Stay Informed

Stay Informed

11-11-15-18-33-01

 

-Matthew Pizgatti

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A little laugh…

I found this on someone else’s blog while looking for some other magicians that might be around. It gave me a chuckle at least:

A magician needed a break from the stress of city living, and so took a job on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. The pay was average, but the perks were good, and as the audience would be different each week, the magician didn’t have to practice to hard: he could repeat the same tricks every week.

However, over time, a small problem developed. The captain’s parrot saw the shows each week, and began to understand how the magician did each trick. The parrot began squawking during the show…
“Look, it’s not the same hat”…
“He’s hiding the flowers under the table”…
“Hey, why are all the cards the Ace of Spades?” …

The magician was furious, but, of course, he couldn’t do anything about it. The captain would not have been happy if anything had happened to his parrot.

One day the ship that the magician was working on ran into trouble. After running into rocks near Jamaica, the ship tragically sank. There were few survivors.

As it happened, the magician found himself sharing a piece of wood floating in the Caribbean Sea with the parrot. They stared at each other with hatred, and neither uttered a word for many days.

Finally, the parrot broke the silence:

“OK, I give up. Where’s the boat?

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Palming

Palming…oh yes I said it, the dreaded “P” word. I know you don’t want to talk about it, many of you don’t. Scary, hard, ballsy, risky, dreadful…just a few of the choice words people use to describe it. But believe it or not, it IS a BIG part of many effects, and something you need to deal with. Sure, many of you know the basic mechanics…but do you use it? Do you actually apply the move to anything…or is it still seem to “risky”?

If you want to think about it…really, palming is really a Magician’s trademark, or core. Sure…it’s not essential, but just like a shift(pass) it really helps. For those still unfamiliar with the term of palming (shame on you), it is the art of concealing something within the hand or behind the wrist-on occasion-without notice until you wish to reveal said object. It is something I believe every successful performer of the magical arts should know and be able to do consistently and be comfortable while doing so.

I think the first problem you encounter with many “magicians” is the fear of being seen or discovered, or seen. The basis of the sleight is NOT being seen, so yes, this is a problem. The move takes practice and practice to get right in front of others. What many of you fail to realize, is that everyone who is successful with the palm now, was not always so. They had to practice and try it out in front of people. Sure you will be a bit scared at first, for more info on that check out my article on Nerves, it IS a natural thing and happens to most. If you want to really think about it, you’re trying to sit there in front of a person, or crowd of people…and hide something in your hand while that audience or spectators tries to stare at your hand and figure out what in god’s green earth is going on. But trust me, the comfort of the move comes later on. There isn’t much for it except PRACTICE, and lots of it. Much of that is practice in FRONT OF AN AUDIENCE. Not a paying one mind you, but an audience, family will work, friends will work nicely as well, just to try it out. If you practice right, they WILL NOT SEE IT. Stop worrying.

Since this all comes down to practice, some practice tips:

♣This is one of the classics, but a Mirror, full length…get one. These help so much, its not even funny. For the performer of any kind, a full length mirror goes a long way with practice. You get to burn your own hands for awhile. Study every move you make, until you are satisfied with your performance.

♦Palm something, anything. Anytime, anywhere. Keep a coin palmed all day as long as you can, keep it concealed from everyone, and produce it when your feel the time. This practices your palming and productions, and if someone asks to see a trick….well? This has helped me immensely with my palming of cards. Keep that card palmed all over the store, your house and whatever. Every now and then make sure its still concealed properly and can’t be seen through the fingers. This method of practice speeds up the time of it becoming a natural thing by a lot. So just remember…watching T.V.? Reading this article? Watching a play…or dare I say it, magic show? Palm a card in one hand, maybe a coin in the other? Whatever you want.

♥This might go with the mirror, but its something to remember. Definitely make sure your hands are natural at all time. Practice making motions and that your hand is staying in a good looking natural position. Remember if the other hand is free as well that it helps draw attention away if you will mimic the actions of one hand with the other. IF one is being brought up to midchest, the other mimics and comes up in the same way, this way neither hand is suspicious, or at least no more that the other. Also, keep a bit of movement with the hand almost always UNLESS its resting at your side, the movement will help mask any unnaturalness for the most part.

♣Learn different palms, and try different objects. Different items require a different grip sometimes. The classic palm may be good normally, but a Ten kai may be needed at another. Be prepared, and practice them all. If one isn’t working then you may need to try something else…

It is just like any other sleight/move. If the right practice and work is put in, it will all turn out alright. They WILL NOT SEE IT HAPPENING. They have no idea what is going on, so once more do not worry about it. It is ingenious, and even though the general public is sort of aware of palming, it still seems impossible, enough so that you could joke about it and try to expose it and they still wouldn’t realize what happened. So as always…PRACTICE, PRACTICE, and Have fun with your magic.

By: Matthew Pizgatti

 

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Constant Force

The other day I was posed an interesting question.

 

“Why not just force every time?”

 

So I thought for a moment, and when I really thought about it…”Why not?” What would be wrong with forcing a card, every time a card need be chosen for any given effect? Or even past cards, what is so wrong about always being in control of a choice the audience/spectator is supposed to make? I’m not sure anything at all. Surely it enhances the ease of “Audience Control”, it may even be a part of it. Think about it, ALWAYS knowing which card is being chosen, and being able to find it when you need. There may be some flaws, but first let us see the good points.

 

First I think one benefit is as a backup plan. All those times you wonder what happens if a trick goes wrong, what might happen if you loose the card you are supposed to be controlling? Are you then just out of luck? Surely you could just merge into another effect and find some patter to divert away from the blunder, but turn it into something positive for the audience. But, if you use a force, assuming your force worked you could turn it into something very positive or even finish the same trick with only a minor look through the deck for whatever reason your backup patter can provide. So if you were to force every single time, think of that…it adds a very good plan B for any trick that requires a card chosen.

 

Practice. I believe another very good benefit is practice. Obviously you endlessly practice by yourself, but in the end experience with another person is what really matters…and adds up to the best practice of all. I know for instance, that many have trouble with their classic force, at least at first. Now this is a force that really can’t be practiced fully by yourself. So I think that every time you get a chance to try it out in an effect, you might as well. Especially if the effect requires a force at all, then there is no problem in case of a mess up, and you get practice on top of everything.

 

Another thing I thought, is that in THEORY, your forces should look completely fair. I mean in theory you shouldn’t be able to tell your force from a free choice, at least to the spectator’s eyes. So why then, would it matter if you were to force every single time? After a varying amount of time for different people, your forces should be indistinguishable from your real choice, or, if you were to force every time then there would be no real choice to ever compare with and therefore NO suspicion.

 

I suppose besides all of that, there are some basic principles of magic to think about. Like the “one ahead” principle constantly spoken about and used in MANY effects. The thought basically being that the magic moments are created by you being one step ahead of the spectator, and having them concentrate on something that has already happened right under their nose. I think this applies to the forces, and with forcing EVERY time, you are ALWAYS one ahead. If you have anyone ask right after a card is chosen,

 

“If you’re really magic, what card is this?”

 

then you might appreciate this greatly, to just be able to concentrate for a second, and then actually tell them the card, that would bring about some quite to the hecklers among the crowd. Now we go on to even other things, not just cards. Let’s say even other tricks using a selection out of multiple objects…why not use a magicians force EVERY time? This definitely applies to the “one ahead” thing.

 

Really, I think there are many benefits to constantly forcing. The only thing I could think that MIGHT be bad is the convenience or simplicity for you (the magician). Many magicians are of the mindset that simple is always better, and say many times  it produces more hard hitting effects and better reactions. I think more along the lines of sacrifices. Sometimes convenience must be sacrificed, or even discomfort endured in order to bring about a really killer effect, and in my opinion it is usually worth it.  Even a long set-up is alright if the resulting effects are worth it. So it MIGHT be a bit of a hassle for you to force things all the time, but I believe it brings about better control over a situation, and always leaves you with more knowledge than the audience/spectator. Really, I think that is a major part of playing the part of the magician, control. You need to always be in control as much as you can while still seeing fair. You can accomplish so many things this way, especially mentalist type effects.

 

All in all, I don’t see much wrong with it. It gives you a back up plan, practice and experience, and keeps you “one ahead”. I say by all means, if it suits you…force often, even if not seemingly in need…it may become a need at an unexpected time.

 

So yes…

 

” Why don’t we force, Every time we can?”

 

Think on it, I’d love to hear if you find more benefits or something wrong with this, I would find it interesting.

– Matthew Pizgatti

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Magical Gestures

I wanted to talk about…Magical Gestures. ie. The snap, hand wave, riffling the deck, clinking a coin…or whatever else you use. This is a point in the art that is greatly overlooked. Many seem to think that it is not even important.*GASP!* The truth is that it is very important, and greatly enhances an effect.

 

For instance in a transposition effect (Like the “here then there”) , there is a point after the moves and sleights are over that you now have the card they think their holding in your hand, and the card that they think you are holding sandwiched inside their hands. Now, you COULD just pause for a moment and then reveal that, showing them that they have changed places and you might get a good reaction, but that is really only half of what that effect could be. In that moment after all the moves and “magic” has happened, the spectator knows nothing, they haven’t seen you do anything magical yet, and you are supposed to be the magician after all… So what do you do? You enhance the effect. When that moment of pause happens, you need to do SOMETHING, that signifies you doing magic. One choice movement is to place your hands around theirs, or just hover your hand over theirs, and tighten your face like you are REALLY concentrating, like this takes all your strength and a lot of effort. You do this for the appropriate time, then you stop, recover for just a second like regaining your breath, and THEN, then…you can reveal the cards have changed.

 

What was the point of that? To do magic. The whole point is you, as the magician are expected to perform some sort of magic, something beyond the realms of the normal, beyond what anyone else can do. Now, perhaps a REAL sorcerer could just effortlessly change objects around, but that isn’t very interesting to watch now is it? You want to entertain, put on a performance…and have fun doing it. You want to show them exactly when the magic happens, sure you may have already done all the moves, but that’s great…it’s all acting from then on out.

 

Acting really is a big part of magic. You should make your spectator believe that you can really do what you claim to do. Anyone can go pick up a book on magic, learn a few things and go show people on the street some “tricks”. You however, if you put time and effort into the art, practice not just the moves but the presentation as well, can create magic. And that is what separates the guy who “knows a few tricks” from the Magician, a performer who creates magic and amazement, leaving wonder and awe in his wake. That is your job, and you should honor it well by putting the necessary study into the acting and presentation.  There is a widely used quote, but good nonetheless:

 

“A magician is an actor playing the part of a magician.” …Jean-Eugene Robert-Houdin

 

and it is very fitting for what we are talking about. You are “pretending” to do magic, and everyone (for the most part) knows that, but you can make them forget for a moment, at least long enough so that you can do what you need to do.

 

I believe another reason for the “magical gesture” is this: You don’t want it to seem like a puzzle. In some way I think that not making it seem like magic, makes it seem like a puzzle instead, something to figure out. You just changed a dollar into a hundred, you need to be pattering at this point…you can’t just let the change go unnoticed. The audience notices, and are trying to figure it out right after it happens, it becomes a puzzle of logic. What you need to do, is try and divert attention away from it in some way…not so much the effect itself but the reason or method behind the effect. You should be leading up to it, and even after it keep with the same story. The bill changed because…”We all concentrated”, or I made this “Magical Gesture”. Either way, you have given a reason. Logically the reason may not make much sense, won’t hold up, and won’t convince the most astute of the audience, but will at least misdirect them long enough for the clean up of the effect, and then you are clean to be examined, and everything can be handed out. You don’t want them to watch just to try and figure it out, they should be having fun, and you should be having fun…by joking and pattering you make it less of a logic puzzle, and more of a magic trick to them. And the magical gesture goes along with this as well.

 

The main reason of a gesture, movement, or sound of some kind, is misdirection of the simplest kind. You misdirect them at just the right time. Usually it is used as the one ahead type thing, where you just need something to signify the magic is happening, and that gets the spectator involved and makes the magic, but sometimes it is used as misdirection or cover. You want to create the sense of magic, but also need for the audience to not see a move…so you make some kind of “magic gesture”. They are happy because you just did some magic, and all they are concerned with is what is going to happen next…what you did, and you are happy because you got away with the move you needed to do. Everyone wins, and has a good time.

 

As one more use of the “magical gestures”, if you have a comedy routine they can play a big part in there as well. They still play well as the cover, misdirection, and diversion from them trying to figure it out, but now you can make jokes about them. Feel free to make fun of all the old cliche magic words and props. Pull out a magic want and shout “Abrakadabra!”, and maybe do your move then, but pretend to fail and act disappointed while everyone gets a laugh. Then you can do something simple like just taping the deck, and the trick works.

 

All kinds of ideas are possible, and it is up to you in the end…but the little “magical gesture” does play a big part in all kinds of magic. It is very important and greatly enhances an effect. If you go and watch any of the top performers of this time, in the past, and I guarantee even in upcoming future performers…you will see the moment of magic, and some kind of “Magical Gesture” present. It’s all about presentation, and the creation of magic. Believe in the magic, and believe it is really happening…the audience will follow suit.

 

A big point that should be added as well, is continuation. The show of things staying consistent throughout your performance or effect. If you snap, or clap, or cough really loud as the magic initiator or gesture…then you better do it next time as well. As a friend once told me, if you were to do it once and then not the next time, the spectator would see that it did nothing the first time either…and has nothing to do with the magic and is a useless gesture. To make it seem magical it needs to always be magical. There are certain circumstances where you want it to seem like you fail, and then of course you might use a different gesture, or move…and then fail a part of the effect, FURTHER showing that the “real” gesture is magical and does something. If all goes well, you may convince the audience so well they will go home, pull out a deck of cards and sit there tapping the deck over and over in hopes of changing the top card…maybe. So just remember, keep the same magic gesture through the whole effect, maybe the whole show if it is short, but it may be ok to use different gesture for each effect…just depends on the performance of the routine. Just don’t forget to use the gesture/convincer towards the end of a longer routine or become lazy and just don’t do it…it ruins the effect to some degree…and the show of “magic”.

 

Go practice, and have fun with your magic…

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Fascist America

Fascist America

Wrapped in a flag,
Laid on a Cross,
If that’s the disguise,
I feel we’re at loss…

I try to contain,
The madness within,
I fear others don’t see,
So how do we win?

They go about their Lives,
As an evil grows near,
Their all so content,
When there should be much fear.

They take your rights,
In guise of security,
They say it’s a must,
To be rid of impurity.

They tap the lines,
To your inner thoughts dwelling,
They add it all up,
The information is swelling.

Leaders speak lies,
You’re willing to listen,
You won’t see the wrong,
Till’ the evening blood glistens.

The leader speaks lies,
Of a God he knows not,
He said he knows God’s want,
That a war should be fought.

We fight to “free” a nation,
While enslaving our own,
We think they need a freedom,
It seems we have blown.

We fight a force,
Not wounded by metal,
The forces are trees,
It is only one petal.

We learn to fight terror,
By being afraid,
Drop bombs on children,
To bring them aid?

Doublespeak is the word,
You’ve heard your police,
Freedom is Slavery,
So War must be Peace.

The news should hold truth,
Should keep your informed,
But like a FOX in a hole,
You’re constricted, conformed.

The people should see,
It’s time to wake up,
This Hitler incarnate,
Grasping America’s Death Cup.

Is there still time,
To end the fascist Regime?
Its flowing faster than ever,
Through states like a stream.

We will endure and rebuild,
No matter the cost,
If we survive the onslaught,
And then through the frost.

They should be afraid of us,
Not the other way around,
By the people, for the people,
Is just no longer sound.

Keep informed,
At least know the date,
To see the end coming,
Might help soften the fate.

There is still time to return,
To the imaginary place,
Of safety, of hope,
Although I still don’t see a trace.

As long as you are content,
You can wait for the revelation,
Just mark my words…
That day ends in devastation.

By: Matthew Pizgatti

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Can’t Stop

Can’t Stop

I sit alone in this cell,
desolate and useless I dwell
they turn off the lights
I’m left in dark
here come all the frights
they make no remark
to all my screams
pleasure to them
is it just in my dreams
its still me they condemn

The world is falling
does no one care
it seems tired of stalling
is this fair
YES I proclaim, out into this world
just as the truth, to the slow is unfurled
they weren’t prepared
not a clue they had
why should they be spared
were they iron clad?

While they ran around
grabbing for their money
I was on the ground
storing the honey
they thought they were safe
from terrorist attack
but no one was safe
when terror comes from the back
of their yard
right under their noses
just wait till their charred
then where are their roses?

The terror you think
that came from the east
really came in a blink
an American beast
It’s been there for long
awaiting the day
that people sing his song
so he can pounce on his prey

They though they were loyal
thought they were helping the nation
they only brought turmoil
and much devastation
I tried
to warn them
my best….
they fried
so long then
I lay them to rest….

I wanted to live
through all the strife
did they want to live?
or just take their own life?

-Matthew Pizgatti

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Silence and Sound

Silence and Sound

*Note: I wrote this when I was much younger, around 10 or so I believe. I thought out of my younger stuff it was one I should put up because I always liked it. Just judge according to age at the time. Thanks*

Silence can’t be weakened
And silence can’t be thought
Silence can’t be wakened
And silence can’t be bought

What is silence, and what is sound
Well, sound won’t keep you on the ground
And silence is just a phase
For your ears
While you daze

But don’t you worry
You will see
Silence and sound
Are there for you and me

But if you sit and think awhile
You will find you’re in denial
Because you and me have grown up you see
And we really can’t live in a dream
Since our life can come apart at the seam

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Nerves and “Shakes” (“What’s Wrong with You Mr. Magician?”)

Having problems with nerves? Are your hands starting to shake while performing, and you think others will notice? I have one thing to tell you…

ITS NATURAL. Anyone who has ever performed will tell you this, and it’s true. Getting nerves and shakes is no kind of sign to worry about. If anything, it’s telling you that you are still alive, and a human being. Even practiced performers, working pros, and I’m sure even the big dogs (Copperfield, Angel, Blaine, and others from the past) still get nervous, and probably have some of those shakes too.

It is not necessarily bad, nor should it be thought of in that light. You’re standing in front of others, and all their eyes are trained on one thing…YOU. Who wouldn’t be nervous?

More specifically, lets take the “shakes” as some call them. Where your hands and sometimes arms, maybe legs, start to shake. This is involuntary, and usually is hard to control. Besides interfering with sleights and moves, some are afraid the spectators might notice. Well, they DON’T. In the off chance that they do, what do you think will happen? Are they going to laugh you out of the room because you are nervous, and shake a bit? No, I hope you have more confidence in your magic and YOURSELF than that. Let them try to get in front of people and do something that they have practiced time and time again, just to do this very act…of performing.

I’ll tell you one theory I’ve heard spouted around, and if you believe in it may help convince you of its normality. The theory is, that the shakes are really “energy” Coursing through your body. Where does this come from? It’s comes off of everyone around you, everyone CENTERED in on your hands, and your face…your performance. They put off all this energy and concentration your way, and you as the entertainer pick it all up, causing it to run through your body. Now, whether you believe in the “energy” theory or not, it kinda makes sense, and can at least me used as a metaphor of sorts. Their concentrating all their focus your way, and you feel a need to move, your body is a little uncomfortable standing there with all those eyes on it, and shakes a bit involuntarily “escaping” focus or the need to “move”.

Or if the shakes aren’t really a problem, it may be just plain nerves. You’re anxious about performing, you get the stomach fluttery butterfly thing, a whole flock of em by the feel of it, and you may even feel a bit nauseous. This COMBINED with those shake things can be quite some form of hell. But There are ways to control all this.

I believe most of it comes from self control, confidence, repetition and ease(being comfortable).

 

♣First off, self control. Many methods come in the form of positive affirmations. Or forceful affirmations in this case: “I will hold still. I will be fine. I can do this easily. There is no need for you (speaking to yourself) to be scared…its just magic.” And many others that you might suit to your own mind and needs.

 

Confidence…a big one among performers, and a problem among beginners in general. Many people have self esteem issues, and this can contribute to a lack of confidence, or vise versa. You must believe in your magic, you must believe in yourself, and your abilities. Think of it this way… You have practiced over and over, you know the moves, you KNOW the patter…there is no problem. You CAN and will do this. If it helps you more, even list each thing in your head: Patter…you know what to say. Moves…You have them down. Effects…You know the method, and when you want to do it. Routine…You may have one of these planned. And then, further more, you have dealt with people before, you know some crows control…what is there to stop you? What makes you scared, you need to rule that out and down at the first. Find what your fear is, and eliminate that first.

 

Repetition and Ease. I consider this a way of control. But really it’s more of a natural solution. What I mean by this Repetition… Is that you repeatedly perform, and go out and get the experience. After doing this so many times, you then gain the Ease and it all settles down. You become COMFORTABLE with the people around you, learn how to control them and your magic expertly, and feel great doing your magic. This is the ultimate stage, to feel so at Ease while performing, if you’re relaxed, the audience will relax, and you can all have a great fun time together. You may still have those natural shakes during this sometimes, but that’s life, they shouldn’t bother you without the nervousness.

So I have to say…Remember you are good at what you do, You can perform it without flaw for the most part, and that the people want to see what you have to show them…if not, they wouldn’t be there watching it would they? You want to come off good to the people, but in the end, if you try your hardest, give it your all, and put on your show and they still aren’t happy? Who cares? You can’t win everyone over, and you didn’t want to…you wanted to put on a show, and brighten someone’s day, and lift their spirits. Just give it your all, and remember that you have no reason to be scared, it works out…you are in control of your magic, and your audience. No losses.

Good luck performing, and as always I hoped this helped you. You can’t let nerves control your life.

By: Matthew Pizgatti

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Selfish Between Dimensions

Selfish Between Dimensions

A fleeting glance over the rooftop,
Gives me meaning as I fly,
I want to go, no time to stop,
To rest would surely mean I die.

You care not, except for yourself,
That’s the world, and the way,
Cast aside, I sit on the shelf,
Waiting for the whip, to flay.

Death is quick, but will it last?
It matters not at the moment,
Gambles made, die is cast,
When money comes, do you own it?

Selfish in life, death the same,
I fear the world won’t change,
Beggars, homeless and even the lame,
They get no help, I think it strange.

I wish you could see the world,
I wish I could see it whole,
The plan however, soon unfurled,
Will make this life seem rather dull.

Selfish while you are living,
Selfish while you are dead,
Hope the next plane is forgiving,
If anything, that’s well said.

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