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Author Archives: chris ballinger

  • Coin Magic Starter Kit

    Posted on May 5, 2009 by chris ballinger

    A lot of people ask us what to get for a beginner that is interested in a particular genre of magic. That's why we decided to do a brand new blog series called "Starter Kits". In each entry we will recommend a Book, a DVD, a Self-Working Trick, an Intermediate Trick, and a Routine that you should work on. This week we're going to take a look at Coin Magic, so let's get started.

    Book: Modern Coin Magic
    For decades this book has been the go-to manuscript for the serious coin magician. It covers everything from the basic techniques to available gimmicks, to full routines. If you want to get a full education on coin tricks, this book is going to give you the biggest bang for your buck.

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    DVD: Easy to Master Money Miracles
    Okay, so this isn't just one DVD and it's not strictly coin magic, but this series brings together the easiest and most amazing money routines out there. Micheal Ammar is known for his ability to teach; and why not learn a few dollar bill tricks while you're studying coin magic?

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    Self-Working Trick: Dime and Penny/Scotch and Soda
    This is an easy, yet versatile gimmick that fools everybody. I personally like using the Dime and Penny version better because the gimmicks seem more innocent. But both versions are beautifully made and can be used in a variety of routines.

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    Intermediate Gimmick: Coin in Bottle
    This is another gimmick that will give you a lot of routine possibilities. What makes the Coin in the Bottle so valuable is the fact that you will learn invaluable sleights like palms and switches that can be used with other tricks as your skills develop.

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    Routine: Coins Across/Matrix
    The basic effect is that a few coins will travel invisibly from one hand to the other. All the sleights that you'll need to perform this effect can be found in Modern Coin Magic. But if you want to get fancy, you can learn one of the sleek Matrix routines covered on the Coin Matrix DVD.

    If you study each of the things listed in this list, you will be well on your way to becoming a great coin magician. The easier gimmicks and tricks will build your confidence and the more advanced routines and sleights will challenge you and give you great satisfaction.


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  • In a Bind?

    Posted on April 22, 2009 by chris ballinger

    As you get into some of the more advance yo-yos here at Magic Geek, you'll notice that a lot of them are not designed to come back to your hand. We've gotten a lot of calls on the topic and so we decided to put together a little video to teach you how to get your ball-bearing yo-yo to come back to your hand.

    YoyoCrazy.com is a Magic Geek Inc. website dedicated to yo-yos.


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  • Geeks in the News

    Posted on April 6, 2009 by chris ballinger

    The Santa Barbara News Press did a nice story on Magic Geek this Sunday. We were interviewed a couple of weeks back and it was a lot of fun showing the reporter around the warehouse and showing her all of our wacky inventions.

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    The story took up a good chunk of the Life Section and talked about how Magic Geek was started and how we became the geeks that we are today. It's really cool when people recognize the hard work and uniqueness of our business.

    After talking to the reporter about the excitement we felt learning magic as children, we showed her a few magic tricks. I did a few classics like the Bite Out Quarter and Sponge Balls as well as a few originals that we plan on releasing with instructional DVDs in the next couple of months.


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  • Twitter Account

    Posted on March 20, 2009 by chris ballinger

    Magic Geek now has its very own Twitter account. Please click the image below to check it out.

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    We are always posting new tweets about upcoming events, new products, the latest video demos, and much more. It is becoming the fastest and easiest way to get the latest news on what's happening here at Magic Geek. Check it out and become a follower today!


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  • What's the Difference - Part 8

    Posted on March 19, 2009 by chris ballinger

    We've been adding tons of new magic every week and some of the stuff is a little similar. So I wanted to take a second and take a look at some of the new "Stop Anywhere" effects. In these tricks cards are dealt out to a point where a spectator desires and the card at that position matches a prediction.

    Future Zone by Mark Mason
    This is an excellent version of the effect. The spectator really can stop you anywhere and the method is simple yet clever. The only downside is that the prediction must be kept in an envelope within a wallet, which some spectators might find suspicious. But for a no-sleight stop anywhere effect, this is pretty close to perfect; and it resets instantly.

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    Intuition by Hondo and David Leon:
    This is probably the closest you will get to the real thing. The spectator decides on a random number, counts to that number in the deck and it matches the prediction. The prediction can be anywhere: dangling from the ceiling, taped to a wall, tattooed to your arm (now there's some commitment.) At first I was concerned about the fact that the entire deck must be counted out (which can cause a lull in your show) but if it’s done right, it can add some suspense to the reveal. Also the reset is quite a process and it is not explained anywhere on the DVD. That being said, it does look like a real miracle and if you have time between performances to reset the trick, it will get a huge response from your audience.

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    Perfect by Mark Mason:
    Some magicians don't give up on an idea until they've explored all possibilities. You'll notice that Mark Mason has put out two very similar effects, but both have a very different method. Perfect doesn't have a prediction on display, instead it uses the fact that every card in the deck has a mate (a card of the same denomination and color.) This gives the routine a bit more of an off-the-cuff look to it and diminishes the suspicion of gimmicks. So there is a toss-up there: no dramatic envelope unsealing for a cleaner and innocent handling.

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    Just like with any other magic trick, the important thing is to see what will fit your style the best. If you need a high impact prediction with no limitations on reset times, Intuition might be your best bet. If you are table-hopping and need a quick reset, Future Zone might be just the ticket. Either way, the "Stop Anywhere" effect has been sought after and refined for decades because it is a powerful effect that ensures big reactions from anyone watching.


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  • New Juggling Bags

    Posted on February 20, 2009 by chris ballinger

    Magic Geek and Jugglingstore.com are very proud to introduce the Volley Bag. We've completely redesigned the classic leather juggling bag with an all-new pattern for superior performance. The patch-work was inspired by a volley ball design and allows for better consistency, comfort and roundness.

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    Each bag is hand-stitched in leather and filled with millet seed. There are five colors to choose from and two different surface textures. The standard Volley Bag has a smoother, more vibrant leather finish; while the Split-Leather offers a softer look and grippier feel that aids in control.

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    We like these bags so much that we're featuring them in a new juggling combo. With the Volley Bag Combo you get three Volley Bags, The Ultimate Ball Juggling DVD and our new Three Ball Carrying Case. If you want to get serious about juggling or are looking for the perfect gift for that special juggler, the set is the way to go!

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  • True Astonishment

    Posted on February 9, 2009 by chris ballinger

    The long-awaited True Astonishment Box Set from Paul Harris is finally available. Instead of just telling you about its nine DVDs, sack of gimmicks and awesome wooden box, we decided to show it to you via a video review.

    This is your chance to own a piece of magic history. Please click on the image below to learn more.

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  • Happy Valentine's Day

    Posted on February 3, 2009 by chris ballinger

    Love is in the air and I thought I'd post this video that I made in 2007 with my sweetheart. It's called "Magic Date" and it was made by the sketch comedy group that I was a part of back in the day.

    For those of you who want to try this on a real date I used Humming Bird Card for the floating rose, 18" Silks for the "black and blue" line, and the crow's feet were painted feet from an unlucky rubber chicken.

    The Obusters were a band of improv and sketch comedians who sometimes did live shows for bustling crowd and sometimes for just my wife and the owner of a club (those shows were kind of awkward.) Anyway, we made a bunch of sketches that can be found on the Obuster youtube channel.


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  • New Forum!!!

    Posted on January 28, 2009 by chris ballinger

    Hey everyone! Check out my new avatar for the Magic Geek Forum:

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    Wait... What?! A new Magic Geek Forum?!!!

    That's right. We just launched our new Forum where you can go and post your questions, thoughts, stories, pictures, even videos!

    Please log on and create an account for yourself today. It's super-easy and you can customize your profile, avatars, and signatures any way you want. We can't wait to hear from you.


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  • Butterfly Dollar Bill

    Posted on January 27, 2009 by chris ballinger

    Last weekend I brought my family to the Ellwood Butterfly Preserve just outside the city of Santa Barbara. It's a little place where Monarch butterflies gather this time, every year. They always come back to the exact same spot and it is a magnificent experience. While I was there, I was inspired to create an effect where you change a borrowed dollar bill into a "living" paper butterfly.

    I went back to Ellwood with Aidan, a camera, and a dollar bill and made a video tutorial on how to make the butterfly:

    If you try this and apply it to a levitation or animation effect, please send us a performance video. We'd love to see it!

    Here are a few gimmicks that can be used to make the butterfly move and fly:

    The Floating Dollar Bill The Hummingbird Card Thread Genie Loops

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