The W.C. Fields bar at the Magic Castle is the perfect setting for Pop Haydn to perform Eddie Fechter’s hilarious “Eight to Twelve.” Swaying like he’s been helping himself to the stock, Haydn gets more and more intense as the trick goes on, eyeballing a hapless volunteer who cannot seem to accurately count the cards he’s given. It’s a slow build trick that ends in hilarity.
We’ve covered Haydn before, and everything I wrote then still stands. He’s an excellent card manipulator who makes incredibly complex tricks look easy while keeping up an amusing man-out-of-time patter. Check out his take on Fechter’s “Be Honest.”
You’ve no doubt heard us talk of the famed Magic Castle here on Genii Online. The private club has played host to a veritable who’s who of magical talent over the last half a century and is pretty much the center of the North American magical community. You already know this. What you might not know is that some 80 miles east of Hollywood, in the small town of Redlands, there’s a house that looks eerily similar to the Castle.
The mansion was built in 1987 by rich widow, Cornelia Hill, who sold the house to a John Alfred Kimberly shortly after its completion. It was under the Kimberly’s care when it became Kimberly Crest and inspired the building that would become the magic castle.
Soon after the Kimberlys settled in Redlands, they became acquainted with Rollin Lane, another Wisconsin native who was an officer at the local bank. In addition to knowing each other through business (Lane was likely involved in the deal in which the Kimberlys bought the house), the Lanes knew the Kimberlys socially; an article from the time talked about Rollin and his wife Katherine winning a card tournament at a party held in the Kimberlys honor.
According to the architectural historian George Siegel, Lane liked Kimberly Crest so much that he used its blueprints when he built his own house in Los Angeles. The Lane Residence, which was commonly called the Holly Chateau, was completed in 1909 on a small notch of land carved out of a larger tract that encompassed the hill that rises abruptly behind the house. Given its smaller lot size, the building did not have gardens on the same scale as Kimberly Crest and was surrounded by commercial lots and residential plots for more modest homes.
At first, the only major difference between the two structures was that, for unknown reasons, the large tower and the turret on the south side of the buildings were swapped.
And that’s just the beginning of the piece. It goes into fascinating detail about the two structures that were nigh identical at birth, but went down profoundly divergent paths. The older sibling was eventually left to the people of Redlands, and is managed by the Kimberly-Shirk Association. It’s open for tours and events. The younger, well it became The Magic Castle.
I think it’s fair to say that Olivia Munn and Shin Lim are beautiful people (and talented people: Shin Lim is obviously amazing, but Munn is absolutely superb in The Newsroom). Thus, Olivia Munn watching Shin Lim perform one of his beautiful routines takes us into a realm of previously theoretical beauty that might just destroy your retinas.
To spare you this fate, the clip above occasionally cuts back to Simon Cowell, whose strange, hobgoblin proportions are an excellent antidote to the dancing angels on the stage.
You might have noticed that my descriptions of Shin Lim’s performances have been getting stranger with each passing week. That’s because writing about Shin Lim is incredibly hard. He’s just great. Really good. Look at that video. How do I describe that? “Shin Lim continues to be Shin Lim?” I’ve already made that joke.
The boffins running America’s Got Talent have clearly come to the same conclusion, as this clip was “leaked” ahead of time as a trailer for the upcoming episode.
Steven Bridges may make sub optimal choices when it comes to supermarket salad bars, but he’s a hell of a street magician.
In this latest video he’s once again pounding the pavement of Carnaby Street, London, laying waste to any cutlery he comes across. His fork bending is smooth and fun, but he goes on to disappoint me once again by breaking out a deck of Bicycle Reds for a very cool box trick.
We don’t even use Bicycles over here, Steven!
“Most magicians, when they’re going to show you a card trick, they’ll try really hard to convince you that their deck of cards is an ordinary deck of cards,” explains Jason Bird. “We are always lying.”
That’s a cute opener for a neat trick he performed on KTNV to promote his new show, FABLE. The trick starts at at the three minute mark, before that, Bird talks about his beginnings in the magic industry and about the show:
It’s kind of a new concept. It’s kind of a mash up. We’re kind of creating story world then interacting with the audience through that world.
Apparently this narrative-driven experience features some of Bird’s classic tricks, a thoughtful message and a ton of audience participation. It made its debut last Sunday, and we’ll let you know if it’s going to be a regular thing.
According to his surprisingly useful website, Bird has performed 5280 shows during the course of his 20-year-career, “inspired” 350000 individuals, and has heart 667 decks of cards. I don’t know what that last one means, either.
Many a punter walks away from a Derren Brown show with their mind blown. 14-year-old, Alfie Hawes, came away with two broken bones in his forearm.
An industrious magician in his own right, young Master Hawes, was attending a show at Southend’s Cliffs Pavilion when he tripped while returning to his seat during the intermission.
“I had been trying to get to the stage to write a question that are put in sealed envelopes for Derren to guess what was written on them in the second half,” he told the local press. “I was walking back up the stairs and fell and hit my wrist on the step.”
While he shrugged off breaking his arm like a true performer, Hayes was disappointed he didn’t get to see the second half of Brown’s show. Fortunately for the plucky young lad, his parents managed to snag some complimentary tickets for the following day.
This time Hayes managed to get through the whole performance with his limbs intact, and even got to meet Brown after the show.
“I don’t think Derren understood how young I was because when he saw me he said ‘Oh my God’.I think he thought I was 16 or something.”
“He was lovely, really lovely. I have spoken to other magicians about him. They have said he is one of the loveliest men and he was.”
Last month we reported on the sad passing of June Horowitz, the first woman to serve as president of the International Brotherhood of Magicians. She was 104 years old.
Randy Vander Wal, the current president of IBM Ring 211, was on hand to witness one of Horowitz’ last tricks, one learned during a nigh century-long romance with the art.
MLive, the channel that uploaded the video, had this say:
June Horowitz, one of magic’s most well-known and beloved magicians, performs a card trick when she was 104-years-old. Horowitz, who known for her sense of humor, wit, intelligence and willpower, helped shatter glass ceilings for female magicians. She started performing magic when she was around 6 or 7, sometime around 1920. She died at 104 on June 27, 2018. (Video footage is courtesy of Randy Vander Wal, Grand Rapids International Brotherhood of Magicians Ring 211.)
Cube into Chocolate. pic.twitter.com/9u9BkWgVZZ
— Patrick Kun (@PatrickKunMagic) July 19, 2018
Long time readers of Genii Online are likely well-aware of my distaste for Rubik’s Cube tricks. Spoiler: They always look gaffed, even when they aren’t. You should also be aware that I am a certified fat man, fully licensed in both greed and advanced gluttony. As you can imagine I went through my entire emotional range during the course of the video above, in which my favorite smug magician, Patrick Kun, pulled a cube from his phone before transforming it into chocolate.
That was, as the kids might say, relevant to my interests.
Kun makes his living performing live, hawking goods in slick ads for the likes of Coca Cola, and selling his own magic tools and accessories, including a really swank cardistry/performance deck called Mirage. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
Right at the end of the video above, scrolling at an incredible speed, are the results of FISM 2018. Thankfully, I was on hand with some high end journalistic tools – the print screen button and abundance of free time – to transcribe the winners of the biggest magic competition of the year into regular, non-moving text. You know, in case you were interested in who won.
Without further ado:
Sang-Soon Kim (Republic of Korea)
Grand Prix Winner
Everyone here at Genii Online would like to congratulate 2018’s FISM winners, and everyone who performed at the event.
FISM 2018 may have just finished (we’re still waiting on official confirmation of the results), but you can already start planning your trip to the next one. If you live in North America, you’re in luck, because FISM 2021 will be gracing the shores of Quebec, Canada.
The event will run from July 26th to July 31st at the very sophisticated Centre des congrès de Québec in Quebec City.
Update: The Society of American Magicians would like to remind its members that they are eligible for FISM membership cards and, by extension, lower prices for registration. You can apply for a FISM card here.