Paul Daniels has left us - but his legacy will remain. We pay tribute with some of his classic routines for you to watch and enjoy. You'll like them...not a lot, but you'll like them.
Paul Daniels has left us - but his legacy will remain. We pay tribute with some of his classic routines for you to watch and enjoy. You'll like them...not a lot, but you'll like them.
Here is a very unique opportunity to get up close and personal with one of the most influential magicians today, creator of The Illusionists 1903, Mark Kalin... and it's free!
Mark will be interviewed by President of The Australian Institute of Magic, Lee Cohen, as she asks him about his life, his career and his creations.
You can do your own advance research by visiting his official website here http://bestmagicshow.com/
This event is free, but bookings are essential because it will sell out FAST.
It all takes place in Melbourne at The Victorian Arts Centre onThursday 7 January 2016, 5pm
Regular readers know I am NOT a fan of MAGIC MAKERS - the magic manufacturing company that seems to profit by copying other people's creations.
When HEALED & SEALED came out, they brought out CRUSHED & CURED COLA and claimed it was based on an "old principle". We all know that was a blatant lie.
Well now they have responded to critics by trying to "credit" the creators of the effects in the instructions they supply.
For example, THE CARTOON DECK (a complete rip off of Dan Harlan's CARDTOON) says "Designed by Rob Stiff Magic Makers, Inc. - additional crediting is in the teaching video.
Credit in this category of magic should be to the brilliant mind of Dan Harlan.
Also, credit to the original effect in the same playing card flip book format with an animated magic top hat and dove flying out from 1954 & 1959 by Educards of Canada."
The credit to Educards is irrelevant as it was not a trick, but a flipbook using cards. Magic Makers simply added that to try to make it look like Dan Harlan's creation was not original either.
Another example, THE SECRET BOX is credited "Terry LaGerould is credited for this effect.
Terry has been performing magic & entertaining audiences for over 3 decades."
Yes, Terry did invent that effect. He called it THE NOTHING BOX and it's available at Penguin Magic. Magic Makers seem to have come up with the idea that if you credit the creator, then it's alright to rip him off!
Another example, SHRINKING GLOVE ILLUSION. Credited "This effect is based on the 1997 Incredible Shrinking Glove by Rob Stiff." Rob Stiff was inspired by his own trick apparently...
No mention of Samuel Patrick Smith who has been marketing this effect for years.
Perhaps the worst example is THE MILLION DOLLAR BOOK TEST. In the instructions, Simon Lovell points out it was based on an old UF Grant Magazine test. Correct. Several DIFFERENT book tests have been based on this principle- but Million Dollar Book Test is not a DIFFERENT book test, but a direct copy of Ted Karmilovich's MOTHER OF ALL BOOK TESTS. The only variation is that it includes four extra words, something the MOABT's originally had, but felt it weakened the effect so removed them.
What makes it worse is the title MILLION DOLLAR BOOK TEST is the name of another Ted Karmilovich effect - one that he published but didn't circulate. It's almost as if Rob Stiff is having a jab, letting Ted know he deliberately left his name out of the credits.
That's right, according to Simon Lovell is this thread on The Magic Cafe, Simon did not know THE MILLION DOLLAR BOOK TEST was the name of a Ted Karmilovich effect. Simon did mention Ted in the credits but spelled his name wrong. Simon said "I had heard of MOABT but, with research and assurances, learned that it was not a new principle ... simply an application of an older one."
Yes, it was an application of an older principle, but a unique application. Million Dollar Book Test was the EXACT SAME application.
Bill Palmer added in the same thread "To be absolutely fair, I must point out that this is completely legal. Ted K. did not originate the principle used in MOAB. Although he has copyrighted the text, if someone else has written a new novel that uses the same principle, then there isn't anything we can do about it except write bad reviews of it."
Yes, what Magic Makers is doing IS legal. Some would say it's good business bring out "generic", cheaper versions of popular tricks. But magic is a cottage industry. It's hard enough trying to make a profit after spending all the time and effort creating a new trick without someone else copying your idea and selling it to your customers cheaper than you can.
A lot of magicians understand this and strive to support the creators, which is sensational!
As for Magic Makers and their continual copying of effects and attempts at rewriting magic history... I guess we as a magic community only have ourselves to blame if they are still in business...
My wifi has been playing up. It seems to reset itself or something because frequently I have to manually reconnect my notebook, and my printer keeps going offline as does my Akruto sync that keeps my phone and computer talking to each other.
My modem is provided by Optus,... yes, here we go again... but I already know going into a store will not achieve anything, they will tell me to call technical support on 131 344 (where I will be kept on hold until I hang up out of frustration after an hour or so) or I can go to their website... I chose the latter.
Going to their home page I see this:
and I click on SUPPORT - as you would
Which takes me to their SERVICE HUB where you can type your question in and you are offered a few stock answers - none of which helped me unfortunately.
At the very bottom of the page is a link saying CONTACT US - pressing this takes you to a page called ASK OPTUS
where, after you ask your question again, and they provide the same answers again, you are given the options of:
At the bottom of that page you see two more additional options. Contact via Facebook or Twitter
I chose the Facebook account and received a fairly prompt response which ended with me being told
"If that's the case it's best to get in touch with our tech support team on 131344 or via http://yesopt.us/chat2us to get this further investigated. Steph"
I clicked on the link she gave and was back on the website
I click on TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES and was taken to this page
Not exactly helpful.
I did notice at the bottom of the NEED A HAND? page was the option to FILL IN A FORM and they would get back to me...
So I clicked that link and was taken to...
Yes, the merry go round had completed a full lap and was ready to start again!
I went back to Facebook and asked
"Why is there no link to tech support on your web page"
and Dave replied
"We have this one - http://www.optus.com.au/.../answer/how-to-contact-optus.... Not sure if that's what you were after. Dave"
Yes, that is indeed what I was after, but you cannot actually find that page. It's deliberately hidden.
It appears that the only way you'll get it is by going to the ASK US page and typing in HOW DO I CONTACT OPTUS.
Even then, it gives the same options: Optus Community, Facebook, Twitter, 131 344. Plus an OPTUS APP you can use for questions about your mobile service
But at the very bottom of the page....
It's like discovering buried treasure... those magical words... HOW TO EMAIL US. Clicking on them takes you to
But the excitement is short lived
The next screen warns you off emailing by letting you know it may take several days to get a reply... and again directs you to OPTUS COMMUNITY ("Discuss your problems among yourselves please, don't bother us.") PHONE US, or us LIVE CHAT... sounds promising, but that link tells you to download the OPTUS APP, Live Chat is for Mobile support only...
So, as I refuse to sit on hold for hours at a time (again), my only option is to fill in the form and wait a few days for them to reply. (Bearing in mind, the last time I did this they didn't reply at all. I had to fill out and submit the form THREE TIMES).
At least I get to sit on a bench and watch the Merry Go Round turning, taking all the other customers for a ride while I wait for my phone to ring....
UPDATE - OCTOBER 2 - I GOT AN EMAIL FROM OPTUS-----------
Thank you for sending your concern to us.
This is in response to the email you sent on 30 September about Internet Connection Issue.
I'm sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you. Thank you for letting us know about this; I can see how this may be a cause of concern for you. We appreciate the feedback and suggestion that you will be providing and my apologies again for the experience that happened.
I can see that the issue have not yet been raised to our Technical Support; I highly suggest to contact our Team so we can perform troubleshooting and check what's causing the issue for Internet Connection drop outs. Just to set your expectation factors that can impact speed such as demand on the network, local conditions such as internet traffic, hardware, and the source or destination of the site being accessed. You can contact them directly by dialing 1300739407 Hours of Operation: 24 x 7 (Open all Hours).
Or you can get in touch with our Webchat team online for further assistance, you may use the link - http://yesopt.us/cu.
Optus Email Servicing
Ref #: 1742-48915
Magic and the internet certainly make strange bedfellows. Magic is known by it's desire to keep secrets, whereas the 'net is all about spreading information at lightning speed.
It only took 12 hours from the time David Blaine performed the "Beer Can Trick" on his 'Vertigo' TV Special for the secret of the trick to become available on the internet auction site eBay. The advertising read: "David Blaine - "Resealed" beer can effect from "Vertigo". Yes! As seen on TV this week."
As I have a vested interest in protecting the secret of this trick, I took a personal interest in this matter. The history of this effect is that Anders Moden first published it on the Electronic Grymoire on February 13, 1997. Few magicians were interested in his idea back then, I was one of the few who actually took the idea and modified and developed it further to suit my style. I even paid Anders for the right to include my version ('Soda Resurrection') of his trick ('Healed and Sealed') in the Ellis & Webster lecture notes '24 Years of Living Next Door to Ellis'. David Blaine also paid Anders for the exclusive rights to perform the trick on TV until the year 2005.
I contacted the man who was offering the secret of the trick for sale on eBay. His name is Stephen Pellegrino of St. Louis Magic, and this is what he had to say about the effect: "My principle is based on another effect that has nothing to do with a beer or soda can, that I adapted and is over 50 years old. I literally worked this out this morning." It sounds like he watched Blaine perform, figured out how the trick was done, then released it for sale as his own creation. A colleague of mine actually bought Mr Pellegrino's manuscript and strangely enough the method used was exactly the same as Anders' original trick. The only difference is that in Anders' version, the can is also crushed, and then uncrushes itself. This is what Blaine performed, but Mr Pellegrino may not have noticed and so he didn't include that part of the trick in his manuscript, so his customers would be within their rights to accuse him of false or misleading advertising.
Mr Pellegrino argued that the method was "over 50 years old" and to prove his point credits several people in the manuscript he offers for sale. Richard Stevenson is credited for a trick where a soda can's pull tab is removed and restored… though it has nothing to do with resealing a can. David Harkey is credited for an effect where you appear to be eating from a can. Paul Harris and Bill Herz are credited for a re-working of the climax to a John Kennedy effect. This is close to Anders' effect however, when Anders contacted Kennedy, John said "Your effect sounds different from mine. Nice idea!" All of these credits, and the omission of Anders' name, suggest that Pellegrino was trying to justify that the effect was "old" and therefore okay for him to sell.
A few days later the effect appeared on one of Steve Fearson's many web-sites, all re-packaged with slick new graphics, and re-named 'Re-Pop'. Mr Fearson wasn't selling it, but offering it free to anyone who bought one of his other products. Fearson denied he was cashing in on Blaine's success, saying: "I do not claim to be selling the same method that was used on the David Blaine special, Vertigo. My ad clearly states, "Recreate the magic you saw on TV". From that, someone decided to describe my ad as saying, "Get the same trick David Blaine did on 'Vertigo' for free".
A week later, out came a booklet called 'Three Secrets Revealed' with ads touting: "Did you see the David Blaine specials? Here is a new booklet with three great tricks. Just like David Blaine did on TV." This was featured on the websites of many major magic dealers and was again seeking to cash in on Blaine's success. This also featured "The UnCanny. Another oldie, but not quite as ancient. An empty beer or soda can refills itself." This booklet was written by a street performer named Stefan Keppner. Some of these dealers, when contacted, agreed to withdraw the book from sale.
So why is it, that in a business where we "protect our secrets", do so many of us rush out to tell our colleagues how the latest tricks are done… especially if there's a buck or two in it as well? It doesn't even matter whether we have any legal or ethical right to the secret or not. Mr Fearson said, on the public Genii Forum on the internet: "I don't belong to any of your organizations and I haven't infringed upon any copyrights. I am doing perfectly legal and in my opinion, quite ethical business." Mr Pellegrino used Copyright Law to point out that the actual text of an idea is protected by the law, but the idea itself is not. So, he is quite within his legal rights to rewrite the instructions of any trick in his own words, and sell it as his. There is not a darn thing the inventor of the trick can do about it. As Fearson said, on the public Genii Forum: "So kick me out of your clubs and blow me out your magic circles. I'll keep working."
So how do inventors of magic protect themselves? On the website www.magicinventors.com Chuck Leach has a section headed 'Legal Dept.' which explains: "The purpose of the Legal & Ethics Fund will be to generate issues, information and resources to try and improve the protection of magic intellectual property." Great. However, Chuck also runs the website 'Secrets Revealed' which advertises "Did you ever wonder how David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear? Or about his other amazing illusions? A magician won't tell you these secrets. But we will! These are the secrets you really wanted to know. The ones even the Masked Magician was afraid to reveal! The magicians are steaming mad about this site. But we don't care! If you want to know the secrets, we're going to tell you… everything!"
I asked Chuck Leach: "What rights do you have to give away the secret of Copperfield's Statue of Liberty vanish, and how do you think doing so will enhance magic?" Chuck's reply was: "Are you implying that I have no right to explain how that illusion is done? There is no patent on that illusion sir, and it is not illegal to explain the method to it. And as for how it enhances magic? The method to that illusion is one of the few secrets in magic that is actually exciting to learn. It is truly ingenious and learning it inspires a fledgling magician to learn even more about the art."
I also asked him: "Are the tricks simply "revealed'/explained, or do the visitors to your site have to buy the props/secrets (like the 'Twisting Arm Illusion' or the 'Balducci Levitation')" Chuck said: "I don't know what props you are referring to when you talk about those two illusions as there are none involved. The methods are revealed and explained, if it makes you happy we can call it teaching. And yes, they have to buy the secrets. As a matter of fact, you could hardly call my sites exposure sites since there is absolutely nothing exposed until you do pay. So I guess that answers your question, yes they have to pay before learning. My sites are a part of the Magic Secrets Network, run by Magicheck.com which is a site that supplies magic webmasters with the ability to create a gateway page that customers can't pass through without a password. A password costs them $29.95 for a one year period. But you must already know this if you visited my site, so why are you asking?"
(I wonder how Mr Leach would feel if another website were to "reveal" the secret passwords to his site for free?)
Yes, if you pay $29.95 Mr Leach will tell you how Blaine, Copperfield etc do their tricks. Who runs Magicheck? Steve Fearson. However, Steve won't let just anyone in. You must first read and agree to The Magician's Oath before he'll accept your $29.95.
His site explains: "The magician's code is a statement of ethical guidelines designed to help keep the art of magic alive and healthy. We require that you agree to our stated code of ethics before subscribing. Although the traditional magician's code is not enforcable by legal means, some of the issues regarding copyright infringement and the internet are, and we reserve the right to cancel your membership if it is found that you have purposefully violated any part of the code."
The code you need to agree to is "based on" one established by the IBM in 1993 and before they'll tell you how the "big boys" tricks are done you are required to agree that: "I understand that The Magic Secrets Network uses the terms "Exposure" and "Secrets Revealed" as tools to draw as many people as possible to the art through web searches and advertisements, introducing them to magic, and concepts like the magician's code of ethics as well. But Magicheck does not condone exposure for exposure's sake. The Magic Secrets Network is a learning facility. During a performance, the use of such terms should generally be avoided." Another clause talks about the need for respect within the magic community: " I agree that the originator or inventor of a trick should be credited when possible. If there is a performer who has become associated with the effect through outstanding performances, they may be credited as well. This should be done out of respect but also to encourage future inventors by letting them know that we respect their work and the community will not forget their contributions."
Steve Fearson, on the public Genii Forum, also had a word for magic inventors: "It doesn't matter what you invent, if you don't do anything with it you're not going to be recognized for it. Generally, the guy who does the footwork will get the credit. That holds true for marketing as well as performing. And you'll be lucky indeed if you find a guy like Mike Ammar or myself, who is willing to give credit once you've let it slip away."
Anders Moden should be so lucky.
Steve Fearson has the final word: "The fact is that unless you work harder than me, the future of magic and the net is in my hands."
The original 'Healed and Sealed' by Anders Moden can be purchased at: http://home5.swipnet.se/~w-52256/healedandsealed.html
Tim Ellis's 'Soda Resurrection' can be found in the book TIMELESS MAGIC and purchased here http://www.timellismagic.com/magicians/magic-shop/
There is a definite art to capturing "magic" in a single still photograph. Over the last 42 years I have had some success with professional art photographers like Tashkah
and Jonathon Pearlman
and some... slightly less successful images trying to do it on my own
Some of the professional images have been so effective they've ended up in magazines.
But I always like to think that you can learn something from the less successful attempts as well.
So today I'd like to offer you ten tips so we can all learn and not make the same mistakes over and over again...
They say the eyes are the windows of the soul. Try to keep yours open during the moment the photo is actually taken. The chap here has used so much lighting that not is he blinded by the flash but his doves have almost completely disappeared!
Try to use all of the elements in your photograph to communicate who you are and what you do. This photo, for example, suggests that the magician is possibly a child at heart based on his choice of head-wear, though his vest appears to have liquor bottles on it and he's puckering up either to whistle or to blow a kiss. Meanwhile, he's either taking out or putting a hamster into what appears to be a Church offering collection bag. Maybe he's an alcoholic prankster who never grew up?
Try to limit the number of playing cards in your shot. Just because you can grip one extra card with the loose skin of your neck doesn't mean you have to. In fact, this magician has another 26 cards clenched between his butt cheeks as well.
Believe it or not, some styles of clothing do actually go out of fashion. A good stylist will help you to avoid costumes that make you look like the love child of Willy Wonka and Prince. They'll also explain to you what the phrase "choking the chicken" means and why your photo shouldn't plant a visual image of that metaphor in the minds of your audience.
Though this chap has avoided the "choking the chicken" metaphor simply by holding his chicken upside down, his facial expression in combination with his body language and costuming does make him appear a tad like a serial killer... just a normal, happy guy who lived next door... but one day just cracked...
If you manage to find a really glittery shirt AND pull an appropriately astonished face to communicate that your magic is so mind-blowing it even amazes you... then you probably shouldn't pose with a trick that 99% or more of your audience already knows how to do,
Again. here we see the "Even I have no idea how I'm doing this one!" face and the trick is marginally more deceptive than the clinging wand... but a magician who levitates Ken dolls instead of people? Is there really a market for that?
Here we have a man who seems to have it all together. He looks suitably astonished, his ball is dangling mysteriously from a white handkerchief in a manner that has us not only asking "how?" but "why?"... Note the clever red-hering of the power cord plugged into a socket in the lower right hand corner to suggest the ball is somehow electrically powered. Unfortunately, he seems to have forgotten his jacket. Either that or he has borrowed a Chippendales costume and put it on the body of a computer programmer.
It's not only the male magicians who forget to bring their costumes to photo shoots. If you've only brought your tie and your belt it's probably better to reschedule than improvise.
Nothing says magic more than a beautiful white dove. Unless, of course, that dove appears to be dead.
If a gravity defying dove doesn't do the trick, you can always try a poodle of a flying carpet. Not exactly the traditional image everyone thinks of when imagining a classic magic trick... but it will definitely get people talking about you
Of course, you can always go for the traditional 'rabbit in the hat' image. This PR photo from Dave J Castle teaches us several important things:
Try not to create weird mutant tricks. For example, it the effect below a beautiful waterfall of the cards, or a frozen waterfall levitating in front of his hand.
In this shot, is the magician vomiting cards from his mouth, or is he so short of gigs he's had to resort to eating his own deck?
Your camera has a delete button. Sometimes you really should use it.
What the Oscars are to movies, the Emmys are to television and the Tonys are to theatre, the Paulies are to magic's hairdressing industry.
Named after the great Paul Daniels who is best known for his penchant for hairpieces (here is one he sold on ebay in 2011) the Paulies are presented for the most amazing hair in the industry.
Previous winners have included David Copperfield and his amazing animated hair (courtesy of several well placed wind machines) and his successor Hans Klok
who has kept the tradition alive long after Copperfield moved on to what one commentator cruelly referred to as "painted on hair". As well as the multi-award winning Criss Angel for his legendary "chameleon hair".
This year the nominees include Tony Hassini who, at age 74 when most magicians are losing their hair, is actually gaining even more.
Here he is back in 2002
and now in 2015
Steve Carrell as Burt Wonderstone channeling the unique style that only a magician can wear.
And Deddy Corbuzier channeling the unique style that only Max Maven can wear.
But the winner of this year's Paulie Award for MOST MAGICAL HAIR OF THE YEAR goes, once again, to Johnny Thompson for both creativity and ingenuity. A true master of all facets of the magical arts. Congratulations!
With the internet, SMS, tweets, texting, MMS, mobile phones... it's getting so easy to communicate with anyone, anywhere, at anytime.
Unless they happen to be a communication company... like Optus.
A month or so ago I noticed Optus advertising a new plan which bundles your internet and home phone for only $90 a month. As I was already paying Optus $115 a month for the same deal (well, a lesser deal actually. The cheaper new deal also included bonus items like Fetch TV and Netflix) I was surprised they hadn't contacted me offering to change plans (as they usually do) or even just automatically switching me over instead of letting me pay $25 a month more than everyone else.
I tried to change my plan online, as their website says to do, but the website then said it couldn't allow me to do that online.
So I popped into the Optus shop. #Optus
After waiting for quite a while I finally collared a staff member who told me I need to phone Customer Service and offered me a chair I could use while I call them from the comfort of my own phone. I explained I have tried calling but the wait times average an hour and include frequent disconnections. She gave me a special phone number and assured me I would get through in 2 minutes.
So I went home and called the special phone number... it put me through to the Optus main switchboard and, sure enough, it only took two minutes to select each of the various options to guide me through to the right department. After two minutes the automated service switched me through to customer service and I was placed on hold where, after about an hour of waiting.. I was promptly disconnected.
A friend assured me that I should try the Optus Live Chat. He said he always get through to technical support. I spent about twenty minutes on the Optus site trying to find live chat, then eventually he sent me a direct link. Optus live chat was down.
I posted on the Optus Facebook page (as their main webpage recommended me to). However, my comment was never replied to.. nor were the five or six subsequent messages answered either.
I got on my Twitter account and posted a public complaint about Optus and, lo and behold, an Optus rep responded within about 5 minutes! He sent me a link to a form I needed to fill in on the Optus website.. where a staff member would then call me back within ten days.
All I wanted to do was change my plan!
In about a week I was finally called and the lady was very helpful. She changed my plan and emailed me a confirmation and reference number (at my insistence).
So three days ago, the internet here was suddenly ridiculously slow. Speed checks came in at 12-21kbs.. KBS not MBS.
It took 18 hours to upload an 8 min video to YouTube. I tried to upload one to Vimeo but the frequent "connection lost" crashed the browser and restarted the process from scratch every time.
Again, I attempted to communicate with Optus.
Phoning them was a fruitless exercise - 2 hours plus on hold and hung up on again.
Posting on their Facebook page is pointless as my posts (about 30 this time) were lost amidst a sea of literally thousands of complaints.
Their website offered a box into which you could type your question - but it never gave a reply - and the suggestion to register for 'Optus Community' (a long registration process) and ask other consumers what they think the issue might be.
I couldn't find Live Chat anywhere.
Again, Twitter was the answer. I tweeted about the 12kbs speed I was experiencing and got the reply "Sorry for the wait Tim. Did you speak with tech support though? Tris".
I explained that I was disconnected and another guy tweeted to help "What speeds do you typically see on the service? Can you confirm how it's connected? Dave"
This made me very cross. A multinational company trying to do tech support through a series of tweets. The ultimate example of cutting costs at the customers's expense. That was all I heard from Dave.
Last night I went online and submitted an online complaint to the Telecommunication Ombudsman #TIO.
Well, I spent 20 mins filing out the form and when I finally pressed SUBMIT.. nothing happened.
This morning I tried calling them (otherwise it's deliver your complaint in person or "send a fax" lol) and I was met with the recording "Due to the overwhelming number of complaints we are experiencing at the moment, you will experience long wait times." They then advised me to submit my complaint on their website...
So, out of curiosity, if you have NO INTERNET AT ALL and your PHONE is out of service... the only way to complain is to visit the TIO office in the city personally...
Communication - how hard can it be?
I mean seriously... why is the communication industry in Australia so incredibly BAD at communicating with its customers???
This morning I received an email from Optus confirming that my new plan starts today. Remember, I switched from $115 to $90 a month? I had them email me to confirm it
"Confirming your rate plan change for your home phone and broadband service. Unlimited home phone and broadband bundle. $115 at $90 per month for 24 months."
This mornings email said:
"The Monthly plan for Username, timellismagic, will change from: Optus 'yes' Fusion $110.00 Unlimited to $115 Entertainment Bundle"
In 2006 the US Government approved the use of firefighting foam to kill chickens en masse in the case of an outbreak of bird flu
Now the use of foam to kill chickens quickly and cheaply ("mass depopulation" they call it) has become common place.
The practice is spreading worldwide as demand for cheap "product" (as chickens are referred to) rises.
If you can watch the video below and not be absolutely abhorred at the treatment of these animals... maybe it's too late for humanity.