1. Video-Einstieg (und/oder Videos oder Live-Demonstrationen nach jedem Programmpunkt)

2. Historie und Bedeutung des Becherspiels in der Zauberkunst

3. Klassische Routinen und ihre Schöpfer (inkl. Detailanalysen)

4. Etwas Kultur: Das Becherspiel in der bildenden Kunst

5. Besonderheiten von Chop-Cup- und Zwei-Becher-Routinen

6. Praktische Tipps für das Becherspiel am Tisch / im “Salon” / auf der Bühne / auf der Straße

7. Schlussladung: Eine Parade neuer Griffe, Variationen und Präsentationsideen (unter Beteiligung des Fachpublikums)

Ich für meinen Teil hätte reges Interesse und große Lust, daran oder an ähnlich gestalteten monothematischen Veranstaltungen teilzunehmen!

Dies als kleine Anregung, die jemand hoffentlich in der Zukunft einmal aufgreifen und weiterdenken mag. Vielleicht ja die Stiftung Zauberkunst?

Andererseits gilt es zu bedenken: Vielleicht sind für so eine tiefe Auseinandersetzung nicht sehr viele Tricks und Themen geeignet? Wenig ist so vielseitig wie das Becherspiel. Insofern könnte ein ganzer Workshop-Tag über Theorie und Praxis des Ladens und Stehlens der DS vielleicht schnell ermüden? (Aber als Ermutigung könnte man ja vielleicht den “Goldenen Daumen” für eine echte Spitzen-Darbietung ausloben!)

Kurzfassungen dieses Konzeptes sind sicher auch für Zirkelabende denkbar und machbar. Es muss ja nicht immer gleich enzyklopäisch sein! Sonst gipfelt das Ganze am Ende noch in den Tollen Tübinger Thumbtip Tagen, dem Wuppertaler Wasserzeitungs-Wochenende oder gar im fünftägigen Remscheider Ringe-Piez…


 

Faking Impossible Bottles…

I have hesitated for a while whether to share this cheap cheat bit here or not, because if you have ever dealt seriously with the subject of “impossible bottles” and its masters like Harry Eng, you will know that it’s an absolute no-go and a disgrace to temper with the bottle you are trying to stuff stuff into in any way!

Yet it is understandable that not everybody with just a passing interest in this matter has the means or know-how, not to mention the patience, to master this craft and art. (I have actually tried it, and it is both an arduous and satisfying experience. You can read a bit more about it here.)

So for those easy come, easy go folks among you, let me tell you that there’s a fake “bottle” out there (it’s not even made of glass) that you can easily fill with the biggest and most complex objects, which should make for a nice display on any shelf. This bottle I came across is produced by Peleg Design (they also produce other magic-themed paraphernalia), and its shabby secret is not actually designed to be hidden well:

ImpBottle_ch

Let’s consider this as a beginner’s ticket into the wonderful world of impossible bottles. But please do not trick yourself into believing that you have accomplished anything magical by filling and displaying this kind of bottle!