Steve Spill. This guy lies for money!

152I have been doing my prep work for an upcoming story about Steve Spill for Vanish Magazine and just last night finished reading his new book “I tell lies for money.” I don’t want to pre-empt my own story, which is going to be presented in a Playboy style 20 questions format, but I do want to write a blog post to recommend this fabulous book to all our readers.

I first met Spill about 40 years ago when I arrived as a young magician in Los Angeles, and have been a fan of his work ever since. Steve and I haven’t really got to spend a whole bunch of time hanging out together as we are both fairly fanatically hard working and prolific performers. We are usually busy doing what we do. However I have always been interested and kept a close eye on what he is doing because it is usually of enormous interest and always totally unique.

I was a close friend of Steve’s dad Sandy at the Magic Castle, who proudly kept me up to date on his son’s slightly crazed antics as he cut a swath across the magic scene. The first time I had actually met Steve was when we were both performing our auditions together to become Castle performers. I was excited because I had just bought a copy of Spill’s first book, “My hands can be your hands.” I still own it— it is probably worth some serious bucks these days!

Steve’s most recent book is due for official release in May and you can check out the details and order a copy from Amazon by steve_spillclicking on…/dp/1632204924 I can safely guarantee that you will not be disappointed with it if you are a fan of magical history. Steve has mixed with and learned from the greats over the years and shares some marvelous stories about his friends and mentors such as Dai Vernon, Charlie Miller, Bob Sheets and Penn & Teller.

As you turn the pages of the book you will travel along the amazing timeline that Steve has walked like a tightrope, stretched between his prodigious skills as a magician and his flamboyantly eccentric gifts as a showman. From his early residency with Bob Sheets at the Jolly Jester in uber-hip Aspen, right though to his 17 plus years owning and (still) operating “Magicopolis” in Santa Monica. It has been a fascinating journey. I am pretty darn sure that this is just going to be volume one of his autobiography, and feel confident that Spill will be zigzagging towards even bigger and more eccentric goals in years to come. He is that kind of guy.

Reading the book you will be able to explore Steve’s signature tricks and singular approach to creating magic that stands out from everyone else in the field. While there are no tricks explained or taught in it’s pages— it would take a mighty un-resourceful magician not to learn a great deal from this book. However, don’t look at it this way— just settle back and enjoy the stories and anecdotes that are scattered throughout the 30 chapters that comprise the book. It is a fine and funny read.

photo 1As many of you know I feel very strongly that for all the magic books that feature tricks and moves, there are not nearly enough that help document the day-to-day events and characters that make our industry such a unique one. It was my goal when I started to write this column nearly eight years ago to help to rectify that situation. I am delighted to recommend this book to all our readers and heartily suggest you buy or download a copy at your soonest opportunity. It achieves this end superbly.

I say this in spite of the fact that Steve’s book dedicates an entire chapter to the entirely amazing “Dr. Qs Hypnotic Act.” This routine is one of the greatest secrets ever to have been available and almost universally ignored by magicians over the years. I’ve used a variation of it for years and I have frankly been delighted that it has never been performed much by the magic fraternity at large. Well I guess the cat may well be out of the bag now…

Once again you can access “I lie for money” via the Amazon site at…/dp/1632204924

You can also discover the details of Steve’s cult magic club “Magicopolis” by visiting its website at

~ by Nick Lewin on February 19, 2015.

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