Jeff Pinsky

A Sold Out Event No One Was Invited To

On April Fool's Day, Toronto saw a one day convention for magicians, The Browser's Bash. (Named after the local magic emporium, The Browser's Den of Magic.) The event received a rather prominent writeup on the front page of the entertainment section of Thursday's Toronto Star. 

Browser’s Magic Bash is an annual massive meetup for 400 mostly local and a few international magicians. Here, amateur and professional escape artists, mentalists, comedians and prestidigitators convene for a quasi-networking, quasi-educational get-together that is really more like a massive family reunion than anything else.

With niche magic shops petering out, and web tutorials readily available, chances for modern-day magicians to hang out with tons of their peers don’t arise often. So when an opportunity presents itself, up-and-coming magical entrepreneurs jump on their chance to poke around for tips from the pros, while hobbyists come out to hang with part-timers and everyone gets to gawk at the impressive tricks done by masters of the craft.

I'm frequently asked where I go to learn what I do.

[As an aside, I believe based on reading that "Where do you learn how to do that?" has replaced "How did you do that?" as the most popular question audiences ask. This seems to be a recent shift, and I think it's due to the influence that Harry Potter, or more importantly Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, has had in popular culture. My audiences can now imagine a magic school, even though there really aren't such schools in real life.]

The truth about us is that we're not terribly secretive people. Magicians are horrible at keeping secrets. The reason has primarily to do with vanity: If you come up with a truly interesting idea, you want credit for it which leads to the idea being promoted in one form or another. So in actual fact the "secrets" of magic are being disseminated all the time, just slightly off the side of the road where you don't notice. 

In a typical year, I add twenty to fifty books and a similar number of periodicals about magic to my library. By and large, these books aren't especially hard to procure. In the magic world, my money is just as green as yours — fabulously rainbow-coloured in Canada. But educational resources, and gatherings like this are easily accessible if you know where to look for them.

As Fox Mulder was famous for saying; The Truth Is Out There.