Fifth Annual Contest Results!

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And drumroll, please. Here are the names of the winners of the Fifth Annual Shalom Blog Magic Contest. The contest this time was a repeat of the very first one: describe three actions or ideas that have most improved your magic.

The first-place winner was Dennis Mayne. Dennis’s entertaining entry described a trio of intriguing, uncommonly referenced mindsets and preparations that help him get ready  as a working street performer. Dennis chose The Vernon Touch as his prize.

David Kaplan was the second-place winner. David spoke of the wisdom he acquired along the way to becoming a part-time professional, and what it took him to get to the next level. He chose Blomberg Laboratories as his prize.

Third place went to John Allen. John talked about some of the realizations he came to when trying to integrate his magic interests with the rest of his life, and what helped to make that transition less bumpy. He chose Maximum Entertainment as his prize.

And finally Honorable Mention to Rick Benstock for his iconoclastic advice for amateurs.

Thanks again to all who entered. It’s always a treat for me to read what you have to say.  Sometime next week, everyone who participated will receive a pdf compilation of all the entries that were sent in.



Fourth Annual Contest Results!

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A big thanks to everyone who participated in the contest. It was really enjoyable reading the entries. The assignment was to elucidate what you considered the three greatest tricks in Our Magic.

At first, I wasn’t exactly sure what my criteria was going to be in judging the entries, but as I was reading them, it soon became clear that the best ones were the ones whose descriptions were so compelling that they made me say to myself, “Hey, that’s a trick that I want to go out and perform right now.”

The first-prize winner was Sean-Dylan Riedweg whose entry described exactly why he thought each of the three tricks he nominated were winners, and he also provided meticulous citations for each effect. Sean-Dylan chose Semi-Automatic Card Tricks Vol III by Steve Beam as his prize.

The second-prize winner was Abe Carnow. Abe made a very strong case for a trick which most of us have in our drawers, but disdain to use during performance. Sometimes we forget how good some of the most common ideas in magic are. He  chose Stewart James: The First Fifty Years as his prize. We advise Mr. Carnow to get into good physical shape with a few bench presses before attempting to lift that weighty tome.

Third Prize went to Steven Go. Steven also advocated for a trick that most would consider very commonplace, but Steven provided a very wonderful description of the effect of the trick on his young daughter. He really brought to life what a special moment was created between the two of them because of that trick. He chose the DVD Time is Money by Asi Wind as his prize.

And finally Honorable Mention to Steven Bryant for his incredible poetic entry, which was part of an even larger Magic Castle New Year’s magical poetic ode.

Thanks again to all who entered. Sometime next week, everyone who participated will receive a pdf compilation of all the entries that were sent in.

Okay, rest up and if there’s enough demand, we’ll do this again next year.


Magic Contest #2 Results!



Thanks very much to all who entered the contest. The challenge was to provide a script for a magic effect old or new which would be entertaining, original, and usable. It was a pleasure going through the entries, and picking the winners:

Here they are:

FIRST PRIZE: John Macnab for his script for a simple Coins Across and Vanish routine. It is a quiet, intimate routine, perfect for a closing coda in an act. He chose Joshua Quinn’s book Paralies for his prize.

SECOND PRIZE: Jon Shaw for his absolutely wild take on “Out of This World.” It involves lacy pink underwear…and that’s just Jon’s costume (seriously!). He chose the two DVD volumes of John Bannon’s Move Zero as his prize.

THIRD PRIZE: Ed Rhodes for his humorous script for a three rope routine. The routine is a great example of what Gerry Deutsch calls “Perverse Magic,” and it has lots of opportunities for comedy. He chose Jim Steinmeyer’s Further Impuzzibilities.

HONORABLE MENTION to Brian Douglas for his “Vintage Travel Agency” script, a multiple prediction effect. Brian’s routine takes some warhorses of magic and weaves them into a thematically consistent and entertaining “Confabulation”-like routine. Moreover, Brian submitted his script in the form of a 15-page illustrated comic book, storyboard-ing the entire routine. Amazing, Brian!

I admired many of the other routines as well, and all participants will receive a pdf compilation of all the routines submitted.

By the way, I was looking at the pdf from last year’s contest again, and wow, I have to say—it is really worth re-reading if you haven’t done so lately.

Thanks again, all, and rest up now for next year’s contest.