Monday Mail Call #28

Welcome back to another edition of Monday Mail Call, where I share the latest magical treasures that have made their way into my possession over the past week. Today, I'm excited to share with you three magic magazines, one short booklet, and a brand new deck of playing cards. Join me as I dive into each so we can discover together what kind of magic these things have in store for us!

Magazine #1: The Hermit, Vol. 2, No. 6

Halfway through the year, that means we're halfway through Volume 2 of The Hermit! I'm not going to lie but, I'm a bit behind on my reading with this one. I haven't read any of them this year. It's partly because it's all digital -- I'm not a huge fan of reading magazines or books "on a screen" -- but also because I just haven't had the time.

All of that aside, I have been reading the email introductions and summaries of each issue, and this month's looks really great.

Cover of The Hermit, Vol. 2 No. 6 magic magazine.

It looks like we're getting eight different tricks and controls in this issue:

In addition to those, we also get essays from Jay Sankey and James Mollenkamp!

I'll be expediting my reading-catch-up over the next month, so hopefully by the time the next issue lands in my inbox I'll be about ready for it.

Magazine #2: Genii, June 2023

While the digital version of Genii's June issue popped into my email inbox on May 20th, the physical copy wasn't in my actual mailbox until early last week.

The cover of Genii, The Conjurors' Magazine's June issue feature Bernard Bilis.

On the cover of this month's issue is Bernard Bilis. I've never heard of him, so it'll be neat to discover someone new! I did a quick skim of my library and don't see him referenced anywhere, so I'm curious as to what kind of magic he's into, if there are any publications by him, etc. I'll hold off on Googling him though so I go into this one "fresh".

Unfortunately, even with Genii I'm behind on my reading. I'm currently in the middle of the March issue, but these don't take me too long to flip through so I'll catch up soon.

Magazine #3: Love Letters #12

Whoa, it's hard to imagine that I've received a full year of Love Letters newsletters! For this publication, I flip back and forth between "magazine" and "newsletter" because it's a decent length and could be presented like a short magazine, but it's formatted more like a newsletter. That, and the opening letter in it is formatted like how a kid in middle school who really hates writing writes extra large and makes the margins an inch bigger on all sides =P

Formatting aside, the content in each issue has been decent. Some months aren't necessarily "my thing", but the opinion and different perspective provided has been really beneficial to consider because it helps me see other ways of approaching a concept. Honestly, that's a huge reason why I like The Jerx -- it's a more realistic, down-to-earth look at magic that's not all perfectly-angled and film-edited trailer presentations.

Similar to the other two magazines I mentioned above, I'm a bit behind on my reading of Love Letters too. I think that the last issue I actually read was from December 😱. It has nothing to do with the quality or content of the publication, it's purely timing on my side. Nobody told me that puppies were so much work!

Cover of the magic newsletter: Love Letters, No. 12.

In this month's issue, there are a handful of notes from Andy -- which makes it feel similar to the recently released Letters from Juan, so maybe he's got a fun hook there! These notes are on miscellaneous topics, albeit all magic or magic community related. Then there are some in-depth product reviews. One review, of a re-released trick by John Bannon (which I almost bought when it was announced, but decided to wait), a review of a 3-coin (or... button, coin, and poker chip) routine, and a routine with gum. Oh, and another review of a trick where cards sealed together with a brass clip magically pull apart and even another trick with a rubber band! So much in this month's issue =]

Skimming through this issue reminds me why I really only stick to card magic. These other tricks, how do they make sense in the real world? In what situation would I be in where I bring out three very unrelated, very uncommon coin-shaped things from my pocket? Or, a brass safety pin thing that I poke through two cards? Or best yet, packs of gum that nobody in the world has ever seen before that can lead into a math trick trick?

Actually, that latter one reminds me of when I was up in New York City visiting Magick Balay at his magic shop Don't Blink Magic. He was showing me a book, it wasn't for sale but it's in his Every Day Carry (EDC). It wasn't a novel or anything, it was more like a flip book with 50 pages, a little wider than a cellphone. On each page there were a few cartoon pictures like a car, ball, airplane, etc. Also, a word or two printed at the top and numbers at the bottom. I may be mis-remembering something, but that's what I remember from it. Anyways, as the trick goes, the spectator can pick any page in the book and with very, very minimal fishing, you know what they picked!

My question to Magick was, "that's neat and all, but isn't this book really out of the ordinary? When would you bring out such a silly prop, and how would anyone ever take it seriously?" His response was very similar to how Smart Gum -- the "gum" trick from above -- is presented. There's a scientific study that you are (or were) involved in and it was to test memory, recall, ability to do math, etc. I'm not kidding at all, but the way he broke it down and how he would normally get into the routine, I was sold. The review of Smart Gum gives me that same vibe, so much so that I'm considering giving it a go... albeit, I'm not actually a "gum person" so that might put a kink in the plan =P

Also, one thing that wasn't mentioned in the email or newsletter itself, I think that because this is issue #12, that's the end of the run of Love Letters? I'm not sure. I thought it was a one year production that started last June, but I could be mistaken. We'll find out next month!

Letters from Juan, Vol. 3

That's right folks, the third volume of Letters from Juan - Vol. 3! I forgot to post an update when I received Volume 2, but I have that one too =P.

I never even saw an announcement posted anywhere for the 3rd, but I happened to be on Vanishing Inc.'s website and was looking for information on Volume 1 and this one popped up. Whelp, you can connect the dots for what happened next!

Product image for Letters from Juan, Volume 3.

I haven't flipped through this one yet; in fact, and I'm a little ashamed to type this (not too ashamed, just a little), but I didn't even read the product description. It was a legitimate "oh, Volume 3's out, nice. [buy]" type of thing. I plan to buy all 6 individually -- my guess is that after all 6 volumes are released, they'll likely either produce a combined book or some collectors box that has all of them. I'm cool with the individual ones though.

I'm not going to read this one right away because I actually haven't read Volume 2 yet. I'm pretty confident that these are not books that need to be read in order, like a story, but I'm going to stick to the order anyways. Keep an eye on on my YouTube channel though because I'll be posting my book review for Volume 1 really soon (and 2 and 3 will follow sometime after).

Olive and Sinclair Playing Cards

The Olive and Sinclair Playing Cards is a brand-spanking new deck of cards from Vanishing Inc.. This deck is themed as a vintage, chocolate inspired deck of cards, the back design of each appearing like a bar of chocolate.

I first learned about the deck, well, last week! Vanishing's marketing emails are pretty on-point... that, or I'm just a sucker for buying new decks of cards. Both could be true =P. But seriously though, marketing aside, there weren't -- and still aren't -- a ton of pictures of the deck on Vanishing's site. The ones that are there though, they looked pretty nice. A snap of the back, one or two faces, and the tuck. My only issue with the pictures themselves is it looks like there's a brown (chocolate-vibe) filter used on it so I was concerned that I wasn't seeing the actual colors of the deck itself.

Well have no fear, I have it in hand and boy is it a nice one!

The Olive and Sinclair Playing Cards by Vanishing Inc.

Also offered was a "special edition" of the deck. Rather, it was the same deck, but it comes in a limited edition box and with a chocolate bar. Unfortunately, the price jumped from $12 to $30 and I'm not about to spend that much extra on a bar of chocolate... even if it did include a (very) limited chance to win another free deck of cards.

As I wrap up this edition of Monday Mail Call, my anticipation and enthusiasm for diving into all of this new reading material has reached new heights, and I know just the deck to have in-hand while doing it too! The Hermit, Love Letters, and Genii will undoubtedly offer a kaleidoscope of inspiration, knowledge, and joy to both myself and all fellow magicians and magic enthusiasts -- if you're not already a subscriber to either of them, I recommend checking them out.

Keep an eye out as I share my thoughts and journey as I dive into Letters from Juan - Vol. 3 to see what kind of secrets it holds, and for more shots with this new deck too.

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

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

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