i write for inner peace.
As my audience in magic grows as distant as my practice has gone recluse, I can only etch onto the cave walls of my hermitage what I wish to leave behind. I know all earthly works will vanish one day as sure as these gig conquests are becoming less, and I sail onto new adventures beyond the fortune and glory of crowds applauding at the shores. Magic is my martial art, and I am peaceful not fighting: I keep chanting this to myself, as I direct my training inwardly as breathing, or skyward as prayer. I wanted praise or recognition once, and perhaps still do as one would want chocolate. The rebel kid in me still wants to storm the palace of the magician hierarchies and declare my convictions, as Samurai of long ago would declare their lineage before battle. I believe, as the great mage Rocco declared to me, that magic is from the soul. I may not have the swiftest hand for sleights, the sharpest mind for thinking up effects, or the DNA of an entertainer, but I am left with my soul: my sword. My goal as a magician is to unsheathe that, entertain heaven.
Be ready for WHEN THE SWORDS VANISH, my new book of poems written for the martial art of magic. Coming soon when you least expect!
I have a new effect: Magician to King.
Being self-employed is a monarchy, and like all monarchies, it has a tendency to one day fall. I'm amazed at every day I wake up to learn that I am Houdini-escaping from the confines of the traditional 9 to 5 cubicle. I know my time with this art as work is borrowed, and I'm taking the chance to practice deeply.
Over the next few months, I will be working on a new video project to capture my moments with my art form in the corners of my late-night practice sessions. I know soon, I will have to be selfless and transfer ship to a 9 to 5 job, to support my fiance and upcoming family. But until then, I will sleep late and spend as much quality time with magic as I can.
The project is called "Cardboard Kingdoms", and introduces anyone who cares to follow me on a journey through a world of card magic routines performed to poetry. Each routine is its own frail, fleeting kingdom- kind of like a city of dominos that is destined to fall down with only me watching. I don't really get to express or perform these routines at my gigs that much, so these deep-night practice sessions are where I can really visit them, and get lost in the art I have grown to love.
The first of these kingdoms is the Sky, and is inspired by my long distance relationship with my fiance Agnes Pasco. Enjoy your stay, and if you'd like to see more, subscribe to the Cardboard Kingdom channel www.youtube.com/cardboardkingdoms, as I'll have a new kingdom ready for you to explore every few weeks or so this whole summer.
I have a new effect: Magician to Alchemist.
The purpose of this blog is to report my findings in my study of magic: my hidden findings; not the ones that involve learning new effects, routines, or even performing principles. The purpose of why I practice magic with the fervor of an alchemist is and always will be hagakure: hidden beneath the leaves for me to reveal.
I am a proponent of seeking the secret to mastery, like some rare earth metal or a planet with the elusive conditions to support life. Mastery is as elusive as time-travel, or getting into heaven on worldly works alone. I admit my faults and falls along the way, and my ego stares them down like an adversary yet to be defeated. I hate rivals. They bring out the fool in me, and I'm convinced to try and chase them down like shadows and catch up to their every move. I hate praise, and its allure, because it sways me away from my journey like a siren with its attractive words: praise God, and no one else. I wish to impart that on everyone I perform for, including the self I see in the mirror of my practice sessions. I fear criticism, like praise, because it can cause me to believe completely in the public opinion of others, and seek to validate every second of love-work I put into this art form with their judgement. I don't want to impress them, or to live in the shadow of proof. I don't stand behind proof, and instead, aspire to love what I do without proof. I have faith that I am in love with this art form; with my fiance; with God; with the belief that any good that comes from my magic is God's doing, and that any bad is from my own human imperfection. I am a horrible magician. I am naturally clumsy, socially awkward, set in my ways, and as oblivious an observer of people as they come. How I'm getting away with doing this for a living, I don't know. I know that I am capable of bringing out the God within through this alchemist-intense practice of this art I love only second to my fiance, my family, and God. The people who are not my audience for a fleeting moment of time, where praises, worship, and paychecks are at my grasp, are the ones worth practicing magic for; and getting good at it for. I hope to master this art in secret hopes of mastering self. The magician is the character of transformation.
I'm just going to be upfront with all the magicians in the scene that happen to be here reading this, and amazing me with enough non-indifference to come visit me here in the late-night corners of my alchemist-like lab: f**k learning new effects. The best effect learned in the practice of magic is the transformation of self. Do that, and I believe the reactions you'll get will go far beyond words, bookings, and tips.
And if you don't care to take any part of these findings I am humbly offering you an entire page of after years of laboring in the lab, oh well: God bless!
I am not a mentalist, but I have a feeling of what you're thinking:
Whatever he's doing is stupid. Why is everyone standing around him? How dare he make himself the center of attention? I hate him already. I don't want to take part. If I do, it would be like participating in the macarena, or the electric slide. I refuse to conform and do what he says. It might be fun, and I will feel stupid: that is what I am afraid of. I am angry and offended already at the notion. Why is everyone happy? I need to get closer. I don't want to see, because what if it's good? I might hate him even more. I don't want him to see me. Good, he doesn't see me. I'll just watch this from the outside- I'm okay watching from where I'm watching, from the outside looking in. I can't play along, because I'm not an idiot. I'm an adult- a passerby, full of pride and preconceived notions on how the idea of watching a magic show is stupid. I know it looks fun, but so does the macarena. He's looking my way. He just asked for my name. I secretly wanted to join this stupid game of "let's watch the magic show" the whole time. Okay fine, I'll play along. I apologize for hating. I find myself smiling. Thank you so much for making my pride vanish.
The Great American Spectator
See the full article at
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=226895514056472&set=a.226895507389806.55097.116333738445984&&theater Trying to create some publicity for myself lol. press people get at me
Today, I watched About Schmidt, and Jack Nicholson asked himself a very important question that poked me: what have I done on this Earth that is making a difference? The same question was posed in a book I'm reading called "Dance Dance Dance" by Murakami: is the world doing okay without me and my work? I've wondered how things will be if I never did a single show again; if this last trick I showed you would really be my last. After a long stretch of no work, I went out of 2011 riding back to back gigs, and feel revived to just be in front of a room, performing again. My show is the one thing I do that I have a comfortable certainty doing. Ironically magic is a mystery to most, but to me, the things I do that aren't magic are the mysteries: falling in love in new ways with the girl I'm engaged to, finding God, and believing that my story will turn out alright. What I'm trying to say is, magic is the one thing I know, front and back, in a universe swirling with things unknown. I cannot just drop it at the end of this year. Even if I may find myself working a 9 to 5 a few years from now, I know the world will be okay without my magic shows. But my world, internally, will not be okay. How will my mind be without this practice? The great swordsman Miyamoto Musashi discovered his purest state of mind through perfection of the sword. I can only hope to continue practicing for that same purpose, regardless if there is a paying audience in front of me many years down the road or not. I can't stop magic, even if I tried: to do so would be to vanish. That's impossible, as I'm still here at the end of the year, breathing and alive. There are so many more places to spread my magic to. I'll never be finished. My magic will continue like a universe, unfolding with or without my control in every direction for all to see.
To make a magician react is a great thing. Many magi consider the art of fooling the magician a worth-while pursuit, and are in constant search for ways to blow their fellow practitioners away.Being a magician means seeing many different kind of reactions.
As of late, I have been meditating the reactions of magicians as they enter the House of Flying Cards, the dojo I run. They turn into kids! They become happier than normal to be surrounded by knowledge, and others like them. Every one in the House is so diverse: to see such a collection of characters under one roof, all united under one love for the art of magic, is like watching a giant reaction unfold. The effect is the House. It is rewarding on a different level.I used to wonder what the purpose of the House of Flying Cards was. In the beginning, it was to make a stamp on the college social scene as being a sick crew of wonder workers who would blow everyone away in their tracks. I always thought it was a living RPG game of characters that go through events together and rip minds to pieces. It was like being in a gang or the Yakuza, wrecking havoc at any social gathering or event we ran through. That was so fun! As we get older, I see it growing deeper in its purpose. It is bringing people back to magic. It is refreshing their relationship with their art. It is making them happy. It is giving them something to belong to, and be excited about. It is teaching them more magic than they could learn in a thousand books or DVDs from Theory 11 or wherever can. It is introducing them to a more personalized version of the after-hour jam sessions at conventions. It is bringing people together, and making them happy. Magic is about that: spectators and magicians alike. I am happy this is unfolding the way it is.
I sit at the edge of this empty dojo, with a half-smile and my sword down for once, imagining all the amazing places these magi will go.
I have great compassion for you, whether or not you have love or hate. I promise to treat your event with meticulous care, like an artisan potter with a mound of clay. I will represent my art form properly and prolifically at your event, and will add a dimension of entertainment that will surpass any amount of decorations or hype you can build up. I promise you I won't hold back, and will give you my magic in it's fullest form: effect for effect, moment for moment. I understand you work for your money, and I do as well: I will work diligently to make sure my magic is something you and your guests will love. I love what I do, and I intend to project that unto you when you are done seeing what I have to show you. I have a show for you, my great American spectator. I work for my bread and feel blessed, while you enjoy the finer things in life such as a slice of discretionary income for you to spend on your event. Live magic performance is an awesome thing to treat your guests to: an art form for the ages, a feeling as primal as a breath of fresh air. You will be wowed, in one way or another. I will see to it. You are in my hands for the hour or two that you book me and my show. I may not like you, but I love what I do more than any disposition you have can sway that. See you at your next event.
There's a delicate balance I wish to achieve with the magic I make. It's as fleeting as a moment on a tightrope. On one side sit commercial mages of the gig circuit with their invisible decks and their snowstorms in China. On the other, effect junkies of the club scene waving their newest torn and restored cards and signed coins jangling in bottles. I don't want to stand on either of the two towers, but right here, in the middle of the two: nowhere magicians of either industry would feel like going.
I have a knack for falling out of any population I find myself in. I want to express myself out of it, like a lonely passenger on an express train out of Tokyo into the hermitage of the mountains. When I am alone with my magic, I fall in love with it. When I see the way other magicians can rape it, I feel bitter; maybe, the way a lover of words would react to the lyrics of rap songs on the radio.
As I regain consciousness from my reflection on the tightrope, I find there is no way to walk the thin line between magic as "art" sold to magicians and magic as entertainment sold to laymen. The way is to be still. I am resolved in my position, not to sell out completely to either camp, because I disagree with both sides equally. I do not agree with the effect junkies who perform for no one and spend their days worshipping creators and chasing them around the convention circuit. I do not look up to the commercial magi who spend all their time performing the same played-out material that everyone else is doing, with all the same corny jokes that they all use for the sake of a reaction. And the few famous celebrity magicians like Criss Angel on the billboards across the street? I don't want to be them, because they are who I am not. I don't want to be like any celebrity for that matter, for fame is a fume that can be addicting and deadly.
If there was a balance I'd want to achieve, I'd have to fall several times to figure it out. The way I want my magic to go is up, and away. All art is a bridge to heaven, so I'll lay down on this invisible string and stare at the sky in between the two towers, levitating in my place.
The purpose of what we do is to spread a feeling that know other art form can articulate. It is a smile that cracks deeper than delight. If it's a laugh, it's a wonderful mix of being terrified and awe-struck, like standing before your first love, and willing to submit every bit of yourself to the gravity of that moment. It's a way of opening your eyes to the expanse of what you don't know, and absorbing it for the first time, like the light from suns you've never seen. The Hindus called it Jadu; like jade, or something precious. It's a string of curse words spoken spontaneously- the WTFs, NFWs, and OMFGs- as if running to God himself and asking Him to shake off the spell the magician has cast over you. It's frightening and funny, like discovering a spider on your back. The reactions of magic crack open and crumble even the finest of minds. It's distinct, instantaneous, and pushes buttons no other art form can touch. It caves you in like a sinkhole into your psyche. When done right, magic moves its audience, as fast as a free fall. There is no trickery or secrets around the reactions we spread. Magicians everywhere are united in that purpose, like the Knights Templar, or Jedi of Jadu. We are few and far between, so seek us out: we are bringers of a feeling found no where else.
Also, random props for this inspiration goes out to our magi crew counterpart in the Philippines, a troupe of doper than dope magicians called the Magic Window. They are essentially spreading what we spread, the raw, organic way we do it, on the other side of the planet. For more info on the Philippines' Magic Window crew, check out http://www.facebook.com/themagicwindowcebu
The Move Unseen
A blog for magic.