Note ye ed's email new address: email@example.com.
Evidence of a well-spent youth.
NEBULA -- Perhaps the hottest, most prolific stellar nursery in the recent history of the galaxy outside the Orion Nebula was that found in Long Beach, California, where magical stars emerged from the loose-knit band of Not-So-Lost Boys who called themselves the Long Beach Mystics. As Mystics grad Mike Caveney says on a remarkable new dvd (The Mystics: A 50 Year Legacy, from college professor/filmmaker Shelley Jenkins), "Something extraordinary was happening in Long Beach during those years that apparently wasn't happening anywhere else in the country." From the late 50s into the 80s, talented magicians under the age of 21 met not to talk about magic, but to perform it, to critique each other's performances, and to develop full-fledged show business careers. Unless you count the two-man "club" of Mac King and Lance Burton (both appear on the dvd), no other primordial stew of young talent has been so fertile. The club's story unfolds via interviews with and performances by Mark Kalin, Stan Allen, Mike Caveney, James Hamilton, Dana Daniels, Randy Pryor, Kevin James, Bill Smith, Victor and Diamond, Michael Weber, Les Arnold, Armando Lucero, and David Deeble. The 20-year history of the club's annual big show, It's Amazing, also included a performance by occasional member Steve Martin. What else can I say? This is a wonderful dvd about a wonderful bunch of magicians who enjoyed a youth we all wished we had. Kudos to Ms. Jenkins. Additional features include an appearance by Amazing Johnathan and the final (2004) taped interview with Billy McComb. $20 from Mystics dvd.
ARE YOU GOING TO BELIEVE ME OR YOUR LYING EYES? -- Some card tricks are amazing in a predominantly cerebral sense, such as "Time After Time" mentioned elsewhere on this page, and some are amazing in a predominantly visual sense. Mike Powers' "Diminishing Returns" is in the latter camp, an eye-popping sequence so strong that audiences will doubt their senses. You tell them something impossible is happening and they simultaneously see it happen. The whole scoop: You demonstrate that you could have a card selected by riffling the pack face down or by fanning the deck face down. But you could cheat that way, so you turn the deck face up and have a card selected the most fair way possible: they simply name any card. This done, you run through the deck and upjog the named card. You tell them that the card will grow before their eyes when you place it on the table. As it hits the table, the relative size of the card changes because all the other cards in the deck have become miniature cards, every value showing. You then place the selected (relatively jumbo) card into the spread (performance hint: I suggest placing a red card between any two black cards) and tell them, "My job is to find your card in the deck." This is ludicrous, because the card is huge relative to the others, but after you scoop up and respread the deck, the deck returns to normal size and the selected card becomes a miniature, lodged between the two cards you had previously noted. "The card grows only when you remove it from the deck," which it does as you extract it. All cards are now normal sized and can be dribbled face up, fanned face down, etc.. Mike provides more elaborate routines along with a completely different bonus effect, "The Defective Deck," which uses special cards, but for me less is more and the basic effect just kills. I first saw Mike perform this at the last Magi-Fest, and I was even more thrilled when I received the trick, played with the method, and fooled my own eyes. Available in standard Bicycle cards. $20 well spent at Mike Powers' Mall of Magic.
I spend a great deal of time and money each year looking for tricks worthy of adding to my working repertoire, meaning that they must equal or exceed in quality the stuff I already do. There are several such items reported on this month. Check out the latest from Mike Powers, Gordon Bean, and Tomas Blomberg. Also of interest this month: Letterman with another magic week, Neil Patrick Harris on Ellen, shakeups at the Magic Castle, Brett Daniels' new show in Las Vegas, and a very special dvd on the Long Beach Mystics. How can one club have provided so many superstars of magic?
Crappy technical note: Comcast has bought out my internet provider, so my email address must change. The old one will still work for awhile, but note my new one at the top of the page.
DEJA VU -- I love card tricks with surreal plots, and "Timecard" from Gordon Bean more than meets that standard. You introduce a tale of deja vu involving a grandfather clock and your spectator. As you "were cutting the deck at random locations (you demo this in real time), the spectator told you to stop just as the clock struck either the hour or half hour." You stop and show him the card (ex: 2 of spades), then ask what time the clock struck, and complete the cut, losing the card. Suppose he said 6:30. You fan through the deck searching for the card, then extract it and lay it face up on the spectator's hand. The card is correct. Spec turns it over, and on the back in bold writing is 6:30. "I'm glad you remember that the same way I did," you say. "Otherwise people might have thought I was making it all up." Everything looks fair, it's dead easy to do, and no memory is involved. The spectator may name the time before or after the card is chosen. As with most of Gordon's material, this resets easily and is perfect for walkaround. It's great to see Gordon putting out new material. $30 plus postage at Gordon's web site.
TIME MACHINE -- For those who may have overlooked it, Tomas Blomberg contributed a trick called "Time After Time" to the April 2008 "Hooker" issue of Genii. This is an anywhere, any time trick with a shuffled deck of cards that is every bit as baffling as Jim Steinmeyer's "Nine Card Trick." You will fool yourself. The only requirement is three spectators, all of whom will be appropriately amazed.
CASTLE MOVES -- From the Magic Castle, the formal news is that Robert Lamoureux is the new prez, Whit Haydn vice, Jean Boyle treasurer, and Brian Tolman secretary. Additional Board of Directors members include Gay Blackstone, Neil Patrick Harris, and Danny Robins. The Board of Trustees includes Jon Armstrong, Irene Larsen, Max Maven, Mark Nelson, David Regal, Mark Wilson, and Ron Wilson. Congrats to all. Informal news from the Castle, provided by Gay Blackstone in her outgoing annual meeting, is that "a buyer has been selected," whatever that means.
MYSTERY MAN -- It was a year ago in Wisconsin that I witnessed a completely new genre of magical entertainment, Brett Daniels' Woshcigam, his murder mystery magic show. (The show was well reported in Genii, MAGIC, and MUM, all reports now available at wohscigam.com.) It is thrilling to report that the show, now labeled The Brett Daniels Magic Show Wohscigam, opened April 1 at the Sahara in Las Vegas and is playing afternoons Monday through Saturday. Tickets range 39.95 - 49.95 with special rates for children and seniors. All best wishes to Brett for a successful run. That such a show exists at all is a major feat, one of the most creative I've ever seen in magic.
DOOGIE DECAPITATED -- Neil Patrick Harris scored a big hit on Ellen on April 23, producing from a fire wallet a 30-day membership for Ellen to the Magic Castle and also providing a similar membership for everyone in the audience. Neil then lost his head, literally, in a guillotine routine. It was quite funny as well as being a strong promo for the Castle. Those who voted for Neil in the recent board elections have already seen dividends on their correct decision. (For the moment, you can catch this on youtube at Neil on Ellen.)
DECEIVING DAVE -- OK, here are the top five reasons you should watch The Late Show with David Letterman the week of May 5-9. Number 5 (Monday): Lance Burton. Number 4 (Tuesday): Mac King. Number 3 (Wednesday): Dirk Arthur. Number 2: (Thursday): Steve Wyrick. And Number 1 (Friday): Penn and Teller. Dave should do two magic weeks and give us ten reasons. We hope all the guys have as strong a stint as Raymond Crowe did recently with Dave. (Info courtesy of MAGIC magazine.)
Congratulations, Candace Parker. What you and your teammates did was magical.
Sarah and Simon (Vixen and Spike to old Gazette readers) were married on April 1, 2006. You may access their wedding photos at wedding photos. You may view early movies and photo spreads of their charming spawn at Audrey Elizabeth Beverton.
Little Egypt Magic is the erratically updated web site of Steve Bryant, spawned (the site, not Steve) by a former internet magazine known as The Little Egypt Gazette/for magicians only.
Steve Bryant is an obscure magician and writer who generates this site from an iMac in Bloomington, Indiana. He frequently journeys to and performs magic in Little Egypt, the local name for extreme southern Illinois, where the towns bear such names as Cairo, Thebes, and Karnak.
Past issues of this web site: Index to Past Issues
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