Standing on the Shoulders of Giants with Steve Reynolds
August 31st, 2017
brother john hamman, ed marlo, magic, sleight of hand, steve reynolds
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Steve Reynolds is a renowned New Orlean’s card magician who is obsessed with keeping the history of magic alive. Steve first got into magic as a kid growing up outside of Philadelphia. He was about seven years old when he wrote a book report on Houdini. Later, someone gave him the book How to Do Tricks with Cards which fit perfectly for him because he was already fascinated by cards. When he was 15, he got a subscription to Genii Magazine and through that he bought a Brother John Hamman tape. From that moment on he became obsessed.
It was when Steve performed “The Twins” trick for his father and grandfather that he understood the power of magic. Because the reaction from his family was so powerful he began to dissect the psychology of that trick. He couldn’t understand why people reacted the way they did. The phrase “the magic happens in minds of the observer” really hit home for him. Eventually, he began to experiment with how far he could go with subtlety. It was then that he began to fuse together his ideas into what became The Monks Way. Steve has managed to integrate the psychology of the audience into the methodology of his magic. Moreover, Steve believes that a lot of magicians treat technique as the effect. In Steve’s opinion, the technique is there to service the effect.
Steve realized early that he wasn’t going to be able to learn everything. John Hamman became a mentor to him as a young person and Steve feels strongly that he wants to continue what his predecessors originated. He wants to share that material with as many people as possible.
Steve was once asked, “how long does it take you to learn a trick”. He answered that it could take as much as ten years. You have to be willing to put the time in. For example, look at Ed Marlo. He had a full-time job, a wife, and kids and was still able to revolutionize 20th-century card magic. But if you say you don’t have the time to learn, Steve isn’t buying it. He adds that young magicians need to recognize that it’s going to take a long time. You have to be happy doing it by yourself. Don’t be so over eager to share it with other people. Be happy learning it.
But Steve doesn’t have a step-by-step advice about how to become a magician. He just did it. He was full of passion and obsessed with learning. Steve remembers how difficult it was to find information when he was younger. Steve finds that there are a lot of young magicians that have the right attitude about magic. But many people are stuck in a bubble of performing only for their friends. In fact, Steve thinks that if they step out of that bubble and perform for a real audience they are going to be in for a rude awakening.
What did you learn this episode?
Jonah learned that you have to pick something and really focus on something. He really wants to focus on particular influences and to totally understand the magicians that really resonate with him.
Tyler learned that he is thankful for the mentors that have shaped him. You have to love every aspect of magic. And you have to love the practice.
Steve encourages everyone to remember that magic is about the audience and creating relationships.
Who should we have on next?
What do magicians need to know?
This is about the audience. Moves are not tricks. They are tools. Listen to your audience.
Steve is beginning to compile Marlow material that was unpublished. He is working on a book called Marlo Speaks. The book will be based on audio tapes of Marlow explaining six tricks.