The following poem was written in 1971 by Milan Bulovic for the late magician Johnny Thompson as a closing routine. While Thompson’s account of the story was an 8-minute epic demonstrating his mastery of card manipulation for his close-up magic shows, only the poem itself will be provided here and not the moves. As you read, try to visualize it in your head the players assembled and every move of the cards.
October 31, 2020 in Blogs
Bridge Carson slowly walked through the halls of Delta Base Headquarters, a shake in his gait, a nervous, wary expression on his face, and a pair of wireless earbuds sticking out of the sides of his head . The audio book service he subscribed to was having a sale on horror works to mark the month, and while the young cadet wasn’t the biggest fan of terrifying tales, he wanted to take advantage of the discount and maybe catch up on some classics. Now, as the words of H.P. Lovecraft echoed through his head, provided by a narrator who was obviously a master at creepy voices. He was beginning to regret his impulse buy. But as frightened as he was, Bridge still wanted to know just how the story ended.
“The speaking impulse seemed to falter here, as if some frightful psychic struggle were going on,” the narrator’s recited in an ominous timber. “Henry Wheeler strained his eye at the telescope, but saw only the three grotesquely silhouetted human figures on the peak, all moving their arms furiously in strange gestures as their incantation drew near its culmination. From what black wells of Acherontic fear or feeling, from what unplumbed gulfs of extra-cosmic consciousness or obscure, long-latent heredity, were those half-articulate thunder-croakings drawn? Presently they began to gather renewed force and coherence as they grew in stark, utter, ultimate frenzy.”
Hesitantly, Bridge quickly craned his neck to look over both shoulders. He could swear he was being watched. A sudden trill of eerie music accompanied the pained cries of the monster in the story. “HELP! HELP! FATHER! FATHER! YOG-SOTHOTH!”
My friend Elizabeth runs a fan account for Tara Strong and Grey DeLisle on Twitter (handle: @greyandtarafan). She’s also quite good at mimicking some of the duo’s performances, so when I asked her to do the infamous “Eggman Announcement” in Raven’s voice, she delivered spectacularly. Thanks again, Liz.
October 10, 2020 in Blogs
One of the bars in my county is having open-mic nights again, so I decided to go and see how well the mind-reading magic I’ve been learning over the summer does before an audience. I went with a simple three phase ESP card routine to test the waters, and everyone seemed to enjoy it. True, I was a little shaky and stumbled over a few of my lines, but overall it was a fun experience. I’m definitely going to do it again when I have the opportunity. Many thanks to my brother Eric for recording the act.
A new piece in my big brained heroine commission series, this one from JK-Antwon (https://www.deviantart.com/jk-antwon) Taking a break from Power Rangers this time, I decided to focus on the amazing Amazon herself, Wonder Woman. It was a little difficult at first thinking of a way to justify the head expansion, but then I remembered Diana communes with the Greek gods regularly. Athena is the goddess of wisdom, so what if there was an unexpected side effect when transferring that divine knowledge to a demigod? I could definitely see this happening in a Silver Age story.
September 12, 2020 in Blogs
This has been… a difficult year, to say the least. Political strife, social unrest, and a deadly pandemic, among other issues, have many of us dealing with frayed nerves and short fuses. It’s no surprise that we need more optimistic, uplifting experiences to provide even a temporary escape from the stresses of the world. So I thought that this October, we could all try to add some positivity into each other’s lives with a fun creative writing exercise. With that I present Manic Expression’s 2020 Writing Challenge – “Halloween Heroism”
The basis for the challenge is simple. You just need to write a short story about a superhero (one or more) involved in an adventure that takes place on October 31st. You don’t need to restrict yourself to Marvel or DC characters either. Branch out and look for heroes from video games, manga, or more obscure properties. And if you want to have a crossover between characters from different sources of media, go right ahead. The main rule here is to have fun and to write some thrilling tales. Can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with.
September 4, 2020 in Blogs
Several days ago I got involved in a conversation with my friends Xavier and Cathy on Twitter discussing the character of Lex Luthor. In particular, we were talking about how one of Superman’s greatest foes has gone through several ethnic revisions in media depictions over the years. While most depictions portray him as a white man, Superman: The Animated Series gave Lex a Mediterranean influence inspired by actor Telly Savalas, while the recent Harley Quinn cartoon had an African American Luthor running the Legion of Doom. Cathy remarked that Luthor works no matter what ethnicity or race he is because he is a character defined by his concepts: arrogant brilliance, contempt for anyone who might be superior to him, an endless desire for power, and excessive hubris that often leads to his downfall. I agree with those sentiments completely, but the line of thinking got me wondering about another topic. If a Luthor of a different race could work, how about a Luthor of a different gender?
(art by Benjamin10mil: https://www.deviantart.com/benjamin10mil)
August 26, 2020 in Blogs
If you follow me on Twitter, then you know I’ve been studying magic as a way to keep occupied during the quarantine. Specifically, I’m learning mentalism. One of the main reasons this came about was because I don’t have the dexterity for manipulating cards and coins, but also because I find mental magic has a bigger impact. There’s a great level of astonishment that comes from discovering a hidden thought someone thought private, revealing that you knew what would happen long before the show started, or appearing to move an object with your mind. It doesn’t rely on elaborate props or skillful manipulation (most of the time); it just centers around establishing a close rapport between the performer and the audience to create simple but impossible miracles.
With my excess of free time, I’ve devoted a great amount of effort into learning all I can about the art. I’ve purchased books and DVDs outlining routines by the masters in the field (Tony Corinda, Theodore Annemann, Max Maven, Colin Cloud, Steve “Banachek” Shaw, to name a few.) I’ve consulted professional mentalists to ask for their recommendations on what references and routines to learn. I even had online lessons with professional Italian mentalist Raffaele Scircoli. And I’d say the efforts have paid off. I can do several simple predictions now, learn what word someone picks from a book at random, duplicate a drawing that’s been sealed in an envelope, and divine the serial number on a borrowed, folded-up bill, among other feats.
But as with all creative endeavors, you can’t simply rely on established principles forever. You need to put your own spin on the craft. So I’ve been conceiving ideas for original mental magic routines that I hope to perform once it’s safe to have live entertainment again. Some of these I have the basic principles worked out and simply need to refine the performance, others I don’t think I could pull off yet without elaborate or expensive equipment, but maybe I’ll find a work around. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far. Please let me know if these seem like the kind of acts you’d want to see in a show.