Numerous studies have shown that smell is the strongest of our five senses, and that scents are strongly tied to the recollection of memory, but when was the last time you saw a magician waft the smell of a slice of pizza in the audience’s direction in conjunction with a card trick?
That’s what Jeanette Andrews does with her magic (though she tends to trade junk food for the smell of freshly-cut flowers), and that’s what she talks about in the most recent episode of the Magical Thinking podcast. Recently off a stretch at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Andrews talks about the inspiration behind her “interactive sensory illusions”, and why she enjoys the unique empathetic connection she shares with the audiences of her performances.
Listen to the episode in the Soundcloud player above, or check out the podcast page over at Art of Magic. And if you want to see some examples of the work she’s created, watch the teaser video below, which shows off an art exhibit with a field of grass inside an elevator, a cocktail “garden” simulated entirely with sounds, smells, and humidity, and a magic trick involving seed packets and a literal ton of soil.
Marc Maron has interviewed an impressive variety of talented and intelligent individuals over the years on WTF, a podcast he began back in 2009. This week, Maron sat down for interviews with two distinct practitioners and lovers of magic: Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Alexander.
In episode 903, which originally published back on April 2, 2018, Harris talks about growing up in New Mexico, going to Jack Nicholson’s house, seeing magic at the state fair (always get the Indian fry bread), and the human element behind magic. The discussion begins around the 27 minute mark, and you can download the episode directly here.
Then, on episode 904, which originally published on April 5, 2018, Maron talks with Jason Alexander, who talks about his time on Seinfeld in addition to learning magic as a child to cope with his own awkwardness, performing at the Magic Castle, and how much his wife hates his own obsession with magic. There’s also an inordinate amount of talk about the McDLT, which Alexander shilled for in this aggressively 80’s commercial. You can download the episode here.
(Shout out to reader Peter for the tip!)
Spend even 15 minutes delving into magic history and you’ll find yourself with one undeniable truth: early magicians were not very good at documenting things for posterity. That sad reality makes the work of historians and archivists, such as Dr. Tim Moore, all the more critical.
Moore is a magic collector, and he’s done an impressive amount of work for the world of magicians. With more than 2,000 items in his collection, that’s a whole lot of preservation. Moore talked about his work, including advice for aspiring collectors, on the latest episode of The Magic Word podcast with Scott Wells. The pair discusses many facets of collection, from his efforts to preserve the Howard Thurston mausoleum in Columbus, Ohio, to the Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin museum in Blois, France.
But Moore’s still got other tricks up his sleeve. As you’ll hear, he’s still hot on the trail of Houdini’s milk can. If you’ve been sitting on any information, he’s the man to tell. Listen to the full episode on The Magic Word website.
Have you ever heard of Adelaide Herrmann? Dubbed “The Queen of Magic” during her fifty-year career in the art, Herrmann was certainly the most successful female magician of her time, if not all time. You can learn all about her incredible life in the latest episode of What’sHerName, a podcast dedicated to discussing remarkable women throughout history. Appearing on the podcast will be mentalist and Merlin Award winner, Paul W Draper, alongside usual hosts Katie Nelson and Olivia Meikle.
Here’s a few spoilers. Adelaide Hermann née Scarcez began her career as a dancer and Velocipede rider before entering the magic industry proper as an assistant to her husband, Alexander Hermann, also known as “Herrmann the Great.” Together they performed feats of escapology and magic, including the infamous bullet catch trick, until Alexander’s death in 1896. Just a month after the death of her husband, Adelaide performed the bullet catch on her own, with surviving publicity material describing her as catching six bullets fired at her by local militiamen. What followed was an eventful, successful career that lasted her well into old age. She toured London and Paris, and then made her Broadway debut in 1903. She was still performing in her 70s until a fire in a New York City warehouse destroyed her props and took the lives of several of her performing animals.
And that’s just the surface level stuff; the podcast goes into far more detail about the times and triumphs of the Queen of Magic. You can listen to it in full in the embedded player below, visit the What’sHerName podcast website, or subscribe to the What’sHerName podcast on iTunes, Android, Google Play, or Stitcher.
Every magician worth their loaded dice knows how important it is to set the scene for your act. Some performers do it with their wardrobe or with elaborately painted sets. Some do it with music. In the case of the renowned Penn and Teller, that music is all the work of Mike Jones. He first teamed up with the magic world’s top duo act when Penn Jillette was struck by Jones’ piano playing in a bar. He’s been with them for about 16 years.
Jones joined the Rick Keene Music Scene podcast for a lengthy conversation about his music and magic. The second of the three-part chat was recently published, and he’s got lots to say about the state of the music industry in particular. Jones shares his insights about the uphill battle to continue landing gigs, stability, and the future of jazz. It’s not easy to make it in any performance field, whether your passion is jazz piano or card magic. This interview is a reminder of both the challenges any full-time performer faces and the tenacity it takes to make it.
Listen to both posted parts here.
Penn & Teller: Fool Us has become a destination of sorts for budding magicians; a place where performers looking to make a name for themselves by trying to pull the wool over the famous duo’s eyes in an attempt to win an opening slot at their show in Las Vegas. And whether you successfully fool them or not, you’ve got a killer demo reel for your portfolio to show off to potential clients.
If you’re at a point in your career where you’re trying to appear on Fool Us, you’ll want to listen to this week’s episode of the Discourse in Magic podcast, which features an interview with Michael Close. Close is one of two magic consultants for the show, and has recently released a series of instructional books called Paradigm Shift, and even hosts a free online course called Magician’s Masterclass – so he knows a thing or two about what makes a good trick for television. The hour-long podcast is a great listen, covering everything from his background in magic to the best way to hone your routine for a television audition.
Normally on The Magic Word podcast, host Scott Wells sits down for a lengthy chat with a fellow magician, talking about topics from magic history to stagecraft to novels. In this special episode, Wells handed the mic over to comedy magician Martin Cox, who shared an hour of his time roaming the halls at the Blackpool Magic Convention. He chats up many of the attendees about their time at the convention. It’s a slightly different take on sharing the Blackpool than the many (excellent) videos that pro magicians have been posting.
You can listen to the episode on The Magic Word’s website.
Perfecting your stage presence is a never-ending practice for magicians. The smallest things can totally change the impact of a performance, from a word to a body position. Or, to hear Mario Lopez tell it, even the slightest facial expression is important.
The Spanish magician is the latest guest on the Discourse in Magic podcast, and he delved into some less obvious aspects of performing magic. He draws his theatrical style from inspirations ranging from clowns to Charlie Chaplin. A glance at any one of his many clips on Instagram show just how evocative an eyebrow can be.
Rudy Coby is the latest performer to guest on The Magic Word podcast. Coby rose to fame with his comedy magic centered on the character Labman, a four-legged scientist who starred in two TV specials during the 90s. One of them, The Coolest Magician on Planet Earth, is available in its entirety on YouTube, so check that out for an example of his supremely odd style.
Here with Scott Wells, he talks about his many performance experiences and some of the fascinating characters he has met and collaborated with over the years. And yes, that includes Marilyn Manson.
Listen to The Magic Word on its website.
Ellusionist is one of the top spots for magicians to buy and sell their best tricks, and Lloyd Barnes makes sure you’re only seeing the best. He watches many of the submissions to the retailer, and he talks about his work on the latest episode of the Discourse in Magic podcast. If there’s one takeaway from his stories, it’s to do your damn research. Barnes said that one performer submitted the double-lift as a new trick. Don’t be that person.
Barnes is also a magic creator in his own right, and he shares his focused approach to developing new tricks. You can listen to new episodes of Discourse in Magic on the show’s website, on Apple Podcasts, on Android, and on RSS feeds.