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Return to our April 2019 issue to consider consider Nick Trost's Subtle Card Creations Volume 7 and a last H&R peek at The Little Egypt Book of Numbers; Matt Baker's The Buena Vista Shuffle Club;s and I bid goodbye to my cousin Doc Kobler.

May 2019

May has been magically quiet but filled with some great card tricks. Take a look below at some stunners from Mike Powers and a few more from Nick Trost. I so envy these guys' creativity.

One of the features I enjoy myself at Little Egypt Magic is the closing photo at the bottom o f each issue. Because I was having trouble locating specific images, I consolidated them all into one accessible file. Check out this new feature below. Similarly, I have highlighted a few of my own favorite issues of the zine itself at the bottom of Index to Past Issues. These may change from time to time. Enjoy.

Meanwhile, I hope you had a Happy Mother's Day. Love to all moms.

POWERFUL MAGIC FROM THE FOURTH DIMENSION -- Mike Powers is a multi-talented performer whose accomplishments I envy. He is recently retired from a career teaching physics and math, which means he kept abreast of all those equations I purged from memory since college. He plays guitar in a rock band, a skill that would have kept me from magic had I possessed it. And he is a proficient, creative, and widely published card guy, the guest of honor at the most recent FFFF convention in Batavia. Not one to show up empty handed, Mike used occasion to introduce his latest book, Tesseract. And it's quite a book.

Mike Powers, triple threat.

Quick digression: A tesseract is a four-dimensional hypercube, whatever that is. Mike gives a noble attempt at teaching you in a seven-page essay "Creating the Tesseract." Even if you still can't "see" the 4-D object after the essay, you will still be rewarded for trying (a bonus card trick).

Tesseract, Mike's book of the same name, is a whopper of a book, both in physical heft and in content. It's hardback with dust cover, over 8.5 by 11 inches on heavy glossy paper. (I am reminded of some of David Regal's books.) The contents play over eight chapters: Unprepared Card mysteries (18 items), Prepared Card Mysteries (5 items), Faro Slough Off Ideas (3 items), Scripted Mysteries (3 items), Friends (3 items), Moves (6 items), Pure Mathematics (9 items), and Miscellaneous Mysteries (8 items, including those with coins, rubber bands, envelopes, and iPhones as well as well as cards).

Although virtually everything is repertoire worthy, these seemed especially fun:

The Lying Traveler. Mike showed me this a couple of years ago, and I love it. He combines Marlo's Traveling Card with a small packet revelation that you know, and it may be the most impressive thing you can do with 21 playing cards.

The Money Game Revisited. Mike combines a Bank Night routine using envelopes with a Card to Impossible Location. Money is at risk!

Open Mate Prediction. A clean, impromptu ACAAN, similar in method to my favorite version, J.K. Hartman's Patent Portent.

Transpo Visitor. A red-suited card is "guarded" between two kings and buried in half the deck. A signed, selected black -suited card is placed in the other half, and it rises to the top. In an instant, the signed card is shown to be between the kings in the first half. There is a move in most Visitor routines that just thrills me to use, and it is used ere as well. Mike especially uses this as a follow up to an Ambitious Card routine.

52! This is an essay, not a card trick, on just how large 52 factorial (the number of possible ways to reorder a deck of cards) is. Precisely, the number is


But just how large is that? Mike starts with assuming you can shuffle the deck into new order every second. So how long will it take to do all the combinations? Begin a walking trip around the Earth. But wait, oh, a billion years between steps. By the time you make it around, you are just getting started! For fun, I asked Alexa how big 52! is. She cracked me up with the answer, using words for very large numbers I hadn't heard before. A lot of words.

Moe Fun. One of my favorite Mike Powers ruses is his PM Principle, and I hoped it would be here. It is, and it always amazes me. A selection from a shuffled deck is apparently lost among three piles of cards. Two Whispering Queens locate the selection. Imposible.

Heisting Histed Heisted 3.0. Last month, I referred to Chandu Heavy (from my The Little Egypt Book of Numbers), a variant of the Princess Card Trick that does not require memorization or a crib sheet. Mike uses essentially the same subterfuge, but conceals that fact far more concisely. An amazing demonstration.

Again, 8.5 by 11 in, 298 pp, hardback with dust cover, illustrated with copious photos, $55 pp from Mike Powers' Mall of Magic or your favorite dealer.

NICK TROST CONTINUED -- In April we previewed Nick Trost's Subtle Card Creations Volume 7, the latest in an anticipated nine volumes from the prolific Mr. Trost. The book is still at the printers (a shift in management and personnel caused a slight delay) and should be shipping soon. Watch for it!

The April review only hinted at the great card tricks therein. Here are a few more for your consideration.

Soapy Smith's Klondike Poker Deal. In a 20-card game between Reverend Bowers, Slim Jim Foster, the sucker Harvey Henderson from Indiana, and Soapy Smith, Soapy's straight flush beats Harvey's full house. Even though the spectator is allowed a legit riffle shuffle, what endeared me to the routine is the milk build shuffle justified by the patter "in Alaska the dealer’s fingers were so cold, about the only way he could shuffle was to strip off the top and bottom cards and drop them on the table."

Vintage illustration from Volume 6.

The Lollapalooza Hand. Spectator seems to win with a straight flush, but the dealer tops him with an unbeatable Lollapalooza hand (2,4,6,8, and 10). Following a spectator riffle shuffle and cut, spectator seems to win with his own Lollapalooza hand, but dealer takes all with his straight flush. Why? Because a Lollapalooza hand is only good once a night!

A Passing Thought. A fan of aces, four red-backed and four blue-backed. Any ace thought of by a spectator leaves its group and appears among the aces of the contrasting color.

Clock-a-rama. I love clock effects ... and predictions with surprise endings. From the text: "The performer writes a prediction and sets it aside in full view. The deck is shuffled and a spectator thinks of any hour on a clock from 1 to 12, removes that number of cards and hides them. The performer deals a card clock. The spectator cuts the deck proper, and the point cut to is marked. The performer now tells the spectator how many cards he cut off. His cards are counted to verify this. Now the performer counts to the corresponding hour on the clock; it is the 8H. The card cut to by the spectator is the 8D— the mate of the selection! For the climax, the prediction is revealed. It says that the spectator will select a red card, which is true, but this is not too impressive until the cut-off cards and the rest of the cards in the clock are turned face up—they are all black!"

P.S. Marshall Peterson continues the H&R closeout sale, with 65 percent off everything as of this writing. That means The Little Egypt Book of Numbers is a mere $12.25, the bargain of the lot. Don't miss out.

A PICTURE IS WORTH 1000 WORDS -- Sometime around 2007, upon the arrival of my second grandchild, I began appending a single photo to the bottom of Little Egypt Magic, usually unrelated to the general narrative of the issue. At times these were purely personal, such as annual Christmas photos of the grandkids. (The precedent was the Bill Larsen Christmas issues of Genii, with photos of the Larsen clan adorning a Christmas tree.) Or perhaps to share covers of my spooky novels from 2015 and 2016. But mostly the goal was to add interesting magic-related images, along the lines of Stan Allen's finally page in MAGIC.

Editor relaxes beneath all-knowing gaze.

It has always been easy to search for past topics in Little Egypt Magic. Just click on Index to Past Issues at the bottom of the page. When the index appears, use your browser search engine to highlight the relevant issues. For example, search on Bannon to find reviews of all the John Bannon books. (There is a fun afternoon!) Unfortunately, there was no way to seek a given closing image that you might recall. More specifically, I couldn't find favorites of my own.

To solve the problem, I have consolidated all those closing images into a single file called Rotogravure. It's like getting The New Yorker online. You can access all the cartoons at once, without having to flip through the magazine.

Each photo has a link to the issue in which it originally appeared. Also recall that virtually every photo in Little Egypt Magic has a hidden caption, sometimes a gag caption. To make them appear, just hover your mouse cursor over the photo, or poke it with your finger on your ios device. And finally, bear in mind that these closing photos are only a small percentage of the photos that accompany the text. For those use the index to peruse topics of interest. Have fun.

And now the photos ...


Chandu's buddies thought it was fishy that he always knew when they were bluffing.




When was the last time you showed your mom a card trick?



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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.

Past issues of this web site: Index to Past Issues

Closing photos since 2007: Rotogravure

Notice: Any limited use of copyrighted images or quoted text is considered fair use, usually to review whatever product or event that is under discussion. If you object to use of any material, please get in touch and it will be cheerfully removed.

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Copyright© 2019 by Steve Bryant