Friday, January 27, 2006
Hi, all. Mike Giusti here. Again. I'm writing for Paul again for the third week, who is still out sick but promises to be back Monday with a vengeance come hell or high water. Whatever this bug is that's going around has hit everybody pretty badly. In fact, I was sick when I performed a gig last Saturday night for a venue that has given me bad luck in the past, like the "Curse of the Babe." And this time I was hired to entertain during the mealtime. If there's one thing you know well during years of performing, dinner is the WORST time to perform. Well I'm happy to say that I broke the curse, and both my agent and I couldn't be happier. Although I still have the sniffles, I'll need to gear up again for 4 gigs over the weekend. I don't think I even know how I do it anymore... Wish me luck!
On a personal note, I want to take the opportunity to thank all of you who have been listening to the Mike on the Mic program that I host for Magic Broadcast. Between the number of magicians and myspace pals, the number of listeners has tripled in just over two weeks. Look for another installment this Tuesday at 8:15 - 9:15 PM PST.
Paul called me to inform me that we're going to obtain a list of items from a defunct magic shop through one of our suppliers. There will be, as a result, a list going up on our web site sometime next week for our members, who will receive first dibs on some pretty incredible merchandise at vastly discounted prices. If you are not yet a member, you can sign up for free here in order to make sure you are one of the lucky ones who receive the list.
Is it busy yet? It still remains incredibly busy, even though the end of January is near. There are new products hitting the website every single day, and I must say that I'm struggling just to keep up! There are a few items that have caught my interest, including the new Cesaral Melting Point, Tossed Out Deck by Cody Fisher, and the Pro Tipover Trunk, which is just gorgeous! And the price of each item cannot be beat! Make sure you check them all out on the site.
So until Paul returns, have a safe and fun-filled weekend.
Friday, January 20, 2006
Mike Giusti here again this week. I'm hijacking the blog again due to some pretty weird cold bugs flying around and infecting California. I think everyone here has had at least one form of the common cold already this year, and this week it has taken hold of Paul. Since he rarely takes time off, it's odd to come into the shop and not see him at his desk, wheeling and dealing on the phone. Let's hope he does what he needs to do, and that's rest up and take care of himself.
The shop itself is buzzing with excitement. I would have thought that after the holidays, the action would have leveled out somewhat, but no way -- the phones are ringing off the hook, and the products are coming in faster than ever. I'll be the first to admit that I'm pretty fast and self-sufficient with product placement and web graphics, but some days can get pretty hectic, even for me... But that means that anytime you hear about a brand new magic effect hitting the market, there's almost a 100% chance it's already here at Hocus Pocus!
One of the products I'm personally excited about is the new Cesaral Melting Point, which can be found here! Take a look at the product and then view the video demonstration. Cool, isn't it? Both Melting Point and Ghost Coin remind me of similar effects performed by Cyril Takayama, one of Japan's up-and-coming premier magicians. If you haven't had the chance to see Cyril perform on the television series T.H.E.M. last year, do a Google search with his name and check out some of the incredible effects he's performing for Japanese TV!
Can you believe it's almost February? I never understood my grandmother when she said that the older you get, the faster the days go by. Man, she wasn't kidding in the least! February is going to be an exciting and busy month for me; I've purchased a condominium, and I couldn't be more excited! There's nothing worse than owning a home and then renting (even for a short amount of time). But now I'm on day 5 of escrow, and I should be moving into my new home around Valentine's Day. This place is perfect for me. As a single man, it's got everything I need; it's not too big and it's not too small. It's been beautifully upgraded and painted, and it feels especially warm during the winter months. Here are some pics for your perusal:
Another view of the living room
Hallway from the kitchen to the front.
Ahhhh. A gas stove! I love it!
In other news, we had a very nice surprise earlier in the week when my friend Robert Baxt showed up with a friend of his to visit Hocus Pocus -- Daisuke Seo of Japan! What a nice fellow Daisuke is. His father is the largest maker of mouth coils in Japan, and naturally, Daisuke is also a magician. He had a field day when he saw Hocus Pocus and went nuts looking through the vast inventory and even picked out some things for himself!
Daisuke Seo and Robert Baxt
Well, that just about does it from the ol' compound. More than likely, Paul will be back next week for the next installment of "From the Desk of Paul Gross" blog. Until then, think of me packing my stuff up while you enjoy the rest of your January!
Until next time,
Friday, January 13, 2006
Hi, everyone. Mike Giusti here. I've hijacked the blog once more in order to help Paul with one of his New Year's resolutions: to take one Friday of every month off. And what better way to take the day off than to celebrate your wedding anniversary? I say there's no better reason; Paul and his lovely wife, Betty, have been married for 15 years and they are taking time to spend with each other today. Congratulations, Paul and Betty! Here's to at least 15 more!!!
Personally, I'm very excited. Extremely excited, in fact. Tomorrow, I am going to take a second look at a condominium I've had my eye on for a time, and I just may put in an offer on Saturday. As you all know, I sold my house back in August and am now in a transitional phase. The condo I've looked at has everything I could ever ask for and more! I'll keep you all up to date as to how it goes. It's a little more than I had expected, but that's the housing market around here in Fresno: everything has just exploded, and we're all struggling to catch up! Professionally, I'm excited as well. I've spoken with my agents and the shows are already coming in for 2006. More so than 2005!
Back when I was in high school, a friend of mine showed me a videotape of a gentleman performing some of the most incredible magic I had ever seen. In fact, some would argue that this gentleman was one of the most influential performers of the last century. I don't know where he obtained it, but the tape was of the incomparable Fred Kaps. It was the only video I had ever seen, and it was he that inspired me to be a magician. In fact, the reason I perform the Long Salt Pour is because of Fred Kaps!
A couple of years ago, I was able to get a copy of the first DVD released about Fred Kaps, entitled "Fred Kaps: Seeing is Believing!" and I was speechless. Finally, after all these years, there was a DVD of Fred performing all his routines as well as interviews with other magicians who knew him. However, it was only available through a single source. Until now. I'm very happy to announce that Hocus Pocus is carrying "Fred Kaps: Seeing is Believing!" Believe me when I tell you that there is always more to learn. And what better way to learn than by watching the most incredible performer of them all in my opinion. With a twinkle in his eye, Fred Kaps will captivate you from the very beginning. In fact, you'll want to watch this DVD over and over again. You can even see a video clip of Fred Kaps performing at the FISM World Championship in Liege in 1961. Check it out here!
The incomparable Fred Kaps!
Do yourself a favor and check out some of the latest items appearing daily on the Hocus Pocus website, including the Locking Spirit Slates by Alan Marchese, Ambelitious Card by Masuda, and the Tossed Out Deck by Cody Fisher, all of which I give my highest recommendation!
Until next time, have a terrific weekend!
Friday, January 06, 2006
We asked for it, we needed, but we weren't prepared for it like this! Starting last Thursday afternoon, it began to rain like it's never rained before! It rained non-stop until well after New Year's Day. The streets were flooded and the drainage systems were backed up from all the water. In fact, a couple of people couldn't even get here on Monday. My sister, Jan, mailed me pictures of her house, and it looked like it was sitting on top of a river. In fact, the water was so high, her neighbor's car was floating on the water! Tony lost his power over the weekend for an entire day, and the rest of us seemed to escape any peril. Now we're gearing up because it's supposed to rain again in a few days. I advised my sister to buy a boat!
Although we had a soggy New Year's here, I hope you all were able to enjoy last weekend with your family and friends. It was pretty low key at our house, as we rang in the New Year by watching the Twilight Zone Marathon on the Sci-Fi Channel (my favorite thing to do every New Years). Oh, and after all the holiday shows, Mike decided to celebrate the New Year by doing the following:
We all had a slight scare Wednesday as we found out that our good friend, Carl Ballantine, was rushed to the hospital and was believed to be suffering either a heart attack or a stroke! Happy ending though, as it turned out that one of the medications that Carl takes was causing his potassium levels to increase, which caused his heart rate to increase as well. The doctors have decided to keep him a couple of days for observation, but he's doing very well. When I spoke to Robert Baxt last night, he was happy to report that Carl was complaining about the lousy room service at the hospital and cracking jokes with the nurses. I'm very happy that things worked out so well. If you'd like to email Carl a get well note, email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll make sure he receives them.
Here at the shop, we're running faster than before; you'd think Christmas is still around the corner. The New Year promises a ton of new merchandise, and we've already felt the impact the first week of January as evidenced by the new items on the web site. The biggest problem we're having is room; we're running out of it. I remember when we first moved into this building about ten years ago, I thought it would be more than enough. Now, we can barely move from one department to another! We keep putting off the prospect of moving to a larger location, however, we've torn down walls, built racks, and even a second story loft. Who knows; we might just have to start looking at the realities of moving to a mega-space. Oh, the thought of moving all this again just doesn't appeal to me.
Marvin Burger, AKA, the Buma.
As a kid, there was absolutely no place to buy magic in Fresno. When I was about 12 years-old, my parents found a place in San Francisco called House of Magic. That's where my real magic education began. The owner of the shop, Marvin Burger, affectionately known as Buma, took me under his wing, and I learned about all aspects of magic, current and antique. There was nothing like a visit to Buma's shop. It's there where I met guys like Pete Biro, Emil Clifton, Martin Lewis, Woody Woodward, Tommy Cooper, Vic Kirk, and of course, the incomparable Paul Chosse! You never knew who would walk in the door! There was no greater influence on my life as a child, and the House of Magic was beyond compare. It had a vibe about it that was unequalled! After Buma passed away, his son, Mark, took over and ran the business until just a few weeks ago. I was very sad to hear that, after almost 40 years, the House of Magic closed its doors forever. It may be the end of an era, but what great memories I'll always have.
Until next time,