Archive for October, 2012

Illusionists bring close-up to stage

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Illusionist David Caserta knows how to rivet a crowd. Instead of going for broke with huge stage illusions, he brings his audience to the stage for some pocket-sized miracles.

He features some big illusions in his show, too, no mistake. But as for what gets big reactions, he keeps a working repertoire of close-up. His stage shows feature a big screen and a photographer, so that the whole audience can see what’s going on.

Why should you care?

As if that isn’t obvious enough. More and more magicians that we see are bringing a close-up sense to the big stage. Audiences are paying money to see great performers do the same kind of magic that we all do.

“…we have a close-up camera and a big screen, and I do several tricks that everybody can see. That’s one of the highlights, and people tell me all the time how they love that. It’s amazing because you spend thousands of dollars and countless hours working on the big illusions, and people are fascinated by the sleight of hand you did with a deck of cards.”

Think about that. The secrets behind new stage illusions are vigorously guarded like the Crown Jewels or the gold in Fort Knox, while YouTube exposure kills a lot of solid close-up workers. Yet people are more mystified and fascinated by the card tricks? Awesome.

Caserta knows there is a hunger for close-up out there. People want to see what you do.

So do it. Show them.

Do yourself a favor: If you’re in the area, catch Caserta’s Haunted Illusion show.

Sultan Republic deck a tribute to magic’s ancient origins

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Our custom decks of playing cards are meant to be so much more than toys. We want them to be part of your character. They should enhance your presentation, and ultimately lead you to a place where you become the star of the magic you perform.

Our next offering goes back directly to magic’s roots.

Magic is almost as old as humanity. Some historians argue that the first performance of a cups and balls routine is displayed in hieroglyphs on the walls of Beni Hasan, in the southwestern region of the Fertile Crescent. Other legends speak of Dedi, the (fictional?) wizard who removed and restored the heads of birds. The era defines mystery. Filled with secrets, sorcery and spells. Magic was in the air, and still is.

The Sultan Republic deck is inspired by that mystery.

Ellusionist’s high standards of quality are all over this deck, from the tuck case’s silver embossed lettering to the top-of-the-line stock and Performance Coating of the cards. Each pip contains echoes of the pyramids, built to guard pharaohs’ treasures and legacies. The backs feature iconography, hieroglyphs and other elements that hearken back to those days of sand, stone and fire, of powerful emperors, court wizards and dark secrets.

The Sultan Republic is a place of inspiration, riddles and secrets. Let this deck inspire your creativity, push your presentation and pursue your art. To join the Republic is to dedicate yourself anew to this beautiful art, as old as the sand.

College no easy A: Daniel Martin blows crowd away as one-man show

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Daniel Martin did it all last Thursday.

Because he gave his production assistant the week off, he set up all his gear by himself for a show at Missouri Southern State University — everything from speakers and mics to a DVD player and screen. That setup came after the university shifted his performance location from an auditorium to a ballroom.

He rolled with the changes: Because he was performing on a flat ballroom floor instead of a stage, he stood on a chair for several routines, including his silent card trick, so that everyone could see. He handled a crowd of about 300 like it was a group of friends — high energy, on his toes and handling seven-year-old hecklers brilliantly. He handled his own props, sound and video like a master, but was always a top-notch performer.

His performance went over incredibly — a long line of audience members waited after the show to get an autograph and shake his hand.

He did it all like a pro, and it went over big.

In a way, the MSSU show proved what he told us after the show in an interview: College magic is hard. The presence of kids, the lack of a stage, the loss of an assistant yet the power of the performance happened only because he’s been working on his performance for more than 18 years.

Martin also does full theatrical shows and corporate appearances. He’s appeared on NBC, CBS, VH-1 and ESPN. He took some time to talk to us after Thursday’s show about how he got started, how many shows he does a year and exactly why college magic is the toughest field out there.


Sinclair seizes synergy: Magician uses routine to tie tricks together

Monday, October 15th, 2012

There’s a lot to learn from Aiden Sinclair. Sure, we’re stoked that he used three things you can find only here at Ellusionist. But the genius is how he strings them together. Watch this performance he gave on-air to WWAY-TV in Wilmington, N.C.

Go ahead, click that link. WWAY has some seriously crappy embed code in its videos, so we’ll wait while you watch.

Sinclair pairs solid technique with powerful story. He used synergy, a technique of combining effects so that they benefit each other (Editor’s note: Synergy is a concept near and dear to my heart). This isn’t the first time we’ve mentioned him: He caught some buzz on the Ellusionist Performance HQ Forums for an interesting subtlety he added to an effect you all should know. But what impresses us is the performance he gives. Sinclair uses a paranormal theme in his presentation. See how he casually mentioned the age of the deck? Notice how the story, the spoken word, provided all the distraction and misdirection he needed?

In a nutshell, magicians like Sinclair are why we do what we do. Even with our playing cards, we’ve never been content to just put out simple variations of already tried concepts. We push our creativity to come up with themes that you can use to enhance your character, and weave your way into your spectators’ minds.

We want you to PERFORM. We want you to get the attention.

Just keep that in mind with all the stuff you see coming in the next couple of months…

Wizardry with words: Magician pairs puzzles with prestidigitation

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

We love seeing innovators in magic, and a report from introduced us to a guy with a puzzling presentation. David Kwong creates crossword puzzles on the fly, only the names of chosen cards will be spelled out in the results.

The routine gets major attention — even from David Copperfield:

“Even David Copperfield, who had been checking his own iPhone and whispering to his fiancée in the audience for much of the night, sat upright in his chair. The two Davids have been collaborating on developing film projects that feature magic, puzzles, and illusions ever since the highest-earning magician saw Kwong perform in Vegas in April, and Copperfield is still surprised by what he can do.”

The Harvard graduate recently quit his film development job at DreamWorks Animation to focus on magic full-time. The Magic Castle performer was recently on tour with Mumford and Sons, performed at A-list clubs and for corporate clients such as Google.

Why should you care?

Because Kwong has incorporated a command of trivia into his act. He makes words from Scrabble tiles and has memorized the periodic table, Morse code, naval flags and more, fusing it all into a brainy, brilliant magic. Anything — ANYTHING — can be magical with the right performance.