August 2014 | Volume 23 | Number 12

Xavier Mortimer: Young Master

By Rory Johnston

Xavier Mortimer: Young Master

He's a magician, musician, juggler, dancer, mime, and more. Currently appearing with Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas, French entertainer Xavier Mortimer is a "Jacques of all trades," and he's always working on more.

The Rise in Custom Playing Cards

By Chris Chelko

The Rise in Custom Playing Cards

Playing cards are arguably the most popular magic prop in the world, but of course not only magicians buy cards. Recently, designer decks have become all the rage for card players and collectors, and they may be changing the face of magic.


By Jaq Greenspon


Drummond Money-Coutts, often known simply by his initials, comes from a respected British family of nobles. Yet he is making a name for himself in the world of close-up magic, with a television special behind him and new projects to come.

How Was the Convention? Impressions & Snapshots

Words by Stan Allen, Photos by Arto Airaksinen

How Was the Convention?

This summer, the IBM and SAM joined together to hold their tenth Combined Convention. Everyone who was there came back with stories to tell, but here are just a few — mostly visual — impressions of the magic week in St. Louis.

Plus Updates on…

MAGIC Update
  • Masters of Illusion series starts up again on the CW network
  • Wizard Wars begins airing on the SyFy network
  • Masters of Magic plays the world's largest indoor stage in Reno, Nevada
  • The Florida State Magic Convention celebrates its 50th anniversary
  • Remembrances of Alan Alan and Ron Wohl

Bonus Content for the August Issue…

Xavier Mortimer at MAGIC Live
  • Three performances by Xavier Mortimer, as well as a demonstration of his Tape to Tie trick
  • Drummond Money-Coutts (also known as simply DMC) offers up four of his most popular Internet videos in one easy-to-click place
  • In the latest excerpt from Murphy's At The Table Lecture Series, Jon Armstrong teaches a great sandwich routine*
  • From MAGIC Live 2013, Gene Anderson's presentation, "An Abbreviated History of the Torn & Restored Newspaper," and a guest performance by Jack Goldfinger*
  • Slideshows of additional photographs from Masters of Illusion and the IBM/SAM Combined Convention in St. Louis
  • Convention Podcasts: Abbott Magic Get-Together and MagicFest

(* Available for subscribers only at M360)


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Fourteen products are reviewed this month by Peter Duffie, Gabe Fajuri, Jared Brandon Kopf, and Francis Menotti:

The Art of Presenting Magic to Teenagers
     by Danny Orleans
Paul Harris Presents Lubor's Gift by Lubor Fiedler
Shock Twist by Gary Jones
Nukes by Doug Edwards
Rubik's Rod by Andy Clockwise
Evaporation by Louie Foxx
Stretcher: The Uncanny Collection by Jay Sankey
The Business by Romanos
Cue Command by Deceptively Simple
DeMuth Milk Bottle by Frederick DeMuth
Unshuffled by Anton James
Defiance by Mariano Goñi
Deflect by Skulkor
The Box by Mark Southworth

First Look

Chris Westfall

First Look: Calculated Chaos Calculated Chaos

Chris Westfall is a rarity: he is a working pro who performs only original material. He makes his living performing close-up magic in the Toronto area, and his shows are filled with fresh magic that he creates for his own use. His style is playful, self-deprecating, and visual. He rarely uses a table. His material is worked through completely, tested in every conceivable environment, and honed to perfection through countless tableside performances. Calculated Chaos, his new booklet from Vanishing Ink, offers some of Chris' favorite original routines, including out "First Look" selections this month: Cheeky Triumph and Nested in Nothing.

The Monk's Way

Steve Reynolds

The Monk's Way Mr. Fogg Tracked Down

As we continue to reestablish the audience's role not only as viewer but also as an integral part of our methods, let's turn to the subject of routining. Magicians tend to take a linear approach: step one leads to step two leads to step three and bang! We use misdirection and sleights and presentation to cover this direct-line process. But imagine if the primary method could be hidden elsewhere — in the context of another trick. Unlike multiphase routines, with one phase setting up for the next, our objective is disjointing the method from the effect. In this way, the sleight-heavy baggage has been dropped and the effect has a much more magical sense. Let's examine this approach as applied to Vernon's classic Travelers, in which four signed Aces are first lost into the deck and then magically appear in four separate pockets.

Loving Mentalism

Ian Rowland

Loving Mentalism The Spirit Scrawl

Spirit writing is a timeless effect that still packs a powerful punch. We're all familiar with the traditional methods using old-fashioned slates with secret flaps, as well as more modern variations on the same theme. This month's "Loving Mentalism" item is a simple, easy spirit writing effect that uses nothing more than a few business cards — and they aren't even gaffed. After displaying the cards slowly and fairly on both sides, you can make any writing you want appear on the cards while they are held in the spectator's own hands. What's more, you end completely clean with nothing to hide. This is a highly versatile method that you can adapt to suit many different themes and styles. The ultra-simple method is sure-fire and always leaves a lasting impression.

Bent on Deception

Mike Bent

Bent on Deception Have a Great Show!

This month, Mike unleashes upon the magic world his Amazing Three-Step Miracle Marketing Success System. People have hypothetically offered to buy this system for over $1 million! But he's not going to charge that, because he wants to give back to the magic community that has given so much to him. This no-holds-barred marketing approach is guaranteed to produce results that will get you more gigs, virtually overnight! Well, results not guaranteed, and "night" at the North Pole is approximately six months long.

Classic Correspondence

Mike Caveney

Classic Correspondence Lloyd Jones to Dave Fiscus (Part 2)

We rejoin Lloyd Jones' letter to Dave Fiscus, written in 1958. The letter represented a master's thesis on the state of the magic world in America during the middle of the 20th century. Lloyd continues to point out the pros and cons — well, mostly cons — of becoming a full-time professional magician:

For What It's Worth

Mark Kornhauser

For What It's Worth Judgment Day

There is not a formal body of literature that can properly be called "magic criticism." Certainly there is nothing that compares to the formal body of criticism for literature, art, and film. Written, "legitimate" criticism of magic is relatively rare. If there is not legitimate criticism of the art form, how are we supposed to refine our art and pass guidance down to subsequent generations? (By the way, how good a job have we done with that recently?)

Walkabout Soup

Simon Coronel

Walkabout Soup Life, Death, and the Hollywood Fringe Festival

As I write this, I'm in the middle of a week of severe crunch-time preparing for a solo show in the Hollywood Fringe Festival. The show opens in four days. It involves a lot of new material. Much of this material requires complicated R&D, weird shopping lists, and unusual construction techniques. You know, business as usual for anyone attempting to create an original magic show.

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