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February Research

While January was all about Bigfoot, February became a fantastic month of UFO chasing.

I tackled a classic: John A Keel’s The Mothman Prophecies: A True Story. It’s a fascinating report of a town plagued by visitations, filled with olive-skinned giants and dwarfs in poorly-cut suits, vehicles floating over highway, the author’s radioactive sunburns. The stories are weird, and brilliant, and claimed to be true. The author — sorry, the journalist — asks every experiencer what he considers a silly-sounding question: “Did you ever dream there was a stranger in the house in the middle of the night?” It’s not silly. It’s honest, and perfect. It could have informed how Dale Cooper takes his coffee (black as midnight on a moonless night) or my script. Okay, the line influenced the script, the moment I read it.

Then there was Ben “The Social Network” Mezrich’s remarkable The 37th Parallel: The Secret Truth Behind America’s UFO Highway. Instead of being about the experiences and visitations, this fantastic and scary book follows one man’s dive down the rabbit hole of UFOlogy. A microchip engineer and sheriff’s deputy, who segues from UFO tourist to a fully-obsessed expert in alien cattle dismemberment, traveling the country for the Mutual UFO Network. It’s A Beautiful Mind, but instead of going crazy for math, Chuck Zukowski goes cuckoo for little green men. I loved it, and love him a bit too. (In the book, his primary office tools are a pin-filled map and a scrawl-filled whiteboard. I use both in my sets, but not as much as I should!)

Because every good conspiracy theorist fears what the government is doing with their money, and what they’re preventing YOU from doing, I also dove into DeFi, Decentralized Finance. Cryptocurrency.

For light reading, I ate up (the same) Ben Mezrich’s frantic and brilliant Bitcoin Billionaires in a single sitting. How misunderstood the Winklevoss Twins were!! (Oh, how surprised I was that the goofy two-dimensional cardboard cutouts from The Social Network weren’t true to life!) I can’t recommend this book more. After reading it, I almost raced to my laptop and bought some more Bitcoin, just in time to lose about 10%.

For something more substantial, I also ploughed through CoinGecko’s How to DeFi. There were fewer six-foot-five crewmen and bikini-clad models, but there was a lot more definition. The book breaks down how entrepreneurs are working to overthrow the broken banking industries, and what the future of finance probably looks like. After reading this, I bought some DAI tokens. That seems a little more stable than Bitcoin… which just went up.

Now A Magic Castle Performer

Well, I’m now a Magic Castle performer.  Being featured at the Castle, especially in one of those more-exclusive virtual shows, was a dream come true. And I knew it was going to be a hit, but I didn’t realize how much of a hit it would be!!! 274 cheering faces on zoom, and one folded-arms fellow, is amazing.

Reading the messages after the show, I was in seventh heaven. A sampling of them, from strangers, magicians, friends…
“You killed it!!! Entertaining and hilarious!”
“Amazing show!!!!!”
“My significant other said it was the best virtual show she’s seen, and she’s seen a lot.”
“Holy moly you were absolutely amazing. I haven’t seen [ redacted ] smile with such childlike wonder at any other zoom shows. You were an absolute delight!”
“So original and clever. Well done.”
“Really amazing show!!! The ending blew my mind.”
“I was completely blown away by the presentation and creativity.

Andy’s Super Fun Happy Magic Show has been a lot of work. It still is — it’s growing, and changing, and ever-evolving. But this one performance of it made it all worthwhile.

And now I can’t wait to do it again.

Rehearsals for the Magic Castle Show

If you’re on my e-mail list, you hopefully heard about this week of virtual magic show rehearsals, getting ready for this Saturday’s Magic Castle show. It’s a very tight 15-minute production (not as relaxed as my 45-minute corporate magic show), and it’s VERY fun. While the rehearsals are going on all week, they’re sold out. But the March 6th, 2021 Magic Castle show does still have tickets!

Some of the faces are family…

Some are old friends….

One of them is a Texan I met in a jungle…

But many of the faces are unknowns, people who found their way here from word of mouth. And that’s the audience I care the most about. If I can impress, amuse, and entertain them? That’s when we’re rocking.

Appearing at the Virtual Magic Castle

I’ve performed for audiences at the Magic Castle a good hundred times, always in one of the impromptu spaces like the Library Bar, the Hat & Hare, or the Cellar. 20 or 30 or maybe even 40 spectators squeeze into these sought-after performance spaces to see close-up magic. They’re not official, they’re not promoted, they’re not in the programs, and they’re not officially paid, but they’re where magicians try out new material. They’re where you see the unexpected.

I’ve been missing these spaces. With the Magic Castle closed, they’re only doing virtual shows, booking 20% the prior number of magicians. The virtual Castle events have only 3 of the world’s very best magicians, once a week. It’s close to impossible to get booked for them.

Close to impossible.

I’m SO excited to announce that I’ve been selected to be part of that very exclusive, limited group of magicians!!! Yep, in about two and a half weeks I’ll be prestidigitating alongside the great Nathan Coe Marsh and legendary Jon Armstrong at the virtual Magic Castle!

The show is Saturday, March 6th, at 7pm PT, and tickets are now available at https://togo.magiccastle.com/collections/virtual-magic-shows

It’s going to be a great night! I hope you can join!!!

Super Fun Andy

If you’ve seen the show, you know that I play two characters: Conspiracy Andy and Super Fun Andy. One is dark and serious and dedicated to conveying “the truth”–this site carries that tone–while the other is light and silly and… well, fun! This site doesn’t really support fun Andy.

So I brought in magiciana’s favorite photographer, Taylor Wong, to fix that. Here are some sneak previews of virtual magic’s favorite prestidigitator: Super Fun Andy!

Magic to Salve the Pandemic

Even though the holiday season is behind us, the magic keeps on flowing. This week has seen several belated 45-minute corporate Xmas parties (for clients who failed to book in time), an insanely rambunctious 35-minute Zoom birthday party for a 35-year-old woman and her friends, and also a few 15-minute shows testing out some rapidfire new comedy and material.

Because every client has different needs, it’s good to have a flexible repertoire. Want PG magic? We’ve got it! Looking for something darker and more sinister? We can provide! Need a single magic trick before the ahem very senior chap at Amazon does a Zoom presentation? Got you!

The show is actually endlessly customizable, with packages including a talk on the fascinating real stories behind the conspiracies — like when the CIA used actual psychics to hunt for a downed jet, or customized magic & cocktails events, or even team-building packages where the team learns to do their own magic! (Yep, that may break a few magician rules. That’s why the Alliance is after me!)

Please get in touch if you’re looking for a way to boost the team morale. After all, this is so much fun.

Continuing to Build, Beyond the Magic

Every day, I’m practicing and researching the magic. But you know what? The magic is just a part of my virtual magic show. There’s always more work to be done.

Implementing new technology. Zoom audiences should have a seamless virtual magic experience, and this week I’ve been furthering that. A new touchpad for switching scenes, new software to improve the audience immersion, improvements to my foot pedals. I try to keep up with the technological advances, so the audience remains entirely unaware of anything except the magic.

Developing my set. The backdrop is such a huge part of the character and the virtual magic show. The original concept was designed with a generous set-decorator from some of my favorite shows, like Inside Amy Schumer and Broad City, and based on the “obsessive cop” shows I’m obsessed with, like HBO’s True Detective and The Wire, as well as It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Each piece in the backdrop represents a story in the character’s head, such as the Mandela Effect, Subliminal Advertising, the Moon Landing, JFK, and Helena Blavatsky. Each of these could be the focus of an entire virtual show, and perhaps one day will be.

Building the character. My magician character is obsessed with conspiracies and cults, and I can’t shirk my duty. I need to know about them, too. Some terrify me, like QAnon and Anti-vaxxers and David Icke. Those stress me out, but I also study the fun ones.

This month is all about Bigfoot. I just finished watching Todd Standing’s incredible documentary Discovering Bigfoot on Amazon Prime, which feels almost like a parody of itself. It’s breathtaking and fun and a little bit frightening. I’m reading John Zada’s In the Valleys of the Noble Beyond: In Search of the Sasquatch, which is way too verbose, but every fifth page is perfectly wonderful. And while it’s not about Bigfoot, I’m finishing up an astounding audiobook about another simian legend, Douglas Preston’s The Lost City of the Monkey God. It’s about a quest for a lost Honduran city, filled with jungles and snakes and curses. (Which makes it all sound rather Indiana Jones-y and culturally imperialist, a question that appears regularly in the book.)

Of course, my magician character has some lost cities of his own, that he’s tracking down. He won’t talk about those. Not yet.

Developing the 18-Minute Virtual Magic Show

Every group that hires me for virtual magic shows has a different expectation. Some corporations expect a one-hour Zoom mentalism show. Amazon recently hired me for just eight minutes of “mind-blowing online magic,” to introduce a huge team meeting.

But my favorite is the 45-minute virtual magic show. It’s immersive, interactive, and it’s not entirely online. Predictions are mailed out before the event, and twisted, ESP-bent spoons are sent out after. (You should see the gorgeous packaging!)

And yet this week, I’ve been working on my 18 minute set. It’s a specific number. It means I have to cut some of my favorite effects–anything that takes longer than a minute or two is gone! I have to take a carving knife to some amazing jokes, and mind-bending revalations.

And yet it also means I’ve got something very tight, very concise, and very, very fun.

We did six preview shows this weekend, and ~150 households tuned in. Initial feedback was all outstanding!

“FABULOUS show! Thank you so much.” – Diane D.
“We had such a fun time! Thanks for putting on such a great show!” – Mike V.
“Really terrific show this morning. So glad I was able to score a ticket. So good!” – Chris M. 
“Brilliant. You are a fantastic performer. I’m so stumped right now. Thanks so much for a great show!” – Chris T.
“It was amazing!! The best moment was probably the end when OUR cards were right!” – Zoey B.
“That was so fun!” – Heather B.
“My boys (and I) loved the show! Thank you thank you! You’re amazing!” – Arati K.

Awwww…. thank you!!! I’m still making improvements, and still tweaking it, but I always will be.

Let me know if you’re interested in seeing the new magic and mindreading show. It’s a blast.