"Other" Magazines

Discuss products and their reviews in Genii.

Postby Guest » 03/31/02 12:06 AM

I think this ("Other Magazines") would make a nice separate spot on the forum, as the recent mentalism addition is attempting to do. I've already stated elsewhere that Genii is now THE magic magazine, in my opinion. It would be nice though, to discuss what the other magazines are doing. For instance, I just got the new issue of MAGIC. It starts with the "Editor's Letter". Having only the need to fill half a page, I really think Mr. Moehring could have found SOMETHING at least somewhat interesting to talk about! Next, a "Viewpoint" article from someone in the field for a mere two years! And its oh so exciting stuff about magic clubs. Something that would be more appropriate for MUM or LINKING RING, especially since I don't read those magazines. A long overdue piece on Steve Beam. However it fails to address the one question everyone wants to know: Will "The Trapdoor" see bound form? And finally the article that prompted this admitted "rant": A new column by Jim Sisti, "Magic On The Menu". The more I see written on restaurant/walk around magic, the more I think that its all been said, and that no one is contributing anything new or worthwhile. This article only proves my point for me. The first half is a story Mr. Sisti has already told in his own THE MAGIC MENU, and the second half is a Dan Garrett trick already published in two different places!
So, The Golden Age of magic, the wealth of new material, etc, is, in my opinion, over. Not many people have anything really important to say, but they're still taking up the space to say it!
If I may be permitted to say some positive things, to balance this thread out: There are some good things about MAGIC and magic. For instance, Mike Close has an excellent review of the new egg book, and Ammar Thread videos, and a very useful "Its not magic but...". Joshua Jay's OPERACADABRA makes me wish I was there. And I'm sure that this red and black lower case lettering thing SEEMED like a good idea at the time!
There are many things to come that this "Golden Age" will produce that help make up for the lack of content and depth in so much of what we see. Things to look forward to: John Carney's book, Darwin Ortiz's book, Larry Jennings books, Simon Lovell's book, 4th Apocalypse book, etc etc. But what do you think? The Golden Age has certainly peaked. Will everyone just take a break already? And rethink some things? Or will they keep filling up the space with...something.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/31/02 09:00 AM

We must fill the space with something since we are earning a living. Publishers must publish, dealers must find new items to sell, and magicians must buy them. It is the circle of life, writ small in our little world.
The question of HOW we fill the space is something else. Had I become the editor of Genii even 10 years before I did (say, 1988), it would have been a fiasco. I didn't start collecting, and in the process do a lot more learning about history, until that year. My interests in magic have broadened widely.
It's difficult to compare the four major magazines in the United States. Two of them, Linking Ring and MUM, exist only because the members of the IBM and SAM pay dues and expect to get a magazine. If the organizations didn't exist, the magazines would not exist.
MAGIC and Genii are a different story. And in fact, they are radically different from each other because of the goals of their respective editors and publishers. My goal is to put out the most interesting magazine I can--my partners want it to make a little money. The goal of MAGIC magazine seems to me to be simple: to have the largest circulation in our field. This is an admirable goal from an economic standpoint: the magazine has more color pages than we do, more advertising than we do, and more readers than we do. So, MAGIC is obviously doing something right that appeals to more people than Genii does.
I'm quite happy that Genii is finding an audience in our field, since it is radically different than any of the other three major magazines.
Now, to John's point: I think setting up a category for threads based upon the material which appears in magazines beside Genii is a fine idea, as long as it doesn't become a place where everyone decides to beat the hell out of the other mags each month. I attempted to revive an old column in Genii (it first appeared in The Sphinx as "Literature" and later in Genii under various titles) where I summarized the major items of interest in various other magazines each month. No one seemed to care, and so we stopped doing it because it was a huge amount of work. No one said anything about it.
Perhaps people on this forum would like to see something along these lines? Let's hear your thoughts.
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Postby malbright » 03/31/02 09:46 AM

Richard-
I love what you have done with Genii, of course, and yes, it's quite different than MAGIC. That's why I was distressed to receive the last issue. Your graphics are becoming more contremporary, "trendy", "hip" and a lot more like the design of MAGIC. This is a shame. You should retain a design motif which is unique and which distinctly separates you from MAGIC and all the other publications. Your brand, Genii, deserves its own look and feel and should not go in the direction of anything even close to what MAGIC is doing. Design matters! Don't lose your creative focus and dilute Genii's personality with a graphic approach that's already being done, that's inconsistent with other sections of the magazine, and which, frankly, is old news. You've been doing such a great job with the design...but lately it just seems to be veering off course. None of this is meant as a criticism, just an observation. :)
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 03/31/02 11:48 AM

I like the idea of resurrecting the inside Magic…Magazines column here on the forum. I think the issue with it in Genii was its timeliness – or lack thereof. That would not be an issue here given the forum's “real time” capabilities (the #1 upside quality of the Internet). Of course, whom would you get to do it? Lord knows you (Richard) don't have the time. I suppose you could ask for volunteers – someone responsible for posting each month (or quarter where applicable) an overview of the other publications. The only other magazines I get are MAGIC, Magicol and The Magic Menu (I suppose I just sort of volunteered, should it come to that – but someone else would have to do MUM, the Linking Ring et al). A quick synopsis of the magazine's content, just like the Genii column, without any editorializing, though the forum should be open for discussion. Differing opinions, reviews and comparisons are inevitable.

However, you are correct in your statement that it shouldn't become a “bash-fest” area. (Although someone needs to say something about Tim Curry being identified as the late Raul Julia in the latest MAGIC, and not to mention the title of Addams Family Values being referred to as Addams Family Virtues – I bet the emails are pouring in!) Nonetheless, I would think that you would certainly want people free to voice their views on articles, reviews etc. That's what the forum is all about. For instance, I am really looking forward to Mike Caveney's article on the Million Dollar Mystery in next month's MAGIC and the type of forum we are discussing here would be a good place for me to “talk” about it – should I be so inclined. I also like MAGIC's use of “guest” editorials, and this would make a great place to discus them.

I also believe that magazines like Magicol might benefit from such a forum. Perhaps if someone was posting overviews each month, a reader might become interested in subscribing to this fine little magazine.

In regard to Michael Albright's comments: Frankly, I don't see a “trend” toward the “MAGICizing” Genii at all. Certainly the Ben Harris issue fell into the “contemporary” style that Michael spoke of, but I saw that as Genii capturing the essence of Ben Harris and his style. I feel that's better than trying to fit Ben Harris into Genii's style. In my business (marketing and sales representation of consumer packaged goods), we live and die by brand recognition, but that's the world in which we compete – and it's a tough world out there. Mainstream magazines also compete in a similar world, so they follow the same tenets. I don't believe that Genii, or MAGIC for that matter (though they choose to do so) need to follow that paradigm. To me, Genii's “brand” is its ability to remain artistically free: free to alter its style in order capture the substance of its subjects instead of following the same formula. If that means occasionally seeing a similar look to MAGIC, then it's going happen, but I don't believe that it means a total shift of style to that of MAGIC's.

Perhaps, Michael, we are wrong, and MAGIC is correct. After all, they have captured the “short attention span” audience that, unfortunately, is the majority today. But I've always tended to stray from the herd, and that is what I find most attractive about Genii.

Dustin
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Postby Guest » 04/01/02 12:14 PM

Sigmund Freud posed and tried to answer a question that still bedevils many: "What do women REALLY want?"

After I started writing for an audience of "magicians" that I could never clearly imagine as a motley group or even a fuzzy abstraction, I continually wondered: "What do magicians REALLY want to read?"

I still don't know the answer...perhaps because the interests and cravings of this imagined "readership" continually changes.

Small periodicals have always (perhaps wistfully)hoped to find enough readers to sustain the costs of producing and mailing their little magazines. With very few exceptions, these cottage industries quickly peter out...and disappear.

The large independent magazines continually struggle with trying to provide timely, relevant, interesting, and--shall we say?--pithy "content" while trying to increase circulation and post a modest profit. This ain't easy.

I'm continually astonished at the high-level content provided WEEKLY by The New Yorker; however, it loses money every year and has, relatively speaking, a modest number of subscribers.

I would of course love to see GENII become more like The New Yorker, not Entertainment Weekly. Of course, if it did, it would lose money and probably become defunct. Also, I would not be good enough to write for it...In the meantime, however, I marvel at Richard's ongoing "balancing act." (He will likely expunge these comments because he detests "log-rolling" as much as he dislikes the abusive use of quotation marks and the dreaded use of an ampersand.)

Nevertheless, I steadfastly cheer and support ANYONE (except maybe Jeff Busby) brave enough to risk money, reputation, and ridicule by publishing ANYTHING...The voracious readers "out there" with their fine-toothed combs and eagle eyes are the ones I see peering over my shoulder...I can hear their steady, barely audible hissing...a sound now sweet to my ears and ambiguous enough to be either a joyous exhalation or the leaky emission of a very disgruntled "disser."

Perhaps some magazine with include an articulate RANT section? Or maybe the GENII FORUM is the perfect place for it? I'm enjoying what I see and hear here... Keep it rolling...

Onward...
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Postby Guest » 04/01/02 02:54 PM

Originally posted by Dustin Stinett:
But I've always tended to stray from the herd, and that is what I find most attractive about Genii.
Dustin
Genii is a great, main-stream magic magazine, one of only two that are REALLY main stream. It has thousands of subscribers, how many does it have to have to be a 'herd'?

Genii has certainly improved by a long way since Richard Kaufman took it over.

Magic magazine is also main stream, but it's basically a nice glossy bunch of ads with a few reviews and a few (rarely good) tricks thrown in.

MUM magazine is the sole reason I won't be renewing my SAM membership. I refuse to pay $50 a year for toilet paper.

Linking Ring isn't bad since it's free to ring members, it has as many ads as Magic, but only $35 a year for your ring membership makes it feel more 'free'.

If you want to get away from 'the herd', you should check out some of the smaller publications out there. Gadfly, AM/PM, The Foo Can, Half Baked, EGO (which is free to serious card workers) to name just a few.

Andy Hurst
-------------------------------------------
Delivering the herd from bondage since 2001
www.foocan.com
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 04/01/02 05:38 PM

Andy,

Of course I recognize that Genii is mainstream – I never meant to imply otherwise. But, because of its publisher, I feel Genii does not follow the herd, pack, swarm, horde, throng or whatever else one might wish to call it (my personal favorite, which I always use at hockey and baseball games: “single-file crowd”). While there is some “stability” in the fact that there are the usual columns and reviews, even these are constantly shifting. The features don't always follow the same patterns: Sometimes there's a single theme with multiple articles; a single theme with one long article and sometimes there's no theme – just several good articles. It seems to me that each issue's look and construction is determined by the what suites the subject best – as opposed to what suites the magazine best. Perhaps I'm wrong, but that is the feeling that I get.

(AFAC WARNING: (“Artsy-Fartsy Analogy Coming”) – and I wish I could remember where I first heard this analogy. I've heard it used several times for several different subjects, including magic, so it must be fairly common – but it certainly applies here.) Genii is remindful of a good jazz band. A band made up of great musicians, whose skills and knowledge are like the trunk of a tree; solid. But they are so good, that they can venture out onto the limbs, and see where the journey takes them. Of course, should the limb bend too much, they always have the trunk to go back to. This is the essence of artistic freedom. Genii goes there; MAGIC doesn't. MAGIC prefers the comfort of the solid trunk, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I just prefer Richard's way of doing things.

Back in the "70s and into the mid "80s I think I subscribed to virtually every available magic magazine except The Linking Ring, as I was not an IBM member (and also with the regrettable exception of Mr. Racherbaumer's “underground” publications). I even had a subscription to Magigram out of the UK. But then I suffered a horrendous case of flameout. The only subscription I kept was to Apocalypse. (Richard's Almanac was gone by then, otherwise I would have kept that, and later on, in the 90s, I subscribed to The Looking Glass – do you recognize a theme here?) The only reason I renewed my subscription to Genii after more than ten years was because I had heard that Richard was buying it (and that occurred almost a year later – something like four or five issues on the original Genii schedule). I believed that Genii would change. Radically. I was correct.

At about the same time I renewed Genii, I picked up an issue of MAGIC which had a review of the L.A. History Conference from that year. It was a good issue, so I subscribed, figuring that every issue would be that good. At this point I would say, on average, every one in three issues of MAGIC has an article that I find worth maintaining my subscription.

My needs for magical publications have changed quite a bit from 20 years ago. The last thing I need in a magic magazine are magic tricks. In fact, the fewer tricks the better – in my opinion. So, it is for this reason that I do not partake in the mostly/all trick publications of which you speak. Chances are that 20 years ago, I would have been all over those (and your) magazines.

Best,
Dustin
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Postby Guest » 04/02/02 04:20 PM

I'm enjoying this thread very much and wanted to add an unusual comment I heard recently from a German friend of mine on why he let his subscription to Genii lapse.

He said, with regard to the historical content of Genii, "Every German magic publication is already filled with that stuff. It's all we've ever had to read about in magic magazines. I want something concise and filled with tricks and short articles about people performing now." I'm not going to try to defend his opinions since they are quite different from my own. I do think they add a different perspective, and perhaps indicate why other publications may have greater circulation.

Mark
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 04/02/02 08:53 PM

I bet Frank still subscribes to MAGIC! I never thought he was so shortsighted. He must not actually be reading Genii!
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Postby Terry » 04/03/02 07:21 AM

I actually re-upped my subscription to MAGIC for another year. I agree with previous posting, if the Ad Mag doesn't improve in it's content, they won't see another dime from me. I actually would rather have Stan's old newsletter mag back.

I re-upped with GENII for another year BECAUSE of the content and Richard's committment to delivering it on time.
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Postby Guest » 04/03/02 08:19 AM

What we are seeing clearly already in this thread is that there is a large variation in taste. Some want to have lots of tricks, some prefer theoretical articles, others historical ones, some want up-to-date current reports of shows and magicians...and the list goes on.

Add to this the tiny subscription base magic is seeing. Linking Ring has about 14000 subscribers, MAGIC about 11000, Genii I guess 8000. So give or take ten-thousand potential subscribers to a magic magazine. If one factors in the various taste groups one quickly sees that any given magazine has about a 1000 totally happy subscribers, a few thousand which think they get enough out of it to keep subscribing and the rest are come and go subscribers or the ones that subscribe no matter what you put in the mag.

In my opinion MAGIC and GENII are at the boundary of what is feasible in magic. Unless there is a huge boom bringing thousands of new people into magic there is not a whole more one can expect. The subscription base, or number of magicians, is also limiting the amount of ideas and new and noteworthy contents. I guesstimate that there are a few hundred, perhaps a thousand magic authors/creators/contents-providers.

If there would be 10 million magicians and let's say 100 thousand creators the kind of magazine possible would be entirely different.

In summary, I think one cannot assume much more than is already provided. There will always be periods where a magazine will shine and then periods where it will lack in contents. There will always be issues one likes and issues one would like to through in the garbage can.

My best adice would be to provide as much variation as possible so that at least every year there are two or three issues most like to keep subscribing and keeping the mag alive.

Chris.... Lybrary.com preserving magic one book at a time.

P.S. to Richard: See, I made a post without using the word ebook - ohh - now I just did!
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Postby Guest » 04/03/02 02:42 PM

Originally posted by Jon Racherbaumer:

After I started writing for an audience of "magicians" that I could never clearly imagine as a motley group or even a fuzzy abstraction, I continually wondered: "What do magicians REALLY want to read?"
A pessimistic birdie on my shoulder tells me that fewer and fewer magicians really want to read anything at all.

JMT
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Postby Guest » 04/03/02 02:56 PM

Originally posted by Joe M. Turner:
A pessimistic birdie on my shoulder tells me that fewer and fewer magicians really want to read anything at all.

JMT
Yeah I've stopped reading Genii, I am waiting for it to come out on video or DVD ;-)
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 04/03/02 03:06 PM

Originally posted by Andy Hurst:
Originally posted by Joe M. Turner:
[b]A pessimistic birdie on my shoulder tells me that fewer and fewer magicians really want to read anything at all.

JMT
Yeah I've stopped reading Genii, I am waiting for it to come out on video or DVD ;-)[/b]
Heck - I'm holding out until I can get it direct downloaded into my brain. Then I could learn thousands of tricks in a matter of minutes. I'd be the bestest magician ever!

-Jim
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Postby Terry » 04/04/02 06:01 AM

Yeah I've stopped reading Genii, I am waiting for it to come out on video or DVD ;-)
It's listed on the new L&L catalog. :D
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 04/04/02 10:10 AM

Hey, cut it out--you guys are depressing me!
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Postby Guest » 04/04/02 10:24 AM

Heck - I'm holding out until I can get it direct downloaded into my brain. Then I could learn thousands of tricks in a matter of minutes. I'd be the bestest magician ever!

-Jim[/QB]
You won't have to get it down loaded into your brain. You can get, from Chris Wasshuber, a new
E-Brain (tm). He is saving magic one synapse at a time.

Bill
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Postby Guest » 04/04/02 12:02 PM

E-Brain is good. But to put a more likely spin on it, if Genii would be available as ebook (I know Richard, it will never come this far - just hypothetical) then you could use a text-to-speech feature to listen to the magazine rather than read it.

I don't think it is that futuristic to think that more and more information is consumed in audio.

Actually, I have listened to the entire "The Art of Magic" using my LybraryReader built in text-to-speech feature. Works better than I thought. Particularly for theoretical books or essays, listening can be a benefit.

Chris.... Lybrary.com preserving magic one book at a time
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Postby Jerry Harrell » 04/04/02 12:42 PM

I should qualify this post by stating that I come down on the side of the fuddie-duddies, that is, I prefer to learn my magic from books instead of videos, I treasure my old and new Geniis and Magicols, and I still publish and mail a monthly paper and ink magic club newsletter when all around me are posting newsletters online.

Having said all of that, I can think of another possibly good use for Chris' text-to-speech feature. It concerns one of the many valuable tips in Eugene Burger's 1984 booklet "The Craft of Magic" (reprinted in 2000 by Kaufman as part of "Mastering the Art of Magic" a really remarkable book). Mr Burger suggests that "the use of an audio recorder can save you an unbelievable amount of time in learning complex new material. Simply read the instructions into the recorder and then play it back and do what the voice says. You will find what was previously very difficult to figure out is suddenly surprisingly easy, and fun."

Chris, would your text-to-speech feature work for this application of learning the handling of a complicated routine from an e-book?
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 04/04/02 06:20 PM

While I cannot speak for Chris (and he doesn't want me to anyway), I would think that it would be a matter of how well the writer did at describing the effect. If the writer continually relies on illustrations while using phrases such as “hold the deck as shown in figure 1” then a recording is useless. That said, I would think that books that do not rely heavily on illustrations would benefit greatly from such technology. The implications to those who are vision impaired are astounding: And not just for magic books. While I do not know the ratio of print vs. brail, books on tape, etc. (especially of older, non-classic titles, or those that may only interest specific groups, but have little hope of being published in ways other than print), I would think that this technology would be a godsend.

Dustin (Still a Hardcore Book Guy)
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Postby Guest » 04/04/02 09:43 PM

Jerry,

yes, the text-to-speech feature can be used essentially as Eugene Burger suggested with the tape recorder. But as Dustin already pointed out, it depends on the description. However, even if you use the text-to-speech feature together with viewing the ebook it will allow you to eliminate turning pages or holding the book open. You can engage your hands with the props look at your hands and follow the verbal instructions. From time to time you look up if a reference to an illustration is made.
I have only tried this form of learning a little bit, so I cannot say how good it turns out in the long run. One has to experiment with it and find a way which suits oneself. But I am sure that some will make great use of such features increasing their speed and convenience of learning.

I have also thought, mainly for works without illustrations such as works of theory, to hook up a little sub-notebook computer to my car battery, insert an ebook CD and listen while I drive. An instant audio book so to speak.

Chris.... Lybrary.com preserving magic one book at a time.
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