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Two deliveries today: six large boxes containing some great books, plus some fine items in carved wood, copper and brass. Pictures will follow, And there are two more boxes of books due tomorrow!

If you could see you way to calling in and making a few purchases as soon as possible that would be great. June is complaining that we’re running out of space.

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Chairs

Regular Loungers will know that the chairs we use for the Saturday Sessions, Lectures, etc., are showing signs of age and wear. (As are some of the Loungers, but we can’t do anything about that…) A few days ago we had to throw quite a few away (chairs, not Loungers).

Julie jokingly mentioned a couple of weeks ago that for our 40th Anniversary (Saturday 18 November!), regulars could buy their own chairs, which we would label appropriately, or put their names on if they prefer. To our surprise this was greeted with enthusiasm and very little hilarity.

We’ve done a little research and there are some suggestions above. We’ll be making a visit to Ikea in the near future (the things we do for our ‘customers’!), so let us know if you want us to make a purchase on your behalf. As I said above, if you’d like to provide your own chair, feel free. Size is important so any chairs must fold flat, so no Game of Thrones replicas, Jared. Or the ones with the leather restraints… you know who you are.

Eva is a new series of playing cards inspired by the story of the Four First Women. It was printed by USPCC and features an experimental letterpress tuck box, numbered custom seal (1-1999). The cards have metallic ink, the courts are women and the deck includes an extra joker. Meroni suggests these decks are for mature audiences as they include some nudity.

Each suit represents one of the first four women of different cultures. All the court cards are the same first woman, and Jack, Queen and King tell a chronological evolution of the character. The Aces are the last part of the story, the epilogue. The Jokers symbolise the relation between the first women and their men. There is also a tiny graphic on the card edges, different for every suit, that tells a little story.

Pandora, the Curious Betrayer (Spades)

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You are my gift to mankind, and this box is my gift to you. Don’t open it for any reason, or you’ll condemn all of humanity.

Pandora was the first human woman, created by Hephaestus and Athena on the instruction of Zeus. She was a punishment to humanity for Prometheus’ theft of the secret of fire.

She’s the young “Gift of Zeus” when she is a Jack and she’ll become the “Traitor of Humanity” in her King form. The Queen form is the “Curious Betrayer”: Pandora, seduced by the Zeus’s Forbidden Box (or jar, pithos), decided to open it, condemning all humanity.

The Ace represents the open Forbidden Box, with the Ace itself being the Evil that Pandora unleashed. There was also Hope in the Forbidden Box, but Pandora closed the lid and trapped it inside. Why did Pandora decide to keep Hope inside the Box? There are many theories about this, but I’m reminded of the famous quote by Friedrich Nietzsche: “Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torment of men.”

If you’re wondering why there is a Snake and an Apple, it’s because you could think of Pandora as a reflection of Eve – opening the Forbidden Box is like eating the Apple of Knowledge.

Lilith, the First Rebel (Diamonds)

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I was created from the same dirt as the first man. He wanted to dominate me and we fought. I left him and Eden, and I found an Angel.

Lilith is, in some cultures, the real first woman. She was made from the same earth as Adam. The first man wanted to dominate her, so she grew wings and flew away from Eden. Then she coupled with a fallen angel.

The Diamonds court cards represent the evolution of Lilith from the first woman to the First Rebel. In the Jack of Diamonds, Lilith is just created: the “True First Woman”. She’s completely unaware about everything, and her only purpose is to be Adam’s wife.

Adam tries to enslave Lilith – represented in the “The Prisoner Queen”, the Queen of Diamonds. In this card, Lilith is in chains, angry, and she’s ready to fight back against Adam.

Lilith becomes the “First Rebel” on the King of Diamonds. She is full of anger towards Adam and men. She decides to leave him and Eden forever, with her love, Samael – an angel.

Pyrrha, the Mother of the World (Clubs)

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Pyrrha was the daughter of Pandora. She’s not a first woman, since her mother was the first, but she and her husband, Deucalion, were the only survivors of the Great Flood sent by Zeus to end the Bronze Age. Prometheus warned Pyrrha about the deluge, telling Deucalion to build an Ark for himself and his wife, thus Prometheus saved mankind for the second time.

Pyrrha was the daughter of Pandora and Epimetheus, Prometheus’s brother. She is married to Deucalion, the son of Prometheus. In the Greek myth, it was Deucalion who was told about the great deluge by his father, but in Giovannie’s version, Prometheus (in his Snake form) is telling that to a young Pyrrha. The “Annunciation” is illustrated in the Jack of Clubs.

The Queen of Clubs is “The Queen of the Deluge”. Pyrrha is on the Ark, watching the endless rain sent by Zeus. Her hair is longer, and she grieves for the destiny of the world. She will became the “Mother of the World” years later, as shown in the King of Clubs:

Pyrrha grows older, she’s a mature woman now. The Deluge is over and she and Deucalion are the only survivors. They ask the Oracle of Themis how to repopulate the world, and they are told to “Throw the bones of the Mother over your shoulder.” At first Pyrrha is distraught at the idea of desecrating her mother’s honor by digging up her bones, but Deucalion correctly reasons that the “mother” is Gaia, the Earth, and the bones are rocks.

In the Ace of Clubs, she’s throwing rocks behind her. Both Pyrrha and Deucalion throw a stone over their shoulder – Pyrrha’s turning into a woman, Deucalion’s turning into a man. Once the land has been repopulated with humans, mother earth follows suit and begins to produce all other forms of life.

A little trivia – Pyrrha had three daughters from Deucalion. She called one “Pandora II”, after her mother.

Eva, the Lover (Hearts)

Eva_Eve

Eva (Eve) loves knowledge, freedom and life, and her partner Adam. She must taste the forbidden fruit, although the price she and humanity must pay will be high.

Eve is the main character – she shares a lot in common with the other women. She is curious like Pandora, rebellious like Lilith and motherly like Pyrrha. Giovanni decided to call her “The Lover” because he believes that she did what she did because she was in love – with Adam, with knowledge, but more than anything – with freedom.

Eve is “The First Lover” in her Jack of Hearts form. She has just been created from Adam’s rib, and she is frightened and unaware. Her purpose, like Lilith, is to be Adam’s wife – but this time things are different, since between Adam and Eve there is true love. Adam learns what it means to love and to treat his partner accordingly.

Eve grows to become beautiful and clever. Although she is happy in Eden’s “golden cage” she feels she is missing something – she is hungry for true knowledge. In her Queen form, Eve is “The Temptress”. Prometheus, in the form of a Snake, reveals to her that all Knowledge is hidden in the Apple. She persuades Adam to follow her – they know they will be punished but they decide to eat the Apple of Knowledge anyway.

After eating the Apple, Adam and Eve are banned from Eden forever. They lose their immortality and start to feel hunger and pain. But their eyes are finally opened. They become human. In her King form, Eve is mortal. She has become the “Queen of the World”, since she was the very first female on Earth. Despite humanity’s state of Original Sin, resulting from her rebellion in Eden, and the pain she suffered, she’s proud to be an aware human being.

The relation between Eve and the other first Women

Both Pandora and Eve did something forbidden, and by doing so they doomed all humanity. Both of them love Knowledge and are curious to know what the Supreme Powers wish to keep hidden.

Pyrrha and Eve populated the Earth once. Both are the mothers of humanity. Pyrrha used ‘Gaia’s Bones’ thrown behind her, Eve physically gave birth to the first men.

Eve chose to be at Adam’s side, but it is clear that she shares the same rebellious nature as Lilith.

Prometheus, the Snake

The Snake, Prometheus, represents the voice of freedom and rebellion as expressed by the first women and by humanity as a whole. He inspired Eve to eat the Apple of Knowledge, as well as convincing Pandora to open her Box. He told Pyrrha about the great deluge and he embraced Lilith when she flew away from the Garden of Eden. He’s both a positive and a negative figure.

Dedalo

Dedalo is strongly inspired by Greek mythology and labyrinths. There are three decks in the series:

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     Dedalo Alpha, aqua foil on blue Stardust Paper
     Dedalo Apeiron (Limited Edition), blue and gold foil on black Stardust Paper
     Dedalo Omega, gold foil on red Stardust Paper

All version have fully illustrated courts, Aces and Jokers, custom pips, different faces and backs, and are supplied in foiled tuck boxes. Every deck includes an extra court card that represent a God of Olympus.

Dedalo tells the story of many characters of the Ancient Greece. The Minotaur Asterion, the dark hero Theseus, the beautiful Ariadne and, of course, Dedalo, the genius who built the Labyrinth, the main location of the story. In Italian, Dedalo is a synonym of “Labyrinth”. The deck is high-detailed, full of hidden meanings and with accurate references to Mythology.

Dedalo Alpha and Dedalo Omega tells the past and the future of the same story. Dedalo Alpha show the part when the Minotaur and Theseus haven’t fought yet, Ariadne is going to help Theseus with her red thread, and Icarus and King Aegeus are alive. In Dedalo Omega, Theseus has defeated the Minotaur and abandoned Ariadne. King Minos is angry with Dedalo and has imprisoned him and his family in the labyrinth. Dedalo manages to fly away on wings made from wax, but his son, Icarus, flies too high and his wings are melted by the Sun, Helios. Aegeus thinks Theseus was killed by the Minotaur, so he’s committing suicide.

The Gods are different in each Dedalo Deck. In Dedalo Alpha you have Hermes (Jack of Spades), Aphrodite (Queen of Spades) and Poseidon (King of Spades), plus an extra Jack of Spades (Apollo). In Dedalo Omega you find Dionysus (Jack of Spades), Athena (Queen of Spades) and Helios (King of Spades), plus an extra Queen of Spades (Artemis). In Dedalo Apeiron you have Ares (Jack of Spades), Hera (Queen of Spades) and Zeus (King of Spades), plus an extra King of Spades (Hades).

I’ll look at the stories behind some of the other Giovanni Meroni decks in future blog posts.

Krenz 2

You won’t want to miss The Jim Krenz Lecture: Magical Musings of a Man of Mystery at The Magick Lounge next Thursday.

Jim has been interested in magic since he received the traditional magic set as a young child. He regrets wasting the first four years of his life by not beginning his magic studies until he was five years old.

Later he spent 15 years working for Jay and Frances Marshall at Magic Inc. He regularly performed close-up at Schulien’s Restaurant in Chicago. In 1993, he won the Most Valuable Participant award at the prestigious FFFF convention. He has created over three dozen original effects and techniques, and has lectured about them in nine countries. Jim has studied with Ed Marlo, Jim Ryan, Tony Andruzzi, Don Alan, Eugene Burger, Slydini, Tommy Wonder and Juan Tamariz.

“Dude who fooled me the most with cards: In 1991, it was Spain’s Juan Tamariz; In 1992, it was Sweden’s Lennart Green; In 1993, it was Chicago Conjurer Jim Krenz.” Dan Garrett (from M.U.M. — the national publication of the Society of American Magicians)

Focusing on close-up magic, Jim will teach his hands-off cards across (wherein the magician legitimately never touches the cards), his torn and restored card (called Ripper, described by Juan Tamariz as his favorite torn and restored card), his invisible triumph (this fools everyone!) and his version of wild card, which features his impossible card case load (called Imp-Load) — which is performed under the direct observation of the audience.

Here is a quote from R. Paul Wilson about Jim’s Imp-Load: “I’ve been fooled badly by this. My friends have been fooled badly by this. Signed card cleanly goes into the deck, vanishes and appears inside the box that’s in full view on the table. Highly recommended.”

Interspersed throughout the lecture are Jim’s theories on creating and performing magic. Topics include participants preferred, making magic matter, the practice of practice and crafting creativity.

“Jim thinks in another dimension and creates cutting edge miracles. His devious and thoroughly deceptive methods never fail to pack a powerful punch.” Rafael Benatar

Also featured are his coins across (using his “one-behind principle”), his oil and water (NeoMix), Coincidencia (a coincidence routine with genuinely shuffled cards) and his handling of John Cornelius’ Pen Through Anything, which elevates the routine to the status of a miracle.

After reviewing a number of other prominent close-up magicians (including Chuck Fayne, Bill Goldman and Eugene Burger) who performed at the National Society of Magicians Convention in 1994: “Jim Krenz was my personal favorite due to his very likable character and absolutely astounding card work. He brought the house down with his signed cards routine.” Erika Larsen (from Genii — the International Conjurors’ Magazine)

Jim is a regular participant in Las Journadas de el Escorial in Spain. This is a gathering of magicians who, once a year, discuss and analyze a particular effect (or author) in magic. Some of the attendees include Ascanio, Bernard Bilis, Magic Christian, Roberto Giobbi and Juan Tamariz.

“I literally saw jaws drop at Krenz’s multiple signed card revelation.” Hiawatha (from Magic — The Independent Magazine for Magicians)

Jim will have techniques and effects for all tastes. There will be easy stuff, hard stuff, and innovative stuff. Jim has been working on these routines for a long time. (Some are over ten years old.)

“Jim Krenz is a treasure trove of ideas and a powerhouse of innovation. Check out his online store and support a true innovator — an ‘inside guy’ who’s sharing some brilliant ideas.” R. Paul Wilson

His lecture contains his original ideas, theories, routines and improvements in close-up magic.

“When I was a child I was fascinated with the magical emotion that I felt upon watching magicians. I could not comprehend anything — what I would see was impossible; now I love to feel this emotion. It does not occur very often. Normally, I can see behind the curtain — I see the ‘hidden’ secrets and the mechanics. But from time to time a magician performs a trick, or several tricks that seem impossible — and the magical emotion returns. This happens to me with Jim Krenz (how wonderful!). For this, thank you Jim!” Juan Tamariz

Jim Krenz’s lecture promises to be another thoroughly entertaining and enlightening event. It starts at 7:30 pm on Thursday 2 November at The Magick Lounge, 82 Broad Street, Sheffield, S2 5TG. Doors thrown open within seconds of 7:00 pm to all actual and would-be exponents of fine magic. Those over 60 get first choice of the comfy seats. Admission is £5 to Sheffield Circle members, £10 to visiting magicians, under 16s half price. You really don’t want to miss this as much or if not more than our previous star lectures!

Magick first opened in Sheffield on Howard Street in November 1977. Abba was at number 1 in the charts with ‘Name of the Game’ closely followed by Queen, Status Quo, Showaddywaddy, The Bee Gees and The Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band. But it was the ’70s. And our trousers were wider than our shoes.

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This was our first shop. Note the throng of eager customers, assuming a throng is six or over.

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And is that Robbo in the cat suit? Thereby droops a tail.

After a few years we moved to an external unit in the Sheaf Market, facing onto the Park Square Roundabout. We’ve been in our current home at 82 Broad Street since 1988. And I reckon we’ll be here a mite or two longer.

The more astute will have realised that this November marks our 40th anniversary. To celebrate this auspicious event we’re holding an open day here at The Lounge on Saturday 18 November. Friends of Magick old and new are invited to attend and join the frivolity. There could be cakes. And possibly a few tricks. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

More details as the day approaches at https://www.facebook.com/events/1983183801958794/

 

Matt 1

We’re pleased to say that our old friend Matthew Johnson is back at The Lounge on 14 September with a brand new lecture.

As one of Canada’s busiest entertainers he works his unique brand of thought-provoking magic at over 300 live performances a year! He’s done it all, from cruise ships and international hotels to corporate events for Fortune 500 companies and theatres throughout the world. He has appeared in films, TV shows and recently appeared as a contestant on the hit TV show Wizard Wars filmed in Los Angeles, California.

As a creator of original magic and mentalism Matt has released countless effects, books, DVDs and instant downloads over the past 25 years. He has also been a featured performer and teacher for other creators and can be seen on the TA box set and in the marketed effect ‘Freedom Writer’ both by Paul Harris Presents.

In 2013 he was approached by Penguin Magic to release some of his own effects, including the best sellers, Melt and Melt 2.0, Pen Through Finger and Sweet. Matt did his first Penguin Live Lecture in 2013.

All proved so popular that Penguin then hired Matt to rework old effects under the name ‘Matt Johnson Presents…’. Each effect is given Matt’s unique approach and worker approval. Such effects included Blindfoil, Dark Arts, Photographic, Billoon, Chaptrick White Bikes, and Blacksmith.

Matt has lectured at FISM, the Magic Circle, Hollywood’s Magic Castle, IBM in the UK, the Adelaide Magic Convention in Australia and countless other Magic Clubs and conventions around the world.

He always has something new up his sleeve, so even if you have seen Matt lecture before you are guaranteed to learn some brand new and unpublished mind-blowing magic and mentalism. All of Matt’s creations are very commercial and most of the effects instantly reset.

A few weeks ago he appeared on Penn & Teller’s Fool Us show, chained and handcuffed in a locked box full of water. We’re very pleased to say that his performance was highly successful, receiving acclaim from Penn and a big thumbs up from Teller. So he will be appearing as advertised at Sheffield’s Magick Lounge on Thursday 14 September. Doors unlocked within moments of 7 o’clock ready for a 7:30 start. Cost is £5 to Sheffield Circle members and £10 to visiting magicians. Join us.