OK, I got seriously into magic late, so my first exposure to David Regal (davidregal.com) came only about a year ago when I saw his version of the Ambitious Card in a compilation DVD and I’ve been a fan ever since. His routines tend to appeal to the kid inside me, even though the routines, while generally family-friendly, are not necessarily children’s magic. These two videos are from a 2012 appearance at the Magic Castle and combined time out to a bit less than 20 minutes as he performs while discussing his path into magic. These are a lot of fun.
Jerry Andrus (1918-2007, jerryandrus.org) was a master at close-up magic. Of all the memberships at the Magic Castle, his was #306 and performed bi-annually there. Today’s dose is a large one. It’s his complete act in the Close-Up Room done in 1998 when he was 80 years old. It’s not a quick bit to follow, so settle in a bit before you watch it. Jerry was self-taught in magic and many of his moves were adopted by other notable magicians. Watching this is watching something very special in the world of legerdemain. It is truly watching a master, with all those years and all that experience, at work.
Going through J.B. Bobo’s “Modern Coin Magic,” there are a number of variants to the Coins Across plot line, not to mention the variants that other magicians have developed and made there own. Tommy Wonder does his variant with a “Magician in Trouble” spin, and with his usual suave delivery, pulls the audience right along with him. This was from his Tahoe sessions that are presented in his video series “Visions of Wonder.”
I guess posting my wishes to everybody comes a bit late, but I’m okay with that. The holiday season in the U.S. isn’t over, so I’m more posting in the midst of it. In the midst of some decent memories, I do have one that sticks out. I’m feeling a bit loquacious due to a rather stiff drink of Kraken rum and Coke, and due to my wife already being in bed, I’m compelled to write instead.
Due to being sick, my wife and I missed the yearly Christmas Eve party at my grandfather’s house. It was a bit of a bummer for us, and on my side, I was looking to drag whatever poor souls that were willing to watch to a magic show I had prepared. In a house that was probably crowded when my grandparents were raising their five kids, we have a good time with the 30-40 family members that congregate there each year. It’s packed, young children run around like mad, and it is absolute, beautiful chaos. Missing it really did leave me bummed. In this case, though, instead of being on Christmas Eve, it was done on the Sunday before.
We had arranged to go to see my family on Christmas Day once I called them to tell them we wouldn’t be there for the party, but later decided to go on Christmas Eve so we would be able to stay later without dealing with having to leave early from visiting to be ready for work the next day and decided to see my grandfather before going to my parents. And this is where my story really starts.
We went to see Grandpa and had a wonderful time talking to him. I’ve mentioned before (jasonstackmagician.com/2013/11/24/probably-my-favorite-performance-yet) how much esteem I hold my grandfather in, and when my beloved and I visited him, we had a wonderful time chatting, catching up and reminiscing and just enjoying each others’ company. Of course, after his response to me performing magic for him on the last visit, I brought stuff for my act along.
When I figured it was time, I asked if he minded seeing my latest bit that I had been working on and he was very happy to see it. I realized while performing the routine that I had not rehearsed it as many times as I should, and I was glad for the test run, but we all had a great time. After I had done the bit, we started talking and Grandpa told us how his favorite piece of magic was always the Linking Rings, so I performed my routine for him again. And really, as the Linking Rings are my favorite piece of magic, it felt wonderful to know that I shared that in common with someone who I held in such great esteem. With the discussion we had afterwards, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face when I was done.
See, I think that when I perform magic, I’m back to being a kid again. Michele can tell how happy the experience makes me each time I perform, whether it’s been for a small group or running an act over and over again for a festival. One of the major magic suppliers has a motto of “Born to Perform,” and that sums up the experience of performing magic for me. Whether for a group or for a single person, when I perform, the smile plastered to my face is not forced. It’s as genuine as any smile I’ve ever had and lingers long after I’ve packed up my kit and come home.
The icing on the cake for me, though, was what came after. Now, the last time I performed for Grandpa, I noted how his eyes were wide open the entire time I went through my routine, and I got that again. The little, but oh, so substantial, gift I got this time was this: As I fumbled to lock the door behind me on my way out, I heard my grandfather whistling a tune. Seriously, I couldn’t ask for a better Christmas gift than that. That one is going to stay with me for a long time.
At the IBM Ring 1 Holiday Party, we had a White Elephant gift exchange. In this exchange, I ended up with a box of a gross of used casino decks of cards, which at first glance really felt like the booby prize. Considering the card folds I want to learn, in addition to a particular trick by Roy Walton, I realized what I really ended up with was (after giving 60 decks away) 4536 chances to get these right. I wanted to post a video of bar magician Scotty “The Silver Fox” York’s (1937-2012) handling of this trick, but was unable to find it posted online (and didn’t want to be in copyright violation myself by posting it). I did find his handling of the Silver/Copper Transposition, though, which is another great demonstration of how well he could work a crowd. I do love a trick that is posed as a bar bet.
Between Chop Cup and Cups and Balls routines, I’ve went through quite a few number of routines trying to find routines as starting points for doing my own. Jim Swain (www.jimswain.com) is mostly noted for his card magic, but his Chop Cup routine is definitely one that resonates with me as being one I want to adapt for a standing and/or busking routine.
Spanish magician Juan Tamariz is arguably the greatest magician currently alive. At 71 years old, he doesn’t perform often in the United States, so his upcoming appearance and workshop in January at the Magi-Fest (www.magifest.org) will be special events. Even in this video, it’s hard to argue with how strong he is as a magician and performer.
Last weekend, at our local Magicians’ Round Table, I got the opportunity to meet St. Louis native and globally-renown television magician Chris Korn (www.chriskorn.com), who was in town for a corporate gig the night before. For the St. Louis magi, I’m probably one of the last to meet Chris, but he’s a seriously nice guy in addition to his skill in magic. In 2011, he appeared on a BBC show, “The Magicians,” and though he didn’t win the competition, he definitely put on a great show. He performed this routine with actress Sam Womack, and with the double-blind effect, makes it all the more impressive.
Michael Vincent (www.michaelvincentmagic.com) is a world class close-up magician, winning multiple awards as Close Up Magician of the Year for The Magic Circle. His technique and presentation in his routines is classy and flawless. This video is from his second appearance on Penn & Teller’s “Fool Us” and it’s just beautiful and gets great praise from Penn.
Taiwanese magician Red Tsai took third place in the 2012 FISM competition in the micromagic category. In this video, we see his take on some classics of magic done with a fun twist.