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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Books, Pamphlets & Lecture Notes » » Cellini's "Dreamer's Highway" (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Inner circle
Southwestern Southeast
3997 Posts

Profile of ClintonMagus
First, let me say that I am not a performer. Although I do an occasional show for my daughters' classrooms or for a Ring fundraiser, most of my magic efforts are spent reading or building for others.

This past weekend I received Cellini's newest book, "Dreamer's Highway". Being a proud owner of his first book "The Royal Touch", I was really looking forward to this one, for no other reason than it was by Cellini.

Before going any further let me say that it is a thoroughly entertaining book and has something for everyone even remotely interested in street performing. Although at $65.00, it is a bit pricey for a 140-page book, it will provide information you might not find elsewhere. Many topics are covered, such as drawing crowds, planning a show, how to handle local authorities, dealing with problems, etc. There are even a few routining suggestions thrown in. You won't find these topics placed neatly under headings. Rather, you will have to read about them in the context of the people he met or the situations in which he found himself.

As the editor says, this book was put together from Cellini's handwritten pages, in the order that they were submitted. This makes for an interesting, though sometimes uneven, presentation, but in this case, it works.

The book is divided into several sections, each of which is generously peppered with personal anecdotes on his travels and the "friends" (most of whom I had never heard of) he met along the way. The first section deals with Cellini's experiences in the U.S., primarily in New York and New Orleans. Following that are sections on his travels in Europe, followed by a section loosely titled "Hofzinser's Card Conjuring. He has a knack for describing people and places in ways that make you imagine yourself as being there.

He begins in New Orleans and New York City. Having spent a lot of time in New Orleans muself, I remembered Mr. Toot, Rocky (Sonny Holiday), and Sebastiano from their performances in Jackson Square. When Cellini reached New York City and met Slydini for the first time, I found myself wanting another chapter just about "The Master". In this section are several effects and routines, as well as an interesting collection of a hundred-or-so one-liners and other remarks that can be used in all sorts of performing situations. These alone can give you a lot of insight into Cellini's personality.

Each location in Europe had its particular charm and the general populace and local constabulary were very different every place he went. In Switzerland, he particularly enjoyed the beauty of the country, and had his greatest level of monetary success. In Germany, the only question the local law enforcement had was "Do you blow fire?" In Spain, he met an older couple at a bar whose previous occupations had been those of "second-story bandits". In all of the countries he went to he experienced unique performance conditions which, I would think, should cover most situations in which the street performer might find himself.

As you can tell, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I will certainly read it again. For $65.00, however, I was a bit disappointed in the actual "execution" of the book itself. Many folks are aware of the translation problems that plagued "The Royal Touch". In this book, the editor makes a special note that he only edited Cellini's notes "for spelling and grammer (sic)". As it turns out, my only complaints with this book are the spelling, grammar, and formatting.

There are hundreds of words that are hyphenated at line breaks. This alone is no big deal, but when the hyphenated words are ha-ve, cro-wds, wis-hed, do-wn, lar-ge, soluti-on, ever-yone, assig-nment, etc. this quickly gets old. Although the text is divided into paragraphs, there is no space between the paragraphs, making reading rather tiresome. There are also many instances of run-on sentences and sentence fragments, as well as a piece in the section on Denmark where a story seemingly begins in the middle, almost like there is a paragraph missing.

Speling might have been checked, but the text should have also been proofread for context. "... steak out his pitch for the day", "... caused the wheel to sheer off", "we had never spoke...", and "... three hundred collage students".

These things are disturbing in a high-dollar book such as this, but they are not nearly important enough to make you keep your money in your pockets. This is easily one of the more entertaining reads I have had in quite a while, and I am looking forward to more in the future.

Amos McCormick
Things are more like they are today than they've ever been before...
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Inner circle
Charleston, SC
3717 Posts

Profile of mrunge
Thanks for the review Amos. I really appreciate it.

I met Cellini several years ago when we had him give a lecture to our magic club. He is a really great guy, easy going and willing to share what he has learned over the years with anyone who will listen. He has TONS of stories that could fill multiple volumes!

I ordered this book (Dreamer's Highway) the other day and am looking forward to reading it. It is too bad that the publisher did not edit the book prior to printing and correct even basic spelling and grammar errors. Oh well, I'm sure the content will outway these issues.

I would also like to read his first book, The Royal Touch, but have been unsuccessful in finding it. Maybe one of these days I'll get lucky.

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Elite user
Portland, Oregon
495 Posts

Profile of ekins
I did a quick search on google for "cellini "royal touch"" and at least a couple of the items in the list were for shops that are supposedly selling it. Here was the first one I found for a shop in Florida:


I've never heard of this shop before so I would definitely call first to verify that they have it. The price is also on the high side, $110. I bought my copy a few years ago from a place in the UK.

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Inner circle
Southwestern Southeast
3997 Posts

Profile of ClintonMagus
I bought my copy of "The Royal Touch" at a New Orleans SAM convention seven or eight years ago from a Swiss dealer, I believe. I also bought a set of cups from him.

Amos McCormick
Things are more like they are today than they've ever been before...
kid iowa
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Loyal user
300 Posts

Profile of kid iowa
Contact Kozmo, last I heard he had them for around $70. Or check out http://www.magicpitch.com I think they had some copies.
Any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile...can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction, "I served in the United States Navy." J.F.K.
Eric Evans
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Special user
Rio Grande
667 Posts

Profile of Eric Evans
"The Dreamer's Highway" is a look into the life of one of magic's all-time greatest practitioners; Cellini -- may God bless him. Perhaps the greatest man I've ever had the distinct honor of knowing, most certainly one of the funniest.
To read about such people as Sonny Holliday (sic) and Mr. Toot (a.k.a. Rikki) was the rarest of pleasures. People recounted come alive from the pages so that I feel as though I know them better –- as they were and thankfully still are.
I'd recommend it to absolutely everyone, much less those who might be curious as to why we street magicians perform that Voodoo that we do, best. As attested to by the Master, the one and only, Cellini!
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New user
87 Posts

Profile of Shorty
Yes, Eric is exactly right, that's how it is.

Jim is like a Book full of secrets and everytime you speak with him he open your eyes in Magic new. And he knows exactly what works and what not. I love his Book more then a lot. There are not many magicians in the world as Cellini is. He shows you that if you are stick to something and try it hard you can do what ever you like. Especialy when you don't have tons of money behind you. The magic its you and not a 300$ Trick.

Greetings Shorty
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