Monthly Archives: April 2016

The Connection of Magic and Afikomen

If you’re not Jewish or if you are Jewish and don’t celebrate Passover, you may not know what Afikomen is. Briefly, we celebrate Passover to remember how the  Jews suffered when we were slaves in Egypt a few thousand years ago and to thank God for setting us free. To celebrate the family gets together for a Seder, which is the Hebrew word for order as there is a special order to the food and ritual.

Part of the ritual involves the one leading the Seder to break a piece of Matzo in two ( bread that didn’t have a chance to rise as the Jews had to leave in a hurry and took their bread out of the oven before it had a chance to rise, hence the flat bread or matzo) and put it in a napkin or special bag and hide it for after the meal. That is the Afikomen, which actually comes from the Greek word “epikomion” which means “that which comes after”.

The children look for all over the house and whoever finds it tells the leader of the service that if he wants it back he’ll have to pay. The two usually have a discussion and bicker about the price. (It’s such fun to watch) The child has the advantage because we can’t finish the Seder without the Afikomen and its usually late so depending on the skills of the child, he or she usually gets a hefty sum.

I had a 10 year old here yesterday. He had been here before and his father said he hasn’t stopped nagging him, since the last time he was here, to come back. He looked at everything and asked questions and took what he wanted and paid out his own money. He was the one in his family who had found the Afikomen.


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Magic Lessons for Kids

For many years Perfect Magic had magic lessons at the shop. There were 2 courses for adults. On Tuesday nights there was Level 1 and Wednesday nights there was Level 2, which was stage magic. We were fortunate to have Guy Camirand Of the Camirand Academy of Magic to give these courses. They were his baby and they turned out many a fine magician. Phil gave that course for a while but after working all day it was too much for him to give a course at night.

However, there is a whole new generation coming up and I have been getting calls for courses, more for children than for adults. So I thought about it and am considering Saturday mornings from 10:30 to 11:30. A session of four weeks to begin with and a maximum of 10 kids from 7 to 9 years old.

I know kids pick up stuff on the internet, but there is more to magic than tricks and it’s important for them to experience of a magic shop and of being with people who have been in the business of magic for almost 40 years. Both Phil and I will be there to instruct the youngsters and I feel it will be a great experience for all involved.

If there is interest we will start in May. For details phone us at 514-738-4176 or email


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The Magic of Magic Conventions

For Phil and me, the magic of Magic Conventions is not the magic. Its a place and time where people with a common interest, from all over gather. We get a chance to meet people we know and haven’t seen in years and we also get the chance to meet people who have been ordering on line who we never met personally.

The Browser’s Den Magic Bash was such a place. We spent time with Bernice Cooper, the late Len Cooper’s wife. Len was the original owner of The Browser’s Den. We used to visit them in Toronto and Bernice would be there behind the counter helping out as magic shop owner’s wives do. It was nice for her too, to see and speak to many people that used to come into their shop.

Hans Zahn from Newfoundland, a good friend, and pioneer in the magic video industry, was there with his son and granddaughter. The last time I saw his son he was the same age as his daughter is now, or even younger.

It was wonderful seeing Steffi Kay and Chris (Mysterion). Nobody gives you such a wonderful reception as Steffi.  They were recently in the shop and I wrote a blog about their visit.

We also met Joseph Culpepper there who I just wrote about last week. (Three Generations of Magic).

Nicole, who does such a wonderful job with canada’s magic blog, keeping us informed about what’s going on all over this vast land of ours, with all the magic meetings, performances, and whatever is going on in magic, was there with her daughter.

Michael Close  was there. He was performing. Besides magic he and Phil have piano playing in common.

We also spoke to Stephanie & Steve Kline, Greg Frewin ( who also performed), Nick Sacco, Dick Joiner (one of the MCs) Ben Train and Graydon Gilmore.


Dave Williamson was there, also performing. Mac King, Jean Boucher, Dave Williamson, Carl Cloutier. 2He had been a performer at Magie Montréal way back in the nineteen hundreds, 1993 to be exact. He was there the same year as Mac King. Jean Boucher also performed that year and I love the photo of them along with Carl Cloutier.

Back to the Magic Bash. We reconnected with Mike and Jen Segal, who runs the Sorcerers Safari magic camp and Christina and Lee Asher, who we had breakfast with every morning at the magic camp when we were there. Lee,  Jeff Pinsky and John Talbot were the group that organized the Bash.. They had a terrific day and as you saw on our facebook page, Jeff honoured Phil and me with an outstanding welcome.

I was happy to see Rosemary Reid, who we met at Magic Camp a couple of years ago. Although we are facebook friends, we haven’t seen each other since then.

And of course it was wonderful to see Danny Morrissey again. He seemed happy to be back and everyone was thrilled to see him.

I know I am leaving out people that I will remember as soon as I publish this, but there were 400 people there. Some came up to us and introduced themselves. We recognized their names as they were online customers. It was nice to put a faces to a names.

We look forward to next year!






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Three Generations of Magic

I always marvelled at the power of magic to erase or eliminate the differences between people; race, colour, religion, language, age, financial situation, social class, it all vanishes when the subject of magic comes up, even magic ability doesn’t seem to matter, as long as you are involved in magic. That’s the common denominator. Nothing else seems to count!

Last week, Joseph Culpepper, who I am sure some if not many of you know or heard of. He is a visiting Scholar at the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada. He is a teacher of magic history and adaptation at Montreal’s National Circus School.

While he was here and as we chatted a young magician, 10 years old, came in with his father. I say a young magician, as he is not only someone who comes in to get a new trick now and then, but because he has such a keen interest in the subject and has a burning desire to learn magic. He has taken books from the library and has modified tricks to make them more interesting.Culpepper - Caeden - Matlin

It did not take long before this young boy along with Joseph and Phil were deep into it, discussing books, techniques, problem situations, and  how best to handle them, magic camp, circus school and what not. Joseph was wearing his hat and did some marvellous stunts with it, which delighted us all. I’m sure it was well over an hour that this went on, even past closing time. This kid wasn’t just listening. He took an active part in the conversation and everything was enjoyed by all. We all took photos, exchanged email addresses and I’m sure it had a great impact on the young man.

You don’t get that on line!

P.S. You may have seen the post from Joseph Culpepper on our facebook page. I wrote this before getting his blog. We had a laugh over it at the Magic Bash in Toronto on Saturday. We saw many old friends there and made new ones and saw some good magic. Congratulations to Jeff Pinsky, John Talbot and Lee Asher.

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