Note ye ed's new email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Little Egypt Book of Numbers is now available from H&R Magic Books! See glowing self-serving review in the July 2004 issue.
THE STRIP -- I am a quite new and most enthusiastic subscriber to Shawn McMaster's The Mandala, which he issues periodically (quarterly, as I understand) by e-mail. It's full of news, views, and interviews and is as ambitious as The Little Egypt Gazette was (except that bit of lunacy was monthly), and it has lasted longer. The previous issue (Fall 2004) contained a brilliant interview with Jon Stetson, and the current (Winter 2004) contains a fine interview with James Burks. If you don't know who James Burks is, neither did I. James writes and draws a fabulous online comic strip about a magician and his rabbit, called Martin's Misdirection. I'll say no more about it, as the news is really Shawn's, except to say that you can find Martin's Misdirection at martinsmisdirection.com. Prepare to be delighted.
CASTLE REDUX -- Following months of negotiations, the Academy of Magical Arts has struck a deal with the Glover family that should keep the Magic Castle open for the foreseeable future. As has now been widely reported, the Glover family will take over the food and beverage operation, and there will be two boards operating under the AMA (a seven-member Board of Directors including three Associate members, all with term limits, to operate the business side of the AMA, and a nine-member Board of Trustees to operate the magic side of the AMA). Milt is no longer the landlord but gets the same basic cut, and there is an official role and salary for Irene. I could worry about stuff such as what if an Associate member passes the test to become a magician (would he have to resign from the Board?), but that is the sort of thing best left to endless forum discussions. For me the bottom line was that Milt be happy, and he is. The Magic Castle is still his "baby," and like all children it has grown and changed a bit. Its future looks bright.
Season's Greetings one and all. My special thanks to all the magicians I got to see in person this year, especially to Richard Hatch and Charlie Randall for publishing my book. Some encounters were surprising, and I particularly enjoyed brief hang time with Melinda, Steve Draun, and Persi Diaconis, nice people all. This month, we have a nifty URL thanks to Shawn McMaster, good news re the Magic Castle, an obvious last-minute Christmas shopping idea, and a trick suggestion, an incentive to persuade you to learn an astonishing Juan Tamariz magic trick.
ANTISHUFFLE -- Juan Tamariz's Mnemonica easily ranks as one of the top books of this or any year, bursting with diabolical ruses for card magic, most of which have little to do with memorizing 52 cards in sequence. Perhaps the most astonishing of these is "Everything in Order" on page 35, a no-skill method for causing an apparently shuffled deck to revert to new-deck order. The first time you do this, thanks to the wacky antifaro-4 move, you will be in for one of the big thrills of your life. Anyway, to delay demonstrating that the cards are now in order, Tamariz recommends asking the name of the card, cutting it to the top of the deck (easy because they are all in order), palming it off, and producing it from a pocket. Rather than doing that, I recommend doing "Triumph." By that, I don't mean to do "Triumph" as a separate, new effect, but rather to execute the "Triumph" shuffle as an extension of what you have been doing so far. Ask for the name of the card, cut it to the top, and table the deck. "Since I haven't found your card yet, I'm going to have to resort to a procedure I almost never use, the infamous David Wingfield Verner Illusionary Shuffle." Or whatever. Cut the deck, turn the bottom half face up, and perform the shuffle. You can't spread the interlaced cards, as the order of the face-up cards will be apparent, but Daryl's cutting sequence looks just fine. At the conclusion of the shuffle, the spectator's card is face up in the middle of a face-down spread, with the other 51 cards now pointing in the same direction. Not only that, but the shuffle, as you now reveal (cut casually so that the run begins with an ace), has also placed each card in the deck in its proper numerical/suit sequence. Ta da. In other words, the revealed sequence isn't a separate effect or kicker, but part of the same "unshuffling" magic. (By the way, I suggest leaving the reversed card reversed until after you spread the deck face up. Then turn it over to reveal that it had not only been reversed, but reversed in place.)
Check a full review of Mnemonica in our September installment. $71 pp from Hermetic Press (hermeticpress.com).
STOCKING STUFFER -- While this may sound like crass commercialism, I assure you I get nothing out of it. Nevertheless, do yourselves and the boys a favor by sending H & R Magic Books an order for The Little Egypt Book of Numbers. Real miracles, sensibly priced. You already have one? Hey, buy one for your girlfriend. Buy one for your mom. It's Christmas!
Peace on Earth, good will to men.
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 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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Copyright© 2004 by Steve Bryant