Scot Nery’s Boobie Trap is Moving to King King!

For those of you who don’t know, my pancake juggling friend Scot Nery has been putting on a circus & variety show in L.A. for last 111 weeks. Rain or shine, he has introduced a ridiculous amount of energy and the best talent from around the world.

The show is called Scot Nery’s Boobie Trap and there is nothing else like it. Really! You’ve got to see this show!

The format is unique in that it features fifteen 4-minute acts that are peppered with Scot’s frenzied hosting personality and his awesome house band Fire Leopard.  

The show is eccentric and the entertainers rotate every week so you never know what you’re going to get. In the past we’ve seen:

Guinness-Record-holding hula-hoopersWorld champion knife throwersCirque de Soleil aerialistsAmazing VentriloquistsStandup comediansSword swallowersContortionistsMagiciansMusiciansJugglers

And now, each and every Wednesday, Scott and his talented army have a brand new home at King King in Hollywood - 6555 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

The doors open at 7pm and the show starts at 8pm. Tickets are $25 at the door and $17 if you buy them in advance.

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Just looking at this camera obscura makes me happy

I have a thing for beautiful wooden boxes, and I absolutely lose my mind when they perform magical feats. My friend Les Cookson recently sent me a prototype of a Camera Obscura he’s been working on and just looking at it makes me happy. His design is based on a principle that’s been around since 500 BC and it's exactly what I enjoy sharing.

Here's how it works:

When the camera faces an object or image, rays of light enter though a convex lens and projects a reverse image toward the back end of the darkened box.  A mirror intersects the image and makes it viewable through a glass plate at the top where it can be traced or photographed. This is an excellent artist's tool for getting a quick sketch for proportion and layout as you can draw right on top of the glass.

The images produced by the device are surprisingly otherworldly and here's something that will definitely seem crazy – it is possible to turn any room in your home into a Camera Obscura by blocking out all light and cutting a small hole in the window covering.  I just came across the video below and I want to try this out for myself.

The science behind how the Camera Obscura and the human eye takes in imagery is similar.   Just as the lens of the Camera lets light waves in and reverses them, so does the lens of the eye.   The difference is that our brain automatically mirrors what’s taken in so that we see things as they should be. Read the rest

Get yourself thrown out of this show, if you can

In & Of Itself is the fantastic brainchild of three-time Academy of Magical Arts Award winner Derek DelGuadio. Though it stopped running in Los Angeles a few months ago, the lucky folks in New York will have 10 weeks to catch it at Union Square's Daryl Roth Theatre from April 5 - June 18.  A few months ago a good friend took me and the next block of 48 hours was filled with surges of amazement, fear, pride and relief - and I guarantee that my experience was different from the other attendees. Read the rest

EPIKGO – The Indestructable Hoverboard

We just got the Sport model of the EPIKGO hoverboard at my office. Besides being terribly chic, it’s apparently bulletproof. Read the rest

My nerdy solar powered backpack

Ok, it’s not just solar powered. It’s also an anti-theft, waterproof marvel that keeps my phone’s power bar from ever getting into the red.

Sure the idea seems obvious now - tuck a gigantic solar powered battery pack into an exposed slot and turn the wearer into a walking energy harvester.  Simple maybe, but I didn't think of it.  Way to go Solgaard.

The battery brick is called the Solarbank and the backside acts as a nifty speaker that wirelessly plays tunes from my phone.

And as long as there’s direct sunlight, I can have non-stop music playback with absolutely no battery drain. I believe it'd be the perfect "trapped on a desert island device".  In fact, if Tom Hanks had one in the movie Castaway (and a brand new smartphone), he wouldn’t have needed that goofy volley ball at all.

And I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking my desert island concept is flawed because the sun would eventually set and its magical recharging rays will disappear. Well I can’t argue with you on that – but just imagine a life where you weren’t trapped on a desert island and followed my easy to execute 2 step plan.

Step 1) Create an autonomous vehicle that moves fast enough around the Earth so that you’re always under direct sunlight. Below is a handy illustration that explains how to gain maximum charging time with a LIFEPACK backpack.

As you can see, it all depends upon your starting latitude and your ability to stay within it as you travel. Read the rest

The best video store in the world carries only one movie

Remember those bygone days when certain stores would decorate their walls with movie titles for us to pick through? Well, just imagine a magical place that cuts out the celluloid chaff and delivers only what we really want to see.

Last weekend I stumbled upon the finest collection of cinema classics I‘ve witnessed since the early 2000s.  It was stocked with everything I needed to scratch my entertainment itch for drama, romance, and even sports flicks.

And the place I’m talking about ONLY carried the classic Jerry Maguire movie and get this… it was all on VHS tape! Read the rest

The Swagtron T3

The office I work in is full of things old people buy to make themselves feel young again.  I can honestly say that our awesome new toy, The Swagtron T3 Hoverboard, makes me feel very, very old. I’ll explain why later.

Swagtron T3 Pros

There's no way to overcharge the battery and that means no more pesky fires and unplanned explosions! This model actually has a battery life indicator! There’s a new SwagTron app that syncs with your hover-board. You can set the top speed and sensitivity of both acceleration and steering. There’s an odometer that keeps track of lifetime miles traveled. You can toggle the Hoverboard on and off with the app – so no more bending over. Ever! The app has a speedometer! Amazing right?

Swagtron T3 Cons

The app has a speedometer! Crazy right?!  You have to look at the app while riding to enjoy the speedometer and if you do, you’re no longer watching the terrain which goes against every rule of motorized vehicles. It's pretty pricey at $449.99.

But I have to say that the Swagtron T3 is much better than their previous models. The wheels are beefier, the ride is stable, and the motor is peppier.

Why does the Swagtron T3 make me feel old? 

Tonight, I decided to live on the wild side and switched from “Standard” to “Advanced” mode on the app. When I did, I got this friendly warning:

“Extremely high injury risk”?!

There was a time when I’d completely ignore a message like that or treat it as a challenge. Read the rest

Karl Herlinger talks to his fist

The format for Scot Nery’s weekly BoobieTrap show is the wackiest I’ve ever seen. It’s vaudeville on steroids with Nery as the amped up and kooky ringmaster. The performers range from jugglers to contortionists, magicians and poets – but the first time I attended, the standout talent was a wooden dummy named Joey and his human named Karl Herlinger.

I’ve seen ventriloquist acts before, but these two had an edge that kept me thinking for days on end, and at times I forgot about who was controlling whom.

If you stop and think about it, the very idea of ventriloquism is pretty darned crazy. These performers choose to get in front of theaters full of people and have heated conversations and arguments with themselves. It’s hard enough to captivate an audience with story, dance, or musical talent when all you have to worry about is yourself, but imagine having to simultaneously play the role of two distinctly different personalities, while controlling a hidden levers that create the illusion of emotions in a wooden dummy.

The strange combination of skills that must come together to pull something like this off has to be the reason we don’t see more great ventriloquists. This is a difficult and dying art.

I’ve hung out with Karl a few times since I first saw his show and I appreciate that his abilities go far beyond controlling inanimate objects and throwing voices. There’s definitely meat on the bones here and though his lip control and manipulations are very, very good, it’s the storytelling that makes you want more. Read the rest

Defy gravity with the Feel Flux Skill Set

A few months ago I was introduced to a magical, magnetic toy called the Feel Flux and the folks who invented it just sent their newest invention – the Feel Flux Skill Set.

It’s the same toy as before except now, there are two tubes to play with – and since it’s a bit like juggling, the gravity-defying effect can be virtually endless.

Each time you drop the metal ball through the tube you’d expect it to zip out the other end but instead, it lazily creeps from one end to the other and dribbles out into your waiting hand. 

 

I can’t wait for the inevitable three-tube version to hit the market!

 

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This Wand Remote makes couch surfing magical again

Do you remember the first time you used a remote control on your television set or favorite toy? It was incredible right? I can honestly say that making my sister believe I had telekinetic powers was fantastic! But as I’ve accumulated more and more remote controls in my life, I’ve become jaded. 

And then, I got a package from The Wand Company that brought back my old feelings of wonder.

Do I care that my wife won’t touch it because it makes her feel silly? Of course not - it just means more magical gestures for me.  Now, to turn on my TV, I swipe the wand from vertical to horizontal position and to increase the volume, I simply point it at my receiver and twist.

The Kymera Wand has 13 slots into which infrared commands can be stored, and the beautiful thing is that it’ll control ANY infrared device. Right now, I’m only using 4 of the 13 slots and I can’t wait to fill the rest up.

PROSGreat packagingEasy to SetupMakes you feel like a wizardEveryone (except for my wife) loves it

CONSSometimes you need to repeat a flourish in order to send the proper signal to the target, but the same thing happens with my regular remotes.The wand is made of plastic and would feel much better if it was made out of mahogany and crystal - but then again, the price would be sky high.The Apple TV interface doesn’t lend itself well to the Kymera wand because there are so many flourishes needed to get from the home-screen to the episodes you want to watch. Read the rest

The Digicue: a tiny electronic billiards trainer

One thing that’s consistent among amateur pool players is that they unknowingly stand up during their shots. Just as in golf, pool players need to keep their heads down and stay still after they shoot in order to hit straight.

The DIGICUE helps keep shots consistent by letting you know every time you’ve had extra movements that may alter your path. It conditions your play by silently buzzing whenever you’ve moved in an awkward way.

Here are the actions that the DIGICUE is constantly looking for:

Jab strokes – When striking the cue ball, you always want to “strike through” and have the tip a few inches beyond the impact point rather than a quick poke. Steering - This is the action of moving your stick left or right after impact with the cue ball. You want to avoid this because it creates unwanted spin and trajectories. Standing up during your stroke – When this happens, your body can not help but steer the cue ball. Body english – This is when a player moves his body in the direction of where he wants the object ball to go while it’s in motion. Body english is the kiss of death because the more movement you rely on for each shot, the harder it becomes to replicate.

I’ve been playing pool my whole life and I wish the DIGICUE was available decades ago because it would have helped me to learn quicker.  It slips onto any pool cue and you’ll hardly know it’s there because it weighs less than an ounce. Read the rest

My friend Ekundayo, a genius with a paintbrush

I’d like you to meet a man that I've worked with for over a decade.   His artist name is Ekundayo and I'll be darned if I know what else to call him.  He pours his life into his work - it's everything to him.

His painting style style is emotion filled, kinetic, and unforgettable.

I met Ekundayo in 2005 and since then, I’ve seen his work pop up on billboards, in movies and on murals around the globe.  

The content he chooses to create goes beyond our comfort zone, and because of that, it's impossible to mistake his artistic fingerprint.

Each of his art pieces drips with emotion and has amazing stories buried within them.

In 2007, Ekundayo helped our company create a mural for Trent Reznor’s, Year Zero. The piece was painted in London with other artists Johnny Rodriguez, Josh Clay and Mike Maxwell.

Reznor's mural was stolen 2 days after it was completed and to this day, fans around the world are on the lookout for it.

By the time the Year Zero project was complete, Ekundayo had become very special to me and as his technique evolved, I marveled at his ability to quickly fill vast spaces with his unique vision.

I'd love to have a peek at the sketchbook in his head and see the art before it unfolds.

My friend is truly a genius with a paintbrush and you can check out the rest of his work at Ekundayo.com

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This Sesame Street song made me cry

I've never admitted this to anyone before but I feel especially comfortable with you.

I was sitting in an oversized La-Z-Boy chair when it first saw this clip, and luckily there was no one around to see my tears.   I'm not sure if it happened because the character was so lonely or because everything turned out fine but I'll tell you this - I still get goose bumps whenever I see it.

Grab some tissues and enjoy the story of The Lower Case n. Read the rest

The Swagger is my favorite new toy

The company that invented the Swagway hover-board came out with an electric scooter called The Swagger and I love it.  This zippy, carbon fiber toy weighs only 15 lbs, is easily carried and has a small form factor when collapsed.

I work in a large, carpeted office and we use the Swagger to blow off steam after long meetings.   I've been riding around on it for a few weeks now and there is so much cool about this thing.

THE PROS

The Swagger is UL 2272 compliant, which means it’ll never burst into flames!The Swagger has a backlit digital display with an odometer, speedometer, 3 speeds and cruise control.  Why I’d need cruise control on this is beyond me but I’m glad it’s there!The factory set top speed of the Swagger is 15MPH and though is may not sound fast enough…it is. There’s even a way to lower the top speed if you'd like.The Swagger has a blindingly bright headlamp for night riding and the package as a whole looks and feels solid.The manufacturer, claims that a 1.5 hour charge will take you between 10-15 miles. I’m actually experiencing 5-7 but I think it's because I'm normally riding in the top gear at full throttle.

 

THE CONS

The $399.00 price tag is pretty steep for an office toy.   But if you live in a flat area and your commute to work is short, you should check it out.The Swagger doesn't go up hills very well.

But to me the pros far outweigh the cons and I’ll probably buy a second so that I can ride around with my wife.  Read the rest

Meet Elliott Terral, Director of Magic

Every now and then I meet people who seem to possess superhuman powers.  Elliott Terral is one of those individuals and his official title is Director of Magic at a company called Art of Magic

How cool is that?!

After speaking with Elliott for a few minutes, I asked if he was a performing magician to which he didn't answer.  Instead, he began patting down his pockets for a deck of cards.  I beat him to the punch and handed him my very own deck of Erdnase 1902 Green Acorn Playing Cards.  One thing to know about this deck, is that you either own it because you're a genius with a deck of cards, or you're a poser. 

And for the record, I am not a genius with a deck of cards.

Elliott took my fancy cards and did the impossible.  He showed me a King of Hearts and slowly flexed it back and forth as the card changed from king to an ace and then back again.  His movements were slow and it was real magic to everyone that was with me.  If you'd like to see the effect performed by the guy who invented it you can watch it here. 

And if you'd like to purchase the method, it's only $5.00 but you need to know it isn't a trick you can do just because you bought it.  There's a reason an "EXPERT LEVEL" descriptor is attached.  But the good news is that there are other effects and concepts on the website that are far more approachable and equally satisfying.  Read the rest

The Toadman of Clawson, Michigan

I'd like for you to meet one of my favorite people in the whole world.   He's a private guy and though he's okay with my writing this post, he'd rather I kept his identity a secret for now.  He calls himself The Toadman.   But I should warn you, what you are about to read isn't what you'd expect.   He doesn't lick toads for fun, eat amphibians or live under a bridge.  He simply loves toads more than anything in the world and what he does in his free time proves it.

If you ever meet The Toadman, he'll seem just like anyone else in the Motor City.  He'll probably talk about Michigan State University, the Detroit Tigers and how great it is to live in his hometown of Clawson.  But what you won't get right out of the gate is what I call his "green side".  That's the side of him that's comfortable discussing his life-long passion.

Since we were kids, The Toadman has been obsessed with frogs and toads.  The day I got my drivers license he talked me into traveling 20 miles north to a swampy area because "that's where they have the best ones".  I know it sounds strange, but just as a bird watcher is able to detect the presence of certain birds by how they chirp, The Toadman is able to do the same with toads.  It's uncanny really.

Did I mention that for the past 2 decades he's lived with toads and sometimes sets up professional photo shoots with them?   Read the rest

My sister made a Chewbacca piñata costume

A few weeks ago my good friend John Park created a video demonstration of how to hack the famous Happy Chewbacca mask to trigger your very own audio files.  And when my sister Christina told me she was building a Chewbacca-Pinata costume for her son, I naturally shared John’s video with her.

What my sister ended up creating was the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen.

But before sharing some pics and a video of the costume in action, I wanted to set the bar very, very low by showing images of other homemade Chewbacca costumes I found online.

It's like looking in a Chewbacca mirror!

 

Boxybacca.

Yes, you can purchase this one!

 

And this is my favorite one of all. The caption under this photo read, “Look at Chewbacca’s feet!”.

The truth is, that’s all I’m looking at.

So now that you’re primed for awesomeness, here are some pics of the creative process and a video of the finished product.

 

Christina started with an ordinary fleece jacket and started attaching strips of paper to it in layers.

She kept working upwards and onto the store-bought Chewbacca mask.  And Ryan just kept standing there.

Christina made Chewbacca-pantaloons by applying the same paper layering techniques onto a pair of sweatpants.

Holy crap is that a fantastic Chewbacca-Piñata costume, but from what I can tell there is a fatal flaw.

The costume is called a “Chewbacca Piñata” and piñatas are meant to be hit with a stick or a baseball bat. Read the rest

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