From The Editor
While 2013 is still over a month away, this issue officially turns the final page on another year of MAGIC Magazine. And it's been quite the year. Cover stories alone featured Pit Hartling, John Bannon, Fielding West, Steve Cohen, Marco Tempest, Jay Sankey, Mike Bent, Neil Patrick Harris, Derek Hughes, David Copperfield, and Korean FISM Winners. And now Milt Larsen and the Magic Castle, which begins celebrating its 50th Anniversary in January. How do we cover such a milestone? By going straight to the founder and twisting his arm to write about the "magic house" he built. Okay, it really didn't take too much arm twisting, as Milt is still a writer at heart. This month, he tells how the club and the clubhouse came to be. And while this starts us at the very beginning, the following twelve installments, like Milt himself, will be jumping all over the place. And like the Castle itself, this should be a fun ride.
One of the big additions to the MAGIC family this year is MAGIC Plus. It's the bridge between print and digital, and it's available free to everyone holding a print copy of this magazine, whether you subscribe or pick it up in a magic shop. This month, MAGIC Plus features bonus videos from "Talk About Tricks," "Directions," "Bent on Deception," and "The Almighty Dollar." We also have two bonus Pluses this month. Our feature story on Jason England and Paul Wilson's "Road Trip!" is divided into eight parts. Each part has a video available, so you view the clips as you read the story. The other bonus this month is a holiday gift from Joshua Jay. Spoiler Alert: it's a video download called The Bluff Shift Bundle — and it's free! So, if you have not visited MAGIC Plus yet, sit down with your print copy, go to our website, and enjoy.
It's all in the December 2012 issue of MAGIC Magazine. If you haven't already received your copy, here's a look at what else is "between the covers."
P.S. MAGIC Magazine is also available for your iPad in the App Store. The cost is only $3.99 per issue, and it arrives within a few minutes. Best of all, you only buy it once, then you own it forever and can enjoy it wherever you want.
Stories in MAGIC this month:
COVER: Open Sesame?
By Milt Larsen
The Magic Castle in Hollywood is an iconic landmark, known the world over as the clubhouse of the Academy of Magical Arts. Milt Larsen, one of the founders fifty years ago, reminisces with tales of how the venue came to be, kicking off a series of articles celebrating the Castle's golden anniversary. In this first installment, Milt takes us from first concept up until January 2, 1963, when he found himself waiting for the last of the paint to dry and trying to figure out why his invisible pianist didn't work. Meanwhile, designer John Shrum was out buying flowers to put in the men's room urinals $mdash; but that's another story!
Marcel: Prince of Nightmares
By Jaq Greenspon
Nine years ago, Marcel Kalisvaart, at the time a twenty-year-old upstart illusionist with only five years of experience, had the hubris to compete in the Stage Illusionist category at the 2003 FISM competition in his home country of Holland. It wasn't far from home and he'd already been getting some attention locally $mdash; like winning the grand prix at the 2002 Dutch championships $mdash; so why not? Why not, indeed? Marcel walked off with the top prize in illusions, and did even better in FISM 2012.
By Jason England
In "a quest for great magic, great food, and a flawless false shuffle," Paul Wilson and Jason England recently took a 7,000-mile trip across the US $mdash; a journey that began in Las Vegas, covered 13 states, and ended up in Los Angeles. They spent over three weeks on the road, visiting magicians and pool hustlers, collectors and casino security experts. They interviewed some of the most recognized magicians in the world, gained entry into some of the most wonderful collections one could ever hope to see, and met some really interesting characters. Along the way, they managed to gather enough stories to fill a small book.
Twelve Magical Months
By Alan Howard
The end-of-year holidays are sometimes portrayed as a time for over-the-top gift giving $mdash; and over-the-top gift getting! But there is no reason why you have to limit your extravagance to a single season. There's almost always an excuse to celebrate, so you can spread your presents out over the whole year! Here is a month-by-month guide to gifts that any magic fan would be thrilled to receive. Buy them for your magic friends and family, buy them for yourself, or just keep hinting to everyone within earshot just how much you wish someone would give these presents to you in the upcoming months.
Magic Circle Awards
The Magic Circle Awards took on a new format this year, jettisoning the usual banquet, cabaret, and "gong show" at a nondescript hotel and moving the new event to the Circle's very own Headquarters in Central London. Members of the public were also encouraged to attend with a promise of top-quality magic and entertainment.
A Moment With… James McKinlay
NBC's America's Got Talent is reaching out to the magic community in an effort to get more magicians to audition for the show. When contacted in late October, Stan Allen raised a number of questions regarding the way magicians had been treated on the show in the past. Co-Executive Producer James McKinlay, with twenty years in the field, the last six of which with AGT, agreed to field those questions.
While magicians tried to get Houdini to show up in a séance in Texas, he did return to the silver screen in Hollywood; conjurors gathered in Chile in "the driest place on Earth;" the life and magic of Alan Shaxon is remembered; and much more.
From the Marketplace:
Twelve products are reviewed this month by Peter Duffie, Jared Brandon Kopf, Francis Menotti, and Arthur Trace:
The Definitive Sankey
by Andi Gladwin and Joshua Jay Unreal
by Bruce BernsteinThe Bumblebees
with Woody AragónIn the Frame
by Mark Elsdon The Essential Sol Stone
by Stephen HobbsTKO 2.0
by Jeff KaylorThe Complete Walton Vols. 1 & 2
by Roy WaltonLincoln's Best Boon
by Lincoln KammCarey On
by John CareyThe Money Card
by Shaun RobisonStitched
by Alexander KölleChill
by Tom Wright
Tricks and advice in MAGIC this month:
Talk About Tricks: Best of 2012
By Joshua Jay
This month, Walt Lees brings us a lovely match effect with a — forgive the pun — strikingly unorthodox method. Justin Higham delivers a high-caliber card effect, and Chris Piercy shows you how to take one of Sankey's cleverest effects to new heights. Harapan Ong and Waseem Mohammed round out the issue with two clever card ideas.
The Almighty Dollar: Taken For Granted
By Gregory Wilson
With only a $50 bill and a $1 bill, the classic Slow Motion Bill Transposition is demonstrated as a two-phase shortchange swindle. One of the bills is in your hand and the other is placed in your pocket. The bills secretly change places, apparently based on clever and confusing "crosstalk." This is immediately repeated, but this time in the spectator's hand.
Directions: #11. Music, Maestro
By Joanie Spina
People watch a performance to be moved in some manner, to laugh, to cry, to be amazed, etc. Music can greatly enhance a presentation and further help you fulfill those expectations of the audience. Music sets mood and energy, and when chosen wisely can kick up the impact of a routine. If you don't presently use music in your act, you should consider it.
Bent on Deception: The Overly Complicated Simplex Bill in Lemon
By Mike Bent
When Mike Bent is working with a classic effect, he searches for super-easy methods, with maybe just a little James Bond gadgetry thrown in. Here's his take on the Bill in Lemon. "This miracle, created by Emil Jarrow, is a classic for a reason: it's a stunner. For audience appeal, you just can't beat it. No matter what else you do in your show, you know the audience will be talking on the way home about how the bill got in that damn lemon."
Loving Mentalism: Navigate To Icy
By Ian Rowland
Ingenious word play and some slightly eerie surprises feature in this month's helping of "Loving Mentalism." It's a story routine based around a famous historical tragedy. Are there really strange forces at work, reaching from the past to the present, to bring about a diabolical series of coincidences? Maybe not, but that's what it looks like to the audience! What's more, the routine is easy to do and only requires simple props that you can make in an evening.
For What It's Worth: Coca-Cola and the Fourth Dimension
By Mark Kornhauser
Sound, lights, sets, music, video, costumes, script, staging, direction, pyro, props — all are as much a part of an illusion as bubbles are to "The Real Thing." When performers give appropriate importance to these other "dimensions," it provides valuable perspective. It's not just Coke that goes flat. When your audience is farther than eighteen feet away, you go flat. Stereoscopic vision flattens out. People who are more than eighteen feet away will have a diminished sense of your three-dimensionality. You begin to lose one of the few advantages of a live show: the all-important third dimension. You need every dimension you can get!
"Where can I find a trick that will fool magicians?" This question is usually asked by novices in the craft of magic, individuals who are under the mistaken impression that instant fame and respect can be garnered if they can fool the socks off of other magi. I suppose they believe it is the magical equivalent of counting coup. Their quest is doomed on multiple levels.