“Nic load” by Nicolae Mihale

Hello, My name is Nicolae Mihale Before I begin I must mention that I hold the cards in my right hand so if you are using the other hand please reverse the actions that I’ m going to describe. Short history I came up with this move while I was practicing the Roy Walton’s paint brush change. I was doing the move while walking on the road and instead of keep doing a double lift every time I ended up creating this move. The move is not completely original there were other attempts of doing it but none of them looks like this version. Description: It is a utility move, as soon as you master it you’ ll be able to improve almost any effect that uses a double lift or other effects. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination, even simple effects can be improved by using this move. Nowadays there are many people that know about the double lift, and it’s a tough thing to deal with when you are performing for real people. I think the double lift is a great tool in card magic if you perform it perfectly and in a smart way. While you are practicing this move please use it is a smart way, as it is an alternative to the double lift. One other great advantage of this move is that is almost angle proof and I’ lll cover that later. How it works: It is very important that everything is done in a relaxed fashion as “nothing is supposed to happen”. Hold the cards in a loose mechanic’s grip in your right hand, hold a card face-up in the left hand in the following manner: The card is being held by the outer corner, the thumb is slightly forward from the corner, the index and middle finger hold the card from underneath and the ring finger is resting on the bottom short edge of the card. This way of holding the card should look very natural. The right hand fingers should be in the normal mechanic’s grip but a bit deeper similar to way you would perform the KN move. Tilt the deck so that it becomes perpendicular to the floor. This tilt should last for a split second. Push the corner of the left hand card into the index finger of the right hand. The edge of the...

Anthony Darkstone In Conversation With Abigail Spinner McBride

We sometimes come across the term, “Renaissance Man.” It is used to describe extremely talented and remarkable people. Abigail Spinner McBride is an extremely talented and remarkable Lady. Therefore, I have every reason to describe Abigail as a “Renaissance Lady.” She is a Spiritual, Esoteric, and Versatile Musician, Singer, Dancer, Percussionist, Writer, Priestess, Businesswoman, and a Magicenne. And for the three people reading this who may not have heard of her, she is also the wife of Jeff McBride. Graceful and beautiful both inside and visually, she not only excels at all of the above, but is also a true inspiration to all those who know and cherish her. In the course of my “In Conversation” article on Jeff McBride, I got to discover some of the talents and skills of this remarkable Lady. In the interests of sharing, I thought it only right to bring you some of my discoveries with a focus on Magic. http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/AbbiSpinnerMcBride AD: Thank you, Abigail, for taking the time to spend in conversation. You are known for several accomplishments, and it is, in some ways, a mite difficult to know where to start, as I first saw you some years ago Fire Dancing at a Vegas Halloween Party. I shall begin by asking you to talk a little bit about your dancing and more specifically your incorporation of Fire in your Dance. AM: My pleasure Tony. Always a joy conversing with a kindred spirit. Fire. I think of fire as transformational. As with all things that are transformational, it is to be respected and honored and can, as we all know, be dangerous to those who do not fully understand its power. For me, it is a vital Spiritual element and the same thinking, of respect, knowledge and honor, applies to all elements in the physical world. Fire, as you know plays a vital role in all religious beliefs, some more than others, but in one sense or another it is present in many religious, spiritual, physical and psychological concepts. It can be the flame of a single candle of devotion, the eruption of a volcano or indeed the Sun itself and of course, all things in-between. Poets, songwriters, philosophers, etc., have written of Fire. Often we describe our passion for something or someone as “our hearts being on fire, or ablaze,” … the light of a single candle to open the darkness,...

Anthony Darkstone – In Conversation With Jeff McBride

Introduction Those of you familiar with my series, both written & live, will know that I usually have an established way of introducing my Guests. Of necessity, this time I will deviate from my norm. As you peruse, my reasons will become self-evident. It was an unusually cold night in Las Vegas. Christian Diamond, Jason Andrews and I were at Amazing Jonathan’s Halloween Party a few years ago. Nick & Susan Lewin and many other Las Vegas notables were also there. It was all that a show-biz magical party should be: a haunted house designed by Steve Daly, and stunning nubile ladies dancing and whirling fire. I was even fed peeled shrimp by Penny Wiggins. As the festivities progressed, I found myself in joyous conversation with Joanie Spina (Respect. R.I.P) about the performance of magic. Totally unplanned, but like a finely written Hollywood script, a striking character in splendid doublet and a leather Venetian mask sauntered over and joined us. Joanie Spina introduced us. It was the first time I met Jeff McBride. Perfect timing and extremely apt; Joanie’s introduction was all that was needed to set the seal on the topic of The Performance in Magic. Despite the fact that we have several mutual friends, it was the first time I had met him in person. Jeff had been unable to attend my lecture at Boomers a few nights earlier but told me he had heard some very complimentary remarks about my lecture. Much to my amazement, he told me that he was intrigued by my Pythagoras Force and politely asked me if I would share. I was, to say the least, immensely flattered, and, if I am honest, also somewhat taken aback and more than a fraction nervous. I am not by any means a Cardician, let alone a Master Manipulator like Jeff McBride. I confess, even the prospect of a double- lift sends me running in the opposite direction. I nervously made some feeble excuse about not having a deck of cards, or a place to perform. Jeff then reached into one of his myriad pouches, extracted a deck and walked me over to the parking lot, and, on the back of a flat-bed truck, I somewhat apprehensively showed him my Force. His reaction and kind words left me speechless. Fast-forward to September 2013 when I was at Le Chateau Magique in Vegas to lecture on...

Cups and Balls Housekeeping

Housekeeping? Okay, so what do I mean by housekeeping? Have you ever watched a performer and thought for some reason that they could do better but couldn’t quite put your finger on it? The performance was okay and the magic was strong but there was just something… Have you ever thought that a performer looked lost or didn’t seem to have their finger on the ball (no pun intended) even though they were competent as magicians? If so then there is a chance that you are probably relating subconsciously to bad housekeeping. What I mean by bad housekeeping is the way in which objects and props are arranged and placed during a routine, whether that means cups, balls and wands on a table or balls and final loads in the pockets. While we may not consciously recognise a performer constantly re-adjusting a cup and a ball on the table in readiness for their next sleight or move, our subconscious picks up on it as “a feeling.” This, I believe, has a direct affect on how confident the performer is perceived to be… Confidence “That feeling” is perceived by an audience as a lack of confidence, either in the material, self confidence or their ability to perform (or possibly all three.) Of course the performer may be very confident indeed and road testing some new material, however the blocking should at least be worked on before giving new material an outing. A quick search on the net reveals many performers searching pockets for final loads, shifting props about because they did not set them down in the correct position for the next part of the routine and passing things from hand to hand in order to carry on. It seems that there is some congruence missing, a lack of familiarity… Familiarity When I examine and think about things like this, I often wonder… “Am I being over critical here?” Well, I’ve given this a lot of thought and I don’t believe I am, I truly believe that it matters. I spent roughly twice as long blocking out my cups and balls routine and giving motivation to the moves and an internal dialogue (both of which I will briefly cover later on) than I actually did working out the actual routine itself, and with good reason. If I touch a cup, ball or wand once and place it down in the...

Simple Gifts

Recently I’ve been doing a lot of gift magic. Gift magic is a remarkable thing. It can be performed as one piece in a larger performance or as a stand alone effect. But it is so much more than just leaving someone with a souvenir. There is great power in Gift Magic. Gentle power, but power all the same. It builds confidence, it brings us back to the basics and it exalts the art. Dr. Lawrence Hass has written extensively about the many venues of magical performance. Hass describes one branch of close-up magic as “Greeting Magic”. Greeting Magic is a single effect performed when meeting someone for the first time or when someone we know asks for a “trick” or when we sense that someone needs a little magic. One of the great things about Greeting Magic is we are not locked in to a performance. (And neither is the audience). If things don’t go well, it’s over before anyone has time to reject anyone else. Although this is an extremely rare occurrence, it’s still a comfort to know one can easily walk away if things fall to pieces. That being the case, Greeting Magic is a sure fire way to get over the Heebe Jeebies of performing magic. The checkout girl at the market, the child who bumped his head and needs a happy distraction or the couple we are chatting with while waiting for a table in a restaurant. These are all prime targets for our Skinnerian designs. The fact that the recipient is given a charged gift and is grateful, mystified and delighted goes a long way in building confidence. This kind of Greeting/Gift Magic has done more for me personally than just build confidence. It continually brings me back to the basics. Once and a while I discover I am overwhelming myself with too many complicated routines and knuckle-busting manipulations. Focusing on the (usually) simple and straight forward presentations of Gift Magic allows me to gauge how effectively I am interacting with the audience. Am I looking them in the eye? Are the expressions on their faces telling me anything? Am I directing their attention efficiently, and so on. In my view, none of us are any one particular archetype in magic. While we may lean toward the Trickster, Oracle, Sorcerer or Sage, I feel we are more likely to find ourselves cycling through...

Experiments in Magic Theatre

Enter the Sandman… What if you were called on to play a magical character in a video, film, or play? To be a vampire, for instance, in a Halloween show? Or Merlin? Or Willy Wonka? How about a scary demigod from a comic book, with an edgy modern circus? Or, what if you just want to try something new? To find a new style? To grow as a performer and experiment..? I did, and still do! Welcome to Experiments in Magic Theatre. I call these routines experiments because the material herein was all created for short runs, or one time events. All were stage shows, and all were collaborations. There’s much to learn from working with other artists, even other magicians. I’ve been asked why I do these projects, and can only say that it’s an artistic calling. I’ve done a number of other “magic theatre” productions (as Merlin, Nostradamos, the Tarot Emperor, etc.), but will keep with those that I have video of. Obviously, some of these experiments were more successful than others! Hopefully, I can share something of what I’ve learned. To outline in general terms, I’ll be asking these questions: What was the project? Why did I do what I did? What was my challenge? What was my reasoning? How well did it work? What did I learn? We’ll begin with magic in character, performing as a guest artist with a troupe. Then we’ll explore an ensemble magic act, the mentoring of young magicians, and magic stories (with four guest performers). Some classic magic comedy, and a literary magic drama will follow. Also, I’ll feature some media misdirection, and two, three, and four person multiple exchange illusions. I hope you enjoy! Our first experiment was the most recent, a fire circus/dance fantasy called Dreams. I got to play The Sandman, a mystical character I’ve always loved. In the play, he foresees the fiery aspect of a coming dream, and pours forth the endless sands of time to lead us into it. Later he saves an innocent dreamer by transforming his attackers, before leading him back to the “real world”. It was especially great fun to play a scary gothic guy, for a local audience who know me as a nice kidshow guy. Here’s how it came to be… The huge international trend of cirque/sideshow/burlesque performance manifested where I live (Columbia, SC) in a group called Alternacirque....

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