Friday, March 8, 2024

Majinga Is Gone But Not Forgotten


On Tuesday, March 5th 2024, my friend Michael Stroud, passed away. Michael was known professionally as Majinga the Magician and was a very popular California based illusionist. I really want to emphasize that word ILLUSIONIST, because many use the moniker, but they don't perform illusions. Michael/Majinga invested in tons of illusions and he used them and performed them!!!

If you never were lucky enough to meet Michael or see him perform, then you really missed out. But there is some good news. He left behind a huge archive of video footage. One of the first things you'll notice about Majinga is that he is not your typical magician. He was in truth, a theatrical magician, and he really believed in the theater part. He didn't wear business suits like so many of today's performers, he wore costumes. He wore hats. He wore masks. Any costume he wore also had many additional little accoutrements. 

He was born in Warrensburg, Missouri, April 29, 1967. His interest in magic began when he was entertained by two German magicians while on board a flight. I asked him once if this was Siegfried and Roy and he was unsure but at the same time said, "it might have been." By age 11, he presented his own magic show. Later, Wayne Rake from the Jokers Wild Magic Shop in Maryland would become Michael's first mentor. 

One of Michael's big claims to fame was his performance of the Bian Lian, Chinese Mask Changing Act. This is a very difficult thing to learn let alone performer. Michael became a master at it. He featured this very act at Chinese Festivals all over the West Coast.

Another more main stream claim to fame was his credit as a co-author of the book, The Klutz Book of Magic, and later, The Rubber Chicken Book, also published by Klutz. 

For years, Michael was known as Magic Mike. But in 1997, he decided to create a new character called Majinga who would by a gypsy-magician like character. He created the show Magique Bazaar along with Fontain Riddle who did all the music for the show.  His performing partner Magic Genii would join the show in 2000. Together, they performed this show, along with nearly a dozen cast members, at the Gaslight Theater in Campbell, California.

Michael never stopped creating new characters, or new takes on performing. His method was to always add elements of theatricality, even to the smallest of effects. Today, almost no one does apparatus magic, yet this was a staple in Michaels shows. 

In 2023, Michael health started to decline suddenly. It was a huge shock to everyone, though he kept his diagnosis rather private. In November he was diagnosed with ALS. 

In the near future, Magic Genii, Michael's performing partner and wife,  is planning on having, not a broken wand ceremony, but instead a Wand Retirement ceremony. I have to admit, I really like the sound of that. It helps to keep Michael/Majinga's memory alive, permanently. He would have loved that!

Please watch this tremendous performance by Majinga and Magic Genii of their  Mask Changing act. 

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Exposing Magic!


I couple weeks ago I was gathering up a bunch of information on the history of exposure, specifically exposing the secrets to magic tricks. Regrettably, exposing magic has a long history . And depending upon which side you are on.....Side 1, the side who gets hurt by exposure, Side 2, the side making money from exposure. Hmm, I think that says it all. The side making money from exposure. I guess you could be neutral, but if you are into magic for long, rest assured you'll get injured by one of these exposure people. 

In the process of putting this article  together, I didn't want to give any more 'exposure' M.Chuckles, J.Flambe, R.Laxitive, or the biggest loser in the bunch Sal Maraschino*. See, I don't want to give them any exposure. I'm not pointing anyone to their sites. I have lost respect for the first three, never had any respect for the fourth. I will always hold a grudge against the last loser for the number of contracts I lost after his sh*t appeared on network tv. So yes, I was financially harmed. A stigma arose over stage illusions  after those specials. 

Really what I don't like is the belittling of magic. I also don't like when young magicians give away secrets on various social media platforms that they have no business giving away. In other words, they are not their creations. People have spent good money on these things only to have them carelessly given away. 

In the big picture, the lay public doesn't really care nor do they tend to remember. But that doesn't make it any less wrong. 

*There are more people exposing magic secrets on social media than I can even list. I'm not naming names, giving links, or giving them a chance to respond. You know who they are. And if you don't, count yourself among the lucky ones that you aren't exposed to their lack of courtesy to their fellow magicians.

February is Over And the Moon Is Still Here: David Copperfield Update!


Last Fall, David Copperfield told the world he would make the Moon Vanish in February 2024. And, February has now come and gone, but the Moon still remains. What gives? Well, according to an article on SPACE.COM, 

" a lot of organizations have said they want to collaborate and make it an even bigger event that could do even more good.

We're going to try to use it to get telescopes in rural schools and indigenous schools around the country, to encourage kids to really look at the sky and dream about their future, and become scientists and engineers. So, because we're trying to make it bigger, we're just moving it a little bit into the future, to make sure we get all those ideas together."

There was another reason for Copperfield being interviewed on, and that is his contribution to the recent Odysseus Lunar Lander. Odysseus recently landed on the Moon, and in it's payload, the archives of David Copperfield's secrets. In addition,  Richard Kaufman's Project Magic book! All of this on nickel plated disc which will last a million years. 

Oh, and if that isn't exciting, this is not the first time David's archives have been sent to the moon. Back in 2019, Israel attempted to send a lander to the moon, which sadly crashed. It too contained a library disc and on it, yep, Copperfield's secrets. Here is an article on that event:

Sadly, it won't even take a million years before the tech to play the disc will be obsolete. That will be about 3 years. Anyway, if you'd like to read the interesting interview with David Copperfield, visit the attached link:

And keep watching here for more news about David's exciting Vanishing Moon Event!