Back in October, I wrote an article based upon on old mentalism act The Piddingtons, Are Magic Secrets Always Ugly? It was based upon a Radio Lab story and the show brought on Penn Jillette to describe how the trick was done. Jillette explained that the secrets of magic tricks are always ugly. I countered that idea, and if you want to know more, click over and read the article. What I want to talk about here is the fact that a magic website, Magic News picked up on the article. All they did is provide the first two paragraphs of the article and then a link to the rest of it. I just noticed because a fair amount of traffic got pushed over to Frankly Curious. I’m always pleased to see that.
Sites like these are really useful. If you are interested in a subject that isn’t very popular, where do you go to find out what’s happening? Sure, you can go over to the website of The Society of American Magicians, but like all such sites, it is just interested in the things that it is doing. The same goes for The International Brotherhood of Magicians, which has a better website but is still just one big advertisement for the group. And the magazines like Genii are really no better.
Magic News is much more interesting. It isn’t really filled with magic “news” as such. But it does contain a lot of links to articles that relate to magic. For example, it printed a press release from the University of British Columbia, Pick a Card, Any Card: Researchers Show How Magicians Sway Decision-Making. Mostly, it is all good fun — including some really good, short videos. But the site doesn’t shy away from serious subjects. I was surprised to learn about, Syrian Street Magician Beheaded.
If there is one thing that makes me a little queasy about my fondness for magic it is how serious magicians take it. Ultimately, it isn’t any different from juggling. In general, it is really hard to do. It takes great skill and it shouldn’t be treated as though it is some big secret. As it is, the secret to every magic trick ever can be found in the Tarbell Course in Magic. I fancy myself so well informed that there is no magic trick that I don’t already know the secrets of or can’t figure out with a moment’s thought. But that doesn’t stop me from being amazed and entertained by a great performer.
Magic News has that same kind of attitude: magic is fun and not terribly serious. And the same people who produce Magic News also produce an online zine called, Magic Roadshow — which has been around for a decade. It is more like a regular magic magazine. It’s more oriented towards people who actually want to perform magic. I haven’t check it out that much, but it looks quite good. For example, in their April 2014 issue, an article starts, “What do you think of spelling tricks? NO!.. Don’t leave…” I can’t help but love people who are skeptical of spelling tricks.
So if you have any interest in magic, check out these sites. They are a lot of fun.
Magic News also brought my attention to the fact that over the weekend, two great magicians died. The first was Dean Dill, who was only 67. Here is a nice bit from The Tonight Show where he is doing pure slight of hand:
The second is Rene Lavand — who lived a good long 86 years. Here he is doing a really simple cup and ball routine. It is brilliant: