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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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  • Another Strange Video

    Posted on January 22, 2009 by chris ballinger

    Here is a video we made for our other website jugglingstore.com. It is a sing-along about the Cosmic Diabolo which can be found here on Magic Geek as well as on jugglingstore.com.

    Nothing like outer space and fake moustaches. Anyway, if you're interested in checking out the Cosmic Diabolos click the link below for more details.

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  • Dealing with Stage Fright

    Posted on January 20, 2009 by chris ballinger

    Ty wrote to us on the Magic Combo's post asking about how to deal with stage fright. I've heard lots of advice on this subject and most of it is not very good. Never imagine your audience without their clothes on! It can be very distracting. But here are a few tips that helped me. And just to prove that I needed/used each of them, I've included some photos.

    I am a strong proponent of getting as much experience as possible. It's like learning a new sleight: at first it's really hard and awkward, but after doing it ten katrillion times your muscle-memory kicks in and you don't even need to think about it anymore. Performance is just another skill that you learn and the better at it you become the less stage fright you will feel.

    nullMe and my muse writing hilarious patter.

    Get Your Patter Down
    Having a plan is really important. Know your patter and know your tricks. If you spend time on stage stammering or trying to remember what comes next, you're going to start doubting yourself and that's the exact opposite of what you want. Knowing your stuff will help you control your nerves.

    nullMe in a production of As You Like It.

    Take a Theater Class
    This is going to work your performance muscle like nothing else. It's going to get you in front of people and teach you to play a character, which can also be used to battle stage fright. It will also teach you to memorize lines which will help with patter.

    nullBrian and I fanning cards and being confidentBe Over-Confident
    This isn't a trait that you want to have all the time (it's kind of annoying) but when you're performing, it can be a helpful tool. Playing the role of someone that is "all that and then some" puts you in charge. Nothing can go wrong, and if it does, who cares? You're awesome, right?

    nullMe performing with my improv team, The ObustersTake A Class in Improv
    You might be thinking: what's the difference between this and taking a theater class? A theater class will help with patter; improvisation will help with audience control. You'll learn how to read and react to your audience. I don't think anything has helped me with stage fright more than joining an improv troupe.

    All of these things have helped me, but I'm always interested in hearing what has helped others. If you've mustered up the courage to feel the heat of the limelight: what helped you? What tips would you give those who have yet to face an audience? Who knows, your advice might just help someone!


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  • First-Time Street Magician

    Posted on January 14, 2009 by chris ballinger

    We get asked for advice on performing street magic all the time; so here are a few tips for those of you future buskers...

    Location! Location! Location
    Finding a good spot is important. Try to set up somewhere that has a lot of foot traffic. Make sure that you aren't in a narrow walkway or near any intersections; if you block traffic, you might have a run-in with the law. A touristy environment is best. You want to find a place where people aren't in a hurry and are looking for a good time. (It also doesn't hurt if they are carrying around some cash.)

    Step Right Up! Step Right Up!
    Get their attention. Very few people will see you with a pack of cards and say, "Hey! Can you do a trick for me?" More often than not, you're going to have to ask them to see a magic trick. Once you get a couple of people interested, more will stop to see what everybody's looking at. Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd.

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    Looks are Important
    If you can set yourself apart from the crowd with your clothes or with a stand or sign, it's going to help attract an audience. By somehow setting yourself apart, you establish a performer/audience relationship right away.

    Be Brave
    Confidence is important in magic and it is especially important when you're performing on the street. It's not like doing a show on your web cam and deleting bad comments. On the street people can say whatever they want and everyone can hear it. Your job is to not let that get to you. Thinking about these comments during your show will not help you. That's not to say that criticism should not be heard, just don't think about it until you are done performing for the day.

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    Know Your Stuff
    The better you know your material, the easier audience control is going to be. It's also important to plan out your tricks so that your set produces the maximum level of audience, entertainment, and tips. Here are a few examples of tricks that I have used in the past:

    Starters: These are tricks that grab people's attention. They are interactive and to the point and work great for building a little crowd:

    Reputation Builders: This section of your show should keep the interest of the crowd you've already got, while attracting a larger crowd and making people feel like your show is worth a buck or two:

    Closers: These are routines that play big, pack small and build to a climactic finish. Hopefully you'll have a big crowd at this point and you'll want them all to see what's going on; and you want there to be a clear, defined end to your set:


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