Sundry Summer Surfin’

Look at me and you will get dizzy, very dizzy!

Here’s an amazing new optical illusion that sucks you right into its black hole! According to some research done, about 86% of people looking at it do realize that eery, pulsating movement. I do, and I hope you do, too! The illusion was created by Japanese psychologist Akiyoshi Kitaoka at Ritsumeikan University in Kobe. You can find some background on the phenomenon here in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

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It’s only a tiny ad in the current issue of Genii (July 2022), but it announces something virtually greater than great: Richard Kaufman‘s revised and updated edition of Greater Magic from 1938, scrapping outdated stuff and adding the greatest mysteries of the second half of the 20th century from all magic genres. It seems like The New Greater Magic will consist of 3 volumes with about 900 pages each. Phew, that’s certainly some heavy-lifting! I should start saving money and doing some workout soon!

Many sections and chapters seem to be written already, but now Richard is looking for an illustrator who would like to do 1,000 or more drawings swiftly and quickly, which means there is no official publication date yet. As long as it’s before 2038, I’m fine with that!

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Jim Steinmeyer must be one of my favorite illusioneers, imagineers and magic authors. He is super knowledgeable, super creative, and a superb writer as well. Recently, he has refurbished his website, and he is regularly adding blog posts now under the heading “What we hide”. I find them (you guessed it) super interesting and insightful. Discover them here!

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Another master mind of our art and craft is David Berglas, “the international man of mystery”. I must have missed its start, but the David Berglas Scrapbooks website is another exciting discovery for the magic history aficionado. You can watch, hear and learn a lot about his career and some of his biggest publicity stunts, including the legendary vanishing piano.

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In this context, I also have to mention magic historian James Edwards again. Amazing what stories – some heartbreaking, some uplifting – he keeps digging up for his blog on Magic at War! His latest piece is on The Great Cortini, a Dutch-Indonesian magician (spelled Cortiny in other sources and not to be confused with his contemporary, German coin manipulator and illusionist Cortini). He also has just announced an upcoming book. Besides, James runs a separate website dedicated to Jasper Maskelyne.

Another recent article on Jasper Maskelyne struggling with war and truth can be found here. It includes a number of interesting photos.

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Now here’s an encore I guess nobody would have expected: Supreme Magic is back on the scene! Founded by Edwin Hooper in 1953, Supreme quickly became a household name for magicians all over the world, due to their colorful and imaginative line of props and tricks, an endless flow of publications of value, and excellent customer service. Now they are back as Magic Supreme Ltd., and it seems that they still have a warehouse full of old tricks to sell! They say they own all publishing and manufacturing rights, but they won’t manufacture anything again. Once the crates are empty, the story’s over. So take a look around their new website and see what you may have missed 30 or 60 years ago, or just marvel at the simple beauty and innocence of a magic era long gone!

Old logo, new again

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Speaking of the good old days of magic, more than a 100 wonderous items have been added recently to the vast Davenport Collection, which you can easily access online. They have also just launched the Davenport Instagram Collection. Oh, and then there is the Davenport Film Collection YouTube Channel as a companion, just in case you were wondering… Happy browsing and watching!

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With the Magic Castle property and rights being taken over by entrepreneur, millionaire and magic buff Randy Pitchford in April, it is hoped that the legendary California club home of magic is leaving behind some problem-ridden years and steering into a bright and safe future! However, there may be more trouble ahead: Joe Furlow, the Castle’s general manager from 2012 to 2020, who left / had to leave over accusations of misconduct, discrimination and sexual harassment within the staff, has announced “to reveal the truth” in his upcoming book, Behind the Curtain: Intrigue at the Palace of Prestidigitation. There is no publication date yet, but a full website full of dramatic PR blurb, finger-pointing and self-aggrandizement. This will get interesting… and likely dirty.

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UK Magician and artist Jay Fortune keeps creating some lovely artwork for your magic den or living room. Here’s his latest work on Dai Vernon, which will be published in a limited edition. You can check out his website here.

Dai Vernon studying Ed Marlo’s “Tilt” (?)

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The Brooklyn Rail is a U.S. non-profit organization that publishes a journal which serves as “an independent forum for arts, culture, and politics throughout New York City and far beyond.” The June 2022 issue features a highly interesting section on the phenomenon of Disappearance, examined from very different angles by more than a dozens authors. Our friend Jonathan Allen has contributed a magic piece on “What the Spectators See” and has pointed me towards this issue, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

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The folks from SoMA (Science of Magic Association) have just released their summer newsletter, and it’s full of interesting stuff on, well, magic and science. Their next conference is also coming up soon. It will be held at the University of London on July 21 and 22.

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Congratulations to all winners of this year’s Allan Slaight Awards, administered through Magicana:

  • Lifetime Achievement: Goldfinger & Dove
  • Sharing Wonder: Dani DaOrtiz
  • Sharing Secrets: Kayla Drescher for her podcast, “Shezam” / Lawrence Hass for his work on Eugene Burger: Final Secrets
  • International Rising Star: Mikayla Oz
  • Canadian Rising Star: Neil Croswell

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This video of an alleged “Starbuck Scam” has gone a bit viral here and there. I may be wrong, but isn’t that Gregory Wilson underneath that baseball cap? It sure sounds like him to me, and given his long series of coffee house magic with his fellow David Gripenwaldt it would make sense… Check it out:

Scam or simple, but effective magic trick?

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The Ehrlich Brothers, Germany’s leading illusionists today, will be playing London again for a one-nighter on August 13 at the OVO Arena in Wembley. Their claim of featuring “The World’s Biggest Illusion Show” may sound rather bold, but honestly, I have yet to see a bigger one touring today. You’re in for a treat with this high-speed mix of modern illusions, family entertainment and lots of fun!

Ehrlich Brothers ad

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Old & New: Just came across this nice quote from Jon Racherbaumer:

“Today’s audiences, born and raised in an electronic environment, want dynamic action, tight direction, different kinds of dazzling stimuli, and a sense of immediacy.”

Well, we’d all agree to that, right? Funny thing is, Racherbaumer is not referring to today’s online video and social media here; he actually wrote this back in 1984, in his book At the Card Table, and he was referring to the “fast-paced time-sense used by television” (remember MTV?). And here we are, almost 40 years later, still bungling and idly dealing down piles of cards… Onwards, and enjoy the summer!

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