Note ye ed's email address:

Finally unearthed: The Little Egypt Book of Ghosts from H&R Magic Books.
It's to die for!
Check out Jamy Ian Swiss' review in our Bookstore.

Eric Jones headlines at Magi-fest.

February 2010

This appears to be a winter wonderland issue of Little Egypt Magic. Belated Valentine wishes to all the ladies in magic and to the ladies who support their boyfriends/husbands in magic. We love you all! Mean it! The month began with about 700 of us being snowed in at a Crowne Plaza in Columbus, Ohio, and then it was back to Indiana where I've been snowed in for most of the days since, allowing me to attend to some long overdue home projects.

Accordingly, join us as we descend on Magi-fest, as we discover the dark side of Jack White, as we deploy the final fifteen copies of Little Egypt Card Tricks, and as we delve into the world of Dan and Dave Buck. Proceed ...

SNOWED IN -- As usual, February means Magi-fest. This "small" "local" convention always offers a great beginning to a year of magic camaraderie. As to a few highs and lows:

On the formal shows, especially the close-up shows and lectures, I loved Geoff Williams' sets, especially a card trick called Devastation that was pure bluff and bluster all the way. I also enjoyed his drawing of a radio that played on command. Geoff had me laughing throughout the convention. Danny Garcia was full of good humor: I enjoyed his risque book test (the force word was balls) and his cardboard "I will do tricks for $" gag. (I was amazed that a few planned to protest to the red coats because Danny's jeans were distressed; Jesus, he is the poster boy for street magic, and that is how he is supposed to look.) Jon Allen had a nice coat hanger vanish and a three-object Matrix, but his best bit was his chick puppet that imitated Tiger Woods, Monica Lewinsky, Rene Lavand, David Copperfield, Jonathan Pendragon, and David Blaine. Funny stuff and, yes, some folks protested to the red coats over that, too. The draw for me at this convention was Eric Jones, whose Oxyclean Coin Routine and Ishkabibble Sandwich are as magical and smooth and cool as magic gets. Eric has a new three-DVD set just out--he saw them for the first time during his lecture--and they look great. (Order from His routines aren't different and new just to be different and new; they are incredibly well thought out. The nicest surprise of the convention for me was Terry Ward, a twenty-year veteran of Disney World. Performing as "Jack Diamond, Hollywood Talent Agent," his three-shell routine is the funniest I've ever seen.

The audience filters in.

I seldom arise early enough to watch the contests, but did one morning to catch Andrew Martin (of "Wife Swap" fame) earn a third-place win with a very funny turn as The Amazing Psycho. It's a Ballantine-like act, really funny. Andrew's son Eli was on the Friday night stage show and will be competing at the World Magic Seminar.

On the Saturday night big show, the hit performer was Arthur Trace, oddly placed in the middle of the show but earning a standing ovation nevertheless. Arthur does a great Miser's Dream in which the "buckets" are the tin cans of a tin can telephone that magically transmit coins from sender to receiver. As part of the awards hoopla, the Spirit of Magic award went to Larry Meachan and the Reed family. A very nice family and a well-deserved award, and, ah, those girls!

As to the Friday night show, I always skip it (who wants to spend an hour on a bus?) in favor of sessioning in the lobby, where the best of Magi-fest transpires. And so it did. It was great to see Caleb Wiles do new material and material from High Spots (the best card book of 2009). Brian Rasmussen and Tom Craven fried me with card tricks that turned out to be scams, and therefore double-fried me. It's always the innocent-looking guys. Brandon Williams demonstrated a great false overhand shuffle. Eric Jacobson of St. Louis repeatedly killed with his ACAAN. He spread the deck face down on the table, asked a spec to name any card and any number, then scooped up the deck and handed it to the spec. The spec counted, and there was his card. Eric tipped only half the method. Eventually the theater/bus crowd drifted back in, to the nice touch of awaiting pizza and cheeseburgers. Guys like Danny Garcia, Eric Jones, and Geoff Williams were drawing such large crowds in the lobby that I couldn't get close enough to see them work, but kudos to them all for being part of the scene.

Other fine casual moments included breakfast with Gene Anderson and a couple of his friends (one of whom did a great trick from a Steve Beam book; indeed, several this weekend were doing stuff from Steve Beam books) and a great chat with Aaron Delong of Believe fame who intrigued me with a Nathan Kranzo idea.

Tony Miller anchors a booth with the best wallets around.

The dealers seemed to do consistent business, although I was concerned because they had set up in a tent. There was a lot of snow on top of that tent. My favorite place to loiter was Andy Greget's used book area. As most of you know, Andy used to work at one of the Disneyland magic shops. I asked him if he ever met Walt face to face. The answer was no, as Walt had died a couple of years before Andy began work, but, one day while he was flipping burgers, Roy Disney came in, shook everyone's hand, and thanked each for working on Christmas Eve. Nice!

As to lows, there were too many rubber band tricks. Most looked like little girls doing Cat's Cradle puzzles. I've grown to love the Crowne Plaza's restaurant--being snowed in gives you plenty of opportunity to sample the menu--but always find its elevator to be one of the lows of the convention. That contraption would confound Houdini on occasion.

But such criticisms are moot. Next year is the 80th edition of Magi-fest, and it's moving. The next edition will be held January 27-29 at the Renaissance Hotel downtown and will feature Johnny Ace Palmer, Greg Frewin, and Rick Merrill. Sounds cool. I hope to see you there.

ZOMBIELAND -- Michael Finney presents one of the funniest and most portable acts in magic, and he looks cool enough in a hot red suit to be on the cover of the February 2010 issue of Genii whether or not Dustin Stinett happened to write a great twelve-page feature on him. But the real reason you should head to your magic shop or write Margret at Genii to acquire this issue is the seven-page story on IBM prez Jack White, titled "Zombieland." I've known Jack White for years but had no idea he performed midnight spook shows until a recent casual mention in Linking Ring. I immediately contacted Jack for the details, and the story of his four-year midnight run, beginning at age seventeen, is now in print for the ages. Read all about Jack, his werewolf girlfriend, and Zeke the Zombie.

Page 2 -- Jack White has a dark side.

Going, going, gone ...

RESURRECTED -- Although Little Egypt Card Tricks has been out of print for many years, I knew that I had put away enough materials from its first printing to make a few more copies. Thanks to the recent snowy conditions, I found myself home long enough with insufficient diversions, so finally assembled the remaining issues and had them bound. (The book is a plastic comb-bound soft-cover edition.) I have exactly fifteen copies, and one was spoken for before the project began. If you are interested in completing your Little Egypt trilogy, they are available for $40 plus $5 postage U.S. When these are gone, there will be no more. Check our Book Store for details and for the original rave reviews. The book came out in 1991, and I am still doing business 1991-style. That is, no credit cards or Paypal. Please send me a check or money order made out to Steve Bryant, mailing address 1639 Sycamore Court, Bloomington IN 47401.

SEEING DOUBLE -- It's always a pleasure to receive a copy of Kozmo's reel magic magazine in the mail, and his February 2010 edition is no exception. Kozmo himself is getting some notice lately, with a Jon Racherbaumer cover story on him in the February issue of MAGIC, with a Dodd Vickers interview, and as the producer of the new Eric Jones three-DVD set. But to reel magic: John Lovick, my favorite interviewer, is back, chatting with Dan and Dave Buck. It's a most enjoyable and enlightening tale of where the guys came from and where they are heading. (Not mentioned was their Magic-Con in San Diego, March 18-21. Check that out elsewhere.)

Dan and Dave chat with John Lovick.

Other sections that drew my attention this month were Silly Billy's history of the milk pitcher, David Regal's reviews (especially of a monte routine by Paul Wilson), and magic tricks by Wayne Houchin and Paul Romhany. My only complaint: Simon Lovell was missing. I hope he returns. He doesn't have to rant about magic. He can rant about anything.

Why I always dined at the hotel restaurant.

Happy Valentine's Day! Kiss somebody!

Sarah and Simon (Vixen and Spike to old Gazette readers) were married on April 1, 2006. You may access their wedding photos at wedding photos.

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.

Past issues of this web site: Index to Past Issues

A JSB Creations product

Copyright© 2010 by Steve Bryant