August 2012 | Volume 21 | Number 12

COVER: Neil Patrick Harris
Actor, Magician, President

By Shawn McMaster

Neil Patrick Harris NPH Scrapbook

Neil Patrick Harris seems to be everywhere these days, and for good reason. A talented actor in both comedy and drama, the man also sings, dances, is a frequent host of awards shows and a favorite talk show guest — and, oh yes, he performs magic. He has handled his career wisely, a child star who escaped the troubled adult life so often experienced by celebrities who made it big at an early age. With a career path blazing as brightly as his, and with all of the responsibilities that entails, it seems unlikely that he could find the time to devote to the Magic Castle and its members. And yet, he does. He takes his position as president very seriously and has worked diligently on improving the club, not only for its members but also for the guests who visit. Earlier this year, he was elected for another term as president. Shawn McMaster sat down with Harris to discuss his continuing reign, what his outlook is for the future of the club, and his past history in the conjuring arts.

Helder & Derek

By Mike Caveney

Helder and Derek

Helder Guimarães and Derek DelGaudio enter in silence and take their positions across from each other at a card table. A deck is uncased and Derek meticulously checks the cards for marks or stripped edges. Then, they both mix the cards in the same way that a child might, by pushing the cards all over the tabletop. Finally, after winning a coin toss, the reassembled deck is spread face up in front of Derek, who intently studies the order of the cards. Helder struggles to see the upside-down spread that lies on the opposite side of the table. Finally, Derek squares the deck and the match begins. The routine runs twelve minutes and is performed without words or music. The only sounds heard are the gasps of astonishment and peals of laughter that accompany each revelation. At the conclusion, the people in the audience are confident that they are in the company of two extraordinary men and are eager to accompany them on whatever journey they might have prepared.

Mind Over Matter in Toronto

By Alan Howard

Mind Over Matter in Toronto

For six years, the annual Luminato Festival of Arts & Creativity has brought a diverse range of entertainment, information, and inspiration to Toronto, Canada. Along with ticketed performances, the festival sponsors many educational and community outreach programs. For ten days each June, residents and visitors are treated to a variety of presentations throughout the city, showcasing theater, dance, music, literature, visual art, food, and magic — this year, a series of shows under the heading "Mind Over Matter." The performers brought in for the event included Juan Esteban Varela, a magician who performs for the blind; Richard Turner, a magician who is blind; and Banachek, a mentalist who makes audiences see science and reality in a new way.

History on Display

By Gabe Fajuri

History on Display

In recent years, magic has been featured at a number of museums across the US — in Houston, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Madison, and elsewhere. Be they single-venue installations or traveling displays, these exhibitions have generally been overviews of the conjuring arts or focused on a single performer (Houdini, of course). But now, two new exhibits are offering a different slant: the regional magic history of the city where the museum is located. Visitors to Yonkers (just outside New York City) and Chicago can immerse themselves in the history of world-famous conjurors, all with connections to the neighborhood where the museum visitor is standing.

Music to My Ears

By Soma

Music To My Ears

The fourth and final installment of this series examines "Silence as Music," along with music styles, editing, and copyright concerns.

The Evanswood 4,000

The Evanswood 4,000

Terry Evanswood recently hit a career milestone by performing his 4,000th show in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. A native of Chicago, Evanswood relocated to the Smoky Mountains sixteen years ago to set out on his current career path.

The Circus Magician

The Circus Magicians

Since 2006, Tristan Crist has been appearing with his magic and illusion show at Circus World in Baraboo, Wisconsin, the themed attraction built on the site of the original Ringling Bros. Circus. But this season, Crist is doing his shows a little bit differently — performing in the Tristan Crist Magic Theatre! The 29-year-old magician recently financed and built his own 300-seat showplace on the Circus World grounds.


Coverage of the IBM Convention in Norfolk, Elephant Room in Los Angeles, The Illusionists in Mexico and South America, and more "musical chairs" in Las Vegas, plus a farewell to Marcelo Contento.


Edited by Gabe Fajuri

Word(s) Xpand

Nineteen products are reviewed this month by Michael Claxton, Peter Duffie, Gabe Fajuri, Greg Gleason, Brad Henderson, Alan Howard, Jared Kopf, Francis Menotti:

Word(s) by David Stone
Xpand by Brandon David & Christyrious
Performing Magic by Tony Middleton
Compressed by Bob Solari
Pirate's Booty by Bob Solari
The World's Greatest Magic by the World's Greatest Magicians: Oil & Water by L&L Publishing
The FFFF Book by H&R Magic Books
Panorama of Magic by Milbourne Christopher
Spectacular Finale from Abbott's Magic
Lethal Weapons by Stephen Leathwaite
Building Your Own Illusions with Gerry Frenette
Roulette by Christopher Rawlins
Phantom Knife by Richard Osterlind
Think-a-Drink Jr. by Jeffrey Bloom
Keylicious by Jeff Prace
First Hand/Freedom Change with Justin Miller
Dean's Beads by Dean Dill
Solitary by Cameron Francis
The Nine of Diamonds edited by Mark Beecham and Neil Stirton
Charles Dickens: Conjurer, Mesmerist and Showman by Trevor Dawson

Talk About Tricks

Joshua Jay

Talk About Tricks   A Doug Conn One-Man Issue


The Almighty Dollar

Gregory Wilson

The Almighty Dollar Mug Shot

In this perfect restaurant trick, you magically transpose a crumpled up dollar bill with a crumpled up cocktail napkin under impossible conditions. One is underneath an inverted coffee cup and one is on top of the cup. In a burst of fire, they switch places — without touching anything!


Joanie Spina

Directions #8a. The Assistant

At some point, you may want to expand your act to include an onstage or offstage assistant. Integrating an assistant might sound like a simple and easy process, but there is much to be considered.

Loving Mentalism

Ian Rowland

Loving Mentalism Song and Chance

A prediction routine involving songs and singers forms the basis of this month's mentalism offering. You get a spectator to help and show her a list of about 100 different songs and recording artists. She can check that all the songs are different and she won't find any duplication. You then invite her to choose a song. Here's the good part: there's no selection procedure, no step-by-step process, no contrivance at all. She literally just chooses a song. Yet your printed prediction turns out to be 100 percent correct! Old ingredients but a new recipe create a routine that will deceive even the shrewdest of spectators.


Paul Gertner

Viewpoint Keeping Secrets

I was watching the Grammy Awards a few months ago, when singing sensation Adele collected six of the awards for her amazing vocal skills. And I wondered what would happen if all those other performers in the audience discovered that she had a big secret. What if they found out that it was not really her voice? What if some clever new technology allowed her to simply lip-sync every song, creating the illusion of that amazing voice? Would the other performers sit there and applaud as they watch her walk to the stage again and again? Would they, for the sake of her fans, help her maintain the illusion that she had the vocal skills to win six Grammys? Or would they expose her secret — that she really couldn't sing, that it was all just an illusion?

For What It's Worth

Mark Kornhauser

For What It's Worth Lessons From the Hairy Chest Contest

A long time ago, on a bright and sunny day, I strolled up to Lido Deck and wandered through the buffet. The cruise director announced the start of the Hairy Chest Contest. And soon I was in awe. If you've never seen a Hairy Chest Contest on a cruise ship, you have yet to witness a form of entertainment with such low standards that it makes a wet T-shirt contest look like Cirque du Soleil.

Paynefully Obvious


Paynefully Obvious Is This The End?

Recently, I came across an article with the rather histrionic title of "The Internet Makes Magic Disappear." It was posted on a popular Internet news site and sported an equally sensationalized byline proclaiming, "YouTube has killed the magician's art, and threatens the stores where tricks have been passed down for generations." How could one resist reading a story making such dire predictions?

Real-World Methods

Joe Romano

Real World Methods Creating Strong School Shows

This article is for performers who are currently in the school show market. In your mind, your show is pretty good, but for unknown reasons you're not booking a lot of work, and getting minimal repeat bookings. If you don't appear in at least 100 schools a year, have students ask for your autograph, or at least once week hear "This is the best assembly we've ever had!" then quite honestly, you are doing something wrong.

Buy This Issue