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Richard Kaufman
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The May Issue of Genii is Now Live Online and In the Mail!

We have an amazing treat for you this month. "Hōkasen" is one of the oldest and most rare books on conjuring in Japan. Fewer than 20 copies probably exist. We are pleased to present the entire book, translated by Dan Sherer, in this issue, with all of its original artwork. It begins with an introduction by Max Maven, then continues with additional notes by Max and Dan throughout. Published in 1764, Hōkasen contains detailed descriptions of the Cups And Balls, Linking Rings, Sands of the Dessert, magic with small balls, various rope and knot effects, including the eating of solid iron (!) among other odd stunts, as well as ways to produce various spooky ghosts— sometimes known as bakemono—on summer evenings. As a 250-year-old relic, Hōkasen makes for fascinating reading. We’ve got three videos in our digital edition of the late Maki Kitami performing Wazuma, the ancient Japanese style of magic. These are not here because he is performing effects from Hōkasen, but more for flavor of the period. Ancient Japanese magic has an entirely different rhythm and style than western magic.

We knew that Paul Daniels had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in late February after a fall in his home. He died less than a month later on March 17 at age 77. I knew him for many years, and had spent much time with him at the Masters of Magic Convention in St. Vincent, Italy, three years ago. Even though a man of no small ego, he was extremely kind and generous to his friends and fans and certainly gave more than he received in his later years. And he was a real pro—someone you could watch on stage rolling with the unexpected and turning it into something very funny. He is remembered by his friend Barry Murray on p.54.

I’m pleased to introduce two additions to Genii. The first is columnist Harrison Greenbaum, who’ll make you laugh until you are gasping for breath at the next Genii convention in October 2017. His column is called “You Are All Terrible” and he’s writing about comedy and magic (both of which he knows a lot about) every other month starting this issue.

The second new addition is a monthly section with the retro title, “The Eye.” Of course Genii has had a news section before, the well-known “Bagdad” column ran for decades. But there was a time when I felt the internet made the idea of a news column in a printed magazine redundant and so “Bagdad” faded away even before the now-problematic negative connotations of its title. After 17 years of reflection on the issue (a new record, I assure you), I decided that there are enough interesting titbits of news floating around which you might not otherwise run across, and so I have created “The Eye.” Our correspondent is Todd Karr. It’s filled with hotlinks to the media and various internet sites.

Despite the staggering 34-page article on Hōkasen, and the new column from Harrison Greenbaum, and the debut of “The Eye,” we still have many of your favorite columnists in this issue:
Jeff Prace magically improves one of his previous miracles in “Left-Handed” (with video); Kainoa Harbottle shakes his Okito Box in “By Means of Metal” (with video); David Kaye decides that performing kids shows is like flying a plane in “The Expert at the Kids’ Table”; John Gaughan shows off the craziest vent head I’ve ever seen in “Chamber of Secrets”; Andi Gladwin throws three great tricks your way in “Magicana” (with video); Daniel Ulin celebrates life in Southern California in “Knights at The Magic Castle”; Dustin Stinett reviews videos, David Oliver reviews tricks, and Kainoa Harbottle reviews books. And of course we have the regular audio columns from Max Maven and Jon Racherbaumer.

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