Thursday, March 13, 2014

Leave your Fanny Pack at the door

Some coin magicians seem to think they are more skilled than the average card magician because there is no deck to hide behind. From Day One a coin magician is doing sleights. There are no self-working coin tricks.

Actually…a quick fly-by of a popular magician’s forum showed references to 19 different gimmicked sets of coin sets! I’m not talking about shells or Scotch & Sodas, or even Flippers, but sets like Triple Threat, Super Triple Coin, TUC, Cerberus, Ultimate 3-Fly, Coin Bomber, Come Fly With Me, N3, Triception, Night Shade, and Mirage Coin Sets.

Now I’m not some tree-hugging purist. I love coin gimmicks. But are we becoming like card magicians and their trick decks; one for forcing, one for card to pocket, one for a vanishing card, one for a "kiss" trick, etc, etc? I can hear some of you doing spit-takes with your lattes. “Our gimmicks are nothing like trick decks!”

It’s true that you can’t buy coin gimmicks at the Dollar Store and our gimmicks tend to cost about 2000% more than the average trick deck. But who are we fooling?

I had the pleasure of working for several years as a magician for Caesar’s Resorts and Casinos. I met and worked with some great magicians. But there was one particular guy whose table-side performances really struck me. He’d approach the table with a brightly-colored fanny pack filled with trick decks. He’d place the fanny pack on the table, take out a deck and do a trick. Then he’d replace it, make a big deal of thoughtfully choosing the next deck to use, take it out and do a different trick. Rinse and repeat for the next 10-12 minutes. A different gimmicked deck for every trick he did.

He got polite applause. But the applause wasn’t for him, it was for all the clever trick decks.

And regretfully, yes, I’ve seen this done by coin guys, too. The coins were in an attractive little leather purse with multiple pockets. But the crime was the same.

Hopefully most coin magicians with a pocket full of gimmicked sets would have the sense to do a pocket switch and never let on that they have anything more than a couple coins on them.

Are we turning into the Fanny Pack guy? How many $200 gaff sets that do Three Fly do you need? Don't forget that Jonathon Townsend and Chris Kenner started that phenomenon with just a couple regular coins at their fingertips.

I think the key is to use as many gimmicks as you can reliably, and INVISIBLY, bring in and out of play. So long as the audience is only aware of a couple coins, then all the applause and adoration go, as they should, to you.

Friends don’t let friends become the Fanny Pack Guy.