Northern California - United States
Posted: Mar 18, 2007 3:19am
Born in 1958, Steve Beam officially decided to become a magician at age 11 when he found his first coin store. After years of collecting coins by searching through his change and that of others, he found that one could simply purchase coins from a coin shop. Thus, the best coin collector was the one with the most money to invest. At 11, cash (the non-collectible kind) was in short supply, so Steve decided to take up another hobby. Unfortunately, it was years later when he discovered magic shops and came to learn the true meaning of the term “disposable income.”
Steve became a passionate student and reader of all things magical. Lacking discretion at this early age, he developed several manipulation acts, an illusion show which he billed as “Paid by the Pound,” and developed an instant affinity for close-up magic. Having perfected mediocrity in several branches of the art, Steve set his sights on creating his own material.
Several books featuring his abominations appeared in the late seventies while Steve was avoiding working on an Accounting degree from the University of South Carolina. While in college, he was part owner with Henry Pettit of Columbia Magic Shop and used his time to write books on topics as diverse as coins (Steve Beam on Coins, Volumes 1 & 2 in 1980 & 1982), outs (Inside Outs in 1979 with Don Morris), and color changes (The Changing of the Cards in 1982). All of these are long out of print.
In 1983, he started publishing The Trapdoor, a periodical featuring all kinds of magic and humor, with an emphasis on sleight of hand. The journal ultimately spanned 15 years and almost 1500 pages, and the deadlines explain much of the resulting bare space on Steve’s scalp.
In 1993, while still publishing The Trapdoor, he started down a path that has proven that he cares nothing about the monetary value of time. He didn’t like the term “self-working” to describe card tricks that were not physically difficult to perform. Seeking a term that would be self-evident, he coined the term “Semi-Automatic Card Tricks” and published the first volume of card tricks with that name. He has spent the last 14 years, 7 volumes, and 1650 pages explaining the term.
In 1997, Steve abandoned all hopes of being financially successful when he wrote and published Digital Effects, The Magic of Joe Mogar. At 230 pages, this remains the bible for thimble magic. It features Joe’s wonderful life’s work with thimbles along with a few items the author created along the way. This remains one of his finest efforts and will soon fall out of print.
There are perhaps two dozen other titles bearing his name – most of which are no longer available. Steve’s publications feature magic based on solid effects, devious methods, and engaging presentations. He is fortunate to be joined by close friends who spend an equally embarrassing amount of time pursuing better magic. His most frequent correspondents include Doug Canning, Lewis Jones, Marty Kane, and Ramon Rioboo. His local sounding boards form a suspicious collection of friends including Mike Gorman, Fred Rosenbaum, Mike Deering, Danny Reeves, and his frequent and favorite lunch/dinner partner, Phil Willmarth.
When not hunting for selected cards, his daytime hobby is spent as the executive director of the nationally acclaimed Raleigh Housing Authority. (Neither of these tasks would be described as “self-working.”) Steve lives in Cary, NC with Dawn the Wonder Wife. Married for the last 28 years, they have produced three daughters: Casey, Michelle, and Leslie, the resident card-pickers.
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