Archive for May, 2011

Artifice Playing Cards: A Testament to the Deceptive Arts

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

In the second installment of signature series playing cards by Ellusionist we proudly present: Artifice Playing Cards.

Artifice Playing Cards

Understated equipment for cardsharps who use pure technique to win in a game.

The techniques utilized in production reflect the perfection of skill required to consistently stay one step ahead during performance.

The coating is like artwork itself, developed by Ellusionist with Jeff Reed at USPC to allow metal to be contained in the finish yet still be slicker than ice. The coating is known simply as “Performance Coating” and will become the defacto standard in Ellusionist decks.

• Equipped with our exclusive Performance Coating for exceptional glide and handling.
• True-metallic silver scroll work and line art glimmers as the cards are manipulated.
• Printed at the US Playing Card Company, with the highest quality control available.
• Premium, casino-grade stock for durability and control.
• All newly created artwork on the court carts, pips, indexes, jokers and Ace of Spades.
• Equipped with hidden, built-in reveal on the one-of-a-kind jokers.
• Designed by top Ellusionist designers, Jason Brumbalow and Lee McKenzii.
• Consulted with over a dozen of the world’s best card men.

“These are now my only weapons of choice. ” – Daniel Madison, Advocate of the Deceptive Arts

“The first word out of my mouth was elegant. My wife’s first word was romantic. I think these are two perfect words to describe the look and feel of the new Artifice cards!” – Rich Ferguson, The Ice Breaker

Available now, exclusively at Ellusionist.

Artifice Playing Cards

Win tickets, airfare to Strebler’s new Myrtle Beach show

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Morgan Strebler is a busy man. In addition to a few projects for Ellusionist and dealing with flooding in his southeast Missouri hometown, he is opening a new show in Myrtle Beach, S.C., very soon. Called “Inside Your Mind,” the Las Vegas performance veteran will feature his unique brand of mentalism and psychokinetic magic. And you could get a chance to see it.

Streb is running a contest on his Facebook fan page, where the winner and a guest will get tickets and airfare to the grand opening of “Inside Your Mind.” He has posted the first of three puzzles on his page. Keep your eye out for the next two puzzles and contest rules over the next few weeks.

Speakers named for this year’s EMC

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Last year, Luis de Matos, Marco Tempest and others blazed a major trail by creating the Essential Magic Conference. Completely online, the conference brought dizzying magic, brilliant theory and excellent presentations to thousands of members worldwide through the comfort of their own Internet connections. The conference removed the travel and distance barrier, and brought many of us closer together. It taught some powerful effects (lookin’ at you, Dani DaOrtiz’ marked card routine and Max Maven’s Res-Cue) and covered some powerful theory to developing your own tricks (lookin’ at you, Guy Hollingsworth and your packet trick).

Of course they are doing it again. It’d be a tragedy if they DIDN’T.

This year’s Essential Magic Conference, like last year’s, will be packed with magic experts and legends. Names include Akira Fujii, Dani DaOrtiz, the Bucks, David Berglas, Rene Lavand, Lennart Green and more. Special guest David Copperfield (you may know him as one of your main influences in magic) will give a special presentation that includes answering questions from convention members. All in all, 33 speakers are part of this year’s conference.

More info is coming. In the meantime, get registered now for three days of powerful magic education. Registration is $90, and includes access to all sessions. As a bonus, you’ll receive DVD copies of all the sessions.

If you didn’t attend last year’s session, you can get access to all the sessions and this year’s conference for $135.

Artist Interview: Aaron Fisher talks about magic mentors, lessons

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

“There’s nothing intuitive about sleight of hand.”

Learning magic — i.e., learning to lie by passing off unnatural actions as natural motions — can be a difficult process, thanks to the practice needed to master certain sleights compounded by the infinite number of sleights available. Back in the day, many of the greats in magic studied under legendary mentors and enjoyed long-lasting relationships with them.

Aaron Fisher, card magician, technician and all-around genius, enjoyed one such relationship with Michael Skinner. He called it a kohai-senpai kinda thing (with a pretty good Sean Connery impersonation, truth be told) in this Artist Interview. He also said that today’s magic community, which has grown in many different directions on the Internet, hasn’t lost that chance for connection — rather, it gives magic students hungry for direction many more options.

We had a great conversation with Fisher about that and much more in this podcast. Enjoy:


Fisher is one of the many experts available through Ellusionist’s InSession program. He also offers coaching sessions on his Web site.

Magician helped U.K. fight Nazis? Stories of Maskelyne’s magic vary

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

In “The Secret Life of Houdini,” authors Bill Kalush and Larry Sloman posit that Harry Houdini was a secret agent for the U.S. government during certain points of his career. Houdini would hate knowing that another magician has him beat — allegedly.

Another recent book, “The Last Greatest Magician in the World” by Jim Steinmeyer, dives into the life of Howard Thurston and how he won the “battle” with Houdini to be the era’s greatest magician. Those stories, as crazy and intriguing as they are, may have nothing on a British magician who fought a war. recently featured a compelling story about Jasper Maskylene and how he used magic to actually fight Nazis during World War II. After reading how Maskelyne allegedly developed gadgets, ruses and more to defeat the Nazis, it made the opening scenes of “Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell,” by Susanna Clarke, seem downright journalistic.

From cricket bats loaded with saws and shovels to a deception that involved moving an entire harbor, the stories are fascinating and engaging — even if they may not be true.