Sunday, May 18, 2008

.:My Personal Heroes Of Mind And Magic, Part 2: The International Man Of (Mind) Mystery:.

Originally called “My Personal Heroes Of Magic And Mentalism”, I decided to change the series name in order to give reference to a classic game, “Heroes Of Might And Magic”. It does sound catchier, doesn't it?

Last week, I wrote about my favorite duo act, Penn and Teller, and how despite the fact that I disagree with some of their personal views, I still love them as performers, and how they've influenced my concept of “comedy magic” about as much as another guy I know (Whom you guys will hear about in a future installment...).

Now, if Penn and Teller influenced my philosophy of how to entertain people with my performance, this next guy is the man who has certainly influenced me in my foundations in my favorite genre of the art, that is, mentalism.

The master at work.

Richard Osterlind may not ring a bell to the average person, but in the world of mentalism, he is one of the most popular names in the industry to ever hail from America. Carrying himself in a very casual, even fatherly manner, Osterlind's performance style is very natural and relaxed, and unlike most of his contemporaries, he does not seem to make any pretenses to maintaining a “mentalist persona” whenever he performs (For contrast, see Max Maven.). Richard is very straightforward, yet his open-armed sincerity is precisely what keeps his fans coming back for more as he astounds and mystifies them with feats of the human mind we often assume impossible.

As the man behind the groundbreaking “Mind Mysteries” and “Easy To Master Mental Miracles” series for mentalists from all walks of life, Richard Osterlind has influenced an entire generation of mentalists who can only hope to have half of the natural charisma that he oozes with whenever he performs, again, despite the lack of an attempt to maintain a hint of a persona. While Derren Brown may be regarded as the quintessential mentalist of this generation, Osterlind is the man people turn to when they want to learn how to do mentalism, mainly because Derren doesn't really teach his material the way Osterlind does.

Osterlind's website is also very helpful in answering what it means to be a mentalist vis-a-vis being a magician, and he even provides a very helpful FAQ that answers some of the more common questions thrown at mentalists. Few people have helped elevate the art of mentalism the way Osterlind has, from teaching aspiring mentalists the secrets to unlocking the mysteries of the mind, all the way to coming up with new and ingenious items meant to enhance the performance of any mentalist worth his salt.

Richard Osterlind: Mental Magician?

Osterlind's critics tend to disparage him because of his tendency to include magic tricks in his mentalism acts, and unlike Derren Brown, he makes no attempt to mask it as a mentalism feat whatsoever. For instance, in one of his videos, he does the infamous “Paddle move”, and feebly passes it off as hypnosis on the audience.

While this is a valid criticism, it cannot be denied that Richard Osterlind is still a genuine mentalist insofar as he knows the ins and outs of the mindset, and in the sheer command he has over his audience, despite the sometimes-ludicrous premise he sets upon his own performances. While he may be guilty of doing mere “mental magic” at times, Osterlind still manages to shine simply because he is so earnest that people can't help but still assume what he is doing is outright mentalism. Purists may understandably cringe, but the man hasn't been in business all over the world for three or so decades already if people didn't appreciate his material.

What He Means To Me

Osterlind will always be one of the first mentalists I have learned from, along with Banachek, Max Maven, and to a limited but important extent, Morgan Strebler (Yet another influence of mine. More on him in the future.). As a performer, I always ask myself, “what would Richard do?” This is because as a veteran mentalist for decades, Osterlind has honed his craft to a point where his material is a fit for nearly any kind of mentalist, no matter what personality or performing style you may choose to employ.

While few people reading this right now would ever get to know the man the way fellow performers already do, I think Richard Osterlind, as one of the men who has inspired this generation of mentalists, deserves a tribute for all his contributions to the art, especially to the significant influence he has exerted on me, including routines I have performed thanks to him, such as the Blindfolded Rubik's Solve, the 20-Card Test, the Acid Test, and 4-Dimensional Telepathy. As a prolific thinker whose ideas know no bounds, Osterlind's massive volume of material on video will never lack an audience of eager learners.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I've Decided To Take My Magic Blog To Multiply...

.:I'll Be Talking About Magic There From Now On...:.

So without further ado, go ahead and check it out, if you will, although there's no new content for now if you've seen my stuff before...

Magikel has moved here!

The Wrestler

I still haven't commented about the recent fiasco I encountered with another couple of performers, or the controversial rant by Justin Miller. For now, as the resident magician/mentalist who just happens to be an ethicist (It's what I'm specializing in for my Masters.), I think I'd like to address an ethical issue that has been bugging me a while about a certain friend of mine, who is an excellent friend, but as a professional, leaves a lot to be desired.

.:Let The Public Judge:.

Imagine if you are doing really well in your job. Let's say you're a professional wrestler who's really getting over with the crowd, and slowly getting a push.

Imagine if you have a good friend who's also a professional wrestler, and his success is comparable to you.

Let's say your in-ring ability is so-so. But as a heel, you more than make up for it with your promos. You can get on the mic and rally the crowd against you and draw massive heat from them. It doesn't matter how mediocre your match is, people want to see them kick your @$$. They pay to see that, week in and week out.

Let's say your friend is a technical genius. He's like Chris Benoit minus the roid rage, but that also means a broom has more personality on the mic than he does. The crowds don't seem to appreciate him, despite the fact that he's the darling of the internet wrestling community. If you had a real, honest-to-goodness match, your friend would pummel you in two minutes flat.

So this friend of yours gets a few other boys in the back along with you, and he suggest you guys form a stable to really dominate the promotion. Let's say you band together to form the nWo. He tells you guys, "wouldn't we get over with the crowd a lot better if we went there as a group? Everyone's going to benefit from this, that's for sure!"

It sounds like a good idea on paper. You have your friend, the excellence of execution. You're the mouthpiece of the group. You have a couple of sneaky managers to help you out in your matches, and a third wrestler who's an exciting spotmonkey but possessing little ability to tell a story in or out of the ring outside of his spots. It sounds good, because everyone seems to be covering for each other, and everyone stands to benefit.

But next thing you know, whenever title matches are being granted, it's only your friend who's involved, and he always takes one of your managers to help him out.

In short, only two people are getting over at this point. You cut a promo that makes everyone rally behind your nWo, but who gets the title matches? Your friend. Everyone else is left to the wayside, and your friend is all set to finally break out because he's been getting over thanks to your stable, since he can only go so far alone. For our purposes, let's call your friend "Kurt".

Yet here you are, still getting your own matches and your own support, but come match time, who's at your corner? Nobody. Your stablemates are nowhere to be found, but you're expected to be at their corner to draw heat on your group when it's "Kurt's" match. Any single title match you get through your stable, is always for the European Title. Why the Hades would you even want that when you're clearly at least Intercontinental Title material already, and more likely than not, World Heavyweight Title-worthy?

And now, the Royal Rumble is coming. Your stable is expected to win it, but on the eve of the event, "Kurt" all but tells you that you should go and take a dive for him to get the main event at Wrestlemania.

What's wrong with this picture?

.:The Problem With This Picture...:.

Is that clearly, a certain unfairness is happening. Instead of being helped by your stable, you are actually being held back because while "Kurt" and his manager are getting over as a duo, you and the rest of the nWo appear little more than supporting characters to him, despite the fact that it's you the crowd clearly wants with the belt around your waist.

Whenever he main events a PPV, who gets the bigger payday? He does.

Whenever he gets a title shot, who gets the TV exposure? He does.

Whenever you develop a cool new finisher, who gets to use it on TV? He does.

Whenever you get a tag match, who plays the "partner in peril"? You do.

So who gets the hot tag? He does.

He gets all the opportunities to grandstand, all the opportunities to get himself over, and you don't get anything but chump change and wins against jobbers in return for helping him out. It's ridiculous, and you really should wake up and smell the coffee.

Why the Hades are you putting up with it? Is it because Kurt is your friend?

In professional wrestling, or professional magic for that matter, when it comes to a clash of personalities, you have to realize, there are no friends.

This travesty has gone on for long enough. It's time to take a stand. No more of this being meek as a lamb and taking injustice all for the sake of friendship.

Monday, March 10, 2008


.:I Did It!:.

Before we get into what I "did", let's link you to a couple of videos to give you the general gist...

Part 1
Part 2

It's 20 minutes of your life well-worth spending. Trust me.

.:Having Said That...:.

Well, the thing is, I performed exactly that very effect for Mindstorm practice last weekend. I'm definitely happy about having finally devised a way to subliminally program the audience to pick a specific paper, a specific page, a specific piece of the page, and a specific word, all through very carefully scripted wordplay meant to lead them to no other choice but to do exactly as I have surreptitiously directed them (subconsciously) to do.

I performed the effect twice in a day, using a bunch of newspapers I asked from Sonny Minoza, since we were performing at his house. Yes, no gimmicks or anything of the sort. The effect was nearly impromptu, which meant my scripting could've used a lot more work, but it proved sufficient, and definitely floored the kids I performed it for. Considering this wasn't going to be a visual smorgasbord, the fact that the effect made 12-year old kids really stare at me with mouths agape in amazement made me feel it was definitely one of the best effects I've ever performed.

Later in the evening, I performed the effect for The Story Circle, and while the word they chose wasn't as powerful as the first one, I had some refinements during the second performance that really made them sit and take notice of what just happened. I made sure that the apparent method was going to fry laymen and most magicians alike, mainly because of how I kept on describing to them what was going on and how I was eliminating various "explanations" people could come up with to rationalize what just happened.

Given the minimal amount of props needed (A bunch of newspapers to choose from, and something to write your prediction on.), this miracle of subliminal programming is just about next to none.

So as I said, "yatta"!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday's Big Event...

.:Tektite Madness:.

I had a combination stage and walkaround show for today, and it was a pretty strong effort, overall.

Admittedly, I had a bit of kinks to work out when I opened my stage show, but not only did the close-up segment of my performance compensate for that, I regained my bearings as soon as I began my Ring Through Rope Routine. The kids were fun to work with, although I was a bit worried they'd deform my Ring, since they were tugging at it pretty hard.

Nonetheless, my brief stage show really turned a lot of heads, and I'm glad it worked out pretty well, although my mentalism bits were still the effects that had the best reactions. The Blindfolded Rubik's was definitely finale material, and I'm glad that the people I performed it for appreciated that one. It's definitely something I love doing, especially since nobody in my circles is currently doing the effect.

I still have one more show next week, then it's going to be quite a ways before the next scheduled one, which is still in May. Perfect time for me to see if I can find any chances to actually go and do more mentalism in the future...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

New Magic Post In My Main Blog...

Normally, I post magic and mentalism stuff here, but this post was just too big to leave off of my main blog, so check out my thoughts on the Berglas Effect.

Two Shows. One Day...

.:Now I Know How It Feels...:.

There was a time when Bing once told me about how it was to have to do multiple shows in a day, and now I know how it feels.

Considering that my oral exams with Dr. Kaelin was going to be a relative success, I was generally in high spirits about doing two shows in a row, since one was hosting and walkaround for a children's party, and so my usual bag of tricks was going to be sufficient, while the other was going to be a sorta stage mentalism show, which meant I was going to be in my element despite it being a stage show.

.:Bowl Me Over:.

It was a really great day in the bowling alleys of Eastwood, as Santino celebrated his 7th birthday. I met a few guests who were also there during Gianella's party, so it felt like a mini-reunion. The parents of the celebrant had me over to host a fun bowling tournament, and to award not only the top three bowlers, but even the two best bowling teams for the day. They pulled out all the stops. They had trophies, medals, and even loaded Power Cards for the winners. The food was courtesy of Magoo's pizza, so you know what to expect, although they had some Lechon on the side.

It was a pretty easy-going time for me, to be honest. Close-up magic was never a problem for me, so performing for kids and adults alike didn't intimidate me one bit, and the kids were charming to work with. They were every bit as nice as the kids during Raphael's party at Hard Rock were a pain in the whatchamacallit. Of course, that simply meant that I wasn't going to have any problems at all, and hosting the party with cooperative albeit enthusiastic kids was going to be loads of fun. I was tempted to bowl, even.

After two hours of bowling, the winners were announced, everyone went home with a loot bag, and I ended up with a disc that I needed for the Ring through Rope routine, courtesy of the celebrant.

Definitely one of the best children's parties I've ever performed for, especially since I did both magic and hosting for them.

.:Reedley's Freak Show!:.

Yes. I cater to skeptics and hecklers, too!

I hustled back to Reedley immediately after the walkaround, and found myself with only a few minutes to prepare before it became my turn to do something freaky for the school's Thanksgiving Day. This was despite a certain issue that happened the day before which we must not speak of.

Anyways, I had a couple of warm-ups by doing Sufoku and "Thinking On Your Feet", then followed it up with O.R.B.S., Plunge Of Death, and then Liquid Metal. By the time I performed Black Ops Hypnosis, everyone was sufficiently freaked out, and if I do say so myself, this was one of my better performances.

I'm a bit miffed with all the attempts to "break the code" of my performance, as it were, though, because it's rather offensive and disrespectful to me. To put it bluntly, I performed for free and for people's entertainment, and for them to adversely affect my performance by attempting to debunk it, well, even if their attempts were easily disproven, I found it a tad annoying.

Despite that, I got quite a lot of good feedback from my performance, and I definitely cemented my reputation as a mentalist that night.

Even then, I couldn't hold a candle to Mr. Vengco, whose mind-splitting performance really brought the house down, as he broke watermelons with his head.

It was an awesome time. Other than the slight annoyance, I had a great day all around.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Magical Recap...


Meh. I think I'll pass.

.:The LEAP Of Faith:.

Last Monday was DLSU's alternative class day, and I was pegged as a speaker/lecturer for a good three hours about street magic. According to RJ, my contact in DLSU, I was going to teach basic street magic to some students, and while of course, the easiest thing to do would be to teach them card magic, I wanted to add a little something aside from that.

Cakit was there with me, which made my life much easier as he helped me brainstorm a few things, including something for Mindstorm, and this helped me finalize my routine for the upcoming show. At the same time, he helped me out during the lecture as well, particularly when demonstrating basic sleights like the double undercut.

Anyways, it was fun because even RJ showed off a bit of magic when he talked about the ZTE scandal (Something I still haven't mulled over enough to blog about, sadly.), and when it got to me, I opened with Mel Meller's "Thinking On Your Feet" to get myself warmed up. I proceeded to teach them some classic effects, opening with Ultimate Transpo, then moving onto "Wow" as if to "repeat" the effect, then teaching them a few self-working effects like the 26-card, 21-card, 8-card, and Glide effects, plus some 2-Card Monte to top it all off. In between routines, some card sleights, forces, and controls, were also discussed.

After having sated their appetite for card effects, I moved on to teaching them a couple of other effects, namely, The Ring Thing, and my own Sponge Ball routine. It was a blast, because they really had fun, and it was something that I was sure they wouldn't have problems doing at all if they had the necessary items.

I concluded the day with a bit of mentalism to just floor them and make them realize that there's a lot more to learn than just the stuff I taught them. I showed them O.R.B.S., Liquid Metal, and the Wizard Manual, and called it a day.

All in all, it was an excellent teach-in. Here's hoping that I've inspired a few potential magicians with this effort.

.:Saturday's Double-Header:.

Last Saturday, I did walkaround, and then a round robin of mentalism effects for P.E.N. Since the whole P.E.N. bit was just performers doing mentalism for each other, I think what would be more interesting to discuss would be the walkaround, because it was for a children's party at Burgoo in Rockwell.

I was particularly inspired before heading out that day, because my Beloved dropped in on me. It was so sweet of her to see me.

In any case, I did my magic for kids, but I concentrated a bit on mentalism, which apparently wowed the celebrant, Justin. I mainly did A LOT of PK, and lo and behold, the kids were so busy trying to do PK, I ended up performing for the adults instead, since the kids were so occupied trying to move stuff with their mind. It was a fun sight to see, five to ten kids staring at a knife, trying to tip it over a table.

That being said, I really only performed a few effects, and completely stayed away from playing cards. I had ESP effects, sponge balls, a bit of Liquid Metal, a few PK routines, a time-stopping effect, and of course, Positive-Negative for me to give out my calling card. The kids were enjoying it, but the adults were likewise impressed with the performance.

Surprisingly, my walkaround ended relatively early because the party moved to the moviehouse at 1:30, as they went to watch Spiderwick Chronicles. I had a great time there, and the kids enjoyed themselves with just a bit of magic from me, and their amazing imaginations to just simply fuel them further.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


.:Mindstorm Takes The Entertainment World By... Storm:.

Many searches have come and gone our way in Philippine television.

We've had searches for the next pop music idol. We've had searches for the next matinee idols. We've had searches for survivors and housemates and nearly anything else you can think of. Whether you call it a talent search or a reality show, we seem to have exhausted every single search we can think of.

Or so we thought. Be prepared as Philippine television will be taken on a mind-boggling journey with Mindstorm: the first Philippine search for the next big Psychic Entertainer.

Tentatively scheduled to air on July 20 this year on Studio 23, Mindstorm brings together seven of the Philippine's top Psychic Entertainers in a showcase of unbelievable feats of the mind, including telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, and hypnosis. These aren't your average fortune tellers from Quiapo: these are the upper echelon of Psychic Entertainers, all skilled and famed performers in their own right. They're hungry to prove their worth, and they are here to entertain you like no other performers could.

Mindstorm is not a simple competition: it's a showcase of skills that before we've only been able to imagine in our dreams. It's the chance for any of these seven individuals to make their mark on the Philippines as they take the viewer's breath away with feats that defy explanation. To say that you will be shocked and astounded is an understatement. This is a genuine exhibition you wouldn't want to miss out. No stooges. No camera tricks. No limits.

Judged by veteran Psychic Entertainers David Elefant and Sonny Minoza, Mindstorm guarantees a showdown of the best for everyone who wants to be amazed like never before.

Seven Psychic Entertainers. Three finalists. One victor. A night filled with awe and wonder over the mysteries of the mind. To miss out on this would be a crime.