Archive for the 'Brian Brushwood' Category

Brian Brushwood

Posted by Michael on February 19th, 2021

It is probably about 15 years old, but this documentary looks at magician and multi-media personality Brian Brushwood.

What Makes A Real Magician?

Posted by Michael on September 11th, 2019

In this video from Scam Nation, Nate Staniforth catches up with Brian Brushwood as part of the Scam Nation American Magic series to discuss what makes a real magician, particularly in the modern era.

Scam School Throwback

Posted by Michael on April 3rd, 2015

We’re going to tie up our shortened Video Friday with this old episode of Scam School featuring egg tricks. Why? Because Brushwood’s spike ‘do is awesome and because it is Easter weekend, eggs will be laying around and I could not force myself to post a silk to egg video. Enjoy more Mr. Brushwood, who can also be seen Hacking The System on NatGeo, over at the Scam School YouTube page (or subscribe to the podcast).

Have a great weekend, everyone, especially for those of you spending it with family and friends. I am going to make luchador mask eggs with the kids now!

Learn To Pick Locks Like A Spy!

Posted by Michael on May 22nd, 2014

When people find out you are a magician, they have questions. Do you have a rabbit? Can you make my wife disappear? Can you cheat at cards? Can you pick locks? We can’t help you with the rabbit, them with their marital issues and will probably cover cheating at cards at another time… but today, dear readers, we are bringing you a short tutorial on picking locks with hair pins. This video from YouTube user Nighhawk In Light is actually kind of informative… If nothing else, you may learn how locks work.

If you want to learn even more about picking locks (you know, without going out and doing serious research on your own), Brian Brushwood covered using a bump key on Scam School about four years ago.

Magicians On The Tube

Posted by Michael on March 3rd, 2014

Above is a highlight from Brian Brushwood’s Hacking The System on NatGeo. In case you missed it last week, both episodes are being rebroadcast Thursday (March 6) at 5PM Eastern.

Also on NatGeo Thursday you will be able to catch back to back episodes of Dynamo: Magician Impossible starting at 7PM Eastern.

Justin Willman will be on Chelsea Lately Wednesday night with guest host Khloe Kardashian (iTricks isn’t sure which one that is, by the way). The show airs at 11PM Eastern on the E! network.

Who Can Be Trusted with Magic Secrets?

Posted by Editor on February 21st, 2013

Best. Card Trick. Ever. - YouTube.jpg

What makes someone a magician? Let me clarify this even further, what is the lowest possible requirement that has to be met for you to feel good about someone being entrusted with ANY magic secret?

We are talking children here. Do they need to be fascinated by a trick and then ask how it’s done? Do they need to save up enough money to buy a trick from an online shop or Amazon? Do they need to borrow a book or video from a friend? Or a library?

The goal here is to gather input on what the line is between teaching and exposure. With the recent magic kerfuffle over Brian Brushwood’s Invisible Deck episode of Scam School this is something that I am curious to hear your opinions on.

I am not saying that Brian’s video was any magic secret, but we can work up from there once we understand the baseline.

I’ll start: I believe that any inclination to find out how a magic trick works makes you a worthy of magic knowledge. Any interest in method, at all, full stop. It’s the cardinal difference between my friends inside and outside of the industry. Magicians care about methods, outsiders might be fascinated by tricks, but they really don’t care beyond a perfunctory “how did you do that?” wonder squeak.

If you care. You are special. You have an interest. And my hypothesis is that interest will make you more inclined to take care of that secret and build relationships from it than degrade it.

In that sense, I am not a magician. In the six years I’ve written on this site I’ve had far more secrets told to me by magicians than I’ve ever sought out. The performance fascinates me, the social dynamics fascinate me and the state of the industry fascinates me. That’s what draws me to this subject.

Explanations of methods are wasted on me. I don’t care enough to remember the specifics half the time and even if I do, I assume there are a many ways to skin a cat and would very, very rarely have enough confidence to declare how something is being done while it was performed. In fact, performances that overly go out of their way to disprove a method tend to bore me.

But this is about you, what is a magician?

Brian Brushwood: The Routine that Changed Everything I Knew About Magic

Posted by Editor on March 13th, 2012

We are proud to welcome our dear friend Brian Brushwood as the iTricks guest editor all this week. His new eBook Scam School Book 1 will be released Pi Day March 14th. It contains material spanning 200 episodes of the hit podcast including original audio tracks and embedded video demonstrations. Head to for all pre-order information.

I want to show you one of the most influential magic performances I’ve ever seen:

In 1994, I was just starting to learn magic in earnest. I was consumed with the tools and mechanics of the trade, but hadn’t given much thought to presentation… After all, it was obvious how magic was presented: Magicians all wore sequined outfits and played out-of-date 80’s music. Their assistants all smiled as they were cut in half and reassembled. Everything was blow-dried mullets and dramatic magical hand gestures.

And then I saw Simon Drake on the Secret Cabaret.

brian brushwood simon drake.jpgThis was like nothing I’d ever seen. It had a narrative that I cared about. It had a simple, haunting score that still gives me goosebumps to this very day. It was a visceral, graphic depiction of a man mutilated and killed for the intellectual benefit of faceless doctors.

And when he died, he stayed dead. I’d never seen that in magic before. If something was vanished, it had to be reproduced. If it was sliced in half, it had to be reassembled. Magicians were the ones who did the cutting, not the ones split in half and left to die.

This wasn’t magic. This was theatre.

In 1994, World’s Greatest Magic dominated television. Everything in magic was cheerful, colorful, and polished to a mirror finish… and two years beforehand, Simon Drake was doing this.

This was the performance that made me realize the magic could be something different. Something that could both engross and horrify. Magic could be a secondary concern after story, and you’d have a better performance for it.

Looking at my stage show, I can point to routines that are direct homages to this piece. My pale attempts to capture what I felt the first time I saw this in 1994.

I hope it inspires you as well.