Eighteen products are reviewed this month by Michael Claxton, Peter Duffie, Gabe Fajuri, Francis Menotti, Peter Pitchford, John Wilson:
Art Decko by Simon Aronson
Ocular by Alexis de la Fuente
Pop Haydn's Four Ring Routine by Pop Haydn
Ahead of the Game by Jonathan Levit
Kidtrix by Paul Osborne
Drop by Lyndon Jugalbot
Secret Twitter by Roberto Giobbi
Skyline by Danny Weiser
Octopalm by Jim Bodine
Heirloom Deluxe, Emily's Revenge by Colin Miller and Jamie Badman
The Complete Al Leech by Al Leech, edited by Danny Rudnick
Victory Carton Illusions by U.F. Grant
Big Magic for Little Hands by Joshua Jay
Bill Flash Reverse by Mickael Chatelain
Sparks by JC James
The Art of Play by Terry Ward
Evolution of Card Manipulation by Lee Ang Hsuan
The Magic Graveyard by Al the Only
Flashback: Inside Out
This "Flashback" shows how columns service the various members of our diverse tribe. Marcelo Contento's Noose-Thru is quick and easy. Entry-level magicians will quickly understand and master it. At first blush, Mark Jenest's presentation of The Classic Farce may seem long and complicated. Don't be too quick to judge it. It is easy and very entertaining. In fact, it was part of Mark's working repertoire and was not designed to fool only magicians. Doug Conn's Doubly Daring Revelation is another matter. It requires practice. Nevertheless, it is visually startling and quite magical-looking. As Harry Lorayne is wont to say, "It's a reputation-maker."
Real-World Methods: Stage Control
Is it just me, or are we not taking the time to teach the essential techniques of good and proper public speaking to our aspiring magicians? Performers of all ages are spending hours and hours working on the craft of magic and manipulation, but no time on their verbal presentation or the art of communication. How many of you think a bigger and better box trick or illusion will make you a better performer? How many of you think, All I need is a beautiful girl or boy - depending on your preference - to make my act look better? Maybe I should get a white tiger or a bunch of doves. Okay, let's cut the crap and address what the real issues are when it comes to stage performance. Learn to talk to your audience! It's your first line of communication.
The Monk's Way: C&B Uploaded, Phase 1
In this month's installment, we continue to explore the idea of the "ghost prop." Our focus here is on understanding how the audience interprets the state of affairs before a routine begins, and how the performer can maintain that interpretation throughout the sequence. Our goals are to streamline and edit our action procedures, allowing the audience's assumptions to replace the heavy workload of a more sleight-driven method, and still reach the same results. Let's see how we can apply this to the classic Cups & Balls.
Loving Mentalism: Espresso ESP
John Pellatt from Canada is this month's guest contributor. He has created an ingenious and baffling piece of mindreading that you can perform just about anywhere. For example, imagine that you are in a coffee shop with a few friends. Someone makes a simple drawing and places it where you genuinely cannot see it. At this stage, you truly have no idea what the person drew. After a little bit of concentration, using your profound mental gifts, you are able to reproduce the drawing as accurately as you like! There are no stooges, switches, or impression devices, and the routine is also a lot of fun to perform!
Bent on Deception: Ella the Extremely Efficient Elf
I know; everyone is recovering from holiday shows, so what better time is there to start planning for next year's show? Huh? Anyone? Okay, so maybe I got my months mixed up, but even though the routine in this month's column is for Christmas shows, the prop discussed - Practical Magic's New Style Magic Painting - is a versatile tool you can use year-round, and maybe it will inspire you to look at your old props in a new way. So, from that perspective, it's a great New Year's column, right? (Nice save, Mike.)
Classic Correspondence: George Boston to Larry Carter
During Charles Carter's abbreviated run at the Chicago World's Fair, Charles taught his son Larry the basics of the family business. Larry accompanied the show on its final world tour. When Charles suffered a heart attack in India, Larry stepped into the role of Carter the Great, although Larry's plan for a West Coast tour with a more streamlined show never materialized. His friendship with George Boston had blossomed during the Chicago World's Fair run, and Larry happily welcomed George to Carter manor overlooking San Francisco Bay. About a week after returning to work in the Windy City, George rolled a sheet of National Magic Company stationery into the typewriter and described for Larry the highlights of his trip home.
For What It's Worth: Mugged
In a recent issue of MAGIC Magazine, I questioned the degree of dishonesty that the television industry finds acceptable in "reality TV," and the willingness of magicians to rationalize dishonesty in the name of "deception." I suggested that it is not unreasonable to question the fuzzy rules of reality TV. Nor is it unreasonable to further question whether those rules serve commerce rather than art. And then I was mugged - on Facebook. Unsurprisingly, someone took offense to my admittedly harsh critique and posted a lengthy, excoriating rant on my timeline.
Walkabout Soup: Sticky Situations
More than anything else, this column so far has been about doing unconventional and sometimes ludicrous things in the pursuit of good magic - things like taking steroids to improve palming skills, anonymously rigging a $1,300 spotlight to the ceiling in The Magic Castle, filling a car with folding chairs, and trying to enter China via technically legal but still dubious medical drug use. While all of these things may prove how dedicated (or crazy) I am, they all have something else in common: they only happened once. But this month's article is about something that keeps happening. For reasons that always seem to make sense at the time, I have a tendency to gaff-tape things to my body.