FUCK YOU: A Magazine of the Arts - Number 5, Vol. 4
NAKED CITY [Ex-Libris Ralph Ingersoll, Founder of PM Newspaper]
[Original Poster for "afro/rock night with Assagai" at Hull University]
KULCHUR - Vol. 2 No. 5 - Spring 1962


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[ca. 1886-87]. Album, 9'' by 12'' approximately. Green cloth boards, decorated in red, black and gilt, with blind embossing to rear board. Edges worn and scuffed, with spine splitting and threads fraying along edges. Small tears to head and tail of spine. Newspaper clippings neatly mounted to all leaves recto and verso, with three pieces of ephemera laid in and a handwritten page tipped in to first leaf. Includes a few brief handwritten notations throughout, most adding dates and place names to otherwise unlabeled clippings. (Item ID: 22733)

Mid-career album of theatrical advertisements, reviews, and assorted press clippings tracking magician Harry Kellar's performance tour through North America in 1886-87. Kellar (1849-1922) was a towering figure in the history of stage magic and the first Dean of the Society of American Magicians. Remembered today in large part due to Houdini's enthusiasm and respect for him, Kellar rose to fame decades before his younger colleague. By the time documented in this album, Kellar had impressed himself upon the public as the Monarch of Conjurors, the Famous Wizard, Prince of Prestidigitateurs, Professor of Legerdemain: Kellar the Necromancer, whose memoirs were edited by his faithful assistant and familar, "Satan, Junior." His most famous accomplishments include his Self-Decapitation -- a trick anyone can do once, magician or no. Kellar's innovation was to replace his head back onto his shoulders, thus making the performance replicable. His automaton ìPsycho,î copied from John Maskelyne, was widely admired, as was his signature trick of disappearing, transmogrifying, and teleporting a series of innocent guinea pigs who never asked for a life in show business but endured it as stoically as they were able.Kellar's earliest training came as an apprentice of the influential Fakir of Ava: on stage, a Burmese mystic but in life, a Buffalonian conjuror with pretensions. Several formative years were then spent touring with the Davenport Brothers, performing mediums who described their shows as "seances" and worked with the alleged aid of spirit guides, but adjusted their private professions/confessions of belief or skepticism to suit the audience at hand. Kellar later partnered with William Fay to tour their own Spirit Cabinet act until 1875, when vengeful Spirits [1], weary of confinement and unable to form a union, conspired with the Ocean to sink their ship, together with all its contents ó luggage, money, entire conjuring apparatus ó in the Bay of Biscay. After this disaster Fay took himself back to the Davenports, while Kellar sold the diamond ring still left to him and returned to magicianship on his own. Throughout his career, Kellar incorporated illusions and techniques learned from mediums, while firmly disassociating himself from Spiritualism ó philosophically, if not technically ó and advertising himself as an ally of science against superstition. Nevertheless, contemporary journalists noted that sufficiently skillful "humbug" was wildly popular with Spiritualists, whatever denials the performer might make: "No matter if it was assumed Kellar practiced deception; borrowing methods introduced by mediums in the end introduced a line of thought and investitagation [sic] that led right into the Spiritualist camp.îKellar would retire in 1908 and returned to perform in public just once, in 1917, at Houdiniís request. A few years after, he died in Los Angeles.óóóóóóóóóóAlbum contents:Kellarís own florid ad copy for his performances at Philadelphia's Arch St. Opera House fills the first 10 leaves, enticing the public to watch a man whoIS IN LEAGUE WITH THE DEVILCANNOT BE TIEDANIMATES A SKELETONSEES A MAN MURDEREDACTUALLY EATING FIREPROTECTED BY DEMONS and, most unfortunately, EATS A GUINEA PIG. [2]The remainder of the album consists of newspaper reviews, articles, and theatrical ephemera. One program notes: ìDuring the performance in the Mysterious Cabinet, Cornet Solos will be performed by the Ghost.î At this point in Kellarís career, collaborations with genuine Ghosts were firmly behind him, and this cornet player was almost certainly Eva Medley. An Australian fan of Kellar, she subsequently became his assistant, onstage collaborator, wife, and cornetist, playing the part of Princess Karnac in Kellarís famous levitation illusion.An endpaper note in an unknown modern hand identifies this album as Kellar's own personal property; though this cannot be confirmed, a few pieces of ephemera suggest it as a real possibility. Laid in is a small handwritten note, unsigned but bearing an English address associated in 1887 with Frederic Conde Williams and almost certainly in his own hand. Williams, onetime Justice of the Supreme Court of Mauritius ó where Kellar performed and was inducted into the Royal Arch Degree of freemasonry ó was the dedicatee of Kellar's 1886 "A Magician's Tour Up and Down and Round About the Earth,î and their first meeting is detailed in that same book.Also laid in is a show card dated May 7, 1886, from Eduardo [Edward] Orrin, of circus-theater legends G.F. Orrin and Sons, later the Orrin Brothers. The Orrin family originated in England and settled in Mexico after years of touring South and Central America.Finally, tipped in to the first album leaf is a handwritten recipe calling for Tannin, Monsel's Salt [iron sulphate], Soda Bi-Carb, and Acid Tartaric. This pharmaceutical mixture has no known magical properties. [1] An educated conjecture. Not proven.[2] An exculpatory backstory is provided.

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