Thursday, September 29, 2005

"Bernie's Show" Post Mortem. (Part 2.)

Continuing the post mortem of my act at the “Bernie’s Day” magic show at the Browsers Den of Magic on Sunday September 25th.

Now I begin an effect I am particularly proud of. My version of the classic “Card Stab” that I call “Cardus Stabbicus.” (For no better reason than I can.) First, an introduction. I begin by telling the audience they are in for a treat, “for today I am doing … a card trick.” This sentence begins normal, but I raise my voice slightly to try and impart that what I am about to do is important and special, then I say “… a card trick.” Which is intended as a bit of a let down. Am I explaining this right? I build up to something important then it turns out to be a lousy card trick. This got a good laugh.
Lesson six: A false build up is always good for a laugh.

I then say “But this isn’t any old card trick, this is a card trick that uses THIS!” At the word “This” I show a knife then quickly shove it, point down, into the corkboard with a nice thud. It is here where I would normally go “Everybody say Ooooooooo” but I didn’t need to, the audience went “Ooooooo” all by themselves.
Lesson seven: Sometimes the audience doesn’t need to be told what to do.

I need volunteers, four of them to be exact. Three to pick cards and one to hold papers. I start with card selection. This was a bit rough because most of the parents were standing at the rear of the crowd and in front of me were children, I would hazard a guess that the average age was in the twelve to thirteen area. Old enough to recognize and remember a card, young enough to try something bad. I had to choose carefully. First, a boy. To my left there was a group of boys, one of which was just a tad too hyper for his own good. Sometimes it’s a good idea to avoid children like this because they tend to want either attention or to ruin your trick or both. I chose a boy sitting next to him who looked interested and was relatively well behaved. Also, he was close enough to the hyper kid so he could still be involved, just not the center of attention.
Lesson eight: Boys are hard to read.

Next, a girl. A young lady in the middle did nicely and she was as sweet as all get out. No problems with her at all. Finally I went to one of the few adults within reach. A nice man who was sitting to my right, on the floor, with his young (4 or 5ish) son in his lap. I asked him to pick a card and he whispered, “let him” while motioning to his son. What to do? The boy was definitely too young to recognize and remember a card, so I made a deal. I said to the man “Well, why don’t you both do it?” That worked. The man took the card, noted it and handed it to his son. Everyone was happy.
Lesson Nine: Sometimes the mid ground can be just as good.

Let me take a step back here. I have three cards selected by three different people, but in reality you cannot trust people too much. All you need is one person bent on making you look bad to … well, make you look bad, so whenever a card is selected I tell the helper “Don’t forget to show it to your friends and family around you.” And they show their card around. That way, they are less likely to try and mis-name the card and if they do there are witnesses to correct them.
Lesson Ten: Expect some people to be sneaky and underhanded.

Now here comes a problem of mine. I cannot, for the life of me, remember names. It’s a curse I have suffered with for all of my life. I have lived next door to the same people for four years. I’ve had countless conversations with them. They told me their names years ago and I cannot remember them, and so much time has passed that if I were to ask they would probably think I was some kind of idiot. So when I am doing a show, and I have helpers, I make sure to concentrate really hard. They say their name; I repeat it back to them at least three times in the course of selecting, noting and returning a card. It seems to work, this show I only forgot one name out of four. I’m batting .750.
Lesson eleven: Buy a Harry Lorayne book and use it!!!

Now the fourth volunteer. At this point I use a female because I have some lines about how well she is dressed. I then show her how to stand, and place the papers I am going to use in her outstretched hands saying “I need you to hold these papers just like this and every time I have to use one I will stick a quarter up your nose and take one.” This line is intended to relax the helper. Once she laughs, she is going to be ok and will be more likely to laugh in the future. A bit of psychology here but if a helper on stage is laughing the more likely the audience is to laugh with her. I don’t know why this works, but it does.
Lesson Twelve: A relaxed helper is a better helper.

I don’t mean to keep drawing this out like this. I thought this would be a two-part blog entry but I need more room. Just one more entry after this one, I promise.

Nest post: The knife goes through the card, not your hand.

Monday, September 26, 2005

"Bernie's Show" Post Mortem. (Part 1)

I thought it might be a good time to go over my performance on Sunday the 25th during "Bernie's Day" at The Browsers Den of Magic.

The first thing I will note that, even though I did not see the first two acts, I heard the audience response. Going by the first two sets the performers were a hit. The audience laughed, they gasped and they applauded. It is a lot easier to come out and entertain a crowd when they've been warmed up for you.
Lesson one: Follow good acts. A lesson I learned in high school drama during monologue day.

Secondly, my introduction. This was done by the owner of The Browsers Den, Jeff Pinskey. He's a nice guy who isn't really much of a performer. Before I went on he asked how I would like to be introduced and I said "No big thing, really. Just say the magic of Gord. Nothing special."
God bless Jeff, but he introduced me as coming from the far off land of Africa and introduced me as "Dr. Gord Gardiner."
Lesson two: Always come with a prepared introduction written on 4x5 cards.

Now it was my turn to shine. I have to admit I wasn't as prepared as I should have been. I didn't learn my complete script, which could have been bad. Also, I have this habit of second guessing myself RIGHT before I go on stage. I was worried. Worried about the script, worried about having the right cards in the right place and worried about somehow giving the secrets away. These worries could easily have been handled by rehearsal, which I didn't do enough of.
Lesson three: Rehearse, study and rehearse.

For my first bit I had to borrow a bill. That was no problem, in a situation like this there is always someone willing to give up a bill. I told the audience that "Thanks to the good officers of the Peel Regional Police Force, I had to do a public service announcement." This garnered a laugh. I borrowed the bill, showed the full audience that this person (a kid actually) loaned me his five dollar bill, then pocketed it. It was an old joke, one I've always enjoyed but rarely get to do. There is a difference in doing that to an audience of fifty and doing it at someone's restaurant table.
Lesson four: Sometimes the old jokes work.

I asked the young man who loaned my the five if he knew how to tell if a bill is counterfeit. He said he didn't so I went through a few facts. Like watermarks (each bill has random blue/green dots called "watermarks." funnily enough this bill had none that I could see, so I pointed to a smudge on the bill and asked a kid in the front row if he saw it. He said he did. Magicians rule!) I then told them that the paper that the bill is made of contain small threads. I rolled the bill into a cone and slowly pulled out a "thread" and asked if anyone could see it. Then I pulled it a bit further and it turned out to be a multi-colored silk streamer.
the audience reacted with a gasp. No bull here, they gasped when I pulled that silk streamer out of that bill. That felt good and filled me with confidence.
I then unrolled the bill, casually showed it empty, then handed it back to the kid who loaned it to me telling him that "Your bill is now counterfeit."
Lesson five: Making the audience gasp is a very good thing and bodes well for the rest of the act. Hope you can keep it up!

End of part one.

Next post: Lesson seven, do not ask for help from "The woman who is obviously breast feeding!"

Sunday, September 25, 2005

So, How Did The Show Go?

Well, it's over. The big show at the Browsers Den is over and the results are in.

For those who are just joining us, perhaps a bit of explaining is in order.
A few weeks ago I was invited to perform at the Browsers Den of Magic during it's annual "Bernie Day." Bernie is a magician and magic demonstrator who runs magic booths at fairs and other events. He had a booth at the annual Canadian National Exhibition and, through some sort of mailing list, sent out invitations to come to the Browsers Den today, September 25 starting at 11:00am.
The magic show was set to start at 1:00 pm. I was one of five performers, each one unique and different from each other. That was my first surprise. Usually when you get five magicians together at least three will do the same type of magic if not the exact same tricks.
Here are the performers:

1: Jahal & Heather. I didn't see their performance but they were dressed as Gypsy's and the audience reacted strongly to them.

2: Brian Hircock. Again, I didn't see him perform but he did a kind of manipulation style of magic. He was also well received.

3: Me. I did my card stab and a brief bit where I pulled a long streamer from a borrowed bill. I was also received well. (Hell, why be modest? I killed.)

4: Marc Linett. He was the mentalist of the afternoon. I have noticed that, as far as mentalism is concerned, you either are good or you aren't. There is no in between. Marc was good, very good. He was also very considerate of his volunteers feelings, which is something we all can work on.

5: Gordon Precious. He is the grand old man of the Toronto magic scene. He mentioned during his act that he has been performing for seventy five years, and it shows. First of all he was the definition of class, he was entertaining and he brought effects we all had written off as lame and brought them to life. That , my friends, is what a lifetime of experience can bring you.

The audience was a good mixture of adults and children, boys and girls. They came for a show and were very appreciative. There was a young boy in a blue shirt who was a bit too hyper for his own good, but other than that everyone was playing good.

Ok, yes, this is all well and good but this isn't a blog about mentalists and hyper children. This is a blog about Gord, so answer the question, how did Gord do?
The only answer I can really give that isn't biased is to say I did very well. Many people came to me after the show and told me how good they thought I was. Jeff, the owner of The Browsers Den told me I was a great performer. Marc asked me where I perform. I said I didn't because of work and he said "You should perform, you were very good."
So yes, apparently I did good. I certainly felt good about my show, much better than the show I did on Aug. 27th.
the truth is, It made me feel that I was doing the right thing in trying to do this show, and that I would be able to hold up a full show. And that's good.

Um, yeah, not a lot of jokes in this one was there. Ok, how's this?


Next Post: David Blaine says I suck. I say "Oh yeah." He says "Yeah." No one said we had to be mature about this.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

What's In A Name? (Part 2)

In our last episode, young magician Gord searches for a good stage name. Beginning with "The Amazing Gord" he changes to "Mr. Magic" thanks to a forgetful Santa impersonator. After discovering that "Mr. Magic" may not be the best name our hero searches the inner reaches of his soul to find the perfect name, and in the end he comes up with .......

When I discovered the problem with being called "Mr. Magic" I decided the time had come to actually think about the type of name I should use. The first thing I did was examine the types of magic jobs (Or "gig's" as we say in the business) I was getting. At this time I was doing primarily kid shows. (Birthdays, Picnics and holiday parties) Using this as a starting point I decided on three criteria I would use.
1: The name had to be fun.
2: The name had to be magical.
3: The name had to appear at the very top of the yellow pages category "Magicians."

Taking number three into account I knew the name had to start with the letter "A". It is a documented fact that when looking for something in the Yellow Pages people always start at the first entry and work their way down. This, in turn, turns into a nasty fight between companies to see who can out "A" each other. This is why under the title "Plumbing" you might find a listing "Aaaaaaaaaa Plumbing & Son's." Why this, because "Aaaaaaaaa Plumbing & Son's" has one more "A" than "Aaaaaaaaa Plumbing King" and therefore gets that all important first phone call.
Thinking about number two I settled on using a known magic word as part of the name. "Pocus", "Abracadbra" and "All hail Satan" were written down, along with a few others, and I played around with each name, trying to figure out what I could put in front of each one to make it sound fun and sit at the top of the Yellow Pages category.
Let's see; "The Amazing Pocus", "artful Hocus", "Abilities above that of mortal man, All Hail Satan".
"The Amazing Abracadabra!"
"Holy crap, that last one was pretty good," I thought just a bit too late. ("Abilities above that of mortal men, All hail Satan" somehow worked against me. Go figure.)
And so I because "The Amazing Abracadbra", although I lost eh "The" in the Yellow Pages Ad. And it worked, I started getting calls on my newly christened office phone and took business away from "The Amazing Wij."
Of course there were drawbacks. First of all those who knew me as "Mr. Magic" at the Tea House didn't know I had changed my name or had a new phone number, fortunately the old phone number was my apartment number so they could still get in touch with me that way, so it wasn't much of a drawback. .... I like wasting space with stories that go nowhere.

There was a kid one year at the English pavilion during Carabram who noticed my name change and pointed out, quite snippy, that it was my third name in as many years. I told him I was really a set of triplets. He didn't buy it for some reason.
And so I was "The Amazing Abracadabra" and stayed that way for many years, except for the times I worked the Tea House, Mr' Gibson really stuck with that "Mr. Magic" thing for far too long. Even when I had actually got him to acknowledge my name change he put me down as "Mr. Abracadabra.
(Just as a short aside, the Gibsons just won the City of Brampton's Persons of the Year award. I guess torturing a magician doesn't count against people anymore.)

Then came Phillip.
The first thing I had against Philip is that he phoned my office at 11:30pm. I don't care who you THINK you are, 11:30pm is far too late to be calling pretty much anyone. (I understand that President Bush has the same rule.)
The second thing I didn't like about him was his tone. He acted superior in much the same was a used car salesman acts superior when he's selling you a piece of junk.
He wanted to hire me to teach a short class of magic to some kids in an after school program and was willing to pay .... real money.
So one day I drove twenty minutes, got lost, got found and ended up in some private school. My first warning that this day was going to suck was the fact that these kids were, how you say, special. No, not that kind of special, ADD kind of special. I basically spent the half an hour trying to keep the kids seated.
The second warning was the fact that Phillip was actually there as well. I had no idea why I was here if Phillip was just standing in the corner watching. I thought maybe this was some perverted turn on for him, you know, guy gets off on watching some magician loosing control of a class of hyper privileged kids.
It turns out, as I would learn at another late night phone call, that Phillip was testing me. He said he needed someone to do strolling magic in a new high end downtown restaurant and he was impressed with what he saw. He then offered me the job. I accepted.
He then asked me what name I used. I said "The Amazing Abracadabra", to which he replied "Well we'll work on it."
I was to meet Philip a couple of days later to sign a contract, and I figured that I needed to change my name again. So I thought, and thought, and thought and thought. I knew I was interested in using my own name, that way people would actually know WHO was entertaining them, but I couldn't find a complimentary word I liked.
"The Amazing Gord", Nope, used that. "The Abundant Gord", I was big, but not that big. "Gord the Magician with abilities above those of Mortal men, all hail Satan!" Nope. Damn Judeo-Christian based Country.
Then, at a coffee shop about a thirty minute drive away from my apartment, just before I was to meet Phillip I was reading a magazines for family entertainers. The article was about a women named, and I am not making this up, "Betty Pocus." This got me thinking. What if, instead of putting something BEFORE the "Gord" part of my name I put something "BEHIND?"
"Gord Pocus?" "Gord Hocus?" "Gord Abracadabra?" Wait, wait ... I have it "Gord Cadabra!"
Perfect! It worked, it was brilliant! All hail me!
Then Phillip said "That's ok, we'll work on it."
Did I not mention that Phillip was a bastard?

Beyond what Phillip said I became "Gord Cadabra." To piss him off I even got a name tag. I started work at Le Biftech in Toronto as "Gord Cadabra", went to East Side Mario's as "Gord Cadabra", returned to Le Biftech (This time their Mississauga location) then over to Philthy McNasty's in Oakville and to Shoeless Joe's in Georgetown, all as "Gord Cadabra."
I still used "Amazing Abracadabra" in the Yellow Pages, and these days I usually just introduce myself as Gord, but on my business card and my web site it's "Gord Cadabra."

I've been thinking of changing the name again. I'm getting away from kids shows and strolling magic. Perhaps I need a better name? But what name? I don't really know. Both my wife and my friend Bill like Gord Cadabra and, like I said, it is only used in print.
So maybe I'll just keep on using the name. If any changes come I'll let you know.

By the way: I will go into detail about Phillip and the many ways he screwed me in a later post.

Next Post: Why don't we all just get pudding?

Sunday, September 18, 2005

What's In A Name? (Besides Letters!) (Part 1)

I've been thinking a lot about names.
I have a name, you have a name, he has a name, she has a name. Wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?
My name is Gord. More precisely it's Gordon. Even more precisely it's Gordon Gardiner.
But I prefer Gord. Gord Gardiner. It's not the best name in the world. Whenever I have to call someone at their office and the receptionist asks who is calling, I have to admit I wish my name was something other than an alliterators nightmare.
Unfortunately it is also a lousy stage name.
So, while I am not a big fan of the back to back "g"'s in my name, I have to admit I do like the "Gord" part. Gord is not the kind of name you hear every day, and in the business of show anything that makes you stand out from the crowd is good. (So is fudge, by the way.)
So when I started performing magic, I chose the name "The Amazing Gord." About the only thing amazing about that name was how fast I stopped using it.
It wasn't actually my fault. I would probably still be using "The Amazing Gord" today if it wasn't for Mr. Gibson.
Alan Gibson was my next door neighbor when I lived with my parents. I've known him since I was three. He was the man who, when I was nine, asked if I wanted to be in the chorus of a Pantomime, thus starting a stage career unlike any other.
Mr. Gibson was always very supportive of my performance goals. Soon after I started magic he let me perform, busk if you will (busking is what they called street magic before that guy mumbled his way into our living rooms) next to the little tea house he and his wife, Sylvia, ran. As well he allowed me the opportunity to come to the tea house any day I wanted and perform close up magic for customers. The Cousy Tea House was the first place someone told me they didn't want to see a magic trick, and you never forget your first time.

Yes, yes, I'm getting to the part about the name.

One year the Gibsons decided to hold a breakfast with Santa in their little tea house. The idea was simple, they supply a nice breakfast, some fun and games, a magic show and then a visit with Santa. I provided the magic show part, Mr. Gibson was Santa.
Now, for some reason I remember Mr. Gibson asking me what my stage name was, and I know I answered "The Amazing Gord" Because that was what I was calling myself, but Mr. Gibson has this kind of swiss cheese memory where certain things stick and others do not.
Imagine my surprise when I arrived at the tea house only to find out that I was now "Mr. Magic."
Well ok, I thought, Mr. Magic is kind of a cool name. It certainly get's right to the point. I mean, if you hear "Mr. Magic" you have a good idea that this is a guy (The "Mr." part) doing magic. (That would be the "Magic" part.)
So fine, for two Christmas seasons I was Mr. Magic. If fact, the summer between the two I performed at the English pavilion at Carabram, Brampton's annual multi-cultural festival, also as Mr. Magic. So you can see that I was committed to it, and not just humoring some old guy who couldn't remember my name.
And then I found out some terrible, horrible things.
First of all, I was not the first "Mr. Magic." Actually, I discovered that the name was quite common among certain circles. Secondly, I discovered that the name did not evoke the thought of quality entertainment. In fact the name "Mr. Magic" is, in magic circles, used as a derogatory name to describe a lousy magician who performs half assed birthday parties for fifty bucks.
So, as quick as you can say "I'm not like that guy" I changed my name to .......

Next post: We continue the story but won't give too much away because if we do you won't keep coming back week after week. But I promise we'll reveal what is in the hatch, and hey, we blew Artz up. That was cool, right?

Friday, September 16, 2005

Something Blew My Mind Tonight, sugar Bear!

I had an unusual experience the other night.
Well, unusual for a magician.
I blew my own mind. (Not literally)

Let me explain. No, it would take too long, let me sum up.

I have been working on a new trick. (A card trick, which contradicts my last post.) The basic effect is; A card is selected. The pack is fanned and the card is returned to the fan, sticking about half way out. The pack is squared and replaced to the card box, but sticking about half way out. (So the pack is sticking out of the box and the card is sticking out of the pack.)
I then push the card flush with the pack, count to three, wave my had in front of the pack and voila, only the selected card is sticking out.
This particular trick (Which, for those who care, is called "Jump up cards" and is by Stanley Palm. It is available in the Tarbell Book of magic Vol. 6, page 55.) had been a bit of a thorn in my side because while I enjoyed playing around with it, I just couldn't find a presentation I liked.
I had tried quite a few ways to present it. I let the pack drop so it looked like the selected card was slowly rising. I shook the pack, so it looked as though ... I don't know how it looked, I just didn't think it looked good.
Finally, just when I figured that yes, it was a good trick and all but it just wasn't magical, my lovely wife Jenifer said "Why don't you wave your hand in front of them?"
Hmmmmm, you know, that's just crazy enough that it just might work. So I took a random card, fanned the pack, replaced the card, put the deck in the case and pushed the card flush. Then I counted to three. At three I waved my hand infront of the pack, blocking movement of the pack so when I pulled my hand away only the chosen card was left.
"Hey," My wife said "That was really good."
"Yes, it looked good."
So I tried it on myself. I had a reflective surface across from me and I went through the motions. At the right time I counted to three, waved my hand infront of the pack and when I pulled my hand away a mere second later only the chosen card was left standing.
and I went "Whoa." (Copyright 2005. Keanu Reeves.)
Here is what I saw. The entire deck was protruding about half way out of the pack. I waved my hand, and suddenly the cards were gone and only the chosen card remained.
It blew my freakin mind!!!!!

I mentioned before that this was unusual for a magician. Let me explain. (No wait, it would take too long, let me ... Never mind.)
Magicians are used to magic. We are used to seeing it, we are used to the moves that are used. It is tough to show a magician a trick and have him not at least have an idea how it is done. In other words, magicians rarely experience magic.
On the odd occation it will happen. Just last week at my fave magic shop, The Browsers Den of Magic, the owner Jeff got me with a trick that involved two washers. So while rare, it can happen.
It is almost unheard of for a magician to get himself with a trick. After all, we are the one's that control the sneaky sleight of hand that causes the trick to happen so obviously we cannot fool ourselves.
But I did it! I got me! Damn if I didn't blow my mind.

The sad part is I'm still not sure about the trick, I guess I'll have to try it out on a few people first, but even if I never use it again I will always have that moment when I got myself.


Next Post: I got myself again, but this time my wife wasn't happy about it!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

It's about balance Grasshopper!

When I began working on this show I started with a steno notebook, a blue pen and some ideas of what effects I wanted to perform. I began to research these effects and while searching through magic books and videos would come across other effects that I thought would be good to try out. Each one of these went into my notebook as a little notation of what the effect was and where I found it. That way I could go back to it later and play around with it.
Sometimes the effect was so interesting that I would play around with it right away so that whatever I was looking for would end up on the back burner for awhile. If I spent enough time playing with that effect I would work out a routine, which I would script in my notebook and eventually type out on my computer.
I was about two weeks into this process when I discovered something interesting. (Well, interesting to me.) Most of the effects I had were card tricks. Usually this wouldn't be a problem. When I was working in restaurants I couldn't have enough card tricks, but this was going to be a stage show so the rules were different.
While I know of some magicians who have presented whole shows with nothing but card tricks, I wasn't that type of guy. I wanted variety, not just to keep the audience entertained but to keep myself entertained. I can only imagine the groans coming from the audience when I say "And here is yet another card trick! Who hasn't picked a card yet?"
Variety is the spice of life, they say (I don't know who "they" are but we should find them and sacrifice them to our Gods) and to put together a decent magic show I needed to find balance. Balance between effects, balance between card tricks and other type of tricks.
So I made a list of effects I had worked on up to this point, this included any tricks or effects that I had ready BEFORE I decided to do this show. (This included a very good head chopper effect that always received a great response and a couple of other effects that I used in my kids show but could easily be used for an adult crowd.)
Here's what I found. Many card tricks, no rope tricks, no coin tricks, one mentalism effect and various other items already mentioned. In other words, the scale was tipping towards card tricks. Not good.
The problem is though that pretty much any magic book or video you turn too will be card trick heavy. Cards are plentiful, every house has at least one deck kicking around, so it's easy to go into practically any situation and do a few card effects. So the magic resources focus mostly on card tricks, which makes it that much harder to find non-card tricks.
And so I must find balance. I must dig deeper to find that which does not involve cards. I have decided that I will allow no more than three card tricks in my show, two spots of which I already have filled. I am still in the hunt for a suitable third card trick, which is why last night I was using the Exacto knife on some jokers (the cards, not wise guys) in an attempt to make a card jack-in-the-box.
My focus away from cards have yielded some good results as well. An older effect where coins travel from one cup to another is my current obsession and a rope effect is working out well. I should work a little faster than I have, though, after all October of 2006 (my un-official cut off date) is only 13 months away.

Next post: The fine art of burning money, or "I think that was the wrong envelope."

Friday, September 09, 2005

... Oh yes, about that hat ...

Forgive me, I forgot about the hat.
Last post I said I was going to tell you about the show and the hat. The show you got, not so much the hat.
So here it is.
I got a new hat.
Why is this special?
Well, you see, this magical show I am aiming to do someday in the not so distant future is going to be titled "Magic, with the sleight-est hint of cheese." Notice the spelling of "sleight-est", it's clever that way.

Now just to clear things up I want to state for the record that "With the sleight-est hint of cheese" means cheesy, like a cheesy joke. It was something I said one night at a restaurant I was working at when I was doing a trick for two nice ladies and said something that popped into my mind. (I don't remember what I said, so let's just pretend it was freakin' brilliant.)
"You are so cheesy." One of the nice women said, and I replied "That's me, magic with the slightest hint of cheese." No really, It happened that way for real.
I thought it was a funny line and started using it, I even designed business cards with it. Then one day a friend in magic mentioned that maybe I should spell slightest "Sleight-est", as in sleight of hand. Voila! A classic is born.

Yes, I almost forgot about the hat again. Well, I figured, if I'm the cheesy magician I should have a cheesy hat. So a quick check on ebay for some of those cheesehead hats that are popular with a certain football team. (I think it's Green Bay, which doesn't make sense. Why would Green Bay fans wear orange cheese hats?)
And there it was, in all it's glory. Reasonably priced and stylish as well. I purchased it, and waited, and waited, and waited until finally it came yesterday. Man, I was excited, and the damn thing is beautiful.
But, you may ask, what is it man?? Stop tempting us you devil!
It is (drum roll please) a cheese top hat.
Yes, it is a bit of a let down, isn't it.
A cheese top hat for my cheesy show. It makes perfect sense. Now if only I could think up a trick with it. Maybe pulling a cheese rabbit from a cheese hat?

So there it is. My new hat. Oh yeah, do you have one?
Didn't think so. Bleah!!!!!!

Next Post: I find out I'm lactose intolerant and the cheese hat kills me. So there, Bleah!!!!!

I've got a gig and a new hat. (You've got a brand new key!)

Sometimes things happen because you make them happen.
I discovered some time ago that when I spent time actually working at my magic I would get more gigs, but when I ignored magic and became lazy my phone wouldn't ring. I don't know why this happens but it does. Call it fate, skimmed, karma (Thank you carson Daly).
So I'm at the Browsers Den of Magic ( ), not doing much, just looking for a way to blow three hundred and fifty dollars, when the owner and my good friend Jeff asks my if I want to perform at an event he's hosting. "Just a short fifteen minutes is all we need" he says.

Now, I have to tell you, I have dreamed of performing at a Browsers Den event. For years Jeff would hold anniversary events that included short shows by prominent magicians and one of my all time goals was to become good enough to perform there.
One year I came close. Years ago Jeff once asked me "Did I ask you to perform at the anniversary party?"
I said "No" thinking this was leading up to something.
"Good," He said "I wasn't sure if I did." Then he walked away with a dejected Gord left to pick up his pride.
This time, though, it was a for sure. I've even got the email to prove it.

"If you could do say 15 minutes that would be great. Remember, these are 95% people who are brand new to the magic world. For most it will be there first time in the shop.
Remember, parking is free in the plaza on Sundays."

Did you get that? Parking is free on Sundays. Magic words indeed.

Of course, in the sake of being honest I did perform there once before, but it wasn't for a Browsers Den function. Many years ago I was involved in a magic summer camp called the Sorcerers Safari. It is a week long sleepaway camp that teaches magic to kids of all experience ranges. One year they asked Jeff if they could hold an open house at his store and he agreed. They asked me to perform, and I did, but it wasn't a Browsers Den function even though it was held at the Browsers Den.

So, later this month I am going to live the dream and perform a fifteen minute set at the Browsers Den of Magic, meanwhile, if dreams are really coming true, you will soon hear about my night of passion with Phoebe Cates.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

It's Time To Kiss Some Ass.

So, the question is, why do a Stage/Parlor Magic Show?
The answer is, I dunno.
The thing is I didn't actually plan on doing this, I just blurted it out one day.
Let me explain, no, it takes too long, let me sum up.
For reasons that will be explained in a later post, I gave up on magic. I symbolically and literally put a pack of red bicycle cards on the table next to my couch and left them there for the better part of a year and a half, then one day I noticed they were still there and started playing around with them. Less than a week later I had producers and was planning a show.
It went like this. My good friends Todd & Tracy McGinnis, owners of Playing After Dark (Todd also has a Blog at ) had just produced a play called "Thunderbolts and Dunderheads" and we (meaning them, my wife and I and Dave "enema Bag" Jones) went out for dinner. There was light conversation, nothing too earth shattering, then in the middle of all this I go "Hey Todd & Tracy, do you guy's want to produce my stage magic show?"
They said "Sure."
I went "Great."
Then I took a moment and wondered where the hell that came from.
You see, I wasn't thinking of doing a show. I wasn't thinking of anything really, but for some reason I blurted out this insane idea about doing a show and suddenly I had producers.
I hear that's how Andrew Loyd Webber started out.
Now don't get me wrong, I don't regret asking them, it just surprised me as it came, literally, out of no where.
Not soon after this, I decided that it might be a good idea to actually start thinking about my next move, since I can't expect everything I suddenly blurt out of my mouth to be as good as that. (At least not after the pearl diver incident of '98, which, by the way, I can apply for a pardon for.)
So I though, and thought. I bought notebooks and started filling them within idea's. I began to research the type of tricks I want to do (more on that later) and I gave a great deal of thought as to what type of help I need to pull this off.
This brought me to my second big decision that also involves Todd & Tracy.
At a party at Dave "enema Bag" Jones new home about two weeks later, I asked Todd if he would co-write the show with me. I also asked Tracy if she would direct. They both have a great deal of experience in these area's and couldn't think of any better due to fill those positions.
They said yes, by the way.
So here I am. I've got producers, a co-writer and a director. What I don't have is a place or a date in which to perform. I am assuming that part will come along before too long. In the mean time, I am researching and reheasing new and wonderful tricks that are guaranteed to knock your socks off (or at least kill some time I couldn't fill with anything better.)

Next post: Why do you think you have a problem?

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Here begins the lesson.

I suppose this is the place where I say why I have created a blog. I also suppose that every blogger on the internet begins his/her/it first blog saying why he/her/it have created a blog.
I have created a blog. Is there really more you need to know? I have placed my ego online in a form of communication that is so over crowded that most blogs are lucky to get ten hits a month. Obviously I didn't do this for fame, obviously I know that no one other than a few friends are going to read this thing.
And yet the question remains. Why?
Ok, so I'll humor the two of you who are reading this. I am doing this for three reasons.
1: Peer pressure.
2: A chronicle of the creative process.
3: To show the world that you too can overcome the handicap of bad spelling and still make it in this crazy world. (This is where I chuck you under the chin)

Let's take these one at a time.

1: Peer pressure. This is easy. I have friends who have blogs, they pressured me to start one as well. Since I cave easily to pressure I have thus started a blog. (You will soon find out that I am a weenie.)

2: A chronicle of the creative process. Obviously I can't write post after post about how people are pressuring me to start a blog. It would get old very quickly. (Sample post: "Well, it's been almost two years since I was pressured into starting a blog and dammit if I don't still have one.")
Since I started on a razor thin premise I decided to throw something more onto the pile so that I actually have SOMETHING to talk about, so I thought I'd talk about my show.
My show is a magic show. I am currently researching it and writing it and bugging my friends by making them watching stupid card tricks while their McDonalds burgers get cold. I thought I would use this forum to chronicle the process of creating the show. It's a lot more interesting than peer pressure which, after 36 years of age, I shouldn't be bothered by anyway. (Again, I'm a weenie.)

3: To show the world that you can overcome the handicap of bad spelling and still make it in this crazy world. Self explanatory really. My spelling sucks, now the whole world knows. My mother would be embarrassed, which is also a good reason to start a blog.

Oh yes, it is also my hope to make this blog a lot funnier than this posting has been up to now. Example: Man dem blondes are sure dumb. How about that David Hasselhoff, he sure had a funky car. Whoa, Richard Prior is still alive? What's up with that?
hilarity ensues.

Nest Post: Why I'm glad, why I'm glad, I'm glad, I'm glad, I'm glad.