Die Zauber-Lage am Sonntag


Der 52 Freunde Stand-Up Kongress von Jan Logemann und Freunden geht heute in die letzte Runde. Um 15:30 Uhr steht ein Seminar mit Jeff McBride an. Die Eröffnungsgala am Freitag wurde kurzfristig großzügig über diverse Mail-Verteiler kostenlos angeboten und kann derzeit noch hier angesehen werden – eine tolle Geste!

Quelle: Jan Logemann/YouTube


Wittus Witt hat alle Sammlerfreunde darauf aufmerksam gemacht, dass in der bald anstehenden ersten Auktion der Sammlung von Ken Klosterman auch Punx‘ eigener Zauberkasten mit vielen Originalrequisiten unter den Hammer kommt. Der Schätzpreis beträgt 1.000 bis 2.000 Dollar. Wäre es nicht schön, wenn dieses Objekt des bedeutenden Zauberers und Mentalmagiers wieder nach Deutschland gelangen würde?!

Quelle: Potter&Potter


Ein anderer ganz Großer der Zauberszene wird nun endlich in einer Monografie gewürdigt: Fred Kaps (1926-1980). Das Buch Fred Kaps, Master Magician von Michel van Zeist erschien bereits vor einigen Jahren auf holländisch, nun soll es in drei Wochen in englischer Sprache vorliegen. Es kostet 69,95 Euro plus Porto und kann hier bestellt werden.


Nicht nur die Stiftung Zauberkunst ist auf Instagram aktiv, sondern u.a. auch das Maison de la Magie Robert-Houdin in Blois, Frankreich. Zuletzt hat es diesen wunderbaren Cartoon veröffentlicht, leider ohne nähere Quellenangabe:

Quelle: Maison de la Magie


Apropos französische Zauberszene: “Aladin”-Macher Hanno Rhomberg hat kürzlich magische Sehenswürdigkeiten bei unseren Nachbarn besucht und berichtet darüber in einer dreiteiligen Serie in seinem Blog. Lesenswert!



An Alternative History of Sponge Ball Magic

In our ongoing quest to enlighten you about the deep foundations and past masters of our beloved art, I am sharing an interesting piece of recent research from Dr. S. Q. Weezey, a distinguished lecturer and magic aficionado at the Applied University of Shwumbol, which is located in the magical Ben-Son Bool valley in Namibia, Africa. So here are some exciting excerpts!


According to these findings, the hitherto history of sponge ball magic surely needs some heavy editing now. New documents squeezed out of old photoshops (or vice versa?) suggest we have to switch some credits quickly for others.

For example, it seems very likely now that the legendary Larry Hooray was not actively involved in the sponge ball craze, even though he had single-handedly invented card magic, book-writing, memory systems, and this darn internet thing. Neither was the often-quoted Whal Eatley, who ran a Chinese Takeaway in New York City and in fact inadvertently (and painfully) invented the armchopper illusion while chop-chopping vegetable day in, day out.

To set the historical record straight, Kred Faps was likely the first professional magician in Europe to apply standard manipulation techniques to sponge balls, as this early press shot below should amply prove. (Although the photo was later reshot by his new manager, a reformed (?) gambler, who pressed Faps to have the sponges replaced with dice.)



In America, Vai Dernon started his career cutting sponge cubes into balls for a nickel at county fairs and inner city street corners. Then he created his famous “Harlequin Act” around the idea of wearing a sponge ball as a red nose (an idea picked up later by clowns all over the world) that repeatedly vanishes and reappears. He was also fond of doing coin tricks (see below) and card effects with sponges (remember “Twisting the Sponges”), and he never tired of preaching “Use your sponge” and “Squeezing is not magic.”



Master illusionist Hug Denning took the sponge ball hype one soft step further when he wrote and directed an entire musical, Spongebound, in the Seventies. Later in his life, he tried to explore the inner peace and healing power of sponge balls (see below) and applied them to transcendental meditation and levitation. He also used them to brush his teeth and occasionally ate them for a low-carb breakfast.



Next in line was young urban hotshot Breff McJide who shook the world of magic with his wild and mythical stage act that combined sponge balls with fire, joss sticks, African drums, and a plastic Samurai sword. He also applied the old art of chapeaugraphy to extra large sponge balls, thus impersonating famous people throughout history and retelling the Old Testament with his fingers (see below) while repeatedly hitting a cymbal with his nose on a dimly lit stage. Later he founded his very own Sponge Mystery School which continues to squeeze money out of students from all over the world.



Artist and scholar Jicky Ray wrestled with his conceptual vision for years before bringing his sensational one man show, “Jicky Ray and His 52 Sponge Assistants” to off-Broadway, which brought him great acclaim. Sadly, his ambitiously started research project on sponge ball magic hustlers at Victorian fairs (see below), in the early oeuvre of Nohann Jepomuk Zofhinser and in the world of gambling was given up for a movie career.



Today’s undisputed master of the trade is Tuan Jamaríz of Spain. Particularly his work on memorized sponge ball magic (see below) still leaves experts and fans baffled and fooled all over the world. For 25 years now he has been working on his two-volume opus magnum, The Spongy Way and The Expert at the Kitchen Sink, the latter one focusing on natural sponge ball tricks performed in the privacy of your home, usually with wet hands. But he also knows some pretty good card tricks.



Unlike other studies, the research paper we are quoting from concludes that Gal Oshman was among the few top magicians in his time who refused to join the globally growing sponge ball craze. Instead, he rather conservatively stuck to performing with coins and cards until his retirement (see below). On a sidenote, he made a fortune by producing and selling rubber saltshakers to magicians (for reasons which still hide in some dark cave of magic history, warranting further research and awaiting discovery).



So there! Next time you perform some sponge ball magic, please squeeze out a little thank you as a tribute to those real giants on whose spongy shoulders we stand, shaking!

Photoshop credit: Zig Zagger Junior


An Expert at the Card Table

YouTube Screenshot

Like many others, I tend to judge Fred Kaps as the best all-around magician I have ever seen. No matter which objects he manipulated, it always looked incredibly smooth and effortless. The impression was enhanced by his likeable persona and the joy – and sometimes astonishment – which he radiated. A shame and a big loss that he passed away so early. But his magic and his legend will live on at least for another couple of decades.

Here’s some rare old TV footage that shows Kaps in his prime in an informal card session. It’s in Dutch, but you will certainly get the magic. Watch the video over on YouBurp and enjoy!


Career Choices (1): Fred Kaps

Clever choice No. 1: Abraham Pieter Adrianus Bongers deciding very early in his magic career to take up a stage name.

Clever choice No. 2: Abraham Bongers deciding still early in his career to change his stage name from Valdini to Mystica and then to Fred Kaps.

Bad choice No. 1: Fred Kaps performing on the “Ed Sullivan Show” in 1964 immediately after The Beatles. (O.K., not his fault.)

Bad choice No. 2: Fred Kaps performing “The Homing Card” on that occasion – on black & white television.

Clever choice No. 3: Always using professional and outstanding promotional material, like this famous “dice shot” (black & white graphic re-rendering by me):

Find out more about Fred Kaps, the only three time FISM Grand Prix Winner (the World Champion of Magic), here and here.

Magic and YouTube: Four Observations

1. There’s a magic sucker born every minute. And about an hour later, he will put his first magic tutorial on YouTube.


2. YouTube generates highly efficient magic: In many videos the explanation is already included in the performance.


3. YouTube magic is a lot like watching porn movies (so I was told…): You can hardly wait to get to the climax.


4. An estimation: If YouTube was switched off for just one day, the global sea level of magic would rise about two meters instantly. Well, that would probably sink Holland; but hey – everything comes at a price! (And Fred Kaps and Tommy Wonder have already been saved anyway. God bless them.)