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Device & Illusion Review

December 14th, 2002 6:50pm
Reviewed by CaptainRhinestones
First, a little history. In the early eighties WHAM! broke up. I was terribly upset. I didn't recover until 1991 when I received this book as a gift. It was released within months of John Carney's Carneycopia and both books changed the way I viewed magic and raised the bar for magic books!

Anyone who has read Jim Steinmeyer's wonderful column in MAGIC, "Conjuring", understands that he has throughout his life studied great magicians of the past and associated with some of the very best minds of the present. He is in my view a national treasure along with a handful of others who have elevated magic through real love.

In Device and Illusion you'll find some of his best creations. In addition to the fine illusions he describes, of which "Through a One Inch-Hole" is my favorite, you'll discover some damn good stand-up routines. "Knot Unexpected" is a simple and clever way of doing cut-and-restored rope with a gimmicked knife. I saw Doug Henning do this when I was 14 and it was the most magical-looking thing I had ever seen in person! Well actually George Michael's gravity-defying hair was pretty close too.

"Needles" is the coolest, most practical method I have ever seen for the "East Indian Needle Trick". David Williamson performed this version on television a few years ago and received a great response. You will too, trust me.

"Smoke and Fire" is a signed bill to LIT cigar. It looks real because it is real! Read that again. Just think of one of your audience members describing that one to a friend. In fact most of Mr. Steinmeyer's effects have been trimmed of all the "fat" revealing simple plots that are refreshing and astounding.

The last chapter "In Conclusion" has the best advice I've ever seen on developing and performing magic. And by that I mean the actual business of breaking down an effect to its very core and seeing if for what it is, greatness or garbage.

This book is required reading for all magicians, not just those that perform large-scale illusiions. If you don't have this yet, find it, buy it, read it, reread it,. let it sink in. You can't help but be better for it.
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Product info for Device & Illusion

Author: Steinmeyer, Jim
Publisher: Hahne
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $35.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

Long heralded as a classic in the field, Device and Illusion is a unique collection of nine practical illusions for almost any setting. The book is complete with dimensions, routines and the thinking behind the creations. Included are six additional signature stand-up routines. Included are: The Lady in the Puzzle, a modern disappearance; a stretching illusion which can be built for less than $50; Neon, a penetration of a lady through a row of lit electrical bulbs.

Hardbound, 134 pages.

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