Michael Close Blog

Red Herrings in Magic – Some Good Reasons to Avoid Them

Red Herrings in Magic – Some Good Reasons to Avoid Them 1

Recently, I received an email from a Fool Us performer who had tried to explain to his friends and family why the show frowned on “red herrings.” I think I can explain this in a way both laymen and magicians will understand.

Some Thoughts on In & Of Itself

Some Thoughts on In & Of Itself 1

Lisa, Ava, and I watched Derek DelGaudio’s In & Of Itself when it premiered last Friday on Hulu. It is a beautiful thing. I did not have the opportunity to see the show live when it played in Los Angeles and New York, so I was delighted to learn it was coming to a streaming service. Frank Oz did a superb job translating it to the screen. We took the advice at the beginning of the film and silenced all our outside distractions while we watched. I urge you to do the same.

Rage Against the Gizmo

Rage Against the Gizmo 1

I am a big fan of contemporary physics and cosmology. I have read and studied the general public books of authors like Stephen Hawking, Brian Greene, and Lawrence Krauss. I don’t mean that I have skimmed through the books by these learned gentlemen; I have read and reread them, trying to wrap my head around the concepts they introduce. And I’m gaining some headway. I’m beginning to understand the Big Bang, inflation, dark matter, dark energy, string theory, and the importance of finding the Higgs boson.

A Short History of The T.O.M. Epiphany

A Short History of The T.O.M. Epiphany 0

“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” – Carl Jung

I have no idea what allows some people to be more creative than others; a fortunate arrangement of neural connections certainly is important. But research has shown everyone is creative, to a greater or lesser degree.


Observations on the Side Steal

Observations on the Side Steal 2

The side steal is a bugaboo card sleight. There are some effects, such as my The Card, the Forehead, and the Salt Shaker, for which it is absolutely vital; you can’t do the routine without a swift, dependable way to palm a card from the middle of the deck. 
Memorized Deck Magic - Taking the Next Step

Memorized Deck Magic - Taking the Next Step 0

My motivation for learning memorized deck magic was based on two things: a Juan Tamariz lecture in St. Louis, during which he performed Mnemonicosis; and the (unfortunately) vague descriptions of Bert Allerton’s memdeck effects in The Close-up Magician. Concerning memdeck magic, The Close-up Magician contains this salient point: “The reason the stacked deck tricks impressed people as being on a plane entirely beyond that of the usual card trick was because instead of being asked to select a card, they were required to merely name a card.”

  • Lisa Close
Lecture vs. Webinar

Lecture vs. Webinar 0

Lecturing is a frustrating experience, especially so if your goal is to impart information rather than to pitch products. The problem is that the range of knowledge and experience in any given group of magic enthusiasts is wide. In a magic club you may find someone who has been interested in magic for forty years, and someone else who has only been interested in magic for two years. But the neophyte may know more than the old timer. How do you address such a diverse group? I openly discussed this problem before my lectures, using the following story. 

The Truth about Lying

The Truth about Lying 1

“Magic consists mostly of bald-faced lies. I think if you don’t lie like a bandit, you don’t have the remotest chance of entertaining and fooling your audience.” 
– Geoff Latta, The Long Goodbye

My friend Peter Samelson posted the above quote on his Facebook page; it stimulated some discussion. Lies (and the ability to tell them convincingly) are part of the conjurer’s toolbox. A magician who chooses not to lie eschews an important layer of deception.