The Magic Menu

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Paul Gordon » 11/08/09 03:19 AM

The Magic Menu was/is geared towards professional magicians and entertainers; whereas most magic magazines tend to be geared toward the amateur. Sadly, some hobbiest/amateur magicians just don't seem to realise the very big difference. So, The Magic Menu is not in the same league as Genii, and Genii is not in the same league as The Magic Menu. It's like comparing ice-cream and steak...you can't!

Btw; that's not a knock about hobbiest magicians or those kind of magazines.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 11/08/09 04:31 AM

I think many people will be happy to see The Magic Menu back in publication on a regular basis.

Sales will determine whether the line-up of contributors is up to snuff.

I saw the first of the new issues today in the dealer room here in LA and it looked first-rate to me.
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Postby John LeBlanc » 11/08/09 10:55 AM

Richard Kaufman wrote:I saw the first of the new issues today in the dealer room here in LA and it looked first-rate to me.


I thought it looked first rate, too. I'm nearly done reading it and I think it holds up well to the expectations I had, considering the impressive history of the previous incarnation. Jim should be very proud.

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Postby Paul Gordon » 11/08/09 12:56 PM

Dear Christopher: I agree 100%

Dear Jon: I agree 100%

Dear John: I agree 100%

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Postby Mark.Lewis » 11/08/09 11:08 PM

My mother is somewhat deceased at the moment so I am not able to stay in her basement.
I must say that Mr Almond is disgracefully profane. I am afraid I am not inclined to hang around here to converse with the lower classes. I shall let the "perfeshanals" chatter among themselves while I go elsewhere to educate those who wish to be educated.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 11/08/09 11:11 PM

I've tried to clean up this thread, but you guys should be ashamed of yourselves that you can't have a decent discussion about this without being jerks.
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Postby Ray Banks » 11/08/09 11:51 PM

I guess my two cents is that if Nathan or anyone else doesn't think that the Magic Menu is a worthwhile journal---then don't subscribe and/or don't read it but that will be your decision so please spare us the discussion.

I happen to be a subscriber and I do read it. I still reference the old Magic Menus from time to time.

The current issue is a restart so there are some columns in it that are introductory. I know it will get more into the working of restaurant and close up magic by the next issue.

Like I said---my two cents.
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Postby Nathan Muir » 11/09/09 03:07 AM

Ray Banks wrote:I guess my two cents is that if Nathan or anyone else doesn't think that the Magic Menu is a worthwhile journal---then don't subscribe and/or don't read it but that will be your decision so please spare us the discussion.


Ray.

This is a discussion forum.

The area of interest for this forum is magic.

I have read the Magic Menu and am a member of this forum. Therefore if I choose to discuss it why would there be any problem? Agree or disagree - state your case and be done with it as you choose. But don't tell people that they cannot comment if they have an opinion that differs from yours.

Every day in newspapers and magazines around the world people publish critiques and dissenting opinions on politics, art, literature and so on. It's a healthy intellectual exercise that informs and entertains, especially when it gets a little heated. Join in or don't.

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Postby Christopher Lyle » 11/09/09 03:35 AM

Nathan Muir wrote:I have read the Magic Menu and am a member of this forum.


Nathan,

Have you read the NEW Magic Menu? Have you truely given us a chance? Why do you feel that we have nothing to offer to the community and that we're all just a bunch of 2nd rate hacks?
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Postby Nathan Muir » 11/09/09 03:59 AM

Christopher,

I think Magic Menu has something to offer. Charming little amateur publications are fun to read at times, too. I just don't think the magazine and many of its commentators are in the league of a product like Genii. I have both of the L&L compilations and they are like the Curate's egg: good in parts. I very much enjoyed the Swiss interview, for example. But many of the advice columns are somewhat sophomoric at times, or simply obvious in their wisdoms and insights.

I am sure the magazine is very useful to a complete beginner who wants to do some bar or restaurant magic. Some of the tricks were excellent in that regard.

It is perfectly valid for me to make these observations and valid for someone to attempt to refute them.

If I see it at a friend's house and flick through it and discover it has been elevated to a standard of design and content quality on par with Genii, I will be the first to express that I am impressed.

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Postby Christopher Lyle » 11/09/09 04:21 AM

Nathan Muir wrote:I think Magic Menu has something to offer.


I'm glad you feel that way.

Nathan Muir wrote:Charming little amateur publications are fun to read at times, too.


Why do you consider The Magic Menu an "amateur" publication? Every single one the columnists is a Full Time Professional. How can a magazine made up of Full Time Pro's be considered amateur? Please explain...?

Nathan Muir wrote:I just don't think the magazine and many of its commentators are in the league of a product like Genii.


Hmmmm...last time I checked, I never knew we were supposed to be in direct competetion with Genii OR Magic or any other publication. Why can't we all just co-exist?

Nathan Muir wrote:I have both of the L&L compilations and they are like the Curate's egg: good in parts.


I could say the same of Genii or Magic or any other mag. Some parts I enjoy while others I think are just fluff to fill the pages. I think that's going to be true of any publication that you pick up...

I'm not saying the MM is full of fluff...but my point is that no matter what we do, we cannot please everyone 100% of the time. You are condemning us and haven't even read what we're about.

Nathan Muir wrote:But many of the advice columns are somewhat sophomoric at times, or simply obvious in their wisdoms and insights.


Such as...?

Nathan Muir wrote:I am sure the magazine is very useful to a complete beginner who wants to do some bar or restaurant magic. Some of the tricks were excellent in that regard.


So you think that we cater only to the beginner? Why is that? Why don't you feel a seasoned professional (as all of the people involved in this project are) has anything to learn from people who have over 200+ years of collective experience.

Nathan Muir wrote:If I see it at a friend's house and flick through it and discover it has been elevated to a standard of design and content quality on par with Genii, I will be the first to express that I am impressed.


You are free to do whatever you wish, but I think it's awefully rude of you or anyone to make these judgements based on not being properly educated with what we're trying to accomplish here. You've pretty much stated that you think we're all a bunch of hacks (for reasons I have yet to understand) yet you haven't even given us a read.

I could understand if you had read us already and didn't like what we said or disagreed with us and then offered your commentary, but it sounds like to me you're saying you don't like to eat steak when you haven't even tried it.

Like the old sayin' goes...Ain't Tried It? Don't Knock It!
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Postby Paul Gordon » 11/09/09 04:59 AM

Dear Nathan,

You are, of course, allowed to express your opinion, but it's the way that you express it that is hard to bear. Your tone is haughty and patronising. If you've not fully read the new MM, then you are being prejudiced; but either way, you make "statements" as if your words are sacrosanct. Not very nice!

Paul Gordon

P.S - Why use Genii as a yardstick? As I said before, you can't compare Genii to MM and you can't compare MM to Genii. They are two different beasts.
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Postby Nathan Muir » 11/09/09 05:32 AM

Enough whining, gentlemen. You are the merchandise and I am the consumer. I'll decide whether you meet my standards.
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Postby Paul Gordon » 11/09/09 05:55 AM

A) I'm not whining at all!
B) I'm not the merchandise; I'm an unpaid contributor!
C) You are not the consumer if you don't subscribe or read it!
D) And, as for "meeting your standards"...don't even go there!

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Postby Mark.Lewis » 11/09/09 09:07 AM

I badly want to say that the new Magic Menu is awful but I can't because I haven't seen it. All I have to go on at the moment is one negative report from a young restaurant magician who subscribed.

I can only reluctantly say that previous issues do seem to be pretty good. And I agree that comparing it to Genii is like comparing apples to oranges. They are two different fruits. For the moment until I actually see the present issue all I can complain about is that the new bunch of contributors don't seem to be in the same class as the old bunch.

Still I can only speculate until I actually see a copy. I think I know where I can find one. Once I see it I shall comment on the matter in an objective way and of course my final word on this will be gospel on the matter.
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Postby Christopher Lyle » 11/09/09 11:03 AM

Nathan Muir wrote:Enough whining, gentlemen. You are the merchandise and I am the consumer. I'll decide whether you meet my standards.


Nathan,

In your previous posts, you have made some very BOLD statements that are not only predjuice, but downright insulting to not only everyone who writes for the publication, but also those who have subscribed.

I think I have been biting my tongue "pretty well" up to this point but I have about lost my patience with you.

I have posed SEVERAL questions that you STILL have not answered...so I shall ask them once more in hopes that you will be human and fill in the blanks for many of us:

1. Why do you consider The Magic Menu an "amateur" publication? Every single one the columnists is a Full Time Professional. How can a magazine made up of Full Time Pro's be considered amateur? Please explain...?

2. I never knew we were supposed to be in direct competetion with Genii OR Magic or any other publication. Why can't we all just co-exist?

3. Why do you feel that many of the advice columns are somewhat sophomoric at times, or simply obvious in their wisdoms and insights? Please explain...

4. So you think that we cater only to the beginner? Why is that? Why don't you feel a seasoned professional (as all of the people involved in this project are) has anything to learn from people who have over 200+ years of collective experience.


That final question is one that I really hope you will take time to answer as in my opinion you have just insulted all 100+ subscribers that we have. Many of those folks are also full time professional workers who have provided us with their hard earned money to read how we feel they can be better and doing their job.

You say that we're whining? We're not! You have put us on the defensive and we're trying trying to figure out WHY?

Again...if you had read the NEW installment of The Magic Menu and were dissatisified with it, then that would be one thing. But you're not and for whatever reason are extremely prejudice against a publication and columnists that you obviously know NOTHING about.

You owe me absolutly nothing...but I think the DECENT thing to do since you have bashed up oneside and down the other to is please repond to those questions that I have posted...
In Mystery,

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Postby mormonyoyoman » 11/09/09 12:47 PM

It is amusing that Nathan, with such low standards as to use obscenities in his posts, whines that a magazine he hasn't read doesn't meet his standards. And he whines that everyone is picking on him, trying to "shut down" his "free opinion."

Mind you, being an American, I'm of the opinion everyone is entitled to their informed opinion. I'm also of the opinion that a "free" opinion is worth what one has paid for it. Evidently, Nate-boy feels that a "free opinion" means having no information whatsoever about the magazine other than the names of columnists. And, of course, the fact that it's not titled "Genii."

A magazine which is aimed at the hobbyist in each of us, compared to a magazine with a tight focus towards the close-up magician - with strong nods to the restaurant magician - such a comparison is, at best, ludicrous.

The quality of the Magic Menu speaks for itself. Did the first issue have problems? What first issue didn't? Will it improve? Undoubtedly. Does Nate have the slightest idea what the strengths, qualities, and problems might have been? Doubtful.

What we are seeing is a troll with a desperate need for attention. He's not even amusing. [censored] serves a purpose and keeps us not only amused, but downright jolly. Nate is a pale imitation, who wants to grow up to be someone whose opinion counts.

*jeep!
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 11/09/09 01:01 PM

Do I need to lock this thread?
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Postby mormonyoyoman » 11/09/09 01:15 PM

Please.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 11/09/09 01:39 PM

I mean ... really. How hard is it to have a decent discussion about this magazine without allowing it to get derailed by some twits.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 11/09/09 01:56 PM

Feel free to lock this thread and the other half-dozen or so that are all exactly like this one: all noise, no signal.

In another month you won't be able to tell the Genii Forum from the Magic Cafe.
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Postby Paul Gordon » 11/09/09 01:59 PM

Richard Kaufman wrote:I mean ... really. How hard is it to have a decent discussion about this magazine without allowing it to get derailed by some twits.


I hope I don't fall into the "twits" dept. I think my replies are very courteous...

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Postby John LeBlanc » 11/09/09 02:03 PM

Tom Frank the prophet. Who knew.

(Frankly, the back page of the new Magic Menu magazine is my new Parallax.)
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 11/09/09 02:20 PM

Glad to read that Jim's got his Magic Menu started up again. Best wishes on this run Mr. Sisti.
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Postby Nathan Muir » 11/09/09 04:51 PM

mormonyoyoman wrote:It is amusing that Nathan, with such low standards as to use obscenities in his posts, whines that a magazine he hasn't read doesn't meet his standards. And he whines that everyone is picking on him, trying to "shut down" his "free opinion."

Mind you, being an American, I'm of the opinion everyone is entitled to their informed opinion. I'm also of the opinion that a "free" opinion is worth what one has paid for it. Evidently, Nate-boy feels that a "free opinion" means having no information whatsoever about the magazine other than the names of columnists. And, of course, the fact that it's not titled "Genii."

A magazine which is aimed at the hobbyist in each of us, compared to a magazine with a tight focus towards the close-up magician - with strong nods to the restaurant magician - such a comparison is, at best, ludicrous.

The quality of the Magic Menu speaks for itself. Did the first issue have problems? What first issue didn't? Will it improve? Undoubtedly. Does Nate have the slightest idea what the strengths, qualities, and problems might have been? Doubtful.

What we are seeing is a troll with a desperate need for attention. He's not even amusing. [censored] serves a purpose and keeps us not only amused, but downright jolly. Nate is a pale imitation, who wants to grow up to be someone whose opinion counts.

*jeep!
--your obedient Grandpa


What an emotive and blunt criticism. You may not grasp the irony, but if you had written a similar critical and excoriating post about The Magic Menu you would be ostracized and receive bullying posts from young magic bucks you've never heard of or read about. How ironic that you feel compelled to post in this manner to defend a magazine simply because I have compared it with others in the market and found it not to be on par with the better ones.

As for Gordon and the other one: you are the product and I am the consumer. I decide whether you meet my expectations. Threats and snide little comments questioning the validity of my opinion are nugatory. Your time would be far better spent working on your writing and reasoning skills, as is evident from your posts.

Now if Richard wants me to bow out of this thread, I am happy to do so, though I don't see that expressing a dissenting opinion should be all that controversial.

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Postby Glenn Bishop » 11/09/09 05:03 PM

Nathan Muir wrote:I am sure the magazine is very useful to a complete beginner who wants to do some bar or restaurant magic. Some of the tricks were excellent in that regard.

Having been a magician that used to pitch magic to magicians from a magic shop. When a magician often calls a book or some other publication "good for beginners". Or something to that sort.

I think "good commercial magic for the entertainer that wants to make a living doing magic".

I think that tricks like the vanishing shot glass. The vanishing coin in the shot glass - coin penetration and other bar and close up magic as commercial magic.

Just because a trick is simple in method doesn't make it a beginner trick in my opinion. And just because a trick is hard to do in my opinion it does not make it a trick for the serious advance magician as well.

Magic for an audience can be simple or advanced in method because the audience doesn't care about the method - only the magician does. The audience only wants to be entertained. The method is only needed to get to the entertainment and the effect of magic. And often the simple method is the better method.

I am interested in this publication because I am looking for new commercial ideas - not cards. I know enough card work - more than I need to do my job as a performing commercial magician.

Who "IS" working!

Please PM me more info about Magic Menu.

Thanks in advance.

Just my opinion.
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Postby Nathan Muir » 11/09/09 05:08 PM

There you go. I got you one new customer.

Funny how this discussion thing works, isn't it? Stimulates the debate. Encourages enquiring minds to check it out for themselves.
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 11/09/09 05:22 PM

Nathan - Just because you are not into good commercial magic that doesn't say that others are not. There are some magicians out there in the world - that do magic for a living.

I have been in magic for 40 years are more. Good commercial magic is very rare in my opinion because it has to grow and evolve over the acid test of doing shows over and over again for real audiences.

I am working and at this time I am looking for new ideas because I get lots of repeat customers.

Having said that - if it is not your cup of tea - I hope you have fun doing what ever it is that you do.

Just my opinion.
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Postby Silly Walter » 11/09/09 05:29 PM

Paul Gordon wrote:Dear Silly Walter,

May I ask why the rudeness? Have you read the 1st issue, or are you prejudiced? If you have read it, what don't you like?

Yours, Paul Gordon


Have I read it? In the past, yes. I have all of the issues from the first 10 years and the second run made around the turn of the 21st century. I was looking forward to another run.

Do I have any interest in reading it now with contributors I laughed at?

No.

Why? For the same reason I won't go see a movie starring Larry the Cable Guy. Because I know it is going to suck.

I do retract my earlier statement about Scott guinn. He is nice.
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Postby Paul Gordon » 11/09/09 05:53 PM

Silly Walter wrote:Do I have any interest in reading it now with contributors I laughed at?

No.

Why? Because I know it is going to suck.


This comment says far more about you than it does me or my fellow contributors.

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Postby John LeBlanc » 11/09/09 06:01 PM

On the other hand, Paul, that allows for the possibility that such low expectations can easily be exceeded. Frankly, it occurs to me negative comments are more likely to produce additional subscriptions than glowing ones, and for that very reason.
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Postby Necromancer » 11/09/09 08:30 PM

Silly Walter wrote:Do I have any interest in reading it now with contributors I laughed at?

No.

Why? For the same reason I won't go see a movie starring Larry the Cable Guy. Because I know it is going to suck.


Point of fact: Pixar's Cars was very enjoyable.

Best,
Neil
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 11/09/09 10:11 PM

What does Necromancer's enjoying Cars have to do with Silly Willy the Polar Bear avoiding movies with Larry the Cable Guy?
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Postby Jim Maloney » 11/09/09 10:26 PM

Larry the Cable Guy provided one of the voices in Cars.

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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 11/09/09 10:39 PM

Jim, since when does one person's taste invalidate another's taste?

It's not like Gertrude really disliked her son even if she might have preferred his father's brother.
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Postby David Acer » 11/10/09 12:33 AM

Hi Folks,

I think it's worth mentioning that, in its first incarnation, the Magic Menu was a grass-roots endeavor by a working pro who was grappling with the same theatrical and practical issues as his fellow columnists and readers. To me, that gave the magazine a real-time, real-world feel that was unique in the trade, and as a restaurant worker (at the time), I got a lot from reading it.

In 2009, the audience for The Magic Menu has likely changed, just as audiences at restaurants have changed, since 20 years ago there was no Criss Angel, no "street magic" and (even more horrifying) only six or seven ways to do Three Fly. If The Magic Menu has been resurrected to address those changes, and the corresponding challenges (opportunities?) they present, then it should have as its readership all the magicians struggling to address them as well. Whether or not that's you is easy enough to determine.
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Postby Richard Perrin » 11/10/09 03:22 AM

No need to lock this thread. I find this interesting until the solution has been made BUT it's your forum... you have the rights to lock it.
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Postby Scott F. Guinn » 11/10/09 03:54 AM

Silly Walter wrote:I do retract my earlier statement about Scott guinn. He is nice.


Thank you, Walter. Retraction accepted (FWIW).
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Postby Scott F. Guinn » 11/10/09 04:15 AM

For some reason, the rest of my post didn't get entered. so i'll try again.

I do not claim to be the greatest restaurant magician who ever lived. I have done restaurant magic for a long time, and I learned a few things as I went. I'll share some of those things as we go along, and I'll try to make my articles as well-written and engaging as possible. But do I think I am the end-all, be-all of restaurant magic? Absolutely not.

I'm still learning from other people, and maybe there are some people out there who can learn something here and there from me. My intent in participating as a columnist for TMM is simply to offer what I can to those who maybe aren't as experienced as I, just as others more experienced than I have helped me. Nothing more, nothing less.

I have no qualms with performers who have more experience than me stating they feel my columns are too basic. I don't begrudge anyone his right to opine that the content of my articles are dead wrong. Whether you decide to even bother to read my column is totally at your own discretion, as it should be.

I do want to say this, however. Say what you will about Christopher Lyle, but there is no denying that he is a skilled magician who has been performing regularly at restaurants for a long time. Maybe you personally don't care for Paul Gordon for some unknown reason, but there is no denying that he is a prolific author with more success and name recognition than all but a very few in the magic community. Paul Green's body of work speaks for itself, as does Jim Sisti's. I, for one, am honored to have been asked to be a part of this publication.

The Magic Menu isn't for everyone, though. And that's OK. Isn't it?
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Postby Nathan Muir » 11/10/09 06:04 AM

Silly Walter,

I agree, Guinn's good value, as is Paul Green. I also think that Sisti's reviews of products were pretty good value.

Nathan
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