Past M-U-M Issues
Conversation with Corsaro:
Magic, Marketing, and More
By Christian Painter
For the past several years, I have attended the Fechter’s Finger Flinging Frolic, or as most of us know it, the 4F convention. This convention features some of the best magicians in the world; I love sessioning with these guys late into the night. One year, while gathered at a table and listening to people talk about Vernon, their favorite cull, and a dozen other topics, the conversation moved towards the business of magic. Specifically, we were discussing what marketing efforts have worked best for each person. There was one guy at the end of the table who kept offering interesting and unique concepts for the best way to market yourself as a magician. His ideas were solid and straight to the point. I was impressed. I made a mental note to find out more about this gentleman.
I wanted to talk to him as our group broke up; however, as it goes at a convention, everyone was rushing to the next show. I asked around about him and that is when I first learned about David Corsaro. “He is a marketing executive at some big company in New Jersey,” I was told. Well, that explained why he had such a firm grasp of marketing. Unfortunately, I did not see him for the rest of the convention that year.
Don't Get Lost in the Shuffle:
A Guide to Collecting Playing Cards
by Lee Asher
Most experts believe playing cards started in China sometime in the ninth century during the Tang Dynasty. This early pack contained thirty-two cards; the faces resembled the spots on a set of dominoes. During the Ming Dynasty, the faces of playing cards featured characters from popular novels. Chinese Money Cards established the concept of four “suits.” The four suits that we now recognize as standard – Spades, Hearts, Clubs, and Diamonds – originated in France around 1480. Regardless of where it all started, we can agree that playing cards have been a focal point of fascination ever since the beginning.
Some people gamble with them; others play with them for fun. For magicians, cards are our tools. We practice and perform with them, and ultimately express ourselves by whimsically manipulating them in a manner that produces the sensation of the impossible. The common denominator, by which all of us are bound, is a shared love of playing cards and all the satellite activities revolving around them.
A Tribute to Siegfried & Roy at the London Palladium
On October 3, 2003, the performing careers of Siegfried & Roy came to an unexpected end when Roy Horn was severely injured in a tragic accident on stage with Montecore, one of their white tigers. The spectacular, long-running show at the Mirage Hotel and Casino closed, leaving many of Siegfried & Roy’s fans, particularly those in Europe and outside of USA, without an opportunity to say farewell and acknowledge their fantastic careers.
To rectify this, I had the idea of producing a show honoring these “Masters of the Impossible” at the world-famous London Palladium. I have produced many shows in my life, but none were more memorable (or turned out to be more challenging) than the Tribute to Siegfried & Roy.
Magic in the Mountains
I don’t remember a time I wasn’t fascinated with magic. Before I was performing it, I believed in it. The story really begins when my parents gave me a Marshall Brodien “TV Magic Set” for Christmas. It stood out above any other gift. Other presents sat unopened as I learned the simple tricks that would unknowingly begin a lifelong passion for performing. As I presented my tricks for family and friends, they were amazed. But something unexpected occurred. I was amazed by their reaction. The look in their eyes as I performed those tricks so many years ago is still the driving force behind my passion for performing the art of illusion.
Interest in Christmas toys will typically melt away like the winter snow, but not this time. It was March of the following year, and I was still staging magic shows for the neighborhood kids and taking it very seriously. Lucky for me, the Blackstone Magic Show came to town. Even more fortunate was the fact that my dad, being aware of my newfound hobby, bought two tickets. I counted down the days. I had never seen a real magic show before; that experience sealed my fate. We sat together and watched in amazement as a lady was sawed in half, flowers appeared from nowhere, and a light bulb floated in mid-air – and right off the stage and over an amazed audience. As that light bulb floated above my head, one appeared in my head. I knew in that instant I wanted to be a magician. I didn’t want to just watch anymore. I wanted to be the one onstage making other people feel the way I felt when I saw the Great Blackstone. I leaned over to my dad and whispered, “I want to grow up and be a magician.” He whispered back, “Son, you can’t do both.”