Category Archives: Magic

Comedy Magician, Asi Wind at the Comedy Nest

We don’t get out a whole lot. We used to when we were younger, but now, after a day at the magic shop we are happy to go home and relax. But Asi Wind, New York  Mentalist and Mind-Reader, was giving a one man show at the Comedy Nest at the old Montreal Forum and we wanted to see him as we had heard about him of course but never had seen him. It was a two hour show with an intermission and no one left at intermission. He got a standing ovation. It was a Monday night and there was a pretty good turn out.The bottom section was filled and part of the upper section. We were thoroughly entertained and as magic dealers, we understood some of what he did, but he had us badly fooled for much of it. He was funny and talented and did a terrific number with Rubik Cubes.

Besides enjoying the show, we enjoyed meeting a lot of our customers and friends there. So all in all it was a great evening.

Oh, and it turns out Asi too will be going to the Sorcerer’s Safari Magic Camp and we look forward to spending time with him there.

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Filed under Asi Wind, Comedy, Magic, Performing

Sheer Magic with Chris Barillaro (and Company)

We went to see Ain’t Misbehavin’ at the Segal Centre in Montreal. If you are a “Fats” Waller enthusiast or not, it was exceptional. We’ve see it before in  years gone by, once in B.C., once in New York, and enjoyed them all but this was by far, the best.

Why am I talking about a musical when magic and magicians are what you want to hear about? Because Chris Barillaro, fellow magician, who we’ve known since he was a kid, happens to be the musical director of this fabulous production. Not only is he the musical director, but he played piano for the full 90 minutes of the show, jazz, ragtime, stride, and Phil will tell you…it ain’t easy!

Which brings me to another topic and also the same topic. In our 37 years of being in the magic business, we find that many magicians are also musicians, writers,  artists, and actors, comedians. Many are multi-talented and they bring this talent with them when they perform. Rhythm, timing, vision, imagination all go into making magic great. We sell stuff in packages and with your talent, you turn it into miracles. We take our hats off to you. Keep it up! And I hope you got to see the show Ain’t Misbehavin, which as I said was sheer magic! Congratulations, Chris! It was supposed to end on Oct. 20th but was held over until the 23 which is tonight.

This is not to say that people are born with these multi-talents. If you love magic and you want to perform there are books and DVDs to help you. Like Magic and Showmanship by Henning Nelms,  Showmanship for Magicians  by Dariel Fitzkee, Exploring Magical Presentations DVD by Eugene Burger to name a few. You’ll be a better magician if you explore these avenues.

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Filed under Magic, Music

Making Magic More Magical

With the constant inundation of new magic tricks on the market, one is hard pressed to know what to choose. And I’m speaking as a magic dealer. I can only imagine what my customers must go through.

There are the classics, where one cannot go wrong. The Svengali Deck, Invisible Deck, Mental Photo Deck, Cardtoon Deck, Stripper Deck, Rising Card are some of the trick decks that I would endorse as fabulous ( depending on the magician, of course). Linking rings, Cups and Balls, Sponge Balls, Chinese Sticks…you can’t go wrong with those either.

But what about all these new things and gadgets that come out. How good are they? If you read the write ups – each effect is the best ever in the whole world!  I must confess we do not know every single item intimately on our site. There are literally thousands of effects available. We get the clue that something is excellent when a pro buys it and his best friends come in a few days later and order it, too. That happened with Ring Flight Revolution, and Nest of Wallets, Tool DVD, Tarantula, Get Sharky, etc. The word gets out. These are not cheap tricks, but they are good.

John Kennedy’s Mystery Box was a huge hit, whereby a little wooden box with a cover on it sat on the table in full view all the time. A spectator selected a card, signed it and put it in the deck. When asked to find their card in the deck, the spectator is unable to. The magician or spectator removes the cover of the box, and sees a folded card inside. It turns out to be the selected signed card. David Regal just upped the ante. He came out with an acrylic clear box with a folded card in it from the beginning, which turns out to be the signed and selected card. It’s another hit. Its called Clarity Box. Check it out! How much more magical can you get than that?!


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David Ben “Tacit Knowledge” Secrets of Magic

Yesterday one of the magicians that came into the shop asked me how my week-end was. I had to think. Week-end? It was a blur. I laughed and told him my two grandchild, age 7 and 5, had a sleep over at my home and it was hectic. We spent a good time of it making balloon animals. He didn’t say anything, but just looked at me for a while. I didn’t say anything either as I didn’t want to bore him with stories about my grandchildren. He finally spoke. “I wish my grandmother would have been a magician.”

I assure everyone I am not a magician, not even close, but I know a few tricks after being in the business for over 35 years. My grandson does do magic. He was asked to do a magic trick for his class, in French, and he did it so well his teacher asked him to go to the other classes and do it for them too.We have chats about magic, he and I, about magic, real magic, magic secrets, the performance of magic, etc. so when I read David Ben’s article on the passing on of secrets from generation to generation, whether it be magic, winemaking, or cooking, it gave me cause for pause. I mentioned the article on facebook, but if you didn’t catch it then you might enjoy reading it.

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Magic -The Whole Deck & Nothing but the Deck

Perfect Magic was born over 35 years ago. We started it when Phil was still in the wholesale fruit and vegetable business. So I was the one looking after the magic business to a great extent. I had to learn some tricks to demonstrate although I was not a magician. The card tricks I learned consist of the Svengali, Invisible, Wizard Stripper and Mental Photo decks. Also the Rising Card. The next deck to come along that I loved enough to learn was Cardtoon.  In all these years with all the hundreds of tricks that came out, the only other ones I learnt were Future Foretold and Bewildered.

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I was never interested in learning another trick. Not true. There is one other, The Ceremony of the Immortalsnot because I wanted to learn it, but because it was so amazing to me. None of the above are new tricks, but they are as great today as they always were. Richard Sanders still blames me for him getting him into magic when I did Mental Photo for him. Ask him. He’ll tell you.

So I was content in my world of 7 or 8  cards tricks that I could do. I had all the patter down and the tricks are easy and as they say, every demo was a sale. So why should I break my neck, especially these days. At one time, before VHS, yes, VHS a person would come into the shop and ask what’s new and what’s good. We don’t hear that question any more. Most new customers don’t even care. They come in and say, “I saw this on Youtube or I saw Luc Langevin do such and such. Can you get it for me?” Not all, but many. Half the things they ask for we know they could never do and will never do and we tell them that, but they want what they want and so we get it for them.

Sometimes  its unavailable, and I say “Let me show you something else.” I show them a Svengali deck. The look of amazement could not be greater  if I produced an elephant. 9 times out of 10 they’ll buy it. I know they’ll use it and come back for more.

Then  along came a deck that made me want to learn another card trick, The (W)hole Deck. There is one segment that is so magical it took my breath away. There are 3 magical things that happen, but the first one will leave your audience with their jaws dropped. Give yourself  a treat and look at the video and you’ll know what I’m talking about. I saw someone do it in person and was amazed all  over again.

Just thought I would share that with you. Enjoy!

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Filed under Evelyn Matlin, Magic

Where Magic Is Born

Where does magic come from? Who thinks these things up, anyway? That’s so clever. Why didn’t I think of that? How often have you had some of these thoughts?

There are some people who have magical minds. I remember many years ago sitting in Steve Dusheck’s house in Pennyslvania, and he was showing Phil and I some of his latest inventions. How do you think of these things? I asked. His answer? I go to bed at night and when I wake up in the morning I have so many new ideas, I don’t know which to tackle first. 

We sell magic. We really don’t have time to sit around and think of things, look for materials, put them together, etc. It’s an achievement to come up with something that is good magic.

And yet, a magic trick was born a few weeks ago on my kitchen table. Not by me, not by Phil, but by my seven year old grandson, who was not even doing magic at the time, although he does do magic. He was working on an arts and craft project that involved nails. A particular type of nail. The problem was I had a box full of nails and screws and nuts and bolts all mixed together, even though the box had compartments. I did not want him to turn the box upside down on the table, so I told him to take out all the stuff one compartment at a time. The next problem was that he couldn’t get his fingers into the compartments to empty them. So I gave him a magnet. Mixed in with all the stuff were some black objects made of rubber that looked like short pieces of licorice sticks, about 3/4 ” long with a hole running down the center just like licorice. He emptied the compartments, one at a time, taking the black things out with his hands because the magnet wouldn’t pick them up, of course. And then a strange thing happened and I heard him say,

“But that’s impossible.”

“What’s impossible?” I asked.

“The magnet is picking up the rubber tube.”

And then he looked closer and saw the was a nail running through the hole in little black tube, and was hanging on to the end of it, with the head at the other end..  After fiddling around with it for a while he discovered that the magnet didn’t have to touch the nail at all, but would hold the nail though the rubber.  The he looked for a tiny nail to put right inside the rubber so it was completely hidden. Then he took a tube without a nail, and figured out a way to switch them. He then jumped off his chair and made a dash for the computer room, where Phil was busy working and I heard him shout, “Hey, Grampa, wanna see a magic trick?”

As I said, a magic trick was born on my kitchen table.

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A Treat At The Magic Shop

Last Friday was not our ordinary day at the magic shop.  It’s spring break. We had a visitor for the day, my grandson, who is now seven years old and has been doing magic since he is two. The last time he was here was about a year ago and by chance David Acer came into the shop and 5 minutes later Richard Sanders came in. Not planned. It was a riot and my grandson was doubled over in laughter with their antics. This time he came to the shop well armed with his magic case, under lock and key. We picked him up at his house and when he got to the shop he read the sign outside the door. Open 10-3 on Fridays.

“What time is it?”

“Ten past ten.”

“It says you open at ten. Where are the magicians?’

We had a good laugh and told him with the internet, sometimes we don’t see a magician all day. So he got busy checking everything out hoping a magician would come in. Finally one did. Someone we know well. Jonathan Levey.

I thought he would be excited to see a magician so that he would see some tricks, but no, true to form, he wanted to do tricks for the magician. He actually did a coin trick  with a penny (Miracle Coin Block)  for Jonathan that fooled him and  in the reciprocal manner of a magician,  Jonathan took the penny to show him a vanish. He vanished the coin from one of his own hands  and made it appear in the other. The most magical thing of all  happened when Jonathan opened his hand, expecting to see the coin he had transfered there. Instead, there were two coins in his hand, a dime and a penny and his jaw was hanging open, as he had no idea how the dime got there. We all had a good laugh.

Last year, when my grandson was here, there happened to be a huge box in the shop, so I cut out a door and windows and he played happily in and out of it. When he left I got rid of the box, but another came in a few weeks ago, and I saved it for him. Being busy with other things, I left him to his own devices. Then he called me and told me to watch. At age 7 he devised a manner of visibly getting into the box, and invisibly escaping from it. I had watched Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde from Paris and, to my amazement, the escape the magician used on the show was very close to the one my grandson came up with.

My grandson had a treat spending the day in the shop. We had a treat, because he was there and Jonathan had a treat because he managed to fool himself.


Filed under Children's Magic, Grandparents and Magic, Magic, Performing

Magicians, Mentalism and Money

Many magicians have turned to mentalism as their performing art. It has its advantages, no doubt. Not much to carry. No big boxes, no knuckle breaking card tricks, and so on. But it can be expensive to get into.  If someone is selling secrets, they usually don’t give it away. And surely the performers don’t give it away.  So a really powerful effect may consist of 6 pages and cost $100.00.

I remember years ago ordering just that for someone. When it came in and I saw what it was I felt it was criminal to charge that amount.  It was 3 pages of 8 1/2″ x 11″ folded in half  and one of the pages was the cover. When the customer came to pick it up he was delighted it came in and was happy to pay for it. Most good books on magic are expensive, and books on mentalism are even more expensive. They are not mass produced and I don’t believe anyone is making a killing on them.

Now I’m not saying there are no props involved. What I am saying is its more portable, because the things that are expensive, you leave at home, like books and DVDs on the subject. Performance is paramount. So you also have to buy books on performance. More money.

There are props like Mental Epic or Slate Boards,  and other devices, so when something comes out that is not expensive and is great, I thought I should give it my full endorsement. I’m talking about Mathematical Genius. Maybe I’m prejudice because math was never my forte, and now I look so smart when I perform it. Anyhow, if you want to dazzle someone and don’t want to spend big bucks, this is it. Of course there are many other things you can dazzle people with that are inexpensive, but I really like this one. Check it out!

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Filed under Magic, Mentalism

The Drama of Magic

Many years ago, a magician from Greece used to come by the shop maybe once a year when he was in town to buy Jumbo Mouth coils. He was an

Our magician friend from Greece

impressive figure even off stage. He was tall and muscular and had long blond curls past his shoulders. He didn’t speak much English but we managed to communicate. He was performing at a Greek night club on St. Laurent Boulevard and invited Phil and myself to the evening show. I came across his photo the other day when I was looking for something else and it brought back a rush of memories.

It just so happened that Peter Gossamer and his wife  Carol were here performing (for real people, not a convention or magicians) and we had plans to go out for dinner that evening. We told him we would love to go but we had plans for dinner with another couple and showed him their photo on our wall of fame that we had then. He invited them to the show as well. So the four of us went.

Peter and Carol

While he was here he bought “Knife thru Arm”. It was popular at the time and I used to demonstrate it sort of, but he knew what it was and was happy to see that we had it. Why am I telling you this. So you’ll know that I know how it works.

We got to the theatre and it was  a night club with a full stage. We were well received and were seated at ring side seats. It was lovely. The whole show was in Greek. We did not understand one word, but at one point were well aware of the fact that he was telling a funny story and it was about us and everyone was hysterical, except the 4 of us. In any case he was a wonderful magician. At one point ambulance sirens went off outside and he explained and we understood somehow that it wasn’t for him but he had them waiting in case anyone fainted during his next act.

It was then that he pull out the knife and put it through his arm. I was ring side and he bent over and shoved his bloody arm in our faces. I could not believe what I was seeing and found myself actually wondering if he did indeed cut through his arm. Now that I think back, it was then that the people were laughing. I think he must of told them that I sold him the knife and he must have seen the look on my face. It was quite the scene. Sirens blaring, people laughing, some gasping, blood spurting. Awesome. But to his day, I will never understand how he made it so real.

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When Was The Last Time You Were Fooled Badly?

I’ve been selling tricks at Perfect Magic for over 35 years. I’ve been writing them up in the catalogue and now edit them for the internet. I’ve been to many magic conventions and seen many magicians perform and usually if I don’t know how the trick is done I have an idea of how it could be done.

There have only been a few that had me completely stumped that I can think of at the moment. One is one our own, which the Camirand Academy now produces, which is Silver Sanctums. I remember Phil demonstrating it for Ed Mishell who did the illustrations for Tannen’s Catalog way back when, and he also had a column, “Tricks of the Trade”,  in Genii Magazine where he reviewed the new tricks.  We got 5 stars for Silver Sanctums. We managed to fool him completely.

Another one I couldn’t get was by Patrick Reymond, Jean Boucher and Gary Ouellet, called Ceremony of the Immortals. I wouldn’t allow myself to read the instructions for a year trying to figure it out and when I finally gave in I and read them I was even more impressed. I sell a lot of those and the feedback I get is that it is the best card trick in their repertoire.

Most of our customer would agree that I don’t push magic or my opinions on any one (I can hear my kids laughing at the the last part of that statement), as I know everyone has their own likes, dislikes and limitations  regarding capability and budget. I try to find out what these are and will offer suggestions in that range, but I do push Ceremony of the Immortals because its  great, not expensive and I always get thanks for it on the next visit.

Exact Change is  the latest effect to intrigue me. I love it when that happens. It makes me believe in magic. Do you have any favorites that had you completely baffled? Care to share? Leave it in the comments.


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