A time to share

Saturday, October 31, 2009

WoW! 6 Year Anniversary!

6 years ago today, Halloween, I began my egotistical journey into magic (see comments on earlier post, Haha)
I remember starting this fun journey by putting together some tricks for "Treats Without Tricks" night at our church. I pulled out a dusty, musty old box of "slum" magic, and put together about 6 or so close up magic tricks...
Scotch & Soda, Penetration Frame, Hopping Half, Hot Rod, Jumping Gems...
As Children and their parents came by my "booth" I would do my set.
One dad laughed so much and heartily, that he decided to stay by my booth and watch me do my set over and over again for the many children that were stopping and watching.
His name is Dale. He so uplifted me that I decided to get back into magic, not knowing what that would really involve or entail...
Six years later, and I am a professional magician.
Magic has introduced me to thousands of people I would never have met otherwise.
I have traveled to North Carolina to perform at the inaugural Christian Lifestyle Expo. I have performed in homes, and senior centers across Washington state. Childrens Birthday shows, Adult parties, The Royal Argosy! Boeing Family Fun day picnic celebration, and schools too. Coffee shops and more...
Last night I performed a repeat appearance in Puyallup. Today I have a 2pm gig in Kent.
Many friends have come into my life because of magic. Several mentors too.
I am hoping to mentor some others along the way.
Many "colorful characters" along the road. :)
My life is rich, and full.
Magic makes me happy!
Sharing magic in it's many forms makes me happy too!

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Wedding reception

Brian & Teri Masters were married a few weeks back. Their folks live in Ohio and another state adjoining Ohio(I think) and so the wedding was held in their parents home state.
They held a small reception a week ago in a coffee shop called Local Color.
It was a nice intimate affair.

Congratulations Brian & Teri!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Birthday girl!

My bride of several years, recently celebrated her birthday...

We took her out to dinner last Saturday, meeting up with Dale and Jean McDowell as Dale's birthday is a few days before Joan's. We went to the Cheesecake Factory!
The place was packed, it was homecoming for many high schools in the area. The Cheesecake Factory doesn't take reservations so the wait was about 45 minutes.
We had a good time. The food was excellent. I had Steak Diane and butterflied prawns, and Joan had a sea fish dish.
It was a nice evening out.
The dessert was excellent. We couldn't finish it all, but hey, that's o.k. That means we had left overs!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Northwest Festival of Clowns

Four day event held in Olympia Washington.
The Alley I belong to was the host for this grand event, celebrating the 20th year of NWFoC!
The festival started Thursday morning for our alley, we met to get ready. Stuffing 150 goody bags to hand out to all the clowns coming to the event.
We had 118 signed up and 18 Junior Joey's! I think it was the largest convention to date for NWFoC. A Junior Joey is a person who is 7-15 years old and has chosen to do clowning. (I think) Anyway, this was a good turn out, and the event started on time and was going strong from the get go!
We invited many "head liners" to attend and teach. Silly Billy, Clarol the Clown, Terry Rickets, Theresa "Pinky" Garrett, Angel Contreras, Marcela "Mama Clown" Murad, and many more. Our own alley member Roger "Mr. Mokey" lander is a phenomenal balloon sculptor.
Face painters, balloon artists, magicians,(Me) and so much more.
Classes/lectures included topics like:
Who is my clown, Manic Magic 1, Manic Magic 2, Solving the top ten problems of performing for children, Face painting,
Developing my unique clown character,beginning balloons, intermediate balloons, advanced balloons...
Oh my the list goes on and on. All levels of clowns, new and old...
It was a fast paced, exciting weekend.
I was asked several times what I was doing there? As a magician, why are you at a clown convention?
My stock answer was that I am an associate member of the Bigfoot clown alley and we are hosting this event. But the reality is, I believe we can learn stuff from everyone and all our experiences.
I enjoyed much of the teaching on character building, like finding out who you are as a performer, whether it be a clown or a magician, it is still the same concept. I also wanted to meet Silly Billy. He is an internationally recognized Children's performer of magic and clowning. Many magicians do not want to do magic for children, they think it is beneath them, but that is very sad, as children's magic shows account for the vast majority of magic shows though out the world! We need to learn to be proud to perform magic for children!
I wasn't really assigned anything very responsible by our alley, so I just kind of roamed around performing close up magic for anyone wanting to see some. I had a blast entertaining and teaching some close up magic.
I was asked after the event to explain any differences I noticed between the magic conventions I attend and the clown conventions.
The first major difference between Magic conventions and clown conventions is.... drum roll please....
Hardly any women at magic conventions.
Mostly all men and boys.
So that was nice.
The second major difference is.....
Levity. At magic conventions it is a little more serious. People are more intense. Intensely watching everything a performer is doing, to try to "see" what it is they are doing. Many magic conventions are at Las Vegas casinos. So drinking is going on too. The magicians party well into the late hours, sometimes until 4 am and longer, working on sharing, and learning magic sleights, mostly with cards, but coins too. Sometimes several magicians will get together in some ones room and "session" all night long.

Clown conventions have more laughter, and are more slapstick, as you would expect.
I haven't been to very many conventions of either type so I am sure there are several other differences.
Both conventions serve a purpose. Both are a blast, and both help everyone improve in their crafts.
I entered the Red Nose Single Competition, and got the silver medal.
I performed the Legend of the Five Mystic Rings. I actually dropped a ring in competition. How about them apples!? Not good, got kinda flustered but did my best to soldier on. When I dropped the ring, it rolled off the stage onto the seating area floor, I looked up and said, "We are now doing a floor show!"
Everyone enjoyed that moment. Hey, they are all clowns, they are used to dropping things. I did not enjoy the moment and was upset about my performance later.
I have come to want to represent magic in a way that does it justice. That gives it honor, and doing good magic very well. It may be someones' first time to see, in this case, the Linking Rings live and in person, so I want to do it honor and justice. I felt like I didn't do this. Everyone was gracious and said it was awesome, and maybe it was in some ways...(I finished strong) but, I felt embarrassed and it was humbling... God has his plans, maybe my humanness was allowed to be exposed? Still, you know how it is, you work very hard and always want things to go perfect.
The Red Nose Competition is kind of neat in the way they do it.
They have judges and coaches grading your performance, all meant to be a positive experience and critique. After you have performed, you get the critique in written form. The "coaches" actually write comments and they have their names on the paper so it is not anonymous.
I would like to see the magic community embrace this concept at their conferences for the contestants. Everyone who entered, and there were many, received something.
The atmosphere is very different from magic conventions too. Way more laughter. Not as serious, and they all want to learn and do magic too.
There is this idea that clowns don't do magic well, and that magicians hate clowns that do magic, and this is true to a large degree. We should change that.
Wouldn't it be great if magicians could lighten up, and relax and enjoy performing magic in a light hearted fashion? And wouldn't it be great if clowns would take more time to learn their magic better, rather than having the fall back when they blow a trick, that "hey, I'm a clown what do you expect?"
It was a hectic weekend, full of fun and laughter!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Session Tuesday

I keep knockin"..
and some of my magical friends open the door...
Don't know why it is this way at times...
Jose tells me I inspire him, Leslie T says the same.
Jose has been magically dead for several months lately. I call him, email him, and try to poke him.
Jose has a lot of talent magically but gets side tracked.
I know the feeling. It is difficult to maintain a steady work habit in the magic field, especially if you do not have an audience or clientele to perform for...
The fear factor creeps in too.
It is one thing to practice your magic effects and quite another to actually go out and "do" magic for others.
But it is the doing, or sharing of your magic that will make you better, cause you to sharpen your skills. It is thru the interaction with others that you will begin to fine tune and hone your effects. It is the place where you will get the laughter and accolades that performing for non magicians can bring. This what will boost you to keep practicing your magic and the knowledge that what you do magically actually works.
Putting a smile on someones face and in their heart will lift you up as well.
It is only thru the "giving" away of yourself and your talent that you will grow magically.
I arrived at last nights session early, not trusting traffic... My friend Leslie Thyagaragin was there, He is staying in Jose's rental home while preparing to move back to India. It's a sad story of non marital bliss, and now a child is involved.
Leslie is a kind soul.
He is extremely talented in the art fields.
He is packing and giving away lots of his magic apparatus and paintings etc. Doesn't want to have to ship them to India.
It hurts to see a friend hurting.

Jose arrived about 6:45 and the session began in earnest. We worked on cut & restored rope, Professors Nightmare and cards, and coins, rubber bands and more.
Hopefully we can kick start Jose to begin the journey again!
He has a specialness about him. And I love him!

This brings me to a major point (at least to me) in our session last night.
A young magician named Bill arrived. He is from China and does some nice cards and coins effects. He explained that Chinese spectators have been burned so long that they are very skeptical when watching a magician. In other words, they burn your hands. We discussed this at length. Areas of misdirection, or rather, directing their attention. Using their cynicism against them. Letting them think they are catching on, and in the end, their own attentiveness catches them in a web of deception, making the climax to an effect even stronger. Hopefully this leads them to relax and enjoy the magic rather be in the "try to catch you out mode."

Bill also brought up some concerns he has about the challenge he faces because he doesn't speak perfect English. It's not really bad English at all. Just that it has a brokenness to it or the accent being from China. Americans equate broken English to ignorance and or stupidity. The fact is, we are the ignorant ones when we do this and allow our self righteousness to blind us to the opportunity to learn and grow. Simply because someone from a foreign country doesn't speak English as well as a native, that in no way means they are stupid. It is just harder to listen to them.
I told Bill, he needs to find a way to embrace this difference. I know of two close up effects that he can use to do this. The Charming Chinese Challenge, and the Hong Kong Coin effect. Being from China, he can really be in the moment with these effects.
As I looked around our small gathering of magicians, it dawned on me that this was a problem with the others as well. Jose is of Philippine descent, Leslie of Indian descent from India, and I am a white dude from Seattle.
I brought up Gazzo, who is from English descent and how he uses that fact to enhance his performance.
A good looking woman uses her looks to get things, and we should learn to embrace our differences as well. Why do stage magicians always have a stunning woman as their helper?!
I also have a magic friend that has had many physical challenges, he uses a cane, has long silvery hair. He does really good magic, and does it really well. He too has a hard time getting out and performing. I ask him to embrace his own unique specialness as well! He has a beautiful speaking voice. I wonder if anyone has ever mentioned this to him?
Another magic friend is Jewish. He brings that into his magic and doesn't shy away from his uniqueness.
How do we touch people? I believe we each bring a uniqueness to the world, if we will only find our voices to speak.
It is ironic that most of us focus on all the things we don't have, instead of the great and wonderful things we do have.
I mentioned to Bill that since he has a hard time communicating with American speaking people, to invite them to listen closer, more carefully, he could even whisper a little to draw them in.
Leslie T is very good at this by the way. I too must learn to change my voice, raise and lower it at times. A whisper at the right time is just as effective as a scream at the right time, and just as "loud."
It was a good discussion, I thought!
Chad Reibman arrived about 9:45. I was to leave at 10:15 because I had to go to work. I called work and let them know I would be a little late.
The session was beginning to heat up!
Chad wanted to see the tables I built as one was for him!
I let him play with them, perform some card and coin stuff on each one and he selected his table.
It was great to see Chad jump right in and perform magic amongst these guys. It is often very difficult to be "the new guy."
The more I walk this magical journey, the more amazed I am by other people. There passions, their talents, their stories. Who they are, where they come from.
It is really wonderful!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Winter chill

The wind is blowing hard outside, the thermometer reads 40 degrees, the wind chill's gotta be around 30 or less, the apples are falling from the trees... Baseball season is winding down, and football season is well under way. I moved a lot of wood from the lower wood pile up to the house getting ready...
The fourth season is almost upon us!
Halloween is upon the horizon, Thanksgiving and Christmas... wow, how time is flying by...

Friday, October 09, 2009

It's gotta be Magic!!!

Thursday afternoon I got outta bed early, good thing too, My friend Chad Reibman was coming over at 2 pm to enjoy some magic session time with me... Chad arrived early, I was brushing my teeth when he showed up at 1:30..
I answered the door in my bathrobe... We both got a chuckle outta that..
We sessioned for several hours, Coins, cards an exploding light bulb... watched the dvd of our competition at Portland Magic Jam...
Something Chad said to me in the way of critique stuck with me. After complimenting me on how well (loud) I speak, and the way in which it appears that I engage the audience(I think I need to work on this area a lot more)Chad said that one of his teachers, Shoot Ogawa from Japan told him "many performers do "Radio Magic." And that I was doing that.
Radio Magic? What? He explained to me that I would say a lot of things unnecessary. Things like simple comments, "I will just give the cards a cut, or I'll turn my back and close my eyes, that way I can't see what you do." As if I didn't have an audience that could physically see me. As if I were a commentator on a radio giving a "play by Play."
As I thought about this it dawned on me, he was absolutely correct. I do do that.
Hmmm, And I thought it was all just patter to have something to say as a spectator is doing something. Sort of like filler to fill a silence. Of course the spectator can see I have turned my back. They can see that I just cut the cards.
Wow, This is a nice bit of information to assimilate. NOW comes the scary part. Will I find myself actually thinking about words I am saying and throw myself off during a performance? Nah... This will have to be something to work on during practice and rehearsals. But truly, an eye opening comment! Now if only I could remember to put it into practice~
During the Portland Magic Jam two weeks ago, Isaac Louie showed me the table I built him four years ago. It is pretty well thrashed. Not that I didn't build him a nice, sturdy table, more like he abused it! Actually Louie uses it daily and sometimes three times a day as he is a full time professional magician. Louie does a lot of shows for schools, sometimes three and four in a day. I also think he removes and replaces the table in his trunk so often... well you get the picture.
Anyway, he showed it to me at PMJ. Chad Reibman was with me and really liked the table and wanted me to build him one too. So all last week I have been spending lots of time in the garage building tables. Katie has been helping me out there and it has really been fun to teach her a few things about power saws. Mostly though it has been great to have a helping hand and spend time with her. The time flies better when you are with someone.
Here are the tables I just finished!

(Click images to enlarge)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Magic Mirrors...

And the magic of duct tape!

Several years ago I saw a nice 3 piece mirror set for viewing your hands for magic manipulation practice. I built some then and just recently put together these for some friends.
Here is what you need to do.
Buy the mirrors at Home Depot or Lowe's.
About 9 bucks for 6 panels. These are 12 inch by 12 inch. I bought the ones that did not have the nice edges because I knew I would be taping the edges.
Lay out your three panels and put something between them for spacing. This way, when you fold them closed, they will actually close. I used two identical bolts here in the photo, but you might consider a pencil.
Notice that I start by taping from the back side, just enough to hold the adjoining mirrors together, then I use a long piece of tape, and go all the way around!

Tape all the edges, and the mirrors together... Neatness counts!

Bobgan Wedding

Saturday my family enjoyed a nice wedding in the Bellevue area.
Our sons good friend Jonny Bobgan wed his sweetheart Amanda.

They were married by the grooms father. It was a simple wedding and I liked that. In this day and age of spending tons of money, going in debt. to start your marriage is just such nonsense.
Very nice!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Portland magic jam 2009

Here is a brief video montage from the Portland Magic Jam, I think I make a short cameo at the 5:50 mark...