The Horst Vegas Magic Chalk Talk (6): Tricks

Horst Vegas, self-proclaimed Senior Boy Wonder of Magic and an unfailing Lota Bowl of Wizzdom, shares another of his tinny-tiny Golden Showbiz Rules & Recommendations:

In these times of stimulus satiation, headline news and constant eye candy, we are well advised to re-evaluate our traditional tricks-per-minute ratio and to consider quickies rather than „slowies,“ visual magic rather than verbal, and multiple effects rather than one trick ponies as the new norm, exceptions granted.

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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.


The Horst Vegas Magic Chalk Talk (4): Dealers’ Tricks

Horst Vegas, self-proclaimed Senior Boy Wonder of Magic and an unfailing Lota Bowl of Wizzdom, shares another of his tinny-tiny Golden Showbiz Rules & Recommendations:

In the world of magic dealers‘ tricks, there are mules and donkeys, show horses, work horses, and race horses. If you ever come across something beyond a show horse, I’d be interested to hear about it.


Career Choices (2): Signature Effects

Wise career choices: Only the lucky few among us majishuns will ever manage to have a great effect attached to their name forever as their inimitable signature piece. For instance, think of these inseparable pairs:

Harry Blackstone – The Floating Light Bulb

Jay Marshall – Lefty

Paul Daniels – Chop Cup Routine

David Copperfield – Flying

Paul Gertner – Steel Balls and Cups

Tommy Wonder – Two Cups Routine

Tom Burgoon – …umm… Timmy Toilet Paper.

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Establishing Meta Magic (2)

There is another form of meta magic that comes to mind, and it is more about discrepancies which are not always spotted easily:

  • Magic tricks on television that are achieved rather by TV tricks than by magic methods
  • When forum threads about magic books are sooo much better than the books themselves
  • Genii editor Richard Kaufman telling you in the digital video supplement of the magazine what you will find in the very same issue that you are already reading
  • When the performance and the explanation are essentially and inadvertently one and the same video on YouBurp
  • Magicians performing a bad trick badly and then telling you why it’s a good trick and how successful they are with it (not as uncommon as you might think, you inveterate optimist!)
  • Along similar lines: When, according to their own reviews, performer, critic and audience have obviously attended very different shows simultaneously.

Words of Wisdom (6): Some Darwinisms

How do you turn a good trick into strong magic? There’s is probably no quick answer to that question, but there’s a great book out there with a lot of ideas, rules and even “laws” how to accomplish just that. As such, it is by no means a work on “theory”, but of highly practical value to any aspiring majishun. That book is – you guessed it – Strong Magic by Darwin Ortiz.

I could probably quote at least 30 great lines and insights from that book, but here are just a few to get you started:

Magicians are obsessed by method.

The average ‘magician’ is just a layman with a bunny rabbit on his business card.

In magic, creativity in fashioning presentations has never been as recognized and valued as creativity in devising effects and methods.

Magicians like to pretend that method, effect, and presentation are unrelated subjects.

I do, however, believe that method only matters in regard to how it affects the effect.

The bulk of what is published in magic books and magazines will always reflect what is easiest to invent, not what is most effective to perform.*

Simplicity is an aspect of plot.

The best advice I can give you about working magician audiences is don’t.

Darwin Ortiz (*1948)


*Guilty, your Honor!


New Directions (2): The Books & DVD Department

Gioberto Robbi has apparently started to work on his latest tome, Paddle College, with Ian Adair consulting. Rumour has it that all seven volumes can either be read or shown empty from both ends.

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Big Butt Media will be back soon with the latest installment of their hailed Project DVD series, this time compiling and teaching “30 Ways to Take a Deck From The Case”.

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The Academee of Majical Arts is expected to release a major mental miracle called “Wilma’s Winners” soon. It allows you to elegantly predict all future AMA winners from a secret list featuring, umm, all previous AMA winners. The booklet includes a cheat sheet and a coupon for a “pay 3, get 2” standing lunch at the Magic Castleteria.