Miracle Material, The Close-Up Magic Of Michael Kaminskas by Michael Kaminskas
Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii November, 1996)
Here's an unpleasant little book by an unknown who appears to deserve to maintain that
status. What is most interesting to me about this book is why a publishing house of the
standing of L&L would deem fit to issue a book of this nature—even if it was submitted
to them "camera ready".
What is also interesting to me about this book is why an author of the standing of
Michael Ammar would deem fit to write a glowing introduction. Was this due more to
his relationship with the publisher, who produces his videotapes, than to his
relationship, or perhaps even familiarity, with the material? I would hope that such
events are not quickly nor easily repeated in the future; the concerned parties have only
their reputations to sustain them, reputations easily diluted by works of this quality. Mr.
Ammar even goes so far as to endorse the author's paltry attempts, or lack of same, at
crediting, which adds insult to injury in my estimation. Where is Barry Taylor's credit
(of Barry's Magic in Wheaton, Maryland) for his growing penny routine, to which the
author has merely tacked on an anti-climactic finish? Where are the credits to John
Carney and Kevin James for producing and vanishing the bottle in a Coin in Bottle
routine? In a version of the Kaps card in container—an admittedly interesting variant,
done with a bill—where is the credit to Fred Kaps? Did the author obtain permission
from Steve Fearson to describe his Floating Cigarette hook-up, a commercially marketed
item? I think not.
As to the material, much of it is forgettable enough that I am inclined to, well, forget it.
If you think adding a red/black separation kicker to Triumph is a work of genius, you'll
love this book. If you think that letting a card spin in the air for 30 to 40 seconds—yes,
that's 30 to 40 seconds—leaves anyone in the room who hasn't figured out there's a
thread involved, you'll love this book (but for my money, look into Jon Leclair's version
of the Hummer Card). If you love an author who hypes his own material so much that he
will actually conclude a description with the phrase, "Highly recommended—I give it
five stars," you'll love this book. Do you have a briefcase full of gimmicked decks? You'll
love this book, especially if you never thought of being sure to label them properly. If a
gaff makes your trick easier, will you choose to use the gaff "every time"? Or do you
think that a gaff might have a price... like managing it in and out of play, or getting
caught with it? If such reservations never occurred to you, you'll love this book. Have
you been waiting for someone to redescribe the Kozlowski $100 Bill Switch... again?!?
Hey, you'll love this book!