Free Things to Do in Corona Quarantine

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Please note: This list is currently being updated regularly, with further links and suggestions coming in from loyal blog followers and Genii Forum readers. Thank you all!

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Bored to the bone at home? Or even quarantined? Here are some tips on what you could get and do now. In total, it easily adds up to more than 2,000 free pages of magic to digest:

Chief Genii Richard Kaufman has just kindly provided a link to a free read of his classic work, CardWorks. Enjoy!

KaufmanCardWorks

Or take the time to read Paco Nagata‘s fine book, The Passion of an Amateur Card Magician, which is an enlightening labor of love on 554 pages. It’s huge, and you can download it for free here.

Jamy Ian Swiss wrote 71 (!) masterful essays for Magicana featuring and analyzing many of the leading practitioners of magic, accompanied by carefully selected performance videos. You can find them here.

The Science of Magic Association has provided their newsletter readers with a lovely list of “SOMA’s Social Isolation Suggestions,” which includes several links both to videos and interesting websites. Check it out here.

Magic historian and publisher Marco Pusterla kindly offers you free access to any back issue of his “Ye Olde Magic Mag.” Learn here how to get access.

Or check out Paul Romhany‘s VANISH magazine. It’s a change bag full of diverse topics, and I feel there’s always at least one interesting piece in each issue. The eight latest issues can be downloaded for free here.

Go see my recent post on some of my personal heroes and wizards of the world wide web. There’s a lot more free stuff to get and to digest via the links I have compiled there.

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Head over to lybrary.com or to any other magic dealer. Check out their free downloads, but also try to spend a few bucks, if you can, to help support the magic community in the new age of anxiety. And get some new books, manuscripts, or tricks in order to learn and improve in the arts. Just two examples that will keep you busy for a while:

Lybrary.com offers, among many other things, three volumes of Lives of the Conjurers by Professor Solomon for free here. Hundreds of pages for a nice and easy read. In fact, they currently have a total of 135 (!) publications that you can get for free – see them all here.

Vanishing Inc. has, among other things, Magic in Mind for free. A few years ago, Joshua Jay “set out to assemble some of the most important, influential, and helpful essays on magic ever written, and make them available to all serious students of magic for free.” That’s 500 pages of great thinking and inspiration!

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Whoops, we have just missed a weekend of free access to Kozmo‘s site, Reel Magic, which he offered in order to “enjoy the weekend, learn some magic and forget about all of this crap that’s happening around us.” Nice! However, one issue of of his DVD series (No. 41) remains accessible for free. Check it out here.

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Chris Michael and Danny Orleans (the latter a co-founder of AmazeKids) are working on a preschool theme show. In their words, it’s “about how to prevent the spread of the virus. You can bet it’ll be a perfect program for them when schools re-open.” Both are currently writing a complete script for it, but they allow you to create your own themed show based around their ideas, which I find quite amazing, kids, and very generous. The Title is “Scrub-a-Dub-Dub” and you can download a free outline here.

Silly Billy (David Kaye) was quick in putting together a free ebook called “11 Things Every Performer Should Do During The Coronavirus Qurantine.” It’s useful and a quick, fun read.

KayeCorona

Videos: As the Portland Magic Jam also had to be cancelled, each of the four headliners (Max Maven, Shawn Farquhar, Stephen Bargatze, and John Shryock kindly agreed to do a small online lecture – for free. It’s scheduled for Sunday, March 28, 1:00 p.m. in Portland, Oregon (which should be Pacific Standard Time). Check it out here.

Haven’t heard much from the UK’s Magiflix project recently, but they do have a small free video section available here where you can learn the “Pre-Prefiguration” card trick (by Jennings/Elsdon), which is astonishing, simple, and totally impromptu.

The inimitable David Stone has uploaded a quick and funny short Corona Card Virus Trick here which you really shouldn’t miss!

And then there’s coin master and all-around wizard Helge Thun, who keeps us spellbound with his Chinese-American Corona Virus Coin War:

If you are rather into High Brow entertainment, why don’t you check out Teller‘s production of Macbeth which he directed a few years ago?

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Plus: Already looking forward to this treas(h)ure from Milk Can Magic Motion Pictures!

HarryandHarryIG

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Work on new ideas, thoughts, moves, tricks, and presentations! Time is on your hands. Bingeviewing may make you happy, bingeforumsurfing may make you miserable, but both options won’t make you much smarter or better in anything…

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Read or learn other stuff outside of magic. The other day, my younger boy created this fine rendition for me of America’s Premier Illusionist, Master Deceptionist, Bizarrist and Contortionist, THE GREAT DONALDILI. And it just took him a few minutes. Pure magic! I’d like to learn that, too! (So far, I can only move around stuff in Powerpoint, see above…)

Donald Sternenkrieger

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Make plans for the future, or at least give it a thought: How will we emerge from this global crisis? What changes are likely to happen in your personal environment, your business or maybe in your career? Do you already have a plan B? What do you want to change?

There may be lots of problems ahead; but what about the opportunities? If you’re a magician, conjure up some good spirit for yourself and for others and get to work!

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Finally: Use your head! Be cautious, be sensible, take care of your loved ones and yourself, and please stay safe!


 

Jolting Erdnase (2)

Karr Expert

Huh, now it’s getting really exciting!

Within a few days, another major work on Erdnase has been announced, this time by Todd Karr. He claims nothing less than a “massive new biography of the actual author” including “rare photos of the author performing moves from the book” plus “the author’s own annotations to The Expert at the Card Table,” and “all evidence carefully documented; no speculation.”

Quite a promise! Let’s see if Karr delivers and if his two-volume book will actually be “coming summer 2020”!

Richard Kaufman has just called Karr’s candidate “beyond preposterous,” though. And Denis Behr writes, “I’m fascinated, but skeptical.”

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I’ll sit back and enjoy the upcoming skirmishes and revelations, but I certainly won’t break any of my Golden Rules of Magic:

(1) The secret is not the secret.

(2) Be prepared.

(3) Be natural.

(4) You cannot buy miracles.

(5) Never preorder.

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Nonetheless, it’s probably time to lay our bets on the table now and to take sides before these two exciting books will be out!

As far as I’m concerned, I’d love to learn one day that Dr. JameS W. E lliott, known both as “Champion Card Manipulator of the World” amongst magicians and “The Boston Kid” amongst card sharps, was in fact ErDmaSe…uumm…Erdnase! Not the most improbable candidate I have seen… Maybe research should shift more towards him?


 

Tenyo würdigt Werry

1954 erfand und vermarktete Werner Geissler-Werry das “Schlangenseil” – ein Seil, das in eine Tüte voller Spielkarten gehalten wird und dort eine vorher gewählte Karte in einer Schlinge “einfängt”. Das Kunststück ist bis heute in Variationen auf dem magischen Markt erhältlich. Nun, ganze 66 Jahre später, kommt es auch in der 2020-Kollektion von Tenyo zu neuen Ehren, unter dem Titel “Miracle Fishing” (T-293) und mit einem neuen Gimmick von Kenichi Komiya.

Tenyo Werry

Schade nur, dass Richard Kaufman im aktuellen Genii Magazine (Dezember 2019) den Urheber fälschlich als “Werry Geissler” bezeichnet…

Alle neuen Tenyo-Tricks für 2020 gibt es hier zu sehen.


 

Establishing Meta Magic (2)

There is another form of meta magic that comes to mind, and it is more about discrepancies which are not always spotted easily:

  • Magic tricks on television that are achieved rather by TV tricks than by magic methods
  • When forum threads about magic books are sooo much better than the books themselves
  • Genii editor Richard Kaufman telling you in the digital video supplement of the magazine what you will find in the very same issue that you are already reading
  • When the performance and the explanation are essentially and inadvertently one and the same video on YouBurp
  • Magicians performing a bad trick badly and then telling you why it’s a good trick and how successful they are with it (not as uncommon as you might think, you inveterate optimist!)
  • Along similar lines: When, according to their own reviews, performer, critic and audience have obviously attended very different shows simultaneously.

New Directions (4): Some Weird Magic Books and Movies and Songs

Books

Some books probably only magicians would like to read:

  1. Woofle Dust Memories by Woody Allen
  2. Harry’s Potter Index by Jon Racherbaumer
  3. Gone With the Wind: A Loose Encyclopedia of Outdoor Silk Magic by Asi Wind
Movies

Some movies surely only majishuns would go see at their local theater:

  1. B’Waveheart starring Mel Gibson and Max Maven
  2. Card Rebel Without a Case with James Dean and Dean Dill (and without Justin Case)
  3. Card Wars featuring Darth Sadowitz and Richard Skywalker
Songs

Some pop songs probably only magicians would enjoy:

  1. “Anniversary Waltzing Matilda” (Tom Waits)
  2. “Sultans of Swing Cuts” (Dire Straits)
  3. “Shine On You Crazy Ace of Diamond” (Pink Floyd)
  4. “Alive and Shuffling” (Simple Minds)
  5. “You’ve Lost That Pinkie Feelin'” (The Righteous Brothers)
  6. “I Still Haven’t Found (The Card I Was Looking For)” (U2)
  7. “All You Zombies Hide Your Traces” (The Hooters)

Klavier Strand


Magic’s Plastic Religion: Tenyoism

In general, the suffix “-ism” tends to indicate the ending of a rather unpleasant word, think fascism, communism, racism, or FISM (disclaimer: no relations between these). Beyond that, many -isms seem to have in common that they describe a hierarchial belief system which is based on a strict yet simple manifesto with (pseudo) religious undertones; their proponents feel chosen and superior and, therefore, air dedication and determination; they share strong convictions, a simplistic “we vs. them” view of the world and, sadly, a tendency to sentence, banish or even harm dissenters.

The same applies, along less violent terms, to Tenyoism, which roughly translates as the plastic ersatz religion of arousing childlike pleasure by immersing yourself into buying, hoarding, displaying or playing with Tenyo miniature magic props, which are cheap and colorful, sometimes ingenious, and often a bit shabby and embarrassing. (In other words, a bit like sex toys, only for older boys.)

Collectors drip and drivel when you casually mention strange lingo like “Parabox” or “Magic Coin Case”. They are also willing to pay serious money for rare pieces in perfect condition, which often means “unopened”, which in itself signifies the eternal conflict of burning desire vs. cool self-restraint: by buying the desired item but refraining from opening it, you transcend the cheap urge to play or to perform. Instead, you purify yourself by worshipping The Prop for its sheer presence and beauty in and out of itself.

Despite their cheap appeal you cannot help but admire many of these Tenyo creations. They foreshadow redemption from us majishuns’ eternal search for the next “real” big thing that we can actually perform, as they promise the perfect miracle in your hands: easy to do, instant reset, usually very visible magic, and sometimes even examinable props. In a few cases, Tenyo tricks are just that: Some of the best close-up miracles you will ever find and ever do.

Besides, magic masters like Tom Stone and many others ably demonstrate what’s in a toy and how to develop great routines that go well beyond Tenyo’s brief instruction sheets.

Take a look, for example, at this clever, organic performance of Tenyo’s Zig Zag Cig (T-110) here:

Like every religion, this one has their bible, too. It’s a two-volume hardbound book teaching and preaching the gospel, published by Richard Kaufman only recently, and it’s aptly called, well, Tenyo-ism. Buy it!


Some links on Tenyo to further whet your appetite:


Addendum: In a Genii Forum thread on this subject, Richard Kaufman commented:

Rather than any of the negative “isms” you mention, I think Buddhism would be more apt.

Point taken!