THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES -- A gorgeous spring bouquet of kudos to Gabe Fajuri who, with help from his dad and numerous other magical personalities, hosted the 38th Annual Magic Collectors' Weekend, in Shaumburg, Illinois, from 3-5 May. It was my first time to attend, and this jewel of a convention smacked of class from the get-go: the registration packets contained the most elegant printed program I've ever seen for a convention plus the 80-page A Selection of Books, Apparatus, and Memorabilia from the Magic Collection of Jay Marshall, a catalog of the magical dream-stuff that would be auctioned on the final day of the get-together. It was three days during which the cream of the modern magic world gathered with an eye to taking home prizes from the dealer room or from Jay's astonishing collection. When not making purchases, this estimable bunch passed the time listening to erudite lectures, none finer than Richard Kaufman's on the re-making of Greater Magic or Guest of Honor Jim Steinmeyer's "Why Amac Drank." Additional talks or performances that linger in my reveries include David Charvet's new details on Alexander (which led to a new biography), David Parr's visit to his own magical past, John Carney's resurrection of forgotten sleight-of-hand pieces, and a film on Max Maven. The Hyatt itself was conveniently situated between the Woodfield Mall and IKEA and served up a fine dessert reception and dinner. Saturday's auction, as tense as a six-hour World Poker Tour event, raised $317,000 and was riveting. (A lot of guys in magic have way too much disposable income!) All of these memories pale, however, to the one that got to me on the final evening's after-dinner show. Sandy Marshall, whose act I enjoyed in 1968 on the Magic Castle's Haunted Wine Cellar stage, served as emcee. At one point, Sandy donned a familiar white glove. Lefty turned, looked at Sandy with awe and surprise, and said, in Lefty's unmistakable voice, and with amazing feeling, "It's the kid." Those three words were worth whatever I paid to attend this shindig.
Let's devote May to one fine topic -- the 38th Annual Magic Collectors' Weekend held on the 3rd through the 5th of the month in Shaumburg, Illinois, and to a couple of spinoff topics (Chris Wilcox's Sleight Club and Chuck Romano's new CDs). This gem of a convention attracted some of my absolute favorite people in magic, and it was a joy to share some time with you all. Gabe Fajuri has a lot to be proud of. Thanks also to Vixen and Spike for allowing me to crash at their beautiful condo in Evanston and for treating me to a Cubs game at Wrigley on Sunday. A thrill!
COLLECTIBLES -- I love meeting magicians at these gatherings, and it was a pleasure to finally meet Chuck Romano in person, Chuck of course being the author of such excellent works as The Art of Deception, House of Cards (the Rosini biography), and The Mechanics of Marvels. Chuck has two new items for sale, The Marshall Brodien Magic Set Collection and Jack Gwynne's Magical Scrapbook. Each is a CD containing pdf documents (plus high res photos). Although I am not generally a fan of pdf documents (I get woozy trying to read extensive onscreen text), these two CDs work great as they are primarily collections of graphic images. The Marshall Brodien item contains photos of 150 magic sets that Marshall has developed throughout his career, some under his own name and some for the likes of Siegfried and Roy and Lance Burton. The Gwynne scrapbook was originally an oversized ledger from the Carnegie Steel Company which Gwynne filled with handwritten notes and drawings, some effects being just rough notes, and some quite detailed. The 75 items here, mostly stage and parlor effects, will be of interest to Gwynne fans, historians, and those seeking hidden gems. I particularly liked Billy Russell's floating ball, "pronounced the most perfect floating ball in the world." $25 each, pp.
SONIC BOOM -- One of the freebies in the MCA welcome packet was a CD from Chris Wilcox, containing a most interesting one-hour interview with Harry Riser. The interview is an example of the podcasts that Chris offers for free (donations welcome, however) on his Sleight Club web site. You can currently download in-depth interviews with Lee Asher, Yegal Mesika, Kenton Knepper, Richard Osterland, Mike Close, Harry Riser, David Williamson, Gabe Fajuri, and Mike Caveney. I just listened to Caveney, a terrific way to pass an hour. You'll love the interviews and the kicky graphics (you'll think you landed in a fifties' movie). Chris is a young Indianapolis magician who also runs Circle City Magic, his online magic shop from which he sells selected items, with the assistance of his wife, Heather. Check the links on our Dealers page.
Spend some time with your mom.
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.
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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