We just heard from our friends in Grand Rapids, Michigan that a new convention is on tap for April. If you have news you would like to share with our tens of readers, just hit the submit button above and let us know. We’re always looking for good magic news.
Introducing a new magic convention that’s “more than tricks” : WonderBash April 21-23 in Grand Rapids, MI. Only 150 registrations available. Register now and book your discounted room at the beautiful Amway Grand Plaza Hotel before spaces run out! morethantricks.com
3 Stage Shows at Wealthy Theatre
Shock Illusionist Dan Sperry “Strange Magic” (Full Theatre Show)
Mario the Maker Magician LIVE (Full Theatre Show)
Amaze & Amuse: A Modern Day Magic Show ( Ft. Michael Turco, Paige Thompson, Trent James, Elliott Hunter and Will Juggle)
6 Lectures (Mario the Maker Magician, Rick Merrill, Dan Sperry, Michael Turco, Trent James, Steve Cabe)
Exclusive Book (only available to Wonderbash Registrants / Never to be reprinted) Contributions from WonderBash Performers and other top magicians including Jeff Hobson, Farrell Dillon, Fred Becker, Bill Cook, Louie Foxx and more!
Seminar and Conversation on Mental Health for Entertainers with Jeff Veley
Close-Up Show featuring Paige Thompson and Luis Carreon.
Thursday Night Comedy Show with Andy Beningo and Friends
Magic stores, both virtual and brick-n-mortar, are joining the ranks of the superstores to offer incredible discounts and once-in-a-season deals on effects.
Even fireworks vendors in our neighborhood are offering early New Year’s items at greatly discounted prices. (Hence the Black Cat firecracker graphic).
We wanted to have a Cyber Monday sale but we don’t really sell anything on InsideMagic.com.
In fact, due to our Fire Sale last month, we are all out of the little novelty / slum magic we bought years ago for just this type of occasion. Fortunately, it was just our storage pod in the desert area south of Riverside, California that was damaged in the event and even then, only the things under our second-hand magnifying glasses.
If anyone is interested in a beautiful amalgam of plastic Cups and Balls combined with Ball Vases and Magic Wands, we have only one and it is about the size of meteor. We are going to save it for a future Antiques Roadshow and perhaps it will be valued as an artistic work.
We have, however, seen some great magic in the past month.
We didn’t perform it and we don’t even know the names of those who did. But we do know great magic when it is performed and Twitter has become our go-to place for great effects performed flawlessly. Granted, we don’t know how many takes these Twitter videos took but we don’t really care.
According to the Law of Large Numbers, even if we had a deck of cards and an infinite time to perform the effect, we would never be able to do it. So, compared with 100 monkeys who have 100 years to write Hamlet, we would be seen as a distant second. In fact, we couldn’t write Hamlet even if you gave us 100 monkeys to help and 100 years to do it. We would likely distract the monkeys with questions about banana freshness and their unsanitary methods of attacking humans watching them.
But here are three Twitter stars that we recommend to your attention. If you love them, let them know. If you want to see more, you can follow our carefully curated Twitter feed at @insidemagic.
We were fortunate enough to be in The Magic Castle the night Mike Caveney presented a lecture on his new book One Hundred Years of Sawing: The Astonishing History of Magic’s Most Iconic Illusion.
Mr. Caveney is the magic world’s scribe and if society was somehow destroyed; thousands of years from now, archeologists would learn all they could know about this epoch from his books. He knows magic history and, more importantly, loves magic history more than any magician we know. Future societies will be forced to conclude that magic and its history was our world’s focus.
Sawing is a work of love and a gift to those who love magic.
There were a total of 1,200 editions of the book published. 100 of which are Deluxe Editions. We have number 390 of the Regular Edition and will proudly keep it on our special magic bookcase; next to the Taschen book, Magic: 1400s – 1950s. He co-authored that mammoth book with Ricky Jay and Jim Steinmeyer. Both books are heavy. Not just in content or tone, but by actual weight (together they weigh 16.6 lbs). We have braced our bookcase and the supporting beams in the wall accordingly.
Sawing brings readers through a wonderful trip through history from the effect’s origins before 1921, its golden era in 1921, the patent litigation over the effect, and its history through our modern day. It is filled with incredible stories of the magicians who invented, innovated and stole the illusion. Mr. Caveney treats readers with incredible images at each juncture. In many cases, these are photos we have never seen.
Put all that together and you can imagine our joy in paging slowly through the book. It is a very slow read. Not because it is long but because it is full and detailed. As far as we can tell, there is not a significant event in the history of this illusion that is not addressed. Of course, we realize that our knowledge of the trick is now completely informed by Mr. Caveney’s recitation of its history.
In deciding to write a review of the book, we worried that it would either be too short – “we loved it!” – or too long – “on page 129, Mr. Caveney begins to address the development of ….” That worry persists and is perhaps proven to be valid by the length and depth of this review.
Words do not do justice to the words and images Mr. Caveney presents in this book nor the history he has neatly set before readers.
If you love magic, love history, love the stories of odd but enchanting individuals of magic history, this book is a must read. Or more correctly, this book is a must have so you can spend hours with it and enjoy all that it provides.
We are so thankful for authors and historians like Mr. Caveney.
It has been awhile since we posted on this esteemed website and while we could discuss the reasons for our absence, we will leave the details to TMZ’s excellent, though somewhat biased, coverage. We can say that we find the Royal Family to be a delight and to be honest, we were not aware that the Queen could operate Zoom so well. We appreciated her kind admonition, “We believe you are still on mute.”
We have been spending much time at The Magic Castle and though it has reduced operating days, it is still the same clubhouse that we love and where our friends and magical family gather. We never leave without feeling ebullient and informed.
We have seen so many acts that were new to us. Acts that featured performers we have wanted to see for a long time and thus our wishes were granted. All of this is on top of the great food. Not literally on top of the food, that would be a violation of the LA County Health Guidelines and certainly not welcomed by us.
During this break from life as it once was, we have taken to purchasing books to help us learn moves and sleights that we thought we knew well but realized were really just a collection of lazy and bad habits formed over our decades of performances. We have re-learned Twisting the Aces to try to imitate Dai Vernon’s method. He worked so naturally and flawlessly. We have worked on our coins across and cut and restored rope as taught by Pop Haydn.
We have worn and perhaps permanently damaged our relationship with family members with our constant request that they watch or select a card. They now do so without truly watching or memorizing the card selected. To the extent they do either – even if only to appease us – is a testament to their love for us.
We look forward to the end of this pandemic and pray for those fighting the virus regardless of their occupation but certainly including medical professionals and front-line workers.
One day we will be back to normal. Here’s to hoping we do not lose more of our fellow magicians, their family members, their community, our nation and the world.
We will work with our dedicated staff to update this site more frequently now that we have things to relate from The Magic Castle.
Here is to hoping you are all safe, staying safe, and will be with us on the other side of this horrible pandemic.
What did we do over our summer vacation at Inside Magic?
We didn’t perform except for our poor family members who watched and noted each time our second deal was obvious. We also had them watch the Twisting the Aces over and over. They feigned interest for a couple of weeks and then found reasons to not be in the same room with us and any four cards – aces or not.
We read wonderful books on magic and our favorite topics, late 1800 through early 1900s spiritualism and magicians of the same era.
The Apparitionists: A Tale of Phantoms, Fraud, Photography, and the Man Who Captured Lincoln’s Ghost by Peter Manseau is one heck of a good book if you are into spirit photography; and we certainly are. He takes his time and provides background on the man that brought spirit photography into its own at the very start of Spiritualism and photography.
Lisa Morton’s Calling the Spirits: A History of Seances is similarly captivating. It asks, “Why do we need Seances” especially in light of the reality that they are very often (if not always) fraud. Sometimes the fraud is practiced by those who genuinely believe they are reaching through this mortal veil; and sometimes by those who are looking to take from the believing. She is thoughtful in her exposition of the phenomenon, its followers, its victims, the hope and devastation felt by those for whom the experiment has failed.
Herman Melville’s The Confidence-Man is not so much about Spiritualism as it is about the victims of confidence men (or a single man – no spoiler here) who plied their / his craft on a riverboat. The writing is so wonderful and the scenes are so real. There is no magic or swindle mechanisms explained but the notion of a person who can have a victim put confidence in a perfect stranger is explored completely.
Christine Garwood’s Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea provides a riveting history of individuals who believe against all science to the contrary that the earth, a globe, is flat. Their belief is true to them although not true. We don’t want to spoil the ending, but the earth is, in fact, round.
Finally, Ching Ling Foo: America’s First Chinese Superstar by Samuel Porteous is a different kind of book. It takes the reader through the history of Ching Ling Foo’s well-deserved ascension to superstar status in US theaters. He and his troupe made more money in a week than entire villages did in a year. But the book takes you through every stop along the way. Literally. The reader is treated to virtually every theater engagement, the songs sung by his young phenomenon, Chee Tai. She could mimic fellow vaudeville acts with perfection and soon became a star separate from the troupe. There are great posters, images, letters and headlines included in the book. It is at time longish but worth the read if you are a fan of this incredibly inventive magician.
We love reading and so while our performance opportunities were limited to non-existent, we filled our mind with the magic of wonderfully written books.
That’s what we did on our summer vacation here at Inside Magic.
There are those who ask, “why isn’t there a gelato themed magic event?”
We don’t know these people but assume they exist otherwise how could one (maybe you or me) explain the upcoming Sideshow Gelato Spectacular? We love gelato and we love magic so we are sure we will love the Sideshow Gelato Spectacular — that’s simple math.
Matt Donnelly from Penn & Teller’s Fool Us and Penn’s Sunday School will be performing along with Professor Pinkerton’s Dead Man’s Carnival. The latter promising “Astonishing Feats! Incredible People!”
The event will be at [blnk]Haus Gallery on Armitage Avenue in Chicago, adjacent to where North Kedzie Avenue and Armitage intersect – down the street from Walgreens.
The event will be in two parts: First, a come and go General Admission that runs from 1pm to 6pm. Each ticket will include gelato tastings, sideshow, juggling and magic; Second, a peak into The Museum of the Transmundane, a dime museum of strange and unusual objects giving the history of the sideshow.
General admission tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for kids 12 and under.
The event is to introduce those who love (or have yet to taste the loveable) gelato. Sideshow Gelato, a gelato shop with sideshow theme is set to open in May of 2022.
From the event’s press release, “the shop will offer authentically made gelato in a carnival sideshow setting. The flavors range from the strange and unusual named after famous performers (ie. Koo Koo the Birdgirl – a Nutella gelato with pretzels and marshmallow Peeps) to standard flavors for the less adventurous (Chump Chocolate, Rube Vanilla).”
The store will include a dime museum featuring “oddities and gaffs as well as a history of the sideshow” and all proceeds from the museum will go to, entirely, to a different charity each month.
The shop has the backing of Penn Jillette, so you know it will be fun and very interesting.
Check out the event’s website for videos and more information here.
In an effort to launch InsideMagic.com to the top of the charts, we have tried to copy or serve an homage to those captains of industry in the internet world. We found the clickbait method of asking a question and then directing users to a page with answers seems to be working for some.
Here are some of the questions posed we have noticed:
Remember [Actress] in the 1980s? You should take a deep breath and see how she looks now.
Scientists won’t tell you when the end of the world is coming, here is the info they’ve been hiding.
How to spot a liar in one second – warning, this is a devastating power.
Remember [Thelma] from [Scoobie Doo]? Wait until you see her now, she’s beautiful.
Pain in your wrist? Learn the seven signs of [Illness] before it’s too late.
For each of these examples, we’ve corrected the spelling and omitted the real gross ones, like creatures that take up home in your body while you’re sleeping or how to tell if your child has rabies. No need for that type of extreme.
Here is our tentative list of clickbait questions to drive readers to InsideMagic.com.
[We realize we don’t have advertisers on InsideMagic.com but that is more a function of our choosiness. Daily, we receive offers to post ads from sources other than magicians or magic suppliers. Just this morning we received two: BlitzDate – Faster than Tinder! and, FungiGone – to permanently remove nail fungus forever. Both offered to pay us a percentage of the users derived from InsideMagic.com but we felt it would let our readers down.]
What Magicians don’t want you to know (Number 7 will make you rethink your moral compass!)
Magicians in Ancient Egypt – What did they know that can cure [Illness] even today! [Note: this will not include anything about fungi encrusted nails]
What Nostradamus Predicted about Mentalists Performing B Wave – You’ll be shocked!
How Magicians use Pheromones to Deceive Audiences with Smell – This explains so much!
The Classic Pass is Possible says Noted Magician – but will not help securing dates!
What David Copperfield, Criss Angel, David Blaine and Your Uncle All Have in Common – It’s not what you think!
Why Starbucks Won’t Let Magician’s in their Stores – Seems unfair but makes sense!
The Bullet Catch Trick – How Magicians practice this most dangerous trick without injury, usually.
Is the Bill in Lemon Trick a Violation of US Currency Laws? – The answer will surprise you!
Rabbits from Hats – You’ll be surprised at the type of animals pulled from hats over the last 200 years – Number four will have you gripped in fear.
Following the link to any of these bait lines would direct you to a microsite chocked full of ads for different approaches to: dating, fungus removal, disease detection, dating with an emphasis on finding the perfect magician match, colorized versions of war footage, colorized versions of fungal infections, and, IHop / Arbys. IHop would be shown in the morning and Arbys for the rest of the day.
One of the questions we get from those who would ask us questions is, “Why isn’t Inside Magic updated on an hourly, daily, weekly or even monthly basis?”
At first we deny that we are associated with the journal but there are images of us floating around the internet and people find us out.
For instance, we used to do a bunch of TikTok videos. They weren’t magic oriented, per se. We would show different comb-over techniques for men of our advanced age. We’d do the front to back, the side parts and even the split down the middle from ear to ear so that when people would whisper to us, they would be whispering into our nose.
We tried to integrate some magic into our TikToks with a vanishing card routine where the card would appear to dance to music and dance up stairs before turning around and dance down. It took 20 hours to film and necessitated the hiring of a crew of 15 people. Granted, the craft services table made things bearable and our director was a specialist in such videos. He was also 15 years old and his manager was a pain to deal with.
We tried to go it alone and filmed videos showing why men of our advanced age shouldn’t wear eye-make-up or not trim our eye-brows or forget to trim our nose hair. Those failed miserably.
We then did some research and learned the best TikTok response came from wearing different tennis shoes and making them magically change as one is dancing up and down stairs. We tripped often in the tennis shoes because they were borrowed from neighbors. Some were too large and looked clownish. One of our neighbors is a clown so that made for even more trips and falls. Some were too small and pretty beat-up. Those also led to falls.
We finished the shoe series and then released what we thought was a hysterical behind the scenes TikTok showing our attempts to dance up and down carpeted stairs. The behind the scenes video drew less than the original video and even that was in the low 6 or 7 views.
TikTok is a tough scene.
We then tried reading books in 15 second increments. We started with Moby Dick and viewership dropped off when we started doing the accents we imagined the characters would use. The entire book reading was submitted for a Mono Award for best video reading of a classic book. We didn’t win. We think the accents were not accepted by the judges. Whatever. Artists are always disrespected whilst they live. Just look at Picasso. While he was alive, his TikTok videos must have been so badly received that you can’t find a single one on the platform.
Then we hit upon a genius idea that we think will skyrocket us to fame among Tik-Tokkers. It was quite by accident. Being of our special heritage, we come from a long line of people with lousy teeth. In fact, the next time you meet with us, you can inspect them and we can challenge you to find the one real tooth left.
Anyway, we went to the dentist and got as much work as our insurance would allow. We finished up and went to our favorite soup restaurant here in WeHo. Our mouth was numb and our lips were too. Each spoonful of tomato soup thus divided neatly between some in our mouth and some pouring down our numb lips and on to our freshly pressed white t-shirt. We filmed it and put it up on the platform. The response was tremendous. For three days, we were in the top 900 videos. Then some others did their versions and we couldn’t keep up. They ate spaghetti with meat sauce, cheese pizzas, and a handful of chickpeas, and even smoothies of different colors.
The originator of the numb lips challenge was forgotten and we moved on with our life.
We just received news from the Academy of Magical Arts (“AMA”) that the world-famous home for all who love magic, The Magic Castle, will re-open on May 21st. It has been closed since the ides of March last year. We have been in audience withdrawals since.
According to the AMA, the very private club will initially operate at reduced capacity—open Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings—welcoming its members and their invited guests for fine dining and entertainment, strictly observing COVID-19 compliant guidelines. To allow members adequate opportunity to access the Magic Castle, guest passes will not be accepted during the initial phase of this reopening.
Magic shows will initially be broadcast in showrooms via recorded video broadcast, with plans to expand to live entertainment options outdoors and an eventual return to live entertainment indoors as quickly as COVID-19 guidelines permit.
The popular Dine & Delight to-go dining program—launched during pandemic restrictions—will continue to operate for the time being on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Orders may be placed at www.MagicCastle.com
Randy Sinnott, Jr., president of the AMA’s Board of Directors, said, “We are thrilled to take the initial step of re-opening our doors and welcoming our members back to their magical clubhouse. As COVID restrictions decrease in the coming weeks and months, the club will continue to carefully and responsibly expand operations to the extent possible and begin to accept guest passes as we bring magic back to the lives of Angelenos.”
During the pandemic, the AMA continued to strive to share its magic with its members and the community, hosting dozens of virtual shows, each attracting hundreds of viewers; offering attractively priced meals from Executive Chef Alex Arrietta thru the Dine & Delight program; hosting outdoor dinners for members; teaching magic classes online; sponsoring virtual lectures and events for members; and lending its parking lot for Magic Asphalt, in-car comedy performances/dining.
About the Academy of Magical Arts, Inc.
The Academy of Magical Arts (AMA) is a unique non-profit. The AMA’s membership – including the world’s most pre-eminent and celebrated magicians and illusionists – lives by the “Magic First” creed, devoted to the advancement of the art of magic and preserving its history. Its headquarters and private clubhouse, the Magic Castle, has been an internationally revered gathering place for the magic brotherhood since opening its doors in 1963. Located in historic Hollywood in an elegant, Victorian-era mansion, the Castle is an experience within itself—a remarkable meeting spot that captures a lost era and is timeless in its appeal, having hosted generations of magic enthusiasts from around the globe, as well as show biz elite from Cary Grant, Tony Curtis, Johnny Carson, Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Alexander (all performing members) to Katy Perry and Johnny Depp. The Magic Castle was founded by writer, actor, magician and entrepreneur Milt Larsen and his late brother, Bill Larsen, Jr. Visit us online at: www.MagicCastle.com
We received this great piece of news from the World Famous Academy of Magical Arts and The Magic Castle. A very special program for active military, veterans and their families on May 7th. Lance Burton, The Evansons, Suzanne, and Brandon Scott will appear. Any one of these acts would be more than enough. All four makes this a show not to be missed for any reason! We thank the Magic Castle for keeping us up-to-date on their breaking news and upcoming opportunities.
In honor of U.S. veterans across the country, the Academy of Magical Arts (AMA) and its world-famous clubhouse The Magic Castle is presenting a star-studded, virtual magic show, Saturday, May 7, 3 p.m. PT/6 p.m. ET in honor of members of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.
NOTE: If Zoom registration is full, a live, streaming link will also be available at this site.
Said event organizer, magician Brandon Scott, also serving as Master of Ceremonies, “The mission of the non-profit Academy of Magical Arts is to advance and preserve the art of magic. As part of our community outreach, it is our honor to share the wonder of magic with veterans and others who serve our country and to organizations that serve children who are underprivileged, hospitalized or have special needs … Which meant going virtual during the pandemic, a time when people need a smile most.”
On the Marquee …
Lance Burton (from Kentucky) — A master magician,Burton has appeared on TheTonight Show and numerous TV specials. For The Lance Burton Show in Las Vegas, he won “Best Magician” for 11 years in a row from the Las Vegas Review-Journal and has performed15,000 shows over the past 30 years. The AMA has twice awarded him “Magician of the Year” and a Masters Fellowship “Hall of Fame.”
The Evasons (from Maryland) — One of very few couples in history who have mastered the rare and mysterious art of two-person telepathy, they have appeared in more than 40 countries and on such hit TV shows as Penn & Teller: Fool Us, Masters of Illusion and The World’s Greatest Magic. In their live, interactive, online display of Virtual Telepathy and Remote Viewing, The Evasons appear to reach through the screen and seize your thoughts.
Suzanne (from Minnesota) — You may have seen Suzanne on Penn & Teller Fool Us with an engaging style that makes the audience an essential participant in her performance that other magicians call “flawless” and “amazing.” She is a favorite at Hollywood’s famous Magic Castle and has been awarded “Close Up Magician of the Year” by the AMA.
Brandon Scott (from California) — Scott comes from a family of American Veterans and received two first-place medals as winner of the American Legion Oratory Contest on the American Constitution. He has appeared in numerous television shows, films and commercials, as well as live performances at such places as Caesars Palace-Las Vegas, The Hollywood Bowl, Disneyland and in Milt Larsen’s It’s Magic. He is a headliner magician at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire and has delighted corporate executives, international nobility, prominent political figures and some of the world’s most famous movie stars.
The Academy of Magical Arts (AMA) is a unique non-profit. The AMA’s membership—including the world’s most pre-eminent and celebrated magicians and illusionists—lives by the “Magic First” creed, devoted to the advancement of the art of magic and preserving its history. Its headquarters and private clubhouse, the Magic Castle, has been an internationally revered gathering place for the magic brotherhood since opening its doors in 1963. Located in historic Hollywood in an elegant, Victorian-era mansion, the Castle is an experience within itself—a remarkable meeting spot that captures a lost era and is timeless in its appeal, having hosted generations of magic enthusiasts from around the globe, as well as show biz elite from Cary Grant, Tony Curtis, Johnny Carson, Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Alexander (all performing members) to Katy Perry and Johnny Depp. The Magic Castle was founded by writer, actor, magician and entrepreneur Milt Larsen and his late brother, Bill Larsen, Jr. Visit us online at: www.MagicCastle.com.