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Subject: alt.magic FAQ part 1/4
This article was archived around: 02 Feb 1998 15:53:46 -0500
Frequently asked questions in alt.magic/part1 (of 4)
Last modified: Tue Dec 2 12:40:34 EST 1997
Please send suggested corrections and additions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
This document is available on the Web at
This section lists what's new or modified in the FAQ this month....
1. Reorganized video section to match book topics. Additional titles
I. GUIDELINES/ETIQUETTE FOR POSTING
II. MAGICAL EVENTS
III. MAGIC ORGANIZATIONS
IV. ELECTRONIC MAGIC STUFF (CD ROM, on-line info)
V. BOOKS ON MAGIC
VI. OTHER MAGIC REFERENCES
VII. LIST OF DEALERS
I. GUIDELINES/ETIQUETTE FOR POSTING
alt.magic is a public newsgroup with an estimated readership of 41,000+
ALL postings should be made with this in mind.
Q) What is the purpose of this group?
A) This group is for the discussion of magic as entertainment, including
but not limited to close-up, sleight of hand, platform, stage, and
For discussions of pagan, occult, and spiritual magic try alt.magick
(note the "k"), alt.paranormal, alt.divination, or alt.pagan. The are
also alt.skeptic, alt.hypnosis, and alt.paranormal for other non-magic
For discussing "Magic" the card game try "alt.cardgame.magic".
Q) Why not alt.conjuring, alt.prestidigitation, or alt.magic.tricks?
A) Because escape artists are magicians who don't partake in "conjuring".
Illusionists don't partake in prestidigitation (sleight of hand). And
many magicians (myself included) don't like to refer to magic as tricks
or trickery because of the negative connotation that you are out to
"get" the audience. The emphasis should be on entertainment, not merely
a puzzle, etc. (From: email@example.com (Jason Y Nocks))
Q) What topics should -not- be discussed in this group?
A) Since this is a public forum some of us would prefer not to openly
discuss the secrets behind the workings of magical effects. The
following are some of the reasons given to support this policy:
1) You ruin the illusion for others.
2) Magic as an art only exists when the performance appears impossible.
Focusing on "how it is done" reduces the art to a puzzle.
3) Magic as an art exists to entertain. To allow an audience to focus
on the performance and not the gimmick is the ENTIRE REASON for the
performance. The curiosity you feel when you're fooled by magic is
part of the entertainment. When the curiosity is removed, so is some
of the entertainment.
4) Although the public thinks it wants to know what we are doing they
are disappointed when they find out.
5) Some folks count on the elements of surprise and subtlety in their
techniques to feed their kids and pay rent.
6) The secrets are not yours to give. The creators of certain effects
have typically written books or produced effects in order to 'stake
their claim' and to be compensated for their work.
Q) What topics should be discussed in this group?
A) All the other aspects of magic. For example,
1) Magic as entertainment
2) The performance of magic
2a) Embarrassing moments and how to handle them
2b) Views on borrowing/imitating
2c) Putting together a show
3) Magic performances
3b) Performances you may have seen
4) Favorite effects
5a) Favorite magicians
5b) Yourself and your performances
6) Where to learn more
6a) People willing to teach
6b) Books, tapes, magazines, clubs
6c) Magic dealers
7) Magic as a business
7b) How to advertise
Q) What other sources are available on-line to find out more about magic?
A1) Many of the subscribers to this list are willing to further discuss
magic via e-mail with anyone expressing a sincere interest.
A2) There are hundreds of pages on the World Wide Web devoted to magic and
A3) Jeff Isozaki posts four monthly lists of Magic in Movies and Magic in
TV indicating movies, actors, and scenes in which magic appears. Jeff
posts this list to alt.magic on or around the first business day of the
month. It can also be accessed via WWW at the URL address:
Special copies of the list will NOT be sent out upon request so
please do not request such.
A4) MagicNZ is a FirstClass Graphical BBS in Auckland, New Zealand
Internet: fc.magic.gen.nz Port 510
Web Site: http://www.magic.gen.nz/magicnzbbs.html
Q) How I get into the Magic Castle to see a show ?
A) The Magic Castle is for members only and their guests. Visiting
magicians (out of town and members of IBM/SAM may also be admitted)
Q) Is there a possibility this news group could be altered in some way so
that people wouldn't accidently keep posting things that belong in
A) It is easiest to just ignore these articles. Many newsreaders have a
feature called a "kill-file" which will mark articles containing certain
patterns as having been read or delete the article.
Q) Hasn't it been proven that most of magicK is actually magic?
A) Many magicians have become involved in debunking charlatans who claim to
have supernatural powers, most notably Houdini and more recently The
Magicians can duplicate almost any miracle. There is a branch of magic
that has blossomed in the last 20 years that uses occult science as a
theme. Some of the material is strong enough to start a new religion.
Here is one effect that gives you an example....
It is an occult alter. A young novice wearing a robe steps up to the
magi. Several occult steps are performed. After building up to a climax,
the magi takes a ceremonial dagger and raises it high in the air. He
quickly plunges the dagger down, and the novice screams. The robe then
falls to the floor, empty. The novice has vanished. If you were at a
coven meeting and saw this, you would certainly be affected.
Smaller/simpler miracles are much easier - of course. When someone
describes a paranormal event, a magician knows how trivial it is to fool
someone. Of course he/she is skeptical.
(Example from: Bruce Barnett [firstname.lastname@example.org])
See also alt.skeptic.
Q) Can experienced magicians give some tips on how to read a magic catalog?
How can we spot tricks that are over advertised?
A) It's amazing what people will say for money. The trouble is that you'll
find a lot of misleading but correct ads in a strict legal way. Look
for reviews of the items before you buy. Go and watch a demo, and then,
if the demo looked wonderful, you need to have someone tell you whether
this can be done by someone at your skill level.
Suggested questions: Do you really need this item? Is it useful in more
than one way? Or is it limited to the effect described? Will it gain in
value over the years? Is it a limited edition? Will it help you in
your act? Do you plan to USE it?
Q) Do you believe that it is detrimental to the art of magic to post
"insider" information pertaining to the methods used to achieve a
A) POLLING RESULTS: compiled by Hans Masing.(HCM100@PSUVM.psu.edu)
There were 48 responses within the allotted polling time. 35 were
magicians, 13 were laypersons.
The average age of magicians in the poll is 32.2 (mean of 26). The
typical layperson is 31.7 (mean of 27).
For magicians, the average experience is 12.9 years, however there were
a few outliers with more than 30 years that skewed the results.
Eliminating these outliers, the average experience drops to 2 years.
Of the 35 magicians who responded, 46% of you say that methods should
not be revealed, 43% say that they should, and 11% are undecided.
Not surprisingly, of the 13 laypeople who responded, 33% said that it is
detrimental, 54% said it is not detrimental, with 13% undecided.
Q) What is the best kind of magic? Who is the best magician?
A) As in every other area of human endeavor, those with personality would
prefer that the quality of magic were measured by personality. Others
would prefer that it were measured by technique, creativity, success,
humor or originality. Of course, it is always the mechanically adept
that would prefer technique to be the ultimate criterion, the successful
(and their lackeys) who would prefer that success was the measure, etc.
Perhaps we could take a break from the polarizing polemic, and recognize
that making magic is a difficult business. Good illusions, good parlour
and good close-up magic all have roughly equivalent wonder-generation.
A good close-up artist will cause an exquisite level in wonder to a very
few, while a good illusionist will create a more modest degree of wonder
in a large crowd. If you want to optimize for money, of course you'd
prefer the large crowd. If you want to optimize for entertainment, I'd
guess parlour magic has got to be the winner.
From: Doug Peters [email@example.com]
Q) What advice to successful magicians have for aspiring magicians?
A) From: TELLER
1. Read everything about magic that you can get your hands on. My
favorite basic texts (and I consult them to this day) are, THE
AMATEUR MAGICIAN'S HANDBOOK, and LEARN MAGIC by Henry Hay; CLASSIC
SECRETS OF MAGIC by Bruce Elliot; THE ROYAL ROAD TO CARD MAGIC by
Hugard and Braue; and THIRTEEN STEPS TO MENTALISM by Tony Corinda.
Chase them down.
2. Learn to do the cut and restored rope. Polish it so that you can
absolutely mystify people with it. This is a great, great trick
that will stand you in good stead. I still use it in our show (in a
3. Learn some version of the Cups and Balls (there is a wonderful
one-cup routine in the Bruce Elliot book above). #2 and #3 formed
the basis of the act I did for years.
4. Wait 10 years before doing the Linking Rings. It's overdone just at
this time in our history.
5. Learn a powerful trick for the ending to your show. Warning:
production tricks are really hard and eat up all your time folding
silks and fake flowers.
6. Remember you are a kid. You look like a kid. Don't think you'll
fool people into thinking you are an old sage from the Himalayas.
7. Do a short act. Don't worry about getting paid yet. Do six minutes
that is wonderful and amazing. You will be able to handle longer
stints as the material develops.
8. The "Miser's Dream" is a really easy trick that's really hard to
learn to do in a concise, entertaining way. Learn it. Learn to
vary your methods. Learn to do it fast. Lots of coins, quickly,
then a beat of comedy. Then more coins, then more comedy. Then an
ending. Get hold of a videotape of Al Flosso doing the Miser's
Dream. Watch how entertaining that old coot is.
9. Perform as often as you can. You will never get good until you
stand on stage for a zillion hours and learn how to do it for real.
It's nice to daydream about grand effects, but if you get out there
-- by whatever means you have to use -- and perform, perform,
perform, you will improve.
10. Behave towards your audience with sincere respect. You are not
superior because you know a few tricks. They are the people you OWE
a wonderful show to.
11. No matter how badly a show goes, remember it's just a show.
Tomorrow there will be a different show and you can redeem
12. Make sure you remember all your ideas. Maybe some stink now only
because you don't yet know enough to make them good. Ideas are
precious. Keep notes.
13. Stick with it. If you truly love what you are doing, you will love
rehearsing, laboring, getting stage fright, wasting money, even
failing. Love magic and your audience so powerfully that you are
locked in the jaws of its love. When the cub scouts throw things,
love the pain; it will teach you. Stick with it. Getting good
takes, not weeks, not months, but years. Years. Be prepared.
II. MAGICAL EVENTS
Send your list of ongoing magical events including: brief description,
location, cost, and admission requirements to firstname.lastname@example.org
email@example.com (Chris Ragaisis)
firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeff Isozaki)
email@example.com (Paul Nielsen)
FLANAGA@ricevm1.rice.edu (Scott Flanagan)
Upcomming events and one time showings merit separate postings.
Clubs for magic:
Comedy and Magic
Hermosa Beach, CA
Does this place still exist? Do they still perform magic?
El Duco's Magic, HB
S-215 79 MALMOE
Keystone, Indiana (Just North of Indianapolis)
This is a members only magic club. Probably the best place to watch magic
since they have 3 different magic venues, large stage platform and
The Magic Castle is a membership systemed night club. If you are not
a member, you have to have a guest card or go to there with a member.
There are some rules on the back of the guest card.
1. Absolutely no one under 21 admitted. Proof of age required.
2. Strict dress code. Coats and ties for men, dresses for ladies.
No casual wear. (No jeans.)
3. This card is non-transferable, good for one visit only and must
be surrendered at the door. Expired cards not accepted.
4. Guests must have dinner and make reservations well in advance
(1 week recommended.) There is an entrance charge of $?????
for each guest in addition to the dinner price. For reservations
call 851-3313 between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday thru
Saturday. Please notify the Castle if you plan to cancel.
5. This card honored for dinner Sunday night thru Thursday only
by advance reservation. Shows follow dinner and are open to
all guests. This card not honored on Friday and Saturday.
If you go there with a member, you can go on any day of the week
and you don't have to have a dinner, you don't have to pay the
We went with a coupon for about $25 per person. That included dinner, a
live stage show with two acts, and two close up shows. Without the coupon,
prices vary, depending on what you order. $50 per person is probably a
reasonable minimum estimate, but they may have gone up. The food was good,
and the entertainment ranged from fair to excellent.
Minneapolis Night Club
They have magicians Wed-Sat nights.
For some magic talk at 38th and Madison in Manhattan.
Check it out on Saturday afternoon.
Straight out of Woody Allen's "Broadway Danny Rose"!
This is the place in Snowmass Village, just outside Aspen Colorado owned by
singer John Denver. Doc Eason and Eric Mead share the magical duties there
working 4 nights a week with Friday night being "tag team night". The
Tower has been a magic bar since 1975 (20 years old this year) with Bob
Sheets being the original magic guy. Kevin Dawson, Peter Elliot, John
Lonergan have also put in time as regulars. Special events have featured
Ammar, Carney, Givan, Murdock, Goldstein, Close, Spill, JCWagner and
others. For further info email firstname.lastname@example.org (Doc & Alison Eason)
National Improvisational Theater
New York, NY
Le Grande David and His Own Spectacular Magic Company
Cabot St. Theater
In Atlantic City:
Bunny Collins, Brooks Comer, Bully Damion, Dale Vargus
R.J. Lewis, Carl Ash Marn Ann Calkins, Arian Black
In the Bahamas:
Carnival's Crystal Palace
In Las Vegas:
The Las Vegas magicians' round table is held on Wednesday nights. You
never know who will show up in the land of magic. All magi are welcome.
Just give a call to any of the shops when you're there and they'll fill you
There are alot of magic shows in Las Vegas. Some of the shows are:
"Alakazam" - ?????
"City Lites" with Joseph - Flamingo Hilton
"Elaine's Restaurant" with Mike Skinner - Golden Nugget
"Jubilee" with Bob Arno and Hans Panter - Ballys
"Roman Festival" with Jordan Hahn and David Kesterson - Caesars
"Spellbound" with Joaquin Ayala & Lilia, Tim Kole & Jenny Lynn, Mark
"Splash" with Shimada - Riviera
Kevin Barnes, Teresa Liu, and Joe White - Excalibur
Lance Burton - Monte Carlo
Melinda - Lady Luck
Siegfried and Roy - Mirage
Vince Carmen and Phyllis Guggenheim - Circus Circus
Plus many others
From: silverman@kelvin.Jpl.Nasa.Gov (Steve Silverman)
Michael Skinner at the Golden Nugget.
He is the resident magician and strolls between Lily Langtree's and
Stefanos restaurant. Michael has been referred to as one of the
worlds finest close-up performers by some very notable people. I
was fortunate enough to have dinner with him during my last visit
and must say that he is also a very nice person and real gentleman.
From: Andy Latto [email@example.com]
A very entertaining show, and an amazingly good value for
the money (only about $10). Some of the effects were old
chestnuts, like chopping off an audience member's head with a
guillotine, but there were some very nice illusions, and some
good slight of hand with birds. In addition to the magic, there
are two very good specialty acts: Anthony Gatto, one of the two or
three best jugglers in the world, and a group that plays basketball
and jumps rope on unicycles.
"Spellbound" starring The Pendragons
In Beverly MA -
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jack Poulter)
Le Grande David etc...
This company of performers also presents shows several
times a month at the Larcom Theatre also in Beverly MA. A visual
banquet at most reasonable rates. Highly recommended.
III. MAGIC ORGANIZATIONS
The following organizations exist to promote magic and further its
development. Each produces a magazine and sponsors local club meetings.
International Brotherhood of Magicians
P.O. Box 192090
St. Louis, MO 63119
Society of American Magicians
Richard Blowers, National Administrator
P.O. Box 510260
St. Lousis MO 63151
The following is a list of magic clubs in Belgian
From: Geert.Janssen@f832.n292.z2.fidonet.org (Geert Janssen)
Here's a list of the belgian magic clubs!
INNER MAGIC CIRCLE President
MERTENS Jean Paul Deerlijksestraat 15 A 8500 KORTRIJK
THIJS Louis Bieststraat 46 3360 LOVENJOEL
NIJS Bart Broekhout 13 3012 WILSELE
MAGISCHE CIRKEL GENT
DE GEETER Kristof Steenweg 296 A 9810 EKE-NAZARETH
BRAEM Marc Ottergemsesteenweg 125 9000 GENT
VLAAMSE GOOCHELAARS VAN BELGIE
JANSSEN Marc Arbeidsstraat 11 2500 LIER
JANSSENS Magdalena Heiligstraat 99 2620 HEMIKSEM
ISBECQUE Claude 20, Square F. Riga 1030 BRUSSEL
BERGERON Docteur 12, Rue Paul Bossu 1150 BRUSSEL
CLUB (IN CHARLEROI)
FALQUE Robert 219, Rue Des Haies 6001 MARCINELLE
SCHRAEPEN Vliegveldstraat 51 3500 HASSELT
VAN GOOL Fernand Vinkenstraat 1 2250 OLEN
IBM RING 298
JANSSEN Marc Arbeidsstraat 11 2500 LIER
BRENGMAN Gerrit Grensstraat 1 1860 MEISE
LES 52 DE LIEGE
PLERS Rudy 120, Rue Paul Du Fort 4100 SERAING
Peter Willis (INT-323-4751980)
Dirk Remacle email@example.com
MAGIC CLUB BELGE
THIRIART F. 194, Boulevard D'Avroy 4000 LIEGE
JACOBS Jan Schimpenstraat 5 3500 HASSELT
MAGISCHE CIRKEL KORTRIJK
LINK Rob 'T Rode Paard 16 8510 BELLEGEM
OPEN MAGIC CIRCLE
VRIENDENKRING VAN GOOCHELAARS
STAES Willy Wijngaardstraat 94 9000 GENT
IV. ELECTRONIC MAGIC
There are a hundreds (thousands) of magic related Web sites and most of
them have pointers to other magic sites. Here are a few of my favorites to
get you started:
Robinson Wizard's All Magic Guide
The Magic Page
The Linking Page
World of Illusion CD-ROM is published by Alan Ran Multimedia Group
Contact Ed Pierce firstname.lastname@example.org
Houghton Miflin Interactive published a CDROM for Windows and Macintosh
called "Inside Magic". It contains Quicktime videos of probably 60+ card,
coin and prop tricks, and comes with a "bag of tricks" containing a set of
marked cards and two coins and 3 rope segments. The Quicktime videos are
entirely under your control - you can slo-mo, single-frame, go backward,
etc. There is a "presentation" mode to see how to present it and a
"reveal" mode to see how it's done. There are also videos of more complex
routines that use combinations of tricks. The give you a "recipe" for each
of the steps. A reference web page for "Inside Magic" is
There are a number of BBS magic discussions. This list is current as of
System Country Sysop Phonenumber
MAGIC!-US (MAGIC! HQ) USA David Lichtman +1-8188967450
MAGIC!-NL The Netherlands A.Van Rietschoten +31-23588725
MAGIC!-BE Belgium Geert Janssen +32-34806666
MAGIC!-NZ New Zealand Alan Watson email@example.com
Chris Parkinson firstname.lastname@example.org
MagicNZ Bulletin Board's internet connection via the web:
MAGIC!-SE Sweden Olav Holten +46-86044555
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