Jim Steinmeyer
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Summer 2010

THE NEW SITE DESIGN

I’m often so busy trying to catch-up in these newsletters, that I seldom have a chance to write up about current work or upcoming projects. With the redesign of the website this summer, our website designer Bill Elgin has managed to put everything back in order so that it’s working smoothly and is well-oiled. And I’ve gotten to the enviable spot of being able to take a deep breath and feel like I’ve actually “caught up.”

So as we reach the end of 2010, let me remind you that the next few months will finish the two-year run of “Zing Zang, Zoom,” the magical Ringling Brothers’ Barnum and Bailey Circus. See it if you have the chance.

Ringling Brothers Circus

THE SHOWCASE

For a number of years, one of my hobbies has been designing a perfect suitcase to table. Does that sound ridiculous? Well, I remember my experiences as a performer. Years ago, we used to carry a lot of apparatus. You know, Square Circles, Sliding Die Boxes, or rabbit tricks.... Those old suitcases and tables were big storage boxes. But times have changed, and the apparatus used is more efficient. So I started working on a modern suitcase to table. I knew what professionals needed, so I gave myself ten rules.

  1. It had to be the right size. Scaled to a modern performer and modern props, and a convenient size for traveling. In fact, it should be a size that can be carried on most commercial flights.
  2. And the right height. Here’s a secret. Magic tables should be taller than standard desks or card tables.
  3. If you want, you can carry it onstage closed, as a case.
  4. And you quickly, elegantly open it in front of the audience. It looks entertaining when you do it! (With my old suitcase to table, I was kneeling and turning latches… a bad idea.) Of course, you can also open it backstage.
  5. It will hold props conveniently (my old table ended up with the props in the bottom half, which meant more squatting), with the props always upright, so you could have a glass of water in the table when you walk on.
  6. It seems to completely transform. That’s part of the show, after all. (What good is a table that just looks like a suitcase on legs, with the handle showing?)
  7. When you’re finished, it can be quickly turned back into the suitcase without fussing. Then you walk offstage.
  8. The inside should be designed for most props, offering easy access, partitions, and a clean surface on top.
  9. No complicated mechanics or latches to fail.
  10. Easy to customize, so you can change graphics for special clients, add fakes or shelves, et cetera.

It took me about fifteen years of trial and error, but the ShowCase is the result. The photos show show the case closed and open, a classic as well as a modern design for the table. Believe it or not, it takes five seconds to go from suitcase to table, or back again.

Craig Dickens built the first model, and I’m now filing patent papers, figuring out costs, and will probably make it available on a limited basis. Our goal is to offer it for a reasonable price, because I really feel that it’s a great prop for performers.

If you’re interested, use the contact button to send a message. I can fill you in on the latest information on the ShowCase.

TableTableTable

GENII

“Conjuring,” my column of stand-up effects, is currently back in Genii Magazine. If you don’t already subscribe, you’ll want to do that here.

Also in the September 2010 Genii is a feature on Alex Ramon and The Greatest Show on Earth. It’s been great watching Alex’s success over the course of two years with the circus, and in the article, he gives a great insight into his experience with the show.

Circus Performer

OTHER SITES AND PUBLICATIONS

Every once in a while, I’m asked to contribute to a website or an article. Some are unexpectedly fun to do. For example, last year I was asked about five five favorite films, all from my own particular viewpoint, for a site called Five in Focus. You’ll find it here.

I’ve done several interview projects with the Magic Newswire, including a long interview that was posted last year, discussing illusions. You can find the Magic Newswire interviews by clicking here.

As I described in a previous newsletter, my upcoming biography of Howard Thurston will be published by Penguin in early 2011. Watch the book sites like Amazon. The biography is titled, “The Last, Greatest Magician in the World.” I’ll run more information, and the introduction, in a future newsletter.

I’m also putting the finishing touches on the latest (third) installment of the Impuzzibilities series. This one will be called “Subsequent Impuzzibilities.” These little books always take a lot of time to prepare, but when this one’s ready, it will be sold through this website.
Jim Steinmeyer

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