People Point and Stare – It’s Magic

Inside Magic Image of Garanimals TagsAlthough not strictly about magic, we do listen to Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast every week.  His humor is not for everyone – like minors, people with normal emotional values, the sensitive among us – but he is funny to us.

This week’s episode features Lewis Black and a short discussion about David Copperfield and Doug Henning.

We were listening whilst walking to the busy editorial office of Inside Magic and getting strange looks from the folks we were passing in the street, along the sidewalks, through narrow crevices, around bends and over small mounds of what appeared to be clothing or people wearing clothing but not moving.  We are accustomed  to being stared at.  We chalk it up to our boyish good looks, effervescent charm, efficient use of tartar control toothpaste, naturally curly nose hair and willingness to take adventures in clothing choices.

For instance, today, we wore contrasting animals from the Garanimals collection.  We went with a Tiger “Top” and a Giraffe “Lower.”  That says “Wild Human” in any language.

We know, crazy, right?!

We thought people were staring because we were laughing so much.  We thought maybe they were sharing in our glee and not staring derisively but when one elderly woman was nearly struck by an auto as she tried to scurry across Santa Monica Boulevard to avoid our path, we figured out that the people of West Hollywood just have not seen unadulterated joy.  Chances are that if they haven’t seen it enough, they haven’t experienced it either.

So we offered to share our podcast listening experience with those we encountered.  We even cleaned the ear bud of the unsightly wax build-up (our own — we think) before trying to stick it into the ears of our fellow pedestrians.  We were not aggressive in our ear bud offering and were certainly not, as was written in an “incident” report “trying to stab victims in the head with an implement.”

Long story short, people were staring at us because we apparently accidentally sat in a chocolate cream pie at some point and our Giraffe pants needed dry cleaning stat.  We were pretty sure it was chocolate cream pie residue and that certainly explained why we left stains everywhere we sat in the last few days.

Tonight, we return to the Magic Castle with our new routine – freshly choreographed and scripted.  We will change our clothes before visiting the amateur rooms downstairs at the Magic Castle.  If you are in the neighborhood, stop by and say hello.  Just don’t stare and point.

Woody Allen Disgruntled with Chicken at Magic Castle

Sad BunnyThe National Enquirer spills the fava beans with a story about Woody Allen being disgruntled at The Magic Castle.

We have always said that if some cannot be gruntled at the Magic Castle, there is no place they will not be disgruntled.  This just proves our point.

According to The Enquirer’s Mike Walker, Mr. Allen ordered a “plain broiled chicken” for his entrée.  Unfortunately, the chef did not serve him just a plain piece of poultry but provided a portion with a “special sauce.”

According to Mr. Walker’s sources, Mr. Allen became “really upset.  All he’d wanted was plain broiled chicken, so he barely touched the meal.”

He complained about it later when a strolling magician asked how he was enjoying the evening.  “So far, nobody’s made my hunger disappear!”

See what he did there?  Hunger, disappear, magic trick, dinner disgruntlement.

Mr. Allen participated in a trick where the magician caused his $100.00 bill to vanish.   He couldn’t let go of his chicken issues, though.

He apparently rolled his eyes and commented “I’ll be happy if it reappears as a plain broiled chicken!’”

Oh, dear.  He must be thinking of that old U.F. Grant parlor trick, Bill to Chicken Supreme.  We used to perform it back in the late 1960s and early 1970s before the animal rights folks became so insistent.  It was a great trick and depended on a pull to hook onto the chicken’s feet with a little Velcro harness that could be difficult to work.

Jimmy King later came out with a much more effective harness system for the chicken vanish but by then audiences had come to disapprove of tricks involving freshly cooked birds.

Why is TV Magic So Unmagical?

Carreras ltd cards spotting the cardEntertainment Weekly writer Brittany Frederick asks why with so much magic on television recently, we are not feeling magical?

She points to the recent spate of shows about our craft such as Criss Angel BeLIEve; Syfy’s Wizard Wars, Close Up Kings, and Troy: Street Magic; The CW’s resurrection of Masters of Illusion and importing of Penn & Teller: Fool Us.   She likes the craft but apparently not the way it is being translated to television sets.  It is tough to disagree with her take.

She points out that Masters of Illusion has been squished from an hour-long show to 30 minutes (including commercials).  The net effect is that “Dean Cain has to go through acts so quickly that you barely have time to let the tricks sink in.”

Ms. Frederick bemoans – again with our wholehearted agreement – the move from logistics of putting on a magic show to the effect in isolation.
“What was so fantastic about Criss Angel BeLIEve when Spike unveiled it in October 2013 was that it was almost about everything but the performance. We got to know Angel a lot better and understand what it was like for him to do these challenging tricks every day. We learned about the history involved with many of his demonstrations. We met his team, and were able to listen in on their discussions about how to make magic happen, whether it was building a prop or finding the perfect location. We saw when things didn’t go according to plan and how they dealt with those situations. These are elements of magic that most TV audiences probably haven’t even thought about.”
Audiences are now taken from appreciating the history of a particular effect and the very real logistical challenges of presenting the trick, to merely asking whether an effect is performed with camera tricks or dodgy editing.

Check out her full article and well-considered opinions here.

Magic Site Hacked – Ours

Inside Magic Image of Innovative BunnyWe have been off-line for quite a while.  We were hacked by someone (or something) and have had to restore our databases of stories going back to the late 1930’s.  Why people would hack a humble magic news blog is beyond us, but then again, so is algebra and cutting straight with sharp scissors.

The good news is that we have restored almost all of the databases.  We lost a few packets of information but most of those articles were from the era when we were publishing according to the whims of our old editor, Paw Lawton.  Paw has gone to meet his reward.  By that, we mean that he turned his sister into the deputies, collected her bounty and is now living in Lakeland, Florida.

The Paw Lawton stretch of stories mostly dealt with thing Paw found interesting, like gambling and the history of gambling and his personal history of gambling and inappropriate limericks.  For the staff at Inside Magic, those were dark days.  Paw was beloved – probably, by someone, maybe his mom – and an institution in the Hardy magic family.  He had worked with and for two of our predecessors in the Hardy magic dynasty (pronounced “digh-nsty” and not, “da nasty”).

So, we lost many of the Paw Lawton stories – but somehow we will carry on.   We must.  Not because it is what Paw would have wanted – he would have wanted a lot more gambling stories and provocative images illustrating limericks – but because we are contractually obligated to do so.

It is good to be back.

Reveen the Impossiblist’s Tradition Continues

Inside Magic Image of Reveen The Next GenerationThe late Peter Reveen, known professionally as Reveen the Impossibilist, passed away in 2013 but his family’s gift to the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre in Newfoundland, Canada.

Mr. Reveen’s last show was on the main stage at the Arts and Culture Centre in 2008 and now on Saturday, his son Ty will carry on in the Impossiblist tradition with a new Reveen show on the same stage.  Mr. Reveen’s 13-year-old grandson Taj was also at the presentation. He says he’s looking forward to taking over the show when his father, Ty, retires.

The family donated Mr. Reveen’s famous bejewelled red tuxedo to the Centre.

Tickets are available for this weekend’s show here.

Check out the Reveen website here.