After the privilege of peeking at an early draft of this book in 2008, I've been on pins and needles for its official release. Few people can boast having Sting as an opening act—the Sting, after he won all those Grammy awards—with photos to prove it. Steve Spill, of Santa Monica's MAGICOPOLIS fame, has chosen not to be discouraged by the impossible. He has finally revealed the unbelievable but true story of how he built and has maintained (for 17 years and counting) his own magic theatre when multi-million dollar conglomerates have failed (like Caesar's Magic Empire in Vegas, Wizards at Universal Studios Hollywood, and Copperfield's Magic Underground in New York). It's ultimately a how-to book for crazy dreamers (with practical tips on securing funding, generating publicity, attracting celebrities, filling theatre seats, operating a business, and staying sane), colored by three decade's worth of funny and rather slanderous anecdotes about the rich and famous around the world. His exposé is entitled, I Lie for Money, and that's the first clue that Spill is actually coming clean: if a liar says he's lying, then that statement itself is a lie, so he is by definition telling the truth.
Full disclosure: I've been enchanted by Steve Spill ever since my first visit to Magicopolis, and it's because of his uncanny talent to make one feel like a million bucks. It's not the sort of charisma that makes you feel like you're the only person in the room, but Steve Spill makes you feel like the only celebrity in the room. (And I mean that quite literally -- it was during my second visit to Magicopolis that Steve Spill announced to the entire audience that I was in attendance, as if I weren't some fringe curator of unicorn sounds and arcane lexicons.) Granted, he does lie when he promises that Magicopolis will entertain you for an evening, because in truth the mystification carries with you long after the show is over. For example, on my most recent visit to his theatre, he called up my 10-year-old niece to the stage to participate in a bit of wonderment. When she returned to her seat in the audience, she noticed that the "It's my birthday" button she had been wearing all day was suddenly not there. Now, the birthday button didn't figure into the show, and I'm convinced that Steve Spill never touched her person, nor do I have reason to suspect that he's a kleptomaniac. But my niece's birthday was transformed by the experience of being called to the stage and made to feel like a real Hollywood star. And she marveled at how Steve Spill seemingly performed an entire bit of vanishing magic not for the audience but just for her. This idiosyncratic and presumably accidental occurrence nonetheless illuminates the way that Steve Spill mystifies beyond mere tricks, and there's no doubt that a great many people have experienced albeit different but profoundly mysterious occurrences around this magician. His remarkable life story is proof that he's not limited by what's possible, and that transfers to his audience in uncanny ways.