Digital Effects The Magic of Joe Mogar

By Steve Beam

Steve "I still take my coffee black" Beam has gone quietly mad over thimbles. No, that's not quite true; Steve has gone loudly mad over thimbles. He loves thimbles. He wants you love thimbles, too. And so he has written this encyclopedic book on the subject, with an emphasis on the creations of Joe Mogar. I remembered Mr. Mogar's name from a routine called "Mogar's Novelty Four Thimble Routine" which was published in M-U-M in 1968. Digital Effects is the first major compilation of his material.

And what a compilation it is! 230 pages of vanishes, productions, color changes, flourishes, and full routines. In addition to Mr. Mogar's material, you'll find contributions from Edward Victor, Geoffrey Buckingham, Ed Burchell, Edward Lloyd Enoch, and the ubiquitous Mr. Beam.

The book begins with an interesting introduction in which Steve discusses two big challenges in writing a book on such a specialized subject: 1) writing the material in an entertaining manner; and 2) developing patter and presentational hooks so the material would work for a talking performer. I will tell you that Steve has succeeded at both of these tasks. The explanations are clear, understandable, and enormously fun to read. And Steve has developed some very clever and commercial patter possibilities for many of the routines. In addition to the introduction, the first part of the book contains useful information on "The Care and Feeding of Thimbles," and helpful hints on how to read and understand the technical descriptions.

Next comes the material, and there's a ton of it. I will confess that while I did read the book in its entirety, I only played with a few of the moves. (Steve was nice enough to send along some thimbles. You can order sets in various colors from him.) Be warned: there's not a lot of instant gratification here. We're talking thimble manipulation with the emphasis on the manipulation part. Steve's writing and Angie Reynolds' excellent illustrations make everything clear. The information is here. All you'll need to do is put in the time.

The last quarter of the book contains some fascinating information including "Sound Effects" (perfect for being the most obnoxious person in your peer group), "Sleeving," "The Big Pocket," "The Complete History of Thimble Magic," and a fairly thorough suggested reading list. In addition, there is a chart called "The Routine Builder." This chart lists over 60 items from the book and gives easy to see information on the type of effect, whether it requires a silk handkerchief, whether sleeving is involved, the number of visible thimbles at the beginning and end of the item, the total number of thimbles required, and the ending position of the thimbles (for example, "3 at fingertips, 1 in thumb palm"). This is a great idea, and it makes it much easier for the budding thimble-guy to construct an original routine.

I should also mention that this book is geared toward the male reader. Steve goes to great lengths to make sure that no one feels a loss of masculinity as they tackle the material in this book, and to this end he has given many of the items very "butch" names like "Deep Squat Production," "The Macho Vanish," "The Belcher," "Proctologist Vanish," "The Death Vanish," "The Drill," and "The Testosterone Vanish". (I wonder if female magicians reading this book will feel an increase of their femininity? Perhaps not, since the ones I saw at the convention shows this summer all wore leather and chains and swung big swords. But I digress.) However, Steve also wants you to get in touch with your feminine side. In fact, he wants your feminine side to go out and get him a cup of coffee. He takes it black. (While writing this review, I got in touch with my feminine side. It's now suing me for harassment. But I digress.)

What else can I tell you? Digital Effects is fun to read and the material is top-notch. It has great value as a reference book, and for those of you interested in thimble magic it's a must-buy. (By the way, I just got off the phone with Steve, and he mentioned that the routines in this book are designed to work with real thimbles, rather than the large, phoney thimbles that magicians often use. To save yourself some hassle, you may want to order a set from Steve. You get 7 thimbles for $8.)

Fundamentals of Magick

Fundamentals of Magick

Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.

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