Close-up magic is my personal favorite genre of illusion; while I enjoy the huge set-pieces of stage magic and the mind-bending qualities of mentalism, there’s something about seeing something small but incredible happen only a few feet in front of you. In this episode of the BBC documentary miniseries History of Magic, great magicians like Channing Pollock, Fay Presto, and the late Paul Daniels give their insights into the why’s and how’s of great close-up magic. Spend your lazy Sunday learning about the wonders that can be conjured through simple human dexterity, and if you want more, check out their episode on disappearing magic, too.
Dai Vernon was one of the greatest card manipulators who ever lived (learn more about his life in this great documentary), and Korean magician Ed Kwon recently paid tribute to his life and work at the Magic Castle back in December. Spend your lazy Sunday watching his full 20-minute routine from his performance there, where he controls an entire round of poker with impeccable style and elegance.
The Magic Castle may have a strict dress code, but when you’re as good as Woody Aragón, you can wear whatever comic book shirts you want. Aragón just uploaded a clip from his recent performance at the venerable magic club, and it’s positively mind-blowing. Some of my favorite tricks are the ones that make you slowly realize exactly what the magician is doing to your brain, and this is easily one of the best I’ve seen.
We see a lot of custom-designed cards here at GeniiOnline, but decks built for cardistry aren’t always the right choice for illusionists, no matter how cool they look. Magician and graphic designer Patrick Kun took those design sensibilities and added some magical utility with his Mirage playing cards – and now they come in black.
The Eclipse variant of the Mirage deck features the same distinct swirl pattern and crosshatching background as the pink Dawn or gray-green Dusk cards, but comes in an elegant and striking black and white arrangement. They’re also printed on a different cardstock than the previous two editions of Eclipse, as Kun worked directly with Legends Playing Cards to print the cards on special “Cardistry” paper from Taiwan. You can take a look at the design and build for yourself in the unboxing video below.
While the spiral design makes these cards perfect for making your favorite cardistry maneuvers pop, they’ve also got a few secrets to help keep you one step ahead with your tricks. For one, they’re marked – no telling exactly how, but each deck comes with a secret link inside the box that reveals the method. They also come pre-shuffled in Juan Tamariz’s Mnemonica stack, so you can do sealed deck tricks right when your deck arrives.
If you’re interested in picking up your own deck, you can snag one from Art of Play or directly from Patrick Kun’s website for $10 (plus shipping). They’re limited to a run of just 5000 decks, so get your order in now because like the previous variants, they will sell out.
If you happen to live in New York, you’re in luck: a trifecta of incredible close-up magicians are coming your way with a limited engagement called Magic Beyond Imagination.
Each show will feature the unique comedy magic stylings of Garrett Thomas and Kozmo. Thomas is renowned for his consulting work with David Blaine, and is also famous for his trick inventions and his offbeat style, while Kozmo’s work on Reel Magic Magazine has informed and delighted magicians all over the world. Joe Maxwell will host, providing, as his website describes, “close-up magic with a humorous touch.”
So far, two different venues are hosting Magic Beyond Imagination. First, the trio will perform at the Cortland Repertory Theatre in Cortland, New York on Friday, March 9 and Saturday, March 10 at 7:30pm. A week later, they’ll head over to Palmer Opera House in Cuba, New York for a show on Friday, March 16 at 7:30pm. Advance tickets for both shows are available for $25 for general admission, or $35 for VIP seating, which includes a pre-show meet-and-greet. Tickets for the Cortland can be found here, while tickets for the Cuba show can be found here.
If you want to see what’s likely in store for you at the show, check out this video of Garrett Thomas performing his Stand-Up Monte routine:
There’s dinner table magic, and there’s Fay Presto, whose quick wit and quicker sleight of hand can put most other magicians to shame. Fay recently lectured and performed at the Blackpool Magic Convention a couple weeks ago, and thanks to UK magic shop PropDog Magic, her entire 25 minute routine from the convention has been recorded and uploaded to YouTube. Watch as she makes napkins disappear into thin air, make invisible decks of cards reappear right before your eyes, and cause an entire room full of magicians erupt with laughter.
Most people find themselves inexplicably drawn to their particular artistic instrument; for Bernard Bilis, it’s card magic. In part two of our five-part interview with Bernard Bilis at Genii-Con 2017, he talks about how he fell in love with magic at a young age, and the reasons why he chose to stick with close-up, even after experimenting with other genres of illusion. One very important reason: you can pack a lot lighter than most of your colleagues.
For more clips from the interview, check out the links below:
Part one: On making your brain work by learning magic from books
Part three: Bernard Bilis’ favorite trick? “The next one”
Part four: On posting magic online: “If they see everything on the web, they don’t come to see the lecture”
Part five: The two words that describe what magic means to Bernard Bilis
When people think of the various magic headquarters of the world, their minds inevitably turn to large entertainment capitals like Las Vegas or New York. But there are conjurers plying their trade in all corners of the globe, from the street corners of Spain to the convention halls of middle America. Our new series, called Magic Everywhere, aims to seek out and find good magic, wherever it may be.
Our first episode takes place in Charlotte, North Carolina at The Carolina Close-Up Convention (or TRICS as it’s affectionately called). It’s an intimate gathering that takes place every November, where around 100 magicians convene to show off their latest effects and give each other tips on improving their performances. We got a chance to check out the con back in 2017 and spoke with several illusionists who attended the event. Check out the video above to find out why they think close-up “is where magic really is right now.”