COVER: Ring-Linking Rabbit-Yankers! Magicians on The Simpsons By Alan Howard With their 22nd season now on the air, The Simpsons has turned to magic as a plot device for an episode titled "The Great Simpsina." When Lisa is forced to run into what appears to be an empty old house, she is startled when the owner shows up. When the old man is revealed to be The Great Raymondo, a famous magician, Lisa begs to be taught the tricks of the trade. At first, Raymondo scoffs at the idea of a girl magician, but when Lisa manages to quickly link a set of rings, Raymondo relents. Thus, Lisa Simpson becomes The Great Simpsina.
Franz Harary's Excellent Adventure By Mark Nelson When we last left mega-illusionist Franz Harary, it was September 2010. He had just completed the exhausting production schedule for India's Magic Star, a magic-themed reality show in which Franz served as both judge and producer of original illusion segments, struggling to keep both his sanity and the integrity of the magic featured on the series. The summertime series made Franz a household name throughout India and led to his being invited to appear at the splashy grand opening of Kingdom of Dreams, the new $300-million entertainment complex in New Delhi. "This is a dream gig," Franz says. "I don't foresee having this many toys to play with again for a long while."
Alfonso, Magic's Mr. Natural By Mark Nelson For several of his last thirty years as a fulltime professional magician, Alfonso lived directly across the street from the Magic Castle, always available to respond to any summons from the club to fill in for a magician's late arrival, to provide a private show for a celebrity guest, or to perform a quick set to accommodate an overflow crowd for the club's tiny Close-up Gallery. He was brought up in the shadow of giants – Dai Vernon, Charlie Miller, Larry Jennings, Johnny Thompson, Max Maven, Johnny Platt and others – and after performing more than a thousand paid shows at the Castle, he's reached the point where he's almost more familiar to guests than the Open Sesame owl in the bookcase.
Masters of Illusion: Jewish Magicians of the Golden Age of Magic By Richard Hatch The Herrmanns, Houdini, Malini, Leipzig, Goldin, Lafayette, Okito, Fu Manchu, DeBiere, Dunninger, Fogel, Flosso, Ballantine – these are just a few of the iconic magicians who shared not only outstanding success in their profession but a Jewish heritage. Given the prominence of many Jewish performers in our profession, both historically and today, it is natural to assume that Jews are represented in greater numbers among magicians than in the general population. Although hardly a scientific survey, the list of the 100 magicians who most influenced 20th-century American magic, compiled by a panel of experts for MAGIC Magazine in 1999, serves as a convenient cross section and confirms the anecdotal evidence. Since Jews made up only 1.6 percent of the American population in 1900 and just 2.2 percent in 2000, one would expect just two to three of the magicians on that list to be of Jewish heritage if their representation in magic mirrored that of the general population. Instead, a whopping 18.5 are known to be of Jewish heritage (counting Teller, of the team of Penn & Teller, as the .5). Clearly their influence on American magic far outweighs their numbers in the general population.
Convention Grid Wondering where to go to see magic friends, shows, contests, and more? Compare and contrast a years worth of upcoming gatherings with our annual at-a-glance guide to magic conventions around the world.
It's a Make Believe World Centered around the 2009 Teen Stage Competition at the World Magic Seminar, Make Believe is a film documentary that follows contestants on their road to the Las Vegas stage. The teenage conjurors followed by the cameras are Hiroki Hara of Japan; Bill Koch, Krystyn Lambert, and Derek McKee of the US; and Siphiwe Fangase and Nkumbuzo Nkonyana from South Africa. Families, friends, teachers, and some of their magic idols are interviewed along the way. Make Believe will have its television debut this month and is slated for limited theatrical release in May.
Magic Seminar International Challenge When the 34th edition of the World Magic Seminar convened in Las Vegas at the end of February, the People's Choice International Challenge stage competition was one of the highlights. Seven acts from across Europe, Asia, and the Americas competed on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 1. At the awards the next day, the winner of the Siegfried & Roy Golden Lion award took home a check for $5,000.
Magic Cakes Each week on the Food Network competition series Last Cake Standing [Sundays at 9 p.m.], contestants are given a challenge to create an unusual dessert. For the April 24 episode, the bakers were given eight hours to create cakes that were themselves an illusion or could be performed as a trick for a live audience.
First International Magic Festival in Madrid During the past ten years, annual magic festivals have been springing up in dozens of cities across Spain. They range from one or two shows in a small theater to weeklong events that take over the city. This raises the question: why hasn't there been a magic festival in the capital city of Madrid? No one wondered more than Madrid native Jorge Blass, who at the age of thirty has gained significant fame in Spain through his numerous television series and theater shows. His attempts to start this festival began six years ago.
Desperate Acts of Magic The independent film Desperate Acts of Magic, "a comedy about the crazy world of magic," follows the fictional Jason Kant and his associates as they travel through life and show business. The movie, currently in production, was written by Joe Tyler Gold. Joe has been a magician since the age of thirteen and based much of the film on his own life experiences.
Plus... Coverage of The Shadow Cutter, a fictional play based on the life and obsessions of Dai Vernon, and a sad farewell one of the most prominent figures in the magic collecting world, Dr. Bob Albo.
Tricks and advice this month:
TALK ABOUT TRICKS By Joshua Jay In this Frank Fogg one-man issue, he details effects with cards, coins, and lighters. Frank's material is technically demanding but rarely uses a table. We'll be treated to two visual sandwich effects, name-a-card tricks, and a bizarre effect called Ink in which a spectator's signature is removed from a card in phases.
FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH: Someone Will Always Hate You By Mark Kornhauser Once upon a time, I had a really bad show, even though I was doing all my best material. How could this happen? I guess I'm just not that funny. I never was. Is it over? Maybe I'll never be funny again. It happens that way, you know. And then I thought, Was it me? Or was it that crappy audience? I'll watch the video and see for myself. I checked the video. It was painful. Probably the audio for the audience was turned down. Yeah, that was it. So I put the video through iMovie and added thousands of people laughing and applauding at everything I did. Killed 'em. They loved me! And now, I'm funny again.
CLASSIC CORRESPONDENCE: Nicola to Carter By Mike Caveney Will Nicola and Charles Carter were cut from the same cloth. They both made multiple trips around the world while presenting a full-evening illusion show. They were competitors in every sense of the word, each striving to build the biggest and best show, and each trying as hard as he could to reach foreign countries and cities before the other. And yet, these two globetrotting illusionists were dear friends.
COFFEEHOUSE CONJURING: Coffee Break By Gregory Wilson and David Gripenwaldt After folding a coffee stir stick into a pastry bag, you and the spectator break it three to five times. They hear and feel the breakage. When you open the bag, it is fully restored. Or was it really ever broken in the first place?
DIRECTIONS: Real Time Reactions By Joanie Spina I've just spent the week at World Magic Seminar, watching the teen contestants perform their magic. It is nerve-wracking getting up in front of some of the finest magicians in the world to show your stuff. When we get nervous, we have a tendency to rush things. Actually, that applies to most of us, not just the teens. There was a lot of what I call "jumping the reaction," or reacting as the magic happens, without allowing the time for the brain to process the picture.
In the Marketplace this month:
Eighteen products are reviewed this month by Peter Duffie, Gabe Fajuri, Brad Henderson, Will Houston, John Lovick, and Francis Menotti:
Darwin Ortiz: Nothing But the Best Frappe Encore by Dominique Duvivier Travelogue by Richard Pinner The Test Book-Book Test The Origami Effect by Andrew Mayne Flaunt: Isolated Card Rise by Titanas The Orbit Spread by Bill Perkins Further Education with John Archer Programmes of Famous Magicians by Max Holden Sharps and Flats by John Nevil Maskelyne Incandescence by Chris Philpott Psychoportation by Devin Knight Rizer by Eric Ross The Modern Escape Artist's Handbook by Jonathan Goodwin Nailed! by Gerry Frenette The Red Herring and Psychedelic Foursome