Don Alans Big Deal

A few months ago, the magazine ads heralded the arrival of "The most eagerly anticipated book of the New Millennium" - a book on the magic of Don Alan. Many, myself included, thought this book would never appear. The story behind this book is as complex and contradictory as the man whose life and magic it details. It is a fascinating tale, but you're not going read it in this column. For the past two weeks I have read through piles of faxes and emails, and I have spent hours on the telephone. After sifting through all the information, I have no idea exactly what the truth is. Ultimately, I decided that the history of this book (whatever it may actually be) had no bearing on my review of the book. I cannot base a review on what a book might have been. I can only examine the merits of the product that is offered to you, the magic consumer. So, is the Don Alan book really a big deal? Read on.

In a Class by Himself: The Legacy of Don Alan

By Jon Racherbaumer. 8.5 x 11 hardcover, with dustjacket. 309 pages. $49.95 postpaid in US and Canada. From L&L Publishing, P.O. Box 100, Tahoma, CA 96142. Orders: 800626-5. Fax: 530-525-7008. Email: [email protected]. Web site: www.llpub.com.

I cannot truly appreciate Don Alan, in the same way that I cannot truly appreciate the fact that gravity holds us to the earth's surface. For me, Don Alan has always been there, and I cannot imagine what close-up magic was like before he appeared on the scene.

I never met Don Alan, but I saw him on television, and the memory of these television performances is vibrantly clear. When I was in Junior High school I decided that sleight-of-hand, close-up magic would be my area of focus. Unfortunately, we lived in a little town in central Indiana, and I had no contact with any other magicians. It was the magic that I saw on TV (what there was of it) that sustained me. I saw Don Alan perform his signature effects, the Chop Cup, the Bowl Routine, the Fez Routine, and I thought to myself (as did almost every other close-up performer who saw Don Alan), "I want to do those tricks the way that guy does them." My parents took me back to Fort Wayne (where we had lived previously) for a visit to Stoner's Magic Shop. I asked Dick Stoner if he knew a trick with a cup and a ball where the magician produced large balls at the end. Dick performed the trick for me, and again I was blown away. I returned from that trip with a Chop Cup set and a small, 50-cent booklet that read, "Don Alan's Professional Presentation of the Chop Cup." I no longer have the Chop Cup, but I still have the booklet, and I continue to marvel over the price. Has anyone ever offered a more valuable routine for less money?

Don Alan was born on February 22, 1926 in Norwood, Ohio. He served as a cadet in the U.S. Air Force and later (using the G.I. Bill) attended and graduated from the Chavez College of Magic in Hollywood. After graduation Don teamed up with Billy Phillips, performing a two-man comedy magic act that, unfortunately, failed to gain entrance into the big time. When the duo split up, Don began working as a magician-bartender in Chicago, the Mecca for the difficult and distinctive performance art known as Magic Bar.

In the 1950's Chicago was home to a superlative group of magicians who defined a style of magic that was not found anywhere else in the country. Johnny Paul, Johnny Platt, Clarke Crandall, Jim Ryan, and Matt Schulien established the salient characteristics of Chicago Bar Magic - tricks that were fun, easy to understand, laced with a dose of edgy attitude that could keep inebriated customers in line. Bert Allerton infused the style with class and at the same time established the concept of the magician as "guest" - the clever and charming visitor who sat down at the table and became one of the party. Don Alan absorbed all these influences, and in the hot forge of real world performance shaped an approach that appealed to both laymen and magicians. Laymen loved the routines; magicians wanted the routines, and Don Alan became (in the words of Mike Rogers) "the most copied professional close-up magician in history."

Don Alan achieved success in his chosen field. He appeared on national television many times and he was a top trade show and corporate performer. Unfortunately, he also carried with him a great deal of bitterness and anger toward the world of magicians, whom he felt had not treated him with respect. His health began to decline, and he moved to Las Vegas in 1990. He later moved to a nursing home in Escondido, California, where he died on April 15, 1999, a victim of Alzheimer's Disease.

Way back in 1989, L&L Publishing and Jon Racherbaumer signed a deal for a Don Alan book project. As conceived by Ron Bauer (who instigated the project), this was to be a two-volume set. The project languished in development limbo for years. Don Alan, at first enthusiastic about the project, lost interest and chose not to be an active participant. There was some question whether the book would ever see print. After more than 10 years, the Don Alan book has finally appeared, accompanied by great fanfare and hoopla. It is titled In a Class by Himself: The Legacy of Don Alan. Does this book do justice to the memory of one of the most influential performers in the history of magic? To answer that question, we'll have to take a look at the book in some detail.

In a Class by Himself begins with two heartfelt introductory pieces written by Eugene Burger and Ron Bauer. As Eugene writes in his Foreword, if there had been no Don Alan, there would not be a "Eugene Burger, Professional Close-up Magician." As a youngster, Eugene appeared with Don Alan on Bud Bowman's show Magic. Eugene's parents would take Eugene to Schulien's restaurant, where Don would spend time with him performing and discussing magic. These were great lessons in (to use Eugene's words) "presentational choreography" - a precise marrying of actions with words, that produces a routine with no wasted motions or verbiage. Ron Bauer's association with Don Alan also goes back to the 1950's. As Ron recounts in his Preface, his initial encounters with Don Alan focused on magic, and later (after Ron had established himself in the advertising industry) shifted to discussions of ways to reach "account executive-types." In this Preface Ron also tells the story of how a chance remark by comedian Robert Klein hurt Don Alan's chances of breaking into the big time.

Next is a brief biographical sketch of Don Alan. While this biography touches on the highlights of Don's life and career, I can't help but wish that this was a more in-depth biography, giving me a chance to understand the man behind the magic. Following the biography is a Prologue that discusses Don's approach to close-up magic. There is valuable information here, especially if the reader uses the suggestions as advice and inspiration, rather than imitation. (A portion of this Prologue appeared as "The Matt Factors" in the January 2001 issue of MAGIC.)

We now get to the main portion of the book, the discussion of Don Alan's magic. There are three sections: The Pretty Sneaky Act, Just Good Fun, and More Sneaky Stuff. The Pretty Sneaky Act is a 32-minute close-up act that contains Don's most familiar routines. Included are: Lean-Mean Chop Cup, Devilish Devano Rise, Knickle Head (the Chuck Smith nail/nickel gag), Burning Sensations (Cigarette Through Quarter), Invisible Deck, Benson Bowl Over, Fanciful Flight (a Ring Flight routine), Micro-Macro Intro, Big Deal, Bagged Stab, Scotch and Soda Coda, Ranch Bird Deluxe, and Darker Side of Malini (Chinatown Dollar with the production of a giant nut.)

The Just Good Fun section includes several favorites from the Magic Ranch television series, including Stanley (the monkey in the basket routine), Worm's Turn, and Las Vegas Fairy Tale (a combination of Coins Across and the Cap and Pence). Also in this section are Clyde, Pretty Sneaky Nudist Deck, Invisible Card to Wallet, Sneakily Stacked in Your Favor (a terrific Dice Stacking routine), and Tweaking Marlo's Twee. The More Sneaky Stuff section contains some material that will be of interest to stand-up magicians, including Disappearing Cane Using a Top Hat, Flying Medal, Hat Levitator, Production of a Dove from a Borrowed Purse, Production of Flowers and Cards, Floating and Rising Billiard Ball, Funny Birdcage Vanish (a great idea), and the Cereal Bowls (which wowed an audience of magicians at the 1949 I.B.M. convention in Chicago).

In addition to the trick sections, there are two transcripts. The first transcript is the first part of a lecture Don Alan gave in July 1975. Read this transcript and you'll discover a man that desperately loves magic, but who also loathes what the world of magic has become. The second transcript is of a session at the home of Earle Christenberry in which Don Alan explains some things to Earle and Jon Racherbaumer. In a Class by Himself concludes with some advice from Don, an analytical breakdown of the routines in the Pretty Sneaky Act, a Capsule Chronology, and a Bibliography & Filmography.

To the casual observer, this listing of the contents may make In a Class by Himself appear to be an impressive book. Unfortunately, I believe this book has some serious problems, and I must address each of these problems so you can make an intelligent buying decision.

It appears that from the very beginning of the project Jon Racherbaumer intended to use the existing video and film footage of Don Alan as the basis for his descriptions of the routines. The Pretty Sneaky Act is a word-for-word transcription of Don Alan's performance on the Stevens Magic Emporium Don Alan video (The Greater Magic Video

Library Volume 28). Routines from the Just Good Fun section are transcribed from Magic Ranch performances and some other (unnamed) video sources. Using a single videotaped performance as the basis for what is supposed to be a definitive description of a routine is a flawed approach. Jon Racherbaumer seems to make the claim that Don Alan performed a routine the same way every time, but I find this claim to be spurious at best. Don Alan was a funny man who was tuned in to capitalize on any situations that might occur during a performance. I am sure that he was ready, willing, and able to "riff" on any situation that might occur. What we have on the Stevens video is simply one performance out of the many thousands Don gave during his lifetime. For the trick descriptions that appear in In a Class by Himself to have real value, they should be descriptions of idealized performances - descriptions that discuss both those aspects of a routine that form the core (unchangeable) elements and those elements that may fluctuate from performance to performance. (I should clarify this a bit for those of you who have never had your performances videotaped and sold to other magicians. Magic videos are produced on a budget and shot in a hurry. If the performance that is released on video comes anywhere near being an idealized performance you are very, very lucky.)

In order to achieve this idealized description the cooperation of the artist/performer is essential. Who knows these routines better than the man who created them and performed them for forty years? Unfortunately, by the time Don Alan moved to Las Vegas, it appears he had become disenchanted with the book and had lost interest in participating. Both Louis Falanga and Jon Racherbaumer have reported that it was impossible to get Don to meet with them. So now all author Racherbaumer has to go on are the notes he had taken in sessions with Don and whatever can be deduced by watching Don's performances on videotape and film.

Don Alan's abandonment of this project produced another big problem - how is this material going to be illustrated? As far back as 1999 the decision was made to use "frame captures" from the Stevens video and the other video sources. All the routines in the Pretty Sneaky Act and most of the routines in the Just Good Fun section are illustrated with these frame captures, which means that the publisher has taken a frame from the videotape and used it as a still picture. Jon Racherbaumer comments that these video frame captures "possess a historical-documentary appearance, both charming and authentic-looking. More important, the stop-action shots or 'slivers of frozen time' are 'reminders' and 'surrogates' of pure performance." This may be true, but these frame captures are nearly useless as learning aids. Magic illustrations are meant to clarify the text, to show us actions from the magician's viewpoint, and to highlight salient details. The frame captures (especially in the Pretty Sneaky Act) are murky, unenlightening, and only show us what the audience sees. For anyone actually trying to learn these routines, they will be of little benefit.

For a moment, let's examine Jon Racherbaumer's approach to explaining Don Alan's material. (Those of you who have a file of The Looking Glass may want to look up "Thickening a Plot" in the Summer 1996 issue. This is Jon's write-up of Bagged Stab, and it exemplifies Jon's approach.) In each routine description, Jon spends an enormous amount of time telling us what Don Alan says, when he says it, what he means, and what effect his words have on his audience. Jon then gives us a statistical analysis of Don's verbal approach: how many seconds a routine lasted, how many words were uttered, how many laughs were evoked, how many effects occurred. This type of empirical analysis certainly pads out a book and gives you the impression that you are actually learning "the work," but what do you (as someone who's trying to learn these routines) really learn from this information? I think that Jon could have saved time (and at least 100 pages) had he simply stated the following: Don Alan attempted to remove all dead time from a routine. When dead time could not be removed he engaged the audience's attention with questions and jokes. Every sentence was important. (As an aside, I fear that Jon has placed way too much emphasis on jokes, as if jokes are the only method for sustaining interest. Don Alan used jokes because he was a funny man who was as interested in comedy as he was in magic. Telling jokes was a part of his personality. If you are not a funny person, don't rely on jokes. Simply remember that during "dead moments" in a routine the audience's attention must be engaged. Somehow.)

What I find most disturbing about Jon's explanations of Don Alan's routines is that in several cases they are incomplete, unclear, or simply wrong. At the beginning of In a Class by Himself six well-known and highly regarded gentlemen are credited with copy-editing the book. It is embarrassing how poorly they did their job. Since it is possible that many of you have already purchased this book, perhaps it would be useful if I pointed out some of these errors, so you could make annotations in your copy.

In Lean-Mean Chop Cup, the method for loading the big balls is incomplete. In a 1991 letter to Louis Falanga (published in Facsimile #4) Racherbaumer wrote, "I purposely omitted explanations of the final loads. These must be explained by Don." Well, by 1999 Don Alan was dead. The book would not be published for another two years. Don gave the information on the final loads for the Chop Cup on the Stevens videotape. Joe Stevens did not make any restrictions on the use of his videotape. (I asked Joe about this.) So my question is, why wasn't this information included in the book?

There is an error in the Devilish Devano Rise (I found this 20 minutes after I got the book.) On page 18 in the second paragraph it reads, "Have each spectator return his or her selections in the 4-2-1-3 order from the top." In Don's handling, only three spectators take cards. The order should be 4-1-3. There is a very nebulous sentence at the beginning of Fanciful Flight, the Ring Flight routine. Racherbaumer writes, "Set-up: Secure the key-case and reel at the left side under your coat for easy access." I defy anyone to tell me what that instruction means. Are we to use some sort of clip? Where is the case placed? It turns out that the answer is very simple, and you can find it on the Stevens tape. Jon has also left out a very important step just before the key case is brought into view. Again, this information is on the Stevens tape.

The description of Big Deal is a real mess. This is a pity, because Big Deal is one of the tricks in Don's repertoire that can be performed standing, and it is both easy and effect. The first problem is that the cards are incorrectly described. On the Stevens video Don used a jumbo Four of Hearts and a jumbo Three-and-a-half of Clubs. Don stated that it was important that the two cards contrast in color. Jon's explanation of the corner-short card is wrong. You must corner short an indifferent card and place it above the Seven of Clubs (which is the card you will force in the second phase of the routine) in the lower third of the deck. In Jon's description it is impossible to riffle force the corner short card in the manner described. Again, all this information is on the Stevens video. It is very strange that none of the copy-editors caught this mistake. Even stranger since no frame-captures are used to illustrate the second phase when the Three-and-a-half of Clubs is revealed. Someone must have seen that the cards Jon described did not match what was on the video.

There is a very confusing frame-capture at the bottom of page 165. Frame 17 seems to show a stack of dice sitting on top of a jar lid that sits on top of a table. Actually, the lid is screwed onto the top of a jar, but there are lines of video static at the bottom of the frame capture that obscure the jar and make it appear as if the lid sits on the table.

These are the mistakes I found on just a cursory comparison of the book and the Stevens video. (By the way, if you don't own In a Class by Himself, or you have no intention of buying it, I'm sorry to have wasted you time during the last paragraphs.)

While it is surprising that Jon did not make use of the information on the Stevens video, it is even more surprising that he failed to incorporate some of the information given to him by Don in private sessions. We can prove this, because we have a transcript of one of these sessions included in the back of the book. The transcript of the session at Earle Christenberry's house is very confusing to read, mainly because the participants are making reference to objects (props and gaffs) that we cannot see. Don describes his key case for Ring Flight and the manner in which he hooks it up. He describes several gaffs he uses for Micro-Macro. He describes his version of the Allerton Aspirin tin. It is very hard to understand this information because we can't see what Don is talking about. We weren't there. But Jon Racherbaumer was there, and since he was planning on writing a book about this material is it not logical that he would have taken notes, made sketches, etc? Why was none of this information incorporated into the write-ups of the routines?

Any professional who performs the same routines over many years is going to learn things about a trick that you can only learn from experience. When a pro tips his material I seek out these nuggets of information. Sadly, there is precious little of it in In a Class by Himself. When Don dropped out of the project, a great resource was lost. However, there is information of this type on the Stevens video. For example, when Don did the Chop Cup he always banged the cup on the edge of the table before he loaded it. Wouldn't you like to know why? Don used a short wand for the Benson Bowl routine. Wouldn't you like to know why? (Answers to these questions appear on the Stevens video.) Don basically did the same trick three times in show (Chop Cup, Bowl Routine, Big Nut from hat). Why? I actually have a theory about this last one. I think these routines are an example of a "call back," a term from stand-up comedy. A comedian sets up a punch line, and then refers back to it at unexpected times later in his routine. The repeated production of large objects throughout the Pretty Sneaky Act is a perfect example of a magical call back.

Anyone who carefully studies In a Class by Himself will discover that, tragically, the one person missing from the book is Don Alan. Precious little of the knowledge that comes from 40 years of experience actually appears in the book. Nor are there reminiscences, stories, or anecdotes from Don or anyone else. However, we do get a healthy dose of Jon Racherbaumer's opinions. At least one of these irked me considerably. Don Alan sat down when he performed. Racherbaumer writes, "Sitting down was one of his [Don's] cardinal rules. Many close-up workers today perform standing, conforming to motifs used at magic conventions today and in places such as the parlor at the Magic Castle." This is baloney (and believe me, baloney was not my first choice of words). Don Alan sat at the table because he came from the Chicago school of close-up magic. In the 1950s and 60s restaurants were more generous with their space. It was easier to pull up a chair and join the party. But as restaurants became more profit oriented, tables became smaller and were spaced closer together. Those of us who work in the real world perform standing because most of the time the conditions of the venue will not allow us to sit down. (If we try to sit down we infringe on the comfort zone of the patrons and we impede the traffic flow of the servers.) To make the statement that we stand up because we learned to do so by performing at magic conventions and the artificially luxurious conditions of the Magic Castle is both ludicrous and insulting. Most hobbyists perform sitting down. It affords them the ability to lap and to produce objects from underneath the table. It is only when you enter the realm of real world venues that you discover that precious little of the magic you've spent so long to learn is actually practical. In fact, there are only three professional magicians that I know who prefer to perform seated -Eugene Burger Bill Malone, and Terry Veckey, all of whom come from the Chicago school.

So, what's the bottom line? If you are unfamiliar with Don Alan and his material, and you want routines to add to your repertoire, you will certainly find tricks that have stood the test of time. However, you will also find write-ups that are somewhat daunting, routines that have performance restrictions (you must be seated), and repertoire that has been done to death by hundreds of Don Alan clones. If you are looking for innovative techniques or tricks to puzzle your magic buddies, you'll be disappointed. Don Alan was not interested in fooling magicians, he was interested in entertaining laymen. The tricks he performed were standard, the methods well known to the average magician. His gift was in routining. Consequently, if you want to learn one man's approach to the construction of professional caliber material, you will certainly find much to study and absorb. If you are looking for "the real work," the gems of information that come from years of performing, you're going to be disappointed. If you are a historian looking for insight into an extremely complex human being, you're going to be disappointed.

If you really want to get a feel for who Don Alan was and the kind of magic he performed (and I don't think I've ever made a recommendation like this before) you should forget about this book and invest in the Stevens Tape (available for $32.50 postpaid - call 316-683-9582 or check at www.stevensmagic.com) and the Bill McIlhany Magic Ranch Videos (310-275-3194 or email [email protected]). Those who already own the book will probably want the videos to clarify information in the book.

In a Class by Himself has been advertised as a big deal. My guess is that those who loved Don Alan and who wished for a true preservation of his legacy will find that this book falls far short of the mark.

Larry Jenning's Neoclassics

By Stephen Minch. 5.5 x 8.5 softcover, stapled. 40 pages. $12 postpaid in US and Canada. From L&L Publishing, P.O. Box 100, Tahoma, CA 96142. Orders: 800-626-5. Fax: 530-525-7008. Email: [email protected]. Web site: www.llpub.com.

This little booklet containing three Larry Jennings card effects has been out of print for several years. The three routines (meticulously described by Stephen Minch) exemplify the Jennings approach to card magic - streamlined construction, naturalness in handling, and a reliance on chutzpah that causes most of us to quake in our shoes.

The first routine is a variation on the classic Card in Orange plot. The big difference is that the trick is designed to be done standing, without a table, and the deck of cards visually changes into the orange. The second routine is a coincidence effect that will fool magicians and laymen. No advanced sleight-of-hand is required. In the third routine, a thought-of card travels from one packet to another. The technical requirements for this routine are challenging, consequently few will attempt it. However, this is the type of routine that looks like real magic in the hands of an expert performer.

Fans of Larry Jennings will certainly want to add Neoclassics to their libraries. Lovers of elegant card magic will also delight in these routines. This booklet is reasonably priced and I'm glad it's back in print.

MentCode

By Lee Woodside. $59.95 plus $3.50 p&h. From Lee Woodside, 4513 Northwest 29th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73127. Phone: 405-946-1436. Email: [email protected].

One need only watch the performances of Simon and Ginny Aronson, Danny and Jan Orleans, or the Levasons to realize how entertaining and baffling a two-person mental act can be. A daunting aspect of learning such an act is practicing the coding of information. Lee Woodside provides a complete learning package with his product MentCode: Develop Your Own Two-Person Mental Act. Mr. Woodside provides a 30 page, plastic comb bound manuscript and a CD-ROM. The first step in the learning process is to learn the words used to code numbers. Following this Mr. Woodside explains how to code colors, money, personal objects, etc. There is also information on pre-show work and performing in the real world. The nice aspect of the system Mr. Woodside presents is that it is completely customizable; you can use his code, or you can develop code words that more closely match your manner of speech.

The CD-ROM that is included contains a Windows program. (This means that MentCode is only useful for PC users.) The main function of the program is to allow you to practice the code. You can practice the basic code (those words that cue the numbers 1-100), or you can practice the coding/receiving of actual objects. You can practice as the sender or the receiver. The program is completely customizable, so if you change code words or their associated objects you can simply enter that data into the program. The program was simple to install and easy to understand. (And for those of you entering the world of memorized deck, I see no reason why you couldn't use this program to speed up the process of learning a stack.)

MentCode is a useful product. It is not cheap, but the market is small, and Mr. Woodside has obviously invested some time in developing the program. I would hope that if this product were successful Mr. Woodside would add a few enhancements, such as the ability to practice coding specific items. If a two-person mental act is in your future, MentCode is worth your serious consideration. (As with any product released in an electronic medium I would ask that you respect the creator and not make illegal copies for your friends.)

Magician's Music Kit Volume 4

From Richard Wayne Productions. $31.95. From Richard Wayne Productions, Inc., P.O. Box 335, Boiling Springs, PA 17007-0335. Phone: 800-624-4271. Fax: 717-258-6051. Email: [email protected]

Here's another compact disc with original music designed for magicians. As with other CDs of this type, there is a wide variety of music, reflecting various moods, tempos, and styles. One nice aspect of this compilation is that most of pieces have internal edit points. The music comes to a logical cessation, and then resumes. These pauses are brief enough that they do not jar the ear when they occur, and they are clean edit points (that is, there's no reverberation hanging over). This means that you can adjust the length of a piece to suit your individual needs, or you can edit together various pieces to create a longer musical accompaniment. Mr. Wayne includes suggestions on how to edit this material.

I found these to be effective, well-produced pieces of music, although I think the orchestral simulations are not particularly convincing. (Understand that this is an area that I have spent a great deal of time studying, consequently I am very critical of this. To your ears these pieces may sound just fine.) If you are in the market for music for your act, it would certainly be worth your time to contact Mr. Wayne and find out more about his products.

Ultimate Ambition Improved Bounce Across Dicey Dots

By Daryl. See review for individual prices. From Fooler Doolers Dept. L, P.O. Box 13821, Las Vegas, NV 89112. Fax: 702-435-7227. Web site: www.Daryl.net

Daryl, the magician's magician, and his lovely wife Alison have finally returned to Las Vegas having spent two years traveling the world lecturing at every magic club on the face of the earth. Apparently it has been a bit difficult for Daryl to adjust to life at home, since each morning he wakes up, picks up his phone and orders room service, loads everything he owns into his van, drives around Vegas for five hours, checks into his own home, and sets up a product display booth on his driveway. If for some reason you missed Daryl on this tour, he will come to your house and lecture for you personally. No, just kidding. But there are some nifty things that Daryl is offering that you should be aware of.

At the top of the list is Daryl's Ultimate Ambition Improved. In this killer finish to Daryl's Ambitious Card routine the deck is wrapped with rope, a signed card is placed into the middle of the deck, and it still rises to the top. Daryl has improved both the gaff and the routine. The gaff is thinner and the switch happens at a more opportune time. I think this is really terrific. ($29.95)

Bounce Across is an unusual effect that was one of Dai Vernon's favorites. The "bounce" leaves a rubber ball and is transferred to a lump of clay. The clay now bounces and the ball doesn't. This is a memorable effect and it's not difficult to do. ($24.95)

Dicey Dots is a version of Slip Off Spots. Dots vanish from a die and appear on a plastic rod. A cute and simple trick to carry in your pocket. ($9.95)

Daryl has lots of other stuff for sale. It would be worth your time to visit his web site. Erratum and Omission Department

In the contact information section of my review of Fusillade (Marketplace, February 2001) the phone number for Doc Eason was listed incorrectly. His phone number is 970927-3197. Also, the contact information for Paul Cummins was inadvertently omitted. Fusillade can be obtained from Paul at FASDIU Press, 3703 Foxcroft Road, Jacksonville, FL 32257. Phone: 904-260-9943. Web site: www.fasdiu.com. Email: [email protected]

It's Not Magic, But.

Dale Salwak is well known in the world of magic for his elegant stage manipulation act and his association with the Chavez Studio of Magic. He is also a professor of English at Southern California's Citrus College, and he has a terrific son named Ryan whom I enjoy hanging out with backstage at I.B.M. conventions.

Dale has a new book out titled Faith and the Family (New World Library, $14.95, ISBN 1-57731-160-4). It is an exploration of the challenges facing the family unit and the ways in which the family unit can be strengthened. Of particular interest to magicians are the stories of Jack Browne (Past President of the I.B.M) and Neil and Jeanne Foster. This book presents an overt Christian message, which may or may not appeal. I know that readers of this column have enjoyed the other Salwak books that I have mentioned (A Passion for Books, The Wonders of Solitude), so I wanted to bring this one to your attention.

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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