Sunday, November 30, 2008

Spent Up

Busy day today, since there is a close-up show, lectures and also a dealer day. Luckily none of the dealers take credit cards, so since I can only be bothered to make one trip to the cash machine I don't spend nearly as much as I might have otherwise! Got some great DVDs and a couple of nice old tricks. Missed out on a wonderful German-engineered rising card mechanism from the 1920's which worked by clockwork - it's a wonder they ever got away with the trick given the noise this thing made but I would have loved to have it for historical interest.

The Close Up Gala kicked off with John Lovick. We saw him on Friday as his alter ego "Handsome Jack", but today was plain Lovick, and his routine was excellent. He worked a prediction routine with an audience member where he pretended they were estranged lovers and the patter was based around him "quietly" trying to work through his issues with her on stage, ending with the predictions being part of a break-up song lyric in the sealed envelope. Hilariously done.He also did the best ring vanish I have ever seen anywhere, which was way too complicated to describe, but involved two rings, and two spectators, with one spectator ending up with the other's ring before everything was resolved. Despite knowing exactly how the "standard" version of this trick is performed, this version had me baffled for a while. Extremely clever routine.

Peter Samelson did more of his wonderful story-based magic, the highlight for me being the production of coins in a glass from cigarette smoke.

Denis Behr form Germany did some clever stuff with cards which left me cold, personally, though I can appreciate the skill involved.

Andrew Goldenhersh did some more of his wonderfully controlled slow-motion magic, turning an origami butterly into a real one and a wonderful coin matrix. The only trick of his I was not keen on was the terminally boring and repetitive needles-on-thread-from-mouth trick.

Goldenhersh also did an excellent lecture which involved no magic at all, but was all about character development and training unused muscles in hands and fingers. Check out - it is pretty amazing stuff if you stick at it! Peter Samelson's lecture was also excellent. Denis Behr's was, predictably (for me at least) boring, given his total concentration on card work.

The close of the event is traditionally the award of the Berglas Foundation Services to Magic Award. This year, chairman David Berglas informed an astonished audience that the award was going to none other than "magician's favourite" (not!) Uri Geller. Despite coming across as very confident and charming, Geller continues to contradict himself at every turn.

He hints that his early work was indeed trickery, that he has no real powers, and yet he claims to have made his money not from magic, but from payment from South American oil and gas companies for finding new drilling sites for them simply by flying overhead in a helicopter and "feeling" them.

Then went on to say that because he does not claim genuine talents he would never offer his services to the police and families searching for missing children. This despite the fact that in the next breath he claims to have helped in such cases early in his career. Fortunately the person asking the question persisted and pressed him on why, if he believes he genuinely helped before, he would not offer to help now, even on the slight off-chance he could do something useful.

"Interesting question", replied Geller. "I have no answer to that"....

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