Note ye ed's email address:

Stuff I wanted at Gabe Fajuri's booth.

In case you missed it, check out December's special Christmas and Happy Birthday issue on the Magic Castle's 50th birthday, among other topics. The Castle will celebrate its birthday all year long.

February 2013

Happy Valentine's Day.

Per the announcement last month, this month's installment will be a tad briefer than usual (I may recommend one trick from a book instead of five or ten), but this in no way lessens my regard for the items being reviewed this month: Magi-fest under Josh Jay and Andi Gladwin, new works in print from Darwin Ortiz and John Guastaferro, a collector's deck of cards from Dan and Dave Buck, a pair of lovely magic wands, and a nice Legos set for girls. For me the wands were a Valentine's Day gift from the excellent Maleficent, which makes them even more special.

Meanwhile, hugs, kisses, and candy to everyone (well, kisses just to the ladies), and I hope you are among the many with whom I had the pleasure of chatting in Columbus. I'm glad Magi-fest is back on the magical map.

CONJURING IN COLUMBUS -- At this time last year, a dearth of friends and sessioning opportunities compelled me to leave Magi-fest a day early with little hope of ever returning. Others must have felt the same way, and the news hit that Magi-fest was to be no more. Fortunately, after the convention's brief demise, Josh Jay and Andi Gladwin breathed new life into it, and Magi-fest is back and better than ever (if it can truly be called Magi-fest without red coats, Herman's puns, and the Reed sisters). The best of the new ideas was to showcase a full hour show plus a lecture by the three main headliners -- Simon Lovell, Simon and Ginny Aronson, and Dani DaOrtiz. Simon L managed to entertain despite the choke collar in case his language strayed, Ginny A made thought reception as entertaining as it was impossible, and Dani D uses psychology as effectively as Slydini used his lap. All hit it out of the park.

The new Trost book flies off the shelf.

A great new hotel near Columbus offered a most accommodating beverage and food service, a crowded dealer room tested claustrophobics, and plenty of public and private magical moments made it the first grand convention of 2013. Stellar memories: Simon Lovell in a snappy new suit sharing his serial killer acting stint (available on his web site); Eric Jones's pride at performing for the inaugural ball for Medal of Honor winners; John Guastaferro's Impromptu Theater, lecture, and private chat; Mahdi Gilbert's incredible sleight of hand with no hands; Tony Chang's even more incredible and insanely difficult sleight of hand with two hands (reminded me of Jerry Andrus's out of the box moves); Stan Allen's thoughts on MAGIC Live; Andi Gladwin's five great moves; Taylor Martin's showing me and Richard Kaufman a creepy new wand (see below); Caleb Wiles's new stuff, especially his Influence deck; Josh and Andi having things running so smoothly that they had time to man the Vanishing, Inc. booth (best three items: Glance, the Prism Deck, and the John Guastaferro notes); Richard Kaufman showing a first-timer many versions of the Pass; seeing Jep Hostetler having a terrific time; Doug Conn's lovely Matrix and his Flush Brush; and Justin Flom's new twists on Card Artistry, adding music snippets (ex: "will you still need me, when I'm 64?") to a Sam the Bellhop type routine, and a most personal presentation for the Steinmeyer Nine-Card trick. This and much more made for a brilliant weekend.

Dani rocks the house.

DEGREE BY DEGREE -- In the past I've had the great joy of reading and recommending John Guastaferro's hardback One Degree and his e-book Ready, Set, Go, both full of must-perform card magic, and his latest set of lecture notes, Discoveries and Deceptions, is no exception. Virtually everything in this slim perfect bound booklet is very cool, but the best must be Multi-Mental, a multiple selection routine in which you read the minds of the spectators before producing their cards. If you've never quite found the multiple selection routine of your dreams, this may be it.

Travel with John Guastaferro.

If you are completely new to the Guastaferro canon, I suggest starting with One Degree. If you are already into his camp, you don't need me to tell you to get his new set of notes. Designed by John as a travel book (it reminds me of the old Banana Republic catalogues) and edited by Raj Madhok, perfect bound, 62 pages, $20 from Vanishing, Inc.

MASTER CLASS -- Darwin Ortiz never disappoints with new print, whether it's an in-depth look at performance theory or a fat new book of professional card magic. Lessons in Card Mastery is the latter, and although Darwin argues wisely not to cherry pick his routines (sound, original, all-purpose advice accompanies all his tricks, even those way beyond normal abilities), I'll pick one as an example, Doppelganger. In effect, you lose four signed aces in the deck, then offer the spectator four aces from a stranger deck. He places three into random pockets and one into his wallet. You then match him pocket for pocket as you each then extract aces from your pockets and your wallets. You'll like the way-ahead method.

Darwin's latest.

This and much more in the book should be great fun to perform. Lessons in Card Mastery, hardbound, foreword by Michael Vincent, 282 pages, $55 from your favorite dealer.

ART CLASS -- Some years ago, I purchased a deck called The Key to the Kingdom, by Tony Meeuwissen, and until recently considered it the most beautiful of many card decks that I own. It has just been rivaled by the latest from Dave and Dan Buck, the Ultimate Deck. These 56 new piece of art (including jokers and extras) are not only as beautiful as my former favorite, but handle extremely well should you want to violate their museum quality status and do card tricks with them. There is much to admire here. One deck, in a special box that incorporates embossed elements and foil accents, $24.95, from

My favorite card in the Ultimate deck.

SHADES OF GARRICK OLLIVANDER -- I mentioned above that Tayor Martin showed me a sensational wand at Magi-fest, and I have since purchased two by the same manufacturer, wandmaker Charles Baker. These too are gorgeous works of art and the imagination, very Harry Potterish. Each is a unique piece, about 12 inches long. Of my two, one boasts a walnut sprout tipped with a sea urchin spine, a haft of gnarled mulberry, and a Phoenix feather core. The other boasts a red-twig dogwood foible, a mulberry forté, and a wolf bone haft. Powerful magic!

My sea urchin wand.

My wolf bone wand.

LEGOS MAGIC -- For those with little girls who have gotten into the Legos Friends series, Legos has recently released Mia's Magic Tricks. It includes a working bunny vanish. It's the perfect Valentine gift for a little girl in a magician's family.

Mia's Magic Tricks.



And for the boy who has everything ...

Do Anniversary Waltz for some nice couple,

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 used to frequently journey to and perform 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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