Author Archives: jculpepper

FISM 2021 in Quebec City

The future of magic in Québec is bright. Every three years, FISM (the Féderation Internationale des Sociétés Magiques) chooses a different city to host one of the largest international magic competitions and conferences in the world.  In July 2021, the first FISM to be held in the Americas will take place in Quebec City, Canada. […]

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The Intimacy of Performing Magic

Today, I nearly cried at “work.” I was hired to perform close-up and parlour magic at a chateau (on lovely grounds) for a family gathering. The mother, father, and their extended family and friends were all celebrating the son’s completion of a doctorate in dentistry and the beginning of his career. We all ate together […]

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Montréal Complètement Cirque, Journal Entry, 10 July 2018

The population of circus artists, students, companies, programmers, academics, and industry movers and shakers in Montreal balloons during the wonderful Montréal Complètement Cirque festival every year. From July 5-15, 2018, a cornucopia of free outdoor shows (Les Minutes Completement Cirque, Phénix, and others) and indoor programming allow spectators to see world class circus for a […]

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The Risk of Circus Studies by Madeline Hoak

I’m delighted to be quoted in the company of many thoughtful and daring colleagues in this article about the history of circus in higher education. Thank you, Madeline Hoak for the work your doing and for sharing it with the world:

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Derren Brown on The Magicians’ Podcast

I would like to thank Richard Young, The Magic Circle and others who made The Magicians’ Podcast possible. I love listening to podcasts and audiobooks when I’m traveling long distances or running errands. However, there are very few audiobooks devoted to the conjuring arts out there and only a handful of magic podcasts. Clicking on the […]

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An Invitation from the Newberry Library for the Transcription of Early Modern Magic Texts

Chicago’s Newberry library is crowd-sourcing the transcription of a number of its texts. The collection that I’m immediately drawn to, of course, was recently mentioned on the Open Culture website. Click on the image above to read about the projects details and to try your hand at a little magical transcription.  

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Pícaro at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in NYC

After an initial creation residency, Pícaro had its first public showing at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in Manhattan last night. This has been a wonderful exploration period with Carlos Alexis Cruz, Alicia Martinez Alvarez, Shamou Mou and the BAC team. It’s been an exciting challenge to combine circus, Mexican mask, magic, and theatre to create […]

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Illusion en jeu in Toulouse

This is how much I loved teaching, presenting and performing at L’Illusion en jeu: techniques — outils — histoire / Illusion at Play: Techniques — Tools — History colloquium organized by Frédéric Tabet and friends. Clicking on the link above will take you to the full program of events. It was a thought-provoking mixture of academic and artistic explorations of how illusions […]

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Ricky Jay on Masters of the Magic Lantern

This New Yorker contribution by Ricky Jay on magic lanterns and phantasmagoria is a fun read. Last night I toured the Parisian catacombs, which has me thinking about Étienne-Gaspard Robert. If you like Jay’s article, then learning about Robert’s phantasmagoria shows at the end of the 1700s in Paris is a must:

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The Task of the Magic Translator

I’ve completed 1,000 words of a magic translation and I’m thinking of Walter Benjamin. He says that a translation “issues from the afterlife” of the original. For him the translated work causes a “flowering” of the origin text. How wonderful it is to be part of a text’s reincarnation. Now when I sit down to […]

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