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The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Magic Shop Internationale *

* (restored)

 

I read an essay a few years ago by some guy who’d studied the childhoods of people who grew up to be what he called creative social misfits — ranging from artists both professional and private/ outsider to criminals who approach crime in an aesthetic or inventive way — the Zodiac killer, the Unabomber, Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson were among his examples. He found that with rare exceptions they shared an unusually strong childhood fascination with magic tricks, novelty gifts, and the stores that featured them.

Certainly for the younger, peculiar me, being among a vast array of normal looking things that, provided some cash and a mastering of their instructions, could be transformed into sources of inexplicable wonder was the most electrifying sensation possible, and that feeling does correspond to the more pragmatic thrill of working on a novel. But the intensity of the magic shop rush was never quite equalled, although, having been a teenager in pre-internet days, trespassing in porn stores back when stores were all porn had could trigger a similar feeling of being surrounded by a dizzying number of doors into a new, secret, unimaginably exciting world could be opened with a crack of my wallet.

I got to wondering whether the kinds of magic shops I revered as a kid still exist in any number, and, with a lengthy internet search, I realized that they do albeit, in many cases, beefed up into magic-cum-Halloween costume stores, and with the addition of a lifesaving online ordering component via related websites. Then I wondered if some of you might share my wistful and lingering wide-eyed regard of those once transcendent seeming little places. If so, or even if not, here are a bunch of surviving magic shops and links for you to investigate today. — DC, 2003

 

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The oldest magic shop in the United States opened it’s doors in 1873. Located at 493 Sixth Avenue NYC, NY, it was started by two brothers, Francis and Antonio Martinka. Their original shop had 5000 square feet of room with a showroom in the front and a small theatre and workshop in the back. Martinka & Co. was different from many modern magic shops though. They not only sold magic, they built magic. Everything from small props of wood, glass and metal to large stage illusions were crafted in their shop. They possessed a skill that is rarely seen today. Today, Martinka’s Magic Shop is an online magic shop and auction house based out of the shop, which is currently located in Midland Park, New Jersey. They are most famous today for their online auctions of antique magic.

 

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Welcome to Australia’s most famous Magic and Joke Shop!. We sell a professional range of MAGIC TRICKS, JOKES, CLOWN SUPPLIES, NOVELTIES and FUN GIFTS! We specialise in magical fun for all ages! We are a family business with a love for magic and fun. We are currently the largest supplier of magic and fun novelties Australia wide, both retail and wholesale. We bring you a magical range of products that are hard to find but very affordable. If you are looking for something hard to find, then please call us. In Adelaide? Please give us a call and make an appointment to shop in our secret magic studio. Strictly by appointment only.

 

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The Hocus Pocus Magic Shop was opened by Paul Gross in 1976 in Fresno, CA. The real beginning of this story, though, is in October 1960 when a five-year-old Paul Gross watched the first episode of the Magic Land of Allakazam on television. The show, hosted by and featuring the magic of Nani and Mark Wilson, started Paul on his lifelong love affair with all things magic. As a child, Paul was obsessed with magic tricks; as a teenager he started performing magic professionally for schools, clubs, and every venue that existed. As a twenty-year-old, Paul was traveling the USA doing corporate shows for one of the world’s largest banks. He then opened the first Hocus Pocus Magic Shop in 1976; he needed to sell $100 a day to make it work, and make it work he did.

 

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Upon entering the Timid Rabbit Magic Shop in Kalamazoo, one instantly becomes intrigued. The musky smell of history hits the nose and slightly fades as the eyes travel around the store, flickering between magic tricks, masks and props with childlike enthusiasm as they attempt to see every item crammed inside like a jack-in-the-box, ready to explode. The store has over 1,100 magic tricks and is crowded with cinema relics like a spear used in Ben Hur and hiding somewhere in the back is the original shark fin strapped to the boy’s back used in Jaws. They also own a 18,000 square foot warehouse in which they store a labyrinth of items that includes everything from a giant pair of scissors for cutting ribbons at openings to a rocket launcher.

 

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Opened nearly 40 years ago, Ao Rei das Mágicas was the first magic store of its kind in São Paulo. The store is also touted as the largest magic shop in Brazil. Even in Brazil’s most populated city, the store is an oddity. Still, the store has spent decades supplying locally produced tricks and items that have the distinction of having a clear regional flair to them. Upon entering, visitors are immediately confronted with mannequins wearing old terror movie costumes, shelves filled with cheesy latex halloween masks, and a bunch of toys used in pranks and practical jokes. Beyond that, the store offers all kinds of magical tools geared toward beginners and more experienced magicians alike.

 

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Store: Hello? Friend: Is this the B Magic Shop in Arlington, Texas? Store: Who is calling? Friend: (I repeat) Is this the B Magic Shop? Store: (He repeats) Who is calling? Friend: A potential customer…did I reach the B Magic Shop? Store: (awkward pause) Yes Friend: What time do you close today? Store: When you want to come? Friend: I don’t know…what are your hours? Store: When you want to come? Friend: I don’t know…maybe today…when do you close? Store: I’m probably leaving at 4pm today (10 minutes from then). Friend: Oh, ok, thank you. Store: WAIT! When you wanna come? Friend: No idea, I’ll swing out there sometime soon. Store: WHEN? Friend: I don’t know? Maybe next week sometime. Store: (CLICK) Hangs up.

 

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Below the Pike Place level in Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market, three more floors under the Main Arcade spill down the back of the hill. The farther you follow the stairs and ramps below, the more offbeat the shops become. You’ll find rare books, comics, vintage clothing, and Market Magic. It is the longest running magic shop in the Pacific Northwest. As you peek inside the shop you will see pictures of famous magicians that have visited the shop, turn of the century magic posters and a fun, jammed pack place of enthusiasm and wonder. Ah yes, look, there is a throng of quiet kids with big eyes, lined up at the counter watching the famous cups and balls, where balls jump around, vanish and reappear.

 

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Davenports Magic Shop are a real magic shop, based in central London close to Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross station and the Strand. We supply magic dvds, magic tricks, magic books, magic courses and much more. We were established in 1898 by Lewis Davenport, and are the oldest family run magic business in the world!!!! If you are outside the mainline station, cross the Strand (main road in front of the station). You will see a Starbucks and a Paperchase shop – between them there are some stairs going into the underground arcade. Go down these stairs, keep right, Davenports are on the left hand side.

 

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Daytona Magic has been in business since 1966. We started in the Philadelphia area where we were a magic shop carrying both Magic Tricks, Clown supplies, Halloween Costumes Make-up and accessories, novelties and jokes. In 1976 we moved to beautiful Daytona Beach, Florida where the winters are warm and the summers are not too hot, because of the ocean breezes. Most real brick and mortar magic shops no longer exist. Many so called “magic shops” depend on Halloween sales and won’t pay attention to a magician the month of October. Others sell collectables, gifts and novelties. WE SELL MAGIC! We also sell Clown Supplies and Jokes. I’m a prankster at heart and can’t give up the jokes.

 

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Mike Danata’s Magic Studio opened in June 2001, at 121(a) Palmerston Road, in the Boscombe area of Bournemouth, on the south coast of the UK. A small studio with a lot of stock!! Slightly off the beaten track, but actually only a few minutes walk from McDonalds in the main high street, with on street parking outside. The studio is also only a few minutes away from Bournemouth Central Railway/Coach Station. When Mike was a young kid, he dreamed of a “MAGICAL SUPERSTORE”…. that upon entering would fill him with excitement and wonderment. A store so full of all things magical from around the world. A finer place he would never find, a place that existed in his dreams, ……… in his mind. Until now!

 

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Marty’s Magic Shop “where Miracles happen every day” offers all the magician’s staples including: Slush Powder, Slush Wand, Fanning Powder, Quality Silks, Flash Powder, Flash Paper, Wands and a huge variety of Card and Coin Tricks. Marty’s Magic Shop is located in the Big Top Flea Market in Tampa, Florida. You will also find quite a variety of Magic Videos, Illusion Guides and Magic Books. Do you like Coin Magic? We carry the best specialty Coins, Coin gaffs, Coin tricks, and Coin Magic DVD’s.

 

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Welcome to the Illusion Warehouse magic shop in Fort Worth, Texas. Our goal is to supply the best magic tricks, illusions, and theatrical special effects to amateur and professional magicians. In addition to carrying the majority of the classic effects in magic, we are also responsible for bringing-back many items that have been long forgotten. Our facility is dedicated to the preservation of the art of magic and serves as the production offices for Adam & Selina, Masters of Illusion. We seek to advance the art of magic, so don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

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New York City’s Fun Street Magic Shop started with a discussion of this phenomenon which turned to a discussion of what’s missing from the Internet magic scene. There are lots of great magic retailers out there, from the magic shops with national reputations to the great smaller shops that sometimes are run out of someone’s home! Some of these shops have moved their great support and great reputations to the web, allowing the rest of us to have a better selection of illusions, supplies, and information. It would be presumptious to say that there is a huge gap (at least that we noticed), but perhaps what Fun Street Magic offers that is a bit unique is more of a philosophy than a concrete product or service. Magic is fun. It really is!

 

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If you are visiting Wildwood, Florida you can visit Berardi’s Magic Shop. Our store hours are by appointment only. Please call for an appointment. Owner David Berardi can also arrive at your child’s party dressed as Harry Potter! He combines magic tricks with referances to the Harry Potter Movie and the Harry Potter books! David as Harry Potter involves his audience ,with audience participation, from the very beginning , up until the finale’ of his magic show! His Harry Potter Show is geared for kids ages 6 & Up. David ,(as Harry), uses live birds ,(doves) ,& a rabbit in his show. If your kids love Harry Potter, they will love this show!

 

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Discover one of the most amazing and magical places you’ll ever encounter, where you will learn to master incredible illusions like cutting someone in half or making them completely disappear! At Wunderground Magic Shop in Clawson, Michigan you’ll see floating cards, solid spikes passing through your unharmed money, and sponges multiplying right in your hands. As you traverse the maze of secret passages through to the hidden entrance behind the bookshelf, you’ll understand why the Wunderground Magic Shop is an experience unlike any other place you’ve ever visited.

 

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Magic Tricks, Inc. in Charlottesville, Virginia is one of the premier sources of magic for magicians- and everybody who wants to be a magician! We have thousands of satisfied customers worldwide. It’s our attention to detail and our emphasis on customer service that makes us the choice of professional magicians. We feature low prices and a great selection of quality magical effects and supplies. Magicians worldwide have been buying their magic supplies from us since 1971. His magic shop was designed to look like the shop once owned by Houdini himself. Houdini’s desk, Houdini’s pens and a number of personal Houdini items have actually been in the Monticup magic collection, and occasionally on display in the shop.

 

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Because The Great Scot Bardic Magicians Shop does a lot of Renaissance Faires, re-enactments, and historical sites, I am concerned about authenticity, so I choose magic and illusions that will fit into those venues or have them made. Even if the actual trick might have been invented later, I make sure that their construction and look are historical and that what they represent would have been there at the time. I provide historical background on how the item would have been used or viewed in period. We are located at 36 Front Street, Bellows Falls, Vermont.

 

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The Browsers Den has been selling magic in Toronto Canada since 1975, serving amateurs, professionals, semi-pros, and hobbyists both young and old. If you are in Toronto be sure to drop by the shop for an experience you won’t forget. We’ve also been on the Internet for over 10 years, so either way we’re here to serve you. At Browser’s Den, regulars form a core part of the business, allowing the shop to function as a hub for the local magicians’ community. They have customers who have been coming there for 35 years. There’s an inner group of customers who know each other very well, a magic community. At the shop, they have a table and there’s times when guys will sit down and show each other magic—they’ll ‘session,’ as they call it.

 

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Magies est la plus grande boutique de magie au monde comprenant 22 653 articles chez 27 marchands de trucs. Le magasin avait été lancé il y a plus de 10 ans et aucun changement graphique et fonctionnel n’était intervenu depuis. La société nous a interrogé pour refondre totalement leur logo, la charte graphique du site ainsi que toute son organisation fonctionnelle. Attention tout de même, Magie n’est qu’un intermédiaire entre ses fournisseurs et ses clients. On ne sait donc pas à qui on achète réellement. Mais l’assise de Arteco Production doit représenter une garantie suffisante en cas de pépin.

 

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Kurts Magic World in Lansdale, Pennsylvania offers magic tricks designed for the amature magician as well as the seasoned professional magician. Magic tricks and magic illusions are conveniently available through our on-line magic store, as well as through our retail magic store. Kurts Magic World offers magic shows given by Kurt Brasch, Magician, who has over 20 years of experience performing magic.

 

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Stevens Magic Emporium (SME) in Wichita, Kansas has enjoyed over 40 successful years working in the magic business catering to the working professional magician and hobbyist. SME was started by Joe and Martha Stevens. Initially, Joe started selling collectable magic in the 60’s; which turned out to be the springboard that started the larger and full-time operation. Over the years trading magic and information with the likes of Buma Sr., Harold Martin, Les Smith and others, the transformation was made to full time magic in 1973.

 

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New York City’s Fantasma Magic Shop is tucked on the second floor of a deli in a low traffic area of Herald Square. I’d say less than one percent of the people walking by would notice it, though, when I walked into the second floor shop, it was full of teenagers, parents, and geeky adults. The main attraction of Fantasma seemed to be an older gentleman standing behind a glass counter. “Hello, little lady. What brings you to Fantasma today?”, he gave me his best Cheshire cat grin. “I write a blog where I do new things, so today, I’m visiting my first magic shop. Do you mind if I take a short video of your performance?” His grin dropped like the anvil on Road Runner’s head. “No. You can’t. I’m SAG.” Then he remembered his audience, “I was on Letterman, did you know that?”.

 

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Williams Magic & Novelties is an Arizona company dedicated to serving the magic profession. Our family has over 100 years of combined magic background and has been in the retail magic business over 45 years. We’ve been in our current Tucson location for over 22 years. Emory C. Williams, Sr. and his wife Nathailia enjoyed magic as a hobby while they owned and operated a wholesale and retail pet business in their hometown of Caruthersville, MO. They eventually added a magic shop to all the “critters”. In 1989 they sold the pet business and moved to Tucson, AZ, bringing the magic business with them. In 1998 Emory C. Williams, Jr. and his wife Claudia moved from California to Tucson to add even more magic to the family business. We even have a nice restroom for all our nice customers.

 

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Eye of Newt is York’s Infamous Emporium of Magical Supplies. Adjoined to the well known, “Haunted” house on the historic street of stonegate, in the middle of the magical city of York. Open every day from 10.30 -5.30, and 7.30 on holidays and weekends. Magical supplies, extensive range of tarot cards, diverse range of magical and pagan books as well as homemade incense. Cauldrons, broomsticks, wands and athames. Range of flowers, resins oils and herbs,divinatory aids and semi precious stones. Beautiful handmade magical objects. Carefully selected jewellery brazen idols and deity figures as well as altar decorations.

 

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There are so few real magic shops left. The magic shop used to be the place everyone went to hang out, talk magic, and show others what they are working on. It was where you met more experienced performers and learned just by listening. Today it is difficult to get anyone away from their computer screen so they never leave their house. Even lecture attendance has fallen off drastically. It is an interent world and although the internet is full of information, it is not full of knowledge. They are two different things. Knowledge comes from personal interaction and experience. It really is a “social” thing. Let’s get out and socialize a bit more. Please stop by Denny & Lee Magic Studio in Las Vegas, Nevada for a day of fun and interaction. Just some thoughts. Just a way of saying thank you.

 

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‘Familiarity is a magician that is cruel to beauty but kind to ugliness.’ — Ouida

‘Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.’ — Tom Robbins

‘Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.’ — Walt Disney

‘On these magic shores children at play are for ever beaching their coracles. We too have been there; we can still hear the sound of the surf, though we shall land no more.’ — J.M. Barrie

‘Science is always discovering odd scraps of magical wisdom and making a tremendous fuss about its cleverness.’ — Alistair Crowley

‘Magicians guard an empty safe.’ — Jim Steinmeyer

‘Those who spell Magic with a K aren’t.’ — Anton LaVey

‘Nobody gets in to see the wizard. Not nobody.’ — L. Frank Baum

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p.s. Hey. If all goes as planned, I’ll be taking a much needed break from reality tomorrow via a day at Disneyland Paris, and, if that’s the case, there’ll be no p.s. in the morning, but it/I will return on Friday, you bet. **MyNeighbour JohnTurtorro, Hey, hey, hey! Really good to see you! Things are a bit weird with me at the moment, but generally good. And you? Happy you’re a fellow Maclean fan. You were at the PGL Glasgow screening! It totally get shyness, being a fellow sufferer, but it would have been cool to meet. Another time, okay? Thank you so much for the great words about the film. That’s fantastic to hear. Yeah, the Destroyer part still kind of mists me up even after watching the film a thousand times. Catch me up on you and yours if you don’t mind. Oh, and both of your comments registered. This blog has some strange, thus-far-inexplicable glitch whereby commenters sometimes can’t see their comments. Strange. Such a pleasure to see you, man, and thank you again. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Understood about it itself, sure. It’s the media’s reductive clickbait overlay — ‘will they snare Trump?, will they snare Clinton?’, blah blah — that tries to turn it into a mere narrative twist in the general Trump addiction and obsession with triggering/feeling outrage that blights much of the US right now, in my opinion, and that bores and sickens me. ** Steve Erickson, I intended to see the Billingham film when when it was theaters here, but I missed it. Everyone, Steve E. weighs in on ‘Ray & Liz’, the newly released film by the noted photographer Richard Billingham here. I hope your stress deflates ASAP somehow. Agree with your thoughts on sexual abuse. ** _Black_Acrylic, I will be forever grateful to you for alerting me to her wondrousness. Issue #2 looks so fucking good, man. Excited, and you must be (should be) very proud. ** Misanthrope, Glad you like(d) it. I still need to search out Blelvis, but today’s the day. Enjoy Wednesday like it’s never been enjoyed. ** Bill, Well, then, you just have an innately magical touch then, sir. Mm, I would say that I’m on ‘Wild Boys’ side, but I didn’t much like it. I was fairly enchanted for the first 15 or 20 minutes, but when they went on the ship and stayed mostly on that ship milking the film’s tricks beyond dry for what felt like hours, the charm totally wore off. By the time they got on the island for the ‘surprise’ gender switch, etc., its visual conceit had turned into a tiresome ‘Guy Maddin in drag’ schtick for me. So, yeah. More power to that film, but, at the same time, I think it could have easily half or a third as long and a 100 times better for it. That’s my take. ** Okay. Today’s post is by far the oldest dead post I’ve ever restored for the new blog. 16 years ago! It’s so old that I even wrote the introductory text, which I’ve only done maybe two or three times in the whole history of the blog. Anyway, a blog time machine-type experience today. The blog will see you tomorrow, and, more than likely, I myself will see you again on Friday.

5 Comments

  1. Have fun at Disneyland!

    Here’s my review of Benjamin Naishtat’s ROJO: https://www.gaycitynews.nyc/stories/2019/15/rojo-benjamin_naishtat-film-2019-07-9-gcn.html

    Things seemed to have finally worked out positively re: my insurance issues. I talked to a woman at the company that handles my prescriptions today. She told me that they changed my co-pays on July 1st, but that she can change the rates back to the older, far more affordable prices manually and will do so today.

    Have you seen Bertrand Mandico’s short APOCALYPSE AFTER, currently streaming on MUBI? I liked THE WILD BOYS quite a bit, so maybe you should take my opinion with a grain of salt, but I thought it was better: taking the same preoccupations into weirder territory without the clear points about the evils of violence and masculinity WILD BOYS makes. If you thought WILD BOYS got tiresome at feature length, maybe a less narrative-oriented 35-minute film would do the trick?

  2. Dennis, it sounds like you thought Wild Boys could have been shorter, ha. I enjoyed it, but agree that there was fat to be trimmed.

    Lovely magic shop revival today. I don’t think I had access to any that I know of, back when I was a teen. (If I had known it was popular with other loner teens, I probably would have made a bigger effort back then to track one down, haha.) That mint boy is pretty remarkable.

    Watched Godard’s Image Book recently. I’ve also been watching the Wheeler Dixon clips on your post, not a good combo. The rough look of Image Book was really distracting to me, compared with the relatively simple but well-executed video effects in the Dixon pieces.

    Enjoy Disneyland Paris!

    Bill

  3. There was never any magic shop around the Leeds of my childhood, more’s the pity. A children’s animated TV called Mr Benn was this crazy psychedelic cartoon about a businessman who visited a fancy dress shop and got taken on a magical adventure by the shopkeeper each week. That was the next best thing I suppose.

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