The tireless scholars over at Magicana have managed to add more than 18 hours of footage from Spanish magic and variety show, Chan-tatachán, to their screening room. The footage has already been chopped up and archived, so you can search through it by performer or trick. As you might expect from the title, the show is delivered almost entirely in Spanish, though many of the tricks are silent, or work without verbal cues. As Magicana’s artistic director, David Ben, explains:
Even if, like me, your Spanish is inexistente there is still much to enjoy here. Great performances simply transcend the barrier that can be language. Twenty-five years on, Magicana is pleased to give this material the opportunity to astonish, entertain and inspire a whole new audience.
Chan-tatachán aired in Spain from 1992 through to 1993, and featured the talents of legendary magician, Juan Tamariz-Martel Negrón, better known as Juan Tamariz. A jovial but impeccably skilled card manipulator, Tamariz’s work in close-up magic is a major influence in the history of close-up magic, and his numerous texts on the subject are considered foundational by many. Alongside co-hosts Pedro Reyes and María Olvido Gara, better known as Alaska, Tamariz would perform tricks for celebrity guests, discuss magic, and introduce guest acts.
Luis Piedrahita and Tamariz himself supplied the footage of the show.
As a bonus, while the show aired in the early 90’s, it looks like it was still deep in that 80’s hangover when the show was shot. There is some amazing fashion in these clips, folks.
Were you salivating over the lovely two-volume set of The Magic of Johnny Thompson? Did you miss out on the limited number of available copies? You’re in luck. Magicana has announced a second printing of the pair.
We are pleased to announce that, with the sell-out success of #TheMagicOfJohnnyThompson, Magicana is now preparing a #secondprinting of this historic book. READ MORE: https://t.co/WJu8zGmBbk pic.twitter.com/NK6gnKlH36
— Magicana (@sharingwonder) April 29, 2018
Other than confirmation that a second run is happening, details are still scarce. Magicana said that it doesn’t have an official publish date yet because the man himself, Johnny Thompson, will be signing each copy as he did with the initial printing. According to the blog post, Magicana is targeting delivery in July, but that’s just the provisional goal.
Pre-orders are available for this run, so you’d best move faster than Shin Lim palming a pen if you want to secure a copy. Head over to Magicana to put in an advance order of The Magic of Johnny Thompson.
In the meantime, feast your eyes on the unboxing video of the original books shared by The Magic Word.
Hopefully you got your order for The Magic of Johnny Thompson in because Magicana has reported via Twitter that it’s officially sold out:
Magicana is now SOLD OUT of #TheMagicOfJohnnyThompson Some magic dealers have stock, but not for long! Call your favourite store now to get yours! #avoiddisappointment pic.twitter.com/xDeJ7GUAIM
— Magicana (@sharingwonder) April 20, 2018
Give your local magic shop a call to see if they still have any left, because once they’re gone, they’re gone.
Johnny Thompson (aka The Great Tomsoni) is a living legend, a performer who has touched lives with his humor, and an inventive creator who has contributed his magical expertise to the acts of Penn & Teller, Lance Burton, Criss Angel, and more. Now, you can own a small portion of that legacy in a two-volume set of books called The Magic of Johnny Thompson, courtesy of Magicana.
The set is co-written by Thompson and fellow magician Jamy Ian Swiss (Shattering Illusions), and includes details and secrets behind many of Thompson’s famous tricks, including, according to Magicana, “The Cups & Balls, The Balls in the Net, The Egg Bag and The Gambler’s Ballad.” The set also features a ton of exclusive, unpublished material, including content written by Dai Vernon, Harry Riser, and Ed Marlo, and chapters about Thompson’s signature dove and silk magic.
If you’re interested in digging into this wealth of knowledge, this two-volume set is still available for pre-order through Magicana for $295 plus shipping. Each book is hardcover, comes bundled in a special slipcase, and according to a tweet from Magicana, each copy is individually signed by Thompson himself. There’s no exact ship date just yet, but they should be expected to go out “in coming weeks.”
Signed, sealed and delivered. Johnny Thompson receives (Vegas style, of course) the first of his epic boo, #TheMagicOfJohnnyThompson hot off the press! #ThankYouTeller @MrTeller for the #SpecialDelivery Shipping in coming weeks! Need one? Buy now here: https://t.co/wSfnrWKvPv pic.twitter.com/B42AF6DMvX
— Magicana (@sharingwonder) March 19, 2018
Do you have a favorite conjuror or illusionist that you feel deserves special commendation? Has a magician’s performance in 2017 impressed you more than the rest? Now’s your chance to give them the recognition they deserve by nominating them for the 2018 Allan Slaight Awards, hosted by Magicana.
Since 2015, the Allan Slaight Awards (named for the late Canadian media mogul and magic aficionado who recently had his collection of magic posters hosted in an art gallery) has attempted to highlight the best names in magic and to award “outstanding achievement in the pursuit of the impossible”. Each of the five awards are attached with monetary prizes, furnished by the Slaight Family Foundation, and judged by an independent panel through Magicana.
Here are a list of nominations and prior winners, as provided via press release:
Sharing Wonder ($15,000) recognizes exceptional magic performed for the public, whether in live performance, on television or online. Past recipients include Derek Delgaudio (2017), Darcy Oake (2016) and Penn & Teller (2015)
Sharing Secrets ($10,000) recognizes work that advances the study of magic as a performing art, whether in print, on video or any other medium. Work related to the history of magic and its practitioners will also be considered. Past recipients include John Lovick (2017), Richard Kaufman (2016) and Mike Caveney (2015).
Rising Star – Canadian & International ($5,000 each) recognizes emerging talent in Canada and abroad. Past recipients include Edward Hilsum (2017), Eric Leclerc (2017), Jorge Blass (2016), Luc Langevin (2016), Henry Vargas (2015), and Mahdi Gilbert (2015).
Lifetime Achievement ($15,000) recognizes a person, company or organization that has demonstrated a commitment to advancing magic as a performing art, and made major contributions to that goal throughout their or its lifetime. Past recipients include Max Maven (2017), Ton Onosaka (2016) and Johnny Thompson (2015).
If you know of a magician who is deserving of any of these awards, you can send your submissions to Magicana via their award nominations page. Nominations require a little more than a name and a couple YouTube links, though—you must provide information about yourself, as well as information about your nominee, which may include a brief biography (under 750 words) and an explanation for why you believe they deserve to be nominated. Links, clips, documents, and other samples of the magician’s work may be attached as well.
Nominations will be accepted until March 15, 2018 at midnight, with winners contacted in the spring.
For more information on the awards, the nomination process, previous winners, and frequently asked questions, head over to Magicana for a full breakdown.
James Alan from Magicana sent us a link to one of their most recent uploads, and I am so glad he did. It’s a video called The Devil’s Playthings, and it is something else.
Some background: Toronto collector of bizarre treasures and anthropological artifacts Bill Jamieson passed away in 2011 at the age of 57. In 2013, illusionist David Ben and filmmaker Daniel Zuckerbrot borrowed Jamieson’s home, still filled with many of the objects Jamieson had collected over the years, and filmed a performance of Bill Simon’s “Call of the Colors.”
The trick itself is an incredibly impressive example of sleight of hand, as Ben is able to alternate dealing red or black cards in single, double, or triple formations at will. What makes this performance sing, though, is its impeccable mood, created by its haunting music, use of shadows, and the macabre surroundings. The end of the video even gives names and examples of each of the sleights Ben uses in the routine.
Head over to Magicana’s Screening Room and give it ten minutes of your time… if you think your soul is up to the challeng
Magicana is an wonderful educational resource for magic, and the research work by sleight of hand master Jamy Ian Swiss is always a highlight. In his final Take Two column of the year, Swiss delves into the life and work of Dai Vernon.
Vernon was born Frederick Wingfield Verner, earned the moniker of The Man Who Fooled Houdini, and in the field today is often referred to simply as The Professor. His career revolutionized sleight of hand magic over the course of the 20th century. Swiss’ feature goes into much more biographic detail that’s a fascinating read for anyone looking to learn more about the early titans of magic.
The video above shows Vernon talking through some of his signature sleight of hand moves, and it’s a great example of what to expect from this mastermind. Magicana also has a great clip of Vernon doing his innovation on the classic Cups and Balls routine.
There’s always reason to get excited when a lost archive of magic performances gets uncovered. So much of the history of magic is passed on via word of mouth, and so many routines are reliant on live performances, that any videos uncovered from an era before everyone had cameras in their pocket feels monumental. And so it is with this recent trove of footage discovered by Magicana.
More than 60 films have been added to Magicana’s ‘Screening Room’ archive, all pulled from a collection recorded on 8mm camera during the late 1970s by Canadian collector Larry Thornton.
Most magic collectors are focused on accumulating apparatus, books, posters and ephemera. But in the 1970s, Larry Thornton, of Calgary, Canada set his sights on a different medium. His goal was to create a visual record of magicians who performed on film and television. Before home VCRs made it possible to preserve performances from live television, Larry went out, 8mm camera in hand, and started recording magicians whenever and wherever they would grant him permission.
The result is an extraordinary collection of home movies, meticulously preserved and catalogued—a rich video archive of magic video featuring many well-known performers including Daryl, Paul Harris, Paul Gertner, Johnny Ace Palmer, Abert Goshman and Mike Skinner… to name a few!
The breadth of performances available and the quality of the restoration are both incredible—there’s really not much like it available on the internet. Check out the full collection over at Magicana.