Dan Sperry: Freaky GoodEnsemble magic shows on the roadThe fifth annual Orlando Magic MansionRemembrances of Bill Adams, Larry Weeks, and Woody Pittman
By Rory Johnston and Philip Escoffey
He still does card manipulations and a dove act, but audiences rarely watch Dan Sperry and think, I've seen all that before. His look catches your eye even before his magic, but he is certainly not all style without substance.
Magic & the A-Word
By Chris Philpott
If magic truly is an art, why shouldn't it be critiqued in the same manner as other artistic genres? Chris Philpott, who knows his way around film and literature as well as magic, provides examples of what that magic criticism might be like.
By Mike Caveney
When Mike Caveney ran out of excuses, he found himself at a magic festival in Portugal, performing on the streets for the very first time. Adapting to unfamiliar surroundings and necessities, he experienced an ancient form of entertainment that was all new to him.
By Jaq Greenspon
InÃ©s Fuentes is a Spanish magician whose skill and charm have kept her increasingly busy on stages and television around the world. Along with a look at her life and work, here InÃ©s teaches her handling of a classic yet seldom seen close-up effect.
Plus Updates on...
Bonus Content for the December Issue...InÃ©s working in three totally different environments, including hanging by her feet in a straitjacket.Mike Caveney mixing up the perfect cup of coffee on the streets of Portugal.Jonathan Friedman performing both effects taught this month in the "First Look" at his new book, The '80s Called... They Want Their Magic Book Back.Two new excerpts from Murphy's At The Table Lecture Series: Caleb Wiles teaches a multi-climax card trick in which the instructions are actually in the deck of cards, and Nicholas teaches two effects with a borrowed bill: a serial number divination and a signed bill transposition.*A "First Look" excerpt from David Stone's new DVD, StoneX, showcasing his Corner and Vertical Change.*Continuing weekly installments of Joanie Spina's "Directions," a home study course in showmanship and stagecraft - each presented in a one-paragraph summary, the entire article in an easy to read format, and on video with examples.*"Martin Gardner's Corner" ran intermittently in MAGIC Magazine from 1994 to 2004. Martin would have turned 100 years old on October 21, 2014. To celebrate, we're posting 52 of his "Corners," one per week for the next year. Each has been selected and annotated by Jason England and illustrated by Tom Jorgenson.(* Available for subscribers only at M360)
Fifteen products are reviewed this month by Michael Claxton, Peter Duffie, Gabe Fajuri, Jared Kopf, Francis Menotti, Peter Pitchford, John Wilson:
Ask Roberto by Roberto Giobbi
Modern Mentalism by Luke Jermay.
Ryan Schlutz's Effortless Effects by Ryan Schlutz
Roughing Stick by Harry Robson
Mugshot by Kevin Schaller
Bairn by Ken Dyne
Flown Away by Paul Romhany and Jasper Blakely
A Magical Vision: The World of Eugene Burger
Collision: The Ultimate Airborne Card Stab by Tom Wright
793.8: Where is the Magic? by Jeff Stone
Time is Money by Seol-Ha Park
My Kind of Magic by Alan Shaxon
Zero Elements by Juan Esteban Varela
The Pool Hustler's Handbook by Chef Anton
The Magnetic Deck by Granell Magic
First Look: The '80s Called... They Want Their Magic Book Back
Jonathan Friedman remembers being "blown away" by seeing Card Warp performed at a restaurant in Denver, Colorado, when he was about eleven years old. Soon afterward, he experienced "a Harris double punch" when he attended his first magic lecture, given by Ben Harris, and in the same week picked up a copy of Supermagic by Paul Harris. "I was never the same," Friedman says. After college, he became a professional musician for over twenty years, but he still kept creating magic and showing it to a couple of local magicians, who would then "test run" the effects for him. He notes, "I always felt that when I was ready to 'retire' from music, I would come back to magic." And here he is, with two effects, one with cards, the other with a coin: Guitar Pick-a Card and Magic Eraser.
The Monk's Way: O.K. ITO
I am a card worker playing the part of a magician. My creative bent is toward card magic, and most of my output emphasizes tricks with the pasteboards. To put it mildly, card magic flows through my veins. But ten years ago, I began performing full time in restaurants that were tailored toward local families and the non-card-playing gentry. The Monk had to mend his myopic ways - and yet not exactly. While my creative emphasis is on card magic, my approaches are not about card magic. They are general principles and modes of addressing the problem of the dichotomy between viewer/interpreter and method. The environment and choice of props are only vehicles through which I cast the Monk's Spell. (Sounds like a card trick!) Here I present an Okito Box effect that shows how some of the ideas of the Monk's Way can be applied off the Royal Road. It features a one-behind principle and the audience's unknowing creation of the Ghost Coin.
Loving Mentalism: The Lying Game
There's plenty of fun and entertainment to be derived from this month's mentalism routine. It involves two themes: telling truth from lies, and being able to predict the choices people will make. Two spectators take part in a game. You present several faintly surreal statements about your own life, and they try to guess which ones are true and which are just made up. The first surprise is that you are apparently able to turn one player into an expert "human lie detector" with just a few simple crumbs of advice. Secondly, when all the results are in for both participants, you prove that you correctly predicted every one of their verdicts.
Bent on Deception: The Trick's on Me Bottle
Remember when you were a kid, when the ultimate reward for all your hard work was an icy cold bottle of Grant's Black Cherry soda? No? Of course not - because it only existed on the cheap two-color labels slapped onto MAK Magic's Tricky Bottles props. Those bottles might have passed muster with audiences back in the 1940s, but with a 21st-century audience, they just scream "magic prop." Is the Tricky Bottles worthy of a makeover? In today's kid-show milieu, the whole "I'm an adult making a seven-year-old look like an idiot" dynamic is on the way out. In a world where that same seven-year-old can show you how to fix your computer, it's just not funny anymore. What's funny is a magician trying to be smarter than the kids, but ultimately being outsmarted. And if you can throw in some great magic, too - well, then you've got it made.
Classic Correspondence: Jay Palmer to David Price
A personal letter to a friend is a safe haven for one's hopes and dreams. The author feels free to include things that are not meant for public consumption and certainly not for publication. Here, Jay Palmer tells David Price about his goal of performing for the British royal family and then moving on to the Folies BergÃ¨re in Paris. Neither goal was realized, yet their career allowed Palmer & Doreen - whose trademark routine was the Inexhaustible Kettle, wherein a variety of alcoholic drinks were served along with sixteen glasses of beer - to perform onstage for appreciative audiences in exotic locales all over the world. And that's what a magician does - perform.
For What It's Worth: Predictions for 2015
The Good News: Close-up is cool again. This year's batch of magicians on America's Got Talent scored as well or better than previous years' magic entries. Because it's cool, close-up could be hot for 2015. This could be the year of the small show. More Good News: This could be the year of the big show. Even More Good News: This could be the year of the medium show. The Bad News: All forms of live entertainment are facing extinction and will survive only to the degree that they can adapt to the dramatic shift in consciousness brought about by the age of electronic media.
Walkabout Soup: The Fifteenth Time
The first time I visited The Magic Castle, I was fresh out of university, traveling on a budget of about $30 per day. I was astounded by everything - the building, the performances, and the people. So many people I met were far nicer than they needed to be to a random unknown foreigner. They even colluded to let me do a small unofficial show downstairs, thus giving me my first "performed at The Magic Castle" street cred.