February 5, 2023 in Blogs
I perform “Mental Vacation”, a variation on an effect by Timon Krause.
Originally I had planned to do this routine as outlined in Timon’s book, but the sudden cold snap convinced me to switch to a more suitable premise. Apologies if the performance comes off as a bit shaky; it’s a little more conceptual than most of the effects I usually do. Also I’m coming off a minor illness so I wasn’t at the top of my game, and I probably should have guided Russell a little better through the routine. Still, I can learn from this and make it better next time. Final apologies for the issues with the camera framing – I thought I had it framed correctly when I put it in the mount but it must’ve moved without my noticing.
January 29, 2023 in Blogs
I do a take on the mind-control deck routine.
This is another prop I’d been interested in using for a while but had trouble thinking of a good premise for it. It was the suggestion to look at Derren Brown for inspiration that gave me the theme. I have no ill will towards Derren Brown; the man’s worked hard to become a success and he deserves the accolades. I just can’t say I’m that big a fan of his performance style or his overreliance on pseudo-psychological “explanations” to pass off his tricks as some hyper-intellectual feats. But that’s just me.
January 8, 2023 in Blogs
I perform “Hybrid” by Andy of The Jerx.
I had originally wanted to do this trick around Christmas and tie it in to getting a magic kit as a present when I was younger, but bad weather caused that show to be cancelled, so I just did a little reworking with the story. Admittedly I probably shouldn’t have tipped the secret with the end, but I was caught up in the energy of the night and felt like ending on a laugh more than on a sense of wonder. Hopefully I’ll be able to cultivate more of both over the coming year.
December 30, 2022 in Blogs
More than a month after his passing, those of us who grew up watching Power Rangers are still mourning the death of Jason David Frank. It stunned so many of us that a man who, for years, set an image for himself as a valiant hero who would always keep fighting no matter what the odds would pass in such a tragic way. Many with a love of the franchise and the era where JDF was on have expressed grief in their own ways. One of my friends, Wyllow (twitter handle @PinkAtHart) has written a story set in the Power Rangers universe reflecting real world events, where past Rangers are confronted with the news of Tommy Oliver’s sudden death, and how they process the news once learning the truth. Wyllow wrote it as a way for Power Rangers fans to help cope with JDF’s passing; fiction can be a powerful tool for processing grief. I asked her permission to link to the story and she readily agreed, hopeful that it will reach more people with its message. It’s a difficult story to read, fair warning, but it’s a reminder that even in times of darkness, we can still keep fighting to see the light.
Content warning: references/mentions of suicide
December 18, 2022 in Blogs
The following blog is written in association with Red Ribbon Reviewers and their chosen charity of 2022, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. If you are able to, please consider donating to this cause that provides useful social service to those afflicted with HIV/AIDS by visiting their website https://broadwaycares.org/
When I learned that this year’s Red Ribbon Reviewers charity was Broadway Cares, it helped further cement my idea for what topic to cover. I needed to pay tribute to a fallen legend: a man who got his start in the theater, became a gay icon, and played a crucial role in so many of our childhoods. You’ve probably guessed that I’m referring to the sadly late Kevin Conroy.
For so many Millennials, Kevin Conroy IS the definitive Batman. He was able to capture every facet of the Dark Knight’s personality with only his voice: intimidation, drive, self-doubt, some occasional snark, and more importantly, compassion, both as the Bat and as Bruce Wayne. There’s a fascinating irony that Conroy had never intended to audition for the role (he originally tried out for Harvey Bullock), yet thanks to guidance from Andrea Romano and other show runners, he helped mold this incarnation of Batman into one of the most recognizable figures in pop culture, reprising the role in various media over the course of 30 years. He is, no hyperbole, a true legend. To honor his legacy, I want to look at an episode of the Batman animated series that I felt best showcased his work – I Am The Night, written by Michael Reaves and directed by Boyd Kirkland. This episode doesn’t have Batman dealing with any of his more colorful rogues like Joker, Scarecrow, or Two-Face, but it shows how even the fight against common criminals takes its toll on the Caped Crusader.
December 11, 2022 in Blogs
I do a variation of Simon Aronson’s “Prior Commitment.”
As the year draws to a close, I think that in terms of my performance style, 2022 will be seen as the year I finally came around on card tricks. For the longest time I thought they were beneath a proper mentalist, but now I see that’s a foolish, elitist attitude to have. Sure, they might not be as impressive as figuring out the name of someone’s first love or making an object move with your mind, but they can still entertain an audience, and in the end, that’s what really matters. Plus, as you’ll see with the ending, it can often lead to some unexpected yet impressive results.
December 5, 2022 in Blogs
I perform a variation on the “Grey Elephants” trick.
Not much to say about this one. For a while I’ve been kicking around a concept where I show disdain for “influencers” by claiming they stole their identity from mentalists, and just needed a good effect to pair the bit with. Simple, but it came across well.
Second year in a row I contact a spirit from beyond the grave.
For a few months I’d thought about doing a spirit slate effect for the Halloween open mic, but my budget has changed significantly in that time, so I can’t really buy any new props. I decided to switch tactics and go for automatic writing instead. There was some concern that it wouldn’t have a big impact since the materials I was using weren’t as fancy or esoteric, but thankfully it got a great reaction. Just goes to show that the old masters were right – it’s not about the props; it’s about skill and technique. I’ll do my best to remember that.
October 22, 2022 in Blogs
I perform Sean Taylor’s “Pineapple Surprise” (though I’m not a big fan of pineapples, so I made a substitution)
It’s been a while since I posted a video, I know. Mainly that’s because I either haven’t been performing regularly due to personal matters taking up my time, or not feeling that my act was satisfactory enough to share. I was in a bit of a mental slump. Thankfully things are getting better and I’m hoping I can deliver more frequent routines of a high quality again. I think one of the main problems with some of my last performances was that I was too focused on getting a big reaction and not enough on just having fun with the act. Gonna try not to make that mistake again.
August 14, 2022 in Blogs
I perform the original routine “Build-A-Joke Workshop”
Not much to say about this effect. It sprang from having a prop but not being sure what to do with it and not finding any of the suggested routines that suited my style. Then it hit me that since I’ve been doing my act at open mics and I’ve been trying to improve my comedy writing, why not tailor the routine about creating a joke from random prompts. I don’t know if it went off all that well, but I’ll keep working on the idea to make it stronger.
Just one more week until my show.
July 19, 2022 in Blogs
I perform a take on John Morton and Steven Young’s “Visionary.”
After a few weeks where things hadn’t gone that smoothly, I finally had a trick presentation I felt comfortable sharing again. Admittedly it could’ve gone a little better (I had a rough day before the show started and was a little shaky with my delivery), but it still managed to work out well in the end.
Oh, also got a bit of good news to share – next month I’ll be doing a full show.
June 26, 2022 in Blogs
Not a lot to say about this one. I bought the effect about a year ago and was waiting for a good opportunity to use it. I think we’ve all had that feeling after a rough stretch at work of just wanting to make our money the easy (if not completely legal) way, so that provided some natural context that better helped sell it. Also, gotta give Matt credit for delivering a much funnier kicker than I could have ever planned, even if it was completely by accident.