Both Volumes of The Little Egypt Gazette are now available on CD for only $24. Click The Bookstore for ordering details.

Bill Malone's On the Loose is the DVD set of the year.

David Regal returns to a (magic) bookstore near you.

DOUBLE FEATURE -- A few years ago, in the Magic Castle's Hat and Hare Pub, David Regal invited me to shuffle a deck of cards indefinitely and then to select a card, all with the deck in my hands. He then extracted a prediction card from his wallet (a real wallet, like the one George carried in Seinfeld, not some wussy Himber affair) that matched my clearly free choice. It was therefore with considerable delight that I found this trick ("The World's First Card Trick") included in the handsome new two-volume Constant Fooling, from Murphy's Magic Supplies. I couldn't have picked more enjoyable books for reading on the beach. My favorite item from David's previous book was a gag rather than a trick (and one which Simon Lovell quickly adapted as part of his professional act), and the gags and lines in Constant Fooling live up to that standard, as you might expect from a professional comedy writer. (Actually, the funniest word in the book was suggested by R. Paul Wilson.) Whether a particular trick appeals to you or not, you should read all the effects in this book, as you are in for some killer patter. The material ranges from lovely sleight-of-hand items that would have been at home in the hands of a Michael Skinner or a Larry Jennings to full-blown stand-up production pieces. I confess to a fondness for an effect in which a mouse on a slinky leaps from a box with a card in its mouth, and to one in which the magician stuffs a Buck Rogers ray gun down his pants. Also on hand are fine items from David's friends (I was already a fan of John Lovick's "Clandestine Jokers" and am newly fond of R. Paul Wilson's "Thinking It Over"). Throughout the book is a smattering of essays that are refreshingly novel. The books are beautifully produced in the same format as David's Close-Up & Personal (alas, including an incorrect punctuation decision), with glossy pages and plenteous photos. If you can buy only one book this summer, buy these two. If that makes sense. (And no, David didn't have 52 cards in his wallet that night. Just one.)

WHAT THIS COUNTRY NEEDS IS A GOOD FIVE-DOLLAR CHOP CUP -- My summer ramblings took me to Daytona Beach Magic, where, among other goodies, I discovered a beautiful little black plastic Chop cup, with red crocheted balls. The cups are made in India and can be had for an incredibly low five dollars! The balls alone would be a deal at that price. Buy a set of three (I did) and you have the makings of the finest cups and balls sequences possible. (Check David Regal's "Cups & Balls & Cups & Balls" in his new books.) The cups are just the right size to hold a golf ball as the final load. Get in touch with Harry Allen for details.

July-August 2002

What a wonderful summer! I don't want this sheet to become a product review sheet, but great products have so far defined this summer for me. Included here are new stuff from Bill Malone, James Lewis, Jack Avis and Lewis Jones, Yves Doumergue, Paul Harris, and David Regal. And we've still to hear from Aaron Fisher, Darwin Ortiz, and James Hodges. Nifty. Meanwhile, watch for the September issue of Genii, which will feature one of my favorite magicians, British transplant Martin Lewis.

D-V-D, D-V-D, D-V-D! -- As in Bill Ma-lone, Bill Ma-lone, Bill Ma-lone! The new set of four Bill Malone DVDs from L&L is one of the real surprise treats of the summer. At only $120 for a set of four DVDs (don't even think about VHS; the instant access of DVD has made VHS obsolete), this set would be worth it as a performance-only product. Bill Malone is so much fun to watch that you will be popping these in just to enjoy the show. I might have said that you don't even need the explanations, but then Bill did the "Invisible Palm Aces" and just fooled the holy ____ out of me. I turned immediately to the explanation and confirmed what I've always thought, that Bill Malone is also a sneaky bastard. Every item here (31 featured items plus bonus technical material and fantastic tips) constitutes solid commercial entertainment. And yes, the set includes all the details on "Sam, the Bellhop" and the other things you've seen Bill do and wanted to do yourself. Learn this material, get a Bill Malone hairdo and a really funny personality, throw in some keen business sense, and maybe some day you too can become "The CEO of Comedy Magic."

BRIT LIT -- I was privately skewered not long ago for revealing my fondness for the work of Lewis Jones. My critic made the correct point that Lewis is best left unknown, or at least known only to the British inner circle, so that a relative few could mystify those not in the know. I suspect that his new book, a hardback collaboration with Jack Avis, will end his anonymity in the U.S. Ahead of the Pack is currently available only through Ian Rowland's web site (, which also harbors many other treasures. To mention a few items, "The Full Monte" makes a miracle of Hummer's mathematical three-card monte, "The Third Eye" is a "Powers of Darkness" effect with playing cards, and "Empathy" is a boy-girl routine that went into my repertoire immediately. "Off-Centre Tear" is hands down the finest center tear I've ever encountered. You will be amazed at the ease and the deviousness of many of the methods in this book. Now, I purchased the book because of my avid interest in Lewis Jones, but the material and excellent thinking by Jack Avis prompted me to quickly order his 1998 book Via a Vis from Richard Kaufman. This too is a terrific book and quite beautiful as well. All you Genii readers (And you are one, right? Right?) know how to get in touch with Richard.

CRAPS -- James Lewis told me last year that his sister lives in the same town as I. Rather than face the wrath of some irate sibling, I must give James's new video, "James Lewis Tips Doctor Sack's Amazing Dice Trick," a glowing recommendation. Fortunately, that is not a problem, as this is a terrific video devoted to that spot-changing dice trick that most of us first encountered in Bruce Elliott's Classic Secrets of Magic. I cannot really perform this trick because of an arthritic condition with my fingers, but I certainly love it. I saw it first on tv as a child, more recently in the company of San Diego magician Bob Ingalls when a couple of Canadian youngsters showed it to us, and now here in spectacular detail by James. It's a very well shot and well taught video. (I would critique your choice of tie in the performance segment, James, but don't want your sister tracking me down.) Learn this trick, carry a pair of dice with you, and you can perform a miracle whenever the occasion arises. It looks like real magic.

HANK'S THANKS-- Although I've rarely mentioned it, Hank Lee's web site is the first I turn to when browsing for new material. Hank's Hot List changes almost daily, and his is the most complete and user friendly dealer site I know of. Plus it's backed by a brick and mortar magic shop stocked with all the great stuff Hank carries, and he gets stuff to you fast. I recently got involved with an order that, for various weird reasons, I had to change three times. Hank couldn't have been nicer and accommodated all my requests. While I don't suggest you ever complicate a dealer's life as I did, I want to thank Hank for being so helpful. By the way, the items I wound up with (a far cry from where I started) were Yves Doumergue's "Ripped and Restored" DVD and Paul Harris's "Deep Astonishment." The first is a genuinely usable approach to the Guy Hollingworth masterpiece and the latter is a dead-easy miracle. Send Hank an order and check them out.

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 a computer (a new iMac as of this month!) 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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