Live at the Jailhouse: a Guide to Restaurant Magic is a comprehensive three-DVD set that brings together and interviews notable restaurant workers that include: Dan Fleshman, Garrett Thomas, Dan Tong, Kirk Charles, Paul Green and Justin Miller. The set is hosted by magician Kozmo. Some of the topics that these pros discuss include: choosing a restaurant, how to dress, how to get and keep the job, maintaining good relations with restaurant staff, promotions, tips, getting paid, amount of material and more.
The Magic of Dining In
As a restaurant magician myself, I found the information to be absolutely relevant. I constantly agreed with many of the points being made by the performers and some points I learned on my own as I started out working restaurants. I also gleaned a few new ideas that I immediately tried out during restaurant gigs last week. The magicians often agree. But there are also times when they disagree and offer completely different advice.
The set offers routines--some with explanations but many that are performance only. Unfortunately, I get the impression that the routines, while strong, may not be each performers best restaurant material. All of the performers have published routines in the past and may be committed by contractual and other obligations to not offer these routines again.
For example, while Dan Tong discusses restaurant magic, he offers no routines or effects. Of course, his new DVD series could be a reason why (click here to read our review). And even if the routines on this DVD arent each entertainers finest and favorites, it would have been beneficial to at least hear about their best routines and why they find themselves constantly performing them in restaurants, even if they arent explained or performed.
Kirk Charles does a good sponge balls routine (performance only), an in-the-hands Copper/Silver coin transposition using a spectators hand (performance-only). In a match trick (performance-only), four matches are placed into a spectators hand. The magician takes an additional match out of the matchbox, lights it and makes it vanish. When the spectator opens his hand, the burnt match is found with the others that were previously placed there.
Charles performs and explains Bar Basketball, an excellent chop cup style routine that uses an ungimmicked clear shot glass and a napkin. After the ball mysteriously comes back to the cup a couple of times, it grows in size. At the end, the cup vanishes.
Charles also performs and explains Business Card a packet effect with business cards that leaves a business card in spectators hands. The magician brings out four business cards, three with marks on them and one without. The spectator is asked to hold a marked card. The magician shows the unmarked card sandwiched between the other two marked cards. The unmarked card vanishes and is found to be the card the spectator was holding all along.
Garrett Thomas performs Rubik's Cube, a visual effect where he instantaneously solves a Rubiks cube puzzle and the impressive Ring Thing where a finger ring jumps from finger to finger. The best routine on the DVD set is Thomas astounding Big Coin Little Purse- one of the strongest close-up coin routines that I have ever seen. While Thomas doesnt explain any of his effects, he offers advice on vanishing large objects, an integral part of the coin routine.
Paul Green performs and explains Pygmy Paddle, a paddle routine where a spectators name is written on one side of a blank paddle, which turns up on both sides and is then replaced with the word magic. At the end, Green offers the paddle as a souvenir. Green also performs There and Chicago Too! a Chicago Surprise style card routine where he detects a spectators fingerprints on a card to find it and a Card to Wallet routine.
In his explanation, Green doesnt tell you where to purchase the paddles. But I contacted Green who recommends that magicians check restaurant supply companies. He also sells the paddles to other magicians.
More Table Fare
Dan Fleshmann performs Professors Nightmare. He also performs and explains a rising card trick and Card to Mouth, where a selected card ends up in his mouth. I strongly disagree with Fleshmanns choice of performing Card to Mouth in restaurants. The effect is unsanitary and its irresponsible to perform the trick in settings where people are eating. I would never consider performing Card to Mouth in my restaurants and even other strolling gigs.