David Rowyn

Thousands of words in magical shapes and sizes.

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Adventures With Max Maven


Photo: Piero Sierra

1. The Drug Electric

It was at one of the conventions. I don’t remember which—maybe TAOM. I stumble upon Eric Mead, Michael Weber, and Max Maven in light conversation. We exchange secret handshakes, then Eric excuses himself for a bit while Max runs to the restroom. Weber and I chat about his family while waiting for Max to return. Shortly thereafter, we’re all discussing Greek philosophers. Max quizzes me about the origin of some particular idea. He seems impressed when I attribute the concept to Epictetus—or maybe it was Erasmus. I get those two confused. Weber laughs and excuses himself. He’s probably going to catch up with Eric.

Out of the blue, Max asks if I’d be interested in experiencing an altered state of consciousness. The answer is, of course, yes.

So, we leave the alcove of the lobby for the relative privacy of the men’s room. From a small pill box...

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Once upon a time, I had to perform on-the-spot at a bar in downtown Austin. I was completely unprepared, so I found a couple of rubber bands and passed them through each other as if by magic.

I got a pretty decent response from the trick.

One of the guys watching asked how I did it, and I responded, “I can’t tell you or they’ll come after me,” secretly hoping he would just forget about it. He shrugged his shoulders, pulled out phone, and in about a minute started watching a video on Youtube that explained exactly what I did.

So it might be surprising to hear me say that Youtube could be one of the best things to happen to magic. How? Well, let’s step back for a moment and think of Youtube and the Internet as a whole in a wider context.

Paradoxically, the greatest fear of many magicians is being exposed as a charlatan.

Youtube, like a hundred Masked Magicians, facilitates this...

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11 Stage Props To Vanish In 2011

If every comedian told the same basic jokes in the same basic way, the only people who would continue to be excited about going to comedy clubs would be the people who continued to enjoy the same old jokes.

In magic, some tricks and props have become largely outdated, grossly overused, or commonly done in poor taste. What’s more: some are no longer deceptive. The fundamental mystery is now well-known to non-magicians. (With sites like Youtube, this will grow significantly, but that’s a discussion for another day.)


Photo: Black Country Museums

I made this list while attending a convention a few weeks ago. It is by no means all-inclusive. While I may poke fun occasionally, it is not intended to be destructively critical; that is, I have no desire to belittle anyone personally. Rather, I am simply suggesting there might be better magic to be considered in place of the material...

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