Rich Ferguson’s Fidgetting Without Fidget Spinners

Posted by Michael on May 22nd, 2017

I’ll admit it: I have a (couple of) fidget spinners. One of my daughters was asking me just the other day how I got through school without a fidget spinner. I told her that I drew on everything and perfected my coin sleights because teachers got wise to the deck of cards (probably why I don’t do card stuff to this day)!

Rich Ferguson obviously got through school without a fidget spinner, too, and he posted this great video of flourishes with cards and pencils so kids today can “fidget” without a spinner! Catch more of Rich over on his YouTube page or visit his website.

Monday Magic Bulletin Draft

Posted by Michael on May 22nd, 2017

Coverage from the NBC Nightly News of the last weekend of the Greatest Show on Earth starts our week. I’ll be honest: it makes me tear up a little… I didn’t get to see the live stream of the final performance last night since I was making one of my final cross-state drives before officially moving to iTricks Tower Midwest V2.0 full-time. Hopefully it will be available online!

Got Some Murray SawChuck news: The Golden Tiki in Vegas is unveiling its shrunken head of Murray SawChuck on June 14… get all the details on the Vegas News site. Vegas News also has a few pictures from Murray’s busy day earlier when he hit three charity events in a single day!

The Joplin Globe spoke with illusionist Rick Thomas recently; you can read the interview on their website and learn about his ballroom dancing past and how it inspires him today.

NEWS FLASH: Live Stream Last Ringling Brothers Circus Sunday!

Posted by Michael on May 20th, 2017

Sunday night (May 21, 2017) the legendary Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus will perform its last touring show in New York. They have announced that they are live streaming this historic performance on YouTube and Facebook Live Sunday evening at 7 PM Eastern time.

This truly will be the end of an era.

Magic Martin’s Red Nose Day Trick

Posted by Michael on May 19th, 2017

Magic Martin Gardiner posted this earlier in the year to help celebrate the British Red Nose Day; the US Red Nose Day is next Thursday with a big night of programming on NBC and the proceeds going to help eradicate childhood poverty. You can learn more about the US Red Nose Day on their official site. We had a problem trying to access Martin’s website, but you can see more of him on his YouTube page.

Checking Out Gatlinburg With Mentalist Erik Dobell

Posted by Michael on May 19th, 2017

Last year, the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area was afflicted with some terrible fires, but the good folks down there are bouncing back and there is still plenty to do. Mentalist Erik Dobell’s latest video shows him not performing as much as playing tourist at the 2017 Beans and Cornbread Festival, which in all honesty sounds kind of awesome. You can see more of Erik in his normal role of mentalist over on his official website.

Murray SawChuck Is A Mind Reader

Posted by Michael on May 19th, 2017

Murray SawChuck is back from his first USO tour and already has a new video up, featuring YouTube star Justin Paler Lin. Seems like a good way to kick off Video Friday.

Be sure to visit Murray over on his YouTube page.

Baller [Magic Review]

Posted by Michael on May 18th, 2017

Michael Lauck is a columnist for iTricks. All opinions expressed in this review are his own and not necessarily those of iTricks.

Baller by JT Chalatsis, Ellusionist, $34.95, downloadable instruction video, sponge balls and gimmick. Available directly from Ellusionist.?
The lowdown: Baller promises to make sponge balls great again… and delivers.

So here’s the deal: Two months ago I found myself in the ICU and I have been on an extended “medical vacation” ever since. I’ve needed to keep myself occupied (even though most of my possession are still boxed up after the move to iTricks Tower Midwest V2.0) so I have been working with sponge balls again. When I saw the trailer for Baller, well, I wasn’t sure I could believe what I was seeing. I ordered it and I fully expected to be disappointed… I mean, is there anything really that new in sponge?

A few days later it arrived. I got a gimmick that was hand built by creator JT Chalatsis (although it does not look “home made,” so don’t worry about that) and a set of two inch sponge balls. Mine were red and I assume they all are but I do not know for sure. Everything is securely packaged; in fact, I had to resort to a long handled wooden spoon to get the balls out of the tube they came in. My chihuahua wouldn’t stop barking (thanks to to mail man ringing the doorbell when he delivered Baller), I felt like crap and the wooden spoon thing annoyed me. On top of that, I forgot that it was a combination download/shippable item so I initially thought it had shipped without instructions because you don’t even get a link to the video (it is in your Ellusionist account). I was in a bad mood and expecting to hate this thing… I checked the Ellusionist site, found the directions and within 10 minutes, my day had completely turned around. Baller is brilliant; it delivers everything it promised.

I really can’t say too much about it without giving it all away. I think it is safe to say that if you use sponge balls frequently then you may have tried something like Baller, probably without success. That being said, I did not feel like Baller was a rip-off or a reworking of something I already had at all. This was not one of those “I just paid for something I already had” kind of moments. Nor was it a “More ripoff magic” moment. It was a “Finally! This makes so much sense!” kind of moment. It was a “I can’t wait to start using this” moment. In short, it was everything you hope for when you send off for an effect.

Let me be honest about Baller for a second, though: if you are not a sponge ball guy, this will be useless to you because you are going to still need sponge ball skills and routines. Baller is like really great barbecue sauce; it makes dinner a whole lot better, but you still need some meat to pour it on. Does that make sense? Think about it because I really think that it is a good way to describe Baller. Another thing to consider is that the Baller gimmick is going to wear out and need to be replaced, but honestly, that is the nature of sponge magic and I expect it to last for a while. In the future, it might be nice to see Baller sets in different sizes or colors, but that is hardly a deal breaker.

Baller is a good purchase for anyone already doing sponge ball magic or looking to make a return to it. I have to admit that it really does live up to its “Make sponge balls great again” hype and is completely worth every penny. It has loads of potential and I fully expect for a whole bunch of new effects to come out of Baller. I highly recommend it and if I ever meet JT Chalatsis, I am buying that dude a drink!