Archive for September, 2012

Magic plays big role in band’s ambitious video challenge

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Chris Gongora has been involved with big video projects before, such as “THEM (Totally Hidden Extreme Magic)” alongside Cyril Takayama and Justin Willman and “Room 401,” a scare-based show on MTV.

But the YouTube project he and his bandmates in Strangely Attractive have taken on is arguably more aggressive. And the connections he made in magic are helping to accomplish that ambitious goal.

By now, you’ve probably seen “Extraordinary,” the music video by the band Strangely Attractive. The video is a who’s who of magic, with cameos by Takayama, Willman, Angela Funovitz, Danny Garcia, Blake Vogt and more, as they trade a white ball from screen to screen. The video is No. 12 of a series of 52, and much more magic is coming, Gongora said.

But there is much more magic in the band. The idea to do a video a week for 52 weeks came directly from a magician, and Gongora is also a magician who was in the Magic Castle’s Junior Program and a member of the group that produced the two TV shows above.


Police chief, game designer bring magic experience to current jobs

Monday, September 24th, 2012

It never ceases to amaze us what a wide reach magic has. The art of illusion inspires so many different fields — it just goes to show that the time we spend reading, practicing and performing is never wasted.

Even though it shouldn’t amaze us, it still does. So many people put magic to dramatically different uses, from video game design to police work.

Magic shows up everywhere.

Here’s a scattering of ways that we’ve found over the last few days:


When the real estate market crashed, magic had his back

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Keith “The Magic Man” Fleming has a reputation around Dade City, Fla. People he performed for 15 years ago still remember him. He has a few regular gigs around Dade City, including a couple of restaurants.

Why should you care?

Because he’s been learning magic for a long time, and it was there for him when the real estate market crashed. In fact, magic has been there for Fleming for a number of things.

Fleming, 58, is also a condo Realtor. Or, he was until 2009 when the market crashed, and he lost everything, according to this story in the Tampa Bay Times. The crash caused him to aggressively expand and market his act, to make ends meet.

Magic has been with him since a childhood love developed into something he learned during military days. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy during the final years of the Vietnam War. During his service, a childhood habit of stuttering resurfaced. But while stationed in San Diego, he bumped into a magician/bartender named Joe Mystic.

“Joe took me under his wing and gave me card lessons. I was basically self-taught. But it was Joe who tailored my style to accommodate a crowd.”


The story reveals some great practice advice and insight, and also reports that the magic act is also helping to expand his contact base.

While you wait for Purple Artifice, study the man who inspired them

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

No one knows who S.W. Erdnase really was.

He is known well to us magicians as the author of the seminal book on sleight of hand with cards, “Expert at the Card Table.” His work on sleight of hand has been studied by virtually every master of card magic, including Dai Vernon and Ed Marlo. But that’s all we know — well, and that he needed money enough to publish his works.

Some of you caught the Erdnase quote before it was identified in the Purple Artifice trailer, featuring Shade and his incredible handling. Erdnase’s methods, and his philosophies about card handling, are a foundation of today’s close-up magic. Many of the techniques, strategies and philosophies that we put into practice when we perform, he wrote about in 1902. Though his writing style is dated (as is his patter), his methods are timeless. His attitude of learning the art of sleight of hand matches spot on with our own.

“Expert at the Card Table” is inspirational. Erdnase is behind the creation of the Artifice deck. So while you wait for the Purple Artifice, read some of our favorite quotes from the man behind it. And tell us YOUR favorite quotes.


From tailgating to voter registration, workers find new places for magic

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

In addition to practicing our existing tricks, learning new ones and meeting with other magicians, we are always looking for performance venues — places to work our magic and make all this work worth it. We all crave that killer reaction, and we’ll go to great lengths to get it.

We always like to keep an eye on what other magicians are doing. Not just the big names like Dynamo or Criss Angel, but the working wizards who are just starting out or have been working their trade for years. So why should you care about these guys?

They come up with unique ideas and places for magic.

Check out the stories below. In each instance, they’ve used their magic to go beyond expectations, to accomplish missions, to affect people’s philosophies.