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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » THE MAGIC MENU - The International Journal for Close-Up Magicians » » Autumn 2009 - Comments or Questions? » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Jim Sisti
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The new issue should be in subscribers' hands by now. I would be interested in entertaining any comments about the new issue. What did you like? What did you hate? What should we feature more of? Who should we feature?

Discuss...
slyhand
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Thank you Jim for bringing this mag back. I never got the chance to see the first incarnation of it but I'm glad I get to see this one.


I enjoyed Christopher Lyle's column. He came out bearing his teeth and did not hold back. Sic em!

Paul Green's seemed a tad sparse but I guess it's because it's the first issue and it appears that his column will be more about stories from the readers. So send them in folks.

Paul Gordon's piece has two very nice card tricks with photos. I like the fact that I can see him perform it to help with the pacing.

Al the Only says his contribution will be like a "Dear Abby" style and since this is the first issue there were no "letters" yet. I look forward to his answering the many concerns/questions plaguing the readers.

I liked reading Dan Doyle's "Yesterdays Treasures". He is exploring all the goodies from the past rather than "What's New". I am definitively going to like this. Mainly I hope that he will mention something long and forgotten that already have.

Scott Guinn has his "The Way I See It". I can tell he will be writing things that many of us will not want to hear but should. If you have been following his blog then you know what I mean. Good Stuff.

Tricks of the Trade looks like it will feature various people and a favorite trick of theirs. This go around was Daniel Greenwolf. I have not been able to get the card to do the "thing" yet but I am still working on it. What's nice about this column is it will always be different.

Magic In Review by Mark Zacharia has 5 reviews on various new effects. He tells it like he sees it which is what it should be. This week they range from great to don't bother. I love that there are no ads. With ads there is always the possibility to rate a trick/dvd etc. in a different light than you would without.
Kinda like Consumer Reports.

For you balloon artists, Mark Byrne has a nice detailed instruction on how to make a Monkey hat, complete with 22 photos. 7, 13 and 14 look a little risque to me. But I am sure it's just me.

James Prince profiles a worker each issue. This time featured Christopher Lyle.

Lastly, Tom Frank and his Frankly Speaking is another column that hits it on the head with a sledge hammer. After reading the first paragraph I had to go back and read it again because I was not sure if I read it right the first time. Yup, I did.


I got a subscription for the insight that it was going to provide me. Well, It did that and the tricks were a bonus I hadn't even planned on.

I believe this is going to be a great run. I am already looking forward to the next one. Keep hitting me on the head and keep it ad free is all I ask for now.

I am going to re-read it now.
I am getting so tired of slitting the throats of people who say that I am a violent psychopath.

Alec
Jeff
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Quote:
On 2009-10-26 17:53, Jim Sisti wrote:
The new issue should be in subscribers' hands by now. I would be interested in entertaining any comments about the new issue. What did you like? What did you hate? What should be feature more of? Who should we feature?

Discuss...


Jim I just received it yesterday and the first issue looks real good. My first comment is could you please include a piece of cardboard or stamp on the envelope "DO NOT BEND" as my postman like to fold it in half and cram it into my mailbox and it always ruins the cover.
I look forward to future issues.

Jeff Pierce
Available for order now:
http://www.thecardwarptour.com


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aussiemagic
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I don't want to hurt people's feelings...nevertheless, I will give my honest opinion of the first issue.

Honestly, I found many aspects of this issue a little "odd".

"Editor's Desk"
Started out good but then Mr. Sisti brought up a heated debate that was had here on the magic Café. Was this really necessary? It came across as if Mr Sisti was holding a grudge and wanted to use the opportunity to get the last word...He is of course entitled to do this, but it didn't strike me as a good beginning.

"Sleightly Delusional"
Two pages were used to say something that could be said in one paragraph or less.

"Magic in Review"
Why would you review a product of the reviewer? Especially in the first issue.

"Profile of a Worker"
Why would you have a column writer in the magazine as the featured performer of another section in the same magazine? Especially in the first issue.

Things I liked...
No adverisements - A relief!
"Frankly Speaking" - Great writing style, thought provoking!
Paul gordon gives away some gems!
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John Pilotzi
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Dear aussiemagic,

I wanna subscribe...can I ask what did Paul Gordon teach? I love this guys magic...he always comes up with workers. Man I saw him in Boston a few years ago and he killed us with his style and magic.

JP
Jim Sisti
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Simon:

Some of your observations have validity but I must disagree with a couple of them.

Regarding my editorial, your contention that I have a "grudge" (I wish I had time for petty fancies such as grudges...) is off the mark. I simply related one observation (among several) that prompted me to republish The Magic Menu (and from the threads I mentioned, along with several that I didn't, it seemed to clearly be time...) My recounting of the thread on the Café you cite was merely to support my point. Any thing else read into that is simply fiction.

Why would we review a product by the reviewer? Well, first of all, Mark asked me to take a look at this product over a year ago and I thought then, as I do now, that it was unique and very suited for walk-around performers. Secondly, when Mark found out I was reviving the Menu, he asked me to review the product before I had asked him to re-assume his role as reviewer. So, what to do? Am I supposed to ignore products that are released by staff members, even if I feel I'm doing a disservice to my readers? I'll save you the time - the answer is (and has always been) no. I don't know if you're familiar with the earlier incarnation of The Magic Menu but we routinely reviewed products by staff - and guest reviewers even reviewed my products on occasion. This situation doesn't happen often - but it's been our policy to handle it this way and we are unlikely to change it.

I also disagree with you about your assessment of Christopher Lyle's column but I'm sure he'll be along shortly to defend his own work. I do have to point out, however, that all opinion writing can almost always be reduced to one paragraph. However, it then is necessary for the writer to defend and support that opinion in the paragraphs that follow. Disagreeing with his point of view is one thing, but I'm not sure this particular criticism is valid.

So, I'm sorry you thought parts of the Menu were odd. That puts me in the difficult position of reporting that there's probably more oddness heading your way. I do appreciate your kind words, though, about the Tom Frank and Paul Gordon columns. And, we'll never have any ads. (You're right - that is odd! <grin>)

Thanks for your thoughts.

Quote:
On 2009-10-27 08:57, Jeff wrote:
Quote:
On 2009-10-26 17:53, Jim Sisti wrote:
The new issue should be in subscribers' hands by now. I would be interested in entertaining any comments about the new issue. What did you like? What did you hate? What should be feature more of? Who should we feature?

Discuss...

Jim I just received it yesterday and the first issue looks real good. My first comment is could you please include a piece of cardboard or stamp on the envelope "DO NOT BEND" as my postman like to fold it in half and cram it into my mailbox and it always ruins the cover.
I look forward to future issues.
Jeff Pierce

Hi Jeff:

Sorry about the Post Office's misbehavior. They used to fold up my copies of Antinomy so I hear you. Cardboard isn't going to work for us but I certainly will consider printing "Do Not Bend" on the next run of envelopes we print.

Thanks!

Quote:
On 2009-10-27 14:32, John Pilotzi wrote:
Dear aussiemagic,

I wanna subscribe...can I ask what did Paul Gordon teach? I love this guys magic... he always comes up with workers. Man I saw him in Boston a few years ago and he killed us with his style and magic.

JP

John:

I know you addressed this to Simon but let me chime in here. The two tricks he taught in his column in the latest issue are "Diminishing? Not Likely!" and "Twister."

Quote:
On 2009-10-26 22:53, slyhand wrote:

Tricks of the Trade looks like it will feature various people and a favorite trick of theirs. This go around was Daniel Greenwolf. I have not been able to get the card to do the "thing" yet but I am still working on it. What's nice about this column is it will always be different.

Hang with this. It took me a bit of time but I can now get the card to move reliably just about every time - and it does look fricking spooky! Perhaps I should persuade Daniel to do a short demo video that we can put up on the MM site so you can see the move in action. Hmmm...
John Pilotzi
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Thank you for the info Mr. Sisti. Twister and Diminishing? Not Likely ARE stunners aren't they... I saw Mr. Gordon perform/teach them back in 2004 (Boston). ... I've just got a set of the "old" Magic Menus. When I've read 'em, I'll subscribe to the new...

JP
mormonyoyoman
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Quote:
On 2009-10-27 15:52, John Pilotzi wrote:
Thank you for the info Mr. Sisti. Twister and Diminishing? Not Likely ARE stunners aren't they... I saw Mr. Gordon perform/teach them back in 2004 (Boston). ... I've just got a set of the "old" Magic Menus. When I've read 'em, I'll subscribe to the new...

JP


John, you'll never stop reading them. You'll keep going back to them and finding stuff you either didn't notice the first time, or forgot. Those issues always remain fresh.

*jeep!
--Grandpa
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montymagi
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I thought the overall tone of Paul Gordon's article was arrogant and pretentious. The statement that he made "...I have been a full time professional(as opposed to..what?) Following his laundry list of accolades came across to me as "look I'm great you're a hack, here is a card trick for you." Although very good tricks I will say. I liked Christopher Lyle's article on ethics. He summed up his background in one paragraph rather than one page and got to what the article was about. Mark Byrne is a great talent and a great addition. He is seen as a subject matter expert in his field and for very good reason. Although I like Chris I have to agree that if he is already writing a column then another magician might have been used for the Profile of a Worker. Do we really have such a limited pool to draw from that this was necessary? Tom Frank came across as jaded and irreverent. I had enough of that in the 80's with Penn and Teller.

This is just the opinion of a part time performer with a day job. However, your writers might want to keep in mind that most of your subscribers, more than likely, fall into this category. I do magic in restaurants as well as balloon twisting and I book birthday parties and private events on the weekends. I often have more work than I want so I am happy with where my magic business is.
Christopher Lyle
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I have contacted Simon privately to begin a dialog about his concerns. But since the door has been opened here, I must admit that I was a bit surprised by his comment. Going into a project like this, one must understand far in advance that not everyone will agree with everyone's views in the magazine which is fine. What a boring place this would be if everyone agreeed with everyone.

I figured that if someone didn't like my article, it would be becuase of the content...which it sounds like Simon didn't have an issue with. It sounds like he believes that I just drug something out that could have been said in fewer words.

Technically...I could have said what I said in one sentence.

"Don't be be a dick and steal someone elses gig!"

However...that's not writing. My job as a columnist, is to write a thought provoking and entertaining column that is full of useful information and insight.

I've been at this magic thing for some time now and I see ALOT of BS out there. In my opinion, there are many things wrong with our little corner of the world that I'd like to see nixed. The point of Sleightly Delusional is for me to talk about the things that bug me with the Magic Community.

So to do this, I need to state the problem as I see it, tell people WHY I believe it's a problem sighting examples and providing my insite, and then provide a solution. That can't really be done all in one paragraph. As Jim stated above, after stating the issue, it then is necessary for the writer to defend and support that opinion in the paragraphs that follow.

Looking forward to hearing everyone's comments about our debut issue. I think that I can speak on behalf of everyone that we thank for subscribing and appreciate your support.

Christopher
In Mystery,


Christopher Lyle
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Steve Brooks
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Jim Sisti said; "Hi Jeff:

Sorry about the Post Office's misbehavior. They used to fold up my copies of Antinomy so I hear you. Cardboard isn't going to work for us but I certainly will consider printing "Do Not Bend" on the next run of envelopes we print.

Thanks!
"

-----

Jim,

I feel John's pain, I really do. I think we have all had to deal with folded magazines (or worse), crushed packages, etc.

It is unfortunate, but the post office has implemented a number of new regulations and procedures that I can't help but wonder are designed to put small companies out of business.

In addition to the ever increasing postal rates (especially to items being sent abroad), the way things are mailed and addressed can also have an affect on the rates.

Case in point, I recently mailed a card effect to a customer and had stamped "DO NOT BEND" on the envelope. Because the envelope said DO NOT BEND I was now required to pay a higher rate to mail it - seriously.

Something you may want to look into. Smile
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
Jim Sisti
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Hi Monty:

I agree with you 100% regarding Mark Byrne but just this morning, I got an e-mail from someone complaining that we devoted so much space to a balloon hat. Just goes to show you that you can't please everyone...

Regarding Paul Gordon, I encouraged the columnists to introduce themselves for the first new issue so I doubt you'll have to read his resume again. I do think, however, that those unfamiliar with his many books and DVDs (there may be a few) would find this information useful. It's always good to know something about the people you're potentially learning from, including if they perform for a living. It may not be as much of an issue for the other magic magazines, but for The Magic Menu, which is aimed at workers (part time and full time), I consider this to be essential.

As far as Tom Frank goes, you're probably in for a bumpy ride... Smile

So, with all of that out of the way, was there anything you liked????
edh
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Jim, how can you review a product by a staff memeber and avoid the appearance of bias?
Magic is a vanishing art.
Jim Sisti
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Quote:
On 2009-10-27 19:03, edh wrote:
Jim, how can you review a product by a staff memeber and avoid the appearance of bias?


The veracity of our reviews has always been a hallmark of the publication. If you'll read through the compilations, you'll find that we've never pulled any punches regarding reviews, regardless of whose product we were reviewing. Whenever anyone - even friends and colleagues - submit an item for review, they do so with the full knowledge that it will be reviewed fairly and objectively.

That said, I should point out that our reviews have a much different perspective than those found in the other magazines. Because we are writing for a niche market, we can target our reviews much more precisely. So, just because we review something negatively, it doesn't necessarily make it a bad trick, DVD or book. It does, however, mean that it's an item that has limted or no use to anyone doing walk-around magic.

However, since the particular issue of reviewing the work of a columnist has come up only a scant few times in the magazine's 11-year publishing history, it's really a non-issue.
montymagi
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I like the layout of the magazines. The columns that were selected I think will be informative. I think Christopher Lyle and Mark Byrne or great resources and their writing styles were engaging. I will be very interested to see more of Scott Guinns column. He has a very polished writing style. I know that this was just the first issue and I'm sure that as the contributors expand their column it will get better.
Jim Sisti
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Quote:
On 2009-10-27 19:54, montymagi wrote:
I like the layout of the magazines. The columns that were selected I think will be informative. I think Christopher Lyle and Mark Byrne or great resources and their writing styles were engaging. I will be very interested to see more of Scott Guinns column. He has a very polished writing style. I know that this was just the first issue and I'm sure that as the contributors expand their column it will get better.


Thanks, Monty. I believe we're off to a great start, frankly, but I agree - we're only going to make it better.
Scott F. Guinn
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Quote:
On 2009-10-27 19:54, montymagi wrote:
I will be very interested to see more of Scott Guinns column. He has a very polished writing style.


Thank you, Monty, that means a lot to me. I work hard on my writing, and I try to do it in a manner which is clear, engaging, and entertaining, as well as informational and practical.

Some years ago I attended a business workshop for professional performing magicians. This workshop was supposed to provide important information regarding breaking into new markets, successful branding, marketing, and advertising techniques, etc. But really, it was just vague, generalized gibberish. It ended being more a workshop about workshops than a practical training experience, and I found, with one exception, the written material from the expert lecturers to be sorely lacking in both substance and style. The whole thing was far more irritating than helpful.

I promise I will do my best to give practical opinions in a clear and coherent manner--substance with style. You won't get, for example, "Go do some advertising" from me. I will tell you the specific things that I have done that have either worked or not worked for me.

I hope that readers will feel free to contact me with questions if there is an instance where anything is not crystal clear. And I'm sure the rest of the staff feels the same about this.

Thanks again! I look forward to future issues of the magazine along with everyone else!
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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aussiemagic
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Thank you to Jim and Chris for allowing me to express my honest opinion without getting too defensive. It is not my intention to be disrespectful.

I regards to "The Editor's desk," I respect that I could not know Jim's intention for refering to a thread here on the Café, I was merely stating how it came across to me. It struck me as an unusual approach for the first issue.

I do not know what goes on in putting a magic journal together and I don't begin to think that it would be an easy task to write for one. Having a writer of the journal featured in another section of the journal came across as a strange thing to do in the first issue. It might be a "cute" thing to do down the track, but for the first issue it seemed "odd" for lack of a better word. I feel the same in regards to the magic reviews. I don't suggest that this type of thing never be done, however, surely it is something that should be done sparingly. One poster has suggested why this is a problem.

As for my feelings in regard to some of the columns, I feel that as this is meant to be "The International Journal for Professional Close-Up Magicians," then a high standard should be aspired to by the writers. I accept that many readers will not be full-time professional performers, nevertheless, most readers will no doubt be passionate about magic and many will be performing for money in some capacity or another. If this is the case, shouldn't we be aspiring to more "depth"! "Don't market where other magicians perform" and "YOU are the magic" strikes me as so cliche and hackneyed. I want to be inspired, I want to be upset, I want to be challenged! Bring it on!

I look forward to the next issue.

Simon
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Victor Brisbin
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Here's my two cents (or three). Love the format. The content, as far as routines/effects seems a little light, but is top-notch. For those who are inclined to do balloon work, something that some restaurants seem to want, there is 22 photos of instruction. Definitely not for everyone. The card routines offered - great.

For a ten dollar issue, it does seem to be a little full of self-introductions. The two essays on restaurant work itself seem a little redundant, since they both cover much of the same ground, i.e. don't rub another man's rhubarb [try to swipe his restaurant gig]. Scott makes some valid points, based on his long experience, as does Christopher. In response, Scott points out that the majority of the readers are not "Professional Close-up Workers," but magicians who are interested in getting started in the field. I think that topics in that area are important, but could be reduced to allow more space for the journal's stated audience. I'm looking forward to future issues.

In summary, something an old magician shouted, "Less talk, more magic!"
"It is better to practice a little than talk a lot." - Muso Kokushi
Jim Sisti
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Thanks for the input, Victor. We're adding columns on walk-around mentalism (by Richard Osterlind no less!) and possibly one on marketing.

We're trying to keep an equal balance between performance philosophy topics, tricks and reviews.
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