Jim Steinmeyer
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Spring 2006

LOOKING AT OP-ART

Op-Art is a new illusion that I’ve been working on throughout 2005. The first drawings were done in the spring. Our mock-up was constructed in April, and Willie Kennedy developed the apparatus for it over the course of the next five months. The drawing is my early concept sketch of the illusion.

I’m particularly proud of the result. It’s a great effect. The routine begins when the lady is concealed behind five small square pieces of a puzzle. These are slowly folded, slid and rearranged to form a cube—but as the audience realizes that the lady is gone, they realize that this odd puzzle is forming an amazing illusion. Her head emerges from out of the top of the tiny cube, and in this position the surrounding frame is completely opened and shown, so the audience realizes that they can see through the apparatus. Finally, with a quick fold, the lady disappears completely. At the finish, she reappears as the puzzle is taken apart again.

Op-ArtThe first Op-Art has been presented by Mark Kalin and Jinger in their Reno show, “Real Magic. Mark and Jinger do an amazing job with their performances. The prop is great and the audience response to the routine has been inspiring. Here’s a photo of Mark and Jinger with the finished prop.

I’m very happy with the finished result because the apparatus looks intriguing and elegant, the routine is surprising and unique, and even the method is novel—the whole thing is a new approach to these sorts of illusions.

The effect has been patented, and will be made available, on a very limited basis, to a few performers. If you’re interested, consult my client newsletter for additional information, or contact me if you’re interested in password access. But—sorry—my policy is that access to that page is only available to clients or professional performers.

WALKING THROUGH A BRICK WALL

Early in 2006, Kevin and Cindy Spencer will premier my new version of Walking Through a Brick Wall, presented with eight poured concrete cinderblocks. It’s a very deceptive prop, and it looks like they’ve got a strong routine for it. If you get a chance to see their touring show—they’re working all the time at theatres and performance art centers across the country—I’d certainly recommend it. They do a great job and present a lot of magic in an efficient, amazing and entertaining show. Here’s their recent ad, announcing the effect in their program.

Spencers

THE 9TH LOS ANGELES CONFERENCE ON MAGIC HISTORY

In November, with Frankie Glass, John Gaughan and Mike Caveney, I was a host of the Ninth Los Angeles Conference on Magic History. The event was great, and the quality of our speakers was amazing—they managed to offer wonderful lectures on a wide range of subjects, from Jasper Maskelyne’s part in World War II to the first moving image of a magician. Mike Caveney presented the old-fashioned egg bag (an empty bag that produced no less than three dozen eggs, followed by a live chicken), John Gaughan performed Harry Kellar’s original Psycho (the mathematical automaton), and John Carney gave a stirring rendition of a stage filled with beautiful antique apparatus, followed by an amazing recreation of Hofzinser’s Rose Mirror. As a special attraction, actors and magicians Neil Patrick Harris and Jonathan Levit took the roles in a recreation of Professot Thomas William Tobin’s long-neglected illusion, Palingenesia. This was an amazing 1872 invention in which a spectator is dissected and then restored—“Another Man Cut Up Tonight,” as it was once billed. Here are photos of the grisly illusion in action.

PalinPalin

PalinPalin

I’m proud to say that the Conference was well-received and earned great reviews. If you’re interested in purchasing a program of the event, complete with articles on the features of the Convention, click here. Sorry, we didn’t produce a poster for this year’s Conference, but you can find posters from past events in the Catalog section of my website.

NEWS ABOUT PUBLICATIONS:

GENII MAGAZINE: I’m contributing a series of article for Genii Magazine, titled The Language of Illusion. They’re short articles focusing on the history (and imagery) of classic illusions, hopefully giving new insights into these famous effects. The articles began in November, 2005, and run every other month. In the January of 2006 Genii, I wrote a feature on John Moehring, the new editor of M-U-M Magazine.

THE GLORIOUS DECEPTION: The Glorious Deception, my biography of the American magician William Robinson (who impersonated the Chinese magician Chung Ling Soo) will be out in paperback later this year from Carroll and Graf in New York. Here’s Teller’s review of the book—a great review, I’m proud to say, by a great magician. His review ran last summer on NPR, and you can hear it by clicking here.

HIDING THE ELEPHANT: Hiding the Elephant was officially a “pick,” featured at WH Smith stores in the U.K. last fall, and continues to be a good seller for this chain.

BOOKS NOW UNAVAILABLE: Bad news. Unfortunately, the following books are now officially “out of print” and no longer available through my website: The Magic of Alan Wakeling, Art and Artifice, Mind, Myth and Magic, and The Silence of Chung Ling Soo. Regarding the first two of these books—I’m working on plans that they will be back in print in different forms, and once again available. I hope to have some good news soon.

THE MIND AND MAGIC OF DAVID BERGLAS: As for The Mind and Magic of David Berglas. . . Internet auctions would lead you to believe that this book is already a collector’s item, hugely inflated in value, and virtually unavailable at any price! Of course, I can understand the sentiment. The material in it is unique and priceless to working performers. But we still have copies at the $200 price, and are making it available through this website. There aren’t many left, but we are still selling retail copies in the Catalog section.

FURTHER IMPUZZIBILITIES: Further Impuzzibilities, the brand new sequel to my 2002 booklet, Impuzzibilities, is now in print. You’ll find it in the Catalog section. I highly recommend it, as the material in it is unique and useful to performers—amazing effects for very difficult situations.

AND AN IMPORTANT UPCOMING BOOK FOR MAGICIANS: I will soon announce the publication of the Conjuring Anthology, a fat book of routines from my original Conjuring Column in MAGIC Magazine. I know that this is an anticipated book by magicians; I’ve been asked about a compilation of these columns many times. The final book has been a lot of work, but it’s now almost done. Watch this space!

Stay tuned and thanks for your interest.
Jim Steinmeyer

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