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Springing forth by the end of the month!
Last month's March issue reviewed all six volumes of Nick Trost's Subtle Card Creations and John Guastaferro's en route.
Welcome to the Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll issue of Little Egypt Magic. No, that's not an April Fool's line. And, yes, I'd love to say that is what I've been up to this month, but alas it isn't. Nor do I have any new books to review, something that hasn't happened in a long time. (Do note that last month's books are awesome, including Volume 6 of Nick Trost's Subtle Card Creations, shown above, and John G's en route.) With nothing major to occupy my magical spare time, I have instead been piddling, checking out individual magic tricks that I might have overlooked, and keeping up with online news and offerings. And as to rock and roll, we bid farewell to a legend.
Oh! Check Ken Allen's trick at the bottom. It was fun being a teenager in magic back in the day.
VA VA VOOM -- If for no other reason to subscribe to TheJerx.com's online magazine, JAMM (Jerx Amateur Magic Monthly), editor Andy promised, and has delivered, sexy covers. The magazine is designed along the lines of the old romantic exploitation magazines. Instead of Playboy bunnies we have JAMM muses. So far, so cute!
Miss April, 2017
But to be serious, JAMM serves the magic community in two ways. First, the subscriptions subsidize the blog (which continues to be excellent, updated three times a week). Second, it's a great online magazine. I am moved to mention it this month because JAMM number 3 is loaded with three great tricks. Nineteen is a clever calculator trick using your iPhone. Beck and Call is an utterly charming Ambitious Card trick using a blank deck, and I predict many of you will use it. And SCUB is a virtual reality trick that turns audience and assisting spectator's perceptions upside down. I can't say much more about the tricks without giving away the ideas. Suffice it to say they are all performance worthy.
KASTLE SUTRA -- One of my favorite books, autographed in 1997 and close at hand on my office desk, is Milt Larsen's Magic Castle Tour. The book is a delightful collection of photos and text, a printed tour of the Magic Castle based on Milt's personal guided tours of the old mansion. Who better to tell the story?
Hitchhiker's guide to the Magic Castle.
The book was written and photographed by Milt's longtime Head Scribe, Carol Marie. (It was great fun to work with Carol Marie on the 60th Anniversary It's Magic book.) First published in 1997, the book was about to enter its fourth printing when the Halloween 2011 fire hit. This resulted in numerous changes to the building, rendering the original version of the book out of date. According to Milt's blog, Carol Marie has been working on a new version to be titled Magic Castle: Beyond the Smoke and Mirrors. The new edition will be 300 pages with hundreds of color photos, available in both hard cover and soft. It is at the printer now and should be in the Academy gift shop by June 1.
And by the way, Happy Birthday to Milt who turned 86 on April 9. Regarding the category above, who else in magic is sexier at 86?
ADDICTIONS -- For many, addictions run to recreational pharmaceuticals, alcoholic beverages, or suicide by tobacco. For magicians, the overwhelming addiction is card tricks. It's our drug of choice. This month, instead of spending my idle time reading or writing the Great American Novel, catching up on the latest movies, or helping to overturn a haywire election, I fooled around with card tricks. That is, I witnessed some, experimented with some, and performed some. A waste of time, some might say, but hey, they were great card tricks. They follow.
Mike Powers teaches.
Varying Variants' Variants--I wish Mike Powers had been one of my physics teachers. He teaches things really well. In this small five-card packet trick there are some nice Ambitious Card moments followed by four kings and an ace transforming to one king and four aces. It's quite surprising. (Source: performed and taught on Tuesday Night Tricks, Session 4, a freebie on Kozmo's reelmagicmagazine.com. Subscribe!)
Doc had me with the original climax.
Mardi Gras Bar Bet times three--Doc Eason shocked me with his new ending(s) to his Mardi Gras Bar Bet. The original is his killer version of Glass Through Table. He and Garrett Thomas then have an interesting discussion about the effective deployments of multi-phase climaxes. Although the Bar Bet itself isn't a card trick, I have often wondered the same issue about Doc's Card Under Drink routine. As Doc performs it, the climaxes of several killer card tricks are subordinated to yet another placement of the card under the drink. Which makes for better magic or entertainment? Whatever, I loved the new climaxes, even though, the first time I saw the Bar Bet, that climax killed too. (Source: performed and discussed on Issue 48 of Kozmo's reelmagicmagazine.com. Subscribe!)
Vintage line art from Trost Volume 6.
March Madness--The two tricks from last month that I am having the most fun with areTexas Hold 'em Poker Deal from Nick Trost's Subtle Card Creations Volume 6 and Mini-Mental from John Guastaferro's en route. These are as enjoyable to perform as to watch.
Diamond Deception--I think enough time has passed to declare the November/December 2012 75th anniversary issue of Genii to be the single best issue of a magic magazine ever produced. At nearly 200 pages, it contains Max Maven's monumental history of not only Genii but of magic and life itself for 75 years along with 69 magic tricks including generous helpings of Steranko, Charlie Miller's "Magicana," and other gems from Genii both early and recent.
Best single magic magazine issue ever!
One of the tricks I overlooked during my first reading was The Eight in the Side Pocket, by Dai Vernon. A spek removes the two face-up red deuces and places any other card face down between. The magi selects another card, say the eight of clubs, and places it in his pocket. Even though the eight is visible in the pocket up to the last second, the eight and the selection change places. No duplicate cards.
Go Ask Alice--You might think you were on drugs if you watched a performance of Little Door, the sensational visual card trick from Penguin Magic by Roddie McGhie. I love this sort of trick where events stray drastically from what is expected of a card trick.
This is nothing like the 21 Card Trick.
Essentially, you draw a little door on a card box with a Dry Erase marker, slide the door open (!) to peek the face card of the deck, then slide the door back closed, remove the deck, and erase the little door with a brush of your finger. The deck may be casually shuffled, and the box may be examined. Although I kind of worked out how it must have been accomplished, I could not foresee all the extra work (and gizmos) that went into this to make it easy as well as stunning. Highest marks. $39.95.
HAIL, HAIL, ROCK 'N' ROLL! -- This section has nothing to do with magic, but a lot to do with entertainment. From around 1956 through 1962, when I was first becoming aware of the world of magic via names like Steranko and Lorayne, also my years of junior high and early high school, something amazing was happening in the world of music: rock and roll. A friend recently summarized it: every week there was a new artist on the radio, and every new song from that artist was a mega-hit. It was magical and exciting. Over the years that followed, I was privileged to see many of those pioneers in live performance. I enjoyed concerts by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, the Everly Brothers, Ricky Nelson, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Linda Scott, and Diana Ross and the Supremes along with ballad and folk singers Ray Charles, Harry Belafonte, Peter, Paul, and Mary, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan. So great. A few I saw multiple times.
Chuck Berry launched my record collection.
Some I missed because they died far too young, such as Buddy Holly. Others I missed even though they made it to 90, such as Chuck Berry, who passed away March 18. Everyone grows up, of course, but how boring it must have been for folks who grew up before or after me, who did not grow up to the amazing sound track of "School Day" and "Johnny B. Goode" and "Sweet Little Sixteen" and all that Chuck Berry and his contemporaries provided. These past few days I've been delighted to discover how many Chuck Berry performances are on YouTube. I get to relive those incredible guitar licks, those groundbreaking dance moves including but certainly not limited to Chuck's duck walk, and his one-of-a-kind vocals. Oh my, but that little country boy could play. I listen, and I am young again. Aloha, Chuck Berry.
P.S. Here's a New York Times guide to the 15 essential Chuck Berry songs.
Pretty sexy back in the sixties.
Long live rock 'n' roll.
April showers got you down? Light a candle and read my books about love and death: McGrave's Hotel and Lucas Mackenzie and The London Midnight Ghost Show.
The official Lucas Mackenzie web site.
The official McGrave's Hotel web site.
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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 used to frequently journey to and perform 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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