Note ye ed's email address:

Finally unearthed: The Little Egypt Book of Ghosts from H&R Magic Books.
It's to die for!
Check out Jamy Ian Swiss' review in our Bookstore.

Parlor magician.

March 2011

Hello, Spring. If a change of seasons is indeed upon us, that means we can look forward to the books of summer, including the much anticipated The Berglas Effects by Richard Kaufman. Others high on my wish list are John Bannon's Bullet Party Book and Jim Magus's Unspeakable Acts, the biography of Tony Andruzzi (and two "other" guys).

Sometimes you think you know what you will write about in upcoming installments, and sometimes you are surprised. For personal reasons, this month surprised me a bit, but I am nevertheless happy to report on a look back at EMC 2010 and ahead to MAGIC Live, as well as to include a few travel notes on Paul Vigil's one-man show, on an astounding card trick in Genii, and on performances enjoyed in Las Vegas.

EMC 2010 -- Last summer, during a period in which I had to spend two weeks looking face down, one of the things that helped me through three of those days was attending the Essential Magic Conference, beamed live from Portugal. What an astonishing array of talent Luis de Matos assembled, including such new (to me) talents as Dani DaOrtiz and Ponta the Smith. (Check The iConvention for a complete review.) This month, the entire convention reappeared in my mailbox in the form of a boxed set of DVDs. I am happy to report that the packaging and navigation are well thought out and that the performances and explanations look even better from an upright position than they did looking down at them. Rather than being arranged in the order they were originally broadcast, the presentations have been re-ordered into three main categories--Talks, Performances, and Passion for Magic. Although there were 33 magicians present in Portugal for the initial broadcast (34 if you count Barry and Stuart as two bodies), additional magicians of the likes of Mac King, Jeff McBride, and Steve Cohen appear in these new Passion for Magic segments.

Nicely organized.

It's a delight to revisit this material and to receive the new stuff, and the good news for those who didn't attend is that the set is available for only $150 for the eight DVDs, from your favorite dealer.

The new stuff is pretty cool.

MAGIC APPLAUDS 20 -- In celebration of twenty years of publishing MAGIC magazine, Stan Allen is once again hosting MAGIC Live in Las Vegas, this year returning to the Orleans (the recent favorite of MAGIC Live wannabes) with what I anticipate to be the convention of the year. No, I haven't a clue as to whom or what Stan will bring us, as he sells out without so much as a hint of the talent lineup, but veterans of past MAGIC Lives know that those events ranked as some of the finest experiences of their magical histories. Check my full report with my hot photos here or, with my text somewhat modified and with Stan's photos (including two of Mac King and Max Maven in boy scout uniforms) here. Although the convention is officially sold out, Stan expects enough cancellations that he will be able to accommodate those who add their names to the wait list. Don't delay!

MAGIC Live director and registrar.

TALL PAUL -- While in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, I joined a band of magicians including Richard Hatch, Gene Matsuura, Curtis Kam, Allen Okawa, and John Signa (among others) on an evening's field trip to the Mirage. The specific destination was the King Ink Tattoo Studio Bar & Lounge, where mind reader and magician Paul Vigil held forth in an opulent lounge. (Skulls adorned our parlor, while the facilities for the needlework were in an adjacent room and not being used during our stay.) In stark contrast to the Mirage's prior resident magic show, the King Ink show focussed on Paul alone, a soft-spoken, slight man with amazing larger than life powers and a beautifully crafted script. No tigers. Although most of the audience on this night was composed of receptive magicians, I took note of one young lady who gasped throughout the performance; she was as thrilled as her boyfriend at the bar was threatened. Paul Vigil is a force to be reckoned with. The mentalism was exceedingly direct, the coin work was nicely done, and the card work baffling, but my favorite piece of the evening was Paul's McDonald's Aces. Lovely handling, much of it new to me.

Richard Hatch peruses a paper during Paul's elegant parlor show.

Check Paul's web site for a who's who of testimonials, Dodd Vickers' The Magic Newswire for a podcast with Paul, and the King Ink web site for general information. Dunninger probably never imagined performing in a tattoo parlor, but Paul Vigil has made this the place to be in Las Vegas on Wednesday evenings.

BLIND MAN'S BLUFF -- One of the ruses that fascinates Tom Stone is change blindness, which first came to my attention in his trick Reality Glitch, from the e-book Prey of the Prestidigitator. He returned to the strategy in the March issue of Genii with a fabulous card trick called Cognitive Color Change. As he put it, his goal was "to begin by showing a blue-backed deck, then cause the audience to forget that the deck is blue, so that they will be surprised at the end when the deck is shown to be blue." At least a few readers didn't think it was possible, but I aver that it can. I've soundly fooled groups of engineers with it as well as such magicians as Andrew Martin, Eugene Burger, Tom Frank, Auke Van Dukkom, and Harry Monti. Give it a try. You may even fool yourself.

NAME GAME -- I would be remiss in not dropping a few more names. For the few days that I visited Las Vegas this month, in addition to friends I socialized with, the following reinvigorated my love of magic through their performances and lectures: Jeff McBride, Abbi McBride, Eugene Burger, Bizzaro, Rudy Coby, Jonathan Pendragon, Cody Sanders and partner, Eli and Emma Portala, Reuben Moreland, Jon Armstrong, Simon and Ginny Aronson, Peter Samelson, Stan Allen, James Dimmare, Circe Martinez, Romany, Asi Wind, and the incredible Juan Tamariz. By the way, Jeff McBride really knows how to throw a party. Join him live at the Wonderground, third Thursdays in Las Vegas.

The cast of Wonderground.

Silence is golden.

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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