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.
We thought our Bucket List was complete when we were admitted as a Magician Member of the Academy of Magical Arts and their wonderful clubhouse, The Magic Castle.
But we found more to add to the list we would like to do before we kick the bucket; or, more likely stumble over the bucket in our sleep.
How about a virtual tour of the Historic, L.A. Estate, Brookledge, featuring Penn & Teller, David Copperfield, Neil Patrick Harris, Dick Van Dyke, Paul Reubens & More?
The event is being presented by the the Jack Oakie and Victoria Horne Oakie Charitable Foundation on May 10th to benefit the Dai Vernon Foundation.
What is Brookledge? Why it is only the forerunner of the Magic Castle. The cost is $10 per ticket and that money will go to a very worthy cause in the Dai Vernon Foundation. The foundation is dedicated to providing financial aid to those pursuing an education; launching ambitious performances, researching or undertaking historical projects; and supporting those in difficult circumstances or suffering hardships. It also conducts community outreach via performances at hospitals and other charitable organizations. Over the years, the foundation has provided grants to hundreds of magicians, performers and employees in need, including 165 COVID relief grants over the past year.
As a former member of the Dai Vernon Foundation Board, we can testify that it is a worthy and incredibly dedicated organization that typifies the best in our Magical Arts.
The star-studded, virtual fundraiser, Brookledge Cares, will be held by the historic Brookledge estate, May 8 at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET.
This benefit will feature a who’s who of magic and Hollywood, including Neil Patrick Harris, Dick & Arlene Van Dyke, David Copperfield, Penn & Teller, Paul Reubens, Larry Wilmore, Jason Alexander, Michael Carbonaro & Peter Stickles, Puddles Pity Party and Moby. Special appearances by Rob Zabrecky, Marawa Wamp, Basil Twist & Ken Ard, Shoot Ogawa, Steven Banks, Aaron Grooves, Armen Ksajikian and more. Hosted by Two-Headed Dog (Jim Turner & Mark Fite) and Liberty Larsen.
The event will also offer a personal tour by Liberty Larsen, a rare glimpse into the location considered the “forerunner” to the AMA’s world-famous clubhouse, The Magic Castle, the historic Brookledge estate, owned by the Larsen family, founders of the Magic Castle.
Although on hiatus during the pandemic, The Brookledge Follies, an invitation-only, “contemporary Vaudeville,” variety-and-magic show, is performed once a month (April-November) in the estate’s small theater. The free show has become one of the hottest tickets in town and is frequently attended by such Hollywood elite as Sophia Vergara, Joe Manganiello, Ryan Gosling, Jason Alexander, Christina Hendricks, Jason Sudukis, Danny Elfman, Matthew Gubler, Randy Newman, Paul Reubens and director John Landis, to name a few.
That is precisely why it is on our Bucket List. We long to see it.
Launched with a bequest from the estate of renowned close-up magician Dai Vernon—the only magician to ever fool Harry Houdini—upon his death in 1992, the Dai Vernon Foundation, a 501(c)3 charitable organization, aides, elevates and recognizes practitioners and supporters of the art of magic at all levels and in all walks of life.
More information about the famous Brookledge estate:
The Magic Castle was founded by writer, actor, magician and entrepreneur Milt Larsen (formerly a writer for the 1956-77 television show Truth or Consequences); his late brother, Bill Larsen, Jr. (a former producer of the Danny Kaye and Jonathan Winters variety shows); and Bill’s wife, Irene, who remained the Castle’s ever-gracious hostess until her death in February 2016.
Members of the Larsen family have been performing magic continuously since the mid ’20s, with the fourth generation now on stage. Milt and Bill’s parents, Geraldine (“Geri”) and William Larsen, Sr., both performed as professional magicians and are noted pioneers in the art. Beginning during the Depression in the late ’30s (the Vaudeville era), the family—now including Bill, Jr., and Milt—began touring as the “Larsen Family of Magicians,” playing upscale, resort hotels in southern California.
A stage constructed at their historic Brookledge estate—built in 1933 in L.A.’s Hancock Park and purchased by the Larsens in 1942 from the founder of the Thayer Magic Company, which they also acquired—became an informal gathering place for the magic community of the day. Virtually every famous name in illusion visited and performed at the estate, often referred to as the “forerunner to the Magic Castle.” Retired from life on the road and managing the magic apparatus company, Bill, Sr., dreamed of opening an elegant, private clubhouse for magicians, but died at just 48.
In 2009, Erika Larsen (Bill, Jr.’s daughter), who resides at the estate, created The Brookledge Follies, a “contemporary Vaudeville” variety-and-magic show performed once a month (April-November) in the small theater, which holds just 60 people. Although currently on hiatus due to the COVID pandemic, attendance is by invitation only, but the free show has become one of the hottest tickets in town and is frequently attended by a who’s who of Hollywood like Moby, Sophia Vergara, Joe Manganiello, Ryan Gosling, Jason Alexander, Christina Hendricks, Matthew Gubler, Randy Newman, Paul Reubens and director John Landis, to name a few.
About her childhood, Erika recalls magic’s most famed faces around the Larsen home and laughs, “We did see the best of the best in magic, but I grew up in a bubble. My siblings and I just thought that’s what people did—Make things disappear and carry a deck of cards everywhere.”
The elder Larsens launched Genii magazine in 1952 (its circulation considered a loose affiliation of magicians that later became the AMA’s initial membership), which is the longest, continually published magic magazine in the world.
The Magic Castle was originally constructed as the Rollin B. Lane residence (a wealthy banker and his socialite wife), built among Los Angeles’ orange groves in 1909-10. Externally, the Gothic Renaissance chateau is the mirror image of the Kimberly Crest house and gardens in Redlands, Calif. The Hollywood mansion had fallen into disrepair by the late ’40s (even serving for a time as a boarding house). In 1962, Milt Larsen approached his brother about reviving their father’s dream of a private club for magicians and, after securing a lease from the owner of Hollywood’s Yamashiro restaurant (next door) with a handshake, began restoring the landmark mansion to its former opulence.
The Magic Castle intertwines illusion and mystery with the history of the Los Angeles area. Much of the ornate décor was rescued from the wrecking ball on construction sites or from Hollywood studio sets before being dumped into the trash (long before the practice of salvaging became chic). John Shrum, former art director for NBC and The Tonight ShowWith Johnny Carson, was also an avid Castle enthusiast. (Look for the famous talk show’s original “cityscape” backdrop in the Owl Bar.) Many other AMA members, also well positioned within the entertainment industry, have left their personal imprints on the Magic Castle as well.
We don’t know the order of your bucket list and are pretty sure we don’t want to know some of the must-do activities you’ve scheduled — that’s your business — but this evening should already be on it. This is truly an once in a lifetime chance to see a seldom seen birthplace of our beloved Magic Castle and help the incredible Dai Vernon Foundation.
We just heard some tasty news and thought we should share. Something we would never do with our desserts. To be clear: we’ll share news about desserts and meals but will not share desserts ever and meals only sometimes. In many ways we are like a dog. Kind and loveable and loyal but don’t mess with our food.
Especially now that the Magic Castle has a new Executive Chef, Alejandro (Alex) Arrieta,
who will begin Feb. 7.
Chef Arrieta comes to the Magic Castle from The Culver Hotel, Culver City, where he served as Executive Chef from July 2018 until accepting the position.
Joe Furlow, General Manager of the Academy of Magical Arts (AMA) and the Magic Castle said, “We are very excited to welcome Alex into the Academy family and look forward to sharing his spectacular culinary creations with our members and their guests.”
Chef Arrieta previously served as Executive Chef/Partner at The Hook and Plow, Hermosa Beach; Executive Chef of 208 Rodeo, Beverly Hills; Chef De Partie at The Bazaar by Jose Andres, Los Angeles; Chef De Partie at Bouchon Restaurant Thomas Keller, Los Angeles; Executive Sous Chef at Ocean Avenue Seafood, Santa Monica; and Sous Chef/Banquet Chef at Hotel Bel Air, Los Angeles. He has been working in Los Angeles since 2003.
Arrieta has been awarded a guest chef appearance at Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa; developed new food concepts for the Radisson Hotel in Cancun, Mexico; and catered for such renowned companies as Louis Vuitton, Channel and Cartier. He had extensive knowledge of vegan and vegetarian menus, as well as items that are gluten free.
Originally from Bogota, Columbia, Arrieta spent much of his youth in Miami, Florida, where his father worked in the hotel industry. He began working at a hotel in the kitchen and immediately fell in love.
Over the years, he rose through the ranks, eventually relocating to Southern California, where he earned a Bachelor of Science/Culinary Management from the Art Institute of California.
Proof of his multi-talented skills is evidenced by his new show Robert Ramirez: The Musical Theater Magician live through Jan. 5, 2020, at Pittsburgh’s Downtown’s Liberty Magic.
By the way, Downtown’s Liberty Magic has a great website. We don’t normally comment on the quality of websites because we feel inadequate about the layout of InsideMagic.com — and we didn’t just mention InsideMagic.com to boost our position in Google ratings — and we didn’t just mention Google to associate Google and its Google Search Engine with InsideMagic.com. We were just making a point why we point out great websites when we see ’em and instantly compare them with our site dedicated to providing the latest magic news for the professional performer here on InsideMagic.com.
Mr. Ramirez’s musical abilities including the ability to play the piano and tap dance; plus perform magic tricks at a level that brings unsolicited praise from fellow magicians.
He became interested in our art when he was merely 8-years-old, after his parents divorced. He then branched into playing the flute, being involved in musical theater in high school and college and even took classes at the very prestigious L.A. based Upright Citizens Brigade. As if that wasn’t enough, he found time to promote creative writing for children in California’s elementary schools through a program called the Imagination Machine.
We would posit that this was sufficient; but no. He went on to star in the touring company of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical, In the Heights from 2011 to 2012.
Holy cow. We can only do magic and really only with cards and really only with cards that we have prepared before performing and really only with one type of a deck in one color and whilst seated and without any potential bad angles and with special sticky stuff on our fingers. Forget doing music or dancing.
Now here’s the strange part. Once he finished the tour, he found it tough to get auditions. He hit a dry spell — like our hands and that is why we need the sticky stuff on our fingers but he was using the term “dry spell” as a metaphor not a physical sign of aging and dry fingers.
“I had realized I’m going to have to create my own work if I want to get out of this little rut,” he says. “So I started doing more magic and I started doing weddings or I started doing strolling gigs when I could.”
He served as a magic consultant on “America’s Got Talent” and appeared at the world-famous Magic Castle in Los Angeles and the Chicago Magic Lounge. Soon his unique combination of skills brought him to the forefront.
“Now in the last two years, I got to a point where now I have to set time aside to do a theater show, do a musical, and then audition for that show,” he says.
Did we mention he also has a comedy background and uses comedy in his performance? We realize we shouldn’t ask readers to go back through this post to determine whether we mentioned it when we clearly could do it if our Tandy X1000 running WordStar 1.25 had an easy way to scroll back up.
“I don’t want to set that expectation because you may not get my brand of humor. Everybody loves magic, and there’s kind of not a ‘brand’ of magic. Either it’s going to feel whimsical and feel like magic or it’s not,” he says.
He is in to magic history and history in general “Magic’s been popular for hundreds of years,” he says. “I think, when all of these historical events were happening in the world, what was happening in magic?”
Following the lead of Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the show, In The Heights, to construct a show that he wanted to see, Mr. Ramirez put together an act that he would want to attend. “Now all I do is I create magic that I want to see, something that I wish I was in the audience to laugh at.”
If you are in the Pittsburgh area, check out “Robert Ramirez: The Musical Theater Magician.” Various times. Now through Jan. 5. 811 Liberty Ave., Downtown. 412-456-6666 or www.trustarts.org
You’ll see it all in one place. Visit Mr. Ramirez’ website here.
We received a great note from award winning magician and great (and funny) guy, Shawn Farquhar. He wrote to tell us about his new 75 minute show (which is about an hour an 15 minutes if our Casio watch / Calculator is correct). Check out the very well-produced website here and visit this once in a lifetime experience with demonstrably one of the best in our humble art.
During the whole month of October I’ve opened a speakeasy style magic experience in a fake business front in Chinatown in Vancouver, Canada. If anyone is coming through Vancouver let me know.
Hidden Wonders is a speakeasy-style performance venue hidden behind a fake business facade in Vancouver’s Chinatown and is the brainchild of two-time world champion of magic, Shawn Farquhar. The idea is part of a new trend in magic entertainment that focuses less on grand-scale illusions and more on intimate experiences that leave the audience awestruck and moved. Similar venues can be found in such cities as New York, Chicago and San Diego where they have become hugely popular.
The seventy-five-minute magic experience will feature effects exclusively designed for the venue as well as several of the effects Shawn created to impress Ellen, win the world championship and to fool Vegas’s Penn & Teller twice on their hit television show Fool Us.
Editor’s note: If you were to ask, “Hey, what’s one of your greatest weaknesses?” We would respond that we are easily star-struck. Even at the Magic Castle or at magic conventions, we lack the ability to walk up to stars of our art and start a conversation.
We stumble, smile uncontrollably and remain mum. (Ironically, “Remain Mum” was the name of our script for an un-produced project about a mom who doesn’t change in any way but raises her children without incident, accident or trauma. The script ran 3 hours but needed no special effects budget so we thought it was a sure sale.
Hollywood, according to all the major studios, the indie studios and guys and gals that have access to the latest iPhones and apps to make movies, needs some kind of character development or “incident” or “something” to happen that affects someone in the script.
Examples given by the studios were: Rocky (he develops his body and fights someone and hits meat and gets a dog); Spider Man (he develops his super powers, fights people, eats meat and gets a girlfriend); Snow White (she develops friendships with dwarfs who own a diamond mine, eats an apple and gets married). The guy we approached who owns the iPhone and special app that lets him make movies cited Citizen Kane (he develops the power to name snow globes, makes a newspaper, eats meat and gets married). But that’s Hollywood.
We’re hoping someone will pick up the script or we’ll have to add meat eating and super powers. Mom could have web strands that catch meat and feed her dog with it). Our point — and this time we have one — is that we are so honored that Mr. Farquhar contacted us. We’ve met him on several occasions and each time acted like a statue.
We’re sure he was impressed by our inability to speak — even after we just performed our act in the basement of the Magic Castle where we speak a lot — and that’s why he wrote us. Plus, despite his fame, he is truly a nice person with talents that would be great for a movie script — assuming he eats meat and/or has a dog.
[Updated to correct the days per week Siegfried will be performing]
When we first joined the prestigious Magic Castle / Academy of Magical Arts in beautiful Hollywood, California, we were befriended by Siegfried Tieber.
He frequented the lower rooms of the Castle where performers could get time to be in front of real audiences. He was kind and helpful in helping to shave the rough spots out of our pretty rough act.
But more than a nice and helpful guy, Siegfried showed audience after audience that he was a true magician. He had skills – of course – but he had charm and charisma to make it appear that the audience and Siegfried were experiencing the miracles together.
He took his act to Downtown LA in his solo show See/Saw and it was consistently sold out.
Before we go any further, check out his website here. It is one of the prettiest we have ever seen for a magician or any person.
The great news is that he is returning on October 3rd with a new show, Red Thread.
He’ll be performing for no more than 34 audiences members at a time and tickets will go for $74.00. Siegfried will perform six shows a week in four nights with one show on Thursdays and Fridays; and two shows on Saturdays and Sundays.
Siedgfried has been seen not only by hundreds, nay, thousands at the Castle, but nationwide on Penn & Teller’s Fool Us show where he did in fact fool them.
He told reporters Red Thread is “an exploration of chance and chaos. Every outcome is the starting point of further possibilities.”
“It doesn’t take long before this starts to look like a labyrinth: some paths converge, some run parallel to each other, some are dead ends. Like the Greek mythological princess, Ariadne — who gave Theseus a thread when he entered the labyrinth — my hope is to take the audience with me and guide them through this journey.”
Young magician and sleight of hand specialist Sebastian Walton continues to impress his peers and, perhaps more importantly, his audiences. When we last caught up with young Sebastian he had just won the Magic Circle Stage Magician of the Year. He was the youngest, at just 20 years of age (we don’t know what 20 years is in metric so we’re using American data). That was way back in 2016. We met him and took in his Parlor show at the Magic Castle three times coming off that big win.
He recently returned to the Magic Castle and slayed lay and magic audience members alike.
As Yogi Berra said about pitcher Don Sutton’s perfect game, “this kid is good.” Almost any praise for Mr. Walton will seem an understatement. He takes real risks in his performance with effects that could go horribly wrong. We don’t know why he does it but it is a pleasure to watch someone with real skills in the sleight of hand department work in front of a real crowd.
We’ll continue to do our Sucker Sliding Die Box and Hippity Hop Bunnies even though the effects do not have the same impact on audiences, we feel safe with store-bought, EZ Magic. We are saving our lunch money for a Milk Pitcher – soon to be introduced into our act. But that’s just us and that’s the reason we haven’t won any awards from The Magic Circle or even our family members, for that matter.
His act is not just daring, entertaining, and different from anything we had seen, it was truly mystifying. Mr. Walton is certainly deserving of the praise heaped upon him by our British cousins.
If you don’t believe us, you can read our review of Mr. Walton’s show on Inside Magic here. We wouldn’t lie, twice.
We just learned that a couple of weeks ago he won Yorkshire’s Own Talent.
The latest news from Mr. Walton is that he has a new website up and running. We also have it on very good authority that he will be returning to the Magic Castle in 2019. We will be there, front and center, to watch and review for this well established and esteemed magic news website.
Magicians, as a whole, are prideful. We worry about our image, practice sleights to perfect them before presenting, write and rehearse patter, and of course comb our little remaining hair and clip or appropriately decorate our nails.
So our admission is hard to make. We are shaking at the keyboard as we type – likely attributable to the unsteady shocks in the Los Angeles Metro Bus – but still we’re shaking so that means something.
The person reading this post next to us on the bus – and that is very nosey and they should be looking forward and not correcting our prose – says we should just get to it and stop being so dramatic. Further, he says it doesn’t look like we remembered to take pains to improve our image before leaving for work today and why would a famous magician be riding a bus along Santa Monica Boulevard instead of traveling by limo or at least Uber?
We hope he gets off soon.
Okay, here’s the admission: we cannot do a perfect pressure fan. We can do all sorts of fans but not a proper pressure fan. There, it is out in the open now. You can judge us. Our fellow rider said if he knew what a “pressure fan” was he would judge us. He is laughing now. Probably at his own joke or maybe he is laughing at us.
We have been trying to do a proper pressure fan since we were twelve-years-old. We can do a one-handed shuffle with either hand and lifts that would impress anyone except they’re so good they can’t be detected. The fellow rider has stopped reading and is now eating Fritos very loudly.
We’ve read the technique, we’ve watched young children do perfect pressure fans with cards bigger than their cherubic faces. We fail.
He is now drinking something from what looks to be an adult sippy cup but because he hasn’t opened to top properly, it is making a thunk-pop noise with every suck of liquid. We wish he would go back to the Fritos but fear this will be a constant part of the ride for a while. He’ll eat the Fritos, loudly, get thirsty, drink from the sippy cup and then back to the Fritos.
At The Magic Castle we watch with envy as magicians perform their wonderfully practiced routines but become irrationally jealous, insecure and diminished when they perform a pressure fan with such a smooth handling that it appears the cards perfectly align about their fingers with ease. If only, we say silently, we had such skills.
We have thought of asking the more talented members at The Magic Castle, to teach us how to do a perfect pressure fan but we feel so much shame for not knowing at this point in our career. We feel we are an impostor, a fraud; in an art that relishes impostors and frauds — so there is that philosophical, logic puzzle to work through.
He is back reading and corrected our characterization of his chocolate milk container as a “sippy cup” and does not think it should be our concern about his eating and drinking habits.
Perhaps that is the key. Maybe we should not jealously covet the skills of other magicians, accept that we are at this time, unable to do a pressure fan and even though we haven’t for the last 90-years, we may one day develop the skill. Just as we should not be concerned about others’ drinking and eating routines, we should be focused on what we can do and not what others are doing.
Our fellow rider has pulled the stop cord and is gathering his full meal and drink to depart. He read the last part of this post and disagrees. “You shouldn’t care what other folks are eating and drinking but you should at least know how to do a pressure fan if you’re going to call yourself a magician.”
We are pierced.
Our seatmate has left the bus now and we have a vacant seat next to us. It is time to close the computer before we encounter another critic/editor for our long ride.
We first met Nick Lewin through Pop Haydn when Mr. Lewin was performing on the same bill with Mr. Haydn. To be honest, we didn’t know what to expect. Mr. Lewin took the stage with a befuddled look on his face and seemed to be overly relaxed in his approach to the magic. Yet, he blew us away.
His Slow Motion Torn and Restored Newspaper was a thing of beauty, his Linking Finger Ring was a thing of beauty as well but also a thing of mystery. We know or thought we knew how the routine should be done to achieve the effect but Mr. Lewin was doing something slightly different and yet achieving the same effect plus.
Since that experience, we have seen Mr. Lewin perform in various locals and he is the same. Always smiling, slightly befuddled, easy-going, and amazing. He has the classics of magic finely tuned from years of practice and actual performances in his hands and is in no rush to perform them.
He is not being chased and so there is no need to run. His jokes and humorous approach to the effects do not overwhelm or take away from the magic, they fit in the routines because there is time for them to fit. He is going to amaze and there is no reason to rush to what will be a wonderful conclusion – he is a friend of the audience and we are all looking at it together.
We have bought several of Mr. Lewin’s routines and we will have reviews in the future but we received one just the other day that seemed perfect for our act – at least according to the advertisement. The Ultimate Color Changing Deck is an effect that would be the right ending for our card routine as performed in the basement of the Magic Castle. We currently end with the emotional equivalent of “Yeah, that’s about it. No need to stick around, there ain’t no more. Skat! Get!”
We order the effect and received delivery within a very few days. We watched his DVD, checked out the props and smiled with the gleeful look of a very satisfied magician or someone in need of further attention by trained professionals. It would work, it would work really good. (When we become gleeful, annoyingly gleeful (“AG”), we lose our ability to think in proper English. The effect could even be transferred to our pet deck and we already could do the relatively easy sleights to accomplish the apparently impossible.
There are other color changing decks on the market. Some of them might be good. We have seen many of them in person either being performed or explained in lectures but none of them come up to this standard. Mr. Lewin credits Ken Brooke for the idea and effect and even provides an interlude that may or may not fit your style. The last sentence makes sense once you receive and review the effect.
The cost for the pre-release is $65.00 and it is well-worth it. This is a color changing deck that will really work in real situations for real magicians in front of real audiences and leave them really amazed.