April 2012 | Volume 21 | Number 8

COVER: Zen Cohen

By Jon Racherbaumer

Zen Cohen

On January 13, 2012, Steve Cohen debuted his stage show Theater of Wonder at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The zigzagging, circuitous path that he followed to perform in this hallowed venue was not wholly the result of Zen practice. But his twenty-year involvement in Japanese culture definitely exerted an influence. Steve spent five years living in Japan. While there, he performed weekly at the five-star Park Hyatt Tokyo Hotel. Whether consciously or unconsciously, many Zen-like principles were incorporated into his philosophies of life, business, and the performance of magic.
Those principles would serve as reliable guides when Steve modified his long-running show Chamber Magic, performed at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, to fit a larger and more daunting venue.

Ghost: The Musical, The Magic

By Ryan Oakes

Ghost: The Musical, The Magic

When Ghost the Musical opens on Broadway toward the end of this month, New York audiences will be unknowingly buying tickets to what magicians would consider a veritable magic show, capped with a finale reminiscent of an illusion that hadn't been presented live on a public stage in over 100 years. It's a finale that's been moving people to tears as they simultaneously stand to applaud. It's a finale that perfectly interweaves a heartwarming story, the audience's emotion, and spine-tingling magic. It's a finale that was only made possible because theatrical magic consultant Paul Kieve was able to convince the show's creative team to build the entire set of the fifteen-million-dollar production around a single illusion — an illusion that would last all of two seconds.

A Follow-up Visit with the Show Doctor

By Jeff McBride and Lawrence Hass

Show Doctor

From 2007 through 2010, MAGIC Magazine ran 47 installments of Jeff McBride's "Show Doctor" column. Despite the punning monthly titles, the series undertook to seriously diagnose common ailments in the performance of magic and suggested cures for the various problems. Working along with Lawrence Hass, Jeff has recently gone back to revise and expand his original columns, further illustrating disorders and treatments with pertinent tricks and routines. Here, we now present a look back at the very first "Show Doctor" column, along with a stand-up coin routine that lets the magician connect with an audience by letting them see his face.

David Merry: Gags, Gambling, and Golf

By David Peck

David Merry

His favorite card trick is Out of this Universe. Or maybe Triumph. He doesn't look for ta-dah moments and uses props as a means to an end. He really isn't interested in what he calls "this is, that was" magic. His favorite comedy album is Bill Cosby's Why Is There Air? and he still remembers when a hi-fi was considered furniture. He loves the spoken word and believes that comedians who compose jokes are like musicians who have only so many notes available to put together a song in a particular way. He is more interested in the process than the punch line, and he would have loved to work vaudeville. His favorite sleight-of-hand piece is without a doubt Jerry Andrus's Zone Zero, on which he's put in about 400 hours of work.

Conventions At A Glance

Conventions At A Glance

MAGIC Magazine's exclusive catalog of conventions is streamlined for ease of use, allowing you to see the most popular information at a glance. Compare and contrast the basics on this convention grid to see what gatherings might be the best fit for your schedule, interests, and budget. Plus Scott Wells takes on whether, when it comes to magic conventions, are there really "More Than Before."

Le Grand David Turns 35

Le Grand David Turns

The 35th anniversary performance of Marco the Magi's Production of Le Grand David and His Own Spectacular Magic Company was presented on the evening of February 18 at the Cabot Street Theatre in Beverly, Massachusetts. The 135-minute evening of magic had already far surpassed its own record as the longest running magic show in history.

Magic for a Cause

Positive Magic in Kuwait

On January 27, Lance Burton took a break from his retirement to perform onstage in Rochester, Minnesota at a benefit to raise money for Autism Awareness, appearing along with comedy magician Mac King, juggler Michael Goudeau, and comedian Bob Zany. Coincidentally, January 27 was also "Meet The Kid's Day" for the Naples, Florida Children & Education Foundation, who established "Believe in Magic" as their festival theme this year. The organizers wanted the benefactors to see and meet some of the children who would benefit from their charitable donations, and contacted the Society of American Magicians to teach interested kids some tricks.

Positive Magic in Kuwait

Positive Magic in Kuwait

Early in 2012, Kuwait City played host to Abracadabra 2, a production show featuring illusion acts from around the world. "Magic is still seen as evil by many people in this country, so for the second year in a row these shows have been organized to show the people of Kuwait City that magic can be fun and entertaining."

Substitute Magicians in the UK

Substitute Magicians in the UK

Students in schools across London were amused and baffled when their teachers seemed to have a magical effect on objects around them. Their reactions were secretly being filmed for a new series on CBBC (Childrens' BBC) in England, Help My Supply Teacher Is Magic.

Magia de Madrid

Magia de Madrid

There are a few places on the planet where the art of magic is truly recognized as such, and one of them, thankfully, is Spain. Whatever the reason, their love for magic was on full celebratory display from February 22 to March 4, 2012, when the Festival Magia de Madrid 2012 was held.



Remembrances of Ken Krenzel and Martin Breese.


Edited by Gabe Fajuri

Sixteen products are reviewed this month by Michael Claxton, Farrell Dillon, Peter Duffie, Jason England, Gabe Fajuri, Francis Menotti:


Revelations 30th Anniversary Commemorative
     Boxed Set
featuring Dai Vernon, Michael Ammar,
     Gary Ouellet, and Steve Freeman
The Prodigy with Alex Geiser
Erdnase Unmasked edited by David Ben
Squeak Technique by Jeff McBride
Harry Lorayne's Special Effects
The Master Pushoff with Andi Gladwin
3 by Eric Ross
The Davenport Story: Volume Four by Fergus Roy
Two Coin Trick by Bob Solari
OutStanding with Roberto Mansilla
Empty by Marcus Eddie
Maestro starring René Lavand
Haunted by Peter Eggink
7-7-7 by Jon Racherbaumer
Wild Tigers and Tame Fleas by Bill Ballantine
Hugard's Magic Monthly

Talk About Tricks

Joshua Jay

Talk About Tricks Pick Your Words, Any Words

This month, we offer One Card Monte by Justin Higham, Joons Control by Sung Won Kim, The Hucko/Miller One-Hand Double Color Change by Richard Hucko, Zombieland by Cameron Francis, and Color Changing Fan by Vitaly Shevtsov.

The Almighty Dollar

Gregory Wilson

The Almighty Dollar The Scoop

Onstage, you offer a masterful demonstration of pickpocketing by stealing the money inside someone's wallet — one bill at a time.


Joanie Spina

Directions #4. Performance Notes

Regardless of how brilliant the script, the staging, and the magic, they will not shine unless you as the performer are able to do them justice. Your performance can elevate every aspect of the presentation to new heights. A two-edged sword, the performer will suffer if the material is not strong, and the material will wane if the performer is not able to properly execute it.

Loving Mentalism

Ian Rowland

Loving Mentalism Angel Angle

The twist in this month's offering is that the star of the show is a member of the audience. You invite a spectator to try and describe a photograph he has never seen. He makes a guess and, to his amazement, finds he is absolutely correct. He has no idea how he did it — and neither will anyone else! A sly and many layered mystery devised in conjunction with Marc Paul.

For What It's Worth

Mark Kornhauser

For What It's Worth Newton's First Law of Emotion

Perhaps magicians have no business spouting off about the inherent nature of mankind. What do performers know about the fundamental nature of nature? Well, plenty, it turns out.

Real-World Methods

Ken Weber

Real World Methods Magicians and Money (Now You See it, Now Your Don't)

Secrets are the lifeblood of magic. But because I straddle two worlds, magic and investments, I have been entrusted with a most regretful secret: many magicians, including names that are well known and respected within our community, are in financial distress.
To some degree, that has always been the case, thanks to the fickle nature of show business and art. The Great Recession of 200809, however, made things worse. For many magicians, things became much worse as shows and venues dried up.

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