It's December, the birth-month of my lord and savior (Aaron Carter -- he beat Shaq, guys, show him some respect.)
Where do we stand in regards to another year of the The Jerx? Well, now we're at 96% funding pledged. I'm guessing that final 4% will roll in the next few weeks. As I said a couple weeks ago, at this point it's a matter of new people getting turned on to the site, as I assume any of the regular readers would have signed up already if they were so inclined.
I'm quite content with how all of this has played out. Even the fact that we're likely going to just reach the funding goal. Would I have rather reached it and doubled it in a matter of days? Yes, sure. But that would require a much broader support from the magic community. And this would be a very different site if I was writing it looking for the broad support of the general magic community.
I was listening to an interview recently with friend-of-the-site, Seth Godin, where he advocates gearing your output towards the smallest possible audience. "What's the minimum number of people you need to keep doing the work? Make something for those people," he says. And that's where my head has always been.
So, anyways, if things continue along the same trajectory, I expect another year to be funded right around the holidays and that means the next year will start up in early January, and the first issue of The Jerx magazine will be the February issue.
If you want to sign up to support Year Two and receive the monthly Jerx magazine and the Jerx deck of playing cards, scroll down and fill out the form below.
Jamy Ian Swiss reviewed The Jerx, Volume One for his new column over at Magicana.com.
Having your magic book reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss is like making a movie and having it reviewed by Pauline Kael (except less supernatural because she's been dead for 15 years). I think his book reviews in Genii played a part in raising the standards for the content of magic books. His detailed reviews (his review of my book is somehow 15% longer than the book itself) put authors on notice. "Hey, someone is going to be taking this shit seriously, maybe you should too." And I think the quality of thought in magic books was elevated to meet that challenge.
(In a similar manner to the way the bar on magic book design and production was raised by Richard Kaufman, before whom, the most thought anyone put into their magic book was what color comb-binding they should use. (And I mention Kaufman here because I know he and Swiss hate each other and I like to put them together, if only in analogy, because I'm a naughty little scamp. Wheeeeee!!!!))
The truth is, I'm too dumb in regards to magic, as well as just, like, basic vocabulary, to appreciate Jamy's reviews as much as I should. But it seemed he liked the book on some level so I was happy with that.
There was one part of the review I disagreed with that I want to touch on. Not because I think he got it "wrong" but just because it's clearly something I could explain better. He had some qualms with the ramifications of performing certain effects in some of the styles I propose in the book. He seemed concerned that they could come off more as practical jokes than tricks, which might alienate the spectator.
This shouldn't be an issue. Or, at least, it's not an issue for me. I never perform for someone who doesn't know they're watching a magic trick (and I wouldn't recommend anyone else do so either, but it's your life). The specific moment he references is the non-presentation for ring flight mentioned in the first post on the Distracted Artist style. Now, the purpose of this style is not to suggest that you're a wondrous little elf and magic follows you wherever you go. The purpose is to suggest that someone who studies the art of magic might absentmindedly do a trick in the same way someone who studies the art of illustration might doodle on a napkin. These moments don't take place on an island. They're part of a years-long—perhaps life-long—performance piece you conduct for your social circle. It's not something you do for strangers. And since people don't really know what it means to practice magic, the notion that maybe these little moments could happen in an off-handed way is almost intriguingly possible. But it doesn't matter either wayne they believe it. As I wrote in that original post:
"Do I think people believe these things are just really happening? It's a moot question because the answer is: I don't care. I'm not asking them to believe. And what you'll find is when you don't ask something of someone, they don't resist following the path you lay out."
You might think the immersive style of presentations that I also promote on this site might lend themselves to the "practical joke" feel, but that shouldn't be the case either. Remember, I recommend this style be used for people after they've already seen you perform in a more straightforward manner and have expressed an interest in seeing more. So they know me, and know my personality, or at least know my interest in magic. So when I say, "Let's test to see if your baby is clairvoyant," or, "I'm taking down the Sultan of Brunei in a poker game and I need your help practicing," or, "Let's meet up in our dreams tonight," they don't believe it. They play along with it because we have a shared history, a history that involves them being rewarded with a unique experience for playing along.
So when Jamy suggests you probably need to be a good actor to pull off some of my effects, that's not really the case. I can't act for shit. If I was trying to engage people I didn't know, that might be a problem. I couldn't just walk up to them with obvious nonsense. But when I'm interacting with someone who knows me, and knows that "obvious nonsense" is just a precursor to seeing something interesting, I don't need to foster belief, I just need to create some intrigue into where this is all going.
So there's that.
In general though, I really appreciate the thought Jamy (for Magicana) and Kainoa (for Genii) put into their reviews of the book.
"I've never before seen [amateur magic] championed with quite the enthusiasm, creativity, and hilarious Crimp-level vulgarity as TheJerx.com's Andy. It has seldom been this much fun to read about magical theory." -- from Steve Bryant's review of The Jerx, Volume One in the September issue of Little Egypt Magic
"I believe this text contains some of the highest caliber of ideas, also presented in an entertaining form, that I have learned from any book in a long time." -- from Kainoa Harbottle's review of The Jerx, Volume One in the December 2016 issue of Genii
"First and foremost, The Jerx, Volume One is a terrific book. It is spectacularly original and inconceivably provocative. The author is wildly creative, filling the pages with arrestingly imaginative and freshly conceived ideas. Many pieces read like thought experiments that, whether or not I will every perform them, I found utterly engaging and wildly entertaining just to think about." -- From Jamy Ian Swiss' review of The Jerx, Volume One.
Look, had I known the book would get reviews like this I would have printed a lot more. As it is, I'm happy the people who were on board to support the site early on will have a copy of what is likely one of the most limited edition magic books of this size that there is. No, there won't be another printing in any format. When it's gone it's gone. This was my retirement saving plan: Write the greatest magic book ever. Print a small number of copies. Hold onto a few of them for myself. Sell them for 1000s of dollars 30 years from now.
You can stop sending me emails telling me Chad Long ripped off this post for one of his effects in the final MAGIC magazine.
You can stop sending it to me because:
a) Enough people already have
b) I highly doubt he stole the idea. I'd be surprised if I was the first to think of it.
c) I wouldn't give a shit even if he did. I have 1000 ideas better than this.
d) There's a good possibility I am Chad Long and just forgot I had already written up this idea for the blog.
Chad Long... Magic Thief?
Do you wear a 4XL shirt? If so, I'm worried about your heart. And also, there are no more GLOMM shirts in that size, nor will there be in the future because the company that does my screen-printing doesn't stock them.
Let's make 2017 the year you get down to a 3X. Join Weight Watchers, and if you show me a verified weight loss of 50 pounds on whatever documentation they give you, I'll send you a free GLOMM membership kit.
Bad news, magic nerds. Someone else destroyed a copy of Expert at the Card Table for imaginary internet points.
And to make matters worse, those are a girl's hands. A GIRL had the temerity to destroy that masterpiece! Of course, the female brain is probably incapable of understanding how thrilling and delightful an effect like "The Row of Ten Cards" is. It's why they shouldn't be allowed in magic!
I will be checking in a time or two more before the month is over. Make sure to take a few moments to enjoy this festive time of the year before it's gone. Surround yourself with the people you love and Old Gold cigarettes, and practice a little good will towards men.