High school picture in the middle,
clever quote at the bottom, I was
sure this was going to take me to
the top. I was wrong. But I did
perform one summer at a hotel,
another at a restaurant, and even
skipped a few weeks of college to
perform at  industry trade shows
with names like "The Society of
Automotive Engineers."
The hotel: A Holiday Inn
Holidome. A coin fell out of my
sleeve during my audition.
They hired me anyway. Turns
out they needed a way to get
kids out of the swimming pool
in time to close it for the night.
The restaurant: Mama Mary's.
I got top billing over the Italian
Smorgasboard. I bussed tables
between performances and
spent my tips on Mama's
"Pasta Supreme."
Joshua Jay
International award-winning magician. Best-selling author. Monthly columnist.
Photographer. Short-film star. Innovator. Eats right. Exercises. If he weren't so nice
and so much fun to hang out with, I'd hate him. The secret is right in front of you,
and it's Joshua Jay.

Todd Lamanske
Todd and I went to junior high together. I remember showing him some sleight of
hand, probably a coin trick, in the back of Mrs. McConnell's English class. He'd
been bitten by the magic bug and gives me a little credit for helping to establish
his interest. Today he's a full-time working pro with performances at the Magic
Castle and even a presidential inauguration under his belt.

Mark Wilson
The guy practically invented the TV magic special and the weekly magic program,
paving the way for Henning and Copperfield, Blaine and Angel. He was a regular
on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and all the other classic talk shows and
also was the consultant of choice throughout the 70s and 80s for television
shows with magic themes (most famously, "The Magician" with Bill Bixby). He
wrote one of the all-time best-selling magic courses and performed a history-
making tour of China in the 80s. I've worked with him on a couple of business
projects and he is as much a gentleman as he is a pioneer.

The Magic Castle
For years it was a far off fantasy, then in 1986 I actually got to visit this Hollywood
Victorian Mansion turned private nightclub for magicians. I recently heard it
described as the "Carnegie Hall of Magic" and it's an apt comparison. You've seen
it in countless TV shows, movies and magic specials and every magician aspires
to be good enough — some day — to perform there. If you can ever finagle a guest
pass, go.

Magic on TV
If you're a fan of the art and want to catch the latest in magic specials,  
performances, and guest appearances, check out this site, updated weekly.

Bunnies, bad card tricks and kiddie shows aren't what it's
Not a lot of people see truly fine magic. Street magic is hot
today, but it is the "shock-jock" format of the art. When you see a
master sleight of hand artist who is also a master of presentation, you
will instinctively appreciate the beauty and the art of it all.

I performed semi-professionally years ago myself. Today I'm revisiting
my passion for magic, studying what I missed the first time around, and
enjoying following the profession and -- amazing in itself -- meeting
and "living a life of ideas" with some of the finest minds in the field,
including the remarkable
Joshua Jay.

Here are a few video clips (WMVs) of what I consider truly beautiful

Lance Burton: A modern master of doves and more
Jonathon Neal Brown: The essence of the linking rings
Rene Lavand: Pure magic through close, slow sleight of (one) hand
Norm Nielsen: A class act with a magic violin
Richard Ross: Elegant standard-setting stage manipulations
Peter Glovenski: Silver spheres multiply and defy comprehension
Dick Zimmerman: A little ring, a rope, and a complete lack of gravity

Magic illustrations: So kitschy they're cool
I grew up poring through magic catalogs and absorbing inflated
descriptions of miracles accompanied by deceptions in pen and ink. I
recently collected some of my favorites into framed art pieces.
All content © Copyright 2006,
by John Armato unless
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