The Sarcastic Magician
"One of the few good arguments against the 1st Amendment." A place where we can rant and rave against conjuring's politics, uninspired and inept performance and performers, unethical parasites that we can never seem to rid ourselves of and most of all, archaic, banal, anachronistic tricks and routines that try the patience of any spectator with an IQ having a fighting chance at three digits. If you are not a magician, leave quietly and no harm will come to you.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Thursday, May 05, 2005
A quick check of the trusty wall calendar and we see that the Nationals are but a few weeks hence.
To enhance the enjoyment of your convention-going we submit the following game we devised to help pass the time at past gatherings, when we had already had our fill of ambitious card routines and zombies and were wandering the halls/dealer rooms in an attempt to amuse ourselves.
All you need is a small, pocket-sized notebook and a pen or pencil. Simply keep a tally based on the point assignments below and then compare your results with those of others who are also playing along.
Collect points based on witnessing the individual, situation, circumstance, affliction, etc. as follows:
-Hotel registration paid with a money order - 2 pts.
-Registrant arriving with clothes packed in grocery bags - 2 pts
-Hotel bellman with an attitude because he had been stiffed - 1 pt.
-Adult wearing a fedora - 2 pts.
-Child under the age of 18 wearing a fedora - 5 pts.
-Anyone carrying a ferret - 2 pts.
-Noticeably poor personal hygiene - 2 pts.
-Attendee on parole/probation - 5 pts.
-Dressed entirely in black - 1 pt.
-Cell phone ringing during the close-up show - 2 pts.
-If it’s the close-up performer’s - 10 pts.
-If he takes the call - 20 pts.
-Carrying a magazine with their picture on the cover - 5 pts.
-Any non-performer wearing a tux shirt - 2 pts.
-Selling his lecture notes in the lobby and not a performer/lecturer/dealer - 2 pts.
-Stage competition act using a card table - 1 pt.
-Non-registered dealer selling wares out of his hotel room/car/elevator - 5 pts.
-Wearing top hat and tails around the hotel - 10 pts.
-Waitress with an attitude because she was stiffed - 2 pts.
-Dealer selling Calcutta knock-off of a Collectors’ Workshop prop - 1 pt.
-Anyone sleeping during a lecture - 1 pt.
-Anyone sleeping during the professional close-up show - 2 pts.
-Anyone sleeping in the hotel lobby because they didn’t get a room - 1 pt.
-Bringing a bag of McDonalds’ to the evening show - 2 pts.
-Secretly recording the lecture - 2 pts.
-Shoplifting in the dealer room - 2 pts.
-Dealer room security guard accidentally shoots his own finger off - 5 pts.
-Violations of local fire code in the hotel - 1 pt.
-Violations of health code in hotel restaurant - 1 pt.
-No-show of the convention honoree - 2 pts.
-No-show of the closing show headliner - 1 pt.
-Juggler in the evening stage show - 1 pt.
-Local high school marching band in the evening stage show - 10 pts.
-Dealer selling standard utility items made from precious metals - 2 pts.
-Well known children’s performer shouting obscenities - 5 pts.
Door to close-up show room slammed more than ten times during the performance - 1 pt.
-David Blaine trying to crash the convention and being thrown out - 1 pt.
-ANY convention organizing staff seen sober and outside their hotel room - 20 pts.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
And now, for something completely different....
Front row at lecture
High price, astounding p.r.
But now so asleep.
Ditch so well rehearsed
Now before the audience
How high it bounces.
No skill required
He gathers an audience
A puff of smoke
A report and brilliant flash
Tripped on the floor switch.
Amazing white dove
Appears midway through the act
Now in the rafters.
An unpleasant production
Bad meat for kitty.
Bunny giving birth
Circle of life continues
In your mirror box.
Professor Cheer’s act
Production finally ends
Applause and rope burns.
Darkness and silence
Audience waiting for more
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
A Night at the Symphony
The couple had taken their ten year-old grandson to a
performance of the local philharmonic, the guest conductor
was from the big city. They all were enjoying the
combination of fine music, comfortable seating and the
At the end of one piece of music the conductor turned to the
audience and requested that the houselights come up. "For
the next piece, I require the assistance of someone from the
audience." he stated. His gaze fell on the young grandmother
and he continued, "Yes, you ma'am. Thank you for
volunteering. Please give the lady a hand!" She rose and
made her way to the stage, somewhat embarrassed by the
"If you would stand by me, no, a little this way, you are on
the trap door." instructed the conductor. "What is your
"Martha" she replied.
"May I call you Martha?" he
"When may I call you Martha?" He retorted.
He was handed a violin from one of the stagehands.
"Please extend your hand to take this violin, no, the clean one. Oh,
I'm sorry, that was your clean one."
She reached for the instrument during the obligatory laughter that followed. As
she grasped the neck, she was horrified to see the body of
the violin separate and parts crash to the floor. She was
left holding the neck with the remainder suspended by its
strings. Members of the orchestra were laughing loudly.
"Madam, don't your realize that was a Stradivarius and
priceless? Look what you have done."
The conductor produced a hideous, oversized, grimy cloth hat
and placed it on her head.
"Since you seem to be having some problems, perhaps our special musician's hat will help."
He then placed a silver flute in her hands and continued, "The
orchestra will now play 'The Rite of Spring' and I want you
to play this flute during the appropriate passage in the
song. But, even though the flute is the most difficult
instrument to learn and play, please do not be nervous".
She was vaguely aware of the restrained giggling coming from the
Of course, the conductor did not know that in her youth she
was an accomplished flautist and had won a talent contest,
playing the same song.
On this night, she performed flawlessly. When the song was over, she noticed a marked
change in the demeanor of the conductor. He seemed quite
irritated and somewhat red in the face.
"Thank you for assisting me and being such a good sport." he told her, and
she started toward her seat during the ensuing applause. As
she neared the side of the stage the conductor called out,
"Oh, one more thing Martha, can you tell me the time?"
She glanced down at what turned out to be her naked wrist as she
heard the conductor
"Never mind, I see here that it is 10:15." She looked toward him to see her Piaget dangling
from his outstretched hand.
On the way home the grandfather queried the boy.
"I hear there is a jazz band coming to town, would you like to go?"
"I don't believe so, grandpa." he replied, "I think I'd
rather go to a magic show."
Sunday, April 03, 2005
How to be a Magician
Name - For your first name, take the first syllable of your favorite
tool -- drill, saw, visegrips, etc. add -dini to it. Your second name
is always The. Last name is any adjective, preferably ending in -ous.
Business Cards - Have business cards printed with your stage name. Be sure to
have an appropriate tag line, like -Everything from mentalism to balloon
twisting-, or -No audience too little, no fee too small-. Do not put your
address on them.
Costume - Should be of eye-catching material, lame', rhinestones, neon colored
fabric,etc. If you can walk down the street in your costume without getting
arrested you are not a magician.
Publicity - Put on your costume and have a friend take a Polaroid picture of
you standing in front of your fireplace. Use this as your publicity shot on
handbills. Have them printed on yellow paper at Kinko's and post them at any
establishment that will allow, e.g. Goth shops and sexually oriented
Props - Should go with your costume. If your audience has any idea what they
are, you are not a magician. Buy Bicycle decks by the case at SAM's. Discard
all the blue-backed decks when you get home. Open all the red-backed decks
and tear the little ears off the cases. Discard all your loose change except
half-dollars. If you have a quarter in your pocket to make a phone call you
are not a magician. Buy lots of gaffed coins. Carry them in your pocket. If
you've never inadvertently spent a locking $1.35 on a candy bar you are not a
Books - Buy lots and lots of books. Put them on your shelves where everyone
can see them. Be sure and dust them occasionally.
Magic Stores - Once a week or so, go to your local magic store. Ask them to
show you what is new. After they demonstrate it tell them it is lame. Never,
ever buy anything from them. If you buy stuff at a magic store you are not a
Auctions - At least once a year pack up all your stuff and go to an auction.
Sell it for 10 cents on the dollar. Bid up other peoples' used stuff until it
is over retail.
Live Shows - Attend every live magic performance held. During the show be
sure and say in a voice loud enough for all those seated around you to hear,
what is going to happen next. Everytime the performer makes a steal go
-OOOOOHH-. During intermission stand in the lobby and shuffle a deck of
cards. Offer to sign autographs.
Practice - ???,---Nah!
Rehearsing - (see Practice)
Magic Club - Attend the meetings of the local magic club. Do not perform, so
that you remain an enigma. Don't pay dues. You're not a magician if you pay
magic club dues. If there are any kids in the club, tell them their acts are
Conventions - Go to every convention you can. Don't pay registration
and don't get a hotel room. Sleep in the lobby. Sneak in the dealer
room and tell them you can buy all their stuff cheaper somewhere
else. Tell the book dealers that you would buy the Albo set from them
if they only had it. Try to get backstage before the competition and
mess with peoples' props before they go on. Afterward, tell them their
acts are lame.
Finance - Pay for everything with a money order. If you have a checking
account you are not a magician.
Performing - Subscribe to every magazine, e-zine, mail list and visit
every magic web page. Go to all conventions and live shows. Do not
perform. If you have time to perform you are not a magician.
Location - Move to L.A. or better, Las Vegas. You're not a magician if you
don't live in Las Vegas.
..and finally - Learn how to twist balloons and put on clown make-up.