The Mingus Magic Shop in Reading, Pennsylvania, will reopen April 19th following several weeks of interior and exterior renovations. Resident magician and “shop mascot” James Stilianos will perform outside of the shop starting from 4:45pm. After a ribbon cutting ceremony at 5:00pm, punters will be able to browse the shop’s new displays, many of which contain artifacts dating back to the mid-thirties, until it closes at 8:00pm. A 15% sale will be running from the grand re-opening through Saturday.
The Mingus Magic Shop was founded by magician and businessman LeRoy Mingus, in 1938. Mingus was known for his ornate “flowers” made from brightly colored feathers, which can be seen in several movies, numerous TV shows, and in magic shows around the world. The current owner, Wayne Shifflett, a former protege of the late Mingus, bought the store in 1976 and still produces the flowers (and teaches Mingus’ famous cup and ball routine) to this day.
But the Mingus Magic Shop isn’t just a place to buy supplies and learn from other magicians; it’s also a micro-venue for magic acts. At the back of the shop is the Mingus Magic Mini Vaudeville Theatre, which boasts 18 original theatre seats. The venue is active year-round, with its most notable show being the 24 Hour Magic Marathon, which features a different 15-minute magic show every half-hour for 24-hours straight. The next Magic Marathon starts at 5:00pm on May 4th, and runs until 5:00pm the following day. $5 nets you a one-time ticket that lets you stay as long as you want while a $15 ticket lets you come and go as you please.
“We get lots of late night and early morning spectators after the local bars close,” Shifflett joked to the local press.
The shop is also the subject of an upcoming documentary by Ryan Adamowicz of Barely Upright productions. The 30-minute film will be screened at the Googleworks Theatre on Sunday, May 20th, and Saturday, May 26th.
The Mingus Magic Shop has shared the first teaser for a documentary currently in production about the brick and mortar store. It’s a lovely introduction to the famed Reading, Pennsylvania, spot that has now been in operation for 80 years. The film is slated for release on May 20.
On February 17, members of the magic community descended on the store to take part in filming for the documentary. The event marked the end of five months of shooting for the project. It seems the turnout was good, and the store owners were delighted by the support:
The magician behind Mingus seems particularly into anniversary celebrations. Store owner Wayne Shifflett released a great video in January to mark 50 years of his magic career, which began with learning a cups and balls routine.
The Mingus Magic Shop is the subject of an upcoming documentary, and the store needs people to be a part of the filming. The store posted to Facebook with an open call for both performers and audience members to participate in an upcoming shoot.
Barely Upright Productions is running the production, and the film date is Saturday, February 17, between 2:00 and 5:00. Here’s the full announcement:
The Reading, Pennsylvania, store was founded way back in 1938 by LeRoy Mingus. It is one of the country’s oldest brick and mortar magic shops, and it hosts local chapters of both the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Society of American Magicians.
The store recently celebrated its 50th anniversary with a wonderful video paying homage to the classic cups and balls routine. Check out current store owner Wayne Shifflett teaming up with 11 other magicians to do a seamless cut of the routine. The store also made a second video offering a quick history lesson on the beloved trick. Given the Mingus Magic Shop’s long and storied history, a documentary seems well in order.