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Topic: In Search of Rudy Steffish
Message: Posted by: Banachek (Jan 3, 2003 11:19PM)
Rudy Steffish wrote a book on escape artists some time ago titled Conversations with Harry: don't forget to dance.

Anyone have current info on Rudy, I would like to contact him, please email me at banachek@banachek.com
Message: Posted by: x-treem (Jan 4, 2003 08:39AM)
Rudy is very hard to track down. I recently had the chance to read his awful book if you can call it that.

He claimed to be an escape artist but from what I know he had a vendetta against the art and tried as hard as he could to irk us off. A great example is his articles in TEN.

After his book sold out he sort of slid off the face of the earth.

If I can find any info I'll pass it along.

Message: Posted by: SANTINI (Jan 4, 2003 09:56AM)
Hi all,

Why anyone would want to get in touch with Rudy is beyond me. He is, in a nutshell, not an escape artist, he has a VERY LIMITED working knowledge of the art, (despite what he may claim or believe), and, like Shawn has already stated, he has gone out of his way to smear both the art of escapes and particular escape artists he may simply decide he does not like. And I am not just talking about performers he does not like either. I am talking about spreading outright lies about people in the escape community.

I have not even read his book and I have no desire to. I am instead speaking from personal experience. Anyone wanting details on this can e-mail me privately. In my humble opinion, I would advise anyone with good common sense to stay as far away from Mr. Steffish as humanly possible.

Best regards, Steve Santini.
Message: Posted by: Banachek (Jan 8, 2003 12:30PM)
The main reason I would like to get a hold of Rudi is that despite the rumors and misinformation he may of put out there, he has accumilated a large library and photo's of past escape artists. I think there is a book in the making there.

The book Rudi wrote was extremely disorganized and missing some very important historical figures and..... well you get the idea, but it certainly was a great starting point for a book on the history of escape artists.

I always try to see the silver lining and I think there is one here, despite what others may or may not think of Rudi. The end is the means here.

However, Shawn and Steve, if you could pm me privately so I could know what I am in for and be forwarned I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks guys.
Message: Posted by: Scott Xavier (Jan 8, 2003 08:18PM)
Could it just be a publicity ploy? Even negative publicity makes me want to read this book now...
Message: Posted by: Ian McColl (Jan 9, 2003 12:53AM)
Hi, Rudy Steffish is alive and well. He never claimed to be an escape artist and his writings did spur many to think about what they were doing in this business (for good or bad).

His book covers both old and new performers. I believe it was limited to 500 copies and all have gone. The book had a brief look at the life and achievements of each performer. It had very familar names and some we all had never heard of. Great for the historian, lacking for those who want secrets. The research must have been extensive to find all those in the book but due to the size of the book, this hard work isn't apparant.
Hopefully Rudy will do it again and add a few who's names aren't there for one reason or another.

Message: Posted by: SANTINI (Jan 9, 2003 09:31AM)
Hello all,
Rudy has indeed, on more than one occassion, claimed to be not only a historian of the art, but an actual "expert" in escapes. Wether or not he claims this knowledge by merely having talked to or watched a pile of escape people is beyond me. When he wrote for the TEN magzine Ian McColl put out, he did indeed bring up many observations about escapology but most of them were rather silly and unimportant (such as-"why do you guys always take off your shoes when getting into a mail bag)?

Some other Steffish comments and articles even served, and appeared to be purposely written, to tick off a number of escapists by being thinly veiled attacks on how they did thier shows and how they presented things. Perhaps Ian sees this different than I do because neither he nor Rudy actually perform escapes.

The problem with having a person like Rudy write on what he thinks of the acts of certain escapologists is that he spoke from an individual perspective and not the majority of the audience's position. He also clearly favoured and wrote excellent reviews about performers he happened to be good personal friends with instead of remaining objective and unbiased.

As one who has actually performed, I can say that the sum total and actual benefit of what I have read which Rudy has put out for the trade is very debatable indeed.

Regards, Steve Santini.

I would have gone more into detail on this matter and would have reminded Mr. McColl about some of the very underhanded lies Rudy told, to both Ian and myself, but I fear in his usual attempt to appear neutural Ian will only deny it and then someone will delete this message assuming a battle is in full swing. I am only telling the truth about Rudy. And believe me, what I have told is only the tip of the iceberg.
Message: Posted by: Ian McColl (Jan 9, 2003 07:01PM)
The question on Rudy was is he about? or where to find him? and a little about his book. I hope I have answered that.

As to his character, that wasn't asked.

I don't attempt to be neutral, I am neutral.
I don't deny your statement but it wasn't what Banachek asked.

Message: Posted by: Banachek (Jan 9, 2003 11:00PM)
hmm, right, I agree, I am not sure what one thinks personally about Rudy has to do with the possibility of a good book and lots of research. As said, I think the book was not that great as is, but has a lot of potential. And certainly makes a great biographical read of escape artists if nothing else.

As for not doing escapes and writing a decent book on escape artists, I am sure it can be done. Many historians of our art have written wonderful books without stepping into the arena spoke about.

However, if, and only if, this project comes about, I have some extensive background in escapes. So that may help, and I expect the project to be a hands on project that includes me all the way.

Anyway, getting the cart before the horse here. Right now I was just inquring how to get a hold of Rudy. I do have a copy of the book. Got it when it first came out since I am in there as well :) :dance: :dance:
Message: Posted by: Scott Xavier (Jan 10, 2003 07:34PM)
Ok, if anybody has questions to Banacheks abilities, check out PK silverware, or PK touch. Both are huge effects in mentalism, as well as many others he has marketed. Check into project alpha, I'll buy one of the escape books!

Message: Posted by: x-treem (Jan 11, 2003 02:50PM)
Dear Banachek,

I have a list of contacts for past EA's who have worked/learned personally from just about everyone in the book and for all intents and purposes they themselves should also be in a book. Though Rudy is not amongst my list, I would be more than happy to help you in whatever endevor you may embark upon.

I did jump with my post on Rudy but it is often hard to get over the past as we work hard to get attention for our art and that book and author were not much help.

If I can help, please contact me via PM or email.

Message: Posted by: schwartz (Jan 15, 2003 09:47AM)
Dear Banachek,

I wish you luck in this project, it's a great idea. I would love to see a book like this out there. There is a lot of material to work with.

You probably know this already but Brown University and Providence RI public library have great collections of magic books including works by Cunning, Oudini and other Houdini imitators.