Appearing now at Vanishing Inc.
Congratulations to my friend Doc Eason on a sweep. He was nominated for the Magic Castle's Close-up and Lecture awards and won both. Congrats also to Parlour winner Andrew Goldenhersh, Stage winner Jeff Hobson, and Magician of the Year Ed Alonzo. It's also nice to see fellowships bestowed on Chuck Jones, Norm Nielsen, Todd Karr, J.C. Wagner, Pam Thompson, Steve Forte, and Michael Weber. Wish I could have attended the awards.
What I did enjoy this month was the new book of Rune Klan magic and comedy and a lecture by Jim Pace, enjoyed even moreso in the company of the guys at Ring 43 in Evanston. Details follow ...
COMIC BOOK -- Just before MAGIC Live in 2009, Joshua Jay had the misfortune and bad timing to seriously smush his hand in a boating accident, forcing him to miss the convention and requiring some of his buddies to fill in for him at the last moment (Josh's elective event was Card Magic: Ten Great Minutes with a Deck). One of those buddies was Rune Klan, and for me he was the best new talent at a convention loaded with talent. Rune is from Denmark, where he is a very big deal, but you would not peg him as a visitor. He speaks brilliant American English and slang, with no trace of an accent, and he displays the hippest of comic sensibilities. Despite the title of Josh's program, Rune didn't confine himself to card tricks (though he taught some great ones), but broadened his stint to include stand-up comedy, including a couple of killers with old socks.
Rune's dual talents as a close-up whiz and as a comedy club superstar are fully evident in his new book, Rune's World, written by Joshua Jay and published by Vanishing Inc. The first half of the book is primarily a treatise on close-up coin magic. I am not a coin guy, but can appreciate what makes this section unique. In an age where a lot of coin magic begins with a flipper or shell coin, Rune restricts himself to ordinary coins and original moves. More significantly, he routines the tricks into cohesive acts, namely "Huddle Up" (a ten-minute act performed surrounded with ordinary objects), "Strolling Set" (a seven-minute act for table hopping), "Getting Down" (ten minutes of coin magic performed on the floor), "Fantasy to Reality" (eight minutes of coin magic), and "Three Pieces of Silver" (seven minutes with three coins). Amid all these coin wonders were several items that were my cup of tea, including the transposition of a coin and a beer bottle (!) and two of the card tricks Rune taught at MAGIC Live: a sequence of gags called One Back Up, and Full Palm Change, a one-card color change. This first section of the book is copiously illustrated by Tony Dunn.
Ah, but the second half of the book. It's this half that makes the book one of the most remarkable books of this new century, a section devoted completely to stand-up comedy magic. This is first-rate commercial material, from parlor (I should say comedy club) to illusion scale, material that I could picture right now in the acts of an Amazing Johnathan or a Penn and Teller. Much of it is risque, so be advised (In an introduction, author Joshua Jay says, "Onstage, Rune is the show: loud, charismatic, and almost constantly in the middle of a dick joke.") Rune's take on comedy magic is to make himself look like the idiot, so offense is rarely taken. There are goofy, outrageous sight gags, and there is material that will fool people. Adding to the rarity of seeing so much commercial stage magic in a book, this section is illustrated (by Jesse Rubenfeld) like a graphic novel, enabling the reader to "see" how it will look on stage, with Rune explaining what needs explaining in little speech balloons.
No way to treat a dove.
Josh's partner, Andi Gladwin, gets the design credit, and the look and feel make this book a dandy. Although it comes with a dust jacket, it looks better without it, as the hard cover itself has great photos of Rune on both the front and back. Also included, and most valuable, is a DVD that shows Rune performing much of this material for real audiences along with a segment of Josh interviewing Rune at a lecture in England. If you've never seen Rune Klan perform before, you are in for a treat.
Cups and Balls for the visually impaired.
If I am counting correctly, this is the second big hardback from Vanishing Inc., and the execution and marketing continue to be on the cutting edge. If you go to the Vanishing Inc. web site, you can access video clips of Rune performing, and you can download fifteen pages from the book. You're going to like this! Rune's World, by Joshua Jay, 180 pages, $55 plus postage. Prudes are advised to spend their money elsewhere.
WEBMASTER -- Anyone who can concoct as scary a magic trick as The Web is my kind of guy, which puts Jim Pace at the top of the list. Jim recently lectured at Ring 43 in Evanston, and I was pleased to attend the first half of that lecture. (Babysitting duties precluded my enjoying the second half.)
Jim was casually dressed in black, and the explanation of his impressive three-coin trick Punishment tipped just how his attire had been employed to fool us. He raised the issue of summer vs. winter attire (a problem that has always vexed me), and he demonstrated how each could be used to advantage. A close-up Miser's Dream routine was also very strong, but it was his twin production of glasses of water that most impressed me. I didn't grasp until the drive home just how much the entire room had been arranged to fool me, and it certainly did. Jim Pace is a very devious man, and you will benefit from time spent in his presence.
Going, going, gone ...
A FEW LEFT -- Although Little Egypt Card Tricks has been out of print for many years, I knew that I had put away enough materials from its first printing to make a few more copies. Thanks to February's snowy conditions, I found myself home long enough with insufficient diversions, so finally assembled the remaining issues and had them bound. (The book is a plastic comb-bound soft-cover edition.) I had exactly fifteen copies; one was spoken for before the project began, and others have shipped. Only three are left that haven't been spoken for. If you are interested in completing your Little Egypt trilogy, they are available for $40 plus $5 postage U.S. ($13.45 overseas). When these are gone, there will be no more. Check our Book Store for details and for the original rave reviews. The book came out in 1991, and I am still doing business 1991-style. That is, no credit cards or Paypal. Please send me a check or money order made out to Steve Bryant, mailing address 1639 Sycamore Court, Bloomington IN 47401.
April was my dad's birth month. Spend some time with your dad!
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.
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.
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