Magic Events


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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!

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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/

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In August 2014 we were invited to take part in Ymedaca, a project by Hester Reeve at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which culminated in the ritual sacrifice by fire of the artist herself.

On the 15th and 16th of July we’re back, this time as part of a Weekend of Wonderful Things to help celebrate the YSP’s 40th anniversary. There’ll be all manner of magical and wonderful things happening. Do pop in, say hello, and participate. It’s going to be fun!

Incidentally, for those who missed Ymedaca, there’s a book of the same title by Hester Reeve (with a few contributions from Magick) published by and available from the YSP.

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We were pleased to welcome Eric Jones to the Lounge recently. Eric is currently touring with his highly-praised new lecture. So we’re even more pleased to announce that we’ve been able to persuade him to fit in an extra date for us: this Sunday 28 May.

For those who’ve been paying no attention to the buzz on the magic scene lately, Eric is an award-winning performer who is highly respected by his peers in the magic community as an author, creator and lecturer.

He will be sharing some of his pet techniques, effects and routines on Sunday evening. Prepare to be astounded by his digital dexterity, as well as the clarity and depth of his explanations and his luxuriant beard.

If you have any interest in close-up, card or coin magic, you must not miss this session. Several magicians who have seen Eric at other venues on his tour will be journeying to Sheffield to learn more from this master magician.

“Truly beautiful close-up… He’s one of the best breathing magicians at the moment in my opinion.” Damian Surr. (Who, as a past and some-time Lounger, knows whereof he speaks.)

The lecture is at 7:30 pm on Sunday 28 May at The Magic Lounge, 82 Broad Street, Sheffield, S2 5TG. Doors open at 7:00 pm to all magical connoiseurs and others. The latest electric lighting installed to suit everyone. No dress code. Admission is £5 to Sheffield Circle members, £10 to visiting magicians.

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The answer to the tie-breaker question in the SCM Christmas Quiz was Alexander. Billed as ‘The Man Who Knows’ Alexander’s real name was Claude Alexander Conlin. Born in 1880, he died in 1954.

Conlin did a standard oriental style magic act in the first half of his show, dressed in a turban and robes. But what the audiences flocked to his show for was the second half, a Q&A act where he appeared to divine and answer questions written on folded slips of paper.

He was certainly a con-man, arrested many times for fraud and blackmail, and was reputedly involved in bootlegging, opium dealing, even the white slave trade, and admitted to killing four men. Despite all this he made millions of dollars at the height of his career and numbered Clara Bow and Rudolph Valentino among his many show-biz friends.

How unlike the home life of our own dear… (insert name of your favourite tv magician).

His iconic poster is reproduced in the heading of this blog, along with Thurston, Kellar and Houdini, with whom he feuded on several occasions.

I’m sure that by now all my astute readers, and even the less astute one, will have answered most if not all of the questions in this year’s SCM Christmas Quiz. In case you haven’t, here they are:

1. The badge of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians is known as the Scaratika. What two magical symbols does it incorporate?

Answer: A Scarab and a Swastika. To the Ancient Egyptians, the scarab was a symbol of Khepri, a manifestation of the sun god Ra, from an analogy between the beetle’s behaviour of rolling a ball of dung across the ground and Khepri’s task of rolling the sun across the sky. They accordingly held the species to be sacred. The swastika is an ancient Indian religious symbol of peace and continuity. It is considered to be a sacred and auspicious symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism and dates back at least 11,000 years.

2. Bess Houdini held annual séances on Halloween for ten years after her husband’s death in 1926. Which secret phrase did her husband Harry promise to use to prove that his ghost was actually trying to contact her?

a) Flowers do not fade.
b) I am Erik.
c) Rosabelle believe.
d) It’s the kiss that holds the key.

Answer: c). “Rosabelle” was a song that Bess used in her original act at Coney Island. Harry Houdini spent much of his later life trying to disprove spiritualism and expose phony mediums. The agreement with his wife was his ultimate means of proving that a return from the dead was impossible. The séances were supposed to continue each year for the rest of her life.

In 1929 a medium reported that the special phrase had been uttered during a séance, but Bess claimed that the news was false – she had been ill during the séance and the secrecy of the phrase could have been compromised. Bess held annual séances for 10 years, and then gave up on waiting and passed responsibility on to magician William B. Gibson.

3. David Wighton was born in London, England in 1868. He is best known for the Mascot Moth illusion in which a woman vanishes into thin air. What is his stage name?

Answer: David Devant. Incidentally,  Devant was the first Honorary President of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians.

4. Who is generally credited as the inventor of the Sawing in Half illusion?

Answer: P. T. Selbit (Percy Thomas Tibbles). A description of the illusion was published by the great French magician Jean Robert-Houdin in 1858, but Robert-Houdin’s idea remained just that, a written description of an effect. Selbit is generally recognised as the first magician to perform such a trick on a public stage, which he did at the Finsbury Park Empire theatre in London on 17 January 1921. In fact, Selbit had previously performed the illusion in December 1920 before a select audience of promoters and theatrical agents at the St. George’s Hall

5. Considered by many to be the father of modern magic, this French magician was originally a watchmaker but later performed throughout Europe during the 1840s and 1850s. The “Light and Heavy Chest” was one of his most famous tricks.

Answer: Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin.

6.  What was the stage name of famous British magician Newton Edward Daniels?

Answer: Paul Daniels.

7. These two German magicians were famous for their work with big cats.

Answer: Siegfried & Roy.

8. A magician makes a coin vanish from his or her hands. Which European country is connected with this sleight?

Answer: France (French Drop).

9. Invented by Theo Bamberg some time in the early 1900s, this little container is a classic prop for coin magic.

Answer: Okito Coin Box (Okito was Bamberg’s stage name).

10. The inaugural meeting of the Sheffield Circle of Magicians took place on 18 May. But what year?

Answer: 1920.

There was also a tie-breaker question, which we didn’t have to use. It was:

Tie Breaker: Claude Conlin was a mind-reading magician with a disreputable past. He had been married seven, eleven or even fourteen times, depending on who you believe. He was a con man, possibly a murderer and was imprisoned for fraud. Nevertheless, he was probably the highest paid mentalist of his time. What was Conlin’s stage name?

Answer next week.

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