It has been two years since my last update here at Warg. We can blame the pandemic for most of that, but to some degree, I’ve had my mind occupied elsewhere. I’ve finally amassed enough new material to make it fun and joyful to write about it, so I’m neck-deep in writing a new hardcover book.
I also managed to negotiate an amicable transfer of rights of my former books Vortex and Maelstrom. For a long time, it seemed they would never get reprinted, as they were in a copyright limbo after Hermetic Press was sold to Penguin. But now I am free to reprint them as I see fit.
And finally, I’ve been asked to write a chapter on Misdirection in Richard Kaufman’s updated Greater Magic project, which is very exciting but exceedingly difficult on more than one level.
I’ve had great fun since 2017, working with an ensemble of magicians, under the name Mystique. Each month, we produced and performed a new show, consisting of mostly new pieces or updated classics. All highly experimental – we even decided to make the project non-profit, to ensure that none of us would be lured into thinking about the commercial value. Just to see where it would go, if none of us had to think about making money. So far, we’ve produced 40 different full-evening shows.
In the autumn of 2019, we did our first lecture, and the lecture notes can be obtained here: Constant Change by Mystique. The photo above is from a performance of the piece “Callmark” (Photo: Olav Holten).
Highlights at Warg
It is probably not strange that a creator is the most proud of the most recent creation, and I am indeed very proud of Present Company that I created and performed for the very first time in December 2019. Had it not been for the virus shutting everything down, I would have performed it all the time. It will take a bit of work to make this gem really shine, not that it is difficult – quite the opposite; it is very easy – but because it make use of five spectators, and figuring out how to block and position them requires a bit of experimentation.
Building an Act by Tommy Wonder is another highlight. Solid information on how to create both an act and a full-evening show.
Sixten Beme’s wonderful card-linking trick is described in The Replete Card Link, which collect all of Sixten Beme’s work on the plot, from his original Complete Card Link, via his One Card Link, to his own favourite unpublished handling.
For those interested in making their own books or lecture notes, we have Stephen Minch’s Hermetic Press Stylebook (updated March 2020) and my own Self-publishing, both essential collections of advice on how to write, and how to illustrate. Both are “name your own price”, so if you want to pay $50 then pay $50, and if you can’t afford anything, then pay nothing.
There are several other interesting items on this site, but to name just one more, I’ll pick Moonshine Monologues – my treatise on the Multiplying Bottles. You can see a few of the ideas in practice in this video:
I am very happy with my collaboration with Vanishing Inc (with the sole exception of the packaging design for my piece “Of Dice and Men” ). I am (as I’ve been told repeatably by multiple sources) not always easy to work with, and their patience with me is on the verge of reaching Stephen Minch-levels. Among the highlights there are my Session 2008 Lecture, that deals heavily with misdirection, and contains a full explanation of a remarkable Travellers routine titled “Mr. Fogg”. And they also offer a huge bundle with 19 of my ebooks to a price that can’t be beaten (except by pirates. But don’t support pirates. Support the creators!). There are other items in the works, and with some luck, they will see the day of light during 2022.
For some years, I’ve had a conflict with Penguin Magic, but happily, it have been resolved. Some years ago, they produced a few very nice DVDs/video downloads with material from my two Hermetic Press books. If you haven’t seen them, they are recommended: Vortex – Off the page and Maelstrom – Off the page. And my Penguin Live lecture is often cited as an excellent source for practical hands-on lessons on misdirection.
My deck “Factory Blanks” is ‘out of stock’ at many dealers. My guess is that because the deck can’t easily be demoed at dealer stands – it require at least a living room “Parlour” setting – it doesn’t sell as well as items that can be demoed close up, and the impetus to replenish the stock is thereby low. Which is a pity, because it is a remarkable item. I could go into the scientific theory behind it, the high/low spatial frequency stuff, but in practice it simply means that you have a deck that appear blank and unprinted from 2-3 steps away, but when seen from an armslength away, the deck appear printed with outlines of a full deck. This, combined with a little ‘double speak’ make the audience think that everyone have been shown a completely blank deck, while one spectator think that everyone have been shown a regular deck that have been taken out of the printing machine before it was completely printed. And thanks to that, you can do any kind of regular card trick for one person, and the rest of the audience will believe you’ve done the most impressive mentalism feats. The audience will think that the spectator mentally made up a card freely in their head, and all you did was to make a standard Riffle Force with a seemingly blank deck. Card-Shark have plenty of Factory Blanks in stock.
I just heard from Andreas Sebring at MetalWriting that he just completed the 2021 run of “Quantum Logic” – the routine I performed on Penn and Teller’s Fool Us. That means that he is opening up a new waiting list for his next batch. If you’re interested in these exceedingly well made props any my routine, notify your interest here: Quantum Logic.
Usually, it doesn’t carry much weight when someone endorse their partner’s work. But I will do that all the same, because I’ve seen a lot of Nikola Arkane’s work, and it isn’t crap. Her upcoming book “POP!” on kid shows is really good, and its predecessor Becoming FizzWizzPop is a great guide on how to get into the kid show business.
Her book “In Plain Sight” is a delightful emulation of an old comic magazine, and contain 7 routines she created during lock-down.
Also, on her shop site, Nikola write a blog about her thoughts and experiences as a performer. Some of her posts that I found extra interesting was the Bridge Card Survey, and the one about the fear of close up. Take a peek at it!
Happy Holidays and best wishes for the New Year!
I hope that you and yours will be safe, and I hope that the pandemic will ease up enough during 2022 to allow performances again. Take care!