A reassuring guide to turning a magical hobby into a profitable business.


The Teen Magician: That's You!


The hard part of magic—getting paid for it—is ably demystified in this straightforward debut primer.

Kraus, a renowned magician who has been performing in paid shows since the age of 12, reveals the secrets behind a few nifty tricks and steers readers toward books, magazines, magic shops and clubs that will teach them the nuts and bolts of the magician’s craft, but his focus is on helping neophyte magicians turn their passion into moneymaking gigs at children’s birthday parties. He emphasizes showmanship as the key to a successful party business: flamboyant costumes (sequins will spruce up the classic top hat and tails); a commanding stage presence (Kraus recommends the performer listen to recordings of his or her voice and practice modulating it); and jokey patter (he includes an extended script for his own “mystery trick” bit that rivets the attention of restive youngsters). Thematic storytelling, running gags and catchphrases help, too, as a way of drawing kids into the unfolding magical effects. Kraus analyzes the niceties of tailoring a show to the audience’s age and attention span—very young kids may not get jokes or register the magician’s apparent defiance of physics and logic—and offers strategies on how to cope with the young volunteer who suddenly dissolves in tears, the disruptive brat who needs to be disciplined or the heedlessly talkative parents who need to be diplomatically shushed. Due attention is paid to the all-important topic of advertising and promotions (sending self-written public relations profiles to local news outlets desperate for filler is a surefire trick), and there’s a thorough discussion of contracting and record-keeping, complete with sample forms. Kraus writes in a clear, humorous style, sprinkling in his own entertaining anecdotes of stage fright, a prop that sliced open his thumb and a flash paper (highly flammable paper) incident that almost burned down the house. Magicians in the making will learn a lot from his vast experience and engaging presentation.

A reassuring guide to turning a magical hobby into a profitable business.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1623097745

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Other Than Now

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2013

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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