POLITICS, SCIENCE, ART & MAGIC
“It’s not the job of the artist to give the audience what the audience wants. If the audience knew what they needed, then they wouldn’t be the audience. They would be the artists. It is the job of artists to give the audience what they need.”
— Alan Moore
Greetings to you my friends,
I do not watch TV… but I do read and search out good news sources. Oh, and I also read the works of Alan Moore!
Lately, I’ve been thinking deeply of how I can better serve our magic community with my performances and teaching. One of the questions that keeps popping up is….
What is the role of a performing artist in our society?
Something I’ve been talking about these days is the limits of magic as an art form. Some people feel that magic performance is only for entertainment — to help people forget their worries. Others feel that theater is a place for speaking out on many immediate concerns of the day. I hear this struggle often with performers young and old. Many of my students want to add more meaning to their magic, and they want to be more that a mere trickster.
Photo by Navarro
IS it possible to stop a revolution with magic tricks? Yes!
Many great magicians have woven important and topical themes into their magic. Legend has it that the “Father of Modern Magic,” Jean-Eugene Robert-Houdin, was famous for weaving theater, politics and magic together. The history books say that Robert-Houdin was responsible for quelling a revolution in Algeria with his scientific magic inventions!
For the fascinating story of how Robert-Houdin did this go here:
What makes magic “Theatrical Magic?”
When I work with students, I often ask them a few questions. Today I will ask those questions to you for your consideration!
ART + SCIENCE = MAGIC?
So, where can magicians go to learn, in depth and detail, how to effectively create these important theatrical elements?
You can find new ways to present your magic here!
The Big 3: Presentation, Character & Script
These are what I call “The Big 3.” They are the essential elements for creating magic experiences with strong and meaningful impact.
Some theatrical stories do not even have words! The Ranimaker is a piece I perform that has a “silent story.” My presentation is ritualistic, the character I play is “The Shaman,” and the script is about a man who is thirsty and conjures a rain spirit… with unexpected results! I’ve only taught this performance piece to a few of my students. Recently Jeff Christensen won top honors with his new version of The Rainmaker!
Jeff C. said, “I was very pleased to receive two gold medals for my recent performances at the Pacific Coast Association of Magicians. I won a gold medal for Mentalism and for Parlor. A huge thanks to my friend and magic teacher Jeff McBride for all of his guidance and support with my magic.”
Congratulation on your awards, Jeff, and thank you for the kind words!
Taking risks and standing out
George Carlin was a hero of mine. In junior high school, I would listen to his recording of Class Clown, and I memorized many of his comedy routines. I remember chunks of those routines to this very day! I never expected that one day I would be his opening act at THE SANDS HOTEL & CASINO in Atlantic City! What an honor it was to be in his company!
That is why people so love artists like George Carlin and other masters of political satire! Carlin was one of the rare artists who not only entertained us, he also enlightened us! The performance art of magic does not have to be political to be effective theater… as my friend Master Payne reminded me when he said, “Magic needs only to be relevant.”
Politics & Magic
For all my friends and fellow magicians that are having a hard time deciding if entertainment, art, politics and magic can fit together. I offer you the next few examples.
The Amazing Jonathan takes on Trump!
You never know what will happen at WONDERGROUND.
Last month The Amazing Jonathan took the stage and was about to perform his new “Lance Burton Dove act”, when suddenly “The Donald” rushed onto the stage and hilarity ensued. Hats off to Rudy Coby for his dead-on impersonation of Trump! Every month we have surprise celebrity guests!
The Amazing Jonathan gets “Trumped” at WONDERGROUND!
Photo by Sheryl A. Garrett
December 15, 2017
7:30 – Strolling Magic with Miguel & Will
8PM – Abigail McBride – Master of Ceremonies
Miguel Ramirez – An Expert of Reality Manipulation
Lion Fludd – Prepare yourself for “The Hustle!”
Brian Arkell – Unique Vegas Magic
Joan DuKore – Feminine Mystique!
Scott Steelfyre – “Making a point with magic!”
9PM – Strolling and close up magic
Miguel Ramirez – Mago-Deluxe
Bizzaro – Innovative Illusions
Lion Fludd – “The Hustle”- Close -Up Deceptions!
Joan DuKore – A Sensational Sorceress
10PM – Tim Wise – Master of Ceremonies
Circe! – From the TV show “Masters of Illusion”
Will Bradshaw – Theatrical Conjuring
Bizzaro – for him, normal is just a setting on the dryer
Jarol Martinez – “Illuminations,” the magic lamps act
PLUS:Photography by Sheryl Garrett.
Bar Magic with Zack Pattee, Scott Steelfyre, and Iam Creed. NWR Belly Dancers: Abigail, Megan & Deborah, Psychic Sideshow with Mulee Pete and Alan Scott, live art with Areeya – and many more surprises and special celebrity guests!!
Now let’s all get off email and Facebook and go see a live show and support performers who not only entertain, but also enlighten!
Best wishes for the holidays!
Jeff & Abigail