hat and rabbit club

Newest Trick in the Book

Tomorrow night (Tuesday), I'll be appearing on Toronto's magic open mic, The Newest Trick In The Book. This special performance is a collaboration between The Toronto Magic Company, and The Sid Lorraine Hat & Rabbit Club (Canada's oldest magic club.)


The show is an opportunity to debut brand new material. I'll be appearing alongside members of the club and the local magic community. The show starts at 8:30 PM at See-Scape (Keele & Dundas). It's a pay what you feel like show so please come and join us for a fun night of magic.


Seventeen Secrets eBooks

The two booklets I edited for the Sid Lorraine Hat & Rabbit Club are now available as eBooks. So if you prefer a lighter digital version, or just don't want to pay for shipping, both titles are now available for $15 each at Lybrary.com. Lybrary is the world's largest site for eBooks about magic and its related arts with hundreds of titles including reproductions of rare and out of print books.

Volume 1 includes contributions from me, James Biss, Matt DiSero, Richard Forget, Murray Hatfield, Will Houstoun, Joshua Jay, Michael Weber and Tyler Wilson. Read the full table of contents.

SSV1 Cover

Volume 2 contains contributions from me, Bill Abbott, Denis Behr, Eugene Burger, Alain Choquette, Matt DiSero, Tina Lenert, Chris Mayhew, Ricky Smith, Rob Testa and Chris Westfall. Read the full table of contents.

SSV2 Cover

The print and electronic versions have identical content with a few formatting changes. The photos in the eBooks are larger and in colour. Otherwise they're the same books. They cover a range of material including cards, close-up, stage and mentalism with varying levels of difficulty.

For those interested in purchasing the original print versions, which are limited numbered editions, they are available from the Hat & Rabbit Club's web store for $20 each plus postage.

Magicians and Hats and Rabbits... Oh My!

In just over two weeks, a new season of the Sid Lorraine Hat & Rabbit Club will be starting. [Edit: after a weird scheduling snag which forced us to push our opening lecture back a week... sorry for that] Sid Lorraine, was a prominent figure among Toronto magicians. The Club was half-renamed after him (It was always the Hat & Rabbit Club) after he passed away. I was four years old when he passed away, and had never met him, but I had the odd chance to get to know him as I had to transcribe his handwritten memoirs (assembled from taped interviews with another past-president, Peter Isaacs) for a memorial blog. The blog, or "ChatterBox" as it's properly called, is a fun read and paints a fascinating picture from the early part of the Twentieth Century of magicians in particular and Canada and England in general.

The size of the club fluctuates slightly year-to-year, but I believe we are the largest local magic organization in the country. Membership is open to magicians and magic enthusiasts. We assemble a diverse group of members; including amateurs, professionals, beginners, collectors and hobbyists. We have members ranging from 14 years old to... well, one of the events is a certain member's 90th birthday party, just to give you an idea.

And I have the distinct honour of being president of this motley crew - for the third year running. It's actually a very fun and rewarding job. The best part, by far, is spending the year with the executive daydreaming about what next year will look like. So this season's lineup of events (which includes guest speakers from Canada, the US, France and Spain!) was assembled bit by bit gradually over several months.

It's traditional to start the year with a Canadian lecture (except last year, when Canadian Magician of the Year, Bill Abbott, lost a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors to Eugene Burger and had to wait a month). This year's kick-off lecture is a freshly minted Canadian, with a shiny brand-new permanent resident card, Michael Close (with special thanks to real-Canadian Lisa Close for luring him across the border.) Michael is an internationally known creator, performer, lecturer, and consultant.

Surprisingly, it's not that difficult to put a line-up like this together. While magicians outwardly project a veil of secrecy and mystery, when the public's not looking they can't wait to share their secrets. The community has developed an incredible sense of community through organizations like the IBM, the SAM, the Magic Castle, the Magic Circle and more. For all of the invitations we've sent, I can count the number of people who declined the chance to visit on the fingers of one hand. On reflection it's not that surprising. In any field everyone interested in raising the quality of the work within that field. More talent results in more positive word of mouth - a rising tide lifts all boats.

On a historical note, with the help of one of the club's past presidents, Trevor Hamilton, I've unearthed a brief history of the club and we'll be attempting this year to convert this charming comb-bound package into something which is informative and web-friendly. Flipping through the list of past presidents, I see a rather daunting list of names to live up to including David Ben, Ross Bertram, John Giordmaine, Sid Lorraine and Herb Morrissey. (Names that certainly don't mean much to most people, but leave some rather large shoes to fill.)

So I hope to see lots of new faces, and old, as we come back for another season - either the seventy first or seventy second, depending on how you count. More information about joining the club is available on its website.