Inside Magic, being a responsible location for the very latest Magic News, responds to comments and questions posed by our tens of readers as required by court order or when there is no real magic news to report on any given day.
Today is just such a day.
Dear Inside Magic:
The name of this blog led me to believe it is a good source for interior decorating tips. I read the entire post twice and found not a word about interior decorating.
Thank you for your kind email comment. For our first twenty years we were dedicated to interior decorating tips. See for example:
“Your Furniture Choices Can Determine Your Life Path,” June 1, 1973
“End Tables and Doilies: A Dangerous Combination or Essential for Living,” August 18, 1978
“Why Persian Rugs Lead to Static Electricity Death,” December 7, 1979
“Cats on Furniture: Decoration or Scratching Worry,” May 9, 1980
“Pizza in the Formal Dining Room: Experts Say ‘Sure’,” September 9, 1985
“High Backed Chairs and Their Effect on Your Horoscope,” November 11, 1990
“Why We Don’t Like Embroidery – A Six Installment Examination,” April 1-6, 1995 (Nominated for Pulitzer)
“Lemon Pledge, the Smell of Death?” June 6, 1999
“Chippendales: Dancers of Bad Design?” October 31, 2002 (Led to Litigation and Costly Settlement with both Furniture Association of America and a Male Dance Troup)
“Keep Your Area Rugs in the Area with Magnets, November 25, 2007 (Nominated for Magnet News (Feature Category)
“Nick Knacks – Why Knock What Works?” March 15, 2010 (Caesar Day Award Nominee (Least Relevant Category))
We did move to magic related news in 2011 to avoid litigation and an on-going (later settled) investigation by the Federal Trade Commission for false domain name use. “Inside Magic must include news of Magic (whether of the occult or by professional magicians doing magic tricks for entertainment purposes).
Our lawyers suggested we focus on magic by professional magicians rather than the occult to avoid further litigation by psychics and occult practitioners (“Voodoo may or may not be real but the risk is not worth the Google Ad money.”) At the time, we were dejected and in debt to our legal counsel. We attempted to pay with free magic shows for their children but the offer was rejected; which coincidentally, led to further dejection.
We won’t give away the secret but the compilation at The Silver List surprised us. And we are not easily surprised. We figured for sure we could correctly identify all persons on the list but we were wrong. We beat ourselves up when we make a mistake so this was crushing for us.
We thought for sure there would be some mention of Inside Magic editor-in-chief and magician person Tim Quinlan but nary a comment. We don’t like to brag but between the ad revenue for Inside Magic and our professional appearances, we’re rolling in the dough – plus we’re making a lot of money. But we spend it on dough to roll in and we like a high-quality dough, not some Pillsbury fake dough that doesn’t give the comfort one expects when one is rolling. We were going to put up a YouTube video of us rolling but a woman beat us and she does a much better rolling that we could ever hope to accomplish.
You can see just one of her many dough rolling episodes here. The video shows her rolling in baked dough but she does real, unbaked dough as well. We cannot compete.
Similarly, we are unable to keep up with the magicians who make millions of dollars every year for performing their magic. We admire them but don’t envy them. Envy is or should be one of the deadly sins and does not leave the person feeling the sense of envy in a good place. It is like when you have a fight with your Uber driver about whether we should worry about fluoride or chem trails and he/she dumps you in a bad neighborhood. That’s a physical bad place to be but as a metaphor it works. Envy leaves you wondering what happened to the last few hours and why you can’t remember why you even worried about the success of others.
Check out the list and see if you agree with the rankings. But do it with an open mind and heart. Embrace the success of others and the willingness of others to work very hard at what we all do.
We do find some pleasure (guilty, no doubt) that Inside Magic arch-nemesis Tony Spain is not listed. He claims millions per year from his itinerant magic travels around the world, but apparently he didn’t make the list.
We learned today that the Magic Resolution stalled in House of Representatives
We’ve all done it and by “we” we mean “us.” Read through the U.S. Congressional and Senate dockets, looking for magic-related items so that we can spring into junior lobbyist and fight for or against the bill by whipping up support among the very influential “magician vote” and donate tens of dollars to candidates supporting our position.
We are ashamed (for the purposes of this post only) that we did not notice a bill that remains pending in the U.S. House of Representatives; at least it appears stalled according to the “Actions” tab on the Congressional status page.
As far as we can tell, H.Res.642 — 114th Congress (2015-2016) is dead. It was referred to committee and never returned. Maybe it was replaced with another bill in this, the 115th Congress, but we have not found that piece of legislation yet. The bill read in appropriate part:
Recognizing magic as a rare and valuable art form and national treasure.
Whereas magic is an art form with the unique power and potential to impact the lives of all people;
Whereas magic enables people to experience the impossible;
Whereas magic is used to inspire and bring wonder and happiness to others;
Whereas magic has had a significant impact on other art forms;
Whereas magic, like the great art forms of dance, literature, theater, film, and the visual arts, allows people to experience something that transcends the written word;
Whereas many technological advances can be directly traced to the influential work of magicians;
Whereas futurist Arthur C. Clarke claimed that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic;
Whereas one of the greatest artists of all time, Leonardo da Vinci, was inspired by magic and co-wrote one of the very first books on magic in the late 15th century;
Whereas modern cinema would not exist today without the innovative work of the accomplished magician Georges Méliès;
Whereas magicians are visual storytellers who seamlessly interweave elements of mystery, wonder, emotion, and expression;
Whereas magic is an outstanding artistic model of individual expression;
Whereas magic fulfills some of the highest ideals and aspirations of our country by encouraging people to question what they believe and see;
Whereas magic is a unifying force across cultural, religious, ethnic, and age differences in our diverse Nation;
Whereas magic is an art that transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary;
Whereas the American magicians Harry Houdini and David Copperfield have been the most successful magicians of the past two centuries;
Whereas David Copperfield, introduced to magic as a boy growing up in New Jersey, has been named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress;
Whereas David Copperfield, with 21 Emmy Awards, 11 Guinness World Records, and over four billion dollars in ticket sales, has impacted every aspect of the global entertainment industry;
Whereas David Copperfield, through his magic, inspires great positive change in the lives of Americans;
Whereas people consistently leave David Copperfield’s live magic show with a different perspective than when they entered;
Whereas Rebecca Brown of Portland, Oregon, left a David Copperfield magic show with a newfound inspiration to pursue her lifelong, unfulfilled passion for dance;
Whereas three months after Rebecca Brown attended the David Copperfield magic show, she performed her first choreographed recital in Portland, Oregon’s Pioneer Square;
Whereas programs such as Project Magic, created by David Copperfield, use magic as a form of therapy for children with physical, psychological, and social disabilities;
Whereas learning magic through programs such as Project Magic can help these children improve their physical and mental dexterity and increase their confidence;
Whereas learning magic through programs such as Project Magic helps these children realize that they are no longer less able than their peers;
Whereas programs such as Project Magic teach these children that they are more capable and have a newfound ability to do what others cannot;
Whereas cities such as Wylie, Texas, and its mayor, Eric Hogue, recognize and promote the art of magic with official proclamations, summer educational programs, and the first festival dedicated to the art of magic in the State of Texas;
Whereas Mayor Eric Hogue, who learned the art of magic as a child, continues to use those skills to teach elementary school students about the different roles and responsibilities of local government;
Whereas magic is timeless in appeal and requires only the capacity to dream;
Whereas magic transcends any barrier of race, religion, language, or culture;
Whereas magic has not been properly recognized as a great American art form, nor has it been accorded the institutional status on a national level commensurate with its value and importance;
Whereas there is not an effective national effort to support and preserve magic;
Whereas documentation and archival support required by such a great art form has yet to be systematically applied to the field of magic; and
Whereas it is in the best interest of the national welfare to preserve and celebrate the unique art form of magic: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives—
(1) recognizes magic as a rare and valuable art form and national treasure; and
(2) supports efforts to make certain that magic is preserved, understood, and promulgated.
We understand that this is a hot button issue but suggest that Congress consider carefully whether they wish to drum-up the ire of magicians by letting this resolution sit. We agree that “it is in the best interest of the national welfare to preserve and celebrate the unique art form of magic.” We even agree not to move for an amendment proclaiming the inherent value of magic-based websites such as InsideMagic.com. We would also leave off our language requiring a grant to such websites to study further the influence of Magic on the general population. That’s how sincere we are. We don’t often take political stands but when we do, we stand up tall.
Some will point with scorn at our 1988 attempt to become mayor of Mystic Hollow. We lost by 15 votes in a community of 45.
It was a hard loss and we took it hard.
We tried to figure out who would vote against us and favor of the mayor who had led our town so ably for 20 years before. Some pointed to our scandal plagued past (and there is still no proof we used a marked deck in our performance of “Pick a Card” on local cable television); or our inability to name any of the responsibilities of Mayor; or our very fashion forward wearing of Miami Vice colors sans ties. We think the reason we lost was because Mystic Hollow was not ready for the type of change we wanted to bring to the hamlet.
Free breakfast (meaning at least a donut) for all residents;
Free lunch (meaning at least a potpie) for all residents who did not already have lunch or breakfast;
Free dinner in exchange for a promise to perform a magic trick for other customers at the French Drop Inn;
Free rent for all still living in their parents’ home;
All cards should be made by U.S. Playing Cards in Cincinnati, Ohio (this was a toss to a local job creator that ultimately moved some production to Kentucky);
Rabbit breeding should be inspected by the local vet;
No wearing pajamas in public (this was said to unfairly single out Tony Spain and his family but the Tony Spain – Inside Magic feud was already too far along to stop);
Free late night snack (meaning at least one donut not held over from the previous day although said donut could be of the population of donuts that would be offered for breakfast on the following day);
Our opponent, Mayor Niceguy (pronounced “Neece gee” in our campaign advertising) promised only to keep things the same.
After he won, he called to extend his gracious thoughts and appreciation of our down-and-dirty campaign. We took it the best we could; considering we had used all of the napkins allotted by the always considerate staff at the Dunkin’ Donuts – site of our campaign’s anticipated celebration. He offered us a job in his administration as a “gopher” or “go fer” to help out around the office and bring / pick-up things for him. As flattered as we were to be considered for such a position, it seemed like too much work and we were in a bad place emotionally after losing. As we told a reporter for Time magazine, “It hurts real bad.” To be candid, the reporter was just in town covering a welding explosion and this was ten years after the election and we’re not sure the reporter heard us.
But our democracy is alive except the bill that would recognize Magic as an invaluable art form is apparently dead. We’ll follow up on this after the elections in November. We expect this bill to be a huge issue in the debates and advertising. We also expect that the McRib will become a regular item available at McDonald’s and not just something that comes and goes.
Read the full bill and the activities behind it here.
Read a great Business Insider article on how the bill got its start here.
See the “I’m Just a Bill” video for further education on the process on YouTube here.
[It is the policy of Inside Magic to offer its readers new and different views on the art of magic — even if they are offered by those who have no reputation for honesty or integrity. Today’s submission is an essay on a new and different approach to magic for kids. Inside Magic does not approve of Tony Spain’s thoughts or approach to kids’ magic. In fact, we find them horrible.]
It is a given – and so I’ll write it at the beginning and get it over with – that people are reluctant to accept the new and cling so tightly to the old. The old is comfortable, fits well with their beliefs (in part because the beliefs have been formed by the comfortable fit with the old pattern) and to leave the comfortable is to risk the unknown.
I think it was John Wilkes Booth that yelled Sic Semper Tyranus as he hit the stage floor after assassinating President Lincoln. His words are reportedly from some foreign language, maybe Latin – even though people didn’t speak Latin then – and some scholars have translated them to mean, “So Always Goes (or With) Tyrants.”
Phillipe Anjou, the cartoonist and creative mind behind the 1870’s most famous one frame comic, “Li’l Trachea: The Funny Passage Way,” reworked the assassin’s declaration with humor.
The cartoon showed Li’l Trachea jumping from the Presidential Box at Ford’s Theater with a pistol in his ligaments and the ever-present hand-rolled cigarette balancing ever so gently on the top of his tube like head. Li’l Trachea shouts “Let’s Try Something Different!”
Li’l Trachea’s little friend, Liver Boy is about to jump from the box as well and it looks like he will land right on the proud little trachea. Li’l Trachea wants to try something different but only we, the audience, can anticipate the fun that will follow shortly.
I traveled down that side road of cartoon history, to make a point. Even within 10 years of the death of a great public leader, the method of his assassination is lampooned as trite.
So what does this have to do with my innovation in Kid’s Magic?
Only this: I believe I have hit upon a formula that works and works independent of the traditional trappings we associate with the Kid Show or Kid Magic. I believe it takes a certain kind of personality to perform this method but then again, so does any kid magic. You have to feel comfortable with the children and make them feel that you are safe and you are there to entertain them for exactly 55 minutes pursuant to your written agreement with their mother, father or legal custodian.
Rather than go into the nuts and bolts right now, I thought I would relate to you my experience this weekend as I tried out my new, novel, approach to Kid’s Magic.
At the age of seven, psychologists tell us, children become aware of mortality generally and their own mortality specifically. Perhaps a relative has passed away or maybe a family pet or close friend. Regardless of the trigger, the age of seven, is the time to understand that few will make it out of this life alive.
Most Kid Shows ignore this ground-shaking revelation and allow the Birthday Boy or Girl to reflect silently that their birthday also means they are moving irreversibly along the river of life towards their final day.
The kids are terrified but they cannot verbalize their fear. By pretending all is sugar and donuts, the entertainer is really just reinforcing their fear. Every breath used to inflate a balloon is one less breath available to the child. Blowing out the candles on their cake provides only a harsh reminder that, as Buddha said, they too will vanish from life like the flame from the candle — even a birthday candle.
I say, don’t fight these fears. Exploit them. Use them to make this the best birthday ever.
Magician Tony Spain announced he will be appearing in Las Vegas later next month.
He will bring his show of escapes, mentalism and kid show magic to one of the Strip’s show rooms.
He will send more details when he secures the financing for the theater.
He hopes to use the appearance to gain a foothold in the Las Vegas magic scene.
We will update this story as we learn more, probably.
Revisions: This article was revised to reflect the following changes to the original copy.
April 23, 2013 18:23 — Approximately 220 words referencing Mr. Spain’s prior shoplifting convictions and probation violations were deleted at the request of the magician’s agent/lawyer.
April 23, 2013 21:18 – Photo of Mr. Spain and former assistant, Rowina Shultz was removed in response to a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown request from the Sears Photograph Studio in the Mystic Hollow Mall. The studio alleged in their takedown notice that they retained the copyright because the magician failed to pay the full amount owed and the image used was actually one of the proofs sent to the customer.
April 23, 2013 01:10 – Additional text – provided by Mr. Spain – was added describing his “skillful combination of the traditional Las Vegas elements of nearly nude showgirls and classic effects audiences will fondly recall from birthday party shows performed by kid show magicians like Hippity Hop Rabbits and Sucker Sliding Die Box.” Continue reading “Magician Tony Spain Might Appear in Vegas, Sometime”→
Young magician Lee Winters sounds like our kind of guy. He loves magic, is industrious and gives back to his community. It is entirely fitting that the Danbury News Times would dedicate considerable space to their Q&A with the Connecticut performer.
His professional name is MagicLee and his weapon of choice is a deck of cards.
Mr. Winters fell in love with our wonderful Art about seven years ago and credits the late Bill Andrews and the Stamford Society of Young Magicians with encouraging and mentoring is rapid development.
He practices every day, films his own installments for YouTube and shares our love for Shaun Farquhar’s amazing effect Shape of My Heart.
“Every time I see it, it almost brings me to tears, it’s that amazing.”
Of course there are those in the magic community who will attack this young prodigy for revealing one of the true classics, The Vanishing Card on one of his YouTube videos. Yes, the secret has been kept from the public since Robert Houdin and known to very few – until now – but we cannot fault him for this blatant breach of magic’s sacred code.
In the course of the videos (see them here and here), he gives precise details in the angle of deflection for the card to be vanished (47 to 48 degrees), the definition of momentum (as well as the correct engineering formula for determining momentum from known velocity measurements) and even the special Natural Linguistic Programming intonation and word choice to present the effect for maximum impact.
We can hear the exposure is good crowd crowing:
“Yeah, but anyone could figure out the trick. It is wrong to keep secrets from the public. No one goes on YouTube anymore. There’s always a trick to it because there is no such thing as magic. Why shouldn’t all magic be exposed before the trick is done and then the audience would better appreciate the actual performance rather than be surprised and shocked with no real chance to recreate the events causing the surprise?” Continue reading “Magician Lee Winters Featured”→
Inept magician Tony Spain’s attempt to “cash in” on the Anthony Weiner scandal backfired.
Tony Spain is by all accounts one of the worst people in magic. He proved deserving of the title last week attempting to make commercial hay out of the Anthony Wiener scandal by “sending a Twitter of his wand.”
Mr. Spain sent a grainy image of a beat-up magic wand as an attachment to his unsolicited direct messages to hundreds important debutantes in 23 different locations in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Many of the young ladies — having been chastened by the news surrounding Anthony Weiner’s scandal — refused to open the image attachment. As a result, Twitter determined Tony Spain’s messages were “uninvited, obscene material” and violated the Twitter terms of service. The folks at Twitter closed Tony Spain’s account without opening the attached image. Tony yelped and pleaded but Twitter refused to entertain the insolent magi’s petitions.
Tony Spain, being Tony Spain, started an impotent public attack on Twitter. He claimed the nascent Internet social media company was infringing on his “Fifth Amendment rights.”
Disregard for a second that the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution has nothing to do with free speech or speech conducted via social media, by making this allegation Mr. Spain’s shared ample proof of his ignorance worldwide.
We assume Mr. Spain wanted to argue that he had certain First Amendment rights guaranteeing him the “Right to Free Speech.” As noted above, this right only protects against actions by the government. (With the passage of the 14th Amendment, the Bill of Rights apply to protect against the actions of state and local governments). As readers of Inside Magic know, the Fifth Amendment protects against being forced to incriminate oneself.
We have received perhaps hundreds of copies of Mr. Spain’s Twitter messages from the original recipients and others. The text of the message accompanying the image attachment reads, “Here is a picture of my wand. Look at it. Isn’t it magnificent? It is so magical.”
I want to make money reading Terrets cards and am looking four a good books to red. What do you sugest?
Dear Mr. Amazing:
Actually, from the salutation “Mr. Medico” and the question about “Terrets cards,” we think you may have intended to ask your question of the webmd.com doctor panel.
The Tourette Syndrome Show hasn’t been performed for years. The last practitioner of the thankfully dead routine was the amoral and incapable Tony Spain.
And even Tony no longer performs any tricks involving or utilizing the unfortunate neurological syndrome known as Tourette syndrome.
In fact, Tony wrote to his parole officer last year that he no longer performs his profitable but offensive hour-long school assembly show; “showcasing different neurological and psychiatric maladies while entertaining kids and teachers alike with witty asides and magic.”
Apparently the foul mouthed and bad breathed Mr. Spain came to understand the plight of the afflicted or his bookings dried up. We’re guessing it was the latter.
You can still find YouTube videos with his rendition of FRESH FISH SOLD HERE TODAY foisted upon the frail self-image of a stutterer or Tourette syndrome victim, forced to read into the nicotine streaked microphone whilst facing his or her classmates.
If we are not mistaken, you could buy the whole routine with props and script on Tony’s website for $200.00 a while back. We don’t know if anyone took him up on this offer but our belief in human nature gives us reason to hope that era in Magic is gone.
Dear Insidious Magic:
How come you never publish any of the letters I send to you?
Inside Magic’s home base is and has always been in beautiful Mystic Hollow, Michigan.
We are stone’s throw from several other hubs of performing arts, including Puppeton, Michigan (home of the Hand Puppet Capital of the World); Nodrop, Indiana (Home of the Ball Juggling Mecca); Meltmouth, Massachusetts (Fire Eating’s Home on this big blue marble); Bisect, Arizona (the Razor High Wire practitioners’ gathering spot); and Mushgrin, Iowa (The Royal Order of Her Majesty’s Mouth Catchers of Croquet Balls built the first non-UK facility there).
We are not on the payroll of any town mentioned. Indeed, there are some in each of the above hamlets who would prefer their special gathering place remain secret and thereby more special. Each of the towns offer a wonderful opportunity to meet and greet our fellow (and the feminine form of “fellow,” fella) performers in a non-threatening setting.
In modern society, it is considered gauche for one’s breath to smell of paraffin, in Meltmouth it is expected. “It is a strange character indeed,” wrote Chris Flagler in a 1937 edition of The Meltmouth Daily Telegraph, “to encounter a citizen of this town who sports not a single blister on their lips or tongue.” There are few brave enough to brush one’s teeth with anything other than a regulation toothbrush. In Mushgrin, Iowa, you will likely not find a single such dental tool in any shop up and down the High Road. In Mushgrin, most people use a cloth towel imbued with hydrogen peroxide to cleanse their crumpet hole.
So too is Mystic Hollow, Michigan. It is expected that everything will be something other than what it appears to be. A hat is not a hat but a home to birds, bunnies, or a bountiful bonanza of bandanas and bemusement. A coin on the floor will likely stay there because it is attached with a hidden nail; the police do not use handcuffs to restrain evil-doers (alleged) but a special elixir of Magician’s Wax and Velcro attached to the almost always oversized eyebrows of the malicious magi.
So what is our point?
We cannot judge others based on our own perception of what is normal.