Monday Mail Call #20

It's Monday and you know what that means... Monday Mail Call!

Each Monday (give or take), I use this feature to highlight a few of the things that have made their way in over the past week or so. Packages, purchases, and emails -- oh my!

Today I'm sitting on two digital magazine issues, The Hermit and Love Letters. Technically, the latter is a "newsletter" but it's digital and to me, anything that's digital and over 3 pages that has articles is a magazine. Or just a really long newsletter...

I also have the digital version of this month's copy of Genii, but I always hold out for the physical copy which should show up in the mail sometime this week.

But yeah, let's take a quick peek at what us periodical subscribers have in store for us this month!

Up first, because it arrived in my inbox first, Love Letters, No. 4. And right off the bat, I have to say that I'm digging the cursive script font used for the letters. I've wondered why digital prints have always had more freedom and range with the little things like the fonts they use. Physical magazines spruce up the images a lot more, but they always stick to the same looking letters. Maybe it's just too much effort for something with a deadline?

Anywho, back to Love Letters! It starts off with a note to Curtis Kam and then a full review of Curtis Kam LIVE 3, available on Penguin Magic. There's a lot of coin work here, but Jerxy breaks it down nicely. This is followed by a note to Bobby Hasbun and an older effect that he put out that's being used more, but I want to skip that and emphasize this quote:

At one point I looked on Penguin's top 20 near the middle of August and there was nothing [new]. Penguin must have been really happy when they realized they didn't have to always be marketing new effects.
Andy Lastname, Love Letters No. 4

When I got back into magic a few years ago, I was extremely surprised at the volume and frequency that "new effects" were coming out. Not to mention books on magic. My overall impression has been that there aren't a lot of new effects at all; most are very slight modifications of existing effects, or a different handling, or even just different patter -- which I actually think is just downright stealing but whatever. But left and right, new things are popping up like crazy to the point where things are overpriced, and the market is oversaturated. It's great that there are a lot of magicians out there, but not so great that the average review for a magic effect is below par.

There are a few other neat reviews included in this month's issue, including an open letter to the inventor of the simple knot. I mean hey, if you have invisible thread, chances are you tie a knot, right?

Up next, The Hermit, Vol. 1, No. 9. Scott successfully got this one into everyone's inbox on September 1st, albeit later at night. Scott, I won't hold it against you -- but my morning coffee was awfully cold by the time I got around to this one! =P

Also, things to be held against people, I suck at keeping up with the monthly challenges. I want to do them. I even have plans for them. And then, well, I forget. Lazy? Slacker? Short-term-memory caused by my children bouncing Legos off the side of my head while reading? Yeah, probably a bit of all of that.

This month's issue is a standard length but looks to be one of the first with a more standardized layout. It's still a nice layout, but it does have more of a magazine vibe to it (which I like). There are 6 effects presented in this issue from 5 different authors: cards, cards, and more cards baby! Card effects fill up this issue and I'm loving it. The ones I've skimmed are pretty good ones too; I've bookmarked them to come back to later this week when I have more time and less Legos in my hair.

There's also an interesting article on a vanishing banana. I've never seen, or heard of, this routine before but it's referenced as:

one of the most copied and seldom credited pieces of magic in use today, sometimes called The Banana-Bandana Act
The Hermit

The routine is, as far as I can tell, credited to Tom Yarbrough who, as stated in The Hermit got the idea from a sketchbook himself. New effects, slight changes amirite??

You know what I really like about the monthly issues of The Hermit though? The sketches. Each issue has, what appear to be, hand-drawn sketches that help walk you through the routines. Knocking out this many, high-quality sketches each month takes some commitment and I'm happy to be a recipient of said commitment. It goes a long way to help make things more clear and adds that "extra level of awesome" to each issue.

Well, that's about it for today. It's Labor Day and I plan on grilling and hanging out with the family. Maybe I'll get to show them a routine or two I've been working on. I'll also get a chance to read this month's magazine issues a little more and maybe get a head start on this month's Hermit Challenge =P

Stay tuned for the next iteration of Monday Mail Call, there's a lot more to come!

Oh also, if you'd like to offer suggestions for books, tricks, decks or if you have questions about magic (performing, routines, sleights, etc.), just reach out here.

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