Some Thoughts About Piracy in Magic

Some Thoughts About Piracy in Magic 0

Here's an unusual thing that happened at the Ring 129 Workshop convention in St. Joe. During my lecture on Saturday, I somehow got on the topic of ethics, and I mentioned that every now and then someone would contact me with an ethical question. When that happens, I always respond, "You don't have an ethical question; you just want me to say that what you're about to do is okay."

So here's the unusual thing. That evening, one of the presenters told me that some time after my lecture one of the attendees came up to him and told him he had stolen an item from the lecturer's table. He said he felt bad about it, and then gave him

  • Michael Close
Mentor or Consultant?

Mentor or Consultant? 1

We live in a time of unprecedented access to information. The Internet is the genie that answers all questions with the click of a few keystrokes. Unfortunately, that genie is indiscriminate about the nuggets it offers; often what you seek is buried in a sewer full of garbage.

If you think I’m kidding, try it yourself. Type “Elmsley Count Tutorial” into a Google search bar. (For USA readers, you’d better do this now while it’s still free.) Under “All,” you’ll find 40,700 hits; under “Videos,” you’ll find 15,400 hits. Of those thousands of options, which ones give you the correct technique? Which ones explain that, if you think about it logically, the Elmsley count actions don’t make much sense if you are trying to establish some fact about the condition of four cards (all face down, all blue-backed, etc.)? I don’t know the answers to those questions. Which one of those thousands of options will  

  • Michael Close
Wrapping It Up

Wrapping It Up 0

The December 2017 issue of M-U-M brings to a close my tenure as editor of that magazine. When I took the job, Lisa and I lived in Las Vegas and my daughter was two years old. Over the next nine years we moved three times, across the United States and into Canada, and produced 108 issues – which is a pretty good magic trick all by itself. In the beginning there were steep learning curves. Lisa became a wizard at Photoshop and InDesign, and (after editing almost seven million words) I finally understood more about writing.

From the start, I knew what my editorial slant for the magazine would be. I wanted to emphasize books (and the importance of reading them) and practical, real-world advice from working professionals. Fortunately, I was able coerce many of the world’s top pros and part-time pros into...

  • Michael Close
The Power of a Real Magician

The Power of a Real Magician 0

If you participate in social media, you probably are aware of the substantial buzz produced by Eric Mead’s appearance on Penn & Teller: Fool Us. Eric performed the late Tim Conover’s handling of the classic John Ramsey effect, The Cylinder and Coins. Knowing that both Penn and Teller were certainly aware of the subterfuge at the heart of this routine, Eric crafted an intriguing presentation based on what Johnny Thompson calls the “90/10 paradox.”

If a magician performs for a layman, and if he can figure out ten percent of how the trick works, but ninety percent of the trick puzzles him, the layman will say that the trick didn't fool him. But if a magician performs for a fellow conjurer, and he can figure out how ninety percent of the trick works but ten percent of the trick puzzles him, he will say he was fooled. Because the Cylinder and Coins is a classic effect, Eric conceded that ninety percent of it

  • Michael Close
Thoughts on My Recent Magic Theory Lecture

Thoughts on My Recent Magic Theory Lecture 0

On Sunday, August 13, I had the pleasure of presenting a lecture on magic theory for a group of magicians at the Browser’s Den of Magic ( I’d like to thank Jeff Pinsky, owner of the Den, for suggesting I do this lecture. It’s a risky idea; generally speaking, lectures that eschew tricks and focus only on theory are not that popular with magicians. Magicians want tricks. (In the three-and-a-half hours I spoke, I did four tricks, but I didn’t explain them. I only pointed out aspects of their methods that related to the theoretical point I was discussing.)

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the lecture was sold out; it was standing room only in the shop. I was even more pleasantly surprised that almost everyone stayed for the entire talk, that they were absorbed by the subject matter, and that they asked good questions. I send out my heartfelt thanks to all of you who attended.

  • Michael Close
So Mike, what's in it for me?

So Mike, what's in it for me? 0

I’d like to take a quick moment to break down what you get with one of our workshop/retreats compared to attending a standard magic convention. Once you understand exactly what you’ll get from our workshop, you’ll find this to be an experience whose value is way beyond the actual cost.

Current Magic Conventions vs Our Workshop/Retreats....

  • Michael Close