Mandrake the Magician

Mark Panner Fills In for Us

Inside Magic Image of Frustrated MagicianWe have been very busy at our daytime job.

That has kept us from the spacious office suite here on Santa Monica Boulevard where this humble magic news outlet makes its home in West Hollywood, California.

It is good to be busy but bad to be neglecting of the tens of people who read Inside Magic religiously – and by “religiously” we mean by candlelight, copious amounts of incense and chanting.

We have asked one of the least qualified but most available magic writers (so it averages out) to take over for the next few days or until readership drops below the web equivalent of anemic.

Readers of Inside Magic may remember Mr. Panner for his contributions in the past to this and other magic websites. You can read his horrible review of Inside Magic Favorite magician Bob Sheets here.

He is related to us through a complicated story of inter-marriage and bad life-choices but we offer him space here only as a matter of convenience for us, not because it is in the interest of marital bliss.

Mr. Panner has published several books on magic, all self-published and, as we understand it, still unread. He has claimed to have invented several of the greatest effects in our art including:

The Balls and Cups (his take on the classic “The Cups and Balls”), Card to Walet (intentionally misspelled in an effort to avoid litigation and scorn by the creators of “Card to Wallet”), Torn Newspaper (the review in Magic Magazine noted that it was a fine effect but lacked the ending audiences have come to expect from similar routines like “The Torn and Restored Newspaper”), and the now disregarded Paint Ball Catching Trick.

The Paint Ball Catching Trick was marketed as a safe alternative to the deadly Bullet Catch. In the litigation that followed the meager sales of the effect, we learned that while the trick did not risk being shot in the face with a real bullet, the content of the particular brand of paint balls sold with the trick contained enough lead to shave years off the life of even a casual performer and “condemned his or her progeny to a dramatically higher risk of mental disability.”

Mr. Panner decided re-market the effect with instructions discouraging the “chewing of the paintball or rolling it around in the mouth for an extended period of time.”

You can still find the original version with the now discredited instructions on eBay.

Mr. Panner complained to the magic community that he was being undersold by “cheap, Chinese imports.” The magic community apparently did not care.

Mr. Panner has performed shows for hundreds of paying customers and clients throughout the Midwest – but never for the same client twice. He says this practice is due to his “constant, driving forced (sic) to keep things fresh.” He also points out that the Better Business Bureau rating is “probably wrong because people only complaint (sic) and never say good things to the BBB.”

For the record, he denies ripping off Criss Angel’s Believe with his own, limited tour of “Bee Leave.” Also for the record, Criss Angel denies caring at all about Mr. Panner’s two hour illusion show featuring the magician dressed in a costume described by a reporter for the Urbana, Illinois daily as “cross between Criss Angel and a effeminate bumble bee.”

Mr. Panner’s contributions will begin later today (or possibly tomorrow) and, as is our practice, will be unedited. Mr. Panner describes the process as “keeping it real, raw.” We describe it as “being lazy, real lazy.”

We should be back in the office with renewed energy and new stories in the next week or so.

It is entirely likely we will be back sooner if Mr. Panner performs as predicted.

Lee Asher Teaches the Brute Force Force for Free

Inside Magic Image of Frustrated MagicianLee Asher is one smart cookie.
His writing is always helpful, complete and thoughtful.
We subscribe to his electronic newsletter and are frequently delighted by the neat ideas and moves he offers.
Sure, sometimes the moves are tough to do and we may practice them for a while before returning to our well-practiced 45-minute version of the Twenty-One Card Trick (imagine Bill Malone’s classic Sam the Bellhop but without the flourishes, difficult sleights, interesting story, audience interaction; but twice as long without a big finale).
But like Miley Cyrus or someone looking to boost their immunities against sub-tropical illness, we need the exposure.
Today’s contribution from Mr. Asher is a great technique to force a spectator to select a card from a deck.
We do not wish to engage in the debate whether a magician should ever “force” a card on an unsuspecting audience member.  We understand and appreciate both sides of the argument:
Pro: it is the very foundation of Card Magic.
Con: it violates the volunteer’s free-will.
And while we appreciate the spirit of the debate, we are against the current move here in California to get Proposition 99 on the ballot.  We just don’t believe the government should come between a magician and his or her audience.
The proposition — though well-intentioned — is misguided and would have unforeseen consequences.
The proposed law would require a performer or establishment where more than one performer appears to provide “adequate” notice that customers may be “manipulated” into make choices that otherwise appear to be fair.
The Magic Castle has not issued a statement on this proposition and while we realize this is really intended to go after other, more “adult” segments of the entertainment spectrum, it would take much of the fun out of performing and watching magic.
If you begin a show by explaining that you will be manipulating the audience into making choices, the audience is tipped to the bit.
That may work fine for those who can use such a warning in their act like Derren Brown or Max Maven but for those of us who lack talent and are excited to hit a Classic Force once or twice in a week of work, it makes things tougher.
One of the best things we have going for us is that the audience has no idea what we are doing.
Some nights, we share their mindset.
The proposal will likely not make the ballot and so this is not a problem for magicians or adult entertainers earn their income by lying to their customers about the freedom of their choices.
Political rant aside, Mr. Asher teaches a great, easy force today to subscribers of his magic newsletter.
It is based on the Charlie Miller, Classic Force (table version) which was thought to be published in one of his many Magicana columns in “Genii Magazine”. However, this is not true. Charlie Miller’s table pass appears in print, for the first time, in Harry Riser’s book Secrets Of An Escamoteur (2006).

The Brute Force force works well.

We just tried it out on a fellow passenger on the express bus. He had no idea how we did it. Now he is watching as we type this and so we cannot write the secret here.

We know he is still reading what we are typing and he should realize that is very rude and he should stop.

Really. Stop reading. When is your stop? You might have missed it because you are so intent on reading what we are typing.

Check out Mr. Asher’s great site and learn the secret to the Brute Force force today.

Magician Andrew Mayne Gets Great Press

Andrew-MayneToday’s edition of The Sun gives well-deserved coverage to Inside Magic Favorite Andrew Mayne and his new show Don’t Trust Andrew Mayne,

Mr. Mayne is an accomplished performer and prolific inventor of great effects.  The Sun gives us some insight into the self-effacing magician that is rarely the fodder of a typical feature piece about a network star.  It is refreshing to read.

But what about the show’s title?  Shouldn’t all magicians be beloved and trusted without question?  Why would a magician want to begin with the premise that he is untrustworthy?

“I liked the idea of using magic to do something ­different. In this case, instead of just watching me do ­something really cool, you get to see me use magic to help people get revenge on ­someone they love or to ­convey a ­pertinent ­message.”

We admit that our recent search of the internets shows there are no other “revenge magicians.”

(Here is a tip from your family-friendly editor, do not do a search using the words “revenge” and “trick” or “perform” if you are at work or have any concern that humanity is quickly sliding down a well-oiled slope towards a society where one would not want to saunter without first donning a hazmat suit and mega-dosing amoxicillin).

His approach is different than others who claim to be Street Magicians.  

“I can’t just ask someone for a ring, I have to convince them to give it to a stranger.”

That is a little tougher than confronting drunk groups of 20-somethings with a camera crew along to capture the moment.

(Editor: we assume the writer meant that the magician doing the confronting had a camera crew in tow as he confronted the drunken group of young people, not that the magician looked for the unique configuration — rarely seen on today’s city streets — of publicly intoxicated folks matching the show’s focus demographic who happen to also have a camera crew (presumably not similarly intoxicated) in their midst).

The Sun reporter asked Mr. Mayne if his impromptu audiences “see through him” on occasion.

“I think people see through me all the time!”

“I have had times when I do something like making a phone vanish – I then walk away thinking they are still standing there.

“Then someone will run up behind me and grab me and tackle me! They don’t know how it works but they know I had done something to them.”

His goal is not to prove himself superior to those he encounters.  

Yes, his reputation precedes him and, as seen in some of the clips on YouTube, some folks run the other way when they see him coming.

“On the whole, I think many know that I am a pretty nice guy and if I get hold of them, they are going to have fun.”

Check out Mr. Mayne’s website here: http://andrewmayne.com.

John Carney Announces Lecture Workshop Dates

John Carney Magic PosterInside Magic Favorite John Carney sent us a note dates, places and times for his upcoming Lecture Workshops.
If you are in or near any of the cities below, you should plan on attending.

Vancouver, BC Tues, March 25, 2014
7:00pm $25 CAD at the door
Douglas College
New  Westminster Campus
700 Royal Avenue, New Westminster, BC
Canadian programs are sponsored by 
Magicana, the Canadian magic arts organization.
Canadian tickets may purchased with cash at the door,
or secured in advance from Magicana’s web site:
 Seattle, WA Mon, March 31, 2014
7:00pm $25 US (No advance tickets)
Hale’s Palladium
4301 Leary Way NW
Seattle, WA 98107
Portland, OR Tues, April 1, 2014
7:00pm $25 US (No advance tickets)
Zimmermand Community Center
(Entrance on 14th ave, between Quimby and Raleigh)
1542 NW 14th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209

Sad News: Aldo Colombini

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Very sad news about Inside Magic Favorite Aldo Colombini from Maria Ibanez:

My heart is very heavy as I share the news just received from Rachel Colombini through Simone Marron.

“terrible news.  Aldo suffered catastrophic stroke yesterday.

Left side of brain dead spreading fast to the right side, paralyzed, no speech, hospice taking over now.  It will be just days, nothing we can do.  Sorry to have to give you this news.

I am devastated – bulletin to be released to magic world tomorrow.”

Please keep our dear friends Aldo and Rachel in your thoughts and prayers.