17 episodes

On these podcasts, you’ll hear me interview magicians from around the planet: the industry’s best performers, creators, and innovators. I try to ask questions designed to spark robust discussions, giving you information and insights you won’t find anywhere else. If you enjoy these podcasts, I hope you’ll stop by our website and check out the products we have available. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/michaelclose/support

Conversations With Close Michael Close

    • Performing Arts

On these podcasts, you’ll hear me interview magicians from around the planet: the industry’s best performers, creators, and innovators. I try to ask questions designed to spark robust discussions, giving you information and insights you won’t find anywhere else. If you enjoy these podcasts, I hope you’ll stop by our website and check out the products we have available. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/michaelclose/support

    Asher and McKinstry Interview - Season 2 - Episode 1

    Asher and McKinstry Interview - Season 2 - Episode 1

    For many magicians, playing cards have an undeniable fascination; enthusiasts eagerly snatch up every newly released pack they can get their hands on. (As someone wryly posted on Facebook, designer decks are the magical equivalent of Beanie Babies.) For serious playing-card collectors, their interest transcends the mere aesthetic appeal of new back and face designs. They study the history of playing card manufacturing: the mechanical processes involved, the innovations discovered, and the businessmen who headed the companies that provided settlers, gamblers, and just-plain-ordinary folk with a convenient way to pass the time.

    When it comes to the history of playing cards, Lee Asher and Jason McKinstry are two of the most knowledgeable people on the planet. Lee Asher is know for his many contributions to card magic. Jason McKinstry is not a magician; he is a collector and historian, and he has recently published the first volume of a new series of books: Paper Empires – A Historical Journey of America’s Early Playing Card Makers. 

    The three of us had a lively discussion about playing card history, with a focus on two of the major players – Samuel Hart and Andrew Dougherty. We also discussed how improved card manufacturing technology influenced the development of advanced card magic techniques and the fact that we’re currently living in a golden age of playing card production.


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    • 47 min
    Stephen Bargatze & Rick Merrill Interview - Episode 16

    Stephen Bargatze & Rick Merrill Interview - Episode 16

    One of the reasons I was eager to attend the OWOW Magic Festival was that two old friends were also going to be performing there. I’ve
    known Stephen Bargatze for at least thirty years, and I’ve known Rick Merrill almost that long. (When he was fifteen, Rick sent me a letter offering an improvement to one of my tricks. I don’t hold that against him.) Both men are funny in their bones; they can make you laugh until the tears run down your pants leg. - October, 2019


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    • 30 min
    Ryan Joyce Interview - Episode 15

    Ryan Joyce Interview - Episode 15

    Ryan Joyce is a busy performer, and he has been ever since he graduated from high school. For ten years, he performed a touring illusion show that crisscrossed Canada. He then entered the cruise-ship market, performing illusions, a smaller stand-up show, and a hypnosis act. Ryan also has an avid interest in technology and filmmaking, both of which are showcased in his online Magician’s Masterclass series
    (www.magic-masterclass.com).

    Ryan is currently in the middle of preparations for the Ontario Weekend of Wonder Magic Festival (October 25-27, 2019). The event features several stage shows for the general public, strolling close-up magic in various local venues, and lectures for magicians.

    I was fortunate to find a quiet moment in Ryan’s schedule; we spoke at length about all these topics.


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    • 36 min
    David Regal Interview - Episode 14

    David Regal Interview - Episode 14

    My guest this month is one of my favourite performers and creators, David Regal. Although our paths have crossed at the occasional magic convention over the years, we’ve never really had the opportunity to spend time chatting about magic. I regret that, because David is an “evangelist” for quality magic – magic with an elegant method, and an interesting and evocative “hook.” In other words (and as the title of his new book implies), magic that showcases a performer’s unique interpretation of the effect.

    David has an extremely busy work schedule, so I'm pleased he took a little bit of his “down” time to talk about his new book, magic on television, and many other topics. I enjoyed our conversation. I think you will, too.


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    • 1 hr 2 min
    Paul Vigil Interview - Episode 13

    Paul Vigil Interview - Episode 13

    This Conversations with Close podcast features an interview with Paul Vigil, who, in the past few years, has established himself as one of the top-flight performers and creators in the world of magic. Paul’s skills were well known to the magicians of Las Vegas, but it is only recently, with the publication of his books Classic Fantastic and Doors of Deception and his performances and lectures, that magicians around the world have come to recognize and appreciate his contribution to magic.

    When Lisa and I lived in Las Vegas, Paul was one of our favorite people to hang out with. In addition to being a serious student of conjuring, Paul also brings to the table his interests in a wide variety of academic subjects, including philosophy, psychology, and anthropology. This makes him a fascinating interview subject.  I chatted with Paul via Skype. (August 2019)


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    • 36 min
    Johnny and Pam Thompson - Episode 12

    Johnny and Pam Thompson - Episode 12

    In March 2013, I ran a cover story on Pam Thompson in M-U-M. While there had been many stories about Johnny Thompson in magic magazines, there had not been one on Pam, who was an integral part of the Tomsoni & Company act.

    In preparation for that article, I recorded several phone conversations with Pam. There were a few things she could not recall, so I scheduled another phone call that would include Johnny, who had amazing recall of dates, people, and events. We talked about how Johnny and Pam discussed what

    motivated their characters, their move to Los Angeles and their favorite houseguests, traveling with dogs, and a few other topics.

    This recording was done as a reference for preparing my article, not as a podcast, so there are some flaws in the audio quality. I hope you’ll ignore those glitches and will enjoy spending a few minutes with two of the best people in the world of magic. (March 2013)


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    • 18 min

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