24 September 2011

International Magic's London Festival of Magic - Bad News and Good News...

Hi folks

Today's blog post brings us more information about International Magic's Festival of Magic, which will be taking place from Monday 14th to Thursday 17th November in the Bridewell Theatre in London, immediately prior to the 40th International Magic Convention - 18th to 20th November at the Mermaid Theatre.  I'll pass you onto the gang from International Magic...

Max Maven – Thinking In Person”, which forms part of the Festival of Magic at the Bridewell Theatre, has now sold out.  To compensate for all those Maven devotees that are unable to join him that night, Max has agreed to an intimate evening of interview, including questions from the audience, on the preceding Thursday night, 17th November, at the same location.  The evening will be one of the 5 evenings at the venue that comprise the public show element of the Festival.

Monday 14th November sees a rare re-incarnation of John Lenahan’s Monday Night Magic with guests including John Archer and Danny Buckler, Tuesday 15th November comprises of a double bill with a gambling based show comprising of individual sets from Guy Hollingworth, Jason England and Paul Wilson  followed by Pete Wardell’s one man show “Hustle”. Wednesday night, 16th November, is another double bill of both Todd Landman and Quentin Reynold’s individual mentalism-based one man shows.

Booking details for all these evening shows and events can be found at the London Festival of Magic pages on the International Magic website which, with the sliding price scale based on the number of evenings you attend, gives unbeatable value for money, starting at under £7 per event.

Speak soon.

The Cardman :-)

23 September 2011

Alan Rorrison's "A Little Bit Mental"

Hi folks

A prediction made days or weeks in advance matches the serial number of a spectator’s borrowed bank note. 

A spectator names a card and is found to be the only card in an examinable blank deck. 

These are a couple of the effects that Alan Rorrison has just released in his latest download “A Little Bit Mental”. A few weeks ago, Alan got in front of the camera and recorded these and a couple of other mental magic effects. In the weeks since that recording, Alan has received some news that means he is going to have to take a break from performing for a wee while. Because of this enforced break, he has decided to release these effects in a new video download, entitled “A Little Bit Mental”. On it, you will find:-

Serial Thriller 
Predict the serial number on a spectators bank note!

A direct Bank Night style routine using coins.

A freely named card is THE ONLY card with a face in a fully examinable blank deck.

This is Alan's crib system that you can carry on you at all times.

A customizable gaffed deck that you can make at home to create some amazing magic. Alan has also included simple and direct method for the Pocket Change effect.

The download lasts more than one hour and is in MP4 format, which you can play with the VLC Player (which is free!).

You can buy “A Little Bit Mental” directly from Alan at www.alanrorrison.com/alittlebitmental.html for only £10 (that’s about US$15 at the current exchange rates).

Those of you who have bought Alan’s material before will know how clever the wee guy is. Those of you who have not, go on and take the plunge. You never know, you might enjoy it!

Speak soon

The Cardman :-)

21 September 2011

R.E.M. - It's The End Of The Band As We Know It...

Hi folks

Well, chances are that you will have heard about R.E.M.'s decision to break up.  If you hadn't before, I'm sorry to be the one to break the news.

Before I really get started, let me just say that this post may be a bit rambling.  I'm sorry for that, but I wanted to get my thoughts down before they left me.

I have been a fan of REM since I was in college.  I heard a wee song called "It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" when I was in the Students' Union Bar one night.  A raucous song that went at 90 miles an hour for most of the song.  A wee while later, I heard a little known song called "Losing My Religion" which had just been released as a single.  It blew me away.  For me, the rest, as they say, is history.

It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

Albums were bought.  Back catalogue sought.  First was "Out Of Time" which contained the afore mentioned "Losing My Religion", then "The Best Of REM", the compilation album that was permanently in the jukebox in the Students' Union Bar that encompassed their early days with the IRS record label.  "Automatic For The People" was bought on the day of release and all subsequent albums were bought as close to their release date as my pay days and finances would allow.

And then, finally, I got to see them live.  The Monster Tour in 1995.  OK, I had to wait 5 extra months as I had a ticket for the SECC concert that never happened (Bill Berry's on-stage brain haemorrhage saw to that).  I got to swap my ticket for their appearance at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh and got to see them live for the first time.  Sadly, for me, I was at the other end of the stadium from the stage and there were no big screens in use for this tour so the band looked like a few dots on a stage 300 feet away.  From then on, I was determined to make sure I was close to the front as I could for any subsequent concerts.  In the end, I got to see R.E.M. live 6 times - Edinburgh, Stirling, T In The Park, Glasgow Green, Loch Lomond and London - and I was not too far from the front for each of the last 5.  My 2 favourites out of that list were Glasgow Green and London.

R.E.M. play a cover of Wichita Lineman
(this is from their Rough Cut documentary, hence the interview footage part way through)

But now, the members of R.E.M. have decided to go their separate ways.  Bill Berry had already left his place at the drum kit in 1997 but Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe continued on for another 14 years and 5 albums before today's news.  Being used to not hearing much for a while before a new album, I was more than a little stunned by the news.  Even now, several hours later, part of me wishes that it is part of some great hoax or prank but I know that it isn't.  Fortunately, we still have the albums, the DVDs and the memories that will keep R.E.M. around forever and a day.

One of my all-time favourites, Pretty Persuasion.

To R.E.M. and all who sailed with them, thank you so much for creating and playing so much amazing music and good luck with whatever you do next.

Speak soon.

The Cardman :-(

19 September 2011

Pete Wardell - 52 Ideas

Hi folks

I first met Pete Wardell at an International Magic Convention a number of years ago.  This was the year he entered the competition and won it with his brilliant performance of his street act.  Sure, it was the Cups and Balls, but what a performance!  Since then, Pete's gone onto bigger and better things, including being the only performer to have won both Stage Magician of the Year and Close Up Magician of the Year at the Magic Circle - and he did that in successive years!

A number of months ago, Pete decided that he would challenge himself to writing one blog post every week for a year - 52 posts.  And so 52 Ideas was born.  52 Ideas is a series of blog posts all about becoming a successful performer.  He uses playing cards to identify each post and the card's suit provides the framework for that particular post:-

Clubs - Sustainability
Diamonds - Profitability
Hearts - Meaning
Spades - Credibility

So, why am I telling you this.  Well that's easy - it's an excellent, thought-provoking blog that I feel all performers, whether they be magicians or not, should read and I wanted to bring it to the attention of as many people as I can.  Actually, his whole magicstateofmind.com site is excellent but I wanted to bring your attention to his 52 Ideas.  Read his posts, digest them for a wee bit and then put them into action.  You won't regret it, and your clients will benefit.

So you can see who I'm talking about, have a wee look at this clip of his award-winning performance in the 2009 Magic Circle Close Up Competition.  Enjoy.

Speak soon.

The Cardman :-)

07 September 2011

Shawn Farquhar Scottish Lecture Tour

Hi folks

Shawn Farquhar is not only one of the magicians who fooled Penn & Teller but is the reigning World Champion of Close Up Magic.  At the end of this month, Shawn will be doing a short Scottish lecture tour.  He will be visiting 3 clubs in 4 night nights.  The details are as follows:-

Monday 26th September
Dundee Society of Magicians - Contact Harry Moodie on 07950 603 409

Tuesday 27th September
Aberdeen Magic Circle - Contact Dave Goulding on 07774 641 230

Thursday 29th September
Paisley Magic Circle - Contact Graham Whyte on 01505 325 998

"I've been doing magic all my life.  My Mom says when I was born the Doctor slapped me and I said 'Pick a card'!"
Shawn Farquhar

I have seen Shawn present this lecture a couple of times in the past and blogged about the one-hour version he presented in Blackpool a few years ago.  Here's what I said back then...

“I've seen Farquhar perform at the last 2 World Championships and he has always impressed me. He performs with enough energy to power a small town and is not scared to perform some impressive material - both in terms of technique and effect. His lecture was full of very easy material (he likes easy!) and the same energy that he gives when I've seen him perform in the past.”

You can get more details about Shawn’s lecture at www.magiclecture.com

I hope you get a chance to see Shawn lecture as I know you'll have a great time.  Just before I go, here's Shawn fooling Penn & Teller on television.

Speak soon

The Cardman :-)