If you want your magic convention experience to be a bit shorter and more intimate, you need to get your tickets for the Penguin Magic Experience and Expo (or MAXX) ASAP. The two-day event takes place on April 6-7 at the Doubletree Atlanta Airport Hotel in Atlanta, GA, and there are only about 100 tickets left for an event that is strictly limited to 300 people.

That level of intimacy ensures that everyone gets up-close and personal instruction from its variety of lecturers and performers. Michael Weber and Gazzo will kick off the convention on Friday evening, while Diamond Jim Tyler, Chad Long, and Dan Harlan will be giving full lectures on Saturday. And you’ll even get a chance to chat to chat with these magicians and many more special guests, as host Penguin Magic makes sure to mention that “hanging out is ON THE SCHEDULE” (emphasis theirs), in addition to the many mini-lectures on offer.

The full lineup of special guests includes:

  • Dan Harlan
  • Michael Weber
  • Chad Long
  • Diamond Jim Tyler
  • Michael Kamiskas
  • Brent Braun
  • Losander
  • Daniel Garcia
  • Gazzo

Tickets are still available for $100 each at Penguin Magic, which includes admission to the Friday magic show, all of the lectures, access to the dealers hall, and a gift bag with $60 worth of goodies. Get in, learn a ton of new info, meets some great people, and head home before the weekend is over. Register now before they run out!

Card clips and protectors are a great way keep rare or expensive playing cards safe from r repeated use or transportation, especially if you’re a working magician who needs to keep your cards nice and crisp. Penguin Magic just launched a Kickstarter for a more unique kind of protector that’s a bit more playful and cozy than your typical clip.

They’re called Sockman’s Original Playing Card Socks, and they’re designed by magician Alvo Stockman to resemble the athletic footwear of yore, crafted with a “secret blend of cotton, polyester and spandex”. They’re not just old sock stitched together to hold a deck of cards either; they’ve been custom built from the ground up to snugly fit your favorite pack.

Right now, a minimum pledge of $10 will get you a pair of Playing Card Socks with free US shipping (an additional $10 will be added to your pledge to cover international shipping). Additional tiers offer discounted prices on larger orders, as well. 

The Kickstarter campaign also contains a series of stretch goals, adding more colors and varieties to the available purchasing options, including socks with card names stitched onto them so you can incorporate them directly into your routine. At $10,000, Penguin Magic will even produce a custom deck of sock-themed playing cards.

As of press time, the project is at $690 of its $2500 goal, with 29 days left to go in the campaign. If you’re interested in picking up a pair of socks for your playing cards, you can visit the project’s Kickstarter page for more info. 

At Magi-Fest 2018, Eli Bosnick hosted a discussion called Magic & the Marketplace, which offered an opportunity to listen to five of some of the biggest names in the magic retail biz to talk shop.

The gathered panelists included Vanishing Inc. founders Andi Gladwin and Joshua Jay; Paul Richards, the founder of Elmwood Magic who is currently embarking on a new venture selling tricks that are only available at conventions; Acar Altinsel, co-founder of Penguin Magic; and Christian Schenk, creator of the Phoenix Deck.

First, they talked about “bad magic”. With the proliferation of the internet and online magic shops, how do you filter out the good magic from the bad? For Christian, it’s about giving advice to new performers, recommending specific books or decks to start with. Acar believes that there’s never been a better time to find great tricks, there’s just a lot more out there now, which can mean more crap as well. To him, the trouble is when you’re trying to stay on the cutting edge. Paul agreed with Acar, but also mentioned that because the barrier to entry is lower, anyone can make tricks now, which can be both good and bad. What’s new to him is seeing so many young people just starting out saying they want to make and release a new trick—that never happened ten or 20 years ago. Joshua believes in Sturgeon’s Law: that 90% of everything, including magic tricks, are crap. Really good magic is like finding a gem, and you have to learn how to curate what you find. Andi says that the difficulty of the magic market specifically is that so much of it is tied to its secretive nature. As one of the heads of Vanishing Inc., he sees ten-15 trick submissions a day, and rejects most of them.

Next, Eli asked if the internet was good or bad for magic. Paul sees the internet as neutral, like a tool. It’s an ocean, but magic certainly isn’t. He gave an example: the upcoming Blackpool Magic Convention is the largest gathering of magicians in the world, and attendance caps at around 4,000 people. Meanwhile, San Diego Comic-Con regularly sees over 100,000. It’s important to keep that perspective.

YouTube is also a hot-button issue in the community these days, especially since so many kids use it to learn magic. Josh says it’s just a part of the ecosystem now, which is something magicians will have to live with whether they like it or not. The important thing is that, while kids aren’t getting direct access with magic over the internet, there are live lectures and Skype sessions available that can offer similar hands-on experiences. Kids are also learning about all of the convention opportunities available thanks to the internet, and those who go get a level of access they’d never get on the internet—but without the internet, they would never have known the convention even existed.

Last, Eli asked the panel about what magicians, and retailers and trick creators specifically, can do to make magic more welcoming to women. Paul noted that a lot of tricks assume  the performer has a back pocket, or wallet, or some other piece of clothing that a man would typically wear—it’s important to tailor tricks so anyone can perform them. Andi believes that we should be encouraging and promoting the women who already do magic, making them more invisible to inspire other women to begin practicing. Lastly, Acar believes that male-centric presentation and marketing is taking a back seat—these days retailers are focusing less on using tricks to “get dates” or impress women than about simple surprise or wonder.

Stay tuned to GeniiOnline for more reports from the heart of Magi-Fest 2018.  

So, while we here at GeniiOnline are doing our part to elevate the art of magic into the public consciousness, we’re also not above messing with people for our own amusement. The Web actually combines a pretty neat card trick with some extreme creep-out factor. The routine begins innocently enough, as webs appear and disappear on four seemingly blank cards. The volunteer then covers the cards to discover a real (plastic) spider perched on the back of their hand. Yes, it’s evil. Yes, it’s perfect for Halloween. Yes, it’s only $10. 

Buy The Web by Jim Pace on Penguin Magic

  • Category: Card Trick
  • Price: $10
  • Format: Physical

Whether you’re looking for a spooky new parlour trick or simply want to entertain a few guests at a Halloween party, the Penny Dreadful Detective turns mentalism into a fun round of whodunit. Inspired by Edwardian parlour games, the Penny Dreadful Detective simulates a murder mystery with a small pack of cards and a pendulum, allowing you to instantly transform your volunteers into psychic sleuths. Includes everything you need to make the trick work, including a stunning vintage pocket watch and velvet pouch.

Buy Penny Dreadful Detective from Penguin Magic

  • Category: Parlour game
  • Price: $39.95
  • Format: Physical