Archive for March, 2009

Magicians helping you have a great April Fools’ Day

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

In case you weren’t aware, tomorrow is April Fools’ Day. Antics and pranks will ensue, and some magicians want to help you make the most of it.

Mike Super, winner of NBC’s Phenomenon and fervent fan of the Cleveland Browns passed along this video of his top five pranks. We can’t wait to try out the one with the Count Chocula cereal:

Barry and Stuart, with the help of BBC3, engineered a slick ESP test perfect for punking your friends and enemies alike. Below is the explanation video; the actual prank vid can be found on the BBC3’s Web site.

We’ll post more as we come across them.

Staniforth back on the road, to perform in Minnesota

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Though his Web site doesn’t reflect it, Nate Staniforth is back on the road, including a performance on April 16 at Minnesota State University Mankato. The MSU press release says that Staniforth consulted with David Blaine for his recent special, “Dive of Death.” There are some that say the lottery effect in “Dive of Death” was Staniforth’s creation; the two perform a similar version of this effect. (I’ll hunt down some confirmation on this.)

In addition to performing at Vandy with Brian Brushwood and others, Staniforth was featured last year in this report from The (Washburn University) Review. Check out the video interview, and how a lucky draw from a hat helped get Staniforth interested in magic.

Quick hits: Brown faces pay cut, Cavett and Slydini, magic and neuroscience, embossed playing cards

Monday, March 30th, 2009

They are quick, and they hit. Not hard, like a two-card monte, but like a click-thru on a Web site. You’re welcome, all you lucky site owners listed below. To the bullet points:

  • Mentalist Derren Brown is among a number of British TV stars facing a pay cut because of the current economic toilet-flush, according to a Mirror report. Columnist Polly Hudson inserts so much snark that we’re amazed she doesn’t joke about the “mindreader” not seeing this coming.
  • The New York Times offered some incredible magic memories of Dick Cavett, the former TV talk show host who is also a magician. This blog post tells the story of how Cavett met the great Tony Slydini, and also has a link to almost half an hour of Slydini’s work. Cavett also makes a case for why magic is the greatest hobby for a kid: “It’s all-consuming. Get your problem child interested in it. The first time your kid masters a trick and performs it — and an adult, genuinely amazed, says, ‘How in heck did you do that?’ — your potential juvenile delinquent will be hooked and too absorbed in the new hobby to steal hubcaps.”
  • There’s a reason a lot of scientific-minded people turn to magic: There’s a lot to learn about psychology. Scientific American points out how magic can also aid the field of neuroscience: Specifically, how magicians affect perception and change memory. Interesting read.
  • The folks at the PokerNews Cup Alpine are geeking out over some new cards manufactured by Angel Playing Cards of Japan. These new cards are embossed, which “therefore creating space between the cards that helps prevent them from sticking to one another.” Willi, a dealer at the event, is quite enamored with them, as you’ll see in the video below. But how will they work for magic? Are we witnessing the next great card technology? It would have been nice if the report mentioned if these new hotties were paper or plastic.

Question about coin magic brings miser’s dream of answers

Monday, March 30th, 2009

There’s no such thing as a stupid question. But we can all agree that sometimes people ask really good questions.

Forum member FishSticks started out with a simple-sounding question: Is coin magic harder than card magic? The question came from his practice efforts into a David Stone routine. However, his post is full of thought-provoking questions, which led to other members contributing, discussing challenges unique to coin magic and giving their performance tips.

Winners of the Forum Post of the Week usually answer questions really well. But sometimes a good question (or ten) does the trick — especially when it nets a lot of answers.

Movie studio to make Houdini into action hero

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Houdini may get another chance to surprise and shock on the silver screen.

Summit Entertainment has acquired the rights to “The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero,” the biography of Harry Houdini by William Kalush and Larry Sloman.

Kalush and Sloman’s book became widely known for suggesting that Houdini was a spy for Britain and asked to be an adviser to Czar Nicholas II in pre-revolutionary Russia, before World War I. The book also suggests that Houdini’s death may not have been a result of that famous punch to the gut, but retribution from some of the spiritualists Houdini famously debunked.

As for the movie, Summit Studios isn’t exactly going for realism:

The studio, which is looking for writers to adapt the book, does not aim to make a biopic but rather an action thriller featuring a character who is part Indiana Jones and part Sherlock Holmes. Summit hopes to cash in on worldwide recognition of Houdini’s name while potentially launching a franchise.

Well, if the real story doesn’t make Hollywood millions…

Kalush is also featured in this NPR interview from 2006. Click the link below to read an excerpt from the book.