The illusive Elixir magazine is now up for another run, in case you fuckers missed out on the last one.
In case you’ve been hiding under your own ass this whole time:
Elixir is an independent close up magic periodical concocted and published by the ever-patient Mike Helmer out of the Northern Mexican state of Canada. Here are the contributors to whet your fuckin’ whole ass with excitement
Steve Beam (Hi Steve!)
Chris Mayhew (One of the many Mayhew brethren)
Stephen Hobbs (told you I wouldn’t shit on you Hobbs xoxo)
Review coming soon
Hope y’all had a great Christmas/New Years/Whatever the fuck this world is going through right now is called.
Just before Christmas, I woke up in a drunken stupor, after butt-chugging Mojitos through a funnel, to find a message from Paul Vigil about something he’s putting out; a piece of magic he’s been using in his regular set, but felt it was time to release it to be enjoyed by the magic community. This is where shit kicked into fifth gear.
If you’ve ever had the blessing of seeing Paul perform, you’ll know that he doesn’t fuck around with mediocre bullshit “filler” magic. I can’t succinctly put into words what it’s like watching Paul do his thing. It’s other worldly; his gaze, voice and demeanor alone immerse you into this sense that what you’re seeing, hearing and feeling is truly happening. This is what experiencing real magic would (Could, Should) be like.
Paul has also released a few books recently, outlining his working acts in his amazing books ‘Classic Fantastic’ (OOP, find it if you can) and ‘Doors of Deception‘ (Limited but in print, get it from Paul!). When the price tag was announced for these two books ($200+ a pop), a lot of people stuck their nose up a the idea.
Why the fuck would you pay $200 for his book when there’s other magician’s books out there for $30-60 each?
The reason is because you’re not paying for the usual mish-mash of ideas, effects and methods, forcing you to find the good material among the more academic “filler” included, like with most magic books, where they invite you to “use your favorite method” or make up some other bullshit to omit pertinent information like their ideas are fucking state secrets.
You’re getting the whole nine yards; methods, finesses, presentation and all. Paul holds nothing back. He’s talking you through what he has had to painstakingly create, perform, refine, revisit and perfect in front of a paying audience night after night to get it to a final product. You’re getting a fully fleshed out act that KILLED at the Castle. These aren’t pipe dreams. Also, as a good friend and confidante with some of the greats of our generation, like Tom Mullica, Michael Weber, Teller and Johnny Thompson, what he has to say, how he thinks and what he does is worth every cent.
Aside from his latest larger book releases, Paul also releases some of the crazy shit he performs in his working set as one-off releases, like ‘Diplopia‘ and ‘Sympathy for the Devil‘ which would flit around the underground with an air of mystery that make you need to know what the fuck was happening.
The new piece he’s released from his working set is another great piece of strange; Any Card at Any Phone Number ², Paul’s take on the ACAAN using two randomly chosen phone numbers. Now that may seem weird to use phone numbers since there’s more numbers than a deck has cards.. so let’s see what he has to offer.
A card is selected from a tabled spread by a spectator and isolated. A phone book is introduced and a phone number chosen at random by the decisions and choices of one or many spectators. The selected phone number is called on loud speaker, the stranger on the other end is asked to name any card. The stranger on the phone precisely names the selected card that has been isolated since the start of the effect.
The selected card is then lost back into the shuffled pack and another spectator at random is asked to call someone they know will pick up, like a family member, friend or even a work colleague, to name a number between 1 and 52. The selected card is found at the named number.
My first time reading through this method, it was a weird moment of clarity. The curtain had been pulled away from the Wizard. The method is not complicated in any way, extremely direct and simple to follow. It looks and feels like real magic to an audience because it feels like nothing overt is happening, which is pretty much the reality of the situation. It just looks and feels that direct.
So what’s deal? Well, for the method, there are two extra things you will need to perform the effect as described; a fairly standard and easily found gimmicked deck and an app, which unfortunately is only available for Iphone users. The nature of how and when the app is used will make sense as to why it’s not viable for Android users. How the effect and performance is structured allows the performer to utilise both in full view of the audience, making it not feel like it’s just some “app” trick or a trick deck. It plays off the strengths of each of the items without taking any heat on their drawbacks. It’s borderline perfect.
For the write up and what you get, you receive a 9 page PDF from Paul outlining the method, presentation and history of the effect and where Paul has been to come to the final product. Paul goes over the script of his performance, even with lines and phrases I can imagine coming out of his mouth, smirking slightly while he unblinkingly locks onto his spectator’s eyes. It’s a great balance of concise content with enough descriptive language to allow you to not just take away the bare-bones and have to run with it. Paul talks you through what a performance is like, even putting in some by-play which may seem irrelevant to the effect/method, but shows how to engage the audience throughout.
Is it worth it?
Of course. Every time I’ve had the pleasure of sitting with Paul, or seeing him perform, I come away feeling better about magic; not my magic, but magic in general. His approach and philosophy in magic is an eye opener because of two reasons; he either makes you re-affirm your existing understanding of what makes good magic, sometimes throwing curveballs OR he completely disproves bullshit paradigms and misconceptions that people still get told and hold onto while learning and performing. This effect, along with all his other releases and ideas, is something that plays extremely strong for any audience and looks and feels like real magic
Currently, you can only get the PDF for this effect directly from Paul (email him here) for $25 USD. Paypal him the cash with the comment/subject line of “Card at Any Phone Number” to get it.
Now, back to figuring out how to tan the underside of my balls,
P.S. If anyone happens to find an Android equivalent app, please reach out to Paul and let him know.
Just ordered a few more goodies for myself for my lonely Xmas…
Mike Helmer’s ‘Elixir Magazine’
I first heard about this from Ryan while I was in Chicago and waited patiently for Mike to reprint it. With a list of contributors like Bill Goodwin, Gary Plants, Ryan Plunkett and Chris Mayhew, you know I was moist the moment I heard about it.
Currently, you can contact Mike via Elixir Magazine’s site to find out if he has any runs left. Looking forward to busting my proverbial nuts on every-thaaaaang
Harapan Ong’s ‘Wabi Sabi’ notes
I do love me some Harapan goodness. For everything you think you know about good card magic, Harapan knows better. Aside from some funny as fuck session material, his awe-inspiring twists and handlings for classic plots make me rock solid without turning it all into a Paul Gordon style circlejerk shit-show. Looking forward to his full feature book out, now being produced by Vanishing Inc.
These are in limited quantity, so try your luck by sending Harapan a DM (and a cheeky follow) on Instagaram @HarapanOng, you lucky fuckers.
Alex Hansford’s ‘Mainspring’
The sequel and companion volume to Alex’s fucking amazing ‘Sprezzatura’ notes, from the blurb, I’m already enthralled. Spending time with Alex is akin to sitting next to a benevolent magic God, taking in everything around him and waiting that extra second or two to respond to let you bask in his deliberation. I can’t believe I hadn’t found out about these sooner, ordered in a heartbeat.
Also, while it may not have effects or methods, hearing about Alex’s inner workings on magic theory, practice and portance will be enjoyable.
Currently, this is available directly from Alex for 30 Squids or £30 for the uninitiated in the Queen’s English.
(Hopefully) Coming soon to my fucking library:
Denis Behr’s ‘Handcrafted Card Magic Vol. 3
(In English, for fucks sake please Denis)
Lance Pierce’s book on Bob Stencel (Just the stories I’ve heard so far make me look forward to this)
Joe Barry & John Cottle’s ‘Operandi’ Magazine
New books/notes/fucking anything from Ryan Plunkett, Michael Feldman, Nathan Colwell, Mike Pisciotta, Hector Chadwick and Tony fuckin’ Chang
What else am I missing?
Simon Black is a cunt.
Some new books to get moist over:
Asi Wind’s ‘Repertoire’, due Spring 2018. The production quality looks absolutely amazing and the material should be sweet as fuck. Saw some awesome shit from Asi at Magic Live 2017 and loved ‘Chapter One’.
One for the coin workers, Luis Piedrahita’s ‘Coins and Other Fables’. The Spanish magic scene still makes me rock hard with how many amazing performers are still yet to publish in English (I’m looking at you too, Kiko). Luis’ work, whether you can understand Spanish or not, is like watching the old masters work… Really looking forward to this.. even if it’s coin work.
Finally, A.Bandit’s ‘A Secret Has Two Faces’. A collection of performance art and magic colliding from Glenn Kaino and Derek Delgaudio. Far from a traditional magic book on effects or theories, the focus on Glenn and Derek’s work for the why a f not the what alone is very enticing. After seeing Derek’s off-Broadway show, “In & Of Itself”, the dialogue and insights alone behind the show are worth the price of the book.
Anything else good happening?
Just in case you hadn’t seen it yet, here’s Eric Mead doing some real magic on Penn & Teller’s ‘Fool Us’.
Really looking forward to the Tim Conover books that Eric has been painstakingly been writing and caring for, for quite some time. From what I’ve heard, the content spans coins, cards and memorized deck work to some other pieces of strange across three books. Fingers crossed we see them sooner than later,
While I sip cocktails in an aptly named hotel, I ponder all of the crazy and wondrous shit I saw while I was at Magic Live.
Basically, you’re going to be seeing me fan-girl like a fuckin’ twelve year old meeting his idols over the shit I saw for a while.
Aside from being able to hang out and meet some amazing magicians and people, I got to see some of the newest and greatest shit among all of the mediocre stuff not even worth a mention.
One of the big standouts for me straight up was something I’d heard about from a name on the tip of everyone’s tongue whenever I’m in NYC
Aside from Jeff being a goddamn gigantic man and having some excellent underground work, like his ball-tingling crazy Coins Across routine or his ingenious take on the card in box premise, he has made some of the nicest non-USPCC made cards I’ve felt in a long fucking while; the design has been perfectly done to include his take on an age old marking system, built into the design. What really makes this stand out from other decks in the market is that the markings can be read quickly and easily up close or even from across a room.
Yup. You can confidently and easily read the marks from across the room. Jeff did this for me and a group of magicians multiple times at the Orleans, in shitty Casino floor lighting from 10 feet away and was still hitting it in seconds.
The red colored launch edition decks sold out ridiculously quickly, but I was lucky enough to get my hands on a few. The level of detail put into these cards for use by magicians is fucking brilliant, and Jeff has really outdone himself with the improvements on the blue V2’s, making the “work” even easier to use and read.
Each order comes with a small card explaining the built-in features of the marking system, outlining the work in enough detail to let you pick up and run with it within a few minutes and fry some fuckers.
Currently, these are available directly from Jeff at Brooklyn Playing Card Company Co. or from Tannen’s in NYC if you’re in town. Pick up a couple of decks and give them a try; you’ll lose your shit over how much fun they can be
More to come soon,
After spending the last few days at Magic Live 2017 in Vegas (HaHa, Fuckers!) and seeing some of the latest shit going on in the magic world (including some fucking beautiful Rubik’s Cube magic from an unknown magician), I was privileged enough to spend some time with THE Franco Pascali
Not only is he one of the sweetest and most humble guys to be around, he’s also one of the most promising future prospects in magic. Aside from his insanely smooth flourishing and sleight of hand skills, he also creates and performs some fucking awesome and unique effects, showing his intense attention to detail and effect construction.
In the time we got to hang out, I saw a perfect blend of his amazingly clean sleight of hand creations, like his DMB Spread Control 2.0, perfectly complementing his warm and engaging performance style and fucking insanely well constructed effects, like his effect, Twinning
Really looking forward to everything Franco has to offer in the near future,
More to come soon, fuckers,
After getting brain fucked and balls deep into ‘A New Angle’ by Ryan Plunkett & Michael Feldman, and seeing the crazy difference in factory made VS. hand cut work, I’ve been searching out places that offer high quality gaffed decks instead of shitty, generic store bought decks.
Aside from getting some amazing decks directly from Michael or Ryan, or the advice and tips in ‘A New Angle’ for the tools and methods to make your own, a new source (and friend) of mine referred me onto SlimCardCo, based out of Canada, and sent me some examples of their work, ranging from standard to ultra-fine work in a variety of different orientations and choice of deck, depending on what you want and need.
Not only that, but if you want a specific type of work or deck, you can even custom order it.
Using a few of the different varieties, you can feel and see the difference straight up; it’s a refreshing and wholesome feeling, like your balls gently nestled on someone’s forehead while a small man pours fountains of Gold Bond body powder out of a champagne flute onto your junk
Any more hidden nuggets of wisdom out there?
Show me what you got!
Sharing is caring, cunts,
Sweating balls and taking a break from life so just a quick one for you plebs. There’s some new shit out that y’all should be getting moist over
The long awaited sequel to Jack’s amazing compilation of his work. Jack has recently toured around Europe and did a sneaky pre-release for a special few.
So far, I’m loving the work. It’s a mix of magic and gambling style card work. Currently, you can only get this directly from Jack by emailing him. Get on this shit
This beautifully produced volume on stripper deck work that isn’t complete generic shit. It’s the complete opposite.
This is a collection of some of the best stuff possible with a stripper deck, even going into how to make your own properly finished decks.
Aside from the material being balls-out fucking insanely good, Michael and Ryan are genuinely nice guys who actually give a shit about sharing and doing good magic.
The content ranges from smooth as fuck techniques possible like Michael’s Complete Faro Control, taking the bullshit ugly duckling appearance out an undervalued move and turning it awesome, all the way to Ryan’s ‘Shuffleupagus’ which fucks my shit up.
You can get the book directly from Ryan at his website. While you’re there, pick up some of their insanely high quality hand cut stripper decks to go with the book to fry the fuck out of your spectator’s frontal lobes.
Also, there’s been whispers of a super secret, funny as fuck project from Michael Feldman and some other big names.. looking forward to the Easter eggs 😉
More to be added when I can figure out out to use a computer properly. And how to delete my search history
Google, how do I remember when to go poopy? Stop recommending me my own books