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Magic Magazine June 2010

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By Mark Kalin

“We want you to come to Puerto Rico for a variety show — in a tent!” You mean a circus? “No, this is a variety show — in a tent.” When Kalin & Jinger journeyed to Puerto Rico for their “not a circus” experience, Mark thought it might be unusual enough to warrant keeping a diary. He was right. The result is a hilarious ten-page recollection of their once-in-a-lifetime experience working “a variety show — in a tent!”

By Rory Johnston

In July of 2009, Shawn headed to Beijing for his third FISM and one more shot at the top prize. “Everybody was saying, ‘Quit! You’ve already proven yourself. You got second, second’s a great prize, anybody else would be happy!’ But not me.” He presented a double signed-card-in-sealed-deck routine and his Shape of My Heart with a shuffled deck. He received a standing ovation — and the world championship in cards. “It took three trips to win IBM, three trips to win the PCAM’s Grand Prix, and three attempts to win FISM,” Shawn says. “Well, you know what they say, third time’s the charm.”


By Hank Moorehouse

Fechter’s Finger Flicking Frolic, the invitation-only convention dedicated to close-up magic, premiered in April 1971 at the Forks Hotel in Buffalo, New York. Magician Eddie Fechter had purchased the venue twelve years earlier, and he worked there behind the bar until his death in 1979. When the idea came up of having a gathering strictly focusing on close-up, Fechter worked with magicians Bill Okal and Ronald “Obie” O’Brien to make it a reality. Now, forty years later, Fechter has passed away and Okal has moved on to other pursuits. The convention is no longer held at the Forks; these days, it can be found at the end of each April at the Holiday Inn in Batavia, between Buffalo and Rochester, New York. O’Brien remains the driving force behind the FFFF, where he was named Guest of Honor this year in recognition of his four decades of finger-flicking festivities.


By Jamie D. Grant

Let’s be honest for a minute. When someone tells us to check out a video on YouTube, I think we can all admit that we have mixed feelings about it. Mixed feelings of sheer terror and perverse joy. Sheer terror because we know that it’s going to be terrible, and perverse joy because, well, we know that it’s going to be terrible. Thanks to the Internet, we’re not at a loss for material to make us feel slightly better about ourselves. But there’s also a feeling of sadness that perhaps all the good stuff has already been seen and maybe there’s nothing more to come. So how was it that my jaw hit the floor upon the viewing of someone doing a card trick? Not even a card trick really, but a false shuffle? How could this have been not only good but downright inspirational? Because the magician did this without the aid of something we all take for granted: hands.


A new generation of seniors will graduate from high school this month, some with dreams of becoming magicians. As we wish them all luck in their future endeavors, we once again take a look back at a few high school conjurors who have gone on to enjoy a lifetime in magic — including appearing on the cover of MAGIC Magazine. See if you can recognize any of these faces, then turn the page to learn who grew up to be who.


Matt Marcy: Disillusioned, Again
Comedy magician Matt Marcy’s Disillusioned: Confessions of a Serial Magician, a semiautobiographical play, opened a five-weekend run at the Imagined Life Theater in Los Angeles on May 21. The story relates the magician’s personal struggles to find respect “in an art form that doesn’t get any.” Rather than demonstrating trick after trick in a cabaret format or presenting a historical lecture between effects, Marcy’s show takes the audience along with him as he explores the joy he first experienced discovering magic, the frustration he felt when it failed him, and his coming to terms with it when he realized the extent it shaped his emotional and intellectual character.
Photo: Tiffany Johnson

Much Ado by Nothin’
Marshall “It’s Easy Once You Know the Secret” Brodien was feted on April 10 at the annual Nothin’ Up My Sleeve show in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Performers onstage included emcee Ken Mate, Nino Cruz & Glenn Chelius, Marshall Brodien Jr., juggler Andy Head, ventriloquist Dale Brown, illusionist John Measner, and man of the hour Marshall Brodien himself, performing the famous Blade Box with his wife, Mary Doyle Brodien. The evening was a benefit fundraiser for the Raue Center for the Arts Theatre, where the show was held.
Photo: H Rick Bamman

Joshua Jay’s upcoming appearance on The Today Show, a report on the opening of the new musical version of Nightmare Alley, and “A Moment with… Jonathan Pendragon.”

Fourteen products are reviewed this month by Michael Claxton, Peter Duffie, Gabe Fajuri, Brad Henderson, Alan Howard, and John Lovick:

The Rice Papers with Homer Liwag
Joe Monti’s 3 Card Joe
The Davenport Story Volume Two: The Lost Legends edited by Fergus Roy
The Erdnase Journal
Campfire Magic by Mac King
Switcher by Asi Wind
Dia Monte by Diamond Jim Tyler
Faultless by Jamie Daws
Magic: A Pictorial History of Conjurers in the Theater by David Price
Killer Cut by John Kaplan
David Copperfield: A Magic Life by Benoit Grenier
The Mastermind Deck by Chris Kenworthy
The Secrets of Professor’s Nightmare
Pro-Flite by Bob Swadling and Nicholas Einhorn

Rick Lax offers a new spin on a classic coin penetration, in which a marked coin passes through a t-shirt in a most convincing way. Brett Bishop, one of magic’s rising creative stars, offers an offbeat routine using a “Kick Me!” sign that appears on your back, and then on the back of your spectator. Iain Moran and Greg Chapman offer elegant card effects without difficult sleight of hand, and our issue closes with Alex Rangel’s terrific impossible location routine.

Kid Shows — A Source of Experience and Profit
In the September 10, 1971 issue of Magick, Marcus Wielage, a high school student in Tampa, Florida, shared some of the lessons he had learned working kid shows. Thirty-nine years later, George Robinson has expanded and updated the essay to make it timely for kid-show performers today.

Child Abuse and Overuse
DEAR SHOW DOCTOR: I’m sick of doing kid shows and feeling disrespected and abused by the little brats. In fact, I really hate doing those shows, but that’s all I seem to be able to get in my area. It’s very frustrating. Even when I do show adults a magic trick at a party, the first thing they say is “Oh, you’re a magician; my kids would love this!” How can we magicians help magic gain the respect it deserves? Do you have any advice on how to break away from doing kid shows and start moving up the ladder of success? — Theo J.

Doc Mahendra to Al Monroe
Though neither of these men is widely known today, both were extremely knowledgeable and great supporters of magic and magicians. Doc Mahendra is generally thought of as a Texan — the San Antonio IBM Ring is named after him — but the truth be known, Doc was born Frank Sterling in 1885 in California. He was a fine magician, but made his living as a mentalist and hypnotist. His wife, Ann, was at least as amazing as her husband, in part for her skill in presenting Lulu Hurst’s Georgia Magnet routine. The petite Ann would plant her feet and then challenge any man to lift her. All comers would fail and walk away scratching their head at her sudden immovability. Many years ago while performing in Texas, I met Ann Mahendra, who was at least twice my age. She challenged me to lift her off the ground, and when I failed miserably, she suddenly turned the tables on me, locked her arms around my waist and hoisted me off the ground!


It’s absolutely true: in watching other performers, we can see ourselves. We sometimes make the same mistakes or the same brilliant choices, but don’t recognize them until we observe them in someone else. Through this series of articles, enhanced by the accompanying videos you can find at, you can learn from watching other performers as I gently point out ways that their material can be improved, as well as the aspects of their acts that are working well. Although they refer directly to the video in question, these points also carry over as general principles of performing. There are many right ways of doing things, and these are a few options.

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