If you haven’t been to the McCord Museum this summer it’s worth going to. Not your usual museum exhibition. It’s called ILLUSIONS – The Art of Magic and Luc Langevin is the ambassador of the exhibit. It’s the Allan Slaight collection, which was acquired by the McCord with the help of the Emmanuelle Gattuso Foundation. A tip of the Top Hat to the people who designed it.. Phil and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
We were invited by magician Dr. Joe Culpepper, magician, scholar, consultant and friend and customer of Perfect Magic. Before the guided tour, we were treated to a magic show, in a lovely little theatre there, given by the young students, who attended the McCord Museum Camp, Abracadabra, who were guided and taught by Joe and the counsellors. The kids did a great job and they all knew how to take a bow when the applause came.
So what’s the link between magic and music? After the show, and after the exhibit we were headed to the Metro but when we stepped out the side door of the museum, which Joe said was closer to the Metro, lo and behold, there was a beautiful red street piano on a beautifully decorated street.
Joe and his lovely fiancée, Jessamine, and I as well as some passerbys were treated to a spontaneous concert by Phil. Phil plays the kind of music that makes you want to dance and that’s just what Joe and Jessamine did. We had a delightful afternoon of magic, music and dance! Here’s a sampling.
I was really going to title this blog “How Soon We Forget”. People are funny. Especially magicians. Why? I’ve been around a long time (T.G.) so many people that visit the shop came here when they were kids. They used to hang around here all the time. Now with the internet I don’t see them as much. Many have their acts and all the equipment they need for it so they have no reason to come here, unless they want to for old times sake, to chew the proverbial rag, or they broke or lost an item or need a refill for something. It’s always good to see you guys or gals when you come in. That reminds me of that sign I saw in an antique store, “Everyone who passes though our door makes me smile, some on the way in and some on the way out!” But I digress.
Yesterday someone came in who I hadn’t seen for maybe 20 or 25 years but I knew him right away. He used to come here as a kid all the time. He bought something he had lost which he bought way back then. He still lives in Montreal. I said, “We haven’t seen you in so long.” He said, I was a kid then, now I’m married and have 3 children.” I asked how old his children were. He said, 11, 9 and 7 or thereabouts. I asked him how old he was when he came first came here. He said 11. I asked if he enjoyed coming here. He didn’t have to speak. He looked up, shook his head from side to side and closed his eyes, and and he spread his arms out. I asked if his kids had been to a magic shop. He said no. I said if you enjoyed it so much, don’t you think they would? The thought had never even entered his head. “Of course they would and I will bring them here.”
If you’ve been to our shop, you know its not a big fancy place, but every inch is filled with magic. I’ve heard many a kid say, “This is the best store in the whole world.” and I have to laugh. So if you’re a magician and have kids, I know you show them tricks, but give them the thrill of going to a magic shop as they won’t be around forever.
You may be a magician. You may be an excellent magican and a great performer, but you should pause now again to see whose shoulders you are standing on. Someone had to create the magic that you do. You had to buy the props, or make them. Even if you make them yourself, did you create it, or did you see it in a book or video and get the idea there?
If you had an idea, like, how can I walk through a brick wall and then make it happen, you are a creator. Some people know what they want to do but don’t know how to go about doing it. They go to people who do know. It may be costly but there are people that can do it.
When we started out in the magic shop, where we sell the magic that people created and built, we travelled a lot. I remember Phil and I visited Steve Dusheck and his wife, in Hazelton , Pennsylvania near Three Mile Island and spent time with him at his home. He had invented so much stuff. I asked him how he thought of all that and his answer was, “Are you kidding? Every morning I wake up with a million new ideas. I just don’t have the time to do them all.” It takes a special brain.
Many years ago a kid came into our shop and showed us a few tricks he came up with. He lived around the corner of the shop at that time. He blew us away. He wanted to sell them to us, but I said I would never be able to demonstrate it. This was before VHS or DVD’s. He said, “Let me teach you.” In five minutes I knew how to do it and sold lots of them. It was called HOLLOW. You punched a hole in a card and move that hole around. Then he came out with Hollow 2. He also came out with Nicotine, which was also fabulous. His name is Menny Lindenfeld.
Recently Menny came out with Tru involving a rubber band. You may want to look at it, especially if you are into rubber bands. I put him high up on my list of creators.
He also came out with the Self-Bending Paper Clip which was a big hit as well as other stuff. Check it out!
Many years ago Albert Goshman, a fabulous close-up magician was our guest in
Albert Goshman – Publicity photo
Montreal when he lectured here for us. You may also know him as a manufacturer of Sponge Balls and other items made of sponge for which he is world famous. But I digress.
When he was here for a close-up performance he called upon me as his volunteer for his famous Coin under the Salt Shaker routine. You old timers know what I’m talking about. I knew what to expect and watched him closely but I could never catch a move, even for the finale when a huge coin appeared under the salt shaker, right under my nose, and I never saw him put it there, neither did anyone else.
So after this fabulous performance he closed his act with the Rising Card.
Later in the evening when we were alone I asked him. “Why in the world would a fabulous magician like you, who can do such sleight of hand, close your act with the rising card, a commercial trick that anyone could do?”
His reply was, ” This is my act. I perform for lay people. When the show is over and they go home they’ll forget all about the Salt Shaker. All they’ll remember is someone chose a card, put it in the deck, the deck was put in a glass and the chosen signed card, all by itself, rose out of the deck. They’ll talk about that.”
We have about 9 different varieties of Rising Card in our catalog, besides those written up in books. A few weeks ago we got a new one in, “Risen”. You use your own deck, the spectator opens the box, shuffles the cards and takes a card a signs it. You can watch it on the video. We got great feedback from our customers who bought it. Easy to do. Just thought I’d let you know. I’m sure Albert would have loved it.