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Magic Newsletter, August 8. 2021

Dear Friends in Magic,

This newsletter contains a long-awaited announcement, but I hope you won’t mind pausing while I share…


About ten years ago, Jeff McBride, Eugene Burger, Marjorie, and I took Johnny Thompson to dinner after his guest appearance at one of our Master Classes. As we were wrapping up, Johnny said, “Wait a moment.” Looking around the table, he spied an obviously full saltshaker and, with open hands and exposed thumbs, picked it up. He screwed off the lid and, after showing his left hand empty, started pouring and pouring the salt into his closed fist. Johnny slammed down the empty shaker and dusted a bit of salt off his fist. Then, with a smile and a magical snap, Johnny slowly opened his hand: the salt was gone! Time to go!

This is a perfect example of what I call After-Dinner Magic. It is that special kind of performance where the whole point is to blow everyone’s mind on the way out the door. (Oh, yes, Johnny badly fooled all of us that night.) Whether it is one trick or two isn’t essential; what really matters is that the show is deeply deceptive and impactful. Further, this kind of magic isn’t gimmicky or contrived. On the contrary, it feels entirely impromptu—even though it almost never is. Above all, After-Dinner Magic creates deep memories that can last a lifetime.

Of course, Johnny Thompson was a great master of the form, as was Eugene. So, too, are Juan Tamariz and Paul Vigil. But it is not only for the stars: I think every magician should have something like this in their bag of tricks. For one thing, as pandemic conditions ease, the first forms of socializing will be dinners at homes and restaurants, and you want to be ready for it. Also, being able to deliver this kind of strong, memorable magic is a great way to land bookings. 

So, how are you doing with regard to After-Dinner Magic? Which piece would you perform after dessert to bring down the house? Some of you might already have one or two favorites for this kind of situation. What are they exactly? What do they need to become even stronger? More practice or rehearsal? A better script? Better timing? Let’s go for gold!

But if you aren’t happy with what you have or are trying to get started with this kind of magic, I recommend “Eugene’s Final Transposition” in Teaching Magic. I saw Eugene close out dozens of dinners with this effect. While you are visiting that book, look at his “Not Cutting the Aces,” one of my close-out-the-night favorites. In those pages you will also find my own “My Way Out of this World,” which will fool the brightest bulbs in the box.

Above all, I encourage you to have fun learning and performing this kind of magic—because it is fun! And to guide you on the path, as you consider this or that, always ask yourself: Would Johnny or Eugene have done it? Hard to imagine a better goal! 


Announcement time: what happened in my studio in July was finalizing Eugene Burger: Final Secrets. Yes, friends, it is now off to the printer! As Eugene used to say at such moments, “Done!

I can hardly believe it: after nearly twelve years on this deeply meaningful project, Eugene’s final book is out of my hands and on the way for release this Halloween.

Eugene Burger: Final Secrets is a big book—350 pages long. It is entirely focused on the masterful card magic that made Eugene a close-up star. Final Secrets collects essays, interviews, and complete descriptions of seventeen real-world card routines that he didn’t share in any book, including “Influence,” “Fishing,” “Order and Chaos,” “Thought Sender,” “Destiny Has a Name,” “Observo,” “Unfazed,” and his legendary work on “The Trick that Cannot Be Explained.”

Final Secrets also includes both the text and audio versions of Eugene’s 1992 masterpiece, Growing in the Art of Magic. Thus, in total, the book provides access to twenty-seven videos and audio recordings of Eugene performing and explaining his wonderful card magic, and sharing his wisdom about reaching toward excellence in our art.

I am so excited for everyone to have this beautiful book in their hands. The wait is almost over!


I love coffee. I look forward to the rich smell and taste of my morning brew; I enjoy watching the steam swirl up while I pour the first cup. I don’t just like coffee… no, I love it!

It wasn’t always this way. As a college student, I drank whatever brown water the cafeteria put before us. Or at the gas station, I’d get some thin backwash in a Styrofoam cup. But with the advent of Starbucks, I started to awaken to the fact that while “coffee” was being sold everywhere, real coffee was something totally different and well-worth the time and expense to drink.

With this awakening, I found myself no longer thoughtlessly consuming coffee out of habit, but rather savoring it. That is, looking forward to it, carefully testing for real flavors (beyond the often-false labels), and grinding the beans before making my brew. Now, years later, the pleasure runs deep; the ritual is profound. In the early morning hours, when it is cool and dark outside, I grow thoughtful and connected as I focus on the warm, fragrant cup in my hand. Ahhhh.

For many of you, it won’t be coffee that reconnects you to living moments of Quality. It might be tea or pizza. It might be basking in the sun or hearing the rush of waves. It might be the feeling of playing cards shuffling in your hands. Whatever it is for you, I invite you to savor these sweet spots and not let the marketeers flatten your palette and hijack your wallet.

And if it is coffee for you, let me pass along some hard-won wisdom: you don’t need an expensive machine to get a good cup of expresso. For about $30.00 you can get a Bialetti stove top maker that makes an outstanding brew. As far as the coffee itself, searching for good beans is a big part of the fun. But just yesterday I ordered a bag of “Ethiopia Kassa Geshe” from a roastery I discovered during our time in Memphis: French Truck Coffee. Enjoy!     


As you might imagine, it’s been a busy time as we wrapped Final Secrets and launched the Final Secrets Pre-Order Package. Now we start handcrafting and assembling four exclusive products for wonderful routines in the book. I am not quite ready to reveal what they are, but I encourage you—faithful subscribers on the inside track—to visit the website on Halloween to see if you are interested, because supplies will be limited.

If it is a little hard to wait until Halloween, I urge you to spend some good, sweet time with Eugene Burger: From Beyond and Teaching Magic. If you don’t yet have these other two parts of the posthumous project, you might consider them because both are in the “Eighth Inning” in terms of supply.


Thank you for spending some of your precious time in my world. Feel free to share this with your friends. Let me know what’s on your mind and, perhaps, what you love to perform after-dinner!


Best Wishes,

Larry Hass

Real-World Magician

Dean of McBride’s Magic & Mystery School

Publisher, Theory and Art of Magic Press