Giving away all of my secrets

Or maybe not. 

On Sunday, September 23, I'll be giving a magic seminar at The Browser's Den of Magic. I'll be discussing the underpinnings of some of the material I've worked on over the past ten-ish years. It's not necessarily informative for the uninitiated. But it's an opportunity to talk about some of the work that for 99% of my work must be kept secret. 

Sunday, September 23 - 5:30 PM
The Browser's Den of Magic
3220 Dufferin Street, Toronto

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A Lecture on Magic

Next Wednesday, I've been invited to give a lecture for the KW Hat & Wand Club in Kitchener, Ontario. (Having been the president of the Sid Lorraine Hat & Rabbit Club for three years, I can confirm that it is legally required that these clubs have goofy names held over from ages past.)

Years ago, Kitchener was home to a biannual magic convention where I had some of my earliest opportunities to meet world renowned magicians, so I have lots of fond memories. I'm also in the neighbourhood performing at private engagements fairly often.

I don't do this type of presentation often, since I have been performing magic professionally for a short amount of time compared to some. At some of these magic gatherings, I can single-handedly drop the average age in the room by five to ten years. 

I'll be sharing some of the material from my show and the thinking behind it. For those interested in seeing how the magic sausage is made, guests welcome.

The lecture is at 7PM on Wednesday, February 15 at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church (54 Queen Street North, Kitchener - map)

Every Trick Not In The Book

For my recent lecture at the Sid Lorraine Hat & Rabbit Club, I put together a small set of notes called Every Trick Not In the Book. The reason for the title is the contents is largely essays, although a careful reading will reveal the explanation of a couple of tricks inside. The cover image actually comes from the Hubble Space Telescope. I have a small number of copies left over. If anyone would like one, I broken down and set up a miniature store at www.jamesalan.ca/shop. It's a secret unlisted page that can't be reached through the site's normal navigation bar.

Every Trick Not In The Book

Information, Evolution and Intelligent Design

Daniel Dennett remains one of my favourite thinkers. Having been brought up with the likes of Richard Feynman and Stephen Hawking with a general distain for philosophy, he has reinvigorated my faith therein. 

This is a great talk, well worth the hour it takes to watch. Also take a peek at the Q&A below.

Review of my KW Lecture

I just received a review of my lecture earlier this year at the Joan Caesar Hat & Wand Club in Kitchener. It appeared in the May 2013 issue of The Linking Ring, tucked in the back on p 141. I'll leave it to subscribers to read the whole review (including the interesting way they misspelled my name) but here are some highlights.

James' prediction of a spectator's [named] card along with a fifty dollar bet under impossible conditions, left our members in awe. It was almost an impossible prediction.

When James located all of the hearts in order in a shuffled deck while thoroughly blindfolded, we were totally dumbfounded and amazed - a great way to finish the evening. We would definitely have James back again to enjoy his reality-based magic.

-Darryl Hutton

Reality Based Magic - Notes

Last night, I did a special lecture for magicians at the Joan Caesar Hat & Wand Club in Kitchener, Ontario. To go along with the lecture, I prepared a 50-page booklet describing some of the tricks I taught. I have a few copies of the booklet left over for any magicians that might be interested. The trick includes one piece from Lies, Damn Lies & Magic Tricks, an item from my family shows (yes, I perform for children when asked politely) and from my close up repertoire as well as some smaller card items and three essays.

The booklet was originally going to be titled The Magic of Reality, but before I had a chance, Richard Dawkins stole the title and used it for his book for children. (The book is superb, if you don't have it already.) The theme that draws the pieces (mostly) together is that according to certain systems of magic theory, they are all bad tricks, and yet they work. When I say bad, they're time tested in front of audiences but they violate tenets of standard magic theory about how the methods should work. For me they underscore that "rules" in magic are really just guidelines and that reality is the ultimate arbiter of what works and what doesn't.

To match the spirit of the title, the cover image and chapter titles are images from the Hubble Space Telescope, which are easily more impressive than everything in the book.

If anyone is interested, I have a handful of the books left. I may also re-release them in an electronic format at some point.

The booklet is $20, available from the Ring 17 online store