Thursday, 20 November 2014

39th Anniversary Party

November 20, 2014

Dear Browser Denizens,

To all those who attended our 39th Anniversary Party last Sunday I send you all a giant THANK YOU!
It was a wonderful turnout of support for our shop. I am truly touched.

Now that the party is over I can also post that this year's 2014 Len Cooper Memorial Award went to worthy recipient Ryan Brown. He has worked very diligently on our beloved art of magic!

Also we were pleased to recognize the wonderful and relentless work of Nicole Lee.  Through her website she promotes all things magical.
It was nice too that both her daughter and husband were present to witness her award.

Of course Bernice Cooper co-founder of Browser's Den with the late Len Cooper, attended the party too. She showed up in the middle afternoon. 
So many attendees were pleased to see her friendly face. And Bernice was present to witness Ryan receiving the Len Cooper award.

I very much would also like to thank all of my kind helpers that day including: Shawna, Eric, Luiz, Lisa, John Michalson and Abdurrahman. Without their help it would have been an impossible task to have the day run as smoothly as it did.

So thanks again!!!

Yours Truly-Jeff Pinsky
Browser's Den of Magic
Serving Magicians Since 1975

Monday, 27 October 2014

Time for a New Blog

October 27, 2014

Hi There Browser's Denizens,

No this (finally) new Blog is not a trick...and the way I write certainly not a treat.

It has been a few months since I posted anything new.
Some of you have figured out by now writing a Blog is not something I enjoy doing. For me, there are already so many Blogs and posts to read. And I truly feel I have little to add.

Further and I am not complaining just pointing out that I am at the shop six days a week. Each night after we close I get home between 8:15pm and 8:30pm depending on whether or not I am taking mail orders to the post office because we close at 7:00pm ish.
Then dinner...So as you can imagine there  is little time to construct somewhat coherent Blogs. And by 9:00pm I am a bit tired.  And thus a battle each night...Turner Channel Old Movies vs. Browser Blog.

Anyway, some of you mention my lack of writing new you go.

We have had many wonderful and fun events the past few months. All of which we have been blessed with strong attendance.

The Asi Wind and Chris Mayhew lectures were particularly strong and informative.

Chris provided a nice selection of old and some new effects. He is just such a fun guy to spend an afternoon of learning with.

Asi Wind...Well, for my money his lecture is filled with closers.  He is one smart sneaky fellow who really cares about magic.

We have some events coming up for your consideration in the new year.
And of course our 39th Anniversary party is only a couple of weeks away.

On another note we have many serious students of magic at the shop.
But I must point out one for his supreme level of creativity. And that person is Luiz Castro.
It is truly amazing how many ideas  he comes up with. Plus he takes his ideas and turns them into props/gimmicks.
He is an amazing guy!

Until next time.
Jeff Pinsky
Browser's Den of Magic
Serving Magicians Since 1975

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Gordon Precious 90th Birthday Bash at Browser's Den

Dear Browser's Denizens,

Gordon performing at his birthday bash!
This past Sunday, June 1, 2014 we held the Gordon Precious 90th birthday party bash at the shop!

It was just GREAT!!      

What a fantastic turnout!! The shop was packed!
So many wonderful friends of the shop and Gordon's came out to support the event!

We had performances by Dave Merry, Christina Kaya and Gordon Precious himself.
Plus Scott Hood the president of the Canadian Association of Magicians presented a special award to Gordon.

Besides our wonderful customers there was also a nice array of prominent magicians, performers and key people of the magic community....including: Glenn Ottaway, Bill Abbott, Lee Asher, Daniel Garcia, Joan Caesar, Richard Forget, Jeff Hill, Mike Segal, Wij, Adam Swaye, James Alan, Danny Hammil, Nicole Lee, and Lisa Close!

And my father's older brother Jerry Pinsky came in from Montreal to visit me and meet some of our customers. My uncle is a young 81 year old eye doctor...who still works full time at his office.  Even my Annie came out to the event for a short while... actually she along with uncle Jerry delivered the cake.

If you look at the photos that Lisa has attached to this piece and notice someone who looks like my dad but is shorter...that is my uncle.

Uncle Jerry Pinsky
Gordon Precious performed the Vanishing Birdcage; of which he does beautifully. 
For the first 40 people to attend the day a free DVD of Gordon Precious performing and explaining the birdcage was given a write-up of his life in magic.

I would like to publicly thank three people who really helped me this happen and provided some great suggestions, Marc Linett and John Talbot! Thank you both very much!!!

AND last but not least...THANK YOU SO MUCH TO MARK BALUK. He videotaped the entire day and will be working on it so that at some point...hopefully not too long...all who were not present will be able to Download it from our website!

Mark Baluk is also responsible for making the free handout!

After we all sang Gordon happy birthday chocolate cake was served!!!

All in a all a wonderful day!!

Thank you all who came!!

Yours Very Truly-Jeff Pinsky

Annie enjoying the magic

Packed house!

David Merry and Gordon

Heather and Jahal

Jeff reading a wonderful letter to Gordon
from magician Michael Ross

Gordon telling some great stories

Monday, 12 May 2014

The Amazing Randi Day at Browser's Den!.

May 12, 2014

Hi There Denizens,

Hope that you are ALL well.

What a wonderful surprise we had last Saturday at Browser's Den.

At about noon none other than The Amazing Randi entered the shop!!! He walked in with his entourage including the president of the Randi Foundation.

Randi was wearing black cape and stylish fedora and sporting a walking cane with a silver skull at it's top.

There were about ten magicians at the shop whose mouths dropped open very wide...I think that I could have pulled out a 50 foot mouth coil from their mouths they were so wide.

I pointed out to Randi that we had a framed poster of him hanging on the wall above the table that magicians hang around and chat. Randi sat down in the chair directly below his poster.

 He encouraged others to sit down and join him at the table.

For the next hour or so Randi performed some impromptu tricks with cards, paper balls, etc.
And he asked others to show him a trick or too.

In short he was so friendly and engaging to all. When he was told he has to leave for other appointments he stayed long enough to take photos and sign autographs with everyone.

I wish I had been given some advance notice. We would have sent out an eflyer to let more people know.

Until Next Time,


Monday, 3 March 2014

Jay Sankey & Card Collector's Day

March 3, 2014

Dear Magic Friends,

Since most of us are talking as much about the weather as we are about our latest sleight of hand moves I am pleased to report that I will make a prediction.
As popular is mentalism these days it was never of much interest to me for most of my formative years studying magic.  Though I do appreciate it more now than then...I still enjoy scarves changing colour and canes changes to candles, linking rings and coins and cups and balls, etc.etc.

That being said, I have decided that I will make a prediction regarding our weather. The cold will disappear by the time I write my next Blog! 

Three weeks ago we hosted a wonderful lecture at our shop by Jay Sankey. I believe that over my 18 plus years running Browser's Den that this is the fourth time we have had a formal lecture by Jay at the shop.

As has always been the case we get a good turnout for Jay. About 62 people attended the lecture; for which we are very thankful.

All in attendance were treated to the usual Sankey wonderful magic.
I noticed that Jay really engaged the crowd when he discussed some magic theory. He made some thought provoking commnets for certain.
One statement he made was that he believed that the origin of the magician in black cape, top hat and moustache was in response to most magicians hiding. Hiding their true shy personality in many cases.  He thought of it as a failure that this has become an iconic figure of magicians.
Jay believes that we magicians must stop hiding behind our costumes and get to the core of magic and our relationships with the audience. Beginning by hiding our true self he believes is a poor starting point.

Jay did a wonderful array of magic.
My favorite was his routine with a borrowed ring and straw.
I know that does not sound like much...but boy oh boy did it look like real magic!!! He fooled me too!

Yesterday, March 2nd we had Tom and Judy Dawson and their Card Collectors Club have a meeting at Browsers' Den.
What a fun, fun time it was for all in attendance.
The Dawsons spoke a bit about the history of playing cards and how to maintain their condition.
What a pleasant couple they are to spend an afternoon with.
Many customers and some of the members of their collectors club brought decks of cards to show, trade and sell to one another.

Also in attendance was Mr. Lee Asher. Lee asked me to host this about three weeks ago. I would have liked a bit more time to promote the event but I am still pleased that about 30 showed. I do thank Lee for the opportunity.

Last Friday night, February 28th, I and John Pellatt (A long time customer of Browser's) drove up to see Bobby Motta perform at Dave & Buster's.
I had never been to Dave & Busters'. John I had enough time to have a quick bit at the restaurant located within the facility.
I was pleasantly surprised that the food was very good and plentiful; not what I expected.

The show was very well attended. I saw about twenty or so customers of Browser's Den in attendance for Bobby's show.

Bill Abbott was the opener. Bill did about 30 minutes of fun and entertaining  Mental Magic. 
I have always thought that one of Bill's great assets is his interaction with audience members. That quality of this really shined through Friday night.
Let's face it, the roles could have been reversed in that Bobby would be opening for Bill. It is a credit to Bobby that he has someone like Bill who is so strong open for him!!
Bill really warmed up the audience well for Bobby.

After Bills' performance there was a two minute break.
Then Bobby came out and did about 1 hour and 45 minutes of VERY STRONG mindreading/mentalism.
I encourage everyone out there to take in Bobby's show.
I am one hundred percent certain that those laymen in the audience (about 100 or so laymen) walked out of that theatre wondering if what they saw that night from Bobby was real or not.
And that not the goal of all magicians/mentalists? That is, for the audience to wonder if what they saw was real or not?

And to top it off not only is Bobby's material super strong...But he has the most important ingredient as far as I am concerned for any performer...THE AUDIENCE LIKES BOBBY MOTTA within 2 minutes of him appearing on stage.  And folks as the old saying goes...that is half the battle.

Until Next Time,
Jeff Pinsky
Browser's Den of Magic
Serving Magicians Since 1975
Tel 416-783-7022

Monday, 13 January 2014

Rob Power Lecture

January 13, 2014

Hi There Dear Magic Friends of Browser's Den!!

Jeff here.  It has been far too long since my last entry.
Not certain that anyone is actually reading these but should there be a few...sorry for the long wait in between my Blog posts.

We started off 2014 with a real big bang with the Rob Power lecture yesterday at the shop.
I was so pleased by the wonderful turnout! Rob is not someone who is well known amongst hobbyists. Most professionals who do not put out products for the magic industry are never really well known unless they make it big.

During Mr. Power's lecture he showed why he has been so busy the past 30 years performing. His talents touch upon many areas of entertainment.
During the lecture attendees were given a treat of a magic buffet and instruction that included: Manipulation, Sleight of Hand, Miser's Dream, Puppetry, Comedy, Fire-Eating, Close-Up Magic and even some crazy fun balloon creations.

But aside from the magic, Rob truly shared so many tidbits of priceless information. Well if not priceless, at least information that takes in many cases 30 years of experience to truly discover...Discover the old fashioned way...through trial and error and hard work.

And if you do not mind me adding...Heck, most lectures we host are ten or fifteen bucks...the price of a movie. I honestly feel and have always felt that if someone gets one or two pieces of information or tricks that they learn then the lecture is a real bargain.
How many movies do people attend that are the same old recipes? Lectures are a bargain.
Okay enough about that mini-rant.

As for me, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience! Rob brought his guitar and played a short song to drive home a magic point! He went well beyond the call of duty.  He did so because he loves his chosen art of communication and is willing to share.

My favorite part of his lecture was his production of a jumbo coin at the end of his Miser's Dream. I have read a lot about that trick as it is one of my favorites. But maybe I missed this somewhere.... Rob stole the Jumbo Coin in a standard manner but hid it in his hand by placing the pail on top of it. So the hand that is holding the pail is the same hand that is holding the jumbo coin...perfectly covered from all angles. Simple right? And that is why it is so beautiful. Again I am sure it is written up somewhere but not in all the routines that I have read about the effect.

Wishing you all the best for 2014.
And don't forget...JAY SANKEY LECTURE at Browser's Den on Sunday, February 9. Please visit the homepage of our website for full details.

Magical Hugs,

Tuesday, 24 September 2013


BOBBY MOTTA LECTURE @ Browser's Den of Magic

September 22nd, 2013 (4-6pm)

Guest Review by "Boychick" Pan
 Attending the Bobby Motta lecture at the Browser's Den of Magic this past Sunday, September 22nd (approx. 4pm to 6pm) was like attending a party with a packed room full of friends all gathered together to share some wonderful secrets presented by a charismatic powerhouse of a performer, Mr. Bobby Motta.

Such is his energy and enthusiasm and natural ability to entertain that the two hours flashed by in an instant. Trying to recapture Bobby's performance in print is no easy task - it is so relaxed and he is so genuinely funny that it would be easy to mistake it all for an impromptu session. But that it looks so effortless and natural is because of the years of hard work and dedication to his art that Bobby has undertaken. He admits to close to 3000 professional performances in his 13 year pro career. It shows. Interestingly, he actually started out as a hobbyist at the Den (at its old location on Eglinton).

As Jeff Pinsky, gracious host for the event explained, Bobby's transformation from casual hobbyist into one of Canada's most innovative, creative and sought-after professionals is nothing less than "an amazing journey". Fortunate were we who caught his lecture - unbelievably his very first ever - which included such luminaries in the crowded room as Jay Sankey.

Bobby is what they call a performer's performer. Even if things are going wrong you would never know, or even care because he has the audience eating out of the palm of his hand. For not only is he genuinely funny but he is immensely likable. If an audience likes you, then my friend, you have discovered the true secret of a successful career whether it be in  magic or anything else. If Bobby could sell that secret he could retire a rich, young, and still likable guy!

The Lecture
The lecture consisted of a performance and explanation of (I counted) nine effects out of his attractively packaged lecture notes. (Other mentalism goodies were also on sale at discounted rates.) Everybody came away with something really good. Fans of magic got a fantastic show. Mentalists came away with some killer effects. Card guys and gals got some innovative routines. Comedy aficionados got a lot of laughs. At $10 for admission it was a bargain for everyone.

Bobby began with a demonstration of the variations possible with his commercially available effect, "Blackmail" (a fiendishly clever update of an old principle discussed in Corinda). To discuss it at length would be to reveal its secret, so I won't. I will just say if you want to read minds, get "Blackmail". You won't be disappointed. Jeff stocks it at The Den.

Along with the comedy and the awesome mentalism, Bobby shared some of his philosophy of performance. (And personally I would've liked to have heard even more.) He made a point of explaining that every move he makes has a purpose and that it is important to plot and reason out all your moves. Quite rightly, he concludes, audiences will catch you out on any funny or unmotivated moves.

His next effect was a mind reading number utilizing business cards. Again, to say much more than that would fall into exposure but I will say I think this one effect alone was worth the cost of the lecture and/or the cost of the lecture notes. With it, you can mind-read anywhere without any preplanning or elaborate props.

There followed a number of well done effects that had most folk scratching their heads in amazement. My notes are a bit hard to read at this point as I was probably laughing so much at Bobby's stage antics. I will briefly note his astonishing "Zoom" illusion - which he sells commercially - during which his head seemed to expand like an inflated balloon. No kidding! Very bizarre and very visually effective indeed.

Bobby also had a number of pet card routines which I know the card fans in the room really appreciated. If you buy his lecture notes whenever you get the chance all will be revealed.

Concluding Thoughts
The combination of comedy and believable straight-on mentalism is a rare one (at least IMHO). I often feel one doesn't quite go with the other with most performers. With Bobby the two mesh perfectly. He is totally believable as an intense practitioner of the psychic arts. But he is also so  funny that even when you know exactly what he's doing or how, you just don't care. You just get carried along with his onstage joy of living in the moment.

I especially liked it when he pointed out that "most people never actually see magic in real life" and so you may well be their first live magic performance. You want to make sure, emphasized Bobby, that when you do any effect, even if you are only a hobbyist, that you have practiced it to perfection. "Do them really well, do them beautifully, blow people away with whatever magic you do." A man of his word, Bobby's first lecture blew everyone away and created a memorable afternoon that excited and inspired all who attended.

Thank you Bobby Motta for such an enjoyable, enlightening afternoon.

And thank you Jeff Pinsky for hosting yet another excellent special event at the Den.