Our Award Winning List of Magic Loves and Loathes

Inside Magic Image of Ed Mishell DrawingThere are things in magic we love and hate.

If there is one thing we cannot stand, it is trite or cliché opening sentences to rambling essays about personal likes or dislikes by someone hiding behind an artificially inflated pronoun choice.

But that is just us.

Other things that bother us include the following:

  1. Older magicians telling younger magicians that they have no future in the business.
  2. Younger magicians refusing to listen to older magicians when they are telling them how it is.
  3. The meaningless objectification of women as mere props for male mutilation fantasies poorly set forth as some sort of “illusion set.”
  4. Magicians explicitly or implicitly demeaning their assistants or any audience member.
  5. All one-trick DVDs – even if the DVD is free.  Write it down, make a photocopy of what you wrote and wrap it around the trick, bundled with a DVD if you must.  We won’t watch the DVD unless it is absolutely necessary to do so – perhaps because we are reviewing the trick as sold.  If you cannot write the trick, chances are you cannot teach it on a DVD or at least teach it in a cogent, organized way.
  6. Theft of another magician’s bit, trick, flourish or act.  Sure, if we could do all the moves and flourishes necessary to duplicate or ’s best routines, we wouldn’t.
  7. Mentalists who claim they have real supernatural powers.
  8. Jugglers who claim they do not, that it all comes from practice and skill.
  9. Magicians who perform whilst attending another magician’s show.  If you’re not on the bill, keep you tricks in your pockets.
  10. who use pre-inflated balloons.
  11. Anyone who still uses the line “This silk is imported, I got it from a broad.”  It is the modern era – we can call them by their proper name, handkerchiefs or pocket squares
  12. Typos in advertising copy used to promote magic tricks.
  13. The Folding Chair Suspension.
  14. Any trick using any body fluid.  Don’t lick you fingers before you do your second deals, don’t stick the chosen card to your sweaty forehead and do not do any trick with anything that resembles “magician’s wax.”  It makes us want to do the mysterious production of our lunch.
  15. Falling on the floor to aid in any escape ever.  It is trite, cliché and tough to see from our cheap seats.
  16. Using as a strawman.  For instance, “ took 32 minutes to escape from the 1902 version of zip-ties and tonight I shall attempt to beat his record.”  If the master magician could return from the dead and punch you in the neck, this would be his cue.
  17. Snow Storm finale – unless you are Kevin James or David Copperfield.  No exceptions.  So, even if you are performing out of doors and there is an actual snow storm just as you finish your act, you may not make any mention of said snow storm unless you are Kevin James or David Copperfield.
  18. False claims of awards or membership with the in-crowd.
  19. The in-crowd.
  20. Exposure of any trick – regardless of its age or value.  We have no problems with books teaching magic tricks but just because you think “everyone knows how it’s done” does not mean you can expose Cups-and-Balls, The Ball Vase, Cut-and-Restored Rope or Out of This World.  That is taking food out of a brother or sister magician’s mouth for a moment of vainglory.

What we like:

  1. New magicians (young and young at heart).
  2. Any magic-related poster.
  3. Brick and mortar magic stores.
  4. Well-made wooden eggs – we do not know why but we do.
  5. Magicians who appear to appreciate their assistants’ contribution to the act.
  6. Juggling and ventriloquism – individually or at the same time.
  7. War stories – even if we have heard the story before.
  8. A newly opened deck of playing cards.
  9. The sensation of pulling magician’s rope in the course of a trick such as Professor’s Nightmare or Cut-and-Restored Rope.
  10. The silent interweaving of a perfect Faro Shuffle.
  11. The smell of freshly burned Flash Paper.
  12. The rapid clicking of keys in locks and purposeful movement of hasps when opening a sub-trunk in the finale.
  13. The satisfied smile of a performer as he or she walks into the wings at the end of a routine.
  14. Checklists and running lists.
  15. Illustrations by Ed Mishell.
  16. Balloon sculptors who inflate by hand (or mouth).
  17. Gambling demonstration effects.
  18. Kid Show performers.
  19. Thimble magic.
  20. The smell of Magic Castle’s lobby as we are about to enter.

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