Advice on organizations/magazines/etc.

All beginners in magic should address their questions here.

Postby Guest » 12/16/02 03:56 PM

1) As a newbie, if I were to subscribe to Genii, would I get a lot out of it or would it be "over my head"? I'm not asking you to advertise for the magazine, just let me know a few more specifics than the web-site can show. Are there other magazines worth looking at? (Sorry to ask about your "competition" :rolleyes: )

2) What about organizations such as IBM or SAM? Are these worth researching/joining?

Thanks for your advice. I think that this is an area of magic that newbies get confused about and often neglect.

Postby Larry Horowitz » 12/16/02 04:21 PM

Of course what you get out of a magazine depends on your intersts. The Genii has feature articles on performers both close-up and stage. It has historical articles and business advice. It also has trick teaching and performance advice. I'm sure that it said the same in the Genii ads. The magazine is good and has been improving steadily for the past 3 years. Richard Kaufman is also responsive to the readership. So, give the magazine a try. If you find you have questions about articles, you need only post them on this forum to get answers.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/16/02 11:35 PM


There is nothing wrong with setting the bar high and working toward it. Genii , however, has a fine mix so I don't think you can go wrong. Like Larry said, you have a support group here.

I am a non-club kinda guy, so keep that in mind while reading the following: magic clubs have their good and bad sides. You will hear from those that swear by them and those who avoid them like the plague. An acquaintance of mine refers to them as "The Brotherhood of Thieves." Like anything else, though, you take from them what you put into them. Do not be afraid to look into one. See if you can attend a meeting of your local IBM or SAM as a guest. Ask questions and above all trust your instincts.

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Postby Bill Mullins » 12/17/02 09:45 AM

IBM vs. SAM -- I prefer the Linking Ring (IBM magazine) to MUM (SAM magazine). Our area has an IBM Ring, but no SAM Assembly. So I've let my SAM membership lapse.

Genii and Magic are the two major slick magic general interest magazines, and both are worth getting, but I've come to like Genii much more since Kaufman took it over. They have different voices, though, and depending on your interests and goals in magic, you may end up with a different opinion than mine. If you can, you might want to try and find a few used copies of some recent (last couple of years) issues to compare.

There are several other limited circulation journals (mostly trick oriented) -- Behind the Smoke and Mirrors, Penumbra, Gadfly, Precursor, Channel One. Bear in mind that the publishing stability of a journal put out by a devoted individual isn't the same as that of Newsweek. See Genii forum discussions of Gadfly for more on that subject.

Other out of print magazines show up on used dealer lists from time to time. I really liked Trapdoor, Minotaur, Magical Arts Journal, and Labyrinth.

If you are "only" a hobbyist, you may need to prioritize and only subscribe to some of the above. If, however, you want to be the best magician you can, I would refer you to a comment Johnny Ace Palmer made in a lecture once. He said, Get them All. Every thing you learn about magic, from whatever source, can help.
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Postby Kendrix » 12/17/02 07:00 PM

The main reason to go to the IBM meetings for me is to help put "things" in perspective. When I become overly critical of my act and I think it stinks, I go to the meetings and realize I am truly great (comparatively speaking).
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Postby Guest » 12/22/02 12:55 PM

The IBM and/or the SAM are both worth joining.
If you can only join one, or only want to join one, find out which one has monthly meetings most convenient for you.
If they both do, then go to both a couple of times and see which one you like the best.
Who knows? You may end up joining both, like me!
The annual membership in each includes a monthly magazine and the dues are less than many magazines charge for a subscription alone!

For more information:

My preference? Well, I'm a bit biased in favor of the IBM and its magazine the Linking Ring, since I've been writing a monthly column there for more than 10 years.

For other organizations, check them out on a search engine like Google.

The same with magic magazines; there are zillions, depending on your interests -- comedy, bizarre, escapes, mentalism, general, kids, etc.

Peter Marucci

Postby Guest » 12/23/02 05:10 AM

If you subscribe to Genii or MAGIC, you can keep them in your library and as time progresses, you can refer back to them. I have magazines that are 10 years and older that I have thumbed through again and it is fascinating to see who was getting publicity, who was getting rave reviews and who was first getting started.

Postby Dave Shepherd » 12/23/02 06:58 AM

I agree with Mark that a subscription to either of the two major slick mags will serve you well. I am partial to Genii, but I get them both every month. (My not subscribing to Magic is my excuse to get into the local shop, Al's Magic Shop, at least once a month.)

Many things that are later marketed or compiled into more expensive books or videos appear first in Genii or Magic. (R. Paul Wilson's "Scottish Fly"/Crowded Coins comes to mind. I learned it from Genii long before getting Paul's video.)

If you can deal with the storage problem, subscribing to either or both of these for several years will give you a deeper library than you can imagine.

As to clubs, I belong to a couple and some of my best friends in magic are there.

This does not mean that I regard a successful performance at a club meeting as a benchmark for whether or not a trick is good or successful or ready. However, my generous friends in our little Virginia Magic Society group (a dozen magicians in somebody's living room once a month to schmooze, drink cola and share tricks) have given me great tips on a couple routines that I perform professionally.

I will say that it's probably a good thing for my magic that for the past three and a quarter years, I have had a regular restaurant gig that happens on the same day that our local IBM ring and SAM assembly meet. Thus I haven't been to a ring meeting in three years, though I keep up my membership. I consider all those folks friends, but I don't perform new magic for the ring meeting every month; I perform it for lay strangers every week. Much better for me.

I've learned a lot of silly and useless card tricks in club meetings (especially that little VMS bunch), but that's okay too. There's a class of tricks I use to perform for people, and then another class of tricks that are fascinating puzzles. Both have their value.
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Postby Brian Morton » 12/23/02 10:04 AM

Just my point of view, but I've never really been a fan of magic clubs. What works for magicians -- even (or rather, especially) amateur ones, is totally different from what works for laypeople. Many magicians are only concerned with process, which can make for some pretty boring and uninspired tricks ("Count the cards here into six piles and divide them by three...")

I've found it's been better overall to find a place that caters to workers and professionals (I'm lucky in that I've got Denny Haney's shop on the outskirts of town) whose brains you can pick. And see the lectures.

The only "club" I've belonged to in magic is the Castle, and even so I only get there about once a year. Working for laypeople as much as you can is the best way to find out what works in the real world.

As for the magazines, I'd say get both Genii and MAGIC, if anything, for the different style and tenor of them. It's like only reading one newspaper -- you're not getting a well-rounded view of the world.

Lastly, I'll echo Eugene Burger's advice, "See as much magic as you can, both good and bad." Pretty soon, you'll a) know the difference between them, and b) know what you like.

brian :cool:
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Postby Brian Rasmussen » 02/12/03 10:00 AM

Darren, I live in Indiana as well. I'm an IBM member and I belong to an IBM ring fairly close to my home. I know of the several other rings in the state and could probably give you some contacts. Where are you approximately?
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Postby Guest » 02/13/03 10:03 AM


I live in Richmond, Indiana - which is off I-70 at the Ohio State line. I had a friend who used to live in Greenwood, so I'm relatively familiar with your area.

I've considered visiting an Indianapolis IBM ring at some point (probably this summer). Have you had mostly positive experiences with the ring?

Thanks for your advice and interest. Maybe we can meet in person some time! The only magicians I "know" are online.


Postby Brian Rasmussen » 02/13/03 02:19 PM


Actually I belong to the Ring in Nashville IN which is about 40 minutes South of Greenwood. I used to live in Lafayette IN and I attended Ring meetings there as well. I do however know several members of the other Indiana rings. It would be great for you to visit one of our meetings sometime. Our group is very dedicated to magic and we meet at one of the best magic shops in the state. That really makes it nice.
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Postby Guest » 02/15/03 05:51 PM

You're actually close enough to make the pilgrimage to Haines' House of Cards in Cincinnati. It's a great magic shop in and of itself...but what makes it special is that it's where any number of gaffed decks are still made in the back shop. I used to live in Cincinnati, and didn't realize what Haines was until I moved out of the city.

Have fun!

Postby Guest » 02/16/03 08:08 AM

Thanks all for your help and advice.

Steve, I'm glad you recommended Haines' to me. I was in Cincinnati not too long ago and the magic store I tried to find (Carew Tower Magic) had gone out of business. I'll make the trek there sometime around the end of March to try out Haines'. Thanks for the tip!

Brian, It would take a little over two hours to make the trip to Nashville. I wouldn't be able to join your IBM ring, but maybe I could visit it sometime this spring/summer. Thanks for your invite!

Also, I've made the plunge and subscribed to Genii magazine today!!! It came highly recommended over Magic by the magic cafe members, so I chose this one :cool: Thanks to everyone again.

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