The most influential, star-making variety show of its time, maybe ever, lives on in magic history.
Fifty years ago, John Moehring performed on Ed Sullivan, a show that shaped his career.
Several magic consultants helped create the new movie thriller about a group of conjurors.
More than a mere bartender, Mike Pisciotta mystifies patrons at The Magic Castle.
The automata created by Thomas Kuntz are fascinating in look, theme, and operation.
Masters of Illusion is returning to TV for another season of thirteen half-hour shows.
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Eighteen products are reviewed this month by Peter Duffie, Gabe Fajuri, Jared Kopf, Francis Menotti, Peter Pitchford, John Wilson:
Gene Anderson: The Book
by Gene Anderson
A.W.E.struck by Adam Elbaum
Arithmetrix by Jody Greig
Inflexion by Dave Loosley
ESPerience by Abhinav Bothra
The Bill Test by Erik Casey
Luck of the Draw by Liam Montier
Float by SansMinds
Seeing is Believing by A.W. Stencell
Double ACAAN by Creative Artists
The Colossal Coloring Book of Magic
by Danny Orleans
Rip by Christopher Wiehl
Token by SansMinds
REM by Dave Forrest
Strongman by Jimmy Strange
Fixed Fate by Cameron Francis
Swap by Nicholas Lawrence
Split by Yves Doumergue
Magician and writer Ryan Matney says, “I took a shot at writing the kind of book I want, the kind of book nobody is doing now.” This excerpt from his latest book,Ultramodern, comes from Steve Dusheck. In Time Travel, Inc., four business cards seem to travel backward and forward in time, allowing a spectator’s marks to vanish and reappear, as does a mark made by the magician.
David Berglas is best known for his amazing stunts, including hurtling blindfolded down the Cresta Run, levitating a table on the streets of Nairobi, and teleporting from London to Glasgow on live television. A few months ago, Richard Wiseman met up with Berglas and chatted about David’s life. Over a series visits, Richard recorded David describing his experiences, and scanned in some of his fascinating photographs from his life. Many of these stories and photographs have never been made public before. Recently, Richard created a website to house the material. To give a flavor of these reminiscences, David and Richard share a story about what happened when David opened for The Rolling Stones.
On October31, 1982, a teenage Dean Gunnarson put on a straitjacket and had himself dangled upside down in front of the old Free Press building on Carlton. Thousands of Winnipeggers saw him slither free. And he did it twenty seconds faster than his hero Harry Houdini had when he tried the same escape. The next year, the escape artist wanted to try something even bigger. Gunnarson would handcuff and chain himself inside a coffin, which would be dropped into the icy waters of the Red River. A huge audience witnessed the escape go wrong and Dean virtually die. This untold story of what it was like inside the coffin is excerpted from the new book Dean Gunnarson: The Making of an Escape Artist by Carolyn Gray, a Winnipeg theater artist, puppeteer, playwright, and creative writing instructor.
This is my revival of that lovely old chestnut, the Soup Plate and Handkerchief. For me, it’s a story about a boy and his dog. Please try it for a lay audience; I promise you will be surprised by how well it is received. My presentation uses a Frisbee instead of the soup plate and is inspired by a story from my childhood about my dog, Nigel. A newspaper is placed on the seat of a chair. A doggie Frisbee tossed around the audience, tossed back, and set on the paper. A large red neckerchief, actually a 24-inch red silk, is vanished only to appear on the newspaper beneath the Frisbee.
It’s always good to have an effect you can carry around with you wherever you go, and know you’re always ready to present a miracle. This month’s item is one such effect. You can carry it in your wallet so it’s always there when you need it. And what happens in this effect? Well, you invite a spectator to play a mental guessing game. It all takes place in her mind. She never says a word or writes anything down, yet you are able to read her mind. What’s more, you even bet twenty dollars that you’ll be successful — and of course you are!
Every summer, most public libraries have a common summer theme. This summer’s theme is Wellness, Fitness, and Sports, so my 2016 library show revolves around the basic theme of fitness. Now, even though I’m finalizing and finishing up my program, I’ve been working on it in the back of my mind for about two years. I put a lot of work, time, and money into the show, because I’ll work it all summer long in dozens of libraries and then I’ll market it to schools as an educational assembly in the fall and for years to come. This month, I want to give you some tips on how to develop magic routines into an educational program for children.
This effect uses the corner switch idea from last month. The performer lays down a packet of cards, saying, “This represents an incomplete poker hand. A cheat will complete the hand by cheating. A magician, on the other hand, does things a bit differently.” The performer shows how a cheat would slightly bend a selected card to mark it, and eventually tears the corner of the card completely off. The performer claims that usually a magician would make the card, an Ace, vanish into nothingness. But not in a poker game. He instead makes it invisibly fly to a convenient location. On spreading the deck, it is seen that the Ace is gone; the torn card is then removed from the card box. The card is then initialed, vanished, and found within a wallet.
Let’s take a cold, hard look at the raw mechanics of “being interesting.” Why would anyone be interested inyou? You can’t assume that I automatically like you. I might not. I am only interested in you if you attract my attention and give me a reason to be curious. Humans pay attention selectively. The brain filters information from all the senses and we pay particular attention only to things that are different, bold, unexpected, and out of the ordinary. It might not be fair, but “bland” does not register. What would make you more interesting? For a performer, “more interesting” usually means leaving your comfort zone. Every time you opt for a comfort zone, you are giving up the option of doing something different. Even though doing something new and different provokes anxiety in a performer, the audience craves new and different. Different is arousing and interesting. Same is — meh.
In November 2012, I sat in a cafe and wrote Mac King an email: “I’m currently in Hamburg, Germany, in a four-month contract with a variety theater. Essentially, doing eight to ten fifteen-minute sets a week as part of an eight-act full-evening variety show. Being now on show number 30 out of 147 has given me a whole new level of respect for how hard it can be to crank out the same performance each day. Any insights? Apart from the obvious ‘suck it up and keep doing your damn show. :-)”
Unperturbed by the old-school pre-emoji smiley face, Mac graciously replied.
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