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 fooled 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 wouldn’t fool P&T. He then challenged them to decide if being fooled by the remaining ten percent was good enough to receive the highly coveted FU trophy.

Eric’s ploy worked, and he walked away with the prize. But that gaudy piece of plastic is absolutely not the point of my comments, nor is it the reason magicians got excited by what they saw. Eric’s performance excited everyone because it exemplified everything an audience consciously (or subconsciously) expects a magician to provide: a great effect, a superb handling, an intriguing presentation (expertly delivered), and virtuoso chops.

  • Michael Close

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 Lecture

  • Michael Close

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

Salute to our friend Daryl 0

February of 2017 ended with horrible news – news that sent waves of shock and sorrow through the magic community. Daryl Easton – Daryl “The Magician’s Magician” – had taken his life. On social media expressions of grief were profound and sincere. For almost forty years Daryl had been a vibrant force, with performances and lectures for audiences around the world. He seemed to have an indefatigable enthusiasm for magic and magicians. That he would choose to depart the planet was a situation many (myself included) found hard to accept.
  • Michael Close

Thoughts on Magic Conventions 0

These days, there are many magic conventions vying for your dollars. Many are large-scale affairs, with attendance ranging from five-hundred to sixteen-hundred magicians. You go, you sit and watch a close-up show projected on a big screen, you buy an expensive trick that ends up at the bottom of your magic drawer, and you never have the opportunity to talk to (much less spend time with) the magicians you could learn from.

While I have attended my share of big conventions, my preference now is for smaller gatherings. In Canada, two gatherings have been particularly impactful. The first is a small, invitation-only gathering in Toronto. Thirty-one magicians perform, share information, and socialize over a weekend. There are scheduled events, but there is also time to just talk.

  • Michael Close

Sorcerers Safari Magic Camp Ends 0

On January 11, 2017, the following information was released by Mike and Jen Segal:

“All great things must come to an end!”

To all campers, friends, and family of Sorcerers Safari Magic Camp:

After twenty amazing years of Magic Camp, it is with heavy hearts we announce that our amazing ride has come to an end.

From the bottom of our hearts we want to thank all our staff, artists, sponsors, and special guests who made camp such a success. Please be proud of your contributions; together we fulfilled the dreams of many young magicians worldwide!

We want to give a warm thank you to Camp Tamarack, Camp White Pine, and Camp Northland for being our gracious hosts over the years.

  • Michael Close