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The stranger side of magic – and other things – at Tucson’s 2nd Saturdays Downtown

It’s all fun and games until someone sticks a sword through your neck. Then it’s all fun and games with a gaping wound. That is, unless the someone doing the sword sticking is Tucson’s John Coppin.

Coppin is a master magician who was a contender in the recent Stage Magician of the Year competition and a regular performer at Tucson’s 2nd Saturdays Downtown.

A 2nd Saturdays niche at the Ronstadt Center was the stage for his sword trick. The master maneuver was compelling enough to draw the crowd away from a nearby table selling marshmallow and weenie roasters shaped like teddy bears with the foodstuff where private body parts should be.

I know I was hooked – with the sword trick, not the weenie roasters. I had to be hooked with the sword trick, literally, since it was my neck through which the sword was stuck. Coppin, however, has a gentle touch and the wound magically healed before I could snap out of the hypnotic trance in which he placed me during the procedure. The crowd oohed and ahhed, he gifted one young lady with a snazzy balloon parrot, pulled a few rubber balls out of thin air and the weenie roasters were all but forgotten.

While the balloon twisting and traditional tricks are steady staples in his acts, Coppin says the weirder side of magic is where it’s at. Some of his zanier tricks include the sword through the neck, sticking a needle through a balloon, or the ever-popular “zig zag lady” who is sawed into pieces.

“They add a bit of craziness to the act,” Coppin says. “It goes away from the norm.”

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Elephant poop makes money in Topeka – Could Tucson follow suit with coyote and javelina waste?

Scooping up elephant dung – or any poop – may not be the most glamorous job. Unless you happen to have some kind of fetish.

This baby's a money making machine/Ryn Gargulinski

But it can be an endeavor that leads to piles of money if we take a lesson from the Topeka Zoo.

This Kansas animal haven has started a project called My Pet Poo, which turns pachyderm poop into festive little dolls, geegaws and other brightly-painted gift items.

Some come affixed with beads and baubles while all of them come with a certificate of authenticity to insure what you’re getting is the real scoop.

Don’t worry – the poopy little gifts won’t leave nasty rings on your tables or shelving units. The elephant dung is first dried out for about 10 days then coated with an airtight acrylic paint, carefully layered on the poop by dedicated zoo volunteers, AOL News notes.

While volunteers paint the poo, they seemed to have drawn the line at molding the feces as one would mold Play Doh or clay. All figures are left in their natural state, usually roundish or dome-shaped.

A final layer of shellac tops off the process to insure the knickknack doesn’t crumble apart or stink.

These gorgeous gifties sell from $10 to $25 each at the zoo’s Leopard Spot Gift Shop or $35 online with shipping thrown in. Custom orders are welcome.

We bet these fine treasures are selling like hotcakes, or at least meadow muffins.

Wish someone would have mentioned this idea when I had a New Mexico yard full of five goats.

Since Tucson and so many other cities are in such dire budget straits, perhaps the same type of waste-to-riches theory could work in a variety of areas around the nation.

Fast cash for javelina scat?/File photo Tucson Citizen

The Topeka Zoo already debuted the elephant waste, so it would be best if each region had its own unique take on the recycled money machines.

Tucson’s coyote and javelina scat would be quite fetching as artwork, although the former is often littered with small bone chunks and the latter could be tough – or downright dangerous – to collect.

Javelinas have a bad reputation ever since a cornered one went after a Dutch tourist at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, ripping open the man’s arm, leg and causing permanent numbness, nerve and muscle damage.

Maybe we’ll stick to the coyotes.

New Mexico could have a heyday with the goats, as long as the artisans tend toward art that works well with pellet shapes. And imagine the very large possibilities from those grizzly bears in Colorado.

Turning dog doo into art could work anywhere. It would also give some dog owners the boost they need to properly clean up after their pets and instantly provide all those pooper scooper services with an automatic dual income.

Who’d a thunk a hunk of elephant dung in Topeka could spark such a grand idea – and maybe even a way to get the American economy out of the toilet once and for all.

[tnipoll]


Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and TucsonCitizen.com Ryngmaster who has made art out of fur and garbage, but never out of dryer lint or poo. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. Her art, writing and more is at RynRules.com and Rynski.Etsy.com. E-mail rynski@tucsoncitizen.com.

What do you think?

Is the My Pet Poo hilarious or disgusting – or both?

Did you ever have a pet rock?

What other strange things have you seen made into art or done with poo?

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