Note ye ed's email address:

The magic shop.

June 2012

Welcome to the Summer Vacation edition of Little Egypt Magic. My goal for the month was to head to Florida, for the first time in several years, and to leave normal life, including magic, behind. To the extent that I encountered any magic this month (and therefore am reporting it here) is a measure of the extent to which I have failed.

I treasure of course the ways in which I succeeded. I spent four days at Walt Disney World with both my grandchildren (a four-year-old first-timer into the whole princess scene and a ten-year-old veteran who lives in Orlando and rides rides that terrify me) and a week at the beach, boogie boarding on great waves and dining on great seafood. I celebrated a forty-fourth wedding anniversary on the trip which seemed like a big deal until we visited my wife's Uncle Bob who recently celebrated his sixty-sixth.

Ah, but magic is never far from the forefront. You can't visit New Smyrna Beach without at least one visit to Daytona Magic. You have shows scheduled when you get back that demand rehearsal. And the great magazines stack up at the post office for your return. So, a look at these and a fond aloha follow.

DISNEY DAYS -- What a delight to spend four days at Disney World, one in each of its main theme parks. My favorite Disney memory of this trip was my first, lunch at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater. You dine in a model of a fifties-era auto and watch a drive-in movie under the stars. The "movie" is a bunch of trailers for cheesy science-fiction movies from the fifties and sci-fi oriented cartoons of the ilk of Tom and Jerry. As these were the movies I actually watched at drive-ins in the fifties, the whole experience made me feel like a kid again.

The best "ride" at Disney World.

The second breakthrough moment was to finally ride Soarin', the Epcot Center ride in which you soar high over California as if you were in a hang glider. I had avoided it on a previous opportunity because of a fear of heights, but was happy to learn that heights don't even really come into play; you are simply magically immersed in the movie.

I'd continue to elaborate, but the rest was just great moments with family, a delight to witness the park again through the eyes of children. Rather, on to magic ...

HARRY'S PLACE -- In an era that sees brick and mortar magic shops vanishing like bird cages in Billy McComb's hands, it's a pleasure to visit an absolute jewel of a shop such as Daytona Magic. Harry Allen's and Irv Cook's shop is not only one of the best stocked and busiest, but is a gorgeous storefront shop on a gorgeous street. To walk into it is to fall in love with magic. My favorite purchase this trip was Three Frog Monte. Two of the frogs aren't feeling well and don't squeak. Can you spot the one that squeaks? Are you sure? Wanna bet?

How could you not walk in and take a look?

A wary customer selects a card.

You could lose your head in here.

DANI REDUX -- As mentioned in past issues, I have a standing obligation each summer to perform some new material at informal Monday lunches. This eats up a lot of material, so it is always fun to discover a new book or DVD that is full of performable magic. One such discovery, reviewed here in January, was Dani DaOrtiz's Utopia, his four-DVD collection. While at the beach, I set about to actually learn some material from disk 4, the Semi-Automatic disk. I am happy to report that all my selections went over swell. Missing Player is a killer poker deal. Business Card Collector has a great underlying logic that surprises, and 3 Opportunities contains a devilish force. I look forward to mastering some of the material on the other disks as the summer plays out. They aren't cheap at $150, but if you have ever seen Dani live or on video, you will want these DVDs. Worth every penny.

If the game is strip poker, the girls are in trouble.

THE EPHEMERA OF MAGIC -- I have tried hard to whittle my reading down this year, both in books and magazines. Of the latter, my three favorites that appeared this month are Genii, MAGIC, and reel magic (Kozmo's DVD zine). Each, as usual, was chock full of interesting material. I really enjoy Genii's iPad extras, particularly Genii Speaks. This month Richard was joined at Disneyland by Chris Kenner, and Chris showed off his Rising Card app for the iPhone. I bought this app a few years ago when it first came out and love it. It's the trick that is always with me.

Richard and Chris discuss magic at Disneyland.

Articles that reinvigorate my interest in magic are my favorite, and thus it was with MAGIC's cover story on Mike Bent. Mr. Bent has invented exactly the kind of spooky funny tricks I was seeking when I did Halloween shows each year, the kind of stuff I wish I had thought of first. But I didn't. Damn it.

Looking through X-ray spex, Mike doesn't like what he sees.

And finally, Adam Ruben interviews Josh Jay in Josh's home on the feature interview of reel magic. I found it exceedingly interesting and wound up watching it twice. The interview is nicely edited and includes snippets, with a complete performance of one trick, from Josh's one-man show that he presented at the last MAGIC Live.The issue also has a fascinating response by Simon Lovell to the question of how to arrange your tricks and some cool tricks are reviewed by David Regal. As always, a fun issue. Thinking magicians should be getting all three of these.

Josh tells all.

A LEGEND PASSES -- While I was away on vacation and ignoring the news, Ray Bradbury slipped away and into history without my realizing it. Since then I've been listening to a podcast of a Bradbury interview (at Comic-con, just before he turned 90) on The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith (a great podcast if you like movies; Jeff also has a great new iPad magazine called Backstory). Ray was still pretty crusty at 90. Although he is often praised for his imagination, it was his style that captivated me even more so. My favorite of his books is From the Dust Returned, his novel-length expansion of the short story "Homecoming" that took 55 years to complete. It is Ray's version of an Addams family sort of family and weirdly spooky.

The family lives on.

It is likely that the first photo I ever saw of Ray Bradbury is the one posted below, originally appearing in Famous Monsters of Filmland in August 1959, in the "Monster Mail" section to which early fanboys wrote. In this case it was a fan-girl, and a special one. Her name was Ramona and she wrote, "My Daddy is Ray Bradbury." The photo is of Ray when he was a teenager. I was so jealous of what Ramona's life must have been like. Editor Forrest Ackerman noted that too: "And a mighty handy Daddy to have around the house, especially at bed-time story-telling time." I'll say.


Aloha, Ray Bradbury. I look forward to lots more time spent inside your books.

Have a bitchin' summer.

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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