Sunday, September 30, 2012

TRICS Convention Day 2 Review

One of the great things about TRICS, is the late starting time each morning. Saturday morning started at 11AM with a great lecture from Andi Gladwin. Andi is a great sleight of hand magician and also a great performer. He did a brief explanation of his MASTER PUSHOFF move and showed some great applications for it. If you ever see Andi at a convention, ask him to show you his one handed second deal. WOW! My favorite routine he taught used name badges and spectators' choices of movie star names. This is a great pack flat routine that can entertain a room full of people. I don't believe this routine is written up anywhere, so if you have a chance to see Andi lecture be sure to bring a pen and paper to take notes on this effect.
      Rick Merrill was next up. Rick has one of my favorite acts to watch. He has a great character and plays it incredibly well. For those who may not know, Rick Merrill won FISM  a few years back with his Sharpie routine. This is visual magic at its best. Will I ever be able to do anything from this lecture? No way! But boy, it was fun to watch.
      Ever since I have been involved in magic, I have wanted to meet David Regal. I had a few opportunities in the past but either he wasn't able to make the convention, or I wasn't. I finally got to hear David lecture and was not disappointed. He performed his great routine involving  a deck of cards, an apartment fire, and a disposable deck. Yeah, that's right, an apartment fire. That is par for the course for David's presentations. Some of my favorite magic books to read include David's books. Great methods and very entertaining presentations. He also performed his MENTAL EIGHT BALL TRICK. This is a great routine that leaves plenty of room for jazzing. I can't recommend David's books and effects enough. As you can tell, I am a fan.
       Well that concludes all of the lectures. The evening show was great and most of the lecturers also performed. The crowd consisted of laypeople intermingled with magicians. This was a great show with all of the performers representing the magic world brilliantly. A couple of highlights from the show, in no particular order.

1. David Corsaro's book test - David chose probably the best book ever used in a book test. I won't give it away, since it is his routine to do with what he will. Just let me say, that I am not a fan of book tests, but this one had me laughing.

2. Rick Merrill's FISM act - Perfection and had the audience in stitches. Some of the best character lines I have heard from a magician.

3. David Regal's Cups and Balls - The ending to this routine is a jaw dropper and actually makes sense.

Well, that is my review of the TRICS Convention. If you have the chance to go next year, do so. It is a great convention for a close up enthusiasts and you can't help but have a blast there. Congrats to Scott and the Sleight Club on another well done convention!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

TRICS Convention

We just returned from the TRICS Convention in North Carolina. For those who don't know, this is a small gathering (91 registrants) of close up magicians, who get together for 3 days of lectures and sessions. Scott Robinson does a great job of making this a sharing experience with plenty of time for sessioning. The schedule is full of great lectures but not so full that you get tired of sitting in the lecture room. This year, the lecturers were Andi Gladwin, Rick Merril, Ray Kosby, Meir Yedid, David Regal, Terry Hedges, David Corsaro, and Doug Conn.
    Ray Kosby started the convention with Thursday night's 9:00 PM lecture. Ray is an incredible sleight of hand performer and he shared some great routines. If you don't have his DVDs, you are missing out on some of the best versions of some classic card plots. Highlights of the lecture included his Oil & Water routine which is done in the spectator's hands. This is one I will be looking up, as it just might be the best version out there. He taught a repeat torn and restored movie ticket effect that is practical and fits in your pocket. Of course, he taught his Raise, Rise move in which a card visually rises through the deck while out jogged. This isn't an easy move but in his hands, it looks like real magic.
    Each year, Scott brings in someone less known for a new comer lecture. These are always great and this year's performer was no exception. Terry Hedges entertained us with an hour full of commercial card magic. He has some great presentations for some classic card plots which bring them from simple card tricks to performance pieces. His collector's routine ends with the appearance of four famous detectives from TV and Literature. He had a great idea for the overdone routine of a spectator picking the same card over and over again. I am looking forward to more ideas from Terry.
     David Corsaro was up next and wow, what a lecture! David's lecture was one of the most professional looking lectures I have ever seen. With the use of a PowerPoint presentation, David taught us some incredible routines as well as great marketing tips. I picked up a lot from this lecture including the idea of using social media more in growing your brand. (Hence this blog post!) The tricks he taught were excellent. His "Getting to Know You" is a real baffler in which the emphasis is placed on the spectator. "Mallrats" is a great routine that fooled a lot of people in the room. "Can I Call You Sometime" was my favorite version of the telephone number production with tons of room for comedy. If you ever have a chance to see David lecture, don't miss it. It is one of the best I have seen.
     Meir Yedid lectured after the dinner break. He fooled me with an add a number routine that I will be buying in the future. His 10 card repeat routine done with bills had a great kicker ending. My favorite routine was FadeOut which has a spectator naming a card from a deck that has been shown face up and face down. The card is removed and the rest of the cards become blank. This fooled me and I look forward to adding this to my collection as well.
     The last lecture of the day was a treat for everyone present. In his first lecture in 8 years, Doug Conn fooled the crowd with his incredible brand of close up magic. He had a great touch for his coins across routine that I will be adding to my own. His chink a chink done with scrabble tiles is a modern day classic and a routine that has the best ending of any chink a chink routine. A color changing deck fooled the room, as well it should. This is one of my favorite items from his book which can be found on our website. Doug has a DVD coming out that you will enjoy watching. The DVD is well produced and the tricks are straight from Doug's working repertoire.
     Well, that was the first day of lectures. I will talk more about the last day, including the closing public show in another post.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Dallas Super Session 2012

I just returned from a great one day convention in Dallas. As always, I had the most fun post convention, as we were all just lounging around chatting. So many great things in one day. Bob White and Jared Kopf held a lecture/discussion that was fantastic. Jared is highly regarded as one of the top card magicians in the business, and rightfully so. His Muckless Muck, with gimmicks made by Gary Plants, is a fantastic effect that I highly recommend. He showed that along with some of the trick's variants. We were treated to a demo/explanation of Vernon's Matching the Cards routine. This is a classic trick that should be in your repertoire. Card Magic does not get much stronger to a lay person than this. Jared lectured shortly on Erdnase. I can slowly feel my thinking on magic in general changing, but I can't quite put it into words yet. I believe it is going towards the more natural/classical side of magic. I will try to put those thoughts into words in a later post. I need to let them form a bit more before trying to put my thoughts on paper.
   Being able to listen to Bob White was a treat. His notes and DVDs are some of my favorites. Every effect and sleight he uses, has incredible thinking behind it. It is one thing to be able to perform tricks and quite another to be able to explain why they work and why you choose to use them. Do yourself a favor and pick up his DVDs and notes as soon as you get a chance.
    Hanging out with Gary Plants is always a treat and you are guaranteed to get fooled at least once. Unfortunately, I missed his multiple selection routine in the performance part of the convention, but heard it floored those watching. I did see him perform some effects from the new Woody Aragon book, and that made me want to go back and pull some items out of there.
     I spent some time with Joe Anderson, who makes some WONDERFUL wooden props. Email me if you are interested and I will get you in contact with him. All in all, a great convention. These smaller conventions are always my favorites. As we see more and more of the larger conventions having to cancel , it will be these smaller ones that are able to survive. Find the ones nearest you and support them. I promise you will have a good time.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

News from Richard

In October my wife Rosemary and I officially relocated to Logan, Utah, a university town in northern Utah where my parents have lived since 1969. Although I moved here with them, I have only spend four years here and only two of those contiguously, and all of them more than 30 years ago. So I have been enjoying exploring my "hometown" and getting re-acquainted with the area.

Logan is in Cache Valley, a fertile valley than runs north into Idaho between two mountain ranges. Three of my four grandparents were born and raised here so I am bumping into my family's history on an almost daily basis. One of my great-grandparents was twice mayor of Smithfield, Utah, a small town just north of Logan, and another had the town of Nibley, just south of us, named after him!

In January we opened a school of magic and music in a beautifully restored 1878 Mansion just off Main Street in historic downtown Logan. It was built by George Thatcher, one of the richest men in town at the time and the boss of my great-grandfather Hezekiah Eastman Hatch, who worked as a clerk in the Thatcher Brothers Bank, eventually becoming President of the bank. Perhaps it helped that Hezekiah married Georgia Thatcher, a niece of his boss! The Mansion is now owned by the City of Logan and reserved for use by the local arts community. Rosemary has a very nice studio on the second floor and my magic studio is in the attic, which is very mysterious. Here's a photo of one corner:!/image/3844746504.jpg
In addition to teaching, I have started a local magic club to flush out kindred spirits:
We have 15 members already and may outgrow my studio space soon.
On April 9th we start to offer monthly matinĂ©e performances of magic and music at the mansion, in a space downstairs that seats about 50.
Earlier this week I went to my first convention since turning H & R over to Marshall, the World Magic Seminar in Las Vegas. The big draw for me was the workshop on Thursday by Juan Tamariz and he did not disappoint! What a wonderful performer and deep thinker. I'll be re-reading all of his books and looking forward to the forthcoming Hermetic Press publications by him.
While in Las Vegas I also had a chance to see Paul Vigil's performance at King Ink and highly recommend it if you are going Vegas. It is an engaging, intelligent performance of the kind of sophisticated conjuring and mind reading that I most admire and enjoy. Following that I went to Penn & Teller's show at the Rio. I had seen them years ago in New York (when Rosemary and I were still in New Haven) and then years ago in Houston. I have always enjoyed their work, but their stage show at the Rio was even better than I had expected. I was repeatedly surprised and look forward to seeing it again soon.
I'm doing some consulting for the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles and will be at the opening of their upcoming exhibit:
In May I'll be attending the MCA Weekend in Chicago for a panel discussion of the Erdnase mystery and then the IMX convention in Las Vegas, which has a great line up, low price and the Orleans is just $35/night!
I'm looking forward to being a part of the H & R reunion at Magic Live in August.
I hope to see many of you at these events. If you are curious about our school, here's the website which includes links to many news reports in the local press in the news section:

I'm also slowly catching up on my magic reading and DVD viewing. I'm working through Roberto Giobbi's CARD COLLEGE DVD set ( and enjoying a sense of deja vu since I worked through this material years ago when translating the books. Roberto is a wonderful teacher, both in print and in person and the DVD communicates many nuances that are difficult to capture in print. I think this is a good value if you are serious about your card magic.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

News from Charlie

Marshall tells us that people keep asking what we’re up to, so he’s asked us to tell you via the blog.  Although Richard’s moved off to Utah, I’m still here in Houston, and I’m still working on publishing new books under the H&R banner.  Currently, my focus is on the new Nick Trost book (Vol. 3) and the FFFF book.  With Marshall taking over the day to day running of the business, I get more time to catch up on other stuff I haven’t had time to do the last few years.  I’ve even had time to completely read some of the new magic books! I just finished the new Sleights of Mind book, which was a lot of fun in-depth science mixed in with a bunch of guys we know. I didn’t agree with everything in the book, but I did find the whole thing very thought-provoking. It’s always kind of neat to see what outsiders (in this case, “former” outsiders) think of magic.

I’m also reading Roberto Giobbi’s Secret Agenda.  It’s quite enlightening to only read a page or two a day -- giving you plenty of time to think about what’s being said.  Gary Plants and I shared the rubber band powers of darkness trick with some friends, and it went over very well.  

I also just finished the new issue of Magic magazine and really enjoyed Adam Rubin’s article on Mark Setteducati. Mark’s a very fascinating guy who’s been able to turn his creativity into a great career. I remember Mark pushing Mel Stover around in his wheelchair and thinking, "there are two creative geniuses."  Finally, just got the new catalog from Gabe Fajuri for the new Potter & Potter auction.  Besides some really cool gambling apparatus you’ll find a few books from us! That’s all for now.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Finally- A Permanent Location

The past weekend was spent moving the shop from the temporary location in Vidor, to the permanent location in Beaumont. This will be the last move for awhile, at least I hope so. Half of the inventory is still in boxes, so things are still moving a little slow. The hope is to be completely moved in by this weekend. Here's to hoping!!! I've been reading the most recent Gibeciere. I enjoyed the first article on the reporter Nellie Bly. Bly was a skeptic and the first female investigative reporter. Hell bent on exposing fraudulent mediums, Miss Bly had a keen intellect which allowed her to solve the mysteries she observed. She was not afraid of confrontation, and her stories of altercations with "mind readers," make for an entertaining read.  I have to admit that this is my first experience with Gibeciere. I am hooked. Highly recommended.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Welcome to the H & R Magic Blog

If you are reading this, I can assume one of two things. Either you enjoy reading about magic, or you stumbled upon the page by accident. If you enjoy reading about magic, then you are in for a treat. The blog contributors will be myself, Richard Hatch and Charlie Randall. You can expect all kinds of updates here, as we plan to cover reviews, magic news, sales, announcements, and whatever else may come to mind. So, sit back, add us to your reading schedule, and enjoy the ride.

P.S. - For those who stumbled upon this page by accident, you are more than welcome to read along as well. Although, you may find yourself lost at some points along the way. If you are interested, I have a couple of books that might help you understand this blog a little better. :)