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Last month's April Fool's issue covered Steve Spill's I Lie for Money and Bob Farmer's The Bammo Ten Card Deal Dossier. Fun stuff!
Yikes. Please excuse this month's tardiness and brevity. My trusty iMac of the past few years breathed its last. Along with old friends at SuperDuper and new friends at Apple, we scrambled to preserve documents, photos, videos, music, contacts, and all the rest, moving most of it into its new retina display home in the nick of time. If you ever have to snag stuff (contacts, music, messages, photos, whatever) off your iPhone or iPod, iExplorer3 is a brilliant program. Check it out.
But to magic. This month brings not one but two new books from the prolific Jim Steinmeyer. Throw in a very magical optical illusion from Meir Yedid, and it's a great month.
Again, the convention season is upon us. Hope to see some of you at the Midwest Magic History Weekend.
SOMETHING FROM NOTHING -- Jim Steinmeyer himself notes the irony. Long a champion and inventor of apparatus magic (does anyone have in his library a more generous book of apparatus magic than The Conjuring Anthology or a book of more diabolical stage magic secrets than Technique and Understanding?), Jim is also held in esteem for his nearly self-working card mysteries that form the continuing Impuzzibilities series. His latest book, Nothing But Mystery, falls somewhere within his considerable range, a collection of standup routines that involve a bare minimum of props. Indeed, five of the eleven titled items call for no props whatsoever, only for a group of spectators. Learn these, and you will be abe to entertain an audience anytime, anywhere.
The highlight of this book, indeed of virtually any of Jim's books, is the keen, intelligent, appropriate patter that sells each routine. He frames his tricks with compelling story lines that not only justify the occasional mental shenanigans but make them seem to be the strength of the plot, the fairness. (Good writers of magic scripts are rare. I'd rate Mike Caveney and Harry Anderson up there with Jim, among very few others.)
Soft cover, 24 pp, $28 from JimSteinmeyer.com.
A few favorites:
The Nickel Under Your Foot. The revelation of a date on an imaginary nickel is the key to resolving an ethical quandary. No props necessary, can be performed for one or many.
The Three Ball Test. You predict the choice of an imaginary red, white, or blue ball. No props necessary.
The Passing Fancy Deck. The Invisible Deck but all in the spectator's head. Or, spoiler alert: a card is forced via verbal witchcraft, then revealed through a nifty surprise.
The Magician Who Fools Himself. The spek becomes the magician, and a thought of card transposes from one pile to another.
The Anomaly. A knot is tied in the center of a piece of rope, impossibly because the ends are tied to the magi's wrists. A medium or a physicist might theorize on how this happened.
The Adept. A full-light seance tie, with lovely patter that sells the supernatural without angering the Randi types.
An Audience of Martians. A goofy bit of business (like David Copperfield getting his audience to twist their arms) that casts the audience as a bunch of Martians then proves that they are. No props necessary.
BLOODY HELL -- Anyone who keeps coming up with so many self-working card mysteries just might be in league with the devil. Devilish Impuzzibilities is Jim Steinmeyer's sixth in his series of self-workers, most of them card routines. As always, it is characterized by items I would love to perform for friends. As it was with Treacherous Impuzzibilities, several of the routines were inspired by Eddie joseph (and other Abbott) publications. As usual, these routines are handsomely presented as the little jewels that they are. To quote from the ads, "... the format is elegant, crisp, and clear, with real printing, a gold stamped cover, and protective velum fly sheet." I'll say! $19, direct from JimSteinmeyer.com.
Magic from the dark side.
OK, as to favs ...
Just Thinking is a super efficient way to determine any card thought of. Just show the spek a few cards at a time, ask if he sees a card or cards of the selected value, and his answers immediately tell you the card. My second favorite in the book.
The Irresistible Force. Spek begins with a six, seven, and queen. Although he seemingly has completely free choices, he always selects the seven.
Deepest Sympathy. Two sets of cards, ace through seven of given suits. Magi shuffles one set, the spek throughly mixes the second. Regardless, the values match, one for one. This is a real show piece, my favorite in the book. Very fair.
A Study in Scarlet and Black. I feel certain this would have fooled Arthur Conan Doyle. Maybe even Houdini. It's a Sherlock Holmes story in which the magi reveals the location of a card through extremely direct means. You could do this one over the phone.
Mystery in Abstract. I used to love Roger Price Droodles. Here the magi fairly predicts one Droodle of seven. All the Droodles have built-in humor.
HERE, KITTY, KITTY, KITTY -- Back at the 75th Anniversary Genii Bash in Orlando, Andy Greget charmed me with a presentation of the old boomerang optical illusion, with cats and a ruler printed on the elements. Meir Yedid now sells the routine as the Tenyo Sakkaku Puzzle, and you can see him do it on his web site at MyMagic.com. For $20 pp you get the two cat strips, a ruler strip, and a vinyl carrying case. Neat!
You won't believe your eyes.
Lucas Mackenzie is featured at Barnes and Noble.
Back up your computer today!
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 used to frequently journey to and perform 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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