George Tait – Inside Magic Review

 

George Tait

George Tait is a young man with an older name. “George” is a name for someone of our generation but the name seems to match someone who looks young, is young, but has the experience of someone more worried about their 401K than their MP3s.

Mr. Tait claims to be “still young” and yet he has performed our kind of magic since he was six. At that young age, he learned the importance of checking your props before taking the stage. As a practical joke, someone removed a gimmick from his big trick. He was baptized into the world of magic with his own cold sweat.

Fast forward not too many years to last night in Royal Oak, Michigan. Mr. Tait offered his lecture to a group of old and somewhat crusty magicians. How did it go? Did he have more cold sweats?

We’re happy to report his lecture was a wonderful mixture of very neat ideas and neat tricks to accompany those ideas. His approach to lecturing is refreshing and humble. He does not claim — and perhaps he believes because he is just entering college that he cannot claim — to be the all-knowing font of magic knowledge.

He offered effects he enjoys performing and his attitude was one of sharing a discovery rather than showing-off.

There is a built-in bias us older, more mature magicians feel when learning from young whipper-snappers. Okay, maybe it is just us. But it is a significant bias or prejudice. We know everything, we’ve seen all the significant magicians of the last two hundred years, we actually suggested to Houdini that he keep his dressing room closed to French-Canadian students, and we sure as heck will not be fooled by a young man regardless of his talent.

Our pride and prejudice was thrown to the ground like un-chewable candy from a stale pi?ata. He began strong and built on this base.

Fork Bending:

He does not teach the fork bending routine but it is based largely on Banachek’s version from Psychokinetic Silverware including the very neat permanent twist conclusion. From the outset, then, we knew we could respect Mr. Tait. He performed the fork bending about as well as we’ve seen — including on Banachek’s outstanding DVD — and he did not expose a secret he did not own.

So where would this talented and ethical young man take us next? The first part of his lecture should be considered a warm-up or ice-breaking session. (We realize “warm-up” and “ice-breaking” should not be offered as identical descriptions but something is wrong with our brain — we’ll tell you about that later).

The Scalene Coin:

His performance of a three-sided Kennedy Half was nice and showed an understanding of close-up performance far beyond his years. This will sound lame but it will be the best way for us to describe it.

There is a portion of the routine in which Mr. Tait has already loaded the coin he is about to produce from his empty hand. In a move reminiscent of Bob Cassidy’s “thumb across…

 

George Tait

George Tait is a young man with an older name. “George” is a name for someone of our generation but the name seems to match someone who looks young, is young, but has the experience of someone more worried about their 401K than their MP3s.

Mr. Tait claims to be “still young” and yet he has performed our kind of magic since he was six. At that young age, he learned the importance of checking your props before taking the stage. As a practical joke, someone removed a gimmick from his big trick. He was baptized into the world of magic with his own cold sweat.

Fast forward not too many years to last night in Royal Oak, Michigan. Mr. Tait offered his lecture to a group of old and somewhat crusty magicians. How did it go? Did he have more cold sweats?

We’re happy to report his lecture was a wonderful mixture of very neat ideas and neat tricks to accompany those ideas. His approach to lecturing is refreshing and humble. He does not claim — and perhaps he believes because he is just entering college that he cannot claim — to be the all-knowing font of magic knowledge.

He offered effects he enjoys performing and his attitude was one of sharing a discovery rather than showing-off.

There is a built-in bias us older, more mature magicians feel when learning from young whipper-snappers. Okay, maybe it is just us. But it is a significant bias or prejudice. We know everything, we’ve seen all the significant magicians of the last two hundred years, we actually suggested to Houdini that he keep his dressing room closed to French-Canadian students, and we sure as heck will not be fooled by a young man regardless of his talent.

Our pride and prejudice was thrown to the ground like un-chewable candy from a stale pi?ata. He began strong and built on this base.

Fork Bending:

He does not teach the fork bending routine but it is based largely on Banachek’s version from Psychokinetic Silverware including the very neat permanent twist conclusion. From the outset, then, we knew we could respect Mr. Tait. He performed the fork bending about as well as we’ve seen — including on Banachek’s outstanding DVD — and he did not expose a secret he did not own.

So where would this talented and ethical young man take us next? The first part of his lecture should be considered a warm-up or ice-breaking session. (We realize “warm-up” and “ice-breaking” should not be offered as identical descriptions but something is wrong with our brain — we’ll tell you about that later).

The Scalene Coin:

His performance of a three-sided Kennedy Half was nice and showed an understanding of close-up performance far beyond his years. This will sound lame but it will be the best way for us to describe it.

There is a portion of the routine in which Mr. Tait has already loaded the coin he is about to produce from his empty hand. In a move reminiscent of Bob Cassidy’s “thumb across the billet while showing it to the volunteer” move, Mr. Tait holds his hands, palms up, slightly angled back towards his body.

The effect is wonderful and yet understated. He has shown us that each hand is empty and now appears to be looking at the empty palms to confirm the fact for him. The production portion of the effect is over and each moment he waits to show the coin’s appearance is the magic equivalent of wonderful gravy.

(By the way, we checked with Mr. Cassidy and he says his move is not called the “thumb across . . . .” He claims there is no name for the move so we will soon trademark our term and sue him if we need to).

How does someone as young as Mr. Tait learn to take this pause, say nothing, and then proceed to perform the impossible? We’re telling you, he is not as young as he claims.

Punching Angels:

Mr. Tait’s handling of his own creation has great potential for lay audiences. Punching Angels could be described in magic short-hand as a Crazy Man’s Handcuffs through two holes in a playing card.

The lay readers of this article will have no idea what this means and so our secret is safe.

To be honest, the effect left us flat but that was because we were still thinking about the pause during his Scalene Coin routine and wondering why we were never that poised.

Mr. Tait punches two holes into a playing card, threads a rubber band through one of the holes, and then visibly pulls it through the card to the other hole.

The end of the effect has the band being pulled free of the second hole and all is clean.

For lay audiences, this will be an amazing effect. For magicians, it will be one of those “neat moves” we love to do absent-mindedly at magic conventions. You know the moves. You pretend you are not aware of this incredible sleight all the while hoping other magicians are noticing.

(Again, this may just be our motivation — you may actually not pay attention as you do incredible moves).

The remaining effects in the first half of his lecture are interesting and will likely spark your imagination but we want to turn our attention to the second half — the beauty part.

Photo Reading:

Mr. Tait had us fooled on this one. (Does that sound like an endorsement line or what?)

Here’s the effect — you figure it out. A volunteer handed Mr. Tait a stack of photographs. Both men claimed Mr. Tait had not seen the photos before.

The volunteer was asked to select one photo, look at it, return it to the stack and then concentrate not on the image so much but to focus on the emotional sensations experienced at the time the photo was taken.

Mr. Tait apparently cold-read a description of the photograph matching the spectator’s impressions.

He took it a step further and drew his version of the photo. When the drawing and photo were compared, he was absolutely correct.

In our humble, aged opinion, Mr. Tait undersold this effect. It is strong, very strong, and deserving as something much more than an occasional demonstration when someone happens to have a stack of photos.

The trick’s beauty is the fairness of its presentation.

Mr. Tait really doesn’t have to see the photos before hand. He really doesn’t have to pre-arrange anything with the volunteer. He doesn’t have to know the folks in the photo or even the location.

With Mr. Tait’s very clever method, he is able to provide a verbal and artistic description of the image without any awkward cold-reading. (So we were wrong when we thought he used cold-reading techniques).

We’d love to tell you how this is done. But it would go against the principles of Inside Magic.

Principle No. 17, as you recall, states:

“Inside Magic will never reveal an effect that makes the writers or editors look dumb for not discerning the method to said effect before it was explained either through lecture or instructions.”

George Tait

We will not betray our principles. We want to, though. We want to very badly. This is a killer effect. We intend to use it as a challenge and perhaps have it at the close of a show. Imagine asking the host or a trusted member of the expected audience to bring a stack of photos, keep them securely in his or her possession until coming up on stage, and thereby build the effect into something very special.

Of course, if Mr. Tait chooses to use this only on select occasions that will only improve our reputation. We will wear it out by including it in every show we do from now on.

Now we come to our two favorites of the evening.

Eidolon:

Mr. Tait told us this meant “hallucination” and we believe him because we are both trusting and too lazy to look it up.

This effect stunned us harder than we’d been stunned since our last police encounter.

Here is the effect. A spectator brings an ungimmicked, unprepared deck of cards to the performing area. A small stack of cards is removed from the new deck and set to the side.

Mr. Tait instructs the volunteer to cut off a portion of the cards and then to begin cutting the face-up remainder until one card lodges in the spectator’s nugget — that is, until he sees a card he wants to remember.

The spectator’s pack is placed face down on the other tabled cards and for the first time, Mr. Tait takes the cards up fairly, and without a “move.”

He immediately shows the audience the selected card has left the deck. It was, Mr. Tait suggests, a hallucination. The card is truly gone.

He spreads the cards between his hands for the audience to see and then ribbon spreads the deck face up for the spectator. Gone.

Okay, so explain that. Incredible.

The solution is simple and the method fits the style of any magician. This is an incredible effect.

See Mr. Tait’s lecture if only for this effect.

Auspicious Coincidence:

Mr. Tait believes this is the star of his lecture. It is fantastic but we think it should be called one of the two stars of the lecture along with Eidolon.

The effect of Auspicious Coincidence is described by its subtitle, “Any Card at Any Number.” It is an old theme. And like the other old theme of magic, the Indian Rope Trick, magicians know no one can really accomplish the effect.

Many books have claimed to have the method to this effect but on careful reading — usually after you buy the book because magic store owners get all freaky when you read full books from their shelves — the method is either not clean or doesn’t really do what is promised.

Mr. Tait presents it like this: A spectator calls out the name of a card. Another spectator selects a number from one to fifty-two. Mr. Tait explains he predicted both the number and the card to be selected and asks if the audience would consider it a miracle to find he was correct.

We all nodded politely. (By “politely,” we mean we had our mouth closed and did not drool).

But wait, it is not what you think or what we thought.

Mr. Tait does not now plow through the deck he has been holding while explaining the trick’s premise. That would be too easy. He admits to the audience some may suggest he simply found the selected card and rearranged the deck to put it in the correct position.

To eliminate such a nefarious method, Mr. Tait places the deck back in the box and picks up a card case from the table.

He has not been near the table before this moment. He does nothing strange with the deck as he removes the new deck of cards and sets them face down in a third spectator’s hands.

He asks the spectator to deal the cards face up to the number chosen and sure enough, the very next card is the one selected and it is found at the position immediately after the number selected.

We were at a bad angle for this effect and so the workings were exposed to us. But this was a problem with the room’s set-up, not Mr. Tait’s invention.

The detailed thinking evident in the routine makes this a practical, commercial and, new effect. Auspicious Coincidence will be one of Mr. Tait’s gifts to the magic world.

Again, we wish we could disclose the secret. It is wonderful, very wonderful.

Conclusion:

How good was this lecture?

We could have left the facility without paying. The president didn’t hound us for the admission price and yet we made a point of paying the door charge.

We actually paid money even though we weren’t asked.

Before Lindsay Lohan, There Was Tiffany

We have no pride. On “donation only” days at the museum, we often toss in a few pennies just to give the impression we donated something. But if there is no one looking, we’d keep the few pennies for our 401k.

We’re cheap and yet we paid the admission fee even after the lecture was completed.

That’s a ringing endorsement in our book.

We mentioned earlier our brain wasn’t working. In fact, as we type this review, it is about five o’clock in the morning. The lecture has been over for about seven hours and yet we cannot get the final two effects out of our roundish head.

The possibilities for these two miracles seem endless.

We feel the excitement last experienced since we first learned 1970’s musical diva Tiffany was reviving her mall tour.

Of course, Mr. Tait probably wasn’t even born when the red-haired mall-based songstress danced into our pubescent heart.

So he many not know great entertainment outside of magic, but his lecture demonstrated he knows how to entertain with timeless effects that will one day be as classic as our crush’s version of “I Think We’re Alone Now.”

If you are in the Southeastern Michigan area, be sure to check out Mr. Tait’s show this Thursday at Ginger’s Coffee Connection – Monthly Magic & Mind Reading in Plymouth.

Inside Magic Review: Four and a Half out of Five Outstanding! A Must See!

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