Alan Moore's Jerusalem - "The frequently confusing cross-currents of Moore's late work make much more sense, in fact, when one sees them not just as entertainment products but as attempts at building a better reality."
Ladies and gentleman, by way of introduction, this is a film about trickery, fraud, about lies. Tell it by the fireside or in a marketplace or in a movie, almost any story is almost certainly some kind of lie. But not this time. This is a promise. For the next hour, everything you hear from us is really true and based on solid fact.Orson Welles' cinematic confidence scam, F for Fake, gets a new two disc Blu-Ray Criterion Collection release this year. Ben Sampson offers a visual analysis in two parts, breaking down the film's layers of paradoxes. [more inside]
Most people have probably never seen the magic of Steve Cohen, who for 14 years has held court in a private suite at the Waldorf-Astoria, to sold-out crowds of "celebrities, royalty, government officials, and other VIPs." But bits of his "Chamber Magic" show are available online to marvel at. [more inside]
So all of your friends have either just started playing Magic: the Gathering or have picked it up again or else admitted to having played it continually for twenty years now, and eyes are glazing over as they discuss bomb rares and 2-for-1s and mana flooding and drafting. You're not sure if you actually want to immerse yourself in this but you can't know for sure without, well, immersing yourself in it. We've all been there. Thankfully, Felicia Day's Geek & Sundry channel has a show for you - Spellslingers! [more inside]
L. W. De Laurence has been called "the incorrigible reprobate of twentieth century publishing" but his extensive and well-written catalog, and the books he offered on subjects ranging from mind-control to Hindoo magic, had an immense influence over American voodoo and hoodoo, as well as Jamaican obeah. The general hatred for De Laurence seems to stem primarily from his plagiarizing of magic-related texts by other famous authors. While this sort of act was frowned upon, at the time that he was operating it was all perfectly legal; the only thing he did that was not, was the actual selling of occult products by mail. Carolyn Morrow Long's book Spiritual Merchants contains excerpts from the trial. The lawsuit didn't seem to stop the De Laurence company, however. They continued going strong for many years, even outlasting the companies that manufactured most of their original perfumes and incenses. The De Laurence Company is still in business but no longer produces the fancy catalog and appears to have turned its 21st century focus toward jewelry making.
The Minimal Superpermutation Problem - Imagine that there is a TV series that you want to watch. The series consists of n episodes, with each episode on a single DVD. Unfortunately, however, the DVDs have become mixed up and the order of the episodes is in no way marked (and furthermore, the episodes of the TV show are not connected by any continuous storyline – there is no way to determine the order of the episodes just from watching them). Suppose that you want to watch the episodes of the TV series, consecutively, in the correct order. The question is: how many episodes must you watch in order to do this? [more inside]
Norway seems to be particularly good at making interesting museums. If you're touring, the museum of magic is spell-binding. The museum of knitting is a real purl. The petroleum museum is a gas. The Lofoten Stockfish museum is off the hook. And the Norsk Hermetickk-museum is about the history of sealing things in cans. [more inside]
Sometimes the best thing about David Blaine's magic tricks are the reactions he elicits. A rather Regarding Henry-ish Harrison Ford: "Get the fuck outta my house." A predictably overwrought Ricky Gervais: "Oh for fuck's sake!" Or maybe you just enjoy seeing someone manhandling George W. Bush while the President maintains a look of childlike wonder.
Leigh Bardugo writes haunting, Eastern-European inspired fairy tales (Previously) often highlighting the experience of women in a unfair world. Tor.com presents two new stories, the somber "The Too-Clever Fox" and the subversive "Little Knife."
"The concept is a staple of the global culture of fantasy novels and video games, many of which feature a blue bar of magical energy called 'mana.' "But how did this happen? How did a concept from Pago Pago become part of global gaming culture? How did an Austronesian spiritual force come on board the Exodar, and become part of the life of my draenei shaman?" A lengthy look at the history of "mana," from Pacific Islanders to RPGs and trading card games.
Nathan Fielder's Ingenious Dumb Humor - "How the star of Comedy Central's 'Nathan for You' makes the most of uncomfortable moments." (via; previously 1,2,3)
MagiCATastrophe, in which a birthday party magician discovers his secret power.
“Putting magic at the center of a play about a magician doesn’t seem like that radical a choice,” explained Teller’s co-director and co-adapter Aaron Posner. "But in the history, at least the modern history of producing 'The Tempest', it is a radical choice."
Magic for Dogs by Jose Ahonen
Witchsona Week is a week for artists, doodlers, webcomicers, and more to draw themselves as witches.
Through the power of clever editing, forced perspective and some other subtle tricks, Zack King has a "magic" Vine compilation that is excellently entertaining. [slyt]
Is Saving Mr. Banks, Disney's retelling of the events surrounding the adaptation of Mary Poppins a corporate, borderline-sexist spoonful of lies which throws author P. L. Travers under the bus?
A little bit of Christmas joy in Chicago's Union Station, courtesy of Amtrak.
British Airways #lookup Watching this makes me feel like I am in the future. Enjoy!
...to leave a smile on your face, by Helder Guimarães: Individual vs Crowd | Chaos | Freedom | Trick [more inside]
Cliff Edwards (possibly) serenades "one of the half-dozen best manipulators in the history of magic", Suzy Wandas. [via] [more inside]
“Las Vegas implodes everything,” Siegfried says as he cups a cigarette in his right hand, smoke seeping mysteriously from his grip as if he’s performing a sleight-of-hand illusion. “But here, we keep building. We will not be knocked down.”
Your brother sighs and takes his pipe out of his jacket. "It's good to be home," he says, and fills the bowl. "A light?" You[more inside]
put your hand out.snap your fingers. There's the sharp stab familiar pricklecomfortable ache in your wrist, among the bones. A flame leaps from your fingertips.
Take some old school D&D nerdery, mix in some Magic: The Gathering and Final Fantasy Tactics, and you have Card Hunter.
Genii, the conjurer's magazine is the longest-running independent magazine devoted to magic and magicians in the history of the art. Their website has a bit of information for the public including some lively forums, but the real treasure trove is MagicPedia. There, you can find over three thousand biographies, information on almost 1,700 books of and about magic, nearly 200 magic organizations, and so much more. The current featured article is on the American Civil War, and the role numerous magicians played at that time.
"We introduce an interactive technique for modelling 3D man-made objects by extracting them from a single photograph." 3-Sweep: Extracting Editable Objects from a Single Photo, SIGGRAPH Asia 2013 (SLYT)
Magic for Beginners. SLYT
Dead men tell some tales - a visit to the Hellfire Caves, home of one of the most infamous Hellfire Clubs.
Cecil Crowninshield, resident mystical defender of Salem Massachusetts, has put down his Lumurian Quartz topped wand and picked up the keyboard to help keep his neighbors informed of goings-on around town via a series of local news columns - Impress your date! - The Top Five Salem Sandwiches and the ghosts who stole them! - Magick On A Budgetk! When not writing his regular column, Cecil enjoys commenting on others. [via mefi projects]
In 1997, Last Unicorn gave Zug the chance at recreating Frank Herbert's 'Dune' through a new trading card series. He was originally told to base his work off of David Lynch's film, but after complications with licensing, "they told me to avoid similarity to Lynch's visuals" says Mark Zug. Mark Zug's Dune trading cards.
Nicholas J. Johnson is a no good dirty rotten cheat. So when he invites you to play an incredible new game that he’s invented, you probably shouldn’t come…
In the beginning there was Windows 2.0 its screen, and it was either on or off, but never was it "saved." The developers at Dynamic Karma said "let's make some pretty graphics while your computer is idle" or something of that sort, and lo, they made Magic, and it was good. The people rejoiced, and asked, "why for are you giving this away, when we would happily pay for it?" And then they united with software engineers at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, and they brought forth Flying Toasters, after figuring out how to build the screen saver structure on the Mac. [more inside]
"Magic loses its mystique if you're just popping 'round to the chemist to pick up some enchanted swords and spiritual Gatorade." Robert Rath explains what's wrong with magic in games and how it can be fixed.
Little Witch Academia is an accessible and gorgeous original anime about students learning magic and believing in yourself, available offically on YouTube. [more inside]
Apollo Robbins is a spectacular pickpocket whose work extends to neuroscience, the military and magic.
Ehrich Weisz may not have had much formal education, but he grew up to be Harry Houdini, self-educated stunt performer, escape artist, and owner of "one of the largest libraries in the world on psychic phenomena, Spiritualism, magic, witchcraft, demonology, evil spirits, etc., some of the material going back as far as 1489." Houdini bequeathed much of his collection to the Library of Congress, which received 3,988 volumes from his collection in 1927, including a number of magic books inscribed or annotated by well-known magicians. Archive.org has more of the Harry Houdini Collection online. He also put a great deal of research into his tricks, as seen in his letter to Dr. W. J. McConnell, a physiologist at the U.S. Bureau of Mines, written up after Houdini's watery grave stunt in 1926.
Anamorphic illusions of items on a desk is the latest of many interesting original visual illusions, tricks, and fun science experiments by Brusspup on Youtube (previously). For handy viewing: Anamorphic playlist; Illusions playlist; Science experiments playlist, plus more, including a playlist of how-to videos for various tricks and activities . [more inside]
Secret Weapons. "David Cronenberg's seldom seen 1972 made-for-TV movie, 'Secret Weapons'. It is six years into a future American civil war. A man has created a drug that enhances fighting skills. But will he give it to the theocratic government, or the rebels?" [Via]
Magic: The Gathering: Armageddon was a 1997 prototype arcade game by Acclaim, of which there are between 4 and 5 known extant copies (
Ctrl/⌘+F "arcade"). It is not currently emulated, and no footage of the gameplay existed until Halalah on the ASSEMblergames forums obtained a copy of the board and posted a video.