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Welcome to the trick page where I'll share with you some of my favorite tricks, gags, and bits of business, many of which have been featured in my columns for MAGIC and JUGGLE magazines.  I hope you'll find the material presented here useful whether you're a clown, juggler, magician, or geek.  If you like what see, then I think you’ll enjoy my book.  It can be found on the ECCENTRICKS PRODUCTS PAGE.


FAKE FAKIRY

Fake Fakiry for web brown background

EFFECT:  Here's a classy little miracle suitable for elegant dinner parties and ladies luncheons, where you engage in the sophisticated act of snorting a rubber band up your nose, and removing it from your mouth.

DIRTY LITTLE SECRET:  What do clowns do to amuse each other between shows?  I'm afraid to say. 

I remember one twisted Joey who possessed the unusual talent of snorting a fly up his nose, then spitting it on the wall.  The stunned insect would then slowly crawl away with what we all assumed was a rather dazed expression on its face.  Fortunately, this stunt will require no such invasive, nasal abuse.  It does involve clowns though, so feel free to be afraid...very afraid.

My old Clown College classmate Frank Olivier was in Vegas recently, and rather than discussing how our lives have fared over the last quarter century, we instinctively decided to busy ourselves with more important matters -- swapping gags.  After the usual displays of inspired buffoonery and knuckle-bustery, he showed me this delightfully gross interlude.  (Gags like this tend to go around for years, but if anyone deserves credit it may be band-master Joe Rindfleisch, and it's on his Extreme Rubber Band Magic DVD.)

It's actually a rather convincing illusion, similar to a cigarette-up-the-nose bit, but faster and with a great blow-off.  Two matching rubber bands are used, one being surreptitiously concealed in your mouth.

The other is secretly looped around the pinkie of the lowest hand.  While acting out the pantomime of violently snorting the stretched rubber band up your nose, it actually snaps down into your cupped hand.  It's a quick gag followed by a quick gag, afterwhich you open your mouth and reveal the duplicate rubber band -- with a dazed look on its face.



ALI’S ANOMALY

EFFECT:  You're able to correct the fact that you're not normal -- kind of.

DIRTY LITTLE SECRET:  When I was a twelve year-old kid growing up in the South, while every other magical kid on the block wanted to be Channing Pollock or The Great Ballantine, I wanted to be Ali Bongo.  Now, here I am, a good ten years later (give or take twenty years or so) and he continues to inspire me still, on stage and off.

Recently, while hitting him up for a good Eccentrick, he gave me the finger by showing me this strange little piece of digital diversion.  In it, he demonstrated that his middle and index fingers were oddly the same length -- a peculiarity that I chalked up to one too many zombie routines.  Then he proceeded to alter the bizarre appearance of his hand by physically stretching out his middle finger, so that all was back to normal in Bongoland.

How did he accomplish this without years of physical therapy?  Quite simply, and if you'll go grab some fingers I'll explain it to you, props in hand.

If you extend your middle and index like most humans, then your hand will appear similar to most humans.  But, if you push your fingers over to the side as much as possible, you'll find that their relative length alters.  Moving them to the other extreme, like a pair of tiny windshield wipers, the discrepancy in their length gets exaggerated the other way. 

In other words, swung towards the thumb side they're practically the same length; towards the pinkie side your middle finger is much longer.  This is the principle you exploit as you show your hand one way and then the other, with a little stretching pantomime in between to mask the subtle transition between the two positions.

One thing that Ali wanted me to mention, and you to know, is that this effect can be performed for the blind. Not a bad thing to keep in the back of your head should the opportunity arise, as it's a shame not to share the gift of magic with whomever you can, whenever you can, wherever you can.

Thanks Ali. 

Ali for web
Ali's hands for web

As the Whirled Turns

This is currently one of my very favorite party stunts.  Firstly, because of its contagious sense of fun, and secondly because it requires to gratuitous nudity. (Though that doesn't hurt.)

It's eye-catching, mesmerizing, and fun to teach others, like the three ball cascade or competition basket weaving.  

Basically, it's a paper airplane of whole 'nuther sort, where a twirling, whirling piece of paper stays pinned against your fingertip by air pressure alone, as it soars around in a dazzling display of acrobatic aeronautics.

All that's required is a an approximately one inch and a quarter sized cigarette paper.  You know, the kind your burned-out friend from high school still uses while listening to Bob Marley and repeating himself constantly, as he listens to Bob Marley and repeats himself constantly.

The way the paper's folded is very important.  Each side is turned upwards about an eighth of an inch, forming a little lip around the whole piece.  The creases at the corners should radiate out diagonally so that it ends up resembling a small picture frame.  The "cup" side faces the wind.

Begin by gingerly placing the paper perpendicular to your fingertip, and gently holding it in place with your thumb.  By slowly turning around in a circle, the paper should remain there and go into a fluttering spin once you remove your thumb.  If not, keep trying until you find just the right speed, or get dizzy and need to throw up.  Supposedly, a quick cure for such dizziness can be found by jumping up and down a few times to jar the fluid in your inner ear back into place.  At least that's what Alan Howard, the esteemed editor for JUGGLE magazine told me just before I threw up on his desk. 

A neat twist, in keeping with the great juggling tradition of needlessly making your life more difficult, is to get two going on the same hand.  For this variation your opposite hand's fingertips hold the papers in place until critical speed is achieved.  One drawback here is that your performance is going to be pretty much limited to endless, nauseating turns.  With one piece you have more options as momentum can be kept up by describing a wide figure eight or giant circle with your propeller-headed finger.  The speed should be fast enough to keep the paper in place, but slow enough for it to maintain its structural integrity.   One image you may want to visualize is that of a kid playing with a toy plane, similarly flying your finger around in a sideways letter "T".  Also, feel free to supply the appropriate sound effect if you don't mind sacrificing your last shred of dignity.  Personally, I lost mine when I was twelve, and no, it didn't involve puking. 

It involved nudity.

Paper Stunt for web brown background

Coin up the Nose

EFFECT:  See title.

DIRTY LITTLE SECRET:  This is a novel use for the old pinch vanish.  If you're unfamiliar with this, just look at the illustrations below and practice for about 30 seconds.  I believe that this gag presentation not only makes it funny, it can also be “sleightly” more baffling.

The pictures pretty much tell the story.  You bring a coin up to your nostril as shown; execute the vanishing move with a big, loud, gross sounding sniff; then allow the coin to go into a fingerpalm as your hand drops somewhat.

Reproduce it if you wish, from your ear, nose, or any other orifice that strikes your fancy.

coin up nose for web brown background
pinch vanish 1 for web

SPECTATOR’S VIEW

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REAR VIEW


Drop This

Here’s a trick I wrote up in JUGGLE magazine and currently demonstrate on my Eccentricks Three DVD.  I learned it from a great escape artist in Australia named Arthur Coghlan, who taught me many things, not the least of which is the fact that there really are great escape artists.  I must admit, I’d always been rather dismissive about escapology after my first experience with a strait jacket.  Seemed to me the hardest thing about escaping from it was trying to keep it on.  My attitude changed somewhat after being locked in a steel drum for an hour.

Anyway, back to the stunt.  If you drop a lightbulb from a distance of say, five feet or so, onto concrete, it’s going to break, right?  Right.  That is, unless you’ve made the mistake of betting a case of Fosters on it.  When that’s the case, suddenly the bulb refuses to cooperate with logic.

How is this possible?  Does it have something to do with an esoteric natural law, perhaps the same one that governs the direction water swirls down the toilet?  Or does it have to do with a trick bulb, or maybe even wet concrete.

The answer is perfectly innocent and practical, and one which I know you’ll be anxious to try.  All you have to do is make sure that the bottom of the bulb hits first, and not the globe.  To ensure this is the case, hold the bulb lightly from above, and gently relax your grip so that the bulb falls in a perfectly straight line.  As long as the screw end hits first, you’ve nothing to fear.

The only drawback is that the bulb will probably no longer work due to the fragile filament inside.  A small price to pay, you must admit, for the potentially lucrative rewards a dirty little secret like this can bestow.

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