Thursday, September 29, 2005

Magic sucks

A secondhand story, but from two sources, both of whom I consider reliable:

The setting: The local magic club meeting
The cast: The club regulars, along with a couple of visitors
The plot: Secrets may be revealed to people who are (gasp!) not club members, sending some into a tizzy
The theme: magicians are idiots

So there were visitors at the local magic club this particular night. Not an issue, right? You'd think not, but we're not dealing with reasonable people here - we're dealing with magicians. Any intersection between magicians and common sense is purely coincidental, and if you're concerned, don't be. The union won't last long.

During one of the segments anyone who signed up was to perform, then teach, a trick. None of the tricks were earth-shattering. None were proprietary. In fact, all of the effects taught that night are available for free in books at my local library.

And the visitors...Were they just people who wandered in off the street? Were they hooligans who somehow crashed this exclusive magicians soiree? Nope, they were recent graduates of a magic camp who had been told about this 'wonderful' club by the proprietors of the camp.

I'm betting you're getting ahead of me at this point. Anyway, the time comes to teach these ever-so-valuable secrets and a hue and cry goes up: we must not allow the visitors to stay while we exhibit our superior knowledge! A debate ensues. After much haranguing and hair-pulling it is decided that perhaps, just this once, these neophytes can be allowed a peek behind the curtain.


They had already demonstrated an interest in magic by graduating from the magic camp, and by seeking out the club. And the difference between those deemed worthy to learn these deep, dark secrets and those doomed to ignorance? Fifteen dollars. That's right. No test, no initiation, no apprenticeship. Hand me your check and we ain't got no problem.

There are those in magic who have a slavish devotion to keeping the secrets of magic, well, secret. Unfortunately they often do this blindly, never looking to see if what they are doing is causing a greater harm.

If I were among those visitors that night I would have grabbed my wallet, headed toward the door, and bid those creepy magicians a fond farewell, letting them keep their 'secrets' as I went off and learned magic.


Friday, September 16, 2005

Carry On, Wayward Son

Ah, but can life ever return to normal? And what is "normal"? And why do I post way past my bedtime so you have to read this unintelligible drivel?

I've found it hard to settle back into any sort of rhythm lately, and to get excited about magic. I mean, who cares? Card tricks. Bleh. In the grand scheme, it's nothing. That's the thing about performance art anyway -- by it's very nature it's ephemeral. Writers can create things that last at least hundreds of years. Ditto painters and sculptors. But once a dancer or an actor or a magician is done, his or her creation is gone, less than a puff of smoke, no more impression than a shadow.

Great performance artists at least can leave memories. Magicians are still talking about Hofzinser (but, to prove my point, ask 1000 members of the general public who he was...), Lionel Barrymore's name still comes up in acting circles, jugglers still talk about Enrico Rastelli and singers still mention Jenny Lind. But who am I kiddin'? I never was a great performance artist. I'd have to work hard to scratch my way up to mediocre. I'm not even good in my circle of performance acquaintances. So why care? Why keep it up? Why get excited?

Maybe it's just the circumstances -- all that's happened recently, and the fact that I'm posting this way past my bedtime in a quiet apartment after a tough day at work. Or maybe it really doesn't matter any more and I need to find something to do with the shelves full of magic books and the decks of cards and the half dollars that nobody else but magic nerds carry. There's always eBay.


Monday, September 05, 2005

ob-la-di ob-la-da life goes on

I haven't post much or done much magic recently, even though I have some new (and old) goodies I haven't really touched. My brother's death has affected me more than I want to admit. But life goes on for the rest of us and I don't want to get caught in a spiral of gloom and doom.

(Side note: Hi, Kigali!)

Old and new items I'll be working on and/or reviewing in the near future include Barrie Richardson's Act Two, Daniel Garcia's Torn DVD, and a couple of tricks: "Sideswiped" by Simon Aronson and Ton Onosaka's "Bicycle Built For Five."

If you have any words of wisdom to help me through these tough times either email me or leave them as comments.