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Topic: How Much Should Magic Cost?
Message: Posted by: StephenP (Oct 1, 2010 12:02AM)
I'm finding it hard to figure out what a good/fair price is for tricks. I've seen e-books with card tricks from $5 up, gaffed coins and card decks for a wide variety of prices, and DVDs from $10 to $50. How can you tell which are worth paying more for? If you're on a budget, is it better to go with one $50 trick or five $10 ones?

I know there is probably no blanket answer to this, but looking around at all the stuff that's available out there is overwhelming. I'm looking forward to hearing if anyone has any thoughts to share on this.

Message: Posted by: WazMeister (Oct 1, 2010 01:02AM)
I started with a £2 pack of cards and a book titled royal road that cost £5. Had loads of tricks and content to last forever. Though after awhile I did not get on with royal road and stopes reading. Then started on harry loranye classic card book. C enough there to go pro! :)
Message: Posted by: rklew64 (Oct 1, 2010 01:53AM)
I second what Wazmeister says!
Message: Posted by: UnderYourNose (Oct 1, 2010 02:07AM)
Yeah, I think everyone is going to have a different answer for this one, to a certain extent. I also think it has a lot to do with how long you've been doing magic.

I imagine if you're just starting out, a $50 book with several techniques is where real value lies. As WazMeister said, there's enough in The Card Classics of Ken Krenzel to go pro, which is $36 over at Elmwood Magic. Or, heck, grab a copy of The Expert at the Card Table by Erdnase for $8.05. That will keep you busy for ages, and you'll have enough left over for burgers, a bottle of cab, and some magician's wax, the making of any fine evening!

I'm not saying I wouldn't pay $50 (or much more) for a single trick that knocked my socks off, but not at the start of my learning career.
Message: Posted by: volto (Oct 1, 2010 06:55AM)
Sorry if this post is a bit long, it's an 'advice to my younger self' kind of post. If I'd read it, it would have saved me a bunch of money and months - maybe years - of practice time. Apologies if this isn't relevant for you. I got carried away.

Crappy props can cost a lot. Pointless DVDs are regularly inflicted on an unsuspecting public. Legendarily good magic can also be incredibly cheap, if someone tells you where to look and what to buy. Here's where to look, and what to buy:

-Henry Hay's amateur magician's handbook. Used paperback on amazon is $4.
-The Tarbell course in magic, Vol1. Used hardback, amazon, $9.89.
-Bobo's modern coin magic. Used paperback on amazon for $2.25.
-The royal road to card magic, amazon, $2.12

Then, get a deck of cards. If you started with $20, you'll still have enough change for a coins across. :)

That equips you with a solid grounding, and magic you can carry around and perform anywhere. So what do you do next, in terms of a stand-up show? Well, Hay and Tarbell have a lot to say about that, and you can put it all together for another $20, depending on what you're doing. You could learn the cups and balls, for instance, with almost any cups and balls. You can build a square circle for a few bucks.

A major cautionary note, though - if you're buying gaffed items, go for quality. Several times I've tried to go with the cheapest, then got one that was a little better, then given up and gone for the best. You need to be sure it won't fail during the show. I've found in several cases that more expensive gaffed items tend to be more deceptive; the makers care about them, test them before shipping and so on. Also, you're going to need to practice with that specific item, so it's worth getting the best - it will actually save you money, and practice time in some cases (e.g. cups, billiard balls, rings, thread). Bricks and mortar shops can help in this respect because you may be able to handle the item, although some of the very best items (not necessarily the most expensive) are only available online. Sherwood cups would be a good example.

Have an idea of what you'd like to perform. Keep it to a half-hour show. Research the tricks and routine them well. Buy only what need. Spend as much as you can afford on your gaffed items, but make sure you know *exactly* what you're buying, and be *sure* that you'll use it in your act. If you're never going to perform it, you wasted money you could have spent improving quality in another area.

Do not buy material that's not in your planned act.
Do not buy cool stuff just to learn how it's done. There's not enough money in the world for that strategy. Bill Palmer has much excellent stuff to say on secrets, exposure and ethics in his "From The Wizards Cave" part of the Café.

Concentrate on doing your own act as well as you can. Create new secrets.
Oh yeah - and have fun!
Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Oct 1, 2010 08:18AM)
Wazmeister was referring to my books - LORAYNE: THE CLASSIC COLLECTION, Volumes 1 and 2 (working on Volume 3), not The Card Classics of Ken Krenzel, although there's nothing wrong with learning the stuff in that book - much more advanced stuff. If you want to learn more about my products (magic and memory, go to my fairly new magic website - it's listed under this post, with the word "magic" in it. Best - HARRY L.
Message: Posted by: UnderYourNose (Oct 1, 2010 12:52PM)
Ah, sorry for the misinformation, Harry. I got tripped up by the wording in the post.
Message: Posted by: StephenP (Oct 1, 2010 01:38PM)
Thanks everybody! And thanks to Harry for responding. I am honored! I'm definitely starting with the basics, want to learn the sleights and moves before going in for any gimmicks. I did succumb to the sight of all the flashy goodies and bought a cheap disappearing dime trick from Amazon, and I definitely got what I paid for. I was also given a rainbow deck for a gift, but have been mostly working on handling techniques with a classic Bicycle deck and learning some classic card tricks from turn-of-the-century books.

Since I'm new (first time doing magic since my Adams set as a kid) this kind of input is really helpful. Thanks again!
Message: Posted by: sethb (Oct 1, 2010 01:51PM)
StephenP -- When I started out many years ago, my mentor Al Flosso made sure that in addition to whatever single tricks I purchased, that I also bought a book each time I came to his shop. At the time, I thought that was a silly requirement.

But now, most of those tricks have long since disappeared, while the books [the "Tarbell Course," "Hugard's Magic Manual," "Greater Magic" & Bobo's "Modern Coin Magic," to name a few] are still being used. To that short list I'd add the first two volumes of "Card College," if you like card magic. In my own opinion, Tarbell is a great place to start, and at a cost of about $25 each, volumes 1-3 will keep you busy for a LONG time, with hundreds of different effects using cards, rope, rings, balls, coins and more.

You should still buy some tricks, but for starters I'd stick to the classics like the Cups and Balls, the Egg Bag, Scotch & Soda, Color-Changing Knives and so forth. A lot of these new DVD's are just rehashes of older material, and often are not so great. But there are also excellent DVD's like David Roth's "Expert Coin Magic" or Michael Ammar's "Complete Cups and Balls," that are classics in their own right and a good value. They can be very helpful in showing you how to execute a sleight or a move in a way that a book can't.

Hope this is helpful, and welcome to the Café! SETH
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Oct 1, 2010 01:59PM)
In terms of props there are two broad categories: closeup/parlor and stage.

Stage props tend to be the most expensive, mostly because of their size and construction costs, although there are exceptions (mostly in the "build it yourself" category such as the classic Victory Cartons).

Don't let "parlor" or "closeup" terms fool you however. You can make almost [b]any[/b] illusion "play big" on a stage with the right routining. A great example is the classic Invisible Deck which has been part of many stage routines and is always a crowd-pleaser. I've done stage performance in small to medium halls a number of times even though the only "stage" props I've ever owned are the aforementioned cartons.

Within those categories, what will be most expensive will be the newest thing (whether it's really new or not). That isn't to say the newest thing is the best. (Or even really new). It's often the most fun to buy, because its what everyone is talking about, but classics are classics because they have stood the test of time.

Ask any card workers about their top 3 or 5 favorite illusions and the Invisible Deck almost always comes up, even though its quite old at this point and you can buy it for $3.00 - $7.00.

Sometimes expensive things are worth the price... my purchase of the Double Take DVD was about $50.00 which I consider pretty expensive, but it was highly recommended to me and was well worth the price in that it got me over some fundamental things I wasn't understanding well enough from the books I had.

In the end, there are two questions to ask: if you are an amateur its primarily (1) what is it worth to you? In many cases you can't really know this ahead of time in magic so I rely pretty heavily on the recommendations I get here. If you are a profession then you need to ask (2) how much income will this bring me that I wouldn't make otherwise? For many people, an Axtell animatronic may never be worth the price, but if it gets you into some high priced markets you couldn't otherwise penetrate, then maybe it is.

Number (2) really is about having a business plan, which any real business should.

I agree with many others that books are still your best value for the dollar in almost all cases. Particularly when you are first starting out. Really learning one or two sleights well can keep you busy practicing for months.

Oh btw, something I've said before.

As a performing high-schooler, $100 was a lot of money to me, As such I bought slowly and well, and with expert advice. I bought many of my best props then.

As an amateur magician, but full time businessman with more money, frankly I haven't been as careful and I've bought some great stuff but also some real losers.

I've also bought too much stuff recently, frankly, and am trying hard to restrain myself so I really take the time to learn the stuff I have.

In many ways, its easier to be a really good magician if you're a poor one..., you [b]have[/b] to learn how to use everything you buy to its utmost potential.
Message: Posted by: rklew64 (Oct 1, 2010 03:45PM)
Can I also say give yourself a year or so to really understand what the hell your doing, because for some reason it ALL makes sense after months of practice - passively and active. Obviously these things are not overnight and also in my opinion, presentation is a tad higher priority over technique, but not saying neglect skill set of sleight of hand. I see more skilled magicians with a poor/dry/boring/recited/defensive/unsure/... presentation or act or schtick, but can kick ass on technique and do all the knuckle busting moves.
So think story or some detail to put a trick or routine or even a 5-10 minute show into context - for the most part.
Just re-read parts of Lorayne's The Magic Book - very key important foundational content in that book. Go get it.
As you read throughout this forum, it's obvious, but notice how even seasoned vets are constantly learning and tweaking their moves and routines after having performed it for "years". Try not to play catch up - find your learning curve pace and stay with it but mindfully adjust it if need be.
And after you know some things (principles and handlings, etc.) close up magic wise, you can go to Home Depot to buy magic supplies. For me it was washers, 8" spike nails and stainless steel nuts.
Message: Posted by: pradell (Oct 1, 2010 04:43PM)
There are so many trick of the week fads out there that it is easy to not see the forest through the trees. I have an exchange student magician living with me for a year and what we are doing is learning (relearning for me) the classics. We've read books and watched videos on such things as the cups and balls, the zombie, black art, basic coin and card magic, etc. And we are working on practicing and performance techniques. The classics are not going to go away tomorrow, next week or a decade from now. They are classic for many reasons, which include that learning them may teach you a lot about a broad range of ideas, skills, audience interaction and performance techniques. The cups and balls alone, perhaps the oldest magic trick still performed, offers so many variations, techniques and skills that one can spend years perfecting that trick alone. And compared to buying the trick of the week, a fair set of cups and balls and a wand won't set you back too much in your pocketbook although, as always, you can buy a very expensive set of cups, balls and a wand, such as the Paul Fox cups and a Thomas Wayne wand, if you are so inclined.

Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Oct 1, 2010 06:35PM)
Heh. I spent most of junior high school learning to perform a top quality (pure sleight) Miser's Dream and my cheap Miracle Ball Zombie.

You can spend a life-time exploring some of the classics, I agree. :)
Message: Posted by: Wizard of Oz (Oct 1, 2010 07:38PM)
1. Books. Start at the library.
2. DVDs from trusted magicians, who are well-proven and good teachers, i.e. Michael Ammar for one, but there are many.
3. Keep visiting The Café and read the "The Good, the Bad, and the Garbage" or "Latest and Greatest" forums for reviews. This site is full of smart, realistic, fair, and objective performers and buyers of classic magic, as well as the "latest" things. Chances are if you begin to trust a reviewer, you won't be disappointed when you invest in a trick. Research first. Buy later.
4. Shop around.
5. Continue to contribute interesting, informative, or constructive posts here at The Café and you'll eventually have enough posts to access the "Let's Make a Magic Deal" forum. You'll find a lot of deals here from trusted sellers.
6. Subscribe to Genii or Magic or both. Great reading, great magic, and informative reviews.
7. Check out the "Reel Magic" dvd-magazines. David Regal has an awesome set of reviews every issue.
8. Did I mention books?

Seriously though, magic effects and props are strange purchases. Most sellers will tell you "you're paying for the secret." Whatever. What's a secret worth? I think a fair price is one where the seller makes a fair profit, and the buyer isn't disappointed.

With magic, learning how to buy prudently takes time. And it's very, very easy to be seduced by "the stuff." And then, you're not a magician, or a hobbyest, or a collector. You're just a hoarder.

And be careful. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Message: Posted by: AGMagic (Oct 2, 2010 02:45PM)
Lots of good information from the posters above. One thing I have found helpful is to become known as a knowledgeable magician at your local magic shop (hopefully you have one near by). Once you are known, they will often let you examine the prop BEFORE you buy it. This can be a great advantage.

Don't avoid a gaff, method or effect just because your magic buddies can figure it out. Gear your magic towards a lay audience. A friend of mine, a professional magician for over 40 years, uses a Lota bowl in every one of his performances. Anyone who has ever studied magic knows how this prop works, but lay audiences love it. He gets more positive comments and questions on that one effect than anything else he does.

The secret to most magic is relatively simple. Some effects require some rather sophisticated props to accomplish but others require little more that a piece of string or some rubberbands. Expensive props do not make your magic better, only you can do that. A $10 trick in the hands of a pro can be a million dollar miracle while a $10,000 illusion in the wrong hands is worth nothing.

That said, if you are buying a prop, buy the best you can afford - or maybe a little better than you can afford. Avoid cheap knock-offs as they will probably not work as well as the original and will not last. Quality costs extra but will generally pay for itself over time.
Message: Posted by: Wizard of Oz (Oct 2, 2010 06:51PM)
Wow AGMagic, I couldn't have said it better myself. You're right, even a "slum" trick like a plastic ball vase, can be a miracle in the right hands. I remember seeing a dealer at a magic shop when I was a teen, who did a routine with a plastic set of cups and balls that blew me away. I had a Rings & Things set at that time, and this guy made me feel like a toddler. It's the routine that makes the man, not the cups.

Come to think of it, Bill Malone's Rub a Dub cups and balls, still floors me - whether you like his comedic style or not. Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SfaTbMHMl4 . It's done with a cheap set of cups and balls.

So, I agree, quality is never a bad investment. But in the hands of a professional, even plastic becomes gold.
Message: Posted by: rklew64 (Oct 2, 2010 11:30PM)
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Oct 3, 2010 10:57AM)

You've noticed the trend of BOOKS -- and lots of them. See the Sticky Note at the top of New To Magic on recommended books -- 12 pages of them! You cannot go wrong with a couple of classics.

Not sure what your budget is or your level of experience, but if you do have ~$100 to invest in learning magic as a serious amateur or professional, I suggest cups and balls. I played at magic for many more years than I'd like to admit (~30 years -- Ouch, I must be old!) and it wasn't till Pedro at Magic Inc told me I should try cups & balls, selling me Michael Ammar's two volume DVD set and a mid-priced set of cups. (RNT2's lowest price full size cup set is about $50) . Although I don't do the routine that often (most of what I do is impromptu) I learned so much about the craft of magic -- wish I had started with C&B! Certainly you could do this cheaper using Mark Wilson's book and low end cups, depending on your budget.

Regarding bang for buck, the advice on cards is right on. At Costco you can by a 12 pack block of Bicycle decks for $13 -- a couple of classic books and you are off and running...

Good luck!

Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Oct 3, 2010 04:22PM)
See, I was lucky when I was a boy - I HAD NO MONEY AT ALL. So, instead of following the kind of (and kind) advice herein - spend only $100 or less on cups and balls, etc., I learned from a book - no cost, library - and then used regular coffee cups and crumpled pieces of paper to learn the routine I wanted to learn. Then, as years went by, and I knew I could do the necessary moves for the routine, I started to save to buy a "real" cup and ball set. But you know what? I never did. I borrowed regular cups at friends houses, borrowed three $1 bills (had the gaff set), used a pencil or pen for the wand, and did the routine! Went over great. STILL DOES. Now, that's all the advice I have for cups and balls - but if you want to learn cards - IMPROMPTU - go to my magic website and check out my available books. HL.
Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Oct 3, 2010 04:26PM)
Oh,and again, how lucky can you get? Having no money at all was also good for learning "real" card magic. Couldn't afford trick decks of any kind, so I had no choice - had to learn to wow my friends [b]with a regular/borrowed[/b] deck. I used to pitch Svengali decks but sure as h@ll never used them personally. Anyway... HL.
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Oct 3, 2010 05:00PM)
See? If you spend little to no money some day you can be as great a magician as Harry Lorayne!

The other thing that hasn't been mentioned is that, with a few exceptions, a prop will be good for one basic effect. With cleverness you'll put your own spin on it, but in the end a color changing CD will always be a color changing CD.

If you learn sleight of hand with real everyday object though, like cards and coins and cups, the way you can combine those sleights to produce new and different miracles is limited only by your imagination and the principles you wil learn can lead you in whole new directions.

These are the things that open the doors of magic possibility wide open.

Right Harry?
Message: Posted by: Wizard of Oz (Oct 3, 2010 09:02PM)
Oh crap, I'm not Harry.
Message: Posted by: DWRackley (Oct 4, 2010 12:44AM)
Some props can be "utility items" with a little thought. For a long time I used a Chop Cup to vanish a cheap necklace which then reappeared inside an English walnut. Not one time did anyone ask (what to us is) the obvious question.

If you're careful, Glorpy (or Hiram or whatever iteration we're on now) can be used to cover small items as a regular silk. This acclimates the audience to seeing it only as a silk.

A silk cabbie will hold a gerbil, and half of Scotch & Soda is a usable s***l.

But the best value is always going to be books. The library is ok, but you're going to want to own the best ones. Don't forget to check out any high-quality used book stores in your area. We're fortunate here locally to have one of the best. Last time I was in, they had the Mark Wilson Course marked at $10.

Also, join the Learned Pig. This is an online collection of old (public domain?) magic books, including the original Tarbell mailings and The Jinx. (You'd be amazed how much "modern" stuff came from Jinx!) There is a "test" to join, but someone who's really "into" magic shouldn't have a problem. Very worthwhile!
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Oct 4, 2010 10:43AM)
You can get a new softcover Mark Wilson right now VERY cheap at Amazon. I paid less then $15.00.

that's a hell of a deal for a thick classic book chock full of good magic!
Message: Posted by: Magicus (Oct 5, 2010 12:17PM)
On 2010-10-01 20:38, Wizard of Oz wrote:
... Books. Start at the library.[/quote]

I just want to throw in that your local public library can get many, many books via Interlibrary Loan. ILL is an awesome resource for all magicians and 99% of libraries offer this service for free!

Here is what I recommend:

1. Go to your public library and get signed up for ILL. Oftentimes it's automatically set up on your library account but you just need an online pin to make requests.

2. Decide which books you want to get. Check your local library system first to make sure they don't already carry it.

3. If it's not available locally, then go to http://www.worldcat.org and put in whatever info necessary to find the item.

4. Go to the particular page on Worldcat and browse through the listing of libraries that carry the item. Sometimes it may be only at 5-6 places (like NY Public Library). In those cases you won't be able to get it via ILL. BUT - if there are several libraries listed, especially if any are a state or two away or you see a lot of public libraries, you are in luck. Chances are very good that you'll get it.

5. Enter your request for the book with your local library. I do this online with my library account. You'll need the title, author, ISBN #, OCLC #, publisher info, pub date, etc. Note that all this can be found on the particular Worldcat page for your item. So just copy the info over to your ILL request page.

6. If you can't request ILL items online, bring the info to your librarian and they can place the ILL request for you.

7. If the library is able to request the item (they can usually see if they can get it after a few days), they just be patient. Most of my requests take 1-5 weeks.

ILL is a super resource. It lets me get a lot of books to review before I decide whether to buy them or not. There are many books that are great magic books but just duplicate info in other books I want. With the ILL service I can rank my decisions by actually reviewing items at home rather than in a store or by guessing about content online.

Hope this helps somebody.
Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Oct 5, 2010 12:25PM)
Unfortunately "cheap is cheap," and you won't find any of my magic books that I wrote just for the magic fraternity in libraries. Sorry. HL.
Message: Posted by: Magicus (Oct 5, 2010 01:04PM)
Unless you're a student at Brown U! They seem to have way too much... gift from private collection?

Anyhow, back to lurking.
Message: Posted by: Wizard of Oz (Oct 5, 2010 07:38PM)
On 2010-10-05 13:25, Harry Lorayne wrote:
Unfortunately "cheap is cheap," and you won't find any of my magic books that I wrote just for the magic fraternity in libraries. Sorry. HL.

Well, I first discovered magic books at our local library... perhaps you've heard of them... Greater Magic, Our Magic, Modern Magic, all of the Tarbell series, and a couple by a gentleman by the name of Frank Garcia to name a small few.

While I have nothing but respect for you Mr. Lorayne, (and own most of your publications), I have to disagree with you on this comment. Just because yours, or other magicians' books aren't to be found in a library, does not mean they are necessarily better than those that are. Accessible and "free," does not necessarily mean cheap.
Message: Posted by: AGMagic (Oct 6, 2010 04:07PM)
StephenP, again lots of good info in the postings above, but they are all from the poster's point of view and therefore includes some bias. Perhaps if you would give everyone an idea of the type of magic you are most interested in they could be more specific in their answers to your questions.

I remember a sign in the local butcher shop when I was in High School. It said "We don't argue with those who sell for less...They know what their product is worth."

As for magic, $600 - $800 for a set of linking rings may seem insane to some and quite reasonable to others. A lot depends on how often you are performing and for whom.
Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Oct 6, 2010 05:17PM)
Hey, Wizard, you are entitled to disagree, just as I am entitled to my opinion that - [b]cheap is cheap[/b]. That has been my experience in magic and in life. And, you can read anything you like into my simple, straight-on, factual remark ("you won't find any of my magic books that I wrote just for the magic fraternity in libraries.") Because you won't. And, please, don't put words into my mouth or into my posts. I never said that books that are not in libraries are better than those that are; please don't make it appear as if I did. If that's your call on it, fine; as I said you're entitled to a) disagree and b) to your opinion. But, let's let our friends, magicians, decide for themselves. Again, you're reading things into my simple and factual remark. Please don't. (You kinda' said it above - "Oh crap, I'm not Harry." You're right, you're not.) Best - HARRY L.
Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Oct 6, 2010 05:22PM)
PS: Incidentally, Wizard, I never saw ANY of the books you mention above in any of the libraries I've checked. Now, again, a simple, factual statement. I'm not saying those are not in other libraries - just that I've never seen them in any of the libraries I've visited. When I first became interested in magic, of course I ran to the local library; I had no money at all to buy books, not that, at that time (a loooong time ago) there were good ones in the area I was interested in - impromptu card magic. The books I found at first had to do with wires and rings and clocks and strings and what-not. HL.
Message: Posted by: Wizard of Oz (Oct 6, 2010 07:47PM)
Fair enough. I guess I felt defensive and the need/urge to respond according to how I read your remark - which you must admit, was pretty broad, and therefor open to interpretation.

I don't want to pick a fight or argue, since I am well-aware of, and respect your influential contributions to magic. But I will also passionately defend the contributions that libraries have made to the art, and I'm sure many a magician out there have benefited from the source as well. If you feel differently, please... elaborate on what you mean by "Cheap is cheap." Until then, my sincere apologies if I put words in your mouth.

I was lucky. Our nearest library was a larger, regional library that was part of our county-wide system. It was 3 floors, with a courtyard garden in the middle. I remember the magic book collection well, as I spent many a magic convention later in life, hunting them down when I was finally able to afford them. Paging through them again was like visiting old friends.

The irony with my library story is, it also had a recreation room for presentations and meetings. I ended up putting on a couple of shows there as a teen. Not big shows. Not mind-blowing shows. But I remember the audiences leaving happy with the performances they saw... much of which contained effects I built from the books found in that very building.
Message: Posted by: jeffdell (Oct 6, 2010 09:58PM)
Hi StephenP,

One of the interesting things about Magic is that it can cost as much or as little as you wish to spend. I'm going to assume that you are just starting out and are looking for a little direction. As other posters have mentioned there are some excellent books available at very reasonable prices that will get you started with a handful of coins and a deck of cards. Books like the "Mark Wilson Course in Magic" offers an overview about different types of magic and is a good jumping off point into other areas of magic.

Also books like Harry Lorayne's "The Magic Book" and Henry Hay's "Amateur Magicians Handbook" are all excellent starting points for getting into magic.


Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Oct 6, 2010 10:43PM)
The Magic Book is the only one of my books that you may find in a library because it is the only one of my magic books that I did for a regular publisher.

Wizard: Do you really think I "need to elaborate on what I mean by cheap is cheap"? There really are no hidden meanings, no inuendos there. Let's see, how about this - [b]in most cases, "you gets what you pay for"[/b]. HL.
Message: Posted by: PenEnpitsu (Oct 6, 2010 11:19PM)
If we're talking about books we can find at the library, I could only find Tarr's Now You See It, Now You Don't
Message: Posted by: StephenP (Oct 7, 2010 07:53PM)
Thank you so much to everybody for your comments and input. I will definitely check out many of the books and tricks mentioned here. I am certainly more interested in working on handwork than collecting a bunch one-shot tricks, but I'll probably end up having a few of those as well. I'm getting into this as a serious hobby in my 40s, but I plan to still be working on it when I'm 80. If I do perform it may be as a volunteer or for small groups of friends.

My local library actually has quite a selection of mainstream magic books, including Hay's book for amateurs, some of Karl Fulves stuff, Mark Wilson, Bill Tarr. But so far I've just been having fun leafing through old PDF issues of The Jinx and Stanyon's Magic magazine.

I agree with both Harry and the Wizard. The library is the best repository of knowledge for every subject, and the benefit of "free" in that sense is immeasurable. But I respect Harry for keeping material within the realm of the fraternity and the inherent value of that.

I think I'd benefit from in-person sessions too. There's a full-day seminar here with Allan Ackerman and Doc Eason in November that I'm thinking about, and maybe classes at the Magic Castle.
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Oct 8, 2010 03:53PM)
Oh if your in LA and you have the time and interest, you have a WONDERFUL and unique resource in The Magic Castle. **eyes green with envy**

I was going to also suggest you join one of the two big magic clubs and go to local meetings: the IBM or the SAM. The nice thing about the SAM for a beginner is just having an interest is enough to qualify (you can in fact join over the internet.) The IBM requires you actually audition for full membership and do a decent little routine. that's not a bad thing for you, but it might be too much pressure at this stage...
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Oct 9, 2010 11:20PM)

If you can afford lessons at the Magic Castle, then go for it! I've not had the opportunity to visit the Castle, but have found that the best money I've ever spent on magic is on lessons. Joining a magic club was also something I did that was a great move. I'm a member of both SAM and IBM, attend local meeting when I can, and read every word of MUM and Linking Ring. Spending time with other magicians, either in social, club, or classes is a great help.

Good luck!
Message: Posted by: StephenP (Oct 10, 2010 04:02PM)
Thanks 55, I am going to a seminar put on by the local magic shop (The Magic Apple) in November and may take the Magic Castle classes with David Thorsen. Cyberqat's comment reminds me of how wrong it would be to not take advantage of living so close! Plus my wife is insisting on it. She's loving these first few tricks I've been working on.
Message: Posted by: Cyberqat (Oct 10, 2010 04:21PM)
She's encouraging your magic? if you hadn't already married her I'd tell you to do so!

(My wife loves my magic too.)
Message: Posted by: Wizard of Oz (Oct 10, 2010 07:11PM)
OMG, I am so jealous of both of you. Both my son and my wife dislike magic, and barely put up with my impromptu performances. They love when I show things at parties or gatherings, but not just to them.

Luckily, my wife let me have a "magic room," so I ain't complainin'.