Learning Magic Tips

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Two Essential Moves

I have been asked by inexperienced performers to select the one or two card sleights or moves that I consider absolutely essential. Without hesitation, it has to be the Double Lift and controlling a card to the top of the deck.

Controlling a card to the top of the deck may not fall under the category of a 'sleight'; but call it a sleight, a move, a control, or whatever you may... it's essential. I'm not going into detail about

performing this, because there are so many good ways to accomplish it, but I cannot think of anything else you can invest your time and effort into that will produce a greater return.

The Double Lift sets up so many card tricks you cannot be a great magician without mastering it's performance. Fortunately, it's one of the easier sleights to master.

With these two moves, you are set to perform small miracles, creating effects as you go along.


How to 'Watch' Other Magicians

It's our natural inclination to watch a magician with a critical eye. We all want to 'see' the moment when the magic happens. Unfortunately, we miss the 'real' magic.

The 'real' magic is how the magician makes the effect come alive. If we try too hard to catch a magician 'flashing', then we miss all the moves that make the effect actually work.

How is he/she standing? How do they conceal critical moves? Does their patter make sense and does it bring the effect together in an interesting manner? Do they connect with the audience? How do they use humor to both relax and entertain the audience?

There are many other things to look for in a good performance, this is only the short list. In fact, if a magician performs badly, you can even learn a number of things NOT to do from their performance. It's more important to watch other performers with a thoughtful eye than with a critical eye...

Many of the very top magicians are students of the classic magicians of the past. They pour over rare video of their performances in hope of learning, not the trick, but the techniques that make the trick work.


An ideal False Cut

The success or failure of many card tricks depend on the belief by the audience that the deck has been fairly shuffled. If they suspect a stacked or prearranged deck.. you're fried.

This false cut is one of the very best, it's simple, and it only requires a small bit of acting.

Hold the deck in your weak hand in a mechanics grip. For the uninformed, that means instead of holding it in your palm, you hold the deck above your palm, holding it with your thumb on the left long side (assuming you're left handed) and your fingers along the right long side. This gives you access to both the top and the underside of the deck.

Reach with your strong hand and, using your thumb and middle finger, secure a lower side grip on the bottom half of the deck. Just imagine that you're reaching over to take the top half off the deck, but, you take the bottom half instead. As soon as the bottom half has cleared the deck... FREEZE. Look at the spectator and make some kind of statement.

" I am going to try to find your card in a very fair way.." for example. You can even gesture slightly with the half pack in your strong hand. Looking at the spectator will almost always prompt them to look at you for a moment as well. It's this pause in the action that makes the spectator momentarily forget that the strong hand pack came from the bottom of the deck. Now, bring this half somewhat over the top of the weak hand half and lay it on the table.

Not a big, fancy move. Just a steady and confident move.

As soon as you place the strong hand half on the table, reach out with the same hand and take the weak hand half out of the weak hand, using the same thumb and middle finger, and place it on top of the half already on the table.

Of course, all you've accomplished is to take the bottom half of the deck and set it on the table, then, take the top half and put it on top. You have changed absolutely nothing regarding the order of the deck.

If you do this with a steady and deliberate motion, but pausing just long enough to distract the spectator, you will almost fool yourself. It's surprising how convincing this simple false cut can be...


How much is too much?

The great Harry Houdini, assumed to be one of, if not the greatest, magician of all time, was asked how many card tricks he knew. The asker assumed Houdini knew hundreds of card tricks. But to his surprise, Houdini said " Oh, maybe eleven or twelve.."

Houdini did not spend his life trying to master every trick and every move. Instead, he chose to master a dozen card tricks - and that became not just the basis of, but his entire repertoire of tricks.

Learn from Houdini. Select a dozen strong effects and then strive to master them instead of trying to master every card trick known. You will become a very secure and confident magician.


A Confidence Man's Gamble

This is an old street confidence trick, similar to the Three Card Monte, known by several different names. Darwin Ortiz detailed it in GAMBLING SCAMS; Bill Simon referred to it as The College Bet in MATHEMATICAL MAGIC; and Bob Farmer developed the Pentacle Force using this principle.

Like the Three Card Monte, this effect is frequently used as a way for a magician to demonstrate how to avoid being 'taken' on the streets.

Allow the spectator to shuffle the deck and cut it into three piles. The magician then ask the spectator to name three different cards, numerical value only. No suits are needed. Lets say the spectator picks the 2, 4, and 6. The magician now bets the spectator even money that one of those cards will appear on top of one of the three piles.

Believe it or not... the magician will win this bet 36 out of 52 times, or, about 70% of the time.

Another way this bet works is the magician allows the spectator to thoroughly shuffle the deck. The magician then names three cards and bets the spectator that if he deals three cards off the top of the deck face up on the table that at least one of the cards will be one of the cards he named.


The Si Stebbens Stack

The Si Stebbens Stack is a wonderful method of stacking a deck based on a mathematical arrangement. Other popular methods include what is referred to as a "rosary stack", where the cards are arranged based on a memorize formula, or a true memorized stack where the performer memorizes a totally random sequence of cards.

Originally published in the United States around the turn of the century by William Coffrin, better known as Si Stebbins, this method places each card three values higher from the previous card.

The suits follow the standard 'CHaSeD' order... Clubs, Hearts, Spades, and Diamonds.

Setting up the deck is fairly easy. Memorizing the order of the cards is just as easy. Any card either above or below the selected card will tell you the value and suit of the selected card. Assuming the selected card is a (face down) Five of Spades, the face down card above it is three less, or a Two of Hearts. The card beneath the selected card is a Eight of Diamonds.

How easy is that?

There are other methods you can employ to actually determine any card at any number simply by knowing the top or bottom card. I encourage you to google 'Si Stebbins' and discover many other great effects you can perform with this stack.


Memorized Deck

There are a number of ways to memorize a deck. A couple of methods are considerably more popular than others. This is one of the two most popular...

" 8 Kings Threatened to Save 95 Queens for One Sick Knave ". This is a 'key phrase' you'll use to remember the order of the deck. How does this translate? 8, K, 3, 10, 2, 7, 9, 5, Q, 4, A, 6, J.

If you verbalize the order of the deck you'll see how it easily associates with the key phrase.

Now, simply remember the standard method of remembering the suits... " CHaSeD " (chased).

This translates to Clubs, Hearts, Spades, and Diamonds.

If you riffle shuffle a deck of cards and ask your spectator to stop you at any point, you can separate the deck, offer the lower half to the spectator so they can remove the top card, and you can glimpse the bottom card of the upper half. Spotting this card will tell you the suit and number of the card selected by the spectator. If the card you spotted was a Six of Hearts, you'll instantly know that the spectators card is the Jack (knave) of Spades. (Knave is an old word of Knight).

This method will serve you well if you take the time to commit it to memory.


DVD's or Magic Books ?

What does a magician buy to learn new magic? Aside from learning from fellow magicians, most performers buy a combination of magic books, eBooks, and DVD's to master their craft. If you ask five different magicians their favorite, you'll get five different answers, without a doubt...

DVD's are fairly easy to produce and edit. As a result, they are extremely popular. Magicians pop them in their DVD players or laptops and off they go. Despite the simplicity, they do have a drawback... it's very annoying trying to rewind to a certain point over and over. There is also the availability factor. WE are not always able to watch a DVD on a moments notice.

Books on the other hand, can be taken everywhere we go, and opened to a specific point at any given moment. Magicians trying to master a complicated effect or move appreciate a good book, especially if it has a combination of information and illustrations. You can study during your lunch break, on the ride home - assuming you're not driving, and between frequent 5 minute commercial breaks while you're watching your favorite show.

To each his own. If you haven't read a good magic book in awhile, maybe it's about time you picked up a classic and flashed back to how it used to be before technology made everything perfect. I have added a link to the magic links page at www.Magic.Lifetips.com for the Magic Book Store.


How to Perform the Magician's Force

This classic magician's force is one of the most impressive in all of magic. Somehow, the magi allows the spectator to select pile after pile, and card after card, only to end up with one card on the table... the spectators selected card. All the work is performed by the spectator, seemingly outside of the control of the magi.

How is this accomplished?

Let the spectator pick a card. Perform a false cut or two, keeping the spectators card in a position known to you. If he/she places their card on top of the deck, for example, perform a couple of false cuts, leaving the selected card on top. From this point, the magician is prepared to perform the Magicians Force.

Divide the deck into three or four piles on the table. Quietly keep track of which pack has the selected card on top. Ask the spectator to choose two piles. If he selects two piles, neither of which contains the selected card, then quickly scoop those two up and set them to one side, saying " Good, you have eliminated two piles and that leaves us with two piles." If they pick two piles and one contains the chosen card, then quickly scoop up the two piles NOT picked and say " Good, we'll keep the two you selected and eliminate the others".

Now, you can divide the two piles into four piles and repeat the above. At this point you are down to about a dozen cards or so, and can spread them all on the table, keeping your eye on the selected card and always keeping it 'in play'.

Once you are down to three or four cards, lets say three, ask the spectator to pick two. If one of them happens to be the selected card, eliminate the card not chosen. If the selected card is the one not chosen, then eliminate the two picked cards and say.. " and we are left with only one.." Either way, you have eliminated all the cards except the chosen card, and when it's turned over... wow...


Street Magic

David Blaine and Criss Angel helped popularize street magic as a viable form of magic. Although performers like Gazzo, Jeff Sheridan, and Jim Cellini have been around much longer, they didn't have the TV exposure of Blaine and Angel.

New performers may find the resources in the Magic Roadshow Journal of Magic worthwhile. Aimed primarily toward close-up and street magic performers, there are a dozen or so magic articles and resources in each issue. Subscribing is free. http://StreetMagic.info

Where can I find magic classes?

Camirand Academy of Magic

A good magic school for those interested in magic classes. Visit their website at Camirand Magic

What are some good books for learning magic?

Magician's Library

There are books that every close-up magician will need to procure. Do not disregard beginner's books. I learned a great mentalism trick from Bruce Elliot's The Best in Magic that I used for my IBM entrance exam that wowed the audience of wizened, crusty magicians who seem to know every trick in the book...as it were.

I highly suggest the following:

Jean Hugard and Frederic Braues Expert Card Technique
Jean Hugard The Royal Road to Card Magic
Jean Hugard Encyclopedia of Card Tricks
Karl Fulves Self-Working Card Magic
Bobo's Modern Coin Magic

Where in the NY area can I go to magic school?

KI Magic University


The principles of deception that magicians use are psychological; the methods are manipulative and mechanical. The psychological principles are misdirection, suggestion, imitation, and concealment. The spectators do not see everything that happens, and they believe they see things that do not happen. Such faulty perception leads to false assumptions, fallacious logic, and, in the end, to the conclusion that the performer has achieved an impossible result.

- Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia

- Having problems understanding magic books?
- Are videos less than completely clear?
- Have you noticed that good magicians generally make bad authors?
- Did you ever want to have a bunch of professional magicians at your beck and call to teach you everything you ever wanted the know?

If the answer to any of these questions is a resounding YES! Read on...

KISMET ILLUSIONS is proud to offer, for the second year in a row, a magic workshop. This year's course will 4 (four) consecutive weeks starting May 6, 2000. Each session will be two and half hours each. We will offer a very comprehensive curriculum of magic sleights, maneuvers, showmanship, sleight of hand, manipulation, misdirection and presentation.

We will allow only 12 students in our workshop so as to allow maximum instructor/student interaction.

If you have specific effects/sleights you would like to learn, contact us and we will include them in our curriculum.

The price for this year's workshop is $225.00 for the four (4) week course. Each enrolled student will receive a magic kit (valued at $80.00) which will used in the course.

E-mail, phone or fax us your reservation for this years' Magic Workshop and learn more magic than you ever thought was possible!

Any further questions can be directed to:

KISMET ILLUSIONS, 69-05C 186 Lane, Suite. 2B, Fresh Meadows, NY 11365-4417

TEL: (718) 969-3434
FAX: (413) 473-4310
E-MAIL: RealMagic@mail.com

What are the different types of magic specialties?

Magic Specialities

Close-up - Cards, coins, cups & balls, thimbles and any other, generally hand-sized tricks. Generally, people will specialize in either one or the other of these different subfields; card people rarely socialize with coins people.

Mentalism - "Magic of the mind." That is, precognition, telekinesis, ESP and pyrokinesis among other

It's one thing to pull four aces from a deck but it's something all together to divine how much money a stranger has in his pocket or what the headlines for the New York Times will be the following day.

Stage Illusions - The difference between an illusion and a trick is that an illusion generally is large- scale and involves a human assistant and/or a large animal. David Copperfield was once asked what the difference was between a magician and an illusionist. He flatly replied, "about $40,000."

Platform/Parlor/Cabaret - As few of us are going to be hired to do large-scale shows most of our bread-and-butter will come from cabaret-style performances. Tricks included in this category include the Square Circle, Portable Sawing-in-Half.,

Escapology - Ropes and chains and trunks! Oh my! Escapologists manage to extricate themselves form unusual and seemingly impossible conditions including, but not limited to: jail cells, trunks at he bottom of a river, sea monsters (Harry Houdini actually escaped from one after being sown up into the creature's belly). My personal repertoire includes the Milk Can Escape, the Mail-bag escape and the Escape from 50 feet of Chains.

How do I specialize in Mentalism?

Specializing in Mentalism

Mentalism - "Magic of the mind." That is, precognition, telekinesis, telepathy, psychometry, ESP and pyrokinesis among other mind-related effects. It's one thing to pull four aces from a deck but it's something all together to divine how much money a stranger has in his pocket or what the headlines for the New York Times will be the following day.

My specialty in magic is mentalism. I find it to be the most intriguing of the branches of magic. Pulling a coin out of someone's ear is a great trick but there will always be someone in the crowd who thinks they know how the trick is done. When you can read someone's mind or otherwise reveal personal information about that person that is an outstanding and seemingly impossible feat. The gasps I receive after performing a mentalism effect far outshines any surprise I can extract from someone after doing a card trick.

There is another advantage to performing mentalism. It utilizes very little if any equipment so one generally packs small for a mentalism show.

Many tricks can be made to appear as mentalism effects including many card and card tricks. You'll need the to explore each one to determine which can be reworked to fit a mentalism milieu. Generally, mentalists, as magicians who solely present themselves as practitioners of metal magic call themselves, present their art as not being magic at all. That would suggest that their was some kin of illusion or sleight-of-hand in use. Mentalists wish to present themselves as being able to perform their tricks without the aid of “tricks.” I personally don't approve of magicians who claim supernatural or psychic powers Building everyone has to forge their own way their careers. But please avoid ascribing special powers to yourself. It serves neither your audience, yourself nor the magic community in general.

Excellent mentalism tricks that can be purchased at any well-equipped magic store are the Thought Projector by John Cornelius, the Swami Gimmick and the ESP Board.

Books on mentalism will have instructions for such classic feats of mentalism as the Center Tear, Psychological Forces and Billet tricks.

What is Linking Ring Magazine?

Linking Ring journals on CD ROM

Linking Ring journals on CD ROM

The Linking Ring, the official journal of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, on CD-ROM is now available. I bought the set and have it up and running. I searched back through many years of I.B.M. history. I've gone back through some of the Ring Reports to find the names of members who are long gone. I've read of some of the past conventions and activities of Rings all over the world. What great memories. I've always wanted to have all the John Booth columns in one binder. I should be able to do that with a little effort.

I was amazed at all the Ed Marlo card effects. Someone recently asked about the creator of the great kid trick, Forgetful Freddie. I searched and think I have the answer. It's a great resource for research. Ring officers should take a serious look at this. If you're involved with your local Ring, having a set of the CD's will make it easier to put together the clubs history. I'm happy that I bought mine, I'm sure you will be too. Contact Digital Publishing, www.dparchive.com for more information.

Should I specialize or learn all sorts of magic?


It's important to specialize in the type of magic you wish to present. Find an area that you feel comfortable with and that your wallet allows.
Several areas require specialized training and years of study. Other fields require massive amounts of financial investment. Some require little more than several fifty-cent pieces or a deck of cards. Some people have the personality and stage-presence to appear before crowds of 500 people of more. Others can only stand the sustained glares of one or two close friends. You need to decide for yourself.

Please note, that just because you choose to specialize in a field doesn't mean that you shouldn't dabble in any other field.

Where can I find good upscale stage magic equipment?

Illusions by Your Design

Illusions by Your Design is a very good resource for those magicians interested in up-scale stage magic to add to their shows.
Illusions by Your Design

What magazines are available on the topic of magic?

Magic Magazines II

c/o David Zver
89 West Broad St.
Bethehem, PA 18018
4 issues per year, 16 pages per issue.
Specializes in Bizarre, New Age, Occult presentations.

The monthly magazine of the International Brotherhood of Magicians
PO Box 192090
St. Lousis MO 63119-9998
Tele: (314) 351-7677
Fax: (314) 353-4771

Circulation Office
7380 S. Eastern Ave.
Suite #124-179
Las Vegas, NV 89123 USA
Tel: (702) 798-4893
Fax: (702) 798-0220
E-mail: subscriptions@magic-mag.com
12 issues per year

Monthly colour magazine with columns by Paul Gertner (performance tips), Richard Kaufman (editor of the magic section), and reviews by Mike Weber. Varied and interesting articles

David Meyers
PO BOX 427
Glenwood, ILL 60425
The quarterly publication of the Magic Collectors Association. For information on joining write to:
David Meyers
PO Box 427
Glenwood, Ill, 60425.

George Daily's Magacana for Collectors
3778 Cayuga Lane
York, PA 17402
(717) 757-3098

21 Noe Place
Beacon Falls, CT 06403
(203) 729-4278
Six issues per year
A bi-monthly journal for professional restaurant and bar magicians published by Jim Sisti magicmenu@aol.com (MagicMenu).

P.O. Box 470025
Broadview Hts. Oh 44147
4-5 issues per year
Dan Harlan's magazine . Reputed to be one of the best close up magazines

M. U. M. (monthly magazine)
Richard Blowers, National Administrator
P.O. Box 510260
St. Louis, MO 63151
(314) 846-5659

(Edited by Docc Hilford)
PO Box 17163
Phoenix, AZ 85011
12 issues per year but published irregularly. Specializes in Bizarre, New Age, Occult presentations. 12 pages per issue.

Unikorn magic
2215 Mytle St.
Erie, PA 16502
Edited by Bill Miesel
3 issues a year. Mostly advanced card work.

2901 N. 55th Avenue
Phoenix,AZ 85031-3301.
Internet - LeeE7@aol.com
A monthly publication for mentalists, published by Lee Earle. Effects and routines by the real workers, simply the best.

Steven L. Beam
Trapdoor Productions
407 Carrington Drive
Knightdale, NC 27545
(919) 266-7900
5 issues a year
Excellent artwork and Humor, Closeup

Who is Magical Edd?

The Magical Edd Newsletter

The Magical Edd Newsletter (UK)

MAGICAL EDD produces a broad-interest newsletter and a very active chatroom for magicians and allied entertainers including clowns and other wonder-workers.

He is also involved in assisting Mike Wallis of Great Yarmouth England with his Wallis's Wonders Magic Shop.

Learn more at MagicalEdd or visit the magic shop at Wallis Wonders

Where can I find good books and magic tricks?

L & L Publishing

L&L Publishing is an excellent source of magic tricks and publications for magicians. Very low prices. Browse their offerings at All Magic

Are there summer camps for aspiring young magicians?

Magic Summer Camps

Many of you have asked about magic summer camps. I'm happy to provide the information that I have but a listing here should not be interpreted as a recommendation for any of the camps. I know nothing about the actual workings or history of the individual camps.

The first three summer camps are specially dedicated to the magical performing arts. The remainder of them have intensive performing arts programs that may or may not include magic as a course of instruction.

I found the non-specifically magic-related camps through a Sarah engine using an advanced search method using the words: SUMMER, CAMPS, PERFORMING and ARTS

David Goodsell's West Coast Magic Camp
Idyllwood, California
A summer camp for boys and girls ages 9 to 16 in the San Jacinto Mountains of Southern California two miles east of Los Angeles. There are programs from beginners to advanced stage and close-up magic. For more information call (800) 645-1423

Sorcerer's Summer Safari, Camp Tamarack
Ontario, Canada
Tel: (416) 322-1442
E-mail: magic.mike@sympatico.com
Canada's only summer camp for young magicians. Participants receive private and semi-private instructions in a variety of magic disciplines from visiting professional magicians. The camp has a large private lake, a stage with full lighting and sound equipment, a large practice studio, full video and post-production faculties.

Tannen's Summer Camp
Location: The New York Institute of Technology Campus
Registration Information only: (212) 929-4500 x. #200
Other inquiries: Ask for Terri or Dennis Cook: (718) 631-8908.
Website: www.tannenmagic.com

A week-long summer camp for magicians ages 12 to 20 features an intense schedule of close-up and stage lectures and classes and performances by leading magicians.

Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts/Theater/Dance Camp
New Rochelle, NY
130 Wood Hollow Lake
New Rochelle, NY 10804
Tel: 804-967-0178
Fax: 804-967-0178
Website: http://www.frenchwoods.com/

Cazadero Performing Arts Camp
P.O. Box 8121
Berkeley, CA 94707
Tel: (510) 527-7500
Fax: (510) 527-2790
Email: cazpac@cazpac.org
Website: http://www.cazpac.org/

Long Lake Camp
Tel: (914) 693-7111
Fax: (914) 694-7684
Duration: June 20 - August 30
Tel: (518) 624-4831
E-mail: marc@longlakecamp.com
Website: http://www.longlakecamp.com/

Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School & Camp
40755 Routt County Road 36
Steamboat Springs, CO 80487
Tel: (970) 879-7125 or 1-800-430-ARTS (2787)
Fax: (970) 879-5823
E-mail: p-m@perry-mansfield.org
Website: http://www.perry-mansfield.org/additionalinfo.html

Buck's Rock Camp
59 Buck's Rock Road
New Milford, CT. 06776, USA
Website: http://www.bucksrock.olm.net/Brochure/index.html

Young Musicians & Artists
P0 Box 13277
Portland, OR 97213
Tel: (503) 281-9528
E-mail: vicki@YMAinc.org
Website: http://www.ymainc.org/

Sunapee Arts Camp
Deer Hill Road Box 177
Georges Mills, NH 03751
Tel: (603)763-5111
Fax: (603)763-4502
E-mail: bcharp@tds.net

Showchoir Camps of America
Box 583, Naperville
IL 60566
Tel: (630) 355-5551
Website: http://www.showchoircamps.com/

Should I Specialize?


It's important to specialize in the type of magic you wish to present. Find an area that you feel comfortable with and that your wallet allows. Several areas require specialized training and years of study. Other fields require massive amounts of financial investments. Others require little more than several fifty-cent pieces or a deck of cards. Some people have the personality and stage-presence to appear before crowds of 500 people of more. Others can only stand the sustained glares of only one or two close friends. One has to decide for themselves.

Areas of Magic

1) Close-up
2) Mentalism
3) Stage Illusions
4) Platform/Parlor/Cabaret
5) Kid's Shows
6) Gospel Magic
7) Table-Hopping/Bar Magic/Walk-Around
8) Street Performing
9) Escapology

1) Close-up - Cards, coins, cups & balls, balls, thimbles and any other generally hand-sized tricks. Generally, people will specialize in either one or the other of these different subfields; card people rarely socialize with coin people.

Personally I can't stand card tricks. Magicians who know me know enough not to approach me with a deck of cards. I recoil whenever I hear a magician say those fateful words, “Here! Take a card!” I'm continually reminded of Somerset Maugham's immortal words:

“He asked me if I liked card tricks. I said ‘no.' He did five.”

There are a lot of entertaining card tricks but too many magicians insists on doing ALL OF THEM AT ONCE! Relax! Three good card tricks are enough. When an impudent amateur magician swaggered up to Harry Houdini after a show and haughtily said, “I know 500 card tricks. How many do you know?” Harry Houdini thought for a second and calmly replied, “Fifteen.”

Personally, I know ten card tricks because I pick and choose and these are almost without and
It might be cool to master a thousand flourishes, manipulations and sleights but these are entertaining only to other magicians and not to lay audiences.

I feel the same way about coin magic. I have a short 3-minute routine and then that's it! I use it to introduce myself as a magician. After all, who else could pull coins out of a kid's ear? And, admittedly, magic with someone else's money certainly holds the attention of the lender and his or her friends.

Excellent coin tricks that can be purchased at any well-equipped magic store are: Hopping Halves (aka, the Sun & the Moon,) Scotch & Soda (aka, Vodka & Orange Juice,) Alchemist's Fantasy and the Great British Coin Trick. (NB: Don't worry about the names of tricks, none of them involve alcohol but instead refer to the original use of these tricks as bar bets.)

Where can I learn more about physical theatre?

Artmedia Physical Theatre News

Artmedia Physical Theatre News
URL: http://www.MagicUnlimited.com

This newsletter now reaches almost 2,000 practitioners of physical theatre worldwide and we particularly welcome all new members to the list.

We invite you to put us on your e-mail list, should you have information for inclusion in future issues.

Check it out in the MAGICIANS ONLY section of our website: Magic Unlimited


How Does Lance Burton Practice?

There are as many theories on the proper way to practice as there are effects to perform. Ask three different magicians how they practice and you'll probably get three different answers.

One of my favorite ways, and it's shared by none other than Lance Burton, is to practice in short spurts, maybe thirty minutes in length. The theory is... it gives the brain time to assimulate what it just performed. Practicing too long can definitely result in both fatigue and a general sloppiness in your handling. This is not considered 'smart' practice.

The saying in magic goes... "Practice doesn't make perfect... perfect practice makes perfect". I don't know how much truth there is to this saying, but I do know that practicing in short spurts is as close to perfect as I can get.


Join A Magic Club or Society

You can learn magic from many sources, but one of the very best methods is to join a magic club or society. Next to having a personal mentor there is not a better way of gaining knowledge.

National organizations like the International Brotherhood

of Magicians (IBM) and the Society of American Magicians (SAM) have clubs or assemblies in most major cities and a large number of smaller cities as well. Google the two to find out if there is one near you.

Aside from providing the privilege to fellowship with like minded magicians, you can have all your questions answered, learn many new effects, have your performances critiqued, and discover new performance techniques far beyond what you'll find in a book.

Don't worry about your skill level. Do try to master three or four effects to show the club that you have the ability and desire to belong. If you can't find a magic club in your community, consider starting one. Good luck.


Attending a Magic Convention

If you've never been to a magic convention, make plans to attend one this year. I remember the first magic conference I attended and how I felt... like I was going to be out of place and under appreciated . I was wrong...

I made friends at my first conference that have remained friends through the years. I received invitations to attend club meetings in other cities, and I did.

Lastly, I made friends with some really well-known magicians. Almost without exception, the lecturers were approachable and friendly. You could ask them to show you an effect after the lecture and they would. You could ask them questions on subjects that wasn't covered in their lectures and they would take the time to answer. And some of the best cardmen in the world would find their way to the lounges after the nights last lecture to fraternize with us 'regular' guys.

I inevitably bought lecture notes that I could not have found anywhere else beside the convention. Having seen the performer both perform and lecture on many of the effects only made it that much more valuable to my growth as a magician. Find a convention near you and make plans to attend... you'll be very glad you did.


Studying with a Mentor

The best way to properly learn magic is to study with a mentor. They are available at most magic clubs as well as in your local phone book under 'magicians'. Make a phone call and inquire. There is not a better way to learn magic than to have someone show you what to do, and then watch as you repeat the effect.

The benefits of a mentor and the benefits of immediate feedback are immeasurable. Most great magicians throughout history had the benefit of being able to study at the feet of other great magicians. There are 'secrets' you just can't find in a magic book...

What are some good magic magazines?

Magic Magazines I

Goodliffe Publications
150 New Road, Bromsgrove,
Worcestershire B60 2LG.
Published weekly, 20 pages each issue.

Thaumysta Publishing Company
P.O. Box 17174, Minneapolis, MN 55417
(alchemy13@aol.com or thaumysta@aol.com)
Published quarterly by Mary Tomich with a focus on presentation-based on occult themes, etc.

Thomas A. Sawyer
521 S. Lyon St., No. 105
Santa Ana, CA 92701

Harry Lorayne
62 Jane Street
NY NY 10074
12 issues per year
Lots of serious card magic by one magic most respected writers.

c/o Joe Cabral, 115 Pinehurst Avenue, Waterbury, CT 06705
Published twice annually by The Inner Circle of Bizarre Magic.

84 page magazine is published six times per year, and has a four colour cover. The magazine contains independant editorial, covering all branches of magic. Annual subscriptions available.

Fred Evans editor
PO. Box 391
Knoxville, TN, 37901
Publisehd quarterly publication. Contains letters and short articles submitted by readers. Included with each issue are various magic items which are themselves very collectable. Good value for money.

Jerry Sadowitz, Flat 28, 177 Finchley Rd.,
London NW3 Glg., UK.
A very funny monthly magazine. BUT Jerry Sadowitz is renowned for his bad language! a must for any serious close-up magician but definately NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN

Tom Stone/Bengtsson Julias gata 111
422 51 Hisings Backa
10 issues/ per year, 8-12 pages per issue.
Focusing on performance material and theory.

PO Box 36068
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Tel: (213) 935-2848
Color cover, 80 pages an issue, with the largest circulation of any magazine. Advertises most magic items.

Where can I find new features for my act?

Houdini Magic

This site has well-designed and appealing magic tricks that should add greatly to your act. Look especially for the linking rings ad.
Houdini Magic


The Magic Square

The Magic Square is one of the most amazing facets of math and magic... if performed correctly. It can be a very boring and/or confusing stretch, if you do not present it and explain it properly. Done correctly, you can both astound and impress your audience with your apparent mathematical genius.

Without getting into the presentation, I am going to show you how to create a 'magic square' with nine playing cards.

First, lets establish exactly what a magic square does. When a set of numbers are entered into a grid, like a tic-tac-toe grid, with three squares across and three squares down, the sum of all the verticals, horizontals, and diagonals will total the same.

To create a magic square with nine cards, begin with nine cards in the following order...

8 Ace 6 3 5 7 4 9 2 ..

Deal the cards into three lines of three cards each, one above another. Example:

8 A 6

3 5 7

4 9 2

Assuming the Ace is '1', if you add the totals of each line, regardless of which way you add it, the answer will be '15'. That's the 'magic' of a magic square. I'm not going to try to tell you in this tip how to use it, but I'm confident if you think about it, you'll think of a way to present these cards, in this order, to your spectator...

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