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Extra! Extra! Special It's Magic! edition of The Little Egypt Gazette still online.
MR. WRONG -- Back in our November 2006 installment we had the pleasure of reviewing Amazing Johnathan's Comedy Central special Wrong On Every Level. This special is now available on dvd for a modest $15 (check Best Buy, slightly higher at Amazon). In addition to that hilarious special, there is bonus footage with deleted scenes, a Premium Blend appearance, and, my favorite, highlights of a Comedy Central show. This appearance features the material I saw AJ do in Tunica when I interviewed him for his Genii cover issue (still one of the best back issues of Genii you can purchase), including his Psychic Tanya psychometry routine and the "Mystery of the Himalayan Snowball of India" zombie routine. Great stuff, aided by Penny Wiggins, the most talented lady in magic if not in all show business. This dvd is a steal on every level.
VANISHING ACT -- Aaron Fisher is known for his precise, well-considered sleight of hand, the best of which appears in his masterpiece, The Paper Engine. It therefore came as something of a surprise to me for Aaron to release a self-working miracle called "Panic," a bare-hand vanish of a deck of cards. (More specifically, the deck changes places with four kings that you stick in your back pocket.) "Self-working" is overstating it. The physical handling is dead easy, but it takes expert management to perform this properly, which Aaron teaches on the accompanying dvd. The props are cool and you will delight in how good this looks. $24.95 from www.theory11.com.
Season's greetings! No, that's not Santa Claus to the left; it's Amazing Johnathan whose excellent tv special from last year is now out on dvd, for a song. For this year's final installment we also look at the homes of Chris Kenner and David Saxe, a vanishing deck from Aaron Fisher, upcoming magic conventions, magic toys for girls and boys, and a pleasing shift in Magic Castle leadership. For last-minute shopping ideas (very last-minute, as Christmas has passed), we always recommend The Little Egypt Book of Numbers, still available from H&R Magic Books. Check the ads: it's unlike most any card book you own. High on my recommended list this year were also two books that are not actual magic books -- Michael Close's That Reminds Me (a book of jokes with magical connections) and Paul Malmont's The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril (a novel about Walter Gibson and others). And though I have yet to see a copy, I suggest investing in the Cervon Notebooks before they are scarfed up by fans and speculators. See you at the conventions!
HOMEBODIES -- Some of you may have noticed in December's MAGIC that Chris Kenner's 3500-square-foot home is the subject of a 12-page feature article in the November/December issue of Las Vegas Home and Design. (See "Fun House," by Scott Dickensheets.) While trying to discover more online about Chris's digs, I learned that the current issue of Las Vegas Life Magazine also has an article on the 13000-square-foot home of V-The Ultimate Variety Show producer David Saxe. David, besides being Melinda's brother and a really nice guy, is a UNLV grad and part-time professor at UNLV in the entertainment department, operates a 15000-square-foot production studio in downtown Las Vegas, and through David Saxe Productions employs over 200 people in Las Vegas and, according to his web site, currently produces more shows in Las Vegas than Cirque du Soleil. Single issues of both magazines are available online: just Google their titles and click on Subscriptions.
COLUMBUS, LAS VEGAS, AND LOUISVILLE, OH MY -- And Shaumburg! A fine convention season is shaping up for 2008, with the combined IBM/SAM convention in Louisville being billed as the Convention of the Century. Which century I am not certain, but it will be a winner if it is merely the best convention of the year. My season begins with Magi-Fest in Ohio, with John Lovick sufficient reason to attend along with Michael Ammar and Gene Anderson as bonus superstars, all served up by the ubiquitous Red Coats. Then to Las Vegas in April, a milder month than usual for the World Magic Seminar (I no longer care who is booked; I regard this as my annual must-attend convention of any year), followed by the Magic Collectors Association meeting in Shaumburg in May. This year's big draw: Harry Anderson! Which brings us up to the six full nights in Louisville in July, a gathering of stars that will include six "never to be repeated" lectures. These, thanks to Alan Watson's newsletter, include 1. Jim Steinmeyer's "The Secret No One Tells You." 2. Derek Lever's "The World's Greatest Magic Inventors." 3. David Williamson's "Organic Magic - The Art of Impromptu Performance." 4. Eberhard Riese's "The Evolution of an Act." 5. David Kaye's "The First Century of Children's Magic." 6. David Ben's/Jon Racherbaumer's "Vernon and Marlo - The all Time Greats of Card Magic." And that's just a small part of nearly a full week of magic in a great city. Oh my. (Note: There are a few days left to save $100 on the IBM/SAM. Good luck.)
BEGINNER'S LUCK -- Most magicians of my generation had the good fortune to begin life with a Mysto Magic set. I note this Christmas that the current crop of moppets is multiply blessed. For the very young, there is BabyMagician from Infantino, a five-piece magic set to delight baby including "a cuddly rabbit that rattles in a fun sparkly cape," a "jingling teether-tailed fish that hides under a soft magic cup (baby can be the next Mac King)," a "plush magic hat that crinkles," "crinkling cards that have linkable loop and photo holder," and a wand with "colorful flowers and a magical sound." We currently have this in the home for our new granddaughter, and the wand sound is way cool. A delightful first magic set. At Marshall Field's (now Macy's) in Chicago, I finally laid eyes on one of the Fantasma magic sets. Awesome, with sparkling cups and linking rings. Our Mysto sets never included a Die Box! And finally, in the Restoration Hardware catalog, magic for kids most adults would be proud to own, including a black art table ("trap door makes things vanish") for only $59 and a collapsible top hat ("collapses at the flick of the wrist for the ultimate in sleight of hand") for just $19. Flash! After Christmas sale: the table is now $22.99 and the hat $5.99.
IN THE DIRECTOR'S CHAIR -- Good news from the Magic Castle is that Max Maven has been appointed as Entertainment Director, returning that post to a single individual as it was with Ron Wilson and Bill Larsen. Ah, now Mr. "New to Mentalism" Jason Alexander will have to suck up to Max to get a gig at the Castle. And although one expects excellent lineups from Max with no hidden agendas, we couldn't help but wonder at his first lineup featuring John Lovick, John Carney, John Kennedy, John Calvert, Johnny Thompson, and Amazing Johnathan. All kidding aside, it's great to see Max assume a key role in Castle operations, and we expect great things.
Macy's Chicago features Nutcracker magic.
Peace on Earth, good will to men.
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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Copyright© 2007 by Steve Bryant