November 2010

Our very own Jeff Carson shared his unique way of looking at and performing magic with us tonight, in a two hour lecture that had us all amazed and amused. Jeff explained how he is always looking for new ways to use off-beat items to incorporate into his performances. After his introduction, he “squeaked” onto the performing area. Each step caused a squeak. So Jeff took out a large old-fashioned oil can and treated the squeak in his shoe. Funny stuff.

Jeff showed how he begins a birthday party show with a large (Fantasio) candle for the birthday child. He has the child make a wish, and blow the candle out, with the candle vanishing. Jeff wraps the candle in a silk, and sometimes uses a flint sparker to add to the effect. He also removes the wick and replaces it with a small piece of a regular birthday party candle. A small gimmick prevents the candle from flying away during the vanish. Many of us will be digging our Fantasio candles out of storage to use them now!

Jeff also uses a small aluminum work platform for shows when he doesn’t have a stage. He bought his at a big-box hardware store. For a silk handkerchief vanish, he recommends diamond-cut silks for a bigger effect, and has a nice way of reproducing the hankie from the sleeve of a volunteer.

For all shows, Jeff said to use NEW props (silks, sponge balls, etc.) and to iron all cloth props. Keep all props looking new for a professional look. Also, he showed how he uses different size props depending on the performing venue. In close-up magic, regular size playing cards work, while jumbo cards need to be used on a platform. On stage, he’ll use oversize cards (bigger than 11” x 14”) that can be seen far away. Same with the Professor’s Nightmare. His stage size ropes could haul in the Titanic, but they can be seen from the back of the largest theater!

One of the card effects he performed seemed to be a simple card selection, until he shuffled the pack, put in on a table, and asked the volunteer to name ANY number. Jeff counted to that number and there was the selected card!  A great effect using a gimmicked deck that many of us already have, but looks like real magic with Jeff Carson’s touches.

He showed how to vanish water from Styrofoam cups, and then explained how he generates good feelings in his audience with simple give-aways that include his business card. The Fortune Telling Fish effect is very inexpensive, but makes people remember who you are.

This being a lecture, Jeff of course had some items for sale, but he priced them fairly. His “All in One” was a super quiet reel to vanish coins and poker chips that looks like “real” magic!

After a short break, Jeff showed how to make some nice magic effects, including a Magic Gumball Machine, and several sets of Nested Boxes that cost next to nothing to gimmick!  A lecture well worth seeing. Thanks, Jeff for sharing it with us.


DAVE KELLY, Recording Secretary

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