Volume 2, Number 9
June 1997

Notice: This magazine is for magicians only. If you are reading this and still do not know how to levitate off a sidewalk, this magazine is not for you. Amscray. Impostors will be forced to perform for a typical David Blaine audience armed with nothing but a dove pan, a breakaway wand, and a book of Bob Orben jokes. You have been warned.

Congratulations, but it wasn't much of a challenge, was it? All three answers were correct. So why are we here? Technically, we are still on vacation here at Little Egypt central. I had intended to write only a few words about the recent David Blaine and Melinda specials, as they are fresh in the mind, when the thing suddenly took on, to paraphrase Vladimir Nabokov, the fangs and claws of a full-blown issue. So be it. Summer beckons, with its conventions and bounty of new books and videos, but first, the news of late spring . . .

IT'S MAGIC 1997 -- Milt Larsen has announced the staggering lineup for the 1997 edition of It's Magic, his 41st, to be held at the Alex Theater in Glendale. Southern Californians will be treated this year to Ronn Lucas, Mark Kornhauser (who will also emcee), Tina Lenert, Kevin James, The Pendragons, and, from Portugal, Luis DeMatos. Am I dropping names or what?

CONTEST: WHAT IS THIS OBJECT? -- The internet abounds with information, including the full drawing of which the enclosed is a brief part.

Stolen from the files of Herbert Becker

The drawing is either (a) the lane lines for the Year 2000 Australian Olympics, (b) Top Secret drawings of the Roswell spacecraft, or (c) the patent drawing for David Copperfield's "Flying" illusion. Hint: the subject of the message pointing this out to me read, "John Gaughan will be pissed." Second hint: don't ask me for the URL.

HOUSTON NEWS -- List 16 from H & R Magic Books arrived last month and is, as usual, chock full of temptations, including all the new books, books that are out of print but still in stock, and 832 used titles. Richard and Charlie also stock most of the available lecture notes and the latest items from Karl Fulves. $3 from H & R Magic Books, 3702 Cyril Drive, Humble TX 77396-4032.

Incorrigible faro shufflerTAHOMA NEWS -- Louis Falanga's latest mailer is a 28-page full-color magazine with all the newest offerings from L & L Publishing. The emphasis in this issue is on Alex Elmsley, the legendary subject of L & L's new four-volume video series, The Magic of Alex Elmsley ($110 for the set). If you missed the 1975 lecture tour, this is your chance to see the master at work. Also new and of interest is a reprint of Dai Vernon's Symphony of the Rings, the Professor's classic six-ring Chinese ring routine ($10). I studied this years ago, but it wasn't until I saw Johnny Carson do it on The Tonight Show that I realized how beautiful it was. It's the essential text if you want to learn the rings. These and other goodies are available from L & L's web site in our "Favorite Links" page.

DC NEWS -- We'll be reviewing Swami/Mantra elsewhere in this issue, but note that Richard Kaufman has already followed last month's publication of Swami/Mantra and Charles Bertram The Court Conjurer with the latest from Peter Duffie, Effortless Card Magic ($35). I had the pleasure of reviewing Duffie's previous book, Duffie's Card Compulsions, in the first issue of this journal, and look forward to his new book. (Card Compulsions is now available at a reduced price of $35, and you can receive both books for $60 if you contact Richard quickly.) The Bertram book is also on hand here and is gorgeous ($60). From Richard Kaufman, 4200 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Suite 106-292, Washington, DC 20016.

Kicked out of Ruritanian Air Force for knowing Kelly FlynnURBANA-CHAMPAIGN NEWS -- Scheduled to perform at the University of Illinois in September is Thomas Kubinek, billed as a "Certified Lunatic and Master of the Impossible." Kubinek "combines comedy, magic, theatre, and clowning in his wildly nutty and inventive solo performance. Kubinek has traveled the globe with his exuberant madness, performing mind-boggling miracles and surreal feats of the most virtuosic variety. His outrageous theatrics reduce people of all ages to giggles, howls, and screams of delight."

THE DOLPHIN AND THE SWAN -- Disney World regulars will recognize this title as the name of a pair of luxury hotels on Orlando's Walt Disney World grounds, catering, even in Disney's words, to the "suit-and-tie crowd." According to Disney Magazine, the Swan now features nightly, in its Garden Grove Cafe, "Gulliver's Grill, where the bag of tricks includes a floor show by Gulliver, a magician." Is anyone familiar with this act?

WEERD WEEKEND VI -- Most feel it would be impossible to duplicate Tony Andruzzi's Invocationals, the bizarre and inventive gatherings he hosted each year in Chicago. Docc Hilford has nevertheless provided the opportunity for weerdists to continue to gather each year, to their delight, and is moving the event back to Albuquerque this year on November 13-16. The guest of honor will be Johnny Thompson. If interested, send your $150 registration to Docc Co., P.O. Box 2293, Stuart, FL 34995.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE WORLD (OF MAGIC) -- In case you missed it in the April issue of Genii, Max Maven has churned out another landmark piece of journalism, an encyclopedic 36-page article called "A History of FISM." Reading it, you will discover that it is not merely the history of a contest, but a history of the emergence of virtually all of the major names in magic for the last 60 years of the 20th century. Fascinating reading.

THE FAMOUS TORN AND RESTORED LIT CIGARETTE TRICK -- George Plimpton's literary journal, The Paris Review, features a short story in its Winter 1996 issue called "The Famous Torn and Restored Lit Cigarette Trick," by Elizabeth Gilbert. Although it has little to do with cigarette tricks, the story is a delightful mix of magic, murder, and a purloined bunny. Although Ms. Gilbert wins The Paris Review Discovery Prize for her story, she isn't as well known as Woody Allen, so you plagiarists out there might want to change a name or two and submit it to Stan Allen's next fiction contest.

ASCENSIONS -- Karl Fulves's new book, New Card Rises, contains 20 titled items in 62 pages, all involving cards that rise or otherwise move mysteriously from the confines of a deck. There are some nifty impromptu and near-impromptu methods -- I particularly liked Gene Maze's "Illusionary Card Rise" -- but the trick that is going to garner all the deserved attention is "Walter Brusa's Card Rise." This is a method that allows any card named to immediately rise from a deck, while the deck is held in your hand. The deck looks normal enough but is heavily gaffed. Although you can plunge in and construct a deck that will indeed allow any card to rise, I found it easier to verbally limit the spectator's choice to 10 or 20 possibilities. The book contains suggestions for this that should cause no concern on the spectator's part. Also, although you can do the effect simply with the deck, I found that everything works smoother for me -- looks quite beautiful, in fact -- if I first place the deck in a lucite houlette. It isn't quite the Hooker rising cards, but it's a step in the right direction. A steal at $15 plus $3 postage from Karl at Box 433, Teaneck NJ 07666.

Former dancer in Siegfried and Roy showThe big events in magic for May were the ABC and CBS magic specials, David Blaine:Street Magic and Disney's Melinda, First Lady of Magic. David and Melinda emerge from different show business backgrounds, not only from those of each other but from those of most other magicians. David hales from the street (the real street, populated by real street people), while Melinda comes from the Las Vegas dancer/showgirl scene. As expected, the specials were a study in contrasts, presenting lay audiences a diverse range of magic and presenting magicians plenty to gab about on the internet. Click either The Street or The Stage for a complete Little Egypt Gazette look at each.

You will die if you stare at this for more than 10 secondsWhere the hell was I from 1972-1977? Geographically, the answer is San Diego, but magically I've no idea how I happened to miss out on two excellent magazines from India, published over that span by Sam Dalal, and known to more astute magicians as Swami and Mantra. Fortunately, if you missed out on these issues as I did, Richard Kaufman has published a limited edition volume of both journals, running to 280 oversize pages. In addition to excellent magic of the type featured in Western magazines of that era, these also contain astonishing secrets of Eastern magic that no one with a lick of sense would ever attempt. (Sense is in short supply in magic circles, and some of these items have crept into "geek magic" performances in recent years, in the programs of several famous magicians.) To accurately quote from the ads, "No other magazine in the history of magic contains as eclectic a mixture of magical styles and effects as Sam Dalal's hard-to-find classics from the Mysterious East." Click Yikes! for a closer look at this new book from Richard Kaufman and Sam Dalal.

Swami and Mantra, cited above, contain as diverse a range of layout styles as they do magical styles. One of the items that stood out for me for sheer innovation was Tan Hock Chuan's "The Absconding Queen." Click The Trick for an illustrated description of the effect, and click The Secret for how it's done. (Please be patient if you have a slow modem.)

As always, the secret comes at a price, and the price this month is awareness of one of the most famous practitioners of Eastern magic, known as the Man with the X-ray Eyes. A card-playing crony of Dai Vernon in the Magic Castle's upstairs library, this celebrated Pakistani created an international reputation for his ability to see through a seemingly impenetrable blindfold and for walking barefoot on hot coals. He even turns up in fiction, in Roald Dahl's short story, "The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar," which originally ran in Argosy as "The Amazing Eyes of Kuda ___." Your job is to supply Kuda's last name. When prompted for a Userid, enter the word blindfold. When prompted for a Password, enter Kuda's surname. Hint: it ain't Imhrat Khan, but you get extra points if you get that reference. As always, both names must be entered completely in lower case. The unenlightened can either send me big bucks (heh heh) or turn to What If I Don't Know the Password?

Jetting in from Paris in time to help paste up this magazine were not one but both of the "Women of The Little Egypt Gazette," Miss Farnsworth and Columbine. Check "Stirring the Tana Leaves" to catch up on their shopping exploits, an explanation of the password snafu that plagued some of you this month, and further flotsam and jetsam.

You say it's June and you're trying to decide what to buy for your summer reading on the beach? You've landed in the right paragraph, because not only do we have our usual sensational book and lecture notes available, but also Virtual Foolery, the new booklet published by Amy Stevens to introduce the world to the columnists who write for GeMiNi, the Greater Magic Network. Edited by Jon Racherbaumer and T.A. Waters, this nicely produced 32-page monograph contains "The Sound of Music" by Ian Adair, "Billion-Dollar Bill Switch" by Pete Biro, "Everywhere and Nowhere Goes Hollywood" by Steve Bryant, "Sand-Which" by Aldo Colombini, "Pieces of Eight" by Karrell Fox, "Persistence of Thought" by Mark Garetz, "Dai's Wager" by Pat Hennessy, "Two Teasers" by Roger Klause, "The Supra-Selling of the Lemming Man" by Simon Lovell, "At Homb With McComb" by Billy McComb, "Mullica's Four-Ace Ending" by Tom Mullica, "Magic for the Rest of the Week" by Anthony Owen, "Marlo's Favorite Devilish Miracle" by Jon Racherbaumer, "On Line, Who Is, and Who Cares" by Mike Rogers, "Gypsy Cursive" by T.A. Waters, and "Double Restoration Rope" by Ron Wilson. Stevens Magic Emporium sells it for $15, and we have a few copies here for that price, postpaid in North America.

For a look at our own favorite material, consider Little Egypt Card Tricks or The Little Egypt Gazette: The Lecture 96, which contains the best of the personal card tricks from Volume 1 of this periodical. Included are "Let George Do It" (a presentation for Paul Harris's "Night Shades"), "Everywhere and Nowhere Goes Hollywood," "From the Casebook of Sherlock Holmes," "Ranch Hand," "Red and Blue Cannibals," "The Great Al Baker Three-Card Mental Test," "Satan's Monte," and "Celebrities." The notes are $15 and the book is $22, postage free in the U.S. Forward remuneration to Steve Bryant, 1639 Sycamore Court, Bloomington, IN 47401. No passwords, no hassles. Add $6 for overseas addresses for the lecture notes, $9 for the book.

As always, our Favorite Links page contains links to some of the best magic sites on the web. Check the cool (what else?) new entry for Rudy Coby.

A JSB Creations product
Copyright© 1997 by Steve Bryant
Send your cards and letters to sbryant@kiva.net.