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Season's Greetings.

The family Christmas tree.

December 2011

Season's Greetings!

I had hoped by this date to include a review of Tom Stone's new Maelstrom and David Acer's new More Power to You, but Santa's elves are a tad late with what I hoped to be my pre-Christmas copies. (For Christmas itself, I am looking forward to Dani DaOrtiz's Utopia DVD set and Patrick Page's new Page by Page. One must save something to open on Christmas morning.)

Rather, we'll discuss a few treats I hadn't foreseen: a Chicago lecture by Joshua Jay, a new book from Lewis Jones, and a new movie from Martin Scorcese. All were great fun, and I look forward to performing material from Josh's lecture and Lewis's book.

It has been a bountiful year in magic as well as with family. I'll close again this year with photos of my grandkids who make life fun all over again. (This is kind of like Bill Larsen running a Christmas tree on the cover of Genii with photos of his kids.) A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

PROFESSORIAL -- Consider: Given that Joshua Jay has performed for and studied under the top magicians in fifty countries (I'd be hard pressed to name fifty countries), is the longtime editor of MAGIC magazine's "talk about tricks" column, and is the co-owner of Vanishing, Inc., the internet's top magic store (and most fertile hotbed of quality new magic), is it not fair to say that Josh is the most widely versed student of magic since Dai Vernon? And he walks the walk: Josh won numerous top awards in his younger days (he turned thirty just weeks ago), he defined this year's MAGIC Live! convention with his one-man multimedia show Unreal, and he has logged countless appearances on mainstream media, marketing his products for the general public. Josh recently visited Chicago in connection with his latest such product, a magic set that is a clever repackaging of his Magic The Complete Course book and DVD. With a couple of hours to kill in the evening, Josh found time to lecture for Evanston's Ring 43. I was pleased to attend and to file this brief report.

The Joshua Jay magic set, on sale at Barnes and Noble.

I drop in on several lectures a year in Chicago, and this was the best attended in recent memory, attracting not only the Ring 43 faithful but such notables as Simon Aronson, David Linsell, Gordon Meyer, Bill Cook, and Magic, Inc.'s Danny Rudnick. As a longtime author and/or editor of his trick column and multiple books, Josh is an excellent teacher, and no one had trouble learning the nine items Josh had selected to share. Amazingly, he shared two straight out of his hit show Unreal, the Hitchcock torn card routine and his Card at Any Page routine. (If this were the April Fool's issue, I'd tell you that he also taught the Ring on Glass routine from Unreal, but, alas, he didn't.) Aside: tricks with cards among pages go back a long way for Josh; for a really unusual routine of this stripe, check out his Book Test Bonanza in Joshua Jay's Magic Atlas. Other items of considerable interest include the following. A jumbo card routine fooled me badly (it shouldn't have, being based on the Overlap principle which I own). The Prism deck is a new rainbow deck item from Vanishing, Inc. Timeless was an intriguing time of day "force" that vanished when the hands of the watch vanished. The three Chinese coins on string routine is a longtime Josh Jay standard. And my favorite -- a squeaky clean production and vanish of three half dollars. All in all a fine evening among friends and in the thrall of an excellent teacher.

THE JONES FILES -- Loyal readers know that I am a huge fan of Lewis Jones, who seems to spend a good deal of time inventing wonderful card tricks, some seeing the light of day in his own books, others in such nooks as the Self-Working series of books from Steve Beam. The latest under his own hand is The Book of Revelations, an 87-page perfect bound book with clear photographic illustrations on glossy pages. Of the twenty-five items, here are a few highlights:

On the Move is a slick, practical way to get a mentally selected card into position for a McMillen rising card routine. If you like the plunger principle, you are going to love this get ready.

The Silver Doubloon uses the acoustic properties of a Pen Through Bill to cause a coin to vanish. John Kennedy offered a magic wand version of this idea some years ago, and it remains a great idea.

Live Long and Prosper is a nice revamping of Paul Harris's Overkill.

X-Rated makes excellent use of a partial stack (and also exploits a new stack that does not appear to be a stack).

Rack and Bled 2 is a practical Out of This World (with a very nicely thought out final spread) that begins with a shuffled deck.

Mint Sauce 2 is a follow-up to my favorite Lewis Jones trick. I still prefer the original, but you may prefer the higher stakes of this version.

Geronimo is an ACAAN. The plus is that it uses a fairly shuffled deck, the minus is two flagrant bits of cheating. But a very straightforward effect!

Make My Day 2 is a new take on the Diary Trick. Most versions fool me, and this one does as well. It's very, very clever and my favorite routine in this new book. Two cards selected from a fairly shuffled deck cleanly indicate a date; you predict the card written next to that date.

Again, perfect bound, very nicely produced, $40. I got mine from H&R Magic Books.

Lewis Jones gets Biblical.

Don't slip!

A CLOCKWORK MAGIC SHOW -- Easily my favorite movie of the year, Martin Scorcese's Hugo, adapted from the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, is a treat. It's a wild 3D fantasy adventure ride featuring young Hugo, his friend Isabelle, and the former magician and movie pioneer Georges Melies. The art direction is stunning and must be seen in 3D, a format I generally avoid. I shall be most unhappy when this comes out on DVD and I'll lose a dimension. Anyway, see it while you can in its glorious native format; there are plenty of secrets and magic to entertain any magician or movie lover. I had forgotten how swell the Broom Suspension could look.

At Christmas once again, we indulge in a family visit ...

One grandkid hikes in Brown County, the other enjoys a fourth birthday at school.

Peace on earth, good will to men.

Little Egypt Magic is the erratically updated web site of Steve Bryant, spawned (the site, not Steve) by a former internet magazine known as The Little Egypt Gazette/for magicians only.

Steve Bryant is an obscure magician and writer who generates this site from an iMac in Bloomington, Indiana. He frequently journeys to and performs magic in Little Egypt, the local name for extreme southern Illinois, where the towns bear such names as Cairo, Thebes, and Karnak.

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