Penn & Teller Fool Us 25th June

Penn & Teller Fool Us 25th June

I have been looking forward to this all week, Prime Time Magic and of course realising that Penn & Teller wouldn’t disappoint.

Tonight we saw…

Mark Shortland

“A trick relying solely on chance’ or so the pre-show trailer suggested and in it Mark didn’t actually come across as well as he could have done – BUT – in performance his quirky approach and engaging, and somewhat manic  sense of humor won everyone over. The fun take and super routine and a fun take on the just chance format was great.

Loved the act.

Mattieu Bich

Beautiful effect and all the magicians will be questioning  the “Which one do you want?” approach – superb. He fooled Penn & Teller and for what it’s worth me too. Loved this guys style and ‘predicted’ kicker finish.

You can be sure I’m going to look out for him in the future!

Young and Strange

Liked the fun chemistry between these two guys and they presented a superb illusion. Method aside the effect and delivery of the routine was spot on and these guys stage presence drew much praise from the Maestros – deservedly so. These guys deserve the breaks!

So it won’t fool informed magicians BUT it will entertain an audience and that is what it is all about!

Daniel Madison

‘Card cheating’ was his ‘announced’ passion in the pre-filmed trailer and the ‘theme’ of his effect  was a recreation of a blindfold  deal from a borrowed, shuffled deck of cards. High praise from Penn and Teller for the guys technique, and sure it all looked as it should – a fair deal.  I guess the issue for me here is about the balance between technique, impact (awe and wonder) and entertainment (audience engagement).

I really appreciate and acknowledge this guys skill however.

Penn & Tellers bit!

Great to see their card stab routine again – lots of fun, quirky, totally entertaining and intelligent…

Another Saturday night nugget of gold amongst the so-so programming….

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Fork Off!!!

Caught this in the press…

“A MAGICIAN was thrown out of a Midland bar and quizzed by police – for bending a fork!

Paul Fisher, who goes by the stage name Paul Saint, was given his marching orders by a burly doorman after performing the trick for friends at Après bar in Lichfield.

“I tried to tell the bouncer that the forks were my own, but he wouldn’t listen,” said Paul, 35, by day a driving instructor from Pelsall, West Midlands.

“I always take a few props out with me and perform for friends. I’ve never had this reaction before.”

Moments after being turfed out, he claims a police van raced to a halt beside him and he was told to get inside in connection with the incident.”

You can read the full article, which appeared in the Sunday Mercury here:

Not much for me to add really….


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Penn & Teller Fool Us 18th June ITV

So it’s back. A magic show that allows magicians to do their thing!

Tonight we were treated to a good selection of magic which included:-

High Jinx – Illusion Double Act

Nice illusion, loved the design of the prop but I guess not the easiest of guys to fool. I actually liked the styling, the look and the illusion itself.
Jon Allen
Jon performed a version of smash-and-stab in which a spectator made choices of which bag was to be crushed.
I remember Jon from years and years ago when I was Secretary of The London Society of Magicians and he was a brilliant young magician. Over the years I’ve noted his work and enjoyed his quirky performances. He’s a really amusing and entertaining guy. I was a bit surprised to see him in a ‘more serious’ mode. It was a nice presentation – superbly paced, but Penn & Teller caught ‘the moment’ and a great idea was ‘blown out of the water’
Graham Jolley
No here’s a performer I really admire. He manages to bring mystery, mind magic and comedy together in a seamless way. Opening with a billiard-ball selection routine, it was his card effect that actually fooled the American duo. It was a superb card prediction effect, only to call it that really understates its directness and effect.
With John Archer fooling the guys last time and Graham Jolley doing so this time it really seems that comedy-mentalism is hitting the mark!
Penn & Teller’s contribution – an escape from a helium filled oversized refuse sack which as you’d expect was sharp, original and entertaining, A lovely twist on a mail bag escape, and I seem to recall reading somewhere in an old book an escape from a paper bag … yes the point of that effect, and of course of Penn & Tellers is that the bag remains undamaged!

Again, so nice to see a good magic show on prime time TV without the celebrity hangers-on!

More please ……..

Marco Tempest – iPhone

I’m a bit of a fan of Marco Tenpest – I love his approach and his thinking.

His use of technology makes his magic cometemporary and ‘of the moment’. The great pity is that some folks can’t see past the ‘magic’ of the technology itself to see the wonderful creativity that it inspires in Marco.

Technology is a tool – we are supposed to be its masters – but as I look around I see people who have mated with their mobile ‘phone; are seduced into continually servicing their Sky + systems and wedded to their Wii. To these people the creativity expressed by Marco Tempest is missed; they accept that technology can ‘do these things’ and fail to see the true nature of Marco’s art.

To me he is an artsist; a creative magician – a TechnoMage – he gives his magic meaning; his technology truth and his art artfulness…



Magic with a Message

Hot on the heals of the last post about magic’s ability to communicate powerful messages I find this in my RSS feed…

“Green entertainer Steve Trash, Rockin’ Eco Hero makes his debut performance at Hollywood’s famous Magic Castle. The Award-winning Green-illusionist brings his powerful, eco-friendly message to Hollywood with live ecological illusions and magic tricks. Trash will perform an amazing close-up sleight of hand magic tricks, including changing a red deck of cards into a green deck, and his famous eco-effects; transforming real trash into money. Trash will use the power of “reAl Green magic” to magically bend a metal key and perform his famous green magic trick; recycling an aluminum can in less than six seconds. Every trick he performs has an eco-friendly message.

Since 1984, Trash has performed to adoring fans of all ages, including 20 millions kids with his spectacular Green Illusions. He has toured all over the planet (Japan, Australia, Canada, Spain, Portugal and thousands of shows across the USA). This extraordinary eco-entertainer will turn the Magic Castle Green with his Solo Green Magic show. This critically acclaimed show is a powerful mix of amazing green magic tricks, rockin’ music and a unique eco-educational twist.

Trash will be performing in his SOLO GREEN MAGIC show at the Magic Castle on Friday, July 8th and Saturday, July 9th, in the Hat & The Hare Lounge from 9PM-1AM. Though the club is members only, they do offer trial memberships. Check the website for details. The Magic Castle / Academy of Magical Arts, 7001 Franklin Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90028-8600″

Read more:


Magic and Social Impact

I came across this article today (below) and whilst I find myself agreeing with a lot of what is said, there are some implications in the tone of the reporting that are of concern..

Here’s the article as it appeared in MIDDAY..

In the age of rapid communication, magic can be a medium to spread social messages, says Indian illusionist Gopinath Muthukad, who won a prestigious international award for predicting 10 headlines of different dailies in different metros in India even before the pages were laid out.

“The response (to my prediction) was overwhelming. It showed that misconceptions of people about illusion and magic were changing,” said Muthukad, who will be conferred the magic world’s Oscar, the International Merlin Award, here June 23.

The Kerala-based magician is in Canada for a series of shows.

Muthukad, 47, who founded the first magic academy of Asia at Thiruvananthapuram, told IANS in an e-mail interview that he “had to convince people that the science of magic has a role in predictions”.

The prediction of newspaper headlines won the Merlin jury over, he said.

Muthukad, the second Indian to win the award after P.C. Sorcar junior, has also been using his art of magic and illusion to promote important social causes too for the last two decades.

“Magic is a visual art that penetrates the subconscious mind of people with the language bar. It can be used as a wonderful tool for mass communication. A highly successful mission was the STOP AD, a magical act with which we reached out to youths and adults against smoking, alcohol and drug abuse in Kerala,” Muthukad said.

Muthukad said he has been “using magic for social messages since 1990, when the government of Kerala launched its literacy drive in the state”.

“We designed new illusion tricks and adopted meaningful presentations of existing ones to communicate. The literacy massages had a deep impact,” he said. It encouraged Muthukad to take up new campaigns.

“If we go through the statistics of alcohol abuse in India, especially in Kerala, the graph always grows. It has left our society with a catastrophe of health and family concerns. The Kerala government told us to conduct magical education at the grassroots in all the 14 districts of the state,” he said.

Muthukad said he has managed to draw attention to several issues like “health, communal harmony and fight against terrorism” through magic.

“We have also been trying to propagate Gandhian values and themes of national integration worldwide,” he said.

Muthukad undertook a magical tour in 2002 to spread the message of national integration with roadshows from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.

His institute, Kerala Magic Academy Research Centre, teaches both contemporary illusion and traditional Indian street magic like the “Great Indian Rope Trick”, “Green Mango Trick” and the “Indian Basket trick”.

“India has rich culture and history in magic. It still amazes the western world with traditional magic such as green mango tree and Indian cups and balls. Unfortunately many amazing magic acts have been lost as they have not been shared with the next generation,” he said.

Muthukad’s inspiration is American illusionist David Copperfield, a living legend known for his story telling and illusion magic.

“He (David Copperfield) makes the difficult look easy and impossible the easiest. He adds beauty to magic like music to poetry,” he said. Copperfield created headlines around the world when he made the Statue of Liberty disappear, levitated over the Grand Canyon and walked through the Great Wall of China.

Muthukad himself began as a traditional magician before moving on complicated stage illusions. One of his popular illusion tricks is the “fire escape” trick – in which he disappears through a fire hatch.

“Traditional Indian magic concentrates more on mystery while the West concentrates more on entertainment values. But ultimately both evoke wonder,” Muthukad said.

Like Copperfield Muthukad first performed his tricks in public at 10.

“It was a flop. Then I decided to make my performance a unique one – and my performance was accepted. And I pledged my future to magic,” he said.

I find myself in total agreement with the notion that MAGIC as a relevance and a meaning. There’s a chapter in my book (Mostly Mental) which speaks of the role and power of magic. However, is it me or is there a sense at which the ‘supernatural’ aspects of magic’s mystique is being somewhat overplayed?

The prediction of newspaper headlines could be seen as being ‘supernatural’ and not part of the ‘stock-in-trade’ of the illusionist.

What is a magician really saying when they perform their magic?

Are they creating random and spontaneous acts of wonder with visual displays of impossibilities OR are they perpetuating a belief in ‘supernatural abilities’ through their portrayal as pseudo-psychics?

Magic is not the same as Mentalism!

In Magic it is often clear that the mage is weaving their spell, casting ‘galmours’ and creating illusions to inspire, amaze and amuse.

In Mentalism it is not always clear that the mage is weaving a psychological web of confusion and creating allusions to the possibility of the improbable.

Magic can engage, can communicate at a very deep level and can be used to inspire creative and critical thinking – it can be used to perpetuate cons and pre-scientific thinking.

Are YOU as a magician giving due regard to the empowering messages your magic represents?

Do YOU as a magician care about the art and relevance of our craft?

Should WE as magicians take more responsibility for the things we communicate through our performance?

AND Congratulations to Gopinath Muthukad on his great success and Merlin award – it’s so nice to hear of magicians who are thinking about their work and being rewarded for it!


Movie Magic…

I’m trying to keep an eye on magic in film, or film about magic and magicians and in doing so I came across this – sounds interesting.

From First Showing News pages..

“Clash of the Titans remake director Louis Leterrier would be at the helm of a magician heist thriller called Now You See Me. The original script from Boaz Yakin (Prince of Persia) and Edward Ricourt follows a crack FBI squad caught in a game of cat-and-mouse with a super-team of the world’s greatest illusionists, who pull off a series of bank heists during their performances and shower the profits on their audiences. Now Variety reports Jesse Eisenberg has agreed to star in the film form Summit Entertainment. In addition, several other great talents apparently have offers to star in the film.

Apparently Jake Gyllenhaal has been offered the other lead role alongside Eisenberg, and Philip Seymour Hoffman, Olivia Wilde and Melanie Laurent have also been offered roles as well. Apparently Gyllenhaal and Eisenberg are in early negotiations, so they may not stick to the project. Apparently Summit had previously been looking for older talent along the lines of Sacha Baron Cohen, Jim Carrey and Hugh Grant before they decided to go with younger lead actors. This project certainly sounds intriguing and a teaming of Eisenberg and Gyllenhaal would definitely be interesting, but we’ll see what happens.”

Not All Magic is Safe reported this on the 3rd June..

“An Atlanta magician is recovering after a stunt at the Atlanta Motor Speedway Thursday night nearly claimed his life.Michael Anthony Mooney goes by the stage name of Moodini.On Thursday night, he was performing a stunt between races whereby he was chained at his wrists to a car. His head was covered with a black bag. In the stunt, the car speeds off and Mooney has just seconds to escape out of the shackles before he’s hurled down the track.”

And here’s the YouTube clip… (not for the feint of heart!)