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
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.
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.
Egos as aside as possible, I take pride in saying that my man Remy Connor aka Sam has slayed me once again with his performing superiority. Right after suffering from a major car accident, I visited him to see that he was okay. He was cheerful and positive as ever, and I was glad to see him there in his apartment playing videogames and laughing, instead of in a hospital bed with a neck brace on. He would have still been laughing and being cheerful even if he was there in a hospital bed, and find a way to say "awesome" despite the non-awesome things a car crash can bring.
Here is a video I randomly ran into of him performing at a gig we did on Las Olas. This was actually the last time I performed alongside him since his car accident...
Remy Killing It
And so I the antidote am reminded of my former rival, the smoke-breathing serpent mage who manages to stand head and shoulders above the rest of the House in performing prowess. Sam is bar-none one of the best performers I know, and I delightfully envy the dynamics, grace, and potency of the way he delivers his magic to the minds of his spectators. He is alive, and well. He is not dead. He may be working less in magic these days, and sitting in an apartment playing videogames despite his physical injuries. He is still saying "awesome" even when life is telling him your car is totaled. I am so glad this isn't a eulogy. I feel like it is quite the opposite. My rival lives. He is still the insanely powerful magician I remembered him as when Mark and I met him at a magic convention many years ago. This lady who took the video could have posted Mark's set, or my set. She posted Sam's set. Sam slayed us. I am honored.-antidote
So, as the mighty founder of the rogue mage dojo the House of Flying Cards, commanding armies of magicians at my disposal like Gengis Kahn to conquer crowds wherever we go, I secretly freelance at a 9-5 desk job every now and then. It's great! It's so laid back. I pick up the phone and ask people if they would like free movie tickets, as opposed to picking up the phone and convincing people to book our shows. I sit peacefully in an air-conditioned cubicle surrounded by movie posters, as opposed to standing under the hot sun in front of groups of strangers waiting to be impressed. It's low-intensity, and stable. I have tasted this world. It's humbling, and there's peace in low-brainpower tasks such as shipping boxes of movie posters and stuffing envelopes. I once read that a Buddhist monk from the Ching Dynasty fled the bustle of the imperial city to retire in the mountains, and chop bamboo. He achieved enlightenment this way. It's a change of pace, the 9-5, but the more I do it, the more energy I store up energy for my next run on the performance grind. I love the way things balance out: low-intensity office hours and high-intensity gig runs. I can appreciate the balance both bring to my being!
The hidden lessons of my practice are becoming apparent: they flashed! It's not so much about taking what I need from the magic advice I'm given: it's giving a compassionate ear, and the opportunity for my advice givers to speak their peace. My dad is my mentor, and loves being that. I don't care if I don't agree with 50% of the advices in magic he gives me. I'm learning to love being able to give him the opportunity to mentor me, and humble myself to take what he suggests to heart. An open ear is a gift: I don't care what I learn after that. It's not about learning to make myself the best. The trick is to stay as humble as possible no matter how good I perceive myself, or my crowd perceives me to be. The better you become, the harder it is to do that! It's not about creating an awesome show to get more gigs. It's being selfless with the money I make from them, and serving the highest possible quality Jadu I can serve to my audiences. It's not about beating myself up for doing a bad show: it's forgiving, and learning to not take things so seriously. I think I have it figured out. I think I'm learning magic, but there is so much I don't know that's being secretly taught. Mastery of the sword precedes peace. Poems precede calm silence. Loving those around you precede God. I think I get it. I'm so fooled!
I have an idea what you're all thinking, if you're familiar with the House of Flying Cards: is the troupe founder going homeless? Think of it as a chance for me to stand on my own two feet, outside of the House, and breathe some fresh air. I'm not going anywhere, loyal spectators and mages of the House. I live and breathe that! That's actually where I grew up magically, and where all my closest friends are. And the bread I've made being there! Without the House, I wouldn't have been able to travel 10,000 miles to see the girl I love, have the money to pay for gas and car repairs, and gain all the performance experience I have gained up to this point. I wouldn't have met my mentor-brothers Mark, Sam, Datta, Sean, Nunky, and other mages with unique perspectives and energies that make life interestingly open for more discoveries. I am still and always will be representing the House of Flying Cards wherever I throw down a set. And this site? It's not a storefront, or an attempt to get bookings on my own. It's just, as of now, a dojo where the kind of magic I create can exist on it's own. And be appreciated and seen. I don't have any intention of abandoning my magicianal comrades whom I've been working with for so many years. The House of Flying Cards continues. Check out http://www.hofc.webs.comweeblylink_new_window for more info, and peep some of the dopest mages on the planet. I'm nowhere without those guys. Book them- us- before you book me by myself. We're a thousand magical tricks coming at you from all angles. You have no idea!
The Move Unseen
A blog for magic.