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shamsiel
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Do any of the more experienced performers have the equivalent of a "Man Cave" dedicated to magic in their home? A place dedicated to practice?

If so, What would you suggest a total beginner must have besides a deck of cards and a book?

Shamsiel
shamsiel
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I hope you ladies and gentelmen don't get tired of my brain picking. But I learn a lot from the process.
Shamsiel
mediamonk
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I have a mostly dedicated practice space. I have my books, cups and balls, a computer, cards, coins. Basically anything I might want to practice with or improve on.
"There are two ways of living life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is." -Albert Einstein
shamsiel
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I'm clearing closet space in a spare room and it might go magic/reading room. A few questions.

The surface on my kitchen table is too slippery, what can I do without ruining it?

I'm having trouble handling cards, the bicycle air cushioned, is it just my inexperience or are there better cards to practice than these?

Thanks,
Shamsiel
mediamonk
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First the cards...I love the way brand new bikes handle. The first time I switched from old cards to a new deck I was shocked. For me, everything was easier. That said, I still prefer a deck that is broken in from having some practice done with it. Inexperience might well be a factor. Get a few different brands of cards, give them a run, see how they handle new and after they're broken in. It is really a personal choice. Repetition will serve you very well in the long run.

Slippery table...If you have space, buy a card table, they one I have has a non-slip top. You can use a large mouse pad as a close up pad. Also, you can go to Jo-Ann fabrics and get a square of high density foam. The green stuff. Cut it to size and enjoy.

Hope that helps,
Stephen
"There are two ways of living life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is." -Albert Einstein
Spellbinder
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A full length mirror, plus three smaller mirrors taped together to place on a table so you can see your hands from three angles at once.

Try a wool or felt tablecloth on that slippery table, but if you will be performing on slippery surfaces in real life, better practice without the tablecloth when you get close to being good.

Try fanning powder on the cards to keep them under control.
Professor Spellbinder

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Cyberqat
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I have a home theater. Doesn't have a stage (next one will) and is a bit small, but I use it for practicing.

I keep a free standing full length mirror against the wall that I pull out and put between the first and second row of seats when I'm practicing ($60 at the Christmas Tree Shop).

I have a bar in the back of the room with a tiny bit of booze in it, and the rest of the drawers devoted to magic stuff Smile

When I was a highschooler I just had a full length mirror on the back of my bedroom door.

Posted: Oct 28, 2010 6:57pm
Oh slippery table... a large size mouse mat makes a good cheap close up pad.

$10.00 or so from amazon
It is always darkest just before you are eaten by a grue.
shamsiel
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Thanks for all of the replies.
the 3 way mirror makes perfect sense...I guess I will have to get creative on that one. Will look into that high density foam, I have a Jo-Ann nearby if not I might have a notepad in the garage... somewhere.

How does fanning powder help?
Shamsiel
Piqsirpoq
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Quote:
On 2010-10-28 18:15, shamsiel wrote:
The surface on my kitchen table is too slippery, what can I do without ruining it?

I'm having trouble handling cards, the bicycle air cushioned, is it just my inexperience or are there better cards to practice than these?

Thanks,
Shamsiel


1. Get a cheap close-up mat from a magic shop (costs about 20$) or use other semisoft surface. For example, you can experiment with putting something soft (thin blanket etc.) under your regular table cloth. Certain types of mouse pads also do the job in the absence of anything better.

2. New decks take a short time to "break in". Regular Bicycle cards are what most working magicians use, so get used to them Smile. "Slippery" is good for most sleight of hand moves, it's when the cards start to stick together you're in trouble. You might also want to try Tally-Hos which handle quite similar to Bicycles, but are, in some people's opinion (myself included), superior to regular Bikes. Tally-Hos cost slightly more than Bikes, but they're worth it. Another affordable brand is Bee brand. There are of course numerous other (often more expensive) brands you can test to see what fits for you.
Andrew Morse
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Quote:
On 2010-10-28 18:15, shamsiel wrote:
The surface on my kitchen table is too slippery, what can I do without ruining it?


Learn to work on any (or no) surface. You'll be glad later.
PostalElf
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Quote:
On 2010-10-28 21:43, Andrew Morse wrote:
Learn to work on any (or no) surface. You'll be glad later.


I agree. Learning to work on no surface (AKA "stand-up work") is a great boon for any magician intending to take his magic into the professional realm. While not all table work can be transformed into stand-up material, all stand-up material can be translated into table work with little or no change.
DWRackley
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A large chest of drawers downstairs next to the bar holds almost everything current. I made a "work-surface" (not really a table) by covering a two by four foot panel with cloth for the horizontal surface, and attaching a four foot mirror (turned sideways) for a back drop. Let's me see my hands from the audience's view, and it's (fairly) portable.
...what if I could read your mind?

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volto
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Shamsiel - you need a mat of some kind; a mouse mat, part of a yoga mat, a close-up pad, or whatever.

You definitely need a full-length and a three-way mirror, and a video camera. Each will show you different things.

In my case the full length mirror showed me what was visible to people sitting below me. Some moves are inherently difficult when the audience is below you, and it's not obvious which ones until you do this. In addition to the 'below' angle, the full length mirror is great for checking whole-body moves, body loads, timing and misdirection.

The three-way mirror is great for close-up; in my case cups and balls and coin stuff. Again, it's easy to flash sideways without realizing; the mirror setup will help with this; I've found it the most important technically. Of course, you can only look in one mirror at a time.

The video camera is the most important for performance, but the least valuable technically (in terms of sleights). It's fixed at one angle, so it's easy to play to it directly and not cover the broader angles. On video you can get away with moves that would look terrible live. On the other hand, it's invaluable for general performance. I guarantee the first few times you watch yourself, you'll cringe (unless you're some kind of natural magical genius). Twitching, annoying verbal habits, unnecessary movement, going too quick... these are the things that a camera will tell you. I record the same routine repeated several times, then review and write up notes; it's easy to forget.

Thrift shops are good sources for mirrors. A laptop or webcam makes a handy video camera, although a dedicated video camera often has a better frame rate and resolution. If you're using the camera for general performance review, frame rate and resolution aren't so important. You can get better results from your webcam or laptop camera by making sure you're very well lit.

Good luck!
Ade2010
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Top tips:

Wash your hands with a moisturising soap before every practice session. It will increase the sensitivity of your fingers and prolong the life of your deck.

With regard to mirrors and cameras: Not really needed during the first year of practice. Mirrors can be handy for fine-tuning your *practice*, the camera (a cheap web-cam will do) is hany for fine-tuning *rehersal*.
shamsiel
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All great tips. thank you.
othelo68
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As far as magic caves go, there are quite a few people on here that have really cool dedicated spaces for their magic. check the where to put it all thread there are a few post of picture of peoples magic dens. also check out Jamie grants magic Friday blog he posted a video tour of his new magic office and its amazing! I'd love to have a dedicated space like that right now I just have an ikea book shelf with one shelf dedicated to my magic. I have some fake books with hidden compartments that I keep props in and then books and dvds. I also got a really cool little three drawer shelf that looks like old leather bound books from cracker barrel(or all places) if you looking for books with hiding spaces their at Michaels if you have one of those. If your magic is like mine it is beginning to take over the neiboring shelves its like a virus or a slow spreading mold. gradually infecting every aspect. but don't get me wrong I love magic.
Wizard of Oz
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Thanks for the tips othelo68. I'm taking a look at those posts right now...

I wish there was a dedicated forum for magic room and magic collection photos. I'd be there all day (uh, yeah, I'm a loser).
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
motown
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While I don't have a deticated space to practice, I do have a place to keep everything and it's well organized.
"If you ever write anything about me after I'm gone, I will come back and haunt you."
– Karl Germain
funsway
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old things in new ways - new things in old ways
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The advantage of a Man-Cave is that you can leave effects out for continuous practice without putting them away in an organized fashion. The disadvantage is that you leave them out for continuous use without proper organization. Sigh!
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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gaddy
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A locking cabinet so your significant other can't see exactly how much money you've wasted on magic...
*due to The Magic Cafe's editorial policies, words on this site attributed to me cannot necessarily be held to be my own.*
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