A time to share

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween, & Seven Years Ago Today....

Seven years ago today I got back into magic by answering the call of our pastor to put togehter a booth for Treats without Tricks night. (I wonder if there are any pictures from that night?)I had done some "slum" magic, or trinket magic twenty years prior. It was all boxed up. I dug out the box, put together a small booth, did tricks for the children as they stopped by, handed out some candy, and got the "bug."
It's been all down hill from there!

Happy Halloween to all that enjoy this "holiday."
It was always a fun one for me as a child.
Times going door to door with my brothers and sometimes sisters, age depending. Then as we got older raising some havoc on unsuspecting victims.
I guess it's true what comes around goes around...
We never really attached anything evil to Halloween, we were just in it for the free candy. The more the better!
Yesterday, day before Halloween, I did a magic show for my friends at Farrington Court Senior Center. It is my 7th time performing for them.
Either they like me, or I'm in their budget, or perhaps both!
Since it was my seventh time for them, I decided to change up my show. I decided to give them my children's show. Which I am happy to say went very well. I realize that their is a child in each of us. Some are just buried deeper than others and need more coaxing to reach.
I asked ahead of time if there would be children present. Was told that there would be and so I planned accordingly!
I did some silly bits of magic, at least silly to me. Not having done most of them very often, it was a little awkward, almost like starting over. The great thing is that I am blessed with having a way with people. I have been learning and studying this magical art form for some time now, one of the main themes is "like ability." If you don't have it, you need to get it, if you got it, you need to exploit it. And you need to be liked within the first 30 seconds or so. Well, I already have a slight rapport with these people so doing my "New" show was probably accepted better than at a different venue!
I found out a lot about magic and myself at this show. It's very important to have your chops down, and it's not so much about the magic, it's a lot about entertaining the folks. Being up beat and positive. It helps a lot if you know your tricks inside and out. Since this was a new show for me, some of the effects were rather... hmmm... shall I say they just weren't as polished as I would have liked.
Nothing major bad happened, didn't miss anything, just wasn't as well oiled, or ran as smoothly as will be next time.
Still, I think on the whole everyone went home with love and laughter in their hearts!

Later that evening...
Our daughter attended her first Homecoming Dance.
She was asked out by several boys and selected a nice young man named Brandon.
Brandon's mother came to our home and we took some pre dinner pictures.

They went to the Keg Restaurant, enjoyed the dance and went out for ice cream at Shari's after.
Katie was beaming and looked absolutely beautiful!
That's because she is!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Of funerals, and family times...

Haven't posted in quite awhile... Mother in laws funeral was a week ago today, last Wednesday.
It was held in a Catholic church.
Joan and I got married in a catholic church and we attended it for a while.
I never liked the pomp and ceremony of it all. Seemed rather bizarre and contrived. As I have grown in knowledge biblically, it only reinforces my earlier findings about the Catholic church.
Not going to go into it but... I disagree with almost all of their teachings.
What i wanted to post was more about the serendipity of funerals.
We were blessed to have our whole immediate family home for the first time in five years.
Yeah, we have all been together in San Diego and San Antonio during the years Eric was in the marines. But we had Ryan home for four days during this "celebration" of life time.

It was fun to have everyone here.
and smoking cigars.
Just "being."
Ryan left last Saturday and Eric went to San Diego for a friends wedding.
The house is quiet now... but it was a wonderful week.

Oh, All the Trouble I've seen

Life is all about learning, growing up and taking charge of your own life.
I received a call today, about three hours ago from our 26 year old son living in Boulder... I said "how you doing you cop runner..." There was a slight chuckle on the other end... guess It wasn't too funny...
I had asked my wife earlier if she had heard from Ryan or Eric. she told me yes, in fact she was on the phone with Ryan, when he said to her, " I gotta go, there's a policeman behind me." In other words he was being pulled over for something.
Well, that was the reason for my "funny" comment.
Well turns out Ryan was calling from the Boulder Colorado County jail.
He had an outstanding warrant because awhile back he had been pulled over for a tail light out. Turns out he had an expired insurance card. Actually he had insurance, just hadn't replaced the expired one in the glove box. Sound familiar to anyone?
So, he was supposed to provide proof of insurance to some county court. He let it slide. He was mailed particulars but had not changed the address on his license so he never got the notices... fast forward to today.
Pulled over because of an outstanding warrant, hand cuffed,finger printed. Calling his parents at age 26 needing bond money of $1500.
Good people minding their own business. Getting caught up in nothing except the inability to take care of the particulars. Those particulars coming back to bite you hard in the ass.
I don't want to whine here, but c'mon...
I know how rough of a time he must be going thru, having to humble yourself to call your "rents' at his age. Embarrassment all around, being hand cuffed.
I guess he'll have a story to tell.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Innovention 2010 (2)

I wanted to expand a little about the Innovention Held in Las Vegas last week. It was the inaugural event, and I do not know if it will ever be repeated. I hope it is. I heard a rumor that Paul Stone said he would not do it again?
I met a 92 year old performer named Mark Raffles. Mark did a beautiful and very comedic linking ring routine that was most enjoyable. I think in my last post I mention something about the U.K. invasion or flavor of the Innovention. Well Mark Raffles is one of those that comes from across the pond! It was refreshing seeing so many magicians from the U.k. Mark gives me hope! I doubt I will ever be as comfortable as him, nor as smooth... but at 92, I have 41 more years to catch up!
Mark Raffles performing his linking ring routine was definitely a high light for me!
Teller of Penn and Teller fame did a one hour lecture on his "The Red Ball" trick. It was a wonderful lecture about the need for perseverance, and sticktuitiveness...
Teller's Red Ball Lecture was excellent. I think many will take pieces from it depending on where they are individually at in their magical journey.
Many will miss a lot because they are newly on their walk, others will glean much because they are further along their journey, still others might miss it entirely.
For me, the lecture resonated with the will to continue. The idea that I need to not be so much in a hurry. Too look at some effects differently. To plow ahead in spite of what someone else might negatively think. If I "see" something of value in an effect, and while I may not know exactly what it is I want to accomplish with it, or know "how" I am going to get where I want to go... If I keep plugging away at it, day by day, hour after hour... opportunities, ideas will present themselves.
Teller spent hours daily, after their regular show, on stage working on this one effect. It consumed him, even while on vacations, he would daily work on it... for eighteen months he worked on it.
Finally he shared it with Penn. Penn didn't exactly uplift his partner Teller. More work, tweaking, finally Teller thought it ready, again he shared it with Penn, Johnny Thompson and Mac King.
Scared of what they might say, he was pleasantly rewarded with three thumbs up!
Ironically, the ball never floats.
The interesting thing... Penn announces before hand...
"A trick with a thread"... exposing the gimmick, but by doing this... it enhances, rather than detracts from the magic of it! What a novel thought, like the masked magician, exposing magic to enhance the art! Picture is of Teller, speaking of the masked magician. (which most magicians truly despise)
So, what did I get out of it?
Trusting your instincts.
Never giving up on an idea.
Diligence, hard work, persistence...
Also, I am lazy!
My gosh, would I have quit after a few weeks, months, a YEAR AND A HALF!!!!??
One last note I'd like to add...
as I alluded to in the last post, about Paul Stone being a class act, and stand up guy.
Thursday night was the end of Innovention, I took the picture here of Paul and myself at about 2 A.M. Friday morning as I was getting ready to head up to my room. I had to get up at 7 A.M.
As I waited fro my shuttle out front of the Goldcoast hotel, I was chatting with two of our "head liners" that were going to the airport as well. They were both heading back to New York and home.
Paul Stone drove up in his car, and began loading their luggage into the trunk. He noticed me, and without any prompting immediately said, "Tim, where you headed?" I responded, "waiting for the shuttle to the airport." Paul said, "Grab your stuff, I'll drive you."
To me, this is something I would do, but it was an unexpected delight for me to be treated so warmly and kindly by Paul Stone, the executive producer of the event. Not only that, but I asked Paul what time he went to bed, "he said sometime around 3 A.M."
Paul was like this though out the Innovention.
Truly a wonderful giving man!

Waiting for someone to die

What a weird thing to write...
Yet it is true enough.
While I was spending time in Las Vegas, living life large, enjoying the company of a couple hundred magicians and wanna be magicians...
My mother in law, age 90 has been in the hospital. She came down with Pneumonia, as of this writing, she has been in the hospital for ten days.
My wife has been carrying the burden of this all these days. Her sisters have been joining in the "vigil" when they can.
But Joan has been primary in this endeavor.
Today (now yesterday) we tried to celebrate our sons last day as a Marine. 10-10-10 was his last day although he has been home for about a month.
We had my wife's family over for a hamburger BBQ.
But it was dampened by her mothers plight at the hospital.
Her mom, Marion is not on life support, her organs are dying, she is assisted with her breathing and that is all. I have been told that she has stopped breathing for several beats on a few occasions and then starts again.
I guess this is a better way to go than suddenly, at least we can prepare in our minds for the inevitable.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Innovention 2010 (1)

I got back from Innovention 2010 which was held in Las Vegas last week. I have a lot to unpack mentally as it was a four day magic convention with many lectures and two Gala events as well as five close up performances and lectures.
The event was put on by Executive producer, Paul Stone. I had never met Paul, but I can say he is a class act. He was very busy and still found time for everyone. More on that later!
The Innovention started Friday night Oct. 4th with a little gathering of magicians. I ran into a friend that I met at WMS in 2009. Per Strandberg from Sweden. We struck up our friendship and sat at a table. I decided to share a magic card effect with him. Zingone 12 card mental problem. A pet effect from my mentor Tom Frank. Per is the kind of man that enjoys math magical effects, in other words, self working math tricks. This effect really boggled him. As I was performing for him, another man sat down next to him and caught the end of the effect...Not having seen the beginning, he was a little in the "dark" about it. Per asked me to show it to him, I said, "why, so you can try to figure it out?" I did so anyway, and now I have two people totally baffled, again, as I was showing this wonderful effect to "Kevin", another guy sat down, and they both asked me to show it to him. So naturally, as I was on a roll... I did, and proceeded to twist him up as well. Man O man... I felt like a million bucks, and these guys must have thought pretty highly of me.
The next day Per was still baffled and told me he lost sleep over it! HA! (Thanks Tom!)We had a very nice surprise Monday night as Johnny Thompson, Mac King, and The Amazing Jonathon were on a small stage... but Johnny Thomson introduced a special guest, Tom Mullica!!! What a treat it was to have Tom join them for a question and answer session. Tom Is battling Leukemia.
Tuesday was the real kick off of the week...
The Johnny Thompson Hour,
With lectures by Magical Al, a childrens magician from New York,
Special workshop with Brian Eggerton on Website optimisation..
Then what was labeled a close up show...
Four world class magicians traveled from room to room entertaining us with their close up mastery.
We enjoyed the wonderful coin magic of Eric Jones.
The awesome card sleights of Mark Mason, followed by the funny and interestingly sloppy, hap hazard card work of Lenert Green, then the wonderful Three shell game by Bob Kholer.
I was genuinely surprised at how well Bob Kholer did. I had never seen him perform. The other three were great as well. Mark Mason brought down the house with his card tricks... Holy Smoke! Awesome!
Mentalism was next with Graham P. Jolly.. Wow!
Seems that Paul Stone is from the U.K. and he brought a fun and wonderful contingent of magicians to the states with him!
Later that evening was the International Stars of Magic Show.
Johnny Thompson & Pam. What a delight to watch these two perform!

And a late night session with Lennert Green.
Even some of the greatest card men in the world can get a little crazy when they want too!!!

Wednesday arrived with little sleep from the night before... I had made some new friends from the U.k. Jerry Kinsella and his partner of 11 years, Leonora...
what a wonderful couple they are. Also in the photo is another wonderful magician form the East Coast, Louis Cirulli. I called him "Sweet Lou!"

Leonora latched onto me. She just simply is a very bubbly person. Being a non magician, or a lay person as we call them, she was used and abused (Not really) by all the magicians in their close up shows.
She had a great time and never did get magicked out!
Anyway, Wednesday was more of the same, lectures by stars, on how to do trade shows, and how to keep soft eye contact.
Special workshops and business teachings about getting your self out there with today's technology.
Later Wednesday was something I was truly looking forward to. The Joanie Spina lecture!!! Joanie was David Copperfield's lead assistant and choreographer for many years. She teaches about movement, lack of movement and incorporating music into your show. I have no music in my show at present. My show is what might be termed a talking show. Joanie put on a great lecture. Something I hadn't considered, never even thought about was the use of music to underscore some of the effects I do.
Two come to mind immediately, my linking rings routine and the torn and restored newspaper. Both could use some music to enhance the flavor and feel of them. To "emotionalize them! Now the hard part, to find music that fits them.
Late night Wednesday found everyone gathered in the showroom for a special one hour session with Criss Angel!
It was actually better than expected. Criss spoke candidly about his life in magic. He is an overnight success story that took 16 years! Funny how when someone hits the big time, he is considered an overnight success.
Many magicians do not like Criss Angel. It is said he has forgotten where he came from and that he does not give back to magicians.
I don't know about all that. He seemed pretty genuine to me. Sure, he has this persona, all dressed in black goth, his magic has a super natural flavor, like he is calling on evil spirits. I think he is reaching this generation of children for magic, and all magicians benefit from it. I was at the Portland Magic jam a few weeks back, and at the question and answer portion of that event, the "panel" was asked what they thought of Criss Angel. It was said that he did not give a certain trick that was to be on his show enough rehearsal time before presenting it. In fact it was stated that he only gave it fifteen minutes before doing it live, on television.
Criss said that this is one of his abilities. To be able to take something and do it almost immediately.
He spoke of his love of magic from an early age and that because of his focus on magic, he did poorly in school.
When asked what he would tell a young person that wants to go into magic full time, his response was to tell them not too, to stay in school. Then if they ignored you, then you have someone who really wants it!
I enjoyed meeting him, and not because he is a "star." I just liked a lot he had to say about the "nay sayers" in life. The envious ones, and not listening to them. Following your dream.
Got to bed after 3 am that night!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Mercer Island Magic!

Last night I took in my friend G. G. Greens magic show at a small theater on Mercer Island.
The theater looks like an elementary school from the outside.
The theater was nice, with a couple of different levels. G.G. had set up his props in various areas on stage. It was nice seeing G.G.'s wife helping him as they meet and greeted audience members to his show.
I hooked up with a fellow magician and his wife. Jess & Carrie, I had recently met them at Portland Magic Jam.
Lots of children and their parents were in attendance for the show. I would sat 150 to 200 people enjoyed G.G.'s show.
G.G. was up beat and positive. He opened his show with a nice audience participation sponge ball routine. It was fun and had a nice ending with many sponge balls appearing in a child's astonished hands!
A few card tricks, Floating napkin rose that actually floats in mid air, then he lights it afire and it turns magically into a real red rose.
Bill in lemon, rope and wedding rings. Cups and balls and a selected card stabbed by a sword.
G.G. rocked the house!
I was proud to watch my friend perform, and perform well!