One of the most delightful things we’ve discovered during the lockdown is Twitter Magic. We have found magicians from around the world performing one trick at a time and performing it with exceptional talent. You can see our collection of fantastic card and coin magic on our Twitter channel at @insidemagic.
We are always looking for new performers to feature and always delighted to learn new methods and new styles to old tricks. It is so fascinating to see young people taking effects that we learned thousands of years ago and turn them into miracles.
We follow the time zones around the world so we may see great card magic starting in New York, coin magic in Chicago, fantastic effects in Las Vegas, then California and after a few hours Hawaii, Japan, Korea, China, India, Europe and then back to New York.
Be sure to check out our Twitter feed (@InsideMagic) and if you know of Twitter handles we should be following please pass them along.
This is a great time for magicians to stretch their stuff and The magicians who are strutting are right to strut. They’ve got the stuff and are practiced
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.
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.
Close-up Magician and Lecturer in Medical Ethics and Law, Daniel Sokol’s article “Medicine as Performance: What Can Magicians Teach Doctors?” got us thinking — a rare experience for us during these quarantine days.
We normally read the prestigious Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine for the pictures but the title of this article from 2008 stood out.
Our brain is hardwired to immediately focus on certain key words, such a “Magic,” “Magician(s),” “Card Tricks,” and “Magic Magicians doing Card Tricks.” We know there are surgeries and/or medical therapies that would release us from this focus anomaly but we have found it a pleasant enough brain defect and so we choose to live with it. We are very thankful that those are the words to which we are immediately attracted and not something more untoward or socially unacceptable.
We have a friend who focuses like a laser on the word “______,” and the phrase “_____ on ______, _____.” Our friend’s life is not relaxing and pleasant like ours and reading just about anything posted on the worldwide web becomes a struggle for attention. We haven’t identified the actual words or phrase here in an effort to retain our family-friendly certification. But a good cryptographer — good meaning “talented in his or her field of cryptology” and not in a moral sense — could decipher the blank lines above to figure it out.
But back to the Royal Society of Medicine’s article’s point, magicians can and do intentionally distract their audience to accomplish what appears to be magic.
The article references Darwin Ortiz advice on the best practices for magicians, “Always say the same thing at the same point in each trick you do.” So when advising patients on diagnosis and treatment, there would likely be different non-verbal signs given by the physician.
The article is fascinating and well worth your review.
You can read Mr. Sokol’s article here: Sokol D. K. (2008). Medicine as performance: what can magicians teach doctors? Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 101(9), 443–446. https://doi.org/10.1258/jrsm.2008.080133
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.
It is the policy of Inside Magic – a company unrelated to Magic Inside (a pseudo-Twinkie manufacturer now defunct) or Magic Outside (a well-established camping equipment rental for witches) or Magic Inside Out (a surgical practice specializing in removing things from people with “exceptional skill and knowledge of modern medicine combined with medical waste management) – to publish responses to emails received on a quarterly basis or earlier if required by a court of appropriate jurisdiction. If you have a question or letter to the editor, please feel free to write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: In one of your stories you said that a man in some country did a really amazing trick with some kind of animal. Can you tell me what that article was and where I can find it?
A: From your detailed question, we were able to find the exact article, “Man Does Amazing Trick with an Animal.” We have sent you a PDF version of the article but as you likely know, it was removed from the InsideMagic.com website in response to adverse reaction not to performing magic tricks with animals, but, in the words of Professor of English Literature at the London Community College, “intentionally or reckless vagueness of subject and object in a headline.” Our lawyer said the chances of losing the case was low but because we only had about $4.78 in petty cash at the time – and all of that went to the lawyer – we decided we could not afford the risk. We removed the article and apologized to readers. See, “We’re Sorry We Had a Vague Headline on an Article We Published a While Ago.”
Q: Why don’t you have Mandrake the Magician comics anymore?
A: It’s true we used to run the Mandrake comic each day. We ran out of money and so we had to end our license with King Features Syndicate — publisher of Mandrake. We tried to replace the very popular feature – indeed, readers told us it was the only reason they read InsideMagic.com – with JoJo the Magic Clown comics. While not as well-known as Mandrake, the JoJo series featured a magician who investigated crimes he himself committed. The series ended after a week due to this unfortunate plot design. We then went with Ranger Steve comics. These strips lasted longer than JoJo but had nothing to do with magic. They were daily exploration of the animal world. No one read Ranger Steve; not even the editors of the comic. There were constant errors such as “the rabbit is the only flower that can create seeds without birds.” We reported the strip to the London Community College English Literature department.
Q: Every ad for a trick says, “It’s the best ever” or “I was fooled constantly by this one” or “This is a trick that wows audiences and slays magicians.” Which one should I buy?
A: You’re right that many advertisers make claims that an effect is unique and the best thing to ever come down the pike. In fact, we received an email today that said just that, “this effect is unique and the best thing to ever come down the pike.” In our opinion, the best trick is the InsideMagic.com “Incredi-deck.” It is the only combination of a marked deck where every card is the same. The possibilities are endless. You’ll know immediately whether the person took the card you handed them because it will have the name of the card written in ink visible only to those wearing the Incredi-glasses or Incredi-contact lenses (sold separately). We printed up about 1,000 decks and still have just over 900 left (if you consider “just over” to mean, 987). We sold out of the Incredi-glasses and Incredi-contact lenses to a spy organization that we think works for either the U.S. or some other country. The reviews on the deck and vision methods were fantastic – but only from the spy organization and even then only in coded messages visible only whilst wearing the Incredi-glasses or Incredi-contacts. We would re-print them here but we’re not sure about international spy regulations when it comes to copyright law.
Q: At that party at the convention before Covid-19, you left early and forgot to pay for your ticket. We’ll wave the penalty fee and interest but insist you pay for the ticket. If we do not hear back from you with payment, we may be forced to pursue legal action.
A: We weren’t at that party and we didn’t leave early, it was just running so long with the constant music, free-flowing drinks, wonderful, mini-wieners on toothpicks (by the way, you should warn guests that there is a toothpick in the mini-wieners before they eat a handful), that we would have been well-within our right to leave early; if we had been there but we weren’t. We should send you the hospital bill for the removal of tooth picks lodged at various points in our digestive system. We used Magic Inside and Out and they did a great job. The best version of wood removal from a digestive track to come down the pike.