Some Alexandrites have asked me if I’ve seen the magicians of India.  By this they mean the street magicians of places like Bangalor, Calcutta and Mumbai. Nowadays with the advent of the internet it’s quite easy to look behind the scenes of a conjurer, but videos of Indian street magicians charming snakes and eating broken glass are rare.

In order for us to arrive at a clear understanding of magicians and their works, we must begin at the beginning, or in other words, go back, almost to the primeval man. Space will not allow us to take up the early history of magic, or its supernatural features or tendencies with which it teemed in the dark ages; the scope of the present blog is the practical part of magic and its exponents, as applied to the furnishing of harmless and pleasing entertainments.

Although I’ve never personally been to India, a neighborhood kid named Joe had a very nice mother named Maria.  Maria was the first to tell me of them in a trip she took to India.  She would tell me about the “feats of the streets” that she witnessed while traveling there because she knew I did magic.  You can see how thoroughly these street magi were by reading ancient Persian manuscripts like Acamadesic Conjoresh.  Though I’ve not read this text, people have told me the things it describes like Emporer Jepang and the miracles he supposedly performed.  Legend has it that he would raise on the spot ten mulberry trees from a corresponding number of seeds. He had people place mulberry seeds in the ground in different places and in a few moments a mulberry tree began to spring from the earth, and every tree had leaves, branches and fruit!  Trees of all kinds were produced in the same manner, and they all bore their fruit, which the emperor declared to be very good. Before the trees were removed there appeared among their branches birds of marvelous beauty in their color, form, and in their songs. Finally it was noticed that the leaves of the trees took on the last tints of autumn, and gradually, as they had appeared, the trees sunk away from the spot where the conjurer had created them. Read the rest of this entry »

Corporate events are a showcase for your products and services. You will expect thousands of current as well as prospective customers and clients to show up. For a corporate event to be a success, you need it to be well-planned, well-organized, and well-executed. Can you manage? Or do you need the services of a professional Corporate Event Manager? Whether the corporate event is for business or socializing, whether it’s large or small, formal or informal; regardless of the objective, it should be well-planned with the help of professional and experienced corporate event managers.

With your company hosting the corporate event, you would have decided whether to plan the event yourself or to hire the services of professional a Corporate Event Manager. Of course, you may feel that most of you have planned some event or other; a meeting with your business associates, a get-together with friends and family.  Organizing a corporate event would be the same. A corporate event is not similar to organizing get-togethers and meetings. The role of corporate is not small and any mistake on this front could cost you dearly.  There are many advantages to hiring Corporate Event Managers. They bring a number of assets, skills, services, and economical advantages to the table.

Whatever the objective of your corporate event, it requires some added value. Here are some of the ways Corporate Event Managers can bring out the best in your event: Read the rest of this entry »

I received an email from Alexandrite Arthur Jameson asking about The Multiplying Bottles Trick.  He wanted to know if I thought it was a good trick for him to perform in his stage show.  Since he took the time to write me and ask about it, I thought I’d include my response and a darn good routine for all of you peruse.  If you’re not familiar with the trick you can view it here.  The Multiplying Bottles, I am told, is credited to Arthur P. Felsman, a well-known Chicago Magic Dealer of the early part of the century.  It laid dormant then until the 1940’s when it was revived by Percy Abbott.  I first witnessed the effect presented by Paul Daniels on a video. The production of nine bottles from the two tubes seemed like a novel trick.  I made mental note that here was an item for future consideration. The price of the set kept many from buying so I knew that once I had my own I would have few competitors.  My dear friend Peter Pit did a great Multiplying Bottles routine.  You can see all of his magic on a DVD called Memoirs.

A few years later, Bert Pratt asked what he could build me in return for a favor, and I suggested a table for Multiplying Bottles and soon a wonderful table some five feet long, 18 inches wide, and 30 inches high, with padded upholstery like an expensive brand with a black felt top was ready for use. Not to bore you with details of the development of the routine, but let me outline the scene as it would be presented: Read the rest of this entry »

In June 1967, the groundbreaking Monterey International Pop Music Festival literally destroyed traditional notions of major event programming when The Who, after playing “My Generation,” demolished their equipment, followed by Jimi Hendrix, who torched his guitar before smashing it to pieces.

In the decades since, California has disrupted another arena innovation. From San Diego’s flourishing start-up scene to Silicon Valley, home to game-changers like Apple, Facebook and Google and seat of global venture capitalism, the state continues to deconstruct and reinvent the corporate landscape. Employed throughout this entrepreneurial ecosystem are Gen Yers – the 20 to 35-year-olds who are also altering the agenda for meetings and events.

Joseph Adams, 26, is the archetypal Gen Y go-getter. Originally from Ohio, the self-described Bay Area “marketing hacker” (his adaptation of “growth hacker”; a person skilled at using technology and analytics to test the market-worthiness of new ideas and products) reveals how the Gen Y ecosystem works. Read the rest of this entry »

Some call it the greatest scam in history.  Have you ever gone to a Psychic or had your palm read?  Throughout history, throughout the world, they defy explanation. They are psychic readings.  Everyone has either had one or knows someone who has. People find these readings astonishing, and with good reason, since they are often intriguing and incredible.

Here’s how it usually goes down.  You go to see a psychic – someone to whom you are a complete stranger. The psychic, usually female, describes your personality with pin-point accuracy. She identifies events in your past and present. Her reading may include the names of people you know, and specific facts about your personal life, career, and plans for the future. She refers to your innermost thoughts and problems, and provides wisdom and guidance which seems to make sense. She may also offer glimpses into the future which have an uncanny way of coming true.

I last went to a Psychic in March of 2005.  She said my Mom had a lot of expectations, which isn’t really true. She also said that I wasn’t specific enough about my goals, or finishing things which may be true. She said there would be an issue with my right knee.  Instead it was with my left bicep.  She also said Vegas would be a hit for me, and cruise ships wouldn’t be.  The opposite is true.  She said, I’d be doing magic well into my 60’s, which is kind of obvious, isn’t it?  Also she mentioned I’d be buying and selling real estate and through a tall guy with red hair, I meet a guy who golfs, who has a great idea and will mentor me financially.  I’m still waiting for that to happen!  Basically it didn’t work for me, nor did the 6 times before that I tried it. Read the rest of this entry »

Technology can mean the difference between a business that just survives and one that truly thrives.  With this fun new economy we’ve all become a part of a significantly reduced workforce, so a number of companies are turning to technology-based solutions to manage and execute corporate events.  However, finding the right solution isn’t as easy as it sounds.  A variety of apps and online tools are available free of cost.  Select the perfect event planning software for your organization to enjoy the event that you have the responsibility to put on.

Take a look around you.  The trends of today seem to validate the designs, styles and colors from past years.  It’s almost a confirmation of how much we love the beauty of event planning and the process of identifying all that inspires our romantic and creative style.  While trends in color, fashion, fabrics and themes continue to reinvent themselves, there is one trend that continues to evolve and seldom repeats.  Technology.

Business operations evolve with new technology, opportunities and lessons learned. With the explosion of mobile apps we can set up and run a web video conference, and manage our clients, projects and payroll.  Our businesses need to keep up with technology or be left behind. A business today is expected to be on LinkedIn, have Facebook fans, broadcast a YouTube channel, provide a useful app, and have an active Instagram or Twitter account that updates, entertains and informs followers multiple times a day.  Additionally, a business needs to stay informed as much as it informs others so it has to Digg for information and hope to StumbleUpon something interesting enough to tell followers on Reddit while creating buzz and likes for its brand. Read the rest of this entry »

Sometimes when I perform my shows, I encounter a disturbing element in my audience that has become a personal pet peeve of mine.  I mean it really gets to me.  Coughers.  The people who, at moments of silence in my show, cough incessantly.  I wonder, are they all sick?  It happens at corporate shows, cruise ships and even at loud trade shows.  I’m going to drop my guard in this blog and be very vulnerable with you.  Is that okay?  This is not a soap box for me to stand on and preach, but rather to admit some weaknesses and relate.  I may be over analyzing here, but it has caused me to examine the importance of knowing my audience. As no two audiences are the same, it is almost impossible for an actor or a magician to access the peculiar nature of the people in those seats, until he has been in front of them for at least a few minutes.

Nevertheless, there are signposts which must be realized.  Children, for example are more “knowing” than most adults, except for the very little ones. They have unadulterated minds and look for simple explanations, which are generally the right ones.  This was really brought home to me a few years ago, I performed the same tricks on consecutive evenings in front of a scientific society and for the juniors of a church.  The members of the former were easy prey.  I would listen to them after the show and it was fascinating to hear.  They attributed my effects to psychology, mirrors, reflected light and all sorts of apparatus.  However at the church the youngsters were alarmingly to the point.  I mean they would shout out such things as, ‘Turn your hand over’ and ‘what about the bit of thread’ and ‘let’s see the other side of the lid’.  As much as this disturbed me on an ego level, how right they were!  Hence the need with children to be unsuspicious and absolutely resolute in every move you make.  On no account – whether acting, playing or doing a trick – should there be any playing down to children.  Treat them as adults.  I think they can appreciate a Shakespearian play, if it is well acted and presented; and similarly they will not be inattentive or ‘see through a trick’ if it is done with the right amount of finesse. Read the rest of this entry »

Do you plan events for the corporate world like product launches, conferences, seminars, etc? If so, look into these seven practices of successful event planners. You can easily dismiss these points as trivial or as something that doesn’t apply to you, as I did at one time. Slowly however, I learned to apply them as I saw I events become unraveled right before my very eyes, because I chose to ignore these simple guidelines.  This has been learned the hard way, and although they’re pretty basic, most event planners agree this is the main stuff you need to be aware of for successful event planning.

  1. Be certain that information flows freely across your teamLook, event planning is rarely done in isolation. In most cases you’ll have a team of individuals who you’ve delegated various responsibilities to.  It can be very easy to generate assumptions that everyone knows what the focus of the event is, and exactly how what they’re doing fits in with what everyone else is doing. But both assumptions may be totally incorrect.

At the start of your event planning effort, take time to share your event’s objective along with your “Plan B” policy with every single one on your staff. Make sure you huddle in with all of them to explain this.  Have regular meetings to assess the progress on an ongoing basis to ensure that everyone is cognizant of all aspects of the event. Read the rest of this entry »

There is one area we still have not talked about in my blogs. Spiritualism. Although many of you Alexandrites may not choose to work presentations of this type into your shows, the subject has recently gained much interest lately. Priests of ancient times made deception a science and an art so as to convince their followers that there was life after death. They preyed on the superstitious fears of the masses with cleverly concealed apparatus in their temples to make it seem that the spirits spoke to them. In certain parts of Greece you may even still find speaking tubes, trap doors, secret passageways, syphons, trick altars, etc., by means of which they controlled the speaking idols, fire-spitting, water-projecting, and food-eating gods. These excite the admiration of the modern magician and almost cause him to turn green with envy, so clever and such good magic are these contraptions.

From the time when the Faux sisters startled the world with their spirit rappings in 1848, rogues posing as spirit mediums have mulcted millions of dollars annually from the simple minded and even from the intelligent but credulous, by using magic to prey on the most solemn and sacred emotion of the human heart, the longing to hear from a loved one beyond the grave.  Until about 1908, physical phenomena were the rage among spiritualists. In practically every large city there were hundreds of materializing, trumpet, slate writing, table tilting and rap producing mediums. Most of them prided themselves on working under “strict scientific test conditions,” being tied with ropes, handcuffed, placed in sacks, etc. Read the rest of this entry »

If you have an event planning guide you give to clients, there should be a substantial section covering audio/video equipment for your client.  Whether it’s yours rented to them or from an outside source you will need to inform your client why equipment is necessary, what to get, and where. Perhaps you have been the planner at an event and had the spine chilling moment when you realized that equipment was needed that simply wasn’t there.  The audience can’t see what the presenter is holding in his hand, or worse, they can’t hear him. The amount of technical equipment required for an event will depend on the sort of people attending and the size of the event. An event production company will be able to assist you in all of this. A good place to start is usually to consider what media to utilize to depict your messages. Here are a couple ideas to get you going.

Ask these questions to your speakers/presenters: What visual media can be seen in their presentations? PowerPoint slides, video, DVD? What kind of screen needs to be used? A simple screen, a projector and lap top, or even a harder stage-set with lighting and graphics? Many of those may depend on the size of your audience. Usually the larger the guest list, the more equipment you will want. Are we dealing with front, back, or fly projection?  Is a Public Performance License needed for videos, DVD’s, or music you wish to play? Read the rest of this entry »

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