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.

Buy now and enjoy the best Halloween season ever.

Coming soon.

September 2009

Ah, the seasons turn. With Halloween looming, I shall take this last opportunity to urge you to acquire a copy of The Little Egypt Book of Ghosts. H&R Magic Books offers it for a very reasonable price, and I truly think you will find material within to help you make this your best Halloween ever. My thanks to Rolando Santos for a most favorable review in the September issue of The Linking Ring. It was fun to meet Rolando at the IBM convention in Nashville.

Also looming are some books with scarier price tags, books with promising material but books that will put a dent in your personal economic recovery plans. I look forward to Jim Steinmeyer's Technique and Understanding ($135), the final installment of The Cervon Notebooks ($200), Magic 1400s-1950s ($200), Andy Nyman's Bulletproof ($250), and, for some of you, Siegfried and Roy: Unique in All the World ($695). As an alternative to some of these sticker shock items, consider some end-of-summer bargain basement prices below. How about an any-card-named card rise for less than three bucks, six bluff controls for only ten bucks, a front row seat to Teller's Macbeth for less than eleven bucks, a free issue of The Jinx, and old world prices for fantastic material from Ken Krenzel, Paul Curry, and Charlie Frye? This is stuff you can afford, and can ill afford to be without. Happy bargain hunting.

As a final note, we published a review on MAGIC Live 2009 in our August issue. Stan Allen enjoyed my take on it, so he is running some of my text in the October issue of MAGIC. Be sure to give that issue a look, not just for my notes, but for vastly better photos from David Linsell. A summary issue after a convention is always a welcome final bit of swag for attendees, a souvenir of great times shared with great friends.

I THINK YOU'RE BLUFFING -- Vanishing, Inc., the nothing-like-it-anywhere internet magic store manned by Joshua Jay and Andi Gladwin, is quietly revolutionizing how we may all be purchasing magic in the near future. The latest offering from the boys, following a lovely old-world hardback magic book by Jon Allen, is a video download from Josh called Bluff Shift Bundle, featuring six bluff controls, for an amazingly low ten dollars. First, as to the content, these are strong, useful controls of sufficient deceptive merit that Josh safely demos them online before you purchase. Most are quite easy, but all will require a little practice to make them "invisible." I love bluff moves in magic; they are usually not only easier, but have a satisfying extra sneaky quality that adds to the fun factor. These moves rise, or should I say sink, to that level. As to the format, I love the instant gratification factor. With a couple of clicks, you can download the video (it's in Quicktime format) shortly after being fooled by the trailer, following a brief delay as your movie is personalized for you to help prevent piracy. At the incredibly fair price of ten bucks, I can't imagine anyone hesitating in making a purchase or being enough of a cad to try to rip the guys off. Just very nice. If you are an impulse shopper, beware. Vanishing, Inc. could be a very dangerous, albeit rewarding, site to visit.

Note how my name is embedded in the video.

A nice marriage of magic and technology.
PAGING DR. HOOKER -- While you're busy impulse shopping on the net, be sure to visit iTunes and take a look at Rising Card, a dazzling iPhone/iPod Touch app for only $2.99. This little gem from Chris Kenner and Theory 11 has been called "the Jesus of magic apps," and you may agree. The effect: spectator names any card, you launch the app, hand him the phone whose picture shows a hand holding a deck of cards, spectator shakes the device, and his card rises from the pack. It's high res, looks great, and any card can be named. The only problem is that the method is so clever that you may be tempted to show the spectator how it works. (The attention to detail is amazing.) Resist! Be a real magician. Dr. Hooker would have been proud to own one of these.

CATNIP -- Every so often, extraordinary people do extraordinary things. Such was the case this year when Harry Anderson and Jon Racherbaumer decided to produce a 75th anniversary issue of The Jinx, enlisting along the way contributions from magic's creme de la creme. As I mentioned in The Little Egypt Book of Ghosts, I could have had a happy life in magic performing material exclusively from Annemann's Practical Mental Effects, which is to say from The Jinx. It was therefore a great personal treat to receive a new issue in the mail, an issue apparently banged out on an old Underwood and pasted together with real paste. Harry Anderson's time on the learning curve of Adobe InDesign was well spent. Richard Kaufman made room for this 32-page retro issue within the October issue of Genii, hence it arrived free to subscribers. (The insert alone will also be made free to new subscribers.) Annemann would have been proud of what Harry calls this "remarkable 32-page duty-free birthday card," an artsy melange of tributes, retrospectives, history, humor, haiku, and, especially, clever and practical new mentalism. This is an issue for the ages. Our collective thanks to Harry, Jon, and all involved.

Harry and Jon raise the dead.


THE REAL WORLD -- Because I owned soft-cover editions of Paul Curry material early on, I passed the first time Hermetic Press published the hardback compilation Paul Curry's Worlds Beyond. I regretted that slip for years, so was pleased that this 382-page volume has recently been reprinted. Given its introductory price of only $42 (barely more than a single-trick DVD) and its 77 items, many of them groundbreaking, this could be the bargain of the lot. Consider the material's extraordinary influence. The Curry Turnover Change begat the final chapter of the Harry Lorayne classic Close-Up Card Magic. Curry's Open Prediction challenge inspired hundreds of solutions. Out of This World is on everyone's short list of the five best card tricks ever. Touch begat (to Curry's displeasure, as laid out in an amazing 3.5-page annotation by Stephen Minch) the mental classic Ultissimo, and Linked inspired Dean's Box. On a personal note, A Penny for Your Thoughts inspired my favorite Lewis Jones trick, Mint Sauce, and Sliding Knot, when performed by Doug Henning, made me believe in magic. An indispensable work.

EASY DOES IT -- Ken Krenzel's books always contain card mysteries that please, and his latest, Relaxed Impossibilities, is no exception with the killer printing routine Facial and Natural Ace Assembly, a new take on a favorite personal theme. But it wasn't the tricks but the moves that drew me to this latest from Hermetic Press. Here you'll find practical new approaches to familiar, though often elusive, sleights. I particularly enjoyed The Tabled Perpendicular Control, Skinning the Fan (a steal), Fantraction (ditto), The Simplex Side Steal, and The Clip Slip. The book was written by Stephen Minch, in a style at once elegant and genteel, a joy to spend time in. Hardback, 237 pages, now $40.

Impossibilities made possible.

A scene from Eccentricks 2.

FRYE YOUR AUDIENCES -- Charlie Frye is one of the most creative and entertaining guys in the entertainment business, and his handsome new wirebound book Eccentricks explodes with the sort of material he contributed to his columns in MAGIC and JUGGLE. Although I expected great visual material such as gags, juggling stunts, and magic tricks, I was happily surprised to find some great mentalism and spook show items as well. This is material that would have found fans in The Jinx. Partly illustrated with photos, partly with snazzy cartoons by the author, featuring over 70 items in 57 pages, this is a steal at only $25. Order directly from

HORRORS -- Following a brief run in New Jersey, Teller's re-imagining of Macbeth as a "startling, supernatural horror show" opened at the Folger Theatre in Washington, D.C., to huge critical acclaim. Ticket prices ran from $34 to $55 and were hard to come by. Most of us slow to the mark or living elsewhere had to give it a pass. Fortunately, and rather amazingly, the show is now available on DVD, nicely packaged inside a book, Macbeth, from the Folger Shakespeare Library. $16 retail, $10.88 from Amazon. The included DVD contains the full performance plus fifty minutes of special features. If you like magic and horror, you're going to love the show. The magic baffles: a dagger floats in the air like a hologram; the magical comings and goings of Banquo's ghost are dizzying. The blood is copious: Banquo at times is a fountain of blood, and Lady Macbeth in her white dress morphs before your eyes into Carrie at the prom. But Teller's inputs aside, it's finally the acting that puts this show over the top. I've seen many productions of Macbeth, and this is the finest acting I've seen.

A classic returns.

My only criticism is with the weird sisters: Teller elected to give them a male spin, and although they were eminently creepy, my favorite rendition remains the one I saw at the Old Globe in Balboa Park, San Diego, where the sisters were three beautiful nude blondes. That's a show I wish I had on DVD.

Something wicked this way comes.

School is back in session. Break out your books and learn something new.

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.

Past issues of this web site: Index to Past Issues

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Copyright© 2009 by Steve Bryant