COVER: Not Famous Yet
By Adam Rubin
Derek Hughes is one of the best comedy magicians working in America today. I know what you're thinking, How could that possibly be true? He has no Comedy Central special. He's not headlining in Las Vegas. And most subscribers to this magazine who have heard the name "Derek Hughes" probably recognize it only vaguely — maybe from his brief stint on VH1's Celebracadabra, or his consulting credit on MTV's Room 401, or most likely, from his reputation as the guy who pulls cards out of his ass while discussing French symbolist drama. However, I truly believe that Derek Hughes could be the next big thing in magic or comedy — or both.
FISM 2012: The Greatest Show on Earth?
By Darren John, Photos by Wittus Witt
As London prepared for the biggest sporting event of a generation, Blackpool, a mere 237 miles up the road, was putting together a magic event of Olympic proportions. A mammoth marathon of manipulation, a cornucopia of close-up, and illusion on an industrial scale was on its way to the self-acclaimed "Las Vegas of the North." The juggernaut that is FISM had hit the Northwest of England. The Lancashire coast is no stranger to magic. It hosts the world's largest magic convention every February. But could Derek Lever and his team from the Blackpool Magicians' Club rise to the occasion, knock the detractors, and pull the coup of the decade? In the words of new FISM President Domenico Dante: "They did their best." Plus "A Few Brief Highlights of FISM Close-up" by Eoin Smith, and "Q&A: Derek Lever."
Mumdo: Bringing Magic to the Middle East
By Jaq Greenspon
It seems that no matter where in the world you are, it always starts in approximately the same way. You either see it done live or you're intrigued by a gift and suddenly, before you know it, you're on your way to fooling friends and family. For Saudi Arabian magician Mumdo Marzouki, this classic scene played itself out when he was nine years old. It seems things are the same all over the world — except for one thing. Where Mumdo is from, performing magic can take a tremendous personal toll. Saudi Arabia is a country founded and run on the tenets of the Islamic faith and, according to the Islam Awareness website, magic is "defined as seeking the help of demons to perform something harmful against somebody." This is not the easiest of environments for a magician to get started in.
A Family Reunion: Abbott's 75th Annual Magic Get-Together
By Dale Salwak
Few magical destinations have greater allure and brim with more nostalgia than the sleepy, quiet village of Colon, Michigan — the Magic Capital of the World. Visitors feel this when they pass the secluded summer home of the late Harry Blackstone Sr. They discover it when they step into the photo-bedecked Abbott Magic Company's headquarters. They perceive it when they visit the local cemetery, the final resting place for many prominent magicians. This year the Get-Together turned 75, calling for a grand celebration. President Greg Bordner, drawing from plans left by the late Hank Moorehouse, delivered four evening shows featuring some of magic's biggest names. What is the secret behind 75 years of success? The answer is there, like a phantom, waiting to be discovered.
By Rory Johnston
One day, Bobby Borgia wondered: How can I create a grand illusion show without big boxes? At the time, Bobby was working with plenty of boxes — twenty large-scale illusions, to be exact. He was presenting a kid car levitation once owned by Doug Henning, and a state of the art Stretcher illusion designed for Michael Jackson. His show featured four dancers and three stage technicians. A single segment of his show, however, featured a small interactive close-up trick, presented on video. In spite of all the pumped-up spectacle and impressive props, it was the close-up sequence people were talking about as they walked out at the end of the show.
SAM 2012 in Las Vegas
The Society of American Magicians gathered in fabulous Las Vegas this year. Over 900 magicians attended the convention, which took place July 23–26 at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino. Much hoopla was centered around honoree David Copperfield, including a tribute program, a number of impressive awards, an extensive interview, and performances of his show for all convention attendees.
In the previous two years, attendees at the Essential Magic Conference have numbered 33, in honor of Luis de Matos' headquarters, Estúdio 33. This year, for the third and reportedly final time, the group swelled to forty. And those were just the invited guests. The actual number of registrants who attended this magic convention via computers around the world was more than 2,000.
A report on Michael Finney's latest Dry Heat Classic, the tale of a Kostya Kimlat trick that literally exploded, "Conventions at a Glance," and more.
Edited by Gabe Fajuri
Sixteen products are reviewed this month by Michael Claxton, Farrell Dillon, Peter Duffie, Gabe Fajuri, Jared Brandon Kopf, Francis Menotti:
Thinking the Impossible by Ram&oactue;n Riobóo
Celebrity Presage by Mike Maione
Now Look Here by Chad Long
Tricks That Work and Jokes That Work by Moses Silbermintz
The Door by Michael Murray
Threesome by Jason Dean
Disposable Deck by David Regal
Knock 'em Dead II by Peter Nardi
Nickels to Dimes by Carl Brema
Drawn In by Oliver Meech
Peter Pit Memories by The Miracle Factory
Missing by Charlie Frye
GT Speedreader DVD featuring Garrett Thomas
Smoke and Mirrors by Costa, Armstrong, and Brown
Sudden Deck 3 by David Regal
Talk About Tricks
Joshua JayExcitation Transfer
All the material in this issue uses playing cards, but the tricks are quite diverse. You will learn how to locate four Aces and four Kings using Harapan Ong's Stress Production. Raj Madhok helps a spectator create and find her own card in Suits You, and there are three technical innovations from the minds of first-time contributors Micah Johnson, Anders Moller, and Steve Shaw. We also set a "Talk About Tricks" record: oldest contributor! Ninety-two-year-old William Kahn shows you how to use your cat to find a selected card. (No, seriously.)
The Almighty Dollar
Gregory WilsonMissing Dollar Swindle
You tell the classic story of the Missing Dollar. You then bring it to life with actual bills as a visual aid to help the audience follow along step-by-step. Without any confusing cross-talk or short-change shenanigans, this next phase only buries them deeper as two physical bills go missing — later to be found back where they started, in your wallet!
Joanie Spina#8b. The Assistant
This is the second in a two-part series on what to look for in a magicians' assistant. Examples include Jinger Leigh, Lynette Chappell, Penny Wiggins, Cindy Spencer, and the author herself.
This month, we delve into the awesome power of the pendulum. In a neat three-part routine, you first demonstrate that a simple pendulum can somehow locate which of three identical cards bears a secret name. Next, a spectator tries the same thing and finds that the pendulum also works for her! Finally, you're able to reveal the secret name. All you need are a pendulum and three business cards and you're in business. It's an "anywhere, anytime" miracle that's easy to perform.
For What It's Worth
Mark KornhauserNo, no — an aesthetic, not anesthetic!
Are you troubled by lingering childhood insecurities? An addiction to cheap laughs? Do you sometimes make uninteresting theatrical choices? You may be suffering from a weak aesthetic. "How could this happen," you ask, "and what can I do about it?" The theatrical choices you make and the guidelines you give yourself demonstrate your taste and artistic intentions. These fundamental choices about who you are and what you do form your aesthetic. .
PayneIs it Ever "EZ"?
The complaint of science fiction authors will sound familiar to anyone who has been involved in magic. Magicians also lament that their work isn't seen as a serious art form and held in the same regard as acting, music, or dance. It's rather telling that most metropolitan areas have their own Repertory Theatre, Opera House, or Symphony Hall, but few possess a venue where magic is regularly performed.
Ken KellyCreating Effective Web Pages
Getting bookings seemed so much simpler back in the day. An advert in the local paper, a Yellow Pages entry, and a few choice letters seemed to get the phone ringing enough to make a good living. Today, the landscape on which we market our services as magicians is very different; the way bookers look to find entertainers has changed profoundly and our "old school" marketing techniques are fast becoming outdated like the stone tools of Neanderthal man, being replaced by Internet marketing. The age of the digital magician has dawned; to ignore this change is to be left behind.