Friday, February 20, 2015

Movement and Magic

If you're going to be a magic performer either on stage or up close, I highly recommend practicing some sort of movement discipline.  I've been involved in Judo, Aikido, and Tai Chi for many years.  Tai Chi in particular is excellent for leaning well balanced movement that is essential to a foundation of performing magic.  Here's a really interesting Tai Chi video:

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Goodbye to Dean

I just got the news that another friend and magic great passed away this past week.  Dean Dill was a prolific inventor and one of the most enthusiastic of magic lovers.  He was also a very talented stylist, and during the years that I lived in LA, he kept my hair looking good.  And of course it never failed that whenever I came for a haircut, he'd have one of his latest magical creations to show me.  I was always proud that he asked me to design his logo:


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Real Magic

Are you bringing real magic into your performances? True to life magic is about creating transformation that transcends the laws of the material world.  When you can transform another human being's emotional state to that of joy, wonder, or even a moment of simple fun and enjoyment, that is real magic. It goes far beyond the simple physical attributes of a "magic trick" and goes to something much deeper.

Is that your purpose as a performer? Or are you "in it for yourself"? Do you do magic for your own self-aggrandizement? Or do you aspire to touch others in positive ways?

Herein lies to work of a true artist.


Friday, December 5, 2014

Farewell, Old Friend

First, my apologies for being so long between posts. I've gotten sidetracked from the world of magicians by a focus on my own performances and marketing to the public.  That's no excuse for neglecting my contacts in the magic community, though, and I'm reminded of that fact by some sad news that I received on Wednesday evening.

I just heard that one of my closest and dearest friends, Andrew Dakota, passed away this week.  Though I hadn't seen him in quite some time, since we lived so far apart, I did speak to him on the phone a few weeks ago.  Though he'd been struggling with some rather severe health issues for quite some time, he was, as always, very positive and upbeat.

For those of you who knew Andrew, I'm sure you will agree that he was not only a brilliant and exceptionally creative magical artist, but also one of the kindest and most generous of persons.  Andrew was what I like to call a "wise soul".  He had tremendous compassion and deep insights into what it means to be an honorable, conscientious, and caring human being.

Known in the international magic community as a prolific inventor, Andrew loved exploring a truly artistic approach to magic.  We had frequent in depth conversations not only about performing and creativity in magic, but about life, spirituality, and the nature of reality.  He was a deep thinker and a true philosopher, not just in the academic sense (though he was certainly highly intelligent and could hold his own with even the most intellectual of conversationalists), but even more in the deeper sense of having a profound, intuitive sense of wisdom about how things are and how life should be lived.

We were kindred spirits in so many different ways, and he had a profound impact on my life, as well as on that of my wife, Kathi, and on our relationship.  He was a true friend to us in the deepest sense of the word, and we will miss him greatly.  Wherever you are, Andrew, I know you'll be giving us all a knowing wink and a warm smile... until we meet again...  Farewell, my friend.

Andrew Dakota
(born Mark Andrew Diekman)
April 5, 1955 - December 1, 2014


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Attitude to Magic

What is your attitude towards magic?  This is something I've written about before, but it's a crucial topic if you hope to excel at the performance of magic and to touch your audiences in any way deeper than mere curiosity.

I wholeheartedly think that it's important to believe that the magic is real.  Do I mean by this that you should actually think that you have real telekinetic or other paranormal abilities?  No, not necessarily.  (Although I suppose I couldn't completely rule out even that possibility completely!)  What I do mean is that in the moment, when you are actually performing the magic, it's essential to be fully in the experience of the magic, and to perceive it yourself as real, as authentic.  Emotionally, psychologically, physically even, you need to go fully into the experience of the magic as actually happening in the ways that you are portraying it as being.  It's basically a specific type of method acting, wherein, like an actor, you fully immerse yourself, emotionally and otherwise, into the experience of the magic in whatever context it occurs.

And of course, in this context, one of the most important questions is "what is your attitude towards the magic as it happens?"   Recently I've more specifically clarified my own performing attitude.  For me, the experience of magic is that it is a powerful and wondrous encounter with the mystery and joy of life.  Magic is powerful, but unpredictable.  Sometimes I'm in complete control of this magical power, directing it exactly as I see fit.  In those moments I exude power, mystery, and command.  My word is law.  Other times I'm just along for the ride, and I have no idea what to expect, and am often every bit as (and sometimes even more) surprised by the directions in which this magical, mysterious power expresses itself as the audience.

And I'm completely comfortable with either of these expressions of magic, and not attached to having one or the other specifically at any given moment.  When I'm in complete control of the magical power, I’m not trying to use it in any egotistical way, to see myself as better than others.  In fact, my intention is to share this incredibly powerful experience, to allow others to experience it through me.  Then when the magic takes on a life of its own, I'm simply delighted and amazed by it, filled with the joy of wonder, and willing to share that experience as well.  And often I can go from one to the other in the blink of an eye.  When in the midst of exuding powerful control, I can instantly be astounded by something completely unexpected, or conversely, when caught up in delight in the thrill of the moment, I can choose to shift suddenly to a moment of an intense demonstration of my mastery of this power that I call magic.  My mood, approach, and attitude can move abruptly but smoothly from one to the other from one moment to the next.

The audience is never completely sure whether I'm profoundly serious, or really just yanking their chain and having fun with them.  And of course, ultimately it really is a little of both.

So what is your attitude to magic?  Of course much of this you'll discover by simply letting yourself loose to explore when in actual performances.  It's a process of discovery, and therein lies the art.  But it's important that you find it.  It might be similar, in tone at least, to what I've described as mine.  But it might not.  It might be completely different.  Perhaps you're almost completely indifferent and even cavalier about it.  Perhaps your ability to do incredible, impossible feats has become so natural to you that you almost ignore it when it happens.  Like it's no big deal.  But whatever it is, it needs to be uniquely and distinctly YOU!  There are as many possible approaches to this as there are people who do magic.

On the technical side, your body language, sleights, and everything else, has to blend seamlessly into what you are expressing when the magic happens.  But of course, that's a whole other topic!


Monday, February 11, 2013

Thanks to IAA

Just wanted to send a big "Thank You!" to the Illinois Auctioneers Association.  I presented a program last night at their annual conference.  They were terrific to work with, and they gave me a standing ovation at the end of my program.


Friday, February 8, 2013

Jack Turk Interview

Well, I'm only a year late in getting this posted, but here's the interview I did with Jack Turk last year.
(click to play, or right click to download)
Turk Interview